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Age: 33


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Inspiration

Sailing Date: 2010-09-16

Itinerary: Cozumel

This was my first cruise and I really had no idea what to expect. It was a 4-day from Tampa to Cozumel. I thought it was going to be a non-stop party but was sadly mistaken. I went with 3 single girlfriends 28-33 yo. We did it budget style & tried to spend as little $$ as possible (not a mistake I'll make again...). Next time I will definitely save up & be willing to spend a little extra. I felt like there was a lot of downtime. I was often bored and wished I would have eaten less so I could have spent more time at the beautiful gym (which I didn't check out until the last day). My biggest pet peeve of the cruise was these photographers taking pictures ALL THE TIME! When we asked that they not take our pictures they would be very RUDE...saying things like "you're being lame" & giving us nasty looks. It happened more than once, to the point that I complained to Guest Services. (BTW I did go look at some of the pictures we did allow. To "buy" them they cost more than $20).

The food was good. Not exceptional but average good (sorta like the entire cruise). We ate at the buffet for breakfast & lunch and I always found food that was yummy (but also had food that stayed on my plate). The fruit was very fresh! We had "anytime" dining which was great for us because getting 4 women ready by a certain time is almost impossible. We never had to wait to be seated but we did wait for our food (average dinner time was 2 hours). The elegant dinner was fun with lobster & shrimp. Everyone was dressed up so bring some fancy clothes. You can order as many "starters, entrées, & desserts" as you want during dinner. I suggest getting what you want because portions are small & if one is great the other won't be very good. The desert cheese platter was very nice way to end dinner. I'm still confused about why it took so long to bring us our food. (It didn't matter if we all ordered 1 entrée or 3. It still took what seemed to be forever) & why they made such a big deal about tipping the maître'd. They gave us an envelope in our stateroom before the last dinner & kept reminding us to tip. The maître'd never did anything for us & we never saw him. I would rather have tipped our wait staff to be a little more diligent. (They already took an automatic $40 from each of us for tips so I just tipped when I asked for extras.) BTW- there was a $10 "corking fee" to bring wine into dinner. We did it on the elegant dinner night. But on other nights, we had before dinner drinks and then asked the bartender for 4 wine glasses & opened our bottle of wine poured glasses and brought them into dinner with us.

Like I said earlier we went BUDGET! $250 per person for a 4-day cruise. One of the other girls booked it so I didn't realize all 4 of us were staying in one room the size of my bathroom. This was TOTAL HELL for me (who has lived alone in a 3 bd/2 1/2 bath home for the last 10 yrs). The room was spotless when we arrived A LOT less than that by the time we left. There were 2 single beds on the floor then the steward would come & "unlock" 2 bunk beds from the wall at night. Suitcases fit under the bed & there was room to hang dresses & unpack a little in drawers. We asked him to bring extra ice buckets & keep them filled but he never did. One ice bucket was filled x2 a day. Everything in the room was for 2 people & we had to ask for extra glasses (they never came) & towels. I think our problem was that our steward didn't speak English. Also, room service was difficult. Every time I called they told me I called the wrong # & when I found the right one I couldn't understand them. They always made cute animals out of towels which made us all smile...except on the last day we all were rolling w laughter bc what I think was supposed to be a seal looked like a HUGE vagina. It was hilarious! (yep, our steward earned himself an unexpected tip with that one.)

This is a very small boat. There were a lot of things going on, just nothing I really enjoyed. I'm very glad I brought my nook & magazines (& that I liked to eat!). There is only one small pool & you need to get up early to "save" lounge chairs in prime locations. They say you can't "save" chairs but everyone did it & no police. There was loud music & an annoying activities guy (but that was expected). He did scavengers, hairy chest contest, line dancing, bingo (which was an extra cost), trivia, etc. Then around the ship they had things like towel animal class & couples contests. BORING. Karaoke & comedy at night were OK. The last comedian was VERY funny. I tried to go to the Disco or the other little bars but they were very smokey & hot I couldn't breathe. The last day I was going to try out the water slides but they were closed bc it was too windy. (There was also a put put course that was a good time waster.) Don't think you're going to do any shopping bc there are 3 tiny shops: typical souvenirs, over priced jewelry/watches & $10 handbags.

Deluxe Snorkel and Beach Party by Fury - This was AWESOME 3 hour excursion @ great price of $55. They picked us up on a huge catamaran at our cruise doc. They took us out for 45 min snorkel then about an hour 1/2 on a private beach with water trampolines & huge water slides. Pros: Beer, margaritas, water & soda was included (free after snorkel), snorkel gear provided, the private beach was amazing-clean & well kept. Cons: it was too short, they want you to buy pictures (my pet peeve, but the photog looked like a Mexican Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow LOL)...& Margaritas very week (to make up I probably had a few to many beers...yikes). It also left us plenty of time to enjoy Cozumel in the afternoon.

Overall it was a relaxing trip. I spent time working on my tan & reading. At night we tried to drink but since the bars were so smokey & cheesy we usually had drinks outside & went to bed early. We easily smuggled on some booze in water bottles and made our own drinks but only ended up drinking about half of what we brought. The elegant dinner (dressing-up) and the day in Cozumel was the most fun of the trip.

Be very careful of all the people in Cozumel. They will take advantage of you. Carlos & Charlie's will come around with shots, balloons, pictures, etc & charge for everything. After doing random shots w a boob juggling cocktail waitress she wanted $28. Then our waiter said he couldn't take a VISA gift card until I argued with him and ran it though the CC machine myself. Then he lied to me about how much the "exchange rate" was.saying my $50 gift card was only worth $40. I was almost to drunk to explain that I put in $50 when I ran it...its good to be able to speak fluent Spanish when in Mexico. Stand your guns when you know you're being taken advantage of...Also barter when buying anything!!

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