Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by cruisernbn05: Carnival Splendor - Lackluster Cruise (July 15-23)
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Carnival Splendor - Lackluster Cruise (July 15-23)
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
This is a quick review of our cruise aboard the Carnival Splendor. My husband won a cruise at bingo on our previous cruise six weeks prior; hence, the reason for our cruise (and the celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary).
Embarkation - We arrived at the pier at 11:00 am. Instead of checking in at the lounge, we were ushered to a separate line for FTTF guests. We waited briefly in line and were then told to have a seat to wait for embarkation. Two minutes later we were called to board the ship. We were in our cabin by 11:20 am.
Cabin - Our cabin was much larger than that on the Carnival Sunshine (the bathroom was smaller, specifically the shower, so the bathroom took up less space). Our cabin steward, Sai, was great.
Fellow Passengers - This was, by far, the best group of fellow passengers I have had on any of my 25 cruises. Everyone was nice and friendly. We met some great people and I am pleased to say that I had the pleasure of cruising wtih them. More
Drinks - I heard a lot of complaints from multiple passengers the first six days about the weak drinks. I normally don't drink and the couple of drinks I had (six) did nothing for me. They were having people purchase extra shots for the weak drinks. By the seventh day, the drinks had gotten stronger and all passengers were much happier. Please note that if you purchase the Cheers or Bubbles program, this cannot be used on their private island.
Half Moon Cay - Since I could not find many reviews on this island, I thought I would include it here. Barely any information was provided to us about the island. Having FTTF, we were given times to meet in the Board Room to tender to the island. The only thing that I didn't like about this was that we were brought to the line and were told to cut the line to board the tender. I found it akward to have fellow passengers glaring at me. Instead, I would recommend boarding the VIPs first and then others so it's not quite as akward. As for the island itself, we rented a clam shell at $24.99; however, we had to walk to the other end of the beach to obtain one (we found this out after waiting in line 20 minutes at the Watersports shed). It was a long walk with no trolley running (we did not see one on our entire walk); however, it was worth it as that part of the beach remained empty until about noon - nice and quiet (in front of cabana 11). The beach was beautiful and you could see the bottom of the ocean as clear as day - crystal clear water. Loved it but the day just went too fast.
Entertainment - The comedy shows we saw were okay but nothing great. On this ship, they had two comedians performing alternating shows and, from what I heard, we always picked the wrong ones. :( We loved Music Asia, who performed in the casino the first two nights and then in the Robusto lounge. Their sound was too loud for that lounge so as soon as we entered, looking for a night of dancing, we left.
Bingo - We only played bingo the last night of the cruise. A family pack cost $40 and consisted of 8 cards and 4 cash tabs. Not a bad price considering the price of other cruise lines. The prize was $1000, $2000 in 48 numbers or less and $5000 if you hit bingo (full card) on the Powerball number drawn before the start of the game. Unfortunately, we didn't win but congratulations go to the winner. This is the first Carnival cruise we were on that did not have Win a Cruise Bingo. When I asked about it when purchasing the cards, I was told that they are starting to phase it out across the fleet.
Main Dining Room - We had MyTime dining. Most nights, the food was decent but nothing great. On our third night, we had the worst food and service of the entire cruise. It took two hours for dinner, without dessert (as we gave up and left) and the entire order screwed up. We did let the hostess (Sharon) know and the next night we were seated in "ATM"s section with the best service possible. Thanks to Sharon for fixing this situation promptly and with no fuss. We sat in ATMs section the rest of the cruise, even willing to wait for his section when seats in other sections were open. In order to avoid the 30 minute wait (that was our wait for a party of two), arrive to the dining room no later than 6:45 or you will be in for a wait.
Steakhouse - My review of our experience in the steakhouse can be found at http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=43510382&posted=1#post43510382. Please, no flaming.
Casino - Even though the staff were nice, they were not very friendly. I understand that they are doing their jobs but we are on a FunShip. Let's have some fun while playing in the casino (win or lose)! :) I will shout out to Navrit - even though I didn't do well with him, he was a nice guy and threw in a bit of fun. Also, I saw the most drink cards (free drinks in the casino) given out on this cruise (even I was a lucky recipient). I was told that I could not use it for drinks for my husband - huh? I gamble, my husband doesn't so I can gamble (he would rather drink, which I don't). If you are in the casino with your spouse, let him have a few drinks for putting up with your gambling habit. :)
Disembarkation - We were Zone 1 and they called Zones 1-5. We waited in our cabin until 9:10 am and were called. This was the best disembarkation ever - no problem getting on an elevator (it was surprisingly empty) and the line to disembark the ship moved fast. We did have to wait on line about 10 minutes to get into the terminal to claim our luggage but no big deal. We did not have to walk across the street to be picked up - we were able to be picked up right outside the door.
Overall impression - Most fellow passengers I spoke to said that they would most likely cruise Carnival again if the price was right, but not the Carnival Splendor. I have to agree. If the price (and everything else) was right, I would cruise it again. However, if I were considering Carnival again, I would probably go with a different ship that would afford a much better experience. We had a great time but the food, even though the same menu across the fleet, was severely lacking on this cruise as was the service. I feel bad for the employees - I have the feeling that Carnival has reduced the number of staff to reduce costs, which is a shame. If they could sail fully staffed, it may be a much better experience for both guests and staff. Less
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