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We chose this cruise because it sailed over Christmas. We wanted to take a Christmas vacation this year instead of spending it at home, and Carnival Inspiration filled the bill. We live in Las Vegas so a Long Beach, CA departure was as convenient as it gets for us. The cruise was fine, it met expectations. This is our third cruise, our first being Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), our second being Carnival, and then this one again with Carnival. Carnival just doesn't seem to have the quality that NCL did, on both trips. We are taking another one on NCL this summer to see if the wonderful first experience can be repeated or not, or it if was just a lucky trip. Sorry, I digress. Booking: I booked through a private booking agent I know, so it was easy and great Price: I always book early because I desire specific rooms. I don't want to wait for last minute deals so I choose to pay the full rate. The price for this trip was fine and affordable. Embarkation: Smooth and easy. I parked in the Carnival parking garage ($19/day) and hauled our own bags through the terminal. They have the process down to a science, therefore, quick and efficient. The plenty of people to support the large groups arriving and we were on board in about 15 minutes from the time we found our parking spot until we stepped on board. Free Champagne During Embarkation: When we arrived on board we offered free champagne and was a classy tough. Probable because it was the Christmas Cruise. The last Carnival I did they offered you a drink, and when you take it and have a sip, they ask for your Sail and Sign card so they can charge it to your room. This time was different, it was complementary. Great job folks. That gesture goes a long ways with me. Entertainment: Entertainment was very good for a cruise ship environment. I mean that I don't expect them to be top performing/$180 per ticket acts. They have a local singing group that is very good and entertaining. Great fun. They have lots of activities scheduled and all of them were quality. We watched the shows in the main the first and last nights, the second night we watched the stand up comic. Food: Mediocre. For some reason our Carnival trips have seemed a bit skimpish on the food. The selection is ok but not elaborate. The quality is, "it doesn't suck" category. The only thing that made me say "now THAT is yummy", was their hot cocoa, and it is made with hot water in a machine. All other food is just, well, free. Cabin Service: Cabin service is very good. I've never had a bad experience with a cabin attendant on any of my three trips. I really admire our cabin crews, they always work hard and set your cabin at the right times of day for you. They always call you by name, even the first time they come face to face with you. This trip our cabin attendant knocked on our door the first day and introduced himself to us, and then looked at each one of us and spoke our names. He was great and I tipped him well as his reward. Dining Room Service: We ate there one night. The service was slow, portions small, food quality mediocre. I think our server was new. Spa Service: Great people and great experience. The Spa is expensive, it always is, so expect it. But they will pamper you accordingly. It's a vacation and I spend money on things I would never spend money on any other time of the year. I helps create the memories and I am always glad I did it. This is no exception to that. Parties: They held wonderful parties in the main lobby with the Christmas theme. Great touch and great job. Always had live entertainment, operated snow machines for a white Christmas, passed out hats and bells, great job. Shore Excursion: We did the topless bus tour and shopping of Ensenada. The bus portion was about an hour, shopping about an hour. It was raining that day so nobody rode on the top deck, and we didn't get off to do anything. Nobody wanted to because of the weather. They did stop downtown to let us shop. It was kind of a run down/depressed area. I noticed that when we rode up the street the bus driver honking his horn, and the tour guide was calling out specific establishments over the bus speakers (which can be heard outside the bus). The shopkeepers would come out and wave. I regarded this as the signal to everyone that the tourists just arrived. Of course when we stopped the we all went back the way we were shown. However, when we returned to the bus and departed, we went through a more clean and reputable looking district. I would have preferred to shop those stores but we were not shown them on our way in. Debarkation: Smooth, organized, efficient. No hassles and very quick.

Good For A Weekend Getaway

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by LVNV Cruiser

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View
We chose this cruise because it sailed over Christmas. We wanted to take a Christmas vacation this year instead of spending it at home, and Carnival Inspiration filled the bill. We live in Las Vegas so a Long Beach, CA departure was as convenient as it gets for us. The cruise was fine, it met expectations. This is our third cruise, our first being Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), our second being Carnival, and then this one again with Carnival. Carnival just doesn't seem to have the quality that NCL did, on both trips. We are taking another one on NCL this summer to see if the wonderful first experience can be repeated or not, or it if was just a lucky trip. Sorry, I digress.

Booking: I booked through a private booking agent I know, so it was easy and great

Price: I always book early because I desire specific rooms. I don't want to wait for last minute deals so I choose to pay the full rate. The price for this trip was fine and affordable.

Embarkation: Smooth and easy. I parked in the Carnival parking garage ($19/day) and hauled our own bags through the terminal. They have the process down to a science, therefore, quick and efficient. The plenty of people to support the large groups arriving and we were on board in about 15 minutes from the time we found our parking spot until we stepped on board.

Free Champagne During Embarkation: When we arrived on board we offered free champagne and was a classy tough. Probable because it was the Christmas Cruise. The last Carnival I did they offered you a drink, and when you take it and have a sip, they ask for your Sail and Sign card so they can charge it to your room. This time was different, it was complementary. Great job folks. That gesture goes a long ways with me.

Entertainment: Entertainment was very good for a cruise ship environment. I mean that I don't expect them to be top performing/$180 per ticket acts. They have a local singing group that is very good and entertaining. Great fun. They have lots of activities scheduled and all of them were quality. We watched the shows in the main the first and last nights, the second night we watched the stand up comic.

Food: Mediocre. For some reason our Carnival trips have seemed a bit skimpish on the food. The selection is ok but not elaborate. The quality is, "it doesn't suck" category. The only thing that made me say "now THAT is yummy", was their hot cocoa, and it is made with hot water in a machine. All other food is just, well, free.

Cabin Service: Cabin service is very good. I've never had a bad experience with a cabin attendant on any of my three trips. I really admire our cabin crews, they always work hard and set your cabin at the right times of day for you. They always call you by name, even the first time they come face to face with you. This trip our cabin attendant knocked on our door the first day and introduced himself to us, and then looked at each one of us and spoke our names. He was great and I tipped him well as his reward.

Dining Room Service: We ate there one night. The service was slow, portions small, food quality mediocre. I think our server was new.

Spa Service: Great people and great experience. The Spa is expensive, it always is, so expect it. But they will pamper you accordingly. It's a vacation and I spend money on things I would never spend money on any other time of the year. I helps create the memories and I am always glad I did it. This is no exception to that.

Parties: They held wonderful parties in the main lobby with the Christmas theme. Great touch and great job. Always had live entertainment, operated snow machines for a white Christmas, passed out hats and bells, great job.

Shore Excursion: We did the topless bus tour and shopping of Ensenada. The bus portion was about an hour, shopping about an hour. It was raining that day so nobody rode on the top deck, and we didn't get off to do anything. Nobody wanted to because of the weather. They did stop downtown to let us shop. It was kind of a run down/depressed area. I noticed that when we rode up the street the bus driver honking his horn, and the tour guide was calling out specific establishments over the bus speakers (which can be heard outside the bus). The shopkeepers would come out and wave. I regarded this as the signal to everyone that the tourists just arrived. Of course when we stopped the we all went back the way we were shown. However, when we returned to the bus and departed, we went through a more clean and reputable looking district. I would have preferred to shop those stores but we were not shown them on our way in.

Debarkation: Smooth, organized, efficient. No hassles and very quick.
LVNV Cruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6E
Great cabin for the price. Large window, King Bed, fold down single sleeper attached to the wall for our adult daughter who was traveling with us. One electric plug so take a power strip with you. Large mirror/vanity for the ladies to do their make up. Safe that operates by swiping your credit card (but it doesn't charge you, it is free). Closet space to hang things, and a sitting chair. Ship TV with lots of channels. Bathroom and shower are roomy for a ship bathroom and shower, I've had smaller. Cabin was very good, no complaints.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins