Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by Rocklin Cruiser: Spendor is back in business!
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Spendor is back in business!
We just returned from the newly repaired Splendor on its first cruise since the November engine room fire. The good news is that it is running fine and we made it back to Long Beach without having to eat any Spam. On this cruise was me, my wife, son (18), daughter (14), sister in law and husband, and mom in law. This was my 5th cruise overall, but it was fun to share cruising with some family who had never done it before. Overall the cruise was good and weather was great, but here are the details:
HOTEL BEFORE CRUISE
We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Long Beach. Little bit of a rough area, but they had underground parking for the week and a shuttle to the pier and back. It was $139/night and parking at the terminal would have been $105, so it works out to be a pretty cheap hotel stay and they throw in two free breakfasts as well. It worked out well for our group.
Getting on was pretty easy since there was no one More getting off the ship. The whole process took about an hour and it was nice being able to get right into the room. There was a Scottish festival at the Queen Mary so we got to hear great bagpipe music while waiting in line. Getting off was another story.... We arrived on time to the pier, but Customs was heavily scrutinizing everything. I was in Group 19 and we did not get off the ship until 1pm and there were still hundreds of people behind us. Customs was completely ridiculous!! I don't know what time the next passengers were able to board, but they couldn't have been happy. This is not Carnival's fault, but they should work with customs to chill out on cruise passengers. I mean come on, terrorists don't take cruises.....
Splendor is by far the largest ship I had ever been on and we were at full capacity. I heard we had 3600 passengers, and there were many times that it felt crowded, especially in the Lido buffet area and the corridors of deck 5 where the casino, lounges and shops were. That being said, there were several places where you could get away from crowds and enjoy peace and quiet. The Serenity deck up top near the front for adults only was especially nice.
While in dry dock, they did a lot of cleaning and replacing of carpets, so the ship was very clean and had that "new car" smell. However, there were some things that didn't work. My wife bought a spa package and had to argue for a credit because most of the time the thermal chairs were not working and the herbal steam room was closed. Also, the basketball court was not ready until the third day of the cruise as they were painting it. My thought was they couldn't have done this while it was in dry dock for 4 months???? Overall though, nice ship but I think I prefer the smaller ones at around 2000 passengers.
We had 3 inside rooms together on the Upper Deck (6), and they were quite comfortable. My son and I had a sideways configured room, and it even felt roomier than the standard room. Housekeeping was very good and helpful. There was plenty of storage and the bathrooms were as roomy as I've seen on a ship.
Typical Carnival fare. They had three dance/singing shows which were pretty good, and the colorful costumes were especially good. I am not a big fan of these types of shows, but I still enjoyed them with the family. The other nights were a comedian/juggler and a comedian/magician. Both were very good and had the audience laughing loudly.
Other typical cruise activities were clunky and crowded. I usually enjoy the trivia games, but they were packed and not very fun. The free throw contest was cancelled because of the court being painted. No one showed up to run the bean bag toss. And what happened to the ping pong tournament?? I always join those on every cruise (usually there are 2 on a 7 day cruise) but they weren't on the itinerary at all!! Carnival must have been sued.....
I mentioned that the buffet on the Lido deck was a bit crowded, but the food was fine. There are stations spread out everywhere. In the middle, there were standard buffet items. Near the back pool, there was a deli sandwich station (very good) and an Indian buffet. Near the middle pool there was pizza on one side and hamburgers on the other. And of course there was the 24hr soft serve yogurt/ice cream stations.
The main dining room was very good. Our server (Ismail) was great! The starters and main courses were nicely prepared and tasty. I didn't care for most of the featured deserts, so I almost always went with the yummy Carnival standby: Chocolate Melting Cake.
Puerto Vallarta: Went Ziplining at Los Veranos. Awesome!!! Did some shopping in the shops near the port.
Mazatlan: Cancelled. Stupid Mexican drug gangs......
Cabo San Lucas: Got two days there due to the change in schedule. Great port, but again, tendering 3600 people is a long process. Get a number early! The first day we walked around the Marina and shopped while making our way to Medano Beach. Once there we hung out, drank beer and went parasailing. Then we got a water taxi back to the dock so we wouldn't have to walk all the way back. Second day, the kids swam with the dolphins and loved it and I went with my sister in law and her husband snorkeling in Santa Maria and Chileno Bay. We took a zodiac over there (about 7 miles) and that in itself was fun. Pretty bouncy and we saw several whales, some at pretty close proximity! The snorkeling was good, and the water temp was a bit chilly, but tolerable.
Overall, despite a few speed bumps, a nice cruise. Carnival does a good job for the price they charge. Will probably stick to the smaller ships after this, but I still would like to give Royal Caribbean a try on one of their monsters. If you have any specific questions that I may answer, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , I like to talk ship. Less
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