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Carnival Inspiration Review/Pics 01/20/12-1st Timers w/ 22 mnth old


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First off, A big Thanks to Cruise Critic and all those who have answered my questions or who have posted wonderful info that I used for our trip.

A little background

This was our first cruise. Although we live minutes from the LB port, we were never interested before. Sometimes we ride our bikes down to shoreline and look at the ships. Still, the idea of a cruise never sounded good to me. Fast forward to a couple months ago. I was feeling restless and wanted a get away, but one that wasn’t too involved because we have a big trip in May. I started thinking a cruise may be a good idea. Nice price, close to port, not too much planning needed and a good 1st vacation for DD…Let’s go!


We live about an 8 minute drive from the port, so I loved that we could have a lax morning and not be pressured because of traffic or forgetting something, etc. We have been over that bridge many times, but today when we drove over and saw the ship, DD and I started cheering and getting so excited!! DH just shook his head at us, but I could tell he was excited too :D

At about 1045am, DH dropped DD and I off with our luggage, so that he could go park and then walk back. He knows someone at a nearby hotel, so we could park for free. DD and I checked our largest bag with a porter and walked over to The Queen Mary for early check in.







Once DH arrived, check in was quick and painless and we were soon on our way over to the waiting area. DD kept looking over at the ship and saying "Wow". She was more than a little excited! We were in Zone 2, so we hung out in that area a little while and boarding started about 1140am.


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Boarding was really quick! We were walking on the ship in no time at all.




First impression of the Atrium was that it wasn’t that grand. For some reason it looked huge in all the pics I’ve seen.

We hopped on the elevator and headed up to the lido. Loved the look of this place! It was not very crowded up there at all and we had a nice choice of seating. Lines were not long either.




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I was looking forward to the 2 things I’ve heard so much about on here, the DOD and The Mongolian Wok. We ordered 2 DOD’s from the waiter and DD and I headed up to get food while DH stayed at the table.

DD and I are vegan and DH is veg. I read that some ships offer tofu at the Wok, so I asked, but they didn't have any. We chose all the veggies we wanted and the black bean sauce. DD and I really enjoyed it.




DH got some fries then also headed back to the Brasserie area and got some grilled veggies, focaccia, some sweets and some olives for DD(she loves olives and mushrooms).

After we ate and shared another DOD, we wandered up to the Water Works area. What an awesome view! DD and I dipped our feet in the water and splashed around a bit. A word of caution, the WW slide area is really slippery. I thought it would have some type of traction, because kids are walking/running around there, but I had to have my hands on DD at all times.




View from WW



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The Cabin

M138, Oceanview, beds together and a crib.

It was about 130pm, so we decided to see if our room was ready. It was, but our bag had not arrived. About 5 minutes after we entered, we heard it being dropped off outside. Awesome!


We didn't wind up needing the crib since the bed was so big and one side was up against the wall. DD just slept with us, but we made her a tent out of the crib once and she enjoyed that. Even with the crib in the room, we had space to move around nicely.


We checked out our window view right away and saw West Oil parked outside. My non-cruise ship knowing self though it was part of the ship. :o I was like "oh no, this is our view". DH told me it was already moving and he was right. Soon, it was gone and out of the way :p Ha!


We started settling in and getting DD ready for a nap. She woke up unusually early that morning and now would be the best time since we had muster at 430pm and kids club registration at 5pm. She could not register online because she’s under 2. DH and I agreed that he would stay and nap with DD (he was up until the wee hours of the night) and I would go wandering a bit by myself. I nursed DD to sleep and then slipped out quietly.

I have to stop here, but I'll post more later.

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We leave on her in 2 plus weeks (Feb 10th) for the same cruise - 3 nights. We did sail on her in Dec for a 4-night but have not done a 3 night yet. Can't wait to hear your impressions of the ship - when most people call it a party ship. I don't think it will be though... A quick get away like you said and a chance to relax. Can't wait to hear if your DD was able to do Camp Carnival and how she liked it.

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I can't wait to read the rest of your review! Great job so far! We are sailing next January with our DD who will be 21 months old, so I am enjoying reading your perspective as a parent with a little one.

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Looking forward to the rest!


Thanks! I'm working on it :)


We leave on her in 2 plus weeks (Feb 10th) for the same cruise - 3 nights. We did sail on her in Dec for a 4-night but have not done a 3 night yet. Can't wait to hear your impressions of the ship - when most people call it a party ship. I don't think it will be though... A quick get away like you said and a chance to relax. Can't wait to hear if your DD was able to do Camp Carnival and how she liked it.

Yes it was a nice get away! If you wanted to party hard you could, but we were not bombarded by crazy partyers...except for one time which I will explain about later.


I can't wait to read the rest of your review! Great job so far! We are sailing next January with our DD who will be 21 months old, so I am enjoying reading your perspective as a parent with a little one.

Thank You! I hope some of the info helps others with little ones.

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Wow, when I went back out to the lido, it was bustling with people everywhere and lines for all the food areas! What a difference a couple of hours makes. I’m so glad that we got on early and was able to eat and hangout before everyone else came aboard!

I checked out where our dining room was, even though we still got lost later :p. Visited some other places and then grabbed some salad bar and found a little table to go over the fun times and mark what we wanted to do.

The very front of the ship. Nobody was out there and the view was amazing!


This was looking down from the area I was in.


Looking over to the right side.


Looking back toward the ship.


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Stopped by The Paris Lounge in my wanderings. It was huge! The next 2 days we saw 2 shows here. Fiesta Latina and Shout. We did'nt stay until the end for either, but both were good. I loved that DD could enjoy the shows as well. We sat all the way at the top to the back, so we could leave when we wanted without disturbing anyone.


Safety Briefing

We got to our Muster station early and just hung out enjoying the view. We mustered right across from the coffee shop cafe. I forget what it's called. DD had a strawberry coconut smoothie while we waited. It was waaay too sweet.


The Safety Briefing was pretty painless, except for the standing so close in lines on the deck thing, but I understand it's very necessary. I just wish that they would have explained things a bit more.

Just a side note- There was a group of really drunk folks that kept laughing and talking during the brief and would not put their drinks down no matter how many times the crew told them too. They even wound up dropping a beer and disrupting everything. I don't understand why they could'nt hold it together for a simple briefing, but whatever.

Kids Club Registration

After that we went to registration for DD and stayed a bit for the presentation. If your children are over 2, you can register online.

They have you fill out a form for who are allowed to drop off and pick up your child. You also fill out a form for allergies and what foods and drinks they are and are not allowed to have.

For under 2 yr olds, they have night owls from 10pm until 3am for 6.75 per hr. plus gratuities.

They also have some open times during port days and sea days. It was like 8am-10am on port day. You could stay and play with your child for no charge or leave them there for babysitting for the same rate as night owls.

On sea day it was around the same time, but I forget exacts. The times are kind of odd to me though. I was going to go with DD to play on port day, so she could interact with the other children, but she was still sleep during those times.

We did use night owls, so I will talk more about that later on.

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Part way through the registration presentation, we decided to leave because it didn’t really concern DD’s age range and we didn’t want to miss Sail Away. We left and ran up to the Water Works area. We were already sailing when we got up there.

It was such a strange feeling and a beautiful site! Loved Sail Away!




We watched for awhile, but it was windy and we needed to get ready for dinner at 6pm, so we headed back to our cabin.

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Sushi Stand

We stopped by the sushi stand on our way to dinner. We all love veg sushi and DH makes it often at home.

The sushi cart was open from 5-815pm, I think. The cart was right outside of the Formalities shop. Crowded when we got there, but the line moved fast. They have pre-made rolls and give you one piece of each. About 3 pieces. We asked for veggie only and they gave us 2 pieces on 2 plates. They were portabello and asparagus and super delish! We would have gotten more, but just wanted a pre-dinner snack. They had several condiments out. The spicy green apple one was interesting and really yummy! We are still talking about those rolls and DH is going to try and recreate it sometime.

1st night Dinner

We had early Seating 6pm in the Carnivale dining room.

Whoever said show up for dinner about 10 minutes after your time was right. We were a bit early and wound up waiting in line. It was a bit rocky and standing in a crowd was not fun. Once they opened the doors, we were in quickly though. We were seated with one other family with 3 adults and 4 kids. We greeted each other and got settled in.

I spoke with CCL before cruising about our dietary needs and they told me to speak with the head waiter on the 1st night. I told our waiter about our dietary needs and he said he would send over the Hostess, Asta. She was fabulous and asked about things we liked to eat and had some wonderful suggesting too. They were really open to modifying and creating dishes. We could substitute veg broth and soy milk for some things, leave out dairy and eggs in some and also create whole new dishes using assorted veggies, tofu and seasonings. She took down our order for the night and then also our order for the next night, so that they would be prepared. That night, DH was able to order straight from the menu.

DH had the vegetarian pot pie. It had yams, cheese, cinnamon and a bunch of other ingredients inside. It was served with 2 pieces of polenta. DH absolutely loved it! He said it had a wonderful sweet savory flavor going on.



I started with a salad and vinegarette. The salad was average and the dressing was good.



DD and I shared the gazpacho. We both loved it!



We each was served a bowl of pasta, but wound up sharing one. I did'nt realize the portions were so huge and they were going to bring her a full one! When we arrived at dinner the next day, I asked them to just bring us 1 of everything, because 2 was just too much.


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I think the pasta was whole wheat. It was cooked aldente and the sauce was really good. I ate way too much of this! DD loved it as well and kept dipping her broccoli in the sauce and eating it that way.


We also had steamed veggies on the side. That's where she got the broccoli from. Asta had some bread slices sent over that was dairy and egg free. We had not asked her for any, so I thought that was very nice of her.



We were sitting there contemplating if DH should order a desert or not when our waiter came over with 2 vegan berry cobblers for DD and I. Asta had told the chef to make it special for us. I was so thankful and even though, I was stuffed, we enjoyed some of it.




I think the topping was a mixture of the vegan bread we had mixed with toasted almonds. The filling was blueberries. It was really satisfying without being too sweet or heavy!

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I had the sweet potato pot pie and thought it was the yummiest thing ever.

Glad you had a good cruise.


Thanks Cozzette! Yes, DH says that sweet savory combio was a real winner!

I know there's alot of threads here about the low quality food on CCL, but we enjoyed the food so much on our cruise.

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