Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by mojonah: Simply the BEST from a First Time Cruiser
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Simply the BEST from a First Time Cruiser
We've just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Splendor. We were first time cruisers, and I can't say enough about the entire experience! We can't wait to cruise again.
Okay, here we go.....
Embarkation: We had heard horror stories about this and were expecting the worst. It wasn't horrible at all. We arrived in port around 12:30 (it was CRAZY busy there, but our shuttle driver squeezed thru some tights spots and got us there very quickly) and the entire procedure only took about an hour. We were on Lido Deck by 1:30 p.m. Yes, there were long lines, but they moved quickly, and all the employees were very friendly and working as quickly as possible to get you on your way. We had filled out our Fun Pass before hand, so that also saved time. No complaints about embarkation. Our luggage was to our rooms by around 5 p.m. We were late pulling out of port, we were supposed to leave at 4p.m, but it was after 6 p.m. before we actually left. No big deal...we were on More board and having fun! The sunset was beautiful!
DEcor: Pink. That's all. It's not how I would decorate my house, but, this is a FUN SHIP, and was decorated accordingly.
Lay Out: Never having cruised before, I have nothing to compare too. I did find the layout a bit frustrating at times as in order to get to the dining room, you had to go up a few floors, walk the length of the ship, then go back down a few floors before you get there....nothing major though. Just an inconvenience, and one you got used to it, it was okay.
Rooms: We booked a balcony room, and are sooooo glad that we did. We loved going out to watch arriving and departing the ports, watching the sun set, and going out to look at the stars at night. We will definitely have a balcony again. We were in room 6394 (Upper deck). It was close to 'mid ship', and we liked being there. The room was plenty big. Bathroom was a bit small if you tried to have two people getting ready at once, but plenty of room for one person. Beds were comfortable, and you can't beat having your room cleaned twice a day!! LOVED, LOVED, LOVED our room stewards. They did such an amazing job, and were a wealth of information about the ship and the ports. Our steward's name was Armando, and he was amazing! Our room was always spotless, and he bent over backward to help us whenever necessary.
Sea Days: Let me say that I LOVED the sea days. I loved just being able to relax and take it easy. Sleeping in, laying in the sun, eating at leisure, taking a nap. I loved that we had a sea day the first day, as it set a relaxed tone for the entire week.
San Juan: This is a beautiful city. The architect of the buildings in Old San Juan was really nice. We did the Sunset walking tour. It was supposed to be 1.5 hours long. I think we walked for close to 2.5 hours. So, if you're doing this tour, wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and be ready to walk.
St. Thomas: We LOVED this port. We did a private excursion day sail with Pat from Independence. WOW!!! Amazing! She had a taxi waiting for us, and was waiting to greet us when we got dockside. I don't think I'll do ship excursions again, as this was just so much better than any of the ship excursions that we did. We had 7 hours on her boat, with lunch, drinks (the rum punch was excellent!!), snorkeling and sailing. Pat and Ray were full of information and history of St. Thomas and surrounding islands. Ray took us snorkeling and pointed out the different coral, fish, sting rays etc. We can only say great things about Pat and Ray. Pat only takes up to 6 people aboard, so it's very relaxing. If you are ever in this port, definitely book and excursion with Pat!! I could go on and on. Our friends booked this tour with us. They were nervous about it not being a ship excursion, but ½ hour our time with Pat they were loving it as well. Pat was prompt. At one point I mentioned that I had forgotten to keep an eye on the time, and she said that was her job not ours. We mentioned that we wanted to be back to the ship by certain time and she was right on time. Not even a minute late. We all looked at our watches in amazement. Next time we're in St. Thomas, we'll be booking with Pat once again.
La Romana: This port was a disappointment. Being that there were guards watching the ship, we were a bit nervous leaving. We went off ship to the gift shop to try to call our kids, and went right back on board. However, those who did go on excursions, said they loved it, and that La Romana and her people were beautiful.
Nassau: What a beautiful island! I wish we had more time here. We went to the Atlantis Water Adventure. While the water slides were fun, we thought the excursion was a rip off. $112 for approximately 3 hours. Not worth the money. Yes, Atlantis is beautiful and the aquarium was nice as well, but I would have preferred to see more of the island. Someone went on a tour of the island for $20. Someone else also told us that sometimes the cab drivers can get you into Atlantis for much less. Wish I had done more research on this island. Next time!!
Food/Lido/Dining Room/Room Service: The food was very good in the dining room, no complaints there. Our servers (Miguel and Castro) were absolutely amazing. Wonderful personalities, great service, we loved having them serve us each night. We had some great times and laughs in the dining room. The Maitre' D sang a song each night, and then another song with some of the servers dancing. It was great. The Lido food was also good. The only 'complaint' (and it's not really a complaint) I have about the food is that breakfast is a bit tedious, and it's always the same. However, having said that, there isn't a lot of breakfast foods that offer variation, and I think the Carnival Splendor and her crew did a fabulous job. Some people dressed up every night, others didn't. Didn't bother us one way or the other, we had a blast every night. We ordered room service a couple of times, and it was there promptly, was at the right temperature, and tasted fine. We ordered breakfast one morning, and it arrived exactly at the time we requested.
Debarkation: We arrived in port early. We were due to arrive at 7a.m, but arrived around 5 a.m. instead. We did the self debark. Simple and easy. We had a 12:15 p.m. flight and were nervous about doing the regular debarkation. Customs was a breeze, and the agents very friendly. We were off the ship and in the airport by 8:30 a.m. We could have been there earlier, but didn't rush. The taxi ride to and from port was $15 each way.
Overall Experience: We just loved the entire experience. No real complaints. We learned from reading these forums that you have to be willing to 'roll with the punches' and not expect perfection. Going with that mind set, we had the BEST time, and can't wait to go again. If not for our children, and the cost, we would go again next week. The staff and crew went out of their way to make our cruise pleasant. Not one crew member was rude to us. They were all smiles and willing to help in any way possible. The weather was great the whole trip. There were a few evenings of rough seas, but that can't be controlled. Hubby had no problems with it, and I, after taking meds, was fine as well.
One thing was absolutely HORRIBLE, and I can't help but complain about it and make you aware so that you can prepare yourself should it happen to you: We cruised the Caribbean...and then...had to come home to SNOW!!!!! What a shock to the system!! Be afraid, be very afraid!!! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Splendor Balcony Upper 6394
3 closets for our cabin. 2 of the closets had hangers, and the third had shelves. 4 drawers plus cabinet where safe is. Drawers under couch can hold more things if necessary. Location was great because it FAR away from elevators. You can hear people in the hall if they're being loud, but overall, very quiet. Hardly ever anyone out on the balconies, except for arriving and departing ports.