I just got off the Splendor on Sunday. This was my third cruise and my first on with Carnival. I'm not going to do day by day but I will mention the things I thought were important. I was travelling with a girl friend, her mother and I in one cabin and 3 of her family members in another. When I mention we I'm usually talking about my friend and I.
We stayed at the Hotel Maya. We got the Carnival Cruise rate of $119 a night. We were supposed to have garden view room but we wound up being able to see the ocean between the buildings. The room was huge with a small balcony. The hotel had a different layout then I was used to. It was 4 buildings with 5 floors. The main areas were open to the outside. It was nice and clean and the beds were very comfortable.
We had planned on going early but the only shuttle we could get to the port was at 11:10. I was worried about having a long wait at that point but it was really fast. We waited a few minutes in the line to receive our sign and sail cards. We were given Zone 8, as we were walking to Zone 8 they were taking Zone 5. By the time we got to Zone 8 they had just taken Zone 7. We waited no more then 5 minutes before moving to the line to enter the Terminal. We were onboard, gotten our food and were eating by the time I looked at my watch again. It was 12:15, so about an hour. The line up for the buffet was long but I went upstairs to the rotisserie and there was no line up at all.
We had cabin 2355 on deck 2, mid ship. I have read lots of people say on here that if your cabin is mid ship and low you won't feel any motion. That is NOT true. We felt motion almost the whole cruise. I personally enjoy the motion but my friend does not and she had to take motion sickness pills the whole trip. We had an ocean view room with 3 people in it. It was a nice size room and we never felt cramped with 3 people in there. The window was large and we used the ledge to collect our towel animals for the week. Our room steward was all right, we left dishes in our room on a couple occasions and came back to them still sitting there which was annoying. We only saw him about twice the whole cruise.
I loved the pizza on board. The burgers and hot dogs were pretty good as well. I didn't really enjoy the buffet but then again I don't enjoy most buffets. I was excited for the rotisserie because I love rotisserie chicken. Turns out I didn't really like it but I did like the mac and cheese they served there. We ordered room service one, we all had grilled cheese and they were pretty good. I had a couple sandwiches from the deli and they were very tasty. I really enjoyed the pastrami on rye, I had never tried that before. I really liked the self serve ice cream, make sure you check the signs on the machines cause the frozen yogurt is not as good as the ice cream
The first night we were in the Black Pearl Upper dining room at a table for six. We requested a larger table and were moved to the Gold Pearl restaurant to a table for 10. We wound up only eating with one other couple. Our head waiter was great; he was very friendly and talkative. The other waiter and the bar waiter were just ok. I had to flag down the bar waiter on a couple of occasions. He would come to the table, ask one person if they wanted a drink and if they said no he'd leave. I've never had so much trouble getting a soda as I did on this cruise. Finally on the 4th night in the dining room he had a soda waiting for me. When I cruise Princess I asked one night, then every night after that I didn't have to ask.
The quality of the food in the dining room was good, but the selection was just ok. I'll never understand why they would put ribs on the menu on a formal night. I would have loved to try them but not with my really nice dress on. I found that I enjoyed the Princess menu better then this one. The portion sizes were larger then I expected.
The welcome show was ok, we left before it was over cause we were so tired. Turns out that George Lopez was on the ship and he was doing a comedy show right after the welcome show. Our friends came to let us know but I was way too tired to go see it. I was really disappointed in cause my DH and I watch his show all the time. The second nights show wasn't very good, both my friend and I were checking our watches and wondering when it was going to end. We didn't go see the Latin show cause we were both sick and went to bed early. I did enjoy Vroom, it's a show with a wide range of popular songs from 60's to 90's. The Legends show was pretty cool, passengers auditioned and were picked by the audience earlier in the cruise. They got to get up on stage with the dancers and singers from the show. There were some good singers on our ship this week.
We went to 3 different comedy shows, 2 adult and 1 family show. One adult show was great, the other was just ok. He spent too much time talking to a heckler and it really took away from the show. The family show was pretty good.
We didn't have anything booked for the first day in Cabo. Some of our party wanted to go snorkelling so we found a company on the pier and booked it. It turned out to be a great excursion. We booked it through Cabo Escape, we paid $35 each. It included lots of different drinks and lunch. I had a couple Miami vice (Strawberry daiquiri and pina coloda mixed) but you could pretty much have whatever you wanted. Lunch was beef or chicken fajitas, cheese quesadilla, refried beans, chips, salsa and guacamole. It was a good meal. The staff was very attentive and super friendly. They were very strict about safety. There was one young man who had too much to drink and they wouldn't let him go snorkelling. I didn't see them serve him any more alcohol as well.
We had booked a whale watching tour through Cabo Eco Tours but since we were sick we didn't wind up going. The rest of our party went and they said it wasn't very good. I'm glad we didn't miss much, unfortunately since we had pre-paid for that we lost $30 each. They did manage to give our tickets away so someone got to enjoy it.
In Puerto Vallarta we booked the Rhythm of the Nights excursion through Carnival. That was a fantastic excursion and I would highly recommend it. It took us an hour to get to the beach. When we got there we ate at a table right on the end of the beach. There were large rocks between us and the water. Everything was lit by candles and torch light. The food was good, it was a buffet style. They had hammocks and chairs on the beach for our use. The had a fire pit with nice comfortable seats around it. It was a very romantic setting and I would love to return with my DH. We saw one couple get engaged while we were there. It was very romantic! After dinner we went to an outdoor show. They interacted with the audience for about 10 mins and then they did the show. There was a lot of fire twirling and fantastic dancing. It was 45 mins long and it was spectacular. After the show we went directly to the boat to return to the ship. We made it back to the ship about 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave. Here is a short video of the show (I didn't take it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPdKehQhuo
We purchased the couples pass for the thermal suite. It was $125 each for the week. I have done the thermal suite before on Princess and loved it. This one had the thalassotherapy pool, an aromatherapy steam room, a regular steam room, the heated stone loungers and and heated stone seats. I did enjoy the pool, which was basically a large hot tub. I don't enjoy the steam rooms as I have asthma and I find it very hard to breath in them. That being said I was unable to use the stone loungers as much as I would have liked. Both steam rooms opened into the lounger rooms and made it very muggy in there. It was a pretty bad setup and I felt like I wasted my money. The heated stone chairs were in a separate room and it didn't get as bad with the steam but they were not as comfortable and the stone loungers. I preferred the one on Princess and used it much more then I did this one. The music in the spa was also louder then I liked and you couldn't get away from it. It was even outside on the serenity deck.
I didn't find the service to be as good as I received on Princess. On several occasion in different locations I had trouble getting a drink. One night at the Punchliner club I waited 45 mins without someone coming by to ask me if I wanted a drink. I finally got up and got one myself. Another night in the theatre the waiter walked by me 3 times before I could finally get his attention. As mentioned before I had trouble getting a drink in the main dining room as well.
The dress code was much more relaxed then I'm used to. We saw two people at the table next to us in sweatshirts on formal night. I would never show up in the main dining room with a sweatshirt on a regular night, never mind a formal night.
The decor of the ship is pretty out there. There is lots of pink and lots of circles. It didn't bother me much and I found myself getting used to it by the end.
My friend found the smoke in the casino bothered her. She had trouble walking through the casino and we tried to avoid it if possible. Unfortunately we had to pass through there to get to several places
This wasn't the best cruise I've ever been on but it was still a good trip. It would have to be pretty bad for me not to enjoy it. That being said I don't think Carnival is for me and I will be sticking to Princess from now on.