First off, I read the review someone had previously posted about the food on the Carnival Splendor for the most recent Mexican Riviera trip...the food was NOT that bad. Sure, it wasn't five star restaurant good, but I never tasted any 'over-warmed' or 'fishy' food...unless it was supposed to taste fishy.
I was witness to the staff bringing hot dogs and hamburgers from the galley straight to the grill, where it was grilled right away or stored appropriately. Yes, sometimes when they first started, the burgers sat there for a bit, but I never heard nor saw anyone complain, nor had any complaints myself. I ordered a pizza from the pizza bar, and watched as yes, the gentleman took it from the freezer, but he heated it in an oven. The crust was light and tasty, the meats, cheeses and sauce were good and not overwhelming, and the only pizzas I saw sitting out were the ever popular cheese only and pepperoni...which went fast. The buffet food wasn't the best, but come on...it's a buffet...it's not going to be top-notch!
You're sailing on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean...where do you think the food is kept while you're sailing? That's right..in freezers!! WOW...what a concept! It's not like they have the cows, chickens, etc. on board with you. Not everything is going to be 100% fresh.
We took the Behind the Fun tour, and we got to see everything where all the food and drinks were kept. It's actually neat if any of you future cruisers have the cash to spend.
My partner and I ate in the Golden Pearl, and our food was always made to order. If we didn't like it, we could send it back. We could order multiples of one, or one of each on the menu if we wanted. Our server was fantastic, as were the gentlemen who brought our bread and water. All the meats and fish I had were of good quality, never over or undercooked, and very, very tender (especially the filet mignon).
If I had to make one complaint, it would be about our estate steward. My partner has been on nine cruises before this one, and never before had she not met the steward on the first day. I had to hunt him down to ask him about our excursion tickets, which he was supposedly supposed to hand-deliver to us the first day. Our sheets were never changed, though they are supposed to be at least once during the cruise. How do I know this? There was a very obvious nail polish stain on my partner's bedsheets...there from day one, to day seven.
The on-ship events were fun and varied in interest, and the excursions available were fun, though not all took into account the disabilities of some of the passengers I saw on the ship.
All in all, I had a wonderful time. I do think that the color scheme was a bit garish at first, but you get used to it after a while.
I would cruise with Carnival and on the Splendor again in the future, and I do recommend them to future cruisers. :)