Maya Ruins at Tulum & Stingray fun: Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by luvaqua

Carnival Inspiration 5
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Maya Ruins at Tulum & Stingray fun

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
This was my adult son's first cruise and my 5th - all on Carnival ships. Chose this 5 day cruise for the destinations - been to Playa del Carman and visited Xcaret on previous trip with husband, but wanted to see the Tulum ruins this time and still get some snorkeling in - so picked this itinerary. We really lucked out as the Inspiration, while a little smaller and older than the Spirit class ships, the cruise director, Skip Lyons (from Australia) & his staff really made life on board a blast compared to the other cruises that I have been on!

Room - I always pick a low, mid-ship room with a view for less movement and cost. Unfortunately, this cabin was beside a storage area so it was noisy most of the night. Finally left TV on easy going music to drown out noise. Other than that, room & bathroom were large as usual, plenty of storage, and had an excellent room steward named Alex who always left fun towel animals.

Dining - I chose "Your Time" dining and More always had dinner in Mardi Gras dining room every night for the gourmet meals and to enjoy meeting other guests. Liked to eat there for breakfast, too for the better choices in juices and eggs, then took lunch at the buffet. Lobster & Tiger shrimp are served on Formal night - so don't miss it, but every night was good and their standard babyback ribs were large, tender and tasty. Service was fine at all tables and Matre'D from Greece was very friendly to all and even gave out the famus melting chocolate cake recipe on the last night! Lots of nice places in and around buffet to eat, also and don't forget the Serenity deck and eating area - just past and outside the Pizzeria - great view and nice & quiet.

Entertainment - Love & Marriage was funny as usual and since my son got picked for the talent show - it was very memorable, too. He actually participated in almost every contest he could fit in, i.e. ping-pong, bean bag toss, trivia, Karaoke, Black Jack, drink mixology, etc. Not hard to do - just get there early, sign up and have fun! The musicals, comedian and juggling shows were all top quality, great entertainment and always packed - so go early, but don't save more than one extra seat please!

Embarkation was a bit long as we got there right at 1:00, but Debarkation, and visiting ports of call were all very quick and easy. Got off ship by 9:30 after sleeping in late and eating in dining room (our number was 22) and got back to Tampa airport in plenty of time for 12:30 flight. October was great time to go - heard there were 400 kids on board, but didn't see many. Weather and water were both warm and not too hot. Really enjoyed cruise and if Skip is still there next fall - will definitely go back to see more sights in Western Caribbean on the Inspiration! Less

Published 10/19/09

Cabin review: 6BR140 Ocean View

Next to noisy storage room, but in area that was close to elevators and room was big, clean and otherwise very nice.

Read All Ocean View (6B) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We actually took Carnival's excursion to the Maya ruins at Tulum which means a 45 min. ferry ride to Playa del Carmen and then an hour bus ride to Tulum with a 30 min. stop before getting there for bathroom break and nice souvenir shopping. First, the water or soda & snack of chips is offered upon return - so, bring a bottle of water & snack with you along with swim wear & camera - unless you want to purchase drinks on bus. Our tour guide on the bus, Angel de Jesus - spoke excellent English and was very into providing historical & social info on his ancestors, the Mayans. So, if you are serious about having an educational experience with someone who can understand and answer almost any question there is about current or historical lifestyles of the Quintana Roo people, he is the tour guide you definitely want to ask for! The whole bus ride to the ruins along with a 45 minute personally guided tour by Angel was awesome. Plus we had another hour to swim at the gorgeous beach below the ruins and/or shop just outside the ruins. But, that is if you take the $2 round-trip mini-train ride - which all of our group opted for - as it was getting pretty hot and saved us a bit of a walk. Bus ride was on a nice air-conditioned motor coach and ferry boat ride was on one of their regular ferries that go between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, but specifically reserved for Carnival's excursions to Tulum, Xcaret, and another mainland tour. Otherwise, we might not have made it back to the ship on time.

Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

Chose Nativeway's stingray, starfish and reef snorkeling excursion for the smaller group. The crew were pretty laid back and great for somewhat experienced snorkelers and let us stay and play with the stingrays for quite a while. Trip was to be only 3 hours, but it actually lasted 4 - no one was in a hurry. Not exactly top quality, but for the price of $40 per person and not being treated like kids or cattle - it was definitely a deal! We did have about an hour to shop before excursion, but didn't want to buy the really cheap rum until after returning as we thought we'd have to carry it around. But then it was too late as the shop needs to send it to ship directly - at least 1 hour prior to sailing and we were 15 minutes too late for that!

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Member Since 2009
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