Just returned from an amazing cruise on the Carnival Splendor!
Embarkation: If there is one beef I had about the trip, it would be this. We checked in at the Queen Mary at Long Beach at about 11AM, a process which went smoothly - we were given a card with the number "10" on it to indicate which group we were boarding with. Now, you can do a tour of the Queen Mary if you like - fascinating ship to see - we chose to go back outside and wait for our group to be called. They have cardboard signs hung up outside at the entrance to the main building where you board - the weather was cold and drizzling (not Carnival's fault) but we sat there for over an hour waiting for them to start the embarkation process. The ship had arrived back a bit late but this could be better! Perhaps giving passengers an "estimated time" or something so they aren't sitting around? At least maybe an occasional announcement to let us know what's going on?
As soon as we boarded, it was straight to the Lido for some lunch, which was fresh and wonderful! Every meal we had on the Splendor was terrific - we had "anytime" dining in the Black Pearl, which is a great option. There was only one time (the first formal night) where we had to wait, about a half hour - and the dining hostess sent chocolates to our cabin to apologize for the wait - even though we were not in the least upset about it. How nice! Breakfast and lunch on the Lido everyday was terrific - hardly a line and plenty of seating - and the chocolate buffet the last sea day on the Lido was wonderful - I only wish I had more of an appetite for it! We also had dinner in the steakhouse, which is really fabulous. However, if you are looking for a one of a kind dining experience, book the "Chef's Table" - I balked at the $75 PP price at first but at the end of the night, I would have cheerfully paid three times that. What an amazing experience!
We were lucky enough to get an aft wrap balcony cabin, and it was terrific! During our CC member cabin crawl, we fit over 30 people out on our balcony with no trouble - get this cabin if you can! It also has two additional big windows so if you have the drapes open, you wake up every morning looking out at the ocean - fantastic! The cabin was overall very comfortable - a good mattress and great linens. Our cabin steward was efficient and great if not overly friendly.
Sorry to say that we did not see one show in the main theater - have been on 3 other Carnival cruises and have always enjoyed them. We did catch one comedy show in the smaller aft lounge and it was terrific.
I didn't book any treatments - I refuse to pay hundred for something I can get on shore for 1/4 of the price - but we did pony up $300 for the use of the Thallasso pool and all the steam and relaxation rooms all week long. This was SO worth it - I recently had a bad accident and broke a lot of stuff so I was very stff and sore every day, especially after running around in the ports all day. Sinking into the giant Thallasso pool at the end of the day is HEAVEN!!! My only complaint is that, although they swore it was "Natural mineral water" with no chlorine, that was an out and out lie -there was more chlorine in there than in your average swimming pool. Just be aware. The Tepidarium was also lovely - heated concrete chaise lounges - and two steam rooms that my husband loved. We also ponied up the extra $95 and did the "mud rasul" room for an hour - great fun for couples and my skin felt lovely afterwards.
The gym is very well equipped and has lots of machines to use, all looking out over the ocean. Great atmosphere for a workout!
Ship in General:
This is a BIG ship and can be confusing to get around. Normally at the end of a 7 day cruise, I know a ship pretty well but I never did completely learn this one. The decor is lovely (lots of pink) and although they did have the numerous photo ops (whether you want them or not) there was no art gallery on this ship.
Ports: We were originally scheduled for Mazatlan, Cabo and P. Vallarta - they cancelled Mazatlan before the cruise due to violence and scheduled instead two days in Cabo. Although we sailed at 4 as scheduled, we had to turn back 2 1/2 hours later due to a medical emergency. That made it too late for us to get to Cabo the first day so only had one day in each port. Oh well, still ahd fun!
The usual slots, tables and the like. We did a slot pull with our fellow CC members and came away with $38 for our $21 investment. Yay!!
All in all, a wonderful week aboard the ship - enjoy it if you go!