Decor-wise CARNIVAL SPLENDOR is a nice ship. Service-wise it leaves a lot to be desired.
This was the second cruise onboard CARNIVAL SPLENDOR for my wife and I. It was selected because of its sailing date of June 17th, our 40th wedding anniversary. While I do not wish to be overly critical, I feel it is in the best interest of those planning a cruise on this ship to know what to expect.
Embarkation: As a VIP guest on CARNIVAL, embarkation was about as easy and painless as it can get. We arrived at the Long Beach terminal about 11:30am and proceeded to the VIP check-in lounge where the check-in process was completed within 10 minutes. Excellent service at this point.
Boarding: Again, as with check-in, boarding went smoothly and we were aboard by 12:30pm.
Stateroom availability: Typically, staterooms are not available for occupancy until about 2:00pm on most CARNIVAL ships. For this cruise we were in our cabin by 1:00pm. Excellent service.
Baggage arrival at cabin: Unpacked and settled in by 3:30pm. Excellent service.
Now the disappointing aspects.
Cabin Steward: We have become accustomed to our cabin stewards coming to the cabin to introduce him- or herself and inquire as to whether we had any special needs or desires. Not so this cruise. We rarely saw our cabin steward and when we did meet him in the passageway it seemed he was forcing himself to be friendly. Much room for improvement.
Dining room table-mates: We were assigned to table 647 (a table for four). On the first two nights of the cruise it turned out to be a table for two (my wife and I). On the third night our table-mates arrived and we wished we were back to a table for two - so much so we elected to forego dinner in the main dining room on the last night of the cruise. Much room for improvement. CARNIVAL needs to consider some form of screening that will allow passengers to provide some input into who they wish to dine with. One of the great pleasures of cruising is the interaction and conversation with dining partners. On past cruises we have been fortunate to have excellent tables and made many friends as a result. The situation we encountered on this cruise took away from the cruise experience.
Lido Deck dining: Food service lines on CARNIVAL SPLENDOR need to be reworked to make it possible to have hot food when you sit down to eat. Whoever designed the layout of the food service lines on CARNIVAL SPLENDOR apparently doesn't care whether his or her food is hot but we do and SPLENDOR falls flat when it comes to ensuring passengers get a hot meal for breakfast. The layout requires you to go through two lines to get a complete breakfast: one line for eggs and omelets; another for side dishes such as potatoes, hot cereals, and breakfast meats. By the time you go through both lines most of your food is going to be cold.
Kids onboard: While not CARNIVAL's fault, it is worth mentioning that kids on cruises can be a problem. Parents need to instruct their children on proper behaviour and etiquette. Running and playing in the food service areas endangers both the children and adults in those areas. One morning I had picked up a tray and was headed to the food service lines when a youngster of about 5-6 years of age came around a corner and wasn't paying any attention to his surroundings (he was engaged in horse-play with several other kids). I came to a complete stop and allowed him to walk into the empty tray I was carrying. That may sound cruel but I am of the belief that he needed to understand the danger of not being careful. Walking into the tray stunned him but did not, in any way, hurt him - he was obviously surprised to encounter the tray he never saw coming!