First, the embarkation process was so smooth and easy. We arrived at Long Beach at 10:30 to get our embarkation group # and process the initial check in. We walked right up to the agent and within a few minutes, were checked in and would board with group 3. They tell you the boarding starts at 12:30, but really, I would be ready at 11:30. We actually boarded the ship by 11:45. Smooth and easy again. Total controlled and no issues.
After boarding the ship, we started to relax. We went to the Lido deck and enjoyed lunch. Our sun had worn his swimsuit on board, so he was able to get in the pool quickly. Our cabins were ready at 2:00. Our luggage arrived about 6:00ish.. But that was fine, we were dressed fine for dinner that night. We had early dining.
Our Cabin (Spa balcony) was AMAZING! We loved the open room and had more than enough space for all we brought on board. Our luggage fit under the beds and we had ample closet/drawer space. Our son's bed had been made from the sofa and it was perfect all week. The bathroom was well stocked and we had plenty of room there as well. Room impression = *****. :)
Our Cabin stewards were fantastic. They kept our room spotless and seemed to come and go without ever impacting our schedule. Of course, the towel animals totally impressed my son and us. We even took the towel animal class on Saturday morning. :) How can you ask for better than the service we had. Steward impression = *****. :)
Our dining experience was AMAZING!! We had early dining and our wait staff was Hector / Igade. Again, could not have had better service. They were great to know us and to always have everything to us in quick amounts of time. They were genuinely kind to our family and we grew attached to them before week's end. My 6 year old son was sad to leave them. Hector let him dance with him each night and he could not wait to see Hector/Igade each night. The quality of the food was fantastic. The variety was great and we tried many new items. To serve the mass amount of people on this boat and retain this quality of food is very impressive. We never left hungry and were always pleased with our dining in the Gold Pearl. We also ate a couple of breakfast in the Gold Pearl, but generally ate breakfast / lunch on the other decks. I do highly recommend the Tandori -- Indian food was great and no waiting in lines. Overall dining experience = *****. :)
The entertainment was probably the only less than 4 stars I would give the ship. The comedians deserve the 5 stars. They are hilarious. The family shows were very clean and funny. The adult shows were hilarious. We loved those. The "Vegas" style shows were somewhat so-so. Not as impressive and truthfully, we were never able to sit completely through one show. Overall entertainments = ****.
Camp Carnival was great for our son. He loved going there and the program is so well operated. The security is great. The programs are great. The staff is truly prepared to work with this many different children each day. Our son always enjoyed going and brought home some nice things. If you have children, let them take advantage of Camp Carnival.
The ports were great. Our first morning into Cabo San Lucas had a slight delay due to rains and high swells that morning. But the tendering went quickly and we enjoyed our day. The second day we took ourselves to a local resort by taxi ($10), Melia Nikki Beach, and they were very gracious to let us use their beach / pool facilities. Their only request was that we consume -- food, beverage, etc. No problem.. So, for 1/2 day, we had a wonderful beach experience for only the price of drinks and lunch. Not bad and less than an excursion. The facilities were great there. The pool was not crowded at all and we had umbrellas over our beach beds.. Great day!
In Puerto Vallarta, we did the Carnival Pirate Ship excursion. I HIGHLY recommend this excursion. We were met by our personal pirate upon exiting the ship and he stayed with us the entire day. We sailed, had breakfast/lunch on the ship, unlimited drinks on the ship and great entertainment. THe beach we landed at was fantastic. We lounged under shaded beach chairs, relaxed in the bad, kayaked and never ran out of drinks. The kids had a treasure hunt and had wide open area to play. It was a fantastic excursion. GO!! GO!!
Our debarkation experience was easy. Our group was called early and it took about 5-10 minutes to actually go through customs and exit the ship. No issues!!
Overall, my family was resold on cruising after the first day! We can't wait to take another Carnival Cruise. And YES... I would love another cruise on the Splendor. The crew, the itinerary, the service -- TOP NOTCH! If someone had a less than 5 star experience, I choose to wonder what the expectation levels are to start with. We loved this and cannot wait to go on another. Thanks Carnival for the best cruise we've ever had. (And yes, I've been on 2 Disney Cruises and this by far exceeded those). :)