Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by vegasnine: Fun on the Splendor
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Fun on the Splendor
Since I find it most useful when people organize their review by each "category" of the cruise I thought I'd do the same.
Not smooth. Not smooth. Not smooth. It was actually one of those times where it didn't matter what time you arrived, it was a nightmare. We arrived at noon (despite being told to arrive around 2) and were surprised by the disorganization at the port. After wandering around for about 5 minutes not seeing any clear indication of where to go and not having had anyone from Carnival approach us to tell us, I finally found someone to ask. Turned out we had to get in line to get our Sail and Sign cards. That line was snaked around through the outer courtyard of the terminal and when we finally located the end, we stood in line until 145 when we were finally done. Then it was off to zone 10 to wait for our boarding call. Long story short, we got on board at 245pm after standing in one line after another after another. Thankfully, John Heald More the Cruise Director did explain that it was due to a very thorough check of the debarking Guests by customs, however, while that addresses the length of time, it doesn't address the lack of organization and direction by staff.
I'll go into more detail on the cabin later, but we had booked a mid-ship balcony 8c cabin (7347) on the starboard side. Our cabin was nice and roomy and we didn't have any complaints about storage space or room to relax. We met William our steward and asked for a second duvet which was waiting for us after dinner that night. The location of the cabin was convenient to the mid-ship elevators. My only note about the difference in cabins between the other lines I've sailed is that I wish the night stand had a drawer not a cupboard door. My only complaint would be that the cabins are much noisier than on RCI and Princess. You could hear your neighbors easily and noise from the hallway was also very loud - that being said, if that's my only "complaint" I'm doing pretty well.
There were way more activities than on the other lines we've sailed. There was lots of trivia which we like to do and many different things at convenient times to keep us busy.
The movies on the big screen outside were not very popular and only played once a night - they had more concerts and events than movies, so we never did get to see one. I wish they had 2 movie times and replayed the same movie both times as well as having more current choices.
I think RCI does a better job with their entertainment personally. The shows were only ok and the comedians weren't that funny, there were no special acts like on past cruises like magicians, jugglers, etc. I do enjoy a little variety. Also, the "game shows" are better and more fun on other lines from my experience. I can say though that we were never really bored and I enjoyed myself at the shows we attended.
This is the big one for me. I'm a foodie, I admit it. We tried the 2 different Lido buffets, the Mongolian Grill, the Pizza place, the MDR for both lunch and dinner and the Pinnacle Supper Club.
The Lido - the food was really good for buffet fare. Excellent in fact. I enjoyed what I tried. The desserts could have been a bit more exciting, but the overall food was good. The lines were a bit insane to get to any of the buffets but once you got there it went pretty well. Also, I found that getting a seat was easier because of their layout on this ship. The tables run pretty much from all along the sides from front to back of this deck (even beside the pool area) so there was always somewhere to sit. In addition, upstairs by the Rotisserie there are more seats.
The Mongolian Grill - awful. Stood in line for 30 minutes for a runny, diluted mess of a stir fry. The guy cooking was incredibly rude and offered no sort of service at all. I literally took one bite and that was it for me for lunch that day I was so annoyed.
The Pizza Place - the pizza was hot and fresh and very good. We only waited "7 minutes" a couple of times but didn't mind because that meant straight out of the oven fresh pizza.
The MDR - the food was great in the MDR for dinner. We only had lunch there once and it was good as well though really slow. Dinner always went smoothly and most of the food was very good. The "lobster" was not so great on the first elegant night. It was spongy and cold. Our waiter was always very rushed and didn't really make you feel like he had time to help you. Everyone was nearly done their meals when he would ask if your food was good - so by then it was too late to change to something else really. Overall though I didn't have many complaints. The other thing was the meat - no matter how we ordered our meat cooked, it was always different and never what we asked for. I ordered my steak the first night medium - it was well done. So I started ordering it medium rare - which was more like medium - medium well. My husband had the same issues, so we joked that there was no point in them asking how we liked it cooked because they just did what they wanted anyway. I was one of the LOVERS of the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. I don't care for "lava cake" at home, it's too big and too runny. This though was just the right size and tasted like cake and melted chocolate bars. I had it every night without exception.
The Supper Club - divine! It was excellent from start to finish. The Rosemary Foccacia bread was the best bread I've ever had I think, that and the brushetta was delicious. I had the jumbo shrimp cocktail, which were HUGE and the lobster bisque. I am a lobster bisque snob, so I don't always order it because it's often disappointing. This one however, did not disappoint. For dinner we both had the 16 oz rib steak which was cooked perfectly and extremely tasty. Dessert for me was the chocolate sampler (which really just made me miss the WCMC from the MDR)Overall it was completely worth the $30 cover charge. We left a $30 gratuity as well as the service was great.
I wasn't overly impressed actually. The staff weren't rude but they weren't overly helpful either. Everyone was kind and cordial, but no one really made me feel like they were really providing excellent service. It was like they have a job to do and they did it and that's about all. I wonder if that has something to do with them auto adding the gratuities to your bill at the beginning of the cruise? No choice to opt in or out (yes you can go have them removed if you want) ahead of time, so why try? I'm not sure. Oh on that note as well, they don't provide envelopes and little slips for you to give out on the last night - or an envelope to add more cash if you like. We ended up handing out money at the table to our wait staff which seemed tacky. I like having the envelope personally better. We tipped really well by the way and it was all just a bit mechanical and cold.
The Splendor is big. No question about that. She's also very very PINK as others have stated. One does get quite tired of all the polka dots after 7 days, but it was clean, and pretty spacious. The layout is confusing, there were parts of the ship we never saw because we never knew a) they existed or b) how to get there. Only a few decks with public areas go from front to back which was inconvenient for sure. Not a big deal though. I did enjoy the seating in the Splendor Spectacular showroom it was more comfy than traditional theater type seats. The couches and chairs in the other public areas were very comfy too.
The shops were pretty disappointing. The could have more of a selection of "sundries" and personal items. Both my husband and I got colds/flu on the ship and found that there wasn't much to choose from to help us in the "gift shop".
Would I sail with Carnival again? Yes, I would. I found that the ship and atmosphere felt less formal and stuffy than other lines. It was fun and inviting most of the time. The food was great and we had a relaxing trip. The crowd, well - they were different. Less "snooty" in my opinion but at the same time maybe a little too "less snooty". There was a lot of yelling in the hallways between people staying in cabins father apart, there was a lot of yelling and in lines and on decks and at the buffets - not angry yelling just people being people. I guess when you're on a cruise you're stuck for 7 days in a large crowd and better be patient enough to deal with that. I'm not sure that I am to be honest, so maybe I need to think about other holiday options.
Our cruise was good. It was good value for the money paid. It was relaxing and enjoyable and we had a good time. I'm sure you will too! Less
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