Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by threetocruise: Another wonderful Carnival cruise!
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Another wonderful Carnival cruise!
We just got back today from our cruise to Old San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk and this one was tough to come back from. Everything was perfect-from the weather to the calmness of the ocean to all the great activities and of course all to eat and drink. Ahh, is it too early to plan our next cruise :)?
The weather was gloomy on Monday when we were to leave but that was ok. Embarking was a breeze as usual. We had gotten an email saying things may be delayed because of an inspection but we were able to get to the pier by noon and be checked in and eating lunch by 12:30. We had a suite and that includes priority check in so I can't say how general check in is but priority is smooth. We had decided to bring our bags on with us because last year we waited a long time for our bags. My DH and DS had their large carryon gym bags. Unfortunately, I opted for the bigger roller luggage which needed to be checked in. Note to self, next time I'm bringing a smaller bag. By 1:30 we were More able to get into our cabin; I only waited about 3 hours for the luggage and after my 1st drink I didn't care lol.
Our first port of call was Old San Juan. For us it was different because we docked at 3 and left at 11. It was nice to be there later in the day because it was HOT and HUMID! We weren't sure if we would have had time to do the Barcardi factory tour on our own so we opted to just see the local sites. We went to Fort San Cristobal which was interesting. It's huge and the views are amazing. If you like history you may enjoy this. It's only $5 a person but that is for a tour of two forts. We didn't go to the second fort and opted to see the local sites in town. What was really nice was that while other people were leaving the ship when we were going back to it, the ship was empty. How wonderful it was to sit in the hottub, the sun setting and the moon rising, watching the lights come on all around Puerto Rico and just enjoy the serenity. We met a very nice couple who told us of their adventures on other cruises and they gave us some places to consider for our next cruise. The Conquest was in port when we arrived but they left about 1/2 hours after we got there so we were the only ship in port which made for less congestion in town.
We were also the only ship in port in St. Thomas. We did the touristy thing by going into town and doing a little shopping. We docked very early here - 7:00 - so the shops weren't open that early. That allowed us to have a nice leisurly breakfast. Then we went into town, did some shopping, then shopped and purchased our alcohol at a shop in the stores close to the ship. The prices there for alcohol are so, so low! We were able to enjoy the pool area because it was empty with everyone out and about.
Lastly was Grand Turk. Again, we were the only ship there which was fantastic! We opted to get a cabana at Margaritaville and boy was it worth it! If you decide to rent the cabana please be aware that the price is not per person as it was stated on the Carnival page but PER CABANA! We were charged per person and the woman showing us to our cabana told us that was wrong and brought us to the Carnival rep so we could get things taken care of. We got a credit to the account no problem but honestly, we would never have known about the error. Margaritaville was a lot of fun. The pool was jumping! It's large so if you want to be close to the action by the DJ you can be. If you want to hang with the kids in a less noisy place, you can. The beach is ok. It is very, very rocky to get out to to where you could do a little snorkeling. I would recommend aqua shoes. If you have kids, elderly with you, or just don't want to sit in the heat for 6 hours, I would definitely recommend the cabana. It's roomy, seats 4 comfortably and is air conditioned (the best part)! You can also buzz for service and we had an awesome server. She was friendly, prompt and just simply a sweet person. The food was delicious from the restaurant. Sure a little pricey, but the things like the nachos could feed probably 6 people! We were there, we were hungry and we were glad to get the service.
This trip was just fantastic. There were a lot of kids on this trip from babies in strollers up to preteens, but you would have never known it. We have been on cruises where it was like the inmates are running the asylum, but not this time. That was a joy.
My DH loved the piano bar and went there until the wee hours of the morning very night.
Our cabin steward, Jan, was friendly and I don't think he ever slept! We saw him all the time! The was no shortage of food; if you didn't find something you liked either on the Lido deck or in the dining room, then I don't know what to tell you. We did eat breakfast and a few dinners in the dining room and it was delicious and a nice change from buffeting it all the time. Tandoori Indian food is my favorite (missing my pineapple relish and butter chicken right now). They did away with the sushi and opted instead for a tasting menu from different restaurants from different ships. Totally worth it. The pizza is available all the time and the nice thing is that it's just pizza and a Ceasar salad if you want. Last year they offered calzones and that made the lines super long. Now, hardly any line and when there is one, it goes down quick.
Since we were on this ship last year, the two music shows were the same. They were good but still a repeat of last year. I'm not sure how long a ship stays with the same show but this was a year of the same.
I think the only suggestion I would make would be if they are going to play a movie at 7:30 pm on the screen by the pool that maybe it should be more of a family movie and not one that has a lot of violence and cursing. I wouldn't have had a problem with a Disney movie being on at that time since there were so many kids on the ship, I think they all would have enjoyed that.
They had two pamper parties on board. While I missed the first one, I made the second. It was fun and interesting and you got to use some nice products that they of course sell on the ship. But the best part was that at the party I went to, they discounted a spa treatment. So for $89 dollars those in attendance were able to get a 75 minute combination of a massage, stone massage, facial, hair treatment, arm, hand, leg, feet massage. If they offer that - GET IT! It was wonderful and worth every penny! Get there early for the party though because it fills up fast! Oh and for those intersted the gym is really nice. They have the same machines that I use at Planet Fitness, free weights, treadmills and I think elliptical machines as well. I didn't use them this week though ;).
The casino is fun if that's your thing. It's a good place to listen to Music Asia and have a drink. The machines are different and you are able to win money in the money crane - we saw a lot of people win and my son was one of them winning $100 in the crane. We did see someone win $2500 in the other chance game too so it can be done!
Disembarking was fast. We were off of the ship by 8:30. We were able to enjoy the sail into NYC and have a little breakfast before leaving our home away from home for 8 days.
I truly feel a cruise is what you make it. If you want to have fun you will. If you want to nitpick and find fault, then you won't. I was with those I love - my DH and DS, we saw beautiful places and did fun things together and built memories that we will have forever. Everyone who works for this cruise line is friendly and hard working. We never met any one of them that didn't have a smile and a good morning or enjoy your day for us. It's a hard job and they all strive to give us the best time ever. Job well done! See you next year! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Splendor Suite Empress 7323
Loved our Ocean Suite. Last year we had the Grand Suite and it's bigger for sure, but this one was fine for our needs this trip. I may opt for the bigger one next time around because I enjoy a little bigger bathroom/vanity area.