6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I just got back from a three day cruise on the Inspiration (Oct. 7-10). I’ve done this weekend cruise many times but I never get tired of it. The port is one hour from home, closer to drive to then Vegas, and really a bargain when you ... Read More
I just got back from a three day cruise on the Inspiration (Oct. 7-10). I’ve done this weekend cruise many times but I never get tired of it. The port is one hour from home, closer to drive to then Vegas, and really a bargain when you consider that you get your room, food and entertainment. This time it was just me and my daughter. I was really looking forward to seeing the changes since dry dock. Basically, the ship looked the same to me with the exception of the addition of Guys Burgers and the Mexican food right beside it. (Forgot the name, might be Blue Iguana) I got to say that this trip boarding and disembarking were the easiest I’ve ever experienced in all my years of cruising, on any line. We arrived just a tad before noon and walked right into the building to get our sign and sail cards. No line whatsoever. We went straight to the lido deck and didn’t want to wait in the buffet line so we went for the burgers. They were really good and with anything you could possibly want to put on a burger. Came with fries too and they were hot and crispy. Sat down and got our first drink of the day to enjoy with our food. After lunch we went to our room. It was cabin M44, outside cabin with a picture window. The single beds were positioned in an L shape with one bed against the picture window and the other bed on the right hand side. There was a chair next to bed and a small bench to sit on under the vanity. There was plenty of closet space. We didn’t use half the space there was. Bathroom was typical set up with a cloth shower curtain, small sink and toilet. Plenty of cubby space for incidentals. There was a shelf in the corner where I think the old style tv’s used to sit. This time this is where the cabin attendant put our towel animals. There was a small flat screen tv mounted to the wall (24”). We explored the ship until it was time for the muster drill. As first I thought we were going to get off easy. We were herded into the Paris lounge and took a comfortable seat while they explained the process and demonstrated how to put on a life vest. But then we all had to go up to the deck where the life boats were and wait for more instructions. By the time that was over we went back to our room to get ready for dinner. With just the two of us we had no idea what the seating arrangement would be. We had early (6:00 pm) seating in the Carnivale dining room. We were placed at a table for ten, all ladies. It was nice to make some new friends. My daughter and I ordered the steak and lobster for the extra surcharge. When the plate came I first thought, hmmm what a small serving. It turned out to be just right and very good. After dinner we went to the casino to spend our daily allowance and then afterwards we went to do karaoke. Karaoke drew quite a crowd and you only got to sing one song, but one was enough for me. The karaoke host had books but he said that they were out of date and that he may or may not have the song you wanted. He also had a lot of songs that were not in the book so you basically had to ask. The next day (Saturday) we arrived in Ensenada. We had no plans for that day so we just got off the ship and there was a bus taking people into town. It was $2.00 to get to town and $1.00 to get back. However, when we got on the bus, the guide announced that after the drop off in town, they would be going to La Bufadera. The cost was $15.00 and that included the return to the ship. We did that and enjoyed the excursion. There were many vendors and stalls and a free sip of pina colada every other vendor. We took our time strolling down the street and eventually reached the “blow hole” which is the highlight of the trip. That evening, we joined our table for dinner and everyone talked about what they did that day. I had prime rib for dinner and it was very good. After dinner we killed a little time in the casino and then went to the 60’s Show in the main lounge. We enjoyed the show and met one of the dancers afterwards who knew my niece. My niece (by marriage) used to be a dancer for Carnival and the Inspiration was her first contract. That is where she met my nephew who was a DJ on board. Sunday was my day to sleep in. After we got up and had breakfast, we finally made it to the Serenity deck. I love that spot. Plenty of padded loungers, some in the sun and some in the shade plus two jacuzzi’s. I don’t remember how long we stayed there but we eventually left and went for a late lunch. That night I had salmon for dinner and no dessert. By now I’ve had enough food and drinks. I forgot to mention that breakfast Sunday morning was the brunch in the dining room and I had steak and eggs. It was very good. That is why I ordered the salmon for dinner as I had already had my fill of red meat. Truth be told, I could eat steak every day. Sunday night was the 80’s disco show and we both enjoyed it. Now both shows were Playlist productions and it appeared that the singers were actually singing but to canned music, like glorified karaoke. I thought the sound system was good though and hard to tell from an actual band. After the show the cast from the show and guests on board all congregated in the atrium for a Mardi Gras party. After that, it was back to the casino for a bit where my daughter hit a small jackpot. She was so thrilled you would have thought she hit the lotto. Before long I was worn out and ready for bed. The next day we did the disembarkation where you take your own luggage with you rather then set it outside your door the night before. We each had just one small rolling carry on so it was simple. We strolled down to deck 7 at 8:00 am and I swear we were off by 8:10. I forgot about traffic on Monday morning, but even so, my daughter had be home by 9:10. My next cruise will be on the Dream next July but this little trip was just what I needed until then. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We took the 3-day trip from Long Beach to Ensenada. We had an awesome experience and the entire weekend was just one long party. We got to pre-board for the wedding making it very easy, then a beautiful wedding/reception that was followed ... Read More
We took the 3-day trip from Long Beach to Ensenada. We had an awesome experience and the entire weekend was just one long party. We got to pre-board for the wedding making it very easy, then a beautiful wedding/reception that was followed by 3-days of non-stop fun and partying. The room steward was the best, our room was always fresh, clean and he always met us with a smile or friendly word. This was our first cruise and we were impressed by how much space we actually had in our standard room, good water pressure in the shower and toilets worked surprisingly well. Nice linens & pillows, the cute towel animals each night was a pleasant treat, and room was relatively quiet except the drunks/kids in the hallway. We dined with our group in the dining room each night and was treated to nice dinners and friendly wait staff. There were a couple of hiccups there, but the staff was always so friendly, accommodating, and fun, you really didn't mind. The only thing that could use some improvement was the very slow service at the bars. Be ready to spend a bit of time to get a drink, and even when they're not busy don't expect fast service (and they're not friendly ~ except the young gal in the atrium bar, she at least served her drinks with a hello & smile). We used the Carnival Hub app on our phones to communicate with each other, $5 charge is well worth it if you are travelling with a group. Our day in Ensenada was a lot of fun too. We went to the Rosario Beach Party at Papas & Beer. It is just what you would expect for a laid-back Mexico style party bar. They provided us seating in their reserved beach area (broken old plastic furniture), shade umbrellas, decent lunch, cold beers and great service. No complaints. The locals will try to peddle their wears but that is just Mexico, be ready for it. It's only about 30 minutes south of San Diego, so expect the ocean to have the same cold water. When the cruise ended they have that have that process down really smooth too, and we had no delays or problem (we took our own luggage off the boat). Would definitely do this trip again!! If you're looking for a quiet relaxing get away this is NOT the cruise for you. It's a fun party from the minute you board the ship. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My wife and I were looking at spending some "Quality" time with our grown grandsons; we decided to book this cruise in October. It fit the bill as pricing and timing were just what were looking for. Also, having explored the ... Read More
My wife and I were looking at spending some "Quality" time with our grown grandsons; we decided to book this cruise in October. It fit the bill as pricing and timing were just what were looking for. Also, having explored the ports of Avalon Catalina and Ensenada Mexico on previous trips and were less concerned with the itinerary than the overall cruise experience. Neither Grandson had cruised before so they had no previous expectations. Embarkation We are familiar with the Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) having sailed from there on many occasions. However, we had not sailed from Long Beach in many years so we had some catching up to do. We arrived at 12:00 in the afternoon and parked in easy walking distance after dropping our bags. Parking is $19 a day and in a covered garage. We lined up outside the terminal in the shade and were on board in less than an hour. Terminal personnel were very friendly and helpful throughout. We boarded at the 7th deck atrium, a multi decked meeting, mingling and mixing space similar in design to the Piazza on Princess ships but, the decor was black and neon. Once on board we were informed that our stateroom would be ready in less than half and hour and that we could drop our luggage beforehand. We then toured the ship. Ship Yes, the Inspiration is an older ship, being built in 1996. She was refurbished recently with the 2.0 update that included new themed bars, Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Cantina. The water park was also expanded during the retrofit. Overall, the ship was clean and well maintained. Passengers largely consisted of families with small children, young adults and young couples. A few senior citizens rounded out the passenger roster. Touring the ship we headed to the uppermost decks and visited the mini-golf and sport deck. The grand boys spent many evenings practicing their putting there. Also, they were excited to visit the water park which had a long twisting water slide. Moving forward we explored the Spa area that included the gym, dressing rooms, sauna and steam room. We next moved down to the Lido deck and explored the pool area, making note of the Blue Iguana Cantina and Guy's Burger Joint. Both venues got plenty of use during the cruise. Lastly, we toured the Brassiere Bar and Grill. This is more of a buffet and less of a bar and grill as I did not see any food preparation other than sandwiches being put together taking place there. Moving down a couple of decks were visited the Promenade deck, home of the casino, shops, Paris theater, photo gallery and various clubs. We ended up at that Serenity area which is an adult only area with a couple of whirlpools. We moved down another a deck and visited the Atlantic deck and toured the Carnvale dining room where we would enjoy many great meals. We ended up at deck 6 or Upper deck our home away from home. Cabin We booked a single ocean view cabin with 4 berths. This was an experiment of sorts to see how the millennial generation would adapt to the baby boomers. The experiment proved to be successful as no lab rats I mean passengers were harmed during the making of this cruise. With the 2 fold down berths folded up it was easy to get around the cabin with some traffic controls in place. With the berths down however, it was more like a yoga class combined with the traffic jams found on the Los Angeles Freeways. We found the mornings to be problematic with the biggest bottle necks and some of us used the locker room and showers in the spa to reduce waiting times and congestion. The mattresses were newer and firm. The flat screen TV was small and located in corner. The TV had one movie channel, news stations, kid options and the usual carnival programming. Each berth had its own reading light that was conveniently located in such a way that it did not shine on the other berths. The shower was ample in size and a welcome change to those found on Princess Ships. Our room steward Manuel kept our stateroom well supplied with towels and soap. The cabin was outfitted with one desk with drawers, ottoman, one chair, a couple of small end tables with storage and 4 floor to ceiling cabinets for clothing. One of the cabinets had a safe that was locked via a magnetic strip charge card. We used casino cards for this safe and it worked just fine. Dining Or FTTF (faster to the food). Our cabin was conveniently located next to the aft elevators on the Upper deck or deck 6 so we took the stairs either to the Atlantic deck and the Carnivale dining room or up to Lido deck and the buffet. We dined in the Carnivale dining room most nights and enjoyed our breakfasts and lunched in either the buffet, Guy's or the Cantina. I was pleasantly surprised as the food was quite well prepared in all the venues with the exception of the Dr. Suess Green Eggs and Ham breakfast which arrived to our table cold. I especially liked the smaller portions. A real gem or find was the Blue Iguana Cantina which serves up a great breakfast, eggs, burritos, omelettes made to order. Next time we will spend more time there for breakfast. The food in the buffet was less varied but, still good. Guy's hamburger joint was fun and flavorful. Entertainment Or STTE (slower to the entertainment) our cabin was located aft so this is where we got our exercise walking to a from the various entertainment venues. The GG or Grand Guys enjoyed miniature golf, Water Park, pool, Serenity area and the expansive library. We saw a couple of shows after dinner and found them quite good. Also, we saw the Hasbro game show, a must see in my opinion. The Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham breakfast was geared for the little ones and the meal was colorful but, cold. My wife and I have a soft spot in our hearts for Dr. Seuss, as we renewed our vows one year with a Dr. Seuss theme. The casino was small in size but, never overcrowded. The clubs had various performers that were quite talented and we enjoyed the music. Service This the area where Carnival "gets it". All staff we encountered on this trip was friendly, helpful and "on purpose". Of particular note our room steward Manuel was always available and kept our room neat and well stocked. Our servers in the Carnivale dining room, waiter and assistant waiter Anthony and Arthur were always prompt and helpful. Their suggestions were spot on and they memorized our names. Nice touch. Did I mention that they dance? They put on quite a show at the conclusion of the meal also, not to be missed. Overall the "energy" of this crew sets this ship apart from other cruises we have been on. Other crew members encountered during our daily activities were courteous and helpful. The service is what will bring me back to Carnival. Ports and Shore Excursions We booked a zip line adventure for the Guys through Carnival. We accompanied the tour group by golf cart during a large part of the excursion. This zip line company does a great job and makes the experience fun informative and entertaining. The instructors Brittany and Brandy did a terrific job, Kudos to Brittany and Brandy. Safety is of course of a primary concern and this company has put together a well thought out and safe excursion. There were 5 zip lines and the tour took about 3 hours start to finish. In Ensenada we were on our own and using the shuttle tour company Del Mar tours we booked a Bufadora excursion. We had visited this many years ago and it has gone through many improvements through the years. The road to the attraction has been repaved and there are now clean bathrooms in several locations. The best fish and shrimp tacos can also be found located behind the shuttle bus and taxi parking lot. The Bufadora did not disappoint and we got a good shower while filming the attraction. Before going to this attraction I would recommend checking the tide charts to see what time high tide is to get the best experience. My only complaint for this tour was the wasted time spent "introducing" us to the various vendors that are "guaranteed" to give us a "good price". I understand that the tour company gets reimbursement from both tourists and vendors. I would recommend to those taking this tour to go ahead of the tour guide so that you can spend more time on your own. Disembarkation We were assigned group 12. We brought our bags up to the Blue Iguana Cantina and had a great breakfast. We played cards for a couple of hours and disembarked, cleared customs, picked up our bags and drove out of the parking lot by 10:00 a.m. All in all disembarkation went very smooth. In conclusion, this cruise proves that two generations can coexist in harmony and in fact can have fun doing it in the same stateroom. My wife and I would repeat this cruise in a heart beat but, would probably do so next time in separate staterooms. Disclaimer: no laboratory rats or passengers were harmed during the production or planning of this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We arrived early - around noon. The queue was already outside, but we only we were onboard the ship 61 minutes from the time we joined the queue, which is very good. Long Beach was in the midst of a heat wave, so the terminal was very ... Read More
We arrived early - around noon. The queue was already outside, but we only we were onboard the ship 61 minutes from the time we joined the queue, which is very good. Long Beach was in the midst of a heat wave, so the terminal was very warm. They could do with the installation of a few fans. We were told our room would be ready by 1:30, but we snuck down around 1:15 and was able to get in. The room was much larger than some other outside cabins I've seen. This was our first Carnival sailing, so we didn't know what to expect. The ship decor was a bit tasteless, but overall it was clean, yet tired. The service was much better than I had anticipated. The crew seemed very happy. The ship's band, "Magic Tractor" played near the casino and was fantastic! We had been to both Catalina Island and Ensenada before, but I don't go on cruises for ports - I go to relax on the ship. I would definitely book this little cruise again for a getaway! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We've been on this cruise before and it wasn't anything to write home about. Everything was just ok and some of the things weren't. I think the problem was we had been on other cruises before and expected too much. This time ... Read More
We've been on this cruise before and it wasn't anything to write home about. Everything was just ok and some of the things weren't. I think the problem was we had been on other cruises before and expected too much. This time a friend that I met on board the Inspiration called me and said "are ya ready for a cruise?". We set a date and we booked our rooms. The first time we booked a balcony room, this time we booked a porthole room, one of the cheapest on the ship and got a beverage package. Embarkation went smooth, better than i expected. Boom we're on the ship drinking cocktails and getting settled in. Find our friend, find the smoking section and lit up a cigar. This is where we met 4 other couples, and we all started to sit around in a big circle. We all got to know each other and decided to all go ashore in Ensenada together. Everyday we'd meet someone new and spend time getting to know them. I think people that come on this cruise and give it a bad review want to be treated like they're on a luxury cruise line and this isn't what this trip is...I mean this trip cost us 800 and another 400 for drinks. 1200 for a 5 day/4 night cruise and you didn't get treated like royalty? how dare they...lol. The ship is clean. The new additions they did last year work well. The food is what you'd expect on a 4 day economy cruise. The staff is always working hard. The customers are always rude (just like all the other cruise lines). The decor is out dated, and the rooms are small....go and meet some nice people, take a break from work for a week and still have the weekend at home to recover. The cruise is what it is....we made the best of it and had a ball Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The food was good, to very good. You need to know what you like to eat. The buffet was lacking at times and we thought that the food could have been left out longer but the MDR was good. Not all the food was perfect but it was all good. My ... Read More
The food was good, to very good. You need to know what you like to eat. The buffet was lacking at times and we thought that the food could have been left out longer but the MDR was good. Not all the food was perfect but it was all good. My eggs in the dining room were cold ish, but most everything we ate was enjoyable. The room was bigger then we thought it was going to be. The staff was great! It was a fun cruse, we enjoyed every minute (except for the losing in the casino). This was our first time on carnival and we found it to be a good fit. We expected a super 8 or motel 6 vacation and got a much better quality then that. So much better than Norwegian. The night time entertaiment was fun, the cruse director was great, it was great what a fun trip. The ship moved a lot at times so bring your motion sick med's if needed. Embarkation is slow but went smoothly, disembarkation only took like 18 minutes total. I realy enjoyed the comedian and entartainment, I even got to play simon. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose this cruise as a gift for my hubby's 60th birthday. He loved it! While we enjoyed the cruise overall, there were a few flies in the ointment you might say. First oops was, they got our boarding pass pictures mixed up with ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a gift for my hubby's 60th birthday. He loved it! While we enjoyed the cruise overall, there were a few flies in the ointment you might say. First oops was, they got our boarding pass pictures mixed up with someone else and security held me back, treating me like some kind of terrorist and never apologized. I was NOT happy with this but they finally figured it out and we boarded the ship. Number one and a half was the stability of the ship. I've been on 2 other cruises (both Princess) and other than 1 stormy night at sea, they were as stable as being on dry land. The Inspiration was like one giant rocking chair floating in the water. Good thing we brought our Pepto and nausea tablets! Number two was we had a little misunderstanding with our room cleaning situation and the phone didn't work right. It took 3 different attempts with guest services to get it right but all in all, Carnival staff more than made up for it by treating us to steak and lobster (normally charged for on this particular cruise) and a free bottle of wine. Number 3 was no hot shower for me on the first day. Brrrrr. They sent someone to fix it though and everything was fine after that. The food was deelish especially the Guy burgers and that chocolate molten cake...mmmmm! Things to bring if you go or ( when we go again): bring sodas in an aluminum can, not a plastic bottle. Bring a little clock for your room and make sure to have a watch. Make sure to bring your own tote/shopping bag when you get off in Ensenada so you can fill it up with goodies you buy. And don't forget to go tinkle BEFORE you get off because finding a bathroom on shore was a real hassle. McDonald's makes you buy something before you can use theirs and it was stinky and deplorable! The 70's show on night 4 was GROOVY baby! We got to be VIP's and danced on stage with the cast. SO much fun! The line dancing and social dancing on the lido deck was a blast too! It was definitely a 20-30 somethings cruise but we made it our own. We danced to hip and sassy music of Magic Tractor in the Violin lounge. They were rockin!!! I was told at first there was no formal night but there is. It's called elegant night so, bring your dress up duds. Men: you don't have to wear a tux and ladies don't need a fancy ball gown. My hubby wore a dark shirt and black pants and I wore a black cami with a white tutu skirt...again: we made it our own! Do I recommend this cruise? Yes. Absolutely! For the money, you just can't beat it! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We took a cruise for the first time. We had a few friends with us. Every time we went to eat they always took great care of our needs. All the staff was fun and friendly. I can't wait to go agian. The shows where fun and the comedy ... Read More
We took a cruise for the first time. We had a few friends with us. Every time we went to eat they always took great care of our needs. All the staff was fun and friendly. I can't wait to go agian. The shows where fun and the comedy show had me crying because i was having to much fun. The rooms stayed very clean. The staff at the pool keep every one happy and drinks full. We stopped by the jewelry store on the ship and they made my wife feel like a queen. I can not say anything bad about our time on this cruise. The days that we got off the ship. The staff made it easy to under stand what we needed to do and what we needed to take with us and what time to be back. We had the time of our lifes and can't wait to do it again. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We took this cruise to Ensenada with our extended family, 18 in all, from ages 8-93. We're apparently not cruise snobs, and overall we had a very good time. Having read many reviews here, I didn't have high expectations for the ... Read More
We took this cruise to Ensenada with our extended family, 18 in all, from ages 8-93. We're apparently not cruise snobs, and overall we had a very good time. Having read many reviews here, I didn't have high expectations for the food, but we found it to be very good. At dinner at the Mardi Gras, we encountered no rubbery meat, and since we could order as many appetizers and entrees as we wanted and there were 18 of us, we tried just about everything. The flatiron steak and salmon were favorites. The breakfast buffet had a huge variety of options and no one went hungry, it was quite the opposite. The burger place was very good, as many have reported. The crew was very personable and helpful, and our Mardi Gras waiter XZ (yes, that's his name) was a lot of fun. We were disappointed that his section was already occupied on Saturday, but we got there early enough on Sunday to be able to request him again. My daughter and niece (age 16 & 15) LOVED Club 02, and made many new friends from all sorts of backgrounds. (They are texting with some of them right now.) One 17 year old was sad that this would be the last time he would be able to go to Club 02. The kids enjoyed the poolside activities, as well as the waterslide and miniature golfing. The Ensenada zip line/waterpark was great, everyone found something they enjoyed, including horseback riding. The zip lines were terrific - most were very long runs, and there were four "bridges" connecting the runs that really challenged those with balance issues. One thing that turned me off was all the smoking in and around the casino. A large part of deck 9 was smoky as a result, and that's where a lot of the better places to be were at night, so it took some of the fun out of being there, at least for me, but I'm touchy about that, my wife wasn't bothered. I guess they have to keep their gamblers happy. I was concerned that there would be a lot of drunks, since there were so many young singles and party-animal types on board. There were enough of them that we didn't feel comfortable with our teenage daughters wanting to roam around with their new friends after Club 02 closed at 1:00am. My wife got an icky "Hey Baby" from a couple of middle aged drunks on Sunday at around noon, and some smashed 20-something dude pounded relentlessly on my door at 1:30 Monday morning until I finally woke up completely, got up and confronted him. My brother-in-law next door came out to see what was going on and says that after I slammed the door on him that he then vomited on the wall and floor outside the room. It was very quickly cleaned up though, and there was no evidence 30 minutes later when my son came in. Lenny Schmidt was terrific, we caught his stand-up at the Punchliner. He ripped (not riffed!) hilariously on a bunch of late-arriving knuckleheads for most of the last half of his R+18 act on Sunday night and everyone (the knuckleheads included) loved it. The 20-somethings in our group really liked the Rock'nRoll Nightclub and Karaoke. A bunch of us liked the Playlist Productions: Motor City song and dance show too. I'm rating this very good, but I'd bet that some of our group would rate it as excellent. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Needed a quick getaway after a tough school year for a teacher! Hubby would always take a break! The food was just okay, the port (Ensenada) was AWESOME! We had spent our honeymoon there and really enjoyed being there again. ... Read More
Needed a quick getaway after a tough school year for a teacher! Hubby would always take a break! The food was just okay, the port (Ensenada) was AWESOME! We had spent our honeymoon there and really enjoyed being there again. Guy's Burgers was not great the first night, but better later in the cruise (planning?) Our steward , Daranee, was great, suite was nice. The food was okay- not great. For most people it was just a party cruise, for us it was a break, but MOSTLY sentimental. The Blue Iguana was GREAT! Go for the fish tacos, but that's what I had. If you go in to Ensenada, SERIOUSLY go to Tacos Lindos (next door to Hussongs) AMAZING food! The only issue with our cruise is the SMELL! The corridor (which seeped into our suite) was the SMELL of decomposing poop. Was kind of disappointed with the boarding- no champagne! No excursions, since we knew (main part of Ensenada) pretty well. Ensenada will always have a place in our Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Parking was easy and the walk from the structure to the check in area was very close. The check in process was quick, a few minutes, and then we were told to wait in a specific "Zone". We waited in Zone 2 until they allowed ... Read More
Parking was easy and the walk from the structure to the check in area was very close. The check in process was quick, a few minutes, and then we were told to wait in a specific "Zone". We waited in Zone 2 until they allowed people to start boarding the ship. Although priority boarders and Zone 1 were ahead of us the boarding process was very quick and smooth. It seemed like in no time at all we were on the ship. I feel I must say that the staff on board are all amazing. I have nothing but great things to say about the staff in every area we were at. They are very friendly and seemed to go out of their way to help you in any way they could. I simply cannot say enough good things about the people working on the ship. Amazing people. That made the short comings of the cruise a little less of a big deal. On our previous cruise we stayed in a suite but this time we stayed in an internal cabin. We figured since it was just for the weekend the smaller cabin would due. Plus the price was great. We are a family of four. The bed was quite big with plenty of room. On the walls there were pull down beds that each of our sons slept on. Once those beds are pulled down it makes it tougher to get around in the room. If you need to use the restroom in the middle of the night and do not want to turn on a light so that you do not wake others, you will need to watch your head so you do not bang it on one of the fold down beds. Even with the tight quarters the room was nice. That's what we get for being cheap and squeezing four into an internal cabin. I am not complaining as I feel we got what we paid for. This is just a heads up to anyone thinking of doing an internal cabin with four. I think the same thing would happen if you had a sea view cabin right across the hall. If you can swing two cabins that might be a better option. Now the food...hmmm on previous cruises the food seemed better. I personally do not go insane with the food. I eat the same amount that I do when I am not cruising. But if you like to eat a lot of cruises this cruise has lots of food. There is a buffet that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a great salad bar located close to the main buffet and an area that has desserts. The food is not bad. If you are picky and only like certain foods I am sure you will find something you like. They also serve pizza pretty much 24 hours a day. However, the pizza is not that good. But it'll do the trick if you feel like having a slice or two or three... You are assigned a dining area where restaurant style seating is available. In these areas you are seated and given a menu. Here you have a decent selection of food to choose from. Plus you can eat as much as you'd like. On previous cruises you could order a steak and lobster and if you wanted another lobster you could ask. But now you have to pay $20 for steak and lobster and a few other selections. On previous cruises you did not have to pay anything extra. So this was a new thing to me. In my opinion on past cruises the food was better. One night I ordered grilled mahi-mahi and it came out hard and dry. I was unable to eat it. I ordered lasagna and it was ok. Another night I had the prime rib which was good. Our last night I had grilled chicken breast and it was a bit over cooked but I ate it. On this cruise they had a Dr. Seuss breakfast that you had to pay a small fee to take part in. I think it was $5 per person. Although the place was decorated kind of cool the food was terrible. I think it was a cool idea but it was executed very poorly. Do this at your own risk. I would not do the Dr. Seuss breakfast again. We were the first to arrive and be seated and the absolute last to have our order taken. We saw people leaving as they were finished with their breakfasts while we had not even had our order taken yet. It was so bad I left to go eat in the restaurant. The shows and entertainment on the ship was good. Our boys wanted to go check out the kids club area and they enjoyed it. The live entertainment is good too. For this all to be included in the cruise price it really cannot be beat. The shopping on board is not so great. They have a cool store that sells watches but other than that the gift shop is weak. My kids were wanting to check out the toy selection but it was really weak. The gift shop had little to nothing that interested any of us. I was surprised because you would think people would enjoy shopping on the ship. I feel Carnival is lacking greatly in that area. There was a great candy shop though. That pretty much wraps up the things I wanted to say. I think this is a great family vacation. Carnival has a few short comings but no show stoppers at all. For the price you get an excellent amount of things to eat and do on the ship. This cruise is very family friendly. We would do it again as we truly did have a great time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
The wife and I decided to get our twin sons a little cruise we could all enjoy for their 21st birthday this year, which fell in September so we couldn't celebrate then as they're in college. One of the boys girlfriend was ... Read More
The wife and I decided to get our twin sons a little cruise we could all enjoy for their 21st birthday this year, which fell in September so we couldn't celebrate then as they're in college. One of the boys girlfriend was invited along, so her family joined in the fun, all total there were ten of us in four cabins. Now we know these vessels Carnival uses for these four and three night sailings are older, but for three nights we figured there would be enough to keep everyone busy and happy...all in all it worked out fine. Two cabins were ocean views and we got interiors for us, with the kids sharing one using a cot that Carnival uses for some cabins.....it did not work well for an adult, might be fine for a child, but would not recommend getting one of these triple cabins if everyone is an adult....they do have drop down bunks in some cabins, not using the cot. The kids had to take turns on the cot it was quite uncomfortable sagging to the floor. Food was rated pretty well by all in our group, have to say the eggs benedict was very good in the dining room, and the sea day brunch was very good too. The buffet was fine with plenty of choices, the outside grill and mongolian wok was very good, omlettes to order too were very good. All hot tubs and the pool were in good working order, with the ladies steam room still not working though. We all thought the entertainment was good, not great but adequate for the three nights, the comedians did pretty good job. We heard the Inspiration is going in for a dry dock to get some new carpeting and updates which I must say are well needed. Some of the restrooms are in need for repairs. Have to say I wish they would have some "regular" coffee available in the upsell shop, only could get a double espresso then add hot water to it for a good cup of coffee. Will say we spoke with some very happy, funny kind employees all over the ship, it's nice to see Carnival seems to take care of their staff, they do work so very hard for us guests to have a great vacation, our cabin stewart did a great job, as did the wait staff. Hey, it's not luxury cruising, your not paying luxury prices either, so enjoy your vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
Wonderful staff, wonderful boat. All was fabulous. The food int eh dining room and the buffet was absolutely stellar (not counting breakfast, since breakfast quality on any ship line is medium), as good as I have had on 13 cruises to date. ... Read More
Wonderful staff, wonderful boat. All was fabulous. The food int eh dining room and the buffet was absolutely stellar (not counting breakfast, since breakfast quality on any ship line is medium), as good as I have had on 13 cruises to date. Comfy, well managed. The entertainment was very good, but the ship safety drill was too long. Did the same drill on the Imagination 1 day later (B2B) and it took 30 min. Inspiration took took 1 hour plus. But all in all, a relaxing and enjoyable trip. Wish these ships would be more creative with day activities. Too formulaic--do you hear me? Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Cruise for 2 for about $500 for 4 nights...and that includes the recommended tip. We did the cheapest booking without the ability of selecting our room. For the snobs that post here, check your expectations at the dock. I had a clean room, ... Read More
Cruise for 2 for about $500 for 4 nights...and that includes the recommended tip. We did the cheapest booking without the ability of selecting our room. For the snobs that post here, check your expectations at the dock. I had a clean room, hot/safe food, free entertainment and reasonably priced drinks. The crew is always exceptional on Carnival Cruises, they are hard working and always muster a smile with a pleasant comment. Having cruised many times, it is clear that this cruise is scaled back on some of the amenities that Carnival offers, but again, look what you are paying. My biggest disappointment was the lack of bar entertainment. Many times the bars in well traveled areas were vacant of entertainers. The violin bar was always staffed, but this is the smoking bar by the casino and my wife is sensitive to cigarette smoke. Hailey Morgan was a special treat when she was tickling the irvoys in the piano bar. Singing along is encouraged in this bar. She is only on contract till mid December 2015 though. Www.haileymorganonline.com For those who have not done the "Behind the Fun" tour, the $55 per person is well worth the price. Our tour lasted 3-1/2 hours and visited the engine control room, the bridge and backstage. A significant amount of time is spent describing what life is like for the crew...this only helps you appreciate them more. The comedy shows and the big stage entertainment is good and meets basic expectations...maybe a little more than meets expectations for the comedy. I have only done the faster boarding out of Long Beach, but if it is as bad as others have described it for regular boarding, just pony up the extra $50 per cabin for the Faster to the Fun, or just board late. The food in the main dining room is always better than the buffet area. In short there is NO WAY I could get as much for so little money for 4 nights. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I’m a 33 year old male who sailed solo on the Carnival Inspiration for the 3 day charter for Groove Cruise. I’ve sailed many other cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was my 32nd cruise ... Read More
I’m a 33 year old male who sailed solo on the Carnival Inspiration for the 3 day charter for Groove Cruise. I’ve sailed many other cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was my 32nd cruise overall and second cruise with Carnival. My first cruise with Carnival is on a ship now known as the Carnival Sunshine. The Groove Cruise is a charter for the electronic dance music world with this year’s west coast charter featuring artists like Ferry Corsten, Paul Oakenfold and Dirty South along with many others. This review focuses primarily on the ship itself and the crew who are usually onboard and not overly on the entertainment brought on. Day 1 – Embarkation: I arrived to the pier early before the throngs did at Noon. By 1:30PM, the line was into the haunted Queen Mary attractions. Check in was painfully slow, further slowed by the extra customs and border patrol staff on hand to search people’s luggage. Having checked in early and not boarded the ship, I was able to breeze right through security and past the CBP folks and get on the ship. Compared to GC Miami it was an overall smooth embarkation. Once on the ship, it was time to orientate myself because studying deck plans can only get you so far. Christened and delivered in 1996, she’s the oldest ship I’ve sailed on. She sailed full with over 3,000 guests and most berths (including third and fourth) filled. The layout of the ship is typical for Carnival. Hallways and stairwells that just don’t go places and elevators which only go so far and you have to take the stairs to the rest. To get to the Carnivale Main Dining Room which was the only one of the two open for the charter you had to go up and then down to get to it or down and then up one deck. Best deck to get around the ship on was Deck 9 – Promenade or Lido Deck 10. It took some getting used to but by the end of the first full day I could get from here to there without any issues. The ship inside was pristine. It definitely showed the pride that the crew took in keeping her clean and looking polished and new. Most, if not, all public areas, were clean and no visible signs of wear. The décor was tacky but on par for Carnival ship design. The favorite deck space was the Lido Deck – wide open and available for all your dancing needs. Some of the venues Groove Cruise used included a large main stage with LED panels on the main pool deck where the deck stage was, the main theater or Paris Lounge with a large LED / intelligent lighting and laser concept, and the Carnival Waterworks with a sound system and using the ship’s lights for sunset sessions. Each of the venues were unique in their own right. The theater was the night time performance venue and if you weren’t out in the middle of the floor you were definitely getting hot. It can’t keep up with the body heat and the heat from all the electronics plus the pumped in fog for the lasers. The pool deck was wide open and provided plenty of places to talk, chat and dance. You could even sit in a Jacuzzi just in front of the main stage and chill to some really awesome beats! Dinner was at the Carnivale Main Dining room. The one place which was quiet from all the music of the ship, well until someone found the sound system and blasted it! It was so loud in there that even guests were wondering what the heck was going on! It eventually was brought down to a more manageable level and the dinner service was excellent and food great. The steak was cooked to order but the side dishes were loaded with salt. After dinner it was time to go change for the night theme party – 50 Shades of Disney - and head to the theater with a stop at the pool deck stage first. Everything was a go for the main sets of Darude and Ferry Corsten, only I was exhausted and fell asleep before Ferry’s set began. (Luckily it can be found on YouTube now! Score!) Day 2 – Catalina Island, California, USA I woke up pre-sunrise and decided to get up and go on deck for sunrise with the after hours music playing on the pool deck. Technasia was playing as the sun came up and did a phenomenal job playing well until I got off the ship. It pays to be up early on Groove Cruise as I got off the ship with the previous night’s talent in Catalina Island. Ferry Corsten and Darude got off the same time I did. I did an island tour independently of the ship which cost me $18. Tip is to walk over to the wharf with the green houses on them from where the tender boat docks. Two tour companies operate from there with varying tour options. I took the one that drove you around the island and gave you an overview. I did some quick souvenir shopping in town and then headed for the private beach party at Descanso Beach Club. Descanso Beach Club was taken over by the Groove Cruise for a private beach party featuring the beats of Fyasko, Le Youth, Vinai, and Dean Mason. I got there about mid-day before it got too packed. Since I had toured the island, I had a backpack with me which precluded me from getting out on the sand to dance. I really wasn’t dressed right but the beats were spot on. I headed back to the ship to grab some lunch and to change. Problem was I never went back ashore! I stayed on the ship all afternoon after running into some GC GLBT virgins up on deck who were not getting off. We hung out and had a blast instead. The ship was empty! DJ Scooter started the pool deck up at 3PM and in the first hour dropped an astounding remix of the Pina Colada song! I’m still looking for it for download but it was definitely the song of this cruise for me! It was only played twice the whole cruise but it was kick butt awesome!! After hanging out on the pool deck for a few hours and at Carnival Waterworks with the water slides open, Sidney Samson came on and the ship started to fill as the island-goers returned. I headed down to shower and change and get ready for the GC Family reunion dinner. The maître d had set aside the left side of the dining room for the attendees and I felt bad for the waiters working our specific table as people couldn’t sit still long enough. They ordered food and then got up and left while waiting for it to arrive. The food that night was prime rib and it was super tasty. I ordered two plates of it as I was hungry and the dining room was the only place you could get half-way decent food on the ship. Again the food was too salty! Tonight’s theme was Neon Candyland and I donned neon body paint and ran around the ship checking out the Classics night in the Candlelight Lounge with beats by Chris Garcia and Anthony Attalla before heading to the Paris Lounge (theater). The theater had all the main acts and tonight was no different with Kristina Sky opening up with an awesome set. She was new to me and then Kyau and Albert took over to warm up the place real good. When Paul Oakenfold took the stage everyone went crazy and the energy was everywhere! Oakenfold did an amazing set supported by great visuals from the LED wall, intelligent lighting and lasers. Unfortunately I had run out of energy when Orla Feeney came on at 3:30AM and headed to bed for a few hours of sleep. On my way back to the cabin I bumped into some people and talked for a bit. Day 3 – Ensenada, Mexico This morning was a rough start as I only had two hours of sleep before getting up to do the Destination Donation program. The Whet Foundation is a non-profit arm of the parent of Groove Cruise which donates items and time to a foreign port that the ship visits. I participated in both experiences and am happy I did as they are both uplifting, enlightening and extremely sad all at the same time. We met in the atrium and debarked the ship together with items for the children. We headed to the City of Children and Carnival was nice enough to donate some of their Camp Carnival team members to come with us so we could do some fun activities with the children. We taught the children how to do one of those traditional cruise line dance songs, played a game where you hand a balloon around and if you get stuck with it you have to sit and squish it until it popped. We also went to visit the younger children in the nursery house. We gave them all stuffed animals before leaving. Don’t you know during the balloon game I got stuck with one and had to sit and squish it. My knees were wrecked from dancing forever. I sat down but couldn’t get back up! How embarrassing but funny too! These kids were so amazed and shy. They come from all sorts of backgrounds from being abused (both sexually and physically) to being abandoned by their parents. This place along with many others gives hope to the children so they can make themselves better and not wind up on the streets or involved with the drug cartels. It’s a truly amazing place. We headed back to the ship to welcome on a group of children from another orphanage into the area. Carnival, Whet Foundation and the Government of Mexico allowed a group of children to visit the ship! I couldn’t honestly believe how much red tape the Whet Foundation must have gone through to get that done but it was simply amazing! The kids don’t get to leave the orphanage except to go to school and to doctor’s appointments. It’s so very sad. Seeing them walk up to this huge ship and just be in awe on the gangway looking up at it was amazing! They got into the ship and we toured them around showing them all the different things on there (Carnival Waterworks the Promenade Deck) and brought them to Camp Carnival for a visit. The children had a blast and the time of their lives. One of them bonded with me despite the language barrier (English / Spanish). We took the kids to lunch in the main dining room not being used by Groove Cruise and they had a buffet style lunch for them. A Carnival table entertainer came in and wowed the people with the magic tricks. The kids got up and sang for us when lunch was done. Carnival donated some items to them and then the kids came over and thanked us and the one I bonded with me hugged me. I melted (cried). It was such an amazing experience. For a part of a day I touched so many children’s lives and gave them hope. I couldn’t have been more proud of my decision even though I was sleep deprived. Big shout out to Carnival Cruise Line for their generosity and cooperation on getting all this done with the staff dedicated to it, food donated and the other items donated too. After the children debarked the ship, I headed over to Papas and Beer to check out the scene there with DVBBS playing. The club was insanely hot and the music was pounding. I forgot my ear plugs and was just not comfortable so I left and did some shopping before realizing the port city was in bad times. Parents had their kids begging for money and selling things. The local shops knew we were coming in and so they had EDM music pumping out of everywhere. I felt bad for the kids. They have no future if they’re constantly after tourists for money and trying to sell things. They’re not getting an education. After having such an uplifting morning, I was an emotional wreck and went back to the ship. The ship was quiet when I got back. The room was not though. I had noticed an odor the prior evening but couldn’t figure out what it was. A pipe had burst between the two rooms and it had flooded under my bed and my part of the cabin. The stench was awful. They brought in a high power fan but it wasn’t helping. Guest services offered to move us to a different room but I had to find my roommate first! Oh boy… I was exhausted but found him and we moved our cabin. Guest services was incredibly patient and helpful through the whole experience. I ended up getting moved again because of the location of the new room being under the stage and I just needed some sleep! They did move me again thankfully. I felt bad for the guest services team as the line was growing as people wanted to know about their folios like usual at the end of the cruise. I went to dinner with my friend and can’t honestly remember what I had but it was great as I needed a lot of food. The waitress we had was on point and understood exactly what I meant when I wanted a double meat order and not a double plate of food! It was my last night with my dinner buddy and then I slept for about 4 hours. I woke up and headed for the theater with the beats of Sandro Silva followed by Dirty South. Both sets were downright phenomenal. I then went up to the pool deck to await the ship’s arrival into Long Beach while listening to the after hours beats of Guy Gerber. He brought us until the port and played until the end. Day 4 – Long Beach, California – Debarkation Due to some poor behavior on the ship, our debark was turned into a nightmare because everyone was trying to carry off their luggage. Customs was there in full effect and people were so tired from having not slept that people were still hanging out in their rooms. I got off the ship at 9AM with waiting in line for a relatively short period of time compared to the people behind me who waited for hours to get off. The last passenger from our cruise got off the ship at 12:45PMish. I’ve never seen a debark go so late!! I purchased the Carnival airport transfer to LAX and the bus left on time and got me to the airport in plenty of time. The cost was $30. It might have been cheaper to van pool it but not by much so the convenience was definitely worth while! Overall, the Groove Cruise LA 2015 was an epic production. Amazing talent with names I’d never heard of before along with old timers (like Ferry Corsten, Oakenfold and Dirty South) turning it up! The production side was on point the whole trip with lasers, intelligent lighting and LED panels that helped to move you. The sound system was amazing. It was effective but not so loud that you couldn’t talk in the middle of the dance floor and not be heard. The people were amazing. So many new faces to Groove Cruise and by and large the overall vibe was one to rage but respectfully so. There were a few bad apples but that can happen on any cruise! They were largely ignored and I had a great time! Would I do Groove Cruise again? Sure bet I would! It was also nice to see so many of the GLBT community on the ship and hanging out! This was the largest GLBT contingent yet on GC which is an open and welcoming community! Groove Cruise is twice a year, one from each coast. Next up is Groove Cruise Miami in January 2016… can’t wait! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We took this cruise because we always wanted to go to Catalina island. We are platinum with carnival. We know what to expect. Embarkation was easy as we were escorted on early really not much wait. We chose cabin M172 which was outside ... Read More
We took this cruise because we always wanted to go to Catalina island. We are platinum with carnival. We know what to expect. Embarkation was easy as we were escorted on early really not much wait. We chose cabin M172 which was outside and very quiet. We ate all meals in the main dining room. We had early seating but we had a table for 2. The cruise line is cutting back in many ways. The portions are much smaller than on other cruises but that's ok. Gone are the basket of goodies in the bathroom. The chocolates on the pillow are sadly no more. The shore excursions were very good we took the Hummer tour of Catalina. Great fun. In Mexico we took the Blow Hole tour also good just remember that to reach the blow hole you must walk through the gauntlet of vendors. They are very aggressive and annoying. We enjoyed the cruise and are taking Celebrity in Feb. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband and I just took the Carnival Inspiration on the 4th of July long weekend cruise to Ensenada. We both have done many cruises before, on other cruise lines, as well as Carnival. Our expectations were definitely exceeded, ... Read More
My husband and I just took the Carnival Inspiration on the 4th of July long weekend cruise to Ensenada. We both have done many cruises before, on other cruise lines, as well as Carnival. Our expectations were definitely exceeded, especially considering, the VERY AFFORDABLE price point. We arrived at the port next to the Queen Mary at about 12 noon, parked the car, checked our bags with the porter (don't forget to tip!), and boarded the ship at about 1pm. We enjoyed lunch in the buffet, a self-guided tour of the ship, and checked out our stateroom. We selected the guaranteed oceanview stateroom. We were pleased with our ocean view room, the shower was awesome (great water pressure and plenty of HOT water!), the room wasn't too small. The room attendant was great, servicing our room 3 times a day, complete with the towel animals! Dinner at the formal restaurant - Carnivale dining room was excellent. Food selection and quality were great and well worth our money. Service was fantastic, the waiter knew each person at the table by name, and service was quick. Yes, you really can have as much food as you want - including entrees! Entertainment was fun - various shows, comedy shows, and a casino on board. There are also plenty of photo opportunities. Taking the pix are free, and it's up to you which photos you want to purchase (if any). There is also mini-golf on board, and tons of little activities and clubs for kids. Port Excursions: we did not book any of the excursions on board. Instead, when we got off the ship, there are local shuttles available to take you into town. $3 ROUND TRIP. There is plenty of shopping and bars right at the shuttle stop. If you want to continue on to other excursions (horse back riding, La Bufadora, pub crawls) - it's much cheaper to book with the shuttle guide (about half price from excursions sold on the ship). Everyone on board was extremely nice. Gratuity is already included for everything you do on board, but you can always adjust (increase or decrease). Debarkation was surprisingly fast! Each deck on the ship has an assigned debarkation time. We were located on the Upper Deck (level 6), and did the self-assisted debarkation (you take care of your own bags), as opposed to the relaxed debarkation (you check your bags the night before and they will be waiting for you in baggage claim. debarkation time is much later (10:30am). We were off the cruise ship, sailed through customs (pun intended), into the parking lot and in our car before 8am! TIPS: the lower the deck your cabin is on, the more you will experience the rocking of the boat, and all the stirring up of the engines. It can get loud. We were on deck #6 (Upper deck) and it wasn't that bad. We met some people who were on the two lower decks and couldn't stay in their rooms for long. Also bring some dramamine just in case. I never get sea sick. You can experience some swaying, but if you take one pill, you won't notice it at all. Pack a sweatshirt or a warm jacket. It gets windy out on the decks, especially at night. Overall, I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is looking for a quick weekend getaway. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Just back from our sailing on the Inspiration. I must say we were pleasantly surprised with our overall cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised more than 20 trips and this was our first on Carnival. We chose Carnival for one ... Read More
Just back from our sailing on the Inspiration. I must say we were pleasantly surprised with our overall cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised more than 20 trips and this was our first on Carnival. We chose Carnival for one simple reason; we have friends who had never cruised and they asked us to come along to "show them the ropes." The one condition they placed on our trip - it had to be short juts incase they hated the cruise experience. so we booked the 3 day trip to Ensenada. We set our expectations very low after hearing that Carnival is the "party boat" cruise line and others comment on their Carnival experiences. We found the ship to be a bit tired and the décor to be gaudy - Vegas-like. However, that didn't adversely impact our overall experience. We will start at the beginning. The embarkation could have gone more smoothly. There were few clerks processing passengers. We did all of our paperwork at home so we were ready to go thought he embarkation quickly. it was slower than we thought I would be, especially given our past 21 cruise experiences. Once on board, we weren't handed a glass of champagne or any other drink to celebrate our voyage - disappointing as well. We did want to buy the "drink package" and that was an experience as well. Carnival Tip - it would be nice to be able to pre-purchase the drink package so a person doesn't have to wait in line to buy it. We merely wanted to get the package and go get a drink. Most of the people in line for the drink package needed to be told what it entailed rather than just make the purchase. We didn't need to be sold, just wanted to charge the purchase and get a drink. For those worried about the 15 alcohol drink limit - don't. You will get enough drinks throughout the day, trust me! Now for the good stuff. The staff was amazing and the most friendly we have ever encountered in our cruise life. The "fun ship" identify Carnival adopts is found in the crew on board. With only a couple of exceptions, the staff was very friendly and happy to be serving us. That really made out trip wonderful. We also found the food at dinner to be much better than expected. The wait staff was attentive and happy. Food choices were plentiful and tasty. The nightlife was good too. The shows were adequate and entertaining. The comedians were good with one (who had CP) completely hilarious - especially his "adult" show. The dancing was really fun too. If you are into people-watching, you need to come on this cruise and sit back to be entertained. We noticed lots of people sporting tattoos, piercings, and thong bikinis. Some people should have covered up for sure but it made for interesting viewing. All in all, we would sail again with Carnival. Just understand what you are buying with a sailing on Carnival. It's a party! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I have cruised on many cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and in Europe on Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC - the the cruise line we keep coming back to is Carnival primarily because the shorter cruises ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised on many cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and in Europe on Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC - the the cruise line we keep coming back to is Carnival primarily because the shorter cruises offer a great deal for a short 3 or 4 day getaway. Many reviewers have referred to the 3 and 4 night cruises on the inspiration as "booze" or "party" cruises, which is sort of like criticizing Denny's for being a coffee shop and not a steakhouse. The primary reason people go on these short cruises is typically because they are relatively inexpensive, offer decent entertainment and food, and a fake-feel of a tropical cruise while visiting Catalina and Ensenada. Comparing the Inspiration to a 7-plus night cruise on a larger ship and more comprehensive itinerary is comparing apples to oranges. Embarkation is fairly efficient, although we are Platinum Club members so get priority check-in and disembarkation. Carnival recently started a system of assigning check-in times based I am guessing on loyalty points for past guests (Carnival refers to it as the VIFP club), so I have no idea if this is going to be a good or bad thing. My advice has always been to come really early & beat the crowd (like, around 11 a.m.) or later to miss the rush (after 3 p.m.), but this may not hold true any longer if they will not allow people to board until their assigned times. The ship is smaller than the newer ships on longer itineraries, but they also have fewer passengers and consequently shorter lines and generally better service at the bars and dining areas than what we have experienced on Princess, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Food is a mixed bag; we actually found the food on the Inspiration in the dining room better than the set menus on our last Princess cruise to Hawaii last year, but of course the larger ships have specialty dining for an extra charge not available on the Inspiration. Dining on the Lido deck is also hit-and-miss, although we generally prefer to avoid the buffet-style eating on most ships and when we do, enjoy the salad bar and sandwich kiosk, which is actually very good. In my opinion, the best meal on the cruise is the Sea-day Brunch, and breakfast in the dining rooms on in-port days always is a better bet than the Lido buffet. For a special treat, ask about the "Chef's Table." We do this special dinner every so often on the Inspiration, and it is well worth it. The $75 per person charge includes unlimited wine and an excellent seven-course meal served by the head chef - not as spectacular as the same offering on the Princess cruises, but still a real treat. One tip for good service in the dining rooms: opt for "anytime dining" and tip your waiter or waitress the first night a few dollars. I know the tips nowadays are charged to your sail-and-sign cards or prepaid before the cruise, but it is amazing how well you are treated when taking care of your staff. The same advice holds true for the room stewards. The advantage of anytime dining is you can eat when you want, can opt for a small table for 2, or sit with a larger group. Service is less rushed, and if you tip the first night & request the same server on subsequent dinners, you will be amazed at how attentive the staff will be. And, I have never had to do this (at least not for wait staff) but if you do not like your service and wish to "take back" the tip, you can opt to have the tips taken off your bill or reduced by visiting the service desk. The same tipping advice goes for service at the bar. IF you like a "good" drink for want the bartender to remember your "favorite" drink, tip an extra buck the first time you see them and when they provide good service. Several people have described the ship decor as "gaudy" or "bizarre", and the layout of the Lido dining room in particular is a bit... well, peculiar, I am personally not bothered by it. Like I said, this is a short cruise for those looking for an inexpensive getaway, so do not expect "J.W. Marriott" surroundings at a "Quality Inn" price. The Casino is always active, and something people either love or hate. Smoking is allowed through much of the casino as well as part of the adjoining "Violin Bar", so be advised. The pool and "Serenity" (adults only) decks are smaller than most other cruise ships and there is no, for example, large-screen TV to show movies; but, they also feel less crowded than the larger ships as well. One thing Carnival does better than most cruise lines is keep the kids busy with their children's clubs during the sea days; some other cruise lines seem to limit the kids activities to only certain times meaning there are times when kids run rampant, but that has not been the experience on the Inspiration. One negative is that Carnival pushes their special punch-type drinks in the pool area and Lido deck, but just let the services know you are not interested (assuming you are not, of course :)and they will avoid bothering you. As for the ports; well, if you opt for a 3 or 4 night cruise out of Long Beach, it is assumed you are likely not on the cruise primarily for the ports of call. Catalina is pleasant enough but can be visited from Long Beach via ferries that run several time each day for much less than the Carnival cruise and the lines for tenders from ship to shore can be annoying. Ensenada is OK, for being in Ensenada. In my opinion the best excursion is the Winery Tour to the Guadelupe Valley, which is a Napa-like area with some surprisingly nice wineries about 45 minutes inland from the ship. The city is about a 20 minute easy walk from the ship, but there are lots of kids selling gum & begging for coins, and taxi drivers trying to sell you trips to La Bufadora or elsewhere. Walk past them to the main shopping drag, and they will not bother you. Shops do not open until around 10 a.m. in town, so there is not much point in walking into town too early unless you just want to stroll. Restaurants are OK along Blvd. Mateos (the main tourist zone) but the ones towards the end of the street near Hussong's are mainly for drinking. Lots of curio shops, trinkets, t-shirts, and pharmacies. Entertainment is "so-so"; production shows are OK, some of the bands that play on the promenade deck in the evening are great; lots of family-oriented gameshow-type shows that I personally find boring, but sometimes the comedians in the evening are good. But, I personally find almost all cruise ship entertainment (with the exception of some shows on Celebrity) to be mediocre at best, and the Inspiration's is no better or worse than most. Bottom line: for a quick getaway on the cheap, with all-inclusive food and Entertainment, it is a great deal, especially for those who have never cruised and want to see if it is something they like. Like I said, this is the cruise line and class of ship we keep coming back to because of the convenience and overall value, but do not expect White Star or Cunard service or amenities. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This ship is tacky to the extreme, 80s neon plastered everywhere with no unifying design. It goes to interesting enough places but nothing spectacular. The primary activity seems to be only drinking and more drinking. Despite that I would ... Read More
This ship is tacky to the extreme, 80s neon plastered everywhere with no unifying design. It goes to interesting enough places but nothing spectacular. The primary activity seems to be only drinking and more drinking. Despite that I would recommend it, why? Food is comfort American but actually really really good, I turned my nose down at the burgers and chicken strips until I tried them and smiled with the best chicken strip meal I've had since I was a kid. Its local (for many of us) and easy to get to and board in Long Beach. Everything about this cruise is easy. The comedy is fun, some adult drinking and time away is just what my partner and I needed. Catalina meant a great tour of the casino and stroll through the botanical garden. In Ensenada surprisingly good wine tasting then an afternoon of tacos, beer and strolling around. This is not high-class, it is certainly not Celebrity, but for the money it is a great fun time and easy getaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first cruise. And it was a fun one. The people were very friendly and helpful. We didn't ever have that lost feeling. They would help us find our way, which is a good thing because the embarkation port is a big place. ... Read More
This was my first cruise. And it was a fun one. The people were very friendly and helpful. We didn't ever have that lost feeling. They would help us find our way, which is a good thing because the embarkation port is a big place. Once we got underway, we almost didn't feel like we were on a cruise ship, it was so rock solid. And we soon were getting around on the ship like old pros. They have maps all over the ship and elevators to get you to the deck you need to go to. I had heard about the food, but until you experience it, you don't know. There was food available 24 hours a day. We tried the food at the cafeteria type places and it was always very good. We had the late (8:15pm) dining in the dining room, but it wasn't that bad having to wait that late. And the food and service was great. Our first stop was at Catalina Island. They have tender boats that take you to the island. We didn't get any shore excursions. We did however, rent a golf cart for an hour drive around the city of Avalon and that was a lot of fun. We followed the road up into the hills and had a spectacular view of the bay and our ship. We had breakfast at a restaurant on the main street. Then we went and rented the golf cart. After, we strolled around Avalon for a while before heading back to the ship. The next day, we arrived in Ensenada, Mexico. We were docked, so we didn't have to ride a tender ship into port. We rented a taxi for a tour of the city. It was fun and very informative. The next day was a fun day at sea. Then we returned to the port in Long Beach. Overall, definitely worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
I was looking for a cheap escape for a weekend and that is what I got. Travelling solo with an interior room, you couldn't beat the $200 rate for the three day cruise to Ensenada. Make no mistake, this ship is old and shows ... Read More
I was looking for a cheap escape for a weekend and that is what I got. Travelling solo with an interior room, you couldn't beat the $200 rate for the three day cruise to Ensenada. Make no mistake, this ship is old and shows wear. The carpet in my room had small tears and stains. The ship activities are bare bones, unless, like at least half of the passengers, you are there to drink, sun, drink, party, drink, and stay up late. This was a weekend cruise and it seemed like most of the passengers were there as part of bachelor/bachelorette/birthday parties. Kept things lively. Ensenada isn't the most exciting place to stop but it felt safe. The town has a decent sized tourist area of bars and shops for the tourists. Food was disappointing but enough choices to keep me fed. Musical shows in the Paris theater, eh, so-so. Comedy shows were excellent. There weren't a lot of kids on the ship so hot tubs weren't overrun by them. The gym was difficult to find at first but well-equipped. Embarkation was typical Carnival; you better have some idea where your room is because no one is going to give you much help. Disembarkation was long lines to get off the ship but quick passage through Customs. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We arrived at the pier around 2:30 and were on the ship at 3. There was a decent, approximately 20 minute line to check in. It has been a decade since I have been on a Fantasy Class ship and I felt they were starting to show their age 10 ... Read More
We arrived at the pier around 2:30 and were on the ship at 3. There was a decent, approximately 20 minute line to check in. It has been a decade since I have been on a Fantasy Class ship and I felt they were starting to show their age 10 years ago. The Funship 2.0 upgrade definitely made a world of difference. Walking around the ship, you would never know that this ship was 20 years old. Everything was updated and modern, with lots of flat screen TV's. The ship does look old from the outside, due to the lack of balcony cabins. Anytime dining worked great for us. We were able to get a table for 2 whenever we wanted with no wait. We ate once at 5:45 (right when the dining room opened), once at 7:00 and once at 8:00. The service the first night was decidedly gruff. No welcome smile or using our name. The service the first night was definitely bare minimum. The next night, we had a fantastic waiter (Kostadinka) who was so awesome we requested her again the next night. Neither of us were crazy about the new "American Table" menus. We felt like they were difficult to read and there were a fewer number of options. On most cruises, there are usually 2 or 3 entrees that appeal to me. On this cruise, there was usually only 1 entree per night that sounded good. One night, none of the entrees sounded good to my wife so she just ordered 4 appetizers. Besides the new menus lacking choice, everything we ordered was excellent. I feel like one benefit to cruising on a "smaller" ship is that the food is just a notch better. There were lots of options for eating and all were quite good. Besides the main dining room, there is the buffet, mongolian grill, poolside grill, deli, and 24 hour pizza. This was definitely a booze cruise, which was to be expected. Don't go on a 3 night cruise expecting to find much peace and quiet - even in the Serenity adults only area. I think one of the benefits to this being a booze cruise is that the shows and main dining rooms were noticeable less crowded. We went to all the shows and the theatre was never even remotely full. The same goes for the dining room. I think a good number of people stayed in the bars and clubs and just grabbed dinner at the buffet. We loved the Taste Bar, but were disappointed that it was only open 2 of the 3 nights. Both shows were excellent, and there were lots of activities during the day to keep us busy. We loved the comedy club, which is in the Candlelight Lounge every night. The comedians were both hilarious, with very different styles of comedy. We had a great time and will definitely return. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was a little adventure for two retired ladies who are former coworkers. It was her first cruise and my ninth (fourth with Carnival). We had accepted an offer of a (paid) cabin upgrade to a junior suite, and were assured that the cabin ... Read More
This was a little adventure for two retired ladies who are former coworkers. It was her first cruise and my ninth (fourth with Carnival). We had accepted an offer of a (paid) cabin upgrade to a junior suite, and were assured that the cabin would be quiet. Unfortunately, we were directly under the health club, and every time someone got on a treadmill over our heads, we experienced noise and vibration. Fortunately, this didn't happen frequently, though there were a few times late at night or when we were trying to enjoy an afternoon nap. The food was so-so as compared to my other Carnival cruises (or other cruise experiences). Multiple times, the rolls in the bread basket were burned. (I must admit, I'm definitely a foodie with high expectations.) We had anytime dining, and one evening the DR was full and we were given a pager to signal that our table was ready. After waiting 45 minutes we went to check, and they had cancelled us! Like anything else that happens, you have to be proactive and assertive... we should have checked earlier. The ports were okay, nothing fabulous. Dining room staff weren't particularly attentive, and our cabin steward had to be reminded that we wanted ice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I gotta admit - I came on this cruise with very low expectations and thank goodness I did, for I was very happy. We are seasoned Royal Caribbean and Princess cruisers and was not looking forward to this cruise. Yes, it was a booze cruise ... Read More
I gotta admit - I came on this cruise with very low expectations and thank goodness I did, for I was very happy. We are seasoned Royal Caribbean and Princess cruisers and was not looking forward to this cruise. Yes, it was a booze cruise (heck, there was a large party on board with "Booze Cruise" t-shirts printed for this trip!) but we came on this cruise to party with a large group of friends so we expected this. What I didn't expect? A clean, well maintained ship with a spectacular staff. Never ever once did we smell any foul odors or witness any obnoxious drunken behavior. The food was decent (not spectacular, but good) with the exception of the Seaday Brunch, which was really good. The desserts were outstanding! Gerardo was our server and we absolutely adored him. We had the cheers package, yet had difficulty getting drinks at dinner. It was very slow, sometimes taking over 30 minutes to get a drink after ordering. The entertainment was fun and we really loved the piano bar. TC was our pianist and was a blast. I hope to sail with him again. The Inspiration had a nicely equipped gym too. You could get a decent workout in here. And when you're in Ensenada, make sure to hit up Taqueria Mexico Lindo, a taco shop right smack dab next to Hussong's. I've been eating there since I was a teenager and it hasn't changed a bit. Make sure to try their mustard habanero sauce -- delish!   Read Less
Carnival Inspiration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 2.0 0.0

Find a Carnival Inspiration Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise