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Carnival Splendor Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,446 Reviews

Carnival Splendor - South America - Issues

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by delds

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2013
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Interior

Took the 48 day (3 back to back legs) around south America starting in Long beach California on February 3 and ending in New York City on March 2.

(my points may be out of order as they happened on the cruise)

First it started off in Long Beach, almost 4 hours late leaving port, inefficiency to the extreme handling the flow of people, there was also confusion as they did not seem to know how to handle those who had not gotten their brazil visas, we had ours and we arrived at the port around 1130 am and got on the ship around 2 pm, many had far longer waits. Since I have a disability and travel with a powered travel scooter I usually get on very fast - this was the exception, and they did not have enough manual wheelchairs to cover the needs of those that could not stand for lengthy periods of time - then you had group leaders trying to pull ranks and try and get all the available wheelchairs for the needs of their group.

Next poor flow of information from people making decisions on the ship, one of worse situations was when they heavily promoted the visit to the Chilean Fjord and Mickey Live (a presentation in the ship's theatre) pumped everyone up and stating that we would be entering the Fjords any moment now, when I left the show all you could see is open sea and within an hour later an announcement was made that there had been an error in communication that the ship would not have been able to get there until very late at night when no one could see anything, then a major mob assembled at the guest services - fights where on the verge of breaking out - security was called in - and this spilled over unto the next day- they gave each passenger $ 100 refund on their accounts - but some people choose this cruise based on the fact that they would be going through this passage and we did not.

I checked with guest services to be sure what ship and shore time would be at all the South America ports as I had at several ports private arranged excursions so this was very important - I was told that all south America ports would be the same time as shore time - wrong one port in Chile was a different time but I was ok that time as I had no excursions booked - then again I checked and again I was told all remaining ports would match ship time - then mid evening just before Montevideo Uruguay I find out that shore time was one hour later than ship time - too late to do anything about it, which made our arrival in port at the same shore time as my private tour was to start, on top of that we where late arriving. When I complained all they would say is they would waive the cost of a phone call to the tour agent but it was far too late at that time to call, they also told me I could get off the ship immediately after the ship was cleared as they where no longer going to be using the sticker system and take priority in getting people on carnival excursions off first - wrong again the next morning carnival cruise excursions where issuing stickers and getting them off as a priority, but I managed to bypass any blocking of the flow of who and when to get off and went up to the 9th floor and got on the correct elevator to get down to deck 0 where I could get off.

In Valparaiso, Chile where leg 1 ended and leg 2 cruise started, 2 different exits depending on if you where getting off and not coming back and another for back to back cruisers. The back to back cruisers had to get off on a much higher deck and those staying off where getting off on deck 0. The issue was for mobility impaired people was that the angle at the upper deck was approaching roller coaster angles, highly dangerous for wheelchair users and anyone with mobility impairments - I went to deck 0 hoping to take the safe ramp off, I was stopped and refused (since I was on back to back cruises) and forced to go to the higher deck to get off, there was people in tears terrified going down this ramp, they where putting people lives at risk and they did not care. Coming back I just went to the deck 0 entrance and no one stop be from returning to the ship using the better safer ramp.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina (leg 2 ended and leg 3 started) They had 2 exits on deck 0 one for back to back cruisers and one for people not coming back - maybe they finally learned from the last time - although they did back an announcement stating back to back cruisers the exit was at mid ship and those elevators had deck 0 button disabled so we went down on the forward elevators and there was 2 exits near each other there.

I was able to get off with travel scooter in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - in fact they had 3 tender platforms and the one mid ship was accessible with ramps - roll on capable onto the tender boats. Now 2 ports in Chile was also tender ports, I checked with shore excursions, and was told the other 2 tender ports would operate the same and I would have no problems in taking the tender to shore at the next 2 ports. Then they sent out a letter to all people that had accessible rooms stating a ban on all motorized scooters or wheelchairs on the tenders, when I tried to pick up tender stickers the morning in port I was told the same, they also only ran 1 tender platform from what I could see, so only my wife went to shore, yet there was ramps at the shore. Before even starting on the trip I had talked to someone on the phone at Carnival and was told there was plenty of help and there would be no problem bringing the travel scooter on the tender to shore. Generally all cruise lines indicated that wheelchairs and scooters must be collapsible and they are required to carry more than 100 pounds, mine weighs 108 pounds but very quickly comes apart into lighter weight sections so I definitely meet the criteria. I can do stairs if someone is with me, hand rails it better which the ship stairs to tender has.

The stateroom 8342 I found a bit small but ok, noise issue as late at night you could hear deck chairs being dragged on the pool deck above, also the pool machinery room was right beside the room.

New York - Absolute disaster - People with no checked in luggage go off in a timely manner, everyone else took hours, according to the schedule everyone should have been off by 1030 am, they where only letting a few people off at a time, again people where almost in fights, I had a flight at 3:40 pm figured it would be no issue and expected to be at airport around noon- wrong again - it was into the afternoon by the time I got off, went through customs & immigration, had issues in getting porters to carry luggage as their was no self serve luggage dollies at all, got to where our pre arranged pre-bought carnival airport transfer was, absolute total disorganization there, waiting hours people there did not have a clue what to do, no one knew what bus what to what airport, large numbers of people where missing flights, people where on the verge of fighting each other, absolutely no security there, we arrived at the airport not at the departure level but the bus dropped everyone off at arrival level, some had to even get other shuttles to different terminals of that airport as the bus only dropped at the central terminal, we arrived at 3:40 pm the time the aircraft was taking off - 8 hours after the ship docked in New York, had to go to the check in counter and booked alternative flights. When we where about to leave the port - one person that was handling the buses came on and thanked everyone for not killing him, or throwing him in the river.

Ship was great, we picked it based where it was going and cost, middle management was poorly prepared and disorganized, major changes is needed here. The regular people that we came across that worked on the ship was 2nd to none, nothing but the best, but management was far too disorganized.

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Cabin Review

Cabin 4G 8342

The stateroom 8342 I found a bit small but ok, noise issue as late at night you could hear deck chairs being dragged on the pool deck above, also the pool machinery room was right beside the room.

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