We had a fabulous trip on the Splendor August 12-19. We got to Long Beach early, around 10:30, and embarkation went smoothly and quickly. We boarded the ship and went up to the Lido for lunch. We liked the food in the buffet, and it wasn't crowded yet since we were one of the first groups to board. Before long we were able to go to our rooms. We had an inside room on deck 2. It was small but comfortable. It had lots of storage space, and we were able to unpack our suitcases and then store them under the bed for the rest of the week. The room was well laid out and comfortable for the week.
One of the best things about our week was our dinner table in the Gold Pearl Dining Room. We had table for six next to a window with a beautiful ocean view. It really made dinner special each evening. We loved the food in the dining room. There was always plenty to choose from, and some nights we even ordered two entrees. Don't miss the strawberry soup, and the other fruit soups, and the creme brulee and the warm chocolate melting cake!
We enjoyed the activities on board - miniature golf, water slide, pools and hot tubs. I'm not so much into all of the shows, but Vroom was really good. We missed some of the shows because they didn't start until 10:30. Our group liked to play cards and would often go to the Rotisserie to play (one deck up from the Lido Buffet). It was usually quiet with lots of empty tables. Other areas of the ship often had very loud music playing, so it was nice to find a quiet place to go to.
We went to the gym each morning at 6:00, it got very crowded by 7:00, and people had to wait to use the treadmills, so we liked to go at 6:00. The gym was fairly small for a ship this size, and was not air conditioned enough, it felt very hot after working out.
Unfortunately we experienced horrible weather in Cabo. On the first day the water was so rough that we couldn't tender in, so our itinerary was changed and we left for Puerto Vallarta, and then the next two days after that would be in Cabo. We loved Puerto Vallarta. It was beautiful and green. We walked to a nearby beach. If you get off of the ship and keep walking past all of the people trying to sell you excursions, and go under a big sign that says "Bienvenidos," you walk down a little alley for a little while, and then you can turn right and cut in between some of the resorts, or go through one of the resorts to the beach. Down on the beach we found a guy that took us by boat to a beautiful snorkeling spot near some arches for $140 for the six of us. (Under 25 each) It was beautiful and we saw tons of brightly colored fish. The water was clear and we were able to swim and snorkel through one of the arches. Once we got back to the beach we found someone that would take us parasailing for only $40 per person. It was the most incredible experience, definitely the highlight of the cruise for us!
The next day we were back in Cabo, but it was raining like crazy. They said it was the first rain in 280 days, and all of the streets were flooded like rivers. We took a taxi around town (not much to see, it was dirty and flooding everywhere), and then we headed back to the ship. The next morning we saw patches of blue in the sky, so we decided to try again. It was raining a little, but after awhile it turned sunny and stopped raining. Some of our group decided to hike to Lover's Beach. Yes, you can hike there. You just follow the beach around, but you will get wet going around some of the rock formations jutting out into the water, so don't take your camera if you want to try this. Those in our group that did it had a great time, others in our group took a water taxi to Lover's Beach and Los Arcos. The water wasn't good for snorkeling or scuba due to the weather - a big disappointment but nothing that could be done about it.
We did the self assist for disembarking, we carried our own suitcases and got off the ship at 7:30 a.m., we walked right off and through customs without any lines, very easy.
This was our first Carnival Cruise, all of our others have been on Royal Caribbean. Overall we had just as much fun on this cruise. I think the food was about the same, maybe a tiny bit better on RCI, but I liked the desserts better on Carnival. We thought the food was outstanding on both. The only thing I really didn't like about Carnival was that in some public areas (mainly the pool decks) the music is often too loud to have a conversation. But since we had no trouble finding quieter spots this wasn't really a problem. I would definitely sail with Carnival again, we had a wonderful week.