Carnival Inspiration is a Fantasy-class cruise ship that’s been delighting families with tons of fun in the sun since it was first floated out in 1996, making this cruise ship more than 20 years old. The $270 million ship is 70,367 GT and 855 feet long, with a capacity for 2,610 guest passengers and 920 crew.
The vessel has undergone several dry docks for refurbishments during its lifetime, including in 2007 and 2018. Thanks to the most recent round of refurbishments, passengers aboard Carnival Inspiration can enjoy some of Carnival’s latest branding efforts, amenities, food and dining outlets and entertainment options.
Now, Carnival Inspiration is a “Fun Ship 2.0” vessel among Carnival’s fleet, meaning you won’t even notice the ship’s advanced age, except for when it comes to booking your cabin. The ship does offer fewer cabin categories than what you’ll find on some newer Carnival ships, but you still get your basics covered. And, if you’re a new cruiser, then you likely won’t even notice anything out of the ordinary at all.
Historically, Carnival Inspiration has sailed the western Caribbean, offering short itineraries to families traveling from Tampa to destinations like Grand Cayman and Mexico. For a period following, the ship served the West Coast with Baja Mexico cruises from California.
If you’re thinking of taking a Carnival Inspiration cruise, what can you expect? What should you know about the cruising experience and how can you make the most of your vacation? Here are 11 ways you can enjoy your Carnival Inspiration cruise to the max.
1. Take care picking your stateroom
While you might not plan on relaxing in your stateroom too terribly much during your cruise (after all, you do have an entire ship at your disposal), you still want to make sure the space is one you enjoy and that fits your needs as a traveler.
Interior staterooms include Interior Upper/Lower rooms, Interior rooms and Porthole rooms. The first option maximizes space for those traveling as a pair, but not quite a couple, with two sleeping spaces. In other words, it might be a good option if you’re taking a mother-daughter cruise or a cruise with your best friend.
While the Interior Upper/Lower rooms only fit two cruisers, the Interior rooms can sleep up to five cruisers, with plenty of space for everyone. You can even book connecting Interior room, if you’re planning a multigenerational getaway, or you just have a big family.
Porthole rooms sleep two guests in one bed, comfortably, and they’re a nice pick if you want a view and some natural lighting.
Ocean View rooms expand that porthole experience even further, with bigger and better views and more space overall — with room to sleep up to five cruisers.
Lastly, suites come in two varieties, junior and grand suites. Suite cruisers are treated like VIPs from the time they arrive at port until the moment they depart to go home. They enjoy huge, expansive stateroom spaces, with living areas in addition to the sleeping areas, lots of storage and great views. Balconies are featured on suites and give you a fantastic place to relax and enjoy a little fresh air while you watch the world float by.
2. Do pick a Deck 7 stateroom if you want to be as close as possible to all the action
If you really want to be as close as possible to all the action — all the fun, games, nightlife, entertainment, dining, drinks and more — then try to get a stateroom on Deck 7. Most of the ship’s public spaces are on the higher decks, and Deck 7 is one of the decks where you can book a stateroom that’s not a suite, but that’s still pretty close to all the action. (If you are considering upgrading to a suite, though, and want to be as close to the fun as possible, look at Deck 11, where the suites are just a hop, skip and jump from the pool.)
Deck 7 allows you to have a bit of privacy away from the ship’s major hubbub, but you’re still just one deck below the main action and you have several public spaces on your deck as well, including the ship’s internet cafe, Grand Atrium and art gallery.
3. Bring along the entire family
If there’s one thing that Carnival does well, it caters to families. Family travelers deal with a host of issues that other types of travelers do not, including a limited budget for often a large number of people, a range of interests and likes/dislikes, a range of ages and attention spans and more. Carnival gives everyone in the family something to love and enjoy, providing parents and kids with tailor-made amenities that are sure to thrill.
Plus, it all typically comes at a pretty affordable price when compared to other family vacation options and Carnival Inspiration specifically has historically offered many short sailings that are desirable to those parents who can’t get away from work or their “real life” responsibilities for a long period of time. So, if you’re considering a Carnival Inspiration cruise, don’t leave the kids at home. Bring them along, and maybe even bring grandma and grandpa, too!
4. Try as much as possible
Carnival Inspiration is a small floating city, a getaway paradise at sea. There’s a lot to do! So, even if you find a spot you really love aboard the ship, like a great bar or awesome restaurant, don’t just continue going back to that same watering hole or eatery over and over again. Make sure you try out everything that Carnival Inspiration offers. Then, save your repeat visits for your next cruise.
5. Tap into your competitive side
You might think you’re the quiet and reserved type, but step aboard Carnival Inspiration and you’ll soon find that (perhaps with a little liquid courage) you’ve broken out of your shell. Carnival Inspiration inspires travelers to get active, be social and have a little fun — especially when there’s some friendly competition involved.
So, tap into your competitive side and let your hair down a bit while aboard Carnival Inspiration, whether you’re taking on your fellow cruisers in a round of Hasbro, The Game Show, or just taking on your kids in a friendly game of basketball, or even showing off your pipes at karaoke night.
6. Indulge in a drink or two
With Carnival Inspiration’s many upgrades it’s received in the last few years, there are many new bars and watering holes open to cruisers looking to have a great time. Make sure you try all the best brews, cocktails and wines during your trip.
Enjoy live music and some tropical concoctions at RedFrog Rum Bar. See what kind of impressive cocktails the pros come up with at Alchemy Bar. Try some of the tequila at BlueIguana. The options are endless.
7. Plan some family time into your itinerary
We already mentioned that Carnival is a great choice for families looking to cruise. If you’ve brought your family along for your Carnival Inspiration trip (and we hope you did!), then make sure you plan plenty of time to make memories with everyone in the fam. There are loads of family-friendly entertainment options that make picking an activity everyone will enjoy easy.
Younger kids will love the Seuss at Sea experience, which includes parades, visits from beloved Seuss characters and even a Seuss-themed breakfast, as well as the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea, where they can put together a unique souvenir. Older kids with a taste for thrills will enjoy forcing mom and dad down the ship’s stomach-dropping water slides.
8. Plan a little time for yourself, too
Of course, while family time is the best, you need some time for yourself, too. Carnival Inspiration offers private time to busy adults in the form of the Serenity Adults-Only Retreat. There, anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed, so you’re assured a quiet, peaceful atmosphere away from the typical cruise hubbub.
Find a lounger, kick back with your favorite (adult) person and enjoy a drink or two. You’ll leave Serenity feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and ready to get back to playing with the kids following some one-on-one time with your spouse or the other adults in your traveling crew.
9. Leave the diet at home
While Carnival Inspiration does offer some healthy dining options, this is no trip to watch your waistline. There’s so much yummy, delicious, hard-to-resist dining aboard Carnival Inspiration!
Guy’s Burger Joint is one of the newest eateries aboard Carnival’s Fun Ship 2.0 fleet, and it offers some scrumptious burgers topped with anything you could ever want, all with flavors designed by celebrity chef Guy Fieri. The BlueIguana Cantina not only serves up Caribbean-inspired drinks, but also Mexican street food with flair.
The main Dining Room is a popular option for many reasons, but most likely because it’s always a safe bet; you get three great courses in a nice, upscale atmosphere. The Lido Marketplace is a casual dining hub with just about any eats you could crave. Pizza Pirate serves slices, 24-7-365. You’ll also find little snacks here and there throughout the ship, whether you happen to stop by the coffee bar or you run into Swirls for a quick ice cream cone or frozen yogurt.
10. Try some entertainment outside your comfort zone
There’s absolutely no shortage of entertainment when you’re aboard Carnival Inspiration, so while you might have a preference for certain types of entertainment, make sure that you try something outside of your normal realm of experience as well. You never know when you might discover a new favorite! For example, if you normally prefer movies to music, why not try a musical theater show from Playlist Productions?
If you’re a live performance and skit comedy fan, head over to the Punchliner Comedy Club and see what they’re serving up. If you like concerts and live music, take your music listening experience to the next level and visit the DJ at the mega deck party. Whatever you decide to do, not having fun is never an option.
11. Let the Carnival team do what they do best
If you’re planning your first cruise, don’t sweat the small stuff (or the big stuff!). If you’re planning to cruise with Carnival, then you’re already in good hands. The Carnival team on any of the brand’s ships is thoroughly equipped to help you navigate your first cruising experience with ease, to spectacular results.
Whether you’re worried about having WiFi during your cruise, to check some important work emails, or you’re worried the restaurants on board won’t be able to cater to your strict dietary needs, they can help. There’s no request that’s too big or too trivial for the Carnival team to not assist you, resulting in your best cruising experience yet.
Carnival Inspiration FAQ
Carnival Inspiration does have balcony rooms, but unfortunately only suites offer balconies. Suites options aboard Carnival Inspiration include the Junior Suite, Junior Suite with Obstructed View and Grand Suite.
Junior Suites offer sleeping arrangements for three, and deck seating for two, while the Grand Suites offer sleeping arrangements for five and a roomier deck, but still with seating for two.
While there is not a movie theater aboard Carnival Inspiration, there is a traditional theater. The main theater is the Paris Lounge, which hosts day and evening shows and events, include musicals, games and parties.
Carnival Inspiration is a Fantasy-class cruise ship. The Fantasy class began with Carnival Fantasy, which entered service in 1990. There are currently eight Fantasy-class cruise ships among Carnival’s fleet, including Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise.