We arrived at the pier in Long Beach at 12.00 pm. The private shuttle driver was told to unload our luggage in an area in the back where the only person in charge asked for a tip to take care of it. At 12.10 pm we stood in line, 2 hours in the full sun, 1 hour and 20 minutes in the shade. There was nobody in sight to give an explanation, no water was offered and no seats were available for some of the older passengers. Approaching the desks we could see that about one third were not staffed. We are foreigners so we had a long discussion with the person at the desk about our visas and US immigration rules. It took 4 supervisors to answer our question. Consequently it took about 20 minutes to check in.
The safety briefing was not taken seriously by the staff. On the upper decks was nobody to guide us to the correct deck and during the briefing staff was not paying attention to the announcements made over the speakers. In order to set my mind at rest I want the safety briefing to be an exercise in case of an emergency.
After only a few days we called the Splendor the 'ship-of-the-long-lines'. We didn't like the ship because it seems kitschy. The ornaments are overbearing and take away from the narrow space there is in the first place. This was the first ship that always felt crowded. It had pillars in the way that were real obstacles and many seats in the theater didn't allow a full view of the stage. We were not impressed with our cabin staff on the first leg of the journey. They gave the impression that they did not care too much. The staff on the second leg was very good though. Many seats in the dining room (Black Pearl) were so close together that the serving staff had to balance their trays over people's heads. The majority of the staff did not have proper training. They reached across one person to serve another, served a cold starter before a hot starter, forgot to bring an order or got it mixed up. We missed overall the service with a smile. The serving staff in the Lido was often invisible. The choice of food was very restricted and it was almost always cold. The Lido was not clean. When I looked at the air vents along the windows I saw that they were filthy. The window sills and the floor were often dirty.
The cruise director Malcolm was a pain, just loud and not funny. The 'fun' on the 'fun' ships can't be forced on. They have to work for it.
Some staff of the guest service was arrogant. A senior member who was supposed to look into our passport issues let us down three times. Although he had promised to keep us informed he did not get back to us once. We had to line up at the guest service desk every time and ask for him.
There were too many issues in the organization of the cruise to list them all. The information policy was disastrous. It seemed that they would only make announcements after failures became too obvious to be ignored instead of letting the passengers know in advance when something did not go according to plan. Waiting in line to get back on the ship at some of the ports took up to 1 hour.
The only pleasant experiences were the ports along the way.
We had sent a complaint to Carnival from Huatulco about the embarkation chaos. It took them 4 weeks to answer with a letter full of platitudes and an apology that wasn't worth the words.