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Found 33 results

  1. Our 25th Anniverary Adventure – Baja Mexico & Hawaii aboard the Inspiration & Splendor (with pics) – April / May 2019. Aloha Everyone!!! My beautiful wife Patti and I have just returned from another almost month long adventure. Actually, we were gone for 25 days which coincidently was one day for every year we have been married. We didn’t plan it that way but it turned out to be a good omen for sure! For our 25th Anniversary we wanted to do something special. Our actual anniversary is at the end of March, so two years out, we perused the itineraries available for March and April 2019. A 14 day Journeys cruise to Hawaii on April 27th aboard the Carnival Splendor caught our eyes and became the focal point of our adventure. We had cruised on the Splendor three times when she was based in New York, so we were excited to sail on her again. Since we had to fly across country to LA, we just had to stay longer than two weeks. We thought about spending some time at Disneyland and Universal, since we hadn’t been there in nearly a dozen years since we came with the boys. But after pricing out hotels, park tickets, car rentals, and such, it became apparent that it would be way cheaper to just book another cruise. We thought about doing the 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Splendor the week before the Hawaii cruise, but there are two others Carnival ships that we hadn’t sailed on before out here, the Imagination and Inspiration. We chose the 4 day Inspiration cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada because it fit better into our overall plan. So after everything was said and done, this was the plan we came up with. On Thursday April 18th, we will be flying out to Los Angeles, spending four days in Long Beach at the Long Beach Hilton, exploring that area. On Monday April 22nd, we will be boarding the Carnival Inspiration for a 4 day cruise to Catalina and Ensenada, returning back to Long Beach on April 26th. We will spend that day and night at the Queen Mary Hotel. The next morning, April 27th, we will then board the Carnival Splendor for a 14 day Journeys cruise to Hawaii, returning back to Long Beach on May 11th. We will then transfer to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at LAX, where we will spend the day before flying back to New Jersey the next morning. Phew, I think I got that right! As usual, our reviews start and end at home and cover everything in between. I know that some people like to get right into the cruise stuff and I understand that, but when doing these reviews we want to re-live the whole vacation, not just part of it. So, the cruise stuff may take a few days to get to, but once we’re on it, we’re on it! Our format will remain the same as our past reviews with a day by day account. As always, there will be many, many pictures with plenty of explanations and details. We strive to make you feel that you are cruising right along with us. So, grab yourself a DOD, hop on board with us, and join the fun! This is going to be a looooong review so be patient with us. Patti took well over four thousand pictures during this adventure, so I have a lot of sorting, cropping, and re-sizing to catch up on. Even though I took my laptop with me and worked on the photos from time to time, there’s no way I could keep up with Patti’s itchy shutter finger! For those that are wondering, our go to camera is the Canon PowerShot XS710 HS, and our water camera is the Fuji FinePix XP60. We also have to catch up with life, work, and such, so we may not post anything for a day or two from time to time, but just remember, we have not ever not finished a review. We love to respond to readers and answer questions. A lot of information about a lot of different things shows up during a review, and that’s a good thing. I’m going to ask one small favor from all of you to help keep things neat and flowing. One of the good changes when Cruise Critic updated their forums, was that I am not restricted now to the amount of images that I can use in a post. Though I will strive to keep the amount of images I use in a post to around 10, the point is that most posts will be longer than in the past. If you need to quote my posts, or any other posters quotes, to ask a question, make a statement , or for any other reason, please try to remember to edit the quotes down to what you are asking about or thoughts that you are conveying. This will help cut down on scrolling down through multiple long posts to get to fresh content. Thank you all so much for your help! So, without further ado, let’s get started! Day # 1 (April 18th) - California here we come!!! We were up early and packed and ready to catch our 10am flight on United from Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX). Our car service arrived right on time at 7am, and we were dropped off just before 8am. Dropping off our luggage was a breeze, but of course going through the TSA Security checkpoint is always a hassle for me because of my knee and hip replacements, but it wasn’t too bad. Soon, we were down at Gate 82 waiting to board. Here is our ride to Los Angeles….. First, before continuing on, let me gloat a little. We don’t fly that much, and being that it was our 25th Anniversary, we decided to splurge and purchase Business Class seats. Now for all of you that are able to fly Business Class frequently, I bow to you! We will never go back to Economy or Economy Plus. Ever! First, luggage is free and up to 70lbs. Second, you get on the plane almost first, after the disabled, active military, and those traveling with children under two. But the best of all, is plenty of room. Here are Patti and I in seats 1A & 1B….. Look at all the legroom we have…….. We purchased these tickets as soon as they opened bookings, and for months we were the only ones that had booked them. The price however continued to climb until it reached almost four times that of what we paid, and pretty much remained there until the end. That’s basically what everyone in the Business Class cabin paid. We couldn’t help but giggle a little. They started serving us drinks as soon as we sat down. It’s a good thing these seats recline into a bed! Here are the bar and lunch menus for our flight….. To be continued…..
  2. Hi, I'm sailing in February 2020 on Carnival Inspiration. We recently {Feb. 2019} stayed in O.V. On the UPPER Deck Aft, which was just fine. Our preference is the Aft BTW. However, never sailed on the Rivera Deck. Currently booked B2B U169. Looking for opinions, before I respond. 🌻🌻 Bobbi
  3. I'll be cruising on the Inspiration, and I plan to e-mail the maitre d' beforehand. I wanted to enter a note into my booking, but I couldn't find a way to do it. I'll be cruising solo and I have assigned dining, so I want to request to be seated at a 10-top table. Preferably with other solos or at least solo-friendly non-solos (clunky wording, I know). That is, multiple couples or small groups, as opposed to, say, being shoehorned in with an existing group of nine. Can anyone share the maitre d's e-mail address or an online contact form? Thanks in advance.
  4. Parking at Long Beach- easier than anticipated. Follow signs to Queen Mary, then for Carnival right side ticket machines. We arrived at 10:48am. Dropped a suitcase curbside, but can take carry-ons thru if like. Was told parking lot had been open for a long time now (I noted handicap spaces almost full) and Carnival opened the dome embarkation area at 10:30am. We Entered building & directed to priority access, checked in immediately at a raised table. Waited in “Capts lounge” vs nice park area for general. We brought a few empty water bottles to refill water on board. NO bottles are allowed even empty (surprise change). Boarding for priority started at 11:15. Be prepared pull luggage up a few uphill ramps (there are elevators for those needing it). Buffet was just starting but dessert was ready & salad bar. Noted that sugar now in pour containers & no straws has started. Bring your own packets if sweetener particilar. Never having driven to a port before, found this way less hectic than FL port chaos.
  5. Hi, we just booked the three day Mexican Riviera on Inspiration - the itinerary with one sea day and one in Ensenada. Does anyone have a picture of a recent Fun Times that you can post? Also, on the sea day, are there any activities on board such as wine tasting, mixology, martinis, etc? We are considering staying on the ship on the sea day but want to know what activities are available on board while in port.
  6. For all you who are looking for the Carnival Fun Times daily schedule for the Carnival Inspiration here it is. We cruised September 3-7 2018. Hope this is helpful. I really appreciate it when other people post their Fun times schedule up for us.
  7. Here's a review of my latest cruise, Inspiration 4 night out of Long Beach, February 4-8, 2019 Background: 8th Carnival Cruise (3rd on the Inspiration, 1st was out of Tampa, 2nd was the 3 night out of Long Beach), just my hubby and I Itinerary Change: we were supposed to have our last day at sea, but "due to congestion at the port in Catalina", they switched our sea day to Tuesday, Catalina to Wednesday, and Ensenada to Thursday (received a letter in our room when we were at dinner the first night). The weather forecasted rain on Tuesday anyway, so it worked out that Catalina was delayed. The captain did a good job finding some sun on Tuesday so people were able to use the outside decks. It did sprinkle at one point and was just warm, but better than rain and cold. Embarkation: drove to the cruise port from No. Cal, left home at 6am and arrived at the port at around 12:30pm. No trouble finding parking and no traffic at the port as the guests from the previous cruise were long gone. $20 per day to park. Tip for those driving the I-5 from No. Cal.....stop at Buttonwillow for the least expensive gas. We ended up spending $1 more per gallon getting gas near Magic Mountain. Our check in time was 1:30 to 2:00, but there were no lines at the terminal and we were on board by 1pm. We had lunch on the Lido (Blue Iguana) and then our cabin was ready so we went to check it out. We were in M56, close to the stairs/elevators (no issues with noise). Since it was our 3rd time on this ship, we decided to go to the welcome aboard afternoon show, instead of exploring the ship. Didn't win any prizes, but was good to see/meet our cruise director, Orlando. Muster was uneventful. Looked for the 1/2 price drink specials at the casino bar but there weren't any. Just the drink of the day for $1 less and "make it a double" for $3 more (available each day at all bars). Cabin: M56, oceanview. Good location, near stairs and elevator (some people shun being close to the stairs/elevator, but we have never had noise issues with it and like the convenience). Front of the ship so convenient to the YTD dining room, Paris Lounge and Spa/Gym. The last few cruises we have been on the Lido or Verandah deck, and I did miss being closer to the action, but really not a big deal, especially since I booked at the last minute for a very low price! Food/dining: we would have preferred early dining, but we booked this trip 1 week out, so were able to choose from late dining or waitlist your time dining. A few days before sailing we were confirmed to your time dining. We ended up eating pretty early each night anyway, lining up anywhere between 5:45pm (opening for YTD) and 6:15pm. We requested the same wait staff each night and had the same table 3 nights and the same wait staff all 4 nights so it was almost like set dining, except for the queue to get in. We noticed that when we were done with dinner around 7pm to 7:30pm, there were some cruisers with pagers milling about, waiting for a table. Most of the things we ordered were very good. We ate breakfast in the dining room 3 out of 4 days (hubby wanted to try the breakfast burrito at the Blue Iguana one morning). Most of the breakfast choices are the same as the Lido, although I was able to get a baked apple and cranberry juice in the dining room, both of which were not available on the Lido the one morning we ate there. Sea Day brunch was ok; my husband had the steak and eggs and I had the blueberry pancakes. I was surprised with the limited choices; I thought there would be the regular breakfast offerings plus some brunch ones. Food was good though, nobody is going to starve on this cruise....lol. For lunch, we didn't eat at the buffet except for getting some fruit or salad; we, instead enjoyed Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana, The Deli and Pizza. If the cruise was longer, I am sure we would have looked to the buffet for more variety. We did get room service each morning, just for coffee and a pastry. Pour you own beer (available on the Lido). It is 37 cents per ounce, but once tip is included (yes, 18% is applicable to the pour your own beer!), it's actually a little more expensive than just ordering from the bar. Carnival Hub: really don't like using the phone on vacation, but since we use it as a camera anyway, we are usually carrying it. The Hub was especially good for finding out what's happening (without having to carry around the fun times) and checking you account balance/transactions. Entertainment: The Motown Review was awesome and we enjoyed the comedy shows on 2 of the nights. Hasbro the Game Show was fun to watch. We participated in towel folding (making towel animals), groove for Saint Jude and Carnival Tower. Orlando was a very personable and fun cruise director. We didn't care for the entertainment on Wednesday night (Gender Battle or something like that) so we watched the Warriors/Spurs game at the Casino Bar. We thought it was the only place to watch the game, and then, later found out there was a TV at the coffee bar and the back of the Lido. Wish we knew because the Casino Bar is very smokey. But, the Warriors won so it was a good night! Gym: we worked out for an hour each morning in the gym, getting there anywhere between 6:30am and 7am. Never had trouble getting on a machine at that time; maybe 10-12 people working out early morning. Free stretch class at 7am daily if interested; we usually partake, but, this cruise, just worked on the eliptical, treadmill, cycle and weights. Catalina: took the public bus $2 per person, per ride, around Avalon and then walked around the "downtown". Ensenada: walked a loop around town (down the walk by the water, then over near Papa and Beer and down the street, back to the cruise ship) Debarkation morning: woke up at 6am and went to breakfast in the dining room at 6:30am (that's when they opened). Back to room to finish packing the toiletries and make our way down to deck 7 (around 7:30 they started calling decks for disembarking if you had all of your luggage with you). We walked off the ship and were back in our truck at 7:43am. If you wanted/needed to check your luggage you could choose from 2 times to disembark (8:45-9:15 or 9:15 to 9:45). Regardless of your choice, everyone had to be out of their cabin by 8:30am. If you have any questions, fire away.
  8. Anyone read about this yet? I searched and did not find any other posts. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6891277/Passengers-got-stuck-Carnival-Cruise-ship-elevator-hour-banned-future-travel.html If I could surmise what happened, the six guys tried to pry open the doors. Not sure why the staff did not tell them to stand back and NOT touch the doors. Being banned seemed kinda heavy handed. I never been stuck in an elevator so I cannot imagine what that would be like. We take the Inspiration about three times a year and never have had any issues. We're on her in June and taking some first time cruisers. Any first hand accounts, rumor mill stuff etc etc?
  9. This was the third Carnival for my husband and I. We have previously sailed on the Splendor and Dream. We were part of a group of 56 in a wedding group. We were flying in on JetBlue to the Long Beach Airport and had ordered the Carnival shuttle. We were told to go to the left when exiting baggage and that the shuttle would be waiting there. We did not see the shuttle anywhere. Another passenger was also looking for it. We each called Carnival and it turned out that the shuttle had been there the entire time on the right not on the left. The shuttle driver had a tiny paddle that none of us had seen.
  10. Hello, We are seasoned middle age cruisers who have been on royal, princess and celebrity. We have never cruised on carnival . We are interested in the 3 night cruise to ensenada. I wanted to know what to expect on this ship. We typically go on larger ships (about twice the size of this ship). How is the food and entertainment on this ship? We would be in an inside cabin as the balcony cabins were way more expensive and not worth it for such a short trip. Is the adult only pool area truly adult only? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
  11. I've seen a few posts here and there asking about what's happening in dry dock for Carnival Inspiration. Since my husband and I are sailing in January, we were excited to know there'd be a dry dock this month and were curious what we could expect. I had asked around and found out they're putting in more permanent sushi station (rather than the temporary one that has seemed to be there) as well as routine maintenance. I found a video today online showing more of the dry dock. Thought I'd share in case anybody's interested. Looks like it's getting a slight facelift and everything should look updated, on top of getting a Bonsai Sushi.
  12. Hi all, I was trying to check for dates and prices for 4 days carnival Inspration or the Imagination for March 2019 and there aren’t hardly any sailing for both of them. Are they going for dry dock or what’s going on???
  13. Hi, Just thought I'd ask .... 🛳🛳. Bobbi
  14. Do they have a Red Frog Rum Bar on the Inspiration ?
  15. Trying to get a handle on the cruises out of Los Angeles. When I was researching Carnival on the US News travel website, I learned they rank "Inspiration" as the #1 Carnival ship. (It's sister-ship, Imagination, ranks #24 out of 25 Carnival ships.) Launched in 1996 & refurbed in 2016, is it at all possible that Inspiration is actually #1? Am trying to plan a multi-generational outing for a very rare occasion, everyone is hard-up for $$ so I'm seeking a financially conservative option for a cruise...but don't want a ship equivalent to Majesty of the Seas. Anyone know if #1 is a deserved ranking for Inspiration?
  16. Anyone who's sailed recently on the Inspiration: how is the piano bar? How about the comedy club? We had a great piano bar experience only once, on the Conquest, long ago and hoping whoever is on the Inspiration will be good. As far as comedy, hoping it's not just political and/or raunchy for shock value. Don't mind language, but want funny. We might be going on a last minute m-f cruise, so that might make a difference with the piano bar as well. Any thoughts/tips are appreciated.
  17. For those who have actually traveled on these 2 ships..... Looking to do the 4 day in February and wondering which to choose. Itineraries are the same. Ships look to be almost identical...so what I'm wondering is crew.... cleanliness... Upkeep of ship Etc I known these itinerary are often considered 'booze cruise' which is not our style thus the reason for Feb, as traditionally not the best weather in that area....just want the break and ports....plus...its a free gift....so just want advice on ships. Thanks!
  18. We just got off Friday off the Inspiration out of Los Angeles (Long Beach specifically) for a 4-night cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada. The West Coast has typically gotten the short end of the stick in the cruising world – I’m grateful for all the help here for cruising in general, but found looking for information about the cruises out of California not as common, particularly for these older ships. So, I’ve decided to try my hand at a more detailed trip review including a few photos for our sailing! I’m probably not as exciting as others who’ve written, but I find remembering the trip to be therapeutic for myself, helpful to relive a vacation I wish I was still on, and great to refer back to later for memories. Hopefully it can be helpful to others also, but if not, at least it’s good for me. First of all, those of you who do these long photo logs detailing all these areas on the ship--- way to go. I don’t know how you do it. I have to confess, there are times when I’m reading, and you mention that you forgot to take a photo of food, that I silently judge just a little bit wondering if you set your mind on it, how could you forget? However, this trip, there were MULTIPLE times where my husband had to remind me whether I was going to take a picture of food or something. So, I publicly apologize for those fleeting thoughts that past through my mind when reading. It’s hard work, and I probably will not have nearly as many photos as I probably had imagined when I decided I wanted to do this. In fact, the only reason I’ll have some of the photos is because my husband enjoys photography and takes more photos than me, so if you see a great photo, it’s probably him. But without further ado, here goes.
  19. We normally get early dining but booked a last minute four day cruise on Carnival Inspiration. It's our first time with a short cruise and Your Time Dining. I read that there are two dining rooms on the ship (Carnivale and Mardi Gras) and they both offer Your Time Dining. My question is... is there any difference between the two dining rooms in terms of decor, wait times, and service? I know the food will be the same but I wanted to ask about the experience. Thanks!
  20. Good Day All, Regarding the Inspiration 4 day cruise from Long Beach on Feb 4, 2019.... I did not notice any roll call that was started. Does anyone know if this cruise is any type of special interest or theme cruise? Thanks Macdon221
  21. When I look in the Meet & Mingle section for Carnival Inspiration, it is not listed in the list of ships. I also noticed that the Inspiration is not there. Maybe others are missing too but I'm not sure of all of the ships they have. Is this an oversight or intentional? Do they have Meet & Mingles on the Inspiration?
  22. Anyone been on the inspiration since dry dock? Care to share photos? Before vs after differences?
  23. Hello, My husband and 2 kids will be cruising for my 50th birthday. My son is 13 and my daughter is 11 and are we are going to be surprise them when pull up to the ship. I hope we can meet other cruisers before we go. Happy Sailing!
  24. Good Afternoon CC - I am fairly new to Carnival (only sailed once on the Valor years ago) and while it was a great experience I am a little hesitant to book this cruise and was wondering if anyone can help. I'm used to Royal Caribbean (southern Caribbean) i'm kind of a creature of habit and have been on Adventure of the seas 6 times. Anyhow, I am traveling with my 3 boys ages 3-9 and my mom. We find ourselves in Long Beach for a week and we were looking into a 4 day Catalina -Ensenada on the Inspiration (possibly a Grand Suite ). Can anyone share any honest pros and cons or things I should be aware of being that I am traveling with children. Will it be a "college drinking" party crowd? Families? Just wondering... before I book. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for all your help.
  25. Season's Greetings Cruisers, Is there anyone sailing on the Carnival Inspiration on December 3, 2018 who is planning to go on the Behind the Scenes tour? We have an interesting and very responsible 12-year-old son who wants to go, but we don't really want to join him this time. We are hoping we can meet a new family friend who might accompany him on the tour.
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