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7 Night Mexican Riviera Cruise from Los Angeles

7 Night Mexican Riviera Cruise from Los Angeles

Carnival Splendor
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Carnival Splendor

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
1,301 reviews
Why Choose Carnival Splendor?


Have fun and unwind with comedy acts, lively shows, a huge spa and great kids' programming


Pink-splashed ship decor can border on tacky, and staterooms could use an upgrade

Bottom line

This "Fun Ship" delivers with ample activities and entertainment, at great-value pricing

Cruise Reviews

4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our first cruise with Carnival and we were pleasantly surprised. We embarked at Long Beach, California and have to say that it was the smoothest embarkation we have had in a long time. The process was extremely smooth and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Carnival and we were pleasantly surprised. We embarked at Long Beach, California and have to say that it was the smoothest embarkation we have had in a long time. The process was extremely smooth and quick. Although the ship has some interesting colours (pink theme) we found it to be easy to navigate and lots of onboard entertainment. Our cabin seemed large in comparison with others. There was an extra pull out bed in the room which was used as a sofa or just somewhere to put things. The bathroom was big, you could actually have two people in there at once. The shower and the basin were a good size and there was room either side of the mirror for storage of toiletries. We had anytime dining and found that we did not have to wait more than 2-30mins for a table. The food and service was good but we found the background dining music of blaring trumpets a little grating. We saw three shows on board and they were all excellent. The entertainers were very energetic, sang well and the shows were well produced. We were very impressed. Other entertainment around the ship was good too. There was a trio of girls, two on violin and one on bass who were impressive. No vocals but the arrangements were excellent. Another band of 9 was also excellent to listen to (not sure if it was the ship band) but always drew a big crowd and was good entertainment. It was a 7 day cruise and we had three stops - Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerta Vallarta. All were great shore stops. In Cabo we had an independent tour through a friend and saw most of the tourist stops including a trip to San Jose where we had lunch and a bit of shopping. We had a ship tour in Mazatlan which was also excellent. It was 'Colonial Villages of Sierra Madre' for 6 hours and well worth the money. We also did a ship tour in Puerto Vallarts which was the '10 best of....' which was also worth the money. Overall we thought the cruise was great and thought we could have done a 10 day one. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our second Carnival Cruise, but it has been a long time so it was like being on our first cruise. We were traveling with another couple and it was their first cruise. I have always wanted to do the Mexican Riviera and am so glad ... Read More
This was our second Carnival Cruise, but it has been a long time so it was like being on our first cruise. We were traveling with another couple and it was their first cruise. I have always wanted to do the Mexican Riviera and am so glad I finally had a chance to go. We boarded at noon, and it was very smooth and easy thru the Long Beach terminal and then we waited in Splendor Lounge for our rooms to be available at 1:30. Our cabins were on the Verandah Deck 8, balcony rooms. All of us were pleased with our rooms and the balcony was so fun to have. Pedro, our cabin steward kept our room very clean. Food -- everything we had from the multi stations on the Lido deck was good. Our groups favorite was the pizza station. We could not get enough of their pizza. For nightly dining we choose anytime, which was held in the Black Pearl dining room. All of our servers were excellent except for one. The majority of the food we ate was excellent as well and we never had to wait very long for a table. The Maitre D Ganapathy invited us to meet the Sous Chef Fabian and we had a private tasting of Monday nights dining options. It was a wonderful time being able to ask him about making food for 3K plus people plus 2K staff. He explained about how he tries to make food for the staff from their homeland. Happy staff makes for happy cruisers and he must be doing a wonderful job. We also did the sea day brunch in the Gold Pearl dining room. All the options were good, but there was options on the final morning that I wish could have been available during the week. We did not do room service this time, but our friends did and were pleased with their food and service. The cooking demonstration in the Pinnacle Steakhouse with tastings and recipes was great. The mac and cheese was the BEST! It does fill up fast, so get there early. We also did the 4 martini tasting in the El Mojito bar (they open at 5 pm). Beautiful presentation and it was nice to taste martinis that I might normally not order. Staff -- they kept us entertained the whole time. We took in two of the comedy shows, one of the music/dance shows, and multiple trivia games. Leon, the cruise director, and his entertainment and musical staff did a great job. Serenity deck did a great job of keeping younger people out of the area. I used the jogging track every day and my husband and friends used the gym. We were all happy with our exercise options. Ports of call -- Cabo and Mazatlan we were on our own. Puerto Vallarta we did Las Calentas hideaway. It was amazing and I have even recommended it to another friend who is coming up on a cruise in October. Disembark was so much easier than our first cruise. Cons -- The ship WAS clean, however, I could see wear and tear. Our first cruise, as soon as we left a port, there was always someone out touching up the deck with fresh paint and the carpets were always being cleaned. I did not see that like I had seen before. Two staff, one in the Black Pearl and one at a bar on the Lido deck were less than helpful. Only two outlets in the room, one in the bathroom on the upper right hand side of the mirror and one in the cabin by the phone. I recommend a multi strip adapter. Pros -- Carnival hub app was a great way to stay in contact with my party and see what events were going on. Easier on and off than our first cruise. Sign and sail made it nice to not have to carry a lot of cash. You are allowed to bring 12 cans of pop per person and one bottle of wine (21+) in your carry-on. I would do this cruise again and I would pick Carnival again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We selected this cruise due to the close proximity to home (avoid airfare and additional hotel costs, travel time), sailing date range, and that the ship had some fun water features for our two young boys. This was our boy's first cruise, ... Read More
We selected this cruise due to the close proximity to home (avoid airfare and additional hotel costs, travel time), sailing date range, and that the ship had some fun water features for our two young boys. This was our boy's first cruise, and our 4th cruise. Just for comparison, we (sans kids) had previously sailed on the Carnival Miracle, Norwegian Pearl, and Princess Sapphire. I found the reviews on this ship to be all over the place. However,we have to say that we found the ship to be fairly well maintained given it's age. The crew was fantastic, the food was very good, and this ship had several features that made it family friendly. First, the family friendly features were the water slide (good for all ages, over 42"), the spash pad for kids under 8 or 9, two pools and 4 hot tubs that were open to kids, Kids club for 2-5, and 6-8, as well as two other rooms for seperate pre-teens, and teens (club O2), miniture golf and movie nights...particularly the last two nights that featured PG moives. The miniture golf (9-hole) course should be replaced as this was really showing its age. However, our kids enjoyed it and we played the course many, many times. The ship oerall has plenty of entertainment , a large casino and several "club" type rooms for a variety of entertainment. We really did not make it to any of the big shows as we have young boys who awoke very early and went to bed around 9:30 or so. I would reiterate what a few others have said about the food on the ship...it was very good. There was a good variety ofj food at the buffet, including "speciality" stations that included a burrito bar, mongolian wok, Omlette station, Indian cuisine (yum!!) and BBQ,, as well as one station open virtually all the time that served burgers , hot dogs and friey, etc, and another that served a few styles of pizzas (Pizza Pirate). Our family favorite for a fast snack, was the pizza pirate....very good, thin crust pizzas! We also enjoyed the flavors of the Tandori Grill station...yum! We found the fruit fresh throughout the cruis, The only experience we found dissappointing was the chocolate bar night. This was part of the last sea night. The lines were long, and nothing we tasted was spectacular...or even average. In hindsite, we would have skipped the long lines for that one and just gone to the back lido deck buffett for the chcolate chip cookies or chocolate soft serve ice cream. Since our boys tend to get up early, we elected for the early dininng (5:45). We were assigned the Black Pearl Dinning room. This is a beautiful dinning room and our waiters and staff really made every evening enjoyable.Thank you to Vladimir, Pande, and Gusti....you guys were so nice to our boys and they were still missing you all on the way home. You are true gentlemen and really know customer service. We should mention that we had a booth for 4, and we were privlaged to be seated across from a wonderful family, that also made our dinners very enjoyable. We had an Ocean view room on deck 2, almost under guest services, on deck 3. The room had two twin beds pushed together to make a King size bed, as well as a sofa that turned into a twin bed, as well as a pull-down twin bunk with a ladder.(see photos) The boys loved the bunk bed. We let the 7-year old sleep on the top, and gave his younger brother the bottom, for safety. There is a safety rail at the top 1/3rd of the top bunk. We never had any issues with our son falling off, or even getting too close to the edge, even in some rough seas. Our room stewards were excellent....and we are sooo sorry the mess that two boys can create! Thank you , gentlemen. One tip about the room...there is only one outlet to use, at the vanity, across from the bunks (see photo). this is NOT a double outlet like you have on your wall at home. It is one, three pronged outlet...so if you are traveling with several individuals that need to charge mobile phones, be sure to bring a power strip to plug into this. We used a multi port USB for our phones, but out sons wanted their nightlight plugged in during the night....we could not do both. There is a small outlet in the bathroom (high above the sink, near the ceiling) apparently for electric razors...we didn't have an electric razor to try it out. A little bit about the ports of call. Our initial itenerary was to include two days in Cabo San Lucas, and one day in Puerto Vallarta with the rest at sea. We liked this itenerary to have more sea days for the boys to use the water features and kids clubs. Our itenerary was altered a bit due to Hurricane John. So, we were in port at Cabo San Lucas on Monday, Tuesday in Mazatlan, and wednesday in Puerto Vallarta. Cabo San Lucas. The itenerary said 10:30am - 6:00pm, but this port has no pier for the ship to dock to. So, there are tender boatsthat come out and load 20-30 passengers +/- , and take passengers to the dock/marina. Well, perhaps partially due to the rough water in the bay, this was a slow process We got a ticket for group number 25 and did not get off the ship until 12:45 or so, and got off of the tender boat at the dock some 10 minutes later. We really only had a good 3 hours in this port....thankfully we had not booked a tour that day as we really had no idea it would take over 2 hours to be able to leave the ship. We just walked south of the pier, about 1/4 mile, to a small beach. The boys played in the calm water with some of the locals, and some others from the cruise ship. We got a margarita, and then headed back to wait in the long line for the tender boats at about 4:00pm . This was probably the most dissappointing of the ports based soley on that. We did have an excursion booked(not through carnival) for the following day, which was refunded...we really don't think we would have made it to that tour anyhow, given the tender process, and that the ship remained on Pacific Standard Time (embarkation port) while in Cabo. Mazatlan. As this was not on the original itenerary , we just selected a tour outside of the cruise terminal to visit Stone Island (which is now a penninsula). It was about $40 per person with the youngest being free and our 7 y/o, half off. This included a boat ride, tractor ride to a beach "resort", a meal, and all you could drink. They provided you with a meal ticket for each paying person, two activity vouchers for eacy paying visitor, and a boat voucher as well. The guide spoke spanish and english. The food was really good. the margaritas were good (in styrofoam cups). The water did not seem too clean at this location, but there were lots of people enjoying the water. The water and waves were very rough from the hurricanes and tropical storms off shore. As with the other two ports, we were approached multiple times by vendors selling different things. Most of them very overpriced...like $5 US for a key chain, or $5 US for two , small , cheap plastic buckets and shovals Get used to saying 'No Gracias" a lot.....or bring lots of $1 bills if you like to bargain. On a side note, if you do like to buy trinkets , shirts, or even drinks or food, plan to get pesos, or bring lots of small bills. Vendors rarely have change in US, and our experience was that we got less that optimal exchange rates. The official exchange rate was 1:19, but most vendors tried to give us 1:15 pesos to the dollar. You can certainly bargain wtih that, but only if you have small bills. Better if you have pesos.... Puerto Vallarta. Certainly beautiful and green....and humid. getting off and onto the boat hear was the easiest of any of the three ports. we took a taxi to/from the Malecon shopping boardwalk. Be aware that if you talk to the "tour" operators inside the terminal gates, and they direct you to a taxi, you'll talk to another Taxi operator who will then send you with the taxi driver in a multi-seat , white , van. The cost of the ride to downtown was $4 US each. We took a yellow taxi back from downtown for $10 , for 4 people. We sttrolled the Rio Cuale shops, but really, it was so humid that we were exhausted from a simple walk......Starbucks to the rescue with A/C, smoothies, water, iced coffee and tea, and we were back out to enjoy the rest of the day at Camarones beach. This was a public beach with umbrellas and chairs to rent for about $7 for a few hours. The kids enjoyed playing in the waves, and playe with some of the local kids. Be aware that beach here is rocky, about 20ft from shore...otherwise it is a nice sandy beach ....again, with lots of vendors stopping to sell visitors their goods. ....again, get used to saying "No Gracias".....or have lots of small bills with you.. Oh, and there is a bar on the beach where you can order drinks...we had a good margarita....again, have pesos or small bills or you will get a bad exchange rate!!! Tips: Ship time was Pacifc Time in Cabo, while cabo was one hour ahead Ship time was Local Time in Mazatlan Ship time was Mazatlan time in Puerto Vallarta. Don't overpack...there is DIY laundry on board for $3.00/ load. you use your sail and sign card....no coins needed. brring a powerstrip for your stateroom. Bring a pen to fill out luggage tags for debarkation If you use the ATT cruise package, you can send a test with iMessage turned on (iphone), but you cannot receive iMessage texts, so have your friends and/or family turn off iMessage on their phones if they send you texts... Print as many documents/tip sheets on this as you can to bring it with you....lots of people were at guest services with questions about their cellular provider plans, but carnival only deals with issues with the carnival HUB app, or the ship's wifi. If you have an ATT international plan, we had to turn on cellular data use, and cellular data roaming to use the internet off of wifi....this was a bit confusing for us non-tech people. Read Less
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