Second time cruising on Splendor. First time was when the Splendor was stuck on ocean last November so that did not count. Second time was just completed this week and somewhat uneventful. I do have some good insight that I hope travelers will find useful
This is a no brainer guys. I have read far too many reviews that knock this area. I have been on 12 cruises and have always had issues when boarding. NOT WTHIS TIME. We arrived at 2pm on purpose and were on the ship in 15 minutes from the time we parked the car (yes the ship was full). Getting there late makes a huge difference. Get to the port early and hang out in Long Beach for a few hours. We did not wait in any line sat all. Take my advice. I am always very cautious about traveling and get to the airport or port extra early but this time we decided to hang out in Long Beach and have fun in the Marina, which has a lot to do and a ton of restaurants. Bottom line, walked right on the ship.
The new itinerary of Cabo two days and Puerto Vallarta one day is not only horrible but it should be changed to add an additional port since they removed Mazatlan. My issue with Cabo is that you are tendered to the port and must be back on the ship by 5pm or so THE FIRST DAY and since you are tendered you will wait in line for about 1 1/2 hours just to get back on the ship. Carnival then will leave Cabo on a very slow moving cruise out to sea so that they can open the casino and the shops, only to return back to Cabo the next morning. You then have to be back on the ship at 2pm to leave Cabo for good. The 2nd day the line for the tender was not as long at all. The first day we just walked to the beaches and rented jet skis. The second day we walked over to the Malea San Lucas hotel and paid $55 to use the resort facilities which included pool, cabana, beach and towels. Carnival offered a similar excursion to another hotel but it was $88 per person (we paid $55 total). Do the research and if you can avoid excursions thru the cruise line you may saves money.
Puerto Vallarta was fun and a beautiful city. We did book this one thru carnival since it was last minute and we had nothing planned. We did the pirate boat excursion and it was fantastic. If you have kids, this will be a lot of fun. They take you out on a pirate ship, perform a fun show and even have entertainment for the kids. They then take you to a private beach that is just okay. You will have two hours to snorkel, swim, kayak or just hang out in the sun. Upon the return they feed you a decent lunch I the galley. Bring cash as they will try to sell you a video of the day with them and you will ant to tip you personal pirate at the end. That left us with about three hours to walk thru town and shop. This was a fun port and wish we had more time
We have four kids (16,15,11,9). The two older kids just signed up and wen the first day just to meet the kids in their age group. They met a ton and ever went back to the club as the kids just did their own thing with their new friends. The two younger kids had a good time in their group. My only complaint with Carnival is after 10pm you have pay per kid for them to babysit them at the kids camp. I was not happy with this as the activities of the ship extend after 10pm and
If you have to pay for babysitting, it should be after any Carnival planned activities.
I will preface this by telling you my wife refers to me as a "food snob". Unfortunately I found the food to be below par. I have sailed on Carnival 9 times and this was the worst it has been. We ate in the dining room only once but that was enough. I understand they are feeding 3000 guests but it was not very good at all. The pizza bar was good and the sandwich bar was pretty good as well. The buffet, where we had most meals, was just not good at all. The breakfast was horrible. I resigned myself to wanting pizza when ever possible. I know carnival owns Princess as well and my last experience with Princess resulted in the same conclusion.
Not bad, not great. Cruise director is sort of a heel but did entertain the crowd. They fad a hypnotist which was the best entertainment of the cruise. That was soooo funny. The comics were okay but you know they are not great when you feel bad for the comics. The Splendor singers and dancers were good but not great. The contests during the cruise were fund and engaging as well.
Two words. SELF ASSIST. IF you can take your own luggage off the ship you will be off the boat by 8AM.
Carnival as a cruise line seems to be getting cheaper and cheaper in price and the on board experience proves it. I am a fan of Carnival but I will look to other cruise lines and perhaps would pay a little more for quality. The costs of on board activities is expensive as well. We spent about three hundred dollars on pictures they took and that is a huge increase over past fees. Bottom line, I will not rule out Carnival in the future but this past experience (again, not bad at all, but not great) will open the door to size up the competition.