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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

Carnival Inspiration Deserves its ‘Fun Ship’ Reputation

PHOTO: Hilarious Jeff ‘Big Daddy’ Wayne knocks ’em out at The Punchliner Comedy Club on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Inspiration. (photo by Jason Leppert)

It’s time for another round of “he said, she said” banter with my wife, Heidi Leppert.

This time, we’re weighing the positives and pitfalls of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Inspiration and specifically the Fun Ship’s activity and entertainment offerings.

Playlist Productions

He said: I’ve always enjoyed a good stage show at sea, and Carnival’s signature Playlist Productions are some of the best. They may not feature much in the way of original numbers, but the revues are always creatively framed and performed with talented gusto.

“Motor City” and “Studio VIP” were the two such productions presented on our Inspiration cruise, and both were blasts of high energy.

She said: Because the Inspiration is a smaller ship, there was only one performance of each production show.

Unfortunately, this created a schedule conflict with a cruiser favorite: The love and marriage show. Since the production shows are pretty similar, my tip is to only go to one, (and don’t miss love and marriage). I always enjoy hearing what the couples who have been married 50-plus years will say. Relationship goals, Jason! (He said:Indeed!)

He said: “Motor City” showcased the R&B Motown hits of the 1960s and 1970s, while “Studio VIP” featured funk by way of New York City. I loved the pair as a fan of the music from each, but they featured very similar theming and eras. I would have preferred seeing a greater mix of styles. Nonetheless, the eight singers and dancers rocked out and made the most of both shows.

The Punchliner Comedy Club

She said: Carnival has got a dynamite product with The Punchliner Comedy Club.

We enjoy both the family friendly and the adult shows, and always try to attend as many as possible. The venue is actually really big on the Inspiration, spanning the entire width of the ship, and we were always able to find seating. If you have a larger group, I recommend showing up early to be able to sit together.

The comedians are consistently hilarious, the material is fresh at every show and it adds a huge amount of value to the Carnival brand. (He said: I couldn’t agree more. The comedy club is one of my favorite features on any Carnival ship and is always a highlight of the cruise.)

Trivia and Video Arcade

He said: Admittedly, we are really big kids at heart, so we enjoy frequently partaking in the playful trivia sessions onboard. It helps add to the fun that we’re usually pretty good at it too, especially movie music and scores. Watch out, competition!

Suffice it to say, we won a Carnival Inspiration “ship on a stick” trophy. (She said: I still can’t believe you’ve never seen “The Breakfast Club.” Good thing I was there to bail you out on that question!)

In the same vein, we also decided to try out the video arcade, which even entices adults with the potential to win everything from Apple Watches to MacBooks. While we weren’t quite so lucky to procure any technological prizes, we did have a great time playing Pac-Man air hockey with dozens of pucks in play at once. (She said: Ahem. I won air hockey. Don’t think I didn’t notice that you conveniently left that part out.)

Serenity Deck and Library Relaxation

She said: The Serenity Adult-Only Retreat is situated on the aft of the ship. There are two hot tubs and a pretty good number of loungers and chairs. The location is nice because walking up the outside stairs just one level will take you right into the buffet. This makes it easy to set up camp, grab a plate of food when you get hungry (skip the pizza, however) and take your food back down.

In fact, I really love the way this whole ship is laid out. Almost everything you need is on Deck 9—one level comprising the show lounge, casino, nightclub, comedy club, Alchemy Bar, coffee bar, and Serenity. Amazingly this deck doesn’t really feel crowded and has a good flow.

Up one deck are the buffet and the pool, and down one deck are both of the restaurants—all super easy to navigate. (He said: The Fantasy-class ships are also unique for featuring all of its public decks contiguously above most stateroom levels instead of separating them like on most ships.)

The Inspiration lacks a true observation lounge, but there are some nooks and crannies that can serve as good alternatives. The entire midship starboard side of Deck 9 has lots of comfortable seating.

Unfortunately, we found this area unusable because of the smell of smoke from the casino, even when the casino wasn’t open.

Just off the atrium is the Shakespeare Library, and this quiet sanctuary is the perfect place to read a book, play cards or simply enjoy the view. Bring your own games, however, because the onboard selection is practically non-existent. (He said: I really do miss an observation lounge and wish Carnival considered them for its newer ships, particularly as an indoor escape from smoking.)

Carnival WaterWorks

He said: I always have to try out the waterslides onboard, and Carnival WaterWorks is the place for such exhilaration. On this ship, the Twister Waterslide is the main attraction with two sets of smaller racers and a few interactive aquatic elements filling in the rest.

The Twister is actually quite thrilling and a decent length for being featured on a smaller ship. So, yes, I rode it a couple of times—for research—and also fun and filming. Stay tuned for another signature video review on it coming soon!

This post first appeared on TravelPulse.



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