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My new husband and I were on our honeymoon. In August, 2004 we took a 7-day Alaska cruise on the Carnival Spirit and loved every aspect of it. Unfortunately, this cruise just did not measure up to that fabulous experience. Because we are previous cruisers, we got a great rate on this cruise and also qualified for Carnival's VIP embarkation process - The Skipper's Club - because you skip by most of your fellow passengers and moved to the head of the line with your own personal embarkation assistant leading the way. A really nice perk after already having been on a plane for 2 hours and then shuttled in from the airport. Our cabin was smaller than we had expected. The color scheme and patterns reminded me of a 70's disco. It was weird seeing the entire wall behind the bed covered with rose-colored mirror tiles. I'll be frank, there were times when I didn't need to see myself in bed. The furniture, especially the wall unit containing the television and closet doors, looked old and beaten up. There were scratches and dings in the dark-colored wood that just made you wonder what had been going in in the cabin previously. Our refrigerator didn't seem to want to work and we were shocked to find that it was not set up as a mini bar either (the fridge our ship in Alaska was well stocked and maintained). The TV and remote seemed to have a mind of their own and work only when they wanted to, even with new batteries. There is nothing worse than to be watching a movie - only to have the TV decide to not work or switch over to something completely different. At first I thought my husband was pulling a prank, but it happened constantly over the course of our trip to both of us. When we first arrived, we noticed that the towels that Carnival leaves for you in your room to use poolside had a musty / dirty smell to them. Unfortunately we soon discovered, when we exchanged them for newer ones, that all the pool towels smelled like that. It was gross! It made me wonder if they were truly laundered. Speaking of smells - The bathroom and closet spaces were gross too. When I saw numerous packets of potpourri hanging in the bathroom and closets, I knew it was a sign. We found ourselves leaving the bathroom door open because with it closed, the smell would build up and make being in the bathroom for any length of time miserable. By the end of the cruise we noticed that many of our clean clothes hanging in the closets became enveloped in the gross cabin / towel smell too. Even though we had one of the better category staterooms, we had no privacy. There was an observation deck just forward and on the same level as of our cabin. Had we not noticed it early on in our cruise, I fear that we would have given some passengers a true honeymoon show. The size of our balcony was a joke. In Alaska, we had nice reclining type chairs on a balcony that had lots of room. On the Inspiration, it was a tight squeeze to open the door let alone move out on to the balcony. Even though there were chairs, it didn't make you want to sit and enjoy the view (which included those people on the observation deck watching you). Quite frankly, it's time for Carnival to take this ship and literally put it out to sea for good and replace it with something newer. I think our room steward was having a bad week. We tried to make conversation but felt as if he preferred to be left alone. One feature we liked from our Alaska cruise that we didn't have available to us on the Inspiration was the in-room TV feature where we could check our Sign N Sail balance daily whenever we wanted and to also book our shore excursions via the TV remote with immediate confirmation. The Inspiration uses the old-fashioned paper form method where you have to indicate your first and second choices and then keep your fingers crossed. If we wanted to ask questions of the Shore Excursion Desk, there was never anyone there to assist us. Our first stop was in Grand Cayman where we did the Stingray City / Hell / Turtle Farm Experience - 3 things to do wrapped up in one excursion. Hell was a joke, nothing more than a 15 minute bus stop to look at a rock formation in an area no bigger than the average American backyard. The turtle farm was nothing more than large three and a half foot deep pools full of turtles swimming around aimlessly fighting for surface time. They keep telling you about the 650 pound breeding turtles, but you can't see them - they are kept out of site away from the tourists. The one part that was truly great was going by boat to a sandbar about 30 minutes off the island and swimming in 3 to 5 feet of water with stingrays. The water was clear - so be sure to purchase a $10 single use underwater camera before you leave the ship. It took great pictures and made for unique souvenirs. Our second port of call was Cozumel where we did the Jeep / Passion Island Experience. Our excursion guide, Felix, was fantastic. He quickly learned all of our names and was very friendly. His personality felt genuine, not put on for the tourists. The jeeps themselves looked as if they had seen better days - but they got us to where we needed to be and back again. First you start by driving through the city, then you are on cobblestone roads, and then you are truly doing the 4-wheel deal! What they don't tell you on the ship is if you can't drive a manual transmission - do not do this excursion. The 4 people in the jeep behind us were at a loss on how to drive and we thought for sure that we would hear them drop the entire transmission right there in downtown Cozumel. I can still here the grinding and revving up of the engine. Eventually, you end up at a small dock and board a boat that takes you to the privately owned island known as Isla Passion (Passion Island). We were told that this is where they filmed the Corona Bear commercials. This was the best part of the entire cruise. We spent about three and half hours on a clean beach with complimentary lounge chairs, fed a fabulous lunch and was able to drink bottled water without fear of Montezuma's Revenge. The service on the island was top notch. While eating, Felix was attentive to our every need. As soon as your glass was empty, he was there to refill. Have a question, he had the answers. He even organized games for those who wanted to play while on the beach. We were with a group of about 24 people, and there were other cruise ship groups on the island too, but we felt very much alone. The area was quiet and tranquil. It was a shame to have to leave. We went shell hunting and found some real beauties. We had planned to go on a second excursion that evening, and even made our way back to the ship and quickly cleaned up in order to participate in our 5:00 dinner / sea cruise on a spanish gallon ship, only to find out after we reached our meeting point at the end of the pier that the excursion had been canceled. Because we were past Carnival cruisers, we were invited to a special past guest cocktail party - unfortunately it was also scheduled for a time when we were off the ship for the dinner excursion in Cozumel (which was canceled). It too bad that it wasn't scheduled for one of the evenings at sea. We both enjoyed our dinners every evening in the Mardi Gras dining room. If you do shore excursions, be sure to select late dinner seating. You're on vacation, who wants to have to race back to the ship in time to do dinner. With the late dining option, you can do what you want to do, get back to the ship, clean up a bit, and enjoy a fantastic dinner with your new friends / tablemates. If you just can't wait until that late dinner, there is always the Lido deck and other place all over the ship in which to grab a snack. If you are lucky enough to have Oscar as your head waiter, then you will have an excellent time every evening. He was so sweet and personable. Because we did the late dining option, we didn't do much of the late night entertainment. We did see a comedian one night who was just way too funny. Except for the kinda gross conditions of our cabin, we did enjoy our honeymoon.

Carnival Inspiration - Western Caribbean

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by Harrmi

Trip Details
My new husband and I were on our honeymoon. In August, 2004 we took a 7-day Alaska cruise on the Carnival Spirit and loved every aspect of it. Unfortunately, this cruise just did not measure up to that fabulous experience.
Because we are previous cruisers, we got a great rate on this cruise and also qualified for Carnival's VIP embarkation process - The Skipper's Club - because you skip by most of your fellow passengers and moved to the head of the line with your own personal embarkation assistant leading the way. A really nice perk after already having been on a plane for 2 hours and then shuttled in from the airport.
Our cabin was smaller than we had expected. The color scheme and patterns reminded me of a 70's disco. It was weird seeing the entire wall behind the bed covered with rose-colored mirror tiles. I'll be frank, there were times when I didn't need to see myself in bed.
The furniture, especially the wall unit containing the television and closet doors, looked old and beaten up. There were scratches and dings in the dark-colored wood that just made you wonder what had been going in in the cabin previously.
Our refrigerator didn't seem to want to work and we were shocked to find that it was not set up as a mini bar either (the fridge our ship in Alaska was well stocked and maintained). The TV and remote seemed to have a mind of their own and work only when they wanted to, even with new batteries. There is nothing worse than to be watching a movie - only to have the TV decide to not work or switch over to something completely different. At first I thought my husband was pulling a prank, but it happened constantly over the course of our trip to both of us.
When we first arrived, we noticed that the towels that Carnival leaves for you in your room to use poolside had a musty / dirty smell to them. Unfortunately we soon discovered, when we exchanged them for newer ones, that all the pool towels smelled like that. It was gross! It made me wonder if they were truly laundered.
Speaking of smells - The bathroom and closet spaces were gross too. When I saw numerous packets of potpourri hanging in the bathroom and closets, I knew it was a sign. We found ourselves leaving the bathroom door open because with it closed, the smell would build up and make being in the bathroom for any length of time miserable. By the end of the cruise we noticed that many of our clean clothes hanging in the closets became enveloped in the gross cabin / towel smell too.
Even though we had one of the better category staterooms, we had no privacy. There was an observation deck just forward and on the same level as of our cabin. Had we not noticed it early on in our cruise, I fear that we would have given some passengers a true honeymoon show. The size of our balcony was a joke. In Alaska, we had nice reclining type chairs on a balcony that had lots of room. On the Inspiration, it was a tight squeeze to open the door let alone move out on to the balcony. Even though there were chairs, it didn't make you want to sit and enjoy the view (which included those people on the observation deck watching you).
Quite frankly, it's time for Carnival to take this ship and literally put it out to sea for good and replace it with something newer.
I think our room steward was having a bad week. We tried to make conversation but felt as if he preferred to be left alone.
One feature we liked from our Alaska cruise that we didn't have available to us on the Inspiration was the in-room TV feature where we could check our Sign N Sail balance daily whenever we wanted and to also book our shore excursions via the TV remote with immediate confirmation. The Inspiration uses the old-fashioned paper form method where you have to indicate your first and second choices and then keep your fingers crossed. If we wanted to ask questions of the Shore Excursion Desk, there was never anyone there to assist us.
Our first stop was in Grand Cayman where we did the Stingray City / Hell / Turtle Farm Experience - 3 things to do wrapped up in one excursion. Hell was a joke, nothing more than a 15 minute bus stop to look at a rock formation in an area no bigger than the average American backyard. The turtle farm was nothing more than large three and a half foot deep pools full of turtles swimming around aimlessly fighting for surface time. They keep telling you about the 650 pound breeding turtles, but you can't see them - they are kept out of site away from the tourists. The one part that was truly great was going by boat to a sandbar about 30 minutes off the island and swimming in 3 to 5 feet of water with stingrays. The water was clear - so be sure to purchase a $10 single use underwater camera before you leave the ship. It took great pictures and made for unique souvenirs.
Our second port of call was Cozumel where we did the Jeep / Passion Island Experience. Our excursion guide, Felix, was fantastic. He quickly learned all of our names and was very friendly. His personality felt genuine, not put on for the tourists. The jeeps themselves looked as if they had seen better days - but they got us to where we needed to be and back again. First you start by driving through the city, then you are on cobblestone roads, and then you are truly doing the 4-wheel deal! What they don't tell you on the ship is if you can't drive a manual transmission - do not do this excursion. The 4 people in the jeep behind us were at a loss on how to drive and we thought for sure that we would hear them drop the entire transmission right there in downtown Cozumel. I can still here the grinding and revving up of the engine. Eventually, you end up at a small dock and board a boat that takes you to the privately owned island known as Isla Passion (Passion Island). We were told that this is where they filmed the Corona Bear commercials. This was the best part of the entire cruise. We spent about three and half hours on a clean beach with complimentary lounge chairs, fed a fabulous lunch and was able to drink bottled water without fear of Montezuma's Revenge. The service on the island was top notch. While eating, Felix was attentive to our every need. As soon as your glass was empty, he was there to refill. Have a question, he had the answers. He even organized games for those who wanted to play while on the beach. We were with a group of about 24 people, and there were other cruise ship groups on the island too, but we felt very much alone. The area was quiet and tranquil. It was a shame to have to leave. We went shell hunting and found some real beauties.
We had planned to go on a second excursion that evening, and even made our way back to the ship and quickly cleaned up in order to participate in our 5:00 dinner / sea cruise on a spanish gallon ship, only to find out after we reached our meeting point at the end of the pier that the excursion had been canceled. Because we were past Carnival cruisers, we were invited to a special past guest cocktail party - unfortunately it was also scheduled for a time when we were off the ship for the dinner excursion in Cozumel (which was canceled). It too bad that it wasn't scheduled for one of the evenings at sea.
We both enjoyed our dinners every evening in the Mardi Gras dining room. If you do shore excursions, be sure to select late dinner seating. You're on vacation, who wants to have to race back to the ship in time to do dinner. With the late dining option, you can do what you want to do, get back to the ship, clean up a bit, and enjoy a fantastic dinner with your new friends / tablemates. If you just can't wait until that late dinner, there is always the Lido deck and other place all over the ship in which to grab a snack.
If you are lucky enough to have Oscar as your head waiter, then you will have an excellent time every evening. He was so sweet and personable.
Because we did the late dining option, we didn't do much of the late night entertainment. We did see a comedian one night who was just way too funny.
Except for the kinda gross conditions of our cabin, we did enjoy our honeymoon.
Harrmi’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
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