My husband and I had a fantastic time on the Carnival Splendor. This was our 4th cruise and 3rd on Carnival.
SHIP: Overall, the ship was nice. It was a bit gaudy with the pink and gray zebra stripes overlayed on black and neon green tile! The cabin areas were beautifully decorated with old hollywood images. The fitness area was huge and dining rooms were beautiful.
EMBARKATION: This process was long, but did not feel it was Carnival's fault. The port of Fort Lauderdale is a bit of a mess compared to other ports in Florida. Getting into the port was time consuming - lots of traffic. It took about an hour to get on the ship due to the line outside. Once in the cruise terminal, it was painless. It took only 10-15 minutes. Just presented passport and got cabin key.
CABIN: We had an oceanview cabin on the first deck. The cabin was spacious - it had a king sized bed and a sitting area. We did have an issue with the shower draining. It flooded the bathroom floor a bit, but was not that big a deal. The bed was comfortable, plenty of room for your belongings.
FOOD: There was definitely no shortage of food!! I loved the food at the dining rooms. I am a vegetarian though, so can't comment on meats. They always had at least one vegetarian starter, vegetarian entree, salad. Desserts were fabulous!! Being a vegetarian, I struggled a bit with the food in the Lido buffet. There were a few veggie sides, but never a vegetarian main dish. They did have a mongolian line though and pizza/deli. My husband loved the Tandoor Grill! This is something I think Carnival should definitely keep. Again mostly meat - my husband liked this food better than the buffet.
ENTERTAINMENT: Cruise had dancing shows and comedy shows. I enjoyed all the shows. The dancing shows are what I'd expect out of a cruise line. These shows could use a lot of improvement though - more innovation is needed. Instead, it relies on cheesy, campy shows, but I guess most people enjoy that. The comedians were all very funny and this exceeded my expectations. They even had late night comedy shows just for adults. Went to the dance club - that was nice. Went to the deck party. I would have stayed if they just had dancing, but it was mostly cheesy line dances like Electric slide.
PORTS: We never book cruise excursions - we like to explore on our own and it's a lot cheaper. In San Juan, we took trolley to El Morro Fort. Unfortunately, it was already dark and closed so we could only see outside. We went walking in San Juan at night - that was beautiful. I read some reviews concerned with safety. Far from it - it was very safe. Much safer than back in the US mainland. Went to the birthplace of the Pina Colada. Great Pina coladas and mojitos. In St. Thomas, we just cabbed to a local beach. That was really beautiful and secluded. Water was calm, perfect for wading. Don't ask name of beach (it was a "secret"). In La Romana, we took a shuttle to a mediterranean artists village called Altos de Chavon. Again, do not book excursion with cruise line. Ridiculous price and you can do this on your own. In Nassau, we went to Cabbage Beach. Nice beach with surprisingly large waves. Overall, enjoyed all ports. Would like to have stayed in San Juan in day or stay overnight so you could truly enjoy night life.
SERVICE Service was wonderful to me. The crew is amazing - they work so many hours - I really felt for them. In dining room, our waitress made sure to inform me if an item wasn't vegetarian. The housekeeping crew did an excellent job - our room was always clean and we loved the towel animals.
DEBARKATION We did self-assist. This was painless. Within 30 minutes, we were off the boat.
Overall, this was a great cruise. This is also a great value for what you are paying.