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I'll preface this with the note that my husband and I tried to do this on the cheap as much as possible, and you get what you pay for with a lot of vacation related stuff. This was also the first cruise for both of us. That said, this ship is a little bit on the older side, with seriously crazy carpeting patterns that look like 80s pixelated graphics and structural details in the ceilings and walls, like huge violin curlicue embellishments in the violins bar, interesting ceiling tentacles with spiderweb end caps in the buffet dining room... just a bunch of amusing but weird decorations. The cons aside, the food in the Carnivale dining room was phenomenal for the amount of meals they had to provide and on a tight schedule. We skipped dinner on Mexico night on account of finding good food on shore, but for the nights we ate in the dining room for the late service (8:15), the menu was different each time, with a bit of a theme for where we were (Catalina, Ensenada, etc) For the number of meals they had to get ready I wouldn't have been surprised to see the meals put together in a somewhat slapdash way, but they were all served hot, plated nicely and prepared well. Service was fantastic. Ramesh was super personable and funny, and johnny on the spot with drink refills and to take the next course's orders. Guests are seated according to room number and usually with about 10 other people to a table. We got to get to know 2 other couples over the course of the cruise and by the last night were chatting like old pals, definitely a nice experience there. Also, very nicely set up tables - all the plates and glasses and everything arranged so it looked semi formal. I really enjoyed elegant night too. Everyone looked great in their dresses and shirts. Entertainment was fun. We don't have any kids and a lot of the activities are family oriented, so most of it wasn't really geared for us. There was great live music in the bars and some hilarious comedy shows after dinner. Those two were about all we went to as neither of us are into loud, crowded pool and dance parties, which were abundant almost every evening. I probably would not choose this particular ship for the next cruise. It was fun, but the bright neon lights everywhere, the crowds of families with kids and the general structure of the ship (plus the shower issue) wasn't really ideal for me. Also, the fact we were just sort of parked out at sea without really going anywhere for the "Fun Day at Sea" was a little weird to me. I think I'd rather go on a cruise that's actually traveling somewhere. This might just be a silly nitpick, but: I don't know if newer or larger ships have better stabilizers, but the chop was pretty bad on the last night. I had some pretty annoying land sickness the first day after disembarking. Some other stuff I noted that, as a first timer, would have been good to know: - evac drill is mandatory. It's like, maritime law, man. ;) - get the Cheers drink program if you like to let slip the dogs of war - it's worth it. (BUT: you can't get knock back more than 15 drinks in a day or you're cut off. I'm sure that's a rule for a reason...) - medical services is on the bottom floor. If you're gonna be sick - start running! - lavs on deck are far apart and clogged frequently - if you're gonna be sick - start running! - no place on ship to get dramamine, other pharmaceuticals, sanitary supplies etc. - you have to check in online before midnight the night before embarkation. . - don't forget your cabin card and ID when you get off for shore days - you're gonna have a bad time getting back on without them. - on disembarkation day, they want you off the ship by 9:45 am. Trip's over, shoo! ;) - bring a support banana for upset stomachs.

Good bargain vacation

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by batsmaroo

Trip Details
I'll preface this with the note that my husband and I tried to do this on the cheap as much as possible, and you get what you pay for with a lot of vacation related stuff. This was also the first cruise for both of us. That said, this ship is a little bit on the older side, with seriously crazy carpeting patterns that look like 80s pixelated graphics and structural details in the ceilings and walls, like huge violin curlicue embellishments in the violins bar, interesting ceiling tentacles with spiderweb end caps in the buffet dining room... just a bunch of amusing but weird decorations.

The cons aside, the food in the Carnivale dining room was phenomenal for the amount of meals they had to provide and on a tight schedule. We skipped dinner on Mexico night on account of finding good food on shore, but for the nights we ate in the dining room for the late service (8:15), the menu was different each time, with a bit of a theme for where we were (Catalina, Ensenada, etc) For the number of meals they had to get ready I wouldn't have been surprised to see the meals put together in a somewhat slapdash way, but they were all served hot, plated nicely and prepared well. Service was fantastic. Ramesh was super personable and funny, and johnny on the spot with drink refills and to take the next course's orders. Guests are seated according to room number and usually with about 10 other people to a table. We got to get to know 2 other couples over the course of the cruise and by the last night were chatting like old pals, definitely a nice experience there.

Also, very nicely set up tables - all the plates and glasses and everything arranged so it looked semi formal. I really enjoyed elegant night too. Everyone looked great in their dresses and shirts.

Entertainment was fun. We don't have any kids and a lot of the activities are family oriented, so most of it wasn't really geared for us. There was great live music in the bars and some hilarious comedy shows after dinner. Those two were about all we went to as neither of us are into loud, crowded pool and dance parties, which were abundant almost every evening.

I probably would not choose this particular ship for the next cruise. It was fun, but the bright neon lights everywhere, the crowds of families with kids and the general structure of the ship (plus the shower issue) wasn't really ideal for me. Also, the fact we were just sort of parked out at sea without really going anywhere for the "Fun Day at Sea" was a little weird to me. I think I'd rather go on a cruise that's actually traveling somewhere. This might just be a silly nitpick, but: I don't know if newer or larger ships have better stabilizers, but the chop was pretty bad on the last night. I had some pretty annoying land sickness the first day after disembarking.

Some other stuff I noted that, as a first timer, would have been good to know:

- evac drill is mandatory. It's like, maritime law, man. ;)

- get the Cheers drink program if you like to let slip the dogs of war - it's worth it. (BUT: you can't get knock back more than 15 drinks in a day or you're cut off. I'm sure that's a rule for a reason...)

- medical services is on the bottom floor. If you're gonna be sick - start running!

- lavs on deck are far apart and clogged frequently - if you're gonna be sick - start running!

- no place on ship to get dramamine, other pharmaceuticals, sanitary supplies etc.

- you have to check in online before midnight the night before embarkation. .

- don't forget your cabin card and ID when you get off for shore days - you're gonna have a bad time getting back on without them.

- on disembarkation day, they want you off the ship by 9:45 am. Trip's over, shoo! ;)

- bring a support banana for upset stomachs.
batsmaroo’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4A U167
The ship's plumbing and wiring is probably also pretty old. Again a preface: we chose a tiny cabin in midship that was relatively cheap. Unfortunately, that means that when you flip on the lights, they take a second to go on and then flicker when powering up. Also, we had some issues with our shower backing up for the first two nights along with a gurgling noise. Guest services was responsive though, sending up a plumber and the steward to clear/clean the shower soon after we called down. The plumber was able to clear out whatever was causing that, but the gurgling noise continued for the whole trip, mostly when the ship was rocking significantly.
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews