Nice ports, mediocre ship

Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review to Mexico

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 15

Overall rating:

4.4 out of 5
Verified Review
Carnival Inspiration

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 16, 2019

Ship: Carnival Inspiration

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: M25

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

If you've never cruised before, this is probably an OK introduction at minimal expense. Carnival has children's programs for family trips, and all the elements of cruising -- activities, formal dining, shore excursions, buffets, pools and spas, entertainment, tropical drinks, etc. -- are available. If you're an experienced cruiser, you'll probably be happier with a more upscale cruise with more to offer and a likely higher cost.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Very quick and smooth.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Buffet layout was chaotic but good food quality. The specialty burger line on the pool deck was excellent, as was the pizza bar in the buffet area. Service in main dining rooms was very good, but the food was nothing special. Most of our previous cruises had better food.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
We enjoyed the evening bar music in various venues. Casino was fun if played "on the cheap". (Terrible video poker pay schedules.)

Entertainment

4 out of 5
Enjoyed the comedians very much. Everything else was for pretty lame. The constant background music was grating -- brain-rattling monotonous bass beats with equally monotonous melodies of 3-4 notes each. Over and over and over and... (You get the idea.)

Children's Programs

No kids, and we're seniors.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Cabin steward Made was a jewel. Likewise waiter Amos and his assistants. We'd rate all the service personnel as top-notch.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Most of the public areas were over-decorated, garish and too confining for their intended purpose. The ship as a whole felt more confining than any cruise ship we've taken. The elevators were never all working and quite slow.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Affordable cruise cabins are always small but usually make good use of the available space. Ours was no exception. Only complaint was fat bed pillows. Mattress was very nice.

Ship tip

Try that pizza!

Ports of call

Long Beach (Los Angeles), California

4 out of 5
An easy departure port to find. Nice parking garage close to the ship @ $20/day. Right next to classic old cruise ship, the Queen Mary, which is open to tour if you arrive early.

Catalina Island, California

5 out of 5
No excursion, but strolling around picturesque Avalon is fun. Also, good shopping and great seafood restaurants are all over the beach area.

Ensenada, Mexico

5 out of 5
Did a great excursion -- a nice bus ride to Rosarita, about an hour from Ensenada, for shopping and a wonderful lobster dinner. Our guide, Pedro, kept up a constant narrative during the bus ride, mixing history, humor, and personal stories, while his driver took our small but modern bus from each interesting stop to the next. Highly recommended! (Incidentally, Pedro's resemblance to Anthony Bourdain is striking.)

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Almost as smooth through customs, etc., as was embarkation. Only hangup was how long we had to wait BEFORE leaving the ship.
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