In a nutshell, the story went well because I enjoyed the cruise and I was absolutely relaxed.
Mijo and I went on a Cruise for the first time to celebrate a loved one B's milestone birthday. There were about eighteen of us in the group and we all chose to go on the Carnival Inspiration. The boat has a guest capacity of a little over 2 thousand guests and nine hundred plus crews. It sailed out of Long Beach in Los Angeles and docked in Catalina Island and then Ensenada, Mexico for a total of 5 days.
From LAX, our friends and fellow cruiser F&C picked us up from the airport. They drove over the weekend from San Francisco to Southern California to visit family so they were already in the area by the time we fly into SoCal.
The port is in Long Beach. I have never seen a parking garage that big. We walked a lot from within the port's parking garage to the actual port. There was a check in process. From here, I could almost tell which ones are newbies from the hard core cruisers. I heard lots of 'welcome back' during the Carnival check ins.
This is just one of the four lovely sunsets I would witness while on the boat for five days.
This is a model ship. The ship is called Carnival Inspiration. It looks big but this boat is not even one of their largest boats according to the Carnival website.
This is the main atrium. This is what I saw right after checkin. We left our luggages right by the entrance and a Carnival staff delivered them to our cabin later on. The crew came from different parts of the world. I met a few Filipino staff and they were all very friendly. I learned that most of them are based in the Philippines and they work in Carnival for months and then they go home.
The ship is huge. If this ship is not even big by Carnival's standards, I can't imagine how huge the others ships are. My first impression was how do you not get lost while in the ship? They do provide you with a little map and an itinerary for the day. The itinerary was full of activities everyday. A mandatory event is the guest welcome and orientation.
Not to mention the shows and activities on the ship. All of activities Mijo and I went to were already included in the bill. I was reading on the their website that on some ships, there are activities that you pay a very small fee. Mijo and I and a few in the group went to see a Broadway-esque show, a comedy show and a Latin night that turned into a Zumba night. The Bingo place was very popular so we weren't able go. There was also a dance club. Mijo and I and the entire family went dancing one night and that was super fun.
The food was good. The best part is that I didn't get sick at all. I've heard horror stories of people getting sick while on the ship. Thank God that I didn't hear any one getting sick at all.
For the food, there are items that you pay for like this steamed lobster.
But the others, except the drinks and soda, they are all-inclusive. I think I over ate, even though, I tried to choose carefully what to eat. There were buffets everyday.
My favorite plates were during dinner. You have the option to dress up and go to the formal dining rooms. We all dressed up for B's birthday.
You pay extra on some of the meals, otherwise, they are part of the all-inclusive.
If you don't feel like eating a lot, try the Taste Bar. There is a chef serving these little tasty creations. I tried their tasty Tortilla Soup and this delicious Pork Roast. Yumm!
I also enjoyed their panini section.
You also have a choice to eat lite and healthy.
The snacks are available all day or at least they were there everytime I go to the dining hall.
Drinks are not part of the all-inclusive. This means you have to pay. They give you two options - you buy a drinking pass card and this card allows you to drink a lot throughout the cruise but it comes with a hefty price. Not that we drank all the time. The pass allowed us to try different kinds of cocktails which was great. If you think you are going to drink a lot, choose the drink pass, if it is available.
Out first stop was Catalina Island. The island is beautiful. The fair weather also contributed to the entire experience. We were given the full day to get off the ship and explore the island. There were island tours available but we chose to explore Catalina independently.
The water was ice cold but Mijo and I took a dip since we brought towels and swim shorts with us.
The main attraction of the island is the art deco Avalon Casino at the very end of Via Casino. The landmark houses a theatre, ballroom and a museum.
Like this beatiful tile work by the benches.
The museum also contained historical artifacts regarding the island but taking pictures was not allowed. I did buy a fridge magnet as a souvenir. We walked around the building and immensely admired the art deco design.
This is a view of the Descanso Bay and downtown Catalina Island that afternoon from the ship.
After Catalina Island, we were out the sea all night long and we reached Ensenada by the morning. Like in Catalina, there were tours available like wine tasting, site seeing, food tours, etc. We chose to see the Bufadora. The bufadora is a marine geyser and it is the main attraction in Ensenada. We had to pay extra for the tour which whisked us from the port to the main sites in Ensenada. The markets and the local food were all great!
Mijo and I saw lots of people eating these baked clams, or Almejas Horneadasm, so we sampled them with a Mexican cerveza. Estaban deliciosas! They were good!
Here's the bufadora. You have to wait for a big wave to witness the marine geysers. The water shoots up really high when the wave is right. There was something soothing with the sound they geysers create.
We spent the whole day in Ensenada. We sailed back to California the entire night. We disembarked the ship the following morning in Long Beach.
All in all, I enjoyed the cruise. It allowed us to celebrate B's milestone birthday, to be with Mijo's family, see different places without the hassle of transfers and hauling the luggages. The food and entertainment were superb. The service was also very attentive. Kudos to all the Pinoy staff at the Carnival Inspiration. Maraming Salamat!
I can positively say that I won't mind going to another cruise in the future.
Until the next travel.