I got off the Carnival Splendor Feb. 26 and most of what Carnival was responsible for was horrible.
At LAX I collected my luggage and went to find the Carnival M&G person. That was CCL first mistake as their airport greeters were not marked very clearly. I didn't have a printed voucher so they wanted to see proof that I paid right away. I was listed on their manifest, she didn't look far enough. The transport was leaving soon so she had my boarding pass the whole time until we got to the bus. They didn't even politely ask just grabbed it after I showed it.
I gave the porter $2 but even without it he would have put additional staples on my luggage tag. I didn't put it on until I claimed it at the airport as it most likely would have been damaged or lost by airport luggage handlers. He (the porter) pointed me to the dome as the next stop but Carnival could have also had signs. After getting your S&S card, you are cleared to board the ship after passing many security checkpoints and 2 photo shoot areas. I got to my stateroom at about 2:15 and dropped off my carryon luggage. . In my stateroom, the beds were still twins. I had requested it to be one queen bed in October 2011, so they had lots of lead time. I left a note for the steward and went to the buffet.
I wish I could say who my stateroom attendant was or where he was from but when he finally came by, he gave no such information. He only said he would correct the bed while I was at dinner. When I came back from the safety briefing, he was in the midst of changing it and had the nerve to insist that he be given 5 minutes to finish. This was just the start of the poor service that Carnival provided to me.
The lifeboat drill was pretty standard but Carnival was not into safety like some of their competition. For instance the safety tape was not playing as you went into your stateroom. The cabin attendant nor the person who checks you in makes you aware of where to find information. When the Costa ship had that problem, shortly after both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity sent messages from their CEOs. Nothing from any of the Carnival family.
I no longer can speak clearly and be understood so I have most of my requests typed out ahead of time. What many on the ship did is take it and not return them. They also didn't ask if they could. Many of the favorites that Carnival had were eliminated or only available on certain nights. The first night in the Black Pearl because they want you to use the main entrance and were not very helpful with directions that I got there very late. The personnel while they showed me to the table did not introduce themselves so I have no idea who the waiter, matre de for this section was, or any changes. They also did not get my drink order or think that I might want something other than water. They did provide me with the requested menus in advance but did not return to me after it was used. Tables near us got better service. We were at table near the back of the upper level near where the waiters traveled to the galley. People on "My Time" dining were on the lower level and may have gotten better service.
On port days, the dining room was closed for lunch. On sea days only the lower portion of one dining room was open for 1.5 hours.
I had it written out that I wanted to do the arch boat tour on the 2nd day in the afternoon. I was put in the first tour on the first day. No explanation was given, it could have been that the tour was full but I don't think so as the boat was only full. I still should have been given the option. When I got off the tender, you waited in a group and we boarded and got off in that same general; area. When we got back to the tender area, I just went back to the ship. They really should have told you that the Carnival Spirit would also be in port and you should get on the right tender. The 2nd day I just stayed on the ship.
When we got to Puerto Vallarta, I got off the ship and walked most likely in the wrong direction
So went back to the ship and had lunch. Also got my bearings as to what direction I wanted to go. I wanted to visit the Wal-Mart as it is mentioned so much. In the shopping talk, which I watched on TV the CD Todd made fun of Wal-Mart and wanted people to go downtown. The reason I wanted to go there is that I work for WM in the states and wanted to see if they do anything different. One thing that you notice is their greeter is a young woman while in the states it is mostly older person. I talked with her as I had a paper written up in many languages including Spanish. It didn't matter as she spoke English with a slight accent. They also have chips and salsa available. Another thing that stands out is that their workers have on smocks so are more visible. We used to wear vests until the company decided not to go to that expense. There also are more refrigerators on the sales floor as well as more alcohol.
I might also mention that I don't work at a discount store or super center but a neighborhood market which is mostly groceries. This store in PV would not pass the same inspections that we have to go through. For one thing, the eggs are kept on a regular shelf; I know that they have to be kept 32-48 degrees and not room temperature for more than 2 hours to be safe. There also is debris swept on the floor. They also don't have any meat, cheese, or drugs that I could see, there is also less clothing than we have on this side of the border.
I went to the Pinnacle Steakhouse twice during this cruise, on Tuesday and Friday. I had made reservations ahead of time, they had sent you a confirmation E-Mail when you booked and sent you mail when on the ship. I got one for each day that is one good thing that Carnival does in having a place by your cabin for mail. I had my menu for each day planned and she even put in my Friday order. They also have different breads and a lot of the good service, some items that used to be in the dining room are up there.
I didn't go to any of the shows at night as the flashing lights sometimes put me to sleep. I also didn't use any of the spa services or go to any bingo sessions. I did go to some of the game shows. You just had to ignore the CDs.
The cruise director (Todd) and his assistant Cruise director (Brian) are as bad as reported. We could have been without those two and still have an okay time.
Non Carnival Activities
The real highlight of the cruise was the M & G that Treasure4Two setup on the roll call. Cruise Critic also had a little one on embarkment afternoon in the pool area. In hindsight I should have stayed with that group of people. I had done this cruise before, on the Jubilee in 1997 and the on the Mariner of the Sea during the beginning of swine flu. That cruise we got to go to Cabo but when we returned were told that the ship had to head back to CA. The other things they did was whale watching in Cabo the first day, the chef's table on Wednesday, and a cabin draw.
There were over 1,000 kids on the ship, huge family groups, a wedding party, and many others. On Friday I did my laundry in one of their guest laundry. It cost $3 to wash and $3 to dry. There are 3 laundry rooms and 3 ironing rooms. In the laundry rooms, there is 3 washers, 6 dryers, and 1 ironing board. The ironing rooms have 3 ironing stations, and the laundry rooms have vending machine with soap and softener, a trash can, but no seats. You get 30 minutes of wash time and 99 minutes of dry time. There also is no way to get change other than going to guest relations. I had brought Purex 3 in 1 sheets with me and a collapsible hamper. There is also laundry pods that one can buy, you don't have to really use what they are selling.
I got zone 3 but in reality as they started letting guests off the ship at 7:45, most were most likely off by 9:30. I went thru immigration, found my luggage and was out of the building quickly. Unfortunately Carnival had no people or signage about where to go. You had to figure that out for yourself. I was the last one on the bus for LAX as they wanted to be full. You need at least 2 hours before a flight to walk about a half a mile in the terminal to get to security and about another eighth of a mile to get to the gate or more.