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Melissa Warren

Age: 39

Occupation:Registered Nurse

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Inspiration

Sailing Date: December 15th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Ok, I'll try to break this up to make it easy to read:

Embarkation: We got to the pier around 11 am, dropped our bags with the porter, parked and were on the ship by 12:15. The process was very smooth and our bags were by our cabin doors by about 4:30 - just after we sailed.

It was alot smaller the Royal Caribbean ship we sailed on but our cabin was much larger - very spacious. The bathroom had a basket full of toothpastes, lotions, razors, etc. There is a dispenser in the shower with Dove Shampoo and body wash. You get down comforters and feather pillows, too. They were showing a selection of 3 different pretty recent movies each day in the cabins plus ABC, CBS, and NBC. Other than that, not much to do in the cabin.

Activities: We didn't participate in too many of these. My 16 yo daughter loved club O2 and we didn't see her for much of the cruise. We never caught any of the shows but I heard they were great. We went to the Newlywed game and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and both were a lot of fun. My 21 year old son and his buddy felt there were too many kids and not enough young adults along with activities for young adults. There did seem to be a lot of "family" fun type things making this a great family cruise.

Food: All five of us felt the food was good but not great. Maybe on par with what you would get at Chili's or something like that. It was certainly plentiful but the portions in the dining rooms were small (ok for me but hubby was disappointed). I never tried the pizza but the kids liked it. I bought soda cards for the 16 yo ($16) and the 21 yo ($22) but not for hubby or I. There was juice, iced tea, etc for free up on Lido deck.

Liquor: We snuck several bottles of liquor in our checked baggage without a problem. We could have just as easily brought in our carry on bags as no one even glanced in my tote bag or my husband's backpack. We also brought 2 bottles of wine. We ended up bringing some back home as we had more than we needed. We did buy a couple of drinks on board and they are STRONG! I had two "drinks of the day" the first day and didn't need to touch my own liquor. If you don't get the souvenir cup the drink of the day is only $3.50 plus 15% tip and, trust me, you won't need many.

Casino: All I can say about this is - play Craps!!!!

Cozumel: Well you can certainly tell that this place was hit hard by Hurricane Wilma. We did some shopping in the area where the tenders drop you off and had a great lunch at Pancho's Backyard - killer margaritas. Warning - if you have teenagers and don't want them drinking you better stay with them, they will serve anyone alcohol in Mexico! We then took a cab downtown but that was a waste. It's just like any other tourist trap - everyone trying to bait you to come into their stores. The only difference here is they all give you free shots of tequila and free Cuban cigars! I wish we had done a shore excursion instead but it was too expensive and our day was cut short due to post-Wilma.

Debarkation: We chose the self-assist (meaning we would carry our own bags off the boat). They made the announcement at about 7:20 and we were in our car driving home by 7:45. No problems with customs at all. I accidentally left one of the cuban cigars in my purse so that was a good thing! (would have been a $100 fine).

Summary: A good cruise for families and those wanting a short, inexpensive trip. Having cruised on Royal Caribbean before though, I think we will go with RCL again next time - spectacular food and ships, worth the extra money.

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