April 2015 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico
Given the low price of this cruise, it's really hard to complain much. It was our first time traveling with Carnival and it wasn't the Disney/Princess experience we are used to, but we knew going in this was an older ship (The Inspiration) and the price was very low, so we didn't expect it to be. We were two moms travelling with 4 kids ranging from 8-14 for a short get away over spring break. We all had a great time, although the 14 year old was a little bored. There is only one pool on the Inspiration so it was jammed pack all the time. Likewise, there is only one hot tub for the kids which literally was stacked full of pre-teens the entire cruise. One of the adult hot tubs was closed, leaving only two for adults so we also never found space in the water. Food was ok...definitely had a lot of kid friendly easy to grab items, available at all times. Better quality dining room food in the formal restaurant would have been great, but there were a few really good items. (The chocolate lava cake is the best!) The entertainment was also ok---although we thought geared too much towards the 40+crowd - there was only 1 hour of kids Karaoke/day (with a long list of eager kids) and the shows were primarily 70's, 80's music based. Kids would have enjoyed more of a variety show with magic, pole acrobatics, etc. We were very disappointed with a few things upon arrival which we wasted the good part of our first night trying to resolve. Specifically: 1) Our two rooms were far apart, even in separate muster stations, despite the fact that we booked and paid together and the notes on our reservation stated that we were travelling together. We had noticed this a few days before the cruise, but Carnival said they couldn't do anything until we checked in and of course at check in they looked at us like we were crazy since the ship was full. 2) The third bed in each room was a toddler sized rollaway with a terrible thin mattress (one even had sharp springs poking up). There was no way a teenager or adult could be comfortable on that bed. We eventually got slightly better rollaways, but still not ideal for bigger kids or adults. Since all three guests paid the same amount, this didn't seem right. 3)Our dining reservations were at separate times, despite notes on our reservation to seat us together and initially the Maitre d' said there was nothing he could do about it. It took talking to a manager and throwing a bit of a fit to get that changed but after the first night it was resolved. Once we got over these initial issues, we really had a great time. The staff was very polite and helpful. Not sure if we would do this particular boat again, but it was worth one trip and I would probably give Carnival another chance on a newer boat.