Amazing to experience the Panama Canal

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review to U.S. - Pacific, Northwest

Experience: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 9

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5
Verified Review
14 Night Panama Canal Westbound (Tampa To Los Angeles)
Sail Date: December 03, 2011
Ship: Carnival Inspiration
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Reviewed: 6 years ago

This cruise had multiple difficulty disembarking guests in a timely manner. I am comparing to Norweigian, this is my first Carnival cruise. At one stop we heard constant referrals to the "...unpredictable tides" making it difficult to line-up the stairway with the dock; it was so steep that only a very few able bodied were able to go ashore. As a long-term boater I have yet to have heard of 'unpredictable tide levels'. They are all listed on tables and there were no remarkable tide level lines on the shore. This was just not attended to on the details of the trip and I imagine will be better addressed in the future. When the cruise was over with we went to the dock in front of the Spruce Goose Dome/Queen Mary in Long Beach. I have never been there and soon realized there was one passageway only for 1500 cruisers and a portion of 900 crew departing. The ever faithful Stephanie was on the overhead announcement assuring that the groups would be allowed off and how it would work. Then the overhead announcements were over. She started announcing locally on the Lido Deck and we could no longer hear her. We were desperate to hear our Stephanie who saw us through consistently before. THREE hours went by and I still had no idea who was going or when to go to the 7th floor. We COULD here the loud bell noise of passenger cards being processed. I went down to the 7th floor and it was crammed full of passengers and luggage. You could not even step off of the elevator. I heard staff say on their little radio "... where could I put them?" I asked for help down there and a staff said since I was a carry off (luggage) and could not hear announcements I could go. Pure luck. Most others were still stuck upstairs. It's not their fault there is only one exit at that dock. It is horrible that announcements were not consistently given and lunchtime is approaching while our rooms are being made up for the next cruisers! Stephanie's assistant usually in blue talks down to cruisers and has rough edges when stressed. Stephanie is the hardest working person in the Carnival Lines.

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
There is a TV chef that insists cooks TASTE the food. I can't believe this is happening. I know there is a guest chef on board helping but I have to believe he is focused on the sit-down restaurants, not the frequented aft servings on trays. You absolutely must taste the food to see if you like it or if it is heavily salted this time or not. Many choices are foreign inspired and I often had no idea what it really was... their effort to be fancy or use what had not been used in the restaurant. That being said, there is no way you could ever be hungry on that ship. From hot dog to haute you have many many options to explore. The sit-down restaurant is absolutely professional. Staff are perfect, cheerful, dressed up and know their job. Sitting with other cruisers is often great and everyone shares their interesting background or cruising experiences. Norweigian is not better than Carnival for food. They are on a par. By the way, we went through one million dollars of food.


3 out of 5
This was a repositioning cruise so I want to be fair. The ventriliquist with two dolls was worth watching and the "comedy magician" was also not particularly sophisticated but worth watching. Later there were extremely good dancing/singing groups on a par with Norweigian. The hypnotist was very interesting and certainly tricked his subjects. The motown singer had trouble with his voice but was great fun and an accomplished act. The permanent band rose to all (very different) occasions Great Job.

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
I sat near the children eating dinner with staff most evenings and overheard them. Those "Kid Staff" are the most unsung of heroes on board. What a fantastic service. They actually give the parents a break and make a social experience for the kids to interact together. First Class.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
I thought I was back in the army the way I was addressed as 'Sir' all the time. The work ethic of the room steward is 100% I got mine souveniers at each port as they aren't able to leave the ship I believe. Well appreciated. When you eat your tray will disappear seconds after you leave. Never saw a table that wasn't perfectly clean. I had total confidence in the Captain.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Staff are always cleaning !!!!! Window washing, decks, handrails it just never stops and it shows. Clean clean clean. Decorations and carpeting are not the most luxurious but it is a fine vessel with everything you would want.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Hey I think my room was larger than the one I had on Norweigian. However, the room was cold ! I was given an extra blanket but the air was still cold. The only control is a shut off of A/C above. There is no way to make it warmer. I polled other cruisers and they also had cold rooms. When heat went on (2 hours) it was toasty. the other 22 hours was cold. Also the Paris theatre lounge is often freezing cold. Believe me.

Pros: Consistent professional crew, all of them

Cons: 3 water days at sea and then 7 hours at the stop; could be balanced better

Recommends Carnival Inspiration? Yes!

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