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Since I live near the Port of Long Beach, the terminal is only about a 15-20 minute drive. Plus, the price was right for a four night cruise. I had never cruised with Carnival before and wanted to give it a shot. Having cruised with Disney, I didn't come in with the highest of expectations. The ship is older (one of the oldest in Carnival's fleet) and it shows. The main entertainment venue is a lounge--style theater instead of the more-modern broadway style. There are no speciality restaurants (this is made up for with upcharge options at dinner and chef's table). The ship is showing its age, but Carnival has appeared to have kept it in ship shape during dry docks. Hopefully the next one will bring some new life. I was in an upper/lower birth cabin. Having this does give you a little more room, since the bunk leaves more space. However, I'd have preferred this configuration with a balcony or even an ocean view. Unfortunately, Inspiration's balonies are only in suites. That said, no complaint on the room. It served its purpose well and was clean. Dining on the ship was amazing. We had anytime dining. Had the same server team 3 of 4 nights. The food was amazing. The "rare finds" are worth a shot each night. There is a nice mix of poultry, pork, beef, fish, and vegeterian/vegan items. On Sea Day, I did the brunch and the filet mignon melted in my mouth. The flat iron steak from dinner came very close to melt in mouth, but was tender and well flavored. The chefs know how to cook. I also loved the desserts, especially the banana cream pie. The Lido Buffet does a new theme each day, which is nice. Plus, you can't beat a Guy Fieri burger. Main show entertainment was pretty good, but given the loung style seating, I tended to just watch from the back on deck 9. I preffered the comedy acts the most in the Punchliner. BT was a riot and I went to two of his shows. Service was amazing. Carnival has hired a great diverse crew for this ship, from crew to staff to officers and everything in between. If you want great service, I have found cruises do it best. I'd most certainly recommend this cruise and I'm eager to eventually cruise with Carnival again. They are truly the Fun Ships. Warning to those who want the upscale experience, Carnival is not for you. If you like a relaxed, casual, fun atmosphere, this is the cruise for you.

Great vacation for a great price

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by JungleIs101

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Interior Upper/Lower
Since I live near the Port of Long Beach, the terminal is only about a 15-20 minute drive. Plus, the price was right for a four night cruise. I had never cruised with Carnival before and wanted to give it a shot. Having cruised with Disney, I didn't come in with the highest of expectations.

The ship is older (one of the oldest in Carnival's fleet) and it shows. The main entertainment venue is a lounge--style theater instead of the more-modern broadway style. There are no speciality restaurants (this is made up for with upcharge options at dinner and chef's table). The ship is showing its age, but Carnival has appeared to have kept it in ship shape during dry docks. Hopefully the next one will bring some new life.

I was in an upper/lower birth cabin. Having this does give you a little more room, since the bunk leaves more space. However, I'd have preferred this configuration with a balcony or even an ocean view. Unfortunately, Inspiration's balonies are only in suites. That said, no complaint on the room. It served its purpose well and was clean.

Dining on the ship was amazing. We had anytime dining. Had the same server team 3 of 4 nights. The food was amazing. The "rare finds" are worth a shot each night. There is a nice mix of poultry, pork, beef, fish, and vegeterian/vegan items. On Sea Day, I did the brunch and the filet mignon melted in my mouth. The flat iron steak from dinner came very close to melt in mouth, but was tender and well flavored. The chefs know how to cook. I also loved the desserts, especially the banana cream pie. The Lido Buffet does a new theme each day, which is nice. Plus, you can't beat a Guy Fieri burger.

Main show entertainment was pretty good, but given the loung style seating, I tended to just watch from the back on deck 9. I preffered the comedy acts the most in the Punchliner. BT was a riot and I went to two of his shows.

Service was amazing. Carnival has hired a great diverse crew for this ship, from crew to staff to officers and everything in between. If you want great service, I have found cruises do it best.

I'd most certainly recommend this cruise and I'm eager to eventually cruise with Carnival again. They are truly the Fun Ships. Warning to those who want the upscale experience, Carnival is not for you. If you like a relaxed, casual, fun atmosphere, this is the cruise for you.
JungleIs101’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Dining
Public Rooms
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Cabin
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Service
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Cabin Review

Interior Upper/Lower
Cabin 1A R54
Clean, well-appointed and nicely laid out. The lower bed is tucked against the wall and corner, the bunk above it but lying in the opposite direction. This leaves room below the bed for storage. There is a nice small desk. The shower is great and big enough, with the shampoo and shower gel dispensers attached to the wall. There is an A/C unit that allows the cabin to be kept plenty cool, as it can get extremely stuffy. Keep in mind it also will get pitch black in the cabin at night, so, keeping the bathroom light on can help. The TV remote was a bit of a pain and probably needed a battery change.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Avalon
    Nice bus trip around the island to see highlights. They take you by the Wrigley Mansion (you can't tour it, but it's apparently being worked on for the future), show you some historic sites, the school, utilities plant, desalination plant, other famous homes, grocery story, gas station (over $6 gallon), and explain why everything costs so much. The island is beautiful. The main highlight is going to the Casino and watching a short film on Catalina. The Casino Theater is simply majestic. Plus, you just learn a ton of Island history.
    View All 9 Avalon Reviews
  • City Tour
    I'm marking booked with cruise line, because the tour operator was actually on the ship booking the tour and apparently the Carnival Adventures desk does It was the Topless Bus. I simply was not impressed, seeing shopping areas and not really seeing much in the way of history. We'd pass statues without any explanation. We passed a carnival, without it's connection to what is supposed to be Carnivale. The tour goes to the main tourist shopping area where you're hounded like crazy, but can get good deals. Did have some tasty fish tacos.

    If I went back, I'd probably go with a more adventerous excursion, since Ensenada itself really does not have much to offer as a city. Maybe I'll take the Jeep Tour if I go back.
    View All 22 City Tour Reviews
  • Los Angeles
    It's actually Long Beach and not Los Angeles. The cruise terminal here is fantastic and Carnival has done a great job in converting the former home of the Spruce Goose into a fantastic place to board. Well setup to check in, go through securitiy and board. I recommend Faster to the Fun, so your cabin is ready by 11:30 am. The port area is nice, as there are dining and entertainment venues nearby, along with the Queen Mary.
    View All 512 Los Angeles Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Los Angeles Cruise Port Review