Carnival Cruise Line’s 2056 passenger, 70,367 gross ton Carnival Inspiration is the sixth in the eight-member Fantasy Class platform of cruise ships. Carnival is the world’s biggest cruise line with a fleet of 24 ships. Carnival Inspiration was built in 1996 as the Inspiration by the Kvaerner-Masa shipyard near Helsinki, Finland. The yard became Aker Yards Oy in 2005 but since 2008, it has been a part of the STX Europe conglomerate. Now considered mid-sized, the Inspiration was among the world’s largest cruise ships when it entered service. It is shown here during its maiden visit to Los Angeles in 1996. At 859.5 by 103.5 feet, the Fantasy Class ships were larger, enhanced versions of Carnival’s first newbuild, the Tropicale of 1982. All Carnival ships boast the line’s signature winged funnel, designed by veteran marine architect Joseph Farcus. In 2007, the Carnival prefix was added to the names of all the vessels in the fleet. At that same time, the Carnival Inspiration received a multi-million dollar “Evolutions of Fun” refit, which saw the addition of a water park and newly decorated public spaces. On December 17, 2011, the Carnival Inspiration arrived at Long Beach, Calif., to begin regular three- and four-night cruises to Mexico. Adjacent to the historic, retired ocean liner Queen Mary, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal is housed in a geodesic dome that was originally built to display Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” airplane. The Carnival Inspiration has 10 passenger decks. As a nod to the company’s roots, all of its ships have an Empress Deck, dating to Carnival’s first ship, the SS Mardi Gras, the former Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Canada. The ship’s uppermost level is Sun Deck (14), which begins with an open platform that overlooks the bow. An even larger viewing terrace is two decks below, on Verandah Deck, directly above the bridge. Sun Deck is protected by an angled glass screen and features a cushioned jogging track that actually passes through the base of the radio mast. Eleven laps equals one mile. The turf-lined City Sports Park on Sun Deck is a nine-hole miniature golf course. From the aft portion of Sun Deck, there is an excellent view of the Carnival Inspiration’s midships lido and pool area. Most of the ship’s outer deck areas are covered in teak. Sports Deck (12) is divided into forward and aft sections. The forward portion houses the spa while the aft portion of Sports Deck is an open terrace at the base of the funnel overlooking the pool and lido area. The circular opening in the funnel draws in air to help push exhausts through either wing and off to the side of the ship. Here is another view of the Carnival Inspiration’s funnel with the Twister water slide on aft Sports Deck. Twister is accessed via a tall spiral platform. Twister riders end up in an open trough of water on aft Verandah Deck (11). In addition to Twister, the Carnival Inspiration’s water park has a pair of less vertiginous slides called Racers. Aft Verandah Deck also has a large sunning area atop the stern. On Lido Deck (10), there are finite, teak-lined promenades on either side. Midships Lido Deck is home to the ship’s pool, two Jacuzzis and a stage for pool-side events. A poolside bar with shaded seating is located on each side of the midships Lido. Serenity is an adults-only terrace on aft Promenade Deck (9) with cushioned loungers that overlook the ship’s wake. Guests enter Carnival Inspiration via the seven-deck tall Grand Atrium. Topped by a glass skylight, the space is trimmed in red and green neon. This is a view facing forward from its lowest level, Empress Deck (7). This is a view facing down from the Grand Atrium’s uppermost level, Sports Deck. The 12,000-square-foot Spa is forward of the Grand Atrium on Sports Deck. A Relaxation Room is for Spa guests’ use before and after treatments. Several Spa treatment rooms offer a wide range of massage and skin therapies. Men and women each have changing areas with their own saunas and steam rooms. Accessed via the Spa, a well-equipped gym overlooks the bow from Sports Deck. An aerobics room is immediately aft of the gym and has spinning equipment in addition to plenty of open space for classes and stretching. The Beauty Salon is located on the starboard side, just aft of the Spa. Camp Carnival is a children’s playroom on Verandah Deck overlooking the mid-ships lido and pool. Separate areas and activities are coordinated for those aged 2 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 11. The 722 seat Brasserie is the Carnival Inspiration’s casual buffet-style eatery on Lido Deck. The vivid colors and “tube sprouts” are Carnival architect Joseph Farcus’ playful take on the organic Art Nouveau style. Off The Grill is adjacent to the Lido Pool on the starboard side of Lido Deck and is the hub for burgers, hot dogs and other grilled fare. The Mongolian Wok is opposite Off The Grill and is one of the tastiest casual dining options afloat with its wide selection of vegetables, noodles and meats that are stir-fried in a choice of three authentic sauces: Thai Barbeque, Szechuan and Black Bean. The Carnival Inspiration’s main showroom is the 1,300 seat Paris Lounge. The double-deck room begins a line up of public spaces on Promenade (9) and Atlantic (8) Decks. A photo gallery follows the Paris Lounge on either side of the Promenade Deck level of the Grand Atrium. On the port side of the Grand Atrium on Promenade Deck adjacent to the O2 Teen Center, there is a large video arcade. Formalities is a shop on Promenade Deck that sells candies, cookies and spirits. The marble-surfaced Boulevard spans the greater length of Promenade Deck. The wide passage links the lion’s share of Carnival Inspiration’s public rooms and is a destination unto itself, with plenty of seating and views through its full-length windows. The Monte Carlo Casino is located on the port side of Promenade Deck and can accommodate up to 450 guests at a time with its bevy of slots, card and roulette tables. Fiberoptic lighting tubes achieve an Aurora Borealis effect in this space. The Violins Bar is situated in a nook between the Monte Carlo Casino and the Boulevard. The Cafe Des Artistes is the ship’s extra-tariff specialty coffee and pastry venue adjacent to the Boulevard. The Avant-Garde Lounge seats 109 guests. Its decor was inspired by the Cubist movement. Designer Joseph Farcus painted the three-dimensional Cubist artwork in the Avant-Garde Lounge to “suggest the motion and interaction that can be shared by guests who dance on its Harlequin-patterned granite dance floor.” The Rock and Roll Dance Club is the ship’s bonafide nightclub on Promenade Deck. Video monitors broadcast sports events and music videos. Pearl-finished guitars with fiber-optic strings are the visual focal points of the Rock and Roll Dance Club. Accessed via the aft stairtower and the Rock and Roll Dance Club, the Conference Center is located on the port side of Promenade Deck. The 92-seat Chopin Lounge is at the aft end of the Boulevard. A grand staircase leads down from the center of the lounge to the Carnivale Dining Room. Decorative elements of the Chopin Lounge include water-bearer statue columns, Corinthian pilasters with high renaissance scrolls and cherubim ceiling murals. The 541-seat Candlelight Lounge is the ship’s cabaret-style entertainment venue at the aft end of Promenade Deck. Hundreds of decorative fiber-optic candles help illuminate the room. Located on the port Atlantic Deck level of the Grand Atrium, Circle C is an interactive facility geared for the “tween set”, guests aged 12 to 14 years. Flanking the port side entrance to the Mardi Gras Dining Room, Rhapsody In Blue is a 92-seat piano bar with broken-edge granite, blue reflecting crystals, Tivoli lights in stepped Deco moldings and stainless-steel musical notes that are intended to transmit the “spirit of George Gershwin’s music.” In the starboard corner opposite Rhapsody In Blue, the 43-seat Shakespeare Library has been rendered in Elizabethan style with Gothic arches, columns and rusticated walls. The ceiling coffers are inscribed in gold leaf with 25 Shakespearean quotes. Named for Carnival’s first ship, the midships, 650-seat Mardi Gras Dining Room has a raised central section and full-length windows on either side. Decorative flourishes include stepped cherry-wood panels and polished rosa cardinale marble tiles. Located at the aft end of Atlantic Deck, the 658-seat Carnivale Dining Room is named for Carnival’s second ship. Handmade Italian fan-shaped seashells in marigold and garnet glass are among its decorative highlights. The Internet Cafe is on the port Empress Deck (7) entrance to the Grand Atrium. The reception (shown) and shore excursions desks are on the Empress Deck level of the Grand Atrium. A passage that links the Grand Atrium with the midships Empress Deck stairtower contains an art gallery with works that are sold on board by Park West Auctions. Self service launderettes have coin-operated washers and dryers, as well as ironing boards. Twenty-eight Grand Suites top the Carnival Inspiration’s accommodation tier. All staterooms can be configured with two twins or a king-sized bed. Grand Suites have a large flat-screen television, a sofa (with additional sofa bed), arm chairs and a coffee table. Here is another view of a Grand Suite, all of which are located on midships Upper Deck. All accommodation features 110 AC current, 24-hour stateroom service, bathrobes, hair dryers, individual climate control, safe deposit box, telephone and TV with A/V input plate. Grand Suites have teak-lined balconies furnished with two chairs and a table. Grand Suites also have a walk-in closet. Grand Suites have bathrooms with a jacuzzi tub or shower combo. Twenty-six Junior Suites are located on Verandah Deck and feature three closets and a single sofa. Here is another view of a Junior Suite. This is a Junior Suite balcony. There are 564 Ocean View staterooms. This one has a picture window and is configured with a king-sized bed. Here is an Ocean View with a twin-bed set up. Some forward-situated Ocean View cabins on Empress, Upper, Main and Riviera Decks have twin portholes in lieu of a picture window. Standard bathrooms in all categories except Grand Suites feature showers with massage controls, sink and toilet. Wheelchair-access cabins are located near elevators and have wider doors as well as modified controls. Bathrooms in wheelchair-access cabins have a shower with unfolding seat and modified controls. There are 389 Interior Cabins on the Carnival Inspiration. Here is an Interior Cabin fitted with third roll-away berth. Nineteen Interior Upper/Lower cabins represent the most economical accommodation aboard the Carnival Inspiration. Carnival guests enjoy special free sample amenities that can include toothpaste, shaving cream, lotions and razors.