1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Inspiration
We have sailed on Celebrity and Norwegian and they have been great or exceptional. I knew that a 4 day cruise to Catalina and Ensenada on the Inspiration was not likely to match those trips. I was right but give the cruise a "4" rather than "average" because it is a good value and as long as you aren't expecting too much, you won't be disappointed. This was over Thanksgiving and the ship was full - I suspect that isn't unusual and would have thought Carnival would have worked out some of the rough edges better. My sister and nephew came along to get their first taste of what cruising is like - they thoroughly enjoyed the trip. We also had two 15 year olds with us who had a blast in and around the teen club. Food was very good - once you got it (see below). Port of Long Beach, not LA. Right alongside the Queen Mary with a very convenient parking garage that seems to have enough spots to handle the two ships that Carnival alternates from the location. At least based on our experience, consider handling your own luggage. We had a total of four suitcases. One was ruined by the time it got to our cabin and another badly damaged getting off. (BTW, after embarking guest services gave me a decent credit with no hassle whatsoever.) Two dining rooms - we chose "Mardi Gras" where you supposedly could choose your dining time. Not exactly. Each night the line was awful and unless you were willing to start standing in line an hour or so before it opened, you would wait for about 30-60 minutes to get a buzzer and be advised it would be a 30-40 minute wait. It isn't - waits were typically between 1 and 2 hours - in talking to the many folks waiting with buzzers in hand, some were standing around for even longer. (Probably because the buzzers aren't very reliable - for 2 of the 3 nights we gave up waiting for the thing to light up and vibrate and started going to the desk every 30 minutes until we could get seated.) Waiting in line and having to argue your way into dinner after standing around was the biggest criticism I have. We tried to switch to the other dining room for either seating but never heard back. I feel for the friendly and efficient dining room staff who have to face a disproportionate number of unhappy guests from the git-go. Couldn't figure out why but buffet breakfast lines (inside) were much longer than we experienced on other ships of comparable size. Pool deck offered breakfast before splitting into (great) hamburger and Mexican snack bars. Not much to do on Catalina Island but it's worth a visit - some significant waiting coming and going for tenders. Ensenada is not a typical cruise port but presumably nobody is taking this cruise for the exotic ports of call! Casino is surprisingly large and even more surprisingly, pretty generous. Didn't see the comedians but went to the two singing & dancing performances (tributes to Motown and Studio 54 disco).

Not bowled over but ... convenient and good intro to cruising

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by tgilevich

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View
We have sailed on Celebrity and Norwegian and they have been great or exceptional. I knew that a 4 day cruise to Catalina and Ensenada on the Inspiration was not likely to match those trips. I was right but give the cruise a "4" rather than "average" because it is a good value and as long as you aren't expecting too much, you won't be disappointed. This was over Thanksgiving and the ship was full - I suspect that isn't unusual and would have thought Carnival would have worked out some of the rough edges better.

My sister and nephew came along to get their first taste of what cruising is like - they thoroughly enjoyed the trip. We also had two 15 year olds with us who had a blast in and around the teen club. Food was very good - once you got it (see below).

Port of Long Beach, not LA. Right alongside the Queen Mary with a very convenient parking garage that seems to have enough spots to handle the two ships that Carnival alternates from the location.

At least based on our experience, consider handling your own luggage. We had a total of four suitcases. One was ruined by the time it got to our cabin and another badly damaged getting off. (BTW, after embarking guest services gave me a decent credit with no hassle whatsoever.)

Two dining rooms - we chose "Mardi Gras" where you supposedly could choose your dining time. Not exactly. Each night the line was awful and unless you were willing to start standing in line an hour or so before it opened, you would wait for about 30-60 minutes to get a buzzer and be advised it would be a 30-40 minute wait. It isn't - waits were typically between 1 and 2 hours - in talking to the many folks waiting with buzzers in hand, some were standing around for even longer. (Probably because the buzzers aren't very reliable - for 2 of the 3 nights we gave up waiting for the thing to light up and vibrate and started going to the desk every 30 minutes until we could get seated.) Waiting in line and having to argue your way into dinner after standing around was the biggest criticism I have. We tried to switch to the other dining room for either seating but never heard back. I feel for the friendly and efficient dining room staff who have to face a disproportionate number of unhappy guests from the git-go.

Couldn't figure out why but buffet breakfast lines (inside) were much longer than we experienced on other ships of comparable size. Pool deck offered breakfast before splitting into (great) hamburger and Mexican snack bars.

Not much to do on Catalina Island but it's worth a visit - some significant waiting coming and going for tenders. Ensenada is not a typical cruise port but presumably nobody is taking this cruise for the exotic ports of call!

Casino is surprisingly large and even more surprisingly, pretty generous.

Didn't see the comedians but went to the two singing & dancing performances (tributes to Motown and Studio 54 disco).
tgilevich’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Inspiration price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6E E79
Bed was roomy and comfortable. Lots of closet space. Nothing fancy but all bases covered. Attendant was great - staff throughout were friendly and helpful.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins