October 2015 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico
In short, this cruise was not the relaxing experience that I hoped it would be. There was always loud music playing on the deck where the pool and hot tubs are, so you couldn't relax in a lounge chair without overbearing music nearby. This is also where the best breakfast station was, so you couldn't even eat breakfast in peace. The pool and hot tubs were always very crowded, there really no way to get in the hot tub for any relaxation because it was completely full every time we saw it. There were lots of children running around, this cruise isn't at all what I would recommend for any type of relaxation with the sun and a book. The food was terrible. I was surprised at how bad the food was, by the end of the trip, my fiance and I took to choosing whatever meal we figured they had the least chance of screwing up. The buffet, the sit-down dinner, all breakfast but the omelette bar.. Some of it was ok, some of it was inedible, none of it was delicious. I tried to go to the spa to get some quiet time and relax, but it didn't even happen there. The spa happens to be directly beneath the running track, so while you're on the table getting your massage, trying to zen out, you hear intermittent pounding through the ceiling as anyone running the track goes overhead. Really, really not relaxing. The only reason that I gave any stars are 1) the comedians, I really enjoyed their shows, and 2) the excursions. We did beginner scuba diving in Catalina and kayaking to see the blowhole in Ensenada, and both of these were a fantastic time. Taking the cruise wasn't worth the excursions though, I wish we had just gone straight to Catalina and skipped Carnival. As I've shared my experience with others, I'm hearing that Carnival is the bottom of the barrel with regard to cruise lines.. I wish I had done more research ahead of time. So if you have kids and don't want to spend a bunch of money, this may be the right way to go. If you are traveling as adults with no kids, if you want good food, or if you value any type of quiet time at all, I'd really recommend looking at another cruise line.