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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Here's a quick rundown of our latest cruise over the weekend on the Inspiration: The Inspiration itself is considered an older ship, about 20 years old I believe, but they have modernized it. Food wise The pool buffet lines ... Read More
Here's a quick rundown of our latest cruise over the weekend on the Inspiration: The Inspiration itself is considered an older ship, about 20 years old I believe, but they have modernized it. Food wise The pool buffet lines have been turned into a Guy Fieri Burger Bar and a Mexican Food joint. I tried both and they were pretty good. The burgers were more home made type patties but all the different choices of toppings made up for it. Had a trio of tacos and the meats were surprisingly delicious. Never ate in the main buffet room except to grab a late night pizza since it was the only thing open. In terms of the main dining hall for dinner I'd give the place an 8 out of 10. Not the best cruise ship food I tried but none the less pretty good. Flat Iron Steak and Prime Rib were both good on consecutive nights and the sides were as well. Don't bother spending the extra $20 bucks for a better steak as the normal choices were just as good. Drinks We pre-paid for the Cheers Program which cost about $50 bucks a day and got us 15 drinks each per day, definitely a deal when you have nothing else to do on the ship other than relax, drink and have a good time. From what I saw, most liquor was top shelf, Goose or Patron were used the majority of the time for my requests. Unfortunately you can't share the Cheers programs with others, if there's another adult in the room with you then you both have to by the program but still definitely worth it in the long run. The two pools side bars are where we were the majority of the time but they do have a great bar in the back of the ship called the Alchemy where you can get some great cocktails if you getting tired of the tropical stuff up on the deck. Ensenada It is what it is, a port city in Mexico. Most people come to go to the main shopping district, grab a few deals then stop at Hussong's or Pappas and Beer and knock back a few. I did the Blow Hole trip once, not a big deal, something to say you went to once but don't need to see again. Some people don't mind getting hit up all the time by street vendors but for others it's a turn off. If you stay on the ship you're not missing too much. To get into town we paid about $2 bucks per person and then another $1 to get back on the ship. Entertainment Saw one Studio 54 type show one night which wasn't bad in the main theatre. The comedy club had a great comedian at one of the late night adult shows. Other than that it's a lot of bingo games and a family Hasbro show but since it's only a 3 night cruise you don't get a lot of options. In terms of tech, we all purchased the $5 a day WIFI plan for social networking and it worked out well, good coverage and speed throughout the ship. Service Dining room and room service employees were all great. Call you by name and try to give you a personable experience. In terms of our room, the only complaint we had was that the shower drain at times would overflow and go into the sink area of the bathroom but other than that it's like Vegas, how long are you actually going to be in your room anyway on the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We took the 3-day trip from Long Beach to Ensenada. We had an awesome experience and the entire weekend was just one long party. We got to pre-board for the wedding making it very easy, then a beautiful wedding/reception that was followed ... Read More
We took the 3-day trip from Long Beach to Ensenada. We had an awesome experience and the entire weekend was just one long party. We got to pre-board for the wedding making it very easy, then a beautiful wedding/reception that was followed by 3-days of non-stop fun and partying. The room steward was the best, our room was always fresh, clean and he always met us with a smile or friendly word. This was our first cruise and we were impressed by how much space we actually had in our standard room, good water pressure in the shower and toilets worked surprisingly well. Nice linens & pillows, the cute towel animals each night was a pleasant treat, and room was relatively quiet except the drunks/kids in the hallway. We dined with our group in the dining room each night and was treated to nice dinners and friendly wait staff. There were a couple of hiccups there, but the staff was always so friendly, accommodating, and fun, you really didn't mind. The only thing that could use some improvement was the very slow service at the bars. Be ready to spend a bit of time to get a drink, and even when they're not busy don't expect fast service (and they're not friendly ~ except the young gal in the atrium bar, she at least served her drinks with a hello & smile). We used the Carnival Hub app on our phones to communicate with each other, $5 charge is well worth it if you are travelling with a group. Our day in Ensenada was a lot of fun too. We went to the Rosario Beach Party at Papas & Beer. It is just what you would expect for a laid-back Mexico style party bar. They provided us seating in their reserved beach area (broken old plastic furniture), shade umbrellas, decent lunch, cold beers and great service. No complaints. The locals will try to peddle their wears but that is just Mexico, be ready for it. It's only about 30 minutes south of San Diego, so expect the ocean to have the same cold water. When the cruise ended they have that have that process down really smooth too, and we had no delays or problem (we took our own luggage off the boat). Would definitely do this trip again!! If you're looking for a quiet relaxing get away this is NOT the cruise for you. It's a fun party from the minute you board the ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I just got back from a three day cruise on the Inspiration (Oct. 7-10). I’ve done this weekend cruise many times but I never get tired of it. The port is one hour from home, closer to drive to then Vegas, and really a bargain when you ... Read More
I just got back from a three day cruise on the Inspiration (Oct. 7-10). I’ve done this weekend cruise many times but I never get tired of it. The port is one hour from home, closer to drive to then Vegas, and really a bargain when you consider that you get your room, food and entertainment. This time it was just me and my daughter. I was really looking forward to seeing the changes since dry dock. Basically, the ship looked the same to me with the exception of the addition of Guys Burgers and the Mexican food right beside it. (Forgot the name, might be Blue Iguana) I got to say that this trip boarding and disembarking were the easiest I’ve ever experienced in all my years of cruising, on any line. We arrived just a tad before noon and walked right into the building to get our sign and sail cards. No line whatsoever. We went straight to the lido deck and didn’t want to wait in the buffet line so we went for the burgers. They were really good and with anything you could possibly want to put on a burger. Came with fries too and they were hot and crispy. Sat down and got our first drink of the day to enjoy with our food. After lunch we went to our room. It was cabin M44, outside cabin with a picture window. The single beds were positioned in an L shape with one bed against the picture window and the other bed on the right hand side. There was a chair next to bed and a small bench to sit on under the vanity. There was plenty of closet space. We didn’t use half the space there was. Bathroom was typical set up with a cloth shower curtain, small sink and toilet. Plenty of cubby space for incidentals. There was a shelf in the corner where I think the old style tv’s used to sit. This time this is where the cabin attendant put our towel animals. There was a small flat screen tv mounted to the wall (24”). We explored the ship until it was time for the muster drill. As first I thought we were going to get off easy. We were herded into the Paris lounge and took a comfortable seat while they explained the process and demonstrated how to put on a life vest. But then we all had to go up to the deck where the life boats were and wait for more instructions. By the time that was over we went back to our room to get ready for dinner. With just the two of us we had no idea what the seating arrangement would be. We had early (6:00 pm) seating in the Carnivale dining room. We were placed at a table for ten, all ladies. It was nice to make some new friends. My daughter and I ordered the steak and lobster for the extra surcharge. When the plate came I first thought, hmmm what a small serving. It turned out to be just right and very good. After dinner we went to the casino to spend our daily allowance and then afterwards we went to do karaoke. Karaoke drew quite a crowd and you only got to sing one song, but one was enough for me. The karaoke host had books but he said that they were out of date and that he may or may not have the song you wanted. He also had a lot of songs that were not in the book so you basically had to ask. The next day (Saturday) we arrived in Ensenada. We had no plans for that day so we just got off the ship and there was a bus taking people into town. It was $2.00 to get to town and $1.00 to get back. However, when we got on the bus, the guide announced that after the drop off in town, they would be going to La Bufadera. The cost was $15.00 and that included the return to the ship. We did that and enjoyed the excursion. There were many vendors and stalls and a free sip of pina colada every other vendor. We took our time strolling down the street and eventually reached the “blow hole” which is the highlight of the trip. That evening, we joined our table for dinner and everyone talked about what they did that day. I had prime rib for dinner and it was very good. After dinner we killed a little time in the casino and then went to the 60’s Show in the main lounge. We enjoyed the show and met one of the dancers afterwards who knew my niece. My niece (by marriage) used to be a dancer for Carnival and the Inspiration was her first contract. That is where she met my nephew who was a DJ on board. Sunday was my day to sleep in. After we got up and had breakfast, we finally made it to the Serenity deck. I love that spot. Plenty of padded loungers, some in the sun and some in the shade plus two jacuzzi’s. I don’t remember how long we stayed there but we eventually left and went for a late lunch. That night I had salmon for dinner and no dessert. By now I’ve had enough food and drinks. I forgot to mention that breakfast Sunday morning was the brunch in the dining room and I had steak and eggs. It was very good. That is why I ordered the salmon for dinner as I had already had my fill of red meat. Truth be told, I could eat steak every day. Sunday night was the 80’s disco show and we both enjoyed it. Now both shows were Playlist productions and it appeared that the singers were actually singing but to canned music, like glorified karaoke. I thought the sound system was good though and hard to tell from an actual band. After the show the cast from the show and guests on board all congregated in the atrium for a Mardi Gras party. After that, it was back to the casino for a bit where my daughter hit a small jackpot. She was so thrilled you would have thought she hit the lotto. Before long I was worn out and ready for bed. The next day we did the disembarkation where you take your own luggage with you rather then set it outside your door the night before. We each had just one small rolling carry on so it was simple. We strolled down to deck 7 at 8:00 am and I swear we were off by 8:10. I forgot about traffic on Monday morning, but even so, my daughter had be home by 9:10. My next cruise will be on the Dream next July but this little trip was just what I needed until then. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We need a place to hang out as our house is fumigated for 3 days and we decided to take a 5-day cruise. That was our 5th time to cruise (4 with Carnival, 1 with Royal Caribbean) I can say that this whole Carnival Inspiration cruise ... Read More
We need a place to hang out as our house is fumigated for 3 days and we decided to take a 5-day cruise. That was our 5th time to cruise (4 with Carnival, 1 with Royal Caribbean) I can say that this whole Carnival Inspiration cruise experience was the worse of all! The vessel is old with not much upgrades, shows are short, no live band, not so much activities for teen age kids. All they emphasized on board was to sell and sell, booze, jewelry, paintings,souvenirs, photos, etc., etc! Crews were okay except for the captain who cut my kid while in the pizza line. He was rude and arrogant just because he is in-charge. That would be our last for the Carnival as we are looking a much nicer cruise line in the future. Never, never again with Carnival especially the one that docks in Long Beach, CA. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our second time sailing with Carnival Cruise line. The first time we took Carnival Miracle and we really enjoyed it. This time on the Inspiration we were a bit disappointed. The ship is much smaller and walls in the rooms are ... Read More
This was our second time sailing with Carnival Cruise line. The first time we took Carnival Miracle and we really enjoyed it. This time on the Inspiration we were a bit disappointed. The ship is much smaller and walls in the rooms are paper-thin. We even brought a white noise machine and it could not cover the noise from the hallway. Our room was at the back of the ship on the Empress deck and I feel really sorry for those people who stay in the middle of the ship because of all the partying and loud speakers at the atrium. The house-keeping service was great. The restaurant food was also not bad. The only thing that was disappointing was the tea time. It started at 3pm, and we arrived at 3:10. The server placed us at the back along with those who came late. We were only offered smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches. The same items came back twice. When we asked if there is anything else (sweets and pastries), the server told us no. But we saw some people eating them at the front of the restaurant! We sat there waiting and waiting and the only thing that came was the sandwiches. By 3:30 they expected us to leave and no more items were offered. It was the lamest "high tea" ever! Should have just gone to the buffet instead wasting our time at the so called tea time. The entertainment was not bad. Very similar shows and games as the other Carnival ships. If you are thinking of sailing with Carnival Inspiration, be prepared that the ship is old, the decor are dated, and the walls are thin. But the service was alright and I guess for the price you pay you can't ask for much. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My son treated my boyfriend and i to a cruise...he went with us, with his girlfriend...I am a senior citizen and never travel....THE TRIP WAS WONDERFUL....i HOPE WE GET TO GO ON ANOTHER ONE....WE ATE IN THE DINING ROOM EVERY NIGHT,,,the ... Read More
My son treated my boyfriend and i to a cruise...he went with us, with his girlfriend...I am a senior citizen and never travel....THE TRIP WAS WONDERFUL....i HOPE WE GET TO GO ON ANOTHER ONE....WE ATE IN THE DINING ROOM EVERY NIGHT,,,the room was cold....but, our steward, Ian got us an extra blanket....it was sooooooooooo great,,,and all of the staff was wonderful...my boyfriend is really into karaoke....what fun....lots of karaoke at the Shangrala Bar...the trip to Santa Catalina was also a wonderful expierence...we rented golf cart and drove it all over the Island.....if you have ever had a hesitation....GET OVER IT...AN HURRY AND BOOK YOUR TRIP....this was only a four day one...oh..I bought sea-sick bracelets....never needed them....took them back when we got back and got our $$ back...the sailing was soooo smooth....I was comforted to see that the lifeboats were all enclosed ....every night we had the same waitress.... Kosyadinka, from Bulgaria....the staff works so hard...she was from Bulgaria....and her husband was also a server....we loved her.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about ... Read More
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about getting there late, and rushed us through our meal. They even start taking away our kids' utensils, so my son had to use a fork to eat ice cream! Towards the end of the meal, the waiter gave us another lecture about getting there on time the following night. My kids enjoyed the punchlines comedy shows which was the highlight of the day, and playing table tennis. There was only 2 table tennis tables, so we weren't able to play until at night when people were at the shows. There's also mini golf if you can find a golf ball. I suggest bringing your own golf balls. My kids also stayed at camp ocean for 2 hours playing dodge ball which they enjoyed and also met some friends from there. The Hasbro show is fun and exciting. The Motown and VIP shows were just okay. The songs they played were oldies. I don't understand why they don't play some recent songs like Taylor Swift or One Direction. The VIP show is geared toward the VIP members. These VIPs were pulled to dance in the stage with the crews and they are ell wearing huge VIP tags. The food is mediocre. The formal night they serve lobster and prime rib. The following morning (day at sea) we had filet mignon and egg fir brunch. The filet mignon was very tender and tasty, but the portion is do small they we all had to order seconds. The last night, they served escargot as the appetizer which was really good. The Mongolian Bbq was not good - the noodles were too dry and hard. The deli bar had good sandwiches. Every night, we went up to the lido deck at10pm to get the sandwiches bc they close at 11pm. At Ensenada, we got jipped off by a guy who offered us a $25 per 1/2 hour carriage ride. He told us he would take us to the beach and downtown, but 15 minutes into the ride, he said we had to pay another $15 for him to take us to the beach bc it would be an hour ride. We decided not to yield, so we only went 3 blocks down the street and then turned back to downtown. There are plenty of beggars, and my dtr felt bad for them until we figured we spend way too much money on donations. We bought 3 name on the rice necklaces and 3 friendship bracelets for $10, and 3 wooden turtles for $2. My daughter really enjoyed the little booths. I also had done street tacos for$1-1.50. They were greasy but delicious. The gym had a sign on it that said only for > 18y/o, so my kids can't go in. Someone suggested bringing magnets, but the door wasn't made of steel, so that didn't help. And yes, you can still ask for playing cards at guest services, but they don't have post cards. Lastly, you can get lanyards for you S&S card at the casino. The pictures on board Are expensive, but we were tempted into spending $65 on them. Parking at the dock is $19 per day. Overall, my kids really enjoyed the cruise. It was their first time, but they had a lot of fun. Because if this, I will overlook the bad customer service and take them back again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We just came back from our 4 day cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. We had a blast...especially for the price! I read A LOT of reviews before going and I have to say it really is all in your attitude. If you go looking forward to the ... Read More
We just came back from our 4 day cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. We had a blast...especially for the price! I read A LOT of reviews before going and I have to say it really is all in your attitude. If you go looking forward to the adventure and fun you will find it. If you go looking to critique it you will find it. We had fun from start to finish. The best piece of advice that we took was to bring a power strip and be prepared to eat! We especially loved the hard working, kind, friendly staff...have never met such hard working, smiling people. We felt very pampered and well taken care of. We did the wine country excursion in Ensenada and had a phenomenal tour guide. He was very knowledgeable, funny and engaging. I learned SO much about Mexican history and wine making. Well worth the cost. Hope to try a different ship next year! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
My family of 4 had on Oceanview room on the Empress deck. We loved the location of the room, close to everything. Our room steward Henrid was excellent. He was pleasant every day and went out of his way for our family. Room really small ... Read More
My family of 4 had on Oceanview room on the Empress deck. We loved the location of the room, close to everything. Our room steward Henrid was excellent. He was pleasant every day and went out of his way for our family. Room really small compared to cruises I have done before. Dinner- we had early seating. The food was just ok on some nights and good on other nights. We spent between 1.5-2 hours in the dining room. Too long for my taste, but we beared it. Our waitress seemed slow, unfriendly and she seemed to hate her job. In her defense, she seemed to have very little help. They changed the options having premium choices for an extra 20.00. I almost choice this because the choices I had that night were not good. The portions are also smaller from the cruise I took last time 6-2013. I often choice 2 entrees because I was afraid one would be horrible. Buffet- was not very good. Some items were good, such as sandwich bar, Mongolian BBQ and inside Lido had a few good choices. But, the outside selection of hamburgers, hot dogs... Etc. was not the best. The hot dog I had was the cheapest dog I tasted. I couldn't even eat it. I have cruised Carnival several times and this was the worst food I had so far. Late buffet closed at 9:30. I am used to midnight buffet, but they only had 1 late night Mexican buffet, with just ok food. Camp Carnival- kids 7,8 loved it. Son wanted to play videos games all day. Most staff was friendly and cheerful. Some seemed over worked and tired. Pool-good Water works area- fun for the whole family!!!!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
After reading a few blogs, our expectations for this cruise were very low. How pleasantly surprised we were! Our son & his fiancé chose this cruise to celebrate their wedding vows. Having never been on a cruise, I wasn't sure ... Read More
After reading a few blogs, our expectations for this cruise were very low. How pleasantly surprised we were! Our son & his fiancé chose this cruise to celebrate their wedding vows. Having never been on a cruise, I wasn't sure what to expect. We arrived at the dock around 10:00, dressed for the wedding, as we were told that our cabins would not be available until later in the day. The dock area for Carnival in Long Beach, CA is nicely shaded and very clean. Check-In was fast and simple. We were met by Annette, a lovely wedding coordinator, that provided us with an itinerary, so that we would know what and when to expect it. It would have been nice to have received the itinerary in advance. Our group was allowed to board first. The ship was very clean. Everything on board sparkled. The wedding group assembled in an area with comfortable seating. Annette, our wedding coordinator, stayed nearby with last minute instructions. Everything went smoothly from start to finish. I was impressed. After the ceremony we relocated to a nearby lounge where a delicious buffet of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres was waiting and a server circulated with a variety of tropical drinks, preceded by champagne for the toasts. The next hour and a half flew by with laughter, conversation and dancing. Dinner in the main dining room that we were assigned to was a surprise. I wii eat almost anything, and I thought the food and the selections were very good. Our head waiter, Gusti, and his team were excellent. They made the trip more fun. Request a table by a window if possible. We did the breakfast buffet each morning. Just about anything you can think of as breakfast food is available. Everything was very good. My only complaint about the cruise is that it was too short! This may have been our first cruise, but it won't be our last ! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
This was a free cruise given to me by the casino. I actually was offered 2, and I only can take the one, due to work schedule and health reasons. I splurged and booked FTTF, as I am having a hard time with my knee (I am due to have total ... Read More
This was a free cruise given to me by the casino. I actually was offered 2, and I only can take the one, due to work schedule and health reasons. I splurged and booked FTTF, as I am having a hard time with my knee (I am due to have total knee replacement in November of 2014). I figured if I could spend the $50, I would, and not have to ask for any special assistance if I didn't have to wait in line very long. We walked up to the building at the Long Beach port, and instead of check in being in the building, they had a FTTF line next to the regular check in. This was ok, as we were the ONLY ones in that line!! We no sooner walked up than an agent called us over to check us in. Check in was quick and painless, and we were given priority boarding. This meant, due to the time we arrived, I had time to make a restroom run and smoke a cigarette before they started boarding us!! Worked perfectly!!! I think it took all of 10 minutes from the time we checked in until our S & S cards were being swiped and we heard that magic "BOING!!" Went down to our room, which, due to FTTF, was ready and waiting for us. We dropped off our carry ons, and went to have lunch. What a pleasant meal it was, not having to cart around our carry ons!! And there still weren't many on board, so no lines anywhere either!!! After lunch, we went to our room, and relaxed until muster. It's been a stressful week for both my friend and I, so we planned on doing a lot of resting. We scheduled YOUR TIME DINING, and both Friday and Saturday, we went to the dining room about 630pm. We had NO wait for a table, were given a table for 2, and met some really nice people that were sitting next to us. It was their first cruise, and boy, they were CLUELESS!!! They didn't know they could eat before dinner, didn't know about food on the Lido, didn't know about room service... I explained everything to them!!! Went to the casino Friday night. Met another couple there also on a casino freebie, but the one that had you pay $100 and then Carnival gave you that $100 in OBC. Saturday was the usual go into Ensenada and walk around, if nothing else, just to get off the ship for a while. At this time, we STILL had not even met our cabin steward!!!!!!!!!! Didn't end up meeting him until just before dinner on Saturday. And he took my blue pool towels and never returned clean ones!!! After leaving Ensenada, we had rough seas due to a storm off the Mexican Riviera. It's a good size tropical storm, and other than clouds, we just had rough seas. On Sunday, it made walking difficult around the ship, and it was slightly cool, but I didn't see anyone get motion sickness, so it obviously wasn't that bad. DID see a Mexican Coast Guard helicopter come in TWICE to take people off the ship. Don't know what happened, did not hear anything, not even any alarm code words!! Other than that, it was the usual cruise stuff. My meals most of the time were either cold or lukewarm. Service in the main dining room for sea day brunch left MUCH to be desired, as not only was the food cold, it was dry and tasteless, and I had the pancakes! I couldn't even eat it, and ended up going to the buffet and getting a lukewarm burger. I was disappointed that a lot of activities were scheduled Friday and Saturday (port day) and less on Sunday (sea day). I thought there would be more to do on a sea day, but I was wrong.. Enjoyed the "Towel Animal Theatre" and Hasbro Game Show. First time I actually made it to a show after 12 cruises!! PROS: Shows were fun, cabin was nice in location. It was free, besides port fees and taxes. And yes, IT WAS A CRUISE!! CONS: Food lukewarm/cold. Cabin Steward rarely to be found, and only ONCE did I see him. Lack of activities on a sea day.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
We recently took our kids on their first cruise. Me and my husband have cruised several times prior. First off I will start off by saying our room was on the 7th floor in room E171. As we boarded the ship and made our way to our room we ... Read More
We recently took our kids on their first cruise. Me and my husband have cruised several times prior. First off I will start off by saying our room was on the 7th floor in room E171. As we boarded the ship and made our way to our room we all smelled a strong odor of sewage. Ive read this is several reviews and thought it was strange, but we first hand experienced "the smell". Our room attendant's name was Agus. He was so friendly. We checked out our room, which was very small by the way but expected. There was four of us in a room. One bed was a fold out that was attached to the wall. The other was under it and our bed was two twins made into a queen which was situated by the window. Next time we will get two rooms or a suite because it did get cramped. Our room was very clean though. The next time we saw Agus greeted us all by name which was amazing considering how many people he meets. We ate in the spirit dining room for dinner. The food was very good and always hot. The service was wonderful. We checked out the buffets but only ate there once for breakfast which we were not impressed with and once for lunch and realized the meals in the Spirit or Pride Dining Areas were much better! The night we were Ensenada we had lobster tails for dinner. There is no limit on the tails! But they will only serve you one at a time. While on boarde there is many opportunities to have your picture taken. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for pictures. I believed they averaged $14.95 per picture. They take multiple pictures of you and your group during each dinner and have the opportunity to take pictures throughout the ship with nice back drops. The comedy shows onboard were awesome. We also visited the piano bar one night. Boys had blast on the waterslides. One thing I was disappointed in was the condition of the miniature golf courses. There were two holes where the articificial turf was very torn and dated. I can say that the sewage smell and the worn out miniature golf course was a disappointment, but overall we all had a great time and i'm sure we will cruise Carnival again in the future! Additional note: Bring a power strip, conditioner and a blow dryer. There is only one outlet in the cabin. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
This was my 3 times cruise with Carnival cruise line only because they got the destinations i want and very affordable, the last cruise before this cruise from Miami to Jamaica was the most fun vacation i ever had in my life, yup in my ... Read More
This was my 3 times cruise with Carnival cruise line only because they got the destinations i want and very affordable, the last cruise before this cruise from Miami to Jamaica was the most fun vacation i ever had in my life, yup in my life...and im 56 yrs old man. OK, to this cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, Mex. The Inspiration vessel is some what newer than the Glory from Miami?, im not sure but looks good...seems smaller, no long line on the buffet, the food was good for what we paid, i dont expect best food for the price that we booked for 256$/pp for a 4 nights. the staff was very polite, dress up clean and very helpful. We had an issue with the wet floor from the past passengers in our room, but the crew really tried their best to dry it, in the end they gave us a 20$ discount from it. the putput golf costs money to play, i think its 20$/hr. Not a lot of dancing clubs as the Glory line, but it was enough, i sang in the Karaoke club, which was a big club. i think i saw only 1 theater for shows, versus the Glory with 2 theaters. But i saw 2 formal dinning rooms, 1 in the front and 1 in the back of ship. I would go again, it was short enough cruise time... Ensenada, Mexico was fun but was not enough time, it was violent there in downtown, my friends saw a big fight between 2 gangs with no shirts and tattoo, military came and they were all disappear, but during the violent tourists were shatter every where... I would suggest 1st time tourists not to book the city tour, it was a ripped off, you dont need it, all you have to do is to walk 1/4 mile from the dock to the main street and then make a left turn onto the main street to another 1/2 mile and you are in the heart of downtown to walk around all day, or to rent a 4x4 ATV right there on the main st for 25$/hr to ride any where, and to the blow hole too. The city tours take you thru town in the bus no stopping and then take you outside of city on the highway to north for a beach house lunch then back for 26$/pp, but you will lose 3 hrs on land. I would definitely recommended the ATV rental and the Horse back riding. Dont forget to stop by the main sea food market in town for fresh caught fish for lunch. The cruise also stops at Catalina Island a very neat town, a must rent a golf cart to ride around town, plus fishing was good on the pier with tackle rental in town. I really enjoy the trip, strongly recommended to any one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
One picture says more than thousand words: Here in this thread you can also see pictures:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1408567We made many of our very best experiences:cabin - space space space - we could have baggage for ... Read More
One picture says more than thousand words: Here in this thread you can also see pictures:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1408567We made many of our very best experiences:cabin - space space space - we could have baggage for a world voyage with us and still would have space in our closetsrates - I think with the rate we payed we could only expect "pure transportation" and we got more than we expecteddining - I did not expect that it was much better than RCI or NCL (our favorite line): I had every day a changing lunch menu. The quality and quantity of food was much more higher. It was not so far away from the standard of HAL, Princess or Celebrity. Nouveau Steakhouse was an outstanding experience we made twice. And the Chef's Table was something like heaven on earth or better on water...entertainment - 12 dancers and 4 singers for the production shows - the best singers and dancers I experienced on many many cruises... but too loud.enrichment - total surprising: a naturalist who introduced Hawai'i like we normally would only expect on HAL.value for money - the best we got for this little money we payedThe bad:service - it was hard to find nice and attentive crew members who give you a service like we know from NCL. We mostly (with few exceptions) missed the cordiality we know from NCL or HAL. You could walk from the bow to the stern and say good morning and get no response - neither from anyone from housekeeping nor from the ship's management (incl. Captain and Hotel Director). You were persona non grata and totally ignored after complaint. Hotel Director was only interested to put himself in the focus and not interested why you as guest does not feel comfortable. Panum et circenses: Bread and Games - both were outstanding to ignore lack of service.Many many times you have to wait in the restaurant because all waiters were just standing in the galley and wait... you can only see that there is a lack of organisation if you book the Chef's Table and you are surprised why so many waiters are always in the galley and you were surprised that you had no chance to get a 2nd cup of coffee because none of the waiters were around.As the Hotel Director said: my expections as experienced cruisers were too high and they were still "excersing" after one year on flexible dining:so they fill up all tables of one station before they start the servicewhile other escort you to different stations to make sure that you get as long as possible a full attentive serviceYou got breakfast beverages (like hot tea and juices) at the end fo the breakfast and only on request (if you caught someone whom you can tell):when I told the Hotel Director and Guest Relation Manager if I should go to the coffee bar to buy a cup of tea before going to the Main Dining Room they just told: you do not need to buy: you can get a free cup of tea from the La Playa Grill and take it to the Empire Restaurant.The best: the closed all restaurants before all guests had a chance to have a full meal on day of embarkation and you should just "forget" it.The spa was a total desaster: steam bath no tube for cold water to clean and freshen up seats. Sauna you cannot add hot water to get steam: not hot enough and all water flows directly to the ground. 50% of machines in gym out of order or did not work. Even you go on open deck: they close open decks for cleaning at typical times people are doing their rounds. Totally not service orientated.But to be honest: it was one of the best "transportation incl. hotel" you can have for Hawai'i and if you can ignore service you will have your greatest experience on water and a perfect way to paradise.We did not regret to be on this cruise and would go Carnival again. But to be the largest cruise company you as guest must learn that they are not interested very much to satisfy you: you take it as it or you leave it. And Captain and Hotel Director will do their best that you feel as uncomfortable as possible that you do not return again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We decided to take two back to back cruises on Carnivals' Spirit due to its unique Hawaii itinerary which included many nights in Maui and Honolulu. Hence, living on the Pacific coast, boarding in San Diego would be great. Much to our ... Read More
We decided to take two back to back cruises on Carnivals' Spirit due to its unique Hawaii itinerary which included many nights in Maui and Honolulu. Hence, living on the Pacific coast, boarding in San Diego would be great. Much to our dismay only check in was in San Diego while 2,300 guests were shipped by bus through the dreaded 2 1/2 hour drive to Ensenada to fulfill the obsolete Jones Act. While most cruise lines have worked around this legislation by including foreign ports prior to American port visits, Carnivals' failure was dreadful. The United States government and the cruise line should be considerate to fellow American taxpayers and cruise clients in helping avoid such ridiculous situations by adhering to moot legislation better suited in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Hence, check in was very poor and many guests reached the ship by midnight. What a start as you could imagine. The Carnival Spirit nearly cracks the 90000 tonnage barrier and is finely constructed using marble, granite and warm woods placed in a free flowing layout. Most staterooms are not inside and the ship never felt older. We had suites and Carnival leads the pack in this value quotient. Our suites measured from 345 to 450 square feet including a large balcony and were finely trimmed in wood, marble, granite, mirrors and recessed lighting all fit for a five star hotel. Our baths had whirlpool tubs and double sinks layered in granite. Such staterooms would cost thousands more in competitive cruise lines. Service and amenities were basic and nothing in addition to any standard staterooms, hence acceptable but not in line with the physical scale of the suites. One huge Carnival failure is their past guest program. Any guest who travels a three day cruise in an inside stateroom would get the same point as a guest cruising in a penthouse suite even for a 18 day cruise. We have cruised over 150 days with Carnival in long segments mainly in suites but had the same points as guests who had cruised six three day segments in inside cabins. An 18 day cruiser had the same points as a 150 days cruiser!!! Ridiculous. A quick lesson from Celebrity cruise lines is in order! Overall dining was good with no complaints. The Lido had a good selection of fish, meats, and breakfast items. Dinner was more scarce in the Lido but the formal dining was fine. The selection and polish of Celebrity Cruises or Holland America is not part of the equation but its really not expected. Two CAVEATS. Hygiene of fellow guests in the Lido was poor as coughs and sneezes in and on the buffet food/lines was horrible. Scarce sanitizers made matters worst. Celebrity staff would administer hand sanitizers to all guests entering the dining areas personally. Not so here. Once again, the overall refinement and hygiene of some guests both in the Lido and pools is a problem which has sadly plagued American society in general and may be a problem for picky cruisers. A huge hygiene issue involved the lack of toilet seat covers in public bathrooms, a health hazard primarily while cruising with children. Another annoying caveat was the fact that many announcements were made each day at all times through ALL speakers in the ship (both near staterooms and on your head in Lido and the formal dining room) by the cruise director namely trying to sell you products or services. The announcements were so loud that I avoided going to the dining room! This is not in line with a vacation people expect. Once the cruise director spoke, forget napping in your room. This situation resembled an auction like atmosphere not in line with a cruise literally intruding on your quietude, sleep and calm dining. Overall, entertainment was below average. One show throughout a 12 day cruise was good enough with special effects and live music. More such shows would be needed. Classical music was not existent on the ship; live music was limited to a duo (they were good) and another loud group trying to capture music of Hawaii with not much success. Couple of pianists were around which was a good touch. The children's fun factory area was limited to a corner far away in the ship with not much outside light or ventilation. The ship pools were deep and not suitable for young children as well. Also, very young children had to share pools with overly confident individuals with very revealing swimming attire not appropriate in such very large sizes. It is perfectly normal for all people to swim and enjoy the sun. On the same token, attire and swimwear should be in good taste. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but one cannot impose it and proper good taste for all people cannot be redefined and should be observed in resort family settings. Again, it is not the cruise lines' fault what has become of social norms. Nevertheless, dedicated areas for young children is in order at the very least. Enough of the caveats, right. With these in mind, one cannot deny the positive. The Spirit is a nice ship with a good layout and quality finishes inside and out. On a nice day you can enjoy the sea both atop the ship or on your private balcony avoiding crowds. Staterooms are comfortable. Overall dining both casual and formal are pretty good both in quality and choice. In sum, what sets this cruise apart was the itinerary. Two back to back cruises gave great insight into the islands of Hawaii with overnights in Honolulu, Maui. Ample time was given to stroll these islands to spend time as you wish. We have cruised nearly 400 days with most lines for extended periods of time. I strongly feel that cruising is the best way to view our beautiful planet. Enjoy exotic ports and return to the comfort of your ship is the essence of fine cruising. People who love the sea would enjoy this cruise. Furthermore, extended time in Hawaii was a huge plus. On the same token, do not expect the polish and refinement of premium cruise lines. I have cruised 150 days with Celebrity ships and remain impressed by their careful blend of service, up to the minute quality and elegant ship beauty. The Carnival Spirit is not in the same league which is fine. For many, the Spirit is more than enough and still a unique departure from land based vacations packed with value. It is just that some cruise ships have managed to feel more like five star resorts and have given careful attention to detail even beyond land based resorts.Leon J. Makasjian Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was our 7th cruise with Carnival and our most negatively eventful. It started with the embarkation process. All some 2300 passengers had to be bussed from San Diego and Los Angeles to Ensenda Mexico to embark on the Spirit. We ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise with Carnival and our most negatively eventful. It started with the embarkation process. All some 2300 passengers had to be bussed from San Diego and Los Angeles to Ensenda Mexico to embark on the Spirit. We booked the transfer from the San Diego Airport to the cruise port with Carnival. At the airport we were greeted by a Carnival employee who rounded us up and had us wait in a holding area until both our luggage transportation to Mexico and our bus to the terminal arrived. We were early and would be on the first bus from the airport to the terminal, this was both good and bad. At 11:00 a.m. the Carnival employee took us outside to drop off our luggage and meet our bus. After about almost an hour waiting in the sun for the baggage transport I noticed a Uhaul van circling the airport three times. Each time staring at us but never stopping. I went to the Carnival employee and asked if the Uhaul is what we were waiting for and he stated yes. The next time the van came around he hailed them and then they went around one more time and stopped by us. Two males got out and proceeded to put our luggage in the van. We then finally boarded the bus to the terminal. Once in the terminal they must of thought we were going to Alaska as the terminal was icy cold. I was just a little bit sensitive as I was getting over Pneumonia one week earlier. The check in went well but we had to wait three hours for the buses to arrive. First you should know that the Spirit was so close to us there that you could have hit it with a rock. But because of the Jones Act they could not board you or your luggage there. So we went down the street to a restaurant for lunch. We could see the Spirit leave San Diego from there at around 12:00, of course totally empty except food, drink and the crew.The trip to Mexico in an also cold bus, took about 2.5 hours plus about 1.5 hours at the ship waiting for Mexico Customs. The trip there was escorted by Mexican Police for our safety the roads were mostly narrow and windy. When we got to Ensenada and got our it was very cold and extremely windy. We were greeted there by photographers from the ship and some ship personnel. Most people were so cold in the windy conditions, and from the bus, that they bypassed the photo-op. My wife opted out also, I think that at this stage she was so angry that if she got close enough she would have punched them.For future travelers, possibly ourselves, I would recommend spending a few more bucks and board in Hawaii, definitely not in Ensenada as both the trip and the management of it were deplorable. Oh I almost forgot, one bus from the airport tried to go directly to Mexico and was stopped around the border and was sent back to San Diego to the cruise terminal. The ship gave them a token on ship voucher for their "Trouble". Very tacky of Carnival in their opinion.Now the trip itself. Besides my pneumonia coming back for the first 5 days at sea our beds were terrible. We sailed on the Spirit to Acapulco about 5 years ago and they were exceptional. Talked to our steward and he said all the beds were the same, bad! One neighbor heard our conversation and came out of his room and complained of his bed also. When we came back the the room later the bed seemed more flat than before. Laid on it and it was even harder and more lumpy. Checked under the mattress and saw that they had used towels to try to fix the problem. Did not work!On board the ship was as we expected it to be. Clean with a courteous staff from the top down. Service was good, food was acceptable with too much fish for me, I guess because we were going to Hawaii they decided to shift the menu to the fish side.Shows seem to never change. They seem to think that everyone wants to see a Vegas type show from the forties and fifties. They need to get more current, at least get into the sixties and seventies. I love cruising with Carnival but on this our 7the cruise with them it has gotten very old. Also same theory here, older is better. I am 63 and have lost my parents but if they were alive the would also said to get your shows up to date, be more creative.Hawaii. Took excursions (Roberts Tours) at each port. Lots and lots of volcanoes. Some tours were very interesting and some not so much. Scenery and history was fantastic. Took over 1000 picture which I have since edited down to just about 400. Best of course was Honolulu. Just was not enough time there. Only 1.5 days to see so much. Went to the Polynesian Cultural Center and it was fantastic. Food great, show at night fantastic. Problem it consumed an entire day. Started at 9:O a.m. and got back to the ship at 10:30 p.m. The remaining half day before going home we went on the early Carnival tour airport transfer. Saw the war memorial at the "Punch Bowl", Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial with the USS Missouri in the background. Biggest mistake was not planning a longer visit in Honolulu. At the minimum two days either before boarding or disembarking the ship there. In summary we consider this Hawaiian Cruise a sampler only. You can find what you like and come back again and stay however long you choose. We plan no trips on the Spirit until the beds are fixed. Yes they were that Bad! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This cruise turned out to be two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise was 5 relaxing days at sea. The second part of the cruise was 7 hectic days in the Hawaiian ports. Unfortunately, the embarkation process (busses transferred ... Read More
This cruise turned out to be two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise was 5 relaxing days at sea. The second part of the cruise was 7 hectic days in the Hawaiian ports. Unfortunately, the embarkation process (busses transferred everyone from San Diego down to Ensenada) started all of us off in a sour mood. The ship left San Diego late, which caused the busses to leave late. Instead of leaving at 3pm, we didn't leave until around 6:45. On the way down, we were escorted by Mexican Policia. But, right before we got into Ensenada, our bus quickly pulled off of the road into an abandoned lot, where an empty bus was waiting. We were pointed in the direction of the new bus -- neither bus driver spoke english. All we were told was that our bus was "broke" -- even though the bus made 95% of the trip without a problem. We literally could see the Spirit from where we were pulled over. Then, after loading onto the new bus, we went on to rejoin the convoy, and proceeded to make a wrong turn onto the pier. Once we made the correction and got into the queue, we pulled forward, right in front of a package that military personnel thought was suspicious. They called specialized military men to investigate...but left us on the bus not 20 feet from the package. We finally boarded the Spirit at around 9:45. We were all frustrated and tired from all day of traveling. The Spirit finally set sail around 11:00, leaving us without a day of meals, activities, and fun. The first 5 days from Ensenada to Hawaii can be summed up by 2 words -- Cold and Wavy. The temps averaged 68 degrees, and the Spirit was constantly bobbing up and down in the big waves. Being at sea for 5 full days gave us the opportunity to find our way around the ship, and meet a lot of other cruisers. There were many activities planned, and the Entertainment staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. One of the most helpful on the Entertainment staff was Joey. He quickly learned all of our names, and even played card games after hours with the children. The main shows were awesome, especially the second show, The Big Easy. It's amazing they have all of those sets and costumes on board. The entertainers were adequate. One comedian wasn't funny, and one of the evening acts actually put us to sleep. We were disappointed with the dining experience. We requested 6:00 dining, because of our two children. However, 85% of the cruise was over 70 years old, so the early dining was understandably all booked. So, we opted for the Your Time Dining. We were able to eat at 6:00 anyways, so it worked out. Our wait staff all went out of their way to learn what our favorites were. Our disappointment was with the selection of food. There were a couple evenings that we looked at the menu and saw chicken, fish, and maybe a pork selection, but nothing that said "wow, I gotta have that". So a couple nights we actually chose to go to the buffet instead of the sit down dinner. The buffet was ok, but after all it was a buffet, so we didn't expect too much. Overall we would give the cruise a 8 out of 10. Better food and a better embarkation process and it would've been a higher score. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Background Information: Engaged the Carnival Spirit Hawaii trip through a local SLC agency to full fill my wife's dream of visiting Hawaii. This state visit completes our visits to all 50! Hotel Info: We stayed post cruise at the ... Read More
Background Information: Engaged the Carnival Spirit Hawaii trip through a local SLC agency to full fill my wife's dream of visiting Hawaii. This state visit completes our visits to all 50! Hotel Info: We stayed post cruise at the Mariott on Waikiki. What a wonderful relief from the ship. Ship Info: The ship was not only dated but worn. Half of the drawer and cabinet handles were broken. The edges of doors and entry ways were worn. Elevator doors were marked with grafitti (on the inside). The ship rocked back and forth when the swells got over four feet. Even though it rained on most of the ocean crossing days, the top cover was never closed to help with the cold. The whirl pools were not heated (colder than the air temp in Hawaii). Activities: The evening shows were well done. Seating above the main floor was lousy with no real leg space. The ADA access to upstairs was a joke. The local naturalist was an incredible bright spot! Internet acess was good but sooo expensive!! The Library was a version of a bad book sale from an old school library. Service: We met our room steward twice during the trip. I don't think he understood english well enough to carry on a conversation let alone persue our requests. Port & Shore Excursions: Since we did our shore excursions with our local travel agency, we had significant reductions in price when visiting each island. Since we did not go with Carnival shore excursions, we were consistently held to the very last to get off the ship. With 2200 people before us, we wasted a huge amount of time! Travel To Port of Embarkation: Bused from LAX to San Diego. Went through Emigration and initial ship registration. Told to go get some lunch (on Carnival) because they were so very far behind schedule. The BONUS was a few bucks for lunch and for others was free bar drinks. A second dinner bonus was credited our account. Bused to Ensenda in the evening. One of the worst parts of the cruise was speeding around curves and through the towns in the dark. After arriving at Ensenada, we waited on the bus for an hour before being let onto the ship. We got on the ship an hour after it was supposed to sail. Stateroom: Dated and worn. Had to ask for a chair. Bed covers were wonderul. Beds were hard and the twins did not match well for combination bed. Don't ask for an OCEAN VIEW as you get the lowest deck. We heard the engines all the time. In the bath room, our feet vibrated from the engine noise! Cleaning was less than acceptable. Had same drinking glasses for three days (left over stuff in them). Asked another room steward for new ones. Dining: The evening dining was brightened by our delightful hosts with wonderful service. Too bad the food was not as great as the service. Gave up after 5 nights and ate at the self serve Lido deck: warmer food & we could choose a reasonable serving size. The special dining for $30 extra is a joke! The scheduled time and same dining table each meal got really boring fast. Children's Clubs: Not used. Did not travel with children. Disembarkation: Since we we traveled with our local travel agency, we were not given priority over Carnival connections. We were held for two hours to get off the ship. We wasted a huge amount of time! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2010
As first time cruisers we were hoping for a relaxing holiday with 5 days at sea and then lovely visits to the Hawaiian Islands. We certainly got the latter but a relaxing holiday it was not. First, avoid any embarkation that involves San ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were hoping for a relaxing holiday with 5 days at sea and then lovely visits to the Hawaiian Islands. We certainly got the latter but a relaxing holiday it was not. First, avoid any embarkation that involves San Diego with a transfer to Ensenada - disastrous. Second, the Spirit is looking tired and needs a refit. Third, the food is average at best - avoid the casual buffet at all costs. Entertainment, also tired and second rate. Way too much smoking allowed for this day & age. Used Roberts Hawaii for shore trips - much better value than on-board. The whole trip seemed to be 'hurry up & wait'. Not sure if we'll cruise again, but it certainly won't be on Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
My husband and I cruised to Hawaii from Ensenada aboard the Carnival Spirit. We flew to San Diego the night before to insure getting to the pier on time. Little did we know we didn't need to hurry! We were fully aware that we would be ... Read More
My husband and I cruised to Hawaii from Ensenada aboard the Carnival Spirit. We flew to San Diego the night before to insure getting to the pier on time. Little did we know we didn't need to hurry! We were fully aware that we would be bussed from the SD pier to Ensenada but we didn't anticipate that they would not start bussing all 2000+ of us until 5 p.m, that we would have to wait hours to get on the bus, that the bus seats made an airline seat seem spacious,and that, after 3 hours of travel to Ensenada, we would have to sit on the bus another hour before we were hustled onto the ship!!! Okay, I'm done complaining now because the rest of the cruise was great!!! Well, at least the part of it after I spent 1 1/2 days in bed seasick!!! Yes, the cruise was quite rocky and I never had gotten seasick before on our other 2 cruises. We thought our cabin was lovely, enjoyed the balcony,and loved our room steward. We enjoyed dressing up every evening for a wonderful meal in the dining room. I loved getting the opportunity to have beautiful portraits taken of us in our finery. We enjoyed the gym, the swimming pool and for the most part the entertainment. We didn't find ourselves bored at all on the 5 sea days. Arriving at the 4 different ports in Hawaii was fun because we enjoyed waking early to watch the ship sail into port and then we would stand on our balcony and take pictures of the scenery! Hilo, on the Big Island, was our first port. We did not book any tours with Carnival because we did not want to be tied to their schedule and the were expensive. So, on Hilo we hiked up to Akaka Falls which was beautiful, drove to Rainbow Falls, and then visited Coconut Island and Richardson Beach in search of a beautiful Hawaiian beach but did not find those 2 beaches beautiful. The 2nd port was Kona on the Big Island. After we went to church that Sun. morning we drove to Hapuna Beach, which was so beautiful!!! So we spent the afternoon there, swimming and sunning on the beach. The drive there was interesting because there was black lava rock on both sides of the rode all 30 miles there and it was covered with grafitti written with white rock the whole way! The 3rd port day was on Kauai. We drove up to Waimea Canyon which looks like a mimi Grand Canyon. It was beautuful and so worth the drive. The 4th port was Maui. We drove the road to Hana and it was fabulous!! The road is quite curvy but there is something beautiful around every curve! But, beware! You must drive all the way back the same way! But you do get to see everything again!! We spent the night there on Maui so we got a 2nd day there. We went snorkling at Molokini after taking a catamaran ride there.My husband got to snuba and that was his favorite part of the trip. Our last port was Oahua. We had been there before so we had seen most everything we cared to. We did spend the day at Wakiki beach. It is so lovely there, just a great beach.If you want another option for a beatiful beach on Oahua try Kailua Beach. It is wonderful too! Our last evening on the ship was fine. We had a wonderful dinner, as usual. Then we decided we better pack up our stuff so we returned to our cabin and found a letter telling us how the debarkation was to go. As the letter instructed we watched the debarkation show on our TV and we were told we would only be "allowed" to leave the ship when they called our assigned number and not before. So my husband went to the information counter and explained that we had to park our rental car at the one nearby lot and we had to pick up our car before 8:30 a.m. or they would charge us $50 instead of it being free. He was told we could not leave the ship when we wanted. We could not even carry our own luggage ourselves. We were being held hostage!! Well, there was another option! We could leave the ship before 4:00a.m. carrying our own luggage !! So that's what we did with a few other people who also had rental cars !! Not a good end to a wonderful cruise. So my opinion of Carnival Cruise Lines is they are good at the cruise part but their embarkation and debarkation is horrilbe!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2010
We are not very experienced cruisers. All three times were short cruises. We just like to not have to drive for a few days of travel and actually spend a lot of time reading in our room and enjoying the rocking of the ship. I really have ... Read More
We are not very experienced cruisers. All three times were short cruises. We just like to not have to drive for a few days of travel and actually spend a lot of time reading in our room and enjoying the rocking of the ship. I really have no complaints because we got what we paid for at about $300/person for a 4 day cruise. I just am giving it all the info so people who read this know what they're paying for. COMFORT: There were not many kids on this cruise because of the time of year but there aren't many quiet placed to relax and read, so if there were a lot of kids and that's not your thing you might be disappointed. The "library" is very uncomfortable and loud because it's also the board-game room. I found the area near the coffee shop best for relaxing when there were no activities. FOOD: We ate in the Elation dining room. I liked the starter dishes best and toward the end it got so that I'd order soup, salad and another starter, skip the weird dinners and get a dessert. I'm not that picky but I we each had to send a dinner back with a chunk of fatty prime rib that shouldn't have ever come out of the kitchen. Other people at the table also returned food or didn't eat it. It seemed like a sad waste. On both of the carnival cruises we took the other people at our table, who had experience on other cruise ships, were really disappointed by both the food and the wait staff. The staff works hard, really hard, but seem overworked, under trained. When someone spilled a glass of water at our table they didn't do anything to clean it up, just let it run and continue until one person had to get up and move because she was getting wet. We asked twice for a clean-up and nothing was done. I don't think they had a clue how to clean it up. The staff was friendly and one had an especially positive personality. No one learned our name like they do on Royal Caribbean, but for $400 less that's okay with me. If it weren't for the fun of meeting other people I'd probably just eat at the buffet, but definitely don't expect superior service there. Many passengers were happy with the sandwich station. You can get better coffee at almost any major gas station chain these days. I'll bring Starbucks instant Via on the next cruise. Someone else mentioned the half-hearted dance routines and singalongs in the dining room. I agree. They were embarrassed to be doing it because they didn't know the moves. They really tried so hard. One of my tablemates wasn't happy that they seemed to perform to the "other half" of the dining room and it was true, they did. SHIP-SHAPE: I like the rooms because they're roomy compared to other cruise lines. The beds are comfortable and the shower is big. They're clean and we didn't care that they weren't stylish. Our steward was great. We never saw him and he noticed when we came and went and slipped in quietly. I don't care how many cruises I take, I will always enjoy the towel animals. No hairdryer, what a bummer. We didn't sleep as well as we did on a similar carnival ship. I think it was because we were on a party floor with lots of drunken yelling and we had a window right near the anchor so the first morning we woke up at 5 a.m. to the very loud anchor lowering. I swear the kid in the room above us brought a wii and was jumping around all night. I get grumpy without sleep so I was grumpy a lot. The ship has some maintenance issues. I have a feeling some of the elevators were down because we were always waiting for elevators. The arms on the seats in the Normandie showroom are falling off. I hope they know these can be re-covered every 15 or so years, but I don't think they do. The decor of the entire boat kind of looks like an aging casino but it's pretty clean except for the many sticky floors I noticed. PROCESSES and STUFF: Embarkation was a dream. It felt like we walked right on. I was so excited that they didn't make us bring our life jackets to the safety orientation, but then they added this new step of actually going from the muster station to the lifeboats, probably a good step but definitely felt like I was being herded and they didn't warn us about it so we didn't bring a jacket and it was cold. I know all this is required. I *think* they try to make it painless, but it isn't and it's hard to start enjoying ourselves until it's over. With debarkation they announced this new self-assist early debarkation. One of us took that option to get the rental car for us and thought it was definitely over-hyped as people with tons of luggage and strollers were in the way and she had to stand in line a really long time to disembark. The others of us waited to go through the regular process. It's better than it used to be but they still call each group way too early while the previous group is still in a 30 minute line. If they waited just a little longer the comfortable wait on the boat is so much nicer than standing in a customs line. We just waited until they kicked us off and it was painless. ENTERTAINMENT: Wow. I guess I must be picky. It was horrible. A "comedian" with some weird puppet making orgasming sounds actually got some laughs. I love comedy but this was not funny. I was sad part of my ticket paid for him. Everything in the Normandie lounge was too loud. The older people in our party found it painful. If you find the free Las Vegas shows entertaining you'll be happy but don't expect Broadway. Read Less
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