The Floating World
Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: January 29, 2007
Ship: Carnival Inspiration
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 10 years ago
Review SummaryValue is the final determinant, how much pleasure one can have for how little expense, upside + absence of downside. This trip was less hassle than a flight, a train trip, or a drive. What could go wrong? These ships never sink. Turbulence was minimal. Going around Cuba was fascinating, but to get to Grand Cayman and Cozumel and to experience their famously clear seawater is to feel transported to the South Seas. That I was in Mexico again was a sensation -- though I lived there 40 years ago, I haven't been south of the border all this time. What a revelation Cozumel with its bounty of Mexican culture freely seen and heard, especially incredible Pancho's Backyard, which is like a museum so user-friendly is its vast displays of the regional arts, its good green courtyards, its live music, traditional costumery and top-notch (and inexpensive) attention to cuisine elegantly presented. The horsecarts, the sombreros, the mariachi, the saloons, the huge plaza, the waterfront -- it felt as if we were in a movie to be in such deep Mexico with such ease. We even found a Mayan homestead with all its appointments in the local museum with indigenous peoples explaining the alphabet, the number system, the foods, the unique things that make this almost-lost world. This Latin American sampling was profound and heartening and wonderful accompaniment to our time in George Town among the parrots and iguana and wildlife of that special place where the natives seemed friendly and calypso. This was a taste of the Islands that the calypso band on deck reinforced as we all played around the pools (or people-watched). My pleasure was jacuzzi (four of them, all told!) plus sauna and steam room. The clean air and tropic sun made a man want to be out and about. A full moon didn't hurt. Was the perfect weather all part of the plan?
Food and Dining
served us well. We were indulged our every desire willingly by our cheerful crew. It was a bon vivant atmosphere for all. What a concept, 24-hr pizza!
first-rate, as was the choreography. We saw three nights of different shows plus the talent show, which had moving moments. The ventriloquist, the first comic, the singers -- what a lineup. I was thoroughly satisfied by the live shows, which required so little time to get a good seat to. Effortless!
eager to play at the other table. When I woke up at 3 AM the last night in advance of passing under the Skyline Bridge into Tampa Bay, the only other people up were some college types running about and I thought I'm not old yet. We were, all of us, trying to milk all we could from this cornucopia of stimuli.
Best were the WWII veterans whose stories I loved to hear at dinner or in the Paris Lounge. They made me feel like a youngster listening to them. Because digital photos are so easy to trade online, we've made some friendships out of this cruise already via correspondence by email. Boy, that's socializing.
Service and Staff
brain, particularly the maitre d', our waiter, some talent-show singers from the staff. The internationalism of your hard workers says "Travel."
seasoned as to the feng shui of performer with performance space. I even enjoyed cruising the casino, the atrium, the art auction, things I'd never do ordinarily on land. The Inspiration was a revelation, broadening
my horizons inside and out. Of course, the ultimate experience is the sea.
Cabin / Stateroom
against midnight buffets, tempting as they are. The little touches of chocolates and towel origami, schedules and mounted multichannel tv sure make for happiness. We never heard anybody through the walls, but we
loved the radio options for their own sake. Soaps and razors all got used
Ports of Call
Pros: dining, entertainment, gym, jogging track, views, culture, community, classes, surprises like flying fish, anticipation and wonderful memories
Cons: waits of any kind, anything less than just so, announcements on intercom, the brevity of time at any port, too many photographers