We arrived a day early (my husband being a pilot - we know about airlines & would never try to arrive the day of a cruise). We went to the Holiday Inn on the Stay & Cruise deal. The Holiday Inn was old & not extremely attractive. Even though the website said there was a free breakfast, they told us when we asked that there would be an additional charge if we wanted it. We knew we'd be on the ship early so just got something at Jack in the Box to hold us over. We left the car parked there & signed up to take the 10:30 shuttle to the ship. This went without incidence, but it was further than we'd thought over there.
I was a Platinum member, so this was our first experience with VIP check-in, which was really nice. No wait at all to check-in, then just staying in a special room with other platinums waiting to board. They had pretty good lemonade available. I would recommend a TV screen with either pictures of places Carnival cruises or ships or something, even regular television as it was a little boring just waiting for an hour or so.
They came & got us & told us it was time to get on the ship. What an awesome difference VIP is. We went right in, were the first to go through security & get on the ship. No wait whatsover. We went straight to the Lido deck to get lunch & it was great.
About an hour or so later, we went to our room. The balcony was really amazing. We were in a corner room 6450 at the back of the ship on the port side. The balcony wrapped around the back & side of the ship. It was huge!!! The room was a different configuration, also. And even though the information said it was no bigger, it seemed larger than other balcony rooms because it was more triangular instead or rectangular.
Our steward was OK, but not exceptional. Our waiter was good & our drink lady was even better. We hardly ever had to ask her to refill anything as she was always on top of things.
We liked the maitre'D. I admit I have hardly ever even talked to one before as they were never very personable. But this one (sorry can't remember his name) came by to talk almost every night. He checked on how we liked things & arranged for creme' brulee to be made for several of us on an extra night. He was very friendly & concerned.
The cruise director John Heald was hysterical. I really liked him. We have only liked one other cruise director almost as much. He could make anything funny & we laughed a lot on this ship. I guess he is going on another ship & if he does, he will make it a lot of fun.
Our first port was Puerto Vallarta & we went ziplining. OK, no one ever told me that ziplining meant about 40 flights (I am not exagerating) of stairs. My sis in law (75) & myself (bad knees) had a tough time getting up to ride the lines down. The company was Los Veranos ziplining. This amount of climbing was really tough & since it was warm & humid, it was challenging.The people were very friendly & helpful, but we just were not prepared for that much physical exertion.
The next day we went to Mazatlan. I had arranged for a tour off the ship & it was OK. I wouldn't really recommend it. The company was OK & the guy took us around the entire area. It was pretty seeing everything, but not outstanding.
The last day was Cabo San Lucas. Cabo is beautiful. I had arranged for a 3 site snorkeling tour & a speed boat ride. This was pretty awesome. They took us to Lover's Beach where we were able to get off & see the Pacific Ocean & Sea of Cortez & take some pictures. They also took us to two other places to snorkel. The water was pretty & it was very nice. The tour was supposed to last a little longer than the ship leave time, but the tour company dropped us off on the dock making sure we got there in time. Well, as it turned out, we waited in line at least 45 minutes to get back onto the tender for the ship. I wonder why there is no "Platinum line" to return to the Cruiseship? When we got on the tender to go into Cabo, we did not have to wait at all, but had our own personal elevator to take us directly down to the tender.
As we left Cabo, we sat out on the beautiful balcony & watched the view for a long time.
Since I was platinum, one night they brought some great appetizers & another night, they brought petit fours. They also gave me a nice Carnival frame. It was nice to take advantage of the free laundry & go home with almost all of my clothes clean.
I liked the Splendor. The food was OK, about the same as normal. Just enough to gain 6 or 7 pounds. I kind of wish they'd add a few different items or change things around a little more. Wish they would have King Crab Legs one night.
Because one of our members gets bored on the sea days, I planned a mini-golf tourney & photo scavenger hunt. It was pretty fun & helped keep us all active & involved.
There didn't seem as many activities during the sea days, but maybe they are getting old for me.
Karaoke was BAD, BAD, BAD. The Russian girl hosting was so caught up in herself that she didn't try to give effective customer service. When people picked a song, she'd tell them she couldn't find it, and made them pick something else that she liked instead. She wanted to do only recent songs & some of the older people didn't care for the picks. She wouldn't let others sing, but would sing herself instead, then say there was no time for them. And the songs she would pick had foul language. If I want to hear "R" rated songs, I'll get them, but should not have to listen to those when I just go to relax & listen to others sing. She wore some really tacky & super tight clothes that showed her thong lines (black thong - under red dress - ewww)underneath then bragged about how some of the crew wanted to come to see her in this outfit. She didn't seem to have much of a sense of humor & really was not the one who should have been in that position. We love karaoke, but hated her! She ruined it for us.
Our debarkation was great & quick. Because we were Platinum, we got to get off pretty quickly. We called the hotel to have the shuttle come get us. Well, they only had one shuttle & we had to wait almost two hours. After we'd waited that time, a few other people came & waited about an hour. When they saw the shuttle, they tried to push us off & jump on it first, but luckingly the driver had our names on the list for pickup. I would never do this again since Holiday Inn's shuttle was so unorganized & slow. They should rent or get another shuttle.
It was a great trip, though & we did enjoy the Splendor. Didn't care about the decor, but wouldn't let it spoil my trip. Sometimes I think cruise ships are so caught up in "designer decor" that they think things are beautiful just because a certain person did it. Instead, they really should just go with the decor of "less is more".