• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
Carnival Splendor Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,446 Reviews

Couldn't have been a better upgrade!

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by shedrivesahotrod

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2017
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

Late 2016 my husband, brother and I secretly booked a cruise for my mom's 70th birthday.. however that one was on the Fascination porting in Puerto Rico and sailing to St Martin, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Barbados.. The hurricanes this past season as everyone knows clobbered several Caribbean islands, some which we where slated to sail to.. Puerto Rico eventually got their port functioning again but a week later FEMA needed the Fascination and the cruise was officially cancelled. We quickly booked one on this ship mostly on itinerary, Lemons where made into lemonade as the new cruise was competitive in price to the old but the ship was larger and afforded us balcony rooms!

My husband and I have been on 8 cruises, this is the second for my Mom and brother.. The embarkation was insanely fast, faster than past cruises where we had "faster to the fun" The decor is the usual over the top Farcas design, I can think of other carnival ships that where more garish than this one.. There was upholstery, etc, that was a bit worn but from what I understand the Splendor is slated to go into drydock soon.

The cabin is the usual style of most of their fleet with the same pink, beige, orange, and red colors. Most carnival cabins I've experienced irregardless of location have been relatively spacious, this one was too. The beds on any of the ships have never had the world's greatest mattresses but this one was at least soft and fluffy! As usual everything about the ship, the cabin and all locations where immaculately clean..

Food was typical for a carnival ship. Buffet was the usual fried or casserole comfort stuff but also featured BBQ, Mongolian Grill, and Tandor. The Tandor was wonderful, BBQ ok, never tried the Mongolian. The MDR was better than average, none of the meals where bad, of course the steakhouse was delicious! With all the options I didn't mind this ship lacking the 2.0! The staff being top notch upped the food experience,they where fast and courteous. The ship seemed to have a good workplace environment, nobody seemed "beat down" or grumpy.. except ironically some of the patrons on vacation!

We generally don't get into the shows, however on suggestion we saw a rock themed one (don't remember the name) It was excellent, especially love that they paired classic rock hits by the likes of Queen, Led Zeppelin and and Aerosmith with Steampunk costumes! The live music was a big plus too, Especially a band called "Free After Midnight" Playing many rock, R&B and Motown hits. I'm from St. Louis where live music, especially the blues, is everywhere.. The onboard entertainment was a nice reprieve from all the silly dj's in Miami! The activities where usual for most Carnival cruises.. bingo, trivia, cooking demos.. ice carving, hairy chest contest and drink mixing contest on sea days.. The patrons of course ham it up to the max!

The service was awesome! As mentioned before this ship seemed to have a good workplace environment.. While on deck there where plenty of servers whereas on a couple other ships they seemed to be short handed.. There was only a time or two the MDR was slow but that was caused by a large influx of diners at one time, understandable.

As far as ports and excursions this was a cruise of firsts.. First snorkel that turned into a rescue due to sudden currents, first cruise to have a skipped port and first cruise to have rain at a port. Nassau seems to be the default port for many cruises so Not too much to write home about it, been there 5 times.. This time we did the 2 reef snorkel. The scenery was wonderful with abundant fish, stingray and even a lobster! A shipwreck too! however suddenly myself, husband and several others couldn't swim back to the boat and where pulled into some big rough waves almost impossible for the best swimmer. The crew rescued all involved. At first I was furious at the crew for letting it happen but learned talking to some seafaring people it's a surprise event that can even take the saltiest dog off guard!

The next stop was Amber Cove. My mom always loved horses and we had a couple growing up. Obviously we chose the beach horseback ride there. Best. Ever! Being a dressage/ polo facility the grounds where immaculate and stables well kept and clean. Riders where well suited to horses by height and weight. Myself being petite was paired to a little old Appaloosa named Durango.. he was a good boy! The trail was long and interesting winding through the jungle and onto the beach and back again, We couldn't go in the water because it was rough.. All good because I didn't want to repeat my Nassau experience!

The third stop was Grand Turk I was crazy enough to snorkel again, reefs n rays.. However being that the tour was run by CHUKKA I had no worries.. My husband and I had signed up with them for the edge of reef snorkel a couple years ago, they are very professional and go great lengths to make sure all are well informed and safe. The reef wasn't bad, plenty of fish but it seems the hurricane took some of the lustre I remembered from last time. We then got back on the boat and journeyed to a small adjacent island stingrays liked to visit. However the water being rough (was all cruise) discouraged them a bit. I had a small one circle my legs when I was wading and then one of the crew was able to coax a larger one up for everyone to see and photograph.. Due to previous experiences fishing ( sometimes they just don't show up) I understood and wasn't disappointed. After we hit our favorite spot, Jack's Shack.. As usual the drinks, jerk chicken and conch fritters where delicious. Hung out with Jack and Topher some too!

Half Moon Cay was supposed to be the last stop but again the seas where rough. Normally wouldn't be a problem if the port wasn't tendered. Supposedly there where 45mph wind gusts.. I've been on an 18' bass boat in 25mph winds, not fun.. so I totally understood Carnival's decision.

With that they flip flopped the itinerary.. Friday ended up being the sea day and Saturday we visited Freeport. Upon arriving it seemed to be the industrial court of the Caribbean. This is the port where it rained, and rained and rained.. We managed to slip in some time at Tano beach.. However the island is so devastated from all the hurricanes that have pounded it that it seems gave up on. Hopefully mother nature will give Grand Bahama some reprieve so it can return to it's former glory. We made the best of the rainy day and hung out at the bars in the tourist area and dined on the exceptional food from the conch shacks there.

All in all we had a great time and couldn't have given our mom a better 70th birthday celebration! We have many wonderful memories to savor from our cruise on the Splendor. I would certainly sail on this ship again!

shedrivesahotrod's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin 8C 7366

The cabin is the usual style of most of their fleet with the same pink, beige, orange, and red colors. Most carnival cabins I've experienced irregardless of location have been relatively spacious, this one was too. The beds on any of the ships have never had the world's greatest mattresses but this one was at least soft and fluffy! As usual everything about the ship, the cabin and all locations where immaculately clean..

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Not bad, Art Deco buildings in South Beach are always really cool. I love live music but Miami seems to favor DJ's :-(


Great scenery but had a freak current turn it into a rescue.. Was told by people more experienced with the ocean that it's something that occurs without warning and the crew couldn't have predicted it.. however my husband thinks they could have done a better job. Been to Nassau 5 times, it's ok at this point.

View All 255 Snorkeling Reviews
Amber Cove (Puerto Plata)

Did the Horseback ride excursion. It was at a polo and dressage facility so the grounds where very nice. The guides where very helpful and paired everyone to the correct size horse. The trail was gorgeous winding into the jungle and out onto the beach again. The water was too rough to go in but after the crazy snorkel experience in Nassau I was fine with that. The scenery was gorgeous! The horses where frisky too trotting and cantering now and again. It was a great experience! The nature on the island is beautiful lush rainforest but I feel for the people there. It's not the poorest Island I've been to but Seeing lavish luxury homes on the beach and then some local people in town still having to use a horse and cart to get around s a bummer.


My second time to Grand Turk and second time doing a snorkel with CHUKKA.. The crew is very professional and organized.. they make sure all are instructed and safe.. It was a reefs and rays excursion. The reefs had plenty of fish but didn't have as much lustre as last time, I assume because of the hurricane.. We then got back on the boat and went to a small adjacent island where the stingrays liked to gather, however due to the rough water they wanted to stay low according to the guides. I used to fish alot so know they aren't always willing to be present. A small one did circle my legs as I was wading though! The guides where eventually able to coax a bigger one for everyone to picture and pet right before whe where scheduled to leave though! Afterwords we went to Jack's Shack and enjoyed some delicious drinks, conch, and jerk chicken, even got to play with Topher, the shack's salty labradoodle!

View All 208 Snorkeling Reviews

This stop was unexpected as our original stop in Half Moon Cay was cancelled to rough seas (45mph wind gusts!) We did our best to take to the beach (tano) but the weather moved in and it rained and rained and rained.. We made the best of it and enjoyed the bars and conch shacks in the tourist area near the ship. The evidence of Grand Bahama getting continually pounded by hurricanes is very unfortunate, it seems people have given up in some areas.. Hopefully mother nature will give the island some reprieve and it will return to it's former glory.

Previous ReviewNext Review
1 Reviews Written
2 Helpful Votes
Never Miss a Deal!
Subscribe and Save
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

More Carnival Splendor Reviews

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.