I wasn't supposed to go on this trip by myself however, unpredictable circumstances, sometimes lead to great experiences, this outstanding cruise being one of memories, I shall never forget. My journey actually started 487 days before embarking. We booked the cruise expecting to sail on the Miracle, using the Early Saver program. I received a call from Carnival shortly after the decision was made to trade out the Miracle for the Splendor. Original booking was a forward slightly obstructed view balcony. Carnival gave me a forward balcony with no obstructions, for the same price. Note that the price was higher for this storeroom than the original booking, so I considered it an upgrade. Storeroom 6212, now all we had to do was wait and of course dream.
Travel to NYC and embarkation: I took the train from central PA to NYC, Penn Station, then took a taxi to the port, arriving at 10:30am. I went straight through all of the checkpoints, in less than 5 minutes. I was given zone 2. Took a seat and started talking with the other passengers, turns out one couples I was talking with ended up being my stateroom neighbors. My zone was called, and was onboard by 11:30am.
I went straight to my stateroom, and found my room steward, and asked, Hernando, if I could leave my bags. No problem. Told him I was traveling alone, and to make the third bed back into a sofa. No problem. Then I went to explore the ship and to find something to eat. By the time I walked up to the 9th floor, the Lido was jam-packed, so I walked straight to the aft, and found the Deli with no line. I ordered the pastrami on rye, and was impressed.
Later I returned to my stateroom, to find the room in perfect condition. White bedding, fresh and clean. Balcony glass could have been cleaner, but it wouldn't have mattered, we had several days of rough seas, water splashed up into the balcony area anyway. The steward did a threat job the entire trip, keeping the room tidy, ice and other amenities stocked, including beach towels. Hernando, made towel animals daily, I had a small petting zoo by the end of the cruise!
Food: I had the late seating in the Gold Pearl and had a fantastic wait team, Fernando (18yrs with Carnival), Adrian (5 years) and Roel (3 years). They danced, joked, and did tricks for our table every night. Food was served hot, never had any issues, however, we always had to wait to get into the dining room. After waiting in the crowded lobby area the first night, my tablemates and I met in the Cool Lounge, where you can look down into the Gold Pearl atrium, went it would clear out we would walk down to our table. Highlights in the MDR: Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi, Beef Tenderloin, Bitter and Blanc, and the Cappuccino Pie.
Roomservice was used for breakfast and coffee, arriving on time each time.
Breakfast in the Black Pearl, sadly I was not impressed. Ordered Eggs Benedict, it was cold and congealed, the coffee was good and my cup was kept full.
The Mongolian Wok, The Pizza (and Ceasar Salads), Burger joint (2.0 not complete yet), Deli, the Omelet stations, and the Rotisserie were all tasty. I did not actually eat anything from the Lido Buffets, but it was always packed with grazing people.
Bar Servers didn't hound, but amazingly they only needed to see my S&S card once and they remembered my name. How do they do that? Strongly recommend the Mango Swirl and the BBC.
At this point I must interject, there were many RUDE passengers on this cruise. It appears to me that if you treat the ship's staff with dignity and respect, you will get the same in return. Smile and talk with them and you will find yourself in a better mood. Don't demand, belittle, or insult and you will be treated like royalty, not the other way around.
Entertainment: 4 different Comedians were on board, giving both family-friendly and adult shows, both types were hilarious. On a side note, we had a passenger become critically ill, and had to be airlifted off the ship. This led to a change of itinerary, and switching port days. Two of the comedians were flown into Grand Turks on a special chartered flight, because of the change.
The Juggler - Comedian was mesmerizing, the glow in the dark balls looked like a neon sign.
The Magician should have had his show in the Spectacular, as you could not see him in the El Moroccan / Punchliner.
Ports: Nassau, I have been there before, so this time I took my own walking tour and saw the Queens Staircase. Shoppers a little and headed back to a relatively empty ship, it was quiet.
Half Moon- heaven on earth I would do a cruise, just to stay at HMC all 3 days.
Grand Turks- I headed off the pier and headed right, and hung out at Jack's Shack. Margaritaville, just isn't my style.
Rough seas on the way back, but I had plenty of sea sick pills along. Another brief detour to check on a vessel that appeared to be in distress, and then back to NYC.
Self assist disembark and was back to Penn Station, via taxi, by10:25am.