October 2014 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico
We traveled with three generations of our family and this 4-night cruise fit our needs nicely - 3 grandparents, 2 parents and 2 3-year old twins. We have cruised with other cruise lines previously but chose Carnival for its more casual atmosphere as we wanted to see how the kids fared on a cruise. This cruise had more kids on board and passengers that were generally more open to energetic kids compared to other cruises we have been on.
We all enjoyed the experience of a cruise where we have the convenience of prepared meals, clean and orderly cabins and not having to drive around and find places. The casual atmosphere, Camp Carnival kids' camp and the waterworks water park was perfect for our kids. They were thoroughly entertained. The adults enjoyed the gym, casino and leisurely walks around the ship. We did not frequent the clubs and entertainment shows this trip.
The service was generally good and friendly. Our cabin steward was very kind and funny. He was always busy servicing the rooms and we joked that he must be sleeping in our hall. The staff at Camp Carnival was pretty good but we felt rushed when dropping off our kids where a lined formed. We were given a cell phone in case they had to contact us with issues but we did not have to use it. The service in the dining room was friendly. We had requested at every meal to have my husband and my meals come out fast in case we needed to leave early if our kids got cranky. But they always seemed to pace all the courses at the table together. So if the grandparents ordered 2 appetizers but my husband and I didn't, we would not get our entree until the grandparents did. We did Anytime Dining and maybe Assigned Dining would be more accommodating. The staff at the Pixels photography dept were not very helpful and the frequent purchaser program was very confusing. And of course the prices were very expensive.
Food quality was not as good as other cruise lines but there are a few items that were very good. My favorite was the warming chocolate cake. Also, I did not try the Mongolian BBQ, Pizza Bar and Sandwich Bar as those were always busy with a line.
The ship was unable to tender at Catalina due to swells from a tropical storm so we only ported in Ensenada. We had a great time on a bus tour of La Bufadora and enjoyed our tour guide. It was MUCH cheaper to join a tour from downtown than from the ship. We enjoyed wonderful clams and a lobster burrito from a restaurant near La Bufadora but unfortunately I don't know the name of it.