870 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

I had a very good time on Carnival Inspiration. We traveled from Seattle to Tampa on the day before the cruise and it seemed like that was a good idea. Flight from Seattle to Denver was on time but when we arrived in Denver our flight to ... Read More
I had a very good time on Carnival Inspiration. We traveled from Seattle to Tampa on the day before the cruise and it seemed like that was a good idea. Flight from Seattle to Denver was on time but when we arrived in Denver our flight to Tampa was "delayed". Was to take off at 12:15 but we were told that United would make a decision at 1pm what to do. Then we were told they would make a decision by 2:30. At 2pm they told us plane was on the way and we would depart at 3:03 pm which we did. Arrived in Tampa at 8:30 instead of 5:30. When we got to our hotel ( Marriott Residence Inn on Boy Scout Blvd) at 9pm we were told they didn't have a room for us. DH called the day before and re-confirmed the room. They offered to put us up at a Howard Johnson's across town. We put up a fight and they finally gave us a handicapped suite at the price we had agreed to for the room we booked. From then on the cruise was wonderful. We met the Mears Transportation (Carnival transportation) bus at the airport at 11am and left there shortly after that and arrived at the dock at about 11:30. Gave our bags to porter and got into a short line at the door to embark the ship. The line kept moving and we went through scanner and then to the check-in area. There were about 30 agents to help. Got our sign and sail cards in about 5 min and boarded the ship without any delay. Shortly after noon we were sitting on the back of the Lido deck eating lunch. We met up with some of the people in our group and just relaxed. Somewhere around 3pm we were called to the muster drill. Ours was in the Paris lounge. Much better than standing in line 4 deep on the deck. That lasted about 15 min and then we were back on the back deck to watch the ship leave the dock. We had early seating in the Mardi Gras Dining room with about 38 others in our group (high school reunion). We ate in the dining room every evening and I had filet mignon the first night, lobster and shrimp the second night (Captain's dinner) grouper the third night and chateaubriand the last night. I loved all of them. Caesar salad each night as well as melting chocolate cake with butter pecan ice cream. Also cappuccino. DH had salmon the first night and the same as me the other nights. No complaints about dining room or food selections. We also had breakfast in dining room each morning and were happy with that. DH also had bagel and lox each day in the afternoon at the sandwich place. I had buffet one day for lunch, but wanted to avoid buffet because of what I read about each spoon being touched by more than 300 people before I touched it! We played bingo each session, went to the shows after dinner, I tried out for the slot tournament both sea days and the first day I was 5 out of 6 to go to finals. I also came in 5 out of 6 and won a t-shirt and hat. Won and gave back on the slots and roulette in the casino. We also played the horse race game. I gave DH $10 to buy three tickets for drawing for free cruise and he argued that it wasn't worth it but did buy. Guess who won the free 3,4 or 5 day cruise? You got it DH. It was his first cruise and he had been dragging his feet not wanting to go at all. He loved it before the ship ever left the dock. We got sun time in (living in WA state we don't see much this time of year) visited with old friends and had time to just sit and do nothing. We enjoyed getting dressed up for formal night and liked the Captain's cocktail party with free drinks. We had no problem getting served drinks. This was in the Paris Lounge, so we were able to sit and listen to the music and watch the people dance. Inspiration is an older ship but we didn't notice any wear that was a problem. Room steward Rota did a great job. We had an ocean view room and liked that. I had an inside room on my first cruise and that was alright, but the window was nice. We didn't do an excursion in Cozumel but shopped (bought Tanzanite ring) and had lunch at an outdoor Mexican restaurant. We liked the wandering mariachis. We also stopped at an Italian restaurant a half block off the main street and had the best homemade gelato and latte. I would recommend the place for lunch. Restaurant was neat and clean and bathrooms were very clean. Debarkation went very well. We went for a leisurely breakfast in the dining room and then back to our room to get the bags we were carrying off and about 9am we went to the main deck and got in line to get off the ship. Line moved very well, customs was a breeze and finding bags was no problem. We were on the bus in no time. We were at the airport by 10 am. Our flight wasn't until 4:30 so brother-in-law met us at Marriott for lunch and then we sat outside the hotel in the sun until time to go through security for our flight. We are looking forward to our next cruise! It was my second Carnival cruise the first being Triumph. I loved both. I didn't notice excessive partying and everyone was very friendly. We met several people besides our group and hope to keep in touch with all of them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
I live an hour away from the Port of Tampa. Getting on the ship was easy enough even though the internet agency misspelled one of the passenger names. Didn't discover until I got to the entrance that valet parking was available and ... Read More
I live an hour away from the Port of Tampa. Getting on the ship was easy enough even though the internet agency misspelled one of the passenger names. Didn't discover until I got to the entrance that valet parking was available and probably worth the extra $15. (This has to be a new service as I had never seen it before.)Because of the proximity of the port to my home I have sailed on Inspiration @four times in the past. So I knew what to expect and what to avoid. I avoid all photo ops. Carnival uses this as a major profit center! I don't even bring my own camera. The room was as expected, a few dings and dents, but immaculate and always cleaned during the morning and after leaving the room for dinner. Never did meet my cabin steward. The bedding is very comfortable, but was a little put out by there attempts to sell me the bedding sets. I don't do the shows, as I spend my time in the casino. I smoke and even I have to complain that the company needs to do something about the lack of air flow and recirculation. Does the company know that there are such things as smoke eaters. My days are spent on the Lido deck, but I do notice that as the years go by, there are less and less activities on the deck during the day compared to when I first started cruising on Carnival. The main reason I write today is to talk about the dining room. This past trip I was assigned the latest dining in the Mardi Gras dining room for the 8:45 seating. The waiter George was very efficient, friendly, and attentive. But why in the world does the obnoxious maitre d' have to start his long winded talking while the main course is still being served? Why do the room lights need to be faded just after being served the main course? This happened every night during this cruise. The night the prime rib was served the room was darkened just as the food was set on the table. I couldn't see my food, I had to listen to the obnoxious Maitre d' and endure the "show" while my food got cold. This was the pattern for the entire cruise. My table mates were equally appalled! Why do the ships have maitre d' s? A dining room manager would be better and can stay out of the way. This is Carnival cruise lines, not White Star! The Fun Ship! The Party Ship! Why retain this antiquated symbol of a by-gone and dead era! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
BACKGROUND INFO: This was my husbands and I's first cruise ever! We went during my Spring Break since I am a teacher. DAY BEFORE: We flew in the day before the cruise. It was very easy and I felt more relaxed knowing I was there. We ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFO: This was my husbands and I's first cruise ever! We went during my Spring Break since I am a teacher. DAY BEFORE: We flew in the day before the cruise. It was very easy and I felt more relaxed knowing I was there. We stayed the Airport Hilton in Tampa. The shuttle over to the docks was $5 per person. The hotel was nice and pretty cheap, only $90. EMBARKATION: It took us about 30 minutes to get on board. There were lots of lines but they moved very quickly! I was surprised about how easy it was. It rained as we left but it was the only rain we had the whole trip. SHIP: The ship seemed big to us because it was our first cruise. It was a little hard to figure out how to get around but we managed. I wish the pools were bigger. There were lots of chairs at the back up the ship but they were hard to find around the main pool. The decor was fun, very Vegas. I loved walking around the decks and watching the water. If you get a chance watch the sun set over the ocean. ACTIVITIES: There was always something going on. You could never be bored unless you wanted to be. We watched the ice craving and hairy chest contest. Both were very interesting! I would have loved to play Bingo but it cost a lot of a card! We listened to the port talk which gave us some good info. I had already booked our excursions online which worked out well because some were booked up already. SERVICE: I have never seen so many happy people! Everyone always had a smile. I have nothing negative to say about anyone who worked on the ship. It was sad when we got off and everyone was not so nice! STATEROOM: We had an ocean view room on the Main deck. It was a nice sized room for a cruise ship. The window was a nice touch. DINING: The dining room was fun! The food was decent some was hits and misses. I really liked the chocolate melting cake, shrimp cocktail, salads, filet mignon, and seafood platter. The portions are kinda small. Everyone was pretty on the ball with the food and drinks. George the Greek was so much fun! We were in the Carnival Dining room at the 8:00pm seating. It was a great time to eat dinner. I never felt rushes to get to dinner. We ate in the dining room every night. Other food: The sandwich station was awesome! The country turkey with swiss was gooooood! It so easy picking out whatever you want to eat. The room service was ok but I wish they had more choices, like french fries! The tea was nasty and the juice was warm. Soda card- If you like soda get one! I got my moneys worth out of it! I bet I had 10 a day. CAMP CARNIVAL: I don't have kids so we didn't use it. But I was worried being on Spring Break there would be tons on kid. Yes, there were tons of kids but we didn't see them often. Camp Carnival kept them very busy. Yay, to Camp Carnival! ENTERTAINMENT: We went and saw the adult comedians and they were so funny! The Paris Lounge was nice. We also saw the Welcome Aboard show which was pretty cheesy. SHORE EXCURSION: Grand Cayman- We went on the Turtle Farm, Hell, and swimming with the Sting Rays. The Turtle Farm was fun! The turtles were cute and we got to pick one up. Hell was neat. How often can you say you've been to Hell and sent a postcard from there? Swimming with the String Rays was awesome! They were so big!!! I loved it! This excursion was through Carnival and it went really well. The sea was rough and we had to wait in line for 2 ½ hours to get back on the ship. This was for our safety and that's why I was ok with it. The problem was they would not tell us what was going on. Some of the people in line were having fits and it made it worse because we had to listen to them complain the whole time! That was more annoying then anything. On the last day we did get 1 hour of free drinks for the whole ship because of this! Cozumel- We went off on our own and went to Nachi Cocum. It was such a beautiful beach. I highly recommend it! It was $50 per person all we could eat and drink. They only let 100 people in a day. The food and drinks were great! I had the best grilled shrimp I've ever had! It had a pool and hot tub with swim up bars. My husband and I also we snorkeling while we were there. It was only my husband and I which was cool because we didn't have to share. I had a great time shopping! I bought maracas for each child in my class for $1. The kids loved them! DISEMBARKATION: We had Carnival take our luggage off for us. We ate and walked around the ship until there was last call. This was super easy! Then we went to the Tampa Aquarium and played there for the rest of the day. The aquarium is really nice. If you have time to kill, I would check it out. OVERALL: I loved every thing about the ship and I am already planning our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
BACKGROUND: I am a first time cruiser, age 29. I traveled with my wife who is 31, and also a first time cruiser. I am a very large and tall guy, which was a major concern. I have become an avid reader of cruise websites and message boards ... Read More
BACKGROUND: I am a first time cruiser, age 29. I traveled with my wife who is 31, and also a first time cruiser. I am a very large and tall guy, which was a major concern. I have become an avid reader of cruise websites and message boards and have learned many tips that have proven to be very helpful. We booked the 4/23 Inspiration cruise after learning that my best friend would be getting married on 4/21 in Tampa and I would be the best man in his wedding. I brought a collapsible chair just in case deck chairs weren't sturdy enough. We also had lanyards from walmart and id badge holders off of ebay which worked out great for keeping our Sign and Sail Cards, ID's and cash. So many people asked me where I got those from and even told me I should have brought extras to sell. PRE-CRUISE: We departed from our home city of Columbia, South Carolina on Friday, April 20th early in the morning and arrived in Tampa around 4:00 pm. We booked the Amerisuites Busch Gardens Hotel on priceline for three nights pre-cruise. It turned out to be a perfect location because of its proximity to the wedding site and ease of travel to the cruise terminal. We were literally a couple of blocks away from the wedding. I have heard people say not to book in the Busch Gardens area, but it was very safe, convenient and the hotel was very nice. The hotel is changing over to Hyatt Place, and all of the rooms were already fully upgraded with a nice dEcor and include 42inch plasma Televisions. The rooms were very comfortable and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Sunday we visited the Florida Aquarium right at the port. It was a great entertaining afternoon, and we got to see the Carnival Legend and take pictures of it from the aquarium. After the aquarium we went to University Mall which was about a mile from our hotel. It's the average mall, but we mainly went to just walk around and eat. We had a great time overall in Tampa. EMBARKATION/DAY 1: We arrived at the port around 12:15 pm. We knew how to get to our terminal, but we were not really aware of how the whole parking/unloading luggage process worked. We circled the block a few times and eventually found the correct garage entrance. They told us we needed to pull into our terminal to unload our luggage with our porters if we were not carrying it on. We did as they instructed and got a few additional luggage tags from the porter and he unloaded everything and we tipped him. The porter was very pleasant and friendly. Parking and embarkation didn't really take long at all. Maybe 20-25 minutes from the parking lot to boarding the ship. We were on board around 1:00pm. We immediately headed for our cabin U4, which was a porthole on the upper deck at the front of the ship. The cabin was larger than I expected, as were the portholes. It was not ready yet, so we sat down our carry on bags and headed to the Lido Deck for lunch. We ate burgers, hot dogs, and fries which were all very good. We started off the cruise on a very full stomach. After lunch, we walked around the ship a bit to explore the public areas. While the ship was large, it was not overwhelming as we thought it would be and it didn't take us long to get our bearings and figure out how to get around. There were people everywhere cleaning. We returned to our rooms and it was ready for us. Announcements were coming in every few moments it seemed. We met our cabin steward who didn't seem very friendly. She wasn't rude but it seemed as if she wasn't as wonderful as some of the stewards that everyone wishes they could take home. It was almost time for muster drill. Some of my luggage arrived and one of my bags came back with one of its handles shredded and ripped off. I called my cabin steward and she told me to take it to the pursers desk. Muster Drill time...I won't spend a lot of time on muster drill in this section of the review, but it didn't seem very well organized. I was also very uncomfortable, and my allergies were bothering me because our room seemed to be smoky from the previous cruisers. After muster drill, I took the damaged luggage to the pursers desk. They asked me the value of the luggage and told me I would receive a call about it. We went back to our cabin for a little while, then headed out for sail away. We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the views for awhile then headed back to the room to relax and get ready for dinner and the welcome aboard show. All of our other luggage arrived just fine, including our rolling cooler. Before the show and dinner we stopped back by the pursers desk and they told us we would have a "letter" in the morning regarding our damaged luggage. We decided to give the dining room a try on the first night. We thought that we wouldn't enjoy the dining room and would prefer the buffet but we had the friendliest most welcoming head and assistant waiters. Both were great and my favorite staff on the cruise. We had a late 8:30 seating in the Mardi Gras Dining room. The Maitre D was Ajimi. We sat a table with a bunch of young couples, all of whom were first time cruisers. Dinner was kind of awkward as there was very little conversation or small talk. Everyone warmed up a bit before the end of the meal. We enjoyed the food although I can't remember what we had the first night. I remember having the pasta dish as an appetizer which I really enjoyed. Dinner moved quickly. The welcome aboard show was cheesy but hey, it was something to do. The first comedian Tony Esposito was very funny. We went to bed, and the rocking of the ship was very noticeable the first night. My wife is prone to motion sickness but she slept like a rock. She was taking bonine and ginger pills and seemed to handle the movement very well. She didn't even notice that night. DAY 2: AT SEA We slept in pretty late because we were still tired from the wedding and all the activities in Tampa. We got up and went to lunch at the Brasserie. I had a grilled reuben which was very good and my wife had a burger and fries again and some fruit. We are not big fans of the sun and heat, so we found a nice shady spot with a breeze and a view beside the childrens pool on the promenade deck. Surprisingly there were very few children. We didn't see many kids at all the entire cruise. It was quiet and breezy and we drank and slept the afternoon away in loungers. Everyone on that deck seemed to have the same idea. I spent a little bit of time in the casino, which wasn't smoky at all! I only went 20 dollars, I won 10 dollars on the wheel of fortune machine. I only played for about 45 minutes before getting bored. We never got our letter from the pursers, so we went by to check on it. They printed it out and it was just an insurance claim form. I was expecting a small onboard credit or something but now we have to file an insurance claim. We also asked about the tender process because we booked an independent stingray city sandbar tour. They told us to just go down to level 3 in the morning around 7:45 or 8:00 with our excursion reservation. We went back to our spot and then watched the sunset. It was amazing. We didn't bring clothes for formal night so we skipped the dining room and ate dinner in the brassiere. The food was decent, but we preferred the dining room, or the lido grill. We went to bingo and I think we saw the second comedian, and a magician that night. The magician was funnier than the comedian. The comedian was so bad it was funny laughing at how bad he was. He reminded me of Screech from Saved by the Bell. After dinner we went back to our room after dinner and watched Pursuit of Happiness on a Carnival movie channel. . This night we felt a little bit of rocking but not as much as night one. My wife noticed more it because she wasn't as sleepy. She got a bit sick, but she says it wasn't because of motion sickness but because she ate too much. We were unable to get in touch with our cabin steward or housekeeping. We had to leave a sick bag in the garbage locked away in the bathroom all night. We left a note on the garbage can for our steward to see the next morning DAY 3: GRAND CAYMAN We woke up, showered, got dressed and headed down to level three for tendering around 7:45am. We didn't have any problem with getting an early tender and didn't have to show anyone a reservation. We had to wait about 20 minutes before getting on a tender boat. It took about 15 more minutes to fill the boat it seemed. The tendering process was better than expected. It was really nice weather and the water was amazingly blue. Stingray City and Barrier Reef: Moby Dick Tours We arrived on land around 8:30am and dodged the photographers, right on time to meet with Moby Dick tours. The Moby dick staff hadn't come down to our tender landing yet, as they were at the next landing. Soon Mark from Moby Dick showed up, and we walked to the second landing to sign in with Kim and wait for our excursion group. At around 9:30 am (8:30 GC Time) we walked a short distance to a parking lot and boarded an old school bus. There were around 25 people in our group. Our driver gave us a very informative mini tour on the ride over to the boat. We got to hear a bit of history, see some of the resorts hotels, a bit of seven mile beach and the Governor's House. I wish we had more time to see more of Grand Cayman as it looks like an amazing island. We arrived and boarded the Moby Dick. Captain Zak and William were fun and briefed us on what to expect with a stuffed stingray. The ride was very scenic and water and fruit juice was provided. We met a few people from our ship and had some great conversations on the way over to the sandbar. We had a blast with the stingrays. This is truly a not to miss experience. My wife who is expected to be afraid had the time of her life. She held and fed the stingrays and loved it. She said she could have spent the whole day out there. It was great fun for everyone, even if you think you will be afraid try it. It's a rare opportunity that you will not regret. I am a non-swimmer and I had a ball. After leaving the sandbar we rode over to the barrier reef for a snorkel stop. My wife and I stayed on the boat and dried off but we were able to see some tropical fish, occasional stingrays and even a nurse shark from the boat. The water crashing against the reef was amazing. One of the most amazing natural things I have ever seen. On the way back we saw some nice homes and some iguanas sunning on rocks. Stingray City Sandbar was unforgettable. I highly recommend a private tour with a smaller group. If we go back to Grand Cayman we will definitely do Moby Dick again. We were cutting it close, for our 1:00 tender and had to hightail it back to the landing, we got there around 1:05, but there was plenty of time. We had to wait in line about 30 minutes for a tender but it was a nice breeze clouds keeping us from being to hot in the sun. We returned to our room to find out that someone had switched our door sign from "Please Make up Our Stateroom", to "Privacy Please", so our room and the sick bag in the bathroom were never cleaned. I think we went to the Newlywed not so Newlywed Game this night. It was a riot. The passengers are often the best entertainment. This older couple married 50 plus years were really shocking and provided some of the funniest moments of the cruise. We ate at the dining room again and there were two other couples there. We got to chat a bit more with the other couples and they were very nice. The head waiter seemed so excited to see us. We had a really fun dinner and the waiters danced and entertained and got everyone involved! A conga line and limbo line ended the night. Ajimi our Maitre D was hilarious. We again really enjoyed dinner and it got us excited for our next day. Finally when we returned to our room, it had been cleaned up but we didn't get our capers for the next day! We called room service that night and ordered sandwiches and also asked could they bring us a copy of the capers. They showed up with the food and the capers and all was right. This night we didn't experience much movement at all. It seemed as if we were not even moving. We slept very well and felt refreshed in the morning. DAY 4: COZUMEL, MEXICO The Inspiration docked downtown at Punta Langosta! We got a huge breakfast from the lido deck and ate while looking across at the balconies on the Grand Princess. The omelets were very good. We got off the ship around 9:45 am. We were immediately caught by photographers before we even exited the ramp. It was a minor annoyance. I took some amazing pictures of the Inspiration and Grand Princess that just look like enhanced the sky and water is so perfect. We walked into the open air Punta Langosta Mall, and were again badgered by Cozumel natives looking to sell things, direct us to beaches or tours, or take photographs. They were all very nice and it wasn’t too annoying. The mall was huge and had a lot of stores. We knew thanks to tips from other cruisers that better deals were to be had in town. There was a quick rain and we waited for it to pass then exited the mall and headed into San Miguel. Store merchants were calling out to us from all directions it seemed trying to sell us silver, tee shirts and Cuban cigars. We passed them by and walked into a small shop area off of the main road with a bar. We bought several souvenirs at one shop, and bought a bunch of t-shirts at another. We entered both shops mainly because the people in the store weren’t bugging us. It got very hot walking around so we decided to go ahead and catch a taxi to our beach destination, Playa Uvas. It was easy to catch a cab, and the ride was $10 to playa uvas but we gave the driver a 2 dollar tip as well. It was a lot to see on the way. It started raining a little again, but by the time we got to Playa Uvas it was bright and sunny. Uvas was very nice. The landscaping, green grass, and beautiful beach and water. All of the facilities were extremely nice. We prebooked open bar and lunch. We were greeted by the hostess Carmen, who was very friendly and called over our waiter Raul to take care of us for the day. Raul was very friendly and funny. We rented a locker for our stuff and Raul took our drink orders, asked us what time we wanted dinner then sent us down to the beach. We enjoyed the spot for awhile but it had become very hot. There were several snorkel and clear kayak excursion groups who came through, but the beach was never crowded. A beautiful and relaxing spot. The place was immaculate. We spent about an hour sitting under an umbrella in the loungers, Raul brought us some drinks then we decided to come back to the restaurant and bar covered area and sit where it was cooler. Shortly after there was another quick rain. My wife wasn’t drinking alcohol and had some virgin strawberry daiquiri’s and soda, but I had a whole bunch of drinks. I had a beer to start, then I had 2 mango margaritas, then I had about 4 strawberry Daiquiri’s, then I had a regular margarita, then about two more mango margaritas, then another beer. For dinner I had garlic fish, with steamed vegetables and rice, and my wife had beef fajitas. The food was tasty and very colorful. We had to take pictures of the food. There were some huge pelican looking birds flying around frequently. We didn’t get into the water but we took pictures at the shoreline. We spent about three or four hours at Uvas. We took more pictures together around Uvas and some pictures with Raul and Carmen. We visited the gift shop but we didn’t buy anything, despite one of the merchants coming down from 15 dollars to 8 dollars on an item my wife was considering. We were going to leave and head back to downtown San Miguel to shop a little bit more before heading back to the ship, but a very heavy rain and wind storm came out of nowhere. We stayed on the covered eating and bar area for awhile and waited out the rain. Tipped the bartender and our waiter Raul, and caught a taxi when the rain slacked off to a drizzle. By the time we got to Punta Langosta/San Miguel, it had stopped raining but it was still cloudy so we decided to head back to the ship. We showered and took a nap. We came back out for dinner at the dining room only one other couple was there again. The ship was rocking like crazy that night and the dining room was moving. Dinner was good again and the waiters danced again. There seemed to be a lot of casualties from Cozumel and tequila. The dining room was less than half full. We went to the guest talent show which was fun and entertaining as well. There was actually some pretty good talent aboard. A guy even played the bagpipes. Risa was a great host for both the talent show and the newlywed game. We checked out karaoke for a little while and the clubs. Then we went to the midnight buffet and went to bed shortly after. DAY 5: AT SEA We slept in a bit again. I went to the debarkation talk, while my wife stayed in bed. When I got back she was up and we went to eat burgers and hot dogs at the lido deck. We could not get our spot all morning next to the kids pool. It seems everyone else discovered that spot too, and it was crowded. We moved around the ship all day just trying to find a spot we liked as much. We took a nap, and got up later and found a spot on the other side of the kids pool which we also enjoyed. We relaxed awhile and tried to catch another sunset, but unfortunately it was too cloudy. We decided to eat at the brassiere buffet for our last night because I was out of dining room clothes. I had a huge salad and a sandwich. We attended the last show “El Caribe”. It was vegas style and pretty entertaining. The lead female singer was very good, but the male singer was Sanjaya status. He had the energy and the performance down, he just had a weak voice which was very noticeable compared to the female lead. The dancers did a great job. It was a nice production with lots of set and costume changes and even some pyrotechnics and lighting effects. The music was very appropriate for a Caribbean cruise and some of the songs are still stuck in my head right now. We were sad to have to leave in the morning. After the show we packed and started setting out our luggage for debarkation. That night it was hard to sleep because I kept thinking about all of the cool things we had experienced. DAY 6/ DEBARKATION: We woke up around 7:30 as the calls for self assist debarkation were coming out. We showered got dressed and went to the lido deck for breakfast. General clearance was called around 9:00. There were too many people waiting in the atrium lobby and crowded on the stairs to debark with their carry off bags . It seemed as if they were stuck in line for awhile so we went back to our rooms. It was announced that we should wait awhile for it to clear up and they would announce when it would clear. About 9:25 our steward asked us to leave the room and go to the promenade on standby. We left the room and went to the promenade but no-one was out there. I looked down at the lobby and it seemed a lot clearer. Almost immediately they called for people to disembark again. We went down and a crowd quickly formed. We stood there not moving for about fifteen minutes, but when the line started moving, it went quickly. We seemed to get through the line almost as fast as we could walk. We found our luggage quickly and got a porter. He was also very nice and extremely talkative. He helped us get all the way to our car in the parking garage and even chatted with us for awhile after I tipped him and the car was loaded. We were in the car around 9:50 and headed out of the garage. THE GOOD: Embarkation, Tendering, and Debarkation were all pretty easy. The weather was near perfect, the dining room was fun and our waiter and assistant waiter made us want to keep coming back. Risa the cruise director did a great job and we really enjoyed the games and activities she hosted. I also never had to use my chair. I never made use of the plastic deck chairs, but the loungers were just fine. I think we picked the perfect time to cruise. After spring break, and there were few little kids or big kids. We got to dock for the first time in awhile on this cruise itinerary in Cozumel. And we made Grand Cayman. Besides the brief rains in Cozumel, the weather was great the whole time! THE BAD: The only negative points of our experience were our cabin steward who wasn’t terrible but wasn’t great either. Also we felt that the photographers and photo staff were pushy and annoying at times. We feel that they were much more invasive than most of the venders in Cozumel. THE UGLY: Muster Drill was miserable time of the cruise. It’s a necessary evil. It just seemed as if life vests are designed for small people. I felt like my head was about to pop off. I had to suck in and stretch to get the life vest around me. And being so tall it seemed like my head was baking directly in the sun while we stood on the deck waiting for the whistle. BEST TIPS I RECEIVED: bring a collapsible cooler if you wish to, insulated mug, lanyard and badge id holder, and cable ties to secure luggage! BEST TIPS I CAN GIVE: Do what you want, when you want. There is so much fun to be had. Do not be afraid to book private excursions with reputable companies. Do your research It will save you a lot of money, and likely a better overall experience. OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Best vacation we have ever had! We are spoiled now and want to be able to wake up and eat and not have to clean up a thing afterward. Based upon this trip, Carnival is right for us we would like to try a larger ship next time…and we are pretty sure there will be a next time! We loved both ports and would like to return, and look forward to visiting new places in the future. We brought a few things we didn’t need and we left behind a few things we should have brought. Next time will be even better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
My wife and I sailed the Inspiration April 23-29 for my 40th Birthday and our 2nd Anniversary. I had cruised previously, my wife had not. It ported in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We felt is was a nice experience, and it fit what we wanted ... Read More
My wife and I sailed the Inspiration April 23-29 for my 40th Birthday and our 2nd Anniversary. I had cruised previously, my wife had not. It ported in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We felt is was a nice experience, and it fit what we wanted in a relaxed vacation. If you were looking for something to do most hours of the day, you will probably not enjoy it as much as we did. Here is the big nutshell version of the experience: Embarkation: Took the Carnival shuttle from the airport after our flight landed (we booked our own flight). Would have saved $14.00 if we took a cab, so lesson learned. Luggage service at drop-off was good, embarkation went smooth and relatively easy - took about 20 minutes and we were having lunch. The lifeboat drill was unpleasant as it was hot, and took about a half hour. Room: Small, of course, but overall pleasant. Bed was comfortable, as most people have said - but rather firm. Our bathroom flooded every shower from a plugged drain, and it took 3 requests and two days to fix. We had a smoker across the hall who only smoked with door open and it went right under our door so we had to plug the gap at night. Always tended well by stewards. The boat itself is in good shape and clean. Food: We ate in the dining room (Carnivale) all but one meal for Dinner and most breakfasts. We had great table-mates, and saw them elsewhere on the boat as well. Food was up and down as far as quality, but we enjoyed the experience in the dining room, and had great servers as well as George The Greek as Maitre d', who was quite entertaining. We went to the midnight buffet twice, and liked the Mexican night the best. Breakfast and lunch were just okay, food quality was good but choice limited. Drinks are mostly pricey, but you can save money by purchasing buckets of beer or keeping an eye out for drink specials. Activities: We didn't do any of the variety shows, but did see a comedian and magician who were fair. I did the closest to the pin contest in the golf room (got my ship on a stick). I had a golf lesson, and really liked Todd, the golf pro. We observed a few contests, like Hairy Chest, they were fun to watch. My wife entered the slot contest and just missed getting in. We dropped a little on the slots and table games. I played some Texas Hold-em' at night and didn't do well, but the money lasts longer. It's a 4-8 limit game, so you either have a hand or you lose, not much bluffing. We mostly just layed out in the sun and lounged during the day, which was our plan. We watched a couple of the movies showing in our room. Excursions: We did the Stingray City Sandbar tour in Cayman, was $46pp booked on the boat. Was worth booking it through Carnival as you get to get off the boat on the first tender if you take the early tour. The tour was awesome and about the only redeeming thing I can say about Grand Cayman. Be careful at the shops and restaurants as they say their prices are in dollars, but it's Cayman dollars which are worth 20% more than U.S. so our two margaritas, appetizer and piece of pie and Margaritaville was $50 with tip. In Cozumel, we did the Isla Pasion beach break, and it was okay, considering it rained 3 times during the excursion. The beach is nice, and the buffet is very good. The open bar has limited drinks and only Corona beer, which was fine with us. We shopped away from the mall, and bought trinkets and vanilla to bring home. Before boarding we had 2 for one margaritas and Senior Frogs ($15) served in half yard glasses, so we weaved across the road back to the boat. Disembarkation: This was the low-point of the cruise. Not just because it was over, but because it was very disorganized and slow. We were held-up for over 30 minutes with no explanation, and when we called about when we had to be off the boat we got 2 different answers. It was very crowded and people were pushy. We kept our luggage and I would recommend it if you want to get off early or late, or have breakables in them. Customs was easy once we got off the boat and we were out of the terminal in less than 15 minutes. We stayed an extra day at the Sirata on St. Pete's beach, and that review is posted in tripadvisor. Overall, we thought it worked for us. We will probably try a different cruise line or a bigger boat next time just to try something different. Yes, you will get nickel and dimed, and it's a shopping mall on the sea, but if you know that going in - it's a nice way to see some places and get some sun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Inspiration Review - 5 Day Western (Grand Cayman, Cozumel) Sail Date: April 9, 2007 Background: This was my 8th cruise, 5th with Carnival. We joined Carnival Vacation Club last year and were looking forward to some of the benefits. Our ... Read More
Inspiration Review - 5 Day Western (Grand Cayman, Cozumel) Sail Date: April 9, 2007 Background: This was my 8th cruise, 5th with Carnival. We joined Carnival Vacation Club last year and were looking forward to some of the benefits. Our group included me, my dh, and our sons ages 13 and 10. We were joined by my sister, bil, niece, 16 and nephew, who turned 13 while on board. Pre-Cruise: My sister has a condo in Tampa, so we flew in 4 days before the cruise to do some vacationing with the family. We rented a big van and all eight of us piled in (twice) to go to Orlando. We purchased two day passes for Universal Studios. The weather was unusually cool for Florida, but we enjoyed the park and the family. Embarkation: On Monday morning, day of embarkation, we all piled in with our luggage and headed to the port. The dads dropped moms and kids portside and we handed our luggage off to the porter around 11:00 am. Funny that my husband and my BIL each tipped the porter, not realizing the other had done so! Lucky guy. The guys took the van back to the airport rental center and were to grab a shuttle back to meet us. We waited in the coffee shop on the corner for the dads to return. The kids played checkers and my sister and I had a relaxing cup of coffee. It took them about 45 minutes to get back from returning the rental. They returned just as three bus loads of HS marching band kids and their families were unloading. We had to wait a little while to get into the terminal since it was a mass of confusion with the bus passengers. Once inside, we preceded to VIP check-in. It was very easy. The little waiting area wasn't much to speak of, but we didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes to be checked in. The agent there had not pulled all of our cards, so we did have to wait while she went to find them. I thought my sister and family could piggy-back on our VIP status, and while this was not technically the case, the agent took them to the front of the regular line and they were checked in at the same time as us. After a quick photo stop, we were in the Inspiration atrium by about 12:15! One check plus for the CVC membership! Ship: Our cabin would not be ready until the posted time of 1:30, so we headed to the Lido. We grabbed two tables by the pool and drinks were in hand very quickly. The kids took off to explore and we started to relax very quickly. We all grabbed some lunch and moved under the overhang as it started to rain. Oh well, we were on the ship so we didn't care too much. The rain caused us to abandon our poolside lounging and go explore a little ourselves. The ship was very clean, crew were bustling around completing maintenance and welcome aboard activities. We were on Valor just last year, and it did take me longer than I expected to grow accustomed to the deck plans of the smaller ship. Cabin: We were in four outside cabins on the Rivera deck. I don't think I liked being that low on this ship because the elevators were very slow and it seemed to take forever to get anywhere. I prefer to be more centrally located. Our cabin itself was clean and ready for us at the stated time. We had cabin decorations provided by the Casino Host, and our lovely chocolate covered strawberries in our both rooms provided by the CVC. There was a bit of a sewage smell in all of our cabins. I found if I kept the lid down on the toilet that the smell was containable. I remember this same problem in the one other Fantasy class cruise I took a couple of years ago. We met our steward, Leroy at some point that first afternoon. I'm sure my dh gave him a little cash tip up front, as that has always been our tradition. The cabin staff kept the cabins appropriately clean and when we did see them they were pleasant and customer focused. My kids noted that Leroy wasn't as "fun" as our last steward who always shared a joke or two with them…but Leroy actually did a better job cleaning. Our cabins were surrounded by kids on the marching band trip. We were told that over 50% of the passengers were under the age of 18. While this may have been an issue for some passengers, I thought it was fun and all the kids were polite and pretty well behaved. We have cruised during Easter week four times, and have never had a problem with rowdy or obnoxious kids. Notably, there were not many families with very small children or infants on this trip. Dining Room: We were seated at the 6:15 dinner in the Mardi Gras Dining Room. Our waiters were Roman and Ciprian. They were efficient and friendly, with a little more jolly attitude coming from our assistant. Each evening, they remembered our preferences and brought our food appropriately…remembering that the kids liked shrimp cocktail and bringing a couple of extras each evening earned them extra points with the folks. After the first evening I did not have to order my cappuccino, as it was ready for me without having to ask. Food: The only negative experience with any food at diner was my filet mignon. This is usually my favorite cut of beef and I know what to expect. The serving was tough, and I would have sent it back except that I realized that it was not the preparation, but rather the quality of the beef. I had plenty to eat between appetizer, salad and dessert and I did not suffer. My husband said his NY Strip was better. While I greatly enjoyed the chocolate melting cake - the Black and White Souffle deserves an honorable mention…yum. Ports: Grand Cayman - The seas were rough the day we arrived. Tendering was not good and perhaps the port should have been canceled. We booked the 10:30 Reef and Wreck tour. The seas were very rough and the staff was having a horrible time trying to stabilize loading and unloading of the tenders. We got in line for the tender at 8:45 and didn't make it to shore until 11:15, just as our tour pulled away. The Carnival Excursions Rep at the pier took our tickets and told us we would be refunded. The charge was removed from our sign and sail without hassle. We decided to get back to the ship quickly after a short port walk and lunch at Sr. Frogs. We didn't wait too long to get on a tender, but back at the ship it probably took over 1/2 hour to off load the tender. Passengers had to literally leap into the arms of the ship personnel who were there to catch you. Many passengers had a long wait on the pier and there was a lot of talk of frustration back on board. Carnival compensated everyone by offering a 1.5 hour open bar on the last sea day, great for us - but maybe not enough for those who had bigger issues. I kept repeating, a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work...and that attitude was expressed by my whole group, so we didn't let it spoil our trip. I have the memory of a wonderful margarita at Senior Frogs to take home from our Grand Cayman adventure. Cozumel - A second day of tendering…we planned to take our time and go ashore after the crowds settled. We left at end of the numbering system, maybe around 12-12:30 and took a cab to Mr. Sanchos beach, $30 for all eight of us in a van. Even though we knew Cozumel was hit hard in the hurricanes, it was still sad to see so much destruction. Mr. Sanchos had really eroded and the lovely sandy coast we remembered had a rocky/ cement barrier to protect the beach. The pina coladas and guacamole were as good as we remembered though. Activities/Entertainment: Our two fun days at sea were nice and relaxing. We did not have issues finding deck chairs one level up from the lido. I did think Risa, the cruise director, had a completely grating and annoying voice, but since I didn't really participate directly in anything she hosted, it was not a deal breaker for me. I played a little bingo, listened to a little music here and there and my dh and I saw the adult comedian who was funny. We don't usually attend the production shows. The casino is our favorite night spot and the casino staff on this trip was absolutely wonderful as they took our money! Camp Carnival: My 10 year old ds was a little slow getting to know other kids. The first evening on board seemed to be geared towards very young children and their families, with not much interesting for the 9-11 crowd. The teens had a meet and greet that got them going from the start. After the first evening, I guided my 10 year old to his events with a little nudging, and he seemed to settle in and have a great time. He enjoyed the arcade, although it was very small with not a lot to keep him busy. The “overnight” party for his age group was a big hit, I wish it were earlier in the week as it would have helped him make friends earlier. The two 13 year old boys took advantage of the Camp Carnival dances and gatherings for the 12-14 age group. DS won a ship on a stick for wearing a costume at a dance and he also participated in the kid's talent show with his guitar. My 16 year old niece did not lack for company or activities as her cabin was surrounded by marching band boys who quickly befriended her, they went to shows and hung out at Club O2. She gave club O2 a thumbs up. Highlights: I enjoyed the casino and didn’t lose too much money. I made the finals of the blackjack tournament...won two t-shirts...one on the first night for knowing Denver's name in the Paris lounge (thanks to that advance email to the casino!) and the second for being in the tourney finals. With so many "under 21's" the crowds at the bars and casino were non-existent. I also had a lovely afternoon tea with my sister on our second sea day. My dh and bil made a friend in Bagus, the bartender in the cigar bar who was always attentive and even picked them out of the crowd during the open bar hours to make sure they got their Grey Goose martinis. Disembarkation: Well, we missed the 8:30 gathering for our special CVC disembarkation benefit…I guess we were just too slow crawling out of the comfy beds. We had plenty of priority luggage tags delivered to us the night before with our instructions to meet in the Library to be escorted off. We showed up at 8:45 and they were gone. We ended up waiting in the Library anyway until the line looked short enough to attempt to move out. It wasn’t long at all. I don’t think the priority tags did any good…the priority holding area was in the back of the terminal and we still had to drag our luggage through the crowd. Once outside, we easily grabbed a couple of cabs and were back at the condo by 10:30 am even without the benefit of priority disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
My 11 year old son, my sister and myself sailed on the Inspiration last week. We had no problem flying into Tampa from Boston the morning of the cruise, and embarkation was very easy as we had a Cat 11 room and got VIP check-in; no ... Read More
My 11 year old son, my sister and myself sailed on the Inspiration last week. We had no problem flying into Tampa from Boston the morning of the cruise, and embarkation was very easy as we had a Cat 11 room and got VIP check-in; no waiting, we were on the ship in 20 mins. We went to the Lido for lunch, and to wait for our room to be ready, and had some gristly hamburgers. Our room was nice, but I feel too small for 3 people. I had sailed on the Triumph 2 years ago, and was expecting a bigger room. With the couch pulled down to make a bed, there was hardly room to walk around. The ship is showing its age and wear, but clean. You couldn't open the closet and the bathroom door at the same time. Our room steward Aisl was excellent, even though we contended with a very strong sewer odor in the bathroom the whole cruise. He tried spraying and everything to no avail. My balcony neighbor said his bathroom reeked too. We had quite possibly the worst Cat 11 room on the ship, my fault as I booked guar. suite. It is the first balcony room on deck 11 from the elevator. While sitting wedged on my 5 x 2 balcony, I had a lovely view of two orange lifeboats, and the small space between was white metal rail piping to get to the boats. I know it was my error, but I was lead to believe "partial" obstruction, not full. I would have paid extra to upgrade to a Cat 12 if I had known this. I ordered room service each night for coffee and cocoa at 7:00AM to get me out of bed, and it was always on time. It was nice to sit outside and read a book and wake up each morning with coffee. We generally had the buffet for breakfast which was pretty good. We stuck to scrambled eggs and bacon. I ate in the dining room one morning and was not impressed with the Eggs Benedict, it seemed they had been broiled and were not very moist. Lunch, when we ate it, consisted of some excellent pizza from the pizzeria, grilled panini sandwiches from the Brasserie (the reuben was great), or just ice cream. At times it took a long time for tables to be cleared on the Lido deck after someone was done eating. We ate in the dining room every night and had some great lobster, seafood, steak and pasta. Most everything was very good. I OD'd on Chocolate Melting Cake each night. Our head waiter, Anthony was great; always joked and asked how our day went. Take your waiters dinner suggestions; they know best! I could have done without the Maitre'D skulking around our table each night. They had the usual hairy chest contest, fear factor, etc. which were all fun. Got a great massage on the Grand Cayman day, as I didn't leave the ship, I had been there so many times and wanted to enjoy a quiet boat. In Coz we went to Paradise Beach which was a blast. My son had a great time on the water toys, and we had a nice lunch. Did a little shopping and headed back to the ship as it was pouring out. Onboard, we donated alot of money to bingo, but had fun. The entertainment was OK. I went to the shows a couple of nights, but especially enjoyed the "adult" comedians (18+ to enter). They were hilarious. The Newlywed/not so Newlywed game was funny as usual, even though Risa, the entertainment director is not one of my favorites. Beware the more popular shows; get there early so you're not looking at a giant pole in your site line in the Paris Lounge. My 11 year old son would not go to Camp Carnival as that age group really had nothing of interest for him. It is an older ship without more of the high tech computers/video games, and the room is very small where it is held. All in all, we had a most excellent time, got a great vacation for what I paid. My next cruise will be on a newer Carnival ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
EMBARKATION: We were in group number 7. Arrived at 11:30am and only waited about 15 minutes and we were on board having lunch at 12 pm. We couldn't go to our staterooms until 1:30 pm. So we walked around ship to get familiar with ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We were in group number 7. Arrived at 11:30am and only waited about 15 minutes and we were on board having lunch at 12 pm. We couldn't go to our staterooms until 1:30 pm. So we walked around ship to get familiar with where everything is. ACTIVITIES: They had plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. This was an Easter Cruise, but they didn't have anything to do to celebrate, only two activities for the kids. SERVICE: Was great in the dining room! Only ordered room service one time & it took too long to get there. STATEROOM: We had an oceanview on the empress deck. The room steward always kept it very clean and we loved the towel animals. DINING: We loved the dining room experiences. The food was good in the dining room but we liked the buffet food the best. They have GREAT cheeseburgers and deserts. We also enjoyed the 24 hour pizza and ice cream. CAMP CARNIVAL: We didn't use this service. We had 3 girls that wanted to stay together, but Camp Carnival lady said they were very strict on the age groups and we would have to split them up, so we decided not to use the Camp. ENTERTAINMENT: The dancers and singers were GREAT! We loved the shows, especially the Vegas style shows. SHORE EXCURSION: We did not take a shore excursion. We docked in Cozumel so we were in walking distance of all the shopping. Cozumel was great!! They have a clean shopping environment and plenty of locals entertaining in the shopping district. We also went to Paradise Beach on our own. This beach was overcrowded and we only stayed for about 2 hours, went back to the ship for dinner and went back to downtown Cozumel for more shopping. DISEMBARKATION: We had breakfast about 8:00am and went back to our stateroom to get our carry-ons and was off the ship by 9:15am. Disembarkation went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
here is the review of ourcruise on the inspiration on 4-9-07. we arrived in florida on 4-6 and spent 2 days at st. petes beach before moving on to our pre cruise stay at the chase hotel and suites in tampa. this place was very, very nice ... Read More
here is the review of ourcruise on the inspiration on 4-9-07. we arrived in florida on 4-6 and spent 2 days at st. petes beach before moving on to our pre cruise stay at the chase hotel and suites in tampa. this place was very, very nice for a pre cruise stay especially if you are driving as the package was $189 p/night which includes parking for your vehicle for the duration of your cruise as well as shuttle service to and from the port of tampa. it also includes a hot breakfast buffet which includes waffles, bacon &eggs,bagels,muffins,fresh fruit, cereals,juices and coffee as well as other items.it also has a small but very nice heated pool and a hot tub.it also has a tennis court right next to the pool. there is also a dock where you can fish or just go and sit on and just relax. they also have a guest laundry room with 5-6 machines as well as dryers. they also sell trial size laundry items as well as other things such as snacks and drinks in the hotel lobby.right next door is the bahama breeze restaurant. it is very nice and just a couple of minute walk from the hotel. they have a covered as well as an uncovered outdoor dining area as well as a large indoor area.now for our room. it was flawless, as soon as you open the door your are looking right into the living room which has a couch and a chair with ottoman as well as a fireplace and cable television. off to the right is a full kitchen with a dishwasher,fridge,microwave and a stove. it also has dishes,utensils,pots and pans, etc,etc.. off of the living room is the master bedroom which has its own full bathroom, closet,desk and chair and another television.outside of that room is a staircase which leads to yet another bedroom which also has its own full bathroom, closet and television. this room is a loft which overlooks the livingroom. both rooms have king size beds. i highly recommend this place for a pre cruise stay as it is nestled among other hotels and office buildings and the restaurant. it is very quiet and very safe. embarkation day went very smoothly. as our hotel shuttle dropped us off we were instantly met by our porter and we tipped our driver and porter and we were on our way. the lines were quite long but they moved very,very quickly.we left the hotel at about 10:50 and we were on board and having lunch by 12:15. the usual burgers, dogs and fries were delicious as usual. we were allowed access to our room on the empress deck by about 1:15 and all of our luggage was there by about 4:45. we hardly saw our room stewardat all on this cruise and when we did he just acted like he didn't want anything to do with anybody. but our room was done up pretty nice although very late on all days. his crew on the other hand were very friendly and always said hello and greeted the kids very nicely.our past stewards were always very attentive and very friendly.we did not do the dining room at all so i cannot comment on that. the buffet seemed to be a little better than on past cruises. we also dined at the deli station located in the buffet dining area. my wife was not crazy about the paninis but everything else there was very good. 24 hr pizza and ice cream was a favorite as always. our 12 yr old son had the run of the ship as he spent alot of time in the arcade as well as going to shows and just hanging out in the lounges playing his gameboy.our 5 yr old spent lots of time in camp carnival as well as the arcade and plenty of time with mom and dad.he also attended the slumber parties at camp which was from 10 pm till 3 am where they watch movies and order room service. this was at a cost of $6 p hour. this was our first time in an inside stateroom and i personally didn't care for it. the room was fine and had everything in it but not having that window made the cabin dark and i usually like to wake up and see that daylight shining in so i know its time to get up. next time i will have to bring an alarm clock. day 1 was a day at sea and we spent time poolside as well as exploring the ship and going to the casino for a while. day 2 was grand cayman. we did the stingray city and island tour. the turtle farm was very cool as my 12 yr old and i got to hold the turtles and get pictures. from there we went " straight to hell " and the rock formations out back were real weird looking but still real cool. iguanas were running around wild and we thought that was awesome. then we had stingray city which is something we will remember for the rest of our lives. we have pictures of jamie (12 yr old) and his mom kissing and holding the stingrays. little joshua (5 yrs old ) would not get off the boat because he was scared so i stayed on the boat myself and missed the experience, but i still had agreat time watching.the rum punch on the way back was horrible. the ship was scheduled to sail at 2pm and we arrived back to the pier at 205 pm. we had to wait about 1 hr and 40 min in the hot sun because the seas were so rough that they were having a hard time tendering. it was the same way tendering from the ship to the pier and i really thought they would cancel grand cayman all together. they finally set sail around 4 or so and a lot of people were talking and complaining about the events in grand cayman. carnival decided that the way to compensate for this would be to have an open bar for about an hour and a half on the final night. my wife and i didn't care too much for this because the kids dont drink alcohol obviously so they would get nothing out of it. i think a stateroom credit would have been more appropriate. but i guess they didn't have to do anything so its better than nothing.next day was cozumel and my youngest did not want to go on the little boat ( tender ) due to the fact that i fell on him on the tender in cayman and he hurt his leg so he was scared. we had an excursion booked in cozumel, so about an hour before we were supposed to go on the excursion my son was flipping out so i went to the information desk and explained what had happened on the tender the day before and that my son would not go into cozumel, so i asked if we could cancel and get a refund and surprisingly they said yes and gave me a credit right then and there. i thought this was real cool of carnival to do this. so after a while he did go to camp and the wife and i went ashore and did some shopping and had a cocktail at fat tuesdays. then we had another fun day at sea. debarkation went very quickly and very smoothly and we then called the hotel for the shuttle and before we knew it we were headed back to cold,snowy buffalo n.y. 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Sail Date April 2007
Background Information : We are previous cruisers - this was our 7th cruise overall, 6th cruise on Carnival, and our 2nd cruise aboard the Inspiration. We are late 50's/early 60's, and this time another couple, friends of ours, ... Read More
Background Information : We are previous cruisers - this was our 7th cruise overall, 6th cruise on Carnival, and our 2nd cruise aboard the Inspiration. We are late 50's/early 60's, and this time another couple, friends of ours, joined us. We booked our cruise directly with Carnival as we have consistently gotten better prices & specials by dealing with them instead of going through a TA. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We live about 90 miles south of the Port of Tampa, so driving to the port is a breeze. Even though we can easily drive to the port on the day of departure, we chose to drive up a day early and get into the "pre-cruise" mode. Hotel Info: We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Rocky Point Dr. - only a few minutes from the Tampa Airport, and about 8 miles from the Port of Tampa. We like this location because of the Bahama Breeze Restaurant which is adjacent, only a short walk across the parking lot. We checked into our hotel early - around 1pm - and went directly to the restaurant where we enjoyed a few brews and some appetizers. We came back to the hotel for a few hours, then returned later, as some other family members joined us for dinner. The next day, embarkation day, was a leisurely drive to the port and check in. Stateroom: We had a Category 6C Ocean view cabin on the Upper Deck. If you've sailed on Carnival Fantasy class ships before, the room is a standard Carnival staple. We were in U197, which I had asked for out of the cabin choices which were available. I like early morning coffee, and to be out on the deck before sunrise. This cabin is very close to the aft elevators, and only a short ride to the Brasserie Grill on the Lido deck. When you step out of the elevators, voila! - there is the coffee! Ship Info: The Inspiration is the sixth Fantasy-class ship, launched in 1996 and is similar to her sister ships Ecstasy, Fantasy, Fascination, Imagination, Sensation, and Paradise. It carries 2044 passengers and a crew of 920. Although the ship is in overall very good condition, there are some signs of wear and tear. Maintenance activities were present each day, and there were on-going cleaning activities as well. Some of the public rest rooms seemed to be always in need of cleaning, however, but I attribute this to high passenger use. The Inspiration is scheduled for upgrade and refurbishing in September of this year. Dining: We missed the first night's main dining because we stayed on deck to watch the Skyway Bridge passage, which is about 2 ½ hours after departure. Over the remaining nights we dined in the Mardi Gras dining room, with our waiter Dennis. Overall, the quality of food was excellent, and the service was impeccable. We were seated at a table of ten, and we got to know our table mates quite well. We also ate breakfast and lunch in the Brasserie - excellent selections, fresh variety, and always good friendly service. You just can't beat the view as you enjoy breakfast or lunch at sea. We ate breakfast a couple of times in the main dining room, but the atmosphere was less than pleasant. They insist on seating you in certain areas and are adamant about your not sitting anywhere else. One morning, we were led to a large table where four people were seated. They were waiting for four other family members, who had not yet arrived, but the waiter was unyielding in her admonition that "you cannot save seats." So they made us sit there, and only seconds later, the remaining family members arrived, and were made to sit at a different table. I'm not sure why Carnival insists on this policy, but it needs to be examined. On another morning, I stood my ground and refused to go where I was directed, opting instead for the sunny side of the ship which was all empty tables. I just kept pointing to the tables where the sun was pouring through the curtains and kept repeating, "I want to sit in the sunshine," After going through several waiters, they finally (but reluctantly) gave in. The food served at breakfast in the dining room is OK, nothing to brag about. Much better to get a fresh omelet prepared to order in the Brasserie. Activities: On board, we are mainly a relax and read kind of group, and most of our days at sea were simply spent reading, snapping photos, eating (is it time to eat again?) and just enjoying being at sea. For those who wished to participate, there were many daily activities, and no lack of things to do for those who wanted to be a part of them. Service: This is still Carnival's high point. Except for the very minor attitude problem in the main dining room at breakfast, the friendliness and over courtesy of Carnival's service staff cannot be overstated. Always a smile, a greeting, and a willingness to help from all staff. Waiters, bartenders, room stewards, and servers all exhibited great attitudes while providing excellent service. Entertainment: We attended the first night's entertainment "Shout," which was very creative, full of energy and excitement. Great choreography and singing, and just good solid entertainment. Our last night at sea, however, we went to the "El Nuevo Caribe" performance, and it was just as dismal as it was the last time we saw it six months prior. If "Shout" is the "thrill of victory," then "El Nuevo Caribe" is certainly the "agony of defeat." It lacked creativity, was largely comprised of basic dance moves with little or no originality, and just plain lacking in all aspects. I won't waste my time going to this one again. Shore Excursions: In Grand Cayman, we opted for a simple tour of Georgetown aboard the "Trolley Roger." Hosted by Steve, aka the "Captain," in full pirate's regalia, it was a nice one-hour tour of Georgetown, complete with narration and bits and trivia about the history of the Cayman Islands. If you're looking for a stress-free, inexpensive ($27) activity, think about this tour. You will learn a lot about the Caymans and just enjoy hearing Captain Steve's humorous banter. We booked this excursion aboard through the excursion desk, and tickets were delivered to our stateroom. A word about tender operations - I read a lot of complaints about tender operations on previous cruises re: Georgetown, but they have opened up a brand new tender dock (it was still under construction last Oct) which has greatly improved tender efficiency. Although there were four ships in the harbor, there was never more than a few minutes delay waiting for a tender, mainly in order to just fill up the boat. In Cozumel, we did the same thing as our last visit, a trip to Paradise Beach, which is a non-ship excursion. We docked at the Punta Lagosta Pier, and took a $13 cab ride to Paradise Beach, where we enjoyed relaxing on the shore, under beach umbrellas, and also enjoyed several buckets of cold beer and nachos. Paradise Beach is very service oriented and you will not lack for a cold refreshment. Highly recommended. Punta Lagosta pier is directly across the street from a huge shopping center, and many other stores within walking distance. Senor Frogs, Carlos & Charlies, and other restaurants nearby as well. Prices in the mall area seemed a little high, but you can walk down the street in either direction to find other stores. Disembarkation: Smooth and efficient. The four of us were packed and on the Lido Deck for breakfast prior to 7:30am. While we were enjoying our breakfast, we heard the announcement for "self assist" debarkation to commence. This is the first group to be released. We finished our breakfast, made our way to the Empress Deck, and were off the ship and through customs in minutes. Summary: We like the Inspiration. Although its an older ship, it is well-maintained, and as I have said before, the crew is great, service is excellent, and this time there was a definite improvement in the quality of food served in the dining room. As we live so close to Tampa, this 5-night itinerary remains one of our favorites - the perfect balance of two days at sea, and two port stops. Although this cruise seemed full, there were always plenty of vacant lounge chairs, there were only a few occasional small lines for lunch and breakfast, and always plenty of places to hang out in relative quiet. (My favorite is the Lido Deck amidships - check it out if you want a quiet place to read and enjoy the view) A great value for the cost, and we will probably sail again aboard this vessel. If you would like to see photos from this cruise, check them out at: http://www.photoshots.phanfare.com/ Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Nearly a week has gone by, so will share a few thoughts from our 5 day Inspiration Cruise (Tampa/Grand Cayman/Cozumel) Have only been on larger newer carnival ships so was wondering how we would like a smaller one. Loved it. The ship ... Read More
Nearly a week has gone by, so will share a few thoughts from our 5 day Inspiration Cruise (Tampa/Grand Cayman/Cozumel) Have only been on larger newer carnival ships so was wondering how we would like a smaller one. Loved it. The ship doesn't have the specialty dining room or fish and chips, but also doesn't have as long lines at the buffet. In fact it never seemed crowded. Very clean ~ saw crew constantly cleaning and dusting. The crew on this ship seemed to be about the happiest we have encountered and very accommodating. Embarkation Flew down a day early so ready to roll by 10:30. We were on the lido deck enjoying salads, reubens and icecream by 11:30. Tampa is a very nice port for embarkation, and all went smoothly. After lunch, met with the maitre d'(to be at the mardi gras dining room entrance at 12:30) to ask to be switched from 5:45 to 6:15 dining time. We got there around 12:20 and were first in line. We got our request (notice delivered to room in the afternoon) and were seated with 2 other lovely couples. We had a bonvoyage gift of wine to be delivered at first diner, so went to the purser's desk to show our table change and it was delivered by the maitre d' the first night (didn't want someone else enjoying our gift ) Went back to the room to unpack (luggage arrived quickly and undamaged). We noticed a "sewage" smell in our room,toilet didn't flush and the room electrical plug was loose. By the time we returned to our cabin after supper the plug was anchored properly and the toilet flushed. The next am workers returned to the cabin and did something in the bathroom and the room smelt nice and fresh for the rest of the cruise. We appreciated the prompt attention to requests and noticed this throughout the whole cruise. MUSTER DRILL~ A necessary evil. Since we were on the upper deck, our muster station was lido deck beside the pool. I was really glad we got tables and chairs in the shade. I really felt sorry for those sweating in the sun since the drill took awhile and they were just baking. The man beside me didn't even have a life vest and when questioned by a staff member, he said it was in his cabin Hmmmmm, you think they would have made him get it. Enough about that. DINING ~ We had mardi gras 6:15 time - worked perfect with our schedule and thought Ajimi the Maitre d' was the best. He was friendly and funny and seemed to really care about everyone's dining experience. His workers also seemed happy and worked well together. Our waiter was very efficient and his assistant constantly offered bread, refilled glasses, told us the next nights menu before we left each evening etc. We were not impressed with the service in the mardi gras at bkfst. In our large table of 10 repeated mistakes were made by the servers and 3 different people had to get up on different occasions to ask for coffee/ condiments etc. The eggs benedict were not worth going back for even tho I had ordered extra hollandaise sauce to top it up (shared with others at the table) DH spoke to AJimi about the bkfst and he was aware of problems and said they were looking into it (he also said he would have preferred to keep his staff he trained in his dining room) ~they were up on the lido serving and clearing tables. It was nice to see them on the lido - someone was always available to get drinks etc. At one lunch the southern fried chicken was in only one line. Of course that was the line my husband wasnt in I was surprised when he sat down with out it and as he was telling me a server was clearing the next table and obviously overheard. Lo and behold the server came back with 3 pieces of fried chicken on the plate . You cant beat that service. Did not care for the crepes on the lido lunch buffet on french day. We missed them on the glory so made sure we were back for them on the Inspiration. When I think of crepes I think of the Magic Pan Creperie. NOT! They were potato crepes with lemon sauce Being irish means I like potatoes (give me an ulster fry with fried potato bread any day ) but IMHO potato crepes are pretty yucky and the lemon sauce doesn't help. I would suggest just skipping that one. Had great meals in the dining room and OD'd on the deserts (esp the warm melting choc cake and grand marnier souffle). Only had room service once and it was prompt and hot. DH went to a few more of the midnight buffets than me (I made it to the mexican one and it was great~ Im not a night owl) but he brought me back some food from others. They served the white chocolate forest cake (from the Cafe Des Artistes) one night and he brought 2 HUGE pieces back to the room YUM SHIP ACTIVITIES ~SEA DAYS~ Not really sun lovers, but always found plenty of empty chairs on the lido deck (in sun and shade). Surprised to see so many empty chairs by the pool still available at 11am on the last sea day. This was not a cruise of chair hogs -What a difference that makes. Went to both art auctions and bought a thomas kinkade and a small painting of Venice. Also won a draw for a pic (had to pay $35 shipping) but that's ok b/c it was a picture with memories for us. Payed for ParkWest Galleries to frame and ship the other pictures. The prices were reasonable but it does pay to do homework and know before you go. Too bad the auctioneer was so long winded (took from 1pm for preview to 4pm to sit thru auction and attend follow-up appointment for later in the evening) So that meant missing most of the afternoon tea time (altho on this ship it is in the piano bar with a few sweets so not quite as classy a setting as on the glory but still enjoyable) The long auction on the 2nd day meant missing the galley tour by our maitre d' (Since this is one of the few ships to still do this tour I would have loved to go on it but time didn't allow). didn't join in by the pools with various activities since this cruise was just some down time for DH and self. Managed to find small tables outside the aft lido dining room buffets on the last sea day, so sat there for a few hours to rest and read. LOUNGES ~The only lounge we visited was the karaoke in the candlelight lounge, since one of our tablemates sang there every night. He was really good (is retired and does this on the side at home) What we cant figure out is why the karaoke staffer didn't tell him about try-outs for the guest talent show. He would have surely been picked b/c he was very good. We asked him one night if he had auditioned for the talent show and he didn't know what we were talking about. He then asked but they had already had the initial auditions so he couldn't ~ (I thought that was really remiss of the host in the karaoke bar. ) Oh well, he said now he knows about the try-outs for his next cruise. PORTS~ Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Have done both so decided not to do any tours (not the same without the kids) Just shopped. Had looked into Philip Stein watches since the glory cruise (b/c of arthritis, insomnia etc) but didn't really like the looks of the ones we saw in ST Thos and St Maarten. So checked out cayman and cozumel and got the one with blue sapphires and leather band for $800.00(no tax) This was a great buy for me so now we'll see if the teslar technology really works. DH and I went to the store in our town that sells this watch and it is $1600 here so I think I got a great deal. Once again, it pays to do homework at home before going to the ports and to know exactly what you want. TENDER~ A word of caution. We have been to Grand Cayman 3 times and you would think we wouldn't have made this mistake, but we did There were 3 Carnival ships( Inspiration, Imagination and Liberty) and 1 RCCL ship in port on this day. TD and Super Shopper both advised everyone to be in the line for tendering back to the ship by 1pm. So by 12:40 dh and I decided we'd shopped enough and went back to the tender dock. Hustled to a tender getting ready to leave by 2 carnival employees who checked our S & S card. didn't recognize any on the tender, but that's natural when you think how many are on the ship. As the tender headed towards the Imagination my DH questioned me if we were on the right tender. Of course I just told him maybe it was like a bus that stops at each ship(sometimes my rationalization scares even me) Anyway, everyone got off at the Imagination except us IMAGINE THAT. Then the crew realized we were on the wrong tender, but we had to wait to make sure no one from the ship wanted to go back to shore. We finally... slowly ...headed back to the pier, and had to wait for 2 tenders to leave before we could pull up. Of course by now its after 1pm and Im having a bit of a panic attack(if only I had already had my philip stein watch I could have assessed the tesslar calming affect LOL) We were then directed to the proper line and made it back to the ship on time. We accept our responsibility for going to the wrong line at the pier (it looked familiar b/c it was the same area used by our previous cruises on the Liberty and Atlantica) HOWEVER, it does no good to have the carnival staff at the pier only look to make sure you have a carnival s & s card and not to check which ship you are on. Believe me, for the rest of the day you can bet they were checking EVERYONE'S card very closely. I did notice that RCCL had a sign up for their ship's line. With 3 Carnival ships in port that day, it would probably be a good idea for them to label each line with a portable sign (what about people who have liquid lunches~might help them a bit) I did write to carnival with this suggestion, but not sure if they will follow thru. DEBARKATION~ Great if you are American. As a canadian (and any other foreigner) you had to get up at 6:15 am to clear customs, then allowed to go back for bkfst. DH was wonderful and got up early and kept me company. The line moved ok for customs, it was just sooooo hard to get up early after relaxing and sleeping in for 5 days CD~ thought Risa was a great CD and was visible throughout the cruise (and not just on the annoying overhead announcements like another un-named CD we had at Christmas) didn't attend all the shows, since we've seen some a few times, but what we saw and heard was good. Thought the magician with his one trick was pretty lame, but it didn't affect my cruise adversely! SUPERSHOPPER Dave~ Great guy with lots of great tips. Also available for individual chats and never treated you like he was in a hurry to move on. All in all, a great cruise and I wouldn't hesitate to go on an older and smaller Carnival ship again. DH and I thought it was perhaps our favorite cruise so far. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Having never cruised on Carnival before, but cruised on 3 other cruise lines, we thought we would give Carnival a try since the port is close to home, and it's a great cruise to just get away on for a few days. Sailing out of the port ... Read More
Having never cruised on Carnival before, but cruised on 3 other cruise lines, we thought we would give Carnival a try since the port is close to home, and it's a great cruise to just get away on for a few days. Sailing out of the port of Tampa is the easiest port we have cruised from. Took the same cruise last year on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas. This boat is in much better shape than the Grandeur, and the decks are laid out much nicer. Boat was much cleaner and more modern. Embarkation was easy and was able to get on the boat at 11:30am. We ate lunch at the Buffet on the Lido deck, and the food there was better than other buffets I have eaten. The hot and cold sandwiches made fresh in the middle of the restaurant were very good. Also enjoyed the hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries out by the pool. They were the best! Food in general was OK. i.e. filet was tough, lobster had no flavor, roast beef was tough, but seafoods I had were good. Melting cake is awesome, especially with a scoop of ice cream. Waiter was friendly, but just seemed to want to get his job done, didn't go out of his way to talk with any of us. The assistant waiter was barely seen, if you didn't get your bread when he came by, he never came back again. I thought the shows were very good, I have read others who did not enjoy them but compared to others they ranked right up there with them. The girl who sang was very good, but the young man can't seem to carry a tune well. He seems to bring the female singer down when they sign together. Cruise director was ok, but not exciting. Saw her at one of the coffee cafe, and she never spoke to any of the cruisers around her. Got her coffee and left. Seems like she should have made sure folks were having a great time. Asst cruise director ran a few things, and definitely is not a good speaker in front of the public. Went to the casino a few times, but if you are not a smoker, it is hard to stay in there for a long time. The smoke is awful. Even in the smoking lounges it is bad, especially with the cigar smoking that was going on Port of call was Cozumel and we took a ferry to Playa del Carmen. Have been to Cozumel and wanted to see something different. Nice place to go, same type of shops, plus a few more and lots of quaint outdoor restaurants. Cabin steward kept out room always clean and filled with what we needed. Did not see him much, and didn't meet him until the 2nd day. Every area of the boat was always clean. Bar waiters & waitress' were everywhere to get you a drink. They were doing an outstanding job. Great cruise in all for a short get away, just after going on other cruises that have outstanding food and great cruise directors, you start comparing. Would try Carnival again. Anxious to here from my daughter who is on the boat this week for the 5 night cruise for spring break. She called to let me know the entire boat seemed to be filled with spring break kid from Florida. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We arrived in Tampa on 3-11-07 and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Dale Mabry. (clean and had a free shuttle from the hotel and to the port) We left for our cruise on 3-12-07. Our embarkation was an easy process took about 15 ... Read More
We arrived in Tampa on 3-11-07 and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Dale Mabry. (clean and had a free shuttle from the hotel and to the port) We left for our cruise on 3-12-07. Our embarkation was an easy process took about 15 minutes total. We arrived-gave our bags to a porter-checked in and went on board. We were allowed to board early(around 12:00). This was our first time to cruise we were a little nervous about all of the procedures but everything was really easy. We then went to the Lido deck for some lunch. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 and the muster drill did not take long at all. Our bags arrived shortly after. We had early dining in the Carnivale(Babu-Maitre'de)Our waiters were Nyorman and Itadek and they were awesome. I have a 7 year old and he just loved both of them. I must say the warm chocolate melting cake was my favorite desert. I had steak most every night( i am a picky eater) but my husband tried different things and he said most things were really good. We chose to eat in the Brasserie Grill for lunch most days and for breakfast too. The pizza is good and the room service is quick and convenient!!! Our room was always neat and we never had to ask for anything. Our room steward was Martin. He did a fine job! The photo gallery was a nice place too. I spent quite a bit of time in there and spent quite a bit of money in there also.( the last day at sea they had a special- buy an 8x10 get free wallets) I will say that if you wait til the last day you will have to go through some stacks of pictures so if you really think you might want the picture it is best to go ahead and buy it when you see it. We went to the shows every night and enjoyed them. My son went to them also and liked them too. We booked our shore excursions through the boat. We took the Turtle Farm, Hell and Stingray in Grand Cayman. We were late in tendering(ships fault) so we were really rushed at the turtle farm and hell but all in all we had a great time except that we were late returning from the excursion but finally made it back to the ship. The stingrays were an awesome sight and something I think you should do at least once in your lifetime if you ever go to Grand Cayman. We also went to Cozumel. We did the Beach Buggy and Snorkel TOur there. I must say this was our favorite. Danny and Antony were our guides. This is about 5 hours of touring Cozumel. You have a beach stop with buffet and at the end you snorkel or get to swim in the pool(your preference). It was great fun for my son and husband. The last day at sea we did alot of resting and relaxing. The ship was clean and there was always someone cleaning. Everyone was very helpful with any questions that I had. The cruise director seemed to very nice and my son thought Philipe' was just the funniest thing. We caught all of the fun activities on the Lido deck. We also bought the Fun ship dvd too. We had a great 1st cruise and we are already planning our next one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was my first Carnival cruise, but my 2nd cruise overall. My first cruise was with Celebrity cruise lines((which is fabulous PS)). I realize Carnival is the most popular cruise line in the world, because they are known to be party ... Read More
This was my first Carnival cruise, but my 2nd cruise overall. My first cruise was with Celebrity cruise lines((which is fabulous PS)). I realize Carnival is the most popular cruise line in the world, because they are known to be party boats, and have good rates as far as booking a cruise is concerned. However I felt this cruise was WAY too rowdy for my liking, and I am 21 years old. I thought there were way too many kids running around, and there was NO control over them what-so-ever. The entertainment in the Paris Lounge was lacking. The 2nd to last night there was a passenger talent show, which was absolutely terrible. I didn't pay to have guests entertain me. I felt there could have been more cabaret like shows, instead of guests entertaining guests kind of shows. The ports of call ((Grand Cayman & Calica, Mexico)) were wonderful. They were both absolutely beautiful places. I did however feel like we had no time in the Grand Cayman's. My mom, sister & I decided not to do an excursion, but instead shop that day. Because the Cayman's are 1 hour behind ships time, when we arrived all the shops were closed so there was no sense in leaving the boat if you weren't doing an excursion. In Calica we went to XCaret park, which I HIGHLY recommend. It was only a 10 minute drive by bus. There is a website you can google for more information, but it is absolutely beautiful. It is $59 per person for entry. It is however worth every single penny! I swam with the dolphins which is an extra fee, but that was also WELL worth the money. there are other activities you can however do for free. we also didn't have much time in port to do every activity in XCaret, as they say you can't do it in one day. The wait staff in the dining room exceeded my expectations. They all come from different countries, I noticed a lot of them were from Indonesia. And they couldn't have been any more nice if they tried. They were absolutely wonderful. All the stateroom staff were so nice and greeting as well. Every person you asked for information was very helpful in making sure you had everything you needed. The food wasn't the best food out there, but it was pretty good. There was one night we skipped dinner, because the menu didn't look appealing. It is nice that all your food is included, so it was easy for us to go up to the Lido Deck and eat in the buffet room, where you can get panini sandwiches, pizza until 4 AM, and many delicious desserts..just to name a few things. The pool deck was a little crazy, I just layed out..I didn't use the main pool w/ the water slide((extra bonus for the kids)). There is a smaller pool towards the back of the boat a lot of people probably didn't know was there, and if you want some peace a quiet it's nice to sit back there instead. The room we had was an ocean view, on the bottom deck toward the back of the boat. We booked our cruise a week before departure, so it was cutting it close. Our room was plenty big enough for 3 people, there was a bunk bed style bed for sleeping and one by the window. It was plenty big enough for 3 people. That was a plus about the room. The ship I noticed was always clean, you would always see someone cleaning everything from the glass to the elevators. I however did not enjoy that there was smoking allowed on board. You are allowed to smoke in the casino, which I think should be prohibited. I am 21 so I did gamble a few nights, and I had a hard time sitting in there not only because it was gross, but because I have asthma. I think there should have been designated areas OUTSIDE for smoking. it is a HUGE fire hazard to be smoking inside on a ship in the middle of the ocean. that is not a smart move on Carnival's part. My overall experience with Carnival was okay. I would probably not use them again, and if I did I would try and use one of their newer vessels. There is a lot of room for improvement with them, and I hope they continue to improve in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We took our family of five on our 1st cruise, on Carnival's Inspiration leaving out of Tampa for a 5 night cruise with stops in Cayman Islands and Calica Mexico. My wife and I had separate adjacent room from our three teens, ages 17, ... Read More
We took our family of five on our 1st cruise, on Carnival's Inspiration leaving out of Tampa for a 5 night cruise with stops in Cayman Islands and Calica Mexico. My wife and I had separate adjacent room from our three teens, ages 17, 14, and 13. We arrived in Tampa two days a head of time and stayed at Hampton Inn in Tampa for 2 nights, nice motel in nice area. Loading on ship was fairly easy, we used Valet parking for $75, which I thought was worth the extra $10 to not have to fool with car before or after. Had to wait about one hour before boarding boat, we went to area shops and restaurants, enjoyed atmosphere. Getting on ship and walking around trying to find everything was exciting, we had luggage brought to room within a couple of hours. Rooms are bigger than I had heard, we had an interior cabin, on main floor in middle, which I think was a good choice for lessening the rocking of the boat. Personally I would not pay the extra price for a window, I enjoyed sleeping in and the dark room in the mornings made that easily done. The bed and linens were very comfortable, and relaxing, storage was fine, and again better than I figured it would be. Our 1st two days we had somewhat rough seas from what I was told from more experienced cruisers. My wife and I enjoyed sitting and laughing at people staggering by the 2nd evening, it was as if everyone was drunk, two steps forward, then one to the side? People were laughing at themselves, it was quite amusing. None of us got sick, although the unstable feeling got old, and was worst in the rear and front of boat where the shows were being held. However I did find the rocking action along with good bedding seemed to help me sleep better. Meals - We went on this cruise to relax and be casual, we did not get all dressed up and only ate in main dining room two evenings. I found the food to be ok, I like the food in the main dining room the least, although the service and our waiter was exceptional. There is not a huge variety to eat, you are limited to selections on your menu, I would think most people would find only a few really appealing to them. Servings are small, you can order more though. The steak is fair at best, presentation is good, but quality is not what I would get at a good steak house. We ate breakfast on Lido deck buffet on most mornings, they had either pancakes or French toast (fair/cold), along with scrambled eggs (good), link sausage or ham slice (fair), or if you chose to wait, you could have omelet made to order (better), there was also cereal and fruit (fair). Breakfast did not have much variety, that was pretty much you menu every morning. Lunch - again we usually ate on Lido deck, I enjoyed the cheeseburgers and chili dogs, along with pizza from pizzeria, pretty good stuff, but got old after a couple of days. Ordered room service two late evenings, P&J with milk, good service and sandwich, milk not cold, which was a consistent problem at breakfast also, they struggled to keep milk cartons cold in buffet, little or no ice. Overall I would give food a grade of C. Service - I thought this was the most impressive facet of trip, our steward, waiter and for the most part everyone we came in encounter with was very friendly, helpful and polite. They went out of their way to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and made us feel that our needs and desires were a priority. I would give service a grade of A. Entertainment, and Activities - My 17 year old daughter and I were wondering around on the 3rd evening trying to find something to do that we would enjoy, she made the comment to me, "if you weren't getting drunk or gambling or both, there was not that many other options", I laughed and said "you're right." Don't get this wrong, there were things going on, they were playing bingo that night, $10 per card, $20 for three (we did that for about 40 minutes), and they had Karaoke going on (about 25 people there, and the same 2 or 3 kids sang jokingly, while a few adults gave their best effort, we could only take about 15 minutes of this. We did go to several shows, the dancers were very good, the two singers were also talented, I enjoyed the guy they had more, in my opinion he was the better of the two. Shows were fairly similar, other than different costumes and songs, but we enjoyed them, and saw two or three. We thoroughly enjoyed the Newlywed game with the passengers, we thought that was a hoot. But other than that what are you going to do, we spent a certain amount of time on deck, which I enjoyed. My 17 year old did not care for the teen disco after 1st night, not sure why, I know they had problems keeping younger kids out, and several high school age passengers were drinking, but for what ever reason she grew tired and chose to hang out with us. My 14 year old daughter met friends from home on boat, and hung out with them. My 13 year old son probably did the most with the teen club, he got with several other boys that were his age and played cards, did scavenger hunts, etc.. He had a real good time. Daytime activities around pool were fairly entertaining and amusing, I give credit to the crew members in charge, the day they did dancing on the deck, several high school kids got up and started humping around on each other, and she went up there and politely put a stop to it. We went during spring break, we had around 600 - 800 teens on board I would say, all and all, I would say that they were fairly well behaved, although I am surprised that Carnival did not have better system in placed to curtail underage drinking, I would think it would be easy to issue different colored cards to different age groups, I saw several teens who were obviously not in college carrying beer bottles around toward end of trip, however I did not see any overt drunkenness on their part, which I credit to them not Carnival. Entertainment and Activities - I give a grade of C-. Excursions – We did not book one the 1st day, they only gave us about 4 hours to do something at Cayman Islands, I did not want to take chance, we ended up getting cab and going to public beach, got there around 9am (easy debarkation), went Jet Skiing and had wonderful time. The next day we pull in and direct dock at Calica, we had booked a Dolphin adventure outside of Carnival to save money and hassle, I was very concerned that we would not dock in time or I would miss by pick up at some point. But all turned out great, Dolphin Adventures was there 10 minutes ahead of time to pick us up in private van, took us there in 20 minutes, kids had unbelievable time, great experience, we had WONDERFUL MEAL at Richard’s Steak and Pizza that is located in resort where Dolphin Adventure was located. I had a filet and 4 lobster’s tails for about $30, super taste and quality. Van took us back to boat, great day! Excursions grade of A-, I would have given A, if they had given us more time on Cayman Islands. Inspiration Ship – I am a 1st time cruiser, so I don’t have a lot to compare it with, from my view and expectations. I thought ship was clean, and well maintained. You will do a lot of walking, the elevators are confusing, some go all the way up some don’t, some go all the way down others don’t, most are busy, wait is sometimes long if you are in a hurry. Shops on boat, there is no Mall, there are a couple of tourist shops with Carnival t-shirts and stuff, there is a jewelry store, and that is it. I was expecting much more with onboard shopping. Lounges and entertainment seating was very good and comfortable. I do have problem as with most on cruise critic, with the saving of chairs on deck, it was impossible to find a chair, and most were being saved by people who did not occupy chair for several hours at time. Carnival should address this issue more sternly and have someone go around and collect towels and other articles that are left for any extend period of time. Also the hot tubs are nothing more than kiddy pools, they have sign on side of tub that says adults only, but no one from ship ever said anything to children who stayed in hot tub 12 hours a day. I would like to see them have an adult deck area, in which you must show you adult card to even be admitted into that area, putting a sign up is not enough, someone has to work it, just like the do at the top of the kids slide. I also think it would be a good idea to have a ladies deck area for 16 and over females, since so many of the enjoy sunning, etc, no males allowed. I give ship a grade of B. Having gone on my 1st cruise, I enjoyed it, glad I went, but I am not sure I would want to do it again, I do think it would be better if you went with a large group of friends and family. I also think that Carnival should give you a break on soft drinks, if it is catering to families then it shouldn’t try to make so much money on soft drinks that basically cost them nothing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was our first cruise and we loved it. We flew into Tampa the day before from Boston. We stayed at the Radisson Bay Harbor. This hotel was fine for one night, but is in need of renovation. The hotel did have a shuttle to the port, but ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we loved it. We flew into Tampa the day before from Boston. We stayed at the Radisson Bay Harbor. This hotel was fine for one night, but is in need of renovation. The hotel did have a shuttle to the port, but it is not advertised, I had to ask about it. The shuttle was $10.00 per person. It left the hotel at 11:30 am. We arrived at the port at Noon and embarkation was a breeze. Porters took our luggage, Carnival reps directed us where to go, and by 12:15 I had a drink in my hand. Our room wasn't ready until 1:30, so we explored the ship and had lunch at the lido buffet. The food was pretty good, but nothing to get excited about. The ship is old but is in great shape. We went to our room around 2:00, dropped off our carry on, met our room steward, Antonio. He was very friendly and very good at his job. Next was the Muster drill. This is painless, but you still hear people complaining about it. It starts around 4:00 and lasts about 30 minutes. We had the 8:00 pm dinner seating in the Carnivale Dining room. The food in the dining room was fantastic. Do not miss the chocolate melting cake. I can not remember the name of our waiter, but he was great. Our only stop was in Cozumel. We were allowed to dock at the pier. We got off the ship in no time, found a cab, and went to Paradise Beach. We had a great time. The service was a little slow, but they were very friendly and the food was good. We left the beach around 2:30 and did some shopping and were back on the ship by 5:30. Debarkation was not too bad. We opted for general debarkation which didn't start until about 9:00 am. We were off the ship, through customs, and in a cab bound for the airport by 9:20. All in all we loved it and look forward to cruising again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
March 31, 2007. My parents asked the family to go on a cruise for their 60th wedding anniversary. This was my first cruise and I was a little apprehensive. I am a sailor and I have sailed to the Bahamas before, so a cruise on a big ship ... Read More
March 31, 2007. My parents asked the family to go on a cruise for their 60th wedding anniversary. This was my first cruise and I was a little apprehensive. I am a sailor and I have sailed to the Bahamas before, so a cruise on a big ship was something quite different. After reading some of the comments, I told my parents "Just don't expect everything to be prefect, there is bound to be a few glitches". I drove down the night before from Atlanta and stayed in a nice hotel on the water in Saint Petersburg. After talking to my sister that night, we realized we did not know where the cruise ship was docked. I thought it was in the Port of Tampa, she thought it was in Saint Petersburg, we were both wrong. It is more or less downtown Tampa, thank goodness for the internet. After arriving in the early afternoon I decided to use the advice of these reviews and I used the valet service. It was a good bit easier and it was a lot faster when we got back. For $15 more it did seem to go a bit smoother. Getting on board was fairly easy, a good bit smoother than I thought. Once on board I met my parents and my sister. It was quite crowded on the Lido Deck and I had a lunch, roast beef and rice. The roast beef was full of grizzle and was very tough. It was also quite crowded, not a good start. At 3:30 we were allowed to go to our rooms. The 2 small beds were together and it made the room quite tight for the 3 of us. Soon after that we had the abandon ship drill and it was quite informative. The life jackets were somewhat uncomfortable to wear, but soon it was over. We watched the ship go under the Sunshine Bridge and we missed the 5:45 PM dinner so we ate in the Brassiere. I got a salad and a really good Ruben sandwich. After getting back to our cabin, the beds were moved and re-made, the upper bunk was down. The ice bin had ice and all of our stuff was cleaned up. The steward made some towels look like a rabbit. (We got a towel animal every night, once an elephant and one time it looked like a creature from Star Wars.) This trip is looking better. The next day, the first thing I noticed is how un-crowded the ship had become. People were finding different parts of the ship or using their rooms. Meals in the main dining rooms were very good. I had fish for lunch and dinner the whole time. The waiters were a joy and made eating more like a party. Once my Son did not like the fish and the waiter said he does not look happy, how about pasta, my Son said no, then he said I will get you some macaroni and cheese and quickly left and came back with a large bowl, which my Son ate every bite. The waiter will do most anything to please you. I was impressed by the food. It had very good presentation and most of the selections were quite good. My Sister said she was disappointed and I asked her why, she said she had heard the food the best food ever on a cruise ship. I was pleasantly surprised by the food, since I have read these reviews. A lot of people did not like the food and one person compared the food to Chili's. To me it was a good bit better, but my sister is right it was not the best. I would give it 4 stars out of 5. Yes, the chocolate melting cake was good, but they also had certain dishes including deserts prepared with low calorie diets in mind. Plus my Wife said this is the first time she can remember going a whole week without having to cook. At the end of the cruise one person sitting next to me wanted bananas for his cereal and they only had melon. I wanted cranberry juice and they were out, so be prepared to have shortages near the end of the trip. (Also, be prepared to sit with other people for breakfast and lunch. It can actually be fun to talk to others.) We brought a few snacks on board and did not eat them. We had to throw them away since we could not bring open food back in the States. My 16 year old Son enjoyed meeting kids his own age, it was spring break and there were a lot of kids. He went to the O2 lounge almost every night, it was a place for the 15 to 17 year old (young adults). After reading these reviews we got him a soda card for $24. He would go after the dance and get a few pieces of pizza and soda. There was a lot to do, everyone on the ship was having fun. I enjoyed the kitchen tour. There was karaoke in the back bar, shows in the Paris lounge. We had singing and dancing shows, which I thought were quite good. They had just brought a new comedian on board and I thought he was excellent. I saw both of his shows including the R rated version. Grand Cayman was really nice. I went diving at a wreck and reef. I was surprised at how little we had to drive on the boat to get to the wreck and reef. Some people did not have towels and they did not provide any. My Wife and Son went on the tour bus and my parents went later and took a tour bus that the locals provided. The one we booked was $46 and the local one was $20. Both tours seemed fine. The shops were neat, very nice jewelry. At one shop I got 2 US dollars back and 2 quarters that said “God Save the Queen”, which I now keep in my scrap book. Calica was different in that, if you did not book a tour there is nothing else there to do. It is basically a rock quarry that they turn into a port. Since we were at a dock you could walk off the ship instead of take the tender. Our whole family went to the ruins of Tulum and it was quite nice. The things I liked were, everyone is out to have fun. The weather was perfect. A lot to do, I went to a lot of shows and they gave stuff away. Our family of 6 won 3 things. I won a bottle of champagne. I like walking the decks and sitting by the pools in the back of the boat and reading a book. Seeing the 4 big props churning up the phosphorescent water at night. Seeing the tip of Cuba, I saw a white light house and the shore line on Friday. TV coverage was good including have 2 or 3 new movies sown every day. They also showed shows about the cruise, including some shows I did not see. I rarely watched more than 20 minutes at a time though. The things I didn’t like was, first I had a hard time going around the ship. One crew member said you can learn how to get around in about 6 days, unfortunately you only have 5. Some levels ended and you had to find another way. My son figured it out in one day. At meetings and events they would try and sell something for the first 5 minutes. Credit cards, special give aways, etc. They would put a tip on your drinks, a $50 tip per person on the credit card before the cruise and then tell you, that tip does not include everything. I did give more to our waiter, but I felt they were nickel and diming us to death. The ship had crew members from all over the world. My waiters were from Indonesian and India, the room steward was from the Philippines. The Captain and most of the bridge crew were from Italy and he shook my hand at the Captain’s cocktail party that had free drinks and appetizers. The crew did an excellent job and was very professional. Being a sailor I was amazed at how the captain and his crew handle the boat. At Grand Cayman he backed out the boat in a cross wind with another cruise ship to the side of us and he did a great job. When he docked into Calica he backed into the pier and I have no idea how he did that. My Son lost his fun-pass in Mexico and we were afraid he could not get on board. They had a picture of him and let him in and then we got another pass within minutes. At the end of the trip my Mom reminded me about how things may not go according to plan and she said how everything seem perfect. I had to agree it was pretty much perfect. Will it replace sailing a small sailboat, no, but it comes in a close second. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
My boyfriend and I recently sailed the Inspiration from Tampa to Cozumel Mexico on March 22nd 2007. This was my first cruise and my boyfriends second, but his first on carnival. We got dropped off in front of the Pier at noon on thursday ... Read More
My boyfriend and I recently sailed the Inspiration from Tampa to Cozumel Mexico on March 22nd 2007. This was my first cruise and my boyfriends second, but his first on carnival. We got dropped off in front of the Pier at noon on thursday and we were onboard eating lunch on the Lido deck at 12:20, no joke. Getting on was a BREEZE!! Our rooms were ready at 1:30 and after checking out the room we decided to wander around the ship for awhile before the lifeboat drill. The ship was BEAUTIFUL and very clean, which surprised me because if I am not mistaken, this ship is 10-13 years old. The lifeboat drill took less than 10 minutes, and our group was able to sit in the air conditioned Paris Lounge, which was WONDERFUL. After sailaway we went up to the top deck until the boat sailed under the Skyway Bridge, an awesome experience. We missed dinner the first night due to us having the early time and we didn't want to miss the bridge so that night we had sushi buffet (surprisingly good) and ate buffet style in the Brassiere Bar and Grill (fish, chicken, salad bar, pizza, etc.) All very very yummy. That night we visited the casino and I won $100 bucks on my first pull!! Unfortunately we gave it all back and then some thanks to some bad luck with blackjack and slots, but we had a blast in the casino and went all 4 nights. **HIGHLIGHT of my trip was the karaoke. I LOVE KARAOKE and am a fairly good singer, and we did the karaoke all 4 nights. Rozwin the Karaoke DJ LOVED me and put me up almost every other song, even when there were 20-30 people singing. I got a good reception and people did not seem to mind that a "good" singer was put up alot in place of the "drunk and rowdy college party crowd". Now, I'm college aged, but even I could not believe how drunk some people were. Cozumel was beautiful, we booked a snorkeling excursion with the clearest, most blue water I have ever seen. GORGEOUS, love it cant wait to go back. We also went to the gym (we are workout nuts) and enjoyed the hot tubs and steam/sauna rooms. The last day at sea was very bumpy and I got sick, so we stayed in the room and watched the NASCAR race and the inroom movies and just relaxed and enjoyed quiet time with each other. I have already booked our next cruise and can't wait to go back! 5 out of 5 stars except for the Cruise Director, she was a bit standoffish, other than that everyone and everything was FANTASTIC! Email me with any questions! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Carnival Inspiration: March 3-8, 2007 This is my first posting of a cruise review so be gentle. A little history, this was our (my wife and I) 7th cruise, all with Carnival. We went by ourselves for some much need relaxation and alone ... Read More
Carnival Inspiration: March 3-8, 2007 This is my first posting of a cruise review so be gentle. A little history, this was our (my wife and I) 7th cruise, all with Carnival. We went by ourselves for some much need relaxation and alone time. All of our cruises had been in September, so this time of the year was a first for us. This time we did a lot less activities and more sleeping, relaxing, and enjoying our cruise. We usually do all the shows and excursions at every port, and are exhausted at the end of it. So, we cut back this time. EMBARKATION: We flew down the day of, which was a first for us. We left Indianapolis, IN around 8:35a.m. We were delayed about 15 minutes due to snowfall that morning. It was a little odd to wait for the plane to be de-iced knowing we were heading somewhere warm. Once we landed in Tampa (around 10:40am) it was really easy to find a cab and head to the port. It was a flat rate of $22.00 from airport to port. The cab driver informed us that the Inspiration had just came back into port (around 10am!!) due to some sea fog that had delayed it. This made the process a little hairy. The port was so crowded with people trying to get off the ship at the same time as people were trying to get on the ship. Somebody grabbed our taxi before we were even out of it!! We checked with a baggage handler to find our cabin number (we were a guaranteed cabin and hadn't received it yet, more on that later). After that we headed inside. We are members of the Carnival Vacation Club, which includes "priority embarkation." We were shuffled into a couple of wrong lines and eventually found our place. The regular lines were not long at all, maybe 5-10 minute wait. They were not letting people board yet due to the delay of people getting off. After about 10 minutes they let priority board first (about noon). Got the usual boarding picture and got onboard to head to the Lido deck. Enjoyed a delicious chicken breast, salad, and of course ice cream. CABIN: As I stated earlier we originally booked a 4A guarantee cabin and once we got on board we found out we were in cabin U (for Upper) 108 which we got upgraded to a category 12!!! We were in a beautiful cabin, which was huge!! We had a balcony, a sectional couch, and a Jacuzzi bathtub. Going into this cruise we have always had a balcony because we have been on the Glory, Triumph, and Valor. So we were prepared for our oceanview cabin, and to our surprise we got our balcony. Like they say once you go balcony, you will never go back. Most people don't care about their cabin since you are not in them much, but we love sitting out on the balcony and enjoying the view. Our room steward stopped by and introduced herself (Julia). She was not the best we ever had, but she was never in the way and cleaned the room very nice. We then did the muster drill, which only took about 10 minutes. We then headed back to the cabin for a nap. (After being up at 5 am you need a nap). Luckily, I awoke about 6:30 to see the bridge you go under when leaving Tampa (it looks like you barely clear it). Fell back asleep until Julia came in to clean at 8:40. Oops! So, since we missed dinner we ate up on the Lido deck again. It was good. Again, strange getting used to the layout since it is very different from the larger ships. We then went to the Welcome Aboard Show in the Paris lounge. The cruise director was Risi Barnes, which she was ok. Nothing spectacular, and sometimes her voice was annoying. After having John Heald nobody really compares (I know some people will debate that). The show consisted of the Carnival dancers doing a few routines, and Risi coming out and introducing the rest of the crew. It ended with the comedy of Kenny Miller. Not the best comedian but did the job. DAY AT SEA: Beautiful day in the 80's. It did get a little chilly when the sun went behind the clouds, and it was windy the entire cruise. We laid out in the sun most of the day. Ate lunch in the buffet lines again. I must say I was a little disappointed in the pizza. Not the best I've had on Carnival, but the burgers and fries were awesome. Later in the afternoon I tried my hand at the trivia game at the Violin bar. Lost by one point. Darn! Donated $20 to the casino. I played blackjack for a little bit, but that was about it. For the first time ever I actually went to the gym and worked out. Not too bad of facilities, but it is a little rough staying on the treadmill while cruising. There were a lot of crewmembers up there working out. I guess they have nothing else to do when they are off duty. It was nice to go into the hot tub after working out. Since we had late dining (8:30) we ordered some room service around 5. The wife had tuna on an English muffin and I had a roast beef sandwich both with potato chips. Both were very good. Tonight was formal night, so we got gusseyed up and went to dinner in the Mardi Gras dining room. Our Maitre De was George the Greek. I was a little disappointed in the wait staff. Since we were not there the first night I thought the waiter (Leo) would make a point in introducing himself/ask us where we were at last night. Nothing. He actually said "Nice to see you again." OK?!?! So, we were at a table of 6 and met a nice couple from N. Carolina and another couple from Michigan. They were really nice and were great dinner company. We both had the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer and lobster for dinner. I also added the prime rib, too. Both were very good. Very satisfied. I also tried the famous chocolate melting cake. Lived up to expectations. Great!! After dinner went to the show ("Shout") it was average. Like a 50/60's act with sub par male lead singer and decent female lead singer. I've seen better. GRAND CAYMAN: We have been to this port two other times before and decided not to book an excursion. After reading some reviews on cruse critic we decided to take a cab to cemetery beach. It cost $12 total for the both of us. We were in a 10-person bus, and the driver seemed to try and talk us out of it. After he dropped everyone else off at other stops, he changed his tune and was saying how much we would like it. The beach was beautiful!! You actually have to walk past a cemetery to get to the beach, which was a little creepy. There was only about 8 other people there. However, there is no restroom facilities, bar, lockers, chairs, nothing. Just you and the beach. There is a nice reef about 75 yards off the beach, which had tons of brightly colored fish, and we saw a huge puffer fish. Some of the best snorkeling we seen in a while. It was nice and relaxing. The only down fall is no taxis hang out there so it was a little difficult to get a cab back, but there is a bus stop across the street. After about 10 minutes a bus came and picked us up for only $5 total, and took us back to the port. We went into the new Margaritaville and bought some souvenirs. The last tender was supposed to be at 1:00pm. We got into a hug line around noon. The water was really choppy and they closed one of the gangways so the process was really slow. We finally got onto a tender at 1:10pm (there were still about 500 people in line after us.) Once we got back on board we hit the buffet for lunch and took a nap. They had the past guest party tonight from 5:15-6 but we skipped it. (I noticed once we got home they gave us 1 Inspiration pin and 1 Elation pin. That was weird. I called Carnival and they are sending us another Inspiration) Tonight the show was before the dinner for some reason. It was a magician and a comedy act. Like I said the seas were really rough and the boat was rocking. We made it through the magician (who was kind of lame) and had to go back to our room and lay down. We called it a night and skipped dinner. CALICA: Like most reviews of this port there is nothing here except a rock quarry, but it is only 10 minutes away from Playa Del Carmen. We decided to book the Calica Beach Break through Carnival for $39.00 per person. That included your bus fare, admission to the beach, chairs, and an open bar. It was a beautiful beach, but there were a lot more people here (but not too crowded). They offered hair braiding/kayaks/jet skis for additional costs. The drinks were surprisingly strong. The water was a little colder here than in Grand Cayman. We arrived at the beach around 10:30, so around noon we order some chips and salsa from the bar for $4.00. Very good!! We left about 2:30pm, and went back onto the ship. Again we were tired and missed dinner and skipped the guest talent show. They had a Mexican buffet at 11:30pm, but unfortunately we missed it too. We did catch up on our sleep. I feel bad for missing so many things, but we were in desperate need for relaxation. DAY AT SEA: Another great sea day that we laid out in the sun. It was a little chillier than the other day. We passed the time by watching the Fear Factor competition at the main pool. It was entertaining. Did not get into any of the pools or slide, the water was really cold. There were some spring breakers on board that were having a good time, but not an over abundance. I think we were there about a week before the huge influx of kids. Later, I tried the trivia again and won a Carnival medal. Didn't get the 14kt plastic piece of ship on a stick, but the medal will do. We skipped the debarkation talked, but caught it on the TV later that evening. Again they had the show before dinner (El Nuevo Caribe, whatever that was). Skipped it!! Went to dinner finally, and had some delicious chicken quesadillas for an appetizer, salad, and a New York strip (which was very good). For dessert they had Baked Alaska, which I am glad they brought back. It was very good. Hit the hay for an early day. DEBARKATION: They said they would start self-assist around 7:30am. We had an EARLY flight of 10:38am, so we had to do the self-assist. We had room service delivered at 6:30 and waited for the announcement. At about 7:45 they let us go. We had to go up one level and waited in line about 15 minutes before we got off the ship. Found a cab right off the bat and headed to the airport. Checked our bags in with nobody in line surprisingly and actually waited for our flight. Got there in plenty of time. Took the flight out and was home by 2:00pm. OVERVIEW: Excellent vacation just to get away from the hassles of everyday life. Your typical service and food offered from Carnival, which I am pleased with. Your cruise is what you make of it, so enjoy. I hope this review wasn't too hard to read and understand. Feel free to ask any questions. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
  We arrived in Tampa after a fear of bad weather in New Jersey. We flew Spirit Airlines out of ACY on a direct flight to Tampa. It was an effortless flight. We quickly (within minutes) retrieved our luggage and were on our way to the ... Read More
  We arrived in Tampa after a fear of bad weather in New Jersey. We flew Spirit Airlines out of ACY on a direct flight to Tampa. It was an effortless flight. We quickly (within minutes) retrieved our luggage and were on our way to the ship. The price was $22 and was at the pier in approx. 15 mins. Porters immediately took our luggage and through a fast and friendly checkin we were on the ship within 20-30 mins. The ship at first glance was exciting. Having cruised with Carnival in the past, we were somewhat familiar with the layout of the ship. While Inspiration is an older ship of the fleet, it is none the less, kept in tip-top shape. Very clean with exceptionally friendly crew. After a satisfying lunch we proceeded to our cabin. We were on the Main Deck about the middle of the ship. We always make sure the floors above and below are bedrooms. We prefer the inside cabins as they are very dark at night insuring a very good night's sleep. My husband says it's the best night's sleep he gets! The cabin is plenty large for two people, although the vanity area is pretty small. One note the large suitcases didn't fit under the bed, but plenty of room next to the beds. Ladies don't forget to bring your hairdryers, they don't provide them on the ship!!!! The bathroom is a good size, plenty of hot, hot, hot water. We didn't detect any odors. They provide shampoo and dove bodywash, but not conditioner! As we explored the ship, even after five days, we never fully learned our way around. It seemed a bit confusing, but not a problem. There was no problem with Noro Virus. Plenty of Nightclubs on the ship, while we didn't participate much, people appeared to be having a good time. We were having a not so good time in the casino! Beware it's tight!!!! And smokey! We always did the breakfast buffet, usual fare. Actually less speciality items offered. Our lunch was usually hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza or the deli. We had the 8:30 seating for dinner which proved to be alittle late. However, it turned out to be a pleasant event. Our wait staff, Marco and Elizabeth, were excellent. Marco the head waiter would begin each night by providing his recommendations for the evening meal. The food was good, every meal had a fish selection which my husband enjoyed nightly. Most people enjoyed the famous melting chocolate cake, I personally found it a bit too much chocolate for me. We were in the Mardi Gras Dining Room. There didn't appear to be seating for less than six people at a table. We would rate the dining experience 4 out of 5 stars for diner, 3 out of 5 for breakfast and lunch. We had two ports of call, Cayman Islands and Calica. We have been to the Caymans several times so we only did a bit of shopping, however, time there is rather short, we had to be back on the ship by 1:00 and having to tender really eats up the clock. At Calica, we did the Beachbreak, the day started raining, but by the time we reached the beach, the sun started to shine and I ended up with sun poison on my lip, I'm still suffering with it two weeks later! Leaving the ship can be quite easy and quick especially if you take your own bags off. Highly recommend it if you have a early flight. Plenty of transportation back to the airport is available. Tampa airport is a clean, airy, uncrowded place to wait for a flight. All in all an excellent ship for those who prefer a low key cruise experience. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was our first cruise. My wife and I recently turned 50 and usually travel frequently to Vegas and Hawaii. We decided on this cruise to find out if a Mediterranean cruise is in our future. We flew in the day of embarkation. Next time ... Read More
This was our first cruise. My wife and I recently turned 50 and usually travel frequently to Vegas and Hawaii. We decided on this cruise to find out if a Mediterranean cruise is in our future. We flew in the day of embarkation. Next time we will arrive a day early. Less stress when the plane arrives late. Boarded the ship at 3:00. No line at all. Went straight to lunch, then room (Riviera deck-ocean view). Called up on deck for life boat drill around 4:00. Set sail soon after. The ship appeared to be a little tired but was very clean. The ship only had 2 pools, one of which was closed throughout the cruise. One of the two elevators in the atrium was also out of service all week. The ship had 3 outdoor spas and 2 indoor. Children were in the outdoor spas even though two were designated adult only. First day at sea, second day Grand Cayman resulted in long lines for disembarkation with those on tours booked through the ship allowed to leave first. Short day as ship left port at 2:00PM. The next day's port, Cozumel was canceled due to high winds. Around noon the ship pulled anchor and headed back towards Tampa at a very slow pace. Carnival offered a $25 credit to all in lieu to make everyone feel better. When we reached Tampa we could not return to dock because of fog. Ended up docking 2 hours late. The night before we were told to be on the Lido deck by 6:15AM to declare customs. Nobody was there so we were told to return at 8:30. The lines were long and everyone was tired and fed up. Positives: Showers had hot water and very good pressure. Room steward was OK-made the bed twice a day and made towel animals. Dining room service was very good. We had the 8:00 seating with George the Greek. The production shows at night seemed pretty good considering it was on a ship. 2 of the 3 comedians were good. Negatives: Lack of communications-although they had a newsletter under your cabin we still felt like information was hard to get. Food was OK. Most of the beef was under cooked or over cooked. Filet was tough and lacked flavor. Lobster was good. Hamburgers were OK. Deli was good. Pizza was OK. You could do buffet or sit down for all meals we opted for sit down. The teriyaki short ribs were very good as was the oriental beef and peppers for lunch. The spare ribs were very fatty with little taste. Room service was very prompt but 2 out of 3 times did bring what was requested. Casino was very smokey. Although this was our first cruise and therefore we have nothing to compare it with, two things come to mind: Hurry up and wait and being at a carnival. Photographers were everywhere to take our picture in hopes that we would buy them. DVD's of the ship was for sale. The bedding was for sale. Carnival cook books and how to make towel animals were for sale. What bothered me the most were the envelopes at the entrance of the dining room to put money in them for the Maitre de as he stood there with his hand out as you walked into the dining room. Our final thoughts are that we liked cruising and will try it again. We will try to find a cruise that docks at the ports instead of tendering as this ship/itinerary did. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was our first cruise, and chose it, since it was cheap, and went to 2 ports we were interested in, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We flew into Tampa the monday that the ship left. Our flight came in at 12:30. We hopped into a cab, ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and chose it, since it was cheap, and went to 2 ports we were interested in, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We flew into Tampa the monday that the ship left. Our flight came in at 12:30. We hopped into a cab, stopped for some non-alcoholic drinks to take on board, and we were on our way. The cab cost about 25 bucks all together for 2. The embarkation process seemed to take a long time. Lots of waiting in line. BRING YOUR FUN PASS! Maybe it seemed to take longer, since I couldn't wait to get on the ship!! We finally made it on board. The ship was beautiful and CLEAN! There were people cleaning everywhere, everyday. Hubby and I took a look around, and made our way to our stateroom. (M253)We were in the rear, which was great because it cut down on the rocking, which you could REALLY feel in the front of the ship. Stateroom was larger than I expected. Our stateroom steward Andre, introduced himself. At 4pm they announced the lifeboat drill. The drill only took 1/2 hour. Hubby and I were exhausted from traveling, and opted for a night in, where we ordered room service. Hubby ordered the fajita wrap, and LOVED it. Let me just talk about the beds. The Carnival beds are WONDERFUL. Hubby and I slept AWESOME everynight. I wanted to take the bed home with me, it was that good. Tuesday was a day at Sea. We ate breakfast at the brasserie on the lido deck. Normal buffet food, runny eggs bacon pancakes toast. Hubby and I noted that we could order toast and bagels via room service and we wouldn't have to get out of bed for breakfast. The lido deck is so much fun. Get there before noon to get lounge chairs. Sit close to the pool to see all of the contests, hairy chest, belly flop, fear factor, etc. We had the 8pm seating for dinner in the Carnivale dinning room. George the Greek was our maitre'd. OHHHHPPPAHHH! Our main waiter asked our names at our first dinner and called us by name everyday thereafter. It was great. For an appetizer the shrimp is always a good choice. The best dinners we had were the Grouper and the Ribs. ALWAYS order the Melting Cake for desert. It is out of this world! Do not leave dinner early, because the dining room staff put on shows every night, and they are great entertainment! After dinner we chose to spend some time in the casino playing blackjack. By the end of our trip we were ahead 250. After the casino we would maybe catch a show. We loved the Newlywed and not-so Newlywed game! I was in tears from laughing so hard. After the show we'd head to the disco, and dance the night away. To save money hubby and I drank whatever was on special. Wednesday we were in Grand Cayman. We took the tender around 9am. We did not book an excursion. If we had booked an excursion we would have left the ship around 7:30a. Hubby and I chose to snorkel at Eden Rock, a 10 min walk to the right once you get off the tender, look for the blue building. All of our equipment including vests cost us 30 bucks. GREAT SNORKELING!! Since the last tender went back to the ship at 1pm, hubby and I grabbed some lunch at margaritaville (Right across the street from the pier) Take some water with you to wait in line for the tender. The line will be LONG! Be prepared to stand in the full sun for atleast an hour and a half. Thursday we woke to hear that we were unable to tender in Cozumel due to 30mph winds. The port authorities denied us. So Thursday and Friday were both days at sea. We layed in the sun on the Lido deck. We did the galley tour (boring). I had a massage at the spa. We played at the casino. Saturday..... Disembarkation. If you can physically carry your luggage off the ship, you don't have to put your luggage out the night before. This allows you to leave the ship at your leisure. DO NOT book air for times any sooner than noon. Our ship was late getting back into Tampa, and trust me there were a bunch of upset folks at the purser's desk! All in all a very fun ship! Would do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
The Inspiration is a medium-size ship providing a medium-nice experience. Wonderful exceptions were the high-energy shows in the Paris lounge and a variety of activities at all times of the day. DH and I are 50+, taking our fifth Carnival ... Read More
The Inspiration is a medium-size ship providing a medium-nice experience. Wonderful exceptions were the high-energy shows in the Paris lounge and a variety of activities at all times of the day. DH and I are 50+, taking our fifth Carnival cruise, no kids this time (it's before college Spring Breaks). We snuck away on this four-day just for a break. Driving from Orlando, we went from home to ship in just a couple of hours. Embarkation was a breeze, with staff at every turn to direct us on toward the next staff member as lines were forming. DH dropped me and parked the car. I went through the line and had to let other people go ahead of me, because the line was shorter than the car-parking process! Very smooth. Our room was ready when we arrived, ocean-view on Empress deck. After some people-watching we went to the lifejacket drill and then stayed in the Candlelight Lounge to watch the sailaway. It took almost two hours to navigate the channels and reach the open water just after a beautiful sunset. We opened the casino and made appropriate donations. There are about 15 slots with 1 cent/2 cents/5 cents options. After playing the pennies for a while I switched to nickels. Not a good move. Went back to the pennies pretty quickly. We had late seating dinner at a table for 8 in the dining room hosted by maitre'd "George the Greek." Opa! Only one other couple the first night, but they were so much fun we didn't even notice the empty seats. A second couple arrived for dinner Friday and Saturday night and we all had a blast. Formal night brought prime rib and a lobster tail (we felt free to indulge in both). They were very, very good but overall, we were disappointed in the quality of the food. I had a filet mignon one night and chateaubriand another night that were just not tender or flavorful. Not important enough to send back, just medium-quality. DH sampled the sushi one night and said it was good. It's served behind the bar outside the casino. Breakfasts and lunches were fine. Cozumel was our only port. We were fortunate to dock (another cruise was tendering in), and the dock is downtown (used to be a $6 taxi ride away before the hurricane). The excursion to a show featuring Mexican folkloric dancers was canceled, so we just walked around. Made it all the way down the main street to Pancho's Backyard for a fresh, authentic, tasty lunch and live music. That required a taxi back to Carlos and Charlie's, which was hopping even at 2:30 in the afternoon. I understand some passengers visited them a little too long and missed the ship, as reported by Empress hall-mates who just made the gangway in time. Carlos & Charlie's is directly across from where the dock is now, and instead of staggering across the busy street you take an escalator up, a pedestrian bridge over, an escalator down, and you can even ride in a pedi-cab (for just a gratuity) down the dock and out to the ship. We enjoyed some trivia games with various social-staff members. The art auction was particularly interesting because of the variety of artwork and a range of prices. DH slipped his leash Sunday and purchased three pieces while I was napping. No more naps. Risa the Cruise Director was lively and polished and very easy to respond to; we thought she was one of the better CDs we have seen. She hosted the musical shows each night and introduced the comedians Saturday. We had enjoyed Happy Cole on another cruise and he was just as good on the Inspiration - both the family show and the adult show. We were picked to be on the Newlywed/Not-so-newlywed Game with two other couples. One married 3 months, us almost 30 years, one married 55 years. The wife in that latter couple had just won Fear Factor that afternoon and they were all terrific to meet and get to know a little. If you've never seen this show, it gets a little spicy and (therefore) hilarious. We were quick to buy the DVD but now realize there is no one we can show it to! They awarded prizes to all of us and it was just a hoot. Now for some less-than-positive experiences. The service problems did color our overall impressions. First, I found that many areas including our whole room had a slight sewery smell. I was told it was the water source. I also found very few comfortable armchairs or sofas to just sit and talk with people. The meeting-room style chairs on Promenade are uncomfortable, and the benches in the windows are okay to perch on but have no backs. The showroom's couch-style seating has a back that is far too low to provide any support. Next, the "casino bank" feature of the Sign'n'Sail card ate my positive balance Friday night. In September, we used this without flaw on the Carnival Glory: it allows you to insert your card and upload your slot machine balance to your room card. Well, I uploaded it, then I changed my PIN just for increased security, and I went back to use it that night and poof! The balance had disappeared. The casino host courteously offered me a small amount, but was adamant that no more would be added. He pulled computer records that showed my card in a certain machine, but no record of uploading the balance. Strangely, my record was missing another chunk of play, and after being distressed for 24 hours I finally wrote a short letter documenting the situation Saturday evening, after Cozumel. Be aware that the Pursers will refer it to the Casino for resolution, not take it upon themselves to investigate and solve! Anyway, no response overnight, so DH went to talk to the casino manager and arranged a resolution Sunday morning, the final day at sea. We did return to the casino, using cash, but vowed never to save our winnings to the card again. In the category of "raise your hand if you're not here," we were charged on the last night for $12 worth of water, category "in-room beverage." Apparently big bottles of water are supposed to be in your room. We had one warm can of Sprite sitting on the desk the whole cruise, but never saw any waters. So, when the charge appeared on the bill overnight, we had no clue what it was for. That last morning, we waited 45 minutes to speak to the Purser to remove the charge. Their system was so busy she invited us to just leave and they would take care of it. That was not acceptable to us! Thank you, Leticia, Assistant Purser, for taking care of us. She worked some kind of magic and supplied a printout showing no charges for the non-existent water. Debarkation was a cattle-call, no calling in order by luggage-tag colors as on larger ships. Thank goodness we were in line at the Purser's Desk and didn't have to stand in line for debarkation!?! As one of the last 18 people off the ship, we walked right off. A courteous porter met us, took our luggage to the parking garage entrance, and we were off to Orlando after a relaxing long weekend. The 4-day and 5-day itineraries alternate on this ship, and we felt the Thursday afternoon-Monday morning 4-day, with two days at sea and a day in Cozumel, was perfect for us. Tampa was an easy port to travel from. This 10-year-old ship is clean, but it's not "over the top" like newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We arrived at the port at 11:15am and we were on board by 12:00pm. The only glitch we had was our fun pass which had been filled out weeks in advance was not in the system, but this was remedy quickly and we were on our way. Once on ... Read More
We arrived at the port at 11:15am and we were on board by 12:00pm. The only glitch we had was our fun pass which had been filled out weeks in advance was not in the system, but this was remedy quickly and we were on our way. Once on board our rooms weren't ready so we went to the Lido deck and began eating. The food on the cruise was very good as was all the wait staff but more on that later. At 1:30 our cabin was ready. It was very clean and nicely decorated. Our room steward came by and introduced himself. I don't remember his name, but this is my fault he could tell me 100 times and I still wouldn't remember. But he was great. He was never too far away, but he was never in the way either. He was always right there when we needed something. ANd no matter how messy we left the cabin each morning or evening. he always had it looking real nice when we returned. He would have all our shoes all lined up for us, fished out from under the bed. Our ice bucket never melted down he always knew when it needed more ice. We had a bottle of champagne and he kept that iced down also. The Muster drill was quick and painless. My previous cruise it had taken over an hour and we were still doing it on sailaway. This one was all of 20 minutes. My mother had a hard time climbing stairs so they took her to another muster station and had her registered for assistance. That evening we ate in the dining room. We had early seating in the Carnivale. George the Greek was amazing. Not only did he keep us informed as to what was going on in the dining room but what was going on on the ship. Our waiters were AMAZING. They came around the first night and asked us our name. and then called us by our name the rest of the cruise. We all joked that they had a chart and reviewed it before we came in so they could remember our names, but the next day we had lunch on the Lido deck and our assistant waiter was there and he called us all by our name. We were quite impressed. The food was very good in the dining room as was the entertainment by the waiters. The Melting chocolate Cake was by far my favorite Desert. We saw a few of the shows and participated in few of the games they were alot of fun. The female singer by far was the strongest singer of the two. The male singer was a weak singer I was not impressed with him. The male dancers were very good, the female dancers were ok. Mexico was wonderful. We did the Highlights and shopping tour. For the price it was a little over priced for what we got, but it was nice. We had a wonderful time shopping and got some great bargains. We went to Playa Mia Beach and had a nice time this is a very nice beach. I would recommend going there. ONce back in Tampa. we waited until they made the final call for all to leave the ship. The announced there was only 91 people left on the ship and it was time to go home. So we headed off this process only took just a few minutes I think it only took us 20 minutes. I had valet parked and they brought the car right out to us and we were on our way. Overall It was an Amazing cruise and I would highly recommend the Inspiration to anyone looking to cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was our third cruise with Carnival in the past year. Before this we had sailed twice on Carnival's Celebration (which we highly recommend). We wanted to try a slightly longer cruise and we liked the Inspiration's ports. We ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Carnival in the past year. Before this we had sailed twice on Carnival's Celebration (which we highly recommend). We wanted to try a slightly longer cruise and we liked the Inspiration's ports. We live in Florida so it was only about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Tampa. The process for boarding the Inspiration was a breeze and very quick. The only downfall is finding parking. We opted for the valet parking which only cost $15 more and it was worth every dime. When we boarded the Inspiration we really liked the open atrium style lobby. Since we arrived a little early (before noon) we went up to the Lido deck to wait for our cabin to be ready and to enjoy the buffet. The Lido buffet is the normal fare for Carnival and was reasonably good. We went to find our cabin on the Main deck about 1:30pm. Our cabin was very clean and exactly as we were used to on the Carnival ships. Our Steward was Fernando and he ended up being one of the best Stewards we have had on a cruise. We left Tampa on time. Tuesday was a day at sea and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the ship and enjoying everything from the Lido deck to the Casino. We had the 8pm dining and had an excellent Waitress named Leysa. She was very attentive and very professional. Wednesday we arrived on time in Grand Cayman. I had been there before, but this was a first time for my wife. The island has really changed over the years, but it is still beautiful. First, let me say that you don't go to the Caymans because you are expecting incredible deals in shopping. This isn't the port for that. But it has the best beaches, snorkeling, and diving in the caribbean. We took the Island tour and it was great. You don't really get enough time on the island though. The line for the tenders to the ship was already hundreds of people deep by 11:30pm and the ship didn't arrive until 7:00am. It took some people 2 hours in line to get onto a tender. They need to have more boats. They only had 2 tenders for our ship. Thursday was the day our cruise went bad. Mexican authorities said that it was unsafe to tender (30 mph winds). Yet, all the tenders were in the water and the waves weren't bad. Also 5 other ships where there tendering so we aren't sure what was really going on. Carnival could not control this, but the problem was that they had no contingency plans for the ship afterwards. They offered board games, $10-$20 bingo games, and stupid pool games in substitution. They did offer a $25 credit to your Sail and Sign card, but considering you had to pay for almost everything they offered, it wasn't a very could compensation. The board games were actually an insult. So, we slowly made our way back to Tampa for 2 days. From Thursday on we were ready to leave the ship. It was boring and you could tell no one was happy. I called Carnival and they said that there was nothing for them to do and that my contract said that they didn't have to go to the ports or offer anything in return. We ended up back in Tampa late because of Fog (how can that happen on a modern ship that had 2 days to make a trip that only normally takes just over a day?) People missed their flights and it took us 2 hours to get off the ship and to our car. That just seemed to add insult to injury. Even though the service was great and the ship clean, the Cruise Director on this ship (Risa) is terrible and once things got messed up in Cozumel she was no where to be seen. I would not recommend this cruise since I understand that missing Cozumel happens frequently and Carnival isn't going to even try to make it right for you. They made more money from everyone because we were stuck on board an extra day and they took advantage of that fact. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
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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