870 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands 1st cruise. My son and his girlfriend have cruised on Carnival 3 other times. My son and his girlfriend flew into Tampa Friday night and stayed at the Sheraton Suites Tampa Westport. Really nice ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands 1st cruise. My son and his girlfriend have cruised on Carnival 3 other times. My son and his girlfriend flew into Tampa Friday night and stayed at the Sheraton Suites Tampa Westport. Really nice hotel! Got it for $76. Drove to Port of Tampa and stopped at Valet. Porter took our bags and valet took our car. Walked into terminal at 11:30 and we were on the Lido deck at noon. Had a hamburger, put on our bathing suits and relaxed on the lounge chairs by the pool. Had a few drinks and then went up to our room at 1:30. We had an ocean view on the Upper Floor right next to the Grand Suites. The room was clean and comfy and roomy. Our steward, Alfred, came and introduced himself and took care of us all week. Exceptional service! I went up to the top deck a little after 6pm to view the ship going under the bridge. All I can say is that is was an awesome memorable experience!! We had Your Time Dining (YTD) confirmed. (Our son was confirmed in the Carnivale dining room and waitlisted for YTD) Went up to talk to Joseph in the Mardi Gras Dining Room and poof, no problem changing them to YTD! First night dinner was so much fun! Went around 7:30pm and waited 5 minutes for a table. The guys had the steak and loved it - I had the pasta and loved it. Then, I had the chocolate melting cake for dessert and I was hooked. The wait staff was excellent! The ship was rocking and rolling the first night. Heard that half of the passengers were sick. (I did not get sick the entire cruise and did not take any medication - yippie!) We spent Sunday at the Lido pool. Walked around the ship to familiarize ourselves. All of the whirlpools are closed for maintenance. Had fun poolside. Entered the Mixologist contest. Made my "Shake Your Rumba" drink, but lost out to "Blue Paradise" which was actually really good! They show the video non-stop for the rest of the cruise ~ oh my goodness - I did not know that when I was mixing my drink shaking my rumba!!!!! Elegant night tonight. I did not like my lobster - but the guys loved their steak. Grand Cayman on Monday - beautiful! Took a taxi to Sea Grape and walked over to the Ritz. Chatebreand for dinner - nobody liked it. But the salads and dessert were great! Hit the casino - oh my goodness. That darn sign and sail card - I kept pressing the button for "add more funds"...... Cozumel on Tuesday. We rented a jeep from Avis for $55 + $30 for full insurance (did not want to take any chances) and went exploring on our own. Drove around the island and stopped at magnificent beaches. Then went to Paradise Beach for some Dos Equis and Guacamole. It was a great day! Woke up to rain on Wednesday. Then the sun came out between 1-3 and then rained again. We still had fun. The ribs for dinner were so yummy!!!!!! I had purchased Behind the Fun Tour tickets on the first day and My DH and son went on it. They said it was great! But be careful, my son sprained his ankle coming down some stairs in the engine room - think of the big guy on the Blind Side and that is my son....oh well - he just had a few more drinks of the day and some ice. He'll go to the doctor when he returns home. By the way - did you know that the medical center closes during certain times of the day??? They did give me a bandage wrap for the ankle (only charged $2.00)... Went to the Fiesta show and enjoyed it. Went to the R-rated comedy show, and boy it was r-rated! The ship was rocking and rolling tonight so went to the casino, dropped a few more "not real money"...and then went to bed. We decided to carry our own bags off. Went to Mardis Gras Dining Room for a quiet breakfast at 7:45am. Came back to our room at 8:30am on level 6 and walked up the stairs to level 7 and debarked in about 10 minutes. By the way - we had room service for coffee and danish every morning, and also went to the Mardis Gras Restaurant 2 times for breakfast. Excellent. I had the Eggs Benedict (with the sauce on the side). My husband loved his omelette. Went for lunch in the Mardis Gras dining room 3 times and had a nice salad and some pasta. Very good. The Brasserie had some great desserts! The Serenity lounge looked nice and relaxing but only went once. I already had a drink in my hand so I don't know how the service was. I went on the water slide twice and had a blast! This was Spring Break season - and there were tons of high schoolers and college kids but they were fun and well-behaved. During embarkation, I had 2 bottles of wine in my carry on and it went thru x-ray with no questions and no issues. I did not carry on any extra liquor. The bartenders were fun and we did not have to wait. All in all we had a great time on this ship. She is older, but she is charming and clean. The staff was exceptional. Many were calling us by name after the first night. (They called me Mrs. Patricia). Joseph - Our Super Charged Matre Di was a delight! He called us by name every evening, and took us by the hand and came to our table. Very sweet. We came home Happy....... Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was my 5 cruise with Carnival. I have been on the Tropical, Glory, Valor, Splendor and this one Inspiration. I had a wondeful time in Cozmel Mexico, went to a lovely beach. I wish there was more then one port of call. The night club ... Read More
This was my 5 cruise with Carnival. I have been on the Tropical, Glory, Valor, Splendor and this one Inspiration. I had a wondeful time in Cozmel Mexico, went to a lovely beach. I wish there was more then one port of call. The night club had Fantastic music(most fun). Casino not all that, not like I gamble a lot even won money, but not pleased with casino. Very dirty, no one came around to serve drinks, not very friendly atmoshere like the rest of the other ships I've been on. Food was great on lido deck,buffet area and deli. Dinning room which we had open dinning was not as good, food took for ever and the two times we did eat in dinning room they always forgot someones meal. Had to share even when waiter came back, still no food. I guess that's why we only went 2 times. Room service excellent! No matter how long the wait, food was awsome. I think the room service made out like a bandit on tips. lol. I had a great time with my group, and meet a lot of people that were down to earth fun people. That's what I like about cruising meeting new people. Overall it was great! But, not to friendly as I am use to for the staff. It seemed only the ones that were in the entertainment area made it fun. I know my Mom paid for the cruise, but all in all, the ship was great, food was great, entertainment was great. Staff in dining room, casino, spa, needs the stick removed from their butt. Not sure my Mom was real happy with the ship. The group and other cruiser yes. Paying for 4 people-- that is a lot of money to be dissapointed since this is her 11th cruise. Buy the way we were VIP! did not seem any diffrent to me to have to pay for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was our first cruise. I was worried that I would feel "trapped" on a boat, but everyone I talked to said "NO WAY!! The boat is so huge you will never feel like that." Well, I did. There really wasn't much to ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I was worried that I would feel "trapped" on a boat, but everyone I talked to said "NO WAY!! The boat is so huge you will never feel like that." Well, I did. There really wasn't much to do other than sit around on the deck and eat and drink. Which was nice and relaxing, but got old. I was very disappointed that all of the things that I looked forward to the most, didn't really happen like I thought they would. The water slides were slow and on the other side of the ship from where the pool is, so we barely used them. I was looking forward to Karaoke and checked every night and there were hardly any people ever there (maybe 10 at the most). I was looking forward to dancing in the 'clubs' and those were pretty much empty every night also. I was very excited about the sushi bar, but that turned out to only be open from 530-8pm... which was when we were at dinner every night. We did get it one night and they give you around 3 pieces at a time, not even a full roll. I was excited about all the food I kept hearing about too, but it was really like having to eat at a buffet every day, nothing special except that chocolate melting cake, which was SO good! The kids were excited about Camp Carnival and Circle C, neither lived up to what they were hoping for. Camp Carnival is in a VERY SMALL area. They had fun when they were there, but we kinda had to force them to go whereas before we left, they informed us that they were never going to see us because they were going to be having fun at Camp Carnival. Circle C is just a place for tweens to meet each other, then they come and go as they please... so from what I saw, they would meet up at Circle C for 5 seconds and then all spend the evening running wild around all over the ship, which my daughter did have a blast doing, but I think she was hoping for a little more structured fun and games. I know it sounds like we had a terrible time, and I have to reiterate that we REALLY didn't, it was a very fun, relaxing week. It just didn't live up to my expectations at all and isn't the kind of vacation that I would want to do again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We booked this cruise using Carnival Master Card Points. I had been saving points for a couple years and had read various perspectives on using the points. Finally, I could wait no longer and took the plunge. After all the negative vibes ... Read More
We booked this cruise using Carnival Master Card Points. I had been saving points for a couple years and had read various perspectives on using the points. Finally, I could wait no longer and took the plunge. After all the negative vibes about doing this it was a very pleasant and easy experience. I simply looked at the website to figure what I had enough points for, called the 800 number and booked the cruise. No hassles, no problems, they even told me I had enough points to upgrade from what I had planned. All I paid were taxes and gratuities. This was our fourth cruise. After alot of comparison shopping I determined you cannot beat the value of Carnival. We are "approaching" senior status, so it was just the two of us. We left Atlanta after work Friday, spent the night in south Georgia and arrived in Tampa Saturday about 12:30, parked and boarded. It was raining and I am not a big one for valet parking but for an extra $15.00 it was worth it. We checked our bags at the curb, the valet drove our car to the parking deck and we waited in line about 30 minutes to board. Smooth and effortless. We boarded the ship about 1:00 and were able to go straight to our stateroom. I would like to add that upon return we got a porter, zipped through the "porter" line at customs, he took our bags to the parking deck and knew just who to talk to so that when we reached the fourth floor where our car was parked it was there waiting for us. We were off the ship, had our bags and pulled out of the parking lot in about 20 to 25 minutes. The cruise certainly exceeded our expectations for this ship. I read some reviews and I wonder what people are expecting. I feel Carnival offers one of the best values in the vacation industry. Our ocean view was clean and comfortable. Our steward Arnold was there whenever we needed something with a smile on his face and ready to help. Food was good, not Ruth's Chris but for the amount of food they put out in a short time it was pretty darn good. Our server's AnaLyn and Mohammad were fantastic with the best attitudes ever! The maitre d "Supercharged" Joseph made the dining experience very entertaining with his nightly "It's showtime!" We did the sting ray tour with Moby Dick Tours on Grand Cayman and if you have never done this I highly recommend it. Fascinating at a beautiful sand bar and reef area. This cost $40.00 per person and it is definitely one of the best 40 bucks we have ever spent. At Cozumel we just got off the ship, had lunch and margaritas at the Three Amigo's and did a little shopping. Beautiful weather after a cold, wet winter in Atlanta. Entertainment on the ship was great. Cruise director Skip and Assistant Matt kept everyone entertained. If someone was bored on this cruise they have no one to blame but themselves! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Our cruise was the 5 day Carnival Inspiration out of Tampa. Last summer we had taken a 12 day Carnival Mediterranean cruise on the Freeedom and enjoyed it very much. We expected this cruise to be an equally enjoyable experience. We arrived ... Read More
Our cruise was the 5 day Carnival Inspiration out of Tampa. Last summer we had taken a 12 day Carnival Mediterranean cruise on the Freeedom and enjoyed it very much. We expected this cruise to be an equally enjoyable experience. We arrived at the port about noon and it took about an hour to make our way through the check-in process. By about 1:15 we were eating lunch in the buffet area on the Lido deck. Our first hint of anything "off" was when we entered our stateroom and found that there were 2 pullman beds on the wall. One was right over our own bed, about 18 inches above it in fact. This meant that we were unable to sit on our bed to read or watch TV. All we could do was lay flat in the bed. This was an immediate disappointment. The carpet in the room was dirty and upon entering the bathroom, I found several beige drips on the toilet seat. It was kind of like finding we had booked a sleazy motel room. But at least our luggage arrived fairly early and we left Tampa on time. Even though we had booked the cruise well ahead of time, we were assigned to "your time" dining because the 6:15 time was completely booked and we didn't want the late dining time. While this has some advantages as far as flexibility, this meant that we missed the pleasure of having an assigned table and wait staff who knew us. Every night we were in a different place, usually seated with other people with whom we made small talk. The food was fair at best, usually arriving lukewarm, never hot. The maitre'd (Ramesh) made a habit of coming to each table every night in an ingratiating manner asking how our day was, although he didn't seem to invite a real conversation. The entertainment was lackluster at best. The opening night was a complete re-hash of what we had seen last summer on our first cruise with audience members made to drop a spoon on a string down their clothes. Other events were also the same, such as the marriage show where identical questions were posed to several couples (passengers). There were 2 comedians and they were the best part of the entertainment; the magician was just pathetic. The cruise director seemed to be on auto-pilot and his jokes were even repeats of what we had heard last summer. Everywhere we went on the ship we seemed to have to walk through or around smokers or smoking areas. We would have liked to try out the casino but the smell of smoke was overpowering. Ditto for some of the lounges and bars and the entire starboard side of the outdoor portion of the Lido deck. But all this pales in comparison to what took place on our last "fun day at sea". We were seated under the overhang on the adults-only Serenity Deck which was much too small an area to accommodate the people who wanted to use it. The weasther was overcast with some waves, but we seemed to have less motion sickness out in the fresh air, so we stayed outside. No one from Carnival warned anyone on this outdoor deck that the ship was about to hit a storm. With no warning, the ship suddenly leaned heavily to the starboard side and the hot tubs began to spill over. An announcement was made on the PA system that this was normal and due to heavy winds on the port side. All of a sudden it began to rain and what seemed like gale-force wind began to blow. Everyone who was not under the overhang ran inside shrieking. The wind was so strong that furniture began to blow around the deck. All of the seat cushions flew into the air, some of them going overboard. The market umbrellas were all bent backwards and one of them snapped and broke. Those of us who were still on the Serenity deck were huddled against the back wall hoping not to be hit by flying furniture or worse yet, to be blown overboard ourselves. No one on the ship even mentioned this "weather incident". All we heard about it was an announcement that people should take care while the outdoor decks were wet. The most enjoyable part of the cruise was the speed at which we were able to self-disembark. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
My husband and I set sail on the Carnival Inspiration on February 13,2010. We were ABSOLUTLY HORRIFIED on how terrible the food was. The first day we had an undercooked hamburger on the lido deck and tasteless fries. We were hoping that ... Read More
My husband and I set sail on the Carnival Inspiration on February 13,2010. We were ABSOLUTLY HORRIFIED on how terrible the food was. The first day we had an undercooked hamburger on the lido deck and tasteless fries. We were hoping that breakfast would be better, but the scrambled eggs looked mushy and the pancakes were tasteless. At lunch we thought "nobody can screw up pizza", but they did! Surely,since that night was "formal night" in the dining room,the food would have to be better.NOT THE CASE! I will say that the waiters were very nice and tried their best to serve us in a nice way. They even danced for us after we ate every night which was fun to watch. We had some sort of meat that was supposed to be prime rib,and by the time we cut away all the fat,we were still hungry. The salad was tasteless and the dessert was a small piece of fudgey cake that sat in my stomach the rest of the night. My husband got sick the next day with diareah. He barely made it to the excursion to Grand Cayman which was the highlight of the cruise, but they only gave us three hours on the beach,very disappointing. The next day,I got sick with an upset stomach and diarreah. I barely made it to Cozumel,which was very disappointing. We paid $75.00 each for a trip to the beach which included a free buffet. I couln't believe that I was eating cheese mac and chicken legs (the only safe looking items)The entertainment on the ship was boring with the exception of the show "Shout" Why couldn't they have those singers and dancers more than once? The disco was "hoppin" on the first night, but again, the singer disappeared after the first performance.The beds were as hard as a rock,and I was disgusted to find that two mattresses were placed on a "fence like" slate that served as a "boxspring" No wonder our aches and pains have increased since the cruise.The shower had practically no water pressure and forget trying to get any cool water, it was always HOT even after we reported it to our room steward.Our steward Teddy,did keep our room nice and tidy,but the ship could have been cleaner,the windows were dirty which was a turnoff.We even smelled sewerage! The woman in the $10 store had a puss on her face like we were a bother to her. I was impressed by the Romanian hairdresser in the spa, who corrected my hair problem in just five minutes. The photographers were very professional too. Again, my major complaint was the fodd. It was tasteless, and it made us sick. It made many people sick as well. Almost everyone we talked to said they were sick from the food. One man said he had been "shitting all week". The day we had to leave I was so afraid to be away from the toliet because of yet another case of diarreah. I was so tired from that and also from the night before because the supper made me so nauseous. I can't tell you how disappointed I was in this "much needed" vacation. Instead of feeling refreshed, we feel exhausted,and in need of another vacation, which we cannot afford after spending around $3,000 on the cruise,the shops,and the excursions.Carnival has ruined any future cruise for me. It set the tone, and I will never ever cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
I haven't cruised with Carnival in over 10 years. I must admit that I wasn't impressed a decade ago but decided to give Carnival another try. I'm so happy that I did! My husband and I decided to celebrate our wedding ... Read More
I haven't cruised with Carnival in over 10 years. I must admit that I wasn't impressed a decade ago but decided to give Carnival another try. I'm so happy that I did! My husband and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary with Carnival and we had a blast! There were so many options for us to choose from. Sky was the limit depending on if we wanted to party or have a romantic evening. There are lots of activities on the ship as well as wonderful excursions to choose from. There is no need to be bored when cruising with Carnival unless you lack imagination and initiative. The Lido deck was one of my favorite destinations. There was always some type of activity going on there (i.e. Hairy Chest competition, various battle of the sexes games, group cha-cha slide, etc...) The cleanliness of our cabin and the ship as a whole was impressive. You definitely saw the pride that the staff had in insuring that the ship always had its best foot forward. The food was surprisingly yummy. No, it wasn't 5 star cuisine but it was definitely a step or two above the cafeteria descriptions that I've seen in previous posts. The weather for each port (Cozumel and Grand Cayman) was warm, beautiful and sunny. However, the weather leaving Tampa was not ideal and nor was the weather ideal for our return. The water was a bit rough and we became ill. The staff was attentive in providing us with ginger ale and medication for motion sickness. Again, no one has control over the weather but Carnival did a great job in making sure that its passengers were well taken care off. I can't emphasize enough about the staff and its dedication. I must also echo other posters who mentioned the chocolate melting cake. It was outstanding! All chocolate lovers must at least try it once! All in all, my husband and I had a fantastic time and we would definitely cruise with Carnival again. Kudos to Skip and Matt and the rest of the Carnival team. Well done! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
This cruise would be my third and my cabinmates fourth. My other two friends had never been before and were anxious to go. After telling them everything I knew the only thing left was to actually experience it. I hate to fly so we drove ... Read More
This cruise would be my third and my cabinmates fourth. My other two friends had never been before and were anxious to go. After telling them everything I knew the only thing left was to actually experience it. I hate to fly so we drove from to Tampa from St. Louis. I take several roadtrips a year so I drive 300 miles in a blink, so with a driving partner the trip was speedy. We arrived a couple of hours later than I wanted but we still made it by noon. I had never been to the Tampa port before, and despite a seperate parking structure across the street from the terminal, it was no hassle. Embarkation was a breeze. Had not one of my friends had a runny nose that needed to be checked by a doctor, we would have been on the boat in less than 15 minutes from walking in the door. By far the fastest ever because Im used to 1 hour +. We were eating on the Lido deck by 1245 and to our rooms to crash by 130. I have only been on fantasy class ships Sensation and Fantasy and despite bad reviews this ship was the nicest to me. Definitely clean and not tacky purple like the other ones. Our cabin was kept in immaculate condition everyday, no complaints whatsover. The dining room service in the Mardi Gras room left a little more to be desired. The food was excelIent but was slow coming out, maybe because our group averaged 2.5 entrees a piece! I had top notch service on my first two cruises and perhaps was spoiled. Our server Sergio was definitely nice but he reminded me of typical american dining with no pizzazz (sp). I was spoiled by tricks and such but none of that here. As far as the Lido deck food, is was nothing special and pretty much what is expected. The sushi was excellent. Room service was great also. Im easy to please and I had no complaints about this cruise even if I thought long and hard. I was greeted by a smiling face everywhere I went by the staff. As far as debarkation is was as smooth as could be. Apparently a few non american passengers held up the show for everyone, but once we were called we were on our way fast! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
The Good: Nice roomy comfy stateroom, roomy bathrm (room for 2 in the shower LOL). Really nice room steward. The Bad: Tacky icky low-end Las Vegas-y decor throughout the ship. & The Truly Awful: Right-in-your-face photographers who ... Read More
The Good: Nice roomy comfy stateroom, roomy bathrm (room for 2 in the shower LOL). Really nice room steward. The Bad: Tacky icky low-end Las Vegas-y decor throughout the ship. & The Truly Awful: Right-in-your-face photographers who try very very forcefully to stop you at every turn, on AND off the ship, and must be all "paparazzi-in-training" ... most are ready to graduate to dogging celebs! The food is not great, and is often really bad. The service is mostly very very bad. One example... I ordered eggs for breakfast, a fellow at next table ordered same but with hash. He started eating, figuring the hash was coming. My eggs came with hash. We told the waiter about the mix-up and he then picked up my plate, scraped the hash off onto the other guy's plate and then put 'my' plate (with streaks of hash residue) back down in front of me. I have more, similar stories. Little or no consideration is given by anyone (embark staff, ship staff, debark staff) to folks with 'limitations' (canes, walkers, etc.) Everyone was complaining and there are tons of older people with bad knees, etc., on these cruises. We were told to follow someone down 5 flights of stairs during a mandatory safety drill; many tried to complain but the 'someone' was already two+ flights down and out of earshot. We went and found nearest elevator, but didn't know what floor to get off on, so had to try a few. Conclusion: Would never do a Carnival cruise again. Lots of folks we talked to on board felt the same and said it was definitely the worst line they'd ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Before I post my pro's and con's I would like to say that I'm not a very picky person, and I was on the cruise to have fun no matter what. This was my 3rd cruise. My 2nd with carnival. With the VIP status boarding/unboarding ... Read More
Before I post my pro's and con's I would like to say that I'm not a very picky person, and I was on the cruise to have fun no matter what. This was my 3rd cruise. My 2nd with carnival. With the VIP status boarding/unboarding was a breeze. Arrived at the port at 10:45 and was able to board by 11:30. We had lunch on the Lido deck while waiting on our cabin. Lunch was good, the Hamburgers were great. The ship was very clean, and well maintained. We were in the cabin (Grand Suite) by 1:30. The cabin was very nice, roomy, and clean. "Most" of the crew were very nice and polite. A few of the Bartenders were not very friendly and seemed like they didnt want to be there. I understand that these people are a long way from home and family, but still...when I'm spending $5.69 per beer and $10.06 for prem mixed drinks I would like at least a smile. The casino was really nice, and the Dealers were friendly. Now the bad: Food, Food, Food.... This is one of the main reasons for crusing to me. The Food was at best a little below cafeteria standards. The selections were slim at the Buffet, Breakfast was a joke. Powdered eggs, with "White" link sausage,Fruit that was hard and not ripe. No selection at all. Honestly the best food on the cruise in my opinion were the Hamburgers. Even the Pizza and Deli that are normally great were below par. The Dining room food was bland, not seasoned much at all. Please dont get me wrong, we had a great time, but the food, which is very important to me and my Friends & family was well below standards compared to our past cruises. We are already planning a cruise for Sept 10, all 13 of us. This will make us rethink using Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We went on a cruise of the western Caribbean on 2/8. It was our first cruise. It was a wedding cruise for my brother and his bride. The wedding was beautiful in the Paris Lounge. The coordinators were great. The photographer took gorgeous ... Read More
We went on a cruise of the western Caribbean on 2/8. It was our first cruise. It was a wedding cruise for my brother and his bride. The wedding was beautiful in the Paris Lounge. The coordinators were great. The photographer took gorgeous pictures. The reception was in the Candlelight Lounge. The food was delicious and the ice sculpture was lovely. It was very romantic to see my brother and new sister-in-law sailing away into the sunset. The seas were VERY rough. We wore patches the whole time, but still had waves of nausea. We had a day of withdrawal from them when we returned. The Grand Caymans were fantastic and we would return there by plane. We took the excursion to the Ruins of Tulum through the cruise line. It is an excellent excursion, but bring your bug spray and expect to spend time at a rest stop which is an upscale tourist trap. Prices are better there than at Carmen del Playa. The ferry ride over is really rough. The bus nearly left us in Tulum. The road was not marked to return to the parking lot and we took the wrong one. There were no signs, but it just so happened there were 3 taxis at the end of it - in the middle of no where. The entire time at sea was rough. The boat was hit broad side by a 69 mph wind. No warning was given by the ships crew to get off the decks. The cabin and dining room staff was very courteous and we were well care for. The food was good, but not exceptional. More details on our cabin - it was very nice and comfortable. We were on the Empress deck - aft with a port window. Wayon kept our room spotless BUT there was a door to the adjoining cabin and we could hear everything! It felt like we had a third person in our bed every night snoring! We will not go on another cruise and we will never go to Mexico again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Hi everyone; We just needed a short break from our cold winter. We wanted to do the five night on the Destiny out of Miami, but settled on this cruise. This was our first cruise out of Tampa. We flew down the day before, 1/23/11 and ... Read More
Hi everyone; We just needed a short break from our cold winter. We wanted to do the five night on the Destiny out of Miami, but settled on this cruise. This was our first cruise out of Tampa. We flew down the day before, 1/23/11 and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Rocky Point in Tampa. We got a nice cruise package that included airport pickup, transfer to the ship and a return transfer from the ship to the airport. The transfers all went well! We are VIP's w/Carnival and the Tampa port has a VIP area but it is not as easy to use as the one in Miami. We enjoyed the easier boarding and were on board in just a few minutes. The VIP area is two or three flights up from the ground floor and the terminal was very full when we got there. We purchased a nice mid-ship cabin in Main deck. The cabin was fine and like all others on Fantasy size ships. There is lots of room for storage and our cabin steward kept the cabin clean and well stocked w/ice. We had late seating in the dining room. We were in the Carnivale dining seated at a table w/three ladies who we enjoyed seeing over the whole cruise. They were just such nice older ladies enjoying there cruise break. We have been in touch w/them and hope to fly down and see them next spring? The meals were just excellent! We had heard some bad things about the food but we enjoyed all the meals. The buffet was nice and we enjoyed the 24 hour pizza and ice cream bar. We had drinks at night and they were fine. They were a little more costly but not what we call over priced. The overall service was just excellent! We were off the ship on 1/29/11 at just before 9AM and were at the airport before 10:00AM. Overall we rated this cruise as a 8+ out of 10! Very pleased. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We are a couple in our early 60's, this was our 18th cruise, our 3rd with Carnival. We arrived in Tampa the day before sailing and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City, making use of their cruise stay/parking package. The weather ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60's, this was our 18th cruise, our 3rd with Carnival. We arrived in Tampa the day before sailing and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City, making use of their cruise stay/parking package. The weather was miserable as it was during the cold spell, but the hotel had a nice warm shuttle that got us wherever we needed to go! We particularly enjoyed the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Embarkation weather wasn't much better, but the cruiseline can't control that. They CAN, however, control the embarkation process and this one was chaotic. When we arrived around 12:30 p.m. the line snaked around outside the terminal, the security checkpoints were not working properly and had to be stopped every so often. This contributed to the time standing in line to check in and our wait to do so was over an hour and a half. Once on board we explored the ship while we waited for the cabins to be opened - that did not happen until after 2:00 p.m.! Overall, we found the ship to be a bit gaudy and chopped up, but clean and well-maintained. The staff were rather impersonal and many had difficulties communicating in English. The one bright spot was the gentlemen monitoring the Internet cafe - he was very helpful and most always on duty. We're not picky people and always make the most of our cruises regardless of the little issues that sometimes crop up, but we were terribly disappointed in this cruise overall. Our main bone of contention was the smoking! We normally enjoy the entertainment in the lounges on our cruises, particularly the piano bars, but we were not able to utilize three of the lounges on this ship due to them being smoking-friendly. We did enjoy the entertainer in the Violins Bar, Jerry Yuzon. We were disappointed on two occasions trying to attend shows in the show lounge as there were no seats available following Bingo. Overall, we felt the food was average, our waitress and assistant waiter did their jobs but made no effort to learn our names or preferences. There were several miscues with entrees but no apologies or offers of replacements. The announcements by our George the Greek during dinner detracted from the overall ambiance and became rather annoying. We heartily believe that a cruise is much better than being at work so we can honestly say we did enjoy ourselves - especially at the ports of call. Going forward, however, Carnival will not be our first choice as a cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I will start with a little background...I am from Strongsville, Ohio and am 46 years old. This was my third cruise...the other two being Carnival's Triumph and Destiny. My boyfriend is 52 and lives in Denver, Colorado, this was his ... Read More
I will start with a little background...I am from Strongsville, Ohio and am 46 years old. This was my third cruise...the other two being Carnival's Triumph and Destiny. My boyfriend is 52 and lives in Denver, Colorado, this was his very first cruise. We decided to escape the cold, and head to a warm location to see each other. When I started researching trips,I originally looked at ground beach vacations. I went to AAA as well as a local travel agent, but nothing compared to the price I found online for the 5 day Carnival cruise on the Inspiration. We booked in early October and began our countdown. We flew into Tampa a day early to make sure if we had to deal with snow delays in our hometowns we would be covered. Luckily no weather issues delayed us, and we arrived in Tampa and checked into the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Tampa. It was awesome with a really nice shopping plaza attached with lots of restaurants and nightlife.Our hotel was $99 a night and had a free shuttle from the airport. We did have to pay for our transportation to the cruise terminal which was a $20 taxi ride. We loved having a relaxed start to our vacation and even purchased 2 bottles of wine at the Grape wine store located right by our hotel and carried them on to the ship, since you are allowed 1 bottle (150 ml.) per person. We had dinner at Aqua Knox a really nice seafood restaurant in the Westin Hotel. Very elegant and nice. Embarkation was a breeze. We checked our luggage at the curb, and walked right on at 12 noon, easy as anything. The weather was a little rainy,but we ate lunch on the Lido deck and went and checked out the ship. We found it to be spotlessly clean and very nicely refurbished. The staff was always painting or cleaning endlessly and it was reflected by the awesome condition of the ship. Our cabin on the Main deck (M48) was roomy and spotless as well. Our cabin steward Lino, was always available and eager to please. Our room was an outside room with a window, and was great for watching when we pulled in and out or our ports and to see if it was sunny on those fun days at sea...luckily it was!!! Our first night we ate dinner in our assigned Mardi Gra Dining Room...and Aslam, our waiter was amazing. We also had a wonderful family next to us, with their two very beautiful daughters and a couple from Atlanta, who were also very nice. We always had a great time at dinner with our new friends. We loved the chocolate melting cake and all the appetizers and main dished...the food was fantastic every evening. On our first fun day at sea, it was also our first formal night. My boyfriend rented a tux from Carnival, which was very nice, and fit perfectly. With his 6'4" build, he looked amazing...not to mention hot. I wore a long formal gown, and was so excited about this evening. I had no idea that my boyfriend was about to become my fiance when he proposed to me on the top deck, looking out onto the ocean. It was so romantic, and the moon sparkled off my gorgeous diamond that he placed on my finger. It was very romantic and the perfect evening. That evening, we attended the musical show, which we found to be awesome. The costumes, choreography, and the overall performance entertained us above our expectations. The late night comedian was also very funny and enjoyable. Our first port was Grand Cayman, where I had pre-booked a private tour through Moby Dick Tours. They met us at the gate once we were tendered off the ship, and we were on our way to swim with the stingrays and snorkel on a coral reef. The tour was $40. per person compared to the $100. Carnival tour that was the same. It was also way less crowded. We had a great time and my fiance LOVED the stingrays!!! That afternoon we were back on the ship at 2:30 pm and relaxed before heading to dinner. Another great day. Our second port in Cozumel, Mexico was a lot more relaxed and more on our own. We had the most amazing day at Chanknaab Park, snorkeling, walking through the botanical gardens, eating lunch at the restaurant on the beach, swimming in the beautiful pool, and sipping exotic drinks out of decorated pineapples. It was an awesome and romantic day!!! We brought 2 boxes of Cheerios from on the ship and fed the fish while snorkeling. We brought underwater cameras from home to capture this feeding frenzy, which was cool, but a little freaky, being in the middle of a huge bunch of fish that were anything but shy. We also snorkeled up to the fence where the dolphins were kept for the swimming with dolphins tour. As we tried to see the dolphins, we noticed they were there on the other side of the fence trying to see us!!! We weren't sure who was more interested in who??? We would highly recommend Chankanaab if you are looking for a relaxing day on the beach that you can do on your own. The taxi to the park was $10 each way for 2, and $19. to enter the park. Drinks were cheaper than on the ship!!! It was a wonderful day. We also had our pictures taken with 2 iguanas and 2 macaws that we got to hold ($10, but really cool). The macaw on my head was biting my fiance's ear in the photo...great memories!!! After the sun started to cool, we headed back to the cruise terminal for a little shopping and a beer at one of the bars right on the water, before heading back on board at 7:30 pm. We cleaned up and headed o dinner, which was our 8:15 pm late seating. Another perfect day!!! Our last fun day at sea was a little cloudy and chilly to start out, but warmed up and the sun peaked out between the clouds. We brought our bathrobes down to the pool for those chilly cloudy moments, which worked out great. That day at 11 am they had a talk about disembarkation. I went, but it was on the Carnival channel the next day, so wasn't really necessary to waste an hour, even though the cruise director, Skippy did make it fun as well as informative. I can't say enough about the staff in general...they were all awesome. That night we went to the dining room for dinner again, and said goodbye to our friends. We also purchased our last photo in the gallery, and found that on the last day you get 4 free wallets per 8x10. They are $21.99 each, and since we were celebrating our new engagement, we purchased quite a few...I wish I had known about the wallets special if we had waited until the last night. The photographs were very nice...and one in particular took some awesome engagement pictured with my fiance down on one knee...and me looking surprised and happy. It is something I will cherish forever. That night the show was a Latin musical...again, very entertaining. Our last day, which was the day we disembarked, we had decided to check our luggage the night before, leaving it out in the hall for pick up before 11 pm, and have a relaxing morning before heading off the ship. We had breakfast, and went smoothly and quickly through customs which was effortless. It was then that we walked around the terminal in Tampa, and by chance ran into our captain from the Inspiration and had our photo taken with him. We never once saw him on the ship...but funny we ran into him after our cruise. He was a very nice man, and didn't mind being photographed with us. All in all...we had a perfect cruise...romantic, fun, relaxing, and just perfect. Thank you Carnival, you really are the Fun Ship and so much more. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
The Inspiration is a beautiful well maintained ship full of the nicest most gracious staff I could ever want. Well to be honest every Carnival employee I have ever come in contact with has been amazing. I don't know how they find ... Read More
The Inspiration is a beautiful well maintained ship full of the nicest most gracious staff I could ever want. Well to be honest every Carnival employee I have ever come in contact with has been amazing. I don't know how they find these folks but I have noticed there aren't many from the US of A. Strange how that works out. OK, My sister and me sailed on the Holiday out of Mobile 2-3 years back, she was a grand old gal, the staff was amazing, but she didn't have the glitz I expected,(Love Boat,old movies etc). The Inspiration has glitz to spare with out making me feel like poor relation. We flew down to Tampa me from Montgomery AL and Sharon from So. Bend IN thru Atlanta GA and were delayed for 14 hours in various airports. We arrived at the La Quinta Inn Tampa Bay Airport at 4AM, with out my bag, which stayed in Atlanta. If you can avoid Atlanta, trust me do that. The people at the La Quinta were wonderful. If I had a pocket full of hundred dollar bills I couldn't have paid for a better place to stay. Ship information, soo nice, perfect vacation, plenty to do every minute if you want or do nothing in many nice places. Start your day with the gym at 6AM exercise till the pool opens at 8AM or start with coffee and danish at 630AM, you can breakfast till 1200, lunch 11AM till 3PM have coffee and tea and pizza till the sushi bar opens at 5PM and eat your way thru the dining room, the cafeteria style Brasserie Grill, late night buffet and finish with a pizza. When you aren't eating you can drink, play trivia, gamble, play bridge,bingo,laser tag, mini golf,go to shows, seminars on art, diamonds and other pretties. Have your picture taken , your feet rubbed, shop, get a hair cut. Are you ready for a clean straightened cabin with a shiny bright bathroom, a comfy bed turned down with a TV to watch,room service to call, wake up calls when ever you want. AND that's just the first day. The Grand Cayman stop was way to short, we got off on a tender (little boat)about 9AM and had to be back at 2PM Beautiful island, I want to go back. Next stop, Cozumel. If you land at Puerta Langosta like we did on our first trip you will be cheated out of a great experience. ASK which pier the ship uses before you book! We landed at Puerta Maya this time and shopped, what a difference! You can still go to the dolphins and stingrays etc. but I can't stress it enough, Puerta Maya is a nice clean tourist friendly port Puerta Langosta is a lot like Tijuana. We were diamond shopping, at least one of us was and we had both been to the talks given by """"ADAM the shopping specialist"""". He is the but, in this review. HE SAID AT LEAST 6 TIMES IN THE DIAMOND AND GEM STONE TALKS (we attended 2 and got VIP cards for Diamonds International) THAT IF YOU BOUGHT A LOOSE STONE THERE WOULD BE NO TAX OR IMPORT DUTY (so far true 100%)AND IF YOU HAD THAT STONE MOUNTED AT THE STORE WHERE YOU BOUGHT IT CUSTOMS WOULD STILL CONSIDER IT A LOOSE STONE! >>>>>>> WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!!!!! Once it is mounted it is no longer duty free. The duty is 3% or 6% depending on the value of the stone PLUS the mounting which was never duty free. If you have enough duty free allowance at 800$ per person in your family with the same last name traveling with you, theoretically you could bring back a good size stone mounted duty free, say you and spouse + your 3 kids under 16 with you and no one buys anything on or off the ship, you could bring back 4000$ worth of bling. But, remember the customs folks don't come on board until you've spent all your vacation money and if you have listened to ADAM you could get a nasty surprise. If you take this cruise, relax, don't sweat the small stuff, the weather will clear, your bags will arrive, there's plenty of food and booze and sun and deck chairs for everybody Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Well let me start by saying my DW and I have been on over 25 previous cruises including Carnival, NCL, RCCL, HAL, and a couple of small lines. We are in our young 50's and consider ourselves independent travelers. We have found ... Read More
Well let me start by saying my DW and I have been on over 25 previous cruises including Carnival, NCL, RCCL, HAL, and a couple of small lines. We are in our young 50's and consider ourselves independent travelers. We have found reasons to like and dislike all of the cruise lines for various reasons and our tastes. Generalizations can always be tough but some of our impressions are Carnival is less elegant but more fun, we love NCL's freestyle dining but the service was weaker, HAL has great service, elegance, and food but an older crowd, and RCCL has ok food but excellent entertaining shows. We tend to like smaller more intimate ships but have had great fun on bigger ships as well. That said here goes on the 1-25-2010 sailing of the Inspiration. We picked this ship specifically for its Tampa embarkation port, this is a doable drive for us and we save a lot in airfares often associated with southern Florida ports. We like the fact that Grand Cayman and Cozumel were to be our two ports. We have been to both of these two ports numerous times and always have a great time for a small amount of expense. We drove most of the way down the previous night and stayed at the La Quinta Inn at Jacksonville Florida, Butler Boulevard. The hotel was very nice, not very old, and the staff helpful. We had a very nice free breakfast the next morning and left for Tampa. We parked at the port and it was $75 for the 5 nights. It is a block to the terminal where you can drop off your bags. We arrived at the port at 12 and within 45 minutes we took our obligatory pictures and were heading up the gangway. Being onboard early there were lines at the welcome buffet but they were short and manageable, we would find this would usually be the case. The buffets were ok, and at times quite good, the lines moved well however even though the ship was full, (2600). We did enjoy the deli and in particular the turkey on country roll slightly toasted. The roasts on the buffet were usually nice and medium rare, and the gravy's were outstanding. The morning bacon was not good at all however...very greasy. We found the ship to be old in age and style but in very good condition. There was one major pool maybe 12 x 18 and a major slide area at the back of the ship. There was a small area reserved for adults aft that housed a couple of hot tubs. The food on the ship was good, sometimes great. We have found that we always have had a particular item better somewhere else, but only on a cruise ship do we get day in and day out the variety. We sat a large table with a great friends and rotated to have different elbow mates for each night. Appetizers were very good as were deserts, main meals good on most nights but for me the 3rd nights menu needs some work. We booked early saver and got a inexpensive inside room, fantastic price and loved the size. The room was kept spotless and the bathroom was reasonable size and felt especially clean with the new floors. The bed was great and the flat screen TV came in well. The seas were medium, and several people got quite queasy for a day or two but were fine after that. In the ports we always do our own thing, and this was no exception. In the Caymans we snorkel right near the tender port, it is a sight often visited by boats but we just swim from shore. this time we brought several new snorkelers with us and enjoyed the sight even more through their eyes. This ends up being a virtually free excursion for us as we walk to the spot and we have our own gear. Cozumel hasn't changed much since the repairs from the last major hurricane, but we did notice increased sea life in our usual spot. A small bar called the Money Bar is adjacent to the spot and we snorkel, lounge at the few chairs having a $1.50 beer while warming back up for another go at snorkeling. It is an $8 taxi ride for 2 each way and we get chips and salsa and a number of Dos XX and the bar bill is never more then $30 for the day. There are lockers available for $2 and rental gear as well We found ourselves to be very lucky in that there were 2 large groups on board, the Bell Buckle bluegrass tour, a number of bands entertaining bluegrass followers whose jamming sessions were great and caused me to miss a number of ship shows. These bands were great and being a enthusiast myself were very entertaining for me. Also onboard was CWB, a beach music band and its followers who gave 2 concerts during the week which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. These 2 groups made this cruise one of our most memorable. We did get to the comedians and they were both very good, and although we had seen one of them previously we still found him funny. The only lounge entertainer worth mentioning was "Jerry" the guitar player who was mostly on the promenade lounge. By the end of the week he had quite a following with a number of guests saying they were Jerry groupies. Getting off the ship was a breeze as we literally walked our bags off our floor within 35 minutes of being cleared by customs. All in all we had a very good time and I would do this cruise again, in fact this was our second trip on the ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We sailed out of Tampa, which has become our favorite port to get in and out of! We drove over from Orlando, after spending a week doing Disney. It was time to relax! My husband and I had one suite, and my son, daughter-in-law and 2 1/2 yr ... Read More
We sailed out of Tampa, which has become our favorite port to get in and out of! We drove over from Orlando, after spending a week doing Disney. It was time to relax! My husband and I had one suite, and my son, daughter-in-law and 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter had the one next door. Connecting rooms would've been nice, but this worked, with having a baby monitor along. Our balconies were the smallest we've ever had, but mostly we just wanted to stand at our railing and look at the wonderful views, so we adjusted. The beds in our cabins were great! Even the pillows were wonderful! This was our first time with using Camp Carnival, and I have to say our granddaughter loved it! She only went to it in the evenings, but it was the highlight of her cruise. Well, excepting getting to dance onstage at the farewell party in the theatre! The food on the Inspiration was really good! Even the buffets were better than many other cruises we've been on. But my favorite was ordering BLT's from room service! None of the lunch menus had BLT's, and it wasn't offered at the deli, either. Elegant night my husband had 2 plates of lobster and shrimp, so he was quite pleased! And all of us enjoyed the fabulous chocolate melting cake! I order mine with sugar-free ice cream to keep the calories down! ;-) We had been to both ports before so we didn't do much in either one. We did visit the turtle farm in Cayman for the first time and were impressed! I would go there again. But for relaxation there is nothing like a day at sea. I love them and having a cruise with 2 ports and 2 days at sea was great! Disembarkation was a breeze, but then that is a great benefit of booking a suite! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We are in our early 50's and have cruised with Carnival several times. This cruise was simply planned as a "relaxation" vacation, as we have been to the ports of call before. And that is exactly what we did - relax! The ... Read More
We are in our early 50's and have cruised with Carnival several times. This cruise was simply planned as a "relaxation" vacation, as we have been to the ports of call before. And that is exactly what we did - relax! The cruise was great, but not without shortcomings - but regardless, we had a relaxing and refreshing vacation. I mean, when you let someone else do the cooking, cleaning and driving, while you lay in the sun, how can you go wrong? We have sailed on the Sensation a couple of times before, the exact sister to the Inspiration. I have never seen this class of ships looking better - the dEcor was in pleasing earth tones and looked fresh and clean. The public restrooms were especially well appointed. We dealt with two weather delays. Our ship was late arriving for our embarkation due to fog. We got on about 7 hours later than planned. We hung out in downtown Tampa during our wait. Carnival gave us a $15.00 each credit since we had to purchase lunch on our own. The eventual embarkation went smoothly and our room was ready and waiting for us. They compressed dinner to one sitting at the time of your choice (open seating). That was no problem, as there were no crowds or line-ups anywhere on the ship. (We got the feeling that occupancy was low, as our dining room was half-empty or more every evening. The clubs were nearly deserted at night, which was a bit of a disappointment.) We were delayed on return due to high winds and very rough weather. We did not disembark until 2PM! Again, no problem, as there was plenty of food and drinks available, and the lines were short. Our room attendant was great, cleaning and restocking our room every time we left, even for a short time. We had some problems with our toilet stopping up, but it was always repaired promptly. As usual, the food was between OK to very good. The service in the dining room was far below our previous experiences. Although the dining rooms were half empty (we never had more than 6 at our table that sat 10), it seemed as though they were short staffed. Any out of the ordinary requests were slow in being met. One highlight of the trip was the over-21 adult only "Serenity Deck" (it was exactly as advertised). We were spoiled with the up-graded deck chairs and two hot tubs to choose from. We spent most of the day in Mexico on this deck, getting off just long enough to do a bit of shopping in the Duty Free Shops. We took an excursion to Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Being from the Gulf Coast of Florida (home of the world's most beautiful beaches), the beach wasn't much, but was not crowded (even with two ships in port), and it did not smell very good - but the water was wonderful and the facilities adequate for clean up. The bus ride there is short. It has been a few years since we have been to Georgetown, and it was showing signs of the sinking economy and recent hurricanes. Another highlight was the entertainment, which exceeded our expectations in most cases. Great high-energy shows and two comedians (Happy Cole was especially hilarious). We found the hospitality crew very friendly, competent, and fun to be around. We also met some great folks of all ages, and made some new friends. For the price point, our cruise was a great value. We enjoyed it very much and hope to go again soon! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We had no clue what we were in for..but i planned it a year in advanced..since it was christmas ..we got the best room on the boat...so they say...the beds are not as great as they descibe..our room was somewhat dirty..4 the 4 nights i ... Read More
We had no clue what we were in for..but i planned it a year in advanced..since it was christmas ..we got the best room on the boat...so they say...the beds are not as great as they descibe..our room was somewhat dirty..4 the 4 nights i looked at some soda that was spilled down a cabinet that was half wiped off...the water comes out shower pipes brown....the bathroom reminds me of a rv camper...beside that...the room is okay..as much as i paid..u think u could get a free soda...or water but no..its all extra...for a christmas cruise ..it didnt feel every holiday..good luck if ur a smoker...not many places u can smoke to relax...they didnt have the slides open for kids so the hot tubs and pool was all kids...some of the personal were moody..and not every helpful...but thats about all i can complain about...because nothing is prefect....it is a old boat..but there making improvments...the room service was the best ever..super fast and the food is soooo good..they do have something to do for everybody..but if ur a reader bring a good book... Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
For reference, I'm a 53 y/o health-care exec who had never cruised before, and wanted a medium length cruise for starters. The 5-day Tampa itinerary was perfect for us, and the sole reason we chose the Carnival Inspiration. The ... Read More
For reference, I'm a 53 y/o health-care exec who had never cruised before, and wanted a medium length cruise for starters. The 5-day Tampa itinerary was perfect for us, and the sole reason we chose the Carnival Inspiration. The niceties. Food was good, not great, desserts {with the exception of the chocolate melting cake) were all pre-processed hospital-ish cafeteria fare and quite disappointing, but the service is outstanding. Now for the things I wish I'd known: 1) Carnival has absolutely no contingency plans for bad weather. The ship's arrival was delayed ~6 hours, and 2,000 people were sent to "find something to do" until the ship arrived. A generous $15 credit {sarcasm} was added to each person's bill to cover the $50 spent on two meals (if you could find an open restaurant) and entertainment during the 6+ hours in Tampa. Thankfully, the weather cooperated. 2) This ship is certainly ~not~ the one on which the brochure, and marketing video were made, and is also not a ship for discriminating cruisers. If you're offended by smokers, people of different races, disabilities, languages, sizes, cultures, this is not the cruise for you. It reminded me more of a tail-gate party outside a football stadium. Routinely, folks would light up in non-smoking areas, blow smoke any which way, and dump butts indiscriminately. Folks who'd eaten themselves into a disabled condition would blow their scooter horns to get to the front of the cafeteria line. Despite the crew's efforts, garbage was simply dropped every and anywhere, and those who don't hold their liquor well were always around to remind you that the drinking age should be around 50. 3) Carnival has no contingency plans made for itinerary changes. Due to the late start, the ports of call, and time off ship were altered. Most pre-booked excursions went off without a hitch, but when folks returned famished to the ship a couple of hours off schedule, the buffet was already closed!? Evidently no one told the dining staff. 4) Most of the employees are indentured servants who've signed a 6-10 month contract. They do one heck of a job, but you can't help feel badly when drunk, spoiled Americans (see #2) constantly berate and demand more from them with very little gratitude. But anything must be better than dumpster diving in Manila or selling one's self in Thailand {sarcasm} 5) The shows are entertaining, and if you're not amused, the cruise directors are there to constantly remind you that you indeed are "having a great time." 6) I'm a very light sleeper, so the rocking and rolling of the ship kept awakening me. If that didn't do the trick, the sound from the late shows at the Paris Lounge, or the drunks returning from where-ever would suffice to keep me awake. 7) Drinks is the real money-maker on this ship. The only freebies were tea and lemonade, and those machines were routinely empty or out of order. To amend, every 3 to 4 minutes, a wait staff would attempt to sell you some type of non-free drink, even if you'd told them "no" the first 30 times they asked. If you bought alcohol off-ship, they'd confiscate it on your return, promising to "safe keep" it for you until debarkation. 8) There is no way to adjust the temperature in the cabins. The only option was to adjust the opening of the A/C vent. 9) For a person who doesn't drink, gamble, sit in the sun or eat until I barf, the selection of activities was pretty meager. The only TV channels were from Denver!? so I became a fan of the map channel and became an expert at tracking the ship's position, speed and heading. 10) Again, (see #1) Carnival has no contingency plans for bad weather, and the debarkation process was a cluster-****. High winds kept us doing figure-eights in the Caribbean (compliments of the map channel) for 3 extra hours. We were promised that passengers with travel "issues" would be the first to disembark, but were not. I explained our flight dilemma to the 'guard' and was told you'll have no problem making your flight. As soon as the ship touched the dock, and the 3 missing non-US citizens were found, delaying the process another hour (perhaps announcements in their native languages would have helped), VIP passengers were allowed to disembark. Mass mayhem then ensued on the levels surrounding the gangway; no one from Carnival did a thing or said a word. We (of course) missed our flight home, but did catch a later flight. The later connection flight was booked solid, so we ended up renting a car and driving 7.5 hours from Detroit to our home in Upstate NY through a snow storm. Good times! Did I enjoy myself? Absolutely. Would I go again? Absolutely not. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
First, The wait staff, customer service, shore excursion, our room steward, and the people who worked at the buffet were wonderful. They were all helpful, and professional at all times. They work their behinds off and from what I ... Read More
First, The wait staff, customer service, shore excursion, our room steward, and the people who worked at the buffet were wonderful. They were all helpful, and professional at all times. They work their behinds off and from what I understand get very little pay for their trouble. With that having been said let me get to the meat of the review. I thought the purple worms were cute. The decor was exactly what I expected. We went to a performance of "Shout" and enjoyed it very much. The Almost newlywed game was a hoot. The bingo game for $1195 was crooked the woman who should have won didn't. Let me explain. My husband and I walked in to see who would win and was standing in the back of the room when the number 54 was called. Bingo was promptly called when the card was checked the bingo included the just called number of 54. The caller said that number had not been called. Most of the audience as well as the players said that it had been called. He would not give this woman the bingo. Someone else called bingo 2 calls later. This woman who I met later said that when she tried to talk to the emcee about this he told her friend to get off the stage. I did not see that. But either way,this was a crooked game. We played at the Casino once. I had a lot of fun and only lost $15, didn't win anything, but still had a good time. The Sushi was wonderful. My only complaint is that it had limited hours and that was during my dinner time. I would have liked to have seen some lunch hours. I know Carnival can not be blamed for the weather, but give me a break, they need to have some sort of plan B for bad weather. My family and I were at the port at 11am, I know that's early but with it being our first cruise we did not want to miss anything. We jumped into line even though the ship was nowhere to be seen. We were promptly checked in and given a boarding number of six. We thought great when the ship does come in we will be one of the first on board. We found a seat and decided to wait it out. We were told by a Carnival employee that we should not wait that there would be a 1000 people trying to fit into this waiting room. We had our 14 yr old grandson with us who she talked into getting out into the sunshine and get some lunch. She promised us that we would be able to get back in. We went for pizza walked around and saw the ship pull in. We decided that it was time to go back back to the waiting area about 5pm. They (carnival personnel) would not let us into the waiting room. They herded us, like so much cattle, onto waiting buses to get something to 'eat and sit on comfortable chairs'. We were driven to an annex about 3 blocks from the port. The bus driver told us we could walk over to the port anytime we wanted to or they would drive us back over. The food consisted of breakfast bars and bottle of water. We were not allowed to leave. Several people tried and were turned back from the doors. During this time the waiting area at the port were being given sandwiches and drinks. When boarding did start about 7pm the waiting area at the port was emptied first no matter what boarding number they had. We did not get on the ship until after 8. There were no pictures taken as we boarded, which was one of the times I was planning on buying. I will not sail on Carnival again for the simple facts that when you ask a carnival employee a question they will and often do lie to your face. The ones I would try to get information from would tell you what they thought you wanted to hear if it was accurate or not. I saw no integrity from the port staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Carnival Inspiration 12/10/09 - 12/14/09 Cruise Information: Cruise Director: Josh Waitzman Cabin: R108 OceanView Mardi Gras Dining Room - Late Seating Waiters: Mohammed (Philippines) and Milan (Croatia) Maitre D': ... Read More
Carnival Inspiration 12/10/09 - 12/14/09 Cruise Information: Cruise Director: Josh Waitzman Cabin: R108 OceanView Mardi Gras Dining Room - Late Seating Waiters: Mohammed (Philippines) and Milan (Croatia) Maitre D': George the Greek Travellers: My wife and me (no children) Embarkation: Living in Tampa, makes that port a great choice for cruises since you can look for deals, knowing you won't have to also look for suitable airfare. We live about a 20 minute drive from the port and parked the car in the nearby garage by 12:15, expecting we would be onboard by 2PM. As we were headed to the parking garage elevators, we met a couple who told us that the ship wasn't even in port yet and there was no boarding estimate. They were checking people in so we headed inside to do that. Checked our bags with a curbside porter and by 1:30 we had made it to the desk. However, no Sail and Sign cards were issued since the previous cruise hadn't arrived yet. We were told to come back around 4PM and they would probably be boarding. We headed to Bennigan's which is located in the Channelside shopping area. That place was crowded from many other passengers being in the same situation. They didn't have adequate staff because normally the lunchtime crowd on a cruise day isn't that big. Luckily my wife had brought the cribbage board, so we had a nice lunch , played cards and had a few beers. At 4:30, we headed over to the port and encountered a long line which wasn't moving - plus it was cold and rainy. I checked with one of the Carnival staff who said they would begin the boarding process by 5PM. We headed back to Channelside to stay dry, and when we came back at 5PM the line was starting to move. Took awhile, but we were onboard by 6:30 with Sign and Sail cards. They handed out a letter to passengers at this time indicating the situation and that we would get a $15 on board credit since we had to buy our own lunch. I really didn't expect anything, so I thought this was a nice gesture by Carnival since they didn't have to give us anything. When we got onboard, they handed out cards indicating that the Mardi Gras dining room would be open seating starting at 8PM. We unpacked a little in our cabin and then headed to the dining room. Thursday Night: I guess we technically had "Your Time" dining the first night - as did the entire ship. And it worked fine. We were seated at a "10 round" with other couples. The highlight of the meal was the smoked duck appetizer. It had some Thai-style noodles. Deliciousness. After dinner, we headed to the Welcome Aboard show. The singers and dancers were not very good. Kenny Miller was the comedian and he wasn't very funny. Afterwards, we headed to the piano bar (Rhapsody in Blue). Barry is the piano guy - and we didn't like his style. He didn't play the piano much spending more time playing music from his CD player and changing hats. Plus, why is the piano bar the smokiest public lounge on the ship? There has to be better equipment for "eating" smoke. Hurt our eyes after awhile so by midnight, we were tired (and smoky) and headed to our cabin. Friday - First Sea Day/Formal Night We left out the room service breakfast card the night before and our breakfast and coffee were delivered by 8AM as we had asked. Very delicious smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels. Did this every morning except debarkation and it worked perfectly. After a leisurely morning, we headed to the Safety Briefing which for us was the Paris Lounge. I can confirm they have changed the procedure. You no longer have to bring your lifejacket. It lasted about 30 minutes. Then to the Violins bar to catch the daily special of mimosas and bloody marys ($4.75) and then something called "Match Game" which was similar to the 70's game show. The "contestant" they picked had some strange answers - but it was fun. Then we headed up by the pool to catch some deck games. It was a twist on musical chairs with a scavenger hunt which I hadn't seen before. Started with 10 contestants and nine chairs. The assistant cruise director Matt would call out an item that they had to find and then return back to the chairs. Such things as a baby's picture and a piece of fruit. And some more spicy items like three bikini tops and men's swim trunks. It was funny to see how quickly men and women were willing to provide these!! I think this is like the "Quest" game they have on longer cruises. Later they had the Hairy Chest contest which was entertaining. 3PM we headed to the Love and Marriage show which was funny. My only complaint is that I wish they would mix up the questions. On Freedom, Valor and Inspiration they had 90% of the exact same questions. Now, they can lead to funny and unexpected responses, however I think they should be a little more creative. Mix it up a little and have the audience submit some questions. After this we headed to one of our favorite sea day activities: Afternoon Tea. And it was really great. We thought that the pastry quality had been greatly improved since our last trip on Inspiration and Valor. Prior to dinner they had the Captain's Celebration along the Promenade. We only overheard the introduction in the Atrium so can't provide much feedback on the actual event. A meet and greet with the Captain isn't a reason I go on a cruise. They did announce $1.00 off all drinks from 5PM - 8PM. It was formal dinner tonight. And we met our great tablemates. Best we have ever had. Both first-time cruisers and my wife and I enjoyed helping them "learn the ropes". Prime Rib and lobster were on the menu and that is what I ordered. It was very tasty and had great service from the waiters. After dinner we went to the late night comedy show with Kenny Miller. It was worse than the PG-rated on Thursday. Kenny told the audience he has been doing this for 17+ years. It might be time for a career change. We didn't go to the main show "Shout" as it conflicted with the comedy. A little time at the casino and it was off to our cabin. Saturday - Cozumel We had a late morning excursion called the Amazing Race, so we enjoyed our leisurely room service breakfast then went to the pier. My wife and I were going through every thing we needed to leave the ship: Sail and Sign, photo id, money, credit card and water. We met with the excursion representatives on the pier and the first thing they ask us? Do you have your tickets? Guess what? We didn't. But it was easily remedied by the Carnival excursion representative who straightened it out. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who wants to take this excursion. All I will say is that if you are a fan of the show, it pays great homage to it. Interesting clues and you definitely spend a good bit of time going back and forth around downtown Cozumel. Afterwards, we had a nice leisurely lunch of beef and pork tacos along with some delicious Cerveza Special (dark beer). So cheap - it was $25 US for both of us. Six tacos and six beers. And the best guacamole I have had. Did a little more shopping and picked up a nice bottle of white tequila. We kept looking for a special almond tequila we had found last time we were in Cozumel. We found one that was very close but more than we wanted to spend. So a taxi back to the International Pier, a little more shopping and browsing and then walked back to the ship. We went to the pool to cool off before getting ready for dinner. Before dinner, we tried the sushi and it was very good. After dinner, we went to the Variety Show with our tablemates. A marginally talented magician named Mark Miller and a very funny comedian named Diane Ford. Then to karaoke. Very fun and both of the men were great singers. I sang "Leroy Brown" pretty well - it is always a crowd pleaser. Sunday - Sea Day Once again, room service breakfast. It really spoils you but a great way to start the day rather than fighting the crowds at the buffet. We were told there was a "mandatory" Debarkation talk at 11AM. Normally, we wouldn't go, but they said some of the rules in Tampa had changed - so we decided we best go. Well, it was a complete waste of time. The first 20 minutes were about today's events, comment cards and gratuities. The cruise director spent a lot of time talking about how important it was to mark "Exceeded Expectations". Then finally about 5 minutes on customs forms - and SURPRISE - there was nothing new from what we had seen on past cruises. This will be the last debarkation talk we go to. Needing a drink, we headed to Violins bar for the daily mimosa and bloody mary special. Then to the pool for something called the Extreme Lido Challenge. I originally thought this was going to be like something they had on Valor called Survivor challenge, but it ended up being some TV show music trivia. We arrived a little late, so maybe they had to cancel the original activity. We stayed poolside for the rest of the afternoon, then headed to the Fun Farewell Party at 5PM. This is the "replacement" for the captain's cocktail hour. And we liked it a lot. They had the regular show band playing with a great singer we hadn't seen before. It was too bad they didn't play other places around the ship. The free cocktails were flowing and the waiters would automatically bring you another cocktail when your first was getting low - at least for the first 20 minutes. After that, our row seemed to get skipped and we had to ask the waiters to come. But it didn't detract from the event. We enjoyed it. It wasn't very crowded. Dinner tonight was "American". Had the two best entrees of the cruise: Veal Parm and Short Ribs. We went with our tablemates again to karaoke. Didn't sing this time as all the slots were full by the time we got there. And that rolled into the 11:15PM late night comedy with Diane Ford who was extremely funny. She had some great jokes - unfortunately nothing I can post in a public review. Had a drink at the Violins bar and then headed to the cabin. Monday - Debarkation day Our expected arrival was 7:15AM. During the night my wife and I were awoken by a loud clanking noise, but went back to sleep. Later, I looked out our window about 6AM and couldn't see anything it was so foggy. And we weren't moving. We had programmed the phone for a 7AM wakeup call so I went back to sleep. Then at 7AM looked out again and it was the same - foggy and we weren't moving. It was clear we had been fogged in and that the loud noise we heard during the night was probably the anchor being dropped. There were no announcements or anything on the TV channels confirming, but it was obvious that we were going to have a late arrival. Just a matter of how late. We had planned to go to the dining room today so that is where we headed. Around 8AM, the cruise director confirmed that we were stopped because the port of Tampa had been closed due to heavy fog. So now we got to experience both sides of this kind of delay. We weren't given any ETAs so we had a leisurely breakfast of eggs benedict. Tasty - but next time I will remember to get the hollandaise on the side since it was a bit crusted when it was brought to the table. We headed back to the cabin to get everything packed so we'd be ready if we had to vacate the cabins and wait elsewhere. Around 10AM, another accouncement was made that the port was still closed, and that once we did head into port, it would take approximately 4 hours to get there. Shortly afterwards, I looked at the TV screen "ship" channel and saw that the speed was increasing. 0.2 knots, 0.4 knots, 1 knot. Yeah!! We were moving. We decided to head up towards the Violins bar and play some cribbage while we waited. And they would be serving lunch in Lido starting at 11AM. So after a couple of games, we grabbed some lunch, then headed back to Violins for more cribbage. At 12:30, they asked everyone to vacate their cabins by 1:30. So my wife stayed to hold our prime window seat location, and I went to grab our luggage from the cabin. Then we got a new ETA of 3PM to be docked. We did self disembark and were off the ship and through customs by 4:30. Home by 5PM. Overall, Carnival handled this very well. The cruise director had continual updates throughout. The only thing I would have changed is to have more updates on the TV. They have about 5 channels dedicated to the cruise. You would think one of them could have a screen indicating the status of the ship instead of replaying the Hairy Chest contest. Overall Rating: B+ Dining Room: A Food Quality: A+ Musical Shows: D Musical Entertainment Around Ship: B Comedians/Variety: B- Value: A Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We sailed on the Carnival Inspiration the week of December 14th. 1. This was our first cruise....we were very excited and couldnt wait to start our vacation. While I know that there is no way of controlling the weather...we were ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Inspiration the week of December 14th. 1. This was our first cruise....we were very excited and couldnt wait to start our vacation. While I know that there is no way of controlling the weather...we were disappointed to find out that when we arrived to the port at 12:30, our ship had not arrived yet. Thankfully we were able to drop off our bags and check in, however as we were checking in, Carnival attendents were making announcements that we should go enjoy the shops and restaurants around Channelside. This would have been fine if the delay were only an hour or so. However, the ship we were supposed to be able to board at 12:30....that was going to be leaving at 4 wasn't even CLOSE to arriving. By the time we checked in it was 1:30....we were told to be back to that area at 5:30 or 6. As another person put in their review....2,000 people were told to go "find something to do" for 6 or so hours. Again, I COMPLETELY understand that there is no way to control the weather but Carnival had no back up plan and I don't agree with that. All of us traveling in our group are all in our mid twenties, and are pretty easy to please...however this in my mind, was beyond ridiculous. Sadly, the $15 credit that we received...just didn't cut it. We ended up having lunch....and we made sure to eat slow and just sit and enjoy the weather (thankfully it was a beautiful day). After lunch we ended up going to see a movie....which a lot of cruise passengers did as well. When we got out of the movie theater it was 4:30 and we were suprised to see that our ship had arrived. FINALLY. Oh was it false hope though. We made our way back to the check in area outside only to find that we could not start boarding until 7. Again, beyond ridiculous. So, we decided to stand in line. Once we were able to finally start boarding they started boarding by numbers...which we were all assigned at check in. It couldn't have been more of a cluster f**k. What made this process even worse is there were the random people who for some odd reason didn't check in, so they never received a number. Somehow, Carnival attendents pulled them off to the side and while the rest of us who followed directions had to stand in line...continued to wait, while these people got to board first. Oh, we can't forget the random idiots in line who decided it would be funny to call out random numbers while the attendents were calling out boarding numbers. That was a treat. 2. Once we got through the doors we had to go back into the check in line, and wait AGAIN to receive our room key. Once we were able to get on the ship, it was much more relaxed. We got to our room...we walked around the ship...we ate....it was fine. The ship was a perfect size for us, it was clean, and though there were a mix of different people from all walks of life, we had no issues. We thought the food was great and the desserts too. We were never hungry so that was no problem. We didn't go to too many of the shows...but the ones we did go to, were worth it. The welcome show befor the comedian on the first night was cheesy, but still fun. The comedian's were good and if you do go to a show....make sure you attend the "Newlywed" show. It was hilarious. The waitstaff was great.....very kind, and friendly and always helpful. Our room steward was amazing. He was very personable, and our room was always spotless. We spent most of our "days at sea" on the serenity deck. That was the deck were you had to be 21 or older to be on, and it was perfect. The rest of the trip was great (except for the last afternoon/night which I will explain shortly). 3. Cozumel and the Caymans were wonderful and so were our excursions. We DID NOT book excursions through the cruise. We originally did, but when Carnival cancelled our Cayman Island's excursion and didn't provide any kind of reason or notification, we were very irritated and so we decided to cancel our Cozumel excursion as well. It was a blessing in disguise though. We found 2 WONDERFUL excursions for the 2 ports of call through tripadvisor. The only type of warning that I have of not booking excursions through the cruise ship is if for some reason weather delays the ship...they may flip flop your days (which happened to us). If your excursion is through the cruise ship, you will most likely be able to proceed with your excurison...because the cruise line will be able to take care of it. If you book with an outside company and the ports of call days are flip flopped...you are responsible for trying to get in touch with them to make sure you can still participate. LUCKILY BOTH excursions we had planned were still able to accommmodate us. We were so happy we did this. The cruise excursions pack people in like cattle. On both of our excursions....we were in a very small group which made them so much more enjoyable. 4. Ok, on to the last day and the debarkation process. It started off as a beautiful day on our last day on the ship. We were able to get in a few hours of warmth and sunshine. However the weather turned very quicky. Through out the evening, late night and early into the morning we were stuck in a horrible storm. That was the only night I got very seasick. 50 mph winds and huge waves will do that to a person though. Because of the storm, the coastguard close the Tampa port, so we were left to do circles in the gulf. We were supposed to arrive at 8:30 and get off of the ship at 9:30. HA! We didnt get in until 11:30 and didn't get off of the ship until about 1pm or so. Luckily we had family picking us up and our flight didn't leave until 9:30pm that night. Debarkation process was just as much of a cluster f**k as embarkation. This is what REALLY pissed me off, and really left us with a negative view of Carnival. They gave all passengers the option of removing their own luggage off of the ship, or leaving it outside your room the night before for the crew to take it off...and then you could pick it up when you were off the ship. Those who decided to take their luggage off of the ship first. NOT THE CASE. First of all, NON US citizens had to check in. For an hour there were 2 non US citizen cruise passengers missing. The crew paged them for a good hour. NO ONE could get off the ship until those 2 arrived. VERY VERY irritating. Then VIP passengers were able to get off. THEN they started to call passengers by deck. OUr deck was one of the first decks called. So we proceeded to go down the stairs only to find an INSANE amount of people because again, you have your idiots who weren't on the decks that were called who feel that they don't have to follow direction and they got in line too. Well it was really a line, it was more like a herd of people. People were coming from all directions....the staircase to the right, the staircase to the left, the 3 sets of elevators to the right, the enterance way of the lobby to the left. You had cruise passengers trying to make their way up the stairs that masses of people were trying to get down. It truly was the worst. There was 1, yes 1 exit that they were allowing everyone to come out of. There was no line....it was just a mad dash. Honestly, you would have though that this was the first debarkation Carnival ever did. FINALLY after a good hour, a crew member said "ok we are opening up this exit...go through this door." Once they did that, we were off the ship in 5 minutes. This process really truly left us with a bad opinion of Carnival. Overall our cruise was wonderful.....thanks to the friendly crew and our AMAZING excursions (NOT booked through Carnival). Will we go on a cruise again? Yes....definately the way to go. Will we go on another Carnival cruise again? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Unfortunatly at cruise time I was in a walking cast, and as needed I used a wheelchair which reflects on some of our opinions. Most of the time on ship I did not need the wheelchair. This is not our first cruise, but our first on ... Read More
Unfortunatly at cruise time I was in a walking cast, and as needed I used a wheelchair which reflects on some of our opinions. Most of the time on ship I did not need the wheelchair. This is not our first cruise, but our first on Carnival Cruise Line, we have been on 6 previous cruises. And enjoyed them all. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was easy and quick as wheelchaired people get carte blanc treatment. Once you are onboard getting around on foot proved to be a trying task, the layout of the ship and the routes one must take to get from one end to the other requires detours, stairs, deadends and no logical layout of the ship is available in the form of a map. The floors are both named and numbered. But when something is going on, for instance, the Lido Deck, they don't tell you what floor number they are on, it would be much easier if they would just say deck 10. Rather than the Lido Deck in the activity guide. The Cabin was nice and spacious with ample closet space and lighting, however the shower curtain was stained and the cabin curtains were falling off of the curtain rod whenever you open or closed them. There was no hair dryer, but all I had to do was call the cabin steward and he brought one to our room. The Cabin Stewart was curtious and was there for our every need. He was probably the most helpful person on board. The one night we were really looking forward to was the Lobster Dinner night, which they chose to make a formal dinning event, not having a suite Jacket or a formal dress we went without lobster. Only to find out later that people were dinning in less than casual attire. On other cruise lines, when they say formal, they will not let you in unless dressed accordingly. The rest of our dinning was at the buffet which we found excellent in food taste, and variety. The food was hot and tastey. One night they did run out of Prime Rib at 7pm when the bufffet is open till 9:30, other than that we give it a big thumbs up. But you do have to look around the entire dinning area for each food station to see the true variety available. The seating was tight and hard to manuver around while holding a tray of food and drink, more than one tray was dropped or knocked off of the table. ACTIVITIES: Besides the hairy chest contest, and an occasional band on the top deck, there wasn't much to do, the pool and hottubs are so small and crowded that we could not get in them. Kids ran rampant all over the ship, teenagers hogged the hottub for hours all afternoon. No supervison seemed to care. There was plenty of seating to relax at, but forget trying to use the pools. This ship was supposed to have been refurbished to the tune of $30 Million dollars, but don't ask me where these improvments were, the railing were rusty, the buttons in the elevators were unreadable, the artrium was small compared to other ships we have been on, and offered very little in shops and merchandise. And construction was going on all over in various locations while at sea, you had to backtrack around these areas. ITINERARY: Our reason for this cruise was its itinerary, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. For the amount of time you actually spent in Grand Cayman, when you subtract the time it takes you to get off the ship by tender (shuttle boat), and the need to return and hour before sailing, your actual time on shore is about 5 hours. Hardly enough time to do anything. People with shore excursions, bought on board, have first preference off the ship, leaving the casual traveler waiting in line to disembark the ship. So what was listed as an 8am-3pm stop turns into a 9:30am-2:00pm visit, as the last shuttle back to the ship leaves at 2pm, this leaves you looking at your watch as you visit the beach, it was a beautiful place, I only wish we had more time in port to enjoy it. Cozumel: Walking from the ship to the main dock seemed like a mile, I am glad we took the wheelchair. We had from 11am-8pm, you are alloted there, unfortunatly we had a rain storm and it cut our shore excursion short, and had to return to the ship, but this of course was not Carnivals fault. The dock does provide some shops and resturants. But downtown ($4.00 cab ride)is where we would of liked to of gone if it had not of began to storm, so we really cannot comment more. It seems to me Carnival is more interested in keeping you on the ship as long as possible than they are getting you to your destination and giving you time to enjoy them. Other cruise lines we checked after we got home alloted you much more time in both of these ports. The 2 fun days at sea could of been shortened to 1 fun day at sea to give you more time in port. It seems Carnival is more interested in selling you drinks than they are in your vacation. The endless bombardment of "would you like a drink" or "are you ready for another" inspite of the fact you had told them repeatidly NO, seemed to never end. Other cruise lines we have traveled on, seem to offer much more in the way of hospitality, courtesy and crew availibilty to answer questions and to direct you around the ship. Carnivals crew, it seemed you were bothering them if you interrupted them between the conversations they were having between themselfs. Guest services/information desk was less than guest friendly. While I believe in giving people a second chance, I will choose a different ship, as the Inspiration did not inspire me to cruise them again Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I had heard the rumors about Carnival being a "party" cruise and was a little reluctant to book with them, but when I found a great deal and saw a lot of positive reviews here, I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did. ... Read More
I had heard the rumors about Carnival being a "party" cruise and was a little reluctant to book with them, but when I found a great deal and saw a lot of positive reviews here, I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did. We had a fantastic time. We were on the 5 day cruise with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Embarkation and Debarkation both went very smooth. Embarkation we had maybe a 20 minute wait till they called our section but then got right on the ship and went up to the Lido deck for lunch. Debarkation was very fast, walked right out when our number was called, lines moved so fast we never had to wait, luggage was right there and customs was super fast. After being on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises I was not sure how similar or different Carnival would be but they are actually very similar in most everything except their decor. I will have to say that some of the Carnival decor was neon and gaudy to me although some areas were nice, however that did not distract me and my friends from having an awesome time. The food, service, cabins and shows are all about the same on both cruise lines although Carnival had the waiters sing and dance every night in the dining room whereas RCCL only does that on the last night. I had originally had concerns that the service would be lacking due to the gratuity being automatically charged to your account. But the service was great and our waiters and cabin attendant were wonderful. In Grand Cayman we did the Best of Cayman Island tour and I must say while it was a good tour, I felt somewhat rushed thru everything. We only had 45 minutes at the turtle farm and 30 of that was a guided tour to 2 turtle tanks which left only 15 minutes to look around the rest of the place and no time to look in the gift shop. The Rum factory we had 20 minutes but the place was so packed because about 6 other tour buses came at the same time as us that we never got to the counter to sample any rum or rum cakes, the lines were way to long, but I did get to shop and buy rum cakes. At Hell we had 25 minutes which was just enough time to buy some postcards to mail and a shirt and view the lava rocks. But all in all the tour itself was good, the driver took us around to alot of historic places and a couple beaches along 7 mile beach. In Cozumel we shopped on our own and went to an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch. Had a great time bargaining for a silver bracelet. We watched a lot of the shows and misc. games and things they have during the days and evenings. The love and marriage show was very funny. The ice carving was neat and we took the galley tour and I was very impressed on how clean the kitchen was. We got to go thru when they were starting to make dinner so we could see the different dishes being made, it was great. Matt, the cruise director, was by far the best cruise director we have had, he was awesome and so funny. We really enjoyed this cruise alot and would definitely recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Carnival Inspiration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 2.0 4.3

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