This was my second cruise to the Mexican Riviera on a Carnival Ship out of Long Beach. We went in the summer of 2008 and now spring break of 2010. This time we were on the Splendor. Overall I must say we had a very enjoyable time. We drove to Long Beach on the Saturday prior to our cruise (it left on Sunday) and we stayed at Hotel Maya (used to be The Coast Hotel). Hotel Maya has been refurbished and it was very nice. We had the stay and sail package where you can stay the night before and leave your car there all week while on the cruise. They have a shuttle van that takes you to the port right up the road. The shuttle driver Gopal gave us his card so we could call him when we returned and he promptly came to pick us up. The hotel is right on the bay by the Queen Mary so you can watch the Carnival ship dock on Sunday morning.
On Sunday we headed to the port about noon. The embarkation process was extremely easy and well organized. A porter quickly took our bags and we headed toward the port. Within 5 minutes we had our sail and sign cards in our hands and were headed to the ship. Within 10 more minutes we were on the ship headed to the lido deck to have lunch. The rooms were ready by 2 pm and we went to check out our rooms. We were in room 7360 which is a basic balcony room. I must admit it was a smaller room than I expected and the bathroom was pretty small in my opinion. But there was ample closet space for our clothes and about 15 hangers. The rest of our family had inside cabins on deck 7 as well and we all thought it was pretty quiet. Of course it was spring break for many and there were over 1400 kids on the ship. I recommend staying in the middle of the ship with rooms above and below you as well as on the sides of you.
Our room steward was Jennifer (from the Philippines) she was awesome and took care of our needs, including ice, extra beach towels, etc. The ship was very, very, clean (did I say it was clean?...very clean). Everywhere you looked people were cleaning...I liked that!
The food was awesome for the first couple of nights...by Wednesday it was not as appetizing but it was still better than cooking yourself. There was chocolate melting cake every night so my nephew (11) was very happy about that. Our waiters were Michael (Philippines) and Sam (Thailand). They took GREAT care of us. We had early dinner 6 pm and this is the seating I totally recommend. There was a deli (awesome grilled ham and cheese) a sushi place, mongolian BBQ place, and a rotisserie chicken place. The area up by the rotisserie chicken is a nice quiet area that we found to eat our lunch...our little known secret on this cruise.
The splendor no longer sells coffee cards, that was a bummer, soda cards are available to buy for $56 for adults and $41 for kids. I just drank iced tea and lemonade or water.
The entertainment left a lot to be desired. The cruise director Goose had a lot of personality but the activities were far and few between. The kids club for kids under the age of 12 was Yucky, Yucky, Yucky! The counselors were probably overwhelmed with the amount of kids on this cruise, but they should have been prepared. Our 11 and 12 year old wanted nothing to do with the kids club after the first day. the older 14 year old liked it but that was because of all the dancing, bumping and grinding going on. Not enough supervision in my opinion as kids were running all over, climbing on things, etc. I thought there should have been more security telling these kids to chill out...I am not a prude either..I have kids, but I refuse to let my kids run wild like that. The camp counselors were so out of touch with fun for kids...maybe the Kids club should have some input from people who actually have kids.
We went to an event on the last sea day called "Groove for St. Jude" it was to raise money for St Jude's hospital. It was supposed to be a family event where families could go and have fun with their kids. Lets see, the activity directors were there for maybe 10 minutes...the shirts they were selling were not even in the Red Carpet lounge where the event took place, you had to go down the hall to formalities to get them, so they might have sold maybe 8 shirts total. There was a guy making balloons for the kids, but you had to stand in a long line to get them and the music stopped playing about 20 minutes after it started. Here is an idea Carnival...give the kids numbers so they can dance while waiting for their number to be called for a balloon animal. Also, if you want to make more money for St. Jude, have the shirts for sale at the location of the event.
The arcade was pretty fun and clean. Warning...each game cost 4 to 6 tokens each.
Debarkation was even more smooth than embarkation if you can believe it. They have numbers and you get off when your number is called. Grab a porter, find your bags and go through customs...easy peezy...