We flew down to Florida the day before the cruise to ensure we would be onboard with no flight issues. I think this is critical to do, especially during the winter. We actually flew into West Palm Beach due to frequent flyer miles and took a bus from the airport to the Tri Rail which took us to Ft. Lauderdale. We saved a lot of money this way and then took a taxi from the Tri Rail station in Ft. Lauderdale to our hotel.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at around 11:00 AM and were on the boat by 12:15. Unlike previous posters, we felt the process went pretty smoothly. But, we did make sure we got there early to avoid the rush.
Cabin: We stayed on the Verandah deck, room 8430 at the back of the ship in an interior room. We found it to be rather noisy as we were below the lido deck and several mornings hear chairs being scooted around and one night there was a party around the aft pool and it was a bit noisy as well. Also, we felt tremendous vibration More
anytime we were docking at a port as the back really vibrates when they put the boat in reverse. Other than the noise, we were happy with out cabin though.
Meals: We felt the food was very good. Rarely did anyone in our group eat from the buffet for lunch, but we all loved the Mongolian grill, the sandwich shop, the pizza, the grill, and the Indian bar. I particularly loved the Indian food. Breakfasts were pretty good, about like the other Carnival cruises I had been on, but one thing that always bothers me is that I can't get salsa on my omelette in the morning. I even asked for it and was told to wait until 11:00 AM when the grill opened. At dinner the food was very good. My favorite item all week was an appetizer one of the first couple of nights of stuffed mushrooms. They were phenomenal. I wish I had gotten about 5 plates of those.
Decor: Contrary to some people's opinion, we all seemed to like the ship decor. The detail seemed to be much greater than some of the other Carnival ships I had been on.
Casino: My biggest complaint of the week was that the Texas Hold'em table was out of order all week. I hate slots, and refuse to play all the other games because they are all very bad odds to win. The holdem table is all electronic and the computer on it was having a problem. We asked them if we could just play the old fashioned way, with actual cards, and they wouldn't do it. We eventually bought rolls of quarters and played amongst ourselves with an occasional other person joining us.
Lido Deck: I was not a big fan of the way this deck was laid out. On the other ships I had been on all the levels above the lido deck and around it were open air and had more deck space. On this boat the level above the Lido deck has a roof over it. Also, the band that played on the Lido deck was extremely loud. You couldn't sit in the Lido area and carry on a conversation at all when they were playing. I am not old and cranky. I enjoy music, but we should at least be able to talk over it.
Entertainment: We went to 3 shows on board. We saw Happy Cole, and comedian on Sunday night at midnight for his adult show and he was hysterical. We all really liked him. We also saw Vroom, which, I guess if you like that type of show was ok, but 7 or the 8 of us considered it an hour we would never get back. We also watched the Carnival Legends show and enjoyed it for the most part. We spent several nights at karaoke and enjoyed that quite a bit.
Passengers: The crowd was much older than I had experienced on Carnival cruises before. I am sure that was partly a function of the time of year we went, but it was quite a bit different. There were very few kids on board.
Ports: We ate at the buffet around 5:00 PM and then went out to explore San Juan. It is a nice city and fun to walk around. Skip Senior Frogs if you are on any type of a budget we went in there and someone said they would buy a round for everyone. The drinks cost $17.50 each. Yikes. Overall we had a good time just hanging out in town for a few hours. St. Thomas was a blast. The 8 of us rented a boat for 8 hours that we could take anywhere in the Virgin Islands. We spent all our time around St. John snorkeling and hanging out on deserted beaches. It was a blast. At the Dominican we spent the day at the Ibrerostar Resort. It was absolutely fantastic. All the food and drink you wanted and the 4 guys had a blast playing some basketball games in the pool. The final port, Nassau, wasn't great. We got there at noon and had to be back on the boat by 5:30 so there wasn't time to do a whole lot. We shopped a bit, had a bite to eat at a local restaurant that wasn't very good, shopped a little more and then headed back to the boat.
Disembarkation: We self assisted and were off the boat and back at the train station by 8:00 AM. It was very smooth.
Overall, we had a great time and can't wait for our next Carnival cruise. Less
Carnival Splendor Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean