Our cruise was a last minute deal that I just could not pass up. It was our first time aboard the Splendor. Embarkation was a breeze, since we are now Platinum card holders. (Only 10 cruises with Carnival and you'll be one also). We drove to California, unloaded our luggage with the porter and parked our car at the terminal. Then we headed to VIP check in where no one was waiting and refreshments were available. We had our sail and sign cards in hand within 5 minutes.
The first thing we checked out on board was the spa since we did not have a spa cabin. (We missed our meet and greet because of our spa appointmentL) We purchased the unlimited access pass for the Thalassotherapy Pool and the Thermal suites at $248 for both of us. My husband also got a gentleman's special that included a very close shave and treatment. He looked 10 years younger when he came back to our cabinJ I was disappointed in the Thalassotherapy pool, but extremely pleased with the thermal suites. There are several types of steam and sauna suites to choose from and all but the mud suite in included in the fee. ( I must admit that part of my disappointment in the Thalassotherapy pool was in comparing it to the pool on the Oosterdam. In addition, the gaudy dragons staring down at you as you immersed yourselves in the pool were far from relaxing.)
Our cabin was an ocean view and the standard Carnival cabin. If you have not traveled with Carnival before I will briefly say, they look just like the picture, one of the larger cabins in the industry for inside and ocean view. There is lots of storage for the items you bring with you and your room stewards with assist you in anyway possible.
The thing that stood out head and shoulders above the many cruises we have previously taken was the entertainment. Adriene Hall was amazing in everyway. Her voice was beautiful. She was talented in every way and mostly she was the most personable Headliner I have every come across. You felt like she genuinely enjoyed entertaining you.
We did eat at the Pinnacle Steakhouse. The food was amazing. The best steak we've ever had and the lobster was sweet and tender. This was definitely worth the $30 per person additional fee. A relaxed quiet atmosphere to enjoy my husband and my meal. Hint: be sure to find your way to the Steakhouse before your reservations or you could miss them looking for it. It is tucked away.
One of the disappointments of the cruise was the "meet the captain party". This is now a no host party. The only consideration was a 10 or 20 % discount on your drinks. The "past guest party" was wonderful. Largely due to the entertainment of Adriene Hall. She helped make it a very memorable experience.
I did not get off the ship until we arrived back in Long Beach. I just love being on board when the majority of the passengers are not. Please do not get me wrong, I love meeting and talking with people, but there is just that special calmness. Speaking of calmness, it you would like that on deck, there is an adult only lounge area, the Serenity deck, with padded chaise lounges and chairs. (Bring towels, because the vinyl is really hot if not covered) This is a great place to kick back with a good book and or an I Pod.
My husband went golfing in PV, and has always had a great time. There are so many wonderful tours to choose from in all the ports. Please check out your choices and book them online to make sure you are not disappointed. We have just been to these ports so many times and I really needed to relax on this cruise.
I did find a new place on this ship that I have never used before and that was the library. I had already read the book I brought so I headed up to check out a new one. You may check out books and games. Just be careful of their hours. You can return them to the purser's desk if they are not open.
The music was varied. There were great places to dance. People were having a ball around the piano bar. I missed karaoke, (on purpose). We do not gamble so I can't tell you about the casino, except for walking through. I will be glad when Carnival positions the Casino so we do not have to walk through a smoke filled haze to get to one of the entertainment venues. I must say Carnival has done an excellent job of keeping the smoke from the passengers that enjoy inhalation therapy, from interfering with those of us who do not. With the exception of the expected casino, I was never bothered by smoke at all.
Debarkation was a breeze. VIP's meant in the lounge and were escorted off the ship as the first group. We had our luggage in our car and were on our way within30 minutes.
So how much did we enjoy our cruise? We are booked again along with 4 other cabins of people for January 8, 2012. Want to join us? If I can answer any questions please feel free to email me.