We have just returned from our 7-day E. Caribbean cruise on the Splendor. My husband and I are mid-40's and this was our first Carnival cruise.
We drove in rather than flying (14 hrs from Knoxville to Ft. Lauderdale), and spent the night at Hampton Inn in Boca Raton, FL, a short 20-25 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale. We parked at Port Everglades.
Embarkation was quite long. We arrived at the port around 11:45 a.m. and took our place in a line that stretched as far as the eye could see. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, and we were in "cruise mode," but it was longer than we expected and many people were complaining. When we got onboard,we were struck by the beauty of the ship. I had read about how "pink" it was, but that wasn't what jumped out at me first. It was breath-taking. The color scheme worked. We went to see our balcony cabin, # 9234 on the Lido deck. This was our first balcony cabin ever, and it was quite spacious, plenty of closet space, more than I expected. I had been concerned about having a shower curtain rather than a shower door, but this presented no problems at all. The balcony was decent sized, held 2 chairs and a small table. We spent a lot of time there, especially entering and leaving ports. We were fortunate to have an "almost-full" moon which made evenings extra-special.
We received excellent service, from any Carnival staff we dealt with. The cabin steward did a great job keeping things neat, in spite of us. Our dining room attendance always had a smile and took great care of us.
We used room service a few times, as we had late dinner seating. This was prompt and delicious.
We ate a few lunches at the buffet, which was a good variety of food, and the quality stayed consistent. We also tried the deli and the grill, both of which were great. Pizza was okay, had it once. We had dinner each evening in the dining room. The food was excellent, esp. the lobster tail, prime rib and chocolate melting cake.
We "donated" a bit in the casino on the black-jack tables. It was a big casino, roomier than the one on our last ship. The shops had a good variety of things to tempt us, and there were the daily "specials."
The outdoor movie screen was a great addition. We didn't see a movie there, but enjoyed sunning and watching the beautiful ocean pictures shown throughout the day. The live band was great.
Used the WEB internet cafe. It was a little hard to find as it was "hidden" behind the Robusto bar, but once we found it, it was easy to find the 2nd time.
We only took one Carnival shore excursion, the "Santa Domingo tour with lunch," which was an 8 hr tour in the Dominican Republic. We had a nice air-conditioned tour bus, a great tour guide and did enjoy seeing the historic town of Santa Domingo, including a traditional "Dominican" buffet lunch. La Romana itself is not somewhere I'd care to visit again. It seems very, very poor, and a little dangerous. This is why we chose the shore excursion rather than going on our own.
San Juan was great, only complaint is the timing, as it would have been nice to have had more daylight hours to see everything. We hope to go back someday and stay longer.
We'd been to St. Thomas and Nassau before, so we went exploring and shopping on our own. It's great to be in the Caribbean in December and hear the Christmas music and see all the decorations. It was a different feel, one i'll always remember.
We didn't see many shows on board, as we were on "island time" and had that wonderful balcony to sit on in the moonlight. We saw the "Newlywed Game," and a couple of comedy shows, which were good. The "family" comedy shows were in my opinion, much better than the "adult" ones.
Disembarkation was no problem at all. We sat in the theatre and waited for our number to be called. We were # 29, so we were in the last group off the ship, around 10:45 am.
Overall, we both really enjoyed our Splendor experience, and look forward to more Carnival cruises in the future. The ship was immaculate, the crew extremely helpful and friendly. The food was consistently good, and the balcony cabin was great. I'd recommend it to anyone.