123 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

Embarkation -- Port of Tampa was great! We were on the ship within 30 minutes after parking. Inspiration -- Old but well kept ship. The pool always had tons of people in it. The pool is way too small and the lido deck was very very ... Read More
Embarkation -- Port of Tampa was great! We were on the ship within 30 minutes after parking. Inspiration -- Old but well kept ship. The pool always had tons of people in it. The pool is way too small and the lido deck was very very very crowded especially during sea days. The serenity lounge was awesome and very quiet. We spent most of our time there. Dinner Service -- We opted for the "anytime dining". First night we chose a table for two since it was only two of us and we wanted to have a nice dinner. We had a horrible waiter and completely ignored us throughout the whole dinner. People that had arrived after us for dinner were starting dessert and we had not even received our dinner! I even had to waive him down for service. We decided to give dinner a second chance and had dinner the second night. Different waiter but the SAME scenario as the previous day. Very poor service. We decided not to give dinner service another chance and ended up having dinner elsewhere on the ship. We never went back to dinner service. Staff -- The staff was great (other than the dinner crew, see above). Disembarking -- We were off the ship and in our car for the drive home by 830am. That was GREAT! Again, port of Tampa was very organized and experienced. Conclusion -- Inspiration was nice but a bit old, small and crowded. I may give another cruise line a try. Carnival has been great these past 5 cruises but I want to see how other cruise lines compare. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Six time cruiser. First time on Carnival. Having been on some of the newest and most modern ships in the world, the Inspiration wasn't quite up to par. However, to be perfectly fair I offer the following. The ship was in great ... Read More
Six time cruiser. First time on Carnival. Having been on some of the newest and most modern ships in the world, the Inspiration wasn't quite up to par. However, to be perfectly fair I offer the following. The ship was in great shape and the crew was fantastic. We had one minor problem in our stateroom with the hot/cold water regulator in the shower. One call and fifteen minutes later it was fixed. The room was in perfect shape, comfy pillows. A little tight for the four of us but our room steward did a nice job and we were comfortable. Plenty of storage room. The only complaint regarding cleanliness was the number of cups and plates left around the public areas. On one occassion I counted 17 cups on the Lido deck early in the morning left over from the night before. Two hours later those same cups were sitting there despite a couple dozen deck crew walking right by. Food was good. Wait staff for "Your Time" dining was good. Funny. Great service. The Your Time dining was nice. The longest we waited in line was 10 minutes. Entertainment was so, so. If you compare it to Royal Carribean there is no comparison. The "production" shows were very basic. Seems as if Carnival just didn't want to put any money into entertainment. The sales pitches and pushy photographers got old very quickly. On other cruises we've been on the Cruise Director made announcements to let you know about the fun stuff happening around the ship. On the Inspiration most, if not all, public announcements by the Cruise Director were sales pitches. We were laughing so hard yesterday because every announcement, with the exception of the Captains weather report, involved you parting with more money. The photographers were VERY pushy. Obnoxious is more fitting. Good example. I was relaxing yesterday in the adult "Serenity" area when a photographer hovered over me, literally waking me up to ask if I wanted a picture of me relaxing. You've got to be kidding. Kids program (Circle C - age 12 to 14) was great. Our son had such a good time. Thank you Carnival staff for making his week. Gym - Very nice. Changing areas, showers, steam room, sauna. Well done. Embarkation and Debarkation were a breeze. We were off the ship 20 minutes after the announcement was made. Overall view of the cruise? You be the judge. If you want to cruise at a good price on a ship mainly focused on partying the Inspiration is for you. If you want something a little more laid back, not quite so pushy, look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
The Inspiration cruise we went on recently was overall not as good as the previous cruise we took on the Carnival Glory. The ship itself was obviously older, but that didn't really bother me as much as it bothered others on ... Read More
The Inspiration cruise we went on recently was overall not as good as the previous cruise we took on the Carnival Glory. The ship itself was obviously older, but that didn't really bother me as much as it bothered others on reviews I've red. The major differences were that I remember on the Glory seeing the same few people over and over, and they would talk to us, and remembered details about us.... but on the Inspiration, I never met the room stewards ... and we had a couple days where I wondered if the room would ever get cleaned ... after dinner, and it's still not been visited. The food was the typical carnival stuff ... but just not as good as I remember it being. Didn't seem as fresh. This cruise was just for me and my boyfriend, whereas last time we went in a large group. At meals this time it was just us at a table of other couples, who unfortunately didn't seem to want to make conversation, so the dinners were semi-awkward with everyone in total silence. As a result, a couple nights we skipped the sit down dinner and opted for the Lido cafe. It was all right ... at all meals, sometimes they had really yummy stuff. A few dishes here and there were just inedible. And I'm not that hard to please! Just ew. The entertainment was lacking, and what was there as far as shows ... just not so good. The comedy club was awesome. But it was only a couple nights, and it was the same comediens not every night like the Glory. The was Bingo aplenty on this ship, but so costly. 20 dollars a card. And they constantly pushed these raffle tickets. Obviously, it's a cruise ship, and for them it's about profit ... but it got old. There wasn't much fun to be had unless you had lots of cash to shell out. Unfortunately for me, this was a cruise on a budget for me. Both my boyfriend and myself were unemployed when cruise time came (but not when we booked) so we had less than 200 dollars to spend the entire time. After buying 2 formal night pictures, it was really limited funds ... those damn pix are costly!! Anyway, it is always good to get away. I had no problem finding a spot to lay in the sun. The people were friendly, not lots of kids running around. Just not quite the standard I recall from my first experience. There was a night of free alcoholic drinks and snacks(and by night I mean hour) at a little social for past guests only ... that was kind of cool. Even if everything but the wine was watered down. I think I might try another cruise line next time....we shall see! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My husband and I took our son, 18 and our nephew, 16 on this cruise to celebrate our son's graduation from high school. This was our 3rd cruise with Carnival. First, we sailed out of Tampa. We have sailed out of Port ... Read More
My husband and I took our son, 18 and our nephew, 16 on this cruise to celebrate our son's graduation from high school. This was our 3rd cruise with Carnival. First, we sailed out of Tampa. We have sailed out of Port Canaveral, Jacksonville, and Tampa. Tampa is by far the WORST port to sail from for us. We will stick with Jacksonville from now on, if possible. It was so confusing and stressful to get our luggage out of the car. It was crowded, hectic, and I was a nervous wreck by the time I parked the car, found my way back to my husband, and made it into the terminal. I had read that when you take a case of water, you just have to put a preprinted tag on it and they will deliver it right to your room...WRONG! I had a heavy case of water and was told by the porter that he couldn't take it! I was surrounded by cars, exhaust, and then a bus pulled up! My choices were to 1)leave the water, 2)unpack one of my suitcases and try to fit it in there, or 3)lug it with us onto the ship and then keep up with it until we could get into our room! We decided to take it with us. To add insult to injury, when we went through security, the security guard opened the case of water (to check for alcohol smuggling) and then left it like that for us to try to balance along with our luggage!!! I can understand that they have to check for alcohol, but why put us through that and not even tape it back? I thought the attitude of most of the staff at the port was lacking and not very friendly. My niece and her friend came in a separate car and when they got out of their car, the porters didn't even offer to take their luggage! They ended up bringing ALL of their suitcases with them onto the ship because they had never sailed before and didn't know the ropes. In all, I would say that the Tampa port was the most crowded, unorganized, stressful port we have visited. Once we got inside, we drug our luggage and water to the check-in line. This part was much smoother and we didn't have to wait long at all before we were on the ship. We made our way inside and found a few seats and collapsed for a few minutes. We were all exhausted but quite excited. We made our way to the Lido deck for some lunch. Average food. After the cruise, my husband and I were comparing notes and we both agreed that the food on this cruise was just O.K. We felt like the food on the Fascination and Sensation were much better overall. We had your time dining. I thought this would work better for us because we like to eat around 7pm. The first night, we had a wonderful server, Gama. The only problem with your time dining is that you don't get the same server every night. I asked for Gama the second night, but we would have had to wait over an hour for her because we had 6 in our party and it was elegant night and everyone showed up for dinner. We opted for the first available the following 2 nights and were not as pleased with the service. On elegant night, my son had to wait about 10 minutes for his dessert. He thought they forgot him and we had our desserts and coffee finished before he got his. The staff was not rude, but Gama spoiled us the first night. She knew our names before we left and we did not get that same treatment from the other servers on the other nights. I ate all of my meals in the dining room along with my 23 year old niece. We like the formality and enjoy taking our time eating. The boys (including hubby) chose to eat on the Lido deck for b'fast and lunch. They all agreed that the food was average. I checked the boys into the O2 club as soon as we got there. They LOVE the club and my son is disappointed that next time we cruise, he won't be able to join in the fun and group feel of the O2 club because he will be in college and 18. Carnival really needs to have a space for those "inbetweeners" 18-21 who don't enjoy drinking or gambling, but like to be around kids their own age to socialize. My husband and I thought the Lido deck was too loud and full of college partiers. We went to the Serenity deck but NEVER got a lounge chair. Carnival needs to make the Serenity deck area BIGGER with more lounge chairs. We did manage to grab a couple of chairs and went back and forth from the jacuzzi to our chairs. You have to get there pretty early to get a lounge chair, I would say before 9am. My husband, niece, and I visited the piano bar one night. I had never been to one before and I'm not sure I want to go to another one. The piano player was very talented and very foul mouthed. His comments were filthy...not just a curse word here and there...but graphic sexual comments made to different women. My niece was scared to get up and leave because she was afraid he would say something to her. Needless to say, we didn't go back. We did enjoy the guitar player who sang on the Promenade and in the atrium. He was very talented and we enjoyed listening to him. Port: Cozumel was WONDERFUL!!! Much better than Nassau! We were pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness, friendliness, and overall experience of Cozumel. All of us had a fabulous time. We did not do any excursions...just shopped. Even the boys had a blast! We visited Carlos and Charlies where the atmosphere was loud, rowdy, and FUN!!! Even my husband got up and danced! We stayed in the main strip after some friendly advice from someone on the ship. There is plenty to do and see in Cozumel and I would love to go back (just not out of Tampa). Our room was on the upper deck in the middle. I felt no motion the entire time we were on the ship. The seas were the calmest I have ever seen. Since I get seasick, I take Bonine and did not even take a pill the last night! Our room steward was the best we have had so far and the staff was always friendly and willing to help any way they could. I only called room service once for ice and it was delivered so quickly! The room was clean, as was the rest of the ship. The staff of every Carnival ship has always been friendly and accommodating. They are always cleaning, painting, etc. on the ship and we actually had fun watching the guy repaint the letters on the ship. It took him 2 days to finish and when he was done, we all applauded. Overall, we had a great time and will cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We sailed on the May 2, 2011 cruise out of Tampa to Cayman and Cozumel. We have cruised once before on Disney Line. We chose Carnival because it was much less expensive and allowed 5 in the smaller rooms. Embarkment and debarkment went ... Read More
We sailed on the May 2, 2011 cruise out of Tampa to Cayman and Cozumel. We have cruised once before on Disney Line. We chose Carnival because it was much less expensive and allowed 5 in the smaller rooms. Embarkment and debarkment went smoothly. I highly recommend using the valet parking inbound ($10 more than self park) and a porter on the way out. Several people have commented that this ship was gawdy but we really liked the decor. It was whimsical, which is how a "funship" should be decorated. I will say that the wave patterns on the floor were a bit hard on tipsy eyes though. I can't imagine how they looked to the young folks drinking all day/night! we had one bad morning of heavy rocking from waves where our famly had a tough time getting out of bed due to sickness but it passed in a couple hours and the rest of the cruise was fine.Stateroom: We had an ocean view room that had a queen bed, two pullmans and a cot. Our children are 10 yr old twins and a 7yr old. Arrangements we definitely tight, particularly at shower/changing times but it worked. The major problem really was when more than a couple people wanted to relax in the room for a while, the queen bed was the only place to sit as the steward closed the pullmans each morning to give us more room. Our steward was wonderful. We didn't need to ask for much but when we did, he was always gracious and quick. Activities: lots for adults to do all around the ship. Not so much for the kids. They have a "water park" that basically consists of 2 straight slides and one long tube slide. None of my three even bothered to try them as they thought they were babyish - spoiled by the large water parks we have gone to. The one pool the Inspiration has is a salt water pool and very small compared to the number of people on board. it was constantly filled with drunk young adults. There were 2 hot tubs on board as well, which they enjoyed for brief periods of time. They liked the mini golf and the ping-pong as well as some of the adult activities like bingo and dancing. They hated the kids camp. Way too rigid in their schedule and age groups. My 3 all said most of the activities were boring and the ones that were interesting were too short in timing. We dropped them off so we could have some alone time enjoying the adult shows. My twins really just wanted to "hang-out" and relax - reading or play some games but they were forced to participate in a karaoke game. The staff were condescending to both the kids and to the parents. Shows and lounges: We had a great time with these. They weren't exactly stellar and certainly not to the level of Disney Cruise line but they were entertaining. The comedians were good and most of the musicians were decent. Dining: The buffets and snack areas were OK. Quick and easy to grab and go. The poolside grill had made-to-order omelets in the morning and wok meals in the afternoon. Pizza and ice cream 24hr a day. The clean up crews were amazing, always ready to clear tables as soon as people left. Dining in the main dining room was disappointing - very rushed and impersonal. It was difficult to understand our waiters and they interacted very little with the cruisers - very different from our experience on the Disney Cruise. We had asked a few different times to leave something off the plate (like mushrooms or shrimp) - mind you, these were not actually in the main plate but a side on the plate. We didn't want to "waste" food we knew we wouldn't eat but they told us they didn't adjust the plates. Everything was prepared ahead of time. That statement there gives you vision of assembly line prepared food. The food was luke warm at best, except for the soup, which I think was kept in a hot crock right in the dining room. The actual food was just fair: a 2-3 out of 5. and their desserts were down right untouchable on 3 of the 5 nights. Their best one was an apple pie, which still had a bit of an odd taste to it. Thankfully, we were seated with a very lovely family and we had a great dinner experience despite the poor service and food. Ports: Had a great time walking around Caymna. We had only a few hours there so we didn't venture beyond the port area. Hard Rock Cafe was small but had some interesting memorabilia in it. Cozumel: we had the great fortunate to be on the island on the one day in a month that it decided to downpour! We went to Chankanaab National Park. It has dolphins, sea lions, manatees, snorkeling and SCUBA / SNUBA. The excursion was just OK. The park was not well kept and the staff hospitality was lacking. But the food was very good and reasonably priced. Plenty of chairs and umbrellas. The sand was beautiful. There was no walk-in to the water however, as there was a ledge and stairs to descend. Not a big deal for us but might be for others. Once we located the prime snorkel area, we had a blast but it took several attempts of going in and out of different areas to find it. It would have been nice for the staff to direct us to the best locations. In hind sight and after talking with others who went on other excursions, I would have chosen a beach resort instead, like Playa Maya, but we had a great day anyway and got to see some amazing fish. General Staff: Aside for the dining room and the kids camp staff, everyone else we encountered were friendly and helpful. Photos: We did several of the professional photos sittings and most were excellent quality. I was very impressed. The fees are a bit more expensive than what you can get at a discount place at home but there are several backgrounds to choose from each night and you can then pick and choose. The downside is there were so many good ones, we had a hard time choosing. Summary: For what we paid, we were happy with our overall experience. We now have a better idea of what our family needs/wants to make it enjoyable for everyone. We likely will not cruise the inspiration again but we may try one of their larger ships that have more activities for the kids. More likely though, we will pay a little more and try Royal Caribbean, which is know for having more activities and better food/atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I realize I paid $80/night for this cruise, but want to warn others about the "inside inside" cabins...lol. This was my 4th cruise...took Carnival Sensation to Bahamas for 1st cruise, Holland America Baltic Sea for 2nd, Carnival ... Read More
I realize I paid $80/night for this cruise, but want to warn others about the "inside inside" cabins...lol. This was my 4th cruise...took Carnival Sensation to Bahamas for 1st cruise, Holland America Baltic Sea for 2nd, Carnival Legend 7 night W. Caribbean for 3rd, and Carnival Inspiration 5 night W Caribbean in April, 2011. I decided to do this cruise with my best friend over spring break. We got a fantastic deal @ $400 each for 5 nights with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, but should have upgraded. Embarkation easy in Tampa...do the valet parking for $15 extra. It's worth it. Got right on the ship without any delay, but didn't check sign and sail card for dining time until that evening. Had requested open dining and card said early dining. Maitre 'd switched us to another dining room at 8:00...very nice headwaiter named Stephen.Cabin had one lower twin bed and a pull-down bunk. The ladder to accesss the top bunk was very unstable so we used the chair in the room. No table, so the chair was for the small vanity. Only one electrical outlet in the cabin and one in the bathroom. I knew the cabin was going to be tiny, but my brain really didn't compute how tiny until I saw it! Good thing I was with a good friend with whom I had traveled before....Pool....small, crowded, lots of kids, but that's understandable since it was spring break.Food....I look forward to the lobster, but they just tasted "off" to me. Lido deck buffet was always crowded, running out of food, avoid if possible!Ship...ok for a Carnival ship, confusing to get from one end of the ship to the other, one side is "smoking" and the other side is "non-smoking" for the outside decks.Motion sickness...never happened before but I think I may just need to be able to see outside to avoid. Did have 10 foot waves at one point though. Guest services had motion sickness pills for $3.50.Service...dining room, great. Room service, fine. Very limited menu for room service. Staff...Stephen was fantastic headwaiter. Cabin steward rude on last night. He had picked up my bathrobe while I was at dinner and when I asked for a replacement, got rather rude saying it was the last night and he'd have to find a new one...what?! Ok for bargain cruise. If you want a great experience, stick with Holland America. Going on 7 day Alaska explorer with them in July, 2011. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I just got back from my first sailing with the Carnival Inspiration. This was also my first experience with Carnival all together. I did this sailing as a part of a group booking with a large group of friends. Now I didn't pick this ... Read More
I just got back from my first sailing with the Carnival Inspiration. This was also my first experience with Carnival all together. I did this sailing as a part of a group booking with a large group of friends. Now I didn't pick this particular cruise and I will admit that was a little skeptical about going on because Carnival has gotten a lot of bad PR lately. I had also read reviews on this site prior to sailing and they were overwhelmingly mixed. As a whole, the trip was a lot of fun because I had a great time with my friends. As for the Carnival Inspiration itself, I'll just say that it was decent.Now I will say that I actually am a pretty easy person to please. You put me in warm weather with a drink in my hands and good friends in company, and it is impossible for me to have a bad time. My only other cruise experience was with the Norwegian Gem, and I had an absolute blast on it. Just great overall satisfaction. The entire time on the Carnival Inspiration, I was struggling to find some of the same great qualities. Here's a break down: The food: Satisfying overall. No complaints here. The waitstaff were extremely friendly and warm. Can't say I didn't like any of the food, but there wasn't a meal where I was blown away.The Layout of the ship: A bit confusing. But of course, you're able to find stuff with trial and error.Just a few gripes:- The drain in our shower was clogged the whole week and filled up the whole time.- A few of the staff members (non-food service) were a bit rude to some of my friends for undeserved reasons.- Lack of entertainment and activities. For a group of 20-somethings, from 8-11 at night there was nothing to do besides the casino. The club was taken over by teens until 11 (I wish they had a separate one for them). There were only a few nights where the cover band played and the area they played wasn't exactly much of a dance area. We also wished there were more nightly game shows/activities for adults).- Pool was too small. The whole week we stayed on the back deck near the slides. My biggest gripe with that is that I wished they had music playing back there on the speakers because there wasn't any at all.- I knew the Inspiration was an older ship, but it didn't handle the motion of the ocean very well. Pretty bouncy.Other than that, it was still a fun time. But as my first Carnival experience, I just think it was a little too kid/family oriented and not that great for 20-somethings. I would say I prefer Norwegian more. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
First Carnival Cruise; five days with Tampa departure, a day in Grand Cayman and another in Cozumel, Mexico.Have done trans-Atlantics, trans-Pacific, intra-Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and now Western Caribbean cruises as a civilian. VIP ... Read More
First Carnival Cruise; five days with Tampa departure, a day in Grand Cayman and another in Cozumel, Mexico.Have done trans-Atlantics, trans-Pacific, intra-Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and now Western Caribbean cruises as a civilian. VIP program eased access, and the stateroom, with a modest balcony, provided great visibility, but a bit modest to stretch out on, maybe fine for one to sit, sideways.Recommend just taking a cab from the airport - notably less expensive for two or more, plus no need to wait, rather than taking Carnival's buses or other transportation.Struck by the number of smokers on this ship - restricted to main outdoor pool deck, starboard side - but some sneaking smokes or carrying lit cigarettes elsewhere - and didn't see a single "No Smoking" sign / symbol posted in other areas to discourage them. Some might be ignorant of the rules. Hmmm. First day had the mandatory lifeboat drill, considerably more casual than on other cruise lines I've taken - no requirement to take and don lifejackets, no demonstration of the procedures we'd have to undertake if had to board lifeboats, etc. Mostly lounging about for the "drill" to commence, and one of the crew explaining how to put on the lifejacket, to those who showed up, some straggling in.Food was fair to good in the dining rooms, with some excellent entrees and desserts. Fish entrees (eat fish but not meat) for first few days were just so so. Serving staff professional and pleasant, but seemed short-staffed compared to some cruises. Mongolian barbecue excellent, as was sandwiches to order section for lunches. First port call of Grand Cayman - Recommend just go to the landing area and join a tour on your own. Estimate we saved about 50% compared to what the Carnival tour would have cost (though did not snorkel/beach), and traveled to Seven Mile Beach, Rum Cake Store, Cayman Turtle Farm ($10 US admission), one of the taller buildings overlooking downtown area that provided a vista, and drove to town of Hell before spending time walking around downtown. Arrived in Cozumel. As a prior Navy officer I noted that at least two "rat guards" designed to prevent rats from climbing ropes (lines that secure the ship to the pier) onto the ship were not properly placed. Probably not a big concern in broad daylight at the end of a long pier, but another example of lack of attention to detail. Heard from others that it was advisable to take a number of the excursions on your own- greater flexibility, and lower cost. One potential downside - If you are on a ship-sponsored tour and are delayed the ship will wait for you. Went to Chankanaab ($10 taxi ride) with intent of doing the dolphin swim but just enjoyed the beach as well as sea lion entertainment, and tour of the dolphin pens. May be about the same to attend through ship tour as on your own. Snorkel and fin rental $12. Then went to main square of Cozumel by cab ($17) and enjoyed walking around, taking a look at shops, etc. Would probably spend more time in town if go there on a subsequent visit.Shipboard shows excellent - shows by the entertainment crew and a top-notch Grand Cayman-based comedian were especially good. Varied talent shows by passengers, trivia, etc. rounded it out. The ship's Cruise Director is definitely one of Carnival's strongest assets - a professional with a sense of humor and poise as well. Gym had very good facilities with plenty of treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, etc. Attended what consider a rather hokey presentation on "detox" provided in the gym by one of the trainers - basically a push for an algae-based program for sale aboard ship. Anyone wanting to get trimmed down was advised that exercising and diet were not nearly as important as detoxing their liver and colon, and if you're in your 30s you've got about 30 pounds of toxins in your body, in your 40s, about 40 pounds, etc. As a board-certified health care provider, and consumer, I don't think Carnival is well served by having such presentations. Returned to Tampa a few hours ahead of taking a flight and would strongly recommend walking the few blocks to see Tampa's History Museum. Adjacent to the landing point is an information center where you can store your bags ($7) and arrange a van to take you to the airport. People there were very, very helpful. They also recommended activities in the area that could enjoy prior to returning from Tampa. We walked a few blocks to the excellent History Museum. Aquarium is just across the street from the landing point, and there is a trolley that can take you to a number of other sites. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
.....That said, this was certainly not our finest cruise experience. This was our 7th cruise, the 6th on Carnival. We had a small group of 10 adults to celebrate a family milestone, and the group included some first time cruisers. Although ... Read More
.....That said, this was certainly not our finest cruise experience. This was our 7th cruise, the 6th on Carnival. We had a small group of 10 adults to celebrate a family milestone, and the group included some first time cruisers. Although everyone had fun, we were disappointed on several levels, including the cabin, the service and the dining experience. The biggest detractor was the terrible embarkation melee and being delayed 8 hours. If this had been my first Carnival cruise I'm not sure I would be all that excited to re-book with Carnival. Embarkation Nightmare Ship was significantly delayed getting into Tampa from the previous sailing due to fog, and did not arrive in port until 6:00 PM. Meanwhile we were sitting in the cruise terminal for 8 hours with very little information forthcoming. We were not able to board until 9:30 PM, and the ship did not sail until 12:30 AM. This certainly put a damper on festivities! Carnival issued each person a $40 credit, which seems a little stingy, considering we missed out on half a day. Micro-Cabin This is the smallest cabin we have ever had. We had an interior cabin, which is usually no problem for us. But I am telling you, this cabin was small! With the beds pushed together to make a king, there was not enough room to pull out the stool to sit at the dresser. There was only one outlet in the entire cabin, located on the dresser. The issue was that it was so small it would not accommodate the larger plug-ins that are common on newer hair dryers, etc. So, I could not use my hair dryer the entire trip - bad hair! Dining Ho-Hum For dinner we had late seating in the Mardi Gras dining room. Service was simply OK - not stellar. Food choices were routine, nothing different. Food was prepared very well. We purchased a wine package which was a pretty good deal. However, one of our selections was not to our liking (a terrible Sauvignon Blanc that tasted like green apples!). Unlike a normal restaurant where you can send back the wine, they would not let us return it. So we were stuck with wine we couldn't drink. Breakfast service in the dining room was lacking - several times we actually got up, found the coffee pot, and poured refills for the entire table. Nice Pool/Serenity Area The pool area was very nice. Big problem with chair hogs, with no intervention from staff. I finally removed towels that had been saving chairs for over 2 hours. Could never score a chair in the Serenity Area. The poolside activities were "same ol'-same ol'" - nothing new or different. Anemic Service Service in general was lackadaisical. Exceptions: our room steward was wonderful, and the bar servers on the pool deck were terrific. But, generally-speaking, we were not bowled over. An example of the tepid service: we were trying to get to the Serenity Retreat, and couldn't seem to find the right elevator. I asked several employees and did not receive one solid, helpful response! One staff member said "Yesterday was my first day - I don't know". Not one person offered to find someone who could, in fact, help us. I encountered 2 staff members in the photography display area who were downright rude. De-embarkation: Well Done We were very impressed with the speed and efficiency. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Sail Date: Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2011. Port of Tampa Dropped off by neighbors, nice 35 minute drive to port. Makes it nice living close. Embark: Easy and nice. Found VIP section, presented documents while sitting down, and ... Read More
Sail Date: Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2011. Port of Tampa Dropped off by neighbors, nice 35 minute drive to port. Makes it nice living close. Embark: Easy and nice. Found VIP section, presented documents while sitting down, and escorted to waiting area. About 1/2 hour wait, entered ship at 11:45. We always head up to Lido deck and check out the bar. Met a very friendly bartender by the name of Sean. Excellent Mud Slide. Told me to come back and get a chocolate martini, I did...very good. Waited for our friends from Hudson, Florida coming by bus. First time on 5 day cruise. Didn't think it would be long enough...it was. Still prefer the 7-8 day cruises. Nice cruise, smooth waters, Stephanie did a great job as our CD. Islands: Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Two of my favorites. Grand Cayman is known for it's beautiful water, turtle farm and 7-mile beach. I prefer the beach and we just grab a shuttle by the pier and have them take us to the beach. Have been there quite a few times, so this trip we just shopped the front shops and ended up at Margaritaville for drinks. In Cozumel, also have been there many times...just shopped the main area (which is great)...stopped at the drugstore and bought drugs...lol, antibiotic, etc. Ended our day at Fat Tuesdays for drinks. For 1st timers, snorkeling is great and getting a cab and going downtown for shopping. Ship: Old, no frills, atrium is small with 3 colored neon strips going around it, theater is small, one pool and it's packed. No chairs available in Serenity area, casino small and old machines (best slots were the "Hot Shots") BUT plenty of tables for table players. Drinks at the bar are expensive, $6.61 for a beer and anywhere from $6 to 9 for mixed drinks. Room: Inside room, Main Deck, aft. Had inside room this trip, small, needed more shelves in bathroom and makeup mirror. Also, there is no hairdryer, so bring one from home. I did but a lot of people didn't. This has been the only Carnival ship I have been on that didn't have a hair dryer or refrigerator. They do provide soda in the room, six cans which you can trade out for what you drink. Just tell your room Stewart. Large water is also provided in the room for a cost. Soda is $2.24...water around $4.50. Placed on your counter..warm. Ask Stewart for ice twice a day. Beds and pillows are good, and great duvet covers...triple sheeted. Enough closet, drawer & shelf space. Only one plug. If you need more, I brought a power strip with 3 outlets. I have sleep apnea machine and heating pad. Bathroom is small but do-able. Shower is nice with shampoo and body wash dispensers. Room was kept clean. Food: food was just so so (I didn't have to cook, so it was great), miss the good steaks. They do have flat iron steak but it's not very good. The Chocolate Melting Cake is still wonderful. Bread and desserts are great. We tried the "Your Time Dining" and loved it. Will do it again. The only wait we had was for one minute. Always asked for a seat by the window and got it. We order coffee in the morning in our room and the room service was excellent. Cannot beat the 24-hour pizza and wonderful grilled hamburgers and fries by the pool area. Regarding the VIP status...NO BIG DEAL. Sent really bad appetizers to room, we put them outside our door. VIP status for tenders....couldn't find signs for VIP..left with others for island. Never received the free gift which is a picture frame. The best VIP gift....free slot tournament...didn't win but placed. Last words: Don't think I'll do an old ship again. If you are cruising for the first time, you will love it because you don't know any better. I will stick to the newer ships. Was on Carnival's Dream last December and she is wonderful. Glory, Miracle, Liberty and Legend and great Carnival ships. For the price...this was a very good deal and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
My wife and I drove to Tampa to go on a quick trip with her sister and husband. Boarding & parking was easy. There is a parking garage right across from the pier and an aquarium which makes a great pre cruise stop. Our cabin ... Read More
My wife and I drove to Tampa to go on a quick trip with her sister and husband. Boarding & parking was easy. There is a parking garage right across from the pier and an aquarium which makes a great pre cruise stop. Our cabin was suitable and the attendant was a very friendly man from Jamaica. (Robert I think). I've cruised on other lines before and once on Carnival so I knew what to expect. The food was ok, nothing spectacular, I didn't expect much from a low budget cruise. Typical buffet fare on Lido deck, the food in the dining room was a bit better. I think the staff though is overworked, our waiter was always running around and seemed stressed. The production show was a little cheesy but enjoyable. Saw a few of the comedy club shows. I enjoyed the family shows more than the adult ones. I'm not a prude but I don't need to hear the F bomb every 10 seconds nor do I need to hear a guy talk about a woman's' anatomy in intimate detail. The cruise director was Stephanie Meads who I found to be a total phony. I hate when people think they are funny and laugh at their own jokes. My wife asked her a question in the lobby about an excursion and she very curtly referred her to the excursion desk. I was surprised by her response, maybe she was having a bad day. When I mentioned her attitude to the excursion staffer he said she was just filling in for the real cruise director. Cozumel is always fun to visit, we did the snorkel tour then took a cab downtown for some real Mexican food. All in all it was not a bad trip for the money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My 10th cruise, my husband's 6th cruise, my oldest child's 4th cruise, and my youngest child's 1st cruise. Our travel agent did not tell us there were any large groups booking this cruise. There were 1300 mostly teen-aged ... Read More
My 10th cruise, my husband's 6th cruise, my oldest child's 4th cruise, and my youngest child's 1st cruise. Our travel agent did not tell us there were any large groups booking this cruise. There were 1300 mostly teen-aged girls and their families with the Barbizon modeling agency competing in front of agents & scouts. They occupied most spaces with "private functions" as were we told by the signs posted at most public rooms. I felt regular activities/programming were light due to the group having their own agenda and using the spaces. Service was pretty good most of the time. Exceptions were the breakfast and lunch open dining in the Mardi Gras dining room. The hostess often ignored requests to be seated at a table for 2 more people so that people we were traveling with could join us as soon as they arrived in the dining room (typically about 5 minutes later). One morning she moved us to another table after we ordered breakfast and our items did not arrive before the dining room closed. Bar service was sometimes slow at the bar at the bottom of the atrium with only one bartender and a lot of guests. There are push-buttons for bar service in the Serenity deck area which indicated bar service within 3 minutes of pushing the button, but sometimes that went ignored. We sailed in two adjoining staterooms, R130 & R134 so that we could avoid bunk beds and have additional space. Our travel agent booked one adult in each room and one child in each room. Carnival changed it to two adults in one room and two small children in the second room. We kept the children's keys so that we could access both rooms from the outside. (This also created problems at dinner as we were assigned a different (adjacent) dining table than that of our children. We were able to switch with people to correct the issue.) The cabin steward did not set up the beds correctly when we first arrived. Cabin R130's bed was setup together against the adjoining door so that we could not open it to connect the cabins. To keep the beds together there was no good way to position the beds that would not block the adjoining door. Food in the dining room was ok but not great. Lobster tail was not broiled and was served a little limp/soggy. The NY Deli on the Lido deck was great for fresh-made sandwiches. We were a little disappointed there were no made-to-order omelet stations or anything like that and there was no major late-night buffet. One night there was a mexican buffet out by the pool. Both children participated in the children's programs. They were better than on past cruises. All children had to wear a wristband with muster station letter (regardless of program participation) and they actually had a plan for children in case of disaster. Another first for us. For our 3 year old, we had to carry a large phone with us throughout the cruise (whether she was in the children's room or not), but they never needed to call us. We did not want them to feed our children (and they push you to not leave your children during meals) but we wish they kept the playroom open during mealtime so that we could feed the kids earlier at the Lido ourselves and bring them to activities before we ate dinner. It would have given us, our wait staff, and our fellow diners more sanity! The 2-5 group stayed in the playroom and the 6-8 group varied location depending on the activity. The casino was fun but there weren't a lot of variety of slot machines. The floor plan was very open. Not a lot of information was published ahead of time - most announcements were on the screens of the slot machines the day/evening they occurred - so we missed fun events like the slot tournament. Disembarkation - fastest we have ever had on a cruise Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We cruised with friends, and this was their first cruise and our second one. Our cabin was small but ok. We saw our cabin steward once the entire trip. We ordered gifts for the kids to be placed on the beds upon arrival & they were all ... Read More
We cruised with friends, and this was their first cruise and our second one. Our cabin was small but ok. We saw our cabin steward once the entire trip. We ordered gifts for the kids to be placed on the beds upon arrival & they were all wrong and that was a disappointing way to start. We were unhappy that all the whirlpools were closed and that the water slide was out of commission most of the trip. I complained, but there was nothing they could do about it. Many of the programs we showed up for did not happen (I later found out that the entertainment director was battling illness the entire trip) but it left us frustrated. We thought the food was ok, but we had open seating and it was very slow. One night it took us almost 3 hours to get through our meal and we missed a show. Our Cozumel excursion was changed at the last minute, and again we had no warning or choice in the matter. Camp Carnival (which was supposed to be a free child-watching service) had an unexpected "special party" charge of $25 per child on the one or two nights we wanted to use it, so we said no thanks. We never got a chance to sit outside the one working pool because deck chairs were all gone by 8:00 a.m. The MOST frustrating part was the college drunks...we were told that spring break started the following week which is why we opted to take our kids out of school and go the week we did. Unfortunately, there were about 40 or 50 (?) kids who decided to take a week off of college and spend it completely drunk and obnoxious. They were "almost" kicked off the ship a few times. Too bad it didn't happen. I didn't feel comfortable letting my 11 & 12 year old go around the ship alone because of them. Listening to beer bottle bowling outside of our cabin at 2:00 am is not fun. On the good side, we did manage to still have a memorable time because we made that decision before we left. We enjoyed the scenery and the shows, we did enjoy our excursions, the food was acceptable, and I do have to say that the dining room staff treated us like royalty. We had things (cakes, drinks, chocolate covered strawberries, etc.) unexpectedly delivered to our table each night; and we really enjoyed Joseph, our Maitre D'. We'll cruise again, but I doubt it will be on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
First some background - my husband and I are in our mid 40s. This was our 14th cruise (2nd on Carnival, 2 on Celebrity, 10 on NCL). We booked this cruise because of the price and also because it left from Tampa. My husband was in Lakeland ... Read More
First some background - my husband and I are in our mid 40s. This was our 14th cruise (2nd on Carnival, 2 on Celebrity, 10 on NCL). We booked this cruise because of the price and also because it left from Tampa. My husband was in Lakeland to see the Tigers at Spring training the week before (GO TIGERS!). Monday we drove to Tampa and dropped off our car at the rental agency. From there we caught the Carnival bus to the pier (yes, I know a taxi is cheaper but my husband prefers the cruise line transport). We were the oldest people on the bus and that was without a doubt. We had unwittingly booked a Spring Break Cruise! Embarkation was a breeze. We did have to wait for them to call Zones, but we were on the ship by noon with probably a half hour wait from being dropped off at the pier to boarding the ship. We begin by eating on the Lido deck. To our surprise the pools and hot tubs were all closed. Generally we have been able to use the facilities as soon as we have boarded. The buffet was uninspired but hey, we are on a cruise - who cares! I will summarize the rest of the cruise into three categories, good, bad and ugly. I will tell you that we had a great time! I have never been on a "bad" cruise - however, like everyone we have opinions and preferences. The Good - Carnival staff is incredibly friendly. We did not meet one staff person in the hallway, in a restaurant, on deck, anywhere that did not smile and say hello. Very refreshing given the current state of most service industries. That was wonderful. The ship was VERY CLEAN, including our cabin. Never once had any request or heard any request go unfulfiled. Our cabin, E21, was a large inside cabin. Cabin was nicely furnished and very spacious. Only our third time in an inside and we really enjoyed it. Our ports of call were okay - we have been to both several times. In Grand Cayman we went on a jet ski tour with Action Watersports. Very fun - but even though this tour is recommended for kids I would not take children who are not strong swimmers. Cozumel we looked around the touristy area at the pier and bought some souvenirs (word to the wise - don't try to take hot sauce on an airplane - it is over the 3.4 ounces allowed). Our table mates were a lot of fun. We actually sat with a Elvis impersonator. We enjoyed everyone's company at our table and that was great! The comedian on board - hilarous - however, definitely R rated. I did appreciate how Carnival warns everyone that some shows are not appropriate for children and sensitive people. The Ugly - Not enough deck chairs! Carnival has a lovely area on this ship called Serenity. Beautiful, quiet and adults only. However, not anywhere even enough chairs. Even on the main pool deck - not enough chairs. Friday (a sea day) every chair was "taken" by 7:30 am. There is room for more chairs not sure why there aren't more. Especially on fully booked trips. The drink prices are outrageous! Way more than land drink prices. I realize that they have a captive audience but still!!!! The Plain Bad - the food was awful. Cheap, unimaginative and often cold. I realize that this is an inexpensive cruise, but there is no excuse for food this bad. Even hospital food is better. We ate mostly appetizers and those were normally pretty good. Watch out for the flat iron steak and the Chateaubriand. Both are pretty scary. Overall, a good week! We would sail with Carnival again, if the price was right like this trip. The Spring Breakers were amusing (especially at pool games). We did not experience any problems with the Spring Breakers and they all seemed to be having a good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was our first cruise. I was worried that I would feel "trapped" on a boat, but everyone I talked to said "NO WAY!! The boat is so huge you will never feel like that." Well, I did. There really wasn't much to ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I was worried that I would feel "trapped" on a boat, but everyone I talked to said "NO WAY!! The boat is so huge you will never feel like that." Well, I did. There really wasn't much to do other than sit around on the deck and eat and drink. Which was nice and relaxing, but got old. I was very disappointed that all of the things that I looked forward to the most, didn't really happen like I thought they would. The water slides were slow and on the other side of the ship from where the pool is, so we barely used them. I was looking forward to Karaoke and checked every night and there were hardly any people ever there (maybe 10 at the most). I was looking forward to dancing in the 'clubs' and those were pretty much empty every night also. I was very excited about the sushi bar, but that turned out to only be open from 530-8pm... which was when we were at dinner every night. We did get it one night and they give you around 3 pieces at a time, not even a full roll. I was excited about all the food I kept hearing about too, but it was really like having to eat at a buffet every day, nothing special except that chocolate melting cake, which was SO good! The kids were excited about Camp Carnival and Circle C, neither lived up to what they were hoping for. Camp Carnival is in a VERY SMALL area. They had fun when they were there, but we kinda had to force them to go whereas before we left, they informed us that they were never going to see us because they were going to be having fun at Camp Carnival. Circle C is just a place for tweens to meet each other, then they come and go as they please... so from what I saw, they would meet up at Circle C for 5 seconds and then all spend the evening running wild around all over the ship, which my daughter did have a blast doing, but I think she was hoping for a little more structured fun and games. I know it sounds like we had a terrible time, and I have to reiterate that we REALLY didn't, it was a very fun, relaxing week. It just didn't live up to my expectations at all and isn't the kind of vacation that I would want to do again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Our cruise was the 5 day Carnival Inspiration out of Tampa. Last summer we had taken a 12 day Carnival Mediterranean cruise on the Freeedom and enjoyed it very much. We expected this cruise to be an equally enjoyable experience. We arrived ... Read More
Our cruise was the 5 day Carnival Inspiration out of Tampa. Last summer we had taken a 12 day Carnival Mediterranean cruise on the Freeedom and enjoyed it very much. We expected this cruise to be an equally enjoyable experience. We arrived at the port about noon and it took about an hour to make our way through the check-in process. By about 1:15 we were eating lunch in the buffet area on the Lido deck. Our first hint of anything "off" was when we entered our stateroom and found that there were 2 pullman beds on the wall. One was right over our own bed, about 18 inches above it in fact. This meant that we were unable to sit on our bed to read or watch TV. All we could do was lay flat in the bed. This was an immediate disappointment. The carpet in the room was dirty and upon entering the bathroom, I found several beige drips on the toilet seat. It was kind of like finding we had booked a sleazy motel room. But at least our luggage arrived fairly early and we left Tampa on time. Even though we had booked the cruise well ahead of time, we were assigned to "your time" dining because the 6:15 time was completely booked and we didn't want the late dining time. While this has some advantages as far as flexibility, this meant that we missed the pleasure of having an assigned table and wait staff who knew us. Every night we were in a different place, usually seated with other people with whom we made small talk. The food was fair at best, usually arriving lukewarm, never hot. The maitre'd (Ramesh) made a habit of coming to each table every night in an ingratiating manner asking how our day was, although he didn't seem to invite a real conversation. The entertainment was lackluster at best. The opening night was a complete re-hash of what we had seen last summer on our first cruise with audience members made to drop a spoon on a string down their clothes. Other events were also the same, such as the marriage show where identical questions were posed to several couples (passengers). There were 2 comedians and they were the best part of the entertainment; the magician was just pathetic. The cruise director seemed to be on auto-pilot and his jokes were even repeats of what we had heard last summer. Everywhere we went on the ship we seemed to have to walk through or around smokers or smoking areas. We would have liked to try out the casino but the smell of smoke was overpowering. Ditto for some of the lounges and bars and the entire starboard side of the outdoor portion of the Lido deck. But all this pales in comparison to what took place on our last "fun day at sea". We were seated under the overhang on the adults-only Serenity Deck which was much too small an area to accommodate the people who wanted to use it. The weasther was overcast with some waves, but we seemed to have less motion sickness out in the fresh air, so we stayed outside. No one from Carnival warned anyone on this outdoor deck that the ship was about to hit a storm. With no warning, the ship suddenly leaned heavily to the starboard side and the hot tubs began to spill over. An announcement was made on the PA system that this was normal and due to heavy winds on the port side. All of a sudden it began to rain and what seemed like gale-force wind began to blow. Everyone who was not under the overhang ran inside shrieking. The wind was so strong that furniture began to blow around the deck. All of the seat cushions flew into the air, some of them going overboard. The market umbrellas were all bent backwards and one of them snapped and broke. Those of us who were still on the Serenity deck were huddled against the back wall hoping not to be hit by flying furniture or worse yet, to be blown overboard ourselves. No one on the ship even mentioned this "weather incident". All we heard about it was an announcement that people should take care while the outdoor decks were wet. The most enjoyable part of the cruise was the speed at which we were able to self-disembark. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We went on a cruise of the western Caribbean on 2/8. It was our first cruise. It was a wedding cruise for my brother and his bride. The wedding was beautiful in the Paris Lounge. The coordinators were great. The photographer took gorgeous ... Read More
We went on a cruise of the western Caribbean on 2/8. It was our first cruise. It was a wedding cruise for my brother and his bride. The wedding was beautiful in the Paris Lounge. The coordinators were great. The photographer took gorgeous pictures. The reception was in the Candlelight Lounge. The food was delicious and the ice sculpture was lovely. It was very romantic to see my brother and new sister-in-law sailing away into the sunset. The seas were VERY rough. We wore patches the whole time, but still had waves of nausea. We had a day of withdrawal from them when we returned. The Grand Caymans were fantastic and we would return there by plane. We took the excursion to the Ruins of Tulum through the cruise line. It is an excellent excursion, but bring your bug spray and expect to spend time at a rest stop which is an upscale tourist trap. Prices are better there than at Carmen del Playa. The ferry ride over is really rough. The bus nearly left us in Tulum. The road was not marked to return to the parking lot and we took the wrong one. There were no signs, but it just so happened there were 3 taxis at the end of it - in the middle of no where. The entire time at sea was rough. The boat was hit broad side by a 69 mph wind. No warning was given by the ships crew to get off the decks. The cabin and dining room staff was very courteous and we were well care for. The food was good, but not exceptional. More details on our cabin - it was very nice and comfortable. We were on the Empress deck - aft with a port window. Wayon kept our room spotless BUT there was a door to the adjoining cabin and we could hear everything! It felt like we had a third person in our bed every night snoring! We will not go on another cruise and we will never go to Mexico again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We are a couple in our early 60's, this was our 18th cruise, our 3rd with Carnival. We arrived in Tampa the day before sailing and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City, making use of their cruise stay/parking package. The weather ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60's, this was our 18th cruise, our 3rd with Carnival. We arrived in Tampa the day before sailing and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City, making use of their cruise stay/parking package. The weather was miserable as it was during the cold spell, but the hotel had a nice warm shuttle that got us wherever we needed to go! We particularly enjoyed the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Embarkation weather wasn't much better, but the cruiseline can't control that. They CAN, however, control the embarkation process and this one was chaotic. When we arrived around 12:30 p.m. the line snaked around outside the terminal, the security checkpoints were not working properly and had to be stopped every so often. This contributed to the time standing in line to check in and our wait to do so was over an hour and a half. Once on board we explored the ship while we waited for the cabins to be opened - that did not happen until after 2:00 p.m.! Overall, we found the ship to be a bit gaudy and chopped up, but clean and well-maintained. The staff were rather impersonal and many had difficulties communicating in English. The one bright spot was the gentlemen monitoring the Internet cafe - he was very helpful and most always on duty. We're not picky people and always make the most of our cruises regardless of the little issues that sometimes crop up, but we were terribly disappointed in this cruise overall. Our main bone of contention was the smoking! We normally enjoy the entertainment in the lounges on our cruises, particularly the piano bars, but we were not able to utilize three of the lounges on this ship due to them being smoking-friendly. We did enjoy the entertainer in the Violins Bar, Jerry Yuzon. We were disappointed on two occasions trying to attend shows in the show lounge as there were no seats available following Bingo. Overall, we felt the food was average, our waitress and assistant waiter did their jobs but made no effort to learn our names or preferences. There were several miscues with entrees but no apologies or offers of replacements. The announcements by our George the Greek during dinner detracted from the overall ambiance and became rather annoying. We heartily believe that a cruise is much better than being at work so we can honestly say we did enjoy ourselves - especially at the ports of call. Going forward, however, Carnival will not be our first choice as a cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Unfortunatly at cruise time I was in a walking cast, and as needed I used a wheelchair which reflects on some of our opinions. Most of the time on ship I did not need the wheelchair. This is not our first cruise, but our first on ... Read More
Unfortunatly at cruise time I was in a walking cast, and as needed I used a wheelchair which reflects on some of our opinions. Most of the time on ship I did not need the wheelchair. This is not our first cruise, but our first on Carnival Cruise Line, we have been on 6 previous cruises. And enjoyed them all. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was easy and quick as wheelchaired people get carte blanc treatment. Once you are onboard getting around on foot proved to be a trying task, the layout of the ship and the routes one must take to get from one end to the other requires detours, stairs, deadends and no logical layout of the ship is available in the form of a map. The floors are both named and numbered. But when something is going on, for instance, the Lido Deck, they don't tell you what floor number they are on, it would be much easier if they would just say deck 10. Rather than the Lido Deck in the activity guide. The Cabin was nice and spacious with ample closet space and lighting, however the shower curtain was stained and the cabin curtains were falling off of the curtain rod whenever you open or closed them. There was no hair dryer, but all I had to do was call the cabin steward and he brought one to our room. The Cabin Stewart was curtious and was there for our every need. He was probably the most helpful person on board. The one night we were really looking forward to was the Lobster Dinner night, which they chose to make a formal dinning event, not having a suite Jacket or a formal dress we went without lobster. Only to find out later that people were dinning in less than casual attire. On other cruise lines, when they say formal, they will not let you in unless dressed accordingly. The rest of our dinning was at the buffet which we found excellent in food taste, and variety. The food was hot and tastey. One night they did run out of Prime Rib at 7pm when the bufffet is open till 9:30, other than that we give it a big thumbs up. But you do have to look around the entire dinning area for each food station to see the true variety available. The seating was tight and hard to manuver around while holding a tray of food and drink, more than one tray was dropped or knocked off of the table. ACTIVITIES: Besides the hairy chest contest, and an occasional band on the top deck, there wasn't much to do, the pool and hottubs are so small and crowded that we could not get in them. Kids ran rampant all over the ship, teenagers hogged the hottub for hours all afternoon. No supervison seemed to care. There was plenty of seating to relax at, but forget trying to use the pools. This ship was supposed to have been refurbished to the tune of $30 Million dollars, but don't ask me where these improvments were, the railing were rusty, the buttons in the elevators were unreadable, the artrium was small compared to other ships we have been on, and offered very little in shops and merchandise. And construction was going on all over in various locations while at sea, you had to backtrack around these areas. ITINERARY: Our reason for this cruise was its itinerary, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. For the amount of time you actually spent in Grand Cayman, when you subtract the time it takes you to get off the ship by tender (shuttle boat), and the need to return and hour before sailing, your actual time on shore is about 5 hours. Hardly enough time to do anything. People with shore excursions, bought on board, have first preference off the ship, leaving the casual traveler waiting in line to disembark the ship. So what was listed as an 8am-3pm stop turns into a 9:30am-2:00pm visit, as the last shuttle back to the ship leaves at 2pm, this leaves you looking at your watch as you visit the beach, it was a beautiful place, I only wish we had more time in port to enjoy it. Cozumel: Walking from the ship to the main dock seemed like a mile, I am glad we took the wheelchair. We had from 11am-8pm, you are alloted there, unfortunatly we had a rain storm and it cut our shore excursion short, and had to return to the ship, but this of course was not Carnivals fault. The dock does provide some shops and resturants. But downtown ($4.00 cab ride)is where we would of liked to of gone if it had not of began to storm, so we really cannot comment more. It seems to me Carnival is more interested in keeping you on the ship as long as possible than they are getting you to your destination and giving you time to enjoy them. Other cruise lines we checked after we got home alloted you much more time in both of these ports. The 2 fun days at sea could of been shortened to 1 fun day at sea to give you more time in port. It seems Carnival is more interested in selling you drinks than they are in your vacation. The endless bombardment of "would you like a drink" or "are you ready for another" inspite of the fact you had told them repeatidly NO, seemed to never end. Other cruise lines we have traveled on, seem to offer much more in the way of hospitality, courtesy and crew availibilty to answer questions and to direct you around the ship. Carnivals crew, it seemed you were bothering them if you interrupted them between the conversations they were having between themselfs. Guest services/information desk was less than guest friendly. While I believe in giving people a second chance, I will choose a different ship, as the Inspiration did not inspire me to cruise them again Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration on Nov 30, 2009. Forget what the boards say, you cannot park your car in the garage before 10:30 am on the day of sailing, nor can you drop your bags off before 10:30. Since we live in Tampa, that ... Read More
We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration on Nov 30, 2009. Forget what the boards say, you cannot park your car in the garage before 10:30 am on the day of sailing, nor can you drop your bags off before 10:30. Since we live in Tampa, that was no big deal--we just had to wait 15 min or so. We have VIP status, so embarkation was a snap. We had to wait on a wedding party, but VIP's were the next to board. We were having lunch on the Lido deck by 11:30 am. Cabins were not ready until 1:30, but I think that is normal. We were surprised that our bags were delivered by about 2:30pm; the cabin steward(Jia, who was very good) said that was because we had priority status because of the VIP. We booked this only 2-3 weeks prior to sailing, so we did not have a lot of choices on cabins, but it was ok. We are used to verandah's but had an outside cabin this time. The ship has been refurbished, although we did not notice much difference except the bathroom, which was fine. Our cabin, M 63, had a king, plus two fold down bunk beds(which we did not use, but they took up space, so we did not have a sofa--a major pain). Don't get bunk beds unless you need them, because you will hit your head on one of them when you are trying to sit up in the bed. First Carnival ship I have been on since the Mardi Gras a zillion years ago that did not have a mini bar in the cabin. We don't use the mini bar except to keep our wine cool! Carnival does allow you to bring one bottle of wine per person on board legally, but you can bring more if you pack it in your checked luggage--think boxed wine! Life boat drill: a complete joke and, in my opinion, dangerous and stupid. I cannot believe that the US coast guard allows this. You no longer have to get your life jacket and report to the boarding deck for the life boats. Now you go to a lounge(without your life jacket) where they explain things for about 15 minutes, and then you go to the boarding deck. If the ship is sinking, I sure am not going to any lounge to wait on idiots to get there. We know how to put on a life jacket, but I bet a lot of first time cruisers do not. Carnival no longer has a "Formal" night; now they have elegant nights, which was a joke. Carnival does not enforce a dress code. On "elegant" night there were people(mainly red necks) dressed in shorts in the main dining room, although Carnival plainly states: no shorts in the dining room. The maitre'd sure did nothing about it, although it is his responsibility. Captains party: a complete joke--they make you buy your own drinks rather than give them to you as in the past; they do give you a dollar off--big deal. We skipped it. On the last night of the cruise there is a short party where they give you free drinks(but you are lucky if you get 2 of them). Guess Carnival is cutting back on freebies! Entertainment: excellent for the 2 shows we saw: the show "Shout" was fantastic. Being older folks, we could not stay awake until midnight to see some of them! We had lunch on the Lido deck--always good food, especially the seafood, but Carnival needs to get its act together: no trays by the salad bar, no spoons by the ice cream station. Seafood was fantastic in the dining room at dinner. Only had one steak and it was great. Breakfast on the Lido was ok but they never varied the menu except to have grits one day and oatmeal the next day. Breakfast was not nearly as good as breakfasts on Holland America or Celebrity. We never had breakfast or lunch in the dining room, so cannot comment on that. Grand Cayman: we have been there so many times, we did not take a tour--just walked to some of the shops downtown. Booze is lower priced here vs. the ship. At one shop they were offering a free 2 lb rum cake if you bought $25 worth of booze; that was a no brainer since the price was $1-2 bucks per bottle cheaper than the ship and you got a free cake(worth $20), plus they delivered the booze to the ship. Cozumel: we did not take a tour since we have been there so many times. We did take a taxi downtown and checked out some of the shops. If you are interested in silver jewelry, be careful. Some of the shops tell you it is real silver, but it does NOT have .925 stamped on it. Don't buy it. T-shirts are a deal at 5 for $10, vs 2 for $20 on the ship! Cost of the taxi to downtown is $7 per taxi(1-4 people), so maybe the T shirts weren't such a deal after all!!! But you can buy Corona beer for a buck if you get off the main road!! Great towels and linens in the cabin; much better than on the Celebrity Constellation that we were on last year. Staff was very friendly. Some not too efficient tho: Several of us tried to enter a putting contest and no one from Carnival showed up to conduct it. Past guest party: very nice; free booze! Art auction: basically a rip off, but you do get free champagne. You can buy art on line a heck of a lot cheaper( like 75% less in many cases) than at the Park West auctions on the ship. For example, a Pino print on canvas (s/n) on line would cost $300-400 or so, but would cost $1500-2000 on board. Debarkation: fairly easy since we had VIP status and could get off first since we had opted to roll our own luggage off the ship. There is always some idiot who does not go through immigration like they are supposed to and delays debarkation, and this was no exception. Fortunately this time, Carnival identified them by name and they finally got the message. Bottom line: great seafood, nice weather, smooth sailing(even though we had 35 mph winds at times). We were amazed at the number of kids on board since most every where school is in session. Except for them running up and down the halls, it was not a major problem. Overall, we would give the Inspiration a rating of 3 on a 1-5 scale, but would give the seafood a 5! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I will probably never go on "Inspiration" again.  Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze at Tampa though. I've been on a couple of Royal Carribean cruises and had a blast so this wasn't my first cruise.  First ... Read More
I will probably never go on "Inspiration" again.  Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze at Tampa though. I've been on a couple of Royal Carribean cruises and had a blast so this wasn't my first cruise.  First off, unless you have kids I would recommend going during the school season.  They have a very small pool and was always crowded.  The rooms were pretty good size(no complaints there).  The food was not that good at all, not even close to the other cruises I've been on.  I guess for the price of the cruise it wasn't bad.  The desserts were the best part of the meal.  The pizza bar would of been ok but the crust for their pizza was salty(can't figure that one out).  The pizza bar is open 24 hours though.  The waiters and Maitre'd were awesome.  They made the evening dining experience good.  Breakfast was the best meal of the day.  No complaints there in any of the places to eat for breakfast.  For lunch I would recommend the hamburger and hotdog line outside.  I would rate the buffet lunch inside better then the dinner in any of the dining rooms.  The food in the buffet was so so.  The salad bar was very good as well as the desserts at lunch time.  Now for the night life.  Once again I'm going to compain about the kids.  I have nothing against kids, but there should be a curfew for them.  Once all the kids left then it was ok, but they didn't leave till almost midnight.  The shows were pretty good.  I wouldn't recommend the comedy shows though.  Boring.  The karaoke was good, as well as the piano bars.  They do have areas specifically for the kids, don't know why they let them hang out around the club areas and the Karaoke bars.  The ship size is not that big, so expect alot of movement.  Definitely wear a patch or take some dramamine. You'd think I was drunk sometimes, and I don't even drink.  Overall for the first time cruiser and those wishing to take their kids this cruise would be great.  I guess I shouldn't complain to much, the price was pretty good.  For the more experienced cruiser I would not recommendthis cruise at all.  Overall the excursions at Cozumel were not bad.  The water in Cozumel is absolutely beautiful.  If you scuba dive I would recommend going to the Grand Caymans.  If you like to snorkel I would stay away from Cozumel, you will be disappointed.  Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
The Inspiration was my first cruise ship so I don't have another one to compare it to.   So, everyone may have had a different experience and opinion but I will be as honest as I can possibly be.  This was a special anniversary ... Read More
The Inspiration was my first cruise ship so I don't have another one to compare it to.   So, everyone may have had a different experience and opinion but I will be as honest as I can possibly be.  This was a special anniversary cruise for my husband and I.  Leaving from Tampa on 04/25/09 to ports of call in Grand Cayman & Cozumel and returning to Tampa on 04/30/09.The ship only has one small swimming pool, which is most of the time a very congested area.  The water to the slides sometimes got cut off & was very disappointing for the children.  It was said to be too windy and for the bigger slide I can understand but not the smaller slides or water park area.  Most of the time we didn't have a problem finding a chair unless it was around the congested pool area. Be very careful about buying drinks due to they are very expensive.  A funship drink of the day is $6.95 w/a souvenir plastic glass to keep.  If you have the glass refilled it is $5.95, which I did not know & now have collection of about 12 glasses.  A 16 oz Bud Lite is $4.75 and don't forget the 15% gratuity unless otherwise indicated, which is another thing I learned.....after the fact.  We left $100 for gratuity when closing our "sail and sign" account and was unaware that some of it was going to our bar server, when we had already tipped them 15% after each service.The casino is fun but if you double your money in one sitting....walk away with it or you will end up losing it.  The slots are basically a waste and don't hit for much.  The disco club was alot of fun and the karaoke lounge was also pretty good.  The comedy club was good even though our comedian wasn't very funny.  It's all a matter of your sense of humor I guess.  The food was better than I expected, especially the dinner.  You can get two of everything, so order up if there is something you especially like.  The staff are really fun to watch dance & sing.  And they work very hard to take good care of you.  The Maitre D is also a fun spotlight.  The burgers on the Lido deck are pretty good and there are variety of different buffets on different days.  The tea, juice, & milk are free but soda is not.  If you must drink soda I would recommend buying a fountain card & get as much as you want.  Or take a small soft travel cooler w/as many as it will hold.  There is also only Coca~Cola products on board.  There is was a 24 hr pizza and soft serve ice cream bar.  And also, room service is free.There was a charge to play bingo, which I thought should be free.  There are lots & lots of photo opportunities with no obligation to buy.  Around $22 for an 8x10.The steward always kept our room nice and clean.  Fresh linens, bath & beach towels.  They never bothered anything of mine but they tidied it all up.  There were cute towel animals w/chocolates on our bed when we would come in from a long night.  Always read your Carnival caper to see what activities are planned for the following day.  We were one of the first cruises that the Cozumel port of call got cancelled due to the Swine flu epidemic.  There was no back-up plan for another port of call on behalf of Carnival, the captain or upper mgmt.  Everyone was fine with their decision to not go to Mexico for our safety, & everyone understood that.  They gave $20 back (of our own money) for our government fees and taxes for Cozumel.  But there was no compensation or another port of call from Carnival itself.  There wasn't a free drink or even a free bingo card.  Nothing.  Instead of going somewhere else we were at sea and slowly heading back toward Tampa.  The stabilizers were out on the ship and it was a pretty rocky ride.  I was told by everyone that "I would never know I was on a boat" but I very much did.  Since the ship was going so slow to kill the time to get back to Tampa, it was riding each & every wave in the rough & rocky sea.  There was plenty of time on Carnival's behalf to make a decision to either stay in Grand Cayman or find another port of call.  They knew of the high risk Swine flu epidemic in Mexico but chose to make the decision 9 hrs later.   By then it was too late to go back to Grand Cayman but there were other ports of call to go to.  A letter was slipped under our door at 11pm, when alot of families are already asleep.  They made a vague announcement throughout the ship but if you were asleep or at the disco or casino you couldn't really hear it.  There was a hush~hush impromptu meeting the following day for the overwhelming amount of upset passengers.  I wanted to scream...then cry, because the only thing Carnival would do was keep us at sea & go slowly back toward Tampa.  I knew I couldn't get my children the shell souvenirs I promised them.  And I had this awful sinking feeling in my stomach, that I let them down, & thats all they asked for were...some simple seashells.  Shells on the beach that we found ourselves...no matter how big or small...& I knew we weren't going to have an opportunity to find any.  We live in TN and I knew once we were back in Tampa we would be shuttled away straight to the airport.  And Carnival could've cared less.  Everyone was stuck on THEIR boat spending money.  Buying THEIR souvenirs, THEIR pictures, THEIR drinks, THEIR bingo cards & needless to say, everyone gambling in THEIR casino.  Carnival made a killing by having everyone stuck on the ship instead of spending their money at some port of call.  In the end, we spent over $700 including the $100 gratuity & I left with a bitter attitude.  I felt like cattle being prodded through debarkation.  And Carnival preparing for the next new load to embark.  Chop Chop...Smiles on everyones faces!!!!!!everyone.....except the the shafted passengers.     Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Our first time cruising with Carnival cruise lines, and probably our last. I was afraid after booking this cruise, that I might have done the wrong thing, and I was right. Ive cruised six other times on other cruise lines and have never ... Read More
Our first time cruising with Carnival cruise lines, and probably our last. I was afraid after booking this cruise, that I might have done the wrong thing, and I was right. Ive cruised six other times on other cruise lines and have never ran across such a chaotic mess. First of all let me say, that the embarkation was just average, I was not impressed. Looking around the terminal I knew we where going to have a less than enjoyable time when I seen the amount of college spring breakers there. Not being surprised at all, I was right on. The first day at sea was a complete mess, no where to sit outside to get some sun and relaxation. The kids where out and out ridiculously drunk and some uncontrollable. That evening noise in the halls, banging on doors using profound language was more than I could take. This went on the whole cruise, in fact they drank so much alcohol that they ran out of some brand named beers. The room was too small, and the walls not insulated very well, you could hear everything. I was not impressed with the ship at all, one pool, and the adult area should have been for the kids, it was so small. Crowded every day, and you had to get up with the roosters if you wanted a chair. Everyone saved chairs, I never had a chair problem on any other cruise line before. The entertainment was so so, the comedian was the only funny thing we seen. The standard marriage game just about done on all ships, not very original. The bingo games where ridiculous, the way they set them up. The food was nothing to write home about. What else can I say, the only thing worth while on the whole trip was the ports we visited, at least you had some peace. All in all, it was the worst cruise Ive been on, and a big waste of money for me. I think Carnival should just turn the ships over to the college kids during the month of March, a spring breakers cruise for kids only. The security on the ship was a joke, they had none or little control of there actions. What a joke. Thats it FOLKS! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
I want to start off by saying that this review will be completely honest.  I am not the type of person to let a couple of negative things dictate a bad review of a vacation.  I will however put all the negatives in here as well.  ... Read More
I want to start off by saying that this review will be completely honest.  I am not the type of person to let a couple of negative things dictate a bad review of a vacation.  I will however put all the negatives in here as well.  I've cruised carnival 3 times and all 3 ships have been in the same category (Size) so I have alot to compare this cruise to.  My girlfriend and I are in our mid to late 20's.OVERALL FUN ON VACATION: On a scale from 1-10 I give it a 7. I belive Cruises should all be 10 out of 10s. I usually just brush off any little negatives that occur on vacation but way too many happened to me this time to let it go. EMBARKATION: Very easy as usual. Once registered, carnival was sending people up to board ship but further down the terminal, they wouldn't let you on. This caused over crowding and carnival employees constantly yelling (to me though, stuff like this happens. THE SHIPS REFURBISHMENT: Carnival advertises that this ship recently went through a million dollar refurbishment. The only places I noticed the refurbishment was the bathrooms (staterooms and lobby). Wow, they were all super nice. The rest of the ship showed wear and tear everywhere. Floors stained, chipped floors, dents in rails. Another complaint about wear and tear was the railings on the lido deck of the ship. The paint was chipped all over all the bars and it was rusted. Bad. If someone would put their feet up on it, it could cut them and you better hope you've had a tetanus shot. The biggest complaint about wear and tear is that everyday we were on the ship, they had crew painting the exterior of the boat just behind the chairs. All day long we inhaled fumes. Another day they closed one of the lido decks bar (1st thing in the morning)and got out the electrical sander and sanded the bar! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! This BLEW MY MIND!!!!!! What exactly did carnival do with their million dollar refurbishment if they are doing this now??? STATEROOMS: Typical carnival cruise rooms. Bed was nice as they have better sheets, comforters and flat screens in the room. Bathrooms were redone and nice too. I liked the rooms. FOOD: This was the biggest disappointment of the cruise. One characteristic most people look forward to on the cruise is the good food. The food on this ship was marginal at best. Everyday for lunch my girlfriend and I ate the hamburgers from the lido deck. VERY VERY GOOD. Everything below normal. Dinners were prob a 4-5 out of 10 starts. We actually skipped dinner twice bc the food was below average. All the deserts at lunch were very dry and not very tasteful. I'm not the type of person to just complain to hear myself. ALl other cruise ships Ive been on had WONDERFUL FOOD! The head waiter is supposed to know everyone by name and make friends with each person at the table to increase you dining experience. Our waiter just came, took orders, left and actually acted put out on some requests. ACTIVITIES ON SHIP: It was my girlfriends 1st cruise to every activity was great to her. It seems like carnival doesn't ever change their activities. Every cruise you can expect the same ole Hairy Chest competition, ice carvings, etc. Same everytime. After a while, you start to get bored of it. Some of the usually activities never seem to get old though. The ice carving is always neat bc they do something diff each time. The newly wed game is fun bc everyone has diff answers each time. The shows were good if you like that type of stuff. The comedians seemed funny to everyone. I didn't think they were funny, but everyone else did so I guess majority rules :-) SERENITY DECK: The adults only deck we never used. We went down there 1 day and it was elderly people asleep in all the chairs. CROWD: The cruise dir said that out of the 2,000 guests, 700 were children. Never effected us much as we didn't usually see them. There were alot of spring breakers all over the place drinking. They never got out of control or bothered anyone (To my knowledge) but some people might frown on it. PORTS OF CALL: Grand Cayman - Carnival advertises something like 8am-3pm at this stop. Your not allowed to tender to shore until the time on your ticket which could be anywhere from 8:30am to 10am. Our ticket said not to leave until 9am but we left on the 1st boat and they never cared. All others should do the same! The last tender to go on the boat leaves at 2pm. So you really only have from like 9am-2pm. There are some shops directly across the st from the port. Anything else needs to take a taxi or tour. We did the 7mile beach tour. We paid $30/person. Basically they just put you in a bus and drove 4 miles down the road to a beach. (Other tour companies off the ship would do it for $4 person.) The beach was super nice. Not alot to do though. Cozumel Mexico - Always worried about safety (Esp in mexico) we did the deluxe beach break tour $79/person. TOTALLY WORTH EVERY PENNY AND THEN SOME!!! We had 2 hrs on the port before the tour left so we shopped. There are many store and restaurants right off the boat. VERY SAFE! The beach break tour is all inclusive (open bar, beer and liquor & all day food buffet). This tour takes you to a water park type of a place. EXTREMELY NICE. It has lockers, showers, bathrooms, food to eat,beach chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, pools. Free non motorized water sports (kayaks, rafts, boats, water bikes. They even have a water trampoline and a floating rock climbing wall. VERY COOL. You could even rent jet skis, parasailing etc. BEST TOUR EVER TAKEN ON A CRUISE!!!! Overall my exp was a 7 out of 10 on this cruise. If this would have been my 1st cruise with carnival, I would never go back. I have had 2 great carnival cruises in the past so I know they are capable of much more than what I got. I plan to go on another carnival cruise on a larger ship next time. If I get the same exp with carnival as I did this time, I will start going on Royal Caribbean Cruises. I hope this helps as I was completely honest about everything. I hope you enjoy your cruise and never exp any negatives! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Background: I'm 31 and my husband is 37. This was our second cruise, our first being the Southern Caribbean on Carnival Destiny. We also took our kids along for their first cruise, ages 12, 7, and 5. Pre Cruise: We stayed at the ... Read More
Background: I'm 31 and my husband is 37. This was our second cruise, our first being the Southern Caribbean on Carnival Destiny. We also took our kids along for their first cruise, ages 12, 7, and 5. Pre Cruise: We stayed at the Chase Suites hotel in Tampa, which is about a 10 minute drive from the airport. We booked a 2 bedroom suite with a kitchen. We booked the "Ship to Shore" package which included transportation from the airport to hotel, hotel to pier, and pier back to the airport for $149 for all 5 of us. When we booked, we were directed to call the hotel when we were at the baggage claim in the airport. We did and they were there to pick us up promptly. Our room was very nice and clean; a step above the typical Holiday Inn experience. Shortly after we arrived, we discovered we had no hot water. I called the front desk and they sent maintenance within 10 minutes. They were unable to fix the hot water heater but they did give us another room. We ate dinner at Bahama Breeze, which is right behind the hotel. The food was really good and the service was excellent. Prices are also reasonable. Price included breakfast and also a 'waffle station' where you could make your own waffles. Other fare included toast, cereal, muffins, and bagels. Cruise Time! Getting on board We took the hotel van to the pier around 10:15am. We arrived at the terminal at about 11am because we had to turn around to pick up some other hotel guests the driver forgot were supposed to be in the van. The check in process in the Tampa port was very organized and efficient. After having checked in at San Juan where chaos reigned, this was a pleasant surprise. The ship had a delay in debarkation, so we did sit for about an hour until we were able to board. We made it on board around 12:00 noon and went up to the Lido deck for lunch until we could access our cabin. Cabins/Steward We booked two 6B connecting cabins on the Riviera deck, R194 and R196. I love that Carnival has included more connecting cabins on their ships. This worked great for us and the kids. Two bathrooms and a lot more space were very handy to have! The cabins were about 15 cabins from the aft. The motion wasn't too bad, but we definitely had vibration a lot of the time. The cabins were typical Carnival oceanview cabins. They were upgraded with the flat panel TVs, but in our cabin, the TV was mounted to the same wall as the head of the bed, which makes no sense. If we wanted to watch TV, we had to lie on the foot of the bed. Our cabin steward was Mohammed. We saw him twice the entire cruise. The only complaint we have is that we did not have ice in our cabins a lot of the time. He'd sometimes fill it in the morning, but never at night. We left a note asking him to please fill the ice, but no luck. However, we did leave a note for an extra beach towel and we had the 5th towel every time we had to exchange them. Of course, we had our towel animals every night. The Ship/Activities/Shows, etc... Inspiration is what she is....an older ship. Besides the elevators desperately needing a facelift, she shows her age well. The crew was constantly out and about wiping railings, cleaning floors, etc... The size of the Fantasy class vs. Destiny was a non-issue. I thought I'd really hate being on a smaller ship, but it really didn't seem that much different. I really thought I'd miss my balcony as well. I did, but it wasn't that bad. Especially since the Chopin Lounge (smoking) was directly 8 floors above us...only a short ride away! ? We noticed a definite vibration issue in the aft areas, including the Carnivale Dining Room, Chopin Lounge, and the Candelight Lounge. The vibration was not a fleeting issue and was present throughout most of the cruise. My Diet Coke vibrated right off the table in the Chopin Lounge before I could catch it, so I know this wasn't just me feeling it. We did notice (and DON'T flame me because I'm not saying anything bad!) that there were quite a few senior citizens on this cruise. Everywhere we turned around, scooters were whizzing past us. This also might explain why I didn't see the typical "casual" dressing in the dining room. Our CD was Felipe Couto. I personally don't take too much notice of the CDs so I have nothing to report except for he was in fact the CD and loves to end every announcement with "woo hoo." We tried to attend the dance show the first night and were (pretty rudely) turned away at the door because there were no seats. We were told we could not stand in the back either. We were told to come back at 10:30pm for the next show but we had two small children who wouldn't make it that late. I find it peculiar that they don't allow enough seats in the lounge/showroom as there are seats for each dinner seating so that everyone can attend. We were pretty miffed about the treatment we received at the door and our daughters were very disappointed as we really hyped the show up to them. We did attend the illusionist (Mark Miller) act and the comedy show the following night. The illusionist was pretty disappointing as he only did two 'tricks' and they weren't even good ones at that. The comedian (the name is slipping my mind...) was pretty good. My kids even enjoyed his act. The shops were decent. The lady in the Formalities shop (Daneta?) was super about helping find a shirt in the right size that my daughter had her heart set on. She had it for us the next day and even gave the girls a piece of candy because they had to wait. Very nice! The casino was terrible to us as always! ? We did not attend karaoke or any other shipboard activities. The kids did do some activities at Camp Carnival and Circle C. My girls loved Camp Carnival. They were in two separate rooms, as they are 7 and 5, but this didn't faze them at all. They spent the majority of the time with us, but did go to the Build a Bear session and spent three hours at Camp one night after dinner, where they colored a backpack, made a turtle, and had their faces painted. The staff at Camp Carnival was wonderful to my girls and really made their vacation even more fun! My 12 year old said Circle C was a flop. Inspiration does have a separate room for Circle C now. He went to a t-shirt coloring session, but everything else was pretty much a video game free-for-all. The activities for this age group are pretty lacking. I do understand that they want to allow the 'older' kids more free time, but a few more organized activities wouldn't hurt. Carnival does allow the 12-14 year old kids to check themselves in and out. Dining Room/Food/Buffet This was the area in which we were disappointed the most. We never expected 5 or even 4 star quality (we have sailed Carnival before), but we had much better food and service in the dining room and on the Lido on our previous cruise. We had early (6pm) seating in the Carnivale Dining Room. George the Greek is now the maitre d in the Carnivale Dining Room vs. Mardi Gras. We heard a lot of "Oompas" but he never stopped at our table once during the whole cruise. We were never greeted at the door either. I fail to see what all the hype is about this maitre d. He was no different than any others and just like the others before him; we did not leave a tip. Our headwaiter (Linden from Guyana) and assistant waiter (Rodel from the Philippines) were pretty good. Rodel got my girls up and dancing doing the Macarena. They were thrilled about getting the special attention. Linden treated our children very nicely and always had a recommendation for that evening's meal ready for us. Our bar waiter, Fitzroy, didn't even show up at our table the first night. The headwaiter had to track him down for us. No matter how many times we told him that I drank the Diet Coke and my husband the regular Coke, he always mixed them up. I'm not complaining; we found it sort of funny. Even our kids got in on the amusement of the 'switcheroo' game. Overall, the food was pretty mediocre. Medium well steaks came out a hair away from mooing themselves off the plate, a grilled salmon came out ice cold and raw, French fries cold, etc... I can honestly say I did not have one main course that was enjoyable. I did enjoy the strawberry bisque as always and also the bing cherry soup. That was a favorite with my kids too. My husband says the lobster and the lamb were OK but nothing rave but the Baked Alaska was pretty good. Dress code wise, I never saw anything terribly offensive. My husband and son were the only ones we saw in tuxes on Elegant Night, but everyone else had at least a tie or a dress on. One night, the people next to us showed up in beach wear (complete with bathing suits and flip flops) but were allowed in. This was on our Cozumel port day, so I'm thinking they got back a bit late. I personally don't care, but I know some of you love to hear about it, so I thought I'd share my observations. ;) The Lido deck buffet and restaurant was NOT an enjoyable experience unless we went up at 9-10pm. Every day at breakfast and lunch, I had to clear a table to sit down. I would bring up 1-2 trays of someone else's dishes and ask for a towel to wipe the table and the staff gave me a towel let me wipe my own table vs. coming over to help me. These were not people busy doing other things either; they were standing behind the little podium or talking to other employees. I did not encounter one member of the Lido staff that could even crack a smile when I said hello. On the rare occasion a thank you was merited, I couldn't even get a "you're welcome" in reply. I watched and counted 5 employees who walked by an ice cream spill (a small mountain...not a tiny spill) and not one of them stopped or came back to clean it up. It was still there when I went back to get some more lemonade an hour later. We really enjoyed the strawberry/chocolate twist frozen yogurt though. It wasn't us who made the mess! LOL We did the Deli once. One time there was a grilled ham and cheese on the menu and my son asked if he could have it not grilled. They said he had to have it grilled and wouldn't give it to him cold. The turkey sandwiches were pretty good. Pizzeria was OK. We had a few long waits (20 minutes + a few times) but the pizza was as expected. Ports of Call/Sea Days 1st day at Sea: It rained and it was pretty chilly. We managed to find things to do indoors and eventually my kids talked me into getting into the pool. We swam for about a half hour and back inside. Grand Cayman: We finally found some sun and warmth that day, although unfortunately we left at 3pm. We took a cab to Royal Palms (Seven Mile Beach) for $4/pp. We did not eat here, but did pick up some drinks. The beach was great, good swimming and not too crowded. After we left the beach, we did some shopping around the area. We stopped at Margaritaville (only for shirts...we had the kids with us!) and the Harley Davidson store, along with a few other shops. Shopping here is a bit pricier than other ports of call, so be warned! ? Cozumel: We arrived to mid 70's temps and cloudy skies in Cozumel. It was also pretty windy. Not great weather, but better than the -50 we left behind in Iowa. The ship docked at Puerta Maya. We booked the Dolphin Encounter at Chankanaab Park directly through Dolphin Discovery. They did not tell us that the time they gave was their local time and not ship time, so we were about an hour early. We let the kids swim for a while before it was our turn with the dolphin. They broke us up into groups and led us into the cages. We all pet, kissed, and shook hands with Louis (our dolphin). They took pictures and video of the encounter. 9 pictures and the DVD cost $95 USD. They were going to give us 6 more pictures for $149 USD but we only purchased the kids' pictures; we left ours behind. We were in the DVD after all. The DVD is pretty good. After the dolphins, we went to Pancho's Backyard for a quick lunch. Two margaritas, three juices, and 4 plates of nachos cost $70 USD. Great food and service, but a bit more than we thought we'd like to spend. The margaritas are STRONG though, so beware. I had to throw half of mine out or I'd have been too drunk to care for the kids! ? We did some shopping around the pier and headed back on board about 5:15pm. 2nd day at sea: Windy, cold, windy, windy, windy....did I say windy? ? All of the upper decks were closed all day long. This day the kids went to Camp Carnival and we just did some walking around. We did go and lose some money in the casino as well. Debarkation This was 100,000 times better than in San Juan. We never self disembark and we were zone 24. We went to the Lido, ate breakfast (actually didn't have to clean my own place this time) and waited. We were called at 9:45am and were completely off the ship by 10:00am. No stampedes and people actually waited for their numbers. Customs was a breeze. Very painless process and for that I was pretty happy! Overall I would just say this cruise was OK. Not a disaster, but nothing to get totally ecstatic over either. The weather was a big downer, but that couldn't be helped and that has no bearing on my thoughts of our experience on Inspiration. We loved both Grand Cayman and Cozumel, although we had less than stellar weather. I had read great reviews of the ship and her crew before I booked so I figured we'd be in for a great time. I can't honestly say I had a great experience. Would I sail Inspiration again? Probably not, unless a crew changeover happened. Wherever the majority of that crew goes, I hope I know so I don't book that ship. Would I book another Carnival cruise? I have one booked now that we'll keep booked, but we might try something else next time. This cruise left a... we won't call it bad, but rather bitter, taste in our mouths for Carnival right now. I still want to try a Spirit Class ship, so there will probably be at least one more Carnival cruise in our future. Would I sail from Tampa again? Definitely! Tampa has it GOING ON when it comes to their Port. It's a great place to visit as well. Friendly people, great scenery...we loved it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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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