870 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

My husband and I flew to CA to bring my father back to KY after his visit with my brother in CA. Since we were going to be in LA, we decided to take the four-day cruise. We arrived two days before departure and stayed at the Hotel ... Read More
My husband and I flew to CA to bring my father back to KY after his visit with my brother in CA. Since we were going to be in LA, we decided to take the four-day cruise. We arrived two days before departure and stayed at the Hotel Maya--a great place to stay. Had dinner at the hotel the first night and at the Reef (within walking distance) the second night. Spent the entire day before the cruise exploring the Queen Mary--which is within walking distance. Took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port, although we could have walked it. This was only our second Carnival cruise and was exactly as expected. However, we purchased the "Faster to Fun" pass which was wonderful. We arrived at port at 11:15 and was on the ship by 11:30!!! No long lines for lunch--went straight to Guy's Burgers and had the delicious hamburger. Although the service in the dining room was excellent, the food was so-so. We did really enjoy the Sea Day brunch! The room was very clean. We only saw our room steward upon arrival and that was it. Room service was very quick in the morning and also when I called for a hairdryer. Unlike Princess cruises that have production shows every night, there were only two production shows in the four days which were pretty good. Comedians were okay. Disembarkation was very quick. Got our luggage and walked straight to the Uber pickup and waited less than a minute for a ride to LAX. Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
..theonly good thing i enjoyed on this cruise was the cabin steward was great and i really was impressed with how hard they work .. the ports were good liked catalina island was fun and really liked ensenada mexico ..shopping there was fun ... Read More
..theonly good thing i enjoyed on this cruise was the cabin steward was great and i really was impressed with how hard they work .. the ports were good liked catalina island was fun and really liked ensenada mexico ..shopping there was fun ..the tour we took was good .. i would go again but would not like those cabins .. the buffet is ok but really like the pizza bar and the guy hamburger grill was good ..there was always something to eat if you were hungry .we played bingo the first day and it was expensive and was so many people there . the casino was good and won a little money to play all week and the only thing that was bad was all the smoke in there ..if i could have gotten more sleep would have been better . but with all the noise from the galley made it hard to sleep .. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I booked this cruise maybe 9 months before we sailed. This was a return of an annual party cruise trip I used to throw for friends and family. I was disappointed at the time that I could not book it as a 'Group' trip as I had ... Read More
I booked this cruise maybe 9 months before we sailed. This was a return of an annual party cruise trip I used to throw for friends and family. I was disappointed at the time that I could not book it as a 'Group' trip as I had in years past, so I could not take advantage of the cocktail party or room comps that sometimes go along with them. Regardless, I was able to get my travel partners to use my reservation code and link theirs, so we could all sit together at Dinner. I learned about 1 month prior to our departure that Carnival had made this date cruise a theme cruise called 'Country Booze Cruise' which included bands, parties and all. This was a huge group for sure, which explains why the 'group' reservation option was not available to me at the time. Once on board however, all my quips re the Group thing went away. I purchased the 'Faster to the Fun' package so I could get on as soon as possible, and also so we could debark early. It was well worth the price. We were the VERY FIRST people off the ship, and some of the first on board. I have done many cruises, and enjoy the party aspect of them. This weekend cruise is perfect for that purpose. I have done this one before (weekender to Ensenada), on Carnival Paradise, as well as several RCCL ships, and hands down this was the best to date. This is solely because of all the Country Music and People and Attitudes. I am hoping Carnival does this Country theme again. This really was the reason this experience was so good. Dancing and Music was non-stop. People's attitudes were amazing and everyone was smiling all the time. So much fun was happening everywhere and by everyone. Food was fine. Drinks were fine. I loved the PYOB (Pour Your Own Beer) stands. I was able to drink Heineken and the Carnival beer for ~$4.75 out the door. Couple things I noticed different from past cruises... - I never met my cabin steward. He/She did a great job and I have no complaints, but I wonder if because of pre-paid gratuities this is becoming more of the norm? - It was hard to get drinks at pool bars. Many people now do the Cheers program (up to #15 drinks/day for around $55/day. I wonder if because of this, and Carnival has your money already, if there is less incentive to push drinks, therefore less desire to hustle and serve customers. Seriously, I waited 30 minutes at a bar for a drink, and it was not that crowded. There was not many waiters walking around taking drink orders near the pool either, so getting drinks near the pool was a challenge. Again, I loved the PYOB stands for this reason as well. My 15 year olds were not able to meet many other teens on board. I think because of the Theme 'Country Booze Cruise' that may parents chose to not take their kids. Not many younger kids either. Despite this they had a great time. Loved the 24-hour Pizza and Ice Cream. Also, Guy's Burgers are AMAZING! All in all, a great cruise, and cannot wait to do this again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Staff on cruiseships are always friendly and helpful, and this crew was no different. The highlight for us was the Alchemy Bar (deck 9 aft) -- great drinks! Strangely the "homemade" and secretive pineapple and strawberry ... Read More
Staff on cruiseships are always friendly and helpful, and this crew was no different. The highlight for us was the Alchemy Bar (deck 9 aft) -- great drinks! Strangely the "homemade" and secretive pineapple and strawberry infused vodka are not listed as ingredient in any of the drinks, ask the bartenders about them. They are delicious. The worst part of the cruise was the food without a doubt; 90% of what we had were overcooked, lacking flavors and just blah. For example, it's hard to screw up fried chicken and yet they managed to serve fried chicken that were fried beyond recognition with zero flavors. In the dining room, they can't seem to cook steaks to correct temperature. Expect medium-well to over-well done regardless of your preference. You do get what you paid for, not a lot in this case so can't complain too hard. A quick tip regarding Ensenada. If you book your own excursion (not via ship), you have to walk about a mile to get out to the meeting area. There is a small fee to take a bus out but we didn't know about it until after the fact. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not ... Read More
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not a good dance band for mature cruisers, but I knew that for less money we get less luxury and benefits. The food was OK and the ship was clean. All things functioned in our cabin without problems. We had very slow service in our formal dining room late seating and missed a few shows, (took over one and a half hours to finish a dinner). I think this was due to our table being located in a back corner. The entertainment was not very professional and was only 70's R+B, which got a little old. The comedians were OK. There is limited space on the main open pool deck and a shortage of seating for the big events, but that is due to it being an older ship. For the money it was a good overall value, but if a person has cruised Norwegian or Holland lines, or even Princess it is best to have lower expectations and not be disappointed. There is a little more rudeness with a younger L.A. crowd. I have nothing but praise for the Long Beach poet facility for Carnival! Very easy parking, hotel access and very quick embarkation and departure process. We got off 1 1/2 hours early! That has never happened to me before on a score of cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We booked a sxuite since I need a balcony and this is an older ship and only suites have balconies. We had a blast we went with 3 other couples.The food was fine in the dining room if you didn't something you just ordered something ... Read More
We booked a sxuite since I need a balcony and this is an older ship and only suites have balconies. We had a blast we went with 3 other couples.The food was fine in the dining room if you didn't something you just ordered something else. Sure it's not Ruth Chris but never had a bad meal and the molten cake is always a yummy desert. Our dinning staff Priyesh, Sheena, and Jordeesh always made our dining experience a joy! The best bar on the boat is the Alchemy Bar it is in front of the theater on the top portion. We called it the foo foo bar they don't have beer but the best mixed drinks!! Katie, Michelle, Zolton and bar manager Marin always went above and beyond!! We also booked a tour with Valley Girl tours in Ensenada I didn't want to get off the boat at first but found another person's post who was sailing on the same cruise and they mentioned wine tasting in Guadalupe Valley. A a was our tour guide and even though we had some issues with things being closed on New Years day she gave us the best tour!! I asked to see the best brewery and best winery since we had both beer and wine drinkers and an authentic Mexican lunch and she met those needs for sure I would highly recommend her!! All in all it was a fun time and I chat see why people would complain!! The comedian on the boat was hilarious! It is an inexpensive fun time in my eyes!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was a Christmas cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. Not very exotic and they did double the normal rates - but it is something nice at XMAS. The cabin was roughly the size of most cruise ships we have traveled. Room was unadorned ... Read More
This was a Christmas cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. Not very exotic and they did double the normal rates - but it is something nice at XMAS. The cabin was roughly the size of most cruise ships we have traveled. Room was unadorned and very plain. It was clean. AC was not thermostatically controlled, rather and adjustment dial for force of air only. Ample closet space. The main bed was raised enough to store normal suit cases underneath which is a nice touch. Desk was not very big. Window was normal size but not very clean. Bathroom was about the size of other ships but had only one small shelf above the sink. Shower was adequate. Had wall mounted body soap and shampoo dispensers only. However, the room was set up with a king and two bunks. The steward pushed back the bunks and brought in a cot. My wife called Guest Services and spoke with Filip who told her that is the best they can do (problem is that the folded back bunk frame takes some of the room size away). She thought it a safety hazard. While we were ashore the supervisor came into the room and found the bed arrangement fine but they confiscated our one foot tall Christmas tree as a potential safety hazard. I did call Filip that the plug was labeled UL approved and if it were a problem simply unwind the lights (likely a 15 second task) and return the unadorned tree but he said no (we did see plenty of other guest rooms with XMAS lights). I would have simply accepted this but a staff member (anonomous) indicated it might be retaliation for lodging a complaint about the room. Readers will likely consider safety first and so would I. The only reason I mention this incident is that it displayed a similar cold, stoic and production line mentality I saw throughout the cruise. For example, in the dinning room we felt like it was a get them in, get them out fast attitude. They did not even recognize a birthday despite our mentioning it to the waiter and head waiter. Entertainment was just OK. Only one movie shown aboard. Pool was large rectangle with a hot tub on each end. Despite the cold weather these were occupied well into the evening. There are two hot tubs on another deck but we did not use them. Buffet was very good. Unlike other cruises, Carnival wisely spread out the food stations to prevent bottleneck traffic. Room was decorated but I really cannot define what that was. There are two other restaurants. One for those that reserved a time. The other for those that want to use at their leisure. Food was good. There is a casino but smoking was allowed so it can be torture staying there for very long. Surprisingly there are but two small stores. I thought this is how cruises make money? There is a large, tall atrium with a large glass skylight. Interestingly, the glass elevators have been removed. We did not use shore excursions. Catalina uses tenders. Avalon can be seen in 1/2 hour if you walk slowly. Highly suggest renting a golf cart and touring the perimeter of the town - lots of fun! The port in Ensenada is a quick walk to the main shopping street. Ship was generally clean. Again, my only complaint was the near universal attitude of the crew. Perhaps it was because the ship was completely full and that might have made it challenging. However, it might be because it was Christmas and they were apart from their families?? Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We thought this would be a nice vacation for Christmas, we were wrong. The pool is unheated and very cold, same with the water slides. My daughter did not use them because she was freezeing. Forget using the hot tubs, full of children and ... Read More
We thought this would be a nice vacation for Christmas, we were wrong. The pool is unheated and very cold, same with the water slides. My daughter did not use them because she was freezeing. Forget using the hot tubs, full of children and even infants. Food is very low quality no matter where you eat, but the bufet is the worst. To add insult to injury we all came down with the flu. Even though we got flu shots. Perhaps because 80% of the passengers appeared to be from mainland China. Lots of cigarette smoke near the pool and casino. The ports are a joke, Catalina Island is nice but not much to do. Ensenada is a dump, unless you like getting ripped off and harassed to buy gum and have your hair braided. For $1684 it was the biggest rip-off I have ever experienced. I would never book again with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We enjoyed our 4 day cruise on Carnival Inspiration to Catalina and Ensenada The entire crew was so helpful and nice. Our cruise direction NoNo totally rocked! The whole trip was enjoyable and the crew, extremely professional! We ... Read More
We enjoyed our 4 day cruise on Carnival Inspiration to Catalina and Ensenada The entire crew was so helpful and nice. Our cruise direction NoNo totally rocked! The whole trip was enjoyable and the crew, extremely professional! We took the Ensenada city trip which covered 3 places - a winery, a local marketplace and an old municipal building. Our trip guide Kenya was smiling and knowledgeable. The driver drove around the city well. We would not have covered so much if we didnt take this guided tour. The ship was clean and the crew thoroughly professional. They had events every hour and we had so much fun. We went to the "harry potter trivia" show, the "trivial pursuit" game, dance shows, holiday party, ice carving event Overall, its was a great holiday break and the kids enoyed it as much as did I would definitely recommend it to a family with young kids Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We've been on this cruise before and know what to expect. This time did not disappoint. Only issue (besides no balconies) was having to pay extra for Lobster. In my post-cruise review for Carnival, I said this is a key enjoyment ... Read More
We've been on this cruise before and know what to expect. This time did not disappoint. Only issue (besides no balconies) was having to pay extra for Lobster. In my post-cruise review for Carnival, I said this is a key enjoyment feature of cruises, and not the place to save money. Ship is nice, our room was fine, with free water supplied due to our VIFP status. Our room steward put in the requested ice at each cleaning, and we never had to ask a second time. Our wait staff was wonderful, and the comediennes in the late shows were beyond funny. Didn't miss any show. Not the all time greatest ship, but we love this short getaway, and are always happy upon our return. If you know what to expect, you'll almost always be satisfied. Lastly, once again, I was foiled by the prices and styles of the watches on the cruise. Every time, I say I won't get another watch, and as usual, I break down and get one. Price was extremely good, and without the outrageous taxes where I live (LA). Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We took this cruise as a suggestion from my wife after a terrible experience aboard the Breeze in March. We can afford one cruise a year and wasted our time and money on that one which left me wondering if I wanted to cruise anymore. We ... Read More
We took this cruise as a suggestion from my wife after a terrible experience aboard the Breeze in March. We can afford one cruise a year and wasted our time and money on that one which left me wondering if I wanted to cruise anymore. We picked up a pretty decent deal for this short offseason cruise and it's our local port so no airfare or hotel bill. We have always bought FTTF and embarkation was a breeze. We walked right on up, got our S&S cards (I guess others are delivered later to your cabins), and walked right to our room to drop off our carry-ons, and off to lunch. We see all the great reviews about guy's burgers and blue iguana and on embarkation day we feel the same way but from day 2 on we wish for the old off the grill and burrito bars. I don't know what happens but the wife and I thought the same thing on both cruises that had the upgraded restaurants. Lido buffet and pizza have never impressed us but the wait staff seemed friendly and did a good job clearing tables. We had YTD at MDR and really enjoyed the food and our waiter. We went to the Chef's Table and I must recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it. Even my wife, who had no interest in going especially after she found out it's $75 + gratuity/person, loved it and it was very impressive. We had done this cruise before so the ports weren't that special. They had fewer tenders to Catalina Island so there was a wait, even with FTTF. We rented a golf cart in Catalina for the 1st time and it was terrific. They give you a tourist map and you travel over 1/2 the island. Definitely reserve online if you go during tourist season. At Ensenada (you might not want to get off) we did the cheapest La Buffidora excursion Carnival offered. This I would also recommend. Not so much for the "blowhole" but it's a marketplace dedicated to tourists. I you're forced to let your wife shop, like I am, this was a very safe area with hundreds of shops and they weren't too aggressive. Fun day at sea- we went to sea day brunch, bingo, and casino. Too cold for kid for pools or waterslide. Disembarkation with FTTF was a disappointment. They meet you in the dining room and escort you off but that happened so late that there was a huge line at customs. In the past, we have been in the front of that line. Overall a good cruise that reminded me how much we enjoy them. I guess I won't cancel my 7 day one in June. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Chose this cruise after sailing multiple times on Carnival. Like the informal vibe and have had good experiences in the past. This was a short anniversary cruise out of the Port of Long Beach. First off, the ship is very old and ... Read More
Chose this cruise after sailing multiple times on Carnival. Like the informal vibe and have had good experiences in the past. This was a short anniversary cruise out of the Port of Long Beach. First off, the ship is very old and outdated and small. The layout of the ship was truly complicated and not user friendly even though the size of the ship was not intimidating at all. We chose a grand suite as there are very few balconies on this ship. The suite was large with lots of storage and more than ample space. The placement of the suites left a lot to be desired however. Grand suites are on the 6th floor just below the Atrium and bar. This was the loudest room I have ever stayed in on more than 20 cruises I have sailed on. Strange how your most expensive suites are in the worst part of the ship. The room had knocks and rattles and no noise proofing whatsoever. Had one good night out of 4 for sleeping. Balcony is narrow but long. Hair dryer was ancient. Food was good, particularly the mexican food by the pool and the flat iron and tenderloin in the Carnivale Dining Room. Even though we were return guests who booked early we couldn't get early seating and so were assigned my time dining. Didn't know at the time but the Mardi Gras dining room is ONLY my time dining. Lines were ridiculously long the first night. Poor organization. We requested assigned seating at the Carnivale for nights 2-4 and they accommodated us very nicely. Don't expect people to abide by dress codes. It is a free for all with no enforcement. Cheapens the experience a little. The cruise director was unimpressive. Not surprising he is stuck on a 4 day cruise with limited itinerary. Wait staff are generally very nice and helpful. Tenders to Catalina were ridiculous. The boats were so big that you had to wait over 20 minutes in the boat coming and going before you could take the less than 5 minute trip to the island. The operators of the tenders were rude and really unprofessional. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Old ship with mold on the windows. Except for Guy's Burgers and the ice cream machine the other food served in the dinning room and buffet was below Carnival standards. Dinning room service was OK. However, when a bogus charge was ... Read More
Old ship with mold on the windows. Except for Guy's Burgers and the ice cream machine the other food served in the dinning room and buffet was below Carnival standards. Dinning room service was OK. However, when a bogus charge was discovered on my bill I called Customer Service and a Russian or Slavic speaking lady said she would take the charge off failed to do so, I had personally go to the Service Desk to get it properly adjusted. There were no temperature controls in our room and of course, no refrigerator or hair dryers. The hot tubs were filled with the kids. Reminded us of downtown Las Vegas in the old part. One show was quite good, but the rest of the entertainment was disappointing. In the buffet line (if you could get around the elbowing crowd) the bacon and some other edibles could only be doled out by staff members. Although we were told by our room attendant would turn down the room 6 and 9pm, when we left our room (E61) at 6:45 pm. the room was not turned down. When we requested ice for our room, it was provided in a large plastic tub. Not a proper ice receptacle. The music throughout the ship was set at a very loud level, not conducive to those who want to turn in early? The ship smelled of stale smoke. If you wanted even a mediocre environmental cruise, this is not for you. My wife compared this cruise to the paddle boat made famous in the movie "Porkey's". Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose it for the length of time and over Thanksgiving break. The cafeteria food was exactly that.....and the desserts had no flavor. I felt like I was eating sawdust! I am still stuffed up from the poor quality of food. The evening ... Read More
We chose it for the length of time and over Thanksgiving break. The cafeteria food was exactly that.....and the desserts had no flavor. I felt like I was eating sawdust! I am still stuffed up from the poor quality of food. The evening meals in the dining room were fantastic and the overall service was amazing! Within the first 2 hours of being on the ship, (during the Muster when the staff knows that everyone will be away from their room, we had cash stolen out of our suitcase.) They took the 20's and 5$ (we brought for shopping in Ensanada) but were gracious enough to leave the 1$. We filed a complaint but nothing was really done. BORED BORED BORED. If you don't drink, there isn't a lot to do during the days. We literally walked around the ship. The comedy shows were hysterical. Lots of kids, lots of drinking and gambling (reeked of cigarette smoke). If you are looking for a little more excitement aside from being on a party barge, I would suggest a different cruise. We will not be returning again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Our family of four (parents, 13 and 10 yr old boys) did its first cruise for the oldest's birthday. Went with a short one due to concerns about the kids feeling cooped up and getting bored. Booked a Grand Suite to get sleeping space ... Read More
Our family of four (parents, 13 and 10 yr old boys) did its first cruise for the oldest's birthday. Went with a short one due to concerns about the kids feeling cooped up and getting bored. Booked a Grand Suite to get sleeping space for 4 and just some extra space to hang out in the room. About a month before sailing, got an email from Carnival offering the upgrade to the Owner's Suite (was about $300/day more than the Grand Suite) and did it. I suspect we didn't get a very typical cruise experience as a result. So sailed in mid-November out of Long Beach with one stop in Ensenada. We just stayed on the ship and enjoyed our luxurious accommodation. For embarkation, arrived at noon at Long Beach. The "VIP" Captain's Lounge had a line in front just to get inside, then more waiting for an agent once sitting inside. About 30 min after arrival, we were checked in and an employee escorted us up to our room (suite is on deck 12...there are 2, and they sit right above Camp Ocean, right under the mini golf and jogging track, with panoramic windows overlooking the pool). It looked to me like it might have been quicker to go in the general queue than the "VIP" path. Having the employee escort us through the checkpoints and up did seem to allow us to bypass waits at the checkpoints. The room was about 1000 sq ft. Living room sported a large L-shaped couch, two loveseat type chairs that folded out into very comfortable single beds, three comfy swivel chairs around a table, desk with chair, a few high-back chairs along a bar-type table, large TV, good speaker system that you could access from your smartphone via Bluetooth, and sliding door out onto a large balcony that had two lounge chairs, two normal chairs, and a small table. One side of the living room was all floor to ceiling windows with option to use a shear drapery that provide some privacy and glare control while still affording the view out. Also a variety of drink glasses and a mini-fridge. And a desk with chair. Many electrical outlets along the wall opposite the windows. Doorbell on the room door. Bedroom had a super-comfy king bed, reclining chair and ottoman, big TV, wall of floor-to-ceiling windows like in living room, another mirrored wall. Off the bedroom was a vanity area with 2 sinks, many towels, lots of counter space, and wall of mirrors. Off the vanity area was the bathroom with a huge soak tub that included a shower head and jacuzzi jets. Also off the vanity was a huge walk-in-closet. So the room itself was definitely luxurious, a far different experience than anywhere else on the ship. I think it's important to realize this is what you are paying for - this beautiful room. You are not buying some kind of priority throughout the rest of the ship. Employees who find out your room will say something like "Oh wow" or "How is it up there?", but you will not get some kind of universal front-of-line privilege. I've read some reviews where people were frustrated by expecting that, so if you happen to do this, just go in realize what it is you are (and are not) paying extra for. We though the balcony was very nice and the lifeboat didn't ruin the view. You can't see straight down, but the view out is panoramic and you see plenty of scenery. Noise from the pool wasn't a problem...windows muffled sound very well. Did hear the deck chairs above the room being moved around at like 5 am or so every morning, and I suspect if there were joggers on the track, you'd hear them very loudly too. The location was great since it was so close to so many amenities. You could just glance out the window to see how crowded the pool, jacuzzis, ping pong, shuffleboard, and chess were. Short and simple walk to Lido buffet, pool deck eateries and bars. We'd definitely do it again for the same price if it was made available to us. The room was truly the lap of luxury. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The crew on this ship are fantastic and (almost) make up for the lackluster design, food, and lengthy lines. This is my second cruise but first cruise with my five-year-old son. I chose Carnival because of the highly-rated free ... Read More
The crew on this ship are fantastic and (almost) make up for the lackluster design, food, and lengthy lines. This is my second cruise but first cruise with my five-year-old son. I chose Carnival because of the highly-rated free kids' club. I wanted to get some downtime while my son had fun, and this ship definitely achieved that goal! ++Pros++ + Great service: I can't stay enough about the crew. Every crew member I encountered greeted me with a smile. The service was outstanding - from my room steward to the kids' camp leaders even to the general housekeeping staff. They were extremely accommodating and worked hard to make the trip great. + Free kids' club: Camp Ocean was great. The hours were ideal and the camp staff was friendly. My son didn't want to do anything except hang out at the camp. + Easy embarkation with Faster to the Fun: Faster to the Fun was definitely worth it because we were able to board quickly and grab a nap the first afternoon. + Fun entertainment: the show I saw was great. Overall, the activities were fun. There were a ton of board games in the library as well! --Cons-- -- Long lines everywhere: I felt like I spent most of the first two days waiting in lines. Even with Faster to the Fun, we had long lines getting to and from Catalina. We had long lines waiting at the dining room each night. The muster station drill was prolonged because of communication issues. There was a lot of waiting for our first excrusion. The Camp Ocean lines were especially long; it was frustrating to wait 20+ minutes to get into Camp Ocean because other families didn't register. -- Unruly group: We had a large group that was a bit rude... from cutting in line to shouting at dinner to attracting a number of birds by feeding them. I was disappointed that the crew couldn't do more to control the line cutting. -- Embarrassing decor: I just... don't understand why it's so bad. It seems like a few tweaks would improve the ship significantly (even $3 decor from Ikea would be better.) The glass elevators were broken which was also disappointing. -- Average food: It tasted like cafeteria food, even at the dining room. The room service menu was very limited, and the portions were small. -- Lackluster excursions: I was disappointed with our Catalina excursion. We skipped the Ensenada excursions and Ubered to a trampoline park. It was hard to find an excursion that was appropriate for a 5-year-old but interesting for adults. Overall I wish I could give it a 3.5. It was pretty good overall, and I miss the crew now that I'm home. But on a short cruise, I want to maximize my fun, but I was stuck waiting in lines often (... while looking at decor straight from 1993.) I think I might try a different cruise line next time to see if I can get something a bit more stylish with better food. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We had the best service from steward Wawan; he is the sort of person you would find working in a five-star hotel, you couldn't ask for a kinder more pleasant steward. Some of the waiters were also notable. However, the food... oh, ... Read More
We had the best service from steward Wawan; he is the sort of person you would find working in a five-star hotel, you couldn't ask for a kinder more pleasant steward. Some of the waiters were also notable. However, the food... oh, my. I wish I had had more say in what cruise our group took, I would have read previous postings and heeded the common theme about food quality. Some of the meals were "ok," but generally, Carnival appears to cut corners wherever possible. Our Thanksgiving turkey seemed as tough as leather... inedible. Although a nice attempt was made at presentation, and again, the service was generally good (albeit at times slow and sometimes requests were forgotten)... the food was simply sub-par. I would avoid Carnival and spend more money to get a cruise with better food. Also, the ship was worn and I hear it's due for a refurb next year. It is long overdue. In summary, you get what you pay for. For a better experience, spend a little more and select a higher-end cruise if you are into food quality. If you're ok with hamburgers (which were actually pretty good on Carnival at "Guy's Burger Bar," then Carnival may suit you. Otherwise, I would spend more and upgrade. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
My friend and I booked this cruise as a last minute celebration for our past 20 years of friendship. We spent a day at Disneyland the day before the cruise and traveled straight to the port the next morning. We arrived at 11:30 for our ... Read More
My friend and I booked this cruise as a last minute celebration for our past 20 years of friendship. We spent a day at Disneyland the day before the cruise and traveled straight to the port the next morning. We arrived at 11:30 for our 12:00 embarkation time and everything went very smoothly. Our total waiting time was less than half an hour and we were on the ship! The Good: We had an interior stateroom. Everything was clean and functional; shower pressure was great with lots of hot water! We had more than enough linens and enjoyed the adorable towel animals with each turn down service. Carnival knocked it out of the park with our dining room tablemates. We met a lovely group of gentlemen who we ended up spending lots of time with on the ship. It definitely made the cruise a lot more memorable! I enjoyed the demographics of the ship (all ages, with a lot of families and young adult groups). For the most part, everyone was respectful and friendly. 95% of the crew and staff I passed greeted me with a hello and a smile, which I really loved. The Average: The food ranged from bland (but edible) to good. Our server was pleasant but seemed stressed at times. We were consistently one of the last tables to finish our meal, despite showing up on time (or even early) for scheduled dining and ordering efficiently. It's possible he was new as I noticed other servers helping him out at times. We were lucky to finish our 3-course meal in under 2 hours. On-deck entertainment and enrichment left something to be desired. We caught the tail end of one comedy show and the humour was pretty low effort (and neither of us are above dirty or dark humour).The evening shows featured talented performers but the sets were non-existent and there were no story lines, just musical numbers. We enjoyed Harry Potter trivia but it lasted about 10 minutes total. Coming from Canada, we are not used to indoor smoking areas and thus did not choose to spend time in the casino/live music areas/clubs where smoking was permitted. We had no issues with the public areas. The decor is very dated but I found everything to be in clean and in good condition for its age. The Bad: None! Overall this was a great introduction to cruising for me. I would probably book with Carnival again if I had a good group of friends going with me who could make our own fun. If I were booking another cruise for the two of us I would try to find a different cruise with better food and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We were going to do the 7 day cruise on the Miracle, but right before booking we heard that the State Dept. had issued travel warnings for Cabo, etc...so we settled for the 4 day to Ensenada. Embarking was not bad...disembarking seemed a ... Read More
We were going to do the 7 day cruise on the Miracle, but right before booking we heard that the State Dept. had issued travel warnings for Cabo, etc...so we settled for the 4 day to Ensenada. Embarking was not bad...disembarking seemed a little difficult and time consuming. We were told to leave our luggage outside of our rooms by 11 pm the night before...kind of hard to decide what to leave out for the next morning, etc...it didn't help that our cabin steward was in our room by 7 am...we had gone to eat breakfast and came back to the room, wanting to stay in the room until 8:30...since he had already started cleaning we felt uneasy and went back to the buffet area with a few heavy bags and finally got called to stand in a very long line about 1045. Our last cruise was about 10 years ago on Royal Caribbean...The entire cruise we were comparing this one to the RC cruise. I didn't like this ship...it felt "compartmentalized" for lack of a better word...kind of like a maze...it didn't feel wide open...its like you would go to one floor, step out of the elevator, and you'd be in an area that wasn't recognizable from anywhere else on the ship...does that make sense...lol. It seems like the ship is like a house with a lot of rooms, but no wide open spaces. Entertainment was okay, but confusing...again, it seemed like we always knew what was going on at what time with RC...but on this cruise its almost like you are on your own, its up to you to try to figure out what's what and when. The cabin was decent...nothing special, just a small clean room...nowhere to put your clothes really...no drawers...I ended up putting my clothes in small desk drawers...my wife wanted to keep her stuff in her suitcase. The one thing that bugged us is that the TV was up in the corner where if we wanted to lay in bed and watch TV we had to put the pillows at the foot of the bed...it was awkward. The food was decent, but just the basics...nothing special, no wow factor...just real basic. Limited selections in the buffet...more like cafeteria food. The dining room wasn't much better. The Captains dinner was kind of a joke...half of the people that night were dressed casual...I'm sitting there in a suit and tie next to people who look like they're at Chili's. The best food on the ship was Guy Fieri's burger joint. That place saved me. Best burgers I think I've ever eaten. The décor of the ship looks dated and kind of run down...you occasionally find something that needs paint or repair...kind of ghetto-ish. The glass elevators were non operational...looks bad and inappropriate. The crew were all very nice and polite...no issues there. Bottom line...this is a basic, no frills cruise with all of the basics and absolutely no wow factor. I didn't like the layout of the ship...the food overall is disappointing...but it does seem that they really try hard to make it a nice experience. At the top of this review I struggled between 3 and 4 stars...3.5 would be more appropriate. On my next 3 or 4 day cruise I hope to try a Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise based on the schedule, closeness to home, and our limited time. I'm usually game for a new experience, this will be my last on Carnival. Pros: Cabin size was larger then I thought it would be. We had a ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the schedule, closeness to home, and our limited time. I'm usually game for a new experience, this will be my last on Carnival. Pros: Cabin size was larger then I thought it would be. We had a window room with two twin beds. Felt quite roomy. Bathroom was small but adequate. Shower was amazing, Water pressure was great. Housekeeping was great, Edzel was always smiling. He was a great worker, an asset to the company. Embarkation and especially disembarkation was an absolute breeze. If you take your own luggage off the ship it takes no more then 15 minutes to be at curbside. Staff in general were very hard working. We only encountered a couple staff members who were obviously not happy. You can tell their jobs mean a lot to them so they go the extra mile. Cons: Food!!!!! Where do I begin. The food felt like a combination of school cafeteria and possibly prison (don't know first hand on the prison food), serving what ever to the masses. The dining room had the option to "upgrade" for $20.00 per person. We did that on two of the nights but it was just fancier bad food. The steaks were odd tasting, the lobster was rubber. Guy's burger joint did have a good burger but I can't eat burgers three meals a day. Breakfast was always scrambled eggs that had the appearance of foam. Just to recap, the food was plain terrible. The ship looks light something right out of the late 70's, early 80's. The wild lights were so outdated, the glass elevator out of service the whole cruise. The carpet and all the brass was over the top. Our cabin floor had an overwhelming smell of mildew, which we found the reason on day 2. The light fixture (yes, light electric light fixture) had water coming out of it the whole cruise. Not a little, a lot. We had buckets placed in front of our cabins, huge fans going the entire trip. At one point water was pouring from yet another light fixture. Entering our room involved jumping over the soaked floor. The stops were Catalina (very nice) and Ensenada (typical Mexican town). I would rather stay on the ship then to visit Ensenada again. The kids that were with us enjoyed the slide, the pool was too crowded. We were able to find something that they would eat every day. Room service is extremely limited, unless you're willing to pay the upcharge. The game show Hasbro was cute for the kids. A mom of a 3 year old went on stage to help out her kid and bent over, exposing her bottom half to the whole audience. This went on for several minutes without a single person doing something about it. When they were called up to the stage again apparently staff didn't notify her because it happened again. The rated G game show went to a rated R by this event. The shows were ok, the 8 entertainers were very good dancers. Not sure why they felt the need to have one of their male dancers strip to his underwear. While playing mini golf we realized this was the place where people game to smoke pot. Not just once, every evening. Is this legal, security was never once there. I like cruises in general, this being my 6th cruise. I would never take another carnival cruise, even if it was given to me. It was the longest 4 nights of my life. Spend the extra money and go on a cruise line that has a better reputation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Have sailed NCL many times in the past but decided to give Carnival a try because the itinerary was a perfect fit for the kids school break. So here goes my impression of Carnival Inspiration First off we got to the Long Beach pier ... Read More
Have sailed NCL many times in the past but decided to give Carnival a try because the itinerary was a perfect fit for the kids school break. So here goes my impression of Carnival Inspiration First off we got to the Long Beach pier right around noon and the terminal was a buzz of activity. I showed the one lady our ticket and she just kind of blew me off and waved us to the end of a line. We slowly moved up that line and came to point where they were splitting the line. Again this lady just glance at us and moved us to another line which was extremely long. We had purchased the Faster to the Fun package that was supposed to help this so we tried asking again. Finally someone paid attention to exactly what we said and pulled us out of the line and into the right place. (The original lady looked at me and "YOU needed to tell me that. Hey I didn't know, and I showed you my tickets!) Crabby lady now in the past, I am ready for fun. By the way that FTTF purchase was worth it! We got straight on to the boat and into our room no problem. Dropped our luggage and headed for the Lido deck to find lunch. First impression of the Lido café was strange. Was surprised to have the food at multiple locations around the room, but after awhile it seemed to work. Found the layout of the ship to be very maze like. Many times we would go to a certain floor only to find that we could not access a certain area from that elevator. We had the anytime dining so were assigned the Mardi Gras dining room. Found you could only get to it from the front elevators even though it looks like you can from the midship elevators. Nope and you have to go either up or down then down to the Atrium. Also the beautiful Atrium elevators never did run the entire trip. Side note about the elevators, they are very slow and usually crowded. People press both side to get the soonest elevator so then they stop on almost every floor for no one. Most times we got tired of waiting and just took the stairs. There are lots of stairs on this boat, but that helps burn off all that food we ate right :-) The food... Most nights we ate at the Mardi Gras dining room, lunch on the Lido deck and breakfast we ate at both the Mardi Gras and lido. Breakfast was ok at the buffet especially on port days when you wanted to get off the boat early. Nothing fancy but good. The dining room was nicer but much slower. Lunch was always a different selection. (One day Caribbean food, next French, another American etc...) Guy's burger joint was tasty and fun. I wasn't a huge fan of the Mexican cantina, it was just ok. Reminded me of Chipotle, but not as good. Now dinner was a great time. I loved the main dining room food. We dined here every evening except the last and that was because the family had a late lunch and the specials didn't really thrill us. Each night one of the appetizers was something unusual. (Alligator, escargot, frog legs, etc) I wasn't up for any of it, but the kids tried a few. The choices were wonderful. I really liked the fancy night when the waiters came dancing in and we all waved our napkins to Celebration. It was so much fun. We had a blast. However I was surprised to see how few people follow the dress code. We didn't go super fancy but dressed nice every evening (even the kids) A few folks arrived on fancy night in t-shirts and cargo pants....really??? They didn't appear to enforce the dress code. However on the sea day brunch they did ask one gentleman who was wearing a tank top to change his shirt. he got mad and walked out. (my son was wearing one too, but they didn't ask kids to change. I made him put on his jacket) Overall I loved the food. I think it was even better than NCL's food. NCL seems to be cutting their menus down and for the last few cruises I have been disappointed with them. Carnival did it well. A note on the "Anytime dining" if you get there before 6:30 you can almost walk right in. After that you get a beeper and the wait wasn't too bad, but still not the best. I would do it again. We originally wanted the early assigned dining, but it was full. This option turned out to work great for us. The activities... I am used to NCL's line up of one big show every night, so Carnivals lack of big production was a downer, but I'm adaptable. First night they had a welcome aboard show, but after a busy day of travel we were wiped out. My husband loves comedy so he was excited to see 2 comedians. A couple were repeat shows, but turned out ok as we missed it the first time. The trivia was ok, but we skipped many as I know nothing about sports or Harry Potter. Not a whole lot of games or any craft classes so the sea day was a little boring. I did however love the Shakespeare Library that was filled with a wonderful assortment of board games, books and puzzles. Overall the entertainment was a bit of a let down, but again I am adaptable. I did enjoy the adults only serenity deck. It took me 2 days to find it as it is hidden behind the Candlelight lounge, but it was a nice place to relax. Talking about the pools, the layout is weird. The kids even said that the water park and the pools should be together and not so separate. It was awkward to have one kid want to swim and another that wanted the slides. The pool was often over crowded with kids so I saw few adults in the pool. Not ideal but like I said earlier, this is a strangely laid out ship. The décor of the Inspiration is outdated and many of the carpeted areas need to be redone. It seemed old and worn, but not terrible. I did notice many areas that are rusted and needed repair/painting. Again this is were NCL outshines them. I did like that they offer cabins for 5. Few ships have this option and it can be a bit cramped, but having 3 children we had to made it work or get an additional cabin. We were in M178 on the Main deck (deck 5) It had the king size bed with 2 bunks on opposite walls. (one was directly overhead and twice I bumped my head) The 5th bed was a smaller trundle on the floor. It was good for a child under the age of 9, but not much older or taller. The ports... Catalina Island was fantastic. We had the FTTF so we got priority tender boarding which was wonderful. Walked right on to a tender boat and got there quickly. Enjoyed walking the town of Avalon then walked down to Descanso Beach club and did a bit of snorkeling. It was beautiful. Will have to visit again. Ensenada was at a dock, but it is a long walk into town. (Just head for the huge flag and go up one block and you find the street market) Lots of the typical Mexican stuff, blankets, bags, bracelets etc.. Nothing real exciting, but the kids each got a bracelet. Note, don't buy any knives in port. The customs official were taking all knives away from people. We had to go return one my teenage son bought. He was not happy with them. The final overall thoughts... Overall we had a great trip, the service was great and I loved the people. Did not experience anyone crabby (except before we boarded the ship) and it fun. I will not hesitate to sail on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Just returned Saturday morning and can say that I truly needed and enjoyed my week away. Will NEVER cruise out of Long Beach again without FTTF!! That line was at least an 1 1/2 hour wait ... I'm not that patient, sorry, not sorry. ... Read More
Just returned Saturday morning and can say that I truly needed and enjoyed my week away. Will NEVER cruise out of Long Beach again without FTTF!! That line was at least an 1 1/2 hour wait ... I'm not that patient, sorry, not sorry. There was no one in the FTTF line. Literally walked up and was out of check in line in about 4 minutes (from getting out the shuttle to sitting down with card in hand, waiting to go in was about 10-15 minutes). Was in U216 and had no issues. Saman was the best room attendant ever. Food was a hit or miss, but mostly good. We ate breakfast at the buffet, lunch at Guy's, and always are dinner in the main dining room. Although it was only 4 days, it felt much longer. Spent the day prior and the day after touring and enjoying the beaches of LA .. had a great time!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We went on a short "themed" cruise to Ensenada. We were very excited and we looked forward to our first cruise. What a complete Disappointment The Good: The wait staff and room staff were excellent. The comedy show was ... Read More
We went on a short "themed" cruise to Ensenada. We were very excited and we looked forward to our first cruise. What a complete Disappointment The Good: The wait staff and room staff were excellent. The comedy show was decent The Food was terrible.....the only decent meal was the hamburger, but how many hamburgers can one person eat. The buffet was terrible - breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all below par. The only good items from the buffet were the fresh fruit and chocolate brownies (available after midnight). The food on the ship tastes like its frozen and just reheated. The buffet even messed up the prime rib and carved turkey....The tacos/burritos/ and Mexican breakfasts on the pool deck were horrible. The only good item from the dining rooms was the Escargot (surprise, but it's soaked in garlic, butter, and topped with melted cheese). The Pool is soooooo very small. It's literally smaller than one's pool at your home, but it's supposed to accomodate 2,000 passengers. We were so very disappointed and won't be going on any other cruises after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We used to love this ship, but once we got on board, we found it had changed. Just came from a 4-day cruise and dad to say, the ship isn't as good as I remembered. We boarded and went to our inside cabin in the empress deck, only ... Read More
We used to love this ship, but once we got on board, we found it had changed. Just came from a 4-day cruise and dad to say, the ship isn't as good as I remembered. We boarded and went to our inside cabin in the empress deck, only to be met with a giant fan and the odor of mold.we could smell it on The odd cabin wing, not as much on the even cabin hall. We immediately went to guest services and asked to be moved. They told us to wait until after muster drill, when they would have an idea of which cabins would be available. We were stuck dragging our carry on bags around the ship all afternoon I went to the welcome aboard lecture and won a raffle of various gift shop items. After we went to anytime dining, Daphne found us and said she had a cabin available for us. I would have to fold my walker to bring it in at night. The steward had to separate the beds, but that didn't take long, We just collapsed for the night and unpacked. The next morning, we confused the staff of the breakfast, because our names were still attached to the other cabin. Our orders were delayed because they had to defrost the eggs (shouldn't that have been done before we got there, or were we the only passengers to order them?) Watched a bit of Miami based tv stations and realized that they had removed many channels, including ESPN and TCM. Went to TrivIa, which was now held at the atrium lounge, instead of the casino bar. Very few as on a stick given out this cruise. The best Trivia game was show tunes from Broadway and movies. Matthew is an excellent singer. The Cruise Director, Brittany, is on her first term as a CD, and she tries, but can be a little erratic. She chose me as the leader of the women's team in the gender showdown, but when we did the freeze frame competition, she asked every team member what they were doing in the freeze except me (hello, the captain?). Even the audience noticed. Finally, her assistant, working with the men's team, asked me, which gave one of the men a chance to change his pose/character, so they won. After the problem with our cabin, we were comped free meals and a bottle of wine, which we took advantage of on Wednesday night. We ordered the lobster, but it was broiled, not boiled, making it tough and hard to cut. I enjoyed the Motown and VIP shows, although we have seen them many times (mom was even chosen twice to participate in them). There were technical issues with the Motown show (first the taped music cut out and the performers tried to perform a cappella before leaving the stage. Later, one of the lead singers was given a dead hand mike, and instead of turning on her head Mike until the problem was fixed, she continued to sing). Finally, one of the performers had a problem with the zipper on the back of her costume. I participated in the Motown name that tune, and sang My Guy (Mary Wells), which I'd never sung before, although I love karaoke. It was fun. Slots were right and my favorites were in the smoking section. I'm not even sure they have a Non smoking area. We never saw a photographer in the MDR, just a table magician who never came near us. I ended up using my OBC for tips and a drink and in the casino. Disambiguation was smooth, no customs forms, and wheelchair assistance got us off the ship by 9:00 am. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was a family cruise with three kids. The kids had a great time and loved it. My complaints are with the quality of service. 1) The room attendants were noisy in the morning and managed to wake everyone up at 7am, 2) we had two ... Read More
This was a family cruise with three kids. The kids had a great time and loved it. My complaints are with the quality of service. 1) The room attendants were noisy in the morning and managed to wake everyone up at 7am, 2) we had two rooms, 1 smelled like a wet carpet, the other was fine, 3) food at Mardi Gras restaurant is worse than Dennys, 4) food at Carnavale was only good the last night, otherwise like a wedding chicken dinner plate., 5) not enough and not frequent enough waiters taking orders on the deck for drinks (ended up having to go to the bar myself because it would take them 30 min to bring my drink order), 6) main elevators in the atrium out of service, 7) Brittany, the cruise director woke everyone up at 8am to make announcements, 8) it took over an hour for them to do the Muster drill, 9) scalding water in shower, hard to make cooler, 10) staff seemed overworked and miserable. Other than that it was great. I was on Carnival Miracle a year ago and it was a great experience, maybe a newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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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