123 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

This was a free cruise given to me by the casino. I actually was offered 2, and I only can take the one, due to work schedule and health reasons. I splurged and booked FTTF, as I am having a hard time with my knee (I am due to have total ... Read More
This was a free cruise given to me by the casino. I actually was offered 2, and I only can take the one, due to work schedule and health reasons. I splurged and booked FTTF, as I am having a hard time with my knee (I am due to have total knee replacement in November of 2014). I figured if I could spend the $50, I would, and not have to ask for any special assistance if I didn't have to wait in line very long. We walked up to the building at the Long Beach port, and instead of check in being in the building, they had a FTTF line next to the regular check in. This was ok, as we were the ONLY ones in that line!! We no sooner walked up than an agent called us over to check us in. Check in was quick and painless, and we were given priority boarding. This meant, due to the time we arrived, I had time to make a restroom run and smoke a cigarette before they started boarding us!! Worked perfectly!!! I think it took all of 10 minutes from the time we checked in until our S & S cards were being swiped and we heard that magic "BOING!!" Went down to our room, which, due to FTTF, was ready and waiting for us. We dropped off our carry ons, and went to have lunch. What a pleasant meal it was, not having to cart around our carry ons!! And there still weren't many on board, so no lines anywhere either!!! After lunch, we went to our room, and relaxed until muster. It's been a stressful week for both my friend and I, so we planned on doing a lot of resting. We scheduled YOUR TIME DINING, and both Friday and Saturday, we went to the dining room about 630pm. We had NO wait for a table, were given a table for 2, and met some really nice people that were sitting next to us. It was their first cruise, and boy, they were CLUELESS!!! They didn't know they could eat before dinner, didn't know about food on the Lido, didn't know about room service... I explained everything to them!!! Went to the casino Friday night. Met another couple there also on a casino freebie, but the one that had you pay $100 and then Carnival gave you that $100 in OBC. Saturday was the usual go into Ensenada and walk around, if nothing else, just to get off the ship for a while. At this time, we STILL had not even met our cabin steward!!!!!!!!!! Didn't end up meeting him until just before dinner on Saturday. And he took my blue pool towels and never returned clean ones!!! After leaving Ensenada, we had rough seas due to a storm off the Mexican Riviera. It's a good size tropical storm, and other than clouds, we just had rough seas. On Sunday, it made walking difficult around the ship, and it was slightly cool, but I didn't see anyone get motion sickness, so it obviously wasn't that bad. DID see a Mexican Coast Guard helicopter come in TWICE to take people off the ship. Don't know what happened, did not hear anything, not even any alarm code words!! Other than that, it was the usual cruise stuff. My meals most of the time were either cold or lukewarm. Service in the main dining room for sea day brunch left MUCH to be desired, as not only was the food cold, it was dry and tasteless, and I had the pancakes! I couldn't even eat it, and ended up going to the buffet and getting a lukewarm burger. I was disappointed that a lot of activities were scheduled Friday and Saturday (port day) and less on Sunday (sea day). I thought there would be more to do on a sea day, but I was wrong.. Enjoyed the "Towel Animal Theatre" and Hasbro Game Show. First time I actually made it to a show after 12 cruises!! PROS: Shows were fun, cabin was nice in location. It was free, besides port fees and taxes. And yes, IT WAS A CRUISE!! CONS: Food lukewarm/cold. Cabin Steward rarely to be found, and only ONCE did I see him. Lack of activities on a sea day.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was a first cruise for myself and my children. My husband had traveled on many cruises when he was a child and had expectations that this cruise would live up to his memories Our children are 12 and 14 years old. They chose to not ... Read More
This was a first cruise for myself and my children. My husband had traveled on many cruises when he was a child and had expectations that this cruise would live up to his memories Our children are 12 and 14 years old. They chose to not participate in the the teen club so spent much of their time in their rooms playing on their iPhones -which they could have done at home for free. Had they participated in the Teen Club and made friends, they would have had a more fun. We had chosen to eat at 6:00 in the Carnivale dining room. Our waiter was good - but not great. If we asked for a soda it took a while to get it- if he remembered. I ordered the Prime Rib on Elegant dining night. I opted to have the "juice" poured on it. It was really gravy and ruined the flavor of the prime rib. I would recommend not getting the "juice". The macaroni and cheese with bacon was good as well as the mashed potatoes. I am not an adventurous eater so not the best to give an opinion. I had read reviews about the wait staff bringing all the food at once to the table. Our waiters did not. They did a good job serving us. On the last night, I had ordered a baked potato with sour cream. The sour cream never arrived and my son was given the wrong entree. The waiter was quick to bring the correct order. We stayed in rooms M78 and M74 - adjoining rooms. The beds were very comfortable. It is difficult to adjust the temperature in the rooms. Even when I thought we had closed the fan on the ceiling all the way, it was still cold in the room. Naturally the rooms are small, but having nothing to compare them to, they were what I expected. I seemed to be the only one who had trouble keeping the water in the shower stall and not on the bathroom floor. All the floors have drains in them in the bathroom, so I suspect it is a common problem. We accidentally set the smoke alarm off in our room twice with the steam coming from the bathroom - so make sure to keep the bathroom door closed. The fire marshals were quick to respond when the alarm went off. Overall, the experience was ok for our first cruise. Had we been able to go ashore in Catalina Island it may have been better. Ensenada is also not a very nice town, so a better Mexican town to stop in would have also been much better. I am glad we didn't pay extra for any excursions. We would have been forced to brave the waves to get to Catalina Island and in Mexico- the weather was chilly so scuba diving or any outdoor actives would have not been pleasant. I would say I would go on another cruise, but not on this ship nor to these locations. We choose this particular cruise so we could stay a few days longer in California and take the kids to Disneyland. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just returned from a weekend cruise to Ensenada on the Inspiration. We had 3 generations of our family with us. We had three Grand Suites on the Upper Deck. We enjoyed the extra space and the balcony. However, this cruise seems to be the ... Read More
Just returned from a weekend cruise to Ensenada on the Inspiration. We had 3 generations of our family with us. We had three Grand Suites on the Upper Deck. We enjoyed the extra space and the balcony. However, this cruise seems to be the new destination for bachelor/bachelorette parties and other groups celebrating special birthdays, etc. It seems like someone in these groups will pay for one suite and then cram all their friends in for LOUD parties in the larger cabin. Also, they can smoke on the balconies, and that smoke then drifts, much to the annoyance of non-smoking neighbors. My in-laws couldn't enjoy their balcony at all because of the smoke and the loud, intoxicated passengers next door. However, the suite comes with Priority boarding and that was a great perk. It was also great to have a refrigerator. We brought on our own water bottles and soda cans. I am a Gold member of the Carnival loyalty program, so I have numerous cruises under my belt and I am seeing an overall decline in service. The food in the dining room was decent, though NEVER hot. Desserts, especially the cakes, were consistently dry and tasteless. (One exception was a wonderful chocolate cake served at the afternoon tea on the sea day). No Baked Alaska, which is a cruise tradition. The chateaubriand was amazing. I did not care for the "American Table" change to the menu. Sides were brought out in large bowls and passed around. Part of the charm of cruising is being served and I felt like I was at the family Thanksgiving table passing around the green beans. We ate a few times on the Lido deck. Sandwiches were great. Pizza was doughy and undercooked. I was disappointed in the entertainment. The first night's show was just ok, little taste of the comedians and a revue of oldies songs. It was the only show and it started after 10pm. The next night's show appeared to be largely audience-participation based, so we skipped it. The last night's show? The same as the first night! I've never seen a repeat of shows, even on a 7 day cruise, much less a 3 night! No magician. We went to the comedians' family-friendly shows. They were ok. Our family was really excited about the new Hasbro Family Game Night Show that's being brought to Carnival. The only show they had was on the last night at 7pm. Problem is, the early seating for dinner is 6pm. Many families choose this seating as many young kids don't do well at an 8:15pm dinner. So they have this one and only game right in the middle of when many families are having dinner?! As a cruiser of more than 25 years, I was struck by how little Carnival seems to care about guest comments. I never saw one comment card and in the past, cruise lines really cared about the feedback from their guests. It's obvious that Carnival is much like many low-budget airlines now: cheap to get on, but they'll nickel-and-dime you once on board. I'm sure they were disppointed by our group of 8 having a $0 bar tab. I must saw how wonderful the staff at Camp Carnival was. My 9 year-old enjoyed every minute of it. I didn't enjoy how they moved around the ship to different rooms, though. It made it difficult to remember where to drop off and pick up. WaterWorks was great too, especially when the ship was in Ensenada and there weren't many people onboard. I do like that it's located far from the pool and bar.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Recently returned from Carnival Inspiration 4 night Baja CA cruise. Here’s a little review. We’ve cruised on other lines; however this is our first Carnival Cruise. EMBARKATION. Arrived at port at 12:30. No lines for check-in. Room ... Read More
Recently returned from Carnival Inspiration 4 night Baja CA cruise. Here’s a little review. We’ve cruised on other lines; however this is our first Carnival Cruise. EMBARKATION. Arrived at port at 12:30. No lines for check-in. Room would be ready at 1:30. Went to Lido deck for buffet lunch. Scheduled departure was 5:30, but we actually didn’t depart until closer to 6:30. Later overhead a couple of officers discussing that someone was apparently supposed to be on our cruise that was of interest to Homeland Security. Don’t know whole story, or outcome. But, since we had all night to make our first port of call (Catalina) there really wasn’t a problem leaving late. ROOM: In comparison to our other cruises, this room is smaller, with less storage space. Only 4 small drawers in the desk, 2 ½ shelves in closet (1/2 shelf taken up with safe, and 2 hanging cabinets (those we had plenty of space in). Bathroom only has small shelf under mirror, so had to use one of the shelves in the regular closet for “bathroom stuff”. Since there were only 2 of us, we pretty much used all the storage space there. Our room does have bed space for 3, but I think it would be pretty crowded. Also, apparently your room is not where they want you to spend any time, as the only chairs in there were one dining room style chair and a stool under the desk. No comfy chairs or sofa. All that said, the room was clean and room steward was responsive to my request for an ice bucket, and he kept it filled. Biggest issue with the room was the constant droning of an engine 24/7. Not sure what it was, but it ran all day, all night. ENTERTAIMENT: Only had 2 shows, Motor City and Studio VIP. I thought Motor City was petty good. Studio VIP, not as much. Both had outstanding costuming and stage sets, but VIP had multiple flashing extreme strobe light effects that made it difficult to watch the performances. Motor City was performed twice (first night and last night). Beyond that, the other 2 nights they did a show (not really a show) called Hasbro Game show. It’s basically a game show format based on Hasbro games. We like to go to piano bars when cruising, so were eager to attend this one. There were very few scheduled and short times at the piano bar. We were able to attend one evening for about 15 minutes before dinner and enjoyed the performer (Billy). Went back later for the late night sing-along. Wow, quite a difference! Not particularly full, but very loud crowd. And the innuendos during the dialogue parts of the performance were not really our taste. The last night there were (according to the FunTimes) 2 performances that we would be able to attend (not sing-alongs), but neither one of them occurred. We took the Behind the Fun Tour. Very informative and we enjoyed it a lot. There were only 10 of us on the tour and I would recommend it to anyone. We probably would do it again. We saw crew areas (training, dining, free time areas). We also went to the ships’ laundry, engine control room (had a stabilizer alert while we were there), dining rooms, galley, backstage (met dance captain and lighting tech), bridge (met Captain and had picture taken). At each location an officer would talk to us about what they do there. It took about 3 hours. Also received surprise gifts after the tour was over. PORTS: We didn’t do any excursions in either port (Catalina, Ensenada). We just got off the ship and walked around a bit. Weather was fairly chilly (well, it’s February). FOOD: I realize that food is totally subjective, and we’re certainly not food critics, but I was disappointed. Everything that had any kind of liquid part to it (sauces, gravies, syrup) was thin and watery. Not a lot of flavor on anything, except for the Caribbean Spiced pork at the buffet. The shrimp on my sweet & sour shrimp entrée tasted very “fishy”. We had the American Table menu. While I haven’t experienced what the “old” menus were, based on our experience on other lines, I prefer having a menu that the chef has set up what he/she considers a complete dish. Having to “build” my own plate from the menu on the American Table menu seems much more trouble. The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake was great (had it twice). But I missed being able to have any crème brulee desserts. DISEMBARKATION: We did self assist, as our zone number placed us as the last group to be disembarked, and we were concerned that would cause an additional days charge at the parking lot (and the time difference between when we had to vacate our room to the estimated zone departure time was going to be 3 hours). We got up early and ate breakfast, returning to our room prior to the 8:30 time that they request that we be out of the room. We went the Paris Lounge to wait for our self assist call (supposed to be 9:30). We were actually called about 9:00. Out to get our car and home by 10:00.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
One year ago almost to the day we took the same cruise on the same ship to the same ports. My review of that cruise is on here. I can't believe how much has changed. We also got the exact same cabin types and in the same locations, so ... Read More
One year ago almost to the day we took the same cruise on the same ship to the same ports. My review of that cruise is on here. I can't believe how much has changed. We also got the exact same cabin types and in the same locations, so this really is an apples to apples cruise comparison. I shall do the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Ehhh. The good - The ship recently underwent a short dry dock and the carpet and the paint looked new in both the public areas and the staterooms. Flat panel tv's were also new from our last cruise, however, the picture quality in our room was bad but the girls room was good. We were not there to watch television. The service on the port side of the ship in the Mardi Gras dining room was fabulous and I have to say the cocktail servers and the casino folks were also really great. Friendly, polite and remembered what you liked. The bad - We ate on our last day on the starboard side of the ship in the Mardi Gras dining room. You would have thought that we were somewhere else entirely. You either could not get service or the service was shockingly bad. As most cruisers do, you order multiple appetizers, soups and/or salads and possibly more than one entry. NEVER in all my years of cruising have I ever had a waitstaff attempt to bring out and serve everything all at once. The food was piled all over the table. It was insane. It was the same for brunch, tea and dinner. We actually spoke to the dining room manager about it on our way out. We had three different servers on that side and they were all horrible. The ugly - The food this time was so bad I don't know where to start. Last year we had set ourselves up to expect Sizzlers, Dennys or IHOP food based on other reviews. We were surprised then that the food exceeded our expectations. This year, we we expected the same and were horribly disappointed and wished it was up to Sizzlers, Dennys or IHOP. We ate in the dining room every night. The food tended to be tasteless. When I say tasteless I don't mean bland, like it was unseasoned, it was in some cases taste free. Also, some entrees were not as described. We ordered a seafood penne pasta that was supposed to contain calamari, shrimp and scallops. Three of us got it. I hit the jackpot with four calamari and 1 shrimp, the other folks got one shrimp and one scallop and the other person got not seafood at all. Deserts tended to be the worst. The baked Alaska was served without the meringue being toasted. The pound cake used was stale, so you melting ice cream between stale pound cake, surrounded by runny meringue. How appetizing is that? I also ordered a brownie that was SO stale, when I bit into it, it turned to brownie dust in my mouth it was so dried out. I swear a spoonful of browning mix straight out of the box could not have been as dry as that bite was. We also ate at the buffet and brassier several times. Ice machine in the buffet was out of service for the whole cruise. Some of the buffet meals were better than the dining room. The Ehh - I had prepaid my tips for this cruise because we had invited guests. I have been on multiple cruises and this is the first time I never tipped extra, except to the cocktail waiters who got it on the bar bills. The room stewards were ok. The port side dining staff was ok. But last year we tipped more because the service was that good. This year, my friend and I looked at each other and said we didn't do extra tips. An we both said we didn't get anything beyond the basics. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was the shortest cruise out of the four that we sailed with Carnival. We had done Elation for a week-long sailing in the Caribbean, an 8-day pre-augural cruise out of Genoa to Dover on the Splendor, and a 12-day Baltic cruise on the ... Read More
This was the shortest cruise out of the four that we sailed with Carnival. We had done Elation for a week-long sailing in the Caribbean, an 8-day pre-augural cruise out of Genoa to Dover on the Splendor, and a 12-day Baltic cruise on the Splendor. Our experience were always positive and we enjoyed our cruises each time so we were excited to be back on a Carniavl ship again. For some reasons this cruise did not meet our expectation in several areas. We live in the L.A. area, but decided to spend the night before at the Hotel Maya near the port which provided free parking for the duration of the cruise (with the Carnival code). The hotel shuttle dropped us off at the terminal at around 10:30 per our request. The check-in counters were pretty empty, no lines, no hassle. Then, it was the long wait to get on board. At 12pm passengers were still disembarking and the lines waiting to board got longer and longer. Having the "zone 1" pass, we finally boarded at around 1pm. Our cabin was ready, so we dropped off our carry-ons and went up to the buffet for lunch. Food was OK, the line for the Mongolian Wok and the grill were both very long. I must say that the burgers were very good and the roastisserie chicken was excellent. We had most of our breakfast and lunches at the buffet and the food seemed to be decent. It was just the lines that can be irratating. We loved the goat cheese and mushroom pizza and willingly waited 10 minutes for a freshly baked one. We had an oceanview cabin on the upper deck in the back of port side. Room was fine for the three of us with a pullman on one side. I had to duck when I needed to go to my side of the bed when the pullman was down. Our cabin steward cleaned the cabin nicely and brought us bathrobes and bucket of ice when requested on the first day. Towel animals were done every evening. The safe didn't work and not sure what the problem was but we figured no big deal for just a few days. Dinner was early seating at the Carnivale and service was fine. Our waiter was really good, but service was slow because he was doing everything himself with very little help from the other two. Food was decent but a tad dropped in quality. Most dessert items came out half melted probably because of sitting around too long in the kitchen. Our table was always the last to finish and we felt rushed at the end of each meal. Had the kid's banana split for dessert on the last night and it was great! We were eager to try out their Sea Day Brunch and we had no problem getting a table at around 9:30am. Food was great but the service was really poor. We are low maintainence and easy to pleased but I had to make a complaint to the manager after this meal. Since we ordered multiple dishes, our server just HANDED me another plate of food as I was still working on my previous dish and left me holding the new plate with no where to put it down. So I had to scraped the food from the second plate onto my first plate and stacked the plates together to save space. When he came to collect the plates later on, he just stood across the table and said, "Miss!" and signaled me to hand him the plates. What the... ?! Having been on more than 10 cruises with different cruise lines, I have never had that before and it really left a bad taste in my mouth. Later on, as I was talking to another passenger, she also told me that she had a terrible time at the brunch and she filed a complaint at guest relations. We did not go to any of the show and did not play at the casino, so no comments in those areas. We did played a little bit of golf on sea day and it was fun! Debarkation took forever and I believe it was not the fault of Carnival, but the problem with the US Immigration. They only had 4 counters operating for the 2,000 passengers which caused the delay in debarking. It was close to 12:00 noon when we finally went through immigration and got our luggage to leave. This cruise was just a little getaway from our busy daily life and we did not let the negatives ruin our well-deserved vacation. All and all we had a good time cruising on the Inspiration even though it was not as perfect as our previous Carnival cruises. Will we cruise Carnival again? Well, maybe, but it will not be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My bff and I were looking for a cruise to celebrate 50 years of friendship, and we were somewhat limited in dates by her school schedule (teacher). We ended up on a Carnival 4 day/3 night cruise to Ensenada and back. Boarding was a ... Read More
My bff and I were looking for a cruise to celebrate 50 years of friendship, and we were somewhat limited in dates by her school schedule (teacher). We ended up on a Carnival 4 day/3 night cruise to Ensenada and back. Boarding was a nightmare -- we entered and saw very long lines, but as we approached them we were directed to another room with a row of numbers that each had a long line behind them. We sat on the concrete floor for 30-45 minutes, then were sent to the next room to join the long lines we had seen when entering the terminal. Another 20-30 minutes in line. It looked like there had been some water available earlier, but all the cups were gone. Temps were in the 80s and we were extremely thirsty. Finally get on board, drop off luggage, and go for a drink. Bars closed for the safety drill, although it didn't actually take place for another 45 minutes while we waited for everybody to finally board (they were still stuck in the lines). We first reported to out muster station in the theater, got the full instructions, then went up row by row to the lifeboats. It ended over half an hour after the start of the early dining. Finally got drinks.... We were on the Our Time dining....big surprise, another long line. We ended up with a beeper and returned later when it went off. I ordered the available daily flat iron steak, and it arrived cold. I had the molten chocolate dessert that was pure heaven though. Flashing dining room lights signaled the wait staff dancing, and flashing lighted shot glasses were available with a shot of some kind of liquor (extra fee of course). Room was nice, beds nice, some noises even though we were under the backstage area of the theater and the show was long over. Decent brunch -- happy to get an omelette made with Pam spray instead of a ladle of oil (HAL). Bagels can be had with lox if you order room service or in the dining room, but just the bagel on the buffet. Good hot cocoa... Ordered drinks on the deck while sunning. An hour later the waiter remembered us..... Second night was dressy night. Waited almost an hour for a table (with the beeper). Good lobster tail. In fact a good entire meal. Same waiter deal with the flashing lights, just waiving napkins and parading around this night. The flashing shot glasses were limoncello this night-- at least a good sipping drink. Good show in the theater--70's music. Show was done by 10pm. We were tired and went to bed. I sleep with ear plugs, but my friend does not. Although I slept through it, there was noise such as chairs moving around, banging, etc. from 12:30 to 3 am. We complained at the desk but not much action. We spoke to the lighting tech the next night, and he said there should not have been anybody backstage -- the set was struck early, before 11. Third day was Ensenada. Two excellent tours for the price. In the morning we did the winery tour -- two very different wineries, got a bottle to take home from the first, L.A.Cetto. Foods to try at the second, Dona Lupe-- good pizza and jams. Wine not so good there, but the owner, Dona Lupe, is charming. Second tour was the one to :a Bufadora. Tide was high and strong, so we got a great show. Fun shopping along the way back to the bus. Because we had 2 tours back to back, we were hungry earlier than previous nights, Had no trouble getting a table right away at 5:30. Good meal; I ordered 4 starters and no main as the starter choices were super good and it was too hard to choose. Bought a picture from the dressy night and ordered a second copy. Good show with Motown music. Went to bed around midnight, and the noises started again. Called the desk; pretty sure it was a crew party. Noises abated after the complaint. Disembarkation day -- after eating, went to collect the picture copy. After some discussion and being told we already picked up the picture, they realized that the person we ordered it from screwed up and gave us the first picture instead of keeping it to copy. While they made the copy, we went and collected our alcohol. Got the picture just about the time they were calling our deck for disembarkation. Went down and discovered a huge line. Again no seats, just almost an hour in line winding past cabins in the hallways. No control over who was actually in line -- decks that had not been called just joined the line and it was a zoo..... We have given Carnival a new slogan....."The line starts here"   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was my 10th cruise with Carnival and my 15th overall. I am an easy going person who just wants to be on board and relax. I am not high maintenance nor do I complain about much. This cruise however was the exception to the rule about ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise with Carnival and my 15th overall. I am an easy going person who just wants to be on board and relax. I am not high maintenance nor do I complain about much. This cruise however was the exception to the rule about how I feel about Carnival. Embarkation was amazing and very quick. We arrive about noon at port and were checked in for our cruise in the area for Platinum guests. This went quickly and we soon went through the x-ray machine where they double checked my diet cokes in the sealed box. No worries. We walked onto the ship - skipping the embarkation photo and straight to our rooms which were ready. Waiting for me was my Platinum pin for this year. This cruise had many younger people on it who did not know how to behave. This small group helped ruin it for us. They ran the hallways at all hours of the day and night often at 4:30 AM waking others and banging on doors too. Security was called but not sure what was done. This same group also took over the Serenity Deck on Sunday with their loud music, talking and drunkness as well. Food quality and service has also gone down in my opinion. The buffets, which used to be delicious, were just OK this time. Service in the dining room on the last day of the cruise was horrible. Lunch was not very crowded yet service was poor and slow. Dinner was HORRIBLE and we finally left prior to getting dessert. We had anytime dining and waited 30 minutes to be seated while there were a ton of empty tables. We then waited another 30 minutes to receive our salads and about 30 minutes more for the main dish which had no taste. The food was sub-par in my opinion for this day and very surprising as I have always loved the food on board. Need to rethink a Carnival cruise in the future... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
November 1st had been weird from the start with the shooting at LAX shutting down the airport for a good 5 hours! Thank God we just missed it and were on our way to Long Beach on the shuttle. When we got there the signage wasn't too ... Read More
November 1st had been weird from the start with the shooting at LAX shutting down the airport for a good 5 hours! Thank God we just missed it and were on our way to Long Beach on the shuttle. When we got there the signage wasn't too clear on where to go to register and get our cabin keys. BTW, it's in the Queen Mary ship! The staff were not too clear on the directions and a bunch of us (travelers) were at lost where to actually go. We had to walk all the way to Queen Mary and back to the dome entrance and waited a good three (3) hours plus in the sun to just be able to board the ship! The check in wasn't too organized and it left people irritated and dismayed at the process. The cabin was neat and we found everything to our liking. There was a minor problem with the shower drain, but that got fixed quickly. Our room steward was very personable and very attentive! Never disappointed in the part of the service department. Room service was also very good and the food was on the spot! The buffet was okay, not great. The soup, ice cream machine made it better. The dining room service was okay until the last night when the waiters were quite rude. Seemed like we were in their way. The pool was super cold, more like ice pond! But, my husband seemed to enjoy it! And the jacuzzi was simply wonderful! The shows were good too... especially the comedy acts! Our trip on board was okay, could have been better.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We had a good time on the ship. We had great service from the room steward and decent service from the dining room staff. The kid’s club staff were good and there were plenty of activities for the kids. EMBARKATION: The embarkation was ... Read More
We had a good time on the ship. We had great service from the room steward and decent service from the dining room staff. The kid’s club staff were good and there were plenty of activities for the kids. EMBARKATION: The embarkation was very easy as we had priority boarding (the lines for those without priority boarding looked like no fun at all!!). We arrived at the terminal at 1:30pm and entered the priority boarding area and within a few minutes were at the security checkpoint and through to our rooms! DISEMBARKATION: This cruise had the best disembarkation that we have seen to date! It was very orderly and the line to get off was not wrapped all the way around the ship, as with previous cruises. The only comment was that Customs and Immigration took 15 minutes for a US citizen and 45 minutes for a non-US citizen, so, if you are a non US citizen make sure you allow enough time to get off the ship if you have a deadline to meet. The provided transportation from the pier to the airport was extremely poorly organized (on previous cruises all we had to do was exit the terminal and get on a bus then go). We had a wait of at least 45 minutes to get the bus and then our bus had to turn back around to pick up some passengers that had missed the announcement that the bus was leaving! If you’re heading for the John Wayne Airport you have to go to Long Beach airport first. Not really that much out of the way but not a direct route either. A taxi would be a far better option! DINING: We ate at the buffet and in the dining room. We also had room service for breakfast every morning (except the day of departure). The buffet area was well laid out but the food was at best mediocre. We chose the “Your Time Dining” for dinner and had no problem getting a table almost immediately when we got to the dining room. The choices available at dinner were good but all of the meals when they were delivered to our table were at best luke warm and could only be described as ‘edible’ in quality. The dining room service was good, some waiters were quicker than others, so the service was not consistent. Room service for breakfast was on time but some items ordered were not on the tray! PUBLIC AREAS: The public areas were okay. The shopping area is really small and when there is a sale on it gets really crowded! CABIN: The cabin (suite) was well designed with plenty of storage. There is no heating what so-ever in the cabin (not even a thermostat) so we turned off all the vents to prevent the cabin from getting any colder. CHILDREN’S CLUB: Our grand-daughter had a wonderful time in the children’s club. The kid’s are divided into age groups and there are plenty of activities for the kids to do. PORTS OF CALL / SHORE EXCURSIONS: The first port of call was Catalina Island. In order to get to shore we were tendered in. It was very well organized and we had no problem getting a boat when we needed to go ashore. We went on the Inside Adventure Tour. This was a very fun tour as the guide told quite a lot about the Island and it was interesting to see the interior of the island. The second port of call was Ensenada. We took the Blow Hole Tour and the only reason to take it was to see the area and to take a break from the ship! The bus ride was quite long (50 minutes to the Blow Hole) and the tour guide talked non-stop which was quite annoying, especially as the guide had a very strident voice and the loud speaker was on full volume. When you get to the Blow Hole it is a 5 minute trip to see it but you have to go through the market to get there. We had another 1 ½ hours to spend before the return trip to the ship. It’s actually fun going through the market stalls! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I just returned from a 4 night cruise aboard Carnival Inspiration along with my husband and 2 children under the age of 8. Embarkment at Long Beach was relatively smooth (once you figured out that the non Carnival employed porters would ... Read More
I just returned from a 4 night cruise aboard Carnival Inspiration along with my husband and 2 children under the age of 8. Embarkment at Long Beach was relatively smooth (once you figured out that the non Carnival employed porters would deliver your luggage to the ship). We were on the ship by 12:15PM to be greeted by a swampy chicken noodle type of stew prepared by Mongolie grill - did not taste anything like the stirfrys I have tried in the past at actual restaurants. The ship itself is very dirty, I had many drink and food menus that had leftover gum or food attached to the them...many a time I almost got stuck to the guck on the elevator floors. Our cabin was OK, cabin steward Bonnie was wonderful. Gym had great, high quality work out equipment. The pools were wicked cold...they definitely need to heat them a bit. Husband nor I were able to get in, I guess kids are immune to that:) The waterslides were great for the kids; however, there was no shallow pool for kids nor accessible life jackets...my little boy is a weak swimmer; therefore, was unable to go swimming in the pool. The kids club was lacking entertainment, there were many times that the drop off area was the conference room - they would put on a movie and that would be the entertainment...does not even come close to Disney's entertainment for children. Also, the hours for the club were such that you would have to pick up the kids every 2 hours and then the club would close for like an hour and then you could drop them off again...not convenient. Adult entertainment - I can only comment on the Shout show (ok), hairy chest competition (funny), gender showdown (funny), family comedy shows (good) and ice carving (boring). The food - DISGUSTING! Everything tasted and smelled the same...yuck, yuck, yuck. We had "our time dining" - there were no problems or waits to sit down in the dining room whenever we pleased; however, you only have access to the Mardi Gras dining room. Dinner took about 1 1/2 hours and the food, service quality in my opinion is not worth the time. The only food I enjoyed was the pizza (expect long waits) and the sandwich grill (again expect long waits). The buffet food is cold and tastes disgusting. For breakfast, stick to the fresh omelet station. Service - head chef at the buffet was wonderful to my little boy who has severe food allergies and was looking for a dessert to eat. The chef asked where we were seated and came back 10 minutes later with a special cake dessert - my son was thrilled. The only other Carnival employee worth mentioning was our cabin steward Bonnie - he was absolutely wonderful. The first night we requested an ice bucket, which he promptly filled with ice and brought to our cabin...during turn down service he noticed that our wine was cramped in the ice bucket so he brought us a large bucket that typically holds beer and filled it with ice to chill our wine (he refilled the ice bucket without being asked everyday) - he was great during the entire trip. All other employees look miserable and at times seem to be mocking the guests...just bizarre and horrendous service. The employees really do not act like they want to be working or providing any level of service to the guests. Having experienced Disney cruise line, I can comfortably say I know 4-5 star service and Carnival isn't even on the board. Shore excursions - we absolutely loved Catalina Island...we rented a golf cart for $40/hour (cash or traveler check only) and took the scenic route around the island - this is a must do. Ensenada was also beautiful...although be careful of the shore excursion desk on the cruise ship - we asked them how to get into downtown Ensenada for shopping and the representative said he had no idea and that we should do their offered shopping tour...yeah right, he completely lied to us...once we were off the ship there were buses waiting to take you downtown shopping for $2/person (and children sit on your lap for free)...we took the bus downtown and they offered everyone a blowhole/shopping tour (lasted approx 3 hours) for only $15/person taxes in (Carnival charges $38 for same tour)...I would recommend this tour, the blowhole was fantastic, kids loved it, good authentic Mexican food and shopping experience like no other (you have to be open minded). Overall, I did not feel that we got our money's worth...food is pretty important to us and it completely sucked, the everlingering foul smell in the air that gets into your hair, skin and clothes will make you gag...I might try Carnival again sometime in the future (new ship), but I will definitely not cruise on the Inspiration again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Took my mom on her first cruise for her birthday. Carnival Inspiration 4 day to Catalina/Ensenada. I cruised on my honeymoon 16 years ago on Norwegian. I didn't really know what to expect and was excited to get on the ship. ... Read More
Took my mom on her first cruise for her birthday. Carnival Inspiration 4 day to Catalina/Ensenada. I cruised on my honeymoon 16 years ago on Norwegian. I didn't really know what to expect and was excited to get on the ship. Boarding was quick, our cabin was ready right away. All good so far. We were very pleased with our outside cabin. Roomy and not smelly. The decor of the Inspiration was gaudy. Made me think I was in a floating Circus Circus casino. After a couple of hours we were just relaxing and checking out the ship - and then somebody let the kids out. Holy crap. For the rest of the trip I had to fight the urge to throw the little snots overboard. Now I'm not saying kids can't go on a cruise -- my bad for not doing my homework and choosing the extremely kid-friendly Inspiration. But they were running up and down stairs, chasing each other in and out of the elevators, running up and down the hallways late at night. Come on. Where are the parents? Enjoying their cruise without having to supervise their kids, that's where! Lesson learned, no more "Fun Ships" for me. I'll spend a little more on a different line to not have to deal with unsupervised kids running amok. Parents, shame on you! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Our family just returned from the 3-day Ensenada cruise on Carnival. We had a great time and needless to say, the staff on board was wonderful. We got to know the staff in the buffet area, as well as the Mardi Gras dining hall pretty ... Read More
Our family just returned from the 3-day Ensenada cruise on Carnival. We had a great time and needless to say, the staff on board was wonderful. We got to know the staff in the buffet area, as well as the Mardi Gras dining hall pretty well and they were the highlight of the entire cruise. As a family we just did our thing for the most part. With teenagers, we let them explore and participate in age appropriate events as they saw fit. Because we wanted to give the kids their fist cruising experience, this was a great way to do it. The ship is a little dated and that can be made clear with the decor. My wife wishes that they offered zumba classes on the deck, or in the fitness area. The kids made friends in the O2 group and that was a positive experience. The PG rated comedy was really funny, especially Seth Buchwald. We didn't watch the main entertainment on board so I can't comment on that. I with they would have had a magic show or something as well. I thought some of the timing of the different events was a challenge. Especially if there was an event that was on during early dinner seating. The food was just ok. Nothing to brag about. Reminded me of a vegas casino buffet but the quality just wasn't there I'm afraid. Even the scheduled dinner quality was a little bland. The staff was fantastic though. Overall a good experience for us. We didn't notice the young spring break crowd that much. We just did our thing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I have been on several cruises before (prefer RCL) and booked this cruise thru Carnival due to the length. Since I have been on Carnival before and read the reviews here so I knew what to expect. This is my first time booking a Grand ... Read More
I have been on several cruises before (prefer RCL) and booked this cruise thru Carnival due to the length. Since I have been on Carnival before and read the reviews here so I knew what to expect. This is my first time booking a Grand Suite (will probably never splurge again) and although I expected larger, the room was spacious enough for three women. Not once did we feel cramped or bump into each other! The pull out couch wasn't the most comfortable but it did the trick and the balcony really came in handy when watching the dolphins or seals at play pulling into Catalina. Our room steward did her job but I have had better. As for the food, I have no complaints. I did not have one thing that I thought was bad and took advantage of the Chocolate Melting Cake every night at dinner. If you haven't had this, you must try it once! We only went to one show "Shout" and it was fun they sang songs that I was raised with. My only piece of advice would be to always remember that you can't please everyone; go in it with the attitude that "it will be what you make of it." Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
While we may not have cruised dozens of times we are not total Cruzin Newbs either. I must say since we took our first Carnival cruise the embarkation process has dramatically improved! Yay Carnival! Everything was ready when we boarded ... Read More
While we may not have cruised dozens of times we are not total Cruzin Newbs either. I must say since we took our first Carnival cruise the embarkation process has dramatically improved! Yay Carnival! Everything was ready when we boarded ship... Another plus for the Inspiration Crew! The ship was immaculate which is really to their credit another cruise we have been on can not say that! On to the food ... Ok this is carnival not Holland America or Oceania or ....... Ok so that said we preferred eating Lido at least the food was still quite warm I ordered waffles in main dining for breakfast one morning and can honestly say they were the worst I've ever had! Seriously how can you make bad waffles? (bisquick?) to top it off they were cold we left & went lido to get warm food. ... End of main Dining. Now the Lido... The sandwiches from the grill are very good made to order. Salad bar is very nice fresh well supplied. Desert bar get 3&1/2 stars at least always has chocolate... And you can't go wrong there. The Buffett overall was ok edible but nothing to rave about think mall food court and you are ok. The coffee was ok weak but not bitter and had a nice flavor to it. The servers were all very efficient and wait staff quick to clean up. The cabins-- we booked porthole cabins this time we just wanted a nice little getaway to relax sleep in etc. The room was quite nice but some how the booking had us not as a couple & had to fix the beds no big deal our room steward quickly took care of it. She was truly amazing. The room was bigger than expected and bathroom as well supplied with some toiletries but we did not use. Nice touch though. No hair dryer so we had to ask for one. Note to remember to bring own hair dryer ( something i haven't packed in years). So are you wondering what the Ugly is ?? It's the smoking the highly contentious topic. As a former smoker I get it. As an Asthmatic I get it. So here it is. The cabins were being infiltrated so bad by smoke (via ventilation system) it triggered an asthmatic reactions in both myself & my daughter in the adjoining cabin. We spent most of the cruise dealing with the crew trying to resolve the issue. They did refund one cabin a partial refund and a discount on a future cruise. But herein lies the problem especially with older ships the ventilation systems are not good & the smoke does not filter out we had to turn off the cabin AC if it had been hot we would have suffocated. They did not have air purifiers to remedy this. The issue with smoking for me is not the smell its the health hazard & when it's on the balconies & cabins it filters into other cabins creating health risks for other passengers. I started the cruise healthy & left with asthma issues. I'm not one who has them all the time or frequently even. So this was a major issue. Cruise lines really needs to limit smoking to upper decks away from general populace if the sail from a USA PORT. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This is the second time I have taken a 3 night cruise to Ensenada. The first was out of San Diego in 2010, and the most recent was out of Long Beach. We had a nice weekend getaway the first trip out of San Diego, so I figured we'd ... Read More
This is the second time I have taken a 3 night cruise to Ensenada. The first was out of San Diego in 2010, and the most recent was out of Long Beach. We had a nice weekend getaway the first trip out of San Diego, so I figured we'd give it another shot. The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was completely different than when sailing out of San Diego. I've never seen so many non-couples/non-families on a cruise. Many rooms were packed with four guys or four girls, all there for a weekend of boozing. I'm not one to judge, but it certainly made for a not-so-family-friendly weekend. I would have been extremely uncomfortable if I had children with me. Other than the rowdy crowd, the trip had its highs and lows. We checked into a room that had CLEARLY been smoked in, and smoked in often. It was horrible. We tried to make it work, but we couldn't get past the smell. We asked to switch rooms several times, and several times they only offered to "re-clean" the room. We eventually discovered that they were sticking dryer sheets in the vents in hope that it would help to mask the awful smell. Finally, Christina in Guest Services (who was a GREAT help!) found us another room that didn't smell like smoke. Even though it took until 7 pm on our first night to get our room situation taken care of, it was better than the alternative of suffering through such a horrible smelling cabin. The food on the ship was OK. I've sailed Carnival many times before, and I have never been one to talk negatively about the food. This time it was hit or miss. Our first meal on the Lido deck was ice cold. I'm not sure the heat lamps were even on. But our meal that night in the Main Dining Room was great! The ceviche was much, much better than I anticipated. And our service that night was excellent as well. We went to the MDR for lunch on our sea day and had a soggy sandwich and awful service, so it really was just hit or miss for the entire trip. Overall, the service was OK. I felt some people really went the extra mile to offer great service, and others didn't seem to care. That's pretty much par for the course though. I actually liked the decor on the ship. It seemed different than Carnival's other ships. Not as cheesy. The room was not so great. It was small and the bathroom definitely had a sewage-type smell in it. Not bad enough to complain (especially since we had already been saved from the smoke room), but enough to make you uncomfortable about its cleanliness. All in all, I had a pretty good time. But because of the nature of this crowd, and their overall lack of respect for others (i.e. smoking in cabins, screaming in the halls at 3 am, using vulgarity around children, etc), I probably wouldn't take this trip again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Let me get to the conclusion up front - if you have kids under two, I wouldn't go. Granted, any vacation with kids under two is bound to be stressful, but even Carnival's much-touted kids program isn't much help here. But ... Read More
Let me get to the conclusion up front - if you have kids under two, I wouldn't go. Granted, any vacation with kids under two is bound to be stressful, but even Carnival's much-touted kids program isn't much help here. But let's start at the beginning. The check-in process is pretty smooth (even though the security screeners restrict more items than what is listed on Carnival's website). The rooms are what you would expect - standard 185sqft without anything fancy. The "individual temperature control" is a little dial to increase or decrease the cold air flow. The flat-screen TV is using an analog signal (and only on suites can you use your own input devices, and even there only with RCAs). The bathrooms show the most indications of the ship's age (it's from 1996, with an upgrade in 2009), and there are random bad design decisions, like the light switch for the bathroom being outside of it, making it a prime toy for little kids. Turns out that taking showers in the dark is pretty cool though. Hint for first-timers: Come early. There's a lot to do on the ship early on, so you'll miss a good chunk if you arrive later during the embarkation process. There's only one 110V and one 220V outlet in a room, so bring a power surge. However, certain power surges (they don't say which ones) will be confiscated. Try something small - I brought a compact one with two extra outlets and two USB charging ports, and they were fine. After the drawn-out safety briefing there's an orientation for the kids program, Camp Carnival. Once you're done with that, you'll want to eat - and realize that many of the buffets have already closed down. Nice timing there, Carnival. Still, you'll be able to get some hot dogs on already-stale bread, and there are still plenty of genuinely tasty desserts, so you won't be hungry. There's also a 24-hour pizza and late-night sandwich stand. Drinkswise, there's tons of juices in the mornings (including a great orange-guava-passion fruit mix), and lemonade and hot chocolate all day, all free. But you have to pay for soda. Not much of a problem for me, I like to keep my soda consumption down. In fact, I applaud this choice, it just seems like an odd decision from a financial standpoint. Especially because the free options are quite good, the lemonade even has lots of pulp in it. After eating, you'll probably want to get your kid into Camp Carnival. The check-in process is tedious, especially when you're coming at a hotspot time - each child is processed one by one, and most parents apparently have reading comprehension problems and need to be explained what had been laid out before during the orientation, so it can easily take 5-10 minutes to drop your child off, even though it's a matter of showing your "Sign & Sail" card and have the child pick up the name tag. Same with pick-up. Now for kids under 2 - they can't go to the kids club, even if they're just a couple of weeks shy of being 2. There is no child care option for them whatsoever, except for Night Owls after 10pm. Kind of nice, but guess when the gym closes? That's right, at 10pm! Same with many other amenities, like the pool. And since diapers are not allowed in any of the water-related offerings, you won't be able to experience them, period. There's also under-2 service at assorted other odd hours (like on one port day from 10am to noon), but those are essentially useless. Also, child care after 10pm is no longer complimentary. It's reasonably priced, but at the same time, it's not like a true babysitting service - if your child starts crying, they'll simply call you and ask you to pick the little one up. Even during daytime, the camp is closed for lunch and dinner, so you'll have to pick your kid up every so often, the exception being on port days, where they give your kids lunch and dinner if you tell them up front that you'll be on the shore. This is particularly infuriating when you also have an under-2 child to juggle around - you'll have one parent enjoy themself while the other one takes care of the little one, picks up the big one from camp, etc. The two options for dining on the Inspiration are the buffets on the Lido deck, and the MDR. For the MDR, you have three options - early seating, late seating, or open table. The latter sounds the most enticing for parents - you come anytime between 5:45 and 9:30, which is great to work around odd napping schedules. The problem here of course is that you're on the bottom of the food chain as far as priority goes. You'll stand in line to get a buzzer. Then you'll wait an unspecified time ("can't tell you how long it takes, depends on the guests") until the buzzer goes off. Then - my favorite - you stand in line to present your buzzer and be seated. The funniest part about this line is that there'll be plenty of people trying to brush past you with blinking buzzers, and you'll have to explain to at least five people that this is the line for people with ready buzzers. Dinner itself is decent though - there is a good deal of choice (half of the entrees available every day, half on a per-day basis) with a reasonable kids menu, and the staff is generally very friendly. Pretty much everybody on the ship seems to make a point to either already know or remember your name. The food itself is not bad - the MDR food isn't exactly high-end fine dining, but still quite good. The food on the Lido deck varies in quality. The Inspiration heads to Catalina (on the 4-day cruises only) and to Ensenada. Catalina offers enough to do during the relatively short stay, and the biggest advice for Ensenada is not to take the Bufadora or horseback excursions offered by Carnival. You can book the same ones on-site for much cheaper - get a shuttle to downtown ($3 for a return ticket for adults), and they'll drop you off at a ticket counter where you can get the excursion for half of what Carnival wants (plus - they're much more lenient about not paying for kids). We paid $15 for a trip to the blowhole for each person 5 and up - Carnival wants $28 (for kids 4 and up). Also important - be sure to bring cash to Mexico. We chose the blowhole because it seemed like the least crappy activity offered - keep in mind that Ensenada is not a particularly exciting location, its prime interest for cruise lines is its proximity to the ports in Southern California, so I lowered my expectations to a minimum. With that, it was surprisingly good - we hit the blowhole at a very good tide, so the water shot up in the air very high; it was off-season, so it was not packed, and the peddlers were most certainly not aggressive, even though virtually every review claimed that. I guess people are a bit sheltered. To get to the blowhole, you have to walk through a large flea market, and every thirty seconds, someone will try to sell you something, like pharmaceuticals and knock-off watches and handbags (one of them offered to "rip you off for less!"). But they're not in your face, and if you say "no thanks" once, they'll get you go. To come back full circle - I wouldn't go again with kids under 2. It's like being in a candy store when you're diabetic. If it wasn't for that, it's a great entry-level cruise. The staff was great throughout, and I have to mention their fondness of addressing you by name again. I'm sure it's a company-mandated policy, but it works. I was randomly walking through the buffet area to get somewhere, and a waiter we only met once before greeted my son by name in passing. It just adds a nice personal touch to the trip. Of course, the Inspiration is not like a brand new 3500-passenger dreamliner with dozens of restaurants and multiple fancy swimming pools (this one has one hot tub, a plain rectangular 5 foot deep swimming pool and three water slides), but this was our very first cruise, so we got to see how this whole cruising thing is. And we liked it. We'll do it again. Final tip: Since the vessel is spending most of the time traveling South, I would recommend a cabin on the port side (=even cabin numbers). There'll be more to see out of the window. Also, since you are more likely to hit the buffet with kids, stick with a cabin in the aft so you can get there quickly without having to walk through the entire ship. Here are some of the pictures I took. The 360 degree panoramas are typically pretty bad because my son just wouldn't sit still while I held him. https://plus.google.com/photos/108410866291813017116/albums/5830193956558294721?authkey=CIWIqa_Xq_3GTQ Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Please don't be offended by the title - I shop at Wal-Mart. But when I go there, I know what to expect: fair prices, low to moderate quality, sometimes good service/sometimes bad, and people walking around in their pajamas. This is ... Read More
Please don't be offended by the title - I shop at Wal-Mart. But when I go there, I know what to expect: fair prices, low to moderate quality, sometimes good service/sometimes bad, and people walking around in their pajamas. This is what you should expect on a Carnival cruise as well. If you go expecting to be surrounded by the same people who shop at Nordstrom, you will be disappointed. The embarkation out of Long Beach was a breeze. Everyone was very friendly, the line was almost non-existent at 11:30am when we got on board the ship, and lunch was being served. Which brings me first to the food. My husband liked it but I thought it was really sub-standard. The Inspiration has two "grills" inside their casual dining room, one outside on the pool deck area, a mongollian grill also outside on the pool deck area, a pizza serving area (inside), and a deli-sandwich serving area (also inside). Additionally there are two main dining rooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food selection is very limited compared to Disney, RC, and Norwegian. The casual dining areas inside have themed dining (for example, Italian or Caribbean) at lunch and dinner and the outside dining had hamburgers, chicken strips, hot dogs, french fries, and also some other comfort food items like corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, etc., depending on the time of day. The problem was that in trying to be creative, they served things like seafood stew or some italian dish no one has ever heard of and it wasn't good. If you are going to be creative, it really needs to be tasty. Otherwise, just give people the basics that they like. There was a lot of food wasted, I can assure you. Also, there were ALWAYS long lines for food. The mongollian grill (which was actually very, very good) was a 20 minute wait - just standing in a line. That's not acceptable. The other lines weren't much better. The pizza?? It's almost a shame to call it that - I've had better at those bouncy house places my kids go to play on a rainy day. Think making a chef boyardee pizza from a kit. There was a fair selection of desserts but again not too tasty. The frozen yogurt machine was outstanding (chocolate and strawberry swirl being my girls' favorite) but it was inside in the middle of the casual dining room so not convenient and also always crowded. The main dining room food was not much better although it was better by a hair. The primary reason we would eat there for breakfast/lunch was to get a place to sit down and there weren't people running and bumping into you. That was really a plus. Our room was an outside room with a window and decent sized. I mean, it is a cruise ship so space is at a premium but we had the two twin beds pushed together, a five year old in the bunk berth and a four year old on the trundle bed on the floor. It was do-able. The beds were actually comfortable and there was closet space for our things. We didn't have a lot of room to store our luggage and walk around but it wasn't an issue. The bathroom is tiny - be prepared if you haven't cruised before. But we could actually fit two kids and an adult in the shower when necessary so I can't complain. The room was mid-ship which alleviated swaying and there wasn't much noise either - except what you would expect from other passengers. We did not hear our neighbors through the walls but could hear noise occasionally from the hallway. There is a kids' club but it is limited and really doesn't operate all the hours it advertises. That's okay - we weren't there to ditch the kids the entire trip anyway. The club counselors were nice but at times overwhelmed by the demands of the parents. Again, it is all about who you are traveling with as much as what ship. The few times the girls were in the kids club they did have fun and again, the counselors were great. But, other than the kids club and the water slides, there isn't anything for young children to do. I think teens and pre-teens would be just fine. The pool is a tiny little thing and there is just one. It is NOT heated. There are two hot tubs and at least one said "adults only" but I never saw an adult in one. Keep in mind it was mid-December and cool so there were no adults in the pool either. If it had been warm, I can't imagine what the pool scene would have been like. It could not be enjoyable for adults if it is full of kids and frankly not much fun for small kids if it was full of teens or college kids. On the other hand, the water slides and water area was great! Besides being very cold water, it was a kid's dream come true. I don't know what it would have been like if it were very crowded but because the water and the air temp were cold, my girls (being from the Pacific Northwest and thinking all water is freezing) had the place almost to themselves - about 10 other braves souls - so they loved it. The service in all the areas we used was hit or miss. Some staff, like the folks in the formal dining areas, were wonderful and professional. Our room steward was also great. As was the magician that came to the kids' club and the dining tables in the evening. But, in other areas, a bit surly - not always helpful. I'm not sure if that is a cultural thing or maybe they just get sick of their jobs like the rest of us?? To me, one of the biggest drawbacks about the Carnival Inspiration was the smoking. I had forgotten they allowed smoking in certain areas and I'd forgotten how much I hate the smell of cigarette smoke - especially on my way to breakfast. Ugh. We did not watch the shows in the evening but saw the family holiday show which was not much of one. The performers did their best but it was kind of sad to see. Perhaps the larger shows were better. There is gambling, bingo, hairy-chest competitions, a newlywed game, music trivia, dancing by the pool - all the typical cheesy cruise ship stuff that is what you make of it. The one port stop of Ensenada is almost shameful. Unless you are going ashore to drink, there is nothing to do. I'm surprised that there aren't the usual beach trips or catamarans of limbo/tequila lines but there aren't. The excursions are extremely limited and I can't imagine worth what Carnival wants you to pay. I read other reviews before going so I didn't expect much and so wasn't disappointed come cruise-time but was disappointed in general. Overall, I would not recommend this ship or this cruise. The ship is tired and lacking anything modern. The low price of the weekend cruise attracts a cheaper crowd and it showed. Our first cruise was a Carnival cruise out of Galveston in 2005 and we loved it. I would not want this to be anyone's first cruise experience or they would not want to cruise again. Save more money, go bigger and better. If you have young children, splurge for Disney and you won't regret it. On the other hand, if you just want to drink, smoke, gamble and go buy cheap products from Mexico - this might be perfect for you. Have a nice trip without me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Please don't be offended - I shop at Wal-Mart; but, I know when I go there that I will get low to moderate quality for a fair price and will most likely see people walking around in their pajamas. This is the same for the 3 day ... Read More
Please don't be offended - I shop at Wal-Mart; but, I know when I go there that I will get low to moderate quality for a fair price and will most likely see people walking around in their pajamas. This is the same for the 3 day sailing on the Inspiration out of Long Beach. If you understand that going onto the ship, you will have your expectations met or possibly exceeded. Pros - fair price, clean, adequate room size, enough to do if you are traveling without children, good service in the formal dining rooms, good room stewards. Cons - Carnival still allows smoking in some areas (ugh!), there is only one small pool, the entertainment is not so great, the kids clubs are not open the hours they advertise, the casual dining is limited and very, very crowded. Embarking was a breeze and we were on the ship by 11:45am. Kudos to Carnival there. Lunch was ready but there was really nothing to do after you ate. The pool was under maintenance, the water slides were closed, and the kids club was closed. So, if you are going on board to drink - you could do that and walk around the ship. Our room was ready and open by 1pm. We had an outside room with a window. There were 4 of us including two children 5 and 4. The room was adequate sized with good closet space but not much room to store luggage. The bathrooms are tiny (except for Disney they all are) but the shower could fit one adult and two kids so I can't complain. Kudos on the room. The food was not good. My husband liked it fine but he likes anything that is all you can eat and included in the price! I may have liked the food more if it was not so crowded in the casual dining room and the lines weren't so long. The casual dining consists of two indoor grills and one outdoor grill and a Mongolian barbecue outside. The line for the Mongolian grill was 20+ mins the two days I chose to wait. The food was the best on board but that wait was killer. I couldn't make myself do it a third time. There is always pizza available inside in the back of the casual dining room and also a deli sandwich station. The pizza is, no kidding, the equivalent of a chef boyardee pizza kit. Awful. The formal dining was nicer - in that you actually had a place to sit down, people weren't bumping into you while you ate, and the food came to you. The dining experience is formal in that you have multiple plates and forks and glasses but the food is more like Sizzler than a fine meal. My kids enjoyed the kids club and the counselors were great but the hours were pretty limited. The size of the kids club was disappointing and I really don't understand cruise lines that lump kids ages 2-5 together?? Is anyone with any child development involved in that decision? No, profit drives it. I get that but anyone with kids knows that a 2 yr old and a kid who is almost 6 are not playing at the same level. Oh well, I will leave the great kid clubs to Disney. This one was good enough because we hadn't intended to leave the kids there much anyway - but it is nice to have for a couple of hours! Oh, it is free unless they are doing special crafts or events. After 10pm you pay per hour (I think it was $6.75?). We did not use this service so I can't give any feedback on that. The service on-board was hit or miss. Our table staff in the formal dining room were great! The magician (Sameer) who came around to the tables and did a show in the kids club was wonderful. Our room steward was fantastic. And one staff person in the casual dining, Allan from Peru, was a great guy too. But most everyone else appeared surly and were not particularly helpful or cheery. I suppose it could be a cultural thing or maybe they had been at sea for a while? The entertainment consisted of a show at night and/or comedians. There were hairy-chest contests, a newlywed/not-so-newlywed game, trivia contests, bingo, gambling, and night clubs. Typical cruising stuff. The water slides were great and the kids loved them despite the water being freezing and the air temp being in the high 50s to low 60s. The coolness kept the slides from being crowded at all so that was great. I'm not sure what it would have been like on a warm sunny day. The pool was not heated and was tiny. No one was using it but if it had been warm there is no way it would have been adequate for a ship of 2600 cruisers. There was one hot tub open and it said "adults only" but there were only kids in it (including mine - sorry!). Same thing - I would have been disappointed if I were an adult who wanted to use it as there was no one enforcing the adults only rule. Getting off of the ship was simple enough but exiting on deck 7 was a mess. We were lucky as we were getting off early (about 8:30) and ended up in the right line at the right time but they could definitely do a better job setting up the queues. We have sailed Carnival in the past, as well as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney. Carnival is best, I think, for young people who want to have a spring break experience - warm sunny days, lots of drinking and fun. Or for families of kids who are pre-teen and teens who can entertain themselves and it makes for a neat inexpensive getaway for the family. In my opinion, it is really not for families with young kids like mine or for people who are looking for a higher end experience. That is not to say those folks couldn't have fun - we did - but you'll have a better time being forewarned. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was my eighth cruise; third with Carnival Cruise Line. Out of the eight cruises I have been on, this was the least favorite. Embarkation was surprisingly quick. We arrived at the parking garage around 1pm and we were on the Lido deck ... Read More
This was my eighth cruise; third with Carnival Cruise Line. Out of the eight cruises I have been on, this was the least favorite. Embarkation was surprisingly quick. We arrived at the parking garage around 1pm and we were on the Lido deck about 30 minutes later. Not bad considering we came at supposedly the busiest time. All of the employees were helpful and friendly. Our room was ready when we set foot on the ship so we were able to drop our carry-ons in our room and tour the boat. The rooms....We had a group of 6 of us. Two adults, two teenagers and two 5/6 year olds. We booked it as two rooms of three people each. What we did was put the kids in one room (the teenagers and one child slept in the converted king bed and the other child slept in the trundle bed) and the adults slept in the other room. It worked out. What I didn't like was the lack of space. Yes, it's normal, I know, for a cabin to lack in space but these were the smallest closets I have ever experienced. The closets are WAY to small. You are not able to even hang your clothes in the closet without angling them. I don't normally like to live out of my suitcase but there just wasn't any depth to the closets and there were hardly any shelves. There was no blow dryer. Even if one was provided, you would have to blow dry your hair in the cabin because there is no outlet in the bathroom. If you have electronics to re-charge, bring a electrical strip because there is only one plug in...ONE. Our room steward, Johner (sp?), was great. He always called us by name and was always quick and efficient with getting our cabin cleaned. The food...always an abundance of food on cruises. This was no exception. The 24 hour pizza was delicious (try the calzone and the garlic bread) as well as the 24 hour ice cream. Sandwich station was good. Grill food on the Lido deck was great for the kids (hamburger, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc). The Mongolian Wok was always busy so it must have been tasty. I thought there was supposed to be a sushi station but I never found one. For the dining areas on the Lido deck, I think the staff needs to be more proficient at wiping down the tables. More often than not, the tables were sticky from the previous occupants. I watched as the staff cleaned off the table...it was simply with a dry rag...no cleaner, not even water. I'm not sure I like Carnival's new "American Dining" menu in the main dining rooms. The food was good but if you ordered more than one entrée, it didn't come at the same time (i.e. if you ordered prime rib and lobster, you got the prime rib first and once you finished the prime rib, they came with your lobster). My kids were disappointed that they didn't have a midnight buffet as they always looked forward to those. Kids clubs...my teenagers don't like to do such things so they avoided the kids club. Of the two younger ones, one loved the kids club and the other one didn't. The staff was friendly and there seemed to be engaging activities but the little kids preferred to spend time with us on the Lido deck next to the pool, at the miniature golf course or at the water slides. The teenagers liked the ping pong table, swimming and the golf course. I liked that they had a separate area for adults only (Serenity). There were about 25 lounge chairs and two hot tubs. On the Lido deck, there was a swimming pool and another two hot tubs there. One hot tub was for adults only (although there always seemed to be kids in there) and another "hot tub" that wasn't hot at all that could be used by anyone. Because of timing, we didn't make it to any "cabaret" type shows. We saw the tail end of one game show and it looked like fun. There were a lot of music areas...we frequented an 80's band playing by the casino, the piano bar and a guitarist on the Empress deck by Guest Services. The ports...Catalina and Ensenada are night and day. Catalina was clean and there was a variety of activities to do (we booked our excursion independently from the cruise line). Ensenada was dirty and after an hour of walking around the boardwalk and shopping area, our kids just wanted to go back on the ship. Disembarkation is always slow but this went quick since the TSA cleared the all the baggage by 9:15 so everyone was allowed off the ship at that time and you didn't have to wait until your number was called. The parking structure at Long Beach needs to be a little more organized. They should have all parking toll collection booths open so cars flow smoothly out. Instead, I think the wait to pay to get out of the parking garage was a half hour. And be warned...five days of your car sitting in their parking garage will cost you over $65. All in all, the ship was clean, the service was good and the food was ok. This would be a great cruise for someone's first time but after you've been on a different cruise to either different ports or on another cruise line altogether, you will see that this cruise will just not measure up to those standards that you come to expect. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My husband and I cruised from Long Beach to Catalina Island and Ensenada with our extended family. Our party consisted of two adults in their 60's, six adults in their 30's, and a two year old. For me and my husband, this cruise ... Read More
My husband and I cruised from Long Beach to Catalina Island and Ensenada with our extended family. Our party consisted of two adults in their 60's, six adults in their 30's, and a two year old. For me and my husband, this cruise was our first and our last. The Good: Overall, the staff was excellent. My husband and I live in Boston and didn't adjust to the time change for this trip. When we walked around the deck at 5:00 am, we frequently saw the staff diligently scrubbing the ship. We particularly liked Renato, the steward for our cabin, and Gerry, who manned the omelette station. Renato was extremely friendly and helpful, and after meeting us the first time, he remembered our names for the entire duration of the cruise. Not a fluke--he remembered everyone's names; we were impressed. Gerry too was extremely friendly. Two people always manned the omelette station, and we always tried to place our order with Gerry; we enjoyed chatting with him while he made our omelettes. We also liked Cirilo and Christian, our waiters during our seated dinners. The cabins were a reasonable size and very clean. (I'm sure Renato was responsible for the standard of cleanliness.) They were also well-insulated, so we didn't really experience noise travelling through the walls from adjacent cabins. Note: We were next to the cabin with the two year old and barely heard him when he wailed one morning. The beds were comfortable enough; sleep wasn't an issue. At one point, a school of dolphins swam next to the ship, occasionally jumping out of the ocean, which was exciting to watch. The Bad: The quality of the fellow passengers varied. We happened to go on the cruise during spring break, so our experiences were probably (hopefully) atypical. The cabins weren't as soundproofed against noise from the hallway. One night, a few of the spring breakers shouted as they walked back to their cabin at 2:00 am, which woke me up. The food ranged from decent to bad. Gerry's omelettes, which were diner quality, were probably the highlight for us. One of my dinners--a pasta dish with turkey in a cream sauce--was bland and inedible. The dinners were also often served warmish but not hot. The desserts in the buffet area always looked delicious but never lived up to their promise. The soft serve ice cream was particularly bad--icy and grainy. Fortunately, our party was large enough to have our own table during the seated dinners, but some parties had to share a table, which is probably awkward. The cigarette smoke. When it was present inside the ship, it was strong and stale. We spent as much time outside as possible for the fresh air, but smokers often lounged on the deck as well. I think the ship would benefit from an outside smoking area. The pools and jacuzzi were unappealing. The children's pool and jacuzzi were smaller than I expected, and both, particularly the jacuzzi, seemed unhygienic. (Granted, I'm kind of a germaphobe.) The jacuzzi was always crowded because it was so small; it fit maybe ten people. The two year old wasn't allowed in the children's pool even with a swim diaper because he wasn't potty trained, but the slide looked a little sad anyway. The adult serenity area is not as serene as it sounds. Also beware of bird droppings while you lounge on the chaises. The two year old was actually just under two years old at the time and therefore denied at the daycare, which had an age minimum of two years. After all taxes and fees, the cruise cost about $475 per adult and an additional $350 for the two year old, which might be fine if you're interested in a vacation at this price point. I'd rather pay more for more, and $350 was very expensive for the two year old who shared a cabin with his parents and ate toddler-sized meals. The Ugly: The rear of the ship continuously expelled green-tinged waste into the ocean. As an environmentalist, this was hard for me to witness. Other: The ship really isn't very big, maybe a five minute walk from end to end, so everything it contains is pretty small--the mini-golf area (not a mini-golf course as advertised), the jogging track, the pools and jacuzzi. The cabins only had twin size mattresses, and a double bed was created by putting two twin mattresses side by side. Not at all a big deal for us; we just occasionally noticed the seam between the two twin mattresses. One of the realities of a cruise is that you're part of a herd, which means you spend a lot of time in line--food, activities, boarding, disembarking. When you arrive at a port, you stream off the ship with thousands of other people; the line curves around and up/down staircases. I wish we could have spent more time on Catalina Island, but we had just a half day. We had more time at Ensenada, which was quite touristy and less interesting to us. When we disembarked at Ensenada, we were conned into paying bus fare for a ride into town. Really, it was a ten minute walk. One-way bus fare was $2 per person, including the two year old, for maybe a half mile journey. Note: Be careful with mobile phone usage in Ensenada. While you may have a cellular signal, you may be subjected to exorbitant roaming charges. Good to Know: Passengers receive a daily weather report and schedule in their cabin. The schedule includes all of the ship's activities that day. One of the seated dinners is a Captain's Dinner, which really only means that the dining room elevates the dress code that evening. That being said, the dining room generally has a dress code (I believe no shorts or jeans) that didn't appear enforced. The ship offers a few nightlife activities--nightclub, bar/lounge, comedy club, shows. We didn't really participate because it's not our scene, but others may find it enjoyable. Carnival only allows pregnant women who are 24 weeks or fewer and requires them to provide a letter from their physician stating that mother and baby are in good health and able to travel. Neither of the pregnant women in my family were ever asked to produce this letter. Overall: Without a doubt, the best aspect of this cruise is the staff. I think this cruise in particular appeals to a certain demographic, so those within the target audience probably enjoy it more. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was the second cruise aboard a Carnival ship, and our fifth cruise in the past 4 years. Like many others have said, check-in was a breeze. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. We were told that our cabin ... Read More
This was the second cruise aboard a Carnival ship, and our fifth cruise in the past 4 years. Like many others have said, check-in was a breeze. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. We were told that our cabin would not be ready until 1:30 pm, and to proceed to the Lido deck for lunch. Unfortunately, all 2000+ passengers were told the same thing and the Buffet was packed with people, and the offerings were very marginal. We decided that the safest choice seemed to be hamburgers. We looked around the ship a bit, and though gaudy, it seemed clean enough except for the windows. Every window on this ship was filthy. The cabins are very small compared to any other ship that we have been on. When we were unpacking and putting away our clothes, we found a tube of Industrial Strength adhesive in one of the drawers, and an eyeglass case that someone had left. Later, when we were departing the ship on the last day, we found a slightly moldy orange under the bed. I guess that with so many quick turnovers, things get missed. Just prior to departure, there was the mandatory passenger and crew muster. I was surprised that the crew didn't really take this seriously, as they were talking and joking to each other in our Assembly Station F. Though we were told during this drill that our station would be the first to the lifeboats, we were never shown where our lifeboats were. Having been a professional mariner on large ships for the past seventeen years, I found this entire drill to be very unprofessional. At dinner the first night we met Team Head Waiter Ernesto, and his assistant, Team Waiter Made Rai. Their service and demeanor made this cruise for us, but the food certainly did not. Generally, the worst food we have ever had on a cruise ship. Lots of prepackaged type products, and mostly served lukewarm or cold. None of the bakery items were other than one could buy in a grocery store. The buffets had very little choice and were closed more often than they were open. I was really surprised one morning to find that our "made to order" omelets had grated, processed cheese in them! How can a cruise ship not even have real cheese? The second night of our cruise, the floor drain in the bathroom started to make extremely loud gurgling noises that, on several occasions, woke us up. The overpowering stench of sewage made our cabin unbearable. For some reason, the odor was only in the cabin, and not in the hallway outside. Interesting to see my wife fanning the door of the room, while in her pajamas, in the wee hours of the morning, to try to get some of the smell out. When I mentioned this to guest services, they were very nonchalant about it, which leads me to think that it is a pretty common problem on this ship. Knowing from my marine background that some ships use ozone to treat their sewage, and that this is a potential health risk if inhaled, I was concerned. Eventually, I saw the ships' Safety Officer, Marijo Puljiz, walking on one of the decks and I asked him about it. Fortunately, he said that this ship does not use that type of system. He immediately radioed about our problem, and assured us that it would be fixed. It was, but there was no apology or compensation offered at any time during the duration of the cruise. Would I cruise Carnival again? Probably not. It seems more geared to young people that just want to drink. Alcohol is pushed incessantly, you will be asked several times an hour, morning till night, if you want drinks from the bar. The noise level on the ship is unbearable. The only respite that you will get is inside your cabin, otherwise, blaring music is the theme. Except for the comedians, the shows were generally a bit tacky. A cross between a high school musical and a very cheap Las Vegas show. I think that I will stick to Holland America in the future.....even though it is owned by Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We drove to Long Beach from northern California on Sunday morning & checked in to Hotel Maya for the night. Loved the hotel & the view of Long Beach harbor. Left our car there for the next 5 days & took the hotel shuttle to ... Read More
We drove to Long Beach from northern California on Sunday morning & checked in to Hotel Maya for the night. Loved the hotel & the view of Long Beach harbor. Left our car there for the next 5 days & took the hotel shuttle to the cruise terminal. All quick & easy; we would do this part again. We arrived at the cruise terminal at about 12:15, checked one bag, did self assist for the small one. Line looked a bit long once inside, but moved rather quickly. We did all the pre-stuff on-line so just had to show our credit card & we were on our way. Crossing the gang way was a nightmare!! It was raining pretty hard & the wind was blowing the rain sideways. Most of the folks in front of us were elderly & the rain & wind seemed to slow them down, which made being behind them dreadful. By the time we reached the ship our legs & feet were completely soaked. Thank goodness we wore waterproof jackets, that saved our top half. The very first thing that greeted us at this point was the port-o-potty smell-WHEW! Once on the ship we were greeted with welcomes, told our cabins wouldn't be ready until about 1:30 & directed to the Brasserie for lunch buffet. We entered the Atrium & took a quick look around. As in other reviews, we found the purple, orange & green neon lighting tacky. Vegas lounge looking for sure. We walked through the Promenade deck to reach the buffet & the smell of cigarette smoke wafts through this entire area. We soon found the source-the Cigar Bar where smoking is permitted-has no doors. Rather it is open into the Promenade. We made it a point to avoid this area if possible; we both found the cigarette smoke smell ever present & obnoxious. The buffet was Italian & we didn't expect much so we were pleasantly surprised that it was actually quite good. I had some sort of fish & it wasn't fishy or dry, just nice flavor. We also appreciated the salad bar that was stocked with plenty of fresh fruit & salad fixings, we ate a lot of that! We only hit the dessert bar once & didn't much care for the lemon chiffon cake I got.(As noted by many other people, the decor here is definitely strange. Purple tubing trimmed in neon orange & black spider web looking things covered the ceiling. We never could figure out what it was supposed to be). Just as we finished eating there was an announcement that all cabins were ready. We went directly to our cabin, & met our steward, Bosco on the way. He was very friendly & pleasant, knew our names & remembered them through the whole cruise. He was very good at keeping our room tidy & fresh in a very unobtrusive way. Our cabin was about what we expected, not large or roomy, but not terribly cramped for 2 people either. Plenty of closet & drawer space for the 2 of us, suit cases (even the giant one) fit neatly under the bed. In room safe big enough to hold our wallets, video camera & my jewelry. And everything was clean & neat. The room itself is very quiet. We never heard other people in their rooms, except for the toilets flushing. What can you expect when you have a giant garbage disposal going off? We could however, hear people in the hallway, ALOT. On a side note, we absolutely hated the people who let their kids run up & down the corridors outside the cabins & needed to carry on loud conversations with each other. Wasn't sure if we could complain to our steward? Just decided to chalk it up to idiots. We didn't want to let small things spoil our time. I would have to say the cabin decor was really sad. The feel of the cabin could have been greatly improved with a few simple changes like soft blues & greens used in the fake curtains, bed cover, carpeting, etc. Instead it was gold & red & oranges - very outdated & conflicting with the huge watercolor painting in blue & yellow. We had Any Time Dining in the Mardi Gras. We went about 7:45 & waited about 7 minutes to be seated; not bad! This was the only night we had any wait; the rest of the nights we went right in. 1st night our head waiter, James was a very pleasant fellow, but kept complaining about his assistant waiter to us, who was definitely slacking. My water glass sat empty through half the meal, until James refilled for me. 2nd night we had Oksana & she was fantastic! She seemed to always appear at just the right time, dishes cleared quickly & unobtrusively, refills done, etc. 3rd night can't remember her name but terrible service again, coupled with a guy who dribbled water across our table & bread basket every time he refilled our water. He was always looking away, as if he didn't even notice us. Last night we requested Oksana & we received wonderful service again. Food was up & down. Flat iron steak tender & juicy but a very strong, gamey flavor. Crab cakes like mushy tuna. Lobster was tender & delicious but very small, maybe 6-7 bites. Shrimp served with it rubbery & tough. Atlantic salmon delicious, and moist. We always had the fresh fruit cocktail & it was always good. Desserts hit & miss too. Grand Marnier souffle was good. Chocolate melting cake good. Pumpkin pie was terrible, with a texture/consistency of jello. How do you screw up pumpkin pie?? We tried breakfast at the buffet, always something good, plus all the fresh fruit. Made to order omelets at the poolside grill were good, but limited fresh ingredients, only olives, cheese, bell peppers, salsa, tomatoes (which looked sad) and onions. (We are healthy eaters, in case you couldn't tell by now!) We tried the panini bar, it was okay. Hubby tried the sushi, said it was okay. We had pre-ordered continental breakfast from room service every morning. We really enjoyed having coffee, fruit, bagel in our room before we started our day. Even though you schedule your delivery time (for ex. 7:00-7:30) it was very hit & miss. One day they actually woke us up, coming almost 15 minutes early. And they ignore the do not disturb sign. But still loved having that service. We did not book any shore excursions through Carnival. We just felt that it was too expensive. I researched a great deal before we left & had things booked on our own. We got off the ship about 8:00 am, wanting to bypass the large crowds getting off later. Tendering was simple & quick. Getting back on was the same, no waiting at 3:00 pm. We saw dolphins jumping in the water near our tender & the driver turned around so we could go by them again & get a better look. Getting off the ship in Ensenada was easy too. Again we left early to beat the crowds, about 9:30 am. Returned about 6:00 pm & easy getting back on. Security check was very simple. We really enjoyed our time off the ship & our excursions. Public restrooms on the ship were all clean, but the longer we were on the ship, the more out of order or broken doors there were. And of course the ever present port-o-potty smell in them.V We enjoyed all the ships photographers & the little photography set-ups everywhere. Gave us lots to chose from at the end of our cruise. Watch for the Yoo-Hoo! guy, he's great! You'll know exactly what I'm talking about as soon as you hear him. Liked the Serenity area. Too bad the weather was so cool on this cruise, could have been more enjoyable with warmer weather. No loud/drunk folks when we were there. Didn't try the Waterworks, although it looks fun. Just too cold! Lido deck pool looked nice, but again too cold. Only a few brave kids got in it. Saw 2 comedy shows, one family friendly, one adults only. Both were relatively funny. Warning-adults only is pretty raunchy at times. Started to watch a game show type thing in the Paris lounge, but it was at the front of the ship & the rocking was really getting to us, so we left after 5 minutes. Our biggest complaint would be the constant side to side rocking motion we experienced the entire time we were at sea (including anchored at Catalina). While neither of us was nauseous, we felt a general malaise, lethargy & exhaustion the whole time, which really overshadowed the experience in a negative way. We ended up napping more than we ever have, just to cope. My hubby is a person that is affected by very little, and it did him in too, so i know it was bad! We probably would have had a more positive view of cruising if we hadn't felt so lousy while on board. Oh yes, and that last day "fun day at sea"? I think the only purpose of this is to get people to spend money. We set sail at 10 pm Wednesday night & didn't stop until the wee hours Friday morning, rocking side to side the entire time. Ensenada is not that far from Long Beach. Why not another day in one of the ports? I think the answer is money. Not sure we will cruise again. If we do, I do not think it would be with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Do you enjoy the smell of raw sewage? What about the smell of taco farts? Do you enjoy lots of tattoos and earrings? And a boat with so much neon, mirrors, and sparkly lights it looks like a disco from aft to fore? Does ... Read More
Do you enjoy the smell of raw sewage? What about the smell of taco farts? Do you enjoy lots of tattoos and earrings? And a boat with so much neon, mirrors, and sparkly lights it looks like a disco from aft to fore? Does Carnival's famed hairy chest contest sound like fun? Do you like loud music blasting during dinner? Are you down with lots of beers and margaritas? Then my friend... the Carnival Inspiration's 4 day Baja Cruise is for you. PLUS: - A delightful stop in Catalina. Avalon is a pleasant, peaceful town, though I would've enjoyed it more had fewer of my fellow guests gone the lazy, thoughtless, polluting route and sped around on gas-powered golf carts everywhere. Stopping for a seafood lunch and an ice cream is a must, and you've got to get out and go for a big walk around the beautiful island. - Quite decent food. The lead chef for dinners on this boat should be commended. The buffet fare is completely standard, but the seated dinners were delicious and creatively presented. - Good work by wait staff in the main dining room. The "table artist" (table magician) did a fine job. The dining staff earned a good hundred bucks in extra tips from me. - Delightful ocean views. Along the California and Baja coasts you're sure to see plenty of dolphins, porpoises, and MINUSES: - Any time the boat had to go a while without dumping, the stairwells and public areas smelled strongly of sewage... like taking a big whiff of a septic tank. In several spots on deck, and in every stairwell and in every elevator waiting area, you were sure to smell the sweet, sweet smell of the effects of hundreds of passengers gorging at the buffet. It was absolutely disgusting and I've never been on a boat that's had this problem before. At first I thought I could chalk it up to the harbor at Long Beach, but no... it was the boat. (By the way, for those of you unaware, cruise ships don't just magically pipe their sewage into city sewer systems. They dump it out at sea. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of your poop and toilet paper floating around out there.) - This boat is aging badly. Kids and first time cruisers may not notice it, but cruise veterans certainly will. The decor evokes the 80s... not even the 90s when the boat was built. It has few balconies, the public areas are rough around the edges, and it's wildly outclassed these days, of course. There's a reason it's been relegated to 3 and 4 day cruises now. (The water slides were very popular with my kids, though.) - My steward was quite lazy and only became interested in my needs on the last night ("give me more tips" night). From failing to clean out dirty glasses and silverware, to ignoring towels on the floor when cleaning the bathrooms... this wasn't the best steward I'd had by a long shot. - Ensenada smells like your stereotypical border town... a great combination of beer, taco gas, and dog crap. Boy, were the sidewalk salesmen ever aggressive. Ensenada wants your fat American tourist money, and it wants it bad. Anyway, the beers and margaritas were great, though. - The fellow passengers were not a classy bunch. But it's a four day cruise from Long Beach. You should know what kind of fellow passengers you're getting just from that alone. - Sailing around for a "day at sea" on this route is wasteful and is blatant money-grabbing. Better to spend two days in Catalina where people can really get out and enjoy themselves, rather than sailing some massive arc from Ensenada back to Long Beach. But if they did that, we'd spend less on beer and cocktails on the boat, wouldn't we. I see where you're going with this, Carnival. THE SUMMARY: I can see why plenty might enjoy Carnival's party atmosphere, but it's not for me. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing, though! This boat needed some upkeep badly despite the staff's efforts to clean, and the sewage smell was utterly overpowering and nauseating. Some staff were excellent, while others were clearly tired, disaffected, and bored with a group they didn't expect to tip well. The ports were hit and miss (Avalon: hit... Ensenada: miss...). I'm glad I'm home and as a cruise veteran, while I'd be open to a Carnival cruise in the future, I will not be sailing this route or sailing on this boat again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The ship itself is very dated and tacky. The Promenade-Galleria area is 1980's neon and black and many of the bars and discos were small and ugly. Our ocean-view room, though, was neutral, and a decent size. The Carnivale dining ... Read More
The ship itself is very dated and tacky. The Promenade-Galleria area is 1980's neon and black and many of the bars and discos were small and ugly. Our ocean-view room, though, was neutral, and a decent size. The Carnivale dining room is downright ugly; however, the food was pretty good. We never had a "bad" meal. Our waiter was friendly and very attentive, but the food service was slow. We would get to the dining room at 6:00 and left at 7:30 - 7:45. One night we left as the 8:00 diners were entering! We would wait about 15 minutes between each salad, appetizer and main course. What I absolutely hated was the Maitre d'. When we finally got our main entree, he would get on the microphone and sing annoying songs, and demand that everyone get up and dance and wave their napkins. It probably wouldn't have been as annoying if he would have done that during the appetizer or salad serving. We would finally get our main entree, we would start to eat and enjoy it, and then all this noise and loud singing would erupt. It was very difficult to enjoy diner time with the family. The two days at sea were great. We never had a problem finding lounge chairs around the pool area for the 6 of us. Bar service around the pool was slow, but I have found this to be true on every cruise I have ever taken. The "pool games" were funny to watch, and there was usually something going on in the afternoon that we attended. The Brasserie buffet dining area on the pool deck was pretty good, too, though the decor is hideous. It looks like a bad science fiction movie set. There is a pizza station, Deli station, a Chinese Wok station and burger/hot dog station. I loved the Deli area where two cooks make deli sandwiches to order. You can get cold sandwiches or paninis. The Chinese wok area and the burger/hot dog area were always really crowded, so we did not eat there. There were two comedians that preformed in the evenings in the Candlelight Lounge. One guy was really horrible and the other guy was pretty funny. But, they didn't start until 10:00pm and then their set was only 30 minutes long. We went to the casino a couple of times, but didn't stay long because of the cigarette smoke. A few video poker machines are "smoke free," but smoking is allowed at all the table games. Yuck! One thing that I found extremely bizarre that I have never seen before on other cruise lines is that people can carry on cases of soda and bottles of alcohol on embarkation day. It is really tacking standing in line with people all around you carrying cases of soda and holding bottles of wine. It was almost like people were going camping!! I guess Carnival is considered a budget cruise line, and those are the type of people that would be attracted to that. Overall we had a nice time celebrating my boyfriend's parents' 50th anniversary. One nice touch is you can order anniversary/birthday cake for less than 10 dollars, and they bring it to you at dinner. It was a really nice touch, and the cake was pretty good, too. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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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