Carnival Inspiration for Kids

Editor Rating:  4.0
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Carnival Inspiration Ratings

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Why Choose Carnival Inspiration?
  • Pro: Fun-loving vibe, very few extra-fee attractions
  • Con: Old ship has very few cabin and dining options
  • Bottom Line: Affordable cruise makes for the perfect short getaway

Carnival Inspiration for Families

Editor Rating

Like all Carnival ships, Carnival Inspiration knows how to keep kids entertained. Though it's a small ship for the line, it still has three separate kids' clubs, a waterslide park, plenty of cabins that sleep three to five, and Dr. Seuss at Sea-themed programming. Camp Ocean is unique in that its free, drop-off programming begins at age 2 and youth staff will change diapers.

Kids must be toilet trained to use Inspiration's pools, hot tubs, slides and water park; neither regular nor swim diapers are allowed. Children under age 12 are not allowed in the spa or gym, and kids ages 12 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult.


The two-room Camp Ocean is tucked away on Deck 11, behind the atrium. The Penguins room (for the littlest kids, ages 2 to 5) is painted with an under-the-sea mural of colorful fish and furnished with comfy couches, toddler-sized tables and chairs, and age-appropriate toys. The room for Sting Rays (ages 6 to 8) and Sharks (ages 9 to 11) is decorated with sea creatures and features a row of computer consoles for video games and a large flat-screen TV. The facilities are not as large as you usually find on newer, bigger ships, and while there are windows letting in natural light, they are painted so you can't see in or out.

Programming runs all day until 10 p.m., though Camp Ocean closes at meal times (generally 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.). On port days, you can drop off kids at Camp Ocean and leave the ship. Kids ages 2 through 11 have free play together, and youth staff will take them to lunch.  During regular Camp Ocean hours, age-appropriate programming might include:

Penguins: silly songs and dances, Lego reef building, truck races and sea-themed arts and crafts

Sting Rays: dance class, video game time, UNO card game challenge, T-shirt coloring

Sharks: scavenger hunt, video game time, dance off, magic show

Youth Staff will take kids to the Towel Animal Theater show, but parents must accompany kids to Seuss at Sea events, such as the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time, as well as the extra-fee Beary Cuddly Workshop (where kids can make their own stuffed animals).

Note that Sting Ray and Shark activities are often combined, so kids ages 6 through 11 will be playing together. Kids ages 2 through 8 must be signed in and out of activities by their parents or guardian; kids ages 9 to 11 may sign themselves in and out, unless parents say otherwise.

From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Carnival offers a choice of two extra-fee, drop-off kid events. Night Owls is hourly group babysitting in Camp Ocean for kids ages 6 months to 11 years. Babies, toddlers and kids through age 5 are grouped together for movies and toys; older kids will be in a separate room for movies, video and board games, and music. Snacks are provided. The fee is $6.75 per child, per hour, plus a 15 percent gratuity; the rate is charged in half-hour increments.

Kids ages 2 to 11 can also choose to participate in themed evening parties, such as Beach Bash or the Owl Jams Party, for a flat fee of $15 per child plus a 15 percent gratuity. Kids cannot sign themselves in or out of Night Owls or evening parties.

A limited number of strollers are available to rent for an additional fee. High chairs are available in the main restaurants and the buffet, and the Carnivale and Mardi Gras dining rooms offer kids menus.


Carnival Inspiration has separate kids clubs for tweens and teens. Circle C (12 to 14 year olds) is located on Deck 8. It's pretty minimalist, with a dance floor and circular seating areas for hanging out, playing video games and watching movies. Activities run from the afternoon until 1 a.m. (start times vary on port and sea days), and might include movie watching, dodgeball, scavenger hunts, karaoke, waterslide competitions, video game play and games like Mafia or Apples to Apples. Circle is closed for dinner, but the facility might be open for unsupervised play throughout the day when programming is not taking place.

Club O2 (15 to 17 year olds) is one deck up on Deck 9, conveniently located next to the all-ages arcade. It operates the same hours as Circle C, and activities might include video game tournaments; games like Liars Club and Never Have I Ever; T-shirt signing; ping pong and bean bag tournaments; smoothie parties and outings to the evening show.

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1,639 Professional Carnival Inspiration Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Carnival Inspiration with multiple photographers and took 1,639 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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