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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.

Fun for What It Is: Low Cost, Easy, Unpretentious

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by chriskoontz

Trip Details
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.
chriskoontz’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6E R139
For the small square footage actually feels very roomy. Comfortable bed with wonderful comforter. This room has an optional third bed but would be very crammed with that. For us the two twins pushed together into a queen was really really nice. This side of the boat has great views coming into Catalina and Ensenada.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Botanical Gardens
    Amazing views and enjoyable walk up to these attraction. The gardens themselves are very limited, mainly cactus and some species endemic to the island. The stone and granite monument is quite a creation.
    View All 2 Botanical Gardens Reviews
  • Catalina Casino
    The walking tour (cheaper direct with the operator than the cruise) is a great way to spend an hour and see the wonderful art deco casino, its interior finishes, grand theater, dance and banquet area and great tour highlights from the guide.
    View All 5 Catalina Casino Reviews
  • Winery Tour
    Tour guide (Rigo) makes is all spectacular. You take a scenic van trip inland to two different wineries. The first is a large large operation where you learn a lot about the process and then sample some great wines. The second was ok wine but a more authentic Mexican experience and some wonderful snacks to go with your wine.
    View All 55 Winery Tour Reviews
  • Los Angeles
    Beautiful, access to Queen Mary and Russian submarine adjacent, water taxi service to downtown Long Beach, aquarium and activities. Long Beach is a big vibrant City with museums and lots to do, no reason to travel all the way to LA in order to soak up the cultural beauty of Southern California.
    View All 521 Los Angeles Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Los Angeles Cruise Port Review