by Bill D
June 29, 2003
My wife and I and son(17) and his friend and daughter(15) and her friend arrvied at the terminal at 11:15 a.m. and were on board at 11:45 a.m. This was the fastest check-in we have experienced in the eight cruises we have taken. We had our documents checked and sail and sign cards issued and we had to wait in the next room for 10 minutes before they called our number. They told us we would not be able to go to our room because they wouldn't be ready. However, we checked anyway and they were. So, we dropped the carry-ons and went up to the Lido deck for lunch.
Room: we had two rooms, both on Empress deck. One inside and one outside. We booked very early for cheapest deck and ended up on Empress deck. Both rooms had two single beds and one cot. Cot was short and not long enough for one of the boys. His feet hung over end of cot. There was plenty of storage for clothes and there was plenty of room to move around with three in each cabin. Shower was adequate and Carnival provided shower gel and shampoo enough for a week. Also, there was small quantity of provided toothpaste and razors,etc. provided by Carnival.We had Rhoda,cabin steward, and saw her quite a bit in the hall way.She was quite good and always kept the room in order and with fresh towels.
Food: Lido deck was good. You always have a good selection. They had Lasagna the first day that was fantastic.We usually ate lunch and breakfast here. We ate in the Mardi Gras dining room for dinner. We, with a larger group, had tables 121 and 123. John from Pakistan and Michaela from Slovakia took very good care of all of us. John was very quiet and pertained to business but Michaela was very personable. Food in Mardi Gras was very good. Rack of Lamb, prime rib, lobster, steaks, salmon, grouper, shrimp, etc. and appetizers, soups, salads and deserts.....If you wanted an extra anything John brought it without hesitation.
The ship: The ship was very clean. I did not see any signs of needing repair. The only problem we experienced was the toilet overflowed in the girls room...twice....they compensated us with six drink coupons for the inconvenience. They did respond immediately when my wife called regarding the problem,both times.
Activities: plenty to do....or not to do if you choose...we went on The Pride last year and this ship was more active and a lot more fun. We did not use Camp Carnival. They have ping-pong tournaments, games at the pool,two adult pools,hot tubs,gym, aerobics, casino, long drive contest(simulator).Check the Carnival Capers newsltr every evening for the next day activities.
Shows:Cruise Director was very good,Lenny Haliday.He was seen quite a bit and was very funny.
Ports: Cayman Islands: very clean. Went on Sting Ray trip. This was our second time on this tour and it is just fantastic. We were taken to the sand bar and even though there were a lot of boats there it was not crowded and there were atleast one hundred stingrays... had just an hour to shop and did not buy anything...had to tender in here and not bad tendering in but what a line trying to get back to the ship
Costa Maya:they do have some excursions here but we did not take any. We took shuttle to end of pier where there are two small "resorts" where there are pools and a very small beach to swim at...no charge to use facilities...also quite a few merchants selling everything under the sun...make sure you bargain,do not pay the price they are asking. They will come way down.
Cozumel: emergency on board so we hightailed to Cozumel and got in at midnight instead of the next morning. We got off at 1:00 a.m. and were in Carlos and Charlies til they closed and then went to Senor Frogs...."out of control"....Strobe lights, fog, no lights, blaring music, and wall to wall people. We were back on board at 5:00 a.m. and up at 9:00 a.m. for Chankanaab Park....small taxi fare and $10.00 to get into park, per person. Stopped at Fat Tuesdayon way back to ship and what a pary going on there, dancing on the bar,singing ,drinking....
Belize: Went on Cave/River Tubing thru the ship.Thought aboout doing thru Reggie but opted out because of the distance away from ship. This was an excellent trip. Don't miss this one. We took early excursion and got on first tender in and on first bus to leave for river. Buses were old but clean and were air-conditioned. You can wear your suits or change when you get there..You will get wet. You grab a tube and light for your head and life vest if you need one and walk or rather hike for quite a while...about 25 minutes up a crude trail until you drop your tube in the water for a float down river.I had water shoes on. Not enough support for the rocks when walking. My son had flip flops on and was a problem too. His friend had on sneakers and had to put on and take off when crossing streams and did provide the best support on the trail but he didn't want to get them wet and he kept them dry until the last water fall when in the tube.
Days at Sea: always something to do or not to do...
Disembark: off at 9:30 a.m. you can sleep in but Lido deck will be crowded with everone trying to eat....
Had a great time on the Inspiration.