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Carnival Inspiration, Imagination or Fascination?

Ontario, Canada
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112 posts
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Carnival Inspiration, Imagination or Fascination?

We are planning a cruise with 3 teenagers next August . Anyone who has been on Carnival Fascination (Miami, Key West, Cozumel, 4 days), or Imagination (Miami, Key West, Calica, 4 days), or Inspiration (Tampa, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, 5 days)? I heard the Sting gray city in Grand Cayman is really fun? I looked at the excursion description for Key West and it does not look like really unique. I would like to see something that you can not find on any other tropical beach, like ruins, unique formation, ..etc. Anyone has any comments? Otherwise all the other excursions seem similar ????

Chatham, Ontario
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1. Re: Carnival Inspiration, Imagination or Fascination?

Hi....just my opinion, but go for Inspiration. Five days is twice as nice as 4. (When I was on Fascination in 2002, I really hated getting off after 4 days) Also, the ship is newest - 1996 (refurbished 1999, 2004) versus 1995 for Imagination (refurbished 2004) and 1994 for Fascination (refurbished 2006).

As for excursions - I've provided Cruise Critic port page addresses for more details on "what to do".

Key West is a lot of fun - I enjoy it every time I go there. However,unique culture would be limited to Audubon House (some rare prints), Hemingway House (okay, mainly I'm just a sucker for the cats) and - believe it or not - the cemetery, which is unique. Self guided walking tours maps are available at the info booth in Mallory Square. The conch train is a good way to orient yourself. You can buy tickets for it directly on the internet, or just wait until you arrive - no need to book thru' the ship.

www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=51

Feeding the stingrays gets raves from just about everyone, but you can certainly book your own excursion cheaper than the ship's prices. Search this board - Captain Marvin gets a lot of good reviews.

www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=1

Calica is really just a pier on the mainland directly across from Cozumel. If you're planning on a visit to the the Mayan ruins at Tuluum, choosing Imagination over either ship that docks in Cozumel will save you a (possibly very rocky) ferry ride to get to the mainland. However, don't look for any amusement in Calica itself. I think it might be hard to arrange your own Tuluum tour in Calica, although you can research it. You might be better off with the ship's own (expensive, but guaranteed to get you there and back in time) tour. Tuluum is a $36 /45 minute cab ride away, but a good guide is a factor to enjoying these ruins.

www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=158

www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=6

Hope this helps you decide.

San Diego...
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1,787 posts
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2. Re: Carnival Inspiration, Imagination or Fascination?

Are you only looking at a specific date in Aug 2008. My research shows both Inspiration & Imagination with several other options for port calls, including Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Grand Turk, etc.

I mention only those 2 ships because they will both have the new "Evolutions Of Fun" upgrade made to them. This includes a new pool area to include an even bigger water slide than they currently as well as an "adult serenity area" which you may need during an August cruise. I don't know when Fascination will be getting this upgrade (sometime before the end of 2009) You can find more information on this upgrade at Carnival's website. My guess is that your teenagers will like the new waterslide.

I would agree, that in my opinion, Key West could be skipped. Grand Cayman (Stingray City), Ocho Rios (Dunn's River Falls), Calica (Xcaret or maybe the Tulum Ruins), Cozumel (snorkeling) are all great ports. Keeping in mind that Calica is really only a rock quarry.

If you can do it, definitely try for the 5 day or even a 7 day if you can swing it. You will be amazed at how fast your time is over and the disappointment of having to leave the ship.

You can read a lot more about these ships and their itineraries over at CruiseCritic.com (also owned by TripAdvisor) .

San Diego...
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1,787 posts
19 reviews
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3. Re: Carnival Inspiration, Imagination or Fascination?

Are you only looking at a specific date in Aug 2008. My research shows both Inspiration & Imagination with several other options for port calls, including Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Grand Turk, etc.

I mention only those 2 ships because they will both have the new "Evolutions Of Fun" upgrade made to them. This includes a new pool area to include an even bigger water slide than they currently as well as an "adult serenity area" which you may need during an August cruise. I don't know when Fascination will be getting this upgrade (sometime before the end of 2009) You can find more information on this upgrade at Carnival's website. My guess is that your teenagers will like the new waterslide.

I would agree, that in my opinion, Key West could be skipped. Grand Cayman (Stingray City), Ocho Rios (Dunn's River Falls), Calica (Xcaret or maybe the Tulum Ruins), Cozumel (snorkeling) are all great ports. Keeping in mind that Calica is really only a rock quarry.

If you can do it, definitely try for the 5 day or even a 7 day if you can swing it. You will be amazed at how fast your time is over and the disappointment of having to leave the ship.

You can read a lot more about these ships and their itineraries over at CruiseCritic.com (also owned by TripAdvisor) .

4. Re: Carnival Inspiration, Imagination or Fascination?

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