Sail Date: July 2011
This was my first cruise and perhaps I had been led by others to think it was going to be the time of my life. It wasn't. However, let me be fair to Carnival.... there were a lot of people on the ship that did seem to be enjoying ... Read More
This was my first cruise and perhaps I had been led by others to think it was going to be the time of my life. It wasn't. However, let me be fair to Carnival.... there were a lot of people on the ship that did seem to be enjoying themselves a lot.The food was just okay in my opinion. If I take another cruise, I will do all I can to find out where the chef is from. Ours was from Jamaica and perhaps the food had a Jamaican flair to it that I did not care for. One item I was looking forward to was Eggs Benedict and I ordered them the first morning of the cruise. They were tart and dry. I never asked for them again. As for the rest of the cruise, the portions were small and it seemed more emphasis was placed on presentation than taste. The buffet food was okay and you could get all you wanted but the quality of the food was nothing more than I would expect to get at some national all-you-can-eat restaurant chain. One evening in the buffet I got some sweet and sour shrimp. Someone told me they had that item in the dining room earlier and I wondered if the buffet line was how they off-loaded the leftovers. The best thing I ate on my vacation was scallops that I ordered at Bahama Breeze the night before we boarded. The quality of food on the ship was a disappointment to me.One other note...Hey Carnival! I liked the strawberry yogurt. Why did you ration it? You had chocolate and vanilla every night but not strawberry. What's up with that?The dining room waiters were super! They learned my name on the first night which really impressed me. They also seem to learn some of the things I liked but they did not really come back to make sure I liked what I ordered. If one person at my table said the food was good, they seemed to assume I felt the same way. One night I asked for a souffle for dessert. I didn't like it but was not offered any other choice. Still, I'd rate the waiters high.The room we had was on the 11th deck level and had a balcony which I spent extra to get. The room was tight and the balcony was practically useless but my wife said she still enjoyed it. They put two chairs and a table out there that made it almost impossible to move around. The balcony overlooked a deck below us and so privacy was limited. Several times while we were out there, people walked by and looked up at us. Next time I cruise and spend the money for a balcony, I'll put more time into finding out first what I'm paying for. The bed was comfortable and the room lighting was nice. There was plenty of drawer and closet space. The restroom was not so nice. Every time I went in there, I could smell a chemical oder. But it was kept clean by the staff. The staff was always behind the scenes. They were friendly but we never got to know them as I hoped. Still they did their work well.One thing I did not like was a steady pulsation that I could feel all over the ship especially when it was going at a higher speed. I especially felt it when I was laying in the bed for some reason. I took a behind the scenes tour and asked the chief engineer about it. He did not seem to know what I was talking about. I suggest the chief get out of his little office and walk about the ship, especially when the Captain has it going at a higher speed. You don't feel the pounding at lower speeds. The pulsation is distinct and obvious and objectionable to this paying passenger. I could spend my money at a resort hotel and not have to put up with a beating engine or out of sync propeller. The solution may be noting more than adjusting the pitch of one of the propellers or the rpm of a shaft by a value of one or so but that is what a chief engineer should be doing. Maybe the Captain and Engineer are use to the steady beating of the engine but I am not and I didn't like it. Hey Carnival... if you want me to come back, ask your chief to take a walk up to the 11th deck or even the back of the ship and check things out for himself. Talk to the passengers and don't dismiss them especially when they have a choice of a Las Vegas based hotel or your cruise ship. I know the ship is a huge machine but you pay the chief a lot of money to give the passengers a safe and smooth ride. Right? The ride was safe but it was not smooth.The shows were very good and we enjoyed them. The staff was excellent and did their jobs quickly if you ordered a drink. The performers did a great job as did the band, the sound engineer and the lighting tech. I can't say enough about the cruise director. She was full of energy and very friendly. The comedians were funny but when they say "R" rated, they mean it. It is what it is. The ship's gym was outstanding. They had all the equipment there you could want for a good workout as well as a great locker room. I would only suggest that they open the gym at 5 am instead of 6 but that might just be me. I started my workouts at 6 and by the time I finished, the gym was full. Opening at 5 would allow the early risers like me to get in a full workout before breakfast.The excursions were okay but rush, rush, rush. It took a long time to get off at the Cayman Islands. Te next cruise I take I will try to find out if we off-load the passengers on tenders or a pier. The pier off-loading is much quicker.Now that brings up my biggest complaint about the cruise and that's long lines and crowding. You struggle to find a place to sit by the pool or a show. You have to get to a place early just to get a seat. You hurry to get to the gym to get a cardio machine. You hurry to get to your excursion just to get off the ship. If I didn't mind crowds and long lines, I'd spend my vacation money at an amusement park. The ships pool was very small and don't think you will be swimming in it. Instead you will be standing only. I know it's kept clean because I watch the crew working on it one morning but still... that many sweating people standing in a small body of water? It was not something I had any desire to get in. Carnival Inspiration had a water slide and the line to get on it was ridiculous. In any water park, that slide would have been lame but people lined up for the short and slow ride through an enclosed pipe you could not see out of and for what? The "water park" of the ship would be great for kids if the adults would just get out of their way but as it was, more long lines. If you want a water park, go to Orlando. My favorite time of the day was 5:30 am. I had the ship to myself as I made my way back to get some coffee. The coffee was good and the decks quiet except for a little music playing at low volume. The air was cool. It was a peaceful and quiet time.I know people love to take a cruise. They go on and on about it but I'm looking at the total amount of money I spent and I'm thinking I could have spent it for a more enjoyable time with less crowds at a resort hotel somewhere and got better food and a bed without a out-of-balanced engine beat going through it. I will probably take another cruise one day but I'll spend more time selecting it if I do. It may be Carnival or it may be someone else. I know more of what to look for now. Carnival did not earn my loyalty on this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
Recently we went for a Spring Break Vacation to Grand Caymans and Cozumel, Mexico. We booked on Carnival Inspiration sailing from Tampa as we had a fantastic previous experience on Carnival Sensation to Bahamas a year back.Based on the ... Read More
Recently we went for a Spring Break Vacation to Grand Caymans and Cozumel, Mexico. We booked on Carnival Inspiration sailing from Tampa as we had a fantastic previous experience on Carnival Sensation to Bahamas a year back.Based on the great trip we had on Carnival Sensation we upgraded our travel to Grand Suite and doled out extra 2000 dollars for it.Boy what a let down! must be the economy.The only positive was the embarkation were we had a VIP checking in, while disembarkation the VIP checkout was UNVIP, we were crowded into a library lounge without seating and made to wait a long period before being escorted out into the crowd at the entrance of the ship.The worst part of the vacation was the room service. It was totally atrocious,even a motel would have had a better service.In the five days we stayed in the Grand Suite there were too many complaints to write in detail.Here we go,1. The room was cleaned only once per day and that too we were forced to request the cleaning every time. Even putting the Service Sign on the door knob did not help. The reply we got from the service guy was, he had too many rooms to clean and he can do it only when we go for dinner.2. The linens were never changed on the whole trip.3. The day bed/sofa was changed into a bed on the first day and remained as it is until the last day, we never had a opportunity to sit on the sofa for the whole trip.3. One day we come back from a on shore excursion to cozumel we found the room stinking with cigarette smoke smell, I asked the service guy to check the smell and he flatly denied smelling anything.4. First two days there was a constant creaking noise in the room basically disturbing the sleep the whole night. When we complained to guest services they came in and again denied any noise, after I asked for room change something was done and from the third night onwards there was no noise.5. The bathroom shower was not working properly and we were forced to hold it in hand all the time while we showered.6. The toilet supplies were not properly replenished and we had to ask for it everyday.Above all when we complained to the guest services about this, the answer we got was, we will be receiving an online survey once we are back home and we can write our complaints there and they cannot do anything more than that on the ship. Finally we rescinded the room service charges from the bill, that is the only thing we could do and got a small change of $70.00 credited in our bill.To add the woes, the highly rated camp carnival was a disaster for the 6-8 group. One big issue was separation of siblings due to age policy they have, when asked to be flexible on this to the youth director she was very rude and that was the feed back we got from many other parents. Most of us who had children in 6-8 group formed our own circle and kept them engaged.So my recommendation is find the best possible cheapest deal in carnival and go for it DO NOT EXPECT A PUBLIX EXPERIENCE IN WALMART AND PAY FOR IT. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. ... Read More
Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. We took this cruise because we brought 4 of our kids and it was a little cheaper. Well, this was a hard lesson in "you get what you pay for". We will never, ever cruise Carnival again. I was *extremely* disappointed in this cruise. The ship itself was in good shape -- but the decor was so obnoxious. Horrible colors, very loud decor, very cheesy. The food was pretty bad. There were only two dining options for dinner. Either the main dining room -- which was about a 3 out of 5 stars, and the buffet, which was incredibly bad. The "sushi bar" was the size of a small closet and it was just shoved in the middle of a hallway not connected to any other eating areas. It was really odd. I guess I am used to having multiple, GOOD, dining options -- NCL has many different restaurants on their ships. I was shocked that we only had two options for dinner. At lunch they had a burger grill by the pool and a Mongolian stir fry area by the pool. Drinks were good -- but expensive. A cocktail was around $8 each. Smoothies for the kids were $5. I know I sound like a broken record here -- but the entertainment was horrible! On this 5 day cruise, there were 2 shows. That's it. 2 productions. The other three nights they had trivia or bingo in the theater. It was ridiculous. The first night they offered "Shout", which was actually pretty good. The lead female singer has a beautiful voice. There wasn't another show until the last night. And it was so painful to watch, I actually had to leave. The dancers timing was off so badly, it was distracting. Again, with NCL, they had shows EVERY night. Great quality shows, every single night, like Chicago Second City and Cirque. I guess I've been spoiled by NCL. On every NCL ship I've ever been on, the food, entertainment, and overall experience have been wonderful. Carnival was the direct opposite. The best part of the Carnival Inspiration? In my opinion, it was the cabin. The cabin was spacious for two people. There were 3 closets, 5 large shelves in the closet, and 4 drawers on the make-up desk. The bed was comfortable, the bedding was nice. It was actually roomy, and the bathroom wasn't bad at all. The staff on the Carnival Inspiration were very nice. Very gracious, very polite. Everyone smiled and were very accommodating. The Circle C club for 12-14 year olds and Camp Carnival for 7-11 year olds was pretty good. Our kids (ages 14, 11, 9, and 7) seemed to have a good time. They entertained themselves swimming or they would ask to go back to the organized kids activities, which we took as a good sign. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. The clientele on Carnival leaves something to be desired. In 6 years of cruising, I've never had to call security. I had to call them twice because of loud, obnoxious, drunken idiots in the cabin next to us. You pay cheap prices, you get cheap quality. Definitely NOT recommended.Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. We took this cruise because we brought 4 of our kids and it was a little cheaper. Well, this was a hard lesson in "you get what you pay for". We will never, ever cruise Carnival again. I was *extremely* disappointed in this cruise. The ship itself was in good shape -- but the decor was so obnoxious. Horrible colors, very loud decor, very cheesy. The food was pretty bad. There were only two dining options for dinner. Either the main dining room -- which was about a 3 out of 5 stars, and the buffet, which was incredibly bad. The "sushi bar" was the size of a small closet and it was just shoved in the middle of a hallway not connected to any other eating areas. It was really odd. I guess I am used to having multiple, GOOD, dining options -- NCL has many different restaurants on their ships. I was shocked that we only had two options for dinner. At lunch they had a burger grill by the pool and a Mongolian stir fry area by the pool. Drinks were good -- but expensive. A cocktail was around $8 each. Smoothies for the kids were $5. I know I sound like a broken record here -- but the entertainment was horrible! On this 5 day cruise, there were 2 shows. That's it. 2 productions. The other three nights they had trivia or bingo in the theater. It was ridiculous. The first night they offered "Shout", which was actually pretty good. The lead female singer has a beautiful voice. There wasn't another show until the last night. And it was so painful to watch, I actually had to leave. The dancers timing was off so badly, it was distracting. Again, with NCL, they had shows EVERY night. Great quality shows, every single night, like Chicago Second City and Cirque. I guess I've been spoiled by NCL. On every NCL ship I've ever been on, the food, entertainment, and overall experience have been wonderful. Carnival was the direct opposite. The best part of the Carnival Inspiration? In my opinion, it was the cabin. The cabin was spacious for two people. There were 3 closets, 5 large shelves in the closet, and 4 drawers on the make-up desk. The bed was comfortable, the bedding was nice. It was actually roomy, and the bathroom wasn't bad at all. The staff on the Carnival Inspiration were very nice. Very gracious, very polite. Everyone smiled and were very accommodating. The Circle C club for 12-14 year olds and Camp Carnival for 7-11 year olds was pretty good. Our kids (ages 14, 11, 9, and 7) seemed to have a good time. They entertained themselves swimming or they would ask to go back to the organized kids activities, which we took as a good sign. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. The clientele on Carnival leaves something to be desired. In 6 years of cruising, I've never had to call security. I had to call them twice because of loud, obnoxious, drunken idiots in the cabin next to us. You pay cheap prices, you get cheap quality. Definitely NOT recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
This review is going to be lengthy, but also detailed and accurate. Quick background - Male 32 cruising with my fiance who is 30. We have both been on 4 previous cruises, all with Royal Caribbean, all of which were 7 day to the ... Read More
This review is going to be lengthy, but also detailed and accurate. Quick background - Male 32 cruising with my fiance who is 30. We have both been on 4 previous cruises, all with Royal Caribbean, all of which were 7 day to the Caribbean, both East and West. A friend of mine had booked this cruise for his family. He is brand loyal to Carnival. We were invited to tag along, and since we had the time and money, decided to join him and try out carnival for the first time. It also ended up being our last time on Carnival, as I will not cruise with that line again. Inspiration is a smaller, older ship. The smallest ship we had previously sailed on (Mariner of the Seas) was about twice the size of this ship. We have also been on Liberty of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, all three of which were all the worlds largest at the time we sailed them, with Oasis still holding that honor. I knew the ship was small, and a bit outdated, so I had based my expectations on that info. I had a very open mind while boarding, and was hoping to enjoy myself no matter the circumstances. First Impressions: -From the outside, its very easy to see what this ship is missing - balcony rooms. You can see from the outside it seems as if there are only about 20 balcony rooms on each side of the ship. Turns out, there are actually only 28 TOTAL balcony rooms out of the 1000+ staterooms on this ship. Very dissapointing, as we have always sailed RCCL on a class of ship with a majority of exterior staterooms having a balcony. -From the inside, the decor looks like its straight out of the mid 80s. This ship was built in 1996 and refurbished in 2007. I can't for the life of me understand how the decor is so outdated. -The ship itself is small, but I was hoping that could be a benefit as a smaller ship would have less guests, and I was hoping for shorter lines and less crowds. We could only hope, right? Stateroom: We ended up with an exterior oceanview room. This is the first time we have cruised without a balcony, and even though we would miss our balcony, the room was actually acceptable. It was spacious, and although its only update seemed to be the small flat screen tv, it was clean and got the job done. The bathroom was also ok, although our toilet seemed to get clogged way too often. A plumber came by once to take care of it, but he only fixed it for a day. Our stateroom attendant was nice, and seemed to keep things in order, however it actually took until the 2nd night on a 5 day cruise for us to actually see him. We are used to them finding us and introducing themselves, but no matter, he did an acceptable job. Food: This is where the real dissapointment hit. My fiance and I are not BIG eaters, however we do enjoy good food. We often go out for upscale dinners at area restaurants and enjoy eating well. This ship had no specialty restaurants. You basically have 2 options, the buffet or the dining room. -Breakfast: We had breakfast every day in the Brasserie, which is the indoor buffet at the back of the ship, on the Lido deck. The lines were long, the food was cafeteria grade, and most of the time it was either gone or cold. The scrambled eggs were runny, the french toast/waffles/pancakes pans always seemed to be empty, there was a worker serving you bacon (you were seriously alloted only 2-3 pieces) and most of the time that was about empty too. There were 2 straight days where the syrup was empty. The food was borderline horrible, and most of the time, there wasn't enough to go around. Most of the time the lines were so long because people were holding up the lines to WAIT for them to go refill something that always seemed to be empty. There was always plenty of seating in the Brasserie, probably because no one wanted to eat in there. The fresh fruit was hit or miss, sometimes unripe, sometimes overripe, sometimes just plain bad. There was always boxed cereal and cartons of milk, but I didn't really plan on eating cold cereal all cruise long. Also, the servers in the Brasserie didn't seem very happy about doing thier jobs. Most of them seemed incompetent and not friendly. This turned out to be a common theme on Inspiration. -Lunch: We had a little more luck with lunch, but only because they were cooking things that were hard to screw up. The Brasserie has a small salad bar, which was marginal, but in a pinch could get the job done. There is a small sandwich making station, which I used once and had a decent grilled ruben. The poolside grill was ok, with burgers, hotdogs, nachos and some cold salads. Also, there is a mongolian grill, where you pick your ingredients, and they stir fry it up for you in a large wok to order. We tried it once, it was ok. As with breakfast, most of the food seemed to be on par with a cafeteria somewhere, with the only exceptions being the made-to-order sandwich station and mongolian grill wok station. -Dinner: We ate in the main dining room 4 of the 5 nights. We were dissapointed with almomst everything. The highlight of this experience was our dining room staff. We lucked out and ended up with a very good Waiter named Felix and a very good assistant waiter named Waldondo (or something). The food was banquet food at best, and was usually bland, luke warm, and dated (as far as creativity and presentation). There was one exception...they are offering a made-to-order Filet Mignon for an $18 charge. My fiance and I both ordered it one night, and it was the best extra $36 I had spent on the cruise. My steak was cooked perfectly and was very tender (unlike almost everything else on the regular menu). The sides it came with were very bland and unimaginative, but the filet itself was great. -Dessert: The dessert selection in both the Brasserie for lunch and dinner and the Main Dining Room for dinner was not good. I don't have much to say about it. You could always order a scoop or 2 of vanilla ice cream, but besides that, there wasn't much to offer. The after dinner coffee was good. That's about it. Food Overall was a huge dissapointment. The selection in both the buffet and main dining room was weak. The quality of the food in both areas was weak. If you were someone who thought this food was good, you have either never been to a nice restaurant, or have not cruised on a newer RCCL ship. Thier food is above and beyond in both quality and seclection compared to the fare on Carnival Inspiration. Pool Area: I understand this ship is small, but I was floored at how small the pool area was, and by how few chairs there are on the pool deck. There was never anywhere to sit. This ship has 1 small pool on deck ten, along with 2 whirlpool jacuzzi's. Both the pool and the hottubs were always mobbed with kids. There seemed to be about 100 chairs for 2000 guests. One morning I got up at 7:30 to go and 'reserve' a couple of deck chairs by the pool - they were already all taken. I have been on a cruise ship with over 6000 passengers before, and have been able to find a deck chair in the sun by the pool - not on Inspiration. Bar Staff: Once again, dissapointing. I visited most of the bars on the ship, and with a few exceptions, most were horrible when it came to service. There were many occasions when I was the ONLY customer standing at the bar, and had to wait 2-3 minutes for a bartender to come over and ask me for my order. On more than one occasion I would stand there and watch 2 bartenders talk to each other for 90 seconds while ignoring me as a customer. When they did finally get around to taking my order, they were far from friendly. Thier attitude ranged from 'not giving a shit' all the way up to 'actually being bothered' by having to pop the top on a bud light bottle or make a margarita. Considering the steep drink prices, I would expect a smile and quick service. I never found that on Inspiration. Entertainment Staff: Wow, just wow. After returning from my cruise and reading some others reviews, I understand this ship is a 'training ship' for Carnival. I could not believe how pitiful the level of the entertainment staff was. It really seemed to me as if it was thier first ever cruise. The Cruise Director (Danny Giriducci) was non-existent. I saw him one time at the welcome aboard show and never once saw him for the remainder of the cruise. His ACD was friendly, but highly unpolished and unorganized. There seemed to be 3 others on the entertainment staff who moved about the ship hosting trivia, shows, contests, etc and they were all pitiful. Ben may have been the most boring human being I have ever met. I cannot for the life of me figure out how or why he is working as an entertainment host of a cruise ship. Sam is funny (mainly because of his British accent and physical comedy) but is unorganized and generally lost when it comes to getting his job done. Last but not least is Lee...boring, condescending and overall douchey. He is miserable at his job. My level of dissapointment was heightened by the bad weather on both 'at sea' days. The weather was not Carnival's fault of course, but it forced us to find other things to do than lay by the pool. I experienced more trivia, bingo, and contests on this ship than usual and all of it was either boring, stupid, or downright disasterous. The comics were both funny, but seeing as how they probably aren't actually staff of Carnival, Im not even sure I can give them points for that. Casino Staff: I have some good points and bad points about the casino. I am a gambler at heart, and usually book a vacation destination which includes some aspect of gambling (Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Cruises, Aruba, Atlatis, etc). I have a ton of experience in casinos and have seen just about anything and everything. My first impression of the casino was good. For a small ship, the casino was adequate. I like the craps table, and that is where I spent most of my time. As on most cruises, the table fluctuated between having no one on it, and being somewhat busy. The first night I spent about 4-5 hours on the craps table after dinner. I noticed the craps table crew giving players a hard time about everything. Don't tap the dice, don't rub the dice, don't toss them too hard, don't toss them too soft, you lobbed them too high, you are taking too long, etc, etc, etc. It was absurd. I have an understanding of casino operations, and I realize there are procedures in place, and policies that must be followed. However, the attitudes and behaviors of the craps table staff was out of line. It was everyone from the dealers to the stick man, to the box man, and even the pit boss. After listening to this for a good 2 hours, I expressed my displeasure to the box man at our table. Instead of listening and being apologetic, he actually became defensive and aggressive. I couldn't believe this type of behavior was acceptable. They promote this as the line of FUN ships. I promise you, the level of general unfriendly-ness displayed by the casino staff was making this experience NOT FUN for everyone, even the most seasons casino veteran. I took my complaints over to the pit boss, who listened to my rant quietly, told me he understood, and offered to buy me a beer. I declined and instead decided to end my business relationship with the craps crew for the evening. It was quite easy to see that most of the other craps table participants shared my opinion about how absurd the attitudes of the staff was. It was 100% unacceptable. Overall, this cruise is a disaster. I was not thrilled by the small ship, but I would have easily overlooked it, if the food was good, the service was good, the entertainment was ok, and there was places to sit around the pool. Unfortunately all of those things were a failure. I had initially thought Carnival was more of a party atmosphere type cruiseline, but as other reviewers have stated, its more like the Wal-Mart of cruising. If you are looking for a cruise on a budget, go for it, but be ready for dissapointment. Next time, I will go back to Royal Caribbean and spend 7 days on a large ship with good food and great service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
But we're first time cruisers so we don't have anything to compare it to. As others have mentioned, parking was $60. No biggie though, we expected that. Check in was a breeze, no complaints there. As we boarded, my husband ... Read More
But we're first time cruisers so we don't have anything to compare it to. As others have mentioned, parking was $60. No biggie though, we expected that. Check in was a breeze, no complaints there. As we boarded, my husband remarked that it smelled like Ensenada, meaning an open sewer. We're familiar with Ensenada. This was one of our ports of call, but the ports weren't our primary reason for the cruise. Just a quick getaway and something different. We love the ocean and if we do this again, we will definitely splurge on a balcony view and for reasons I'll expand on later. As for the decor, well yes, it was Vegas style but that didn't really bother us. Our cabin was U58, which we were told was a good deck(?)with an ocean view window. It was small but decent and had plenty of closet space. Only complaint there was that the climate control was never quite right. Usually it was too warm, regardless of whether we opened or closed the vent, which is the only way of controlling it. Oh and they certainly take cleaning the cabins seriously! Sometimes they cleaned it two and even three days on the same day. We no sooner walked in, left our luggage and were off to explore but turned around because we forgot something, and they were in there cleaning a clean room. That was befuddling and still can't figure it out unless they were charging our onboard account (nothing is cash onboard, you open an onboard account with a credit card on file and everything, including gratuities are charged to it automatically)gratuities every time they cleaned. Ok, onto the food...well, I'm very picky but my husband isn't so I think it's fair to say that it's quantity over quality and as most such things that are, it was acceptable at best. We tried the restaurant thinking it would be better than the buffet but basically I think the food in the restaurant came from the buffet only it was served in smaller quantities, sometimes laughably smaller. My husband joked that he thought they dropped his salad on the way to the table. Service was slow for the same sub-par blah food only hubby did have a good steak there. At the breakfast buffet, you can have your eggs fixed as you like. I had a cheese omelet but it was greasy and brown. Had the same omelet at the Mardi Gras dining room and it was the same. You pay for everything onboard except your food and your cabin. Drinks included is coffee (atrocious! We ended up buying coffee at the coffee bar which was comparable to Starbucks) and tea (once we were sure they had made it with salt water!) milk and juices. Cans of soda are nearly three dollars, including the gratuity added on. You can buy an unlimited bubblies sticker for $28 which entitles you to all the (flat) soda you can drink. They won't give you a can of soda and a glass of ice. They give you whatever open can of the brand you ordered that they have behind the bar. I asked for the can once and was told that they couldn't give it to me. But if you buy them singly, they give you the glass of ice and the can. I thought that was a rip and I don't like flat soda. Oh and alcoholic drinks are about $10 a pop. Amazing that there were still so many drunk cruisers aboard. Either they're lightweights or they had a private stash. I know they didn't sneak any aboard from the two ports. My husband bought two small bottles of rum ashore and it was confiscated when we came back and held till the night before getting back to Long Beach. Again, not a biggie unless you're a serious partier. Except for the comedy show which was first class, the entertainment was just noise for no good reason. In fact, there was no where to get away from the noise except one's cabin and I guess that depends where that cabin is located. We're 50 somethings but not old fuddy duds. We like rock but most of the DJ music wasn't to our liking. That said, it would have been nice to have had a quiet time so one could sit out on the deck, soak up the sun and read a book. That was what I was hoping for on our one sea day but no such luck. That's why a balcony room would have been extra nice. A place to get away from the crowd and noise and still enjoy the ocean breezes. Ports of Call were Catalina Island and Ensenada. Our day at Catalina was probably the highlight of the trip. Weather was nice and its a pretty place to enjoy the day. We had a whale sighting trip scheduled through Carnival but it was canceled and I was heartbroken about that. Jan-March is whale migration and a whale sighting would have made the entire cruise worthwhile for me. We did see some dolphins jumping off in the distance a few times but not close enough to really identify them. We took the glass bottom boat and I wouldn't recommend it, really. Not much of interest to see but it was cheap enough, cheaper than booking it through Carnival. Now on to Ensenada. On debarking at the Port of Ensenada, you have to show your card ID's as you pass through a turnstile leading into a small mall of shops. There's no way around it. On the other side are the buses that take you into the city or take you to your planned excursions. One of the first thing that we encountered was a lion cub. Yes, a real African lion cub. A young woman offered to let us hold it while taking pictures for $25. I was concerned about a raw sore on it's nose, and I began asking questions, all the while this woman was backing away from me. Where did you get it? What animal welfare group do you represent? Where is it's mother? She mumbled something about it was on loan from a zoo, which sounded implausible to me, and that the money was to help feed the animals. Well, I didn't have time to research this or the means to do so (as internet access is something like $2 a minute and no wireless access for my smart phone)and my husband was afraid I was going to start trouble so he dragged me off. Once home, I did some research and found out this is a common scam in Mexico tourist towns. These people are making a personal profit off exploiting exotic animals and the animals live in awful conditions. Where they get these baby lion cubs, God only knows but once they have outgrown their cuddly cuteness and become too dangerous to handle, they are disposed of, either to serve the exotic meat market (yes, shocking that lion meat is now the new fad, an animal that will be extinct in 10-15 years) or sold to canned hunts. Otherwise, they will be left to linger in a small cage where their bones will become deformed if they manage to live through starvation. Now, I don't know if they were there in the kiosk with Carnival's permission. I have not received any response from them regarding the issue, but the very least one would expect from Carnival is a warning to their guests not to fall for this scam. So I'm telling you now. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN WITH WILD BABY ANIMALS. You are contributing to their abuse and eventual death if you do. And one other thing about Ensenada (other than don't drink the water OR the ice cubes)...if you rent an ATV or a motorcycle, be aware that it is illegal to drive it on the beach. But you won't be told that. Unless you like to shop for expensive junk, go to the beach and hope it's a sunny day. That's the ONLY nice thing in Ensenada. Come to think of it, that would have been a good day to stay onboard and read a good book on the sunny deck. I have no complaint about the waiters. All were pleasant and helpful, though most did not speak very good English so sometimes it was difficult to understand them. Oh and before I forget! AVOID the art auction during the cruise. The art gallery involved is in court for fraud. They are very slick operators and I'm actually shocked that Carnival allows them to do business onboard...and now that I think about it, only in international waters...hmmm. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The Good: Nice roomy comfy stateroom, roomy bathrm (room for 2 in the shower LOL). Really nice room steward. The Bad: Tacky icky low-end Las Vegas-y decor throughout the ship. & The Truly Awful: Right-in-your-face photographers who ... Read More
The Good: Nice roomy comfy stateroom, roomy bathrm (room for 2 in the shower LOL). Really nice room steward. The Bad: Tacky icky low-end Las Vegas-y decor throughout the ship. & The Truly Awful: Right-in-your-face photographers who try very very forcefully to stop you at every turn, on AND off the ship, and must be all "paparazzi-in-training" ... most are ready to graduate to dogging celebs! The food is not great, and is often really bad. The service is mostly very very bad. One example... I ordered eggs for breakfast, a fellow at next table ordered same but with hash. He started eating, figuring the hash was coming. My eggs came with hash. We told the waiter about the mix-up and he then picked up my plate, scraped the hash off onto the other guy's plate and then put 'my' plate (with streaks of hash residue) back down in front of me. I have more, similar stories. Little or no consideration is given by anyone (embark staff, ship staff, debark staff) to folks with 'limitations' (canes, walkers, etc.) Everyone was complaining and there are tons of older people with bad knees, etc., on these cruises. We were told to follow someone down 5 flights of stairs during a mandatory safety drill; many tried to complain but the 'someone' was already two+ flights down and out of earshot. We went and found nearest elevator, but didn't know what floor to get off on, so had to try a few. Conclusion: Would never do a Carnival cruise again. Lots of folks we talked to on board felt the same and said it was definitely the worst line they'd ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
For reference, I'm a 53 y/o health-care exec who had never cruised before, and wanted a medium length cruise for starters. The 5-day Tampa itinerary was perfect for us, and the sole reason we chose the Carnival Inspiration. The ... Read More
For reference, I'm a 53 y/o health-care exec who had never cruised before, and wanted a medium length cruise for starters. The 5-day Tampa itinerary was perfect for us, and the sole reason we chose the Carnival Inspiration. The niceties. Food was good, not great, desserts {with the exception of the chocolate melting cake) were all pre-processed hospital-ish cafeteria fare and quite disappointing, but the service is outstanding. Now for the things I wish I'd known: 1) Carnival has absolutely no contingency plans for bad weather. The ship's arrival was delayed ~6 hours, and 2,000 people were sent to "find something to do" until the ship arrived. A generous $15 credit {sarcasm} was added to each person's bill to cover the $50 spent on two meals (if you could find an open restaurant) and entertainment during the 6+ hours in Tampa. Thankfully, the weather cooperated. 2) This ship is certainly ~not~ the one on which the brochure, and marketing video were made, and is also not a ship for discriminating cruisers. If you're offended by smokers, people of different races, disabilities, languages, sizes, cultures, this is not the cruise for you. It reminded me more of a tail-gate party outside a football stadium. Routinely, folks would light up in non-smoking areas, blow smoke any which way, and dump butts indiscriminately. Folks who'd eaten themselves into a disabled condition would blow their scooter horns to get to the front of the cafeteria line. Despite the crew's efforts, garbage was simply dropped every and anywhere, and those who don't hold their liquor well were always around to remind you that the drinking age should be around 50. 3) Carnival has no contingency plans made for itinerary changes. Due to the late start, the ports of call, and time off ship were altered. Most pre-booked excursions went off without a hitch, but when folks returned famished to the ship a couple of hours off schedule, the buffet was already closed!? Evidently no one told the dining staff. 4) Most of the employees are indentured servants who've signed a 6-10 month contract. They do one heck of a job, but you can't help feel badly when drunk, spoiled Americans (see #2) constantly berate and demand more from them with very little gratitude. But anything must be better than dumpster diving in Manila or selling one's self in Thailand {sarcasm} 5) The shows are entertaining, and if you're not amused, the cruise directors are there to constantly remind you that you indeed are "having a great time." 6) I'm a very light sleeper, so the rocking and rolling of the ship kept awakening me. If that didn't do the trick, the sound from the late shows at the Paris Lounge, or the drunks returning from where-ever would suffice to keep me awake. 7) Drinks is the real money-maker on this ship. The only freebies were tea and lemonade, and those machines were routinely empty or out of order. To amend, every 3 to 4 minutes, a wait staff would attempt to sell you some type of non-free drink, even if you'd told them "no" the first 30 times they asked. If you bought alcohol off-ship, they'd confiscate it on your return, promising to "safe keep" it for you until debarkation. 8) There is no way to adjust the temperature in the cabins. The only option was to adjust the opening of the A/C vent. 9) For a person who doesn't drink, gamble, sit in the sun or eat until I barf, the selection of activities was pretty meager. The only TV channels were from Denver!? so I became a fan of the map channel and became an expert at tracking the ship's position, speed and heading. 10) Again, (see #1) Carnival has no contingency plans for bad weather, and the debarkation process was a cluster-****. High winds kept us doing figure-eights in the Caribbean (compliments of the map channel) for 3 extra hours. We were promised that passengers with travel "issues" would be the first to disembark, but were not. I explained our flight dilemma to the 'guard' and was told you'll have no problem making your flight. As soon as the ship touched the dock, and the 3 missing non-US citizens were found, delaying the process another hour (perhaps announcements in their native languages would have helped), VIP passengers were allowed to disembark. Mass mayhem then ensued on the levels surrounding the gangway; no one from Carnival did a thing or said a word. We (of course) missed our flight home, but did catch a later flight. The later connection flight was booked solid, so we ended up renting a car and driving 7.5 hours from Detroit to our home in Upstate NY through a snow storm. Good times! Did I enjoy myself? Absolutely. Would I go again? Absolutely not. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
First, The wait staff, customer service, shore excursion, our room steward, and the people who worked at the buffet were wonderful. They were all helpful, and professional at all times. They work their behinds off and from what I ... Read More
First, The wait staff, customer service, shore excursion, our room steward, and the people who worked at the buffet were wonderful. They were all helpful, and professional at all times. They work their behinds off and from what I understand get very little pay for their trouble. With that having been said let me get to the meat of the review. I thought the purple worms were cute. The decor was exactly what I expected. We went to a performance of "Shout" and enjoyed it very much. The Almost newlywed game was a hoot. The bingo game for $1195 was crooked the woman who should have won didn't. Let me explain. My husband and I walked in to see who would win and was standing in the back of the room when the number 54 was called. Bingo was promptly called when the card was checked the bingo included the just called number of 54. The caller said that number had not been called. Most of the audience as well as the players said that it had been called. He would not give this woman the bingo. Someone else called bingo 2 calls later. This woman who I met later said that when she tried to talk to the emcee about this he told her friend to get off the stage. I did not see that. But either way,this was a crooked game. We played at the Casino once. I had a lot of fun and only lost $15, didn't win anything, but still had a good time. The Sushi was wonderful. My only complaint is that it had limited hours and that was during my dinner time. I would have liked to have seen some lunch hours. I know Carnival can not be blamed for the weather, but give me a break, they need to have some sort of plan B for bad weather. My family and I were at the port at 11am, I know that's early but with it being our first cruise we did not want to miss anything. We jumped into line even though the ship was nowhere to be seen. We were promptly checked in and given a boarding number of six. We thought great when the ship does come in we will be one of the first on board. We found a seat and decided to wait it out. We were told by a Carnival employee that we should not wait that there would be a 1000 people trying to fit into this waiting room. We had our 14 yr old grandson with us who she talked into getting out into the sunshine and get some lunch. She promised us that we would be able to get back in. We went for pizza walked around and saw the ship pull in. We decided that it was time to go back back to the waiting area about 5pm. They (carnival personnel) would not let us into the waiting room. They herded us, like so much cattle, onto waiting buses to get something to 'eat and sit on comfortable chairs'. We were driven to an annex about 3 blocks from the port. The bus driver told us we could walk over to the port anytime we wanted to or they would drive us back over. The food consisted of breakfast bars and bottle of water. We were not allowed to leave. Several people tried and were turned back from the doors. During this time the waiting area at the port were being given sandwiches and drinks. When boarding did start about 7pm the waiting area at the port was emptied first no matter what boarding number they had. We did not get on the ship until after 8. There were no pictures taken as we boarded, which was one of the times I was planning on buying. I will not sail on Carnival again for the simple facts that when you ask a carnival employee a question they will and often do lie to your face. The ones I would try to get information from would tell you what they thought you wanted to hear if it was accurate or not. I saw no integrity from the port staff. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
I went on the Inspiration knowing it was a three star, but was excited to see all the "refurbishments". It was to put it nicely "awful" The water park water that it shows on line as having glistening sparkling ... Read More
I went on the Inspiration knowing it was a three star, but was excited to see all the "refurbishments". It was to put it nicely "awful" The water park water that it shows on line as having glistening sparkling water...yea try brown smelling like dirty diaper water. The jr suite with an unobstructed view..yea has a crane for lifting life boats in front of it. The curtains in the room ...ripped with big huge holes in them. The water in the sink in the morning came out brown...didn't clear until the afternoon...yea I wanted to brush my teeth in that..had to use bottled water..at 4 dollars a bottle. Most of the staff were wonderful, only ate in the dining room two nights because and I can't figure this one out, although we were the first table in our section to arrive by at least five minutes we were the last to get served or even have our orders taken. The other tables were served and finished before ours even came out, and no we didnt order anything special. Disembarkation was a nightmare and the staff at the disembarkation station were rude beyond believe. I will never sail on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
This is the first time I have written a review, but should note that my cruise buddy & I had ten successful cruises before this one. The others since 2003 have been on a variety of ships from Holland America to Princess to Celebrity. ... Read More
This is the first time I have written a review, but should note that my cruise buddy & I had ten successful cruises before this one. The others since 2003 have been on a variety of ships from Holland America to Princess to Celebrity. All out of either Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, or Europe. This 5-day 4-nite cruise aboard "Inspiration" was our first Carnival cruise & our first experience out of Tampa. We actually selected this cruise rather last minute, fully expecting that since it spanned a weekend, we might be accompanied by many partying singles. But we were ready for a mini-vacation & are pretty flexible so were happy just to have a few days at sea with just one stop in Cozumel. We booked it on-line & selected one of the few staterooms left - on the stern which we thought would be a fun location where we could watch where we had been! Though we live on the West Coast of Florida, I think we will continue to cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale & Miami. The port terminal at Tampa though easy enough to find, did not offer a good or easy transition for bags & long-term parking. Once inside the terminal, it was cool enough & quite speedy, just didn't have a good feeling. Felt like I was being herded already! Entering the ship on the 7th level brought us directly in the Atrium area which is very dark & was extremely hot, probably due to the multi-storied open area with sunny sky-lit top. Even though we got onboard early - about 1:30 pm - there were already lots of folks onboard. We spent close to an hour in line at the Mardi Gras dining room (though there were only about 20 people in front of us) trying to secure a dining table reservation. Everyone else in the line was complaining that they were not assigned the dining time they requested. We hadn't either - but we wanted a table for two. Once inside the door - which thank goodness was cooler - we were quickly assigned a private table. The maitre d noticed we were first time Carnival cruisers & asked if we had been on other cruises. When we told him that we had previously enjoyed Holland America, Princess, & Celebrity, he winked & said we'd probably be going back to them after this cruise. Little did we know how right he would be. Once we had secured a dining reservation card, we were off to find our room. Pretty easy to find & convenient at the end of the center hall-way. The room was surprisingly spacious too - our first time with a non-balcony room, but this ship doesn't have too many of those. Our steward quickly introduced himself & said he would make up the beds to our preference. What a surprise when we entered the bathroom though & found out it didn't have a real shower but that this was a handicapped accessible room which meant the shower was wide open to the rest of the bathroom - which made it swimming in water after every use. I'm not sure as the spaciousness was worth the aggravation. The room also had an automatic door - which took forever - or so it seemed - to open & close. It was too heavy to open & close manually. (We should have been told or advised that this was what this room had in it.) Once our bags arrived, we unpacked. The storage closet was smaller than I remember on other ships, but adequate. I was happy we were only going for 5 days or there would not have been enough room. Also with the bathroom being open to water there also was no bathroom storage space. A bit of a pain to trot back & forth to the interior of the room each time you wanted a toothbrush, shampoo, or whatever. No place to even lay the items down inside the bathroom either. Not user friendly at all! I can't imagine what I would have done had I really been in a wheelchair. The mandatory drill was quick & easy once you found your muster station - ours was in the Candlelight Lounge. There were no crew members to be found anywhere as we tried to follow the directions on the back of our door to our location - up thru back stairways. In the hallway, other passengers were similarly looking lost. After that, we were ready to explore. Too bad we weren't given a ship's map or schedule of the day's events, it would have made that experience a better one. This ship is configured so that you need to go up & down stairs to go horizontally from the bow to the stern. Very poorly laid out & very dark. The Lido Deck dining areas are purple & pretty ugly in my opinion. Not too clean either. Actually as far as cleanliness goes - I'd have to say this was the worst of any ship I've been on. The few crew members that we saw cleaning as the days went on - were mostly doing superficial dustings. The dining areas on Lido were the worst. Many days, tables were covered with dirty meal dishes, trays, & glasses. Let talk about the food. Not too hot - both literally & figuratively. Didn't seem to matter where or when. We had a breakfast & a lunch in the Lido. Pizza was so-so, burgers about the same. Lido buffets ranged from Italian to French to American. No one seemed to think they were very good. Salad bar was probably the best choice each day. The ice cream machines - soft & self-serve - were broken a few times - overrun with kids most of the rest of the time. Often with them filling their cones, licking them down & then refilling them again. They were wild! We had 8:15 seating in the Carnivale Dining Room. Our table for two was fine, except the room is very brightly lit & the diners are loud! More accurately, I'd say they were "drunk". I have never seen so many loud obnoxious adults in my life. I'm not prude either, we spent several Mardi Gras in New Orleans years ago & didn't see this much uncouth at that event! People in the dining room - on all sides of us - were yelling across tables - knocking over tables - staggering up & down the aisles - bringing bottles of alcohol into the dining room with them - & generally making life miserable for those of us looking for a quiet fine dinner. The wait staff totally ignored this outlandish behavior. Most of these guests appeared to be on their first trip out of the barn. It was amazing. Our adjoining tables mates were nice, but they too were appalled at the antics going on at the large tables on the dining tier above us & on the opposite wall. Regarding the service, it was interesting to us that unlike the other cruise lines, Carnival dining staff work more as a group. Though we had some continuity with waiters - there is no sommelier & each waiter was jockeying to get you a bottle of wine or a drink. We bought several bottles during the trip & were disappointed that the white wine when returned on a subsequent night was not chilled. I asked for ice both times - & only received it once. Since we were late seating - it also became apparent on the first night that the object was to get us out of there quickly. No fine service here. At every meal, we were rushed to order, rushed to finish, & often without silverware, bread, & water. Certainly not at all like our past cruise experiences. On the positive side, the Maine lobster tail was pretty decent on the dress-up nite & everyone raved about the Chocolate Melting Cake which Carnival is famous for. Generally, however, the food was cold & unappealing. Breakfast in the Mardi Gras dining room was better than the Lido, but that's not saying much. Entertainment - we went to two shows, both in the theater (Paris Lounge) which is pretty impressive. The seating especially in the balcony is comfy. Surprising that all of the seating on the main floor are at the same height so not all great views. You need to watch out for the pillars too - that seem to be in all the wrong places. The theater seemed to have more bells & whistles in sofar as pyrotechnics, laser shows, scenery, costumes, plus the band was great. The performers were OK. The lead singers (male & female) had very nice voices. The others were not miked, so most of the music was canned which at least meant the songs were in tune. The quality of the dancing & singing was not up to the other ships we have been on. The better show of the two was "Shout". Art Auction was typical of other ships, interesting that no one bought much art though. Tells you about the crowd. One Park West employee said he couldn't wait to get off the ship in 9 months. Smoking Areas - though we are ones who enjoy a cocktail before dinner, we never found a decent place to get one. The few lounges that had music were smoke filled. Serenity - Adult Only area - when I read pre-cruise reviews, I figured this was an area where we could go even if the wild crowd was on this weekend cruise. On the first day, this aft deck area was packed with the drunken crowd too - it thinned out some as the days progressed. It always needed to have empty glasses & cups picked up. Where were the staff? Comfy Chairs - We like to read too - but never could find deck chairs or lounges that weren't in sunny rowdy areas. After a couple of days we settled in on the big purple suede chairs in the 7th floor Atrium area next to the bar. Made for interesting people-watching too. A fun place to watch the photographers - who were excellent though we aren't into that photo thing. Wild Children - If wild adults weren't enough during this trip, the children were following in their footsteps. Though the literature for the cruise indicated that children needed to be supervised, it seems that several groups were often running up & down stairways, halls, etc. Someone on this ship should be ensuring that their guests abide by the rules. I thought more that once, it's no wonder you read about people falling overboard on cruises. Never did I think it could happen on a cruise I had been on - know I know it could. As much as I looked forward to a couple of fun restful days at sea, it didn't happen on this trip. The best part of the cruise was tucked in our stateroom at night sleeping to the steady roll of the ship - at least it was quiet then. Plus the towel-animals were fun each nite. The weather was delightful too. Cozumel was Cozumel. What can I say, once you've been there, you've done that. Now that I've joined Cruise Critic - you will hear from me again in Nov when I'm back on a Celebrity cruise! I can't wait - I just know that will be a great review. I think I will like writing one of those more! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Drove 10 hrs to Tampa. Valet parking was nice at the port of Tampa but they could use more signs. Checked in and waited till 11:30 to start boarding. Ship lobby was very nice looking with the glass elevators. Went to Lido deck for lunch ... Read More
Drove 10 hrs to Tampa. Valet parking was nice at the port of Tampa but they could use more signs. Checked in and waited till 11:30 to start boarding. Ship lobby was very nice looking with the glass elevators. Went to Lido deck for lunch buffet. The outside buffet at lunch always had hamburgers, hot dogs, etc and every breakfast was scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes. They could definitely use more variety there. Inside they had a buffet also which changed daily for lunch but it was mexican, caribbean, french and american....nothing really appetizing. The dining room dinner was not bad, nice variety. The lobster tail was small but very good. Had shrimp cocktail almost every night...yum. Of course I had to try the famous chocolate melting cake...wow was that rich! The food was not very hot except for the soup. Our waiter Ibraham and his assistant was very nice. He was from Jamaica. I had a handicapped cabin E120 and good thing I did not take my Rascal scooter as it would have never made it in the cabin. The doorway was wider than other cabins but the cabin size was exactly the same as the other inside cabins. The only difference was I had no lip into the bathroom. I took a wide wheelchair and had to collapse it to get it in and out the doorway. The hallways were always blocked with housekeeping carts. The room steward were always in the halls. I am used to not seeing them and having your cabin cleaned while out of the room. They did not clean ours until after noon and we were always out by 8-9am. The beds were hard as a rock! The sheets and blankets were nice but those beds are too hard. I asked the room steward to remove our cans of soda and bottled water and he said he would have to see if they had a place to put it. I never had that problem before either. He did remove everything but I was charged for the water...had to have them remove that. He said they probably put in the wrong cabin number. The water park is nice and my granddaughter had a great time. Camp Carnival was ok...she enjoyed it. The only complaint I had with that was my son put my name down as a person who could sign her in and out but they only allow the Parent to sign in the kids...doesn't make sense that I can pick her up but not sign her in. Because of this she missed the last night and their farewell party and group pictures. I took her to sign her in and they would not let her without her dad. The entertainment was average. Shout show was pretty good. The comedian and magician were average. I was carrying my drink and a plastic chair to try to sit out on the deck by the rails...two workers stood right there and never offered to help. There were alot of wheelchairs and scooters on board and I never saw any staff assisting them except a few that pushed the wheelchairs. I was spoiled on HAL when I had them carry my trays, get my food and drinks for me, etc....not on this ship. They lost my sons luggage and did not find it till about 9pm. They also did not charge his sail and sign card immediately for several things and he thought he had money left on his account...surprise....they posted several items on the last night so it put him over on his account. He was overcharged at one bar and fought for 2 days to get the overage removed...he had hassles from the time he got on until he debarked. The only good time he had was on a beach away from the ship. Calica.......what a rip off! Nothing but dirt roads and about 6 vendors set up outside the ship. They were charging everyone different prices for items and they were all overpriced in my opinion. The cabs were to be $13 each way to the beach. Well, they charged you $13 to get to the beach but people were being charged anywhere from $13 to $80 to get back to the ship. YES...my son met one couple complaining they were charged $80 to get back. I have never heard so many people complaining about service, food and excursion. They said 1/2 of our ship was repeat cruisers and 1/2 were 1st timers....think those 1st timers will be back? Well, we will wait and see what Carnival does as we have made complaints. MY son called them as soon as we got home and said I don't want you "shipboard credits" either as I never plan to sail Carnival again...he is awaiting some sort of refund. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
Having been on a couple cruises before this (with Royal Caribbean) I looked forward to seeing the differences between the two lines. Both times on Royal Caribbean we had sailed on the Sovereign, an older boat but still lots of fun. Fast ... Read More
Having been on a couple cruises before this (with Royal Caribbean) I looked forward to seeing the differences between the two lines. Both times on Royal Caribbean we had sailed on the Sovereign, an older boat but still lots of fun. Fast forward to this cruise, we set sail on the Inspiration which is a slightly newer boat than Sovereign. Getting onto the boat was quick and easy. We even had to split billing between rooms and that was a breeze during the check in process. Getting on the boat we always get the fountain cards for unlimited soda. While the price was reasonable Carnival doesn't give you a soda cup like RC does and you also have a separate card instead of a sticker. If you want a soda cup they will sell you one for $4.95 (w/card) or $6.95 (w/o card). When we got to our room it was warm, something that didn't really get rectified until a couple days into the trip. The oceanview cabin we were in was comparable to other oceanview rooms we had been in. The closet doors wouldn't stay closed in this room and the TV was not programmed for the channels Carnival offered. The beds were comfortable and our room steward was marginal at best. We saw him once during the entire cruise and the room wasn't made nearly as much as I had expected. A couple times I paged the room steward and he didn't even respond. The room service offerings were sparse only offering you cold cut sandwiches, something to drink, and a few dessert items. Their "Continental Breakfast Menu" didn't feature anything but cereals, breads, fruit, and drink offerings. There was nothing CONTINENTAL about that. After dropping the luggage we went to explore the boat. The boat looked old, inside and out. Their decks aren't stained, they had at least half a dozen windows on the Lido deck that were boarded up by wood, and several lights around the boat were in need of repair. It had been rumored that this ship would be going in for a refurbishment so I asked one of the crew when that was supposed to happen, September was their answer. I was really disappointed the ship was in such a run down condition, it just seemed that they were doing the very minimal to keep it floating till September. The biggest let down on this ship was their entertainment. While they always had something going on in the Paris Lounge they had ZERO presence outside. This was a major let down. The bars on the pool deck didn't stay open past about 8 and they had absolutely no entertainment at night on the pool deck. The pool only stayed open til 10 and the hot tubs til 11. On top of that the adults pool and hot tub on the next deck up never stayed open that late (even though they didn't have different hours posted) nor were they even filled with water more than half of the day. I can't stress how disappointed I was with their outside activities, Royal Caribbean did one heck of a job keeping guests entertained by the poolside and these people flopped big time. I expected so much more from a "fun" ship. The only outlet from the shows in the Paris Lounge were the other night clubs. Most of which were unusually small and didn't stay open very late. There were only 2 clubs that seemed to stay open late night and this definitely isn't enough to entertain a whole boat of people. So, I have to say we ended up being really bored on the ship. I am 32 and my partner is 21, we aren't real big party animals but there just wasn't enough to keep us occupied. I did try my hand at the Mardi Gras Casino and left disappointed. I played slots off and on during the week but didn't see anyone getting huge payouts. It seems their machines are set pretty tight, you'd be better off holding onto your money or trying the dice/card games. Food on the boat was horrendous. We read several items on Carnival that said they were consistently improving their cuisine but you definitely couldn't tell from the food we were served. We ordered a filet on the first day and instead of it tasting like a fine cut of meat it tasted like pot roast. Yes I said pot roast. The only thing redeeming about their foods were the dessert selections although other friends complained about the cheesecake. It wasn't served cold and it was a strange mixture of a pound cake and a cheesecake combined. We actually looked forward to both of our stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel so we could eat regular food off the boat. You shouldn't have your customers running off the boat for good food. While we didn't get to do any excursions on our ports of call we did take in the local sites. We were supposed to be in Grand Cayman from 7 to 2. People didn't actually start getting off until later, no reason was given and we all had to be back by 1 because that was the last tender back to the ship. So, all in all, we lost at least 2 hours on the island. For those looking to go to Grand Cayman, be aware they are still extensively rebuilding from the hurricanes. While there is still plenty to do there is also a lot of construction going on. Cozumel was much smoother because the ship was docked, we spent much of the day checking out the local sites. We both liked this much better than Nassau. Less locals nagging you for tours, rides, gifts, or whatever other wares they were peddling. Cozumel, in general, just appeared more clean than our other cruising ports of call. Towards the end of the cruise I checked my room charges. They had pre-billed service gratuities for the staff (waiter, head waiter, room steward) of $50.00 per person. I DESPISED this approach because I should be the one deciding who gets what monetarily. Royal Caribbean gives you 4 envelopes and allows you to distribute money as you see fit, giving only recommendations for the various staff. The staff, as a whole, wasn't very exciting or happy. They did their job and went on to the next customer. The dining staff seemed to be the only exception. In fact, it seemed there were more "fun" activities held in the dining room than anywhere else on the ship. The dining staff was very warm and personable. They liked to get to know you (as well as your food preferences). Risa, the cruise director, was bubbly but came off very insincere. The assistant cruise director wasn't much more memorable after watching him during some of the shows. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS CRUISE TO ANYONE. I was left with a really disappointed feeling especially since we had asked a couple of our friends along and it was their first time cruising. Carnival would be wise to check on their competition and incorporate some of the activities other lines are doing. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
This was our first cruise and I had high expectations. I was told by our travel agent that Inspiration was an older cruise ship, but assumed that it would have had some sort of upgrade since 1996...boy, was I wrong! It looked like an old, ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I had high expectations. I was told by our travel agent that Inspiration was an older cruise ship, but assumed that it would have had some sort of upgrade since 1996...boy, was I wrong! It looked like an old, cheap Vegas casino and smelled equally as bad. We were told this was from the water system. It did disappear eventually once we left Tampa or we just got used to it! There were always people cleaning the ship but, they should have been more concerned with the broken windows covered with wood and the rust that needed to be painted. The food was marginal at best. It was plentiful but, lacked in taste and quality. When I can get a better meal at Red Lobster, there's a problem. The pools were very small and were closed much sooner than the 10pm designated closing time. Our first port of call was Grand Cayman. I was told it was beautiful but, we never really had a chance to see it. Our itinerary said we were there from 7am to 2pm. We weren't cleared to leave the boat until 9 and needed to return by 1. It didn't leave much time to explore the island. Cozumel, our second port, was gorgeous. We went against the advice of Carnival and took a private taxi to Paradise Beach. We spend the day there and if I had a passport, I would have stayed and said the heck with the ship. But, back to the boat we went. Every time you turned around, someone had a camera in your face taking overpriced photos. The catch...you needed to buy a $22 8x10 before you could buy a cheaper package. If you refused to pose for a picture, they got snippy. I'm thinking they work on commission?!? As someone else said, better than I could have, it was like being harassed on the streets of Mexico. Being a smaller cruise ship, when the water was choppy the last day, you felt every single wave. This, of course, was not the fault of Carnival, but I have to wonder if the huge Royal Caribbean boat we docked next to had the same problem. The entire last day was wasted, trying not to vomit. Parts of the ship were closed during debarkation. It would have been nice to know that ahead of time, prior to standing in front of an elevator that was closed off and needing to haul our luggage down flights of stairs. I guess someone thought we needed the work out after the endless ice cream! I am going to give credit where it's due. The embarkation process was awesome and very fast. We were on the boat, being offered lunch and drinks, within 15 minutes. Our dining room waiter was a very nice man and made our dinners very enjoyable. Risa, the Cruise Director, was wonderful at hosting marginal shows that were mainly done by other cruisers...The Newlywed Game, a guest talent show, etc. Our room was well maintained and cleaned every time we left. The towel animals were really cute, too! We had a dog, a duck, an elephant, and a swan. I'm going to try to learn how to make them so I can put them on my bed during my next cruise, which definitely won't be with Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our third cruise with Carnival in the past year. Before this we had sailed twice on Carnival's Celebration (which we highly recommend). We wanted to try a slightly longer cruise and we liked the Inspiration's ports. We ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Carnival in the past year. Before this we had sailed twice on Carnival's Celebration (which we highly recommend). We wanted to try a slightly longer cruise and we liked the Inspiration's ports. We live in Florida so it was only about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Tampa. The process for boarding the Inspiration was a breeze and very quick. The only downfall is finding parking. We opted for the valet parking which only cost $15 more and it was worth every dime. When we boarded the Inspiration we really liked the open atrium style lobby. Since we arrived a little early (before noon) we went up to the Lido deck to wait for our cabin to be ready and to enjoy the buffet. The Lido buffet is the normal fare for Carnival and was reasonably good. We went to find our cabin on the Main deck about 1:30pm. Our cabin was very clean and exactly as we were used to on the Carnival ships. Our Steward was Fernando and he ended up being one of the best Stewards we have had on a cruise. We left Tampa on time. Tuesday was a day at sea and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the ship and enjoying everything from the Lido deck to the Casino. We had the 8pm dining and had an excellent Waitress named Leysa. She was very attentive and very professional. Wednesday we arrived on time in Grand Cayman. I had been there before, but this was a first time for my wife. The island has really changed over the years, but it is still beautiful. First, let me say that you don't go to the Caymans because you are expecting incredible deals in shopping. This isn't the port for that. But it has the best beaches, snorkeling, and diving in the caribbean. We took the Island tour and it was great. You don't really get enough time on the island though. The line for the tenders to the ship was already hundreds of people deep by 11:30pm and the ship didn't arrive until 7:00am. It took some people 2 hours in line to get onto a tender. They need to have more boats. They only had 2 tenders for our ship. Thursday was the day our cruise went bad. Mexican authorities said that it was unsafe to tender (30 mph winds). Yet, all the tenders were in the water and the waves weren't bad. Also 5 other ships where there tendering so we aren't sure what was really going on. Carnival could not control this, but the problem was that they had no contingency plans for the ship afterwards. They offered board games, $10-$20 bingo games, and stupid pool games in substitution. They did offer a $25 credit to your Sail and Sign card, but considering you had to pay for almost everything they offered, it wasn't a very could compensation. The board games were actually an insult. So, we slowly made our way back to Tampa for 2 days. From Thursday on we were ready to leave the ship. It was boring and you could tell no one was happy. I called Carnival and they said that there was nothing for them to do and that my contract said that they didn't have to go to the ports or offer anything in return. We ended up back in Tampa late because of Fog (how can that happen on a modern ship that had 2 days to make a trip that only normally takes just over a day?) People missed their flights and it took us 2 hours to get off the ship and to our car. That just seemed to add insult to injury. Even though the service was great and the ship clean, the Cruise Director on this ship (Risa) is terrible and once things got messed up in Cozumel she was no where to be seen. I would not recommend this cruise since I understand that missing Cozumel happens frequently and Carnival isn't going to even try to make it right for you. They made more money from everyone because we were stuck on board an extra day and they took advantage of that fact. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This was our first cruise so we were all excited. However, we were highly disappointed. We got to the pier around noon and were on the ship within half an hour. Waiters were walking around with the drink special but decided to pass and go ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we were all excited. However, we were highly disappointed. We got to the pier around noon and were on the ship within half an hour. Waiters were walking around with the drink special but decided to pass and go get some lunch. Food and variety was good. We were able to get into our cabin at 1:30 and it was alot better than what we expected. There was a good and bad to it. We were right next to the atrium and embarkation/debarkation point which was good because everything was right there but bad because sometimes you had a lot of noise. Dinner's were good. We ate in the Main dining room and food was good but very small portions. Ask for two plates in advance because you will be surprised on lack of food on plate. Wasn't too crazy about sitting with other people. Kind of made it uncomfortable because you had nothing in common and nothing to talk about. We just kept to ourselves. Entertainment was boring. There was one club on board and they played the same music over and over again. Not too current music as well. The ports were ok. I don't get docking in Grand Caymen late and then having to be on board so early. Doesn't leave you much time to do anything. Calica is a dump. It's an rock crushing site. You have to take a cab to Playa del Carmen and if you aren't going to the beach, you are going to be harassed by the natives to come into their stores. Same stores down the rows, just differently arranged. By the third day, we were totally bored and didn't know what to do with ourselves. We expected them to show the UM/FSU game but didn't. Claimed they couldn't get it on satellite??? Doesn't make sense because Carnival is based out of Miami!! Alot of angry people there. TV in room didn't always get signal either. You had lots of channels with snow and local channels out of Denver, CO???? We won't be back on Carnival. I'm glad I didn't spend the money on a suite. We will be traveling with NCL or Princess next time. If you are looking for a cheap cruise with cheap expectations, then this is it. We are both 30 and spent about $400 on alcohol and pics for the 5 days. (PS-Pictures are a rip off. $20 a pop for an 8x10 and if you want smaller pics, you HAVE to buy the 8x10 first. I spent $50 on two poses) Never again Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
This was my first cruise and probably my last, definitely last with Carnival. I went on this cruise with my girlfriend. We are both 25 and live in Chicago. We decided to fly in on Friday so that we would not have to worry about being ... Read More
This was my first cruise and probably my last, definitely last with Carnival. I went on this cruise with my girlfriend. We are both 25 and live in Chicago. We decided to fly in on Friday so that we would not have to worry about being delayed. We flew Southwest from Chicago-Midway into Tampa. There were no problems with the flight. We stayed at the Wyndham Westshore. It was very close to the airport and they have free transfers. I got a room on the internet for 95 dollars. We went out that night in Ybor city. I heard it was a good time and wanted to check it out, definitely worth the time. Embarkation: We were told that you could not start boarding the ship until 1:30pm. This is incorrect; they actually allow people to start being processed at 10:30am. Nonetheless we arrived around 12:30 pm to the terminal. Everything moved along pretty smoothly and we were on the ship by 1pm. You are not allowed to visit your staterooms until 1:30pm. They had lunch up on the Lido deck, so we went up there and had lunch. We then went to our stateroom at 1:30pm to change and to drop off some stuff we were carrying. We relaxed on the decks and ventured around the ship for the next couple hours until it was time for Munster. This is a mandatory drill for safety. It only lasts about a half hour and then you are on your way! At this point I was already starting to get bored. There really is not much to do unless you plan on stuffing your face the whole time with food and/or alcohol. We basically just hung out waiting around for something to happen. We decided against going to formal dinner that night because both of us were pretty tired. We had dinner in the Brassiere. This is probably the best place to eat on the ship. We ate all of our meals but 3 of them in the Brassiere. It has a WONDERFUL deli, which serves hot and cold sandwiches, turkey, reuben, ham, veggie, you name it they will make it for you. There is also a pizzeria in the back which has 6 different types of pizza 24 hours a day. The rest of the first night was spent at the Casino. If you are a seasoned Blackjack player like me, you will not enjoy the casino. First off they use an 8-deck shoe, this is unheard of anywhere besides Carnival. The norm is for a 6 deck shoe. Also you should scout the players before you take a seat or you are in for one heck of a ride. I was lucky enough to sit at a higher minimum bet table and play with a few individuals who knew what they were doing. I managed to win 600 dollars the first night. We decided to go to bed around midnight, since we planned to get up early and be out in the sun. Day 2: Fun Day at Sea We woke around 7:30am and got ready to go out and enjoy the sun. We went the Brassiere and grabbed yogurt and coffee then headed up the 11th deck Aft pool area. This is ADULTS only, which is not really enforced but the only time you see the kids is when they run to the hot tubs, not a big deal. We had no problem getting lounge chairs to lay out on any day we were up there. They were always plentiful in this area. We stayed out in the sun until around noon and then headed down to the brassiere for lunch at the salad bar. After lunch we walked around the ship some more and went back to the room and changed for the day. I went to the Casino for an hour while my girlfriend read her book outside. We then met up for the art auction at 2pm. This I definitely recommend to anyone who goes on this cruise. They have some VERY expensive pieces of art that you may never see again. Also you receive free champagne during the preview and auction. I purchased a Scott Jacobs painting for 765 dollars framed and shipped. This painting retails for 1850 dollars on land, a great deal that you will not find anywhere else. The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging around relaxing up until the cocktail party and formal dinner. Our cocktail party time was slated for 7pm, since we were late seating. The cocktail party was a decent time, free drinks and good music. Since we were seated in the Mardi Gras dining room and late seating we did not eat until 8:30pm. We arrived at our table a couple minutes late and 3 other couples were already there. We did not have anything in common with the people who we sat with, which in turn led to very little conversation with the others. My girlfriend shared a bottle of wine, which was ok. The wine selection is minimal at best and the prices are just absurd for the quality of wines. Dinner was repulsive, due to the food and what we witnessed around our table. You are able to order as much and whatever you want. My girlfriend had a cup of minestrone soup and a side salad to start. I had a Caesar side salad. She had the veggie dish for her entrEe which actually was not too bad and much better than my Salmon. The salmon was very dry and fishy; anyone who knows good seafood knows it should not smell fishy. I only had a couple of bites of my entrEe and shared the rest of hers. The other six at our table must have loved their dinners. Each one of them had at least two meals; one had three before we left. Is this typical cruise custom? We were not impressed. We did not stay around for dessert so I can not comment on if it was any good. It was around 9:30pm and we decided to head to the Casino, this was not a good idea. I managed to lose around 500 dollars during the course of the rest of the night. We were there until a little after midnight when we decided it best to go to bed and wake up early for Grand Cayman. Day 3: Grand Cayman We woke up around 8am and got ready for the day off the ship, finally! We opted to have breakfast on the island instead of dealing with individuals on the ship. I was unsure as to how or where to get off the ship so I had to ask an employee and he told me I could with any tender I wanted. You are not docked in Cayman; you get to and from the dock by a smaller boat. We didnt realize that Grand Cayman was an hour behind ship time and nothing opened early. As you can tell we didnt book a shore excursion, and wished we had. We were able to find a nice juice bar/breakfast place in the shopping area by the dock. We enjoyed our breakfast outside waiting for the shops to open. We spent the next 3 hours shopping and walking around the island. We headed back to the ship around noon to have lunch, again in the Brassiere. After lunch we spent the next few hours on the adults only area sunning and in the pool. The sun is very intense down there, we both got a little red. I think that this is a night that we went to a show, I really cannot recall. It was a band playing like a tribute band to the Blues Brothers. It was all right kind of corny but what do you expect, you are on a cruise. After that they have bingo, which I recommend doing, it only takes 15 minutes and you could win 400 dollars. The sheets cost between 10-20 dollars. The rest of the night we just relaxed and were in bed fairly early, around 11pm. Day 4: Calica, Mexico Yes, I said Calica, Mexico. We thought we were going to Cozumel, but they decided to change the itinerary. We actually ate breakfast in the dining room this morning, and were pleasantly surprised. I dont like how they force you to sit at a table with other people but the family we sat with was very pleasant. I had the eggs benedict which was not bad, a little runny, but surpassed my expectations. My girlfriend had a made to order veggie omelet which she said was very tasty. After breakfast we decided to get off the ship and venture out into Mexico. When you get off the ship you will see a very large crane looking piece of machinery and some little sidewalk shops. We did not look at any of those and just went to get in the Taxi line. This line is very long since there is nothing to do in Calica. After waiting for about 10-15mins I noticed there were people renting Jeeps. I strongly suggest doing this to everyone! The cost was only 70 dollars with free miles. We were just going to drive to Playa del Carmen but once we arrived we decided we did not want to stay there, so we drove all the way to Cancun. It takes a little over an hour to get to Cancun, but it definitely worth the drive. We both had never been to Cancun and were very impressed. There were tons of things to do and see. We had lunch at Senor Frogs in the Hotel Zone. We then walked around and did some shopping before heading back to the ship. I did not feel comfortable filling the Jeep up with gas so I figured I would just pay the penalty when we returned the Jeep. We arrived back to the port around 4pm. The total charge for the Jeep including gas was only 100 dollars! Overall a great experience and day spent in Mexico. That night was more of the same, eat in the Brassiere for dinner then go to the Casino or a bar and relax. Day 5: Fun Day at Sea We tried our best to sleep in this morning but were still up early enough for breakfast on the Lido deck. There was a massive line and luckily we were able to get in it right before they shut it down. The breakfast was all right, nothing great. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the sun. The evening was a fun one and we figured we would try our best to enjoy ourselves on the last night. We went to the Chopin bar and watched the DetroitMiami game then Karaoke started around 10pm in the Candlelight lounge. This was very entertaining and fun. We spent the rest of the evening in there until around 1130 when we decided to get some rest for the busy day tomorrow. Debarkation: This was the morning from Hell. This is where an ok experience turned into a horrible one. We had a wake up call set for 6:30am. I had been using the in room safe for all cash and certain valuables. I had placed 400 dollars and 500 pesos in the safe the night before not wanting to take the money out on the ship with me. When I went to retrieve the money out of the safe it was gone! All of it, including the envelope I had used. I was beyond pissed off. I immediately called for our Cabin Steward to question him about the missing money. He acted dumbfounded and promptly left, raising even more suspicion. I then called security, who then came to my room to do a report and search. I was hoping the security guard would then go and question all individuals who were in my room that evening, but he did not even talk to one person. I then was told to go to the pursers station and they would let me know what to do next. I went down there and was told that they were unable to help me and that I would have to contact corporate. We had decided to do self assist off the ship, which we missed due to the missing money from my stateroom. They told us that we had to wait in line like everyone else. Still pissed off we go wait in a line that snakes through the ship's hallways. Mind you, we are carrying luggage. Not a very pleasant experience. Once they announce that people may leave the ship it is a mad dash towards the exit, no organization. I was so glad to get off the ship; it was a sigh of relief. When I got home I called Carnival about the missing money from the stateroom and they promptly told me that they are not liable for any items that become missing from the stateroom. I was and am still very unsatisfied how the whole thing played out. -Costs- We spent a total of $1,400.00 on our sign and sail cards (4.50 a beer). This is including the $765 dollar painting. I also had $1,600.00 in cash with me for the Casino and ports. All of that ended up being used/missing. Add up the cost of the plane tickets, hotel and cruise you just under $5,000.00. -Room- We were in stateroom U133, which had a big ocean view. I was very happy with my room and cabin steward until the last morning. I was even going to slip him an extra twenty dollar bill upon departure, but not after the money was missing. I will never in my life use or refer Carnival. I urge all of you to stay away. You can do much better for a lot less somewhere else. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
This was my second cruise. We booked a 5 day Western Caribbean out of Tampa. We had two stops, the first was Grand Cayman and the second was Cozumel. My family booked this cruise because it was supposed to be a "fun ship" and I ... Read More
This was my second cruise. We booked a 5 day Western Caribbean out of Tampa. We had two stops, the first was Grand Cayman and the second was Cozumel. My family booked this cruise because it was supposed to be a "fun ship" and I had my 16 and 13 year old sons with me. For the most part, it was a big disappointment but I will start with a few positive words. When we arrived at the port, the staff was very friendly and in a very short time we were on the ship. The cabin was not ready but that was expected and was not a problem because lunch was being served on the Lido deck. The food on this cruise was just okay and that covers all of the dining areas for the entire 5 days. Our cabin was an outside cabin with a window and although there were 4 of us it wasn't too uncomfortable. A nice surprise was that there was a bowl of items in the bathroom that contained razors, lotion, toothpaste, body spray and dental floss. In the shower there was shampoo and liquid body wash, but no conditioner. There are no hair dryers. Our cabin boy or girl ??? did not introduce themselves but did a good job with our cabin. The two stops are not even worth talking about because we were on each island for too short of time. Tendering was a nightmare that took on average two hours off of each islands time. What a waste! The entertainment was poor and my sons spent most of the time on board with nothing to do. My husband and I admitted to each other on day 4 that we were so bored that we couldn't wait for it to end. Also on day 4 we we awakened by the sound of scraping and tapping at about 7:30 a.m. When we went on deck to find out what the noise was, it was workers scraping paint. I will not book another Carnival cruise. Compared to the Royal Caribbean that I took last year, this cruise was a big disappointment! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
This was our first cruise, my husband and I. We are both thirty-one. The trip was painless and our travel agent took care of our E-ticket and Funpass before we left home. We did arrive late from Pittsburgh and got to the ship a half an ... Read More
This was our first cruise, my husband and I. We are both thirty-one. The trip was painless and our travel agent took care of our E-ticket and Funpass before we left home. We did arrive late from Pittsburgh and got to the ship a half an hour before the ship set sail. The drill went very fast. I agree with many others do not miss the view of the Tampa Bay Bridge at sunset. The cabin was roomy and wonderful. The service was the best. I enjoyed the feel of having everything done for me for the week. I loved having a room with an ocean view at water level. Sometimes the water would splash up on the windows. I slept so well with the rocking of the boat. (Which it did a lot of, since the captain was running behind the entire time due to some cruisers missing the boat at our first port. So we slowed down after we left port to let them on. Fast traveling in some rocky waters.) The rest of the ship seemed very clean. We did not get to go to that many shows. Tony the comedian was very good. The second comedian was boring. The newlywed game was entertaining. The couple we went with really enjoyed it. It did get annoying the way they played up most shows, most of the time it felt like I was back at camp. Way too kid friendly in an obnoxious way (I think even the teens found it corny). I attended an art auction for the first time and purchased a print. I highly recommend this to everyone. It was the best activity on the ship. The singer at the piano bar needed to be fired. He was horrible and we could hear his croaking when were at that end of the ship. We did very little gambling and won nothing. The couple were with actually won a couple of hundred though. I really enjoyed the food selection and dining. As it was my first time, I was impressed with the service and array of choices. Cayman was perfect, I highly recommend Soto tours for swimming with the stingrays. Saves a lot of money and time. They were friendly and it shined through our rainy day. Cozumel would have been a blast if we didn't arrive at port so late. The tender service set up through Carnival was horrid. We were already in a foul mood, since it seemed no one(staff)had no idea what the weather would be like that day. (As if the captain did not know!) So, since no one could answer we did not want to book a tour on a day that we were sure would storm. (We had cloudy and rainy weather- don't sail in January) I don't know if it is usual for them to not give weather reports? We did not get off the ship till sometime after 1PM due to the problems getting passengers off of the ship. For some reason the captain parked the ship further out at sea and had to keep moving the ship. The other cruise ships were docked much closer and parallel to the island. They did not have to move and their passengers stated they were on the island much earlier. To top it off, our group number was sent to the wrong gate and ended up behind groups that should have debarked later than us (like three- if you have any experience with the group number system, you know how many people got off before us.) This soured my cruise experience for me greatly. We had about 3 hours on the island by the time we got off the ship. We had been waiting since 9:30 AM. We were supposed to be there till 8:00PM, but the last tender was at 5:00PM back to the ship. We had very little time to do anything but take a cab to do some shopping at the shore. The people at both ports were friendly and helpful on the islands. Disembarkation went roughly. We arrived in Tampa the night before due to fog. Yes, more fast traveling on rough waters. We did not realize we needed to be off the ship by 8:00Am. We never received our wake up call and had to get ready to leave in 25 minutes. We were so rushed and I did not get the chance to purchase any of our photos. Overall, I enjoyed the ports and would like to go back to them to spend more time. However, I would not go back to Carnival due to the headache at Cozumel. Can you tell how angry the tender service made me? That was extremely distressing for a first time cruise. It was not the vacation I imagined for so long. (By the way- commercials are misleading- expect extreme wind on the deck at all times. How anyone could play games in the open is beyond me. Especially golf.) The service and shore excursions get low points due to the nightmare at Cozumel. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
We left Tampa on Thursday afternoon with great hopes for the next four days. It did not take long for my hopes to start fading. The passengers for the most part, work very hard to earn the title of ugly American tourist. If you are looking ... Read More
We left Tampa on Thursday afternoon with great hopes for the next four days. It did not take long for my hopes to start fading. The passengers for the most part, work very hard to earn the title of ugly American tourist. If you are looking forward to sailing with a majority of loud, discourteous, intoxicated co-passengers, then this is the ship for you. I go on a cruise to enjoy myself and have fun, but not at the cost of my fellow passengers. The service on the ship was nothing but first class, as was the entire crew. The food was good and available during my waking hours (till around 2:00 AM). The crew keep the ship very clean (and that is hard with a bunch of drunks) and in good repair. The entertainment was limited and what there was of it, for the most part, would have had a hard time competing with the average high school show. The passenger talent show provided better singers than did the ship's staff. When we booked the cruise, our port of call was Cozumel which, thanks to Wilma, was changed to Progresso. If you did not want to spend up to 5 hours traveling to someplace else, you were stuck in the town of Progresso in which the only attraction is large alcoholic drinks at a fair price. The beach is dirty, the water is cloudy, there is no reef or diving, and the goods sold in town were mostly junk at tourist prices. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
My mom and I went on this cruise in celebration of my 18th birthday and graduation....We arrived at the port and it took quite a while to get on the ship, it was nuts trying to find where our room was...finally we found it...The room was ... Read More
My mom and I went on this cruise in celebration of my 18th birthday and graduation....We arrived at the port and it took quite a while to get on the ship, it was nuts trying to find where our room was...finally we found it...The room was small and worn...The bathroom had a stench of rotten eggs for most of the trip... Besides that, the first day was not the fun, we had to immediately go to the lifeboat drill, that was boring and lasted about an hour...Then we had to stand in line to see the Maitre D' bcuz our dinner reservations were supposed to be for 5:45 and were for 8:30...finally he said he'd change it, but of course didn't...so the first night apparently all the people at our table got their dinner time changed so my mom and I were the only people at a 10 person table...very disappointing. By the second day we got our table moved to a table with wonderful people... The second day around 3:00 the sea was VERY choppy and I got sea sick...yuck...so after dinner we watched a show then I went to sleep...not a fun day or night... The next day we ported in Grand Cayman. We booked a tour for the Turtle Farm, Hell and rum factory....way overpriced... Hell was lame, Turtle Farm was okay, the rum factory was just another gift shop....very disappointing....the island was pretty torn up from the hurricane, so it wasn't very visually appealing either...we were only there for about 4 hours, we went back to the ship early had lunch and laid out in the sun all day.... The next day was Cozumel , which was by far the best day! I went snorkeling in the beautiful water, where I got stung by a jellyfish! ouch!! After that we went back to the ship, ate lunch then waited for a boat to tender us back to shore...which took awhile...then we shopped a lot....I got my hair braided, then we went to SENIOR FROGS!! SO MUCH FUN!! Best part of the whole trip was Mexico! I will go back there again for sure! The last day was crappy outside, so very windy and overcast... On the downside of the trip: ~The daily activities were boring ~Not a whole lot to do on the ship ~The ship was very unstable...try taking a shower...hard stuff!! ~Orbitz isn't very good! They are an awful company to book through, on neither of our flights did we have seats together, also our luggage was not transferred upon a connecting flight...horrible experience! ~Too many kids ~not many teenagers. Positive: ~Food was really good! ~Waiters were friendly ~Staff worked very hard ~Room stewards very good. I would not cruise again on Carnival...this was my first cruise and unfortunately has turned me off to cruising....maybe other cruise lines would be better! I would not recommend the Inspiration....it is in need of many repairs....not a good cruse line period! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
This was our honeymoon cruise and my wife and I were very disappointed. This was our first cruise and I realize now that this is Carnival's "entry level" ship and it shows. Out biggest complaint was the food. We were ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise and my wife and I were very disappointed. This was our first cruise and I realize now that this is Carnival's "entry level" ship and it shows. Out biggest complaint was the food. We were expecting great cuisine based on what I had heard from other Carnival cruisers and we were again disappointed. On the first night, my wife ordered the smoked salmon appetizer and the fish was brown and foul smelling. We enjoy bagels and lox on a regular basis and we know what good smoked salmon is supposed to look and taste like and that was not it! During that same meal, both our salads had brown lettuce! You expect a lousy salad at Big Boy or Denny's but not on a cruise you paid serious money for. We thought that maybe they had some bugs to work out on the first night, so we decided to cut them some slack and try again the following evening. The second dinner we attended had the same problems and more. Again, brown lettuce on our salads and my wife's steak was cooked well done even though she ordered medium rare. That might have been the waiter's error because the other couples at our table had also ordered steak and received the incorrectly cooked portion. We went to complain at the information desk and we had a had time explaining to the purser what we meant by "rusty lettuce" due to language barrier issues. Things got a little better after that. Our head waiter, Romeo in the Carnivale dining room, must have gotten word of our complaint because he kept asking us if we wanted something else if he saw us not eating something. Even the maitre'D came over to ask our table if things were satisfactory. The food did improve from that point on. But, you shouldn't have to complain to get the level of service promised by the company. One more thing about the food, the "baked Alaska" on the last night was a joke. My wife is studying to be a pastry chef and she knows what they are supposed to be like and the one they served tasted like Neapolitan ice cream surrounded by cool whip with a little crust on the bottom. It sucked. The buffet in the Brasserie was hit and miss. I had a great lunch later in the week during one of the theme days. It was Indian food and the food was very good. The lunch on the first day tasted like the food you would get at a Ponderosa buffet. We stayed in Tampa after our cruise for a few days and we went to a place called Barnhill's for dinner. It's a buffet place and their food was vastly superior to the buffet served onboard. Positives: 1. Cabin Steward - Ours was AWESOME. His name was Orlando and he really took care of us. My wife was not feeling well one night and the next day he asked about her and that was very nice. He greeted us by name when he saw us in the hallway and he did a great job cleaning our cabin. 2. Casino - Lots of fun. 3. Shore excursions - Again, lots of fun. A. Grand Cayman - We took the "Sea and Sea" tour. The first part is a tour of the harbor on a glass bottom boat. Very cool. The second part is a bus tour of the island ending at a Sea Turtle farm. Not very exciting but still kind of fun B. Costa Maya - "Jungle Beach break" We took a bus from the pier and went to Uvero beach and drank and drank and drank...Loads of fun. Great Margaritas from the open bar. C. Cozumel - "4X4 Adventure to Paradise" After a BUMPY ride on the back roads of Cozumel in a rickety Mexican Jeep, we were transported to the Isla de Pasion. A very cool place with great beaches and they served a a great lunch. Lazy day on the beach and very relaxing. The ride to the beach is VERY rugged! Beware. D. Belize "Cave Tubing" Our favorite excursion. From the tender dock, you go by bus to this restaurant called Cheers in the middle of the jungle for a lunch of chicken, rice and beans. Very tasty. From there, another bus ride to a river where you hike for 45 minutes carrying an inner tube and a miner's light. You eventually reach the cave entrance where you hop in your tube and float through this great cave with lots of cool formations. DO THIS ONE!! Overall, I give this cruise a C-. We want to cruise another line and compare. Read Less
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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