Maybe I'm too plain for cruising, but a buffet that never once served roast beef, turkey or ham, is a bit too pretentious for me. Carved leg of lamb every day? No thanks. Carnival Splendor managed to turn every buffet meal into a "Find something safely edible" adventure. Pancakes that are already on the buffet 15 minutes before it opens in the morning? Not a good sign.
This seemed to encompass our entire cruise. Strange foods and a overly-dingy atmosphere. The whole interior of the ship is decorated in Pepto-Bismo Pink.
The kids programs were a major disappointment. Sometimes they didn't open until late in the evening, sometimes they were locked up when they were supposed to be open, etc. It was so bad that kids were running up and down the hallways, knocking on cabin doors as a joke. The two tween-age boys who got into a fistfight by the Lido Pool really put the cherry on the disaster that was Carnival's kids program on this cruise.
There seemed to be a subtle disregard for the overall cleanliness of the ship. Stains on the seat cushions in the Lido Restaurant areas, grime and grunge around the bottoms of the tables in the pool area, etc. The crew was good at cleaning up the big stuff, but the whole Lido Deck could have used a good pressure washing...daily.
Our Main Dining Room experiences were the one high point of the cruise. The food was good, and the service was attentive. However, a couple of nights we had to wait for beverage service. Our last night we didn't get drinks until we were almost done with dinner. And, they ran out of Coca Cola on day 6!
Our cabins (2 of them) were clean and functional. The cabin stewards did a wonderful job working around my two boys, who finally gave up on the kids programs and chose to stay in the cabin and play on their Nintendo games. The steward finally had to come in and service the cabin when we dragged the kids to dinner with us at night.
While the problems we encountered tended to sour the mood for a little while, overall it was a good cruise. We drove over from Phoenix the day before, stayed with friends, and arrived at the port about 10:00am. Check-in went well. You could tell that Carnival has a lot of experience dealing with moving people around.
This was our second cruise (4 of us), but for the rest of our party (3 more), it was their first time on a ship. They loved it.
If I don't dwell on the minor irritants, the cruise was a positive experience. Would I book a Carnival cruise again? Not really sure at this point.