We flew non-stop across "our" beautiful country two days before we set sail to have breathing room in case of bad weather, delays, etc. Nothing was going to hamper this once in a life time adventure. We flew South West and saved a fortune on luggage fees. Packing for almost two months for several different climates was a challenge, and layering your clothes was the key. I find that I did over pack and could do with a lot less.
Embarkation was unorganized and a nightmare for many. We were lucky being Platinum as we got to sit in air conditioned semi comfort for a good hour until we were told to move outdoors and sit on the retainer walls for another hour until finally getting on the ship about 1pm. Lines of people still standing in the hot sun were visible for many more hours still waiting to board. One of the rumors was about 400 people had no idea that a visa was needed for this cruise and Carnival needed a game plan for these folks. They could not enter Brazil without one, and had to make plans to disembark in Buenos Aries after leg two.
We finally were able to go to our cabin after a so so lunch with seating at a premium. We had an ocean view cabin, it was hot, and no air was coming out of the vent even though the control was pegged to cool. We told the room steward and went to customer service. They told us to wait until we sailed, the room would get cooler. Well, people were wearing sweaters in the public areas, so this did not make a lot of sense. We went off to explore the ship and when we returned to our cabin we had most of our luggage and wanted to unpack. Surprising, everything fit!!, even our unpacked luggage fit under the bed! The room was still hot, our clothes stuck to our bodies with all the unpacking. We opened a bottle of our soda, and filled our fridge with our stuff. The line out the window was still there and it was almost time for the drill. An announcement was made that it would be delayed, and we also would be late in sailing. Time for a nap, but too hot to sleep.
OK, all aboard, time for the drill, and we really like the fact that you no longer need to wear your jackets. We stood on the deck packed like sardines awaiting this very important procedure. The siren sounded inches from my ear...I did not know how close I was told to stand to it. I thought my head was going to explode and the pain was horrific. I was taken to the medical unit and given ear drops as the DR did say my ears looked irritated. It was pain drops and I could not hear with them in but needed to use them for about 10 days. My ears are still not right and feel plugged up two months later.
I made an effort to go to dinner, late seating, and we had a table for four and met a wonderful couple that we clicked with right away, and they became our table mates for the entire 48 days, along with our serving crew. Dinner was a special occasion each and every night as we looked forward to sharing experiences with our new friends, and the wit and charm of Fernando was a delight. Thank goodness for our new friends and our serving staff as the food was a disappointment. You will not go hungry, but after several weeks, I was ready for my own cooking.
We went to the Welcome Aboard show and Malcolm the CD was a bit over the top, witty, and truly a people person who loves his job. I do not know how he kept his composure the whole seven weeks with a smile on his face and a hello to anyone and everyone.
We returned to our still hot room, peeled off our clothes, called about the no air again, and went to bed. We were told the air would be fixed "tomorrow"
It was not, we were given a run a round with all the excuses on Earth...I actually took my pillow to Guest Relations and asked where I was to sleep ?
I comfied up on the couch right by the main desk, as it was nice and cool. Security escorted me back to my cabin where I found a pow wow going on with my husband, the maintenance dept, and a few Stripes. They gave us a fan.
We had a well organized cruise critic group that really could have run this cruise a lot better than Carnival. Carnival was unorganized, and giving out wrong information from day one to day fourty eight. The right hand did not know what the left hand was doing most days, from port info, to elegant night. Our lecturer, Mickey Live was the glue that helped make things happen.....like maps, and accurate info.
The Splendor is in bad need of rehab, from the dirty room curtains, stained and soiled public seating, and sinking into booths where I needed a booster seat.
The decor of pink has to go, it is worn, outdated. The Nancy Drew/Jersey Boys wall covering is over done. The crew is always disinfecting and the smell of bleach is everywhere.
The free laundry? You get what you pay for. Our clothes were returned to us faded, dinghy, and old looking as if they were stone washed in a river. I did a lot of rinsing things out in the sink.
The pizza and deli are excellent alternatives for the Lido food at lunch which was another disappointment. How come we ran out of bananas in major banana ports? How come the beef was tough when we were in Argentina/Brazil?
Late dinner lost out on prime seating for deck/equator parties, many comedy acts, and dance sets. The club did not play the oldies/motown by the time we got there from the show. We always missed "our" music. Most production shows were excellent, even though we saw most three times. The other nightly shows were enjoyable with the exception of just a few.
This was definitely a multi-cultural mix of passengers. Many thought they were more privileged than others, and butted in line, were rude, disrespectful by slapping the Captain, and even sitting in my lap because they wanted my seat in the theatre. Some of this was unbelievable, but yes, very true!!
The ports were amazing and very refreshing from the same ole Caribbean. It was wonderful to have new experiences, see new things, and make more memories. Not everyone can "live on a cruise ship" for seven weeks with their partner/spouse/friend, but it worked for us and we would do another long cruise again.
Now that we have been home for five days, we are still "cruise sick" meaning that hubby and I are still dry coughing with a sore throat. Many, many of us still are. I do not think the ventilation system is maintained properly leading to this cruise sickness. This ship is used to mainly seven day runs......you complain, and you go away. This time we did not go away. We were sailing for seven weeks and a lot of neglected behind the scenes maintenance slipped through the cracks.
Would we do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat!! On the same ship? Only if dry docked and redone. Yes, this was a cruise of a lifetime, Cruise Critic was a major positive influence, and could not have been enjoyed as we did without our wonderful group.