We flew in to Tampa (myself and my 14 year old son Matt) the day before we sailed . Stayed at the Courtyard Marriott downtown. It was a very clean hotel and the staff very friendly.
Sunday 8/15- I woke up so early, I was too excited to go back to sleep. Took a taxi to the pier at 11:00 and by 12:00 they were starting to let people on the ship. I'm telling you, I know we looked like 'country bumpkins' when we first walked on to that vessel. We just could not get over all the space there was, all there was to do and how many people there were. We spent Sunday wandering around the ship.
Dinner - We had late seating in the Mardi Gras room. At first I wasn't sure about our table because as I said, I was traveling with my 14 year old son. I noticed right away there were no kids at our table. But once the conversation started, my worries faded fast. There was a Cuban family from Florida (a couple traveling with their young college aged daughter and her husband) who were so interesting. The father came over from Cuba on a raft he built himself! And the younger man from Cuba held my son spellbound with his stories of growing up in Cuba. There was a couple from Indiana who had such a sense of humor . The woman treated my son as though he were her own grandson. She told him 'I bet you can tell I'm a grandma huh"? Anyway, we exchanged information with the Indiana couple and I hope to keep in contact with them via email. I thought it was interesting that my son did not want to eat in the main dining room. He did not want to get dressed up, but after that first night, while we were walking back to our cabin, he commented "boy, that was nice wasn't it? are we going to get to eat with them again tomorrow night"? He was glad to learn that they were our tablemates for the entire cruise.
Monday - A day at sea. We learned our cruise schedule was all changed due to a tropical storm. I had already booked shore tours outside the cruiseline so I had to scramble to re-book something through the ship . This was also formal night, which was a lot of fun. And another enjoyable night at dinner.
Tuesday - Cozumel was so beautiful. My son and I did the Atlantis submarine, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. We also did the Sea Trekking through Sandollar Sports. They were on the pier and I explained to them that I had booked with them for this cruise, but since our cruise schedule changed, I was here on a different day than what I had booked. I asked could they possibly squeeze us in as this was something we really wanted to do. They were super and we got to Sea Trek. Now I'm telling you, if I live to be 100 years old, this will still be one of the coolest things I have ever done. My son and I enjoyed this the most out of all our excursions. After that , we shopped a little and went back to the ship.
Wednesday - Belize was different from the other ports. Very poor and unorganized. We originally planned to do the Biking In Belize, but the tour was canceled due to not enough people signing up for it. We booked the Belize City and Zoo tour. The tour itself was very interesting and I learned a lot. My only complaint was there was this little girl throwing TEMPER TANTRUMS on the bus the entire time, which made it really hard to hear the tour guide. I could hear people around me making comments. I know kids will cry, but this was not cying. The girl was literally screaming. Throwing temper tantrums. She wanted ice cream, then she wanted to go to the gift shop, then was screaming because she wanted to go back to the 'hotel'. Her irresponsible father had the nerve to throw his own little 'temper tantrum' at my son and I after we got off the bus. I dont know if he overheard us talking or what, but it was extremely rude of him to put that spoiled kid on a tour bus full of people and ruin it for the rest of us. There were other kids on that bus and we didnt hear a 'peep' out of them. YOU KNOW if you have a kid that you can't control, and you should not put a kid like this on this type of excursion.
Thursday - Costa Maya, I could now belive how beautiful it was. We did the Chachoben (spelling?) ruins. Other than the tarantula was saw on the path, I enjoyed this excursion.
Friday - Grand Cayman, the water was so blue, it was unbelieveable. We did the Stingray City Sandbar/Turtle Farm and Hell Tour. I enjoyed the Turtle Farm and visiting Hell, but swimming with the Stingrays was awesome. My son and I got a picture of us holding a stingray.
Saturday - Day at sea and packing up.
Sunday - I have read a lot of complaints about the debark process. We were off the ship by 11:00 and it was really a lot smoother than I expected.
Erroll was our room steward. He was awesome! We rarely saw him, but we knew he had always been there because our cabin was always neat and clean. We started making jokes about him being a super-hero moving through our cabin a lightening speed. He left many cute little towel animals.
Jean was our waiter. He was funny, interesting and worked his butt off. He was from Haiti and sometimes it was really hard to understand what he was saying, but he was friendly and did an excellent job. I have no complaints about the food in the dining room. It was all delicious, hot (or cold if it was supposed to be) and there was always a variety to choose from.
My Best Tip - Bring the over the door shoe holder. I dont know what we would have done without it.
Money - I took $1000.00 in travelers checks and $60.00 in $1.00 bills for tipping. I came home with $500 in travelers checks and about $90 in cash.
My son and I thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and would absolutely positively sail Carnival and Inspiration again.
Glad you enjoyed your trip and cruise ! The Inspiration was my first cruise with Carnival Cruise Line. After 2-more cruises,I have to say, that the Inspiration was my favorite. Its great to hear, that after a few years, the Inspiration still hasn't lost its touch for service.
Glad to hear you had a great time. We sailed on the Inspiration in April and our family had a wonderful time too.
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Hey jeleja..I am so glad you and your son had a great time..It all worked out for you considering the weather that you were so worried about..>G<..you will have to post on the chit-chat board also..Again..glad you you had a great time.
Cut and paste this into your browser. If you are ever in Cozumel, be sure to do this, like I said, it was awesome! I highly recommend using the cozumelinsider.com for your excursions in Cozumel. They are wonderful to deal with and give you very detailed instructions. They even called me after they emailed me to make sure I was comfortable with everything. From my review you read that I used them for my excursions and then the ship changed the schedule. Because I had already booked this throuh cozumelinsider I ended up being charged twice for the Sea Trek. Once, for when I booked through cozumelinsider and again when I went through sanddollar sports at the pier. I emailed cozumelinsider. com last night and by the time I contacted sanddollar sports today , Jacqueline at cozumelinsider had already contacted them and was working on getting the money credited back on my card.
Great review! Don't forget to post it under "raders reviews" for future Inspiration cruisers.
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Glad you and Matt had a great time on your first cruise. Looks like we didn't get a chance to meet. We did end up taking the stingray and snorkle tour with Soto's though. I ended up sending them an e-mail as soon as we found out about the itinerary change and Soto's changed the tour day and time to accomodate us. You may have been on the same tour with us to see the Chacchoben ruins in Costa Maya. Were you in the Group 2 bus also? I got a picture of that tarantula you mentioned. We also had the late seating in the Mardi Gras dining room at table 169. We met so many wonderful people throughout the whole cruise I'm just sorry we didn't get a chance to meet also.
I think I saw you. When I was getting on the bus at the ruins, the person in front of me (that I think was you) had a camera bag. I noticed the address said San Lorenzo California and it was a man with his wife and 2 boys who looked to be the ages of your boys. Matt and I both had hats on. I had a white shirt with an orange stripe going down both sides. Then, one day at dinner, that same family was in line in front of us waiting to get into the Mardi Gras room for dinner. I almost said something, but I didnt want to look like an idiot if it wanst you. I didnt even think about emailing Sotos. I just booked the tour through the ship. We still had a wonderful time.
Yep, that was us both times. Was Matt carrying a box onto the bus at the ruins? That's just funny that we both thought the same thing. Glad you two had a wonderful time. Are you hooked on cruising now?
YES..he bought this heavy (and I mean heavy) marble chess set. Both the board and all the pieces were marble. We both took turns carrying that throughout the day and were afraid to check it at the airport, so had to carry it back home. We must have played a hundred games of chess on that in our cabin. We are both hooked on cruising. I looked yesterday on Carnival's website, the prices were a bit high for next summer but I know they will change so I will just keep checking. How come you flew all the way to Florida instead of booking a cruise that sailed out of California?
I knew it! I should have introduced myself at that time, now I'm bumping my head against the wall. Wow, that box did look kinda heavy. What's funny is my 12 year old was looking for a nice chess set while we were in Cozumel but didn't find one to his liking. Should have looked in Costa Maya. Yes, definitely keep looking, those prices will surely go down. The reason we took a cruise out of Florida is because we've done the Mexican Riviera cruise twice already and we liked the itinerary from Florida. Our next cruise will be to Alaska though so we'll be on the West Coast and closer to home. We're hoping to catch one that leaves from San Francisco since it's only 35 miles from our home. Otherwise a trip up to Seattle or Vancouver would be okay. Probably during the boys spring break. We're already planning to go to Hawaii during the summer so the boys can do some surfing. Are you and Matt planning on going to the Caribbean again? You might enjoy the eastern route.
That is too funny. When I decided on a cruise, my first choice was an Alaskan cruise. I would love to see the northern lights. However, due to the prices and the dates available it just wasn't an option for us. Someday I will do the Alaskan cruise though. I would definitely do another Caribbean with different ports. I would like to see Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica. Eastern would also work as I would like to go to Nassau, St Thomas also. You are lucky to be doing 2 cruises next year. Do you normally do 2 a year?
There were 2 chess sets that Matt liked. They were both very unusual looking. The pieces have an Indian (Mayan) design to them, although you can still tell what the pieces are supposed to be (pawn, queen, rook, etc). He finally decided on one, but we weren't even looking for a chess set. It was just one of those things that he saw them and thought they looked cool.
We have held back on doing an Alaskan cruise because we didn't think the boys would appreciate it at their age, they're into the sun and surf deal. But as they grow older, there may be some interest. Sounds like a Southern itinerary would be of interest to you. Departing from San Juan isn't took bad but you better check on the airfare pricing. Actually, the Hawaii trip would be a land vacation. We've never done two cruises in one year. But we do take at least two vacations a year, one land and one cruise. Just depends on the financial situation at the time. We may do two cruises in a year someday but not at this point.
Sounds like Matt got a nice chess set. I guess my son didn't see them. He did buy some figurines while at the ruins. Sometimes, when you're not looking is when you actually find it.