This was a first cruise for my mother in law who is 82. She pretty much enjoyed herself though she said the cruise was a couple days too long for her ...it was too short for the rest of us.
We had with us 6 of our kids ages 8, 11, 15, 19, 21 and 31. We also had 3 of our grandchildren ages 5, 10 and 12.
We had chosen the spa cabins since my husband and I love the spa amenities and it was worth the little bit extra, though now I realize if you have that many kids, it is doubtful you will spend that much time in the spa. We were only able to go there 3 times our entire cruise and for short durations.
The beginning: We got to long beach in 2 vans with all our luggage and people. We had only about an hour wait to go through the lines and get to our cabins. Only one bag was there, one of the kids, but we checked out our cabin and met our room stewards. They "seemed" nice at first. Later they were not so nice. We were not sure if it was the fact we had a special needs child still in pull ups, which made it necessary for her mattress to be plastic wrapped and her bedding changed daily, but after the first night, our head steward was not very pleasant. I mean, we got our daily towel animal and our daily chocolates, she just became snooty. We were told a couple times during the day when we were in our cabins that it was "time for us to leave" so they could clean it. Ummm sorry but I figured since we paid for the rooms we could come and go as we pleased. That was the first inkling that she was not a "fun" person to be around. After that we pretty much ignored them and came and went as we pleased and needed to.
We had late dining, in the Black Pearl, which sometimes was a bit hard on the kids to stay awake all through dinner but it was worth it to have Nemanja and his assistant Anselmo. They were the highlight of our cruise. Both of them knew that our granddaughter, who was special needs, liked a glass of milk as soon as possible when she sat at the table, and after the first night, she had a glass of milk within a minute or two of her sitting down. Way to make a 12 yr old easily happy! The Maitre D' Miguel, was around almost every night, and always took my 82 year old mother in laws arm and escorted her to our tables. It was the many little things they did for us that made our dining, and our entire cruise wonderful. So funny each night Miguel gathered his staff and they sang and danced on the tables to the delight of all at dinner. He even told everyone that "other" dining room sucked! His words bwhahaha. The food was to die for, the beef tender, seafood awesome, pasta's yummy and the desserts were rich and just awesome. My husband had a birthday on this cruise and it was so funny to have them sing him happy birthday and embarrass him, of course we all loved that part. I can definitely say we did not have a bad dining night, they were always fun and surprises with entertainment each night!
Breakfasts/Lunches...well we kinda upset the staff in the Gold dining room since we would get there about 20 minutes before they were due to close. Breakfast and lunches in dining were fine, but nowhere near as fun as dining in the evenings. So sometimes we just took the kids over to the lido for food foraging, and of course the endless ice cream they loved so much.
Ports: We had Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, since Mazatlan was off the itinerary. At both places we did a little shopping and eating. In Cabo we took a small boat for the entire 12 of us and took a tour of the arches, lover's beach and divorce beach, then headed for lunch. Good food, swimming and a few tequilas later we headed back to the ship. We chose to stay onboard the second day and just play in the pools and on the slide with the kids since having a close to empty ship made it nice for the kids to be able to go on the slide over and over quickly.
We only had bad/cloudy weather the two days heading back to Long Beach. No slide that last day, but the kids had fun playing in the lido pool with the huge cover that enclosed the entire lido area. So they just went between the pool and the hot tub on deck 10.
Oh..Our rooms. They were awesome and we had connecting rooms which made us feel like we had a 2 bedroom accommodation. We also had balconies that connected so we really had 70 sq ft of balcony, though they did have to repair the hook that held the divider open. We had 4 to a cabin, so it was two twin beds and an upper and sofa bed in the grama/3 kids room, and in ours twins made to a king and an upper and sofa bed in our room with the other two kids. We really didn't spend a lot of time in them except to change from swimming to roaming the ship clothes or dress for dinner. We did like the fact that on our deck there were only 16 total cabins so not a lot of traffic up there or noise. The times we went to the spa we were not bombarded to buy extra stuff and just went to the pool or steam rooms without being chased for sales. It was really nice to be close to the pools and lido deck and our kids always chose the glass elevators over the "normal" ones.
Kids programs: We had our kids pre-registered in Camp Carnival and Club 02. We had the one that could be in Circle C, but as she was special needs she opted to stay with her aunt and cousin in Camp Carnival. I was given a "ship" cell phone for the duration of the cruise in case they needed to reach me for my special granddaughter. Her mother was on the cruise, but she was going to have fun so her kids were added to mine LOL The kids had fun in the program, though they didn't go often as there was just too much fun to be had all over the ship. Our 11 yr old daughter went on a scavenger hunt one day, and our 8 yr old daughter and our 12 and 10 yr old granddaughters stayed to play other games with staff. Our 5 yr old granddaughter was in a different section of Camp Carnival up on deck 10, the other kids usually met in the red dance lounge on deck 5, not too far from the Club 02 rooms. All of the kids said they had fun while at Camp and liked the programs there.
Entertainment: Since we had late dining, we missed a lot of the shows as we were at dinner most nights and after that it was just too late for us and/or the kids. We did go to one show after dinner and had 2 of our kids fall asleep, but we did enjoy the singing, dancing and backgrounds.
Debarkation: We packed our bags the night before and only kept two bags to carry off with us since we had so many. It was funny, I would set two outside the cabin, and then go back to pack a couple more, go to set them outside and the other two had disappeared in the interim, I do have to say the staff snagging the bags was right on top of it. I had ordered room service to be delivered an hour before we were to debark so the kids were happy to have food before we left. We were finishing showers and last minute packing when the housekeeping steward started in telling us it was time to leave. We were #10 in zones and they hadn't even started calling anyone yet. I knew we could go down and wait in the theater but I was not going to rush my troupe. By the 3rd time in 20 minutes that they came in to tell us to leave, I pretty much conveyed to them we would leave when we were good and ready and to please not come in again. Needless to say, their extra tip went to Nemanja and Anselmo and our Maitre D'. Again we did not let them sour our vacation and pretty much ignored the housekeepers. We were out of there well before 9:30am and went down to sit comfortably in the theater till our number was called. Our other "kids" that were in 2333 were in zone 17 and didn't think they could leave with us, but I just told them to meet us at the theater and we would all go out as we came in, together. We pretty much zipped through customs; they took the 12 of us at once, found our bags, got our vans and headed home under cloudy skies.
Came home to more cloud and rain, where is my spring/summer??? But are still enjoying going over our pictures and laughing at all the fun we had.
So all in all I would have to say we had a fun, crazy and busy time on the cruise. All the staff, with the exception of our housekeeping was wonderful. The housekeeping stewards to our older kids 2333 room knew them by name and joked and talked to them daily, wish ours were that easy going or we could have had their staff for our rooms would have been nice!! Course their housekeeping stewards were nicely tipped ?
For those of you cruising the Splendor you will have a blast. Don't let the small things get to you, and one staff member cannot ruin your cruise unless you let them, and we did NOT bwhahahah
Happy cruising to you all!