123 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

I'm just off the Carnival Inspiration and thought I'd share! Our intinerary was supposed to be Long Beach - Catalina - Ensenada - Long Beach. What it turned out to be was Catalina - San Diego - Ensenada - San Diego - Long ... Read More
I'm just off the Carnival Inspiration and thought I'd share! Our intinerary was supposed to be Long Beach - Catalina - Ensenada - Long Beach. What it turned out to be was Catalina - San Diego - Ensenada - San Diego - Long Beach. There were two medical emergencies, one on the way, one on the way back, so that's why the unscheduled stops. We got to Catalina on Tuesday morning after kind of a rough night at sea. People started disembarking and then they shut down the tenders due to high winds and rough water. I hadn't left yet so didn't get to see the island at all. We then traveled to Ensenada, arriving the next morning. I did the Taste of Mexico/Tequila Tasting excursion which was fun. Naturally we had the obligatory shopping stop. That night was the formal dining. There were a lot of seasick people on this ship. It was cold and windy the entire time. People were still in the pool though! I would not recommend this itinerary for people prone to seasickness or who mind the ship rocking and rolling. I'm not sure if it's the same during the summer, though. The food was okay. Obviously preparing food for this many people is not going to be gourmet, but there was always something tasty to eat even if you didn't really care for the dining room selections. Typical buffet food. I wish Carnival would have better coffee. It's really kind of terrible. The Guy's Burger was good. The service on board was top-notch. All the ship's personnel were friendly, and boy do they work hard. Special shout-out to our waiter Manuel - he was great. I was in cabin M216 (aft) and was very comfortable. My first time in an inside cabin and I didn't mind it at all. This ship is old but in very good shape. Everything was clean. I didn't notice any of the foul odors that others have posted about. I'll be taking Carnival in the future, but not this itinerary. It was a reasonably priced week getaway and the good far outweighed the bad. Want to try one of the new ships next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was the third Carnival cruise for my husband and I. We have previously sailed on the Splendor and Dream. We were part of a group of 56 in a wedding group. We were flying in on JetBlue to the Long Beach Airport and had ordered ... Read More
This was the third Carnival cruise for my husband and I. We have previously sailed on the Splendor and Dream. We were part of a group of 56 in a wedding group. We were flying in on JetBlue to the Long Beach Airport and had ordered the Carnival shuttle. We were told to go to the left when exiting baggage and that the shuttle would be waiting there. We did not see the shuttle anywhere. Another passenger was also looking for it. We each called Carnival and it turned out that the shuttle had been there the entire time on the right not on the left. The shuttle driver had a tiny paddle that none of us had seen. EMBARKATION: We ordered Faster to the Fun and had a 12:00 check-in. We got to the terminal and dropped our bags off with the porter and quickly made it through the check-in. We were stopped just prior to boarding and told that we needed to check-in with Guest Services. That made me somewhat paranoid. So we went there and were told that there had been a problem with our room (E71) and that they had to paint a spot on the ceiling. We were given 2 free drink passes and went over to the bar across from Guest Services. Before we received our drink orders, the rep said that our room was ready. She directed us to our room where the sign and sail cards were waiting in the mail box. By this time it was 11:55, so we actually got to our room before our scheduled check-in time! We had an ocean-view room, before we had booked balconies so it seemed really small. The mattress was really comfortable. I needed a firm pillow. The steward brought the firmest pillow that I have ever seen and it was so thick we thought it was 2 pillows in the same case. I ended up stuffing a beach towel in the regular pillow and it worked really well. We went up to Lido and met up with some of our group. We hit up the buffet. It was Italian themed and typical buffet. We sat by the pool and visited our friends. Some of the guys got burgers from Guys. I stole some of the fries and they were the best fries ever. We wanted to go in the hot tubs but they were all over-flowing with people. The ones on the Serenity deck were also over-filled. Some schools were on spring-break so that was part of the problem, but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of partying. After muster, we ended up on a balcony on the aft side of Lido to watch the sail away. It overlooked Serenity deck but was very quiet. We went to the late dinner. I don’t remember what I ordered but it was some kind of Asian noodle dish. And of course warm chocolate melting cake for dessert! After dinner, we went to the casino for awhile and quickly lost. We headed back to our room at about 10:15. Big mistake. We were just 2 doors down from the Atrium lobby and the music was so loud that our room was vibrating. We went to Guest Services which was in the lobby and complained. All they could do was close the firedoor. It did not help. Finally around 11, they shut it down. Tuesday - Catalina We met up with some of our group in the main dining room for breakfast. I had my favorite avocado toast and a side of bacon. It was excellent. We then took the tender to Catalina for the wedding. We walked to Step Beach. It was not marked so we all walked past it and had to ask around before we found it. They hired a local minister and had a beautiful ceremony. Next we met up at Steve’s Steakhouse for lunch. We had to order from a limited menu because of the size of the group. We had 4 options from which to choose. Most of us ordered the fish and chips. Mine was stone cold. Also the restaurant was on the second floor and they did not have an elevator. We then hung out for an hour or so and did a little shopping. One member of the group, got a call from the upgrade fairy and were given the Owner’s Suite, so they arranged a surprise wedding reception. The suite is beautiful and had a bathroom with a whirlpool tub bigger than our room! After the reception, we went to dinner. It was formal night and Carnival does not enforce the dress code at all. There was a man in a tank top and flip flops and a woman had on fuzzy bathroom slippers that were allowed to dine. A woman was in line with just a bikini top and sarong cover-up. I’m not sure whether or not she was allowed in. I had the end-cut of the prime rib and grilled shrimp for dinner. The prime rib was the best that I have ever tasted. I didn’t have room for the creme brûlée so had to pass on dessert. We went to the casino and I won about $20 on slots. We were tired and decided to go to bed. Once again, the music was blasting. We complained and they offered to let us switch to a lower-rated room. It was 10:30 at night on the 2nd day of a 4 day cruise and we didn’t really feel like packing up everything to switch rooms. So we waited the music out. Wednesday - Ensenada I started the day with my avocado toast and bacon. We then walked off the ship. I got nervous when the drug sniffing dog kept smelling my purse, but it was just my gum. We booked the La Bufadora Adventure through Carnival. The bus was very uncomfortable and the seats were smaller than Southwest Airlines. We first went to a historical building that was once the first casino on Ensenada. There were about 10 vendors in the patio. The best thing about the spot was we were off the crowded bus for a few minutes. We next had about a 45 minute ride to the blow hole. We had to walk through a flea market where they sold “genuine replicas”. You could not walk more than 2 feet without being approached by vendors. I was given about 10 small sips of Pina coladas from different vendors. We watched the blow hole sprout water. After paying 75 cents to use the bathroom, you are given a few squares of toilet paper. Anyway we went back to the flea market and had some delicious grilled shrimp and fish tacos. I wanted a virgin Pina colada and was told it would be $12. I said too much and walked away. A few booths up, I got one for $5. It was so delicious. They carved out the pineapple and served it in that with several slices of fresh pineapple. We walked past the stalls but nothing appealed to me. The tour guide encouraged everybody to order tacos to eat on the bus. So on the ride back, the cramped bus was filled with people chowing down. We got back to the ship and had a letter from Guest Services. They reported our complaints to the music director. They also comped us $80 for our excursion. We hung out with friends and then went to dinner. I ordered the veal parmesan and it was nasty. It was cold and dry and had hardly any sauce. We went to the love and marriage show. Our newly-wed friends were one of the three couples chosen. Orlando, the cruise director was hilarious and this was the highlight of our cruise. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. One thing that was disturbing, one of the other couples when asked if a parrot was in their bedroom would repeat and they both said “Dumb B****”. I felt so bad for the wife. We wanted to go to bed but decided to kill some time until the music died so we went to the casino. I came out about $25 ahead on slots. We then went to our room and once again had to make the nightly walk to guest services to complain about the noise. (We were only 2 doors down). The reps there weren’t too happy about the noise level either because they couldn’t hear the passengers. Fun Day at Sea We slept in and then went to Sea Day brunch. We had delicious filet mignon and eggs. We hung out for the jewelry raffle to find it was only a crappy keychain. We bought a few fashion accessories and ordered our pictures. We went back to the casino. I started playing some kind of Asian slot machine. I wasn’t sure how it worked, but I walked away with $150 because I kept winning free spins. We then went to the early comedy show. I think it was the same material from our last cruise on the Dream. Next was dinner. I had the tenderloin which was really good and carrot cake. We then went back to the casino and I won another $40 on the Asian machine. We cashed out and returned to our nightly “private concert” in our room. We then made our nightly report to guest services and waited for the DJ to shut it down. Debarkation Debarkation was very smooth. We hung out at Lido buffet until after 9. Then breezed through customs. Our shuttle was waiting and we quickly made it to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
DW & I have been on four other cruiselines and this was our first on Carnival. We went on this one since we wanted to join a large group gathering of about 50 folks. Even though it was a four day Carnival Long Beach-Catalina ... Read More
DW & I have been on four other cruiselines and this was our first on Carnival. We went on this one since we wanted to join a large group gathering of about 50 folks. Even though it was a four day Carnival Long Beach-Catalina Island-Ensenada-Long Beach trip from embark Monday and debark Friday, it was still a party crowd. We usually prefer a quiet, refine cruise but wanted to join the many folks we knew. Since there were many we have known for many years, the party type atmosphere worked well and we were pleasantly surprise that we enjoyed it. The cost was relatively inexpensive and we set our expectations lower and were overall happy with the cruise. The Guy's Burgers, deli, and pizza were great. The other dining venues, such as buffet and sitdown dining were disappointing. The servers often did not bring us and others what we ordered. Even request for crackers was given a response of call room server. A request to clean some chairs with food debris was met by the worker slapping the chairs with her dish towel. What was worst was that the sour cream and butter were not fresh, i.e. the potential for an upset stomach or worst. The cabin was larger than other cruiselines for the same category but the restroom had a foul odor that repeated attempts to pour water down the floor drain only partially helped. A number of folks got seasick even though they never had before on other sailings. Being a smaller ship of about 70,000 tons is part of the reason. But more likely it was the short sailing distance between the ports. Long Beach to Catalina is about 29 miles and the sailing was a leisurely 13 hours which meant say 2 miles per hour which is far too slow for the stabilizers to be effective. Also this slow speed means the wave actions will affect the ship more. The shows in the main theater were not Broadway type productions. They were just singing with related dance moves and much of the time was wasted with pulling audience members up to the stage to participate. The timing of the show comedians were too close to the main theater shows so we could not see them. The raffles at the ship stores were a big waste of time. They kept on delaying the start of the drawings and the prizes were terrible, such as a cheap shopping bag. The embark and debark were fast since for the short cruise we did carry on luggage. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It was fine for a quick getaway, and even though an older ship, there was a lot to like. However, the corporate cutbacks are really starting to show (especially to those of us who've been cruising Carnival for a while). We can ... Read More
It was fine for a quick getaway, and even though an older ship, there was a lot to like. However, the corporate cutbacks are really starting to show (especially to those of us who've been cruising Carnival for a while). We can remember actual free drinks for the Captain's toast, then a dollar off any drink, and now just a dollar off Bellinis. The cutbacks in dining rooms and staterooms mean lots of small changes (no pastries unless you ask, long waits for breakfast/brunch, pushing the once-a-day room service, etc.). The other main negative for us was the small number of hot tubs (4), especially since one was always out of service. The ones in the Serenity area were always packed and the Carnival workers just ignored the smoking that we saw frequently on the Serenity deck. The staff overall were friendly, if not consistent. For example, two of our dinner tablemates joined for the first time on the last night and were shocked how friendly and accommodating the dinner servers were since that hadn't been their experience at other meals. Our dinner wait staff were excellent, and the food was mostly good (a few clunker dishes, mostly due to being inadequately spiced). But overall, even on the Lido, the food was fine. There wasn't a lot to do on the ship, but with only one sea day, it was fine. The weather was perfect, which helped. One of the solo guitar players was a Janis Joplin-style performer, who we enjoyed, but the seating in the Atrium where she often performed was very limited and the casino area, also a main music venue, was often set up for photos and was very smoky. The cabin was old and showed it, but was still pretty big given our experience on older ships on other lines, The bed was super comfortable, but the shower was small and slow-draining. Overall, it was a good value for what we paid, and we had a nice, relaxing time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have done this 3 day cruise 2x now. All in all, fun. Booze Cruise; though I don't partake. Lots to do...plenty to eat; buffets, dining hall. All of it, though mostly fresh, was not that good. Great dining staff, they were all ... Read More
We have done this 3 day cruise 2x now. All in all, fun. Booze Cruise; though I don't partake. Lots to do...plenty to eat; buffets, dining hall. All of it, though mostly fresh, was not that good. Great dining staff, they were all friendly and fun and accommodating. Shows were fun. Casino staff was fun. Now for the not so fun. One outlet in bathroom and one in cabin. We asked and received a power strip. On this trip, the room cleaning service was not good. Trash from past guests and a dirty bathroom counter greeted us. They cleaned it right away and apologized...but then, saw not a little but a ton of mold in the bathroom. I know it's a ship in the water but this was unacceptable. Get some bleach and clean this! Which they did but, eeeeeeeeewwwww...not what I want to see on vacation and it's not healthy to be around. They didn't seem to care much this happened on the ship or after we called when we came back. They gave us minimal on board credit for a future cruise....I just don't see doing this cruise ever again. Again, we had fun, went to shows, gambled, ate, went to Ensenada, played bingo, art auction...etc but the gross cabin infringed on my experience.Uhhh, and that bed, oh man, I was glad to get home...Less towel Elephant, more hygiene. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Tried looking on Cruise Critic for information about the Carnival Halloween October but could not find any. Hopefully this review will prepare future cruisers as what to expect. This is a “Booze Cruise.” Lots of drinkers and ... Read More
Tried looking on Cruise Critic for information about the Carnival Halloween October but could not find any. Hopefully this review will prepare future cruisers as what to expect. This is a “Booze Cruise.” Lots of drinkers and smokers (not only tobacco). We have done this short cruise before and knew what to expect. However, there seemed to be more drunk people on this cruise. The cruise was hit and miss. For a 22 year old ship, the Inspiration is in OK shape. There is some interior damage to the decorations contributed to the type of guest the ship attracts. It was nice after many months, the glass elevators were working again. The first night, as we left Long beach, it rained and the roof above deck 12, near the atrium, leaked. Embarkation was fast. Your room keys are obtained on board the ship in a sealed envelope outside your cabin door. Both the embarkation, and debarkation, were smooth and fast. Parking at the port will cost you $20 a day. We were excited to hear the Inspiration would be celebrating Halloween all October like their web site said. Unfortunately, we were disappointed with the Carnival Halloween Celebration. We thought the ship would be decorated for Halloween and the music selection would be seasonal. The decoration consisted on a single 12 foot statue of Patches (the Carnival Halloween mascot) and some orange and black plastic bunting in the atrium. As for the Halloween music, it did not exist (except for Thriller at a dance class). There was no Halloween themed food served and the costume party consisted of 14 people in costume. It did not help the costume party was held during the Late Dinner Seating. Thus, you either missed the party, or your assigned dinner time. There was a pumpkin carving contest on the day at sea where 6 guests competed again the Cruise Director and the ship’s Ice Carver. MarQ (the Cruise Director) and his team, tried their best, but the failure seemed to be on the corporate level. Unless you specifically looked for it on the Carnival website, the passengers were unaware of the Halloween activities prior to boarding the ship (thus the lack of costumes). A simple email prior to the cruise would have solved this issue. It seemed like Carnival was doing the bare minimum to call itself a Halloween Cruise. So, it you are looking for a Halloween fun, stick to the amusement parks. On a bright note, the Cruise Director, MarQ, was very friendly and went out of his way to talk to the guests. His team was energetic and worked hard. Albert, the Comedy Club Manager, also was friendly and a pleasure to talk to (congratulations on being employee of the month). Unfortunately, the comedians were mediocre. This is the first cruise we have ever seen empty seats in the comedy club. One comedian left the house light up and you felt obligated to laugh for fear of him singling you out. His “jokes” received polite chuckles only. The buffet was laid out well with four areas serving the exact same items. There was also the usual deli, pizza, burger, and Mexican food areas. The Chipole style Mexican food was the best food stop on the ship. There was no Asian buffet area like found on some ships. However, the Taste Bar is now a Sushi Stand which costs about $5 a roll. Never saw anybody buying the sushi. Although not as good as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, or Holland America, the food was as expected for a 3 day cruise. Although the 3 day cruise is a nice escape from reality, it is Booze Cruise. Not recommended for children. If your goal is to get drunk and party, this is the cruise for you. If you want a more traditional cruise, go with the 7 day cruises. If you want a starter cruise, go with the 4 day midweek sailings. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I've always been interested in going on a cruise and had a chance to go on Carnival out of Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada. Good parts -- The room steward was very friendly and helpful. He quickly learned our names and ... Read More
I've always been interested in going on a cruise and had a chance to go on Carnival out of Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada. Good parts -- The room steward was very friendly and helpful. He quickly learned our names and was readily available. Dinners were great -- all the food was excellent; great selection of sides, main dishes and desserts. Service was usually very good. Not so good -- Some of the public parts of the ship needed more frequent cleaning, including bathrooms. From the moment we boarded they were trying to sell us stuff -- ALL THE TIME. Bottled water was provided -- for more than $3 a bottle (big bottles). Most areas were crowded all the time. We were told rooms would be ready at 1:30. Ours was not and the cleaning staff didn't seem to care. They did, however, tell us it would be ready at 2:00 and it was. Debarkation information was not clear. Debarkation itself was fine. But we couldn't understand the description they had given us. Finally we just started making our way to the exit and got off without any delays. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I went on cruise for first time. I found this as an average experience. Ship is little old. Need some renovation. They also need to add more entertainment. Like movie theatre. Some games or more theatre activities. Food and staff ... Read More
I went on cruise for first time. I found this as an average experience. Ship is little old. Need some renovation. They also need to add more entertainment. Like movie theatre. Some games or more theatre activities. Food and staff were good. I would suggest if they can also give some souvainer for remembreace after cruise specially to small kids. Entertainment . It was boring after 2 days specially there are not much entertainment. I would suggest do not go with high hopes. If you are going only for food then you will not get disappointed. We buy Wi-Fi plan for our phone and it was hardly working very difficult to check social sites. Also there are some hidden cost involved like water and soda are not free. Overall it was fun for 3 days cruise. If you want to have more fun then go with family and friends to have more fun. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This is my 4'th cruise with Carnival and my 10'th cruise overall. First of all, I have to say I have never been disappointed with the friendliness and aim to please attitude of the majority of Carnival employees! The employees ... Read More
This is my 4'th cruise with Carnival and my 10'th cruise overall. First of all, I have to say I have never been disappointed with the friendliness and aim to please attitude of the majority of Carnival employees! The employees work very hard for not much money and I truly appreciate their constant effort to ensure a pleasant experience for their guests. Having said that I must express my disappointment in Carnival on this particular cruise. First of all, the food quality was very disappointing. There was not much variety at the buffets and the dining experience was sub par to what I am used to. The fact that you had to pay and xtra $20 to get surf and turf where on past cruises with Carnival it is part of the menu. In addition , the food was often times served room temperature and service slow. My advice on this cruise would be to stick to Guy's burgers and the deli! Guy's never disappoints and the deli served fresh delicious sandwiches! Again I don't blame the employees but possibly lack of them. Our room was kept very clean however, the common areas were not. Tables in the eating areas were not cleaned in a timely manner and some bathrooms in the pool deck area were gross!! As far as entertainment, there was a great band in the casino bar and of course the night club was fun but , in my opinion, the comedians in the comedy club were pigs! We are warned if we are easily offended to not attend the late hours comedy club however, I have attended many late night comedy clubs that can be R rated but these guys just had some gross delivery! I am a Californian so I have been to Catalina and Ensenada before. I am very pleased to find that Ensenada now offers more shore excursions than they have in the past which of course you can find cheaper deals outside of booking with Carnival when you get off the ship. The people were super friendly in Ensenada but of course you always have to be careful and be sure to haggle with the prices on everything! All in all I had a great time and would do this cruise again. It's a cheap get away for someone who can drive to the port but if I had to pay for airfare I would choose one of the bigger Carnival ships where there is a noticeable difference in quality. Alot of people choose this cruise as a first time experience as I did but let me just say- It can be better!! Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I stopped cruising Carnival several years ago after a particularly bad cruise on the Carnival Spirit but this cruise coincided with grandchildren's Spring break and family birthdays and it was affordable, though by no means ... Read More
I stopped cruising Carnival several years ago after a particularly bad cruise on the Carnival Spirit but this cruise coincided with grandchildren's Spring break and family birthdays and it was affordable, though by no means inexpensive. Thought the family activities were really fun, the cruise itself left me resolved to not cruise Carnival again for several more years. Two of us shared an obstructed view "junior suite" that was really an average cabin with a balcony so small that you could not sit on it without moving the chairs sideways to the rail. The view was completely blocked by a rescue ship. It seemed that there were few advantages to this class until we compared it with regular ocean view cabins on lower decks. For us, service was pretty much the same as non-suite cabins on other cruise lines with the addition of free bottled water. When we compared it to the standard ocean-view service our family received, though, it was quite different. They received once a day cabin cleaning (no turn down service) and no luggage collection for diebarkation without a special request. The ship has been redone and is generally comfortable. My one complaint was the poor lighting. Our "suite" had bedside lamps that were non-functional and extremely poor lighting in the closet areas. With closet doors opening to the entry instead of the window and no overhead or interior lights, I needed a flashlight to see the clothing storage area. This ship has one fairly small swimming pool that was usually crowded. There was a very nicely designed water slide area that was not crowded that the grandchildren really loved. Entertainment was really awful. The atrium entertainment drove me out with the volume and I spent one sad evening in the piano bar listening to a guy who really couldn't play and didn't want to. I generally avoided it. We enjoyed the spa and found the spa attendants to be better than on most ships. The one drawback there was that the ship redesign put the running track above the spa so that it was quite noisy. Dinner service was spotty. The one night that we were celebrating two birthdays, our desert order was not even taken yet when other diners had finished and left the dining room and their tables were cleared and reset for breakfast. Food was average. Though no fault of the ship, I'm sure, debarkation was delayed nearly two hours and the ensuing lines to leave the ship were extraordinarily long - 35 minutes in our case. As "suite" guests two of us had priority debarkation but chose to disembark with the family. We were unable to gain any privileges for the family, even though the fares for everyone were paid by the "suite" passengers. I would rank this as a good cruise for families with children who are cruising on a budget. Don't expect the service or amenities you might enjoy on one of the other cruise lines but you can have fun anyway. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I went on this cruise with a girlfriend who wanted to celebrate her birthday. Don't get me wrong we had a nice time but, not like some of the previous ones. I have been on 13 Carnival cruise before this one. It is an older ship. This ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a girlfriend who wanted to celebrate her birthday. Don't get me wrong we had a nice time but, not like some of the previous ones. I have been on 13 Carnival cruise before this one. It is an older ship. This was the first time I have been on a cruise where they charge $20.00 for a lobster dinner in the dining room. That was a total shock & we did not purchase. The phone in our room would not dial room service, and the handset sounded like a rattle. So we just went upstairs to get our morning coffee. No biggy. The room steward was nice, but we could only get ice in our room once a day. ? Strange. Prior to sailing I was told by a Carnival person I could check sodas on board. Well, after the muster drill my luggage arrived, the sodas were gone & I paid $19.00 for a six pack. Live & learn. The staff was friendly, the shows were good, The glass elevators were not working. I will be sailing on Carnival again, just not a 3 day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We wanted to do a quick getaway and booked this cruise at the last minute (we are locals and live 45 minutes away from the Long Beach port). We are a family of 4 with 2 children (ages 11 and 5) and love to cruise (we’ve gone on over 15 ... Read More
We wanted to do a quick getaway and booked this cruise at the last minute (we are locals and live 45 minutes away from the Long Beach port). We are a family of 4 with 2 children (ages 11 and 5) and love to cruise (we’ve gone on over 15 cruises so far). We sail primarily with Disney and have done a few with Royal Caribbean. The cruise overall was okay. It wasn't spectacular but for under $1k for 4 people for 3 nights and 4 days with food included, you really can't expect too much. We went knowing that it was a small/older ship and adjusted our expectations accordingly. We really enjoyed Guy's Burgers and the Mexican place (Blue Iguana) by the pool. We ate there every day for lunch. The food at the buffet was VERY limited and not exactly our taste so we never ate there. Food during dinner at the main dining restaurant was fine. Nothing out of this world memorable, but it wasn't bad. CONS - Some areas of the ship are not accessible by wheelchair. Our 11 year old son is special needs and there was no way we could get him to the mini golf area in his wheelchair. We had to carry him up the stairs. - Waterworks was cool BUT, the water is NOT heated and is pretty cold. The main pools are warm so I didn’t really quite understand why they wouldn’t warm up the water in the water slides area. Because the water was too cold, not many kids were there. - Senior crew members are nice and friendly but there are many newbies who are clueless. I lost count how many times I asked a crew member a question and was given the wrong information or he/she simply said, “I don’t know” - LIMITED family friendly activities - The DRUNKS!!!! (there were so many of them). This was a party cruise no doubt! PROS - Kids club counselors are awesome. They really do a great job keeping the kids entertained. I would say that Carnival runs their kids program very similar to RCCL. Our 5 year old daughter enjoyed her time there. - Main dining room crew really do try to go above and beyond. We had a great headwaiter who catered to all our dining room needs and he even played with our children (always a plus for us). - Spa staff was knowledgeable and friendly Our very first cruise was with Disney and it was that experience that got us hooked into cruising. We tend to gravitate towards cruise lines/ships that cater to FAMILIES. My husband and I were talking about our cruise experiences with different lines and I think what makes Disney our absolute favorite and what truly sets them apart from the rest of the pack is the lasting impression they leave their guests. Most cruise lines cater and provide service for the “masses” while Disney focuses on PERSONALIZED service. Granted, DCL does charge WAY MORE so it’s a give and take. If this would have been our first cruise, I don’t know we’d be enticed to cruise again any time soon. But with Disney, the first impression they left our family was so incredible that we couldn’t wait to book our next cruise with them while still onboard their ship! Lastly, would we do this cruise again? Yes, if the price was right and the timing was perfect (ie: long weekend where the kids don’t have to miss school). Cruising is our preferred way to vacation. We like the convenience and offers our special needs son the flexibility he needs when travelling so whether its with Disney, Carnival or RCCL, we will continue to see and travel the world by sea =) If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Beware of the Spa.Carnival. Although you'll be billed for services there on your Carnival account, any refunds are next to impossible to get as Steiner Leisure is the provider. I was offered the choice of 3 massages on the very ... Read More
Beware of the Spa.Carnival. Although you'll be billed for services there on your Carnival account, any refunds are next to impossible to get as Steiner Leisure is the provider. I was offered the choice of 3 massages on the very first day at a reduced rate of $172.00. I was billed close to $198. I also had a $50.00 gift card in my room later on and when I tried to get it applied, they would not do it. Period. The massage was wonderful and I would probably look into another on that cruise had they been good business people, but had a very negative feeling of Steiner Leisure. I was able to get on the internet on the cruise and left a message at Steiner Leisure, explaining the situation. To date they have not responded at all.. The dancers & singers are very talented and work hard on their routines. The music on Diva was too loud and stroblights were distracting and was definitely geared towards millenials. but moderated the next program. The cruisers were a mixed age group. The Rook Duo were so wonderful, people followed their schedule. Horns & strings are magic. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Staff on cruiseships are always friendly and helpful, and this crew was no different. The highlight for us was the Alchemy Bar (deck 9 aft) -- great drinks! Strangely the "homemade" and secretive pineapple and strawberry ... Read More
Staff on cruiseships are always friendly and helpful, and this crew was no different. The highlight for us was the Alchemy Bar (deck 9 aft) -- great drinks! Strangely the "homemade" and secretive pineapple and strawberry infused vodka are not listed as ingredient in any of the drinks, ask the bartenders about them. They are delicious. The worst part of the cruise was the food without a doubt; 90% of what we had were overcooked, lacking flavors and just blah. For example, it's hard to screw up fried chicken and yet they managed to serve fried chicken that were fried beyond recognition with zero flavors. In the dining room, they can't seem to cook steaks to correct temperature. Expect medium-well to over-well done regardless of your preference. You do get what you paid for, not a lot in this case so can't complain too hard. A quick tip regarding Ensenada. If you book your own excursion (not via ship), you have to walk about a mile to get out to the meeting area. There is a small fee to take a bus out but we didn't know about it until after the fact. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not ... Read More
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not a good dance band for mature cruisers, but I knew that for less money we get less luxury and benefits. The food was OK and the ship was clean. All things functioned in our cabin without problems. We had very slow service in our formal dining room late seating and missed a few shows, (took over one and a half hours to finish a dinner). I think this was due to our table being located in a back corner. The entertainment was not very professional and was only 70's R+B, which got a little old. The comedians were OK. There is limited space on the main open pool deck and a shortage of seating for the big events, but that is due to it being an older ship. For the money it was a good overall value, but if a person has cruised Norwegian or Holland lines, or even Princess it is best to have lower expectations and not be disappointed. There is a little more rudeness with a younger L.A. crowd. I have nothing but praise for the Long Beach poet facility for Carnival! Very easy parking, hotel access and very quick embarkation and departure process. We got off 1 1/2 hours early! That has never happened to me before on a score of cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was a Christmas cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. Not very exotic and they did double the normal rates - but it is something nice at XMAS. The cabin was roughly the size of most cruise ships we have traveled. Room was unadorned ... Read More
This was a Christmas cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. Not very exotic and they did double the normal rates - but it is something nice at XMAS. The cabin was roughly the size of most cruise ships we have traveled. Room was unadorned and very plain. It was clean. AC was not thermostatically controlled, rather and adjustment dial for force of air only. Ample closet space. The main bed was raised enough to store normal suit cases underneath which is a nice touch. Desk was not very big. Window was normal size but not very clean. Bathroom was about the size of other ships but had only one small shelf above the sink. Shower was adequate. Had wall mounted body soap and shampoo dispensers only. However, the room was set up with a king and two bunks. The steward pushed back the bunks and brought in a cot. My wife called Guest Services and spoke with Filip who told her that is the best they can do (problem is that the folded back bunk frame takes some of the room size away). She thought it a safety hazard. While we were ashore the supervisor came into the room and found the bed arrangement fine but they confiscated our one foot tall Christmas tree as a potential safety hazard. I did call Filip that the plug was labeled UL approved and if it were a problem simply unwind the lights (likely a 15 second task) and return the unadorned tree but he said no (we did see plenty of other guest rooms with XMAS lights). I would have simply accepted this but a staff member (anonomous) indicated it might be retaliation for lodging a complaint about the room. Readers will likely consider safety first and so would I. The only reason I mention this incident is that it displayed a similar cold, stoic and production line mentality I saw throughout the cruise. For example, in the dinning room we felt like it was a get them in, get them out fast attitude. They did not even recognize a birthday despite our mentioning it to the waiter and head waiter. Entertainment was just OK. Only one movie shown aboard. Pool was large rectangle with a hot tub on each end. Despite the cold weather these were occupied well into the evening. There are two hot tubs on another deck but we did not use them. Buffet was very good. Unlike other cruises, Carnival wisely spread out the food stations to prevent bottleneck traffic. Room was decorated but I really cannot define what that was. There are two other restaurants. One for those that reserved a time. The other for those that want to use at their leisure. Food was good. There is a casino but smoking was allowed so it can be torture staying there for very long. Surprisingly there are but two small stores. I thought this is how cruises make money? There is a large, tall atrium with a large glass skylight. Interestingly, the glass elevators have been removed. We did not use shore excursions. Catalina uses tenders. Avalon can be seen in 1/2 hour if you walk slowly. Highly suggest renting a golf cart and touring the perimeter of the town - lots of fun! The port in Ensenada is a quick walk to the main shopping street. Ship was generally clean. Again, my only complaint was the near universal attitude of the crew. Perhaps it was because the ship was completely full and that might have made it challenging. However, it might be because it was Christmas and they were apart from their families?? Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Chose this cruise after sailing multiple times on Carnival. Like the informal vibe and have had good experiences in the past. This was a short anniversary cruise out of the Port of Long Beach. First off, the ship is very old and ... Read More
Chose this cruise after sailing multiple times on Carnival. Like the informal vibe and have had good experiences in the past. This was a short anniversary cruise out of the Port of Long Beach. First off, the ship is very old and outdated and small. The layout of the ship was truly complicated and not user friendly even though the size of the ship was not intimidating at all. We chose a grand suite as there are very few balconies on this ship. The suite was large with lots of storage and more than ample space. The placement of the suites left a lot to be desired however. Grand suites are on the 6th floor just below the Atrium and bar. This was the loudest room I have ever stayed in on more than 20 cruises I have sailed on. Strange how your most expensive suites are in the worst part of the ship. The room had knocks and rattles and no noise proofing whatsoever. Had one good night out of 4 for sleeping. Balcony is narrow but long. Hair dryer was ancient. Food was good, particularly the mexican food by the pool and the flat iron and tenderloin in the Carnivale Dining Room. Even though we were return guests who booked early we couldn't get early seating and so were assigned my time dining. Didn't know at the time but the Mardi Gras dining room is ONLY my time dining. Lines were ridiculously long the first night. Poor organization. We requested assigned seating at the Carnivale for nights 2-4 and they accommodated us very nicely. Don't expect people to abide by dress codes. It is a free for all with no enforcement. Cheapens the experience a little. The cruise director was unimpressive. Not surprising he is stuck on a 4 day cruise with limited itinerary. Wait staff are generally very nice and helpful. Tenders to Catalina were ridiculous. The boats were so big that you had to wait over 20 minutes in the boat coming and going before you could take the less than 5 minute trip to the island. The operators of the tenders were rude and really unprofessional. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The crew on this ship are fantastic and (almost) make up for the lackluster design, food, and lengthy lines. This is my second cruise but first cruise with my five-year-old son. I chose Carnival because of the highly-rated free ... Read More
The crew on this ship are fantastic and (almost) make up for the lackluster design, food, and lengthy lines. This is my second cruise but first cruise with my five-year-old son. I chose Carnival because of the highly-rated free kids' club. I wanted to get some downtime while my son had fun, and this ship definitely achieved that goal! ++Pros++ + Great service: I can't stay enough about the crew. Every crew member I encountered greeted me with a smile. The service was outstanding - from my room steward to the kids' camp leaders even to the general housekeeping staff. They were extremely accommodating and worked hard to make the trip great. + Free kids' club: Camp Ocean was great. The hours were ideal and the camp staff was friendly. My son didn't want to do anything except hang out at the camp. + Easy embarkation with Faster to the Fun: Faster to the Fun was definitely worth it because we were able to board quickly and grab a nap the first afternoon. + Fun entertainment: the show I saw was great. Overall, the activities were fun. There were a ton of board games in the library as well! --Cons-- -- Long lines everywhere: I felt like I spent most of the first two days waiting in lines. Even with Faster to the Fun, we had long lines getting to and from Catalina. We had long lines waiting at the dining room each night. The muster station drill was prolonged because of communication issues. There was a lot of waiting for our first excrusion. The Camp Ocean lines were especially long; it was frustrating to wait 20+ minutes to get into Camp Ocean because other families didn't register. -- Unruly group: We had a large group that was a bit rude... from cutting in line to shouting at dinner to attracting a number of birds by feeding them. I was disappointed that the crew couldn't do more to control the line cutting. -- Embarrassing decor: I just... don't understand why it's so bad. It seems like a few tweaks would improve the ship significantly (even $3 decor from Ikea would be better.) The glass elevators were broken which was also disappointing. -- Average food: It tasted like cafeteria food, even at the dining room. The room service menu was very limited, and the portions were small. -- Lackluster excursions: I was disappointed with our Catalina excursion. We skipped the Ensenada excursions and Ubered to a trampoline park. It was hard to find an excursion that was appropriate for a 5-year-old but interesting for adults. Overall I wish I could give it a 3.5. It was pretty good overall, and I miss the crew now that I'm home. But on a short cruise, I want to maximize my fun, but I was stuck waiting in lines often (... while looking at decor straight from 1993.) I think I might try a different cruise line next time to see if I can get something a bit more stylish with better food. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We had the best service from steward Wawan; he is the sort of person you would find working in a five-star hotel, you couldn't ask for a kinder more pleasant steward. Some of the waiters were also notable. However, the food... oh, ... Read More
We had the best service from steward Wawan; he is the sort of person you would find working in a five-star hotel, you couldn't ask for a kinder more pleasant steward. Some of the waiters were also notable. However, the food... oh, my. I wish I had had more say in what cruise our group took, I would have read previous postings and heeded the common theme about food quality. Some of the meals were "ok," but generally, Carnival appears to cut corners wherever possible. Our Thanksgiving turkey seemed as tough as leather... inedible. Although a nice attempt was made at presentation, and again, the service was generally good (albeit at times slow and sometimes requests were forgotten)... the food was simply sub-par. I would avoid Carnival and spend more money to get a cruise with better food. Also, the ship was worn and I hear it's due for a refurb next year. It is long overdue. In summary, you get what you pay for. For a better experience, spend a little more and select a higher-end cruise if you are into food quality. If you're ok with hamburgers (which were actually pretty good on Carnival at "Guy's Burger Bar," then Carnival may suit you. Otherwise, I would spend more and upgrade. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We were going to do the 7 day cruise on the Miracle, but right before booking we heard that the State Dept. had issued travel warnings for Cabo, etc...so we settled for the 4 day to Ensenada. Embarking was not bad...disembarking seemed a ... Read More
We were going to do the 7 day cruise on the Miracle, but right before booking we heard that the State Dept. had issued travel warnings for Cabo, etc...so we settled for the 4 day to Ensenada. Embarking was not bad...disembarking seemed a little difficult and time consuming. We were told to leave our luggage outside of our rooms by 11 pm the night before...kind of hard to decide what to leave out for the next morning, etc...it didn't help that our cabin steward was in our room by 7 am...we had gone to eat breakfast and came back to the room, wanting to stay in the room until 8:30...since he had already started cleaning we felt uneasy and went back to the buffet area with a few heavy bags and finally got called to stand in a very long line about 1045. Our last cruise was about 10 years ago on Royal Caribbean...The entire cruise we were comparing this one to the RC cruise. I didn't like this ship...it felt "compartmentalized" for lack of a better word...kind of like a maze...it didn't feel wide open...its like you would go to one floor, step out of the elevator, and you'd be in an area that wasn't recognizable from anywhere else on the ship...does that make sense...lol. It seems like the ship is like a house with a lot of rooms, but no wide open spaces. Entertainment was okay, but confusing...again, it seemed like we always knew what was going on at what time with RC...but on this cruise its almost like you are on your own, its up to you to try to figure out what's what and when. The cabin was decent...nothing special, just a small clean room...nowhere to put your clothes really...no drawers...I ended up putting my clothes in small desk drawers...my wife wanted to keep her stuff in her suitcase. The one thing that bugged us is that the TV was up in the corner where if we wanted to lay in bed and watch TV we had to put the pillows at the foot of the bed...it was awkward. The food was decent, but just the basics...nothing special, no wow factor...just real basic. Limited selections in the buffet...more like cafeteria food. The dining room wasn't much better. The Captains dinner was kind of a joke...half of the people that night were dressed casual...I'm sitting there in a suit and tie next to people who look like they're at Chili's. The best food on the ship was Guy Fieri's burger joint. That place saved me. Best burgers I think I've ever eaten. The décor of the ship looks dated and kind of run down...you occasionally find something that needs paint or repair...kind of ghetto-ish. The glass elevators were non operational...looks bad and inappropriate. The crew were all very nice and polite...no issues there. Bottom line...this is a basic, no frills cruise with all of the basics and absolutely no wow factor. I didn't like the layout of the ship...the food overall is disappointing...but it does seem that they really try hard to make it a nice experience. At the top of this review I struggled between 3 and 4 stars...3.5 would be more appropriate. On my next 3 or 4 day cruise I hope to try a Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I chose this as a first-time cruise to test the waters (pun intended) for my family, and it was pretty good. The staff was very pleasant, the cabin was nice and the sights were lovely, but the food was pretty mediocre, as expected. The ... Read More
I chose this as a first-time cruise to test the waters (pun intended) for my family, and it was pretty good. The staff was very pleasant, the cabin was nice and the sights were lovely, but the food was pretty mediocre, as expected. The Guy's Burgers restaurant was great for picky children, but why does it close for dinner?! That makes no sense. Buffet food was plentiful, but some nights were better than others (the Jamaican/Caribbean food night was awful, which is too bad since I usually like those cuisines). The dining room was just OK. The biggest disappointment was the one pool -- it was tiny, and invariably filled with families on sea days. On one evening, I noticed some older kids noisily roughhousing on the pool until one of them banged up his leg pretty badly. I asked the crying kid if he was OK, but not ONE staff member intervened. Also, one of the hot tubs was out of service. The Waterworks slide area is fun for kids, but it is NOT A POOL, just some water slides with very shallow water areas. Overall, a very good first-time cruise, but for my next trip I'd prefer something with more than one pool and better food options. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Chose the cruise knowing it was a simple four night, to two mediocre locations. ITS a getaway cruise not a discovery cruise. Catalina Island can be accessed by a two hour ferry ride from the Los Angeles Area. Ensinada is essentially ... Read More
Chose the cruise knowing it was a simple four night, to two mediocre locations. ITS a getaway cruise not a discovery cruise. Catalina Island can be accessed by a two hour ferry ride from the Los Angeles Area. Ensinada is essentially Tijuana with a waterfront. SO WHY GO?? The sea day is relaxing, the boat small, gaudy by kind of nice and the service was pretty good. The day in Catalina Island is fun. WE rented a golf cart [make sure you reserve one before your boat arrives] and toured the Island. And after two hours there is NOT that much to see, so if you want to enjoy the Island, plan an activity at least one in the day. NOTE: the Tenders are a pain in the butt, but understand they must be utilized because the Cruise lines are NOT allowed to dock at the port and they cannot build a real port on Catalina Island for environmental reasons. NO real need to get off the boat early, but be efficient. Getting back is a pain in the ass because everyone wants to spend as much time on the Island as possible, and after 330 you will wait. But if you are on line by 330 [they claim that the last tender is at 4PM you WILL get back to the ship]. Ensanada is a slum that sells stuff you really don't need. However, it was a fun day. Took a horse ride with my Mrs. and spent a couple of hours in the shopping area buying all the crap we really don't need. Food was VERY VERY GOOD, however, there is an issue with the layout of the galleys on the ship so the service for dinner was slow Rooms are small [it is an older "fun ship" Shopping on the ship was interesting and very gracious staff HOWEVER: Carnival, enough with the nickel and diming on everything. its silly with the pictures already. I had U116 and my steward was great. Embarkation: nuisance to be expected. BTW- cheapest place to park is adjacent to the ship. We stayed at the Hilton and found a cheaper online hotel rate with Priceline and then parked at Carnival for 19/day. The shows on board were GREAT, did not expect to enjoy them as much as I did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Picked this cruise on the inspiration because of the low cost and value. this cruise did deliver, i called to make reservations in the steakhouse and was told they were all booked up. no the were not, they don't have a steakhouse ... Read More
Picked this cruise on the inspiration because of the low cost and value. this cruise did deliver, i called to make reservations in the steakhouse and was told they were all booked up. no the were not, they don't have a steakhouse restaurant on this ship. i did enjoy the shows, one was a motown review and the other a 70"s dance party. For the value it is unbeatable. sit-down meals served by professionals for 3 meals per day, shows at night, for about $100.00 a day. try to obtain any hotel in la for that price. I will be back need to see which ships i have not been on yet. no one was trying the watersides because it was cold... Will need to make Reservations for the Golf Carts on Catalina on the next Trip It is an older ship but also smaller and therefore not overly crowded even though it holds 2600 people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Our cabin stewards, Wason and Avus, were fantastic! They were friendly, attentive and went above and beyond to make the cruise experience special for our grandson and niece. Our excursion to Ensenada was the highlight of the trip. ... Read More
Our cabin stewards, Wason and Avus, were fantastic! They were friendly, attentive and went above and beyond to make the cruise experience special for our grandson and niece. Our excursion to Ensenada was the highlight of the trip. Maribelle was so energetic and informative. The resort was beautiful and the food was the best food of our trip by far! Aside from the above mentioned two things, which were fantastic, our overall cruise experience was not so positive. The food in the buffet and dining rooms (where the service was incredibly slow) were average at best. It was noisy all of the time. The pool side activity one day was too lewd for a family atmosphere with a "hairy chest contest" that included remarks on nipple size, men shaking their butts in the judges faces and other inappropriate comments and activities. Our grandson and niece HATED the children's room. It was small and crowded with children from 3-11. My understanding was that they would be with a group 9-11. They begged me to liberate them and would not go back. Shuffle board and miniature gold were fun. The pool itself was very nice and my grandson and niece enjoyed the slides. Since the children spent so much time in the pool area, it would have been nice to be able to talk with my husband and sister, but the music and adult-friendly activities held nearby made it impossible to do so. I don't know if I'll ever go on another cruise after this experience, but if I do I would definitely choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Now, don't get me wrong I shop at Walmart a lot (and love it)! But people need to know when they book Carnival they get what they pay for. I love cruising and am already looking to book my next one (Liberty of the Seas in April ... Read More
Now, don't get me wrong I shop at Walmart a lot (and love it)! But people need to know when they book Carnival they get what they pay for. I love cruising and am already looking to book my next one (Liberty of the Seas in April 2019). I will do a pros & cons review: Pros: -FTTF was great to have and we were on the ship by noon -The staff was wonderful, polite, and helpful -The rooms were adequate, with everything we needed in our Ocean View room -The alcohol selection was great, with high end bourbon (Woodford Reserve, Gentleman Jack, and Buffalo Trace) and very good tequila (Patron Anejo), and plenty of beers to choose from, and the Alchemy Bar was outstanding -Guys was one of the best burgers I've ever had on, or off, a cruise (I wish it was open after 6 so I could have it for dinner as well) -My kids had fun with the waterslides and pool -The comedians were great (only went to the PG versions because with all the drinks, I was asleep by 10:30) -Catalina was cool -Tacos and burritos were ok -Pizza was adequate -Self service soft serve ice cream was good -The gym was nice, and well equipped (had to work off all the Guys burgers) -Because it is the Walmart of the Seas, the people were normal (no snooty folks looking down at my kids for running and doing cannon balls in the pool) -Less "in your face" sales pitches than Princess Cons: -MDR food was bad, very very bad (only the fake prime rib was decent) -Buffet was worse -They only had one barista -Coffee shop didn't open until 7AM and whatever they serve and call "coffee" everywhere else is horrid -Ensenada is a dump -No chips for salsa bar (I brought my own though!) Now, I knew perfectly well what I was buying and am happy with the value of this cruise. In fact, I would do it again. I am not putting Carnival down by calling it the Walmart of the Seas, I'm just (as my kids would say) "keeping it 100". For a quick 4 night cruise, and under $2K out the door for a family of five and two connecting room cabins, I'm very satisfied. Could they have better MDR food? Sure. But then the price goes up. For anyone looking for a quick getaway for a pretty low price, go for it. If you're looking for food above Denny's quality (except Guys), don't do it (I've been on Crystal and know what good food can be like). Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Carnival Inspiration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 2.0 4.3

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