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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2006, 01:52 PM
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Hi,
First time cruisers here. My wife and I will be on the Inspiration leaving Tampa Nov. 20, 2006 for a 5 day trip to the western carribean. Anyone else on the same ship?
Venu
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Old 10-09-2006, 06:27 PM
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Yay! Finally a roll call for our ship!!! My husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary on the Inspiration November 20-25! We told the (grown) kids to forage for their Thanksgiving dinner this year, because Momma and Daddy are going to the Caribbean!

Can't wait, am counting the days.
HeidiH0
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:53 AM
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Hi Heidi,
I am glad to see at least one couple on this ship... I thought my wife and were going to be the only peole on board!

We are first time curisers so do you have any quick pointers for us? I am going through the boards to collect some tips. Thanks
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:13 AM
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Location: Orlando, FLA
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Have a good time on the Inspiration. Unfortunately I will not be on that cruise next month with you. But, I did take a cruise on the Inspiration last year, and I had a really good time. Let me see if I can remember what I liked the most....

Make sure to atttend the Midnight Chocolate Buffet. Make sure to bring along a camera. They had beautiful works of art in the form of sculptures of Ice, Chocolate, Marizipan, and Watermelon. Let's not forget the best works of art: the desserts!

During dinner, everything was really good. But what I liked best were these chilled sweet soups. One night they had Sweetened-Chilled Mango soup, the other night Sweetened-Chilled Lychee soup. They served them as appetizers before the entré. They were absolutely delicious. They were like the best milkshake I ever had, only flavored with mango or lychee(a tropical asian fruit), and melted but not warm.

The Brassiere cafeteria was the buffet alternative to the main dinning room. It is located all the way at the aft end of the ship up on the pool deck. I ate in my assigned dinning room all 5 nights, but I checked out the Brassiere a few nights. The food looked really good. It may have been well worth it if you don't mind the long lines. They had a 24 hour pizzeria in the back of the Brassiere. I had a few slices and they were really good. Especially if you get a slice hot from the oven. They also had soft serve ice cream in self service "Carvel-style" hydrolic-lever type machines, which you could choose between vanilla, chocolate, or a twist of the two. I had a few cones, with all three flavor combinations and really liked them. Not too far from the Pizzeria, in an island bar, was a Deli-sandwich station. Some of the other passengers said the deli-sandwiches they made for you, at this station, were outstanding. Unfortunately I was full of pizza and ice cream, so I missed out.

As for the entertainment, well.. it was pretty good. I suppose the Cruise Director is in charge of the talent you will see. And onboard the Inspiration, the CD was an interesting guy. If I remember correctly, his name was Chris Roberts. He was a big burly man with a southren drawl. He would go up on stage sporting a knee length leather jacket. He looked more like a cast member of the Sopranos, rather than a CD. During one of the evenings shows, he did a performance as John Belushi's character in the Blues Brothers with all the singing and dancing. I was impressed. Another great talent on board was a Russian dance couple named Demitri and Svetlana. They were amazing. He would pick her up and spin her around in ways that seemed to defy gravity.

In terms of things you need bring and need to avoid during the cruise:

First of all, check out the advice for 1st timers from the Milano's Click here to go to "Booking Your First Cruise" by The Milanos

In addition, bring various sizes of ziploc bags. I am not sure if it was the Milanos, but someone on this website suggested you pack your belongings in different ziploc bags by catagory (i.e. Medicines, reading matierials,snacks, toiletries, etc.). I did that and found out it really works well. I could get to what I wanted really fast, and if there was ever a spill, it would be contained to one bag, making clean-up a snap.

If you like to gamble in the casino. I found bringing a few rolls of your coins, to use in the slots, helped. That would be a few rolls of Quarters and Nickels. I did not see any slots that ran on dimes or pennies. I did see a few that ran on dollar coins, too. So, if you are a high rolling slot player, bring a roll of dollar coins, too. And, of course, the casino cashier behind the cage, will have plenty of rolls of coins you can trade your dollar bills for. Just remember to keep your gambling in check: the odds of winning are stacked against you.

Remember to bring an multiple outlet electrical adapter. In my cabin on the Inspiration, there was only ONE electrical outlet. And I mean ONE place to plug in ONE 120volt AC (American) electrical device, and ONE place to plug in ONE 220volt(European)electrical device.

They have a coin operated laundry-mat onboard the Inspiration. If you plan to use it, bring some of your own detergent,fabric softener and extra rolls of Quarters(in addition to the ones for the casino slots) . I use it during my cruise. But it was on a different deck and other side of the ship from where my cabin was. So I spent allot of time walking to get there. And I spent allot of time waiting there, sitting vigil as I watched my clothes go round and round in the washer and dryer. They also had a iron and ironing board. Anyway, next time, I will spend more money and have them do my laundry for me. I probably wasted allot of time on the Inspiration, inside the laundry-mat. Time I could have better spent having fun somewhere else.

Make sure you bring some spray disinfectant (like a small can of Lysol). You may have opporitunities where you would need to use it. In my case, I wish I had some when I put on my lifevest. On the first day, just before the Inspiration leaves Tampa, everyone is required, by law, to participate in a life boat. Basically, you put on your lifevest inside your cabin and go to your "Abandon Ship Station" (which in my case was the main auditorium: The Paris Lounge). When I put on my lifevest, I could feel moisture. I hope it was from a crew member cleaning it, and NOT THE SWEAT FROM THE PREVIOUS PERSON(S) THAT WORE IT! So on my next cruise, I will spray down my lifevest with Lysol before I put it on!
.....And yes, you will be required to participate in the lifeboat drill. On the Inspiration, and every other ship you will cruise on. It's the law.

Things I would avoid.....
When you enter your cabin you will discover they will leave you an ice bucket and various bottles of drining water and sodas. You will be charged for each bottle you drink. And the bottles are really overpriced. So, I did not drink any, I just kept them out of the way inside the desk cabinet during the cruise.
There is a phone in your cabin. You can use it to call the Information Desk, to order room service, as an alarm clock in the morning AND TO CALL HOME. Unless it is a dire emergency, DON"T CALL HOME. THey will charge you around $8 PER MINUTE! to call home. The same is true if someone at home calls you.

In terms of shore excursions offered to Inspiration passengers:
While in Grand Cayman, I chose the Sea and See Tour. Which was good. I heard that the shore excursions to the Stingray City sandbar were great. I heard you can pet and feed the stingrays there. And don't worry, the stingrays are very gentile creatures. What happened to Steve Irwin was a freak accident that was extremely rare. Just make sure not to step on one that might be burried in the sand. Kick up some sand and stomp your feet as you walk along (do the "Stingray Shuffle").
As for Cozumel, I went on Mexican Folklore and Shopping shore excursion. It was good if you want to see really talented Mexican dancers and hear really talented Mexican musicians. But I heard the best shorexcursions in Cozumel, involved going to the beaches and/or going underwater. Couzumel has been a popular destination for scuba divers for many years. Shopping in Cozumel is also really good. While there, you will find good deals on liqour, silverware, Mexican crafts, and vanilla extract. The vanilla they sell there is the real thing, and allot better than the stuff they sell in the supermarkets here.

When I went to Tampa, to board the Inspiration, I drove there. I parked my car in the long term parking garage accross the street from the Inspiration;s pier (#2) for the five days. It was expensive $12 per day x 5 = $60. But it was very easy and convienient.

So, that is all I can think of with regard to my cruise aboard the Inspiration. She was a fine ship. I am sure you will have a great time on her. Enjoy your cruise.
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Old 10-24-2006, 10:08 PM
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Let me write some more...

This time, a few corrections and additions:

1st Correction:
Quote:
They have a coin operated laundry-mat onboard the Inspiration. I use it during my cruise.
Of course, that was the wrong tense of the verb "use". Maybe I was tired and my finger did not go down far enough on the "d" key.
2nd Correction:
Quote:
On the first day, just before the Inspiration leaves Tampa, everyone is required, by law, to participate in a life boat.
.....in a life boat DRILL. Also known as a "Muster Drill". In addition, all those commas in the sentence may have been unnecessary.
2nd Correction:
Quote:
When you enter your cabin you will discover they will leave you an ice bucket and various bottles of drining water and sodas.
.....various bottles of DRINKING water and sodas.

Hopefully I corrected all of my typos in my last post. Now...on to a few more additional pointers:

Make sure you bring a light sweater. In the outdoor (open deck) areas of the ship (the pool deck, the observation deck, etc.) when the ship is travelling at full speed, it can get quite windy. At night time, these areas can get quite windy and chilly. On my cruise on the Inspiration, I was in these areas at night and spotted a few people in T-shirts and shorts that were shivering wishing they had packed something warm on that cruise.

If this is your first time cruise, you will realize that paper money is accepted in one place and under one circumstance onboard the ship. The one place paper money is used is in the casino. The one circumstance is optional gratuities (tips) to your crew members. In ALL OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES, your room card is used as currency onboard the ship. This is also known as your "Sail and Sign" card. It is used to unlock/open the door to your room. It also has your assigned time for dinner, your assigned dinning room, and your assigned table listed on the card below your name. As I said, it is the official currency used on the ship. Every purchase you make, even something as small as a candy bar purchased at the gift shop will be charged to this "Sail and Sign" card of yours. In the early morning hours when the ship arrives back in Tampa, a final bill showing all the charges made to this "Sail and Sign" card of yours will be slipped under your door while you sleep. You will then have just a little time left to review the charges and despute any errors at the Information Desk. Fortunately for me, there were no errors so I did nothing. Eventually the bill was charged to my credit card (which I provided to them filled-out on the travel documents at check-in).

That brings me to another point. You will recieve your travel documents by mail. Make sure to fill them out before you leave for Tampa. I think the only thing basically to fill-out is the one page about your Sail-and-Sign card where they ask for your credit card number. On the first day of your cruise, when you check in at the ticket counter, the Carnival ticket agent will rip that page out of the documents, ask for that credit card and stamp the back of that page with the imprint of the credit card. You will then soon recieve your Sail and Sign Card. Make sure not to loose it, ESPECIALLY DON'T LEAVE IT IN YOUR ROOM, Walk out in the hallway, AND CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND YOU! One one night, I made that stupid mistake and was locked-out until my cabin steward could come along and unlock my door for me. I gave him a few dollars tip to express my gratitude.

The items that passengers might use allot on the cruise (and might have forgot) were on sail onboard the ship. They included: camera film (35mm and digital cards), Suntan Lotion, Sunglasses, Hats, Water bottles, etc. Unfortunately, the prices they sell them onboard the ship will be subtancially higher that the prices they sell for at your local store. For example, I saw allot of the those 35mm disposible cameras for sale onboard the ship. At my local store, they would sell for around $5 to $10. Onboard the ship, they sold them for $20! So, don't forget to bring
those need to have items.

One last thing. The most important thing to bring on your cruise is a happy attitude. Otherwise, you will never enjoy your cruise.

So, that has to be it for now. I wish you the best for your up coming cruise. Have a good time.
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jatesan:
We are first time curisers so do you have any quick pointers for us? I am going through the boards to collect some tips. Thanks
Hello again! We are so glad to know that we are not the only ones going, as well. I was starting to get a bit paranoid that there were no Roll Calls for this trip! Since this is our second cruise, we are using a lot of the tips we have learned on these boards such as the wonderful advice given by Frase on this thread.

The things that stand out that we will be doing is having a lanyard for our Sail and Sign card, reading the Capers religiously every day, trying new foods, having more pictures taken even if we don't buy them, and exploring the ship more.

I am also going to do an idea brought up on another board... I will bring a book type journal to leave in the library. I will include a picture of my husband and I and a short blurb of our trip. Sort of like "Geo-cacheing". Would love to include you two for a page in the book! Then I will advertise on these boards for future Inspirationers to look at it and leave a pic and a message as well. How fun it would be to go back on the Inspiration in a few years and see how many people added to it!

Also - We should at least make sure we get a chance to meet and say HI... It might be too difficult to arrange a place and time, we're all on vacation! But you should be able to spot us. My husband is deaf, so if you notice the middle aged couple using Sign Language - that is us! My husband has very short white hair, and I am salt and pepper. We're both on the heavy side. He will be at the Texas Hold'em table A LOT! and I will be on deck reading A LOT! We are going on the Playa Mia Beach Break in Cozumel, and just wandering around in Grand Cayman.

If I think of anything else in the next 23 days, I will be sure to let you know. Feel free to email me as well! Can't wait!!!
Heidi and Bill
HeidiHeidiH0@aol.com (remember that last 0 is the number zero)
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 11-13-2006, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jatesan:
Inspiration leaving Tampa Nov. 20, 2006 Venu
One week from now we will be on our cruise!!! Can't wait. Hope to see you there!
Heidi and Bill Jones
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:59 PM
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Hi Heidi & Bill,
We hope to see you there too! We have been extremely busy and are looking forward to a week long break. We are easy to find, we will probably the only Asian Indian + American couple on the ship.
Venu & Shannon
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Old 11-28-2006, 05:08 AM
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Well, our cruise is over. Sigh. We had such a great time! Was so glad to meet you Venu and Shannon, even though we didn't hook up until late. You guys seemed like a very nice couple. I hope you had fun depite the weather, the rough seas, the port change, and the fact that they made us get off the ship on Saturday. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and now I need to have another cruise countdown to get me through the long workdays and eating out of the vending machine! Will be dreaming of chocolate melting cake,
Heidi
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