My husband and I were on the October 17th Mediterranean Cruise on the Splendor. Since we are fortunate enough to get so much great advice and information from Cruise Critic, we wanted to share our two cents on our experience. We have cruised with RCI, Holland America, Celebrity and Azamara previously; Holland America being our favorite. Therefore, this was our first Carnival cruise but for the $999 price and the magnificent ports of call, we would have been crazy not to jump on it!!
First for the ship: Reviews we read note that the ship is tacky and too flashy but we found it to be a little overdone in some places but, overall, quite fitting with what we expected from the Fun Ships. The lounges are gorgeous; restrooms are plentiful; our inside cabin (the cheapest of the cheap seats!) was comfortable and easily had the biggest bathroom of all other inside cabins we have encountered. Yes, the bed is comfortable and the linens are soft cotton and all white. Carnival does a great job with the towel creatures...something different every night! The fridge is already in the room - no need to request it. Plenty of closet space and drawer space - so much so that our small accommodations were very organized the whole trip. One thing I liked about the room is that there was a full sized desk/dressing table rather than the sofa we have had in other cabins - you know the little sofa that becomes a catch all for clothes, back packs, cameras, etc. This gave us a place to plan the next day's outing and lay out a map - I didn't believe it before we embarked on this trip but these are not vacation trips - I have never walked so much!!! - you are physically and mentally exhausted and really do welcome the sea day. Our only cabin concern was that the a/c did not work - we could barely feel it - even the attendant and the maintenance worker agreed. It was so hot in that room we did not even attempt to get dressed for the second formal evening - we ate in the very deserted Lido deck...all alone. They tried to fix the a/c twice - the boat was full so there was no place to move us and no fan to offer us either. I did hear from a few others that their rooms were warmer than expected - if you have room in your bag for a little travel fan, pack it!! On that note, we found the whole of the boat to be quite warm - especially when compared to other boats we have taken. I am very cold natured - even in the summer time, I wear a big robe and slippers in the house - on this trip, I didn't even use the sweater that I carry with me everywhere. Lots of ladies were seen using the collapsible, Oriental fans so I don't think we were alone in our thinking about the temperature. The Carnival photography staff takes great pictures - we don't usually buy the pictures but they did such a wonderful job that I could not resist! Carnival does seem to dollar you to death on some things - one that really shocked us is that popcorn during movie time is $1.50! The meals were better than we expected; we enjoyed dinner in the dining room every night except the 2nd formal evening. When we made our reservation, we asked for a table for two and it was granted!! This was perfect for us - we would not have enjoyed the trip as much if we would have had to share our evenings with others - we could enjoy each other after a busy day and not have to make small talk. The maitre'd sang a wonderful song or two each night followed by several of the servers dancing on tables - I thought that would be over the top for dinner when I first heard about it but it was really fun and everyone enjoyed their performance!! I loved the shows - my husband hated the shows (except for the juggler/comedian). This could be a Mars/Venus thing but that is the way it was - I am bouncing in my seat and he is about to fall asleep. The theater is very nice though, the seating is comfortable - on evenings with only one show, it is standing room only so get there a little early.
We spent a few days in Rome prior to the cruise; we stayed at the Diocleziano B&B (www.diocleziano.com). Very affordable, clean, clean, clean, wonderful shower, perfect location to Stazione Termini...we could go on and on about this B&B and the location! The owners are a very personable young couple and will help you with any questions. A huge bonus for us was the high speed internet, free of charge, in your room - we could look up anything we needed for the following day - plus it was an excellent way to occupy my husband while I was getting ready! Americans, don't forget to pack a washcloth for showers during your pre or post cruise stays in Europe.