Us right before we got on the Inspiration
Early last Thursday, we flew into Tampa to depart for the ship. At the airport, we got in line for a cab and met another couple, Steve and Cathy that was going too. We split the cab and chatted the whole way to the port. We became friends fast and spent a lot of good times with them on the ship.
Our new friends Steve & Cathy
As soon as I boarded the Inspiration I remembered this ship from a cruise I had taken in my early 20’s. They did a ton of upgrades to the decks, including new pool area, water slides and adding a miniature golf course. The cabins were also redone, complete with a flat screen and more storage space. The rest of the ship still had a 90’s vibe, but overall it was really nice.
We started the trip out right and got a drink with Steve and Cathy at the first bar we saw. The rooms weren’t going to be ready for a little while, so we went to the Lido deck and had lunch at the buffet with them. After lunch, Geof and I made our way down to the cabin got settled and then went to explore more of the ship.
Miniature golf course on the ship
We walked all around, got familiar with everything and then went to checkout Carolina Liar on the Lido Deck stage. They sounded great and I love their single, "Show Me What I’m Looking For". After awhile, we made our way back down to the cabin and in the hallway saw a bunch of random dudes in their briefs and one in a banana hammock. I thought they were just bringing the party out to the hallway, but Geof informed me that it was all four members of Carolina Liar when we got back to our room. They stayed just a few cabins down from us and we ran into them several times.
The ship with Carolina Liar playing below on the Lido Deck
Cocktails at the Chopin Lounge. My Mojito was so good!
Later, Geof and I headed to the Carnivale Dining Room for dinner. We had the best dinner on the first night of shrimp cocktail, beef ribs and chocolate melting cake. Let me also say that one of the best things about this cruise was that there wasn’t any of that hokey typical cruse stuff. Dinner was open seating, casual dress and the wait staff didn’t dance around the dining room after the meal. I always hated that.
Chocolate melting cake
After dinner, we went back to our cabin and got ready for the night. We headed up to the Candlelight Lounge and caught the end of Parachute. We saw these guys in Philly back in January and they really do have some great songs. The lead singer, Will is quite talented and it was good to see them again. After they went off, we secured our spot for SafetySuit and I recognized a fellow fan, Amy from Twitter. She came on the cruise with her husband, Chad and we were great friends the entire cruise. They were at the concert with sisters, Jessica and Amanda and we also met another great couple, Liz and Josh. I could not have asked to make better friends on this cruise and we all made it the best time.
Me with Will from Parachute
As SafetySuit was coming on, we looked back and saw Jim Shearer from the VH1 Top 20 Countdown and introduced ourselves. He was a really great guy and so fun!
Me, Jim Shearer and Geof
Geof and I before SafetySuit
The concert started and our little group made it a blast by singing along with all of the songs and jumping around dancing. Doug came into the audience at one point right beside me and we rocked out to The Moment for a moment (sorry I couldn’t resist). After the show, we said a quick Hello to Dave and Doug from SS and then dashed off to the Paris Lounge for the ticketed 3 Doors Down show.
Dave from SafetySuit
Doug from SafetySuit
3 Doors Down was the headlining band on the ship and the only one that you needed a ticket for. Our seats weren’t the best, but it didn’t matter. Brad Arnold’s voice sounded great live and they played all of their greatest hits and then some. He made a mention about how much he appreciated our troops and you could tell that it was really sincere. He also made some of the songs a little more personal by describing the way he felt or what he was going through when he wrote them. It’s always interesting to get a little bit of a back story.
After 3 Doors Down, we went back to the Candlelight Lounge and ran into Amy and Chad. We also saw Jeremy from SS and talked to him for awhile. The next band taking the stage was 7daybinge and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them or not because they’re a little harder, but they knew how to rock. It was nice to hear some fresh music and get familiar with a newer band. After the show, we headed up to the lido deck for a late night snack and called it a night.