Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by execsec: New Year's Splendor
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New Year's Splendor
We had some minor flight delays so we arrived late for embarkation. Almost everyone was already on board so We were able to proceed quickly through the process; however, I can certainly appreciate previous posts and can see how embarkation may be horribly long if you're waiting in long lines along the entire way. The airlines lost two pieces of our luggage which were later delivered while at port in San Juan. I can't emphasize enough to arrive the day before you sail just in case there are minor mishaps with airlines or luggage. That had been our plan but the travel agent didn't book our flights as requested.
The ship. After reading some of the previous posts I was concerned about the ship. Let's face it, it was getting some pretty iffy reviews, especially about the decor. Well, everyone's taste is different but personally, I liked the decor and all the splendid pink! The circles didn't bother me one bit - I thought the decor was cool and different - that's why they call it More the fun ship! If I wanted rich dark wood and muted tones, I could have stayed home. The atrium is beautiful and the tone of pink is very pretty. The public rooms were all very nicely decorated with each of the lounges unique. The outside areas had plenty of lounge chairs but somehow they were always all taken by the time we got to the upper decks. I have to agree with previous posters that the saving of the chairs is a huge issue. The pools are small and seemed to be either too crowded or closed/empty. I was not impressed with the whirlpools (they are not hot tubs) - as they also seemed to be either too crowded or closed for cleaning. The one time I did sit in one for a short period, it smelled real bad.
Our cabins were on the 6th floor (Upper level), inside cabins. The cabins were very spacious with plenty of closet and drawer space and shelf space in the bathroom. The beds and linens are very comfortable. I took the suggestion of other cruisers and brought a night light, battery alarm clock and a power strip for the one electrical outlet - all well worth bringing! The bathrobes available for use came in very handy as well. The cabin steward was satisfactory...always clean towels and beds were made - and we loved the towel animals.
As far as the rocking of the ship - we did experience a day and a half of rocking to the point that nausea medication was needed for some. However, once the bad weather passed, sailing was very smooth. Some of the crew told us about the bad weather experienced over the past few weeks - we were grateful we only had 1 day or so.
The food was excellent and met my expectations. We had first seating for dinner in the Black Pearl dining room. Our waiters were outstanding - the service was excellent. The food was very good but we aren't big fans of seafood so at times the menu seemed lacking, but that was simply due to our likes/dislikes. There was always at least one red meat on the menu and we enjoyed sirloin steak, prime rib (2x), ribeye steak and lamb chops - all were excellent! The selection of desserts on a couple of nights was lacking but the desserts I did order were very good. The 24-hour soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt is great for the late night sweet tooth. The deli (turkey, ham, pastrami sandwiches), grille (burgers, hotdogs, fries, onion rings), rotisserie (chicken, mac/cheese) were all very good. The 24-hour pizza was also very good and smells so good when you walk by that you can't resist stopping for a piece. The lido buffet was okay - nothing to die for but sure offered enough to satisfy hunger. There was never a time when you'd go hungry, that's for sure!
The crew were all very polite and friendly. Everytime a crew member walked on the elevator with us or by us in the hallway, they would always greet us and ask how were were. At the least, they would smile and nod at you - I suspect those individuals don't speak much english. As I mentioned, we had problems with luggage and the pursers desk was very helpful. One of the kids also lost her sail&sign card and the pursers desk was very helpful replacing it.
We didn't book any excursions through Carnival. On SanJuan we walked around for a couple of hours, went to the nearby forts and then window shopped...all within walking distance. It was raining out so we didn't stay out too long. I loved St. Thomas. We rented a car for the day and did our own thing - went to the beach, the mountain top and some shopping. La Romana was ok - we took the $7 roundtrip shuttle to Altos de Chavon - it was ok if you'd like to get off the ship for a couple of hours and not spend too much. On the Bahamas we shopped at the Straw Market then walked to a nearby beach - it was not a very nice beach and I do regret not taking the #10 shuttle to Cable Beach. I also wish there was more time in the Bahamas - the time flew by!
The entertainment on board was excellent - far better than I expected. The singers and dancers were great...two comedians were excellent, the 3rd good. The adult comedy shows were very good also. We really enjoyed watching the karaoke and it always seemed to be a popular place. The casino was a good size and there always seemed to be available slots but the tables were always packed.
Other than the saving of the pool chairs and problems with the pools and whirlpools, the only other complaint I would have are the kids camps. They were highly unorganized and a huge disappointment. After the first day our kids told us they'd rather be with us because the kids in the camps were so unruly. For example, the teen Poker tournament was a bunch of kids throwing cards around and the ping pong tournament was kids goofing off with the ping pong balls. The dance lesson class consisted of one of the professional dancers trying to teach a dance class, with kids who wouldn't listen or participate (I felt bad for the dancer). I think Carnival needs to revamp the kids programs.
All in all, it was a great vacation and I have no regrets with choosing this ship. Less
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