About six years ago my husband and I took a 3 night cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, Mexico on Carnival Paradise. It was loud and children were out of control all over the ship. The ship itself was not esthetically pretty either. After that trip we thought we would never cruise Carnival again. This year we decided to give it one more shot and we are glad we did!
Our 7 night Mexican Riviera cruise began on Carnival's Splendor. We had heard that this was known as the "pink" ship so we were not sure what to expect. Indeed she was pink, but a lovely shade that was not overbearing.
We had a Spa Balcony room that comfortably fit my husband, myself, and our 9 and 11 year old children. The balcony was quaint and since these are non smoking rooms, there was no smoke blowing past. These are the only rooms on deck 11 and are all located next to the spa. The stewards were superb and friendly and the spa facilities were lovely.
We elected to choose the Choose Your Own Time dining and that put us in the Black Pearl Dining Room on Deck 3. We never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated and were always given a private table for four. The meals were not 5 star, but were quite yummy, and I fell in love with the Vegetarian Indian dish even though I am not a vegetarian.
We had dinner one night at The Pinnacle steak house and the food was great. The steak I had was not the best cut of beef ever, but was much more intimate and flavorful than the main dining room. For us it was worth it to try it out. We would probably do it again.
My daughter age 9 loved the Camp Carnival Kids club, and the Owl's Jam's late night parties (an extra few for the parties, ranging from 13-33 dollars). My son would have preferred to be in with the older kids and next time we cruise he can. He is not so much into playing anymore.
The ports we stopped at were beautiful and we really recommend the Salsa & Salsa excursion in Cabo San Lucas, only available through Carnival. Even he kids loved it!
The only complaint my husband and I had regarding the trip was that the last two nights were sea days and while the kids had one of their late night parties (10pm-3am) at the kids club, there wasn't much for the adults to do past midnight. We ended up renting a movie in our cabin until our daughter was back from the party (she didn't want to leave early and they walk your child back to your cabin for this event).
I would take this cruise again, and am sad to hear Splendor is relocating at the end of the year.