We sailed the Splendor on 3/31/13 for 8 days to Cape Canaveral Florida, Freeport Bahamas and Nassau Bahamas. I cruised with my husband (27 & 28) and my 3 cousins (20, 21, & 25). This is my 10th cruise, my husband's 4th and my cousins' 2nd.
Boarding the ship in Manhattan was a little bit of a wait, but altogether with dropping off luggage, checking in and boarding was less than an hour. Our rooms were available immediately which is really nice, we were able to put our carry-on bags in the room and settle in before going to eat. My husband and I had a Premium Vista Balcony at the back of the boat. I usually go for mid-ship, but we opted for the very large balcony of the Premium Vista Balcony, the room itself is measured the same as a regular balcony room, but it appears larger due to the way it is set up.
Before I forget to mention...we did the Cheers! drink package. It was $395 per person for the whole vacation if purchased on the first day. You are able to purchase the package either the 1st of 2nd day, the 2nd day is a little cheaper in price because you bought drinks the 1st night. There is a 15 alcoholic drink maximum per person per day. Each drink must be $10 or less, if it is more, you pay the difference. All non-alcoholic drinks including frozen drinks and soda are free and do not count towards you 15 maximum. However, if you are not sure how many drinks you have left, ask any bartender or waitress, because if you go over the 15 the computer locks you out and you have to go to security to release your account. Another thing I heard a lot of people asking about, every person who is 21 and over per statement MUST purchase the package. You cannot have 1 person 21 purchase it and another who is 25 not purchase it.
After settling in we headed to the buffet on the Lido deck where everyone else was, so the buffet was very crowded. In my opinion, there were plenty of choices, including the deli and pizzeria. We tried the deli that day which you are able to pick from the choices they have available and they grill it like a panini, I had pastrami and corned beef with cheese and it was OK, the pastrami had a little too much fat on it for my liking (I am a picky eater when it comes to meats). The other food from the buffet was pretty good. What I did realize was that the buffet closed fairly quickly and the pizzeria was the only food to stay open which had a very long line (one of my only cons). Leaving NYC was rainy and cold, but having the large balcony we were able to go in and out as we pleased without standing on the windy, rainy upper deck with everyone else, definitely worth it!
We went to the dining room the 1st night, our waiter Steven was very nice, the drink waiter Colin was also very nice. No one had complaints about the food the 1st night, everything came out quick, hot and tasted fine to us. Always keep in mind, if you do not like something, they are more then happen to bring you something else! That night we hung out in the casino, after a long day and the waters being a little rough the casino wasn't too packed. We did pretty well and actually won the first night!
2nd day was a sea day, waters were still a little rough for half the day then it wasn't too bad. My 2 girl cousins and I went to the spa for the 3 for $89 package. I had a mini facial, hand massage and deep conditioning treatment, the spa was very nice and relaxing, the gym was pretty crowded, but big enough in size (from what I saw from the door). The spa treatments lasted an hour and went well. What I do not like about the spa and I experienced this on Norwegian also, when you have a face treatment they push their products on you after your treatments that are ridiculously priced. I tell the spa employees the same thing all the time, "Let me think about it and I will come back at the end of the trip to buy something if I am interested" Although annoying, it's their job to sell the products and when you say that, they back off. That night we had dinner in the dining room again, no complaints about the food once again, ended the night in the casino and Red Carpet club.
3rd Day it was warm enough to lay outside because of this the pools were packed, instead I laid out on my balcony and took the sun (perks of having a large balcony with lounge chairs!) Dinner in the dining room again and casino and club afterwards.
4th day was Port Canaveral Florida, I was there in 2009, it's not a very exciting port, you have to travel to get to a beach or anywhere else you would like to go. We did the alligator fan boat tour in 2009 which was nice, but it's a 1 time thing, no need to redo it. They have excursions to Disney which I believe would be really nice for people with children, you get about 8 hours or so there, so I think it is worth it with younger children. For us, we just used it as a pool day. We laid by the Serenity adults pool in the back of the ship. It was a quiet, relaxing few hours and ADULTS ONLY. We did not see any children there during any of the times we even walked by that pool. That night we went to the buffet for dinner, however from my understanding the buffet was to be open until later and when we got there around 8:30ish, almost all stations were closed. So either I misunderstood or they closed early due to not many people being there, I am not sure, but I wasn't too happy with that.
5th day was Freeport Bahamas. The weather was nice and sunny, we got off the boat around 11ish and I planned for us to go to the Grand Lucaya Resort. It was about a 15-20 minute cab ride from the ship, but nice part was the cab company (I believe it was Ammex, but I could be wrong). we apparently took charged $10 per person on the way there and then gave you a card to show to the main station next to Grand Lucaya and your ride home you didn't need to pay for, so about $5 per person each way, which wasn't bad. Where we were let off had a bunch of little shops, you could rent mopeds, water skiing, etc. We continued straight to the hotel's beach (which I read reviews about it from Cruise Critic, so I was taking a chance). We paid $15 per person and we were able to use all of the hotel's amenities, pools, beach, etc. We waited a little bit on a line to pay for our guest passes for the day and as soon as we paid there was a drink station set up, so we went to get a drink and the man said we needed to pay for a drink ticket on the same line we were just standing on, so that was apparently not explained to us correctly or clearly. So we continued to the beach, as soon as we sat down, it got cloudy, windy and cold. After getting 1 drink each, we gave up and headed back to catch a cab to the ship.**Reminder...we were not aware of this until we got to the resort, BUT the bar by the pool does NOT take cash** The cab company made us wait a little bit for more people to come to fill up the cab, so if you want to just jump in a cab and go back to the boat, you may not want to use that company. Right outside the boat are little shops and a Senor Frogs, we walked around the shops a little bit and then went to Senor Frogs which was pretty much packed.My husband and I ordered 2 pina coladas, his had an extra shot of rum, $36. They were both in regular beer mug glasses, I could only imagine how expensive food was, so if you just want somewhere to hang out, get free shots by dancing in a conga line, then this is the place for you, otherwise I would advise eating and drinking on the ship!
6th day was Nassau Bahamas, unfortunately it was a full on rainy, cloudy day and down poured during the day. Being there twice before, my husband and I just stayed on the boat and hung out, my cousins' went on the excursion to swim with the dolphins at the Atlantis, they really liked the whole experience. They bought the pass that allows you to do the dolphin excursion and then use the Atlantis' water slides, it cost them $240 each.
7th day was a sea day and still warm enough to lay outside, so we took full advantage of that since it was sunny! That night my cousins' wanted to go see the show, as mentioned, I have been on plenty of cruises to know exactly how the shows are, they are all singing and dancing and if you aren't into that, you won't like them obviously, I could go with them or without them, doesn't matter to me. So I agreed to go with them and I was enjoying it, could of stayed the whole show, but my younger cousins were over it fairly quickly.
8th day we woke up late and since it was nice out but not extremely warm we didn't lay outside, we hung out around the ship, picked up our last minute things we wanted to buy at the shops and then started to pack up. We chose the self assist disembarkation which I have never done before, so you being all of your luggage out of the ship by yourself. We left our room at 8:30 opposed to 10:25 if we were to check our luggage and we were on the streets of NYC at 9am sharp. So the self assist worked well for us.
Food: No problems by me, the buffet changed slightly each day for lunch. However, the burrito bar was very good and whatever other selections they had were good as well, the mongolian station was crowded everyday, but also, very good! The buffet during dinner the 2 times we went, we couldn't catch every station open, so I do not know if they just have a small selection for dinner or if they have everything open for an hour into dinner time. We never went to the buffet for breakfast so I cannot comment on that. Dining room was always good in my opinion, I do not eat seafood, I did not eat any chicken and I am usually very picky with steak, but I did opt for the flat iron steak that was on the everyday menu and I really liked it a lot, and that is hard to come from me about steak. I had stuffed peppers one night which was very good also. The everyday cheeseburger was good, not fantastic, but good. Room Service was OK, I only had the garden salad, BLT and the portobello mushroom sandwich which I thought was excellent every time I had it. None of those sandwiches can be messed up too easily so I usually stick on the safe side with food and because of that I had no complaints. The rest of my party, had different things every night, lobster, escargot, etc. no complaints from them either, some things weren't particularly their taste, but never a complaint. Servers and all dining employees were very nice, never felt that they were miserable or nasty.
Casino: Dealers were very personable, always remembered you and said hello even if you were walking by the table. Drink servers and bartenders were nice also, our drink server from dinner remembered me every night in the casino and what drink I wanted. Great service!
Red Carpet Club: We went to the club 7 out of the 8 nights. It was a typical club, upbeat, fun place. We had 1 waitress to remembered us every night and came to our group of people every night to help us immediately. Our cruise had either very young kids or teens, not many 18-20's so the club consisted mostly of couples, later 20's and older and it was nice. The last 2 nights there were a lot of people in the club that weren't there any of the other nights. The teen club was a little further down from the adult club, so for those of you that have teens, it's close enough to keep an eye on them and the arcade is right next to the club to keep an eye on any age.
Overall, no complaints from me, very clean, service was good, staff was friendly and I couldn't ask more then that!