We are a family of 3, 2 adults and my daughter who is 12. This was our 5th cruise, all on Carnival, and the first time we took a 7 day cruise. It was also our first time to the Eastern Caribbean so I was excited for the ports.
Embarkation - we flew in 2 days before. We had stayed in Fort Pierce the 2 nights and drove the rental car back to the airport and got to the port by about 10:30. Upon arrival, there was mass confusion. There were a lot of people who had disembarked milling around and no set line for embarkation. We finally did find the line and were close to the entrance but they had stopped letting people in for security etc. Apparently there was a wedding to take place and they needed to get all the guests in the terminal first. We finally got into the terminal about 45 minutes later - thankfully we were in the shade. The line was enormous behind us at that point. The actual process of getting our room keys was pretty easy and they had us sit in a waiting area where we would board by zone. We ended up on the ship after 12 noon. This was the latest boarding time I've seen.
First impressions - the ship is pink but to be honest, after the first impression, I didn't notice it for the remainder of the trip. It blends in pretty well. We went up to Lido as our room wouldn't be ready until 1:30 and got lunch. By 1:30, I went to our cabin on the Verandah deck. Standard balcony cabin, only main difference was the flat screen TV. Decor is the same on any other ship we've been on with that type of cabin.
We did see the line stretched around the parking area - it was huge. Sailaway was delayed as the luggage wasn't all on the ship by 4PM. Looking over the deck to the terminal building, there were probably 20-30 pallets of luggage that we could see.
Dining Room - our waiters were nice, but they didn't call us by name. This has been lacking for us on the past few cruises and I really miss it. Our steward didn't use our name either.
Food - Honestly, for the past 4 cruises, we've had almost an identical menu each sailing. It seems a bit more limited now than in the past. The food in the dining room was good, but not outstanding. Lido deck was always good and served at the appropriate temperature.
Deck - I really did not like the layout of the main pool. On the Conquest style ships, you have a lot of deck space, almost theater style set up so that you can at least see the big screen and be in the sun anywhere in the main pool area. The Splendor only has the main deck and all surrounding decks are covered. Not a lot of space at all and very difficult to find deck chairs on the first sea day.
Ports: San Juan - first time we've been there so we wanted to explore on our own. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I do wish we had a little more time here - I don't like wandering in cities I'm not familiar with after dark so we were back on the ship fairly early and took advantage of the open seating for dinner that night.
St Thomas - not what I was expecting. We took a cab downtown and did some shopping. Next time we'll definitely do an excursion.
La Romana - the excursions were more than I wanted to pay for what they offered. Upon advice from forums here and from our waitstaff, we didn't venture off the ship to wander around on our own.
Nassau - we did the Dolphin Swim at the Blue Lagoon and LOVED it. Yes it was pricey, but you got a ton of time in the water at a beautiful facility. Highly recommended. Wish we had more time at this stop.
Onboard Experience: Security really needs to have more control over what's going on - there were grown adults running up and down the hallways at all hours of the night. Screaming, yelling and drunk did not equal a good night's sleep. THe people in cabins on either side of us were LOUD. The cabins aren't insulated well and to top it off, they didn't speak, they yelled. Again, all hours of the night.
Shows were good. I am glad that there are new shows happening and Vrooom was great! We only saw one comedian - I was coming down with a cold so I was in bed early most nights and didn't stay up too late. We didn't go to the casino (have them at home) or the nightclubs or bars.
Circle C - my daughter LOVED it. She loved the director and the activities. She went anytime she could.
Disembarkation off the ship itself was good but the terminal area was chaos again. We waited for a cab for over an hour and our driver said he wasn't coming back to the port. Again, more organization is needed as people were lined up everywhere with no real beginning to the line.
Overall, we enjoyed the cruise. Goose was great as a cruise director. Having been on Carnival 5 times I think we're ready to try a new line. We felt 7 days was too long on this one.