Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Inspiration
by Brian R. Fey Sr.
Western Caribbean
November 8, 2008

My Wife and I set sail on the Inspiration for a second time this year, this one was to celebrate my wife's birthday.

For anyone who has read my review of my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, you may have noted that our next journey together was to Hawaii to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Tragically, while in Honolulu my wife's mom passed away, bringing a sad and depressing ending to our trip. This set the tone for the remainder of the summer and into the fall. Although nothing can repair that somber trip and memories, I wanted to allow us an opportunity to rebound a bit and a birthday cruise just seemed to be in order.

We set sail on Saturday, November 8th on the 5-day cruise. The day started off perfectly, other than being stranded in our driveway that morning by Super Shuttle who called an hour after they were supposed to pick us up. They said that they could not find a way to get through a triathlon that was underway to get to our house so they CANCELLED our pick-up! Well with no one else at home and my keys locked inside I had to break into the house, get my keys, load the car, and drive at warp factor seven to get to the cruise port. Yes, I found a clear, and legal way to get through the triathlon too!

OK, now I can say that the day was back in the perfection mode. Embarkation was fairly smooth and easy. Once on board it was lunchtime on the Lido deck followed by the required muster drill and the deck party. We were able to get to our cabin around 1:30 and found that the "Happy Birthday" decorations that I ordered from the Carnival website were already up and filled the entire cabin. They were just incredible!

We shoved off around 4:10 and made our way out of Tampa Bay and under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge about 2-hours later. Our first day "fun day at sea" was just that -- Fun! Lot's of activities throughout the day, sunny skies, smooth seas, great food, followed by the formal night in the Mardi Gras dining room. The "new" Maitre d' -- Wilson -- set a very nice tone for each and every dinner, and both the food and service were superior.

Our first stop was Grand Cayman that had just barely escaped a direct impact from Hurricane Palamo just a few days earlier. We did however have to debark from Spots Bay on the south side of the Island. This meant that we had to take a 20-25 minute bus ride to Georgetown for our excursion. We did the "Reef and Rays" snorkel trip that took us out to the barrier reef for 45 minutes of snorkeling and then over to Stingray City to snorkel with some very large stingrays. Despite my own cautions about being stung, I did find the gumption to get close enough to touch and "pet" one. Because of the travel issues of getting both to and from the ship there was no time to stop and tour Georgetown, but it looked like a very clean and friendly town.

The next day we went to Cozumel and once again we took part in the Fury Catamaran Snorkel excursion. To me, this is by far the best value and action packed tour available. Lots of fish to see, including barracuda and plenty of free beer and margaritas too!

On the way back on our second "fun day at sea" it was a little overcast and breezy but nothing that kept anyone away from the pool or from having fun. There were also plenty more great activities throughout the day and night. The new onboard comic -- Percy Cruz 2 -- was hysterical and filled with great humor and energy.

Debarkation day too was smooth and fast-paced and we were back on shore around 8:30.

We had another great time on the Inspiration and in all probability will sail on her again as we only live around 20 minutes away from the cruise port. Nevertheless, our next cruise will undoubtedly be yet another "birthday" cruise -- next October on the Legend for my 50th "Halloween" birthday. Although no one actually likes getting older, I just can't wait to turn 50 on the Carnival Legend!!!!