Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers
Carnival Cruise Lines

by cop513
Western Caribbean
April 20, 2006

Just returned from the Carnival Inspiration Cruise - April 20th thru April 24th (2006). There was a party of five celebrating my father's 80th birthday.

Arrived at Tampa Seaport between 11:00 - 11:15 am, checked our bags with the porter (included $2 tip per bag) and went right into the terminal. There was no line when we got upstairs (they have an elevator for those with walking difficulties or you can use the escalator) and check-in was smooth and painless. We sat and waited for the announcements to board (we were group #4) which started around noon. We were on board between 12:20- 12:30 even with stopping for pictures. We were told that the rooms were not available yet (they weren't - we checked) and to go right to the Lido deck for lunch (which we did).

Food was typical cruise line food - both buffets and dining room. It was better then adequate but definitely not gourmet (which I don't expect for that price). I've never been to a local restaurant that the food is always perfect - there are always good days and bad days when it comes to preparing food - even on board a cruise ship.

Our waitress was "Lina" and asst. was Anthony, both were outstanding with everything. We gave them a nice tip (above the daily charge to our sail and sign card)at the end of the cruise for their outstanding care for and to us. Lina, especially, made the dining experience wonderful.

We booked an inside cabin this go around - even though my DH and I have been on many cruise and cruise lines, we did this for the other guest with us - they were first timers and we wanted to keep the price down. Our room was M-159 on the Main Deck. We had Elias as our steward and we barely saw him, but he did a wonderful job keeping our room tidy. My father's room was next to us and my sister and her husband was next to his. They had Angel as their cabin steward and we saw him often. He also did an excellent job keeping the rooms clean and neat. The towel animals every night in our rooms were different. If I had a seal - they may have had a pig. We thought it was cute. Being mid-ship and that low caused no problem with ship movement or noise (except for returning guest to their rooms). I did have a problem with my bearing for a few days. I'm so use to a window to tell me which way the ship was moving and with no window, I found it a little difficult. Oh - the showers were large and clean.

Now - the bad news. We had a smell in our bathroom coming from the floor drains (in all our cabins) until my DH put soap down them a couple of times and that took care of it. The other thing was the towels - they were horribly stained the entire cruise we kept getting towels in our rooms that looked as if someone had used them to clean up messes. I have been on more then 20 cruises and never seen that before. Are the environmental officers not allowing bleach???? My sister and father had drain problems the second day out. They weren't draining. We called for maintenance and kudos for Carnival maintenance - they were there within ten minutes and fixed the problem. No more slow draining.

The entertainment was wonderful. The Vegas style shows were nice but loud. We saw only one comedian (they had two) on the first night - Kenny Miller (the other one was Carl Faulkenberry). I never laughed so hard.

Chris Roberts was the cruise director and was the typical cruise director that I've seen on other ships . . . I guess when you've seen one - you've seen them all. They had dance classes that were given (no charge) during the cruise that I thought was nice but, at times, it was hard to understand the instructor . . . and I have a knack for understanding accents.

And speaking of understanding - my goodness - the captain (Candeloro Donato) needs to speak up when he introduces his officers. I couldn't tell if he was speaking Italian or English and I wasn't the only one. It wasn't until I watch the replay of it, again in my room the next day, that I knew what he was saying.

Other then that there was the typical hairy chest contest, ice carving, bingo, horse racing and my DH's favorite - the slot machines.

Cozumel was both beautiful and hot. We rented two jeeps. The jeep rental was $66.00 for the day (for each) and we elected to get insurance (full coverage at $25.00). We also had to replace the gas we used and that was about $15.00. We got to stop and go pretty much where we wanted to and eventually parked in the downtown area to do some shopping.

We got a number on the Lido deck to get off the ship by way of tender. We only waited about a half hour and our number was called. In Cozumel there is one pier open and there was a RCI ship docked there when we arrived. There was also another Carnival ship that was tendering too. We came back about five to tender back and only took maybe 30 to 45 minutes to get back to the ship. That night we decided to eat at the buffet because our dining time was at 6:15 p.m. We wanted to spend as much time on shore.

Debarkation was not as organized as it was for the embarking. After they called for the self-assist it was a free-for-all for the rest of us - instead of calling floors or sections - they just said the rest of us can leave. Even with that - we waited in the Paris Lounge until most everyone left and then left the ship with no problem. My father and I cannot stand for long periods and it was just better for us to wait it out. They take your sail and sign card and "punch" you out. I guess it's their way of making sure everyone got off the ship. Then you go find your luggage - go through customs (do not and I repeat do not use your cell phone at that time - big no-no with customs) and then you're outside the terminal in no time at all.