This trip was booked over a year and a half ago as a present for my husbands 50th birthday. Once we booked the cruise family and friends decided to join us and we eventually ended up with 12 people.
From our very first phone call to Carnival we received outstanding service. Our PVP went out of her way to accommodate all of our requests. We ended up booking our Air and Hotel through Carnival and we could not have been happier. Yes we paid a little more for our hotel but it was so easy to leave everything in Carnivals hands and when we broke it down what we would pay to book our own flights, accommodation and transfers it only worked out to costing us an extra $50.00 per person. We did purchase the air deviation to guarantee that 10 of us would be on the same flights and once again the deviation department went above and beyond to help us.
We flew Alitalia from Toronto direct to Rome. The flight was on time and outside of the fact that it was an older plane we really had no complaints. Once we arrived it Rome the Carnival Rep met us at the baggage claim and escorted us to the waiting bus.
We stayed at the Visconti Palace in Rome for two nights. The hotel is very clean and the staff was friendly.
After a year and half of planning we had booked all of our own tours rather than go through Carnival. In Rome we used Driverinrome and they were outstanding. Our drivers picked up the 12 of us early Tuesday morning and we set off for our full day tour of Rome. We enjoyed the day tour so much we decided to book Rome by night, our Tour Guide Luca placed one phone call and we were all set for our night tour. After a full day of viewing all of the sights in Rome we were dropped off at the Visconti for a few hours until Remo from Driverinrome came and picked us up for our night tour. Unfortunately it was pouring rain that night but Remo still managed to show us a lot of sights and then took us to a wonderful little restaurant for dinner. After much wine and a lot of laughs with Remo he took us back to the Visconti Palace.
Wednesday morning we all just did our own thing while we were waiting for the bus to take us to the ship. There were a lot of guest's staying at the Visconti and Carnival sent three buses to transport us to the port.
Embarking was very smooth and we were on the ship around 1 p.m. The ship is very pink as others have noted but honestly it did not bother us one bit.
This being a first cruise for the majority of our group everyone was in awe of the size of the ship and the dEcor. We had 5 balcony cabins booked on the Empress deck all in a row and we were allowed to go straight to our cabins once we boarded. We were greeted immediately by our cabin stewart Juan WHAT A DOLL!! Juan like all of the Carnival staff went out of his way to make us happy.
Unfortunately before the ship even left port my niece broke her arm when a storm picked up while we were sitting on the balcony. When she went to rush inside the wind was so strong it blew the balcony door right on her wrist. Carnival was excellent handling the entire situation and by the next afternoon her arm was casted.
We had late dinner seating in the Golden Pearl and our wait staff Katrina & Laz were excellent. Ken Byrne the Maitre D' went out of his way to help out my niece and make sure every evening that she was okay.
Our ports of call were Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, and Funchal & St. Maarten. We had booked private tours in every port and things ran extremely smooth. I can't even pick a favorite port since we loved them all!
The five sea days went by so fast with all of the different activities. I was really concerned that we would be bored to tears but we never had a single moment to be bored.
My only two complaints about this trip were the buffet seemed to be lacking compared to previous cruises and the disembarking in Fort Lauderdale was a nightmare we almost missed our flight home due to the fact that Carnival did not seem to have ordered enough busses to transport the guests to the airport.
This was a trip of a life time for our family and we will cherish the memories forever. In my opinion Carnival from beginning to end went out of their way for us to make this trip special from our PVP to their deviation department to all the staff on the Splendor!
Our cabins 7362-7372 loved them across from crew space