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Inspiration Review-long


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We just returned from the Inspiration yesterday. It was a wonderful trip over all. I'll give you some highlights.

We arrived at the port at 11:45 am. (We had planned to arrive earlier, but it didn't work out.) Anyway, this turned out to be a good thing. We went through the fun pass lane. It was very quick without any problems. I didn't have my past guess number, but this wasn't a problem either. I was issued an invitation to the past guest party. We were on board and eating lunch at the Lido deck by 12:45.

It was very exciting to watch the ship leave port. I wish that we didn't have dinner so early, though, because we didn't get to see the ship go under the bridge.

The dining room was wonderful! Our waiter Nestor, did whatever he could to please us and our sometimes difficult children. He made little paper boats out of the child's menu. He also made a rabbit out of the napkins. The bus boy was also wonderful. I believe his name was Chuch chai (Forgive me on the spelling.)After the first night he always made sure to bring me cappucino without even asking me.

The Brasserie had ok food. My girls loved it though. There was always hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries to be had. It was nice that it was by the pool area because we didn't have to go very far to get food.

We only did room service one morning. We did the continental breakfast. We put what we wanted on a door hanger and hung it outside the door. The next morning they arrive with your food at the time that you asked. It was nice to be able to eat breakfast without worrying about getting the kids dressed and ready for the day first.

Our room steward, "Joe" was wonderful. He always had a happy greeting for us while we walked down the hall. He called our children by name and was always available when we needed him. We had fresh towels and linens every day. The girls were always excited to see the new towel animal that was on the bed at night. He also left cookies for the girls on their pillows on several nights.

Ports of call: Grand Cayman-We had a terrific time here. We booked with Soto's cruises and did the snorkeling/stingray tour. We made 3 stops and each stop got better. On the second stop the tour guide got out of the boat and coaxed an eel and a shark out of their hiding places. I'm hoping that the pictures that my husband got come out. He was even nipped on the finger by the eel. It was absolutely amazing. The stingrays were wonderfully gentle and loving creatures. It was awesome to see so many. They feel like silk.

Costa Maya: We ended up not docking here. The water was rough and the captain was worried that we would break a rope. It was beautiful here from what I could see from the ship. My girls were a bit disappointed, but Carnival gave us a $25 per person credit for missing this port.

Cozumel: Due to the fact that we missed Costa Maya we got to Cozumel at 7:00pm instead of 9:00am. It was nice to spend the evening in Cozumel. We left the kids on board that night and shopped and explored kid free. Cozumel is definitely a party time, and you need to be careful where you take your kids. The next morning we went to Paradise Beach. This beach was absolutely amazing. They have a wonderful bar area and lots of lounge chairs and umbrellas that are free to use. They also have floats, snorkle equipment, kayaks, a water trampoline,and an "iceburg" that you can climb. These ammenities are all free. They just ask that you purchase food and drink. We had the Nachos Supreme and several drinks. We met Paradise Beach Tom. He was very friendly and we enjoyed spending some time with him. My girls really enjoyed this day at the beach as well.

Belize: Well this day started and ended poorly, but in between was wonderful. We booked Cave Tubing with Coral Breeze. I don't suggest you book with Coral Breeze. They are just a booking group. They did not inform our guide that he was to meet us. Therefore, we waited over an hour for our guide. We eventually found out that our guide was Martin from Wet and Wild. We had seen him earlier, but didn't realize that he was with Coral Breeze. We were very upset, but after we were given a discount we went on the tour. The tour was awesome. Martin pointed out many interesting things in the rain forest We saw a pregnant tarantula. He also gave me a leaf that had a natural antihistamine. I was having an allergic reaction to something and this helped a great deal. He gave us another leaf and asked us to smell it. We smelled it. It was familiar, but he had to tell us what spice it was. It was allspice. The walk through the rain forest was very exhilarating. I enjoyed it a great deal. If you are a bit out of shape it may be a little taxing for you. When we get to the place to begin the cave tubing we see crystal clear fresh water. It was nice to see fresh water after several days with salt water. It was very cool. 72* I don't normally like the cool water, but this was very refreshing after the hike. The tubing through the caves was nice as well. It's amazing what nature provides us with. When we got close to the end of the tubing, we stopped and several people were able to swing from a rope and jump into the water. Many people enjoyed this. My husband included. We were running late so we grabbed the lunch to eat on the way back to port. The only problem was the van wouldn't start! This was awful. I worried a great deal about getting back to port before the ship left. But, finally the van was started and we were on our way. I would book with Wet and Wild and Martin again. I would not book with Coral Breezes again. We were not happy that they did not inform Martin that we would be waiting for him.

Camp Carnival was wonderful. The only problem I had is that my oldest daughter was a little bored being in the 2-5 group. I should have asked to move her up to the 6-8 group, but I did not. Next time, I will know better. Both kids enjoyed Camp. It just would have been nice to have some more interesting activities for the 5 year olds.

This was a wonderful vacation that my family will never forget. Thanks to Cruise Critic we have met some lifetime friends. We had a wonderful time with ayeayesir and her family. We met the first day and had a great time the rest of the trip.

If you have any questions just let me know. I'm just doing this from the top of my head, so I am sure that I missed some areas.

days until we sail on the Inspiration 5/30/04
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So glad to read your review! I've almost decided on this cruise (4 nights out of Tampa) for February 2005. I can get my family of 5 to Tampa on usa3000 air for just 700.00. I was originally going to drive to FL, but I can't pass up that airfare. My father in law lives in Tampa so this would work perfectly. I was trying to find some recent review of Inspiration so yours came at a perfect time! How old were your girls? You said one was 5, right? My boys will be 6 and 8 when we go so they'd be in the older group. My daughter will be 15 so she's a different story!

How were the pools? My kids love to swim! Did they have a slide?

Do you have any pictures of your cruise?



Voyager 5/04
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My girls are 3 and 5. The pools were nice. The deepest one was 4 ft 9 inches. There is a slide. There were many kids on it. Your kids will love the 6-8 group. They had many activities for them. The 15 year old will have a good time as well. She will likely meet someone her own age and hang out with them the entire cruise. I don't have my pictures developed yet. I'll try to figure out how to post them online when I get them.

days until we sail on the Inspiration 5/30/04
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Thank you for your review, we will be cruising on the inspiration in August - first time cruiser and can't wait. We are also planning to go to paradise beach. We were thinking about doing to stingray tour in grand cayman, but I am not a good swimmer and a little scared. We might just go to the westin hotel and go on the beach. I was wondering what kinds of food were on the midnight buffet?

Inspiration - August 2004
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kapcruiser you don't have to be a good swimmer to enjoy the sting rays. It is in 3 foot of water and we all stood around as the guide played with the rays. They will come right up to you and want you to pet them. You will love it a great time. Happy cruising

Sensation 4/29/01
Inspiration 5/4/03
Glory 5/1/04
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kapcruiser: With Soto's Cruises they stop at 2 places to snorkle before you get to the stingrays. You can get a life vest if you feel that you are not a strong swimmer. When we were there the water was rough, but I was still able to swim without the vest. Then, when you get to the stingrays you can stand. The water is 3-4 feet deep.

days until we sail on the Inspiration 5/30/04
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I also left a review of our cruise (see "Quick Review of Inspiration 5/30/04"). We also had a great cruise. No, it wasn't perfect. There are things that Carnival can to better, but overall we really enjoyed ourselves. The service was outstanding. My twins LOVED Camp Carnival. They just turned 4 and were perfectly entertained. I can see that it could be boring for an older 5 year old. My 7 y/o son wasn't sure about Camp Carnival the first few times but he made a few buddies and then begged to go back. We even used NOT going to Camp Carnival as a punishment when he misbehaved. I think your daughter would have enjoyed the older group a lot.

Sorry to hear about your Belize fiasco. At least you got a tour. They were all sold out by the time we decided. I heard from other passengers that the cave tubing was a blast. Belize without a tour is not fun. I would not leave the States again w/o a tour or definte plans for every port.

I had a hard time planning and making dinner last night. I actually had to... cook! And I had to make my bed this morning. Where, oh where is my cabin steward and dining room staff? I don't think I like this thing called "real life".

5/30/04 Inspiration
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