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