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Quickie Carnival Inspiration review -- May 25th-29th sailing


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This was our 8th Cruise and our 6th Carnival cruise. Overall, it was a really good cruise, but it wasn't without its issues.

 

First things first, they had to change where we boarded the ship. Not Carnival's fault, it was the weather. Storms in the west caused large wave swells, so we all had to go to San Pedro to board. Under the circumstances, it went incredibly smoothly. We left our hotel room around 10:15, got to Long Beach port at about 10:30, boarded a bus and were off to San Pedro by 10:45 or so, and we were on board Inspiration by 11:30. Even with the change of port, it was the smoothest embarkation I've ever had for any cruse! Also, the change wasn't just with the port, but the itinerary was altered slightly. Nothing major, but we got the sea day first then the 2 ports, rather the 2 ports and then sea day on the last day.

 

Inspiration looked great, especially for her age. Very well maintained. Plus our room steward did a great job and was on top of things. We didn't ask for a lot, but he was quick in his response. (Example: My wife requested to get a hair dryer, it was in the room within 2 hours of asking.)

 

We had booked a porthole cabin. We were on Main deck Forward (M23). That turned out to be a huge mistake. It was not a quiet place to be.... The room itself was great, but it was not a great location. Engine noises in the middle of the night were not fun to hear. Of course, it didn't help matters that the girls in the cabin next to us decided to get into a fight (a fight as in screaming and things being thrown) at 2:30 in the morning Wednesday! For the the first time ever, I had to call security on someone.

 

Catalina was nice (definitely "a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't live there" place), but Ensenada was great! Catalina had a nice garden (if you like desert type gardens) and learning the history was cool. Glass bottom boat portion was ok. In Ensenada we did a wine tour and it was fabulous. Gorgeous countryside and good wine. Even after 4 hours, I felt it ended too soon!

 

The best part of the cruise was the bartender at the Atrium bar; Bussabong (BB). She was awesome and definitely made the trip far better for us! You can tell she loves her job and her smile is infectious! If we weren't relaxing on the Serenity Deck, we were there at the bar. Also, there was a singer who performed at the Atrium Bar every night called James. He has a great voice! He definitely added to the great atrium experience!

 

Unfortunately, the worst part of the cruise was the rest of the service we got, especially the dining room. I don't recall our waiter's name, even though he did tell it to us (Maharen?), but never did get his assistant's name. The service was just incredibly slow. On the formal night, we were all at the table by 6:10, orders taken by 6:20 or so, appetizers served soon thereafter.... Then we waited... and waited... and waited.... 7:10 and still no main dishes and now the servers starting their little "performance". In the middle of the performance, we started getting our main meal. 45 minutes after appetizers. I had ordered the prime rib (medium) and got a room temperature piece of meat cooked to death that was a 1/4 inch thick (maybe!) covered in gravy (who puts gravy on prime rib??) along with an ice cold baked potato. I shoved the plate aside and tossed my napkin into it. It was totally inedible. It still took a few minutes for them to realize something was wrong and by then my wife was almost done with her meal. At that point they were asking what they could do to "make it better". Seriously, at that point it was too late to do anything. I had sat there 90 minutes and all I had was some bread and an appetizer. There was no excuse for it. We left before desserts were served. A bit later that night I ended up getting a couple of slices of pizza later on. At least it was hot!

 

The next couple of nights the service was slightly better, but not by much. We never got a cocktail waiter to come by after the first evening. With the exception of the final night, we had to flag someone down to keep our water glasses filled. It was just the basic things that were ignored. If this had been my first cruise, I'd never cruise with Carnival again. And there were 2 couples who were on their first cruise at our table.

 

The food was ok. It's definitely slipped. I'm fairly easy going when it comes to food, but there's a definite need for improvement. Heck, if they just seasoned things a bit better, it would make a world of difference!

 

With the exception of the Atrium Bar, the rest of the bar service was really hit or miss. The cocktail servers need to realize there are quite a few people who spend their time on the Serenity deck. We really didn't see them until late Wednesday and definitely NOT on the sea day. By Thursday they decided to make more of an appearance.

 

Overall, as I said, it was a good cruise. It had its high points and low points. The most important thing though is that my wife and I totally relaxed. I do miss visiting the Atrium Bar though..... :)

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We had a steward on the Inspiration named I Tikrit who was absolutely amazing. I occasionally think about him and wonder how he's doing.

 

Thanks for your review!

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No, there was no latin band when I was on board that I saw or heard. The shows were an 80's music revue and a Motown tribute. Neither of which we were interested in seeing.

 

One thing I failed to mention is that we met some AWESOME people on board. Our tablemates at dinner were a great group of people and Stacy and her friend Faith (her first cruise) were awesome to hang with!

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Thanks for writing this review. It is always nice to see someone's take on the 3-4 day cruises. The DD and I went on a 3-day on the Imagination last year and the food and service mirror your comments. We booked a suite for the balcony as Serenity was not too serene when we just wanted to sit and read and did tend to be crowded all but the first day. I am hoping we have a better experience on our 4-day on the Inspiration in July. We are keeping fingers crossed.

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Thanks for writing this review. It is always nice to see someone's take on the 3-4 day cruises. The DD and I went on a 3-day on the Imagination last year and the food and service mirror your comments. We booked a suite for the balcony as Serenity was not too serene when we just wanted to sit and read and did tend to be crowded all but the first day. I am hoping we have a better experience on our 4-day on the Inspiration in July. We are keeping fingers crossed.

 

 

Need to go during the off season for an uncrowded Serenity deck on those cruises.

 

Done 3&4 day cruises too many times to count. Service seems to be hit or miss. Last February we had no problems in assigned dining. Watch the servers. Sometimes they always do one table first, if you're the last table it is truly awful. At times we've asked the waitstaff 'what gives'. Service usually improved after that. It's not just a Carnival thing. Have had it happen recently on Princess.

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Thanks for writing this review. It is always nice to see someone's take on the 3-4 day cruises. The DD and I went on a 3-day on the Imagination last year and the food and service mirror your comments. We booked a suite for the balcony as Serenity was not too serene when we just wanted to sit and read and did tend to be crowded all but the first day. I am hoping we have a better experience on our 4-day on the Inspiration in July. We are keeping fingers crossed.

 

It was full, but not crowded for us. Never a problem in getting a chair. And, shockingly, no one was chair hogging. :eek: :D

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Need to go during the off season for an uncrowded Serenity deck on those cruises.

 

Done 3&4 day cruises too many times to count. Service seems to be hit or miss. Last February we had no problems in assigned dining. Watch the servers. Sometimes they always do one table first, if you're the last table it is truly awful. At times we've asked the waitstaff 'what gives'. Service usually improved after that. It's not just a Carnival thing. Have had it happen recently on Princess.

 

Would love to go in the off season but my DD is an educator. :)

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Would love to go in the off season but my DD is an educator. :)

 

 

February Monday holidays, especially if she gets the first one off. We have teachers in our group and thus way they only take Friday off.

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Need to go during the off season for an uncrowded Serenity deck on those cruises.

 

Done 3&4 day cruises too many times to count. Service seems to be hit or miss. Last February we had no problems in assigned dining. Watch the servers. Sometimes they always do one table first, if you're the last table it is truly awful. At times we've asked the waitstaff 'what gives'. Service usually improved after that. It's not just a Carnival thing. Have had it happen recently on Princess.

 

Definitely aware of the quieter times to cruise, however when DM and I cruise together it has to be when I am off from work. When I retire we will trip the life fantastic and cruise in serenity during off season (:

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I'm on the Inspiration in September (we can only cruise off season--I manage a swim school). What shows did they have? We've been on Imagination a few times and I've seen Divas and Epic Rock, hoping for something (ANYTHING!) different. We'll be cruising with some newbies, so I hope we get decent service :/

 

Oops, just saw you mentioned the shows, sounds like some I haven't seen, yay!

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The review sounds standard for both of the ships on this itinerary. They're good for what they are. I just did this in feb on imagination and boarded at 11am but I just got an email asking us to follow a staggered boarding time. They asked us to board between 2:30-3:30. Did you get that email?

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The review sounds standard for both of the ships on this itinerary. They're good for what they are. I just did this in feb on imagination and boarded at 11am but I just got an email asking us to follow a staggered boarding time. They asked us to board between 2:30-3:30. Did you get that email?

 

Yes, we ignored it and had zero problems. The updated email we received once they knew they were changing to San Pedro requested we be there between 1:00 and 5:00. :rolleyes:

 

Seriously, Carnival must be nuts to ask passengers to arrive at that time. It's their busiest time. We got at the port the same we always get there: 10:30.

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