We stayed the night before at a Marriott near LAX and took an Uber to the port the next morning.
The embarkation in Long Beach, a disorganized three-hour lineup in heat, with no water and no place to sit down for the first two hours, was, in retrospect, a foreshadowing of the disappointing trip to come. It was as if Carnival staff had never done this before and was thus more concerned with following an invisible rulebook than doing things sensibly and with guest convenience in mind.
Most of our cruising experience has been with HAL, so at first it was hard to shake off the constant contrast between the Splendor and, say, the Westerdam or Rotterdam. (For instance, who builds a cruise ship that doesn't have a forward-looking lounge, like HAL's wonderful Crow's Nest. Carnival, obviously). As reported elsewhere, the garish pink decor is hideous; it wasn't in style the day the ship was launched.