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We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration on Nov 30, 2009. Forget what the boards say, you cannot park your car in the garage before 10:30 am on the day of sailing, nor can you drop your bags off before 10:30. Since we live in Tampa, that was no big deal--we just had to wait 15 min or so. We have VIP status, so embarkation was a snap. We had to wait on a wedding party, but VIP's were the next to board. We were having lunch on the Lido deck by 11:30 am. Cabins were not ready until 1:30, but I think that is normal. We were surprised that our bags were delivered by about 2:30pm; the cabin steward(Jia, who was very good) said that was because we had priority status because of the VIP. We booked this only 2-3 weeks prior to sailing, so we did not have a lot of choices on cabins, but it was ok. We are used to verandah's but had an outside cabin this time. The ship has been refurbished, although we did not notice much difference except the bathroom, which was fine. Our cabin, M 63, had a king, plus two fold down bunk beds(which we did not use, but they took up space, so we did not have a sofa--a major pain). Don't get bunk beds unless you need them, because you will hit your head on one of them when you are trying to sit up in the bed. First Carnival ship I have been on since the Mardi Gras a zillion years ago that did not have a mini bar in the cabin. We don't use the mini bar except to keep our wine cool! Carnival does allow you to bring one bottle of wine per person on board legally, but you can bring more if you pack it in your checked luggage--think boxed wine! Life boat drill: a complete joke and, in my opinion, dangerous and stupid. I cannot believe that the US coast guard allows this. You no longer have to get your life jacket and report to the boarding deck for the life boats. Now you go to a lounge(without your life jacket) where they explain things for about 15 minutes, and then you go to the boarding deck. If the ship is sinking, I sure am not going to any lounge to wait on idiots to get there. We know how to put on a life jacket, but I bet a lot of first time cruisers do not. Carnival no longer has a "Formal" night; now they have elegant nights, which was a joke. Carnival does not enforce a dress code. On "elegant" night there were people(mainly red necks) dressed in shorts in the main dining room, although Carnival plainly states: no shorts in the dining room. The maitre'd sure did nothing about it, although it is his responsibility. Captains party: a complete joke--they make you buy your own drinks rather than give them to you as in the past; they do give you a dollar off--big deal. We skipped it. On the last night of the cruise there is a short party where they give you free drinks(but you are lucky if you get 2 of them). Guess Carnival is cutting back on freebies! Entertainment: excellent for the 2 shows we saw: the show "Shout" was fantastic. Being older folks, we could not stay awake until midnight to see some of them! We had lunch on the Lido deck--always good food, especially the seafood, but Carnival needs to get its act together: no trays by the salad bar, no spoons by the ice cream station. Seafood was fantastic in the dining room at dinner. Only had one steak and it was great. Breakfast on the Lido was ok but they never varied the menu except to have grits one day and oatmeal the next day. Breakfast was not nearly as good as breakfasts on Holland America or Celebrity. We never had breakfast or lunch in the dining room, so cannot comment on that. Grand Cayman: we have been there so many times, we did not take a tour--just walked to some of the shops downtown. Booze is lower priced here vs. the ship. At one shop they were offering a free 2 lb rum cake if you bought $25 worth of booze; that was a no brainer since the price was $1-2 bucks per bottle cheaper than the ship and you got a free cake(worth $20), plus they delivered the booze to the ship. Cozumel: we did not take a tour since we have been there so many times. We did take a taxi downtown and checked out some of the shops. If you are interested in silver jewelry, be careful. Some of the shops tell you it is real silver, but it does NOT have .925 stamped on it. Don't buy it. T-shirts are a deal at 5 for $10, vs 2 for $20 on the ship! Cost of the taxi to downtown is $7 per taxi(1-4 people), so maybe the T shirts weren't such a deal after all!!! But you can buy Corona beer for a buck if you get off the main road!! Great towels and linens in the cabin; much better than on the Celebrity Constellation that we were on last year. Staff was very friendly. Some not too efficient tho: Several of us tried to enter a putting contest and no one from Carnival showed up to conduct it. Past guest party: very nice; free booze! Art auction: basically a rip off, but you do get free champagne. You can buy art on line a heck of a lot cheaper( like 75% less in many cases) than at the Park West auctions on the ship. For example, a Pino print on canvas (s/n) on line would cost $300-400 or so, but would cost $1500-2000 on board. Debarkation: fairly easy since we had VIP status and could get off first since we had opted to roll our own luggage off the ship. There is always some idiot who does not go through immigration like they are supposed to and delays debarkation, and this was no exception. Fortunately this time, Carnival identified them by name and they finally got the message. Bottom line: great seafood, nice weather, smooth sailing(even though we had 35 mph winds at times). We were amazed at the number of kids on board since most every where school is in session. Except for them running up and down the halls, it was not a major problem. Overall, we would give the Inspiration a rating of 3 on a 1-5 scale, but would give the seafood a 5!

Great time on the Inspiration

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by Tampart1

Trip Details
We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration on Nov 30, 2009. Forget what the boards say, you cannot park your car in the garage before 10:30 am on the day of sailing, nor can you drop your bags off before 10:30. Since we live in Tampa, that was no big deal--we just had to wait 15 min or so. We have VIP status, so embarkation was a snap. We had to wait on a wedding party, but VIP's were the next to board. We were having lunch on the Lido deck by 11:30 am. Cabins were not ready until 1:30, but I think that is normal. We were surprised that our bags were delivered by about 2:30pm; the cabin steward(Jia, who was very good) said that was because we had priority status because of the VIP.
We booked this only 2-3 weeks prior to sailing, so we did not have a lot of choices on cabins, but it was ok. We are used to verandah's but had an outside cabin this time. The ship has been refurbished, although we did not notice much difference except the bathroom, which was fine. Our cabin, M 63, had a king, plus two fold down bunk beds(which we did not use, but they took up space, so we did not have a sofa--a major pain). Don't get bunk beds unless you need them, because you will hit your head on one of them when you are trying to sit up in the bed. First Carnival ship I have been on since the Mardi Gras a zillion years ago that did not have a mini bar in the cabin. We don't use the mini bar except to keep our wine cool! Carnival does allow you to bring one bottle of wine per person on board legally, but you can bring more if you pack it in your checked luggage--think boxed wine!
Life boat drill: a complete joke and, in my opinion, dangerous and stupid. I cannot believe that the US coast guard allows this. You no longer have to get your life jacket and report to the boarding deck for the life boats. Now you go to a lounge(without your life jacket) where they explain things for about 15 minutes, and then you go to the boarding deck. If the ship is sinking, I sure am not going to any lounge to wait on idiots to get there. We know how to put on a life jacket, but I bet a lot of first time cruisers do not.
Carnival no longer has a "Formal" night; now they have elegant nights, which was a joke. Carnival does not enforce a dress code. On "elegant" night there were people(mainly red necks) dressed in shorts in the main dining room, although Carnival plainly states: no shorts in the dining room. The maitre'd sure did nothing about it, although it is his responsibility.
Captains party: a complete joke--they make you buy your own drinks rather than give them to you as in the past; they do give you a dollar off--big deal. We skipped it. On the last night of the cruise there is a short party where they give you free drinks(but you are lucky if you get 2 of them). Guess Carnival is cutting back on freebies!
Entertainment: excellent for the 2 shows we saw: the show "Shout" was fantastic. Being older folks, we could not stay awake until midnight to see some of them!
We had lunch on the Lido deck--always good food, especially the seafood, but Carnival needs to get its act together: no trays by the salad bar, no spoons by the ice cream station. Seafood was fantastic in the dining room at dinner. Only had one steak and it was great. Breakfast on the Lido was ok but they never varied the menu except to have grits one day and oatmeal the next day. Breakfast was not nearly as good as breakfasts on Holland America or Celebrity. We never had breakfast or lunch in the dining room, so cannot comment on that.
Grand Cayman: we have been there so many times, we did not take a tour--just walked to some of the shops downtown. Booze is lower priced here vs. the ship. At one shop they were offering a free 2 lb rum cake if you bought $25 worth of booze; that was a no brainer since the price was $1-2 bucks per bottle cheaper than the ship and you got a free cake(worth $20), plus they delivered the booze to the ship.
Cozumel: we did not take a tour since we have been there so many times. We did take a taxi downtown and checked out some of the shops. If you are interested in silver jewelry, be careful. Some of the shops tell you it is real silver, but it does NOT have .925 stamped on it. Don't buy it. T-shirts are a deal at 5 for $10, vs 2 for $20 on the ship! Cost of the taxi to downtown is $7 per taxi(1-4 people), so maybe the T shirts weren't such a deal after all!!! But you can buy Corona beer for a buck if you get off the main road!!
Great towels and linens in the cabin; much better than on the Celebrity Constellation that we were on last year.
Staff was very friendly. Some not too efficient tho: Several of us tried to enter a putting contest and no one from Carnival showed up to conduct it.
Past guest party: very nice; free booze!
Art auction: basically a rip off, but you do get free champagne. You can buy art on line a heck of a lot cheaper( like 75% less in many cases) than at the Park West auctions on the ship. For example, a Pino print on canvas (s/n) on line would cost $300-400 or so, but would cost $1500-2000 on board.
Debarkation: fairly easy since we had VIP status and could get off first since we had opted to roll our own luggage off the ship. There is always some idiot who does not go through immigration like they are supposed to and delays debarkation, and this was no exception. Fortunately this time, Carnival identified them by name and they finally got the message.
Bottom line: great seafood, nice weather, smooth sailing(even though we had 35 mph winds at times). We were amazed at the number of kids on board since most every where school is in session. Except for them running up and down the halls, it was not a major problem.
Overall, we would give the Inspiration a rating of 3 on a 1-5 scale, but would give the seafood a 5!
Tampart1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin M 63
Cabin M 63, only about 4 cabins from the elevator and stairs; was fairly noisy at times because of people congregating by the elevator. Outside cabin-good view, although we are spoiled by having balconies on our past 6 or 7 cruises. Cabin had 2 bunk beds which were a pain because you could not sit up in the bed without hitting your head on one of them(although they were not down). No sofa in the cabin(probably because of the bunk beds). We did have a king bed which was nice and comfortable. No mini bar to keep your wine cool in( first ship I have been on in over 20 years that did not have one). Bathroom-good sized shower (about 30 in by 40 in) for a ship. Bathroom had been refurbished; nice showerhead.
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