My wife and I returned today from our Carnival Splendor cruise. We we accompanied by two other couples. We are all in our mid to late fifties. We have cruised over twenty times on several different cruiselines. Contrary to the negative reviews that I read prior to sailing, we all had a great time. The ship was very clean, the crew was friendly and the food was great. What more could you want? I know that it is impossible to please over three thousand people at any one time, but they really do their best.
Embarkation in N.Y. was smooth and orderly considering there are over three thousand people to register and board. Luggage was at our cabins within a couple of hours.
During the first lunch buffet I noticed constant cleaning of tables and service areas. In previous reviews I read about discarded food being left on tables and not cleaned up by the staff. It is impossible to immediatley clean every mess as soon as it happens, especially when some of the passengers aren't the neatest people in the world and have no respect for the ship , the crew, or other passengers.
The food in the dining room was great every night. There were many choices for everyone and seconds were always provided right away. We had the same seating every night so the waiters knew exactly what we liked and it was there every night when we arrived.
There is only one specialty restaurant (PINNACLE STEAKHOUSE). It was a great experience. The staff was attentive, courteous and professional. Each course was better than the last. The chocolate sampler was unbelievable. Also, burgers, hot dogs and pizza are offered pretty much whenever you're hungry.
There are many comedy shows throughout the week, family and adult. Personally, I thought the comedians were funnier without the cursing but some people are entertained by the sound of a four letter word. Don't get me wrong...I grew up in Brooklyn so that word was always part of our vocabulary....but I don't find it funny.
For KARAOKE lovers, there is karaoke every night and sometimes day and night. This includes auditions for the "LEGENDS SHOW" on the last night of the cruise. I won the part of Frank Sinatra on this cruise. It was a lot of fun and a great experience.
If I had to find one thing that bothered me, it would be the pictures that the photographers take. They do a great job, but the ship should offer packages. Currently, each 8x10 is $21.00. You can't request a 5x7 unless you buy the 8x10 first. That's ridiculous ! Now you have two of the same picture. I think they should offer package deals or choice of sizes. It seems they would rather throw the pictures in the garbage than give a better deal or print smaller shots.
Disembarkation was smooth and quicker than we expected.
So in conclusion, I don't know if the writers of the negative reviews are just harder to please or maybe the ship responded to the criticism and turned things around but It was one of the best cruises we've had. Of course, the friends or family that accompany you help make the cruise enjoyable. We had a great group. As far as excursions. In Freeport, Don't waste money on the "Balmoral beach day". You can go to a free beach not far from the ship.