October 2015 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico
We went on the 4-night Catalina/Ensenada cruise. Some things about this cruise were above my expectations and some were below, but overall the trip met my expectations. We went during the off-season, so there weren't too many children or party-goers onboard which was fine by me as I was looking forward to a relaxing trip.
On Catalina Island, we rented a golf cart and did the Urban Adventure Quest. The golf cart was a nice way to see the island. The adventure quest only required the use of the golf cart for the first 1-1/2 hours. The rest of it was by foot. We only completed about 17 of the 21 quests before getting bored with it. There were additional bonus quests as well so in total there were probably about 25 quests. They should shorten it down to 15 or so. I would also have preferred to travel by golf cart for the entire adventure. My recommendation is to skip the adventure and just rent a golf cart to explore the island in.
We visited the blowhole (La Bufadora) and did horseback riding in Ensenada. We booked these adventures ourselves rather than thru the cruiseline. If you've never seen the blowhole, then it is worth seeing one time if you're in the area. Not sure I'd visit it again since it's quite a ways away from the cruise ship terminal. The horseback ride was a good way to kill some additional time. Unfortunately, the trail we took was up in the hills and through some residential areas so not sure I'd book that one again. If we visit Ensenada again, we'll book the ride that's along the beaches next time.
The food options were limited to the buffet, the main dining room, the grill, the Mongolian BBQ, and the 24-hour pizza bar and soft-serve ice cream station. There's also 24-hour room service but we never saw the menu for that. The buffet food ranged from bad to mediocre and there was a very limited selection. Maybe 4 to 5 entree items plus various side dishes and salads. The food in the MDR was better but unfortunately they used very low-quality cuts of beef for their steaks and prime rib. Most of the food were served over-done and were dry. I think due to the fact that they were probably sitting under heat lamps for a long time. We were usually among the first group of diners so I was surprised that the food was so dried out already. The best meal I had was on the last night. My wife wanted to catch a show so we didn't eat until after 9. I think they were cooking dishes to order by that time, hence the reason why my food looked and tasted freshly cooked.
I chose this 4-day cruise in order to introduce cruising to my wife and kids. This cruise helped to set the bar low so that they'll be more appreciative of other cruise trips in the future.