We just returned from a fabulous vacation aboard the Carnival Splendor. I felt compelled to write a review after reading some of the negative comments in prior posts - I truly believe that, just as in life, you approach something with a positive attitude and a smile and you will get a positive experience in return!! We were all excited about our first family vacation together - grandparents, children (8 & 10) and extended family and had a wonderful time.
Embarkation was easy. We arrived at 3pm and were on board by 4pm. Luggage was at our door by 4:45pm.
The ship is HUGE - but it was fun exploring and soon had the key floors/elevators down pat!! Our cabin (9295 - mid-ship on the Lido deck) was excellently located next to the main elevators/pools/buffet etc. My only complaint (& maybe this was due to me not being an experienced cruiser!) is that the room only had one electrical outlet (no outlets at all in the bathroom) & no clock (so bring an adapter & a clock - if you care about knowing the time!).
Camp Carnival was fabulous - the camps were broken down into age brackets of 2-5, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 & 15+. Our kids had a blast and were bugging us to let them eat dinner with the group and do all of the activites! Yes there are alot of kids on this cruise but for those people that wish for a more "sedated" experience may I suggest a trip to an adults only resort
The food & service in the main dining room was excellent - the same can be said for the buffets and steakhouse. Plenty of variety, cleanliness and courteous service.
The staff in general were always eager to please.
The liquor was expensive - but you are allowed to take 1 bottle of wine/champagne per person (which we carried on & put in our luggage!) along with a few beers which helped to offset the costs. We also purchased beer in port and brought on board without any problem.
As for the ports - we like to go it alone rather than doing the organized tours and wanted to go relax on a beach with the kids. Through tripadvisor I found the following: Puerto Vallarta - Playa Los Muertos ($15 taxi ride) - a wonderful beach with very reasonable restaurants/palapas on the sand. For 10 of us we spent 3 hours drinking beer had lunch and paid around $90. The kids did a banana boat ride for $5 p/p. They also had jet ski rentals, para-sailing etc. Mazatlan - Stone Island (Isla de la Piedras) - ($2 water taxi ride) - cool little island with restaurants on the beach. We did horseback riding with Daniel for $5 p/p for 25 minutes (ask at Restaurant Esteban). They also had banana boat rides, atv's. Excellent shrimp dishes. Cabo San Lucas - shopped!!
Debarkation wasn't so bad - but next time we'll do the self-assist rather than waiting for the "luggage zone" #'s to be called - we were off the boat by 11pm. Plus it would have been a little better had the luggage handlers not placed one of our Zone 11 suitcases in Zone 1 - saving us a frustrating 20 minute search through thousands of bags!!
Anyway all in all we had a great time and look forward to crusing again when our bank account allows us to!! Just smile and enjoy :-) !!