There were 3 of us...DH, myself and 18DD...celebrating daughter's 18th birthday, high school graduation and the beginning of college. We 'splurged' and booked a grand suite...room 7312. The extra space was very nice and since we relaxed quite a bit in the room, much enjoyed! I will have more 'details' on the boards...however, will try to highlight a few of the memorable things here.
We had VIP boarding, since we had the suite. First time with this and it was done very quickly. We parked at the pier parking lot and had a porter assist with luggage. Arrived appx 10:30am...very busy time with departing and arriving passengers at the same time. HINT: Make sure to have name ID and Cruise luggage tags on your suitcases BEFORE you get to the parking lot. It was amazing to me to see people at the edges of the busy parking lot, filling out paper ID tags to put on their suitcases. HINT: With printed luggage tags, we folded & covered w/clear packing tape (almost like laminating) and stapled 2 at the end, 1 on each side. Make sure to keep barcode clear.
We were on the ship by 12:30pm, right after the wedding party (it was a big one...100+ people). We went up to Lido deck...and this being our first VIP boarding...the buffet seemed 'empty!' We enjoyed our lunch...and by 1:30pm...the Lido deck was filling up FAST! For those that enjoy 'exploring'...I would suggest eating first...then exploring. We did that and with 'Deck Plan' card in hand, explored the ship. By 1:30-2:00pm, the rooms were available and we went to our room. THRILLED with the suite...lots of extra room...3 closets, dressing area, huge bathroom w/double sinks and jetted tub, L-shaped couch that had a fold-out double bed, made up nightly for our daughter...balcony w/chaise lounge & chair. The extra space was very nice for the 3 of us. We unpacked and put all of our suitcases under our bed.
We had late dining (8:15pm) in the Gold Pearl Main Dining Room (MDR). We had requested a booth, and had a very nice booth, table 416. The booths are separated by a curved glass insert, providing a sense of 'privacy' although you're in a dining room with more than 1,000 people! The food choices were good, we are familiar with them. For us, the service in the dining room was not what we have experience with Carnival in the past. Our asst. server simply passed out 2 rolls at the beginning of the meal and we never saw her again. Once our order was taken, we simply received our food, and really no inquiries about other needs....like WATER! On the second night, (1st elegant night), we left before ordering dessert...it was so unpleasant. We had our empty water glasses sitting on our table...even put them on the end of the table, hoping they would be 'noticed' and also, easier to fill. When he finally came with the water pitcher, he filled 2 of the glasses and left the 3rd empty...and went to the next table and filled their glasses. We are very friendly, not demanding, easy to please. I just think our waiter would have rather been doing ANYTHING other than working in the MDR. I did speak with the Maitre D', requested a new table assignment, that wasn't available. He assured us the waiter would not know where the complaint came from and from Night 3 to the end of our cruise, the service improved, however we knew to just order and make sure we asked for any 'needs' up front (like sour cream for a potato or an extra glass of water!)
We enjoyed the Casino very much. Since DD just turned 18, this was her first 'casino experience'. The staff was very kind to her and all of supervisors and casino staff were professional, friendly and fun. We visited the casino each night of our cruise! Yes, we 'spent' a bit of money in the casino, however...we didn't spend much on excursions or shopping...but we definitely 'spent' more than we planned on! All in fun though and very enjoyable! The casino staff went 'above & beyond' to provide our family a very enjoyable experience.
A special experience! On the 2 night at sea...I got back to the room about 2am. DH & DD were asleep. I went onto the balcony, to find the moon shining on the ocean, a perfectly crisp ocean breeze and the sound of the ship moving through the water. With the spontaneity of a child, I went back into the room, put on jammies, grabbed the extra comforter & pillow and went back on the balcony to curl up on the chaise lounge and sleep the most amazing sleep ever! I actually had tears of joy...feeling like 'the luckiest girl in the world'! It was magical...and I was gently awakened to the warmth of the SUNRISE! Since it was just a few hours after I went to sleep...I went in to our drape-darkened room, climbed into the cool bed and slept a few more hours. If you ever have a chance to sleep on your balcony...DO IT! I'll never forget that....I can still see the moon shining on the ocean and the happiness I felt inside as I laid on the chaise lounge, never more comfortable in my life! This was a very relaxing cruise....with DD just turning 18...she enjoys her 'alone' time...as well as dad & daughter time...and mom & daughter time. So we all got to do what we wanted. Hubby is an early riser...he went to breakfast each morning. I love to sleep in and brought along protein shakes that I mixed with bottled water in my 'shaker cup.' (I know...some might think I'm crazy..but I never had breakfast on the ship) I did enjoy the lunch buffet...and although I don't usually eat pizza...on the Splendor..I think I had pizza everyday! It was always hot, fresh & delicious! I tried the vegetarian, goat cheese & portobello mushroom and just cheese...always added the 'extras' they had on the counter: oregano, red pepper flakes & Parmesan cheese. Oh so good!
Enjoy the SPA with the thermal, jetted pool...the heated, tiles 'beds', the steam room....on Tues..(second sea day), I went to look at the spa and consider purchasing a day pass ($40)...they had a 'special' for $89 for the rest of the cruise..so happy I purchased that, since I had 5 days of use from that...with my rheumatoid arthritis and knee replacement...the jetted pool, steam room and heated tile beds were HEAVEN! And, on 2 of the port days, I stayed on the ship and enjoy 'specials' and had a massage, facial and exfoliation. My services were provided by Ria, who was professional and very skilled. She never pressured me to purchase products.
If....no, WHEN...we take a cruise on the Splendor again...I would definitely go on Randi's Happy Horses again in Mazatlan...I would definitely enjoy the Spa services..and most likely will have a balcony room and not a suite..but I will request a chaise lounge, and I WILL SLEEP on the Balcony again!
Thank you, Carnival Splendor, for making our vacation such a pleasurable experience. We can't wait to cruise again!