My husband and I sailed the Carnival Splendor on January 3, 2009. It was a seven day Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Fort Lauderdale and calling on the following ports: Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic and Nassau. My husband is in his mid 50's and I am a few years younger. This was cruise number 13, our ninth on Carnival. Mr. Cruise Cat is recovering from surgery, and we thought this would be a great way for him to recuperate. It was!
We flew to Fort Lauderdale two days before embarkation and stayed at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. It was fantastic! The view was great, there were several pools, lots of lounge chairs and plenty of places to lounge on the beach. Overall, it was expensive, but worth it.
EMBARKATION - There's no nice way to put this. It was awful! There were too few agents for check in, about half what we usually see, and there were only Celebrity Logos in the terminal. I'm guessing since the Splendor came from Europe and is More
going on to South America and finally ending up on the West Coast, that this was sort of a temporary terminal. That's understandable, but it took us over 90 minutes to check in and we had to spend the majority of that time in line in the parking lot. I seriously hope they beef up the number of agents when it comes to embarkation for the sailing to South America. It would be a shame to start off a cruise like that on the wrong foot because of understaffing at embarkation.
DÉCOR - I wasn't sure what to expect after reading earlier reviews of the Splendor. Yes, there is a lot of pink. However, we didn't find it as bad as it sounded in some of the reviews. And if it had been colors that bothered us, I think we could have successfully ignored it. We wouldn't have let that trouble us, especially on a cruise!
CABIN - We were upgraded to an Interior Spa Cabin. It seemed as though it had nicer bathrobes and towels than I remember. (I'm not sure if those were the same for all the cabins, or if it was a Spa Room thing.) That's about all it did for us. We don't use the Spa, so it was all the same to us. I really didn't notice anything else special about it. We definitely won't be paying for a Spa Cabin if we can help it.
Our toilet overflowed the first day we were on board. Maintenance responded quickly, but water still managed to get to the carpet by the door. They brought in an enormous blower to dry the carpet and it was all taken care of by the time we returned from dinner.
Our cabin stewardess was one of the best we have had. She did a great job!
FOOD and BEVERAGES - On our last cruise we ate all of our dinners in the Supper Club and loved it! We decided to do the same for this cruise. We were able to make our reservations by email before the start of the cruise and that was really handy. We had a table for two every night at 6:00. Of course, the service was fantastic, the food wonderful and the environment perfect. We don't mind the food in the dining room, we just prefer quieter dining, a guaranteed table for two, and food that is prepared just for us. (Such as steaks that are cooked to order instead of opting for medium/rare or medium/well.)
The Lido Buffet at lunch looked like it consisted of whatever food they could salvage from the day before. I don't think either of us ate much at all off of it. The pizza, deli and hamburger lines were just fine, and we usually opted for one of those. Breakfast was standard, and about the same every day.
Drinks were offered at standard cruise ship rates. We didn't drink as much since Mr. Cruise Cat was recovering from surgery and all that. The Lido deck had plenty of iced tea and lemonade, so we weren't forced to buy a lot of sodas at $2.00 each or anything.
PASSENGERS - We thought that by booking the week after New Year's the ship would less than full. NOT! It was actually a little beyond capacity. There were many Europeans on board. I guess some places in Europe celebrate Epiphany, which is January 6, the 12th day after Christmas, and the day when the Wise Men arrived at Bethlehem. Anyway, it seemed like it was part of their holiday break to include the first week of January. I won't harp too much on other cultures, but the Ugly American has nothing on the Offensive European.
PORTS - I went ashore in St Thomas and the Dominican Republic. We have been to St Thomas several times, and I stayed in the shopping area on the pier. I had not been to the Dominican Republic, so I went ashore to say I have been there. It has a lot of natural beauty, it's absolutely gorgeous! Mr. Cruise Cat didn't feel like hassling with walking up and down brows, so he stayed aboard.
DECKS - Decks were standard for Carnival, but they have changed the lounge chairs on the main decks. These are really not very comfortable at all. This ship has a big screen in the main pool area. It's nice, but it's hard to watch an entire movie sitting in these uncomfortable lounge chairs. Also, there were a couple of BCS bowl games that week, including the championship game, and they did not show them on the big screen. Whatever.
ENTERTAINMENT - We don't usually do any shows, and didn't this time either. We did spend some time in the Casino. They have $5 tables, and we were down a little, but we pretty much planned for that.
DISEMBARKMENT - We packed our bags and left them outside our cabin the night before disembarkation. Our zone was called relatively early, and we collected our bags and were on our way pretty quickly. We found a van taking passengers to the airport right away and got on it. We were at the airport in plenty of time for our flight.
OVERALL - This was a very nice cruise. It was especially beneficial for Mr. Cruise Cat and his recovery from surgery. It's a great way to combine nice weather and relaxation! It was especially helpful since you can be as active or inactive as you choose on a cruise ship, and everything the ship has to offer is just a short walk away. Less
Carnival Splendor Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean