Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by nnwu: Good cruise overall
Overall Member Rating
Good cruise overall
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
We paid around $500 Cdn (incl the $11.50 tip per day) for this cruise and for that price, it was a good cruise overall. Some keys takeaways:
Pinnacle Steakhouse - Well worth the $35 per person fee! I was hesitant at first about paying extra when I could eat at the main dining room for free, but the steakhouse dinner was honestly the highlight of our cruise! There is a huge difference between the quality/size of the steaks and lobster served at the steakhouse vs. what was served in the main dining room. The $35 covers 2 appetizers, 1 salad, 1 entree, 1 dessert, and the waiter's gratuities. We did not know that the gratuities were included and ended up tipping an extra 15% on top of that....oh well, lesson learned for next time! Best to make a reservation on night #1 of the cruise in order to take advantage of the free bottle of wine!
Food Highlights - Night 2: Lobster, Night 6: Oysters Rockefeller, Night 7: Escargot in Garlic Butter. There was also multiple nights More with prime rib steak and lamb shank. Overall, the food in the main dining room was very good. We did "my time dining" - a piece of advice is to go early for dinner when the dining room opens at 5:45pm. There was a line-up already everyday at that time. If you go after 6:30pm, the line-up to get a table will be very long and the service inside very very slow! We typically sat down by 6pm and were out of there by 7:30pm, enough time to freshen up and make it to the 8:30pm showtimes.
Dining room seating - If you are cruising as a couple, they will seat you at a big round table with strangers. Some couples liked meeting new people so they did not mind, but others wanted a quiet dinner by themselves. If you want your own table, you must request this when checking in with the hostess.
Hot Tubs - Always very crowded, especially if weather outside is too cold to go in the pools. We paid $125 each for a week-long spa pass, which granted us access to the "members only" thermal pool (amazing!!) and the different steam rooms. It was worth the price in my opinion because there were many occasions where we got the thermal pool to ourselves - much better than trying to squeeze into a tiny public hottub on the deck with 10 other strangers.
Shows - Punchliner comedy shows were great! One comedian in particular (Smiley Joe Wiley) was hilarious! If you plan to go to the adults-only comedy shows at night, get there 30mins early...always a long line-up!!
Shore excursions - We paid $16 per person for the shuttle to cocoa beach & cocoa village in port canaveral...great day, no complaints there. In Nassau, we paid $89 per person for the segway tour around the island, which lasted about 2.5hrs. Riding around on the segways was a lot of fun!! And not just for old people!! We were two 23-yr-olds and we had a good time...another couple was 28 &30, another was in their 30s, and the last couple was slightly older in their 50s. The last port was Freeport, Bahamas, which really sucked!!! We did not book an excursion for that day because we figured there would be a beach within walking distance (like in Nassau)...but there wasn't! If you do not book an excursion for Freeport, then you must pay $10 per person for a taxi ride in order to get to the beach and main shopping area. Kinda sucks for those who don't want to spend more money to get to a nearby beach and just wanted to get off the ship to walk around. We did not enjoy Freeport at all - got off the ship to look at souvenir stands and then back on the ship within an hour. Other than the souvenir stands parked outside, there was nothing else to do there unless you paid for a taxi.
Gratuities - Total came out to be $92 per person for 8 nights. I've heard that some people have requested to withdraw their auto gratuities - a word of warning if you plan to do so: The room stewards and dining room teams are made aware of those who have withdrawn their tips, so there is risk of receiving poor service. Less
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