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Shannon

Age: 34

Occupation:IT

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Inspiration

Sailing Date: November 22nd, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean



Embarkation:

Living in Tampa is a plus, for we arrived at the terminal at 11:15am, which was already getting busy from the out-of-towners, and we began boarding around 12:10pm.

Have your ID and tickets ready. You get your photo taken here. Try to drop your carry-on in your room as soon as you board, for you want to make your way to the Lido deck for the noon time feeding.

Good Gravy! This is where you’ll get your first glimpse of the true, professional feeders/eaters onboard.


The Inspiration was very clean and was constantly being washed or painted while we were at sea. We were in the aft of the ship, Riviera level.

I did notice if one was to get sea sick, they would most likely feel pretty rough the higher the floor/level they slept on. The lower we went we'd feel less of a rocking sensation. Many people were wearing the patch behind the ears but my wife and daughter and I were fine.

Staff (Room Steward and Head Waiter)


Harve was our Room Steward. He did a great job; he seemed to always be outside our door. My 15yr old daughter loved the little animals he’d make out of the bath towels and leave on her bed.

You really need to pay the staff more then the suggested minimum, $10 a day; they DO NOT MAKE MINIMUM WAGE that you and I know of in the US. Remember, this is a foreign-flag ship, Bahaman. They work their butts off to help and please you.

Santi was our Head Waiter—HE WAS AWESOME! Santi was very funny and informative. We dined in the Carnival Dining Room (late, 8pm) and he’d always give us the scoop about the next day, i.e. time of arrival, things to do on-shore, tips, etc.

Accommodations:


We bunked in the Riviera level, which was very nice and roomy for the price I purchased it for. It had a retro ‘70s paint job (orange and yellows).

The room was actually larger then I expected. My daughter slept in the wall-mounted bunk bed while my wife and I had the queen size bed. All rooms come with cabled movies and onboard shopping channels…also a Gambling Channel that’ll teach you all the games in the casino.

There is a safe in the closet to lock up your passports and etc. The bathroom, with shower, was small but workable. The showers have wall mounted body wash and shampoo dispensers.

Food:

The self serve buffet food on the Lido Deck was good with a wide assortment of meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. The breakfasts consisted of scrambled eggs (tasted powdered mixed with real eggs), yogurt, fruit, pancakes, sausage links (had better), undercooked bacon (not crispy), omelets (these were good, ham, mushroom, cheese), bagels, and white, wheat bread.

You can drink as much coffee, tea, fruit juice, apple juice, orange juice, water—it’s free. All sodas will cost you a drink card, $25.00 for the week.

Lunch on the Lido varied from burgers, chili dogs with fries to jerk chicken and fish. The 24hr Pizzeria served an okay Pepperoni but their calzone was SAD. You can eat self-serve, soft ice with a wide variety of desserts. I stuck with fruit for dessert for I refused to gain 10lbs in 5 days, not to mention, going to the gym every morning at 0600hrs.

Dinner was the same on the Lido our first night. I strongly suggest going to your assigned dining room for dinner and other meals but remember shorts are not allowed.

The food in the dining rooms is top rate in taste and in presentation.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner onboard was superb.

Entertainment/Activities:

The activities during the day were pretty good while at sea, for all will have a wide variety to choose from. The casino was nice with a few heavy hitters losing their shirts. Also…No minors are allowed in the Casino.

The pools on the Lido deck were PACKED with kids; looked as if they were boiling over with kids. The water in all the pools is saltwater, which is pumped in and out of the pools daily. Wake up early enough, while hitting the top outside track, you’ll witness this—pretty cool.

Skip the Art Auctions but try to see the late night comedians and the other shows in the Paris Lounge.

I carried two bottles (JD) of booze on board that were in my checked luggage. I’m glad I did; I saved over $150 doing so.

On board at the bars you’ll pay the following for beverage service:

Domestics---$3.25
Imported---$3.75
NonAlc---$3.25
Cordials and Liqueurs---$4.50
Hot drinks---$1.00-4.50
Water (bottled)—$1.95—$3.25 (the shipboard water is fine)
Soft Drinks (without kid drink card) Glass, $1.00—Can, $1.50
Champagnes and Wines---$4.75-$7.50 a glass
Cognacs/Brandies--$4.25--$11.00 a glass

Carnival’s daily Specialty drinks--$6.25 in plastic souvenir glass.
$4.25 in a regular glass

Cocktail drinks--$3.95
Alcohol Malt Drinks--$4.75
Frozen Exotic Drinks--$4.95
Smoothies--$3.95
Scotches--$3.95--$5.50
Single Malts--$5.75-$8.25
Bourbon/Blends--$4.25--$5.75
Vodkas--$4.25-$5.50
Martinis--$5.50--$7.50
Rums--$3.95--$5.50
Gins--$3.95--$5.50
Tequilas--$4.25-$5.50


Tip: Buy your bottled hooch in Cozumel. Even though the prices in the onboard duty free shop are pretty good, I found many of the same bottles $2-3.00 cheaper in Cozumel.

Bring your own in your LOCKED and CHECKED luggage, if you’re a social drinker that wants to drink while on board. You’ll save $$$$$. Pour your beverage in plastic bottles or buy the Traveler size bottles.

Also…you CANNOT bring Cuban cigars back to the US with you. But, they never checked my luggage when I chose to carry my own bags off at the end of the cruise. Customs just checked our passports—that’s it!

Gym:

The hours listed for the gym are 6am-8pm. Most mornings they opened late. Nice, heavily used equipment. There are 6-7 treadmills, Stairmaster, 2 Elliptical and some recumbent bikes for cardio.

Most of the hardware looks like the old Universal Gym equipment but it’s all Keiser Air compressed stations—step on a pedal and increase/decrease the weight. There was a flat bench and incline in the corner that had dumbbells going up to 70lbs.

You’ll find a steam room and sauna in the gym area, which was very nice late at night.

Ports:

Grand Cayman
You’ll have to take a ferry service to get to the island from the ship. The lush vegetation on the island was destroyed in the recent hurricanes. Every building I saw was damaged.

If you can look beyond all the damage (easy to do), you’ll find the beaches are perfect. Though there were many shipmates on the bus tour that complained the ENTIRE time about the damage.

Remember—get back to the ship EARLY!!! You’ll be waiting in a long line otherwise. Don’t buy much here; it’s MUCH cheaper in Cozumel.

Excursion
We did the island tour with the stop in Hell (waste of time), Turtle farm and Sting Ray City. Next time I’ll get the tickets online from another guide, for we bought the onboard Carnival tickets--$$$. But it was worth it. Sting Ray City was GREAT!

Cozumel

WAS DAMN HOT! It was very humid when we got of the boat. This is a tourist Mecca—stickers, badges, sombreros, you name it, they have it. If you didn’t sneak your booze on board, like me, buy your booze here!

Excursion
The Mayan Ruins horseback tour with Jerry as our guide was a blast. It was kind of pricey but worth it.

All together for three people, the Caymans and Cozumel excursions cost us $444.00.

You can find these same excursions much cheaper online before you go. I waited until the last minute.

Debarkation:

This was like the Army…hurry up and wait. You’ll have a debarkation meeting the day before you arrive back to Tampa.

We chose the early morning (7:30am) option of walking our own gear off the ship for the US Customs inspection—very wise choice. You’ll be waiting a while if you allow Carnival to take your bags off the ship. That way begins a 9am and goes until 12pm.

The inspection consisted of going down an escalator, bags on back/in hand, and showing a uniformed officer my passports and ticket stub—EASY!

Summary:
Would I do it again? Yes, I will. But I’d like to do the Eastern Caribbean and cruise on the new Miracle sometime.
 


 


 

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