Sail Date: November 2009
This was the second cruise for my husband and I. The first was 3 years ago, also aboard a Carnival Ship (the Holiday), for our honeymoon. The first voyage was wonderful, and after 3 years of marriage, we decided we needed to get away again ... Read More
This was the second cruise for my husband and I. The first was 3 years ago, also aboard a Carnival Ship (the Holiday), for our honeymoon. The first voyage was wonderful, and after 3 years of marriage, we decided we needed to get away again for an anniversary trip :). We decided to go this time from Tampa. We drove down the day before the cruise and stayed at the Laquinta Inn across from Busch Gardens. Very clean and safe feeling room! Some of the other establishments closer to the port had topless bars and gentlemen's clubs right next door, so we stayed about 15 minutes out. Embarkation Day: We arrived at the port at about 12:45, gave our checked bags to the porter, parked our car ($75 for the week), grabbed our carry-on bags and headed down to get in line. Getting on the boat was an easy process. We had our passports and documentation in-hand and ready to go. *TRAVEL TIP: ONE OF THOSE PASSPORT HOLDERS YOU CAN PUT AROUND YOUR NECK IS A LIFESAVER! When we got on the boat, our rooms were already ready, so we went straight there to drop off our carry-ons and check out our room. We had an interior room: it was the perfect size, very clean and comfortable. After checking it out, we headed up to Lido to grab a bite to eat. We got our food and went out on the deck to eat. The view from there was even amazing! Looking out over Tampa, a slight breeze blowing through my hair, was absolute bliss! I had grilled tuscan chicken, fruit and some yogurt...it was great! (I am dieting, and I had heard from several people that it is impossible to go on a cruise and not gain weight...I am happy to report that this is false...with good food choices and taking the stairs, you can LOSE weight. I didn't even use the gym, just the stairs instead of the elevator.) Our bellies full, we explored the ship and proceeded to the front of the ship to watch as we set sail. There was a lot to see...we passed an airstrip, a beautiful little lighthouse, and even went under a bridge!! (Awesome sight...it looks like the ship won't be able to go under, but it does with about 6ft of clearance.) We spent the rest of the night wandering around, hand-in-hand, exploring the ship. Dinner was great! We were seated with a couple our age on their honeymoon. They were really sweet! We ended up hanging out with them after dinner several nights of the cruise. Speaking of Dinner, it was fabulous!! Our waiters were Antonio and Jimmy. They kept us laughing, were very attentive, and knew us by name. As a matter of fact, they became our friends and even cheered me on when I was in the Talent Show. The "Super-charged" Maitre D, Joseph, was very nice and entertaining. They did a little show and dance every night and we loved it! We even got up and joined them at times. The second day, we got up early and had room service brought down. Some coffee, salmon and fruit. Love it! We did the scavenger hunt, went to a shopping and shore excursion talk, browsed the shops, rode the glass elevator, and so much more. Just being there with my hubby with no schedule, knowing we had the rest of the week to be together, was such a wonderful feeling. The third day was our anniversary. It was also Grand Cayman port day. We went horseback riding, which we booked ourselves online. It was great! We rode along the beach and backroads on horseback as we took in the tropical air and warming sun. We found a HUGE shell that we stopped and picked up. After that, we went back into town and walked to Eden Rock to snorkel. It was beautiful! Crystal-clear water, lots of fish and coral, and you can see the cruise ships in the background. We reluctantly went back to the ship and got onboard. The tender boat was a little rocky, as there was a storm rolling in. I had ingested a little salt water, so I felt a little queasy, but I was fine after boarding and drinking some water. We outran the storm, and the weather was perfect the rest of the time. The fourth day was Cozumel. We also went there on our anniversary cruise, so this place was special. We took pictures in some of the same places, did some shopping and then took a cab to Chankanaab Park, where we went swimming with the dolphins. It was magical! They pushed you, pulled you, gave you a kiss, danced, jumped, and let you hold it like a baby! Also at Chankanaab Park is snorkeling, snuba, hair wraps, shopping and lots more. After leaving here, we took a cab and went downtown. *TRAVEL TIP: UNLESS YOU INTEND ON SPENDING ABOUT AN HOUR AT A RUG STORE LISTENING TO THEM TRY AND SELL YOU A RUG, DON'T USE THE CAB COUPON FOR FREE FARE FOR VISITING GALLERY ISTANBUL!! ITS NOT WORTH IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO BUY ONE. THEY WERE PUSHY, AND WE WILL JUST PAY THE $7 CAB FEE NEXT TIME! We did some more shopping, DH bought a hammock and a rose for me :)We watched sunset...stunningly gorgeous!* YET ANOTHER TIP: WEAR BUG SPRAY!! We were eaten alive as soon as dusk arrived. We made a mad dash from store to store trying to find bug spray, and finally got some in the pharmacy. It was pretty funny in hindsight, not so much at the time :) I was in the Carnival Talent Show that night, which was a blast! I made lots of friends, and got to be "famous" for the rest of the cruise. Lots of fun! The fifth day was a fun day at sea. The weather was perfect. We did a lot of the onboard activities, got into the hot tub and hung out on the serenity deck. We did another scavenger hunt, this time digital, and came in second place. We got on our swim attire and went down the waterslide over and over like a couple of kids! Great times... The sixth day found us back in Tampa. We woke up early, went up to the top deck and watched the sunrise. It was so pretty! Then, we went down to the main dining room and had breakfast. It was good, and as I looked out the window into the bay, I wished we could just stay forever. I didn't want to go home! We gathered our things and went through customs(very easy). When we got home, I could still feel the ocean breeze and hear the rythmn of the music from the ship. I couldn't help but smile as the thoughts of the past week filled my mind. I told my Mom and Dad and several other family members about the wonderful time we had, and convinced them all to go back with us...We are currently planning our next cruise! :) Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
A little background first. This was my second cruise aboard the Inspiration. The first time was in November 2008 with my wife. Since we had such a great time back then, we decided to bring our kids (ages 12 & 14) and my parents ... Read More
A little background first. This was my second cruise aboard the Inspiration. The first time was in November 2008 with my wife. Since we had such a great time back then, we decided to bring our kids (ages 12 & 14) and my parents along the second time around. We drove down from New Jersey and did a couple of days at Disney prior to the cruise. An excellent way to start any vacation, but that's another story. The embarkation process was very easy. We unloaded our luggage at the terminal, parked across the street in the parking deck and then waited in line for about 20 minutes to get checked in at the terminal. The boarding process consisted of waiting for our boarding number to be called, getting our picture taken and walking on. By 11:45 AM we were on board with food and drink in hand. What more can you ask for? After our meal, we explored the ship, located our dining table, and signed up the kids for the Circle C Club. The rooms were made available by 1:30 pm. Our luggage showed up about an hour or so after that. What made this trip as special as the first was that my wife and I booked our own cabin (E48), with our kids in the adjoining room (E52). I don't think I need to say much more about that. Our cabin was an interior room located just forward of the Grand Atrium. The location was perfect. No noise issues. Actually, we had no issues with our rooms. Our room steward was Erni and she took care of everything, towel animals and all. We had the late seating for dinner (8:15 pm) in the Carnivale Dining Room. Our table for 6 was perfect, though after the second night it became a table of 4. The kids made other plans. George the Greek was our very entertaining Maitre d', OPA! Our servers were James and Putri. Overall, the service and food was excellent. We had the chocolate melting cake every night! Having cruised Carnival before, I must admit that I missed the dining room staff's signature dance number "Hot, Hot, Hot." Who doesn't love a conga line? Apparently the Carnival CEO doesn't. What a buzz kill. Our first day at sea was great, lots of sun and fun. We did the waterslides, soaked up some rays, and discovered Mango daiquiris. Later that night we got dressed up for the Captain's Dinner. It was a very nice affair, but I never saw the Captain. Then again, I wasn't really looking for him. Did I forget to mention there were LOTS of picture opportunities? LOTS! If I had one real complaint, this is it. They took far too many pictures over the course of the cruise. I'm not complaining about the picture stations, because those are optional and we did buy several. I'm talking about the annoying, not so optional picture moments at every meal, off and on at every port, and with various crew members pretending to be a Mexican, a Pirate, a Showgirl, etc... Well maybe the Showgirl one wasn't that bad. Our first port of call was Grand Cayman and the weather was perfect. After getting our passports stamped (a cool turtle stamp), we grabbed a cab and headed to the Royal Palms Beach Club. $4.00 a person for the cab and the beach was free. We snorkeled for hours, soaked up more rays and I got a bucket of ice cold Corona's. Life doesn't get much better than that. The cab ride back proved to be very entertaining. We had a wannabe New York City cab driver who broke nearly every motor vehicle law and then ended our ride with his rendition of a "Bad Man's Prayer." The shopping seemed a little dull after that. Back on ship, we enjoyed our first past guest party in the Paris Lounge. Cruise Director Skip Lyons emceed the party and there were plenty of free cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. It was a nice event. The scary thing here was that I accidentally left my camcorder and camera in the lounge. Thanks to an observant and honest employee, I was reunited with my belongings the next morning. Our second port of call was Cozumel and the weather was NOT so perfect. Hurricane Ida was making her way towards us so the waters started to get a little rough and the rains followed. We had booked the Mayan Ruins of Tulum shore excursion on the mainland, which means you had to take another boat to Playa Del Carmen. Not your 855 ft cruise ship, but something much smaller. Let's just say that some people weren't feeling well. Despite the weather, we really enjoyed the tour, in large part because of our tour guide Carlos. The only downside was that the beach was closed, thanks again to Ida. Our last day at sea was spent trying to get away from Ida. It was so windy that the upper decks and waterslides were closed. We found plenty of other things to do though; a tour of the ships galley, a little blackjack at the casino, and a thorough soaking in the hot tub, just to name a few. We capped of our last night with some sing along in the Violins Bar and dancing in the disco. Our children really enjoyed the Club Circle C program. Their counselor Laura was great. There was always something for them to do; dance parties, scavenger hunts, video games, etc... It was also a great idea getting them the unlimited drink card on the first day. My wife utilized the fitness center everyday and took several exercise classes. She found the fitness equipment more than satisfactory, but felt there was room for improvement with the classes. She also had her hair put in an "up do" at the spa for formal night. She was very happy with it. My last complaint is purely a personal one. Being that we are non-smokers, certain areas of the ship were obviously less enjoyable than others. The two worst areas, in my opinion, were the casino and the piano bar. The piano bar was so bad that we never even ventured in there. It would have been nice to sing along with the piano man. As for the disembarkation, I had no complaints. My post-cruise blues were setting in so nothing really fazed me. At least the weather cooperated. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone. I am already planning my next Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration on Nov 30, 2009. Forget what the boards say, you cannot park your car in the garage before 10:30 am on the day of sailing, nor can you drop your bags off before 10:30. Since we live in Tampa, that ... Read More
We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration on Nov 30, 2009. Forget what the boards say, you cannot park your car in the garage before 10:30 am on the day of sailing, nor can you drop your bags off before 10:30. Since we live in Tampa, that was no big deal--we just had to wait 15 min or so. We have VIP status, so embarkation was a snap. We had to wait on a wedding party, but VIP's were the next to board. We were having lunch on the Lido deck by 11:30 am. Cabins were not ready until 1:30, but I think that is normal. We were surprised that our bags were delivered by about 2:30pm; the cabin steward(Jia, who was very good) said that was because we had priority status because of the VIP. We booked this only 2-3 weeks prior to sailing, so we did not have a lot of choices on cabins, but it was ok. We are used to verandah's but had an outside cabin this time. The ship has been refurbished, although we did not notice much difference except the bathroom, which was fine. Our cabin, M 63, had a king, plus two fold down bunk beds(which we did not use, but they took up space, so we did not have a sofa--a major pain). Don't get bunk beds unless you need them, because you will hit your head on one of them when you are trying to sit up in the bed. First Carnival ship I have been on since the Mardi Gras a zillion years ago that did not have a mini bar in the cabin. We don't use the mini bar except to keep our wine cool! Carnival does allow you to bring one bottle of wine per person on board legally, but you can bring more if you pack it in your checked luggage--think boxed wine! Life boat drill: a complete joke and, in my opinion, dangerous and stupid. I cannot believe that the US coast guard allows this. You no longer have to get your life jacket and report to the boarding deck for the life boats. Now you go to a lounge(without your life jacket) where they explain things for about 15 minutes, and then you go to the boarding deck. If the ship is sinking, I sure am not going to any lounge to wait on idiots to get there. We know how to put on a life jacket, but I bet a lot of first time cruisers do not. Carnival no longer has a "Formal" night; now they have elegant nights, which was a joke. Carnival does not enforce a dress code. On "elegant" night there were people(mainly red necks) dressed in shorts in the main dining room, although Carnival plainly states: no shorts in the dining room. The maitre'd sure did nothing about it, although it is his responsibility. Captains party: a complete joke--they make you buy your own drinks rather than give them to you as in the past; they do give you a dollar off--big deal. We skipped it. On the last night of the cruise there is a short party where they give you free drinks(but you are lucky if you get 2 of them). Guess Carnival is cutting back on freebies! Entertainment: excellent for the 2 shows we saw: the show "Shout" was fantastic. Being older folks, we could not stay awake until midnight to see some of them! We had lunch on the Lido deck--always good food, especially the seafood, but Carnival needs to get its act together: no trays by the salad bar, no spoons by the ice cream station. Seafood was fantastic in the dining room at dinner. Only had one steak and it was great. Breakfast on the Lido was ok but they never varied the menu except to have grits one day and oatmeal the next day. Breakfast was not nearly as good as breakfasts on Holland America or Celebrity. We never had breakfast or lunch in the dining room, so cannot comment on that. Grand Cayman: we have been there so many times, we did not take a tour--just walked to some of the shops downtown. Booze is lower priced here vs. the ship. At one shop they were offering a free 2 lb rum cake if you bought $25 worth of booze; that was a no brainer since the price was $1-2 bucks per bottle cheaper than the ship and you got a free cake(worth $20), plus they delivered the booze to the ship. Cozumel: we did not take a tour since we have been there so many times. We did take a taxi downtown and checked out some of the shops. If you are interested in silver jewelry, be careful. Some of the shops tell you it is real silver, but it does NOT have .925 stamped on it. Don't buy it. T-shirts are a deal at 5 for $10, vs 2 for $20 on the ship! Cost of the taxi to downtown is $7 per taxi(1-4 people), so maybe the T shirts weren't such a deal after all!!! But you can buy Corona beer for a buck if you get off the main road!! Great towels and linens in the cabin; much better than on the Celebrity Constellation that we were on last year. Staff was very friendly. Some not too efficient tho: Several of us tried to enter a putting contest and no one from Carnival showed up to conduct it. Past guest party: very nice; free booze! Art auction: basically a rip off, but you do get free champagne. You can buy art on line a heck of a lot cheaper( like 75% less in many cases) than at the Park West auctions on the ship. For example, a Pino print on canvas (s/n) on line would cost $300-400 or so, but would cost $1500-2000 on board. Debarkation: fairly easy since we had VIP status and could get off first since we had opted to roll our own luggage off the ship. There is always some idiot who does not go through immigration like they are supposed to and delays debarkation, and this was no exception. Fortunately this time, Carnival identified them by name and they finally got the message. Bottom line: great seafood, nice weather, smooth sailing(even though we had 35 mph winds at times). We were amazed at the number of kids on board since most every where school is in session. Except for them running up and down the halls, it was not a major problem. Overall, we would give the Inspiration a rating of 3 on a 1-5 scale, but would give the seafood a 5! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We are a family of four, myself (48 yo), my husband (47 yo) and DD (11 yo) and DS (8 yo) Here is the run down of our trip: Day 1 - Embarkation at Tampa Arrived at cruise terminal at 10:30 and were checked in by 11 am. Boarded at about ... Read More
We are a family of four, myself (48 yo), my husband (47 yo) and DD (11 yo) and DS (8 yo) Here is the run down of our trip: Day 1 - Embarkation at Tampa Arrived at cruise terminal at 10:30 and were checked in by 11 am. Boarded at about 11:40 am. Once onboard, we headed straight to the buffet. Wandered around ship, acclimating. Got into cabin at about 1 pm. We had an outside, E50, which was tight for four, much tighter than on the larger Carnival ships, but we managed just fine. Got soda cards for DH, DD and DS, along with 3 insulated cups. Watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on the in-room TV. Once the pool and water slide opened, we went there. Lounged and read while the kids played. Already had registration forms filled out for Camp Carnival, so we didn't have to stay for the orientation; just dropped off forms. We had late dining reservations. Dinner was in the Carnivale dining room. Our waiter was James and our Ass't was Putri. Our Maitre'd is George the Greek. He's a blast. OPA!!!! Day 2 - Day at Sea I won a trophy in a Word Twist contest during breakfast!! Kids played in pool and in the waterpark. They loved the waterslides, both the curvy, two story slide and the side-by-side racing slides. DH and I lounged and read on the desk. Camp Carnival was fun. DD did Pineapple race and DS did Steal the Bacon. Dinner was Formal night; service was excellent. Day 3 - Grand Cayman I slipped on the desk on the way to breakfast. Feet went right out from under and I slammed head on deck. Had to go to infirmary. No major injury, but I was sore the next day. Did the Caymen Pirate Encounter, which was great. DS and DD both jumped off the top deck of the pirate ship. Went to Guy Harveys for lunch. Fish and Chips were great. Hadn't brought credit card, so we barely had enough to pay (we were actually 20 cents short!) Dinner was good, though one of the people at a table got a pill (white round 234) on his dessert plate. Waiter brought it to head waiters attention. Profuse apologies. Day 4 - Cozumel Went to Nachi Cocom beach club. Gorgeous beach. Once again, were almost short on money. I forgot there were two fees still due, one for the entry fee and one for snorkeling. Incredible day. Wonderful food, great water. Went snorkeling, just the four of us in Glass Bottomed snorkel boat. Saw a sea turtle. Great guides. Could have stayed longer, the snorkeling was to be for 2 hours, but the kids were tired, so headed back to beach. DD and I did banana boat ride. Ran into a nice lady from message board, who got engaged right there, while at Nachi Cocom. Good night in the casino. DD was out until 3:18 am at the Late Night Party. Day 5 - Day at Sea Rain/clouds all day. Lounged around cabin, wandered the ship, ate too much, played some in the casino. DD went out and about to the pool and waterslide with her new friends. Great night in the casino. DD got to watch Mommy and Daddy play blackjack. DH won $55. Day 6 - Debarkation We checked our bags; self assist at Tampa tends to be very slow, since so many folks are local. Our luggage tags were number 9 and we were called in the second group. We were in the car by 9:30 am, pulled into our neighborhood at 10 am. Overall, a wonderful cruise. Don't miss Nachi Cocom, it's fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Debarkation My daughter, who is 30 and a first-time cruiser, and I are from the Tampa area, so we drove to the port and parked in the garage - $14/day. Arrived around 11:15 and were at the Lido buffet eating lunch at noon. Everyone at ... Read More
Debarkation My daughter, who is 30 and a first-time cruiser, and I are from the Tampa area, so we drove to the port and parked in the garage - $14/day. Arrived around 11:15 and were at the Lido buffet eating lunch at noon. Everyone at the terminal had a smile on their face and were happy to help and answer questions. Stateroom We booked an inside stateroom on the Riviera Deck - 4th level. The room is plenty big for two people with lots of closet space. It appeared that the bathroom had been remodeled with nice fixtures and a great blue floor. As always with Carnival, lots of towels. Since this is an older ship, there is no fridge in the room. If you need to keep anything cool, bring a cooler. Your steward will keep it filled with ice during the cruise if you ask. Also -no hair dryer. If you call Customer Service, they will have one brought to your room for the duration of the cruise. TV reception was great and there was a great music station on the TV which played new age music all the time - great for reading. We asked for extra pillows the first day - never saw them -or the steward again. But the room was cleaned twice daily. Tips: Bring an extension cord if you have anything to plug in and I always bring a little night-lite as well. Here's a handy hint. Instead of hunting everywhere for the thermostat and then calling Customer Service - look up in the ceiling. One of the air vents has a little circular dial in the middle with an arrow on it. This is the thermostat for the room. Unless you are traveling with a tall man, be prepared to stand on the chair to adjust it. Entertainment We loved the entertainment in the Paris Lounge. Singers and dancers are as good as on any 7-day cruise I have been on and costumes were fantastic. The comedian was pretty good. The show lounge fills up very quickly so get there at least 15-20 minutes early. Bar service in the lounge was not good - get your drinks at a bar on the way in or you may never be able to order one at the show. It seemed a little chilly in there all the time, so I recommend a sweater. We traveled on Halloween and the night was fantastic! A huge portion of the guests on board had wonderful costumes and there was a parade for two hours on the Promenade deck where we could sit and watch them all. Later, there was a costume contest in the Paris Lounge. It was packed!! Food The Lido buffet is well laid-out. Seating was intimate. Music in the buffet was the same music which always played in the adults-only Serenity area, which is new-age, soft - nice eating music. Breakfast was the same every day, except for a change from hash-brown potatoes to little potato pancakes. Everything else was the same. There is one station where you can get omelets and eggs made to order. The grill area out by the pool always had hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken fingers as well as a complete duplicate of one of the inside food lines. We ate in the Mardi Gras dining room every night - anytime dining. All of the staff were attentive and the food was very good. We sat by ourselves at smaller tables for two. Food highlights: prime rib, St. Louis BBQ ribs, farmers salad, sour dough bread. The famous chocolate warming cake is wonderful but a total indulgence. Daily Activities There is a huge variety of things to do and my daughter and I took advantage of most. We learned how to do the Cha-Cha, country line dancing and swing. We played Bingo; almost won the bean bag toss; played lots of trivia. The casino is bigger and pays better than any other I have seen on the bigger ships. We had lots of pictures taken and actually wound up buying one. The circular lay-out of the picture area is better than any other I have encountered. The Ship I believe this ship was built in 1996, so it is getting along in years and you can tell this in some places. But - everything was clean and as shiny as possible. There are lots of areas, both inside and out, where you can sit and relax without hearing a bunch of loud music or have people coming and going around you. I never felt crowded. Around the pool area, one side of the ship is non-smoking. If you get there early enough in the morning, you can have a table and chairs for the whole day and not have to smell cigarette smoke. Conclusion The crowd was mixed in age and everyone got along well. I don't know how many hundred children were on board, but the camps for the kids keep them out of sight. This is a 4-night cruise, but I would not hesitate taking a 7-night cruise on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Background Information Previous cruiser (12), this was 10th on Carnival - first cruise as Platinum Guest and 5th cruise on the Inspiration. I am 66, retired, wife is 56, we are recently married, this was our honeymoon cruise. We ... Read More
Background Information Previous cruiser (12), this was 10th on Carnival - first cruise as Platinum Guest and 5th cruise on the Inspiration. I am 66, retired, wife is 56, we are recently married, this was our honeymoon cruise. We live in North Port, Florida, only hours away from major cruise ports in Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa. Travel To Port of Embarkation It's an easy drive from our home to the Port of Tampa, right up I-75, then I-275 over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Actually drove up the night before the cruise, eliminating any delays or unforeseen circumstances on cruise day. As an experienced cruiser, and having cruised out of Tampa many times, we arrived around 10 a.m., parked in the parking garage two blocks away, for which I was charged $56.00. Then, an easy walk to the terminal with our luggage. *Note - there is a sign at the garage that says "check your luggage first, and then park your car." I wouldn't recommend this, as you can have traffic problems getting to the curb with your vehicle, many people arriving, many still disembarking, typical pre & post cruise congestion. I find it much easier to park first and then walk the luggage over. Thank heaven for wheels on those suitcases. Although the official Carnival information advises you to arrive after 1:30pm, in reality the terminal opens for check-in at 10:30a.m. Checked the bags with the curbside porter, showed our funpass and photo ID, and we proceeded smoothly into the terminal. Another advantage of checking in early is that you simply beat the crowds. As we were Platinum Status, we proceeded promptly to VIP check-in, and in a few minutes were seated to wait for boarding to begin. There were two wedding parties which were boarded first, then all the VIPs were allowed to board, around 11:30 a.m. We proceeded to the Brasserie Lounge on the Lido deck for a nice leisurely lunch, then toured the ship until we could get into our stateroom at 1:30 p.m. Hotel Info We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Rocky Point Drive, (it's actually very close to the TPA airport), dinner at Bahama Breeze Restaurant which is adjacent to the hotel, simply walk next door and you're there. The hotel is located about 8 miles from the Port of Tampa, which makes for a leisurely drive to the Port on cruise day. I firmly believe that staying overnight near the port before cruise day eliminates any potential travel problems on embarkation day and contributes to more stress-free check-in experience. Stateroom We were on the Empress deck, Cabin E50. A typical ocean view cabin on the Inspiration, it was only about fifty feet from the lobby bar, purser's desk, and shore excursion desk. Although we were near the front of the ship, walking aft for dining or to lunch in the Brasserie lounge was not an issue. Nothing is really too far away on this ship. I had pre-purchased a dozen red roses for my bride, as well as "Happy Honeymoon" decorations, online through Carnival. Everything was there as ordered, the cabin was beautifully decorated, and my new bride was thoroughly impressed. Our cabin steward was Elio - what a jewel this man was. He was openly friendly and talkative, very helpful, and our room was always promptly cleaned each day. If you cruise aboard the Inspiration, you will be fortunate to have this man as your cabin steward. Ship Info Living in Florida, and Tampa being only an hour and twenty minutes away, I must admit to gravitating to the Inspiration many times. It's 4 & 5 day itineraries make for such affordable getaways and it's such an easy drive from where I live to the Port of Tampa. The Inspiration, although one of Carnival's older ships, has been well maintained, and continues to provide a wonderful and relaxed environment for cruising. Having been refurbished in September of 2007, everything is updated, new furniture, decorations, and especially the bathrooms in the cabins, all new and updated. Overall, a great ship and I've always enjoyed cruising on this vessel, even now planning our next one aboard this ship. I have cruised on the Inspiration three times before it was refurbished, and twice since the upgrade. Dining Someone in the Carnival dining room assignment hierarchy must have picked up on the fact that this was our "honeymoon" cruise, because we were assigned table 371 in the Carnivale dining room, (aft) we had late seating at 8:15p.m. It was a nice table for two, against the rail on the elevated portion of the dining room, overlooking the starboard side windows, with additional tables below our level between us and the windows. Our table was nice and private and would have been a great romantic experience except for the fact that our waiter also had two huge tables of ten people each. Because of the necessity of taking care of those two tables as well as us, we had to wait for what I consider unacceptable amounts of times between courses. For example, we would be served our soup, then 25 minutes later, the salad, then 30 minutes later the main course. We watched many other tables around us finish their meals and have their dessert and were up and gone before we even got our salad. I attribute this simply to the fact that our waiter just had too many people to take care of. My previous dining experiences on Carnival have all been good ones, so I consider this to be just one of those things that happen occasionally. (We did discuss changing our table, but we liked the small intimate arrangement and wanted to stay with it.) I would not give our overall dining situation a bad review because of this singular situation, but the slow service was so bad that on the last night of the cruise, we finally gave up on the dining room, and decided to have dinner in the Brasserie Lounge which was much more relaxing, food was fresh, and we enjoyed not having to wait between our courses. Overall the food was excellent, well-prepared. I did opt for the "pan-fried grouper" one night, which came out, cold, dry, and pretty much tasteless. Just a bad choice on my part, the other main courses were all very good. All things considered, the Carnival dining room experience is still a very good one. Service Except for our minor fluke experience in the dining room, Carnival's service overall was typically friendly, courteous, and at all times helpful. Crew members and service personnel were very nice, very friendly, very welcoming. I have found this to be a standard on all of my cruises aboard Carnival, and this particular cruise was no exception. This cruise was sold out (approx. 2000+ guests) so there were lots of people on board, quite a few children, and many teen-agers aboard, and there were a couple of incidents worth noting. Once, I saw two young boys repeatedly ringing the bell on the pizza counter to the point of obnoxiousness. Soon, a ship's officer (white uniform) appeared and gave them a sound scolding - you have to wonder, where were the parents? But kudos to this officer for actually doing something about it. On our second night out, we were awakened by rowdy guests in the hallway around 3 a.m. - sounded like teenagers partying down, lots of yelling, shouting and general horseplay. We mostly tried to ignore it and eventually went back to sleep. When the same thing happened on a subsequent night however, I called the Guest Services number, and was informed that they would take care of it. Soon, the noise stopped and to the credit of the security officers, we never heard that kind of disruption again. As this was my first cruise as a Platinum Guest, I want to comment on that aspect in particular; There was a letter in our cabin when we arrived, welcoming us as Platinum Guests, and describing the complimentary amenities, such as Personalized Stationery, Petit Fours delivered to our stateroom one evening, a special Carnival Logo item, along with guaranteed dining times, complimentary entrance to the Blackjack or Slot Tournament, complimentary arcade tokens, an exclusive "behind the scenes" tour of the galley, complimentary wash and fold laundry service, and last but not least, priority debarkation. The personalized stationery was in the desk - but who writes real paper letters anymore? The Petit Fours were delivered without warning one night just before dinner - and consisted mostly of small sugary items, small pieces of cake that looked as if they had been cut out with a cookie cutter, and some other small pastry items. They were all pretty unappetizing. We never touched them because they looked so dry and unappealing. We also did not take advantage of the casino benefit or arcade tokens, didn't use the Spa or the laundry service, or take the galley tour, so can't comment on those either. We returned to our cabin one afternoon, and were surprised to find a huge chocolate cake with "Bon Voyage" written across it, along with a note from the staff telling us the "special Carnival Logo items" had not arrived, so they were giving us a cake instead. (I think we were supposed to get a keychain or something.) Oh, well, can't blame them for trying to do something. But not being "sugar" people, we never touched the cake, but lo and behold, the next day another cake was delivered to our cabin along with another apologetic note! We carefully put both cakes in the passageway outside our cabin along with the unappetizing "Petit Fours," and at some point they all thankfully disappeared. Although it may seem strange that I see this as a "positive" experience, I actually do, because it means that somewhere, someone was actually paying attention to their Platinum Guests and at least trying to step up to the plate (no pun intended!) in living up to their promised Platinum Guest benefits. There were however, three other specific elements of Platinum status that actually had substance (as far as I am concerned) and that were meaningful to us; First, there was VIP check-in - instead of going to the "mass" check-in counter, we were directed to a smaller desk in a separate enclosed area, where a Carnival specialist verified our documentation, and gave us our Sail & Sign cards. Afterwards, we would normally be escorted to a separate VIP waiting area, although for this cruise that particular area was occupied by those two huge wedding parties. But to Carnival's credit, they kept all the VIPs together, an assigned agent continually brooding over us like a mother hen, and after the wedding guests and such were all on board, the VIP group was led aboard by a Carnival representative. So this is a really nice perk, you get to have lunch before the crowd hits, explore the ship ahead of the crowds, etc. Secondly, because we were Platinum Guests, our luggage tags had "VIP" on them, which provides for expedited handling. When we arrived at our cabin at 1:30 p.m. our luggage was waiting for us! This is something I have never experienced before, (my first thought was that it belonged to the previous guests) and I can say without reservation, this is a very nice perk. On previous cruises, sometimes the luggage didn't show up until after dinnertime, so this was quite a pleasant surprise. Thirdly - there was priority debarkation. On the last sea day, a letter was delivered to our cabin, inviting us to participate in "Priority Concierge Club Debarkation Service." You could either opt for the "self-assist" debarkation method, or the "check-in luggage" method. As we were in no hurry to leave the ship, we opted for the latter. We replaced our old luggage tags with the silver Concierge Club luggage tags provided for us, and put our luggage out in the passageway around 9pm. (You have until 11pm) On debarkation day, we were directed to go to the Shakespeare Library on deck 8 at 8:45a.m. As we were pretty much pre-packed because of having already checked our luggage, we slept in, said good-bye to our wonderful cabin steward, and then enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the Brasserie Lounge. We arrived at the library at the appointed time, along with perhaps 50-60 other Platinum guests. A Carnival representative was there promptly at 8:45 to tell us that as soon as they received clearance, we would be escorted off the ship. The "self-assist" people debarked first, around 7:45, (this took the better part of an hour or so) and everything seemed to go smoothly. From my vantage point in the Library, I could see the guests leaving through two security stations on the Empress deck, and everything seemed to proceed smoothly. It was orderly and quiet, and there was never a back up into the stairwells and elevators like I have seen on some previous cruises. We were allowed to leave approximately 9a.m., and were escorted off the ship by a Carnival representative, and once in the terminal, were directed to collect our luggage from the "Concierge Club" staging area. All in all, this was nicely done, and as VIPs, we were essentially the first group (among those who had checked luggage) off the ship. (On a minor note - one of our bags was not in the Concierge Club area - so we had to flag down a Carnival rep who was very helpful in assisting me in locating the missing piece which had mistakenly ended up in the mass luggage from our deck. But this was a very minor event as far as I am concerned, and overall, Carnival did a really nice job with the priority debarkation) Port & Shore Excursions In Cozumel, we opted for the Ultimate Beach Adventure, purchased online before the cruise. We were met promptly at the pier at 9 a.m., left on time with about 20 other guests, for the 40-minute ride to the south end of the island to get to Crystal Beach which is located in Punta Sur Ecological Park. Our tour guide was "Felipe," very cordial and friendly, along with several other assistants, and a tour photographer. Once there, you could snorkel or use the kayaks, however those two activities were very structured and organized - you had to go with the group. Way too structured for me and my bride, so we simply stayed on the beach, swam a little, walked along the shore, and just relaxed. We were served a nice tropical lunch, barbequed chicken, rice, salad, guacamole & chips, fruit, water and fruit juice furnished as well. There were plenty of lounge chairs, and if you wanted shade you could go inside the luncheon area. We also had the opportunity to purchase photos on a CD (which we did), then a 40-minute boat ride back to the pier, arriving around 2p.m. This approximate 5-hour tour was just right, leaving us time to get cleaned up, and go back to the pier for a little souvenir shopping. It was a nice relaxing excursion, and we just might do this one again. (A reminder, bring some cash if you want beer, purchase photos, and of course for the tip - there was no pressure, but you do have the opportunity to tip if you want to.) Disembarkation Overall, very nicely handled by Carnival, very smooth. I have been on previous cruises before the current zone/color system was instituted, and it was an absolute nightmare. Carnival has truly put some effort into revamping this entire procedure, and now, all you essentially have to do is have some breakfast and wait for your area to be called. Unless of course, you opt for "self-assist" - but being retired and in no hurry, I don't typically use that method, although it works well for a lot of people. If you opt for self-assist you must have at least one hand free in order to grasp the hand rail on the escalators in the terminal, otherwise you will be directed to the elevators where there is usually a line. Summary You should be able to tell from this review that I am a confirmed Carnival "happy camper!" After ten cruises on Carnival, I have experienced nothing less than professional, friendly, and courteous treatment on each and every cruise. (I don't consider the minor issue in the dining room or with the misplaced luggage to be "cruise-killers," but then we are pretty flexible people and what bothers some people just doesn't bother us.) Although there have been minor bumps along the road in some of our cruise experiences, none of them has dampened our enthusiasm for Carnival. We have discovered that much of your treatment from cruise crewmembers and staff depends on your own attitude. Believe me I have watched some genuine idiot exchanges between unhappy and often impolite and downright rude guests and some of the Carnival staff, however this has not been the case for us. Always worthy of note on any cruise out of Tampa is the spectacularly photogenic and exciting cruise from the dock, along the Tampa ship channel, until finally passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge approximately 2 ½ hours after sailing time. It is truly a sight to behold, a genuine Kodak moment, as the ship majestically glides beneath the bridge span and heads into the sunset and the waters of the open Gulf of Mexico. According to Wikipedia, The Travel Channel rated the Sunshine Skyway #3 in its special on the "Top 10 Bridges" in the World, and the bridge is considered the "flag bridge" of the State of Florida (*Note - if you have early dining seating you will miss the bridge passing - it's best experienced from the outside upper decks. Our solution? - late seating, or just do the Brassserie for dinner first night out.) For you stalwart photographers or sightseers, the ship passes under the bridge around 3 a.m. on the return leg. Like most cruises, even though the ship was full, you could always find places to hang out away from the crowd. We never found serving lines too long, we could always find a lounge chair, a table for lunch, or a quiet place to read a book. Will we cruise Carnival again? Well, we already have a cruise booked for next year on the Liberty! Of course, in the meantime, there is always the Inspiration...so close... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We just recently returned from our family vacation aboard Carnival Inspiration - a 5 night cruise with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Carnival is a wonderful family cruise line, catering to the needs of every age group. Going during ... Read More
We just recently returned from our family vacation aboard Carnival Inspiration - a 5 night cruise with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Carnival is a wonderful family cruise line, catering to the needs of every age group. Going during fall break (10/19/09-10/24/09) meant the kids had other kids to pal around with, however, not so many that "clicks" were formed. According to the cruise director, the number of kids drop to half that of summer and spring breaks -which worked out perfectly for adults and kids alike! We drove down to Tampa, FL on Sunday the 18th and stayed at the Chase Suites Hotel. We purchased the cruise package which allowed us to leave our vehicle on their property during the cruise. The hotel took us to the port and picked us up as well. We received a room with two queen beds and a pull out from the couch which accommodated all five of us nicely. The Chase Suites are not within walking distance to anything; however, they do have a mini basketball and tennis courts along with a pool. We drove to dinner, then came back and played HORSE on the basketball court with the kids. Then it was time to watch Sunday night football, relax, and go to sleep. Embarkation went smoothly and we were on the ship in no time enjoying the lunch buffet on the Lido deck. During our time on board we enjoyed putt-putt golf, ping pong tournaments, Latin dance classes, and much more. This particular cruise had a Halloween party. We did not bring costumes, but it was fun watching those that did. Although we did not see the kids much during the day and night, we always met for dinner and sometimes one out of the three kids would go to breakfast with us! At dinner we had some good meals and some GREAT meals. The lobster & shrimp on elegant night was delicious - not to mention the Bitter and Blanc. Oh my - if you have never tried this chocolate bread pudding you have missed a small part of heaven. The short ribs, lamb chops, and lasagna were also wonderful. The Chateaubriand w/ bEarnaise sauce was really the only disappointment at dinner - so an all around culinary delight! A "Shout Out" to Luis and Eduardo who saw to our every need in the Mardi Gras dinning room. Our room steward was Jerry; he kept everything neat and tidy. He greeted us by name every day and always kept a wonderful smile on his face. All the Carnival employees we came in contact with were wonderful - from the cruise director Skip, to the casino host, to the guy washing down the rails! We had two ports of call - Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We did not get off the boat in Grand Cayman (raining), but we did have an excursion in Cozumel. I found many recommendations for a private beach called Nachi Cocom on the Cruise Critic boards. I booked a reservation on-line prior to leaving for the cruise along with a massage for my husband. The beach limits the number of people to 100 per day and for our stay there were only 30-40 people there - it was heaven! Included in the $49 price (adult) and approx. $29 (kids) was unlimited beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and a three course meal (adults) or two course meal (children). We had nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and fried chicken tacos. The food was quite good. They have a fresh water pool right on the beach which had a swim-up bar. The kids loved this (so did my husband) and we ended up spending most of our time in the pool! There was a Jacuzzi right beside the pool for adults only which felt really good. This place was worth it! Debarkation was fairly stress free - it would have been completely stress free if people would have waited for their deck to be called for self-debarkation - like they were asked to do - but there is always going to be those who don't listen or frankly just don't care. Overall it was a wonderful fall get-a-way! Going in October was a nice change in terms of crowd control and kid overload - give it a try! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We sailed on the Carnival Inspiration on October 19. I'll try to offer advice for new cruisers in my review. EMBARKATION - The process went quite smoothly. We chose to valet park for $85 and paid with our credit card. It would ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Inspiration on October 19. I'll try to offer advice for new cruisers in my review. EMBARKATION - The process went quite smoothly. We chose to valet park for $85 and paid with our credit card. It would have cost $70 to park my car myself and it was worth $15 to have someone else deal with it. Take with you the same credit card that you booked your cruise with. If you don't, the Carnival employee has to fill out a new credit card form and this will slow the check-in process by about five minutes. We walked onto the ship at 12:00 noon and got to our cabins at 1:30 PM. During that 90 minutes we had lunch in the lido deck restaurant and enjoyed the view of the Tampa skyline. PASSPORTS - You don't currently need a passport for a cruise that returns to the same U.S. port that it departs from, but get one anyway. It's so much easier than using a birth certificate (BC) and driver license (DL). With passports, the customs agents and Carnival employees can just open them and quickly check the photo. But with a BC and DL, you have to wait while each family member's BC is unfolded and examined and each DL is checked. Passports are also easier to carry - you can just shove them into your pocket and go. We don't take our passports into port, but if you do, place them in a Zip-Loc bag for protection. CARRYON LUGGAGE - All carryon luggage was x-rayed and passengers were required to discard any drinks that had already been opened. Don't smuggle alcohol onboard in your carryon luggage because you'll have to discard it if they find it. Avoid taking on too much carryon luggage because you'll have to drag it around the ship until your cabin is ready. It's best to use a backpack so you can keep your hands free for climbing stairs, getting food from the buffet, etc. TAKING ALCOHOL ONBOARD - you're not allowed to take alcohol onboard, except Carnival allows one 750-ml bottle of wine per passenger over 21 years of age. To take any other alcohol onboard, use 1-liter collapsible bottles from Dick's Sporting Goods. Place the bottles in your checked luggage and they'll avoid detection by x-ray. I wonder if Carnival really x-rays all of the luggage. While waiting to board I watched some luggage get taken directly from an airport transfer bus to the ship. Also, there were 2,653 passengers on my sailing, which means there were 3,000 - 5,000 pieces of luggage to x-ray. I wonder if Carnival could really x-ray that much luggage in only a few hours. SODA AND WATER - Carnival allows passengers to bring a reasonable amount of soda and bottled water onboard, so we took a 12-pack of Sprite. Soda gets heavy after a while so I prefer to pack it in my checked luggage. WATERWORKS - Most of the Fantasy-class ships now have the WaterWorks (WW) upgrade on the verandah deck and this really makes the ship more enjoyable. I would avoid any Fantasy-class ship that doesn't have the WW upgrade. The WW area draws children away from the pool on the lido deck, making the pool less crowded for adults. Children need to be 42 inches tall to use the slides and this was enforced quite strictly on my sailing. There were a few hundred chairs on the deck near the WW so it was easy to relax and keep on eye our children while they played. DÉCOR AND COMMON AREAS -The common areas were all clean and crew members were often seen wiping down handrails and vacuuming floors. I even saw one crew member on the verandah deck cleaning a gutter with a toothbrush. Hand sanitizer stations were located around the ship, including the buffets lines. I see some other Cruise Critic members complaining about the dEcor on the ship, but I was having too much fun to notice the dEcor. STATEROOM - We were on the Upper deck in cabin U178 and had no problems. Everything was clean and all of our needs were promptly met. We did notice more vibration than we did on our previous cruise on the Fascination when our cabin was located at the front of the ship, but again, I was having too much fun to be bothered by it. Ships are large, powerful machines and if a little vibration bothers you, you might want to consider a land-based vacation. The stateroom has a safe which is opened and closed with a credit card. A sign on the safe warned us to use a credit card (not our Sail and Sign card) to open the safe, so we did. Apparently using your Sail and Sign card will erase the information on its magnetic strip. However, we accidentally used our Sail and Sign card on the first day and had no problem. DINING ROOMS - We were in the Carnivale dining room and had great food for dinner each night. Certain meals are only offered once (e.g., lobster tails, roasted lamb, barbecued ribs) so be sure to order them when you see them. Some meals aren't very filling (e.g., lobster tails) so when you're finished ask your server for another one. The Warm Melting Chocolate Cake was great and I enjoyed it each night. Ask your server to bring extra ice cream with it because the small amount they provide really isn't enough. The only meal I didn't enjoy was the chicken with fettuccini and mushroom sauce dish. We always had breakfast and lunch in the lido deck restaurant and the food was good. Take some bananas and boxes of cereal back to your cabin for snacks later. The cereal makes great snacks for long days in port. Please adhere to the dress code in the restaurant - bikini tops and bare chests are not permitted, but sadly that rule wasn't enforced. I really don't enjoy seeing bare-chested men or size-16 women squeezed into size-10 bikinis in the restaurant when I'm eating. You don't have to change out of your bikini, but please wear a tee shirt and shorts over top of it. LIQUOR STORE - The prices at the onboard liquor store are much cheaper than on land (e.g., we bought a 1-liter bottle of Absolut vodka for $12.00 but a 750-ml bottle will cost about $25 on land) so we always stock up on liquor. Passengers are allowed one liter of alcohol per passenger duty free. You can buy more than one bottle each, but the additional bottles are not duty free. We have never paid a duty on the extra bottles, but if a customs agent told us to we'd gladly do it - it's only a few dollars per bottle. Regardless of when you buy your liquor, you won't receive it until the night before your cruise ends. Your steward will deliver it to your stateroom. You can also buy liquor in port but the ship crew will take it from you and return it to you on the final night of the cruise. There were several liquor stores at the terminal in Cozumel. CAMP CARNIVAL (CC) - Our children spent a lot of time at CC and activities are offered throughout the day. We usually dropped them off at 7:00 PM after dinner and retrieved them between 11:00 PM and midnight. There is no charge before 10:00 PM, and after 10:00 PM they charge $6 per hour for the first child and $4 per hour for each additional child. You can leave your children at CC until 3:00 AM. CC offers many activities for children, including both individual and group activities. We really enjoyed dropping them off after dinner each night and going to shows in the Paris Lounge. When you check your children in at the beginning of the cruise, the CC staff will issue you a telephone so they can reach you in an emergency. GRAND CAYMAN - This is a tender port but we had no problem quickly getting to land and back. There were three ships in port that day but about a dozen tenders operating, so waits were short. We took the Stingray City Sandbar tour and really enjoyed it. You'll save a lot of money by booking online through a tour operator instead of Carnival. We paid $125 for four people and this was about half of Carnival's price. We chose an operator that used a catamaran and I recommend you do the same. He used the boat's engine to take us to the stingrays and snorkeling, but on the way back to land he opened up the sails and we had a peaceful 45-minute sail. Take some cash on the excursion. Our operator took pictures of us holding stingrays and burned them to a CD for us on the sail back to land. The cost was $50 (which was a good price for about 15 pictures) but he only accepted cash. It's hard to take your own pictures if you have small children because the water is about four feet deep and the waves are trying to knock you over and your child is on your back holding on for dear life. COZUMEL - This is a newly rebuilt cruise terminal that opened in 2008 after the previous one was badly damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Carnival actually built and operates the terminal. This is an awesome port with a large shopping complex in the terminal only a few steps from the pier. There are about 100 stores at the terminal and everything is clean and well-organized. The terminal is actually at Puerta Maya, not Cozumel. Cozumel is a short drive to the north. There is a parking lot where the taxis line up and wait for passengers and large signs showing the fares for various destinations on the island. This was nice as it eliminated any haggling with taxi drivers about prices. A man was directing the taxis and we told him how many were in our group, and he directed a taxi van to come over and get us. Everything was well organized. Cozumel is so much better than Nassau, where the taxi drivers start hounding you to use their services as soon as you step out of the terminal. We visited Playa Mia Beach Park six miles south of the pier and it's a great place to take children. There is a playground, bar, restaurant with giant tent you can eat under, jet skis for rent, trampolines (both in the water and on land), paddle boats, restrooms, lockers, umbrellas for rent, vendors selling souvenirs, and much more. Most importantly, there were freshwater outdoor showers you could use to rinse the saltwater off. The cost was $16 per person for basic admission, but you can pay more and have drinks and food included. Our taxi driver gave us a form (sort of a coupon) that gave us a $2 per person discount. The taxi ride was $32 each way for six passengers, less for fewer than six passengers. Playa Mia accepts all major credit cards but I don't think the taxi drivers did, so take some cash with you. DEBARKATION - This process went smoothly. Be sure to attend the debarkation talk in the Paris Lounge on the final full day (only one member of your group needs to go) because you'll learn valuable information. After getting our luggage in the terminal we walked across the street and our car was brought to us on the fourth deck of the parking garage. A porter will likely offer to carry your luggage across the street for you. Be aware that if you chose valet parking the parking company probably told you to retrieve your car from the fourth deck of the parking garage after your cruise. Make sure your porter rides the elevator up to the fourth deck with you. Our porter tricked us and told us we had to pick up our car on the ground level, then dropped off our luggage and left. Moments later we remembered we were supposed to get our car on the fourth deck, so we had to drag our luggage onto the elevator and take it up to the fourth deck. Don't let your porter trick you - if the parking company tells you to get your car on the fourth deck, make your porter take your luggage up there. SHIP MOTION - This was a nice smooth ride. The ship rocked very little and the Gulf of Mexico was calm. My wife wore 4-inch stiletto heels to dinner and the shows each night and didn't have any problem getting around. POSSIBLE DOWNSIDES - If you want an elegant cruise this is not the ship to take. There were men guzzling beer from funnels in front of children; enormous tattooed women squeezed into bikinis that were much too small, walking through the restaurant; women wearing shower shoes (flip flops) with their dresses; and men who wore gym shorts to the dining room and thought that "Cruise Elegant Night" meant putting on a clean tee shirt. At times the ship had a "spring break" feel to it, even though it was October. Nothing wrong with people being themselves, I'm just warning you that if you're looking for an upscale cruise you won't find it on this ship. Carnival is a blue-collar cruise line that caters to the mass market. No problem there, I'm just letting you know. CONCLUSION - Carnival Inspiration was a great cruise at a competitive price and I highly recommend it. My group had a blast and we're looking forward to our next cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. The ship and cruise line are very child- and family-oriented. We plan to continue sailing Carnival because it matches our interests and budget. Our next cruise is already booked! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
This was my adult son's first cruise and my 5th - all on Carnival ships. Chose this 5 day cruise for the destinations - been to Playa del Carman and visited Xcaret on previous trip with husband, but wanted to see the Tulum ruins this ... Read More
This was my adult son's first cruise and my 5th - all on Carnival ships. Chose this 5 day cruise for the destinations - been to Playa del Carman and visited Xcaret on previous trip with husband, but wanted to see the Tulum ruins this time and still get some snorkeling in - so picked this itinerary. We really lucked out as the Inspiration, while a little smaller and older than the Spirit class ships, the cruise director, Skip Lyons (from Australia) & his staff really made life on board a blast compared to the other cruises that I have been on! Room - I always pick a low, mid-ship room with a view for less movement and cost. Unfortunately, this cabin was beside a storage area so it was noisy most of the night. Finally left TV on easy going music to drown out noise. Other than that, room & bathroom were large as usual, plenty of storage, and had an excellent room steward named Alex who always left fun towel animals. Dining - I chose "Your Time" dining and always had dinner in Mardi Gras dining room every night for the gourmet meals and to enjoy meeting other guests. Liked to eat there for breakfast, too for the better choices in juices and eggs, then took lunch at the buffet. Lobster & Tiger shrimp are served on Formal night - so don't miss it, but every night was good and their standard babyback ribs were large, tender and tasty. Service was fine at all tables and Matre'D from Greece was very friendly to all and even gave out the famus melting chocolate cake recipe on the last night! Lots of nice places in and around buffet to eat, also and don't forget the Serenity deck and eating area - just past and outside the Pizzeria - great view and nice & quiet. Entertainment - Love & Marriage was funny as usual and since my son got picked for the talent show - it was very memorable, too. He actually participated in almost every contest he could fit in, i.e. ping-pong, bean bag toss, trivia, Karaoke, Black Jack, drink mixology, etc. Not hard to do - just get there early, sign up and have fun! The musicals, comedian and juggling shows were all top quality, great entertainment and always packed - so go early, but don't save more than one extra seat please! Embarkation was a bit long as we got there right at 1:00, but Debarkation, and visiting ports of call were all very quick and easy. Got off ship by 9:30 after sleeping in late and eating in dining room (our number was 22) and got back to Tampa airport in plenty of time for 12:30 flight. October was great time to go - heard there were 400 kids on board, but didn't see many. Weather and water were both warm and not too hot. Really enjoyed cruise and if Skip is still there next fall - will definitely go back to see more sights in Western Caribbean on the Inspiration! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Embarkation/Debarkation: We stayed at the Howard Johnson Plaza in Downtown Tampa. I would reccomend this hotel to anyone. Price was right for cruise package, hotel was nice and clean, and they shuttle you anywhere for free so you ... Read More
Embarkation/Debarkation: We stayed at the Howard Johnson Plaza in Downtown Tampa. I would reccomend this hotel to anyone. Price was right for cruise package, hotel was nice and clean, and they shuttle you anywhere for free so you can party the night before you leave! When we got to the port we were the first in line at about 10:30. At about 11:15 they let us go inside. got our accounts set up very quick and we waited in the lobby for about 30 minutes before we got on board. It was very quick and easy. No problems. We did self assist debarkation and we were off the ship by 9:30. No issues. Food: Lido food was good. I enjoyed the sandwich station and pizza. We ate in the Dining room every night except for 1 and it was great. I had 2 appetizers and two entrees every night. Cheese cake on first night and melting cake every other night. It was all very good. We had sushi everyday. It was did the job, but not the best I have had. I enjoyed their specialty coffee every morning. In Cayman we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. Their computers were down so service was slow, but the food was good. In Cozumel we stayed at Nachi Cocom and the food was great. I had the fried mozzarella and chicken tacos. My wife had the nachos and fajitas. No dessert there, too much alcohol! Lounges/Shows/Activities: I enjoyed Choppins Lounge for cigars and sports. It is unfortunate that Carnival does not get more sports channels, that is probably my biggest complaint...I enjoy relaxing with some sports shows and was not able to because they only offer ESPN Desportes... We stayed in the Piano Bar for a little while. It was nice and the piano player was good. We also enjoyed staying in the Inspiration Blvd. area, especially during sushi. We went to one of the comedy shows. It was okay, not as good as the show on RCI earlier this year. We also went to the Love and Marriage show...very funny. My wife had to drag me to the Broadway show, that is not my thing...but she liked it. We took part in several activities. Salsa dance class, scrap booking class (wife), sports trivia, and a couple others. They were all fun, but the first sports trivia got canceled and the second one seemed thrown together. Ports: Grand Cayman: Rained all day. We took the Cayman City tour through Carnival. They increased the price by $20 per person due to the weather....I was a little upset about that but oh well. It went to the turtle farm which was neat. It also went to the Rum Cake store. That was a pretty lame stop, they had the same store in the port. The final stop was in Hell. It was interesting to see the formations and we sent a postcard back home. After that we went to a couple cigar shops and ate at Hard Rock. Cozumel: In Cozumel we stayed at Nachi Cocom all day. this was the highlight of the trip for me. The weather was great and Nachi was great. Great food, drinks, service, beach, pool, everything. I will be surprised if I ever go to Cozumel again and do not spend the day at Nachi. After way too many Coronas I went back to the ship. No shopping, unfortunately I was not in the condition to walk around. The only complaint I have is the cigars at Nachi. The guy who runs the activities booth sold me some "Cubans" that were not Cubans. It is a little my fault for being uninformed, but I think they should be honest with their customers. It was not like I was buying them from some guy on the street. Luckily I did not pay Grand Cayman prices.... Overall our trip was great. I will definitely go on this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
I am 33 and my gf is 31. We are from NE Oklahoma and we left on Sunday Sep, 7th (a day early) and flew out of Tulsa to Tampa. We had a room booked at La Quinta about a mile from the airport, with one call from the baggage area they picked ... Read More
I am 33 and my gf is 31. We are from NE Oklahoma and we left on Sunday Sep, 7th (a day early) and flew out of Tulsa to Tampa. We had a room booked at La Quinta about a mile from the airport, with one call from the baggage area they picked us up. The driver was very friendly and the hotel was ok. It was far from a five star but I was just looking for something close to the airport with a fair rate. I purchased Carnival's transportation to and from the airport so we had the hotel take us back to the airport which was complimentary so that was good. I did not realize that the hotel offered a shuttle to the cruise terminal and it was cheaper. Had I known that I would have went with them but oh well, lesson learned. Ok so now that was all the pre-cruise. What I want to do is try to answer questions many have before taking this cruise and make it objective as possible. I read review after review with nothing but pure opinions and letting their personality take over. It does seem that certain types of personalities do enjoy the cruise very much and others do not. You may want to read several reviews written by people that seem to convey your same type of characteristics. This may help, I am not sure however, lol. I will admit I had a great time and nothing really upset me and things that did I overlooked them quickly and maintained my positive cruising outlook. But that is just me, I am not one to stare at every part of the ship looking for cracks and rust spots. Ok so we arrive at the airport baggage area and immediately spotted carnival representatives because they were wearing name tags and dressed in carnival attire. The gentleman smiled, asked me for my receipt, showed me where to wait and told me and my gf to have a great time. We waited for about 20 minutes and the big Mears bus arrived. We loaded up and went to another area of the airport and picked up more people. The bus was totally full and in fact one person extra. The bus driver then began to drive to the port, explaining sights along the way and giving us some information on what to expect when we arrive at the peer and how to embark quickly. The porters took our bags and off we went into security. Same security as in the airports, except I don't think we had to take our shoes off. Oh let's see, I think we got to the port about 1230. So we began to walk to the area where you get your sail and sign card and all and everyone was handed a little survey asking if we had any signs of swine flu. I checked every box yes and I wasn't allowed on the ship so here is the end of my review. I will remember next time not to joke so much, lol. Totally just kidding. So we got in line and it took about 15 minutes to be waited by a lady behind the counter. There were so many people working back there that it didn't take long. At least to me 15 minutes isn't long. I would say no more than ten minutes with the clerk then we were told a number and to start boarding the ship when they called it. It was 5 minutes and we handed someone our sail and sign card for confirmation then we walked almost onto the ship but we stopped at a place where they asked if they could take our picture with a backdrop of the ship. Then we got on the ship. So now on the ship, we were told it would be about 130 when we could go to our stateroom but there were buffets to get some lunch. We went and got a burger and some fries, there were other items to choose from such as hot dogs and all kinds of food. Then there was a choice of water, tea or lemonade to drink. We ate and then went around and took some pictures of the bay and the city and some of our ship. While we were doing that a carnival photographer came and took our picture. All the pictures they take of you are available on the promenade deck by the casino. We did eventually buy a couple of pictures and frames which came to 45 dollars approximately. There are different frames at different prices. Ok so when 130 hit we did go check out the room. This was my third cruise, my gf first. It was the same size as the other two I had been on, but she wasn't expecting it to be smaller than a hotel room. We did not like the temperature in the room, we always felt it was a little bit warm. I asked a few other couples I had met throughout the cruise and they didn't have any problems. I really think since me and her are hotblooded and overweight we don't cool down as quick. We wear shorts further into the fall than many others. If we would have spent more time in the room than to just relax and sleep, I would have been more upset. The first two cruise I took were inside cabins, this one was an ocean view. I will never cruise without at least a window again. It was nice being able to look out, and one time it stormed and the lightning across the water was something me and my gf enjoyed watching. The weather in Oklahoma had begun cooling down so we were getting beat down with the southern heat. There is one pool on the ship, I do not know the dimensions. At times where it was really hot, the pool was full with everyone just being able to stand in one spot. There is no pool with the slides or with the other portion of the water works. There is about 4 flights of stairs to get to the slide that winds around a few times. They also have two racing slides that is one deck high. I had fun on the racing slides and the swirly slide. There was always pizza available since it is 24 hour, along with the ice cream. There is a deli by the pizza stand that is open until 11 pm. The room service is also 24 hours. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich each night on my cruise. About 3 times they did not get the order exactly right, like not getting pretzels instead of chips or only one tea when ordered two. We went to the mardi gras dining room each night. There were about 6 selections of meat each night. Two I believe were the same each night. There were several starters each night and several different desserts offered each night. On the captains gala night, lobster was offered and so was prime rib. Every night I had the warm chocolate melting cake and most often the people I ate with ordered that as well. We opted for the anytime dining. We went down at a different time each night and were seated almost immediately except for the first night when we waited about 20 minutes for a table for two. The table for two people are spread about a foot apart from the table for four people. For the casino, there were about 50 or more slots. About 10 tables in all as well. I am totally throwing a guess at these numbers but you can kinda get the idea here. The casino is on the promenade with several bars. My gf sang karaoke 3 nights and she was totally a star in her mind and it was great for her to have such a great time singing. There were many people singing and just getting up and acting funny. There was not an hour or half hour where there wasn't some kind of activity offered somewhere on the ship. We did a salsa class where we got to learn a little salsa dance, we actually all got to get on stage and do it. Other activities included ice carving session where you could watch someone carve something out of a block of ice, they had a hairy chest contest, bingo several times and a drawing to win a free cruise. For 20 tickets it was 20 dollars to enter the raffle. Each time there was a bingo session, one card was offered for 10 dollars or a 3 card sheet for twenty dollars. There was a broadway style show that included dancing and singing and some humor. There was a comedian, we watched the pg13 version but didn't go see him when he did his R version. I laughed several times and it was often you could hear the audience laugh as a group. On debarkation day we got up at 6 and about 7 we went up to the Lido deck and had breakfast. About 745 they announced that self assist would begin soon. Me and Kandace went down to our room and gathered our things. At about 8 we preceded to leave the ship, we had to give our sail and sign card to a staff and they put it in a machine and then gave it back. We were allowed to go down the escalator because we had a free hand to grip the escalator. People that had their hands full or could not put a free hand on the rail had to wait for the elevator. We were off the ship by 820. We got to the airport so soon we were able to fly out at 955am instead of our scheduled flight that was going to leave at 430pm (long story). We got back into Tulsa like at 300. Now for the subjective area of my review (yeah I know I slipped at times in my review). We had a wonderful time, we met great people from the cruise critic roll call and they were an absolute delight. It made the experience even that much better. I enjoyed all the activities and all the food. Taking the tender to Grand Cayman stinks and is not for the impatient. We were shuffled around although we had an early excursion, but it wasn't booked with carnival. Carnival booked excursions were allowed to leave the ship first. I am not going to write about the ports and all. You can always write me and ask if you would like. I did love the stingray tour I did and all the people we did it with. WOW what a great time. I can't wait to go on the Conquest next year. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Embarkation Although we live in Tampa, this was the first time we had sailed from Tampa. The Channelside area where the port terminals are located, is a very congested area, as there are several tourist attractions in the area. This made ... Read More
Embarkation Although we live in Tampa, this was the first time we had sailed from Tampa. The Channelside area where the port terminals are located, is a very congested area, as there are several tourist attractions in the area. This made the embarkation process slow. Even once we were finally in the terminal building, there were long lines for the check-in process. We find the process a lot simpler at Port Canaveral. The ship The Inspiration was upgraded a few years ago, even so we were impressed by the condition of an older ship. If they had to make an improvement it would be to the elevators and elevator lobby areas. They have seen better days. Otherwise the decor was top notch. We spent a lot of time on the lido deck (that is were the food and drink is :)). Off of the lido deck there is an area called the serenity deck that is reserved for guests over 21. It was nice to have an area free from kids and it offered a great place to enjoy a meal and relax outside. Our cabin We had an inside cabin on the upper deck. We really like the cabins on Carnival. Although they are comparative in size to other cruise lines, they have done a great job in laying out the cabin so that you don't feel cramped. The bedding is excellent on Carnival. The cabin staff did an excellent job on our cabin. It looked so clean it was like we were the first people to use the cabin. Bathroom was spotless. Dining This was first time we had tried anytime dining. The experience was good, but I think next time we will go with a scheduled dinner time. The anytime made us lazy to get ready for dinner. The food throughout the cruise was excellent. There was a varied choice of foods and we could always find something that was appealing. Best meal was on the formal night when I had lobster tail, tiger shrimp and porterhouse. Everyday they have the melting chocolate cake available which is one of our favorites. The staff in the dining room did not appear as friendly as usual and this might be because we sat at a different table each night. Although we had one excellent main waiter who made the evening fun for the table. We only ate breakfast in the dining room once, choosing the Lido deck the other days. Entertainment This ship had been upgraded a few years ago, so there is a water park that kids will really enjoy. The ship had the usual casino, which was as stingy as usual :). The shows and comedians were enjoyable. Ports of call This cruise went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, both of which we had been to before. In Grand Cayman we hired a scooter (for $8 an hour, with $100 deposit) and went around the island. We stopped in at the Tortuga rum shop, were we got some free samples of cake and rum. We had lunch at Calico Jack's on the beach. Very nice island feeling. We enjoyed swimming with the water feeling like warm bath water. As we had been shopping in Cozumel previously, we decied to take a walk along the water front, which proved difficult to do because it was a really hot day. So we enjoyed a few hours in a restaurant having a cerveza or two. Disembarkation This was lot easier than getting on the ship. We did self assist, so there was no waiting for luggage. They called us by deck and we were the second deck to be called. As always it was a sad feeling to be returning to every day life and to leave behind being spoiled on the ship. We found this cruise, like all others, to be an awesome experience and still the best value for money. I cannot wait for our next cruise which will be on the Carnival Dream. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My husband and I were on the Sept 22nd cruise out of Tampa, FL. We live near Tampa so we arrived early (10am) and instantly someone was there taking our luggage. We parked our car in the parking garage and it was well taken care of there. ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Sept 22nd cruise out of Tampa, FL. We live near Tampa so we arrived early (10am) and instantly someone was there taking our luggage. We parked our car in the parking garage and it was well taken care of there. We were there for a wedding, so as soon as the ship was cleared by customs we were one of three wedding groups on the ship before anyone else. Because of this we didn't have to fight the crowds. They did a quick wedding rehearsal while all the wedding attendees wandered the practically deserted ship. Lucky for us the Brassiere WAS serving, so even though we were going to attend a reception, we all loaded up on food beforehand. The wedding was wonderful and afterwards there was a reception in one of the dance clubs. The food was good at the reception and it was open bar so perhaps most of us had a bit much to drink before we even left port. After the noncruising wedding guests left the ship we went to our cabin and got ready for the muster drill. We were in U20, and I was worried about being near the front of the ship, but I actually ended up liking it up there. It was quiet because not a lot of people passed our way, and our steward was great. We had a bottle of champange and chocolate covered strawberries in the room because we were in the wedding party. The cabin was bigger then I expected, but we really didn't spend much time in it so it wasn't our big priority. I think it would be a waste of money if we would have gotten an exterior room. If your fairly active and like to be on the go, take my advice... save the money... get an inside cabin. After enjoying and wandering the ship at bit it was time for dinner. Our party opted for the 6pm dining so I was a little disappointed that I missed the ship going under the Sunshine Skyway. However we were sitting with the sailing wedding guests and newly married couple, so we couldn't bail on them. The food on the ship was excellent. I wasn't always thrilled with the choices in the Brassiere buffet, but I always enjoyed dinner in the dining room. The pizza bar was decent, and I never actually got the sushi bar when it was opened. If it was 24 hours I would have been eating a lot of sushi... The next day was a Day at Sea. My husband made it his mission to obtain as many 24ct. gold plastic pieces of ship on a stick as possible. Needless to say we participated in every trivia, beanbag toss, minigolfing, misc. game possible. I think we only won one of the trivia games this day because there was some super trivia freaks on the cruise. In the afternoon we dragged our friends that just got married and their parents to the Love and Marriage game show in the Paris lounge. Because they were the couple that had been married the least amount of time they ended up being one of the couples chosen to participate. Because the brides parents were married the most amount of time in the room they were ironically also chosen. Needless to say the game was HILARIOUS, and a must see event. On a negative, we, the newlyweds, and their parents purchased a copy of the DVD of the game, and ended up with a DVD of the game from a previous cruise. Although all parties have complained about it Carnival didn't make any moves to rectify the situation as far as I know. We really didn't push it or make a phone call, and pretty much figured that they probably already disposed of the game from the cruise we were on. Our first port of call was Grand Cayman. I really wanted to go to Stingray City but the hubby just wanted to explore the area.... so he won. It's a quaint place and we spent a bit more money then we planned on but had a good time. Hubby tried on a $20,000 Rolex and I had to draw the line! The second day was Cozumel. The husband saw how disappointed I was about Stingray city so he surprised me with two tickets to the Stingray encouter in Cozumel. I was a little disappointed at first because it didn't look like much and was right along the coast, but it was actually a ton of fun, and no worries because the stingrays all had their stingers cut. It was all enclosed in a very large netted area and we got to snorkle around with them and feed them for quite awhile! After our awesome adventure, which we spent quite a bit on the photos of, the husband went back to the ship to win his silly trophy for the day, and I went souvenir shopping. Word to the wise, don't shop in the plaza right off the port. I was stupid and bought a few things there, and found them soooo much cheaper when I walked out into the streets. Even though the streets seemed really shady, it was worth saving the money. I was a little sad we didn't go to Carlos and Charlies and that is a spot I will DEFINATELY being doing on my next cruise! Our last day at sea was a relaxing fun day. We spent most of it by the pool with our friends drinking out of smoke stacks and carved coconuts. My crazy husband even entered the hairy chest competition and got another trophy (for a grand total of 4). The hairy chest competition was HILARIOUS, and I am soooo disappointed I didn't have my camera!!! That day we also did the art auction. We ended up going a bit overboard and won three different pictures. We got them all framed and when they were delivered they were perfect. It was a lot of money to spend but we really love our pictures. Debarkation was crowded but swift, and I learned a packing lesson. From now on I need to have one hand free when walking with my luggage so I could take the escalator and not have to wait for the elevator. (they actually MAKE you wait and take the elevator for safety) I personally cannot WAIT for my next Carnival cruise now! It was so much fun! We actually are already planning our next one right now! Please don't be turned off by negative reviews of this ship... as with anything... it's what you make of it! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
My family just got back from the best vacation ever! We went on a 4 day cruise on Carnival Inspiration to Cozumel. We have been on alot of family vacations but this was by far the most fun and the most relaxing. The ship was very clean and ... Read More
My family just got back from the best vacation ever! We went on a 4 day cruise on Carnival Inspiration to Cozumel. We have been on alot of family vacations but this was by far the most fun and the most relaxing. The ship was very clean and very beautiful. The staff was exceptional! We felt very spoiled! The room steward takes care of all your needs as far as the room goes." Diddick "was so sweet and made us feel right at home. Our waiter "Antonio" was awesome. He was our server every night which was great because he got to know us a little bit. One night my daughter was very tired and could not make dinner and he made sure to send her an entree to our room. He was very sweet to our kids. The entertainment was GREAT! Always something to do. The nightly entertainment was great including comedy, live music, and magic shows. There were several parties on the lido deck which was alot of fun!! The Captains reception was VERY nice.(live music,dancin, and free wine). The gym and steam rooms were exceptional. I can't say enough on how clean it was in those areas including the locker rooms and showers. The Circle "c" club which was for tweens was GRRReat. They kept my son busy the whole time with activities(prom night, scavenger hunt, pool party, video games, etc.) This was a great place for kids!! Our port of call was Cozumel. The water was crystal clear and beautiful. We decided on the catermaran FURY tour. Best Day ever!! We went snorkeling for 45 minutes and saw the most beautiful sites. We then went to a private beach where there was all kinds of water FUN waiting for us. And did I mention there was all you can drink margaritas, beer and sodas. It was definitely a party on the catamaran. The shopping in Cozumel was great everything was such good prices. A few tips for anyone going on this cruise - take walkie talkies if you have kids, take a jacket because the ship gets chilly at night, book your shore excursions with carnival(you may think you will save with an outside company but take it from someone who learned the hard way. I booked a trip with Cozumel watersports and when I got there NONE of the taxi drivers had ever heard of the place and the phone number had been disconnected very upsetting situation but turned out for the best because carnival had the catamaran tour available yea!!!)go out on deck late at night and enjoy the beauty, take advantage of everything the ship has to offer(don't waste your time sleeping get out there and have FUN)I read some bad review on this ship before I left for my cruise and was a little nervous but let me say there was nothing bad to say about this cruise except that it was AWESOME and we are ready to go again. Hope you have as much fun as we did!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
Our cruise on the Carnival Inspiration exceeded our expectations! Having read the negative reviews of a few we had some concerns but these proved to be unfounded. We booked through a Carnival vacation planner and this went quite ... Read More
Our cruise on the Carnival Inspiration exceeded our expectations! Having read the negative reviews of a few we had some concerns but these proved to be unfounded. We booked through a Carnival vacation planner and this went quite smoothly as we were prior guests on Carnival so all of our information was still in the system. We picked this particular cruise because it fit into the complex family schedule of jobs and returning to school. We had been to both Grand Cayman and Cozumel previously but enjoyed new excursion experiences in both locations. We booked with Stingray Sailing in GC and hired a cab for a tour of the Island in Cozumel and then a short visit to Carlos and Charlies. The STingray sailing and snorkeling was excellent. Got to hold and feed the Stingrays and snorkel at a nearby reef. The Cozumel tour took us around the Island with stops at many different locations as well. Perfect for us as we live near the beach so did not need the extra beach time there. In Tampa boarding the ship went quickly and we were on the Lido deck enjoying ourselves with a drink in no time at all. The muster drill was even easy since we were able to sit down in the air conditioned lounge for the presentation. This was our 10th cruise and the food was very good, better than we anticipated, after having read some negative reviews. We made some new friends at dinner from the adjoining table and found the time to be very relaxing. We ordered the wine package so basically got one bottle free after paying for 4. We had breakfast and lunch either in the Lido buffet area, by the pool or in the dining room. Lines yeas but we could manage this pretty easily! The entertainment was very good, especially the Carnival dancers and singers. Very well done and don't see how anyone could be too critical of this group for cruise ship entertainment. The 2 comedians were crude at the adult versions which was to be expected and in our opinion both were actually better at the "G" rated versions. The magician was entertaining. Our room steward did a fine job and was friendly and courteous. Our waiter and assistant waiter were not the the best wait staff we have had but were average. They both needed to pay little more attention to some detail! The music and pool activities were enjoyable. The music better than we expected and much better than our prior Carnival experience. The bars and lounges were fun and we enjoyed the piano bar after or before the evening shows. There were lots of young kids on this cruise. We enjoyed watching them having fun from a distance! With a family of 5, we've been there and done that and believe everyone should enjoy their vacation. They did and we did too! Only 2 comments about the ship that would make the experience better for us. We wish there was a second pool and the Paris Lounge has lots of seats that are not easy to see the stage from. The balcony seats having obstructed views from almost every angle. All in all, very enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
This is our second cruise and we choose Carnival again because we liked our fist cruise on Valor. We know Inspiration was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. I ... Read More
This is our second cruise and we choose Carnival again because we liked our fist cruise on Valor. We know Inspiration was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. I can't give a full review to this ship and its services because our experiences will tell you it is not needed. Cabin - Dirty, period. The bathroom had sewage smell, called for repair/clean up twice, never fixed. Our son dropped his toy under our bed so he used a stick trying to get it out, he got the toy out, as well an opened condom package, a piece of chipped toe nail and something else disgusting. Food and the service - The food in the dinning room was below average which is not a too big problem to us - we are not too picky. We had open seating and the service was very slow, the average wait time was 25 minute from ordering to getting the starters. Twice, the waiter did not pour water for us (and the table next to us) until after he gave us the starters. I ordered "hand-picked" greens one night, I got spoiled black colored baby spinach - not just one but more than a dozen. I know people say you get what you pay for, that's just not what I or anyone wanted to pay for. Sanitation and food safety should be kept at the highest stand regardless the ship class. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We got back from our Inspiration cruise 2 weeks ago. It was our 2nd time on Inspiration, the 1st being our Honeymoon. This was our 8th cruise, our 6th with Carnival. Inspiration had recently been updated with the new features we had on the ... Read More
We got back from our Inspiration cruise 2 weeks ago. It was our 2nd time on Inspiration, the 1st being our Honeymoon. This was our 8th cruise, our 6th with Carnival. Inspiration had recently been updated with the new features we had on the Imagination last year. We loved the updates, but still felt Imagination looked better, cleaner. Overall we had a great cruise, we always do, but the service was not as good as we have had in the past. We had to ask for our ice bucket to be refilled, we had to ask for fresh towels the morning of our excursions. These were little touches we had come to expect. Especially since paying for a suite. I would bring a glass of wine to dinner from my cabin and the glass would not be replaced. Really, only little complaints. Port of Tampa is not as nice as Miami. VIP check in is separate, but waiting area is nothing like Miami. Didn't feel like VIP. We were onboard by 11:30 am and having lunch on the Lido with 5 minutes. Rooms were not ready until 1, but my husband was allowed to drop off carryons in the room. The shows were good, comdey shows were fun. The cruise director, Skip was very enjoyable. The maitre'd was the best we have ever had. George the Greek is hysterical. We looked forward to dinner every night. He is very personable. The wait staff were good, not great. Camp Carnival did a fantastic job. There were more kids on this ship, than I think were on the Disney cruise. WOW. But our kids were well entertained and made many friends. Of course there were some playing in the elevators, but most of the lids on board were friendly and respectful. Lido deck food varied from ok to very good. The deli had great sandwiches, and the burgers are great as always. Kids could not get enough ice cream. One strange thing, was quesedillas were not available from room service the whole cruise. Oh well, next time. Waterworks is such a great addition and would love to see it on all of the ships. It is so much fun for the kids. (grown up kids too, LOL) One thing needed is maybe some music back there. Serenity Deck was serene, but hot. A nice touch would be some cool showers, like by the pool. They only have the hot tubs, too hot in 90+ heat. But it is beautiful and relaxing with spa-like music piped in. (there were no kids allowed, and it was reinforced by staff) Ports of call were grand Cayman, where we did the stingray tour with Nativeway and had a blast for a fraction of the price if we had booked with the ship. In Cozumel, we went to our favorite place on the planet, Paradise Beach. It was trip #4 for us, and it gets better each time. They have the beat Guacamole and chips. Nothing beats cold Dos XX. Food in the dining room was ok. The soups were very good, entrees I enjoyed very much. My husband was a little disappointed with his fish entrees. The kids ordered from the adult menu most evenings. It is nice that they have special entrees but there is always a choice of grilled chicken or steak each night. Dessert was great. My son had warm chocolate melting cake every night. My only complaint was that the night they served the cherries jubilee used to be a show in itself. Flaming cherries brought to the table. It was spectacular. They didn't do it this time, so the cherries were not warm. Oh well. So you see, I have a few minor complaints, not anything that would have ruined my cruise. There were just some things I had come to expect from Carnival that didn't happen. But we are already booked for a cruise on the Miacle next summer and we can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
I will probably never go on "Inspiration" again.  Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze at Tampa though. I've been on a couple of Royal Carribean cruises and had a blast so this wasn't my first cruise.  First ... Read More
I will probably never go on "Inspiration" again.  Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze at Tampa though. I've been on a couple of Royal Carribean cruises and had a blast so this wasn't my first cruise.  First off, unless you have kids I would recommend going during the school season.  They have a very small pool and was always crowded.  The rooms were pretty good size(no complaints there).  The food was not that good at all, not even close to the other cruises I've been on.  I guess for the price of the cruise it wasn't bad.  The desserts were the best part of the meal.  The pizza bar would of been ok but the crust for their pizza was salty(can't figure that one out).  The pizza bar is open 24 hours though.  The waiters and Maitre'd were awesome.  They made the evening dining experience good.  Breakfast was the best meal of the day.  No complaints there in any of the places to eat for breakfast.  For lunch I would recommend the hamburger and hotdog line outside.  I would rate the buffet lunch inside better then the dinner in any of the dining rooms.  The food in the buffet was so so.  The salad bar was very good as well as the desserts at lunch time.  Now for the night life.  Once again I'm going to compain about the kids.  I have nothing against kids, but there should be a curfew for them.  Once all the kids left then it was ok, but they didn't leave till almost midnight.  The shows were pretty good.  I wouldn't recommend the comedy shows though.  Boring.  The karaoke was good, as well as the piano bars.  They do have areas specifically for the kids, don't know why they let them hang out around the club areas and the Karaoke bars.  The ship size is not that big, so expect alot of movement.  Definitely wear a patch or take some dramamine. You'd think I was drunk sometimes, and I don't even drink.  Overall for the first time cruiser and those wishing to take their kids this cruise would be great.  I guess I shouldn't complain to much, the price was pretty good.  For the more experienced cruiser I would not recommendthis cruise at all.  Overall the excursions at Cozumel were not bad.  The water in Cozumel is absolutely beautiful.  If you scuba dive I would recommend going to the Grand Caymans.  If you like to snorkel I would stay away from Cozumel, you will be disappointed.  Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Our cruise was a much needed trip for my husband and me.We have been working so much so it was needed rest. So this year we made sure to book my first cruise (his 2nd). I was recommended Carnival through a friend and booking was easy and ... Read More
Our cruise was a much needed trip for my husband and me.We have been working so much so it was needed rest. So this year we made sure to book my first cruise (his 2nd). I was recommended Carnival through a friend and booking was easy and painless. My rep even called a few days before to see if I had any last minute questions. (that to me is a nice touch) Embarkation/Dembarkation- takes about 1hr to get on the boat. Be patient you have security and all the same as if traveling on a plane. We did everything online, so when we got to the desk it was 1,2,3. Then we were on the boat. The first day of course is a little crazy, so just relax. The lines are a little longer at the buffet (we got on around 1:30) because everyone is heading straight there to eat. Rooms don't become available until after 1:30..so we ate and headed to the room. Dembarkation is about an hr long too. We did self assist and we were off the boat by 9:15am. (highly recommend it) It's called by decks so next time we are moving up a few decks. Process was also painless just patience of course. Rooms- Being my first time I wanted a view so we got an oceanview stateroom. Rooms are clean and exactly what we expected. The view is great..pillows and mattress not so much but hey nothing is ever like home. The room stewards make your bed and turn them down for you and that to me is awesome. Fresh towels and bathroom cleaned everyday. Kinda of wish I was on a higher deck because we felt some vibration (we were in the Riviera deck). Only problem only one outlet for your room and just my luck on captains nite my hairdryer must of been a little to strong because the electrician had to reset it. First day at sea- Weather was awesome but the pool gets super crowded so get up early. Unfortunately so does the adult serenity deck. We ended up by the water park..which was a little noisier but great time for laying out. The food is awesome. Hey for being at sea those servers and stateroom stewards do everything possible to accommodate your needs. Food was good not great but there was so many options that you could find something that made you happy. We went to the gym and it has a great view and I loved the steam room. Explore the ships.There are lots of activities but really we were there to relax so it was nice to lounge and read and find spots on the boat to relax.. sushi bar is great plus on this trip.. Last day of Sea-Overall the trip was excellent. Food was good, service was great. Shows there was something for everyone. Some shows were that great but the comedy ones were good. There is something for everyone you just need to look on the daily cruise agenda to see what you want to do. (delivered the nite before by your cabin steward) Dining throughout the entire trip is awesome. Go to the main dining for dinner. The servers are friendly, fast and very knowledgeable. (Much love to Anthony and Michael for taking care of us) They would remind of staying with ship time and all the little extra TLC kind of things you like. They remembered our little favorites such as cappuccino or milk with dessert. (Our table we were one or the other it so cute)The laugh with you and celebrate all special occasions and its nice to watch them dance too. Entertainment- Comedy shows were funny. Paris lounge has weird layout..so best seats are the bottom floor. The other shows were ok..not to impressed with the latin show found it to be a little bland but to each their own. Lots of activities from trivia, scavenger hunts, Karaoke. Only annoying thing I can say is that they will stick a camera in your face as much as they can to take pictures..wow never saw anything like it. Even when eating.. Pricey too. Overall I really enjoyed it and was just a great first experience. Well go again on a cruise it was a great vacation. Thanks to all those hard workers who pick up after us and really just cater to our every need. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
I went on the Inspiration knowing it was a three star, but was excited to see all the "refurbishments". It was to put it nicely "awful" The water park water that it shows on line as having glistening sparkling ... Read More
I went on the Inspiration knowing it was a three star, but was excited to see all the "refurbishments". It was to put it nicely "awful" The water park water that it shows on line as having glistening sparkling water...yea try brown smelling like dirty diaper water. The jr suite with an unobstructed view..yea has a crane for lifting life boats in front of it. The curtains in the room ...ripped with big huge holes in them. The water in the sink in the morning came out brown...didn't clear until the afternoon...yea I wanted to brush my teeth in that..had to use bottled water..at 4 dollars a bottle. Most of the staff were wonderful, only ate in the dining room two nights because and I can't figure this one out, although we were the first table in our section to arrive by at least five minutes we were the last to get served or even have our orders taken. The other tables were served and finished before ours even came out, and no we didnt order anything special. Disembarkation was a nightmare and the staff at the disembarkation station were rude beyond believe. I will never sail on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Husband & I with 2 teenage daughters - drove to Tampa FL from WI & stayed at Chase suites - beautiful suite - more like an apt with full kitchen! Left our car at the hotel & took hotel shuttle to port for $20 - round trip! ... Read More
Husband & I with 2 teenage daughters - drove to Tampa FL from WI & stayed at Chase suites - beautiful suite - more like an apt with full kitchen! Left our car at the hotel & took hotel shuttle to port for $20 - round trip! Loved the Inspiration! We got to the port about 11 am - waited in line & boarded the ship. I like to take a walking tour- then we had lunch on the lido deck & finally got to our room - we had 2 connecting inside cabins on empress deck, worked out great. Grand cayman we went shopping & ended up at Margaritaville for a mango margarita - yum!! great stop there! Cozumel we went to a beach club called nachi cocom - you take a cab there from the port -but need a reservation ahead of time - great food & all drinks are included for 1 price! beautiful beach & swim up bar pool, check out their website!! bring the sunscreen!!! - got a little sunburnt there yikes!! also did a little shopping before heading back to the boat. we gambled a little & entered the slot tournaments. comedy shows were good. sushi was ok, enjoyed formal night & lobster tail & of course the chocolate melting cake! We took bonine once in the am & once in the evening - never got seasick at all! this was the first cruise that I didnt have sea legs when we got home! nice smooth ride at night too! I like to stay in mid-ship cabins! This was our fourth cruise & we love carnival! We left the boat on the last day - wait was long to get called to leave the floor - but everything went very smooth on this trip - called shuttle for ride back to hotel & got to car for the drive back up north. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
This was our fourth cruise on carnival.  We have sailed on the Fantasy, Triumph, Legend and now the Inspiration.  As we did on our May cruise, we arrived in Tampa a day prior and stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites.  The hotel is a ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on carnival.  We have sailed on the Fantasy, Triumph, Legend and now the Inspiration.  As we did on our May cruise, we arrived in Tampa a day prior and stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites.  The hotel is a couple of miles from port and offers a shuttle to the port, not just on the day of the cruise, anywhere within a few miles of the hotel.  Embarkation:  We arrived at the port at around 9:30 and the port authority started letting people in at 10:30.  After we checked in with carnival, received our sail and sign cards, we were in group #1 to board the ship when called.  At 11:40 our group number was called (right around VIP) and we were on the ship at 11:45 and off to the lido deck for lunch. The cabins (except VIPs) are not available to enter until 1:30, so that gave us an opportunity to walk around the ship and find were everything was located.  The muster safety drilled started around 3:30 and lasted about 20-25 minutes and we set sailed at 4:15.  One downside was the pool was not available and would not be available until noon the next day, but the slides in the back of the ship were open. Day 1:  Fun day at Sea.  Activities include the Love and Marriage game, Bingo, Ice Craving, Hairy Chest Contest, etc.  The gym opens up at 6:00, so if you like to workout get there as early as you can.  It gets busy quick.  Day 2:  Cozumel:  We arrived at 8:00 and we were off the ship at 8:30.  The pier is about a 10 minute walk, so if you are traveling with elderly or special needs, there are carriage bikes with riders available to take you to the end of the pier.  They work for tips only.  We booked the sea trek helmet though a private company. The link explains the excursions.  http://www.cozumel-mexico-tours.com/Tour_SeaTrek.cfm (We are not the people in the picture).  The taxi ride to and back to the port was $7.00 each way.  You will have time afterwards to walk about 10 minutes to Carlos and Charles or take a taxi back to the port for some shopping.  Day 3:  Fun day at Sea.   Activities include Scavenger Hunt, Sports Trivia, Bean Bag Toss, Limbo Contest and more fun.    Food:  The buffet breakfast and lunch and the lido deck were just fine with us.  I would describe it as a good Golden Corral.  Dinner has items such as the flat iron steak, prime rib, lobster and shrimp.  The food was very good.  No complaints here.  You can order and eat as much as you want.  Our dinner servers were "Renalto and Prez".  These guys were great.  Before we arrived at our table each night, they already had our tea, lemon and break on the table.  Cabin/Cabin Stewarts:  Since this was a short cruise, we elected to just book a lower level cabin (R162 / Ocean view).  The cabin was fine with us.  Enough room, closet space and bathroom were a nice size.  Our cabin Stewart was "Deric".  A very nice man who went about his business and met all of our needs.  Debarkation:  There is breakfast serviced the morning of arrival.  The ship offers a debarkation talk in the lounge a day prior to arriving back at the port.  You will have two options on leaving the ship from self-assistance or waiting for your zone to be called.  The ship arrives back at the port around 6:15 a.m.  Once customs and immigrations clear the ship, you are free to depart the ship between 8:00 - 8:15.  We did self-assistance and we left are cabin at 8:30; cleared customs; taxi to the airport and was at the gate at 9:45.    If you would like more information about the Inspiration, excursion or the cruise in general, you may email me at retiredmil@charter.net  I also have photos, so if you would like for me to send them to you, it not a problem.  Keith Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Even though I have cruised before my family has not. So I was so pleased with this first choice.  I have never been on Carnival cruises before.  I thought I might hate too many kids running around, but it turned out to be quite fun and ... Read More
Even though I have cruised before my family has not. So I was so pleased with this first choice.  I have never been on Carnival cruises before.  I thought I might hate too many kids running around, but it turned out to be quite fun and enjoyable.  My ten and twelve year old were upset at leaving by the end of the trip.The music on the Lido deck was wayyyyyy too loud!! I've heard the same responses from other people from other ships on the Lido decks.  I guess Carnival wants their guests to leave deaf.  This is the pool area and people are trying to relax during the day so loud electrical guitars just made me angry.  There wasn't even any steel drum Caribbean music which I would have been happy with if it was loud.  But they music they did play was unbarable some times.  PLEASE TAKE NOTE CARNIVAL music on LIDO DECK should be MODERATE! Not blasting loud!!Other than that it was incredibly wonderful.  The programs for my daughters were lovely, and my girls had a wonderful time! (That's a big plus for parents!!!)  We don't want to hear that kids hated it, we picked this cruise line because we can get a break too!!!!The shows were fantastic even for a smaller ship! For the most part every one was attentive to our needs.  Those people working on the rooms are a wonder! They were always trying to keep everything clean and fantastic!  Love the animal towels!Adults take note there is only one pool on this ship so if you want more than one pick another ship because by the noon hour it is packed and crowded on deck. We managed to do other things (there was so much to do!).Inspiration is a lovely break, but too short we really wanted to stay longer the crew was great except for the Lido deck drink servers at the front.  There were two ladies that were constantly miserable serving drinks.  guess I can't blame them it was 100 with humidity, but then again, if you don't like your job leave it!! No ones holding you hostage.  carnival expects you to be of a certain standard and now so do I!!!!  I will cruise with Carnival again.  Most likely Conquest, Valor or the new Dreambut remember...THE BIGGE RTHE SHIP THE MORE PEOPLE ON IT!  So just because it's bigger doesnot mean it's better.  Just more people to fight for things with!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
Had a great time on the Carnival Inspiration 6/20 sailing out of Tampa.  As I've written before in other reviews, Carnival is a line I want to hate because of the "fun ship" atmosphere (just don't like the idea of ... Read More
Had a great time on the Carnival Inspiration 6/20 sailing out of Tampa.  As I've written before in other reviews, Carnival is a line I want to hate because of the "fun ship" atmosphere (just don't like the idea of forced frivolity) but you know what?   I always end up having a good time (fun) on Carnival.   My opposition is waning and Carnival offers an incredible cruising value for the price paid.    Let me preface my review by saying we were traveling with a six-year-old which is why we selected the Inspiration, specifically because of the waterslides and the kid's club.   The Inspiration managed to exceed all of my expectations.  Food was excellent,  service was great, cabin was decent and crew were really nice.    Kid didn't like Camp Carnival, preferred hanging with the grownups and doing things like the pool and karaoke.  Can't say I blame him.  Other kids on board seemed to LOVE Camp Carnival.   One minor glitch was that bags didn't show up for several hours after the ship had left Tampa.    Eventually found them on a cart next to the pursar's desk.   Turns out our luggage had been left outside,  in the rain at Tampa, before loading on board, and the printout bag labels had run making the name and cabin difficult, but not impossible to read.  Each of the bags had 3 other plastic tags with my last name on it so I was a little disappointed that no one made the effort to send the bags down to our cabin, or at least call us and have us pick them up. Obviously we recovered our damp bags, and the Pursar's Desk offered to clean anything that was wet on the inside, an offer that was appreciated, but we didn't need.   If you're a regular cruiser you know what to expect on a cruise to I won't elaborate.  And if you're a first-timer there are plenty of other reviews on here that will fill in you in on the basics.   Carnival has a lot of nice, imaginative touches:  the adults-only deck at the back of the ship,  a sushi stand and a sandwich bar.   A special shout-out to the "Super-Charged" maitre'd.   He was a lot of fun and made our dining room experience special.   The guy doing magic tricks at the table was also a lot of fun.  And the waiter we had (a guy from Ukraine) was extremely pleasant, efficient and knowledgeable.  I wish him well in his Carnival career and beyond.   We also saw whales very close to the ship, so close that the crew were out with videocameras getting pictures.   Your kid will love the waterslides and the minigolf.   Have a great cruise and please don't forget to tip the cabin dude and waitstaff. Everyone works incredibly hard and if you have a good experience definitely show it (not just on this ship, but any cruise!) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
This is our third cruise with Carnival Cruise Line.First on the Inspiration.We sailed out of Tampa on June 15,2009.We got on boat quite smoothly.We went straight to our cabin to check it out.We knew it was going to be small and it was.Then ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Carnival Cruise Line.First on the Inspiration.We sailed out of Tampa on June 15,2009.We got on boat quite smoothly.We went straight to our cabin to check it out.We knew it was going to be small and it was.Then off the Lido deck for burgers.Then we had our safety drill.The drill lasted quite awhile(I don't even want think about it being a real crisi).We had an inside cabin with 5 people.In the past we have all had only one cabin.It had 2 beds together and 2 bunk beds.A rollerway was offered but refused due to we wouldn't have had any  floor space at all.(Thank goodness we aren't big people).The cabin was tiny for all of us.Of course that is our fault we didn't book two cabins.We wanted 2 cabins but were late booking and there was no 2 cabins near or on same deck.The bathroom smelled even after cleaning.I swore if I went by a store I was going to buy a can of Lysol.Never did.I used perfume to cover smell.Our cabin was quiet except when porting it made the vibration noise.We were in E247 AFT.We had easy access to dining area which was right above us.I was more comfortable for the kids to run up stairs to eat instead of all the way across the ship.The faucets in shower got too hot and was hard to control temp.So my youngest daughter used cold water,which was luke warm.There were 2 dispensers in shower stall one for shampoo and other for bodywash.Neither was labeled.I used my own.The temperature of our cabin was comfortable. Monday - We hung out in our cabin and the kids were attached to the dining room.They took adavntage of all the ice cream and pizza!Tuesday we laid out in sun and the kids played on water slide.We had formal dining night.Cruise passengers were very casual.I have seen others on formal nights on other ships all elegant.I didn't mind casual though.We were im Madi Gras dining room table 179.Our table was for a party of 10.We chose this table to meet other people.Our dinner was nice we had lobster and for dessert we had the chocolate melting cake which was to die for! Our waiter was quiet and seemed tired.That was okay though.I can't imagine doing his job over and over for months without a break.His assisant whom was from Haiti was pleasant and smiling.Very friendly! Then off to the Welcome Aboard show.Very crowded.There was no seats.Passengers were saving seats while there remaining party was out having a good time.I really think Carnival should at least put an effort to announce that there should be no saving seats.There is only one pool and was always crowded.The water slide lines seemed to move along nicely.They have I think 3 hot tubs.There is a Serenity Deck in back of ship where kids are not allowed.It played soothing music.People seemed to enjoy it.It just wasn't for us.I enjoyed hearing the reggae band on the Lido deck.First day in Cayman Islands we went to Beachswain Beach Turlte Farm.We went on our own via taxi instead of booking through Carnival.They charge a fortune to book a excursion. We caught the public taxi for $2 a person(Taxis are higher).Of course on the bus the driver picks up and lets passengers off along the way.Which didn't take that long.The admission was expensive $45 adult and $30 for children.You had an option to buy whole park or pay a smaller fee to just feed the turtles.We bought the whole park.I figured we probably won't ever go there again and what the heck! I am so glad we paid for whole park.They have snorkeling and with gear provided.They have shark feeding, a bird santuary where you can feed the birds, a nature trail and an awesome lagoon style pool with a waterfall.They have plenty of lifeguards surrounding the pool and snorkleing area.This is a must if you like turtles.They had tanks everywhere and you could pick them up.They ranged from small to medium ones to hold.We bought some food and fed the turtles.They love to eat.This place most of all is CLEAN! There was no smells or litter anywhere.They have a bar and grill that has the best conch fritters.Quite pricey for 5 though.It was worth it.This place had a nice gift shop too!I highly recommend this excursion.Second day back to Cayman islands we went to beach via public bus.We got out at Calico Jacks.They have a bar, showers and restrooms right there.They also have food and hair braiding. Also rentals were available for water sports.We played in water and headed back to Georgetown to shop.We went to theTortuga shop and sampled all of the cakes.We could not decide which one was our favorite so we got the variety pack.They have the best meat pies there too! We were too late to purchase rum.It had to be bought 1 hour before ship sails(The ship didn't have any Tortuga rum onboard.There selection wasn't great.I think maybe because the Mexico stop was suspended due to the Swine Flu.There was no Cruzan rum either).We went to Margaritaville and let the kids go down there water slide a few times.I felt bad not eating there and letting the kids do the slide.The Carnival Inspiration music is from disco times.The shows are good! Just remember grab a seat before there is none.Overall this cruise was better than expected to be after reading the reviews there weren't many +'s about the inspiration.The passengers appeared to be with other family members.Didn't see alot of drunk people as noted in other reviews.It's June and school's out and the kids I saw seemed well behaved or either at a Carnival activity.I guess if you go during March you run the risk of being with a bunch of Spring Breakers.Of Course that's there time to party.Hope this helps.   Read Less
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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