Like the title stated, this was the last cruise to complete the journey to Mexico and back before the fire broke out. I was sitting at home the next still in awe from such a great trip and got a message about a Carnival ship stuck out at sea. I sat there stunned, I could not believe that less than 24 hours since I was on there, it was just out there floating around. It was hard for me to keep my excited about what a wonderful time I had knowing they were getting the same treatment. Although I have read many many reviews of how well the crew was and how well prepared they were. It does not surprise me, I would have felt secure on that ship.
This was my 4th cruise, my mom's 4th or 5th cruise and my gf's second cruise. All on Carnival cruise lines, I wouldn't have it any other way. Since we had to check out of our hotel at 11 and that was when the shuttle departed, we had to arrive at the terminal early. I would have much rather arrived later because we sat out there and then stood for about 4 hours. It really was quite depressing, since I had dreamt and planned for months or so and I see this big fantasy in the form of Splendor standing tall in the bay. I wanted to rush on there and check it all out and my ladies wanted to use the restroom. They have facilities there outside the ship as well but we wanted on that ship and NOW! I am not really complaining however, we got on there and put that 4 hrs of wait behind us.
Good news for people that haven't cruised in about a year, they don't make you take your life jacket with you during that safety drill that every past cruiser knows about. I know it is important and again it seems like it takes forever but it doesn't last. And NOW you don't have to drag those big bulky vests with you every where.
The stateroom was the nicest stateroom I have had. The others were fine but this was just a little bigger and enough room for the 3 of us to stay in. The room was clean and stayed clean all week long since they clean them twice a day every day. It was really nice to go eat and come back to a nice clean and organized room after just tearing it apart with 3 people getting ready for dinner. The Carnival Capers are now called Fun Times! I guess they decided it was time for a change. If you are a newbie cruiser, the fun times list all the shows and other events that will be occurring the day that is listed on the fun times. There were always something for us to do, never bored, not once!
The ship was kept clean at all times, always someone cleaning. Everywhere I went someone was cleaning, and I mean scrubbing hard. I have read many reviews where people had written how much pink was on the ship. I thought I was really going to hate that aspect of the ship but it really wasn't that bad. It wasn't like really light pink or anything and I felt that it really went well. Now the elevators all had what people called pink donuts lined up all over the door, I called them something else, but that was kind of odd. Overall, the ship was beautiful inside and always extremely clean. Those men and women work so hard, I can not believe how hard the work and how much, and keep those big smiles on their faces. It is truly amazing.
About the food, oh man the food. Me and my gf are eaters, we love to eat and you can tell but that is ok with us. I enjoyed all of the food all of the time. I made myself go up and walk 3 miles several times on the cruise to keep from gaining too much wait. We did the your time dining so we could decided exactly when we wanted to eat and to not be rushed. The first night I was not impressed with the wait staff and I told the staff the next day I got the greatest waiter I have ever come across in all of my life. His name was Marcel and he was simply marvelous. They knew how much we liked Marcel so they saw to it we had him the rest of the cruise. It was being pampered by Carnival to see we were extremely happy. Marcel and his other 2 staff were simply outstanding. It may sound corny but we were so impressed by him that when we got home and adopted a dog from a shelter, we named her Marcie in honor of him. He explained he had worked on cruises for 10 years and he was quitting in a few months so you better hurry up and get on there! Back to the food, in all areas, I loved the food, the chocolate buffet was divine but dangerous if you know what I mean!
The CD (cruise director) John Heald was absolutely outstanding. It doesn't get better that John Heald folks, and if you ever get a chance to cruise with him, DO IT! I have liked my other CD's, but I loved him. He knows how to handle crises (yes we had it too but not like that fire) and keeping everyone calm and informed. He was highly entertaining and very personable. There was no doubt he deserved the billet of Carnival Cruise Senior Cruise Director.
The entertainment was really good, we went to this one rock review show and it was simply outstanding. I was absolutely delighted at the show and talent. All the other shows were good as well. I will say BEWARE to the person that did the music trivia or any trivia at that. I know we are cruising and on vacation and they don't want to be too serious, but letting people cheat so they can win? I feel that is rude and unprofessional. I won't rant about it but I was upset when they snubbed my gf for someone they wouldn't even check their answers, we showed hers.
As for disembarkation, wow has that gotten better. They have self assist now, you don't have to wait anymore if you can carry your luggage yourself. You don't have to do that, especially if you are not in a hurry to catch a plane, you can do that traditional way and set your luggage outside the door by midnight and then pick it up when you get off of the ship. We were off the ship in about 30 minutes when they started the self assist, which they do first.
Overall, I had a grand vacation, where I enjoyed a great cruise and great ports with my gf and my mom. I am so glad they were on the trip with me, it was an absolute pleasure to enjoy my vacation with them. I had told my mom when I was about 8 I would take her on a cruise when I grew up and now I have done it (but I can hear my mother saying, I'm still waiting for you to grow up)
As far as the so called cruise from hell and nightmare and spam cruise, I would cruise with carnival tomorrow if I could and I would be glad and honored to be on the very first cruise that the Splendor takes which looks like it will be in February! God bless you all!!