February 2015 - 4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Inspiration
Initial boarding went very smoothly which was a nice surprise (Carnival). "Your time" dining was our choice which was a blessing. Never did it before but will do it always from now on. Overall condition of the ship (Inspiration) was "okay". There were several broken glass wall panels throughout the ship which to me posed a hazard had they become dislodged at any time. Ship appeared clean and well maintained otherwise. We had an issue with our shower backing up on the last night; took maintenance nearly an hour to respond. Water nearly make it out of the lavatory area. They cleared the clog but they did not clean the floor which I had to do. What annoyed me the most were two things...first, the photographers on board interrupting dinner to take photos I told them I didn't want anyway. That is at every dinner and it doesn't matter if you have having a casual conversation or in a romantic moment; they WILL interrupt you to take your photo. Next was debarkation in Long Beach. The staff are in such a rush to get you off the boat they lose their sense of kindness. They can be rude and very pushy herding you like cattle to get off the gang way, into the customs room then, once out of customs, out of their building. Try to stop and put your passport back in your purse or pocket? You will get the third degree about not stopping. Try to allow your child to get a drink of water...you WILL get yelled at to keep walking. Overall I'd rate this cruise, my 6th, as a 7.5 to 8.0 out of 10. What could improve it? Well for one...they don't tell you until the END of the cruise only one bottle of alcohol is allowed through customs...they let you buy as much as you want on board but neglect that fact until it's too late. Do your homework about customs prior to your cruise. These ships have little if any "down time." They end one cruise...take a few hours, start the next, then do it all over again. Where is the time to make major repairs such as the broken glass and plumbing issues? The fact they automatically billed the gratuity for room/dinner service providers; I didn't like. We had to go in-person to cancel that from our credit card billing and tip the room/dinner service ourselves which is more appropriate based on the level of service. Also, do your homework on the excursions; sometimes you can get a much better deal once at your destination. I have another cruise scheduled for later this year (also with Carnival) so we'll see how that one goes.