2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
If you are a Carnival cheer leader, don't bother reading this because I intend to be balanced. Did I enjoy the cruise, Yes I did. What was good: The port stops (Catalina and Ensenada were great). The crew was friendly and ... Read More
If you are a Carnival cheer leader, don't bother reading this because I intend to be balanced. Did I enjoy the cruise, Yes I did. What was good: The port stops (Catalina and Ensenada were great). The crew was friendly and helpful. The kids club was good. There was a magician in the MDR that made table visits and was great for the kids and even some adult diners. Our Waiter also tried some magic acts. The wait staff was very friendly and tried a lot. The ship was very clean and well kept. What was not so good: The food (possibly the worst cruise food that I have ever experienced in over a hundred cruises. While I don't know this for a fact, the eggs in the buffet tasted like powdered eggs and I hear several comments from other cruisers about them. Fresh fried eggs were available at the grill but the omelets seemed to use the same "egg" mix. Dinner in the MDR, the food was less than inspiring, came often cold and in one instance the alligator fritters came under cooked and still doughy. Although our server was very friendly/helpful, he seemed to be inefficient. One Night we had ordered two appetizers and an entrée. After asking several times about the second appetizer, he finally brought it with the entrée. Our room steward was nice and friendly but we ask for a feather pillow. After checking with his boss he informed us that none were available. One other major problem that would not affect another cruise was the embarkation. Our cruise was right after a charter cruise and our boarding was delayed until 1:30 and some didn't board until way late. Carnival knew this in advance but didn't bother to inform us in advance so that we could have arrived later. It's not really fun standing around outside in line at this port. So, will I do this cruise again. I'm not sure. If it wasn't for the food then yes in a heart beat but the food was really bad so I will have to think about it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Just returned from a 4 day Baja cruise to Catalina/Ensenada on Carnival Inspiration. This was not my first cruise with Carnival, I have cruised several times before wit Carnival and other lines as well, but this will most likely be my ... Read More
Just returned from a 4 day Baja cruise to Catalina/Ensenada on Carnival Inspiration. This was not my first cruise with Carnival, I have cruised several times before wit Carnival and other lines as well, but this will most likely be my last unless things drastically change. My family is extremely disappointed in the entire cruise experience. First of all I will say that our room steward Pistui was good, he took care of us, and the blowhole kayak excursion in Ensenada was amazing. The Motor City show the last night of the cruise was excellent as well. But that's where the good ends unfortunately. I do not usually have negative things to say and I do understand that sometines there are circumstances that are beyond the control of anyone. I am sure that there are 2000 other people on this cruise who are in the same boat, no pun intended!! This was our first cruise in 7 years. We had previously enjoyed Carnival and have taken several 4 and 7 day cruises with them before as I previously said. Embarkation at Long Beach was an absolute joke. Apparently Carnival let some group charter the ship the cruise prior to ours. This group absolutely trashed the ship, ripped doors off of bathroom stalls, threw chairs into the pools, puke everywhere, etc. In fact the whole ship smelled of puke and sewer. It was disgusting. None of the people in the group knew how to tell time nor had any regard for all of us waiting to get on the ship. We were told by several Carnival employees at Long Beach that there were several problems with drugs, excessive alcohol consumption, prostitution etc associated with this group and this particular cruise. We arrived at Long Beach approximately 9:30. Check in was easy, we only waited in line for 5 minutes, gave our bags to the porters and were handed our Sail n Sign cards and told we would be in Zone 1 and to come back to the line at 11:00 because we would be boarding at that time. We walked over to the Queen Mary and did a complimentary self tour. We walked back over to the lines outside the dome and proceeded to Zone 1. And waited. And waited. And waited. People were too drunk and hungover to make it off the ship on time so we waited some more. And waited. See where I'm going with this? People were getting frustrated, irritated. People were cursing and fighting. 2000 people waiting to board the ship were hungry and hot. Finally 2:30 came along and immigration was still searching for two lost people on the ship. Really?? Carnival should have been more prepared ahead of time knowing that this particular cruise is always a mess. Bring in extra staff and cleaning people ahead of time. Have a cut off time for alcohol the night before so all the hung over people can vacate their staterooms on time like the rest of us. We all have to vacate our staterooms by 8:30 am, but they are allowed to stay until 2:30? Really need a different strategy here. Absolutely ridiculous. So we finally get to board. Our rooms weren't ready (understandable) so we went up to the buffet. It was mediocre at best. Slimy, greasy, and cold. So I ate a salad. I'm not a fan of salad but it looked the most appetizing. The muster drill was almost two hours late. It took almost an hour. By the time that was done, it was well past time for dinner. We had the first seating at 6pm. I didn't have a chance to change for dinner since I didn't have my luggage yet. The rest of my family did. We went to dinner late, missed sailaway, that was 2 hours late as well. No welcome aboard party, missed sailaway, long lines everywhere so not off to a great start. Also, a sewage pipe broke in the room across the hall from our cabin. The floor was wet the entire cruise, and there were fans in the hallway. Thise poor people had to be evacuated from their cabins. Since we were so late to dinner, we also missed the welcome aboard show, and didn't wish to stay up in order to catch the second one. By that time, we just wanted to go to bed. Although it's a small thing, and definitely did not make or break the cruise, the chocolates on the pillows were missed. It always was such a nice touch. Back to dinner. Our servers were not on point. Slow service. No personal attention. The helper servers were pretty much non existent. Had to beg for sodas even though we all had the soda cards. Had to pour our own water. Then there was the food. In all honesty I would rather go to Golden Corral. The quality of the food had gone downhill SIGNIFICANTLY. None of our tablemates' meals looked very appetizing either. Appetizers were ok, main meals were sub par. Desserts were good as usual however. I felt like we, the passengers, the people who keep Carnival afloat, were being treated as cows getting pushed through the troughs. Mooooo. The second day was Catalina. We went up to the buffet for some breakfast. It didn't look too appetizing. We waiter in line for 20 minutes for an omlette to made. My husband's was ok but mine was disgusting. It tasted like nasty old fish. Maybe it was the diced "ham". Maybe it was the oil they used? Either way it was inedible. Disembarkation and tendering was fairly smooth, we really didn't have to wait. We didn't have an excursion booked in Catalina so we walked around a bit, went to the "beach" which was very rocky. Nothing really to do in Catalina except a lot of shopping which we're not into. So we rented a 4 person golf cart for an hour for $40 and took the scenic drive. That was nice. We wenter back to the shop early to have some pool time and get ready for sailaway and Formal Night. We got ready and headed to our favorite spot for sailaway. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. Tenders were still coming from the island almost two hours PAST the scheduled departure time. Can people seriously not tell time anymore? Off to dinner again without seeing the sailaway. What sailaway? The one that was supposed to happen at 4:30? Yeah, that didn't happen either. The ship would drift around and then the crew would back it up to where it was anchored. This went on until sometime around after 10:30pm. Missed the sailaway again. Next day had an excursion in Ensenada to see the Bufadora on kayaks. I highly recommend this excursion if you like excitement and physical activity. It was awesome and our guides were excellent. Back to the ship for sailaway for the third time. We waited for an hour and finally went to dinner disappointed that we missed all 3 sailaways on this cruise. That night there was a party up on Lido deck. That was a lot of fun. The comedy show was good. The next day was the sea day. Since we were hungry and did NOT want to have the awful buffet food again, we attempted to eat in the dining room. We were seated quickly by the window. My husband and I both ordered the steak and eggs and we were hoping for a treat. The cooks need to re-evaluate how they cook steaks. Both of us ordered medium rare filets, and both of us received overdone, burned, tough pieces of dried up meat. My son's cereal dipped french toast was gross as well. Very disappointed once again. My husband and I had a prepaid couples massage booked. They mixed up our reservation with someone elses. We waited almost an hour for our appointment. While our massages were nice, we were bombarded with stuff to buy, and without asking, handed us a bag with $120 dollars worth of massage oils and lotions and a receipt. We never said yes, we didn't wish to purchase it, and spent the next two hours trying to return the items. How relaxing!!! There was a lack of activities on the sea day unless you gamble, play poker or are a friend of Bill W. Dinner was finally acceptable for me, I ordered grilled beef tenderlion. It was cooked perfectly and tasted good. We went to the Motor City show after dinner and it was great as previously stated. We chose to use the self assist disembarkation process, and since we had an early flight, we were one of the first ones off the ship, so that went smoothly. All in all, the cruise experience on Carnival has decreased significantly, the personal touches we are used to are gone, the staff was rude, uninterested and disengaged, the food was awful, and the lack of activities made for a fairly boring trip while on the ship. What happened to the Captain's party or the past guest reception? What happened to making guests feel welcome instead of like a burden? We have told all of our family and friends how great Carnival is. We were all set to book an Alaskan cruise with our entire family next summer, we are now definitely looking at other options. What happened Carnival, you used to be the FunShip, but there was definitely more headaches, frustration and disappointment than we care to do again. You lost some dedicated cruisers and will continue to lose loyal customers if you do not improve. I know I'm just one person, and probably nothing will change as a result of this review, but seriously Carnival, take a good look at the way you are treating your passengers. There is a lot of room for improvement. This trip was just one disappointment after another. What I am most disappointed in however, is this was my son's first cruise, we told him how much fun it was going to be and how exciting it was. After all the hassles and headaches, u seriously doubt he will want to go again, definitely not with Carnival. Epic Fail. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
After taking multiple Carnival cruises, this Inspiration proved to be the worst cruise I have taken on any cruise line...I just list the major issues; 1. Waited 3 hours outside in the hot sun for embarkation to begin. 2. No info on ... Read More
After taking multiple Carnival cruises, this Inspiration proved to be the worst cruise I have taken on any cruise line...I just list the major issues; 1. Waited 3 hours outside in the hot sun for embarkation to begin. 2. No info on reason for delayed departure and boat drill starting just prior to 1st seating dinner that also started late. 3. Buffets cold, colorless with limited selections. Most entrees tasted just plain weird. Tasteless powdered scrambled eggs...breakfast selections have been reduced. 4. Reduced bar staff...long waits for drinks. Could not get a Mojito...no mint. 5. Ordered breakfast room service the first night....it never was delivered in the morning. Long wait on hold to even inquire about room service. 6. Main Dining Room food simply bad...really strange favors if any at all, tough meat, had to request rolls and water first evening. Really big difference from other previous Carnival cruises. 7. The Good: The two production shows, one of the two comedians and cabin housekeeping service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I’m a 33 year old male who sailed solo on the Carnival Inspiration for the 3 day charter for Groove Cruise. I’ve sailed many other cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was my 32nd cruise ... Read More
I’m a 33 year old male who sailed solo on the Carnival Inspiration for the 3 day charter for Groove Cruise. I’ve sailed many other cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was my 32nd cruise overall and second cruise with Carnival. My first cruise with Carnival is on a ship now known as the Carnival Sunshine. The Groove Cruise is a charter for the electronic dance music world with this year’s west coast charter featuring artists like Ferry Corsten, Paul Oakenfold and Dirty South along with many others. This review focuses primarily on the ship itself and the crew who are usually onboard and not overly on the entertainment brought on. Day 1 – Embarkation: I arrived to the pier early before the throngs did at Noon. By 1:30PM, the line was into the haunted Queen Mary attractions. Check in was painfully slow, further slowed by the extra customs and border patrol staff on hand to search people’s luggage. Having checked in early and not boarded the ship, I was able to breeze right through security and past the CBP folks and get on the ship. Compared to GC Miami it was an overall smooth embarkation. Once on the ship, it was time to orientate myself because studying deck plans can only get you so far. Christened and delivered in 1996, she’s the oldest ship I’ve sailed on. She sailed full with over 3,000 guests and most berths (including third and fourth) filled. The layout of the ship is typical for Carnival. Hallways and stairwells that just don’t go places and elevators which only go so far and you have to take the stairs to the rest. To get to the Carnivale Main Dining Room which was the only one of the two open for the charter you had to go up and then down to get to it or down and then up one deck. Best deck to get around the ship on was Deck 9 – Promenade or Lido Deck 10. It took some getting used to but by the end of the first full day I could get from here to there without any issues. The ship inside was pristine. It definitely showed the pride that the crew took in keeping her clean and looking polished and new. Most, if not, all public areas, were clean and no visible signs of wear. The décor was tacky but on par for Carnival ship design. The favorite deck space was the Lido Deck – wide open and available for all your dancing needs. Some of the venues Groove Cruise used included a large main stage with LED panels on the main pool deck where the deck stage was, the main theater or Paris Lounge with a large LED / intelligent lighting and laser concept, and the Carnival Waterworks with a sound system and using the ship’s lights for sunset sessions. Each of the venues were unique in their own right. The theater was the night time performance venue and if you weren’t out in the middle of the floor you were definitely getting hot. It can’t keep up with the body heat and the heat from all the electronics plus the pumped in fog for the lasers. The pool deck was wide open and provided plenty of places to talk, chat and dance. You could even sit in a Jacuzzi just in front of the main stage and chill to some really awesome beats! Dinner was at the Carnivale Main Dining room. The one place which was quiet from all the music of the ship, well until someone found the sound system and blasted it! It was so loud in there that even guests were wondering what the heck was going on! It eventually was brought down to a more manageable level and the dinner service was excellent and food great. The steak was cooked to order but the side dishes were loaded with salt. After dinner it was time to go change for the night theme party – 50 Shades of Disney - and head to the theater with a stop at the pool deck stage first. Everything was a go for the main sets of Darude and Ferry Corsten, only I was exhausted and fell asleep before Ferry’s set began. (Luckily it can be found on YouTube now! Score!) Day 2 – Catalina Island, California, USA I woke up pre-sunrise and decided to get up and go on deck for sunrise with the after hours music playing on the pool deck. Technasia was playing as the sun came up and did a phenomenal job playing well until I got off the ship. It pays to be up early on Groove Cruise as I got off the ship with the previous night’s talent in Catalina Island. Ferry Corsten and Darude got off the same time I did. I did an island tour independently of the ship which cost me $18. Tip is to walk over to the wharf with the green houses on them from where the tender boat docks. Two tour companies operate from there with varying tour options. I took the one that drove you around the island and gave you an overview. I did some quick souvenir shopping in town and then headed for the private beach party at Descanso Beach Club. Descanso Beach Club was taken over by the Groove Cruise for a private beach party featuring the beats of Fyasko, Le Youth, Vinai, and Dean Mason. I got there about mid-day before it got too packed. Since I had toured the island, I had a backpack with me which precluded me from getting out on the sand to dance. I really wasn’t dressed right but the beats were spot on. I headed back to the ship to grab some lunch and to change. Problem was I never went back ashore! I stayed on the ship all afternoon after running into some GC GLBT virgins up on deck who were not getting off. We hung out and had a blast instead. The ship was empty! DJ Scooter started the pool deck up at 3PM and in the first hour dropped an astounding remix of the Pina Colada song! I’m still looking for it for download but it was definitely the song of this cruise for me! It was only played twice the whole cruise but it was kick butt awesome!! After hanging out on the pool deck for a few hours and at Carnival Waterworks with the water slides open, Sidney Samson came on and the ship started to fill as the island-goers returned. I headed down to shower and change and get ready for the GC Family reunion dinner. The maître d had set aside the left side of the dining room for the attendees and I felt bad for the waiters working our specific table as people couldn’t sit still long enough. They ordered food and then got up and left while waiting for it to arrive. The food that night was prime rib and it was super tasty. I ordered two plates of it as I was hungry and the dining room was the only place you could get half-way decent food on the ship. Again the food was too salty! Tonight’s theme was Neon Candyland and I donned neon body paint and ran around the ship checking out the Classics night in the Candlelight Lounge with beats by Chris Garcia and Anthony Attalla before heading to the Paris Lounge (theater). The theater had all the main acts and tonight was no different with Kristina Sky opening up with an awesome set. She was new to me and then Kyau and Albert took over to warm up the place real good. When Paul Oakenfold took the stage everyone went crazy and the energy was everywhere! Oakenfold did an amazing set supported by great visuals from the LED wall, intelligent lighting and lasers. Unfortunately I had run out of energy when Orla Feeney came on at 3:30AM and headed to bed for a few hours of sleep. On my way back to the cabin I bumped into some people and talked for a bit. Day 3 – Ensenada, Mexico This morning was a rough start as I only had two hours of sleep before getting up to do the Destination Donation program. The Whet Foundation is a non-profit arm of the parent of Groove Cruise which donates items and time to a foreign port that the ship visits. I participated in both experiences and am happy I did as they are both uplifting, enlightening and extremely sad all at the same time. We met in the atrium and debarked the ship together with items for the children. We headed to the City of Children and Carnival was nice enough to donate some of their Camp Carnival team members to come with us so we could do some fun activities with the children. We taught the children how to do one of those traditional cruise line dance songs, played a game where you hand a balloon around and if you get stuck with it you have to sit and squish it until it popped. We also went to visit the younger children in the nursery house. We gave them all stuffed animals before leaving. Don’t you know during the balloon game I got stuck with one and had to sit and squish it. My knees were wrecked from dancing forever. I sat down but couldn’t get back up! How embarrassing but funny too! These kids were so amazed and shy. They come from all sorts of backgrounds from being abused (both sexually and physically) to being abandoned by their parents. This place along with many others gives hope to the children so they can make themselves better and not wind up on the streets or involved with the drug cartels. It’s a truly amazing place. We headed back to the ship to welcome on a group of children from another orphanage into the area. Carnival, Whet Foundation and the Government of Mexico allowed a group of children to visit the ship! I couldn’t honestly believe how much red tape the Whet Foundation must have gone through to get that done but it was simply amazing! The kids don’t get to leave the orphanage except to go to school and to doctor’s appointments. It’s so very sad. Seeing them walk up to this huge ship and just be in awe on the gangway looking up at it was amazing! They got into the ship and we toured them around showing them all the different things on there (Carnival Waterworks the Promenade Deck) and brought them to Camp Carnival for a visit. The children had a blast and the time of their lives. One of them bonded with me despite the language barrier (English / Spanish). We took the kids to lunch in the main dining room not being used by Groove Cruise and they had a buffet style lunch for them. A Carnival table entertainer came in and wowed the people with the magic tricks. The kids got up and sang for us when lunch was done. Carnival donated some items to them and then the kids came over and thanked us and the one I bonded with me hugged me. I melted (cried). It was such an amazing experience. For a part of a day I touched so many children’s lives and gave them hope. I couldn’t have been more proud of my decision even though I was sleep deprived. Big shout out to Carnival Cruise Line for their generosity and cooperation on getting all this done with the staff dedicated to it, food donated and the other items donated too. After the children debarked the ship, I headed over to Papas and Beer to check out the scene there with DVBBS playing. The club was insanely hot and the music was pounding. I forgot my ear plugs and was just not comfortable so I left and did some shopping before realizing the port city was in bad times. Parents had their kids begging for money and selling things. The local shops knew we were coming in and so they had EDM music pumping out of everywhere. I felt bad for the kids. They have no future if they’re constantly after tourists for money and trying to sell things. They’re not getting an education. After having such an uplifting morning, I was an emotional wreck and went back to the ship. The ship was quiet when I got back. The room was not though. I had noticed an odor the prior evening but couldn’t figure out what it was. A pipe had burst between the two rooms and it had flooded under my bed and my part of the cabin. The stench was awful. They brought in a high power fan but it wasn’t helping. Guest services offered to move us to a different room but I had to find my roommate first! Oh boy… I was exhausted but found him and we moved our cabin. Guest services was incredibly patient and helpful through the whole experience. I ended up getting moved again because of the location of the new room being under the stage and I just needed some sleep! They did move me again thankfully. I felt bad for the guest services team as the line was growing as people wanted to know about their folios like usual at the end of the cruise. I went to dinner with my friend and can’t honestly remember what I had but it was great as I needed a lot of food. The waitress we had was on point and understood exactly what I meant when I wanted a double meat order and not a double plate of food! It was my last night with my dinner buddy and then I slept for about 4 hours. I woke up and headed for the theater with the beats of Sandro Silva followed by Dirty South. Both sets were downright phenomenal. I then went up to the pool deck to await the ship’s arrival into Long Beach while listening to the after hours beats of Guy Gerber. He brought us until the port and played until the end. Day 4 – Long Beach, California – Debarkation Due to some poor behavior on the ship, our debark was turned into a nightmare because everyone was trying to carry off their luggage. Customs was there in full effect and people were so tired from having not slept that people were still hanging out in their rooms. I got off the ship at 9AM with waiting in line for a relatively short period of time compared to the people behind me who waited for hours to get off. The last passenger from our cruise got off the ship at 12:45PMish. I’ve never seen a debark go so late!! I purchased the Carnival airport transfer to LAX and the bus left on time and got me to the airport in plenty of time. The cost was $30. It might have been cheaper to van pool it but not by much so the convenience was definitely worth while! Overall, the Groove Cruise LA 2015 was an epic production. Amazing talent with names I’d never heard of before along with old timers (like Ferry Corsten, Oakenfold and Dirty South) turning it up! The production side was on point the whole trip with lasers, intelligent lighting and LED panels that helped to move you. The sound system was amazing. It was effective but not so loud that you couldn’t talk in the middle of the dance floor and not be heard. The people were amazing. So many new faces to Groove Cruise and by and large the overall vibe was one to rage but respectfully so. There were a few bad apples but that can happen on any cruise! They were largely ignored and I had a great time! Would I do Groove Cruise again? Sure bet I would! It was also nice to see so many of the GLBT community on the ship and hanging out! This was the largest GLBT contingent yet on GC which is an open and welcoming community! Groove Cruise is twice a year, one from each coast. Next up is Groove Cruise Miami in January 2016… can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
There were 9 of us on this cruise, the ages were from 7 to 78. We had 3 generations sailing together for the first time, 5 of us had sailed before and 4 of us were brand new to cruising. The first timers of 4 already want to do another ... Read More
There were 9 of us on this cruise, the ages were from 7 to 78. We had 3 generations sailing together for the first time, 5 of us had sailed before and 4 of us were brand new to cruising. The first timers of 4 already want to do another cruise, so we are looking at 2017 for a Caribbean Cruise, 2 of us are already booked for 2016 cruise and it is on one the largest cruise ship in the world and expensive....... The rest want to go on a cruise so we are looking at which Caribbean cruise to do for 2017. We had no problems at all, all 4 four cabins were very clean and neat, the bar service was a little slow at times but we knew a cool drink was coming so we were ok with it. The food in the LIDO and The Main Dinning room was delicious and our waiters were wonderful 3 CHEERS for HAMED, he make us and the rest of our party feel welcome each night. My Mother in-law had fun dancing with him during there little shows they put on and so did the kids. The shows were great, 2 of us signed up for the VIP show and had a ball......... This is not like the 3 night cruise which is a party cruise, we saw very few people who had too much to drink. We have done the 3 night every years since 2001 and sometimes twice in one year. This was our first time doing the 4 night and will be doing it again SOON.......... We had no problem getting on the ship, took less than 20 minutes and our luggage was there by 2 pm. We live local so we had breakfast before we got off the ship when we got back. Only about 15 minutes to get off, get our luggage go thru customs and we were headed home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Taken many cruises in the past ... So this isn't my first rodeo. Carnival has gone downhill. Food poorer quality at all their ship locations. Major disappointment. They seem to have cut corners everywhere. Paid $20 "upgrade" ... Read More
Taken many cruises in the past ... So this isn't my first rodeo. Carnival has gone downhill. Food poorer quality at all their ship locations. Major disappointment. They seem to have cut corners everywhere. Paid $20 "upgrade" for surf and turf at sit down dining. In the past it was free (included with cruise). The lobster was VERY small. Steak was very small too. Even at $20 I felt robbed. Service very slow ... Very slow. Breakfast and you want orange juice ... Good luck. Potato salad was mushy ... Disgusting. Eating became a chore because it was a search to find anything appealing. Ship had a dirty feel. Miniature golf was hitting a ball on rolling turf not affixed securely to base. Coffee sucked. Coffee you paid for not much better. Girlfriend drinks water like a fish but change in Carnival policy bans bringing own water ... Must purchase from ship. Nickle and dime everywhere. No small refrigerator in room. Girlfriend lost weight on cruise because food was so bad. Room steward was outstanding. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My husband and I booked a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Los Angeles/Long Beach to Catalina & Ensenada. The reason for the cruise was a short getaway to celebrate our 10-yr wedding anniversary, without our 3 and 4 ... Read More
My husband and I booked a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Los Angeles/Long Beach to Catalina & Ensenada. The reason for the cruise was a short getaway to celebrate our 10-yr wedding anniversary, without our 3 and 4 year old kids. We traveled with another couple, long-time friends. We have cruised before on Carnival (one 10-day), Princess (one 10-day) and Royal Caribbean (one 4-day), so we have some experience cruising and some metrics to measure by. Though the ship was small, we never found it crowded or had to stand in a line for anything. There were not a lot of lounge chairs except for those by the pool - even those, we never had trouble finding either 2 or 4 (when our friends joined us) together, in a spot we wanted to sit in. Our primary goal on the ship was to sit at the pool and relax. We achieved our goal, but a few times on our cruise - we did find ourselves searching the daily for something fun to do...not much that interested us. We never saw the cruise director out and about, interacting with guests...something we expected from past cruises. Service was very good. If we wanted drinks at the pool, we were asked frequently - we only needed to show the slightest amount of "need" and someone would come and take our order. We ate in the Carnival Dining room every night for dinner, our waiter was excellent, but there never seemed to be anyone around to take our alcohol order. We never met our room steward, but our room was always in order and turned down - we never needed anything. Because our goal was to soak up as much pool/lounge time as possible, we did not book any shore excursions. However, we did notice there are substantially MORE excursion options in the book provided in our cabin, as opposed to what we saw on-line. We tendered into Catalina on the first day, it was nice to use a larger fishing boat instead of the life boats to tender into port. These private boats are much more comfortable than the life boats. Lines to tender in and out were relatively short, we did not go during "peak" on and off times. When we arrived into Ensenada, no tender required, we walked through the gate, through the port mercado, and onto an awaiting bus for a ride into town. The cost was $3.00 p/p round trip. The entire 5-7 min. drive the "guide" spoke about the excursions/tours that her company provided cheaper than Carnival. When we arrived to their bus depot, we walked one block to the "shopping zone" and quickly found the few souvenirs that we promised people. Since we were there early in the morning, shortly after 10:30AM, the shops were just opening and many either did not have change to break a $20, or were not set up for credit card purchases. As I mentioned previously, we booked the least expensive cabin we could find. We ended up with Cabin #U-43, on the Upper Deck (Deck #6). I was very happy with our cabin, it was larger than I expected. This was the first time we have ever booked an interior. Our suitcase fit nicely under the bed and there were three closets that could have held additional bags. The cabin worked well for the two of us, I do not know if it would have felt as spacious if we had our children with us. I would book a similar interior cabin again. The service in the Carnival Dining Room was the best thing about it. While there were a few good food items, in general, we found ourselves looking forward to McDonalds when we got off the ship. We chose not to pay an extra $20 for the steaks or the surf and turf, we ate off of the "regular", " included menu". We usually ate Lunch at the pool-side grill, and sometimes, in the buffet at the back of the Lido Deck. Breakfast was either room service/continental breakfast or in the Mardi Gras Dining room. The Dining Room had nearly the same menu as the continental breakfast/room service, except for the added omelets. The best breakfast was, by far, the Sea Day Brunch in the Mardi Gras dining room. They did promote Bloody Mary's - however, when we asked our server - he said the cocktail server would be around. When the cocktail service made it around - about 15-20 minutes later, he only took the order of the table next to us. On my attempt to find a decent Bloody Mary, I was extremely disappointed....I was greeted with Ocean Spray Bloody Mary Mix (who knew O.S. made a B.M Mix!?), it was basically tomato juice and a lime wedge, no traditional garnishes - by far, a big disappointment. We did not purchase the CHEERS! (unlimited alcohol package), though our friends did. They said that if they did this cruise again, they would NOT pay for the CHEERS Pkg ($250 p/p) - instead they would rather apply $500 cash to their on-board account so that they did not feel "obligated" to drink in order to get their moneys worth (15 drinks max per day). They also said that they thought drinks were less expensive than they anticipated ($7.95 drink of the day - foo foo drinks); $5.45-$5.95 for beer. Not much except for really fancy, high end liquors were more expensive. My husband and I did, however, purchase the Bottomless BUBBLES package - unlimited soda and juice ($30 p/p). That hit the spot for us since I am a big club soda person (club soda and cranberry juice w/ lime wedge!! refreshing and guaranteed NO HANGOVER!). Sodas are typically $1.95 each if you are paying out of pocket. Disembarkation was great, they offered "self debarkation" where you can carry your luggage off yourself, or you can do "relaxed debarkation" and they unload it for you and you leave the ship by zone. We were Zone 14, (Zone 1 leaves first). They release in groups of 5 about every hour - so it took us about 1-1.5 hrs to get off the ship after Customs cleared the ship. We arrived at the port at 7:30AM, debarkation started about 8, and we were off the ship and in our car by about 10. My husband and I were looking for a "good", "inexpensive", get-away. This fit the bill perfectly. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We took this cruise because we always wanted to go to Catalina island. We are platinum with carnival. We know what to expect. Embarkation was easy as we were escorted on early really not much wait. We chose cabin M172 which was outside ... Read More
We took this cruise because we always wanted to go to Catalina island. We are platinum with carnival. We know what to expect. Embarkation was easy as we were escorted on early really not much wait. We chose cabin M172 which was outside and very quiet. We ate all meals in the main dining room. We had early seating but we had a table for 2. The cruise line is cutting back in many ways. The portions are much smaller than on other cruises but that's ok. Gone are the basket of goodies in the bathroom. The chocolates on the pillow are sadly no more. The shore excursions were very good we took the Hummer tour of Catalina. Great fun. In Mexico we took the Blow Hole tour also good just remember that to reach the blow hole you must walk through the gauntlet of vendors. They are very aggressive and annoying. We enjoyed the cruise and are taking Celebrity in Feb. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Recently my husband and I took our family on a cruise to Catalina Island/Ensenada Mexico and before leaving I had been trying to find some information regarding diet restrictions. The reviews and comments I found were not as helpful as I ... Read More
Recently my husband and I took our family on a cruise to Catalina Island/Ensenada Mexico and before leaving I had been trying to find some information regarding diet restrictions. The reviews and comments I found were not as helpful as I had hoped so I wanted to share our experience in hopes of helping others. On the cruise with us was my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, our oldest son and our youngest son and his wife who live in L.A. My son and his wife are vegan and before leaving they were very concerned they may not have a very good selection on board of things they could eat. The first day on ship they tried the Mongolian Wok and loved it, so we knew they would at least be able to enjoy food from that spot but I really wanted their dinner experience to be more than just the average vegetarian meals on board. At our first dinner I mentioned to our waiter that the two of them did not eat any dairy products and that even the vegetarian meals may not be appropriate for them. The young man "Nio" brought over a master copy of the menus for the entire week and told them to pick whatever meals they would want for each night and the chef would prepare their meals special for them. Each night they were served a delicious meal…from their appetizers, main course and even desserts. We were so delighted and when my mother-in-law tasted their spaghetti one night and commented on how good it was - the waiter brought her a serving as well. All seven of us loved the food, the entertainment, the shows and everything about this cruise and the incredible staff. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our fourth cruise, first with Carnival. Very disappointed. Check-in and check-out was a pleasure - went smoothly and quickly. Boat didn't leave Long Beach until 6:45 p.m. We planned to spend some time on the ship, enjoy ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, first with Carnival. Very disappointed. Check-in and check-out was a pleasure - went smoothly and quickly. Boat didn't leave Long Beach until 6:45 p.m. We planned to spend some time on the ship, enjoy our little family getaway. The only good place was in our cabin (with balcony). Although it was not very clean (handprints around all door knobs, sunblock/hairspray spatters on all the walls near the mirrors, bathroom smelled of sewage), fridge cooled down only slightly, no lights near closets, we made the best of it. We were also lucky enough to have an amazing cabin attendant, Anita. I'm sorry, but I cannot say much of anything else good about this boat/cruise. First of all, the alcohol was being pushed on everyone, regardless if they wanted it or not. The booze-waiters walk around everywhere, including during your mealtime (particularly annoying) begging you to partake. There were five of us (all adults), not one of us was interested in the sweet concoctions they were peddling (we simply went to a bar if we felt the need to drink). Secondly, the food was not good. If you are looking for anything green and/or fresh, wrong boat. While there was plenty of the usual fresh fruits (bananas, apples, oranges) there were very few fresh options on the salad bar. Even the lettuce bowl for the make-your-own-salad was mostly iceberg. If I stood there long enough, picking out the few pieces of spinach, it still was not a small bowl full. While the food was not appetizing for our family (not even the fried chicken tasted good) most of the others on the ship did not seem to mind, and most of the other passengers were extremely overweight. Something just didn't seem right about any of this! As most of the employees did not have English as a first language, they were incredibly difficult to understand. The lady in front of me asked the man making omelettes a question twice, but neither one of us could understand him, so we walked away, looking for some other food. This was a problem even with the captain, who came on over the loudspeaker often. We never understood him once! Munster/Safety Drill - what a joke!!!!! We stood outside in the HOT sun for 45 minutes, told to stand in a straight line and be quiet (that did not work at all for any children around us) and we would be told what to do in the event of an emergency. However, we were NEVER told what to do, simply finally dismissed. We laughed amongst ourselves that were glad we knew how to swim. The spa was also pushed on all cruisers all throughout the cruise. Beware of so-called "specials" - it will cost even less the next day, no matter what they say. NOISE - the music at the main pool is so incredibly loud that you cannot hear the person next to you shout into your ear. We were fortunate enough to find nice seats above the pool area, but had to leave 1/2 way through our day as the noise was just awful. And the Asst. Cruise Director demeans and berates the contestants on the pool stage, she is awful mean. Save yourself the hassle and head on over to a REAL cruise line and take a REAL cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We have been on 5 ocean cruises and 1 river cruise in the past, so we do have a few others that we can compare this cruise to. I have not been on Carnival since the mid 90s, but if the Inspiration is an example of the way that they ... Read More
We have been on 5 ocean cruises and 1 river cruise in the past, so we do have a few others that we can compare this cruise to. I have not been on Carnival since the mid 90s, but if the Inspiration is an example of the way that they currently run their business then we will not be returning. Let me be a little more specific and please keep in mind that this is one of the least expensive cruises that Carnival offers. The staff was very helpful, always smiling, and performed very well. The cabin steward was excellent and knew our names from the very first moment on board. The waiters and waitresses were very polite and pleasant even though at times their accents made communication difficult. The dining staff on the other hand seemed to be understaffed. The people themselves were nice, but for some meals it took nearly 90 minutes to get through a meal. I felt like they may have just been spread too thin and doing too much. More than once, there was a gap of 15 - 20 minutes between courses. That began to grate on my nerves after a while. The food was, at best, average. I did not have a meal that I would rate above average on the entire cruise. I did not have a bad meal, but just nothing to brag about at all. Just imagine the food that you might get at a buffet restaurant like Golden Corral or Hometown buffet. Now that I think about it, it really was not even up to that standard. The ship itself seemed clean, but the decor was laughable. I am certain that some famous designer was hired to decorate this ship, but wow did Carnival get ripped off. It is decorated with sickening colors and shapes that reminded me of a 70s acid trip. If you are looking for decor to be a Wow, then you better skip this ship. Also, I believe that the ship itself must be just of an old design. I have never been on a ship that rocked this badly without reason. We have smooth water the entire trip. There were no storms coming or going from the region and at times the water was like glass. The ship never stopped rocking. The port to starboard rocking was a minimum of +-1 degree with a fore to aft rocking of a minimum of +- 2 degrees (yes I am a geek and yes I did measure it....). If this bothers you, don't take this ship. My biggest complaint is the ship organization. Carnival has been in business since 1972, it seems like after having cruises once or twice per week for each of their ships, that they could figure out how to line people up while waiting for the buffet. Really I got the feeling like this was the first week of a new cruise line. Nothing seemed organized!!! Upon embarkation, there was a mass gathering at the buffet for late lunch (early dinner). It was a zoo. No one knew where to go, how the food line worked, or how to get something to eat and there was no one there to help you. The next day, we had to wait over an hour to be seated on a tender for a 2 minute ride to shore when we arrived in Catalina. Really? There never seemed to be a person in charge of anything. Everything was done at random and kind of haphazard. The guests just had to wander around the ship looking for their rooms, their food, their entertainment, shade by the pool (there was none), etc. It was kind of like the company just released you on this large ship without any direction or purpose. I was actually waiting for my turn to drive because I knew that we must be taking turns being captain for the day.... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
I’ve cruised some 42-times (really). It can be a wonderful vacation. Cruising has changed so much so over the last two decades and sometime back in 1990, I took my first Carnival cruise. I recently decided to do another Carnival ... Read More
I’ve cruised some 42-times (really). It can be a wonderful vacation. Cruising has changed so much so over the last two decades and sometime back in 1990, I took my first Carnival cruise. I recently decided to do another Carnival cruise this July 2015. The first one was fairly sub-standard in comparison to the other many lines I have sailed and I wanted to give Carnival another chance this 2015. I boarded Carnival’s ‘Inspiration’ with no expectations. Carnival delivered on that concept with even less than I expected. This was just a 4 day cruise out of Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada, Mexico. Let’s start with embarkation/boarding… One hour and a half was the process time from entering the terminal to actually boarding the ship. We arrived at our recommended time of 1:30pm to 2:30pm. They were overwhelmed at check-in. In fact so much so that you had to assume this must be Carnival’s first time at this terminal. It was not. The check-in representative shared with us that so many Carnival passengers (many first-timers) fail to do their pre-departure online check-in process before sailing and that disrupts and slows down the check-in process. Boarding the ship itself and entering the ships small atrium/lobby area resulted in several 25-30 year olds in Carnival t-shirts (staff we guessed) which appeared to be there to do something with the boarding process. They did not greet or assist but we had accomplished our pre-homework (before sailing) and knew exactly where to go while some passengers did not. We headed off to Stateroom/Cabin M-187. The lifeboat drill is a mandatory attendance requirement before sailing (yet Carnival does not take role/attendance as other lines do). That was a full hour with staff/crew sadly unprepared and certainly not qualified to ever initiate an evacuation from one of its ships. Carnival has learned nothing from the sinking of its COSTA CONCORDIA brand off the coast of Italy, a few years back (Carnival owned the Costa Concordia). Know you cabin areas and muster station areas and never wait for the crew to assist you aboard a Carnival ship if there is an emergency. Carry a personal led flashlight aboard any cruise and be prepared to get your life jacket and get topside ASAP. Things quickly improved and we met our stateroom steward (Gerald) who took Carnival up several levels to exceptional and friendly customer service levels. He was genuine and sincere and stayed that way for the entire crew (he had the task of cleaning 27 cabins per day). The cabin was old and tired (as was the entire ship) but workable. The ship was last refurbished in 2010 and is in dire need of dry dock time. The outside areas were rusted, torn and dirty and Carnival was putting no effort into the ships appearance. Maintenance was never evident during the entire 4 day sailing. The stateroom itself was very basic. Only one outlet was provided for A/C power. Chargers for phones, laptops, etc. were on a waitlist for that single shared outlet. The cabin came with a small-sized TV (maybe 13-15 inches ???). DirecTV was the service provider and TV channels came in clear and clean with about 7 available channels. There were no movies in a theater onboard but Carnival showed the movie GRAVITY over and over for 24 hours on the TV. This is a self-service cruise with few planned activities. Expect ports-of-call to be the focus of your sailing with a so-called Fun-Day-At-Sea. That Fun-Day-At-Sea means drinking and drinking, walking around and maybe some sun time in crowded (and close) deck chairs. I expect some harsh feedback or criticism (from this review) but the cuisine aboard the ship was very CHUCK E. CHEESE (in the dining rooms) and GOLDEN CORAL from the buffet areas. Food counters were dirty, abused and poorly stocked. Staffing was minimal everywhere and never would you see the ships actual officers walking or inspecting the food areas or open deck areas. It was more like going to CAMP. Food quality was beyond sub-par. No effort at presentation, quality or taste. One exception to that rule was a venue called MONGOLIAN WOK where for a few hours a day (usually Noon to 4PM), Asian stir fry dishes were created poolside. They were fresh, cooked well and very good! Dining room menus offered a chicken breast entree each night and specialties included Carbonara Spaghetti (without Carbonara) and flatbreads. For $20.00 person, you could UPGRADE the menu each night to a steak or lobster tail. Our ship (Inspiration) had no other alternative pay-venue restaurants. Dining room tables (main dining room) were mostly large, seating 10 to 12 guests per table. Again, Carnival was poorly staffing the dining rooms with the waiters working incredibly hard to try their best to accommodate guests onboard. NEVER did we ever see a Maitre d’ make his/her rounds in the main dining room. There are NO RULES aboard a Carnival ship. We saw a 7-9 year old playing the slot machines in the casino with her dad. Jacuzzi tubs marked ADULTS ONLY were filled with kids. Glassware (instead of plastic wear) were in the pools and Jacuzzi’s while deck staffed looked on with no authority to enforce or they simply didn’t care. Smoking of cigars and cigarettes occurred in all areas. No enforcement. Older teens bragged that they got adults to buy them drinks or that they held out large cash tips for the bar staff who would then serve them. Carnival does have a very strict rule of bringing alcohol aboard its ships and beyond all other efforts or concerns, they placed extreme interest and time/staffing to make sure you were only buying their drinks while onboard. Liquor, wines and beer were caught always from both checked luggage and carry-ons. You also cannot carry on bottled water and must purchase their water as of July 2015. In fairness, Carnival promotes its cruises as ‘FUN’. These are boat rides and not cruises. Filled with 24/7 partying (especially in the 3-4 day segments/market). The type of Carnival passenger is varied by many 20-30 aged young adults; sometimes very rowdy. Yet many families were aboard as well. There were few senior people aboard. It’s like a Greyhound Bus at-sea or a Motel 6 at poolside. Sometimes self-centered, loud and obnoxious. Many are first-time cruisers and many are simply just good-old-boys that can down two 6-packs a day with ease. The profile of so many Carnival passengers probably can be best described as AL & PEG BUNDY along with ZZ Top at your dining room table... It’s just a boat ride for many. They have no idea of what a real cruise is really like. It really can be a classless experience if you don’t have an open mind and are not tolerant of 3-7 days of pure crazy. Vegas with Randy Quaid and Chevy Chase? Randy Quaid’s (Vegas Vacation movie) classic scene in the buffet line (with Clark Griswold) hoarding the buffet line with food piled mile-high on his plate is another profile of a Carnival passenger. This is the type of individual that Carnival sells to! It’s not wrong and it’s not bad! It’s simply Carnival and so many of the passengers onboard really enjoyed their first-time experience and liked Carnival! Some argued, some wore baseball caps to the dining room and some wore very little period! Again, a unique passenger base of varied and laughable characters. Disembarkation consists of three groups. You can pay $50 extra to Carnival to both board early and disembark early. Then there is the self-assist group for *walk-offs/carry your luggage off* and finally the cruise tradition of placing your bags outside your stateroom (night before) and waiting for your group to be called. Clear US customs, clear the parking lot (parking is $19 a day at Long Beach, CA as of this writing) and finally either board a bus for the airport or jump into your car and drive away as fast as you can! I’m personally very glad that there is a Carnival Cruise Lines! It keeps Carnival passengers off of the quality cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Disney Cruise Lines. Many passengers loved it! Many said they had sailed Carnival 8-12 times. For myself, I’ll pass on a future Carnival Cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband and I just took the Carnival Inspiration on the 4th of July long weekend cruise to Ensenada. We both have done many cruises before, on other cruise lines, as well as Carnival. Our expectations were definitely exceeded, ... Read More
My husband and I just took the Carnival Inspiration on the 4th of July long weekend cruise to Ensenada. We both have done many cruises before, on other cruise lines, as well as Carnival. Our expectations were definitely exceeded, especially considering, the VERY AFFORDABLE price point. We arrived at the port next to the Queen Mary at about 12 noon, parked the car, checked our bags with the porter (don't forget to tip!), and boarded the ship at about 1pm. We enjoyed lunch in the buffet, a self-guided tour of the ship, and checked out our stateroom. We selected the guaranteed oceanview stateroom. We were pleased with our ocean view room, the shower was awesome (great water pressure and plenty of HOT water!), the room wasn't too small. The room attendant was great, servicing our room 3 times a day, complete with the towel animals! Dinner at the formal restaurant - Carnivale dining room was excellent. Food selection and quality were great and well worth our money. Service was fantastic, the waiter knew each person at the table by name, and service was quick. Yes, you really can have as much food as you want - including entrees! Entertainment was fun - various shows, comedy shows, and a casino on board. There are also plenty of photo opportunities. Taking the pix are free, and it's up to you which photos you want to purchase (if any). There is also mini-golf on board, and tons of little activities and clubs for kids. Port Excursions: we did not book any of the excursions on board. Instead, when we got off the ship, there are local shuttles available to take you into town. $3 ROUND TRIP. There is plenty of shopping and bars right at the shuttle stop. If you want to continue on to other excursions (horse back riding, La Bufadora, pub crawls) - it's much cheaper to book with the shuttle guide (about half price from excursions sold on the ship). Everyone on board was extremely nice. Gratuity is already included for everything you do on board, but you can always adjust (increase or decrease). Debarkation was surprisingly fast! Each deck on the ship has an assigned debarkation time. We were located on the Upper Deck (level 6), and did the self-assisted debarkation (you take care of your own bags), as opposed to the relaxed debarkation (you check your bags the night before and they will be waiting for you in baggage claim. debarkation time is much later (10:30am). We were off the cruise ship, sailed through customs (pun intended), into the parking lot and in our car before 8am! TIPS: the lower the deck your cabin is on, the more you will experience the rocking of the boat, and all the stirring up of the engines. It can get loud. We were on deck #6 (Upper deck) and it wasn't that bad. We met some people who were on the two lower decks and couldn't stay in their rooms for long. Also bring some dramamine just in case. I never get sea sick. You can experience some swaying, but if you take one pill, you won't notice it at all. Pack a sweatshirt or a warm jacket. It gets windy out on the decks, especially at night. Overall, I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is looking for a quick weekend getaway. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our eleventh cruise on several different lines. We are a couple in our 50s. This Carnival cruise is not a first-class experience, but if you lower your expectations, it's pleasant enough. We cruised with our extended ... Read More
This was our eleventh cruise on several different lines. We are a couple in our 50s. This Carnival cruise is not a first-class experience, but if you lower your expectations, it's pleasant enough. We cruised with our extended family to celebrate my parents' 60th anniversary. (By the way, the dining room staff did a wonderful job of celebrating that event with dessert and hats and singing and dancing.) The 20- and 30-somethings were having their first cruise experience, and they seemed to enjoy it much more than the older generations. We had no trouble getting a parking space in the huge parking structure next to the check-in area at the Port of Long Beach, but it cost us $76 for the length of the cruise. It took us 40 minutes to check in starting at 12:30pm. Not even half of the check-in stations were open at 1pm, or it could have gone much faster. We had a comfortable oceanview cabin, but there was only one chair and a stool, so one person always had to sit on the bed. The bathroom was small, but the shower was adequate. There was no counter space at the sink except for one small shelf, which was very inconvenient. The room had sufficient storage space and hangers. My parents splurged on a Grand Suite, and we had up to a dozen people at a time lounging around their spacious room (though some had to sit on the floor or on the bed). The decor of the ship was rather gaudy. Some areas of the ship were quite chilly from over-air conditioning. I didn't think the stores had a very good selection of items. Photos were vastly overpriced, but we bought them anyway because the whole family was together. The dining room food was very good, but the buffet was only so-so. Service was sometimes quite slow in the dining room, but the staff were very friendly and helpful. In the buffet, dirty dishes sometimes piled up before they were removed. I felt there was not a lot of choice in the regular buffet line. I was especially disappointed by breakfasts. One day I had an omelet, but the processed cheese in it ruined the taste. The grill made a good hamburger and good but bready pizza. The deli was good. As far as entertainment, we had a bad experience with the Studio VIP show. The pre-event prevented the crowd from entering the showroom for a long period of time. Many people got fed up with the wait and left. The show was pretty good. The performers are very talented, but the choreography is inferior. One of the comedians wasn't very funny. The dancing was skewed mainly toward young adults. It would have been nice to have one venue for middle to older adult dancing. The acoustical guitarists were very good. In Catalina the young adults had a great time paddleboarding around the harbor while the older adults wandered around the shore. In Ensenada we wandered around for an hour but found nothing interesting to do and went back on the ship. During the day at sea we were disappointed with the activities offered, though we did enjoy the tea. Disembarkation was fast and easy, and we were off the ship earlier than we expected. I have no desire to take this cruise again, but it seemed to work out well as a family reunion and anniversary celebration. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
First, a little background on me- I'm an avid cruiser in my late 20's and almost always cruise with Carnival though I have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney cruise lines as well. This cruise marked my 7th with Carnival and it ... Read More
First, a little background on me- I'm an avid cruiser in my late 20's and almost always cruise with Carnival though I have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney cruise lines as well. This cruise marked my 7th with Carnival and it was definitely the most unique experience I have ever had on a cruise. The very first thing I want to note is that from the moment I got to the port, this cruise definitely felt different. There were VERY few children on board as opposed to the other cruises that I have been on which were about 60-70% families with children. This cruise had mostly 20-30 somethings all looking to drink heavily and have a good time. It was definitely a new experience being on a cruise that is essentially a 3-day long booze cruise where the sober ones felt like the minority. Now- the good the bad and the ugly: The good: VERY easy and relaxed embarkation process. We were through security and on board within about 30 minutes. Our luggage arrived in a timely manner and our room was ready as soon as we boarded the ship. The staff was very friendly and I enjoyed the entertainment immensely. The live band outside of the casino area who mostly played funk music were fantastic and very engaging! The comedians were pretty darn hysterical (although I only watched two of the shows) but definitely R-Rated. The food in the main dining room was fantastic! The highlight was definitely the lobster on the formal night. The Bad: There is a reason this ship was chosen to do the 3-day long trips from Long Beach to Ensenada and back- it's in DESPERATE need of some love and a complete overhaul. This ship is much smaller than most of the of the Carnival fleet with very small cabins and the decor is quintessentially 90's with psychadelic colors and shiny objects around every corner. The carpets are rundown and there is a very distinct sewer type odor that permiates the air in certain areas of the ship (especially the art gallery). The food was mediocre at best in the buffets, and some of it was downright inedible. All in all- if you go into this cruise with the understanding that you are paying for a 3-day long booze cruise with free flowing liquor and a lot of 25-40 year olds looking to have a good time, then it's fantastic! But if you are looking for a nice relaxing 3-day getaway, this is definitely NOT the cruise for you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband and I booked a Grand Suite for our four day cruise on the Inspiration, leaving from Long Beach California and going to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. THE "YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY DISCLAIMER": I think it's ... Read More
My husband and I booked a Grand Suite for our four day cruise on the Inspiration, leaving from Long Beach California and going to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. THE "YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY DISCLAIMER": I think it's important to know about the cruisers writing the review before you consider our opinions, since what we think is great, you might not. We are a married couple of 50+ who love fine food, wine, privacy, reading and relaxing on a ship. We cruise to get away from two demanding jobs so our idea of heaven is relaxing. You won't find us in the clubs, bars, sunning on the pool deck, participating in hairy chest contests, playing bingo or participating in game shows. Still with us? OK! The cruise departed on a Monday, and we were driving down from the San Francisco east bay area. To avoid the LA weekday traffic, we drove down on Sunday and stayed overnight on the Queen Mary (formerly an ocean liner, now a hotel.) Prices are very reasonable (we paid $149 for one of the "first class" cabins) and you can buy a "stay and park" package that allows you to pay less for parking than the cruise ship terminal. Since the Queen Mary is right next to the Carnival embarkation location, this was a great deal. We parked the car, got on the Queen Mary, walked off the next morning with our rolling luggage and strolled across the parking lot to the Carnival check-in. EMBARKATION: We had priority embarkation due to our suite. We arrived at the Captain's Lounge area at 10:30 and were called first to board at 11 AM. Smooth and easy. Our cabin was almost ready, so we dropped our luggage (we only use carry on and off) in the closet and went up for lunch. FOOD: Shockingly good. The food was consistently fresh, the right temperature, varied and excellently prepared. We are real foodies, and we were impressed with the taste, texture and presentation of all dishes. The variety was outstanding. As a former NY'er, I was impressed with the deli. The Mongolian wok was great too! The appetizer tasting counter (they prepare two types per night) was great. SERVICE: Every crew member we saw on that ship seemed happy. We've cruised many times over the past 20 years, and this was the friendliest crew I've ever experienced. CABIN: The Grand Suite is large and the bathroom includes a one person Jacuzzi tub/shower combination. There is a walk-in closet and an empty refrigerator (handy for wine and sodas you can store) and a number of wine glasses in a bar area. The bathroom does include a hairdryer. Other than priority embarkation/debarkation, there are no other perks with this suite. We selected this cabin for the balcony, which is longer than the others, but still narrow. It is private and we felt it was worth the price. (Tip: If you want to face Catalina Island as you approach and as you are tendered, choose a cabin on the port side of the ship. This will also ensure you face the water on embarkation day, not the loading area. However, be aware that the tenders for Catalina will arrive and depart all day on the port side of the ship. We found that interesting, and it wasn't noisy, since it was 5 decks below us.) SHORE EXCURSIONS: In Catalina, we booked the morning East End Hummer Tour Excursion (2 hours) to see the rest of the island, not just the little town of Avalon. This was the best excursion we ever did, made better by the fact that we were the only ones on the tour and had the entire normally 12 passenger modified Hummer to ourselves! Our wonderful driver Cesar told us fascinating facts about the island as we rode the off-road trails high into the cliffs and saw gorgeous panoramic views. This is a tour not to miss! In Ensenada, we stayed onboard, since we've both been ashore in Mexico before. BEST THING WE DID: Captain's Table Dinner on the last night of our cruise. For $75 each, we booked the Captain's Table. The chef met us at 6:30 and gave us a tour of the galley, where we sampled hors d'ouevres (amazing in taste and creation) and then escorted us to the library, which had been turned into a private dining room for our group of 11 (max is 12.) We were then treated to an amazing seven course dinner which included unlimited wine and soft drinks. I won't spoil all the surprises, just know that this is an AMAZING dinner in all ways and the food is exquisite. We have never had a dinner like that, even at one of the Michelin star restaurants we've been to. CASINO: We aren't big gamblers but spent part of one evening playing video poker and ended up ahead by a few dollars. The casino was not busy in the early evening when we were there, and it was not loud and smoky like many area. PHOTOGRAPHERS: Excellent opportunities for portraits, one nights there were about 9 backdrops you could choose from. We ended up with some nice pics. DEBARKATION: Again, because of the suite, we were given priority debarkation, or invited to remain on the ship and have breakfast, our choice. We chose to leave early, met our staff person at 7:15 AM and were one of the first people to walk off. We passed through customs and were on the road by 7:30 AM. We didn't have any expectations for this cruise other than a reasonably priced local port getaway. We were stunned by the cuisine and the staff. We will do this cruise again anytime! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We embarked in Long Beach heading for a 4 day cruise to Catalina/ Ensenada. After getting herd from one stop to another we were on the boat. Luckily, for us we were on the main floor and easy to locate. First impression, the décor is oh ... Read More
We embarked in Long Beach heading for a 4 day cruise to Catalina/ Ensenada. After getting herd from one stop to another we were on the boat. Luckily, for us we were on the main floor and easy to locate. First impression, the décor is oh so tacky 80's like wow, but whatever we were going to have some fun. First day we settle in, check out the activities in the itinerary, we were just soaking it all in being it was our first cruise. The workers were kind and everyone we met said hello, I did notice may passengers with "bitter beer face" I felt like saying smile you're on vacation. First day we got to check out everything on the itinerary. We played miniature golf, went to the casino, saw a comedy show. Then headed to our room for some rest as we anticipated Catalina island in the morning. Second day, around 10am we hear the Captain’s message due to weather there would be a change in plans instead of the island we would wait till the next day to dock. So we had our "At sea day" which was a bummer but it happens, can't argue with mother nature. Again, we looked at the itinerary not much to do during the day besides eat and sleep, they had some lame gift shops so we checked those out . Later that evening we hung out at the violin room for some live music, went to a comedy show, casino, played outside (miniature golf, corn hole) it was a cold windy day for June but we made the best of it. I could tell you that for most of the day time we were bored not much to do. The boat has many activity rooms that weren't utilized I think there should be different things going on at once. I wanted to Karaoke and it was sad only about 5 people in that evening. I will say the thing that got us by was the hot chocolate and sitting watching the beautiful ocean views. Get used to it because they'll be a lot of down time eating, and sitting. Finally, the third day we dock in the Catalina island. They boat us in, kind of a bummer because this process takes a while and cuts into the excursion/ exploring time. We get to the island and off we went on our search. This gave us about an hour before our excusion began. We headed to some shops and found a few overpriced souvenirs. Finally, it was time to take our “glass bottom tour” we went around the island looking at fish. It was relaxing, maybe a bit too much because I was falling asleep. There isn’t much to say about the boat, it’s a boat ride and you see fish. That was over and we were hungry, you’d think cause we’re near the ocean we’d find some seafood spots. I spotted a Mexican restaurant called "Mi Casita" from the outside it looked okay, we get seated. They bring us chips and salsa, the salsa is not homemade looked and tasted from a can. Whatever so we decided since we were so short on time to ex the food and order some drinks. We ordered Margaritas, they bring out the bring and gave us some dirty napkins. The drinks we nothing spectacular and expensive. We paid and off we went for some real seafood. Let me tell you this place of course is very touristy beautiful views but everything is overpriced. Avoid this place, it isn’t authentic Mexican food, but more half-assed microwaved Americanized-Mexican. We ended up eating some fish and chips by the boat so mediocre. About this time it's back to the boat. Time sure flies when you're looking for things to do and eat. We get back on the boat, look at the itinerary and the same things to do and eat as the nights before but we made the best of it. Again, we did the same ol’ thing comedy, casino, and ate pizza since it’s open late night. We’d grab our hot coco and head outside for some cool sea gazing. That evening I decided to order breakfast for the following morning. That morning bright and early as requested our breakfast had arrived. Unfortunately, not what we expected the orange juice was watered down and the salmon looked old. This wasn’t gonna damper our good times of relaxation. We got dressed, waited for the Captains daily message and off to Ensenada we went. We decided to do the “La Boufadora” excursion. Our guide was a very nice woman, she guided us to the bus, on our way to “La Boufadora” a fire truck almost crashed into us. Luckily, it was quick and nothing happened, our guide lady told us about the city and we enjoyed the hour or so drive up. We get there, step off the bus and were told we have an hour to see La Boufadora and then we can go to the market which we passed on our way to our walk to the location along the way sellers are trying sell you things, offer drink samples. Once we get to the location the anticipated Boufadora is nice, nothing spectacular but the ocean is beautiful that lasted about 20 minutes if that. Then we were released and told to meet up at the bus in 45 minutes. We started up the market looking and bargaining with the sellers, some spoke English fortunately for us we spoke their language too. We were able to find a few treasures, I think this was my favorite part of the trip so far minus the animal rights issue. Time flew and again not enough time, we got back on the bus and headed to our next destination. It took about an hour to reach “El Centro” this place is beautiful a great historic place, inside our guide gave us a quick tour, and your choice of sample size Margarita/ beer/ or soda. We grabbed our drink and headed to the atrium where we found a few vendors. The prices were okay, some cheaper than our previous stop. About this time it was time to get back on the bus, we hopped on and our guide told us the next time you can stay and explore the shopping strip or they would take you back to the boat. We decided to stay and explore, you have the option of walking back to the boat or taking a taxi but walking is okay since you can see the boat from your location. Let me tell you a bit about this place. It’s like the center of town, streets full of shops, street vendors, restaurants, “happy pharmacy’s” unfortunately all the vendors sell the same crap. Street after street and so much to see, after a while we got tired of everyone’s one liners all we kept hearing is “my turn” one lady said, “Come see me, I’ll rip you off for less” funny that is until someone else said the same thing. We started wondering if they have a school of how to talk to tourist, because it got old quick. Around this time we were getting hungry and asked around looking for a taco called “el gobernador” the restaurant was all the way down the strip and worth checking out the salsa and chips are authentic. The taco was okay not what we expected but it was decent. We worked our way up the street again heading towards the boat, when a taxi flagged us down so we thought he said to follow him and he lead us to his poor, tired horse. The horse didn’t want to walk, looked hungry and his feces bag was full. I didn’t want to contribute to the abuse of this beautiful animal. Finally, we reach the boat again and go straight to our room. The thing I enjoyed was the towel animals we got daily, it’s the little things. That was going to be our final night, we rested up and got dressed for a good time. Again, we did the usual boat activities and called it a night around 2am. The following morning went quick we had packed the previous night and at 8am we cleared out, only to find out that we were each charged a $15 fee, plus a $48 gratuity fee which was never specified all this time we were tipping left and right, what a rip-off. Well, we paid and finally on our destination back home. Pros: Lots of leisure time, lots of mediocre buffet food, stir-fry (limited hours), the cleaning staff, towel animals, laundry facilities. Cons: Hidden fees, not enough time off the boat (always feeling rushed), water is turned off at times, so you get brown water in the faucets, not enough variety when it comes to the activities. Next time, we will ex the excursions and head out solo, rent a golf cart and cruise around town. Out of a 10, I give it a solid 7. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Just back from our sailing on the Inspiration. I must say we were pleasantly surprised with our overall cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised more than 20 trips and this was our first on Carnival. We chose Carnival for one ... Read More
Just back from our sailing on the Inspiration. I must say we were pleasantly surprised with our overall cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised more than 20 trips and this was our first on Carnival. We chose Carnival for one simple reason; we have friends who had never cruised and they asked us to come along to "show them the ropes." The one condition they placed on our trip - it had to be short juts incase they hated the cruise experience. so we booked the 3 day trip to Ensenada. We set our expectations very low after hearing that Carnival is the "party boat" cruise line and others comment on their Carnival experiences. We found the ship to be a bit tired and the décor to be gaudy - Vegas-like. However, that didn't adversely impact our overall experience. We will start at the beginning. The embarkation could have gone more smoothly. There were few clerks processing passengers. We did all of our paperwork at home so we were ready to go thought he embarkation quickly. it was slower than we thought I would be, especially given our past 21 cruise experiences. Once on board, we weren't handed a glass of champagne or any other drink to celebrate our voyage - disappointing as well. We did want to buy the "drink package" and that was an experience as well. Carnival Tip - it would be nice to be able to pre-purchase the drink package so a person doesn't have to wait in line to buy it. We merely wanted to get the package and go get a drink. Most of the people in line for the drink package needed to be told what it entailed rather than just make the purchase. We didn't need to be sold, just wanted to charge the purchase and get a drink. For those worried about the 15 alcohol drink limit - don't. You will get enough drinks throughout the day, trust me! Now for the good stuff. The staff was amazing and the most friendly we have ever encountered in our cruise life. The "fun ship" identify Carnival adopts is found in the crew on board. With only a couple of exceptions, the staff was very friendly and happy to be serving us. That really made out trip wonderful. We also found the food at dinner to be much better than expected. The wait staff was attentive and happy. Food choices were plentiful and tasty. The nightlife was good too. The shows were adequate and entertaining. The comedians were good with one (who had CP) completely hilarious - especially his "adult" show. The dancing was really fun too. If you are into people-watching, you need to come on this cruise and sit back to be entertained. We noticed lots of people sporting tattoos, piercings, and thong bikinis. Some people should have covered up for sure but it made for interesting viewing. All in all, we would sail again with Carnival. Just understand what you are buying with a sailing on Carnival. It's a party! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This was the first cruise on any line where I chose a guaranteed cabin in order to get a lower rate. My initial reaction when I got the room assignment was disappointed to say the least. I realize this is the risk with the guaranteed ... Read More
This was the first cruise on any line where I chose a guaranteed cabin in order to get a lower rate. My initial reaction when I got the room assignment was disappointed to say the least. I realize this is the risk with the guaranteed cabin but figured with several cruises under my belt, Carnival would make an effort to give me a decent cabin. The stateroom assignment was on the Riviera Deck, far Aft. However, I quickly learned to like the location. Because it was far aft, there was no drunk, obnoxious, running in the halls at 3am that I had come to expect with midship cabins. Noise from the engines and galley, and jerking movements from docking was negligible. Our room steward was fabulous and made every effort to accommodate requests by the kids. The quality of dining has slipped significantly in the past several years. For example, neither of the main dining rooms was open for lunch during the cruise, even on the sea day. The lido buffet had the same hot dog and burger options every day. I was traveling with my 2 children who are generally very accommodating. In the MDR, the other patrons assigned to our table never showed. Every night the dining room staff was reluctant to allow us to order without a full table. Note-making small children wait over an hour to eat does increase the comfort of the people at the next table. On the bright side, the warm chocolate melting cake was still fantastic. Due to weather issues, the itinerary as well as the embarkation location was changed. This was communicated effectively by Carnival prior to embarkation through email and phone calls. The only complaint would be having to check-in twice. The first time at the original embarkation port before being shuttled to the new embarkation port, then a second time before boarding the ship. I personally didn't care for the décor of the ship, however, I don't think it looked dated as others have indicated. Yes, the ship is older, but had an upgrade done about 3 years ago. The purple wave poles at the buffet on Lido reminded me of Ursula from Little Mermaid. On other cruises I have been on the cruise director has been actively involved and knows many of the passengers by name. This particular cruise, I knew who the cruise director was, but rarely saw him at activities. Overall, it was a budget friendly trip, in part because we drove to port, and I would do it again for the same price. However, it was not up to par with previous Carnival experiences. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I have cruised on many cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and in Europe on Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC - the the cruise line we keep coming back to is Carnival primarily because the shorter cruises ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised on many cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and in Europe on Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC - the the cruise line we keep coming back to is Carnival primarily because the shorter cruises offer a great deal for a short 3 or 4 day getaway. Many reviewers have referred to the 3 and 4 night cruises on the inspiration as "booze" or "party" cruises, which is sort of like criticizing Denny's for being a coffee shop and not a steakhouse. The primary reason people go on these short cruises is typically because they are relatively inexpensive, offer decent entertainment and food, and a fake-feel of a tropical cruise while visiting Catalina and Ensenada. Comparing the Inspiration to a 7-plus night cruise on a larger ship and more comprehensive itinerary is comparing apples to oranges. Embarkation is fairly efficient, although we are Platinum Club members so get priority check-in and disembarkation. Carnival recently started a system of assigning check-in times based I am guessing on loyalty points for past guests (Carnival refers to it as the VIFP club), so I have no idea if this is going to be a good or bad thing. My advice has always been to come really early & beat the crowd (like, around 11 a.m.) or later to miss the rush (after 3 p.m.), but this may not hold true any longer if they will not allow people to board until their assigned times. The ship is smaller than the newer ships on longer itineraries, but they also have fewer passengers and consequently shorter lines and generally better service at the bars and dining areas than what we have experienced on Princess, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Food is a mixed bag; we actually found the food on the Inspiration in the dining room better than the set menus on our last Princess cruise to Hawaii last year, but of course the larger ships have specialty dining for an extra charge not available on the Inspiration. Dining on the Lido deck is also hit-and-miss, although we generally prefer to avoid the buffet-style eating on most ships and when we do, enjoy the salad bar and sandwich kiosk, which is actually very good. In my opinion, the best meal on the cruise is the Sea-day Brunch, and breakfast in the dining rooms on in-port days always is a better bet than the Lido buffet. For a special treat, ask about the "Chef's Table." We do this special dinner every so often on the Inspiration, and it is well worth it. The $75 per person charge includes unlimited wine and an excellent seven-course meal served by the head chef - not as spectacular as the same offering on the Princess cruises, but still a real treat. One tip for good service in the dining rooms: opt for "anytime dining" and tip your waiter or waitress the first night a few dollars. I know the tips nowadays are charged to your sail-and-sign cards or prepaid before the cruise, but it is amazing how well you are treated when taking care of your staff. The same advice holds true for the room stewards. The advantage of anytime dining is you can eat when you want, can opt for a small table for 2, or sit with a larger group. Service is less rushed, and if you tip the first night & request the same server on subsequent dinners, you will be amazed at how attentive the staff will be. And, I have never had to do this (at least not for wait staff) but if you do not like your service and wish to "take back" the tip, you can opt to have the tips taken off your bill or reduced by visiting the service desk. The same tipping advice goes for service at the bar. IF you like a "good" drink for want the bartender to remember your "favorite" drink, tip an extra buck the first time you see them and when they provide good service. Several people have described the ship decor as "gaudy" or "bizarre", and the layout of the Lido dining room in particular is a bit... well, peculiar, I am personally not bothered by it. Like I said, this is a short cruise for those looking for an inexpensive getaway, so do not expect "J.W. Marriott" surroundings at a "Quality Inn" price. The Casino is always active, and something people either love or hate. Smoking is allowed through much of the casino as well as part of the adjoining "Violin Bar", so be advised. The pool and "Serenity" (adults only) decks are smaller than most other cruise ships and there is no, for example, large-screen TV to show movies; but, they also feel less crowded than the larger ships as well. One thing Carnival does better than most cruise lines is keep the kids busy with their children's clubs during the sea days; some other cruise lines seem to limit the kids activities to only certain times meaning there are times when kids run rampant, but that has not been the experience on the Inspiration. One negative is that Carnival pushes their special punch-type drinks in the pool area and Lido deck, but just let the services know you are not interested (assuming you are not, of course :)and they will avoid bothering you. As for the ports; well, if you opt for a 3 or 4 night cruise out of Long Beach, it is assumed you are likely not on the cruise primarily for the ports of call. Catalina is pleasant enough but can be visited from Long Beach via ferries that run several time each day for much less than the Carnival cruise and the lines for tenders from ship to shore can be annoying. Ensenada is OK, for being in Ensenada. In my opinion the best excursion is the Winery Tour to the Guadelupe Valley, which is a Napa-like area with some surprisingly nice wineries about 45 minutes inland from the ship. The city is about a 20 minute easy walk from the ship, but there are lots of kids selling gum & begging for coins, and taxi drivers trying to sell you trips to La Bufadora or elsewhere. Walk past them to the main shopping drag, and they will not bother you. Shops do not open until around 10 a.m. in town, so there is not much point in walking into town too early unless you just want to stroll. Restaurants are OK along Blvd. Mateos (the main tourist zone) but the ones towards the end of the street near Hussong's are mainly for drinking. Lots of curio shops, trinkets, t-shirts, and pharmacies. Entertainment is "so-so"; production shows are OK, some of the bands that play on the promenade deck in the evening are great; lots of family-oriented gameshow-type shows that I personally find boring, but sometimes the comedians in the evening are good. But, I personally find almost all cruise ship entertainment (with the exception of some shows on Celebrity) to be mediocre at best, and the Inspiration's is no better or worse than most. Bottom line: for a quick getaway on the cheap, with all-inclusive food and Entertainment, it is a great deal, especially for those who have never cruised and want to see if it is something they like. Like I said, this is the cruise line and class of ship we keep coming back to because of the convenience and overall value, but do not expect White Star or Cunard service or amenities. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about ... Read More
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about getting there late, and rushed us through our meal. They even start taking away our kids' utensils, so my son had to use a fork to eat ice cream! Towards the end of the meal, the waiter gave us another lecture about getting there on time the following night. My kids enjoyed the punchlines comedy shows which was the highlight of the day, and playing table tennis. There was only 2 table tennis tables, so we weren't able to play until at night when people were at the shows. There's also mini golf if you can find a golf ball. I suggest bringing your own golf balls. My kids also stayed at camp ocean for 2 hours playing dodge ball which they enjoyed and also met some friends from there. The Hasbro show is fun and exciting. The Motown and VIP shows were just okay. The songs they played were oldies. I don't understand why they don't play some recent songs like Taylor Swift or One Direction. The VIP show is geared toward the VIP members. These VIPs were pulled to dance in the stage with the crews and they are ell wearing huge VIP tags. The food is mediocre. The formal night they serve lobster and prime rib. The following morning (day at sea) we had filet mignon and egg fir brunch. The filet mignon was very tender and tasty, but the portion is do small they we all had to order seconds. The last night, they served escargot as the appetizer which was really good. The Mongolian Bbq was not good - the noodles were too dry and hard. The deli bar had good sandwiches. Every night, we went up to the lido deck at10pm to get the sandwiches bc they close at 11pm. At Ensenada, we got jipped off by a guy who offered us a $25 per 1/2 hour carriage ride. He told us he would take us to the beach and downtown, but 15 minutes into the ride, he said we had to pay another $15 for him to take us to the beach bc it would be an hour ride. We decided not to yield, so we only went 3 blocks down the street and then turned back to downtown. There are plenty of beggars, and my dtr felt bad for them until we figured we spend way too much money on donations. We bought 3 name on the rice necklaces and 3 friendship bracelets for $10, and 3 wooden turtles for $2. My daughter really enjoyed the little booths. I also had done street tacos for$1-1.50. They were greasy but delicious. The gym had a sign on it that said only for > 18y/o, so my kids can't go in. Someone suggested bringing magnets, but the door wasn't made of steel, so that didn't help. And yes, you can still ask for playing cards at guest services, but they don't have post cards. Lastly, you can get lanyards for you S&S card at the casino. The pictures on board Are expensive, but we were tempted into spending $65 on them. Parking at the dock is $19 per day. Overall, my kids really enjoyed the cruise. It was their first time, but they had a lot of fun. Because if this, I will overlook the bad customer service and take them back again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This ship is tacky to the extreme, 80s neon plastered everywhere with no unifying design. It goes to interesting enough places but nothing spectacular. The primary activity seems to be only drinking and more drinking. Despite that I would ... Read More
This ship is tacky to the extreme, 80s neon plastered everywhere with no unifying design. It goes to interesting enough places but nothing spectacular. The primary activity seems to be only drinking and more drinking. Despite that I would recommend it, why? Food is comfort American but actually really really good, I turned my nose down at the burgers and chicken strips until I tried them and smiled with the best chicken strip meal I've had since I was a kid. Its local (for many of us) and easy to get to and board in Long Beach. Everything about this cruise is easy. The comedy is fun, some adult drinking and time away is just what my partner and I needed. Catalina meant a great tour of the casino and stroll through the botanical garden. In Ensenada surprisingly good wine tasting then an afternoon of tacos, beer and strolling around. This is not high-class, it is certainly not Celebrity, but for the money it is a great fun time and easy getaway. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My limited Cruising experience is only with one other line, for which I am now certain has spoiled me for life. Having said that, I consider myself reasonable when travelling. My cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration was planned as ... Read More
My limited Cruising experience is only with one other line, for which I am now certain has spoiled me for life. Having said that, I consider myself reasonable when travelling. My cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration was planned as part of a group cruise to celebrate an anniversary. The 3-day itinerary and overall cost were deciding factors in our choice of Carnival. This 3-day trip has a reputation for being the "booze Cruise" and that it was! The only true value for money was the "Cheers" all-inclusive drink program which is offered. We all agreed that this program should be available to "purchase" online as part of the pre-check in process to minimize additional delays in getting the fun started instead of needing to wait in line the moment after boarding. The "Cheers" program sticker could be placed on your sign and sail card at check in. The Inspiration is nearly 20 years old and shows its age. This was my first cruise on a Carnival ship, and I had heard that the interiors were "different" than other lines.... It was as if the common areas were decorated by every available designer at the time and every idea, color scheme, lighting concept and material were used at once. The Las Vegas tackiness of the Grand Spectrum atrium was laughable and repulsive at the same time. By far the most bizarre is the decor of the Brasserie Buffet; the unsettling purple tubes which permeated the surroundings could have been named for Ursula the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid as "Ursula's entrails". It is more than apparent that no upgrades or alterations of any kind have been made to this ship throughout its lifespan. Our Mustering "Safety Drill" was ridiculous. I don't see how any Cruise Line that allows passengers up to 3 hours time prior to drink to the point of complete intoxication to be cooperative during any sort of "safety Drill". God help us all if we did indeed incur an emergency throughout our cruise. By far the most frustrating experience on board was our dinner service. Our group had second seating in the Mardi Gras Dining Room. The international crew (which I know is commonplace on cruise lines) was friendly, yet incompetent in that few spoke good English which made for very difficult communication. Drink orders were misunderstood (Cabernet Blanc ordered and Cabernet Sauvignon received- this occurred more than once with white and red wines...) The steward responsible for the delivery of drink orders consistently looked perplexed and confused. The waiter would ask for our drink orders and we would then have to remind him to bring us a wine list. When seated at a round table as part of a group as we were, the the table was set for too many people to provide a comfortable dining experience. (Think crowded wedding reception) Nightly menus were unimpressive and lackded creativity. I knew I was not travelling on a 4-star Michelin rated cruise, but I expected a more enticing menu. Most frustrating was courses were almost served simultaneously. Soups, then MOMENTS later, salad, almost without fail, if an additional appetizer of a shrimp cocktail or other selection were ordered, it was forgotten, left behind, or delivered to the table after the main course was served. One night in a moment's notice, I had three courses in front of me! I didn't complain for fear that I would never see my food again! The first night I ordered from "The Grill" a pork chop. Probably the oddest-looking cut of pork I have ever seen with more gristle and fat than anyone would desire. "Grilled" way past well done, I sent it back. My replacement was tolerable. An obvious lack of training was very apparent among the crew. There is no reason why any dinner service should be so rushed. On ANY cruise, at ANY price, I find this unacceptable. Entertainment was good. The shows in the Paris Lounge were high energy and professionally produced and fun to watch. Entertainment in the lounges was also found to be good. We experienced unfortunate delays in debarkation. The ramp at the Long Beach Port was not functioning and we all needed to exit via deck three, the door that is used on Port days like in Ensenada. The communication from the Cruise Director regarding any necessary changes in the debarkation process was inadequate, infrequent and incompetent. Not ONCE did the Cruise Director explain WHY we were delayed and he made no mention of ANY apology for our inconvenience; very unprofessional! My cabin was on Deck 5 and we were scheduled to debark at approximately 8:30 AM. We finally got off at noon. NO crew members were available on the Empress deck (where the debarkation lines formed) NO ONE! We were left to our own devices to locate the end of the "endless" line to debark. Stairwells were congested nightmares. When we finally reached the exit on deck three, there were at least five crew members standing there apologizing to us! (Not a very good use of the crew!) Shame on the crew leaders of the Inspiration for their inept handling of this situation. The true "good sports" of the situation were the fellow passengers who showed exemplary patience within a very frustrating experience. It left several of us talking among ourselves wondering how an emergency would be handled by this crew. I will seek out other lines' 3 and 4-day cruise options for future travel needs and gladly pay more if needed! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first cruise. And it was a fun one. The people were very friendly and helpful. We didn't ever have that lost feeling. They would help us find our way, which is a good thing because the embarkation port is a big place. ... Read More
This was my first cruise. And it was a fun one. The people were very friendly and helpful. We didn't ever have that lost feeling. They would help us find our way, which is a good thing because the embarkation port is a big place. Once we got underway, we almost didn't feel like we were on a cruise ship, it was so rock solid. And we soon were getting around on the ship like old pros. They have maps all over the ship and elevators to get you to the deck you need to go to. I had heard about the food, but until you experience it, you don't know. There was food available 24 hours a day. We tried the food at the cafeteria type places and it was always very good. We had the late (8:15pm) dining in the dining room, but it wasn't that bad having to wait that late. And the food and service was great. Our first stop was at Catalina Island. They have tender boats that take you to the island. We didn't get any shore excursions. We did however, rent a golf cart for an hour drive around the city of Avalon and that was a lot of fun. We followed the road up into the hills and had a spectacular view of the bay and our ship. We had breakfast at a restaurant on the main street. Then we went and rented the golf cart. After, we strolled around Avalon for a while before heading back to the ship. The next day, we arrived in Ensenada, Mexico. We were docked, so we didn't have to ride a tender ship into port. We rented a taxi for a tour of the city. It was fun and very informative. The next day was a fun day at sea. Then we returned to the port in Long Beach. Overall, definitely worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I are in our early 30's and really an adventurous couple. That being said... I felt like I was sailing on a Motel 6. The ship was built in the 1990's and it showed. The pool and hot tubs are TINY, and because of ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 30's and really an adventurous couple. That being said... I felt like I was sailing on a Motel 6. The ship was built in the 1990's and it showed. The pool and hot tubs are TINY, and because of that the pool water is extremely warm because so many people are trying to cram into it. Our room was right by a service entrance and on the main floor and the music/party kept us up until late night hours. The food wasn't even Golden Corral material ( and I consider Golden Corral pretty mediocre) it was more like your high school cafeteria. The meals in the dining room were better but not amazing. I understand that this is because they have to cook everything before hand and just keep it warm - but it was still pretty mediocre. I stuck to the seafood and that was pretty good. I am quite the foodie, so I went excited to try their food and was very disappointed. So don't pick this food for the cruise. The ports we docked at were pretty docile retirement community stuff too. Catalina Island was pretty slow. We booked a discover scuba diving adventure which was the highlight of the entire cruise - it was amazing and highly recommended. Ensenada, we held off because we heard there were locals who would sell you excursions off the boat. There weren't. There were only taxi's who would take you horseback riding or to La Bufadora. We went to La Bufadora in hopes to find some kayaks...our taxi broke down and we coasted into La Bufadora and were only able to stay 10 minutes before the taxi driver brought his friend to us and we had to leave. Because we didn't plan ahead there wasn't anything to do but shop. We wish we had bought another shore excursion. The day at sea.....borrriiinngggg......they should have shows all day, but it seemed that all they wanted to do was make money that last day. Casino stuff, shop sales, bingo..etc. Nothing to really entertain. The highlights were the waiter at our dining table who was really great and the people we met at our dining table, the comedian show at night, and the scuba diving adventure. Other than that we really weren't impressed by the ship or their daily plans at all. We won't be sticking to carnival anymore...we will look for a better ship with better food. You get what you pay for I guess. 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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