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We set sail on the Inspiration 12-11-04. Leaving the harbor, we saw Christmas lights decorating yachts beginning a parade. This was our first Carnival cruise and our impressions were very mixed. The food and service in the dining room for dinner were excellent. The dining room menu and food at lunch were poor. The Brasserie buffet, decorated with ugly purple worms, had an excellent breakfast. The lunch buffet items were fair at best, but they had excellent hot sandwich and pizza stations. The desserts were fine, but I think that the ice cream machine got the most use. The Camp Carnival program for kids was good and our kids enjoyed it. The counselors were competent and caring. By comparison, however, our kids thought that both Princess's and Royal Caribbean's children's programs were a little better. The Inspiration had a nice kid's pool and play area, but the pool temperature was cold; not exactly inviting for children. Children under 48" could not use the main pool waterslide. The cruise director, Lenny, was humorous and personable. The evening entertainment consisting of a couple of production shows, a fat comedian telling "fat" jokes, and a magician/bolero act were quite good and entertaining. Our favorite show was an afternoon Christmas show complete with an appearance of Santa Claus. Carnival advertises that it has large cabins, and it does, but I didn't think that the extra space was put to any good use. The cabin decor was not to our taste with orange being the main color. Our cabin steward, Thomas, did an excellent job of keeping our cabin clean and tidy. One bad thing in the room was the TV programming. There was no cartoon channel for the kids, and the programming was canned and repeated every day. The worst thing, however, was that the smell of cigarette smoke seemed to come into our cabin every morning, and pervaded the halls and public rooms and areas of the ship other than the theater and dining room. The daily program of activities for the daytime hours had hardly anything of interest to us. If you like to spend your time in one of the bar lounges, gamble, play Bingo, smoke or sit by the pool and read a book, then this is the ship for you. The main pool area is small, and the slide splash pool takes up half of the pool area, leaving not much room to swim. The slide is fun if you are tall enough to use it. There are two Jacuzzis. We were told that a forward pool was for crew use. The ports of call were Grand Cayman, where we took a boat out to Stingray City, and Cozumel where we shopped in and near the port. Carnival docks at the pier furthest from town in Cozumel but closest to the beach and snorkel areas south of town. There is a nice selection of stores in the port and just outside the port such that you probably don't need to go into town if all you want to buy is some souvenirs. There are car and scooter rental facilities both in and near the pier. As you can probably tell by now, the Inspiration wasn't our idea of a "fun ship" but it had its good points. The ports were great and the food, entertainment and service were better than I expected.

Carnival Inspiration - Western Caribbean

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by D. Toews

Trip Details
We set sail on the Inspiration 12-11-04. Leaving the harbor, we saw Christmas lights decorating yachts beginning a parade. This was our first Carnival cruise and our impressions were very mixed. The food and service in the dining room for dinner were excellent. The dining room menu and food at lunch were poor. The Brasserie buffet, decorated with ugly purple worms, had an excellent breakfast. The lunch buffet items were fair at best, but they had excellent hot sandwich and pizza stations. The desserts were fine, but I think that the ice cream machine got the most use.
The Camp Carnival program for kids was good and our kids enjoyed it. The counselors were competent and caring. By comparison, however, our kids thought that both Princess's and Royal Caribbean's children's programs were a little better. The Inspiration had a nice kid's pool and play area, but the pool temperature was cold; not exactly inviting for children. Children under 48" could not use the main pool waterslide.
The cruise director, Lenny, was humorous and personable. The evening entertainment consisting of a couple of production shows, a fat comedian telling "fat" jokes, and a magician/bolero act were quite good and entertaining. Our favorite show was an afternoon Christmas show complete with an appearance of Santa Claus.
Carnival advertises that it has large cabins, and it does, but I didn't think that the extra space was put to any good use. The cabin decor was not to our taste with orange being the main color. Our cabin steward, Thomas, did an excellent job of keeping our cabin clean and tidy. One bad thing in the room was the TV programming. There was no cartoon channel for the kids, and the programming was canned and repeated every day. The worst thing, however, was that the smell of cigarette smoke seemed to come into our cabin every morning, and pervaded the halls and public rooms and areas of the ship other than the theater and dining room.
The daily program of activities for the daytime hours had hardly anything of interest to us. If you like to spend your time in one of the bar lounges, gamble, play Bingo, smoke or sit by the pool and read a book, then this is the ship for you. The main pool area is small, and the slide splash pool takes up half of the pool area, leaving not much room to swim. The slide is fun if you are tall enough to use it. There are two Jacuzzis. We were told that a forward pool was for crew use.
The ports of call were Grand Cayman, where we took a boat out to Stingray City, and Cozumel where we shopped in and near the port. Carnival docks at the pier furthest from town in Cozumel but closest to the beach and snorkel areas south of town. There is a nice selection of stores in the port and just outside the port such that you probably don't need to go into town if all you want to buy is some souvenirs. There are car and scooter rental facilities both in and near the pier.
As you can probably tell by now, the Inspiration wasn't our idea of a "fun ship" but it had its good points. The ports were great and the food, entertainment and service were better than I expected.
D. Toews’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Rates
Ages 3 to 6
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