January 2014 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico
We are platinum level cruisers with Carnival, and have been crusing with them since 1992. We were traveling with my mom who no longer likes the long flights from the San Francisco Bay Area to Florida ports, and prefers to take our time driving to S. Cal for a quick cruise getaway. I guess, gone are the days when the crew all went above and beyond to be friendly, to anticipate your needs, to know your name....the attention to detail was non existent. There used to be a "fun" spirit running through all the ships, some more than others, but this one really lacked spirit. Overall, they were nice, but it didn feel like the "getaway from reality" that the cruise directors always joke about. Maybe it has to do with built in gratuities....we always gave more thanthe recommended gratuities, and i can bet that in the past, some guests may have spent all their money by the end of the cruise, which lead to the automatic gratuities, but it may have started the decline of the outstanding customer service we had become accustomed to with Carnival, and what Royal Caribbean has impressed is with for our last two cruises! Food was less than mediocre. There is only one freezing cold pool, and kids are all in the lukewarm jacuzzi, which is a crazy scene! The water zone/park at the back of the ship is a bit scary, even with parents supervising....my husband and I felt that it would make parents slightly more at ease if it were not at the back of the ship, and if there were nets at the railing, or the higher thick glass walls they use on other areas, or some extra safety precautions. Ports, no surprise for us since we has done these years ago. Not much in Ensenada, and Catalina is a tender port, which is okay. We enjoy staying in the ship since we had done excursions before, however there is not much activity on this ship. Mostly bean bag toss contest, trivia games, and awful karaoke which is entertaining. The "straight jackets" band was really great! Also, beware of the mens restroom on lido deck in hall Leading Into the dining area. First it is always crazy and difficult to find a seat....so if u sit at a hallway table, the door to mens room Is automatoc and closes very slowly, leaving a view of men a urinal, embarrassed and looking over his shoulder. Broadway style shows were the highlight of the cruise, I do miss the orchestras they used to have before, but dancer/singers were really good. Overall, If it were a super low price, it wouldn't have been too bad...but it came out to over $100 pp, per day with port charges/tax/gratuities which is pretty good deal for better ports/food/entertainment/crew happy to see you, or at least pretending to be happy, but for this particular ship/crew/ports (although we did know about oorts from prior experience) we were left un"inspired".