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16 Los Angeles to Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

For a "cruise to nowhere" it was OK. We wanted to get away and the price was right ($99 plus port fees/taxes). Not a lot of time to see much entertainment, but we did see one of the new ones with special effects - excellent (and ... Read More
For a "cruise to nowhere" it was OK. We wanted to get away and the price was right ($99 plus port fees/taxes). Not a lot of time to see much entertainment, but we did see one of the new ones with special effects - excellent (and of course I can't remember the name). The singers and dancers were very good. The buffet was as usual - hot food barely warm, but it was good. We tried traditional dining for the first time (thought we couldn't make too bad of a mistake for 3 days). Our table was perfect. A 2 top next to another 2 top and no one else was nearby (table 72). The only bad thing was we had the late seating and we are not night people. Unfortunately, our steward was one of the few who only did the bare minimum. Found some trash left by the previous occupants, no ice in the fridge (a bucket of cold water, so I know he didn't check it). No sodas/water in the fridge (no problem, cuz we don't use them, but still they are supposed to be there). No hand lotion until the last day (with an apology). The Kleenex box was empty. Oh well, it saved me leaving an extra tip. We had A343. Neglected to check the deck ABOVE us. There was a large service area directly above our cabin. There were loud bangs all day and into the night until about 11 PM. Doors slamming, heavy items being moved. Would not get this cabin again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I found the staff the best thing. They were caring and helpful and earnest to make this little cruise fun. They were outstanding in name recall. AMAZING for a 4-day cruise. The ship was festive. The food was good, the ship was fun, the ... Read More
I found the staff the best thing. They were caring and helpful and earnest to make this little cruise fun. They were outstanding in name recall. AMAZING for a 4-day cruise. The ship was festive. The food was good, the ship was fun, the kids kept busy, so I didn't notice them much, and everything was clean. We had a great time. There could have been more daytime activities...basket weaving, dollar bill origami, that sort of thing would have been fun. The books were locked up and you had to go to the service desk to get someone to trek over to get a book. But the library was pretty and quiet with lots of good sitting areas. On the 4-day cruise there was only one big show, and all the entertainment started after 9pm...late for old folks, who are a large percentage of cruisers. Though on this cruise (and Carnival's reputation in general) the age was younger. But still, lots of seniors. I'd have liked the entertainment to be in shifts so early diners could catch a comedy show and still go to sleep at 10. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We took a quick 3 day cruise to Ensenada on the Golden Princess right before Thanksgiving 2013. Motel Night Before Cruise: We stayed at the Rodeway Inn in Harbor City, CA. Small motel, good prices, clean rooms with refrigerator and ... Read More
We took a quick 3 day cruise to Ensenada on the Golden Princess right before Thanksgiving 2013. Motel Night Before Cruise: We stayed at the Rodeway Inn in Harbor City, CA. Small motel, good prices, clean rooms with refrigerator and microwave. Cons - Located on a busy street and lots of traffic noise. Embarkation: Drove and parked at the Port of Los Angeles. Plenty of parking spaces for $12 per day. We got there about 10:30 and parked near the gate to walk across to the terminal. Walked right into terminal for check-in. Waited in the waiting area until boarding time. We were group #2 and the line moved quickly. Cabin: This was our first time in an interior cabin - A716. It had enough space for 2 people and a large closet. I tried to plug in my CPAP and discovered the electrical outlet was the round type (non US). I didn't bring an extension cord to plug into the US outlets across the cabin. On other Princess ships I didn't have this problem. Bed and pillows were comfortable. Shower had the soap and shampoo dispensers. Light filtered through the gaps in the cabin door. We had to push/pull the door shut to ensure that it locked properly. Dining: We had ANYTIME dining and waited 40 minutes for the first night. DH decided to make reservations for the other nights to avoid the long wait. No problems getting a table for breakfast in the dining room. We were one of the first into Crown Grill for the "PUB" lunch on sea day. Fish and Chips were moist and tender. $5 for a glass of STOUT. DH went up to the Horizon Court afterwards to get more fish. Excursion: Took the slightly overpriced winery tour ($45 pp). First winery, L.A. Cetto, had better tasting wines than the second winery we visited. L.A. Cetto offered 1 champagne, 2 whites, and 3 red wines for tasting. The second winery offered bread, cheese, and pizza along with the 3 different wines for tasting. The tour guide was very informative and funny on our bus ride to the wineries. The bus let people off in downtown Ensenada then proceeded back to the ship. Tour was 9:30-1:30. Disembarkation: We were "Walkoff Group 8" and scheduled to leave the ship at 8:00 am. Disembarkation was fast and they were calling our group to leave by 7:45 am. Getting off the ship was fast. Going through Customs and Immigration took longer. Tip: Have your documents ready for Custom and Immigration!!!!!!!!! I clipped everything together with the passport opened to my picture. We were out of the parking lot by 8:30 am and on the road to Northern California. This was a good cruise. I will bring an electrical adapter and extension cord with me on my next cruise in January. You never know when you will need it! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Let’s begin by clarifying the part I in my title: This 3 Day West Coast Getaway was the first in a series of 3 back to back to back cruises which my friend and I took. The price was outstanding, practically free and impossible to pass ... Read More
Let’s begin by clarifying the part I in my title: This 3 Day West Coast Getaway was the first in a series of 3 back to back to back cruises which my friend and I took. The price was outstanding, practically free and impossible to pass up. Embarkation: I would like to say that embarkation was quick and easy as it usually is, however this time it was not. The Star Princess and Golden Princess were both in port at the same time and a combination of not enough customs officials as well as newbies in training delayed the process of clearing passengers off the ship in a timely manner. None the less we were able to board and headed straight for our cabin. Cabin: We were in a forward Aloha Deck balcony stateroom. In the past we were hesitant to book a forward cabin, however the ship never exceeded 11 knots and the sailing was smooth like glass. Our room steward, Romeo was excellent. He always responded to our needs and kept the stateroom spotless. Dining: We had fixed seating as always (I can wait on line and make reservations for dinner at home; I don’t need to be saddled with that chore while on vacation). We had a private table for just the two of us and it was in the perfect spot in the Canaletto Dining Room. Roland our waiter and Laura the junior waiter were outstanding. On our first evening at dinner we were greeted with welcoming smiles and they kept our dinner courses moving along at a comfortable pace for my friend and me. This being our 14th Princess cruise it was fun to be remembered by wait staff that we had on previous sailings, who also wanted to attend to our needs. The food was outstanding and as soon as we saw that John Convery was the executive chef we were even more excited as in our opinion he is the best there is at sea. The dining room staff who attended to our needs were made aware that we were staying onboard for multiple sailings and we were able to keep our same table. The process was seamless. Entertainment: Our comment here would be, the bands heard playing in the Wheelhouse Bar and the Explorers Lounge were weak at best and did not entice us to stop and listen and did not seem up to the Princess standard. Having said that, the comedians, Alfred and Seymour, were dynamite and very lively. A word of warning don’t arrive late or try to leave early as they will definitely have their way with you in good fun of course. The only production show we went to was the British Invasion and boy were we sorry. To title it "The British Invasion” without actually researching the bands that were part of The British Invasion seems a bit silly and disappointing. Disembarkation: For my friend and me, it was seamless due to the fact that we were Passengers In Transit for back to back sailings. The ship was cleared of disembarking passengers very quickly as the Golden Princess was the only passenger ship in port with multiple customs officers to process. We were off the ship and back on the ship within 15 minutes. It was great. Overall Opinion of the Cruise and Condition of the Ship: The staff and food were above average in all areas. Welcoming, friendly and requests were always met with grace and consideration. However, as I stood in line or waited for my friend I often noticed ceiling panels loose, carpet pulling away on side carpeted baseboards, paint that needed refreshing in the Piazza area and stains in the Photo area where there is always a lot of foot traffic. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and will travel on Princess again, as Princess Cruises is our home away from home. Golden Princess however, is showing signs of needing renovation. Can someone say "Dry Dock” Please?   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My best friend and I took this short cruise to see if she would able to handle it without getting seasick. She did! It was great. We had an awesome time. The crew aboard the Golden Princess was very attentive. This was my 3rd cruise -her ... Read More
My best friend and I took this short cruise to see if she would able to handle it without getting seasick. She did! It was great. We had an awesome time. The crew aboard the Golden Princess was very attentive. This was my 3rd cruise -her 1st. She will however be spoiled - we were able to grab a mini-suite for the price of a balacony room. Princess was running a special- we will receive full credit of the room cost for a furture cruise next year. We also purchased the FCC while on board which will also give us an additional ship board credit to use. Score!! The food was delish, and the service was excellent. We choose early traditional seating. We had a table of 8 and the other couples were great company. We saw the stage shows and they were great as well. We went to see one of the comedians , and apparently he was frustrated during his show because something wasnt working correctly. He walked off the stage in the middle of the act - not saying anything - at 1st everyone thought it was part of the act. Then he didnt come back. what a JERK, I hope he doesnt get paid for such bad showmanship. We were met upon arrival with a glass of champain in our room, our TA had sent chocolate covered strawberries. -what a way to start. Our room was always made up - our streward were great. I call them Nijas- they must jump in the minute we leave - because even coming back quickly I swear the room was completed. LOL No complaints here- had a great trip PS- There was always maintance going on as well, beautifully kept up ship. Inez Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We decided to do this "Cruise To Nowhere" immediately after doing it last year. Crystal, I believe, has only done this itinerary a couple of times. Starting in San Pedro, it heads North to Santa Barbara, spends 2 days in San ... Read More
We decided to do this "Cruise To Nowhere" immediately after doing it last year. Crystal, I believe, has only done this itinerary a couple of times. Starting in San Pedro, it heads North to Santa Barbara, spends 2 days in San Francisco before returning south to Ensenada and San Diego. Being from Southern California and having spent a lot of time in all of these destinations, we termed this the "Cruise To Nowhere" last year. We were taking this Thanksgiving Cruise primarily to enjoy the ship, the food, and the usually stellar service. I am rating the overall cruise a 4 star, but in reality it's more like a 4.5 or 4.6. I unfortunately cannot rate it a 5, at least from our perspective. Here, in no particular order are my observations: Cabin: We were on the fifth deck, Category D. Cabin was in a great location. Lower deck right outside the main lobby and the Crystal Dining Room. It's a bit small, but typical of most outside cabins. Bathroom with 2 sinks and great toiletries was nice. Shower/Tub had a hand set shower unit with nice power. Downside is the quality of the beds. Mattress is very firm and all of the pillows were too soft. They tried a trick with an egg crate upside down, but it did not help much. Crystal needs to redo the beds. Many would agree. 4 stars Food: Nothing more to say than ...SIMPLY AWESOME!. We had no complaints whatsoever. The food in the MDR was 5 star or better every single meal. From the fish to the bread to the soup to the venison, it was a taste sensation every meal. Even one step higher were the Specialty restaurants: Silk Road and Prego. Outstanding preparation and my hat is off to the chefs and servers throughout the ship. 5 stars plus All Inclusive Drinks and Wine: We had a great Sommelier and the wines offered were quite nice. Our mixed drinks at the bars were also served quickly and were quite good. I cannot complain at all about this aspect of AI. We are not big drinkers, but apparently you can also have 2 bottles of complementary hard liquor or champagne in your stateroom. See your stewardess and she will get you all set up. 5 stars Enrichment: Because we only had one sea day, the Crystal Enrichment program was at a bare minimum. This was unfortunate. Last year we at least had Art and Music classes, and I was expecting it again this year. It was even listed in the itinerary on the web. The Speaker, Louis Rene Beres, an international law expert focused on the middle east, was excellent, but they only gave him one day to speak. He had apparently prepared four lectures. I do understand that on Port Days, the ship expects everyone to be out exploring. But on this particular cruise, I'd say a good proportion of people stayed on the ship, a lot. Ensenada, in particular, seemed to have very few "adventurers". we were fine with not having many activities on the sea days, as our objective was just to relax, but to have the option of a few things would have been nice. Last year, for instance, we did some art and actually had it displayed at an "Art Show" on the ship. 3 stars Jazz Themed Cruise: Perhaps some of the minimization of the enrichment program was due to the Jazz we had on board. There were several musicians on board, playing for several hours every day at various venues. The Talent was superb Old Styled Jazz with top notch solos. The groups were part of an organization called "Jazzdagen". One of their band leaders is a guy named Pieter Meijers, who plays a Clarinet like you would not believe. I would rate this entertainment 5 stars plus, and was a unique experience we had not encountered in any of our previous cruises. Well done! Service: This was the surprise for us. Last year, we had the best service of any cruise we've ever been on. They made an effort to know our names. I would be up early and try to meet my wife later in the lido for breakfast. The Lido staff would be able to pinpoint me and direct my wife to my table. It was unprecendented. The Dinner staff were equally accomading. that Was last year. This year, for whatever reason ,was a complete reversal, at least for us. Our stewardess was just adequate, if not worse. We had early dining, and on 2 nights we returned to our room after dinner to find that she was still cleaning the stateroom. This was at 830pm! So she got embarrassed and said she would hurredly finish, meaning of course, not thoroughly cleaning perhaps. Our dinner waiter was equally incompetent, if I can use that term. We were a table of 8 at the very aft end of the room. We were invariably the last table to get served. Some orders were wrong: he forgot who ordered what, that sort of thing. We had to switch our plates after he served the wrong dishes to the wtrong people Desserts were forgotten. Coffee and Tea was not served with dessert, perhaps 5-10 minutes after dessert. I mean it wasn't all bad, but it was also not that great. He never recommended any meals or described how the dishes were prepared. I don't know, but for some reason, we got stuck with perhaps the worst waiter on the ship. Now our dinner mates were great, and our interesting conversations were able to carry us through the delays, but still, I like to eat in a timely fashion. All dinners took about 2 hours from start to finish. We were usually about the last people out of the dining room. Not because of lingerring to talk, but lingering for our after dinner tea or coffe to arrive. Surprising thing however...the lunch service was excellent. Maybe less crowded, but we were in and out on 45 minutes and completely satisfied. The waiters/eaitresses vary for lunch, so we had a glimpse of some others. Most were stellar, but a couple were again just not so good. Service is the most important aspect of a luxury cruisre, and we just felt that we were treated pretty mush average if that. In direct comparison to the best serviced cruise of our life, last year, we just this was on par with a mega ship, not a smaller luxury ship known for it's sevice. And Crystal is not inexpensive, so this was just a bit incomprehensible for us. Oh, one other thing, our stateroom toilet went out of service briefly. I went to the front desk to anounce it (front desk is 30 feet from our room if that). Then we heard that toilets were out on that entire side of the ship for our floor at least, including the public bathroom. Two elderly women came out of the bathroom to say the same thing (toilets not working) so I went right back to the front desk. I thought this was pretty important. The front desk staffperson did not and just non-chalantly said someone would be notified. I went back to the room a couple hours later and the toilet was working, thank goodness. Went to the same front desk person to say "thanks, it looks like our toilet is working again." She was sort of caught off guard and said, "Oh okay, thanks for letting us know". Bottom line: She didn't put any emphasis or care in the toilets being out, and had no idea that the situation was resolved nor did any announcement come directly to us that our staeroom toilet was working again. Not a shining Service moment for Crystal, IMHO. Overall Service: 3 Stars Summary: We had a great cruise, but it was not the "6 Star" luxury we had expected, coming off our truly "6 Star" treatment on the same cruise last year. Hard to say if it was due to the "All Inclusive" changeover this year, or just our specific bad luck of having a less than stellar stewardess and waiter. Could also be that several crew members may have been at their last week of their contract, i.e. burned out. The Symphony was heading to the South Pacific and Australia, so it would make sense that a new crew was being sent "Down Under". Still, it is the ship's responsibility to make sure everyone is adequately taken care of. The Jazz was great and the food was great and the wine was great. Service was only adequate, so the overall experince was a bit diminished. Would we sail Crystal again...surely, but the price would have to be commensurate with the service. In this case, it was not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We have taken 3 other cruises before this one, each one on different cruise lines, and we've enjoyed each one. We have been huge Disney fans all of our lives. This was our first cruise on DCL, and was going to serve as an assessment ... Read More
We have taken 3 other cruises before this one, each one on different cruise lines, and we've enjoyed each one. We have been huge Disney fans all of our lives. This was our first cruise on DCL, and was going to serve as an assessment of sorts to see if we would like to take a longer cruise with them in the future. The things that we enjoyed about the cruise: The food was good throughout the ship. Our dinners were in the Animator's Palate and the service and food was good (more on this below). The ship was clean and well-maintained. Our stateroom attendant did an excellent job of maintaining our cabin and was very friendly and courteous. We had an outside stateroom and liked the split bathroom with sink and toilet in one and the bathtub/shower and sink in the other. The sail-away party was fun for all. We loved the "When You Wish Upon a Star" ship's horn. The evening shows were outstanding and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing "Tangled" in 3D in the theatre. Things that we were disappointed with or in our opinion, and are in need of improvements: The check-in process was the worst we have ever experienced. It appeared that DCL may have used this cruise to train new people and the line moved very slowly. The person we checked in with was not by any means cheerful or of the expected Disney-like personality that we would have expected and seemed confused on every aspect of check-in and needed to keep checking with a supervisor for each task. After check-in, I thought we were ready to board as on other cruise lines. Not so. We were issued a number of "10" and put into a "staging area" to wait for our number to be called for boarding. At that point, they were on number "2". This took another 30-45 minutes after already waiting in our check-in line for that long. During this, my adult daughter took advantage of the wait to check-in our grandchildren for the on-board activities. This was another very slow moving line and arduous process. We were pleased that our dining preference was moved to the earlier time as we had requested and very pleased that our dining was in the Animator's Palate. Now, from everything I have read, other than the food, the most exciting part of eating in this dining area is the fascinating changing of colors of the entire restaurant. We ate there both nights with great anticipation, telling the children to keep their eyes on the walls. Nothing! Both nights everything remained black and white throughout the entire dinner! We asked the wait staff, and they claimed to know nothing about that part of the dining experience! Seemed they were only interested in the food process and serving. I think that soft serve ice cream or yogurt stations on cruises that have them, are one of the most popular of the food attractions and usually need more attention than what they get. DCL was no exception. The vanilla soft serve was watery and unappealing on both days. We took our grandson, who is almost 4, into the Oceaneer's Club only to find that one of the main play areas, which resembles a pirate ship with slides and climbing areas, was closed off and unavailable for some undisclosed reason. There weren't as many activities as I expected, especially for the children, and I've seen much more on other cruise lines. On the day of our departure, the power went out twice in the morning and when we went to our nearest elevators, they didn't work. We had to take the stairs from deck 2 to deck 9 to eat breakfast. We were told that there were generator problems. As stated previously, we liked the layout of our stateroom, but it was on Deck 2 and noisy due to a bar area above us. Again, we've been Disney fans all our lives, we've been to Disneyland and Disney World many, many times and our house has Disney art and decorations throughout. We just weren't impressed with this ship and probably won't book another cruise with DCL in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We took the one night cruise out of LA this past Friday on the NCL Star. It was a good opportunity to check out the ship. We have the Star booked for the May reposition cruise to Alaska. Realizing that it was a booze cruise type of ... Read More
We took the one night cruise out of LA this past Friday on the NCL Star. It was a good opportunity to check out the ship. We have the Star booked for the May reposition cruise to Alaska. Realizing that it was a booze cruise type of trip our expectations were not that high. So our disappointment with this cruise was not a total shocker. Embarkation was a nightmare starting with check in. The lady at the counter had no idea how to put four people in two cabins on one credit card. That process took 25 minutes to get through. Then there was the customs delay of two and a half hours before we were allowed to board. For the first half of the delay there was no announcement as to what the problem was. When we were finally allowed at on 2:00 we went straight for Versailles for a bite to eat. Our server seemed like she hated her job and hardly spoke to us. The food was yet another disappointment. We were all so hungry from not having breakfast we choked it down followed by a couple of stiff drinks. I must say the bar runner was efficient and friendly. It was now time to go check out our cabins and put our overnight bags away. Our adult kids had an inside no frills cabin. We needed to have the beds separated and could not locate their steward. We are use to being greeted by our smiling cabin stewards when we board other cruise lines. We did not ever meet any of our stewards the whole time on board and had to resort to calling housekeeping. Our cabin was suppose to be a partially obstructed view window cabin but was fully obstructed. One of the glasses by the ice bucket was a used and dirty as well as one of the glasses in the bathroom had crusty stuff in the bottom which was promptly deposited in the trash can. It reminded us of the story on 60 minutes about hotels that just rinse and dry previous occupant's glasses, YUCK. We did thoroughly enjoy the entertainment and casino as well as the barbeque. I found a penny slot machine and kept hitting on it. Each time my winnings went over $100 I cashed out. When all was said and done I ended up winning over $500 after a couple of hours. Back in the cabin it was time for bed. The walls in these cabins are paper thin and we could hear everything going on in the adjacent cabins. At one point around 1:00am the noise became so loud in one of the cabins I had to bang on the wall. It was followed by them banging back and turning up the TV volume. The bed was horrid and the seam between the two mattresses was a pain in the butt. Morning came and it was time to test the waters in the buffet for breakfast. Once again we were disappointed with the food. The eggs had three different shades of yellow so I scooped out the color that looked right. The bacon was almost raw and greasy in the pan so I steered away from that. The biscuits were like hockey pucks and the gravy was like water. There was a solo Frisbee pancake in the pan that I had to poke holes in so the syrup would get in and soften it up, BAH. Disembarkation was our last disappointment with this cruise line. It took 30 minutes of standing in a long line to reach the only one card scanner open to "ding" you off. We are so glad that we took this one night CTN to check out this cruise line and ship. We are now having second thoughts about spending seven nights on the Star for the May reposition cruise. There were so many negatives as oppose to positives. Seven nights might just send us to the funny farm. We already have our non-refundable airline tickets booked for our return trip to LA. We are considering cutting our losses at just the airfare and cancel the trip. The other option is to go with HAL or Princess for their 3 day repositions. They all arrive in Vancouver in time to catch our return flight. Well see.... Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
OK so it was not the best cruise. We stayed at the Crown Plaza Port of LA. It was a small good hotel for the night. Cheap too! We took a few buck taxi ride to the port. The port was dirty and terrible. It was so outdated! We had a 3 hour ... Read More
OK so it was not the best cruise. We stayed at the Crown Plaza Port of LA. It was a small good hotel for the night. Cheap too! We took a few buck taxi ride to the port. The port was dirty and terrible. It was so outdated! We had a 3 hour delay at the port!! So much for a fun day... The bad: the staff was rude and not helpful, embarkation was horrific,and entertainment was lousy and cheap! The good: Cabin was in a nice location and had a large bathroom. Pool was fun with two small slow slides. It was good enough! now some info Layout: simple and easy! pool: Band was playing and kids were swimming in the rain. Was fun! theater: Small, dark, and dinghy. Show was Jersey Boys tribute. It was good but OK Cabin: Big enough and simple. Nothing fancy!The food was surprisingly good! Kids club was closed and not running since in was a cruise to nowhere! Disembarkation was fast and easy. Ship was good but with some flaws. overall and OK cruise! Thank You!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Let me first say that we loved our cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.  We loved the new itinerary to the Pacific Northwest (due to the flu in Mexico) and we thought Royal Caribbean was very generous with their on board credits and future ... Read More
Let me first say that we loved our cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.  We loved the new itinerary to the Pacific Northwest (due to the flu in Mexico) and we thought Royal Caribbean was very generous with their on board credits and future cruise credits they offered due to the itinerary change.  We would have been happy with just the itinerary change and no credit, as they have the right to change the itinerary at any time, but we came out ahead big time with the credits!  I only wish this itinerary was offered more often.   While this review will contain some criticism of the cruise, almost all of the negative things were very minor and really didn't affect the wonderful time that we had.  The biggest problem is that 7 days just seemed to short and we wished we had just a couple more days to spend on the ship!  We are a younger family of four...our kids are 11 years old and 8 years old.  This was our 6th cruise over all, and we have cruised various ships on various cruise lines (we like the variety and like to see what each line has to offer over the other).  Our past cruises included a 4 day cruise on the Monarch of the Seas, a 7 day cruise on the Grand Princess, an 8 day Norwegian Star cruise, a 5 day Carnival Elation cruise, and an 8 day cruise on Holland America's Ryndam.   We arrived a day before the cruise and stayed at the Double Tree in San Pedro.  We originally had booked the Crowne Plaza, but due to parking restrictions, had to move to the Double Tree.  We actually like the Double Tree better, so it worked out well for us.  We drove our motorhome to California, and even though we made sure to confirm with our travel agent about the parking availability for high profile vehicles at the Crown Plaza, it turned out we couldn't park it there due to limited height and a small parking lot.  The Double Tree has a nice open parking lot, and was very able to accommodate our motorhome for the cruise and park package.  When you check in at the Double Tree, I recommend you immediately sign up for the morning shuttle to the cruise terminal.  We had a group of eight, and it was tough to find an open slot for all of us.  They fill up fast.   On Sunday morning, I woke up pretty early and was able to see the Mariner "back" into the channel towards the cruise terminal (The Mariner is so big, that it cannot turn around near the pier, so they end up having to back it into the channel).  We had breakfast at the hotel, which ended up being complimentary due to some problems with our hotel room (hot water was barely luke warm and there were drunk people screaming out in the parking lot around 2am I think).  We boarded the hotel shuttle around 10:30 and took the 5 minute ride to the cruise terminal.  There were people already checking in, but we pretty much went right through security and right to the check in station.  We had to wait about a half an hour to board, as we were in boarding group number 2.  The platinum (or Diamond?) members went first around 11:15, and our group was called about 11:35 or so.  We bypassed the photo line once we boarded the ship and went right to guest services to inquire about DECT phones and get an extra room key for our kid's room.  They were already out of DECT phones, but it turned out we really didn't need them during the cruise.  We went to the buffet of course for a quick lunch, and then toured the ship until 1pm when the rooms opened.  We had an ocean view room on Deck 2 (big round window) and our kids had an interior room on deck 7.  One of our friends we were travelling with had a balcony room on deck 6.  Other than the balcony, the main difference between the balcony rooms and the ocean view rooms is that they have more square feet (stretched version of our room) and their bathroom and shower is slightly larger.  While our ocean view room was small, it was plenty adequate for the two of us.   For the muster drill, we were able to use the Lotus Lounge (for the interior room on deck 7), but the ocean view room on deck 2 was assigned to a muster station outside on deck four.  The lounge station is a much nicer option for the muster drill!   The Ship The ship was very attractive and big.  This was the largest ship we had ever cruised on.  The ship was easy to navigate, and each venue seemed elegantly designed and appointed.  The main theater had great sight lines and it was never difficult to find a seat.  We are not smokers, but I hardly ever noticed a smell of smoke, other than when we walked through the casino from time to time.  At one point though, I did take a quick look around the Wig and Gavel pub, and there was a stale smoke odor, but everything else was great in this regard.   The solarium pool area was really attractive, although I just didn't spend enough time there unfortunately.  The main pool area always seemed to have plenty of open chairs available on the few sunny days we had, but then again, it was a cooler cruise and I heard that there was only 2,751 passengers onboard...which is a few hundred less than full capacity.  We found that we spend a majority of the time in the Royal Promenade, or up in the Viking Lounge or Buffet area playing cards and such.  The card room was much too small for a ship this size and was always busy.  But we liked to use the tables in the front area of the buffet for cards and such anyway.   The only thing lacking on this cruise was a dedicated kid's pool area, which we have found on a few other larger ships we have been on.  I know that the original Voyager class ships had a kid's pool and small water slide area on them, but the Mariner was not built with one.  I am not sure it really mattered though, as the main pool area was sufficient for the most part (I do have some problems with it though in my critical section)   Dining We had late seating for dinner, and I much prefer that, although the rest of my group did not enjoy eating that late.  Our waiter and assistant waiter were very personable and very good at their job.  I cannot remember what the name of the person who is responsible for the whole dining room (head waiter maybe?), but this was our first cruise where he actually came around to our table each and every night to make sure everything was going well.  He also would give us a quick run down about what to expect the next day for the cruise and always gave us a bit of good information.  On previous cruises, we probably saw this head dinning room guy once or twice the whole cruise.  This particular gentleman was much more professional and attentive than we have ever had before.   I had read several reviews that mention the quality of the food in the dining room being on the decline, and I would have to agree.  We probably ate more food on this cruise than any other cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed the food everywhere on the ship, but the main dining room food did seem a step down in quality compared to what we have experienced on other cruises and cruise lines.  I hate to even bring up this point, but it is a big part of cruising for most people.  The service was definitely good in each venue, especially the service in the buffet (heck, it was good everywhere!).   Speaking of the buffet, I really thought they had a great variety of food, and it was easy to navigate from one station to the other.  One negative thing about the buffet however, was the hours it was open.  I don't expect to have it open 24 hours a day, but it didn't even open for lunch until at 11:30.  We typically like to eat an early lunch around 11am.  It's a minor thing, and didn't distract at all from our cruise of course, but it also seemed to be closed in the late afternoon/early evening as well.  Again, a minor thing but I wish it was open a bit earlier and a bit longer.  The self serve ice cream out by the pool was nice and very popular, but again, it didn't open until noon.   The Cafe Promenade was the 24 hour "snack" venue.  We loved this place!  It was never very crowded it seemed, and you could always find something quick and good to eat there.  I loved the pizza, even though there really was nothing remarkable about it, but it was very good!  I also liked how they had a great self serve coffee, tea and hot chocolate station in this cafe.  The staff was always friendly and helpful.   Our other favorite "food" place on the ship was the Vintages Wine Bar.  We didn't eat here, but I used some of our on board credit to buy a bottle of wine (which they hold for you for during the cruise if you so desire) and we also tried some wine "flights".  The staff new my name from day one, and were always helpful.  The best part about relaxing with a glass of wine here, other than the ambiance of the bar, was that they always served a plate of little hors d'oeuvres or appetizers to go along with your wine.  They had cheese, nuts, grapes, and small bread pieces with various toppings on them.  Very tasty and perfect with a glass of wine!   We had a coupon for Johnny Rockets so we ate there one afternoon.  The operating hours were sometimes strange here as well, as we tried a couple times to eat here, only to find it closed.  When we did finally eat there, we thoroughly enjoyed the burgers and onion rings.  I am not sure we would have tired it if we didn't have the free coupon though.   Entertainment We only experienced about 1/3 of all the entertainment options, as there were many things to choose from.  Of the things we did see, the ice skating show was of course our favorite, followed by the ventriloquist comedian.  The 80's variety show was ok, and the farewell show was pretty good with the comedian and juggler.  There was a jazz band up in the Viking Crown Lounge the last night, and it would have been nice to see them every evening, but I don't think they were playing any other time (we could have just missed it though).  I also really enjoyed the love and marriage show, and the Quest show was pretty good too.  The magic show was the only disappointment in regards to the main shows we saw.  It was still entertaining of course, but I have seen much better.   The cruise director, Ken Rush, did a great job, except in one particular area.  He seemed to constantly try to "convince" us about what a wonderful job everyone was doing on the cruise ship and almost made it feel like he was forcing us to applaud and show appreciation for everyone working on the cruise.  Don't get me wrong, the cruise staff and service personnel did a great job for the most part, but telling the audience day after day about how hard everyone is working for us and telling us to clap for everyone just gets a little old.  This was his last "regular" cruise on the Mariner before he heads off to join the crew of the new Oasis (he was still going to do one more charter group cruise after our cruise).  I also thought the captain was very personable and very good (in the entertainment area of things).   Activities There were plenty of thing to do on this ship of course, so there was never a dull moment...unless you wanted one.  It was a little cold the first half of the cruise, so we didn't get outside too much, but there were a few nice warm days on the way back to Los Angeles where we could swim or use the outdoor areas.  Ice skating was actually very enjoyable, but our favorite thing to do was to play cards, and relax in the wine bar or the cafe.   Kids Program We cruised with our 11 year old and 8 year old.  They both loved the kids program and participated often!   Ports I really don't like to review ports, as this is a cruise ship review. Plus, we barely got off at each port, and I can't really comment on what to do at each stop since we didn't do anything.  However, it was interesting that when we arrived at each port, the ship was constantly filled with travel agents from the local area with a visitor passes touring the ship.  In Victoria, I talked to a few visitors who were actually on the Carnival Splendor docked next to us.  A few of them commented to me about how much nicer the Mariner was than the Splendor and they looked pretty envious!  I can imagine with the new Pacific Northwest itinerary, having a big ship like the Mariner in port is a big deal and a rare chance for travel agents to tour the ship.  I just wish that there was a way for passengers to actually get a pass for a few hours to tour the other ships in port.  Even though I am not a fan of Carnival, I would have liked to at least toured the Splendor while it was next to us, and in Seattle, the very small Pacific Princess was docked next to us as well.  Unfortunately, I asked around and even called Princess to see if they would let me on board for a quick tour, but of course they will not allow that to happen unless you book the cruise.   Summary Overall, the Mariner was probably one of the prettiest ships we have ever been on.  There was always something fun to do and it was a great cruise.  However, other than the amount of things to do, there just wasn't anything that stuck out as being better than other cruises we have been on.  I say that with caution though, because even an average cruise is a GREAT vacation, and this one was very enjoyable.  But unfortunately, Royal Caribbean (more specifically the Mariner) just didn't rate "outstanding" in any particular area...other than having a really cool BIG ship.   While on board, we took advantage of booking another cruise for next year (on the Radiance of the Seas).  Because we booked on board, we were able to get $200 on board credit per cabin for the future cruise (to get the $200, it had to be at least a 10 day cruise).  The lady who assisted us in booking the cruise just didn't seem that knowledgeable though, and that was somewhat disappointing.  She was nice enough, but I was hoping that she would be more helpful with answering some questions, and she really didn't have any answers.  Oh well...we are still very excited about our next cruise on the Radiance.   While we had a great cruise, there were some criticisms I have about a few things.  Some I have mentioned already, but I'll summarize all of them below:   First, the food was pretty mediocre in the dinning room.  I know they are feeding almost 3000 people, but the steaks were not good, and some of the other items were pretty low quality.  We are pretty easy going with food and we ate PLENTY of good food on this cruise, but it really has declined.  No one at our table was allowed to get a second lobster, and we were told that lobster was going to be removed from the menu in the near future (other people on the cruise had seconds and thirds we had heard, and who knows if they will really remove lobster or not).  Maybe the extra charge dining options (like Chops) have caused this decline or maybe it's just something where they are cutting back to save money...I am not sure.  Either way, the food is still pretty good...just not outstanding and very average.   Second, there was a very bad odor at the self service coffee machine in the Cafe Promenade.  I have no idea what it was, but it was always there.  The coffee always tasted fine, but the odor was pretty harsh!   Third, I wish that they didn't make the dining room wait staff have to do their song and dance routine.  The waiters are there to serve food...not to entertain.  I feel bad that they work so hard serving the tables, then they have to stop everything, go parade around the dining room, and then all sing a song!?!  This is not necessarily a criticism on Royal Caribbean, as almost every other cruise ship and cruise line does the same thing.  It's just one of the little things that annoy me about cruises.  I also don't like the ridiculous "pirate" who goes to each table in the dining room and interrupts dinner to try and get a picture with each couple at the table.  We politely refuse the picture each time, but it does seem a bit over the top.  Again, almost all cruise lines do this, and this is just another little annoyance.    And finally, my biggest problem with this cruise (and other cruises we have done) has to do with the swimming pools and hot tubs.  My family and I really enjoy swimming and using the hot tubs when we cruise.  We almost always cruise in the Pacific Ocean (we live in Phoenix, and California is much easier to get to than Florida or the East Coast), and that usually means cool or cold sea days, and generally cooler weather than the Caribbean cruises.  I don't understand why they keep swimming pool water temperatures so cold!  During our cruise, there was a question and answer session with the Captain, and I asked him if there was any way they could heat the pools to a warmer temperature, and he simply said "No".  He said they stay at 74 degrees and that was that.  We were sailing to the cold Pacific Northwest on our cruise, and why they couldn't heat the pools to a nicer temperature, just frustrates me.  It also seemed that only one of the two main pools was even being slightly heated, as the other one was always much colder.   I also don't understand why they don't use fresh water in their pools.  We loved the fact that when we sailed on the Grand Princess a few years ago, that they only used fresh water in their pools.  Why other cruise lines refuse to do this frustrates me as well.  I know it costs more to desalinate additional water for the pool, but other cruise ships (like Princess) can do it, so why can't RCCL and other lines follow suit?  Both of these criticisms are not specifically directed at the Mariner or Royal Caribbean, but they weren't any better in this regard either.  However, I do have a major problem with some of the decisions made on our particular cruise about the timing of pool and hot tub maintenance.  As I mentioned before, the first half of our cruise was very cold.  Our first real day of sunshine was during our last stop in Seattle.  The sun came out in the afternoon, and when everyone started returning to the ship that afternoon, the pool deck quickly got crowded.  I was puzzled when I saw that they had four of the seven hot tubs on the ship closed, and also had the solarium pool closed!?!  I asked one of the pool deck crew members (a senior looking crew member wearing a suit) why the Solarium pool was closed, and he was very surprised to hear that it was closed.  He told me he would get it opened immediately and that there was no problem with the pool, but it was still closed when I went back and checked an hour later!  The three remaining hot tubs that were open that afternoon filled up fast and were totally crowded!  It was our first sunny afternoon where you could comfortably be outside and they decided to drain the other tubs for their daily cleaning?  Why not wait until the late night hours or early morning hours???  In addition, during the final two sea days (which were also sunny and slightly warm), they decided to do the hot tub maintenance in the late afternoon hours while we were swimming.  We actually were one of the few people in the pool area at the time, and there were still other hot tubs open, but it just seems to me that they should do their maintenance after hours instead of during the daylight hours.    Cruising is a great vacation for us, and we had a great time on the Mariner, despite a few little annoyances.  Unfortunately, the Mariner didn't really stand out above other cruise lines that we have sailed on in any one area, but they do excel in large ships if that is what you are looking for.  I do have to say again that Royal Caribbean was VERY generous in their compensation to all of us who decided to keep the booking, even though we didn't go to Mexico.  So, I suppose they DID excel above the other cruise lines at least in their generosity!   It's great to finally have a ship like the Mariner on the West Coast.  While the Mariner is not a perfect ship, it sure was a great way to spend a vacation! 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Sail Date May 2009
This was our first NCL cruise- We had been on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival previously. Embarkation: This was by far the fastest we have ever gotten on board. I don't know if it was 15 minute and we arrived at about ... Read More
This was our first NCL cruise- We had been on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival previously. Embarkation: This was by far the fastest we have ever gotten on board. I don't know if it was 15 minute and we arrived at about 12:30. The glass of champagne was very nice and we were very pleased. The Ship: The ship is beautiful, Large and modern, and fairly easy to navigate. I found all the public spaces clean and in great shape! We had a balcony cabin for the first time. It was wonderful. It was not as large as I thought it would be and would have been tight for more than two people. The bathroom layout is fabulous. I love not having a shower curtain that never keeps the water in. The Casino is the only odd spot on the boat. It is circus themed and seems a little out of place with the ship (did not stop us from visiting of course!) The Food: This is where things were not so hot. We ate in the Main Dining Room (MDR), Le Bistro, La Cucina, Lotus Garden, and the buffet. The MDR was fair to lousy with only a few dishes really tasty. The cold soups are good, and I had a few appetizers that were yummy, but the entrees were awful. DH had the steak one evening that looked awful and tasted worse. The desserts were OK, but nothing memorable. Le Bistro was good though our meat was overcooked. I thought it was worth the $15 cover charge. La Cucina was OK. Olive Garden and Buca di Beppo's are better. But it was worth $10 cover charge. Lotus Garden was our best meal on board. They had a BOGO for the cover charge but it would have been worth it anyway. We also had our best service on board there as well. Lastly, the buffet: It is the best laid out buffet I have ever seen at sea. Unfortunately the food was awful. It was always very crowded and there was always issues finding a table without bumping into people. The hard ice cream was good but that was the only thing that made an impression. Also the boat had just recently changed to Pepsi from Coke which killed me and saved me money since I am a diet coke addict. The Service: Our cabin steward, Rick, did a good job. We really did not see him all that much but that is fine. I like that they have the little wheel sign at the door that says what you want to have done with the cabin. Bar service was fine what little we had of it. We did do the beer tasting and that was very stupid. I was hoping it would be a little about the beer making process and tasting beers from around the world. Not Really. But they did give you a bottle at the end so if you were looking at this a purely alcohol thing, than it was a good value at $15. The service in the MDR was just bad. I don't think I am a needy person but I hate always having to ask for water over and over again. We had several things forgotten and one time they brought us someone else's meals. I think that the fact that they know they are getting their tips no matter what, brings down the level of service. People usually had smiles, but no one seemed to go out of their way for us. Freestyle: My DH liked the idea of not getting dressed up at all and being more comfortable but really missed the MDR experience that we have had on other ships. He did not like having to wait with the pager for a table for dinner. I did not care all that much about it. Other than the meal situation, I did not see a whole lot of difference than other cruise lines as far as activities etc. I am not going to get into the ports too much as one was San Francisco and the other was Astoria Oregon. Astoria is a cute place but there is really not that much to do. This would have been the one time we should have taken one of the ships tours, or rented a car. Disembarkation: We chose that last color to get off the boat. We were in no rush so it seemed OK well, there were 3 boats in at the same time as us and customs was overwhelmed. The kept closing it down, so we did not get off ship until nearly 11:00 AM. People were already lining up to get on the ship! We spent the night in Vancouver and then took the Amtrak down to Seattle and flew out of there. This was the way to go! It was a lovely ride (4 hrs) along the coast most of the way and saved us hundreds as opposed to flying out of Vancouver. Would I cruise NCL again? Of course! It was still a great deal even with the issues we had, but if we were looking at similar cruises with another line, at the same price we would probably go on another line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This is my 3rd sailing on NCL and after 3 so-so cruises I have decided NEVER to cruise with them again after this cruise.  It is simple really, they nickle and dime you to death and the service you get in exchange for it is just mediocre ... Read More
This is my 3rd sailing on NCL and after 3 so-so cruises I have decided NEVER to cruise with them again after this cruise.  It is simple really, they nickle and dime you to death and the service you get in exchange for it is just mediocre at best.  There are other cruise lines out there that are so much better that what little money that you think you are saving on NCL you really are not.  Spend the extra and go on Carnival or RCCL or Princess and have a good cruise.  Here is why.Check in:  got to the port at 1:00 p.m. - got on the boat at 4:45 pm!  I have NEVER had to wait so long in my life to get on a boat.  No explanations, just get through this line and wait in another.  It was madness.  This was a 3-day cruise on a small boat.  Come on people.Cabin - standard balcony cabin - but get this I wanted to take a shower and our bathroom wasn't stocked with any bathroom stuff.  I had to borrow a shower cap from my friends next door.  This was the way it went all weekend.  On the 2nd day we had to ask for new towels because we weren't given any AND there was so much dust on top of our tv set that you could write your name in it.I saved the best for last - we made reservations for 8:00 for 6 at the LeBistro (a specialty restaurant) cover charge of $15 per person.  We arrived at 8:00 and were promptly seated.  At 10:10 p.m. we were eating cold food on extremely hot plates.  The food had been under heat lamps for so long that my friend's steak that had gravy on it had "jellified" (not really a word but you get the picture).  Two hours and ten minute wait to get cold food AND to pay extra to get it????  We asked to speak to the head waiter who happened to be a itty bitty thing who came to the table, gave no explanation or apologies and they took off two of the $15.00 cover charges.  Well I was having dinner with a table full of attorneys and this just didn't cut it with them - the poor girl didn't stand a chance - needless to say, we got all of the cover charges removed from our bill.  All around the ship we heard people complaining about service - albeit it was a cheap cruise - I guess you do get what you pay for - but I won't be found on a NCL ship anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Well, first off, it was only two days - but it seemed longer, as I wasted very little time sleeping. The Carnival Splendor is an absolutely beautiful ship. Much of the commentary has been about the "Pinkness" - ... Read More
Well, first off, it was only two days - but it seemed longer, as I wasted very little time sleeping. The Carnival Splendor is an absolutely beautiful ship. Much of the commentary has been about the "Pinkness" - personally, thought it was okay, mostly a soft pink, and with complementary colors that toned it down...and it is far from Joe Farcus' (Carnival's long-time Architect, responsible for some of the boldest and glitziest ships at sea) wildest interior. The layout of the Splendor would be familiar enough to anyone who has cruised the Conquest Class ships of Carnival - with some elements added. The most noticeable being in the Lido Deck "buffet" area. I use quotes because this section has gone beyond any traditional definition of "buffet", having a pretty vast array of food available. Unique to the Splendor is an Indian Tandoori line, which was quite good. There is also a Deli for cold sandwiches/salads, a Burger Grill, Pizza, the Taste of the Nations (ethnic food that changes daily), Mongolian BBQ, all on top your normal buffet lines. Oh, and for some reason the Fish and Chips area on the Conquest class ships has been replaced by a rotisserie....Guess you can't have everything - but they are definitely trying. While the Buffet area on the Lido is, I think, a step up, the Pool area is a step back. Instead of Carnival's typical tiered levels of seating rising up from the Pool on Lido deck, which leaves most of the loungers in the open sun, the Splendor has, basically, three levels, straight up. This leaves not only half the Lido deck seating, but ALL of the middle deck basically shaded all day. This area is also enclosable by a sliding Magradome, and was obviously designed with inclement weather cruising in mind. However, with her home ported in Long Beach for the Mexican Riviera 7-day run, I think there is too much shade. My sense (and the observation of the veteran California cruisers with me) is that the Mex Riviera crowd much prefers to lay out in the sun and get that tan going. We shall see, but I suspect sun-drenched middle of the deck loungers will be at a premium, with chair hogs having to hit the Lido by 5 in the morning to get a spot, and LOT's of unhappy passengers forced to sit in shaded areas. And I, personally, was not thrilled that they were using the Big Screen all the time, including showing CNN News while I was trying to relax in the jacuzzi - I think the screen should be reserved for evening movies and special events, like Football Games and Concerts and such...but, while mildly annoying, it was not overpowering, and could be ignored, mostly. The Promenade deck is pretty much the same layout as the Conquest class, with a lounge all the way aft, and various bars, lounges, disco and Casino as you go forward. Sadly, the Casino was closed for our trip, but I did walk through, and it was very nicely done, huge, with all the latest slots and video poker, and what looked like plenty of Blackjack, Roulette and Craps for her usual complement of 3,000 passengers. The staterooms are pretty much the same as every Carnival Ship I have sailed since the Tropicale was new...your basic peach and pink. Measuring 220s.f., slightly larger than the industry standard, and a tad larger than on the Fantasy and Spirit Class ships, but the same basic layout. Food on this cruise was excellent. Over the two nights I had a Chateaubriand that was perfect, Roast Duck that was perfect, and Lobster that was perfect. I know - three dinners in two nights...don't ask! The various appetizers/soups/salads were all good, and typical of other Carnival ships I have sailed, although the service, especially the first night, was over and above. This probably had to do with the 3 Carnival employees at the table. Breakfast and lunch I tried as many of the buffet stations as I could manage, and they were all pretty good, which is as good as buffets get. Since the Casino was closed I was forced to spend much of my entertainment time dancing. Not my usual thing, but, hey, it was fun for all that. The Disco was pretty much what you would expect, their was a very cool Pool Party the first night out that was a lot of fun, especially as there were cameramen moving around and simulcasting to the Big Screen. So I could laugh at the other dancers, when I needed a break from laughing at myself. The Piano Bar, with Ron Pass, one of Carnivals better piano players, was great, especially after he closed the doors the last night and did the strictly adult stuff. Both nights it was a lively crowd, though, and he plays a good range of music, and I quite enjoyed myself. I have it on good authority that the various Camp Carnival childrens areas are as good as any at sea. They were certainly spacious and well equipped with top of the line toys and games. The one exception I heard was that the Splash Park area needs seating for mom's and dad's to watch the kid's play....it seems they have exactly one wooden bench... Also, a step up on this ship is the Spa and Fitness area. The Splendor has a new class of Spa Suites, directly below the Spa, with private elevator, and such. These suites are an entirely different decor than all the other staterooms, and the Spa itself is huge, and includes a thallasotherapy pool. Not at all my thing, but I am guessing it will be popular with Mother/Daughter and Ladies Only groups and such. Finally, as far as accessibility - the Splendor appears to be as accessible as any. The wheelchair accessible staterooms are, again, typical of all the later classes of Carnival Ships, I did not see any thresholds that would be a problem for wheelchairs or scooters, most of the doors out to the Pool area and around the buffet area are automatic - there was even a ramp down to the dance floor in the Disco. So, wheelchair users can book the Splendor with complete confidence. To sum up, the Splendor is, in my mind, probably the best ship in a long time doing the Mexican Riviera 7 day from LA/LB. And, as far as I know it is the youngest ship to be sent to the West Coast since the Tropicale, back in 1982 or whatever, so - Thanks, Carnival!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
The Splendid Splendor Travel Agent Cruise March 24-26 I had read that the most overwhelming thing about this ship was that Joe Farcus was REALLY into the color pink while designing it. I found it not overwhelmingly pink, and parts ... Read More
The Splendid Splendor Travel Agent Cruise March 24-26 I had read that the most overwhelming thing about this ship was that Joe Farcus was REALLY into the color pink while designing it. I found it not overwhelmingly pink, and parts were more mauve than pink really. I also did have mauve colored carpet for some time, though, so perhaps I am a poor judge of pinkness. I did not think the Splendor deserves the nickname "A Pepto-Bismol Nightmare" though and found many places where she is downright exquisite. Dark wood and coppery tones were as evident in the decor as the "pink", and it made the whole ship seem somehow as elegant, as a room of debutantes in ink formal gowns. It gave the decor a certain unique class I have not seen on any other ship. Being a huge fan of the more earthy Spirit class I saw glimpses of them too, especially in the atrium and Lido buffet, as well as the murals along the passenger cabins. As with any ship on any line, there are parts that people liked and did not like. Favorites for me included; The lovely light fixtures with delicate colored glass flowers in the Lido buffet, the elegant, blue and silver showroom which was gorgeous, the exotic look of zebra print and mosaic in the El Morocco, the colorful animal stairwell paintings and the bright and child friendly kids club. The whimsical Asian dogs overlooking the Thalasso therapy pool are cute and colorful, but they did not seem to fit with the more refined Asian wood and rice paper decor of the spa. Some of the areas seemed to be a bit under decorated even, such as the disco, some of the bars and the almost as if it was an afterthought, internet cafe "The Web." The staterooms were nice and are decorated in the peach and mauve tone which is so Carnival. They are slightly larger than the Spirit class staterooms. The spa staterooms were very lovely, with earthy tones of brown on the granite counter and vanity tops, dark wood floors, and bamboo doors. They were gorgeous and I immediately thought of clients I know who would love them and the extra perks that come along with them. Some older ladies I spoke to, however, to did not like them at all. So much I think depends on personal taste. Finding your way on the larger ships is always a challenge and I was JUST getting used to the up and over to get from point A to point B before we had to leave. This causes my husband, who is far more navigationally challenged than I am to be constantly lost. I dislike having to learn how to navigate on a ship, and really much prefer the Spirit class for their easy way of moving about on them. I really do wish ship designers would design ships to allow movement between public areas to be a bit easier. It is why I disliked the Destiny class ships. I imagine it would be difficult too for those unable to get around easily or walk up and down stairs. I often wonder how hard it must be for those with joint problems or in scooters or wheelchairs to have to navigate down the long hallways to go up or down to the lobby. or to go around the long way around to get to that out of the way place they are looking for. I suppose being a medical person I think about this too much, but even my legs ached from taking the stairs the first night, as we were trying to learn our way around. The big screen and so much shade on Lido and the deck above it was a huge hit for both my husband and myself. Finally! A ship where I do not have to either be forced to sit in sun (and burn) or stay away from the fun of the busiest deck on a ship. There is plenty of shade on the Lido and the level above it, and there are comfortable tables and chairs on both! The big screen was showing surf movies the last night and my husband was captivated. It was amazing to watch it under the stars in the cool spring air. While we understood why the casino would not be open, my husband longed to try the machines and tables in the nicely laid out casino and he whispered a promise to the craps table to visit them it the near future. The space itself is huge, taking up the entire span of the ship and does not have the claustrophobic feel of many of the older ships casinos. It also had a nice place to sit on the fringes at the windows, in very comfortable leather chairs...which is a plus for me who often reads, while my hubby gambles. I am not sure if it was just me, but the dining room space in the Black Pearl which was our assigned dining room, seemed a bit close. For a ship as large as the Splendor it seemed too small. Perhaps it was setup with more tables to accommodate everyone, because the upper levels were not even being used. I admit I did not get a chance to compare the Black Pearl with the Gold Pearl for size differences, but the rooms seemed almost crowded. Also there were many 6 or 8 person tables, set up, perhaps to allow mingling, and this probably contributed to the squeezed feel of the room. The food was terrific and plentiful, at least as good if not better than our last cruise with Carnival on the Legend in July. The buffet was varied and had a fine array of options for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast had the usual omelets and ham and fruits, and some surprising options including broiled tomatoes and chicken sausages which were delicious. For lunch Carnival always serves up great salads and grill sandwiches, and my hubby had a great Mongolian barbeque style bowl made to order with shrimp. The burrito station is great, offering burritos made to order, with hot sauce, hot enough even for me! For dinner Carnival offered their best appetizers and entrees in my opinion, the Shrimp in Berre Blanc and Lobster were perfect for me. I had my wish granted for West Indian Pumpkin soup, which both my husband and I adore and gobbled down and Chocolate Melting cake.... I never get tired of this cake, although I can never finish it completely, it is so just so rich. All of our waiters, bar waiters and stewards were terrific, and friendly and the crew as a whole seemed to be a very happy cohesive group. There were a few people on staff who did seem new and seemed a bit slow in service, but I really saw not a single misstep in the service anyone provided. The Dining room staff seemed to dote on their tables, and were sharing duties, and provided great service. Many of the staff wanted to stop and talk and told us stories about their homes and their recent adventures around South America. They seemed to be more relaxed than on an average cruise, perhaps because the ship was not really full. Regardless of that though, they typify Carnival's staff who are usually the nicest at sea. They are helpful and accessible and anxious to please. Our room steward Roland was wonderful and knew us by name as soon as we stopped at our cabin door. It made us feel special and welcome. He made us towel animals, which we still adore, to welcome us back to our cabin every night. The best part of the trip for me was finally meeting John Heald, Carnival's Brand Ambassador and Jaime one of the social hosts and soon to be ACD of the Pride. I have read their blogs for over a year now and it was great fun to sit and actually spend time with them and get to talk to them both. Brad the ACD for the Splendor, was also very nice, and remembered our names after being introduced only once. Jamie and John are truly as warm and kind as they seem, and because they write about themselves and their experiences it was like a meeting of old friends. I am more determined than ever now, to try to get John to do a Bloggers cruise from the West coast. I will let you all know how THAT goes. John hosted the Onboard with Carnival show and had the entire showroom and his bosses in stitches, he really is as funny as everyone says he is. The travel agent activities, a scavenger hunt of sorts through the ship learning the special places and things that make Splendor special, and the Onboard with Carnival, bopping beach balls around the massive showroom was great fun, and it was inspiring to hear and see the people leading this line and hear what they had to say about the future. I was happy as heck to get a beach ball to take home with me, just another fun memento from my trip. My husband stayed late after the event to actually meet Gerry Cahill and he was gracious and warm and so very accessible, completely like every other person on the ship's staff. The entertainment was excellent, and we spent the cruise listening to the amazing Ron Pass, who is incredibly talented, twisting at the 50's deck party, singing along with the dance band Elite, and to cap off the cruise, acting like crazed maniacs during the hilarious game Carnival Quest. The 2 days vanished aboard the Splendor in a blur and all too soon we were forced back to reality and had to leave. We took with us happy memories of a journey all too quickly over, with new friendships formed with cruisers and staff alike, and our promise of a speedy return to stay just a bit longer next time. Nancy Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Although there was a storm coming, I was excited to go on this short trip to Ensenada. I wasn't sure how the weather would be but I was still game. We got there and was checking in. Unfortunately, we got someone who was in training. ... Read More
Although there was a storm coming, I was excited to go on this short trip to Ensenada. I wasn't sure how the weather would be but I was still game. We got there and was checking in. Unfortunately, we got someone who was in training. It took forever. Although she was very nice, she did not have enough training and had to ask her supervisor every little thing. We finally got on board and check out our room. Definitely smaller than my other cruises but it would do. I was travelling with a male friend of mine a we saw that the beds were put together. When asked if they could separate the beds, the steward asked sarcastically if we were brother and sister. I didn't appreciate that. The food on the Lido was ok. Nothing to brag about but I was hungry. The pizza was good and I continued to get a piece every time we went there to eat. We were disappointed to see that the piano bar was not happening. Apparently they had no piano player. Although it the room itself was open, there was nothing going on in there. The dinner was nice. We had great company at our table. Again, the food was just ok. Our stateroom had many issues. First, the sink did not drain well so there was always water in the sink. It also seemed that the shower was leaking underneath. When you walked around outside the bathroom, the carpet was wet. If you didn't have shoes on, your socks got drenched. We got back to the room late the night before and all we heard was hammering. I guess they were working on the ship from the minute we hit the port. We called to complain. The hammering didn't stop for like another hour, by the time we were already up and ready to go. When we got back from Ensenada, the sink seemed to be better. It wasn't 100% but it was better. We went and got ready for a couples message. This was the highlight of the trip. The girl were great. It was really relaxing and they weren't so pushy about buying all their products. Gave an extra tip just for that. That night was formal night. A few times, when we went to get pictures, the photographers stopped and said it was time to wrap it up (even though they had more than a few minutes left) and they wouldn't take our picture. They didn't pose us very well so although we took a bunch of pictures, we only got a few. They seemed like in a hurry and didn't really want to be there. The lobster dinner was ok but it was only about 2 bites. Everyone at our table ordered 2 entrees because it wasn't enough. The trip back was rough. The boat rocked all the way back but it didn't stop anyone from enjoying the day. The final show was entertaining. The comedians on the last night were good. When we arrived back in Long Beach, I expected a little crowd but the experience was so horrible and unorganized. Approx. 7am, I heard on the loud speaker that people on certain decks that didn't need assistance were allowed to leave. We left our room approximately 7:45 to make our way up to the main deck. I didn't hear any more announcements so I thought we were ok. Well, little did I know the chaos. First, there weren't any clear signs on where you were supposed to go. Then, people were just lined up down the hall (only on one side) to get off the ship. So you just had a line, one from the back and one from the front, going toward the middle to get off the boat. I would hate to think if there was some kind of emergency. The hallway was packed if people and luggage. People who tried to get to their rooms were blocked. People that didn't know were arriving from different areas so there were people cutting (not on purpose). It took more than 45 minutes! It was so unorganized. Once, we got off, we had to stand in line again to go through customs. I had never been so glad to get off the ship. I had to go to work right after we arrived so I thought getting off earlier would be better. If I knew how much time it would take to get off, I would have gone and had a nice breakfast. I can not imagine what this trip would be like in the summer when it is nice out and the kids are out of school. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Our Labor Day weekend cruise was a great way to relax over the long holiday weekend. It was our first time utilizing the Port of Long Beach. We both thought the facility was very nice -- easy to get to, convenient parking, and not at all ... Read More
Our Labor Day weekend cruise was a great way to relax over the long holiday weekend. It was our first time utilizing the Port of Long Beach. We both thought the facility was very nice -- easy to get to, convenient parking, and not at all confusing. We left Ventura County around noon on Friday and, even with Los Angeles traffic, arrived around 2:30 p.m. Since we are Carnival Vacation Club members we were able to take advantage of the VIP embarkation, which was very nice. There was NO line, and there was a waiting room where you could sit down to wait until one of the representatives called your name. Then, we were escorted to the front of the Security line, and after going through security (no problems!) we were escorted to the front of the registration line. I know Carnival Vacation Club "is no more" and that some thought it was a complete rip-off, but since these perks were exactly what we joined it for, it was wonderful! No longer than it took for us to sign the agreement and get our Sail & Sign cards, and we were on our way to the gangplank and aboard. Since it was just a 3-night cruise, we were able to get all our "stuff" into carry-ons, so we found our stateroom and dropped those off and went to explore the ship. We had the 5:45 p.m. seating in the Destiny Dining Room, aft. They seated us at a table for 11, which suited us fine -- we love meeting new people, and our tablemates were very nice and lots of fun. We found the food to be as good as on any Carnival ship we've sailed. We happen to really like their offerings, although we do not spend a lot of time at the Lido Deck buffets (Paris Restaurant on the Paradise) just because of the lines. I don't know that there's a lot that can be done about that, so we don't have a complaint about it, really. About our room. We booked an Inside Guarantee at the military rate, so we got a really good deal, but we wound up with, perhaps, the worst stateroom we've ever stayed in! Once again, we're not really complaining, you know when you book guarantees that you can get stuck anywhere. We were on Riviera Deck (which we've been on before, no problem), but our room was the VERY LAST passenger stateroom aft (on the port side). Whatever is in the restricted area just behind that room is really, really (did I say "really"?) NOISY!!!! When we went to bed (normally sometimes around 1:00 a.m. each evening, after the adult comedy shows), it was as if a bowling ball was being dropped onto a metal deck every 2-5 seconds. I thought we would never get to sleep, but apparently, if you are tired enough, you can sleep through some pretty loud -- and constant -- noise. As a warning, the couple in the cabin next to us (one room further away from the closed-off area) said it kept THEM awake all night, too. So, if you have a choice, I would definitely avoid room R248 or anything too close to it! On the plus side, our guarantee DID get us an Ocean View...*LOL*....but we'd have much preferred an inside cabin that was quieter! Oh, on other thing about the room. On Monday morning before I got out of bed I heard some sort of "gurgling" noise. Since we heard weird noises all weekend long, I didn't think too much about it until I got up and walked to the bathroom. Water and some sort of "suds" had backwashed through all the drains, flooding the bathroom floor. After about a half hour, it began to drain again. We washed out all the "sudsy foam" just in case it was something polluted. And then everything seemed to work fine. Another reason, though, to maybe avoid that room! We did not go to any of the production shows. We like Karaoke, and that usually was going on during the production shows. We heard others give thumbs up to the "Here's Hollywood" show. Karaoke took place each evening at around 8:15 p.m. in the Queen Mary Lounge, and the hostess, Misty, was very good. There were quite a few children on the ship, but not as many as we thought there might be on a holiday weekend. Generally, the children were well behaved, and we were mostly aware of them on deck in the pools. But, honestly, the children were better behaved, even in the pool area, than those one would probably term "young adults" -- the 18-24 demographic. But, this, too, we expected. We know the weekend cruises are the more boisterous "party" cruises. At least the most noticeable of these partiers were not belligerent or mean, but generally very friendly, if a bit self-absorbed and idiotic! :) Debarkation was equally smooth for us, as embarkation. Since we were "self assist" (carrying our own luggage) we were in the first group disembarking; easily by 7:00 a.m. and on the freeway by 7:15 a.m. What took us two-and-a-half hours to travel on Friday afternoon, took us about and hour-and-a-half on Monday morning in the opposite direction. We have the same cruise booked for the weekend before Christmas. I'm sure the weather won't be as nice (it was perfect all cruise), but it will be interesting to see if the crowd is any different....and what sort of room we'll get! Read Less
Sail Date August 2007

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