We sailed on the Carnival Splendor on October 16 - 24 out of NYC. It was all in all a great cruise, and a great vacation.
There was a slight delay in embarkation, but we are VIP, so we were comfortable while we waited. When we boarded, we were able to go straight to our stateroom (again another perk of VIP status). We dropped off our things and headed up to the Lido for lunch.
This ship has lots of options for food, which is nice. They have the usual buffet, which changes daily. They also have a Mongolian Wok, which always seemed busy. There is also an Indian food station, deli station, grill, and pizza. A new thing on this ship that I have not had on any prior cruises is the rotisserie on the 10th floor. They had roasted chicken, mac & cheese, corn on the cob, etc. It was great, and I hope they roll it out to other ships as well. The pizza on this ship was leaps and bounds better than I have had previously on Carnival.
We had the 8:15 seating in the Gold Pearl dining room. While the food was good, the service could have been better. This was the slowest service that we have had to date on any cruise. In fact, on a couple of nights we missed the show because the dinner service was so slow. Our waitstaff was very nice, but just unorganized and slow.
The ship itself is nice, and somewhat typical of a Carnival ship. We spent a lot of time at the aft pool, which was for adults only. The only issue here is that, as the week went on, it got busier and busier to the point that you could get into the pool, but you could not move due to the amount of people in the pool. Later in the week we moved to the mid Lido pool, which was larger, and not quite as crowded. There was a waterslide, and a splash park for the kids, which was a nice touch. There were lots of activities such as mini golf, basketball courts, ping pong tables, etc. They also had a lot of deck games and pool games if you were interested in participating in those as well.
Our first stop was Grand Turk. We hung out at the Margaritaville pool for a few hours, and just enjoyed swimming, relaxing, and people watching. The scenery here is beautiful. We left port about 1/2 hour late as there were people that were late getting back on board.
Second stop was Half Moon Cay. This is my 4th time here, and I love it! The water is crystal clear and the island is beautiful! We got off the ship approx. 1 hour after they started tenders ashore. I was very disappointed that once we got on the island, we were told that there were no more clam shells to rent. Then we had to literally hunt to find beach chairs. This was all within 1 hour of when people began going ashore. We were the only ship in port that day as well. Therefore, I think that they should have been more prepared for the amount of people that they expected. They always have a BBQ on the island for the guests. It is ok, but not great. It is hard to find, and the food is just mediocre. It is also difficult to find a place to sit and eat. But, I would gladly go back here in a second. It is so beautiful and relaxing.
Our last stop was Nassau. Again, we have been there several times, so we were looking to do something different. Carnival offered a new tour to Balmoral Island, so we gave that a shot. It was about a 30 minute boat ride out to the island. Once we arrived, we were greeted by the staff of the island. There is a small pool on the island where you can take a swim if you wanted something other than ocean swimming. The beach there is beautiful as well. They had great staff serving up drinks and food on the island. They also had a Starbucks, which made me happy! The area was beautiful and relaxing, but seemed somewhat minimal, but I think it is fairly new, and they are getting things up to speed.
The entertainment on the ship was good. I love the comedy shows, but I found them difficult to get into because they filled up very quickly! If you got there at 9:30 for a 9:45 show it was standing room only.
On our last day at sea there was a medical emergency, and they needed to airlift a passenger off the ship. They made the announcement that all open decks needed to be evacuated so the helicopter could come. The staff did an excellent job of handling the situation. We were able to watch from our balcony while we sent prayers for a safe a speedy recovery.
All in all this was an excellent cruise, and I am sad it is over. Now onto planning the next one!