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Age: 36

Occupation:Legal Secretary

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Inspiration

Sailing Date: July 18th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

There were 9 of us that went on this Western Caribbean cruise on board the Carnival "Inspiration". My in-laws (they kept my son Cody (age 9) in their room, and my son Anthony's friend Lee and his mother.

Let me start off by saying that my family had the time of our lives on Carnival's Inspiration!! We left from the Port of Tampa. Everything went smoothly getting on the boat. We arrived early and only had to wait about a ½ hr. Getting on the boat was a breeze if you ask me. Once we got on board the ship we went up to the Lido deck and got cheeseburgers and fries. The Lido deck was awesome. Huge water slide and 2 Jacuzzi's and a nice size pool. We sat around for about an hour and then started touring the ship. To sum up the ship "BEAUTIFUL"!!! Very sparkly and made up. I thought it was gorgeous! I love lots of lights and color and this ship had it!! It was very easy to figure out the layout of the ship. If you are ever unsure where you are going --in the elevators they have the floors and what rooms are on each floor. Helped a lot with my kids! We went to our room which was located on the Riviera floor and we were very surprised at how nice our room was. There were 4 of us staying in the room. (Me, my husband, and 2 kids (ages 6 & 12)). Their beds came out of the wall and I thought that was so perfect. Ours were moved together into a queen size bed. Our view out the window was awesome! Many nights when I got back to the room I would sit and look out the window at the waves. Very relaxing! The bathroom was nice size (considering everybody told me how small it was) I was prepared for the worst and it wasn't bad at all! The room was VERY clean. There was plenty of room to store all of our clothes also. I want to mention that our room steward "Antonio" was wonderful. He made these little animal towels for us every night and kept our room immaculate! He even remembered which bed my daughter slept in because every night while we were out he would put her stuffed animals on her bed waiting for her when we returned later in the evening. Little things like that were special!

Food - Once we got unpacked it was already time for dinner. We had the early sitting (6:15) in the Mardi Gras dining room. Our waiter "Coco" was wonderful. He was from Thailand and he was very funny and entertaining to us and the kids. Did lots of magic tricks and had us laughing a lot! The dining room was very pretty. We had a table with an ocean view which was nice! The food was wonderful. I cannot say that there was ever a time we had dinner that there wasn't something that I didn't like on the menu (and I am VERY picky!). The kids could order whatever they wanted. My Cody loved the macaroni and cheese and my daughter had chicken nuggets with fries every night. There is so much food on board. You can eat and eat. The pizza and ice cream is 24 hrs. so if you wanted a little snack it was always available. The room service was also great which we did take advantage of a lot also. If I had to say anything negative it wouldn't be the food itself, but the darn lines. People just don't get it. If you are waiting for an omelet then move over so the people who are NOT waiting for an omelet can get their food. That is what really made me irritated. But, when you have a few thousand people in the same place, I guess you just have to have patience which isn't my strong point.

Shows- The shows were great and they had a lot of fun activities for everybody at all times. The cruise director was hilarious and made us laugh constantly. I would have to say we enjoyed the Karaoke nights the most in the Candlelight Lounge. The kids just loved it and we enjoyed watching people sing. The Casino was terrific. Just enough tables and things to keep you busy for hours and hours. My husband and I spent a lot of time in there!

Kids - One of the best things about this cruise was the "Camp Carnival"!!! My 6 yr. old and 9 yr. old met friends and had a ball. I never had to hear wining about being bored. I put them in there and they were busy for hours on end for my husband and I to enjoy ourselves. It was great! They watch the kids from 10-3:00 a.m. also if you need that. We took advantage of that! The counselors were so nice and truly enjoyed being with the kids. Made it a lot of fun for them!!!

My 12 yr. old had the time of his life. He made about 10 new friends from all over. They spent every evening in the Teen Disco and Karaoke room.

Excursions – Grand Cayman – We went with Stingray City Charters which I booked online. It was great! We stopped at 2 corral reefs and snorkeled (the fish were sooo pretty and absolutely amazing how many of them we seen!) and the 3rd stop was stingray city. Talk about an amazing experience. I had the pleasure of holding the bag of squid. Well they completely swarmed me and were rubbing all over me. The Stingrays were so beautiful and graceful. They would suck the squid right out of your hand like a vacuum. My daughter and I kissed one. They are very gentle. We were in shallow water so I never put on my mask. They just came right up to you. It was the best experience! I cannot recommend enough that you do this! The kids were going crazy. Our next stop was Costa Maya. We shopped there and the kids swam the entire day in the gigantic pool they have there. It was a lot of fun for them. The shopping was a bit pricey I thought, so we didn't buy hardly anything. My daughter and girlfriend did get their hair braided there. It was so cheap! Don't take the offer they give you – make sure you bargain with them! It was great because the Mexican ladies do not pull the braids tight, unlike the like the African American lady that did my daughter's hair in Disneyland. The braids did not hurt them at all when they were being put in. (My daughter's braids are still in after 1 week!) Next was Belize. I booked our excursion online for Belize. We were driven to a Jungle Resort Spa with all the trimmings and went horseback riding through the woods. It was great. The horses were well taken care of and the day was great. It was hot as all heck though. Belize is a very poor place. The things we saw and how the people lived were very depressing so be prepared if you sightsee outside the town itself. Next was Cozumel. Talk about shopping! Holy cow. I am glad that we didn't buy anything in Costa Maya. Save your money for Cozumel. We had a taxi take us downtown and there are shops everywhere! People will bargain with you and you can get things much much cheaper there! We had a blast shopping. They had a ton of water sports and stuff that we didn't even get a chance to dobecause we had so much fun shopping. |

Every island takes American money. Just make sure you change your money to small bills at the Purser's desk before your excursion because they don't have a lot of change to give back to you. They will give you American money back if you ask them to.

To sum up our trip I cannot say enough how beautiful the Carnival ship "Inspiration" was and how great a time we had. My 12 yr. old son is already planning with the friends he met to try and hook up next year. We are planning on cruising again for sure next year. It was the best place to have fun and have the kids have fun without having to entertain them ourselves.

If you are soon to be vacationing on the Inspiration before it retires, you will have a wonderful time!!! The Captain and all the crew were extremely friendly and helpful!!

PS If you are looking for a peaceful place to layout and not be with a lot of people the children's pool in the back of the boat always had a lot of chairs. Just bring your headphones so you don't have to listen to the kids. Haha



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