All flashy classic Carnival décor and fiber-optic light effects, Carnival Inspiration is in her third decade of service and still going strong. She’s a throwback to the days when this line themed its ship like Vegas casinos. However, Imagination has gotten some important updates over the years – like a water park with slides, an adult deck, and the all-important WiFi. Sailing short cruises out of Los Angeles, this ship specializes in value vacations that bring together students, 20-something couples, families and retirees alike.
There are plenty of options for no-fee casual fare on this ship—albeit without the clever concepts that define each specialty offering on newer ship classes. The only formal dining options are located in the traditional main restaurants: Spirit and Pride. Cruisers who enjoy traditional dinner service can choose a seating time in advance of sailing. Flexible “Your Time Dining” is also offered in specific sections of the dining room, although just like with land-based restaurants, walk-in diners may have to wait during peak times. Breakfast in both restaurants is open seating.
The Lido deck is where you’ll find all the buffet-style and grab-and-go options. The classic Carnival buffet is augmented by the pool grill and rotisserie, New York-style deli with sandwiches made to order, and popular 24-hour pizza counter.
For that latte or cappuccino that so many people rely on to start their morning, Vittorio Café is the spot—the entire menu is priced a la carte.
There are no alternative dining venues for dinner, although guests may book the Chef’s Table degustation menu with wine pairings for $75 per person.
Bars & Lounges
One of the first moves Carnival made to bring this ship into the modern era was to install an atrium bar. The atrium bar is always a great central meeting point to start the evening. If you want to listen to classic songs, Dream Bar is where you’ll find the piano man ready to sing along with guests. Other venues on the ship include Mirage Bar, Shangri La and the bar in El Dorado Casino.
Las Vegas-style revues by Playlist Productions light up the Dynasty stage, and Punchliner Comedy Club brings great comics to the stage at Xanadu Lounge. On alternating nights, the main showroom invites guests to participate in board game-based fun during Hasbro the Game Show, while Xanadu brings out a full band for Superstar Live Karaoke.
The casino is always lively with regular card tournaments and a busy bar scene. Illusions Dance Club always holds the promise of nighttime fun and is a popular option for late-night party goers.
Because many on board love to bask in the sunny weather, the pool deck often hosts either a live band or a DJ in the daytime or early evening.
This ship packs a lot of daytime fun into her limited deck space. There are three waterslides at the WaterWorks Aqua Park (one nearly as tall as the iconic Carnival smoke stack), and nonstop poolside contests at the resort-style pool area on the Lido deck. The nine-hole mini-golf course is popular with all ages, as are table tennis tournaments on the sports deck.
Adults who crave a peaceful day at sea can head to the Serenity Adults Only Retreat. The Retreat is an aft-facing area with two hot tubs, loungers, and plenty of peace and quiet.
One of the most popular entertainment acts performs at the casino bar, which may pose some discomfort for smoke-sensitive cruisers.
Depending on the season, the ship can have a party vibe that is more suitable for adult cruisers than children (with the exception of kid-friendly spaces on board).
Late dinner seating overlaps with the start times of certain evening shows.