I remember the first time I saw a cruise on TV. I thought, “Wow!” with all the activities on the ship it must be a fun experience.
In 2014, I got married and found out going on a cruise was on my husband’s bucket list. March 2015, we both decided to go on a cruise. We booked for tickets for our daughter and my mother-in-law. It was not cheap.
Time in L.A. And Check in
May 29,2015, we flew to L.A. and hung out there for a day or two. We checked out the city and drove to Long Beach just before departure. We arrived 4 hours early but there were already hundreds of people there in line for the cruise. Carnival is so organized that they process people pretty fast.
I really thought we were not allowed to bring water but I seen an Indian couple bringing their own water and sodas. When it was our turn, we filled out the health department paper with a few questions about Ebola. My husband and I, submitted our IDs. Although I am not a US Citizen, I was able to use my passport and I-512 EAD to go on the cruise. We were given our card keys that also serves as our id while on the boat. It also has a $100.00 credit per stateroom that we could spend while cruising. When it was my mother-in-law’s turn, she was told that she needs a birth certificate since she did not have a passport. She had only brought a State ID which we all thought was good enough because on our tickets that is what we thought it said. It also says in a Customs and Border Protection website that a US citizen can present a government issued id. She was not able to go with us on the boat and we were given a paper that state her denial of boarding.
On the Carnival Inspiration
After boarding, they had an orientation on Paris Lounge. There were hundreds of people sitting. There were older people but what stood out the most are the college students and 30 + adults who were acting like little kids. The crew told them to keep quiet and the college students would try to make a scene and keep talking. It made the orientation even longer. After that, we went on to find our stateroom. It was chaos. There are tons of people everywhere and many are already tipsy and drinking. We finally found our room and rested for an hour.
We went to the “Mardi gras” restaurant. The food is included in what you pay for your cruise. They have two restaurant. One is an a la carte and one next to the pool area which is a buffet. The food was delicious. The buffet has so much variety. The food was what I enjoyed the most. I was on vacation and did not have to cook 🙂
The second day, we landed in Mexico. There were many tours offered each with their own fee, but you can get off the boat and walk around free if you want (just make sure you have your identification so you can get back on the ship). For those who want it, you can take pictures as you disembark (which they sell back to you at a ridiculous price once you are done with the cruise).
We had chosen an express “Fun Bus” that took us on a tour around Ensenada, Mexico for an hour and dropped us off in a shopping/bar area. Ensenada is rich with a proud Mexican heritage, a high level of academia and decades of foreigners from all over the world coming to visit and/ or live. We notice that a lot of citizens of Ensenada had California accents since they had strong connections with the Westcoast of the United States. On the way back, we saw Steve Job’s yacht parked at the docks. It was really just a glimpse from the side of the highway because we did not stop.
We return to the boat in just 2 hours. Over all it was “okay” but not great. The souvenir shops were overpriced. It was more expensive than Hollywood Blvd souvenir prices! We got some shot glasses and a dress for mom. We got back to the ship to eat and rested.
Carnival Cruise put out an itinerary everyday that detailed all the events throughout the ship. There were dance events, night clubs, kid’s clubs, auctions, pool parties and MANY other events. One of the most popular events was Cruise Elegant nights were everybody dressed up formal for pictures.
The third day we were at sea there was a huge pool party. There was a DJ, people dancing, a contest for the hottest guy and girl. It was very entertaining. The buffets were so packed that day.
On the 4th day, we arrived in L.A. We woke up at 6:30 am, had breakfast and disembarked at 9am. Overall, it was a fun food adventure with a spring break party feel but I was wanting a more peaceful experience.
Ticket for 4 people + vacation protection insurance : $ 1745.32
Shore excursions tours 2 adults + 1 child : $ 54.97
Souvenier shop glass : $ 10.00
low quality house dress : $ 25.00
3 pcs 4 R photos : $ 48.00
housekeeping & restaurant service fees $ 36.00/day : $ 108.00
1. Check in early. Like 4 hours before departure. You would think you are early but theres already hundreds lining up for check in.
2. Bring valid passport or birth certificate. Always have a passport or birth certificate even on travelling a closed loop.
3. Review the coverage of your insurance. If you have to cancel your trip for emergency reasons, call immediately days before your trip. Vacation Travel Protection do not give a refund if you are denied boarding.
4. Expect a crowd. People are not as well mannered as you think.
5. Prepare to spend more money. Everything has a corresponding amount except for the buffet food.