This was the first and last Carnival Cruise I believe I will embark on. The cruise was chosen due to its proximity to my home and the islands that were visited. I would like to start off the review by acknowledging the positive factors of the cruise.
The room which was a balcony room on deck 10 was spacious and clean (I will write more about that in room review). The cleaning crew was very nice. They always spoke and made it a point to learn the names of the passengers whose rooms they were cleaning. Another pro of the Carnival Splendor was the amount of availability to things. If there was something that was needed (i.e. extra toilet paper) it was requested and received immediately. The overall cleanliness of the ship was that it was clean most of the time. There were a few times when early in the morning after breakfast was retrieved, that we had to walk from table to table, until we found one that did not have left over crumbs from another passenger.
There were many negatives that must be mentioned, for anyone who is interested in getting an honest review, of a true experience on the Splendor. The first and one of the most important review is that of the food. Who doesn't go on a cruise with the intentions of gaining a few pounds, just on the food alone?!? That was my ultimate plan which quickly changed after the first evening on the ship. The food was HORRIBLE! The only good option for eating is the Mongolian Grille. It was only open daily from 12PM-2:30PM, and there was ALWAYS a line (approximately a 20 minute wait) because everyone had the same idea, that it was worth the wait, and by far the best food option at that time. Everything else was not very appetizing, from salad (the lettuce had a 'funny' taste), to the french fries ("who can mess up french fries?"). The oil that they were cooked in was thought to be the reason for the 'not quite right' taste. All of the salad dressings were bland. They looked like they had flavor, but had none at all.The made-to-order omelettes were not even appetizing, my travel partner and I narrowed it down to the cooking spray that was used. It was nice to see that staff cleaning up the vegetables as they spilled out on the buffet but, it was also annoying how at 2:30pm despite what food was left over in the buffet line, the crew was very adamant, about taking the food down, regardless of who wanted some or not. All the food that went to waste was very disheartening, even though it was nasty. If people are hungry, they should still be able to eat. The steakhouse which cost an extra $35 per person/ night, was a much better option. But, after paying the amount that was paid for the cruise, I do not feel that it is necessary to have to pay extra money for good food. The best option for food is to wait until you reach a destination, and get off the ship to get a flavorful meal. On to the decor of the ship... the entire ship needs a COMPLETE renovation!!! Once you get on the ship it looks like you are in 1974. That includes carpet, light and bathroom fixtures, the wallpaper, and even the choice of entertainment on the Lido deck. The Lido deck was on deck 9 and it had a big movie screen which showed outdated documentaries of Bob Marley and Phil Collins. The music was also outdated and was probably the top songs of whatever era the ship originated in, but not quite entertaining for the year 2014. Room service was not great either! First they have a limited selection of pre-made sandwiches. I know they are pre-made because I requested cheese to be added to mine, and not only did they go back and forth with me about what I (the customer wanted) but afterwards agreed to look into it, and when my food was delivered there was no cheese to be found, and we only had one place setting for a request from 2 guests. The same food was bland, the Ceasar dressing tasted like oil with no flavor, and the lettuce had an awkward taste.
The entertainment did not seem to be quite entertaining. The music on the first day with the DJ was good and up to date, it made you want to dance. Most of our time was spent in the casino during late night hours when it was least crowded and less smoky. The casino had fun and interesting games and we both won a little extra money to spend. It was quiet for the most part in the room until the last couple nights of the cruise. A few things that Carnival may want to consider in the future is to get people to taste and approve the food options, before sending them out to the public. Also let people know in advance what excursions may sell out quicker than others, and suggest that people schedule them sooner. Renovate and update the interior of the ship! The wicker chairs and tables on deck 9 need to be thrown out and Carnival needs to invest in more modern decor.
Overall, it was a relaxing trip and the cleaning staff were very efficient, rooms were cleaned and beds were made or turned down nightly and respectfully. However, that was the first and last Carnival cruise I will be embarking on. The trip was not enough for me to pay for another trip, and hope for good food, and an up-to-date model ship. I would much rather spend more money, and get everything I expect out of a cruising adventure.
I enjoyed the number of options to purchase souvenirs, but they lacked in places to eat. The main restaurant option was Senor Frogs and although the food and drinks were delicious and very fresh (I had the fish sandwich and my travel buddy had the fish tacos), the bees that swarmed in close proximity was quite annoying. The staff had no way of controlling them and stated that sometimes they are there and sometimes they aren't. The only other places to eat directly off the ship were at local spots that were in the same vicinity. I'm sure there was more to do, had we ventured off or booked an excursion, but the timing was not the same as it was in Nassau and we had less time at this port, so we opt to stay close and enjoy the sun while we could.
Nassau was decent.There were plenty of people around and available to offer services. The souvenir shopping was easily completed with the vast amount of shops available with different, yet fair prices of momentos. The traffic was heavy and it was beneficial to use the crosswalks to avoid getting hit by the speeding vehicles. There were plenty places to eat and enjoy good food. There was also a Starbucks in town, so that was an added bonus. The amount of time spent there was good as well, it gave you enough time to get up in the morning and move at your own pace without feeling rushed.
Port Canaveral was fun. The taxi service was fair and easy to obtain. They had drivers available to take you to the Cocoa Beach or Cocoa Village and to the mall. Once you get off the ship people are readily available to tell you the difference between each location, and gave you exact roundtrip fares which seem fair in price. Port Canaveral had good food and I wish we had known that we could bring more food and water onboard at that time, because we definitely would have done so.