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My wife and I just returned from a great two weeks in Europe with many thanks to the crew of the Carnival Splendor. We have sailed previously with Celebrity and Princess, and honestly, had some degree of apprehension about sailing Carnival. Most of our fears were unfounded. Our trip began with a day pre-cruise in London at the Park Plaza County Hall which we booked through Carnival. The transfers were first class (no bus) and the hotel was great location, friendly staff, nice room. Although our time was limited we got to see tons of sights, shop at Harrods, eat fish and chips at a pub, and ride the London Eye. The next day we took the Carnival transfer to the ship in Dover. Embarkation was incredible. No lines, no waiting, luggage handled by Carnival. We were on the ship and having our first "celebration" drinks before noon. We did not hear the announcement to not go to your cabin, so we did and found ours ready when we boarded. We had SPA cabin 1116, which we chose because it has an extended balcony. The cabin was pretty standard for what we have come to expect for a balcony cabin. THe access to the spa which it afforded was GREAT. We used the T-Pool and thermal suite at least once per day. We also did the couples Rasul mud treatment which was fun, and found the gym uncrowded all the time. We also enjoyed the spa bath amenities. Since we usually book aft cabins, it was amazing how quiet our room at the front was. The ship was clean, bright (to an extreme), easy to get around. We enjoyed the casino and never found it too crowded. We frequented the coffee bargreat coffees and sweets. Mini golf was very nice and fun. The main pool is the nicest I have seen...we were fortunate that they had the option to slide the roof closed for those cold days. However, the huge poolside tv shows nothing but Carnival promos most of the day and is only used for a few concerts and movies at night. Why not use it during the day?? The waterslide was fun. There seemed to be plenty of deck chairs to go around. The piano bar looked like fun, but was it FILLED WITH SMOKE. We were able to switch to a table for two in the Gold Pearl dining room late seating. We had excellent service, found the food to be OK (dessert was lacking), and we really (much to my surprise) enjoyed the singing and dancing of the maitre d and waitstaff. Our biggest gripe about the ship was the lack of food in the afternoon (when we typically returned from excursions). The buffet was open until sometime between 2 and 230 and did not reopen until 6. The grill and pizza were open but terrible. Room service was pretty bad too. So, after a long day ashore we would return to the ship at 4 and have nowhere to eat. We were also really surprised at the lack of activities on the ship during sea days. I figured Carnival would have way more to do!! Instead, the activities offered did not approach what we typically see on Princess. Finally, though we had one tender port (Cannes) Carnival did a terrible job with the tenders. It took way too long to get off the ship...no excuses. PORTS: Our first port was Le Havre (gateway to Paris) and we booked Paris on your own through Carnival. Since there was almost a 3 hour ride to Paris, we did not want to risk it through an independent. Our guide on the bus did a great job helping us plan our time in Paris. She showed us metro routes, and gave advice on the best way to see the most. Again, in our 5 hours there, we were able to see the Louvre, the Eiffel tower, the Arch, eat crepes, shop at Louis Vuitton, and explore the city. We were very happy with our day. In Vigo Spain, we chose to explore on our own. We found the town to be great. Easy to get around, lots of restaurants, most shopping closed due to it being a Sunday. We had a great seafood lunch, shopped for wine, and enjoyed the Powerboat race which was going on during our visit. In Lisbon, Portugal we began with some sightseeing along the waterfront and then took a cab into town for some shopping. We visited a port wine center to purchase some local product. We were not too impressed with Lisbon. Malaga Spain we did a walking tour on our own. We saw the Cathedral, the fort (what a long walk but worth it for the view), the bull ring, and lots of the city. It was very nice. We also visited a supermarket for some water (.30 e) and snacks. We went to the Picasso museum which was great. We found our first Dunkin Donuts (coffee). We did a tour through Carnival in Barcelona. Some good, some bad.. We enjoyed the trip to Cordoniu Cava cellars where we were able to learn about the winemaking process, saw the history of Cava, and were able to taste and purchase some of their cava. That part of the tour was great. The rest (a tour of the Olympic village) was kind of annoying. We did see Gaudi's cathedral, which was amazing. We loved the French Riviera and the port of Cannes. We explored the downtown area on our own in the morning. Went to the outdoor market, shopped, explored the marina. We took a tour to Nice and Eze in the afternoon which was great. We visited a beach, shopped, went to a perfume factory, experienced great views... We would love to go back for a vacation. In Livorno Italy, we took a tour of Pisa and then went to a winery. I could do without the tower. First, way too crowded. Second, not that tall. I always imagined this huge tower, not even close. We were not impressed. The winery was fun. We met some really cool folks from the ship and had a great time eating and drinking. We booked our first day hotel in Rome through Carnival, and used their transfers off the ship. Debarkation was pretty smooth, everyone was off the ship by 9. However, after having made no announcement for our debarkation group, John (CD) made an announcement telling us that we had 10 minutes to get off the ship..could have been done better. Our first hotel was the Parco Dei Principi. A first class (5 star) hotel which was nice, but in a terrible location. It was a 12 e cab ride to get to a part of the city where you could walk to the sights. Our second hotel, the Palazzetto degli Artisti Suites was in view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Though not 5 star, we couldn't have been happier with the location and experience. We were able to spend our first day in Vatican city, where we took a tour of the museum and sistine chapel. Day 2, we planned a walking tour of the sights and monuments. We were able to execute our plan with a map and some bravery in the face of Roman traffic. Rome is an amazing city, there is so much to see. We concluded our tour with a tour of the Coliseum and Forum which was also great to see. Overall, we had a great time. I am a beach guy who had almost no desire to go to Europe. After experiencing the sights, history, and food, my mind was changed. I am glad we took this trip. For their part, Carnival was well represented by the Splendor, which is a really nice ship. Though the "party crowd" would keep us from ever trying Carnival in the Caribbean, if we ever go to Europe or Alaska, we would not hesitate to use Carnival again.

First time on Carnival

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by Oneknee

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
My wife and I just returned from a great two weeks in Europe with many thanks to the crew of the Carnival Splendor. We have sailed previously with Celebrity and Princess, and honestly, had some degree of apprehension about sailing Carnival. Most of our fears were unfounded.
Our trip began with a day pre-cruise in London at the Park Plaza County Hall which we booked through Carnival. The transfers were first class (no bus) and the hotel was great location, friendly staff, nice room. Although our time was limited we got to see tons of sights, shop at Harrods, eat fish and chips at a pub, and ride the London Eye. The next day we took the Carnival transfer to the ship in Dover. Embarkation was incredible. No lines, no waiting, luggage handled by Carnival. We were on the ship and having our first "celebration" drinks before noon. We did not hear the announcement to not go to your cabin, so we did and found ours ready when we boarded. We had SPA cabin 1116, which we chose because it has an extended balcony. The cabin was pretty standard for what we have come to expect for a balcony cabin. THe access to the spa which it afforded was GREAT. We used the T-Pool and thermal suite at least once per day. We also did the couples Rasul mud treatment which was fun, and found the gym uncrowded all the time. We also enjoyed the spa bath amenities. Since we usually book aft cabins, it was amazing how quiet our room at the front was.
The ship was clean, bright (to an extreme), easy to get around. We enjoyed the casino and never found it too crowded. We frequented the coffee bargreat coffees and sweets. Mini golf was very nice and fun. The main pool is the nicest I have seen...we were fortunate that they had the option to slide the roof closed for those cold days. However, the huge poolside tv shows nothing but Carnival promos most of the day and is only used for a few concerts and movies at night. Why not use it during the day?? The waterslide was fun. There seemed to be plenty of deck chairs to go around. The piano bar looked like fun, but was it FILLED WITH SMOKE. We were able to switch to a table for two in the Gold Pearl dining room late seating. We had excellent service, found the food to be OK (dessert was lacking), and we really (much to my surprise) enjoyed the singing and dancing of the maitre d and waitstaff. Our biggest gripe about the ship was the lack of food in the afternoon (when we typically returned from excursions). The buffet was open until sometime between 2 and 230 and did not reopen until 6. The grill and pizza were open but terrible. Room service was pretty bad too. So, after a long day ashore we would return to the ship at 4 and have nowhere to eat. We were also really surprised at the lack of activities on the ship during sea days. I figured Carnival would have way more to do!! Instead, the activities offered did not approach what we typically see on Princess. Finally, though we had one tender port (Cannes) Carnival did a terrible job with the tenders. It took way too long to get off the ship...no excuses.
PORTS: Our first port was Le Havre (gateway to Paris) and we booked Paris on your own through Carnival. Since there was almost a 3 hour ride to Paris, we did not want to risk it through an independent. Our guide on the bus did a great job helping us plan our time in Paris. She showed us metro routes, and gave advice on the best way to see the most. Again, in our 5 hours there, we were able to see the Louvre, the Eiffel tower, the Arch, eat crepes, shop at Louis Vuitton, and explore the city. We were very happy with our day.
In Vigo Spain, we chose to explore on our own. We found the town to be great. Easy to get around, lots of restaurants, most shopping closed due to it being a Sunday. We had a great seafood lunch, shopped for wine, and enjoyed the Powerboat race which was going on during our visit.
In Lisbon, Portugal we began with some sightseeing along the waterfront and then took a cab into town for some shopping. We visited a port wine center to purchase some local product. We were not too impressed with Lisbon.
Malaga Spain we did a walking tour on our own. We saw the Cathedral, the fort (what a long walk but worth it for the view), the bull ring, and lots of the city. It was very nice. We also visited a supermarket for some water (.30 e) and snacks. We went to the Picasso museum which was great. We found our first Dunkin Donuts (coffee).
We did a tour through Carnival in Barcelona. Some good, some bad.. We enjoyed the trip to Cordoniu Cava cellars where we were able to learn about the winemaking process, saw the history of Cava, and were able to taste and purchase some of their cava. That part of the tour was great. The rest (a tour of the Olympic village) was kind of annoying. We did see Gaudi's cathedral, which was amazing. We loved the French Riviera and the port of Cannes. We explored the downtown area on our own in the morning. Went to the outdoor market, shopped, explored the marina. We took a tour to Nice and Eze in the afternoon which was great. We visited a beach, shopped, went to a perfume factory, experienced great views... We would love to go back for a vacation.
In Livorno Italy, we took a tour of Pisa and then went to a winery. I could do without the tower. First, way too crowded. Second, not that tall. I always imagined this huge tower, not even close. We were not impressed. The winery was fun. We met some really cool folks from the ship and had a great time eating and drinking.
We booked our first day hotel in Rome through Carnival, and used their transfers off the ship. Debarkation was pretty smooth, everyone was off the ship by 9. However, after having made no announcement for our debarkation group, John (CD) made an announcement telling us that we had 10 minutes to get off the ship..could have been done better. Our first hotel was the Parco Dei Principi. A first class (5 star) hotel which was nice, but in a terrible location. It was a 12 e cab ride to get to a part of the city where you could walk to the sights. Our second hotel, the Palazzetto degli Artisti Suites was in view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Though not 5 star, we couldn't have been happier with the location and experience. We were able to spend our first day in Vatican city, where we took a tour of the museum and sistine chapel. Day 2, we planned a walking tour of the sights and monuments. We were able to execute our plan with a map and some bravery in the face of Roman traffic. Rome is an amazing city, there is so much to see. We concluded our tour with a tour of the Coliseum and Forum which was also great to see. Overall, we had a great time. I am a beach guy who had almost no desire to go to Europe. After experiencing the sights, history, and food, my mind was changed. I am glad we took this trip. For their part, Carnival was well represented by the Splendor, which is a really nice ship. Though the "party crowd" would keep us from ever trying Carnival in the Caribbean, if we ever go to Europe or Alaska, we would not hesitate to use Carnival again.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1116
First room on the port side of deck 11 forward. Great location with respect to the waterslide. Private entrance to Spa. Extended balcony.
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