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!
The cabin was a bit tired but the steward was fantastic.