Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by Cruiseorr: Splendor in the Crass
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Splendor in the Crass
The Good: The entertainment and shows were excellent and the best we have ever seen, and we've seen more than a few. The talented dancers could have lit up that ship with all their energy. The costumes were astonishing, and the last night, the whole audience gave them a standing ovation. And this from a crowd made up predominantly of folks from the Los Angeles area.
Our staterooms were in the Spa Category. Though a little on the small side as cabins go, we had a nice balcony, and enjoyed little amenities such as the plush bathrobes, spa products in the bath, and muted tones. Considering how tarted up the rest of the ship was (more later), we found this very soothing. Our attendants were excellent. We had Jonathen and I.K. (his real name is hard to spell) who took very good care of us and our adult children, who had an interior spa room across the hall. This category entitled us to unlimited use of the Spa, and a private stair or elevator to the Spa facilities. We liked More the way they set this up, and look forward to seeing how the Holland Line's converting some of their staterooms to Spa staterooms on four of their older ships will work out.
Needs Improvement: The food quality was not as good as we had on the Carnival Spirit. However, they have to be commended for how good a job they did getting so many meals served so efficiently to this huge a crowd. Our cruise had over 3600 people on board, with loads of kids and teens. We were bumped from our confirmed Main seating table the first night. When we asked Guest Relations (see more of them in the bad) what could be done, they told us that we had booked our cruise "too late" and so we were bumped first! We booked months ago, so I found that excuse a little lame. However, the next day we received a card giving us a new table assignment at the Main Seating, which we were glad to accept. Our waiters were Wilfredo and Romeo, and were just great. By the way, the Officer in charge of the Gold Pearl Dining sang for us every night and has a really excellent voice! Must be the Irish in him.
The Spa: The facilities were modern and very extensive. However, due to the layout, everyone coming and going to the gym passes through the spa. It gives the feeling of being in a train station, which is not so great. Because they are trying to manage so many people coming and going, they made us wear these little plastic bracelets to identify us as having Spa privileges. I know it's for organization, but I found it tacky and inconvenient since you have to present yourself to the Reception Desk every day to get your new colored bracelets. The door to the Thermal Suites is not locked, and we saw many people without bracelets which didn't bother me too much, even though it made it very crowded. That is until the day someone stole my bathrobe with my card key in the pocket. I had left it hanging outsider the shower room, all by itself, and when I came out it was gone. The receptionist called the Purser's Office to report my card stolen, not to mention the robe, and I got to go wait in line for a new card key. A suggestion: Maybe they ought to give people with spa privileges a special card key when they check in rather than a bracelet and lock that door. Another sour note: On the last sea day, my son and daughter (adults) were in the thallaso pool, soaking and relaxing. The spa attendant burst in, singled out my family and demanded to see their bracelets. They lifted their arms out of the water, convincing her they were indeed wearing their bracelets, and she then admonished them to "always wear your bracelets when using the spa". Wow! Isn't that just what they were doing? You'd figure they would sort of recognize us by now since we were up there every day most of the day, but I guess not. It was kind of a buzz kill to be scolded like that, and for no reason.
Pursers Desk: We had to use this desk several times, besides going there to get a new card after my original was stolen. Each and every time, day or night, we were struck by the same thing. Professional and efficient they were. But, they never smiled, looked us in the eye, or made even the smallest friendly gesture. They just did their jobs like robots, making not one comment. Not that we expected a song and dance, but I would expect courtesy, not curtness. In fact, we all felt they were borderline hostile. What's that all about? I used to work the front desk at a big hotel, and we were told to be friendly and helpful. I guess what struck us was that this is, after all, the "fun ship". They are definitely not having fun at the Pursers Office.
The Bad: Embarkation and Debarkation was a horrific nightmare. Unbelievably bad. Terrible. Not enough bad things to say. The team greeting us at the cruise ship terminal misdirected us over 3 times. We spent the better part of two hours in line. We arrived at 2:30pm for a 5:30pm sailing, as we were directed over the phone. We were not offered even a glass of water while we waited. Kids were running around like lunatics and having tantrums. In over 10 years of cruising, I've never seen anything this bad. Things were so late that they were actually sailing away during the Muster Drill since embarkation had taken so much time. Then came the Debarkation. It was a riot. If they had positioned a few people at the elevators and stairs to help direct the flow of traffic, it might have helped people behave at least. Naturally, everyone wanted to take an elevator down. But they were all full up. And this was on the 10th floor. By the time we managed to get to the third floor, having given up on an elevator, and carrying our bags down 7 flights of stairs, we came to a logjam of humanity. People were not even able to exit the elevators since the people from the stairs were just pouring in and filling the space. They finally got one person on the Carnival staff to come over and help this poor guy in a wheelchair who was literally trapped by all the people. We had been trying to help clear a space for him so he could get by and got nothing but snarls from people when we asked them to please let this man pass through. I was appalled. People did obey the Carnival staff, so my suggestion would be to get more boots on the ground next disembarkation. And second, give up the notion of letting people carry off their own luggage. It's a nice idea, but on a ship this size it's just asking for trouble.
The Ship Layout We heard many passengers joking about this during the week. To get from one end of the ship to the other, you have two options. Topside you can walk outside and go down the elevators at either end. Inside you have to go to Level 5 and walk through the Mall and the Casino, and then down to the dining rooms. You cannot get through to the restaurants any other way. They have many pillars, obstructions, tables with jewelry, all the photographers, that make people needing to get somewhere have to squeeze through to get by. Sometimes you have to stop and wait for the photographer to take his photo since he's set up right in the flow of traffic. So, Level 5 is like the mall the last weekend before Christmas. It's not pretty. The decor is kind of disturbing in some places. Just a couple of examples: There are these decorations that resemble fried eggs stuck to the ceiling of the dining room, little gold blobs running up and down all the walls, monster size foo dogs hanging over the spa pool, and lots of pink everything. The promenade deck does go around the ship, but you can't see the water while you are walking, and there's an unpleasant smell. We also noticed a strong sewer smell on the lower levels. Less
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