"All Carnival ships inspire guests to have a great time and a memorable vacation, but it won’t surprise you to learn that the inspiration for Carnival Inspiration… was nothing less than inspiration itself! This ship’s uniquely creative spirit is easy to spot, shining all up and down the ship, as you cruise towards vacation.

From the moment you step into the Grand Atrium, you’ll realize that it isn’t just a room with a high ceiling — it’s a place of high art. Your dinner at one of the two main dining rooms is more than just a dish in front of you — it’s the result of our chefs’ culinary creativity. And the Paris and Candlelight Lounges aren’t just rooms with some seats and a stage — they’re spots for our performers to transport you to another place and time.

Nothing inspires relaxation quite like having the kids somewhere else entirely… and that dedication to adult chill time describes the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat to a ‘T.’ But when it’s time to reunite, nothing inspires families to squeals, screams and splashes like a good waterslide… something the onboard Carnival WaterWorks knows a thing (or two, to be precise) about.

All of the above and everything else you love about a Carnival cruise — from food to pools to comfy rooms — live on this ship, one where you can’t help but find that creative spirit behind all the fun around you." [from the Carnival site]


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Cabins are decorated in a mild peach and white color scheme and come equipped with a flat-screen TV, vanity area, closets, safe, bathrobe, life jackets and an amenity basket with an assortment of toiletries. (We got his and hers razors, scented shave gel, a mini-sunblock and wet wipes, but items vary from cruise to cruise, so pack what you need.) There's only one outlet in each cabin, which contains a three-prong 110 volt and a 220 volt input -- so those bringing their gadgets may want to consider packing a power strip. The beds can be arranged in a two-twin format or as a king with the two beds pushed together. While it doesn't look like there's all that much closet and drawer space, we found plenty of room to accommodate our belongings for our four-night Western Caribbean cruise (with one format night). And if you're bringing just a carry-on, checked baggage fees being what they are, your luggage will slide easily under the bed.

En-suite bathrooms in standard accommodations are shower-only. The showers have fantastic water pressure, which you can use to fight off the clingy curtain as it creeps unrelentingly towards you (no glass doors here). Showers stalls include shampoo and body wash in dispensers as well as bar soap. There are no in-cabin hair dryers, so bring your own.

Of the standard cabins, 50 connect via side doors -- a great option for families or groups traveling together.

For passengers in need of a little more room, there are twenty-six 220-square foot "suites," which oddly enough have just queen-size beds. Besides a little more space, these accommodations add a narrow, mini-balcony, on which chairs are placed sideways so you can stretch your legs out lengthwise along the ship's superstructure.

The twenty-eight 330-square-foot Penthouse Suites include a whirlpool bathtub, walk-in closet, king-size bed, unstocked mini-fridge and full-size balcony.

Passengers in the 54 suites also get VIP check-in.

There are 24 cabins for disabled cruisers. These cabins have wider doorways and handrails in the shower, among other things. Carnival offers additional special services for passengers in need of assistance. Contact the line directly for more information.

DINING (excerpt)
Carnival Inspiration has two main dining rooms, the 650-seat Mardi Gras (midship) and the 658-seat Carnivale (aft). Despite names evocative of wild masquerade balls, the dining rooms are relatively forgettable. Each is a mishmash of browns, yellows and oranges, with a whimsical flourish here or there, such as the chandeliers in Mardis Gras reminiscent of a two-belled jester's cap. Forgettable, that is, until the house lights dim, and the thousands of LED's lining the ceiling and light fixtures get to flashing. The dining rooms then transform into pulsating dance clubs, with the wait staff whipping diners into a frenzied party mode, complete with riotous napkin waving, tableside shimmying and a bouncing, snaking conga line.

During dinner, both dining rooms feature set seating, with the early meals taken at 6 p.m. and late at 8:15 p.m. "Your Time" dining, Carnival's open seating option, is available from 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. in one portion of Mardis Gras. Tables in the Your Time dining section are first-come, first-serve, so arrive early (or late) if you're looking for a two-top.

Carnival Inspiration's menus feature starters (appetizers, soups, salads), main courses and desserts. There's always a vegetarian starter (like gazpacho) and main course (cinnamon pumpkin, yam and cheddar pot pie), but be sure to ask about the seemingly innocuous vegetable soups, most of which use chicken stock bases. Low calorie items, like sugar-free orange cake, are designated with a Spa Carnival symbol.

Those in tune with Carnival's brand of not-too-serious fun will struggle mightily not to have a super-duper good experience. And with so little time -- Inspiration sails three- and four-night cruises -- it may be impossible to attend the mixology class, compete in the hairy chest contest and snag front row seats to see the R-rated comedian. But given the high-octane energy onboard, many passengers certainly try.

Beginning with the mass-appeal entertainment, two production shows take place each night in the Paris Lounge, a two-deck, 1,300-seat theater with great leg room on the floor seats and stadium seating, comfortable banquettes and bar stools on the balcony. Certain spots have obstructed views, so if decent sightlines are important, arrive early. Besides the earnestly energetic Las Vegas-style song and dance revues (such as "Fiesta Latina," ayayay), the Paris Lounge hosts comedians, illusionists, an always well-attended passenger talent show, the Gender Showdown (who's smarter?) and even inflatable laser tag ($5 per person), where players try to zap each other in a mini-arena. Check the Fun Times for laser tag availability.

The Paris Lounge also plays host to a number of daytime activities, like the popular country line dance classes, bingo and trivia. And because no first-time cruiser comes back without raving about the towel creatures (is that monkeybat wearing my sunglasses?), you might as well learn how to make your own during a towel folding demo.

Inspiration's secondary entertainment venue is the Candlelight Lounge, the spot for karaoke, art auctions and the "R-rated" comedy shows, among other activities. At the entrance of the Candlelight Lounge is Chopin, a combination cigar and sports bar with stogies for sale at inflated prices (about 25 percent pricier than onshore) and a number of flat-screen TV's airing popular sports on a seasonal basis. (Fall equals football time.) Upon entering the bar, gaze up for a look at a ceiling mural of cherubs horseplaying as they float from cloud to cloud.
You may also be interested in the Monte Carlo Casino and Rock 'n' Roll dance club

Dress throughout the ship is relatively casual, though you'll see plenty of passengers in collared shirts or nice dresses during dinner in the main dining room. (Jeans are cool; bathing suits are supposedly not.) On the one formal evening occurring on the four- and five-night cruises, suits and evening dresses appear, but few passengers don the full tuxedo.