I wanted to give a fair review of my first cruising experience. I’m an inexperienced cruiser, but I’m pretty positive I will be experienced in just a few more years because I am hooked on cruising. I’m drawing from Caitlin’s review post of her stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic to give this review. Ratings are as follows:
1 – Lamesauce
2 – Fair
3 – Good
4 – Great
5 – Awesomesauce
CABIN (4 – Great)
I really, really loved our cabin. It was small, but not as small as I had imagined. There was plenty of space for us to put all of our clothes and girl junk. Everything was up-to-date and clean. My only problems lied in the bathroom and outlets. The bathroom was tiny. I think my walk-in closet at my apartment is bigger than the bathroom was. There wasn’t a lot of space to put anything, especially in the shower stall. (I had to balance my shampoo and conditioner on the soap/shampoo dispenser located in the stall, and put my body wash on the floor. Ick.) And there were only two outlets to use in the entire cabin, one of which was in the bathroom on the ceiling. Because it was on the ceiling, it was hard to get a true charge. Luckily, we didn’t use our phones enough but it was tough when we were getting ready.
But the ocean-view made up for everything. Nothing is better than that view. I miss it.
AMENITIES (INCL. DECKS/ 3 – Good)
My favorite deck by far was Serenity Now, which was for 21+ adults. It was the quietest part of the ship and felt so peaceful and, well, serene. The lounge chairs were a million times better and it was close to the food. Always a plus.
The other decks weren’t as amazing. I really hated the Lido deck, because it was so loud and the lounge chairs cut into my back. It was always filled with people and loud music. (Yes, I’m on a cruise ship. No, I’m still not going to enjoy loud music. No, I am not 70 years old.) The pool was tiny and always filled with boisterous kids.
The gym was pretty sweet, I must say. I only went once but it offered some great views and up-to-date equipment. They even offered classes like spin and boot camp for a price.
FOOD (3 – Good)
We ate in a fancy dining room every night that served some of the most delicious meals that have ever graced my lips. I didn’t even try to go fancy but stuck with the meat and potatoes option almost every time. The appetizers weren’t amazing, but they were decent. Of course, I am not a foodie so my opinion has no real bearing on the quality. I was also impressed at how easily one could eat vegetarian and/or healthy on the trip. Every meal featured at least a few vegetarian sides and it was entirely possible to lose weight on this trip. I just chose not to.
The food at the brasserie was meh. It was buffet-style so you can’t expect much from that anyway. There were some delicious meals, but most just ok. Nothing spectacular that stands out. I will not say, though, how many cookies my mom and I ate during our five days on the ship. It’s kind of embarrassing.
My mom and I both purchased a soda card ($36) which gives you an unlimited amount of soda refills whenever you want them. For us, it was the best decision because we didn’t drink too much alcohol. We both only had two drinks at our last two dinners. (I heard one lady ordering her THIRD drink at 10:00 a.m. one morning! I wish I could have seen her bill at the end of the cruise. Yowza.)
ENTERTAINMENT (3 – Good)
Because of our late dining time, we missed a lot of the good entertainment. There were some late night comedy acts, but it’s always uncomfortable watching R-rated comedy with your mother. We went to a performance one night, got professional pictures taken twice (the first time had a photographer putting us in weird couple-esque poses that I swear she thought we were together), and just generally enjoyed being on the ship.
There was always a lot to do on the ship so it’s impossible to be bored. While we didn’t take advantage of a lot of it, it was a good experience to see what’s available and give us a taste of cruise life. We may be apt to do more on our next cruise.
EXCURSIONS (5 – Awesomesauce)
The variety of excursions offered for this cruise was pretty vast. I don’t have anything to compare it by, but there were so many amazing things to do. Prices were anywhere from $30 to $300, depending on what you’re doing. We tried to to keep it in the $70 – $90 range when searching for excursions. Generally, anything involving dolphins or scuba diving cost the most, whereas snorkeling, tours of the city, and swimming with turtles/stingrays was in a reasonable range.
Since we are not the most adventurous type, picking an excursion was the best option. It allowed us to see the city while being in a controlled environment where we didn’t have to find our own taxi or restaurants or beaches.
It was also easy-peasy to switch excursions when ours was canceled. All around, a very positive experience with excursions!
AMBIENCE (5 – Awesomesauce)
This was the perfect setting for me. Nothing is more calming than the ocean and it was exciting being around a slew of people you’ve never met before. Sleeping was never easier than on a cruise ship, being lulled by the soft rocking. It was the perfect mixture of fun and games and peace. I felt at home while on the ship and totally relaxed and happy. I never wanted to leave.
CARNIVAL INSPIRATION ITSELF (4 – Great)
I would totally ride on this ship again, because the experience was fantastic. Service was great, food was delicious, and the stops were fantastic. There is so much to do in both stops that I could probably ride this ship again and again and never have the same experience or adventure. The ship was big enough that I never noticed a lot of rocking or swaying, and never once felt seasick. (One of my biggest fears.)
All in all, I would completely recommend Carnival for cruising. The process of booking the trip was simple and we were able to do it all on our own. I loved the service I received on the ship, always feeling like these people were happy to help and not annoyed with their job. My mom and I will be back, Carnival. Hopefully before next May.