Carnival's Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera: Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by CMarin1975

Carnival Splendor 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Carnival's Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera

Sail Date: November 2012
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
This was our first cruise and we had a great, great time! The cabins were spacious and super clean. There were many food options. Our sign & sail cards showed our dining time & table number on them. You have the option to be at the dining hall for the sit-down lunches and dinners on the third floor, or go do-it-yourself at the buffet areas in the Lido deck (deck 9).

All of the staff were very friendly and professional. The room stewards were especially sweet. Despite their hard work they always smiled and said hello when we passed them.

One bit of advice I would suggest is a checklist of items not to forget. We watched many reviews on YouTube, so we brought things that were suggested, like rope to make a clothes line in our balcony, a hanging shoe rack for storage, and a fan for white noise at night. We didn't use any of those items! Yet, what we forgot were the items we needed most: our big Nikon camera, our running shoes for the gym (they don't let you in More without them), and my mother even forgot her swimming suit. Also, bring at least two (not one) dress attire for formal dining nights (there are two), and going to shows.

I suggest bringing $500 cash. We used $320 on excursions, and $100 more on souvenirs and stuff on shore at the ports.

There was more than enough to do on the cruise ship in the way of entertainment. The cruise director and assistant cruise director were fun, young guys. They gave lots of presentations over the intercoms and TVs in the cabins of things to do and shows to see. There were group dances, ice carving, cocktail classes, lots of classes on many other topics like exercise (belly flattening, etc.), towel animal making, etc.

Carnival is all about good safe fun and it shows. The culture the entire time was one of unpretentious fun and relaxation.

Oh, and they have a kids-free zone called the Serenity Deck, and I tried it one morning to read a book I brought on-board and guess what? It's just below the miniature kiddie golf course, so there was plenty of noise there, unfortunately. Also, while I'm complaining, they have too, too many zones on the ship that allow smoking, especially the 5th deck where the casino is, as well as the 10th or 11th aft deck, and as a result I smelled way more secondhand smoke than I would have wanted to.

Overall, it was a wonderful cruise, however, and we already have booked our next cruise! Less

Published 12/02/12

Cabin review: 8D9222 Balcony

Since we had six people (three adults, two gradeschoolers, and a toddler), we had to get two rooms. The rooms were spacious and very clean and upscale. Nothing in the room suggested oldness or disrepair. The stewards were wonderful--very accommodating and smiled all the time (despite their hard, hard job. They have to do everything on that ship from room cleaning, to cleaning the rest of the ship, staffing the dining halls, doing safety drills, etc.) The rooms had thermostats that worked quickly to get your room just how you wanted it depending on where you were. Since we were towards the front, there was a little extra rocking, but it wasn't unbearable. We only needed motion sickness medicine on the way back, and only for a little dizziness.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We woke up the third day of our cruise to see the shores of Cabo San Lucas. Very lovely! For the Mexican Riviera cruise, THIS is the port of call with the great beach. (Don't wait for it for Puerto Vallarta) We took a tender ride to shore and walked the shopping areas. Then we had a wonderful lunch at a food truck near the pier that offered fresh seafood. We had queen clams, shrimp and fish ceviche, and the best tortilla chips, salsa & guacamole we ever had. After lunch we went parasailing. We ordered it from our room the day before. They used Cabo Excursions. It was a nice company. They launch you from a boat and you land back on the boat afterwards. It was just dreamy, totally wonderful. I suggest parasailing there to everyone of ALL AGES. You launch off very smoothly. There are no strong breezes or anything. You just sit there and take in the views. You basically sit on a harness the whole time. You just have to hold on to the straps on either side of you. It's very easy. One bit of advice is this: Order your excursions at the port once you're there. We ordered the parasailing in our guest cabin over the TV. Two people came to $189.00. Once there (in Cabo), the guys on the streets (and there are MANY) offering glass-bottom boat rides offered me parasailing. For fun I asked them how much for two people. They offered $70. I asked for $60 and got it. That means I basically wasted $129.00 that went to Carnival for NOTHING. *** CARNIVAL SHALL NEVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN BECAUSE I'M NOT ORDERING ANY SHORE EXCURSIONS THROUGH THEM AGAIN AND I DON'T SUGGEST ANYONE DOES. ***


We woke to the industrial shores of Puerto Vallarta. All you could see were stores and buildings. I was instantly disappointed because I wanted to see sandy beaches from our cabin like at Cabo San Lucas. The beach, I learned, was totally across town from where we docked. We parasailed in PV also. Except this time another family member went on his own. We booked it once we got on shore with a taxi cab driver who offered to take us across town there, wait for us, and take us back, all for $130. We got him down to $110. This included the parasailing! It was a 20 minute drive to the beach where the parasailing was. The cab driver took us on a mini-tour of the city, citing historical areas and meanings of landmarks and symbols. It has a quaint little downtown area that was slightly reminiscent of San Francisco. Then the parasailing. This parasailing group launched from the shore and you landed back on the shore. They were really nice guys and very helpful in advise about the town. In all fairness, we didn't give PV a fair shake. That is, we didn't seek out any other excursions or shore visits to the shopping districts.

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Member Since 2012
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