Good selection of dinner dining-room food, architecture and interior design of ship; sunroof atop pool, health club, cabins, entertainment
Location of buffets, some food, some staff
The cruise was enjoyable, perhaps because of the two other couples with whom we cruised. The ship was enormous, as were the choices of dining areas, but what filled the kettles of food in many cases, left much to be desired. The theater was very large and consisted of a 3-story structure. There appeared nothing remiss here, including wonderful laser light demonstrations. Music was live and the three main productions were very good. The adjustable transparent ceiling at the pool deck made it a wonderful place to visit, which accommodated any type of weather. Pools, hot tubs, miniature golf, sun decks, and other entertainment were more than ample. The gym and health club were a state of the art venue.
In the contract provided by the carrier to the guest, and accepted by default by the guest, it was clearly noted that the carrier was NOT responsible for just about anything, including insuring the safety and health of guests, not insuring guest safety, decent food, a proper stateroom, a decent trip or anything else. In my opinion this is a reprehensible and repugnant clause, giving the passenger absolutely no rights whatsoever in case of a serious problem. It is certainly in contradiction to public policy and at the very least, disgraceful, regardless even if agreed to by 46 US 30503 of the United States Code! Should one wish to further read the important contract items, please read:
PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS
If you would like to review the Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of rights, you may do so by clicking on the following hyperlink or by going to http://www.carnival.com/about-carnival/legal-notice/ticket-contract.aspx?icid=CC_Footer_84 section 4, “BAGGAGE, PERSONAL PROPERTY, PROHIBITED ITEMS, LIMITATION OF LIABILITY”
I suggest you open the link and please read it carefully.
The design of the ship and interior architecture were one of the highlights of the ship. Upon entering we found it rather incredible to see the exterior [and very ample] elevators and well-appointed walls, halls, our guest room, dining rooms and nightclub. It appears that the designer of all these took much time, effort and thought to come out with what we saw. However, after the first day, all those just because passé and we were more concerned with the food and service offered by staff. The public bath rooms were very clean and all had a single tissue dispenser which gave the guest germ-free ability to exit the bathroom without subjecting its hands to door handles after washing.
There certainly was plentiful (approximately 1100) staff, which equates to almost 1:3 ratio. This was very obvious in all areas we visited. However, several times in the dining room the word “no” was the response of breakfast waiters when asked for something not on the menu, but notably present from previously having eaten, and subsequently gotten by asking another waiter.
The dining room where we generally ate breakfast had decent menus, but some of the traditional breakfast choices such as cottage cheese and strawberries were not offered on the menu. However, when we asked for them on two separate occasions, we were told that they had to be ordered in advance. Such odd requests? I don’t think so. In another instance we asked for cottage cheese and a strip of cottage cheese enough for a small mouse was presented along with a fruit platter. That was the only way we could have cottage cheese at breakfast in the dining room.
For dinner, the appetizers, soups and main course selection was more than ample, but the deserts both in the dining room and buffet were awful. For example, the vanilla ice cream and strawberry ice cream tasted exactly the same, except for the difference in coloring. They were not sweet as most ice creams are. A “mocha” cake wasn’t mocha, at the very least; it was colored whipped cream. Mocha has a distinct taste which was totally missing here. Chocolate cake was undesirable and often disguised as chocolate. Ice cream and frozen yogurt were not even close to what their names suggest. We’ve found better at a Chinese buffet near our home rather than what was served on the ship.
The buffet service was decent and abundant, but the foods seemed institutional at best and perhaps we enjoyed only a fish and some of the fruit. The choice of breakfast and lunch food at the buffets paled in comparison to the Norwegian Cruise Lines choices and presentation. The location of the buffet areas may have confused the guests for what they may have wanted...rather than to have the buffets consolidated in one specific area, again, the way NCL had it designed.
Unlike the service on the NCL Jewel and Gem, the service in our dining room was much less than top quality, although acceptable. Our waiter, Igor, kept referring to the folks at our table as “you guys”, and often to the women as “darling”. Igor is perhaps, 35 years old and most of us were older than 65. I don’t think this is acceptable under any instance, and either “sir” or madam” or “miss” (or by a guest’s name, as he sometimes did), should have been the operative words.
The stateroom we had which was on the 7th floor and had a balcony was exceptional. The bathroom was, perhaps, one of the best since we’ve cruised in the past 28 years. The steward prepared the room excellently and never forgot to do anything. However, he took the liberty of discarding a box-case I had on a prescription medicine, which I felt was unacceptable, since he had to physically remove the case from the bottle. From our experience with other cruises, we brought our own bar soap so as to avoid using the shower gel provided. The beds were very, very comfortable, and we both slept very well.
We found it absurd for our balcony to be washed on Tuesday, December 17th. This probably was the last day we would have to sit out on our balcony, read and enjoy the warmer weather. However, we were given a letter [which I’ve retained] indicating that 4 hours were assigned to washing our balcony, from 12:00 noon-4:00 PM. We should be compensated for such an inconsiderate ignorance of our right for which we paid dearly…contract-stated or not!
Ship Staff Quality
The cabin steward was quite good except for the comment noted above.
Some waiters seemed to be unable to be accommodating. One doesn’t know if that is because of the instructions of the ship, or if the waiters are just inexperienced or poorly trained. Other cruise ships seem to have a much finer quality of staff than the Splendor. We are grateful for all that we experienced, but in reviewing the areas of the ship, we felt that this should be noted, but not a reason to pass on this ship.
Entertainment & Activities
Entertainment was not very good. The first night there were dancers, as were the 5th and 7th nights, which were OK, the last night being the best of all. Their costumes were quite varied and diverse, but nothing more was there. Halfway through their act we became bored and just waited until the act finished. On other nights there were silly acts and “shows” put together by the entertainment director, one of which was “guess the right answer”, and “what does this word mean”, both of which had a panel of guest on the stage to play the game. Cute, but no cigar! On December 16th, a new act was supposed to arrive in Freeport, but never did due to bad weather at the origin of the flight, so bingo and other assorted “fill-ins” were used, which even lowered the entertainment more. And then there was the late-night comedian, Joe Wiley, who was magnificent. I would doubt that anybody in the lounge who was present didn’t enjoy Mr. Wiley. We all roared much of the time. Please have him back more often.
Several years ago on the NCL Gem, Greg Schlotthauer, was a saint and a gem. He was a solo pianist at a piano bar which captivated everybody for hours. Such a person was not on this cruise, although the gal at the Piano Bar, Tanya (?) was very good. There was a full house and she had a plentiful selection of pieces and drew a full crowd.
There was very little to do during the day if one didn’t like partaking in the Trivia games. Drinking was also a major choice as was eating. We felt that other ships had a more varied choice, such as lectures, talks, enrichment presentations, etc.
We used the gym and this facility was excellent. Machinery and equipment were in good working condition and were well-managed and clean. There were ample pieces of equipment and many people could comfortably fit in the gym at the same time. I did not notice where the sauna or hot rooms were, and if they were there, it was certainly not in any of the visible areas.
Cruise Experience: 15+ cruises
Traveler Type: Couple
Stateroom Type: Balcony