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A few thoughts about the Inspiration.


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Hi all. Just got back from the Inspiration last week. Seems like it took forever to get there and then it's over so quickly! Oh well, time to start saving for another one.... Here are a few thoughts about our cruise. I had a terrific time but I also want you to know what things were not as good. No cruise is perfect, but ALWAYS better than working! LOL (please pardon any misspellings. I couldn't find a spell check.

One word of advice - Fly in the day before and NEVER take a flight before 1pm when debarking. Our ship was late getting in on Sunday and a lot of people missed their flights.

Embarcation was really smooth. We were let on about 12:30 or so. As soon as we walked on there were people on deck trying to hand you "drink of the day". Kinda pushy but hey, that's how they make their money so I just said no thank you. We walked right on to the Brasierie and ate lunch. There was hardly anyone on yet, we were the second group.

Food: The buffet room (Brassierie - sp?) was the only place on the ship I thought was really UGLY! LOL I was expecting the decoration on the ship to be gaudy but it was really quite beautiful throughout except for that one room. The food was pretty good in the buffet. We did the Grand Princess once before and the food is better on the Grand but really not by too much so I would recommend the food on the Inspiration. The first night we were separated from my parents in seperate dining rooms because they did the guarantee and were in a different part of the ship. We talked to the matre de and he fixed it for us. They really went out of their way to be accomodating. The service was excellent. We took our 17 year old and our 11 year old with us. My little guy did pretty well in the dining room. He ordered the adult meals and tried everything in the world - caviar, crawfish, smoked salmon, gumbo, escargo, etc. The kids meals sounded like what you could get at any diner in the world - hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, etc. He didn't always like what he ordered but it was great to see him try all the new stuff. At the end of the cruise he said "Gee, now we have to go back to mom's cooking - WITH ONLY ONE FORK!!". We got a big laugh out of that. The tables were set beautifully and the waiters and assistants were really super, very interested in being the BEST. We had a booth, which we didn't think we would like, but they were really quite nice. The dining room was actually pretty loud, I thought. There was one really big table that was loud about every night, they were heavier drinkers than we were I guess. LOL It didn't ruin the experience but just made it a bit less enjoyable.

Our Room - We had to get two rooms this time with the boys. That worked out really nice but limited us on the type of rooms we could get because we couldn't afford outside or balcony rooms with the two cabins. We got two inside cabins, next to each other. We had a balcony on our first cruise and believe me, the experience is worth the extra money. I'll never again skimp on cabins. The balcony experience is well worth the extra price - it just adds another dimension to your crusing. Being able to sit out there at night and watch the ocean or sunbathe in peace and quiet or read a book is priceless. Also it makes the room seem so much bigger. Our cabins were OK, the bathroom was the best part. It was nice and big and tiled in pretty colors. There was always hot water and it was nice to be able to take as many showers a day as I wanted and as long as I wanted. AHHHHHHHH The shower heads were really good too. The room decor wasn't really the best but it was nice. There was plenty of storage. My parents had a really terrific steward. Ours was pretty good too. They do work some looonnnggg hours so be good to your steward. They don't make much money either so if you can, give him a little something extra. More thoughts - bring an adapter so you can plug more than one thing at once. Do your laundry before you go home so you have clean stuff when you unpack. Throw your bed spread in the storage space in the corner under the "ship" light. They don't wash those very often and it's kinda gross to wonder what's on them. LOL Ask for an extra blanket if you are cold. Ask for bathrobes when you first get on. They are nice!

Two room shuffle - Of course Carnival says you have to have someone 25 or older in the room. No way I was going to sleep with my son so we put the two boys in one and us in the other. Our steward never said anything and it worked out really well. The only problem is the room key cards. My husband and son had key cards for one room and my son and I had room key cards for the other. We solved that problem by going to the purser and getting extra key only cards. You might have to carry two cards but at least you can get into your rooms when you need to. We had them punch holes in them and carried them on lanyards or also little clips that you can buy before you go at any craft store. I don't like the looks of a lanyard so I did the clip thing on my belt loop. It worked out really well.

We did have some really rude neighbors. There were a group travelling together and they had three rooms. They were very loud in the hallways at night, sitting in the halls and all talking, laughing and whooping and hollering at 2 or 3am. Someone called security on Tuesday night and they came right away and took care of it. They were all pretty young, more like a spring break crowd. We ended up having to call on Thursday night - it was pretty hard to sleep sometimes and it really bothered the kids. That kind of put a damper on our stay but we tried to shrug it off. Worst part of it was they were so rude if you asked them to be quiet. If they stay in their rooms you can hardly hear anything but if anyone makes noise in the halls you can really hear everything. It's a bummer but something you have to put up with sometimes. It's all the luck of the draw on who you get near you. The security people are TERRIFIC. They were right there when anyone called and they were pretty forceful in making sure the rules were enforced. Not sure what more they could have done.

Camp Carnival - There were so few kids on board my son's age that week that he went to a couple of things but hardly anyone else showed up so he really didn't spend much time there. He loved the giant chess board and the ping-pong, the water slide and the arcade. We let him have a bit of freedom to wander sometimes but kept a pretty good eye on him and had a general idea where he was most of the time.

We also had two-way radios that worked pretty good unless you were way at the bottom of the ship and he was at the top. We were on the lowest deck. We had Motorolas and they were great. We put them on lanyards too and I wore mine around my waist or around my neck. If you have kids it's good to have.

Ports - Cozumel is very nice. If you have a chance do the Atlantis Submarine. We made our own reservations online before we went and ended up saving a lot of money over what the ship charged. Make SURE you will have enough time to get there and back because of you get back late the ship won't wait for you if you mess up. It's an awesome experience though. You go 100 feet down, way out to the continental shelf. Looking over the abys into the darkness is really eerie but it's great.

Grand Cayman - Again, we made our own reservations with Captain Marvin's snorkel place. We did the Stingray City and the Reef. The kids loved this. We saw all kinds of fish, a beautiful eel, a turtle.... We took our own snorkle gear but you don't have to. We saved a lot of money making our own reservations and it was a smaller group. There is a GREAT bakery just past Captain Marvin's about four blocks to the left of the dock. It's an easy and beautiful walk. This is my favorite port. There's not a LOT of pushy people trying to sell you things. Only thing is, if you are there without your kids (like we were the first time) you can't use your calling cards or credit cards or any other kind of phone card except the Cayman phone card. You can buy them there but it was quite a walk to the place. Not sure if there was something closer or what but we didn't know about it and I was desperate to talk to my kids.

Costa Maya - A nice little place, mostly just a place to shop. There's a nice market but the vendors are pretty pushy. You have to bargain - One guy told me $500 for a ring but right away went down to $250 when I told him that was too much. They will ask whatever they think you might be willing to pay. It is beautiful. Last time were were there we took the bike and cayak tour which was OK. We got to see a bit of the surrounding area. It is very poor. Makes me sad to see...

Belize - parts of Belize are very nice but a lot of it is very poor. Do not go off on your own (says my cousin who vacations there every year). We took the Alten Ha/River Wallace tour. It's a pretty good bus ride (45 min?) and we got to see a bit of the country - how the people live, etc. There's a lot of difference between the rich and poor sections. The bus driver drives FAST. LOL Alten Ha was nice - in ten years it will be even better. The countryside is beautiful. Then we went on another bus ride (did I mention how fast he drove??) to the river boat place. There's a little restaurant there and some little outdoor shops. I loved it! The only food there is a chicken in a nice sauce and rice/beans. It was WONDERFUL. Try it, I think you will like it. I bought a beautiful hand-carved bowl. The woodcraft at this spot is great. The river boat tour was long - 25 miles. By the end I was pretty tired but we did see a lot - monkeys, cashew trees (we got to eat some of the cashew fruit - I didn't like it but it was an "experience" LOL), cool hanging bird's nest, little cayman crocks, pretty birds, great plants and trees, waving children bathing in the river, crappy houses, nice houses, manatees when we got near the mouth of the river where the water was brackish. Then we went out into the ocean and crossed the bay (got WET!) to where we started. MAN, were we wet. Wear a hat so your hair won't look so bad. LOL The boat is open but pretty cool because a lot of the time you are going at a good enough clip to make a good breeze. Wear a hat too - but hold onto it.

We were late getting out of Belize because one of the tours was late getting back. We also had a pretty strong head-wind back to Tampa so we were a couple hours late getting in. We waited a long time for all the immigration people to finish with the non-citizens. They kept calling different people over the loudspeaker who hadn't settled their bills or who hadn't cleared immigration. That was kind of irritating but expected. Bring a book and be patient. Nothing anyone can do about that.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves very much. Carnival is very much a party cruiseline. Inspiration is very much a party ship. If you aren't into that kind of thing (we don't drink much) you might enjoy another line a bit better. I think we'd probably like to try Royal Carribean next time - just for a new experience but again we had a wonderful time.

Any questions?
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Thanks for the great review. Our group of twelve will be leaving 7-25 on the Inspiration. We will have 4 boys ages 5,9,12 and 13 who will be with us. Do you think the 5 year old would enjoy the river tour in Belize? Some of us are doing the cavetubing but the others are not sure what they want to do.
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Thanks for the great review. We sail on Inspiration in August. I have a question about Capt. Marvins. What time did you book your snorkeling tour? There is an 8:15 and 11:15. Thanks in advance for your response.

MS Veendam 4/99
Sovereign Of The Seas 8/01
Sovereign Of The Seas 8/02

Still to come!
Carnival Legend 4/23/04

Carnival Inspiration 8/29/04
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CruisinCouple: get the later one...if you're at all late, its pretty much too bad so sad.

I liked the Inspiration, all but the lobby. It was just too dark...at night it was pretty hard to see. Do yourself a favor and visit the Raphsody in Blue Piano Bar at least once.

The Cruise Director I had, Marahscalh Stanton will be returning in June, he's a hoot. You'll enjoy him.

Enjoy your trip!!!

Fantasy 6/1999
Imagination 3/2000
Carnival Triumph 4/2001
Fantasy 6/2001
Carnival Pride 4/2003
Inspiration 4/2004
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rsbjhop-Inspiration only has balconies with suites. I know because I wanted to book one for my Dec. cruise but we would have paid little over double what we paid for an outside cabin on empres deck. So what we did instead was book another 3 day cruise on Miracle with a balcony. For the price of a suite on Inspiration we got an outside cabin there and a balcony on Miracle. Miracle was so much nicer then Inspiration as far as food and entertainment-I am glad we did not do the suite thing on Inspiration but saved our money for a balcony on Miracle.

I will say this as much as I loved Miracle-the fanasty class ships are almost as nice as the spirit ships. I can see now though whenever Carnival brings out a new ship she pulls out all the stops. We are considering doing Miracle again when she replaces Inspiration-I just wonder if the food and entertainment will still be as good or if all those will go on to Valor when she is launched. It was obvious to me that Carnival had both her best chefs and best entertainers on Miracle.

Funny too you felt it was a "party ship", I found it pretty sedate back in DEC. I did not find the hard partiers on my Miracle cruise either; the first 2 cruises I did on Carnival was more of a party atmosphere though.

My worse experience with drunks was on RCCL Sovereign back in 2001- we had an belligerant,loud, obnoxious drunk like 2 tables away in the kismet dinningroom who pretty much ruined dinner for us. He kept screaming at his wife(girlfriend?) and the waiters. NOTHING pleased him and I could not understand why he wasn't escorted out of there. That same cruise also was a bunch of drunk college students throwing one another FULLY CLOTHED into the Lido pool. This went on for 30-45 minutes and nothing was done about that either. So anyway I guess this kind of thing can happen on any line. I guess though we should go and complain ourselves instead of expecting staff to do something about it.

Carnival Tropicale 10/15/98 Western Caribbean
RCCL Sovereign of the Seas 11/22/99 Bahamas
Carnival Fascination 09/23/00 Southern caribbean
HAL Statendam 05/20/01 Alaska
RCCL Sovereign of the Seas 11/08/01 Bahamas
Pacific Princess 09/29/02 Bermuda
Carnival Inspiration 12/14/03 Western caribbean
Carnival Miracle 04/09/04 Bahamas

[This message was edited by momofmeg on 05-17-04 at 10:23 AM.]
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When we made ours they told us to be there at 8:30 - this was the stingray city and reef tour. They also told us that they would not charge our credit card until we got there - I suppose you could clarify that with them. I took that to mean that if we didn't make it for some reason they wouldn't charge us but who really knows if you don't specifically ask. They told us the later tour would get us back too late - as the ship is an hour different from Cayman time.
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