Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Ship: Carnival Inspiration
Cabin Type: Suite
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Reviewed: 6 years ago
First of all, I have to say - this was our first cruise for the whole family - and our first impressions might not apply to those seasoned cruisers out there. But given we did tons of research before we left, I think we were somewhat prepared for our first endeavor on an ocean.
Port of Tampa - Embarkation Day: Chaos - there were 8 lines of cars all trying to somehow vie for a spot to unload and get through to either parking or valet - which seemed to be all intermingled. Coupled with Border Patrol trying to randomly pull vehicles to inspect (!!!) it was mayhem. Porters running about, no one knew where to go to get Valet sorted, people yelling to move (how can anyone move if they left their cars to get valeted???) My son almost got hit by a car as he was trying to step out of ours, a gentleman pulled him back in time. Saving Grace - Getting in to the processing hall was easy for us, being VIP - the normal line wrapped around the block with what i was told a 45 minute wait.
I had heard it would be a breeze getting on the ship here - I found the opposite - Though coming back was perfect.... we were off the ship, in our car and on the road in 20 minutes!!
The ship is older but everything on it was in great working condition. I saw a few spots that were worn but given how spotless everything was, it was absolutely great. We went on to the Lido deck, waiting for our cabin, had no problem signing up our son for Camp Carnival and enjoyed sitting in the shade, listening to some lovely music. There were people already swimming, the mood was light and fun. That mood was prevalent throughout the trip. I found 95% of the very full ship (2600 people, with 1000 of them being kids) a pleasure. Now, there a few that seemed to have checked their manners in at the valet stand (no, not the kids, no not the teenagers nor the college kids, yes you 50-55 range folks who seem to think they were owed something that i was not quite aware of) but overall everyone was friendly and fun. The mini golf, the slides, the clubs and the lido deck were all very well maintained.
We took full advantage of room service - we are early risers and love our tea and coffee in the morning LOL So, I placed our room service order every evening and we had fresh pastries to go with that coffee and tea - it was fabulous. Always on time too! We ate every evening in the MDR and enjoyed everything that we picked. We did not indulge in two apps, two mains etc, but we did enjoy our variety - and if we wanted something again the next day or something special, they accomodated us at every turn. The bar staff was superb, they remembered after the first order what you like and how - brilliant. They even told bar staff in other areas when they saw you to take good care of you. You felt special. During the day, the family enjoyed the Mongolian Wok - made to order and healthy with a good variety of different meat and vegis.
Truth be told - this room is more of a junior suite than an ocean suite by current standards - but it was immaculate and the stewards were a dream! Tiny balcony (be warned) but the reason we chose it was simple - they are the only rooms on the Inspiration to have balconies! And i do not like to be confined in spaces (can you tell that an inside cabin may never be my thing) so this was the choice for us. It was worth the money spent and yes, we spent time in our cabin - every afternoon relaxing and just chilling - all three of enjoyed that immensely.
I have to say this is JUST my opinion - I know some my disagree, but I am writing this review, so hush LOL
Cayman Islands - Loved it - expensive, clean and the water was perfect. I enjoyed the people and felt at home. The food, the beaches, everything was great.
Cozumel - dirty, overpriced and touristy - great for drinking, not so much for families. We took an excursion around the island in a jeep - it was great to see the island but i have to say, it was not what we expected. The ocean was particularly rough and I was glad to be back on the ship.
This trip was a fabulous family vacation. We all agreed that 5 days is too short for a cruise! We loved the idea of the cruise, fell in love with all the activities and I do believe all three of us relaxed more than we have in a long time. I think this cruise is perfect for those wishing to get away for a little bit, first time cruisers or last minute cruisers - informal, fun and relaxing.