I went with my girlfriend during my university spring break. We were wavering between finding an all-inclusive resort package but we waited too long and the cost ended up going up way too much, so we settled on booking a cruise. Best decision we ever made. Before this my only other cruise experience was also on carnival but I was about 9 years old.
We booked the 8 day NYC > FLORIDA > BAHAMAS
ACTIVITIES / ENTERTAINMENT
You get the itinerary of events the night before when you room is made. We highlighted all the events that we were interested in before hand so we had a general idea. All the hosts of the activities were hilarious and had awesome energy. Especially this flamboyant Brazilian, Estee, he was awesome! Here's a couple of events that were particularly fun and stood out (we even won a couple medals!):
- Gender Showdown = Hilarious competition of mental and physical challenges between the genders
- Limbo competition = Hosted by Estee, lots of fun
- Mexican Fiesta night = Lots of free give aways and line dancing on the pool deck
- Punchliner comedy shows = Only went to the adult 18+ shows but they were HILARIOUS. Get in line early cause every night we went people had to get turned away because seats were packed
- Showtime = Held at the theater. The shows were there were dancers were really well done with explosions of confetti at the end!
- Red Carpet Club = We love to dance so were in here late most nights, even gaining a reputation around the ship. Dance floor is slow before 12 so if you love to dance go out there and break it down people will join in when they see someone out there
- Lots of other random little things; whisky/cigar tasting, morocco lounge, trivia games, so many things you just have to be willing to put yourself out there and have fun
-We had an interior Spa cabin (#1910) Great room. Huge bed. Barely felt the boat movement. The spa cabins are the best. They are a floor from the gym/spa (private staircase in the back) and a floor above Lido. It was nice not to travel so far for breakfast or late night ice cream.
CLOUD 9 SPA / GYM
-This warranted its own category. It came with the SPA cabins but it would be worth it on its own. Worth every penny, we wont settle for booking another trip unless it has a cloud 9 on it. The therapy pool was incredibly relaxing after a work out. Overall there is about 5 different spa rooms. The aroma therapy room is basically a super sauna with essential oils. The other dry rooms have these huge seats that are heated. The spa is located in the front so they have front row seats to beautiful views. Although i'm sure its frowned upon my gf and I brought drinks into the dry room and lounged in there and brought out own peel masks. The spa girls were all from european countries and were incredibly friendly
-The gym was a little lackluster to be honest. Geared to much older people. They have no barbell and only two benches. The largest dumbbell set is 55 lbs. Tons and tons of machines but if free weights is your thing they dont have much going on. The spa cabins include 2 free fitness classes, we did a pilates class with (Cosmin) He had a thick accent but the class was HARD. It was about an hour so well worth the $12 if you decide to pay
DINING / SERVICE
-Now this is where this ship truly shined in my opinion. We had Anytime Dining which means we coudl only eat in the Black Pearl, which was much better in my opinion. We had brunch in the golden and the reports that you can feel the rocking much more in golden was very true. The service team in black pearl was incredible. The hostess (Nada) was so friendly and genuine. She would always try and sit us together privately by a window, It was easy to become friends with her! The server we got often was (Iwayan) such a hilarious troll with a dry sense of humour. Always had such a genuine smile on his face and knew how to make everyone laugh.
-The food was delicious with only maybe one or two things that I didn't like. Generally, the entrees were much higher quality than the appetizers/desserts. Expresso/cappuccinos are not free anymore but you can still get coffee. The shows during dinner were hilarious and fun
-On the side note our room steward (Tanya) was so nice and friendly. She always had a smile on her face and asked about our day. We saw always always working. We assume she must have really long hours and barely gets sleep. If you get the chance stop and talk to your room stewards. They work so incredibly hard for such little recognition.
- If you don't rent a car you're pretty much only stuck to coco beach. We rented a car ~$50 (budget rental co) the have a shuttle that takes you from the cruise terminal to budget rental building. From there we went to Downtown Disney and spent maybe 4 hours there exploring. Lots of fun stuff with a free ferry that takes you around. Then we pickup up some Mediterranean from Sinnbads (SO GOOD) and had a picnic on coco beach until we had to go back. Having a car was great and gave lots of freedom.
- This place is INTENSE. Lots going on right off the bat. Make your way to the McDonalds and take the number 10 bus. Its a public transport bus but its only cost $1.25. It'll take you to cable beach where you can get a day pass with a resort ($30). We went with Melia and the grounds were BEAUTIFUL. We had access to Melias snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boat, etc. Also don't get drinks at the bar. You'll see a red umbrella far far down the beach. Ask for (Joey) He a local selling drinks out of coconuts and they are STRONG.
-We then took the 10 to the Fish Fry and went the restaurant that had an upstairs outside balcony. We ordered the conch fritters (tasty but filling) and the conch salad which was AMAZING. So so so good.
-Probably my favorite. We were gonna do the Pat & Diane excursion but it got canceled. We ended up taking a cab in Lucaya marketplace and shopped at the stalls. Everyone here was so friendly. We then went to the Grand Lucayan Resort and snuck into the their beach and enjoyed the sun for an hour or two.
- Find the Fresh Fruit Stand where you can watch the lady machete up a coconut where you can drink the water then shell make you a fresh fruit smoothie of your choice and fill it back up all for $8
- Never pay full price you can drop the price down almost as much as 50%
- If you want bead work and jewelry you can ask around because some shops make it by hand and some shops but its from who knows
-I know this review came out MUCH longer than expected but its not very often I write reviews. By that I mean almost never. But after this trip I felt COMPELLED to share my experience. Splendor was a wonderful ship and carnival exceeded my expectations. You have to come on with an open mind and be willing to put yourself out there. You can't expect for fun to just handed to you, you have to go out there an make your own memories, they wont be made for you. The countdown begins until the next cruise!!