We (myself, hubby) our son (20) and his gf (19) just returned Sunday from our first ever Carnival cruise. We booked Carnival because 2) RCCL left the So Cal region B) haven't had a vacation in 3 years and really needed a break.
Embark: We are locals, got to the port of Long Beach around 10:45am. Checked in outside and got number 2 loading number. With a little help from a friend, we were bumped up to VIP Boarding. We boarded around Noon. Headed to the back of the ship where we munched on some food in the Lido Buffet.
Then off to explore the Splendor. I don't mind the color pink, but the circles everywhere were dizzying at first. Soon enough, your eyes adjust and you're just enjoying this big, beautiful ship.
Around 1:00pm our room is ready to go. The big rolling suitcase that my husband has been schelping around all morning is finally put in the room. He proclaims "Never Again!", okey, didn't proclaim exactly. But, he did say that next time we'll just pay for the soda's and Red Bulls. The champagne that was also in our carry on bag, was brought home. Never did pop it open.
Our Cabin: 7447 Empress Deck, Aft Wrap Balcony We had enough room for the 2 of us inside. We booked this cabin because of location and the size of the balcony. For us, definitely worth the extra dollars. The only bump in our room was the a.c. that would turn off in the middle of the night. They'd fix it each morning, but then each night it would go off. Ghosts perhaps??
The bathroom was a standard size, one sink, shower curtain, shower with nice pressure too. It's all a matter of taste, but the art work in the cabin was hideous. Just our opinion. We didn't sail to look at the paintings...not when we had this incredible view outside. Love, Love, Love, that view out the back!
Side Note: Lordy...we never did get used to the sound the toilet makes when it's finishing flushing :-D
Steakhouse: Made reservations about 6 months ahead of time. We had 7:00pm ressies on our first day in Cabo. The 4 of us were looking forward to having dinner here. Bottom line: We felt it just was not worth the extra money. With extra tip our meal came to $175. My lobster was a disappointment. Our son's filet was tasty, my husband's Cowboy Steak was ok. Son's gf ordered pasta. In comparison, we have always enjoyed RCCL Chops & Portofino restaurants.
Entertainment: We never did make it to a showroom. Instead we had a routine of going to Karaoke each evening. Li, the host of Karaoke is wonderful. We felt like we met a new friend. My husband ended up auditioning for the Legends Show. What a kick to see my man being "Ricky Martin".
Piano Bar: We thought it would be dull...were we wrong. FUNNY, so much laughter. Really enjoyed ourselves here.
Trivia: I'm a trivia nut, I drag my hubby to as many as possible. We won our first ever Ship on a Stick. Well, again, it was our first time on Carnival. Our son won a ship too!
Casino: Our choice of entertainment is Roulette. We get to chit chat a bit, laugh, meet the crew & other cruisers. It's a fun game, not too serious. Plus, you can make your gambling loss take longer! We did win 'big' $275 once.
MDR: Nothing here was standout, just alright. The service was wonderful though. I wrote on Carnival CC board that I just don't get the "in love" thing with the WCMC. I really don't. I felt the chocolate layered cake in the Lido Buffet was much more tasty. The prime rib was tasty, if lukewarm, as was everything we tasted in the MDR & the Buffet. I was expecting it, so it wasn't a deal breaker or anything. As I mentioned on CC , I was pleasantly surprised at how tender the Flat Iron steak tasted. I thought it was going to be like the meat you use for Fajita's.
Pool: Boy, I wish people would use the restroom. I'd see the same folks hanging in the pool for hours. Yuk. I think you get where I'm going. BTW , we hung out in the Aft Adult Pool. I appreciated that the no children rule was enforced. I also did not see any chair hogging back here. As other's have noted, the Sandwich shop here is a nice break. I had both cold and warm sandwich's...yum.
Final Thought on Carnival Splendor: My husband and I really enjoyed our cruise on her. Clean cabins, clean public areas, outstanding customer service, friendly staff. Nice mix of cruisers...old/young/families/single. We did not think it was JUST a party boat. In that regard it's very much like Royal. You could join in on the partying or find a quiet place to talk. What we did miss on the Splendor was the Promenade that Mariner has.