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This review is mostly about the food the first couple days because that and my family is my true passion (and the Yankees lol) This was the 4th cruise my parents have taken my family and my brothers family on. We were 10 strong. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever had. The long beach port was great. We arrived early around 11:30am from our drive from Phoenix in case we had any problems. We had trouble parking because the parking garage was not yet open because the spots were all taken by the cruise returning. They wanted to give me a flyer to park off site and take a shuttle back. I was not cool with that since we specifically came early to avoid that. I drove back around to drop off the luggage and family and asked the porter for advice. He said he thinks the lot would be opening up in a few minutes and to drive around a little and try again. By the time we unloaded the bags it was 5 till noon and I was able to take the curve to the left of the parking garage into the entrance to park. There were still very few spots but my brother and I both got spots. After that it was a short wait to get to security where they briefly checked identification and the kids birth certificates. Then they directed us to the open bag check x-ray person and in less than 20 minutes we were through security. We were on board in less than 30 minutes from the time we parked! Took the tips of other reviewers to go to to deck 10 to the BBQ. They were right! It was almost empty up there and paradise for myself who is not fond of crowds. We were a party of 10 and got 2 big tables which was great because we had all our carry on bags. Tried the BBQ beef that was the only food on deck 10 with some Kansas city Guy Fieri sauce. It was wonderfull. Very tender like it came out of a crockpot. (Tried it again a few days later and was inedible so you results may vary, but the pork was very good) Then we headed downstairs to the buffet. Went to the burrito station and had them make me a shrimp, rice, and bean burrito. My little 8 yr old Ryan asked for chicken and cheese and the guy was like that's it? They had tons of addins but he's a picky eater. We headed back upstairs to the rest of our family. Halfway up I turned to Ryan and said do you want me take your tray? I thought it might be too hard for him to navigate the stairs with his food. He said no and we continued our ascent. After passing the top step I turned around to see a proud look on Ryan's face that he cleared the stairway, except he didn't. He tripped on the last step and his tray went flying. I wasnt sure if he was ok. He wasn't. He was crying and holding his hand. He hurt his middle finger. When I looked at it I saw that already it was bruised and looked like it was crooked so I was sure it was broken. They asked if we needed assistance and I said I think so. We ended up icing it down. Thankfully the pain improved and it was not broken. Later that night I looked at the middle finger on his uninjured hand and it was more crooked than the hurt one! He's double jointed so I guess that's why his finger looked broken to me. Eventually after catching my breath from all this and getting cake and cookies for Ryan instead of lunch I was able to have the shrimp burrito and it was very good. Would get that again. Sat sea day brunch. I had eggs Benedict with hollandaise it was very good. Ryan had 12 hour French toast that was the thickness of 5 or 6 slices of bread! It was great and came with some dried peaches that were also great. Wife had pancakes with some kind of ricotta topping that wasn't great SUN night was one of the best if not the best cruise dinners I can remember. For those who don't know you can order as much as you want in the dining room. I typically order 2 appetizers, 2 entress, and 2 desserts and usually dont finish any of them unless its really great. Ths was the first of 2 elegant night where you dress up/ I started with the Mushroom bisque. It was creamy and wonderful. My brother Paul got blackened pork tenderloin appetizer on a crust with kale and cheese. He let me try it and it was SO great I had to ask for one. By the time I got it, I was already done with dinner but still ate it because it was fabulous. Best thing I've had on the cruise. I had the lobster tail which was bigger than I thought it would be. It also came with 3 large grilled shrimp that were very good. It was served over mushroom risotto which I didn't care for. I also had the sea bass. That came well after I was done with my lobster entree and I was so full but had to try it. It was terrific! I ate the whole thing. WHAT A DINNER! The second elegant night was Thursday night and it was also excellent. I started with the crab cakes and they were the best I can remember having outside of Baltimore. Very good crab flavor. I wish I ordered 3 and just had it as my entree. I also ordered the stuffed mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce and that was also very good. For my entree I got the fillet minon, but I wasnt in love with it so ate very little of it which was good because I was already full by the time it arrived. Some other dining room foods I enjoyed were the 2 different flatbreads, The brisket, Mac and cheese with bacon, eggs benedict, Hot apple pie and baked Alaska. We didnt do any paid excursions, but instead did our own thing and it was great. Cabo San Lucas: Theres no place for the ship to dock so you have to take a tender to get off the ship. The day before they hand out tickets to get on the tender quicker. We waited in line for 30 minutes to get on the boat an hour quicker so not sure it was worth it. I would go earlier next time maybe 20 minutes before the scheduled time. We took a water taxi tour before lunch. My brother bargained the guy down from $20 per person to $15. He was really great took us all around to many places and took a ton of photos of us at the famous arch before finally dropping us off on Medano Beach. Told him to return for us in 3 hours. We walked 5 mins down the beach to Omega Sports Bar and Grill. The Office is the most popular restaurant, but I had read more than a couple reviews of people getting overcharged so I was not going there. Omega was great. They had a very large hut covered seating area so we enjoyed lunch and beers out of the sun. After lunch our kids played in the ocean while we relaxed closeby. My wife enjoyed a very tasty mango margarita. I had a couple of beers. For lunch I had the special of 2 fish tacos and a beer for $6. It also added one beef taco. They wee all very good. Ryan got pancakes which was so beautifully presented I had to take a picture. It was served along side with mango, banana, cantelope, and pineapple. Our captain was right on time picking us up. Mazatlan: This was probably my favorite port. Wish we got off the boat a little earlier because we ran a little short on time. We started by walking the blue line which was not easy to find. After you exit the port on the street look for a volunteer in a blue shirt. They will point you across the street to a side street where the blue line starts and give you a map. We took that most of the way until we broke off to go to the market. Its vendors for a square block. The prices were just so cheap it was hard to bargain. I bought really nice shot glasses for gifts that were 4 for $5. I had bought a similar one in Cabo for $4 that he was asking $5 for and refused $3. After shopping we took a large pickup truck taxi to the ferry to stone island. It was only $10 for the 10 of us and it was a 5 to 10 minute trip. We gave him $15. The ride to stone island was also very inexpensive 35 pesos a person roundtrip which is about $2. Save your ticket to return later. We walked awhile to try to find the beach and were unsuccessfull. Ended up taking another pickup truck and he only charged us 50 pesos for all of us or $2.50. We gave him 100. It was quite a ways from the ferry so i dont recommend walking. We went to Letys for lunch which was very good and right on the water. I had shrimp skewers which came with a very good dark pineapple sauce. I also asked for a shrimp dipping sauce on the side which was very good, but didnt come until I was almost done eating. The water was wonderful and warm even though it was overcast and only about 84 degrees out. Water was pretty cold in Cabo so this was a nice change. After taking the water taxi back we couldnt find a taxi large enough to take us to the cruise port and didnt want to split up so we walked. Bad idea it was a far walk. Take a taxi. Puerto Vallarta: Started our day by crossing the street and going to Walmart. Awesome souvenir section! I bought magnets, tshirts, shot glasses, picture frames, and a photo album. Ended up spending over $100, but really got a great value. Since the ship was so close and we had 12 hours in port we smartly decided go put everything back on the ship rather than lug it around all day. After leaving the ship the 2nd time we took a left outside the port to the bus stop with a bench. After a few minutes we got a bus that said Centro. Its only 10 pesos a person or .50. The last person pays and must have exact change in pesos. I told the bus driver the street I wanted to get off on because I had a plan to get some street tacos. Highly recommend the bus over the taxi it was great both ways. I had trouble finding the exact taco stand I wanted, but there were many and the one we stopped at was great. Tacos Mi Esperanza on Calle Constitución. You can find it on google maps and its accurate to where it is. They were great and did speak enough english for us to get by. They let my 12 year old neice help them press the masa into corn tortillas and they gave all of the 4 children some dough to play with. Everyone had Chicken or Beef quesadillas and they were very good. Really felt like we were experiencing mexico there. After that we walked 5-10 minutes tp the Malecon (Boardwalk). That was really nice. We had perfect overcast weather around 85 degrees. We walked over to Cuates y Cuetes to make a reservation on the beach for dinner. Walked around a couple hours and then came back. Had a great dinner on the sand. Beach vendors did get a little annoying coming by every 2 minutes, but still had a great dinner. I had mixed fajitas with shrimp, beef, and chicken. Our waitress Dana was terrific and spoke very good english. She helped get us a couple blocks north of the Malecon back to the bus stop. Jumped onto the bus that said Walmart for another .50 and it got us back in about 25 mins. Disembarking was pretty quick. My brother got us tickets the day before so we could get off earlier, but it didnt matter much. He got baggage tag 6 and they ended up calling 6-10 right after they got done calling all the people with carry your own bags off. They never even checked our ticket to get off, but its possible if you had a higher number and got off early that your bags would not be off yet. It moved very fast and they called us around 940 to get off and we were in the car by 10:10. We stopped for gas about an hour into our return home to Arizona and my brothers car wouldnt start. Jumping it didnt work either. We went to Autozone a few minutes away and bought a wrench. Returned back to take out the battery and luckily it was dead. We replaced it and were on our way. Good thing we were driving together or it would have been very difficult. Great cruise had a wonderfull time with our family. Very thankfull to my parents for taking us yet again and having terrific memories to last a lifetime.

An awesome family cruise!

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by Yankee6

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This review is mostly about the food the first couple days because that and my family is my true passion (and the Yankees lol)

This was the 4th cruise my parents have taken my family and my brothers family on. We were 10 strong. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever had. The long beach port was great. We arrived early around 11:30am from our drive from Phoenix in case we had any problems. We had trouble parking because the parking garage was not yet open because the spots were all taken by the cruise returning. They wanted to give me a flyer to park off site and take a shuttle back. I was not cool with that since we specifically came early to avoid that. I drove back around to drop off the luggage and family and asked the porter for advice. He said he thinks the lot would be opening up in a few minutes and to drive around a little and try again. By the time we unloaded the bags it was 5 till noon and I was able to take the curve to the left of the parking garage into the entrance to park. There were still very few spots but my brother and I both got spots.

After that it was a short wait to get to security where they briefly checked identification and the kids birth certificates. Then they directed us to the open bag check x-ray person and in less than 20 minutes we were through security. We were on board in less than 30 minutes from the time we parked!

Took the tips of other reviewers to go to to deck 10 to the BBQ. They were right! It was almost empty up there and paradise for myself who is not fond of crowds. We were a party of 10 and got 2 big tables which was great because we had all our carry on bags. Tried the BBQ beef that was the only food on deck 10 with some Kansas city Guy Fieri sauce. It was wonderfull. Very tender like it came out of a crockpot. (Tried it again a few days later and was inedible so you results may vary, but the pork was very good) Then we headed downstairs to the buffet. Went to the burrito station and had them make me a shrimp, rice, and bean burrito. My little 8 yr old Ryan asked for chicken and cheese and the guy was like that's it? They had tons of addins but he's a picky eater. We headed back upstairs to the rest of our family. Halfway up I turned to Ryan and said do you want me take your tray? I thought it might be too hard for him to navigate the stairs with his food. He said no and we continued our ascent. After passing the top step I turned around to see a proud look on Ryan's face that he cleared the stairway, except he didn't. He tripped on the last step and his tray went flying. I wasnt sure if he was ok. He wasn't. He was crying and holding his hand. He hurt his middle finger. When I looked at it I saw that already it was bruised and looked like it was crooked so I was sure it was broken. They asked if we needed assistance and I said I think so. We ended up icing it down. Thankfully the pain improved and it was not broken. Later that night I looked at the middle finger on his uninjured hand and it was more crooked than the hurt one! He's double jointed so I guess that's why his finger looked broken to me. Eventually after catching my breath from all this and getting cake and cookies for Ryan instead of lunch I was able to have the shrimp burrito and it was very good. Would get that again.

Sat sea day brunch. I had eggs Benedict with hollandaise it was very good. Ryan had 12 hour French toast that was the thickness of 5 or 6 slices of bread! It was great and came with some dried peaches that were also great. Wife had pancakes with some kind of ricotta topping that wasn't great

SUN night was one of the best if not the best cruise dinners I can remember. For those who don't know you can order as much as you want in the dining room. I typically order 2 appetizers, 2 entress, and 2 desserts and usually dont finish any of them unless its really great. Ths was the first of 2 elegant night where you dress up/ I started with the Mushroom bisque. It was creamy and wonderful. My brother Paul got blackened pork tenderloin appetizer on a crust with kale and cheese. He let me try it and it was SO great I had to ask for one. By the time I got it, I was already done with dinner but still ate it because it was fabulous. Best thing I've had on the cruise. I had the lobster tail which was bigger than I thought it would be. It also came with 3 large grilled shrimp that were very good. It was served over mushroom risotto which I didn't care for. I also had the sea bass. That came well after I was done with my lobster entree and I was so full but had to try it. It was terrific! I ate the whole thing. WHAT A DINNER!

The second elegant night was Thursday night and it was also excellent. I started with the crab cakes and they were the best I can remember having outside of Baltimore. Very good crab flavor. I wish I ordered 3 and just had it as my entree. I also ordered the stuffed mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce and that was also very good. For my entree I got the fillet minon, but I wasnt in love with it so ate very little of it which was good because I was already full by the time it arrived.

Some other dining room foods I enjoyed were the 2 different flatbreads, The brisket, Mac and cheese with bacon, eggs benedict, Hot apple pie and baked Alaska.

We didnt do any paid excursions, but instead did our own thing and it was great.

Cabo San Lucas:

Theres no place for the ship to dock so you have to take a tender to get off the ship. The day before they hand out tickets to get on the tender quicker. We waited in line for 30 minutes to get on the boat an hour quicker so not sure it was worth it. I would go earlier next time maybe 20 minutes before the scheduled time. We took a water taxi tour before lunch. My brother bargained the guy down from $20 per person to $15. He was really great took us all around to many places and took a ton of photos of us at the famous arch before finally dropping us off on Medano Beach. Told him to return for us in 3 hours. We walked 5 mins down the beach to Omega Sports Bar and Grill. The Office is the most popular restaurant, but I had read more than a couple reviews of people getting overcharged so I was not going there. Omega was great. They had a very large hut covered seating area so we enjoyed lunch and beers out of the sun. After lunch our kids played in the ocean while we relaxed closeby. My wife enjoyed a very tasty mango margarita. I had a couple of beers. For lunch I had the special of 2 fish tacos and a beer for $6. It also added one beef taco. They wee all very good. Ryan got pancakes which was so beautifully presented I had to take a picture. It was served along side with mango, banana, cantelope, and pineapple. Our captain was right on time picking us up.

Mazatlan:

This was probably my favorite port. Wish we got off the boat a little earlier because we ran a little short on time. We started by walking the blue line which was not easy to find. After you exit the port on the street look for a volunteer in a blue shirt. They will point you across the street to a side street where the blue line starts and give you a map. We took that most of the way until we broke off to go to the market. Its vendors for a square block. The prices were just so cheap it was hard to bargain. I bought really nice shot glasses for gifts that were 4 for $5. I had bought a similar one in Cabo for $4 that he was asking $5 for and refused $3.

After shopping we took a large pickup truck taxi to the ferry to stone island. It was only $10 for the 10 of us and it was a 5 to 10 minute trip. We gave him $15. The ride to stone island was also very inexpensive 35 pesos a person roundtrip which is about $2. Save your ticket to return later. We walked awhile to try to find the beach and were unsuccessfull. Ended up taking another pickup truck and he only charged us 50 pesos for all of us or $2.50. We gave him 100. It was quite a ways from the ferry so i dont recommend walking.

We went to Letys for lunch which was very good and right on the water. I had shrimp skewers which came with a very good dark pineapple sauce. I also asked for a shrimp dipping sauce on the side which was very good, but didnt come until I was almost done eating. The water was wonderful and warm even though it was overcast and only about 84 degrees out. Water was pretty cold in Cabo so this was a nice change. After taking the water taxi back we couldnt find a taxi large enough to take us to the cruise port and didnt want to split up so we walked. Bad idea it was a far walk. Take a taxi.

Puerto Vallarta:

Started our day by crossing the street and going to Walmart. Awesome souvenir section! I bought magnets, tshirts, shot glasses, picture frames, and a photo album. Ended up spending over $100, but really got a great value. Since the ship was so close and we had 12 hours in port we smartly decided go put everything back on the ship rather than lug it around all day.

After leaving the ship the 2nd time we took a left outside the port to the bus stop with a bench. After a few minutes we got a bus that said Centro. Its only 10 pesos a person or .50. The last person pays and must have exact change in pesos. I told the bus driver the street I wanted to get off on because I had a plan to get some street tacos. Highly recommend the bus over the taxi it was great both ways.

I had trouble finding the exact taco stand I wanted, but there were many and the one we stopped at was great. Tacos Mi Esperanza on Calle Constitución. You can find it on google maps and its accurate to where it is. They were great and did speak enough english for us to get by. They let my 12 year old neice help them press the masa into corn tortillas and they gave all of the 4 children some dough to play with. Everyone had Chicken or Beef quesadillas and they were very good. Really felt like we were experiencing mexico there.

After that we walked 5-10 minutes tp the Malecon (Boardwalk). That was really nice. We had perfect overcast weather around 85 degrees. We walked over to Cuates y Cuetes to make a reservation on the beach for dinner. Walked around a couple hours and then came back. Had a great dinner on the sand. Beach vendors did get a little annoying coming by every 2 minutes, but still had a great dinner. I had mixed fajitas with shrimp, beef, and chicken. Our waitress Dana was terrific and spoke very good english. She helped get us a couple blocks north of the Malecon back to the bus stop. Jumped onto the bus that said Walmart for another .50 and it got us back in about 25 mins.

Disembarking was pretty quick. My brother got us tickets the day before so we could get off earlier, but it didnt matter much. He got baggage tag 6 and they ended up calling 6-10 right after they got done calling all the people with carry your own bags off. They never even checked our ticket to get off, but its possible if you had a higher number and got off early that your bags would not be off yet. It moved very fast and they called us around 940 to get off and we were in the car by 10:10.

We stopped for gas about an hour into our return home to Arizona and my brothers car wouldnt start. Jumping it didnt work either. We went to Autozone a few minutes away and bought a wrench. Returned back to take out the battery and luckily it was dead. We replaced it and were on our way. Good thing we were driving together or it would have been very difficult.

Great cruise had a wonderfull time with our family. Very thankfull to my parents for taking us yet again and having terrific memories to last a lifetime.
Yankee6’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8A 6428
Only problem with the cabin was that it was right above some entertainment that played loud music and could hear people screaming into the night. It bothered me only one night, but it did bother my parents a few doors down. They complained for all of us and they gave us $300 per room vouchers! We used it do a photo shoot on the 2nd elegant night. We thought we could get a bunch of pictures but it was overwhelmingly expensive. We each got 3 10X12 photos for $299! To get digital copies of the photos it was $99 a picture! We had 72 pictures taken and sadly all but 9 were discarded.
Upper Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cabo San Lucas
    Theres no place for the ship to dock so you have to take a tender to get off the ship. The day before they hand out tickets to get on the tender quicker. We waited in line for 30 minutes to get on the boat an hour quicker so not sure it was worth it. I would go earlier next time maybe 20 minutes before the scheduled time. We took a water taxi tour before lunch. My brother bargained the guy down from $20 per person to $15. He was really great took us all around to many places and took a ton of photos of us at the famous arch before finally dropping us off on Medano Beach. Told him to return for us in 3 hours. We walked 5 mins down the beach to Omega Sports Bar and Grill. The Office is the most popular restaurant, but I had read more than a couple reviews of people getting overcharged so I was not going there. Omega was great. They had a very large hut covered seating area so we enjoyed lunch and beers out of the sun. After lunch our kids played in the ocean while we relaxed closeby. My wife enjoyed a very tasty mango margarita. I had a couple of beers. For lunch I had the special of 2 fish tacos and a beer for $6. It also added one beef taco. They wee all very good. Ryan got pancakes which was so beautifully presented I had to take a picture. It was served along side with mango, banana, cantelope, and pineapple. Our captain was right on time picking us up.
    View All 1,303 Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port Review
  • Mazatlan
    This was probably my favorite port. Wish we got off the boat a little earlier because we ran a little short on time. We started by walking the blue line which was not easy to find. After you exit the port on the street look for a volunteer in a blue shirt. They will point you across the street to a side street where the blue line starts and give you a map. We took that most of the way until we broke off to go to the market. Its vendors for a square block. The prices were just so cheap it was hard to bargain. I bought really nice shot glasses for gifts that were 4 for $5. I had bought a similar one in Cabo for $4 that he was asking $5 for and refused $3.

    After shopping we took a large pickup truck taxi to the ferry to stone island. It was only $10 for the 10 of us and it was a 5 to 10 minute trip. We gave him $15. The ride to stone island was also very inexpensive 35 pesos a person roundtrip which is about $2. Save your ticket to return later. We walked awhile to try to find the beach and were unsuccessfull. Ended up taking another pickup truck and he only charged us 50 pesos for all of us or $2.50. We gave him 100. It was quite a ways from the ferry so i dont recommend walking.

    We went to Letys for lunch which was very good and right on the water. I had shrimp skewers which came with a very good dark pineapple sauce. I also asked for a shrimp dipping sauce on the side which was very good, but didnt come until I was almost done eating. The water was wonderful and warm even though it was overcast and only about 84 degrees out. Water was pretty cold in Cabo so this was a nice change. After taking the water taxi back we couldnt find a taxi large enough to take us to the cruise port and didnt want to split up so we walked. Bad idea it was a far walk. Take a taxi.
    View All 593 Mazatlan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Mazatlan Cruise Port Review
  • Puerto Vallarta
    Started our day by crossing the street and going to Walmart. Awesome souvenir section! I bought magnets, tshirts, shot glasses, picture frames, and a photo album. Ended up spending over $100, but really got a great value. Since the ship was so close and we had 12 hours in port we smartly decided go put everything back on the ship rather than lug it around all day.

    After leaving the ship the 2nd time we took a left outside the port to the bus stop with a bench. After a few minutes we got a bus that said Centro. Its only 10 pesos a person or .50. The last person pays and must have exact change in pesos. I told the bus driver the street I wanted to get off on because I had a plan to get some street tacos. Highly recommend the bus over the taxi it was great both ways.

    I had trouble finding the exact taco stand I wanted, but there were many and the one we stopped at was great. Tacos Mi Esperanza on Calle Constitución. You can find it on google maps and its accurate to where it is. They were great and did speak enough english for us to get by. They let my 12 year old neice help them press the masa into corn tortillas and they gave all of the 4 children some dough to play with. Everyone had Chicken or Beef quesadillas and they were very good. Really felt like we were experiencing mexico there.

    After that we walked 5-10 minutes tp the Malecon (Boardwalk). That was really nice. We had perfect overcast weather around 85 degrees. We walked over to Cuates y Cuetes to make a reservation on the beach for dinner. Walked around a couple hours and then came back. Had a great dinner on the sand. Beach vendors did get a little annoying coming by every 2 minutes, but still had a great dinner. I had mixed fajitas with shrimp, beef, and chicken. Our waitress Dana was terrific and spoke very good english. She helped get us a couple blocks north of the Malecon back to the bus stop. Jumped onto the bus that said Walmart for another .50 and it got us back in about 25 mins.
    View All 952 Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Review