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Sail Date: January 2012
Embarkation (1/1/11) We drove to the ship from Las Vegas and stayed at the San Pedro Doubletree. They let you park for the week as part of a room package and deliver you in their van to and from the pier. Tip the driver, who works ... Read More
Embarkation (1/1/11) We drove to the ship from Las Vegas and stayed at the San Pedro Doubletree. They let you park for the week as part of a room package and deliver you in their van to and from the pier. Tip the driver, who works very hard at getting you close to the curbside porters. My only complaint was that the porters seemed overwhelmed and you do not get a claim check for your luggage. That said, our luggage was in our room in less than 2 hours from the curb. The Carnival check-in personnel were quick and pleasant. TSA could take lessons. We were on the ship in less than 30 minutes from the curb at the height of check-in. I was hoping to get some lunch but the Lido deck, where lunch was served, was extremely crowded. That said, we got a quick bite before the ship departed. I think the signage on the Lido deck and throughout the ship could learn a thing or two from Las Vegas casinos. Signs are often small and hard to read, particularly near the elevators. The buffet stations are somewhat confusing but offered an ample lunch. During the cruise, the Lido deck food is well prepared and hot and there are numerous choices. Safety The ship held a thorough muster drill before departure. Our cabin steward showed us our life jackets. We had three in a room with only 2 people. We never felt our safety was compromised in any way. Plus, I read the signs and practiced going to the muster station. Room/Ship Our room was a starboard balcony. It had two chairs and a small table outside with a wooden deck. It was quite comfortable. We watched Mexico go by -- a lot. Our floor had only cabins above and below (hat tip to my Orbitz travel agent for that recommendation.) The room is about 185 square feet. The bathroom was clean and had free samples of various products. Towels were changed when we asked and not changed when we asked. Our cabin steward, Jessie, learned our names on day one and was ready if needed. The décor of the ship can be described as "Vegas casino modern." It is an eclectic mix that grows on you. After the first night, people spread out and the ship did not seem crowded. It was a mix of families, young people, and retirees. The casino looks interesting but I can gamble in my grocery store so I did not play. The shows were good. I recommend New Orleans night on the last night. The ship has Internet access, which worked fine, albeit a bit slow. I used both my iPad and the Internet café. ($29 for 40 minutes.) Word of caution -- don't use your cell phone on the ship. You will get service (Cell at Sea). It is $2.99 per minute! Also, don't use your cell phone in Mexico without discussing it with your US carrier before you go. Foreign cell changes can be very high. I have a friend who ran up a $3k bill on a recent trip since his iPhone was pinging the Mexican network. You get wireless service from the shore anchored in Cabo. Dining We ate most nights in the MDR with anytime dining. We got a table for two by the window, most nights. The lower MDR can be loud but our area was relatively quiet. The food is well-done though lukewarm on a couple of occasions. The wait staff was attentive and never pushed drink specials. The menu ranged from comfort food to more interesting choices, like frog legs. Wine prices are a bit high but not extraordinarily so. The wine list is what you would expect on a value-oriented cruise ship. Carnival is constantly hawking drinks but it is not as intrusive as some reviews claim. We ate breakfast in the MDR but try not to sit in the back. The vibration from the screws is annoying. We also ate dinner in the Steakhouse ($30/pp supplement). The food was extraordinary. My 18 oz rib-eye steak would have been $75 at Smith & Wollensky in Las Vegas. The wine list was superb and our wine captain helped us make a great selection. Dessert is not to be missed, save room. One food tip -- try the sushi cart early in the evening. Usually 3 interesting items but not enough for a full meal. Port call In Cabo the tendering process is very tedious. You need a numbered sticker to get off the ship. We got in the line early (10 am for an 11 am arrival) and got off within an hour. Tours have priority, so buy a Carnival tour. Some passengers told us they waited 3-4 hours to get off. Tendering on day 2 was first come-first served. Cabo is like many Mexican ports, lots of pushy street vendors. Try to stay on the beaten path. We heard from a fellow passenger that he got threatened by a Cabo policeman for some perceived offense, easily solved with money. Three ships were in port at the same time and 7,500 people all went to town at once. That is hard for any port to handle. We sat in a restaurant near the pier and had fish tacos and tequila and watched the port and people. Many people went whale watching and had a great time. Disembarkation The disembarkation process was our only major complaint. We arrived in San Pedro about 8:30 am. We were in group 17 to get off the ship and cleared customs at 12:45 pm. They kicked us out of our room at 11 am, so we were held on the Lido deck along with milling passengers. There was no food and they shut off the coffee. On shore, personnel were unhelpful and nearly non-existent and the lines were confusing. At one point, a porter was directing passengers where to go (he was wrong.) Clearing customs is a snap, if you have a US Passport. When you are in line, call the Doubletree and they will come and get you at the curb. Five minutes back to the hotel and your car. I think the disembarkation problems were due to the fact that the ship was headed to dry-dock in San Francisco after we got off. It needs some refurbishing. Our TV was 10 years old and the interactive menu did to work. Some paint was peeling on our balcony and the carpet was a bit dated. The ship moves to Australia this fall but will do Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska cruises until then. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We have cruised 10+ times over the past 10 years on NCL, Princess and HAL. I'm always looking for a good deal, preferably a mini-suite, for us three adults (myself, my wife and my 27 year old son). This cruise had the very forward ... Read More
We have cruised 10+ times over the past 10 years on NCL, Princess and HAL. I'm always looking for a good deal, preferably a mini-suite, for us three adults (myself, my wife and my 27 year old son). This cruise had the very forward cabin on the Lido deck at a great price ($2,800 for the three of us). The cabin was just a little smaller than a Ocean Suite, but it was the largest we've ever had. I've read that Carnival will nickle and dime you, so I tried to be prepared by accumulating over $500 in on board credits and by pre-paying drink coupons and shore excursions. Even so, I left feeling somewhat taken advantage of. Stupid little things bothered me. For instance, on Princess, the coffee bar will sell you special coffee, but then give you little pastry treats or other goodies for free. Not on the Carnival Splendor. Here, you pay for the coffee and again for the pastries. Another example is the drink coupons. I pre-purchased 12 drink coupons. I thought I'd find them waiting for me in our cabin. No, you have to wait to get them at your first dinner. Then, they are only good for the cheapest price drink. If you want anything else (like a Pina Colada), you pay an additional $1.75. It's frustrating, constantly signing for these additional charges. We had any-time dining. Food quality and service was inconsistent. If we came to eat just when the dining room opened, and asked for one of the better wait staff, things were great. But, if we arrived for any-time dining later, the food was cold and took a long time to arrive. Also, Carnival wait staff will stop serving in order to perform short shows in the dining room. We would rather that they didn't do this. You can watch your food sit on the serving stand while your waiter takes five minutes to sing and dance. Not fun if your hungry. We enjoyed the Thermal Suite package. For $400, the three of us had full access to the special whirlpool, two saunas, two hot-bed area, and showers. The area was crowded early in the cruise, but thinned out later on. The $400 deal also included a one hour mud bath for myself and my wife. You have a sauna area set aside just for you with salts, mud, and milk to apply to each other. This area and and the cabin were the highlight of the cruise. Entertainment seemed lacking. Four different comedians, a couple of production shows, and the normal deck events were there. But everything seemed packed with people and there were no really outstanding musical acts brought on. I don't know exactly how to describe this, but an example would be when the Sapphire Princess had a musician who had recorded with the Beach Boys. Or when we were on NCL and they had a musician who had recorded with the Commodores. Public spaces are decorated in "loud" styles, with lots of pink circles everywhere. And, the areas seem designed to pack as many people in as possible. I never found any special areas on the ship's interior to sit and relax. Finally, we enjoyed the benefit of special treatment getting onto the ship because we had a suite. That was great. But, disembarking using the self-assist method didn't go so well. They tell you to stay in your cabin until called and then proceed to the lobby area. We did this and were dumped into an overwhelming crowd of passengers who had apparently been in the lobby area for a long time. A couple of passengers tried to form a line, but this was impossible because the elevators kept dumping more and more people into this fray. This left us with bad feelings at the very end of our vacation. Not good. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Our 3 and 5 year old granddaughters were introduced to cruising on the Carnival Inspiration. We had been telling them that it would be fun and lots of pizza and ice cream available to eat. The 3 year old wasn't too sure about going ... Read More
Our 3 and 5 year old granddaughters were introduced to cruising on the Carnival Inspiration. We had been telling them that it would be fun and lots of pizza and ice cream available to eat. The 3 year old wasn't too sure about going on a cruise without her parents. The girls were excited once they saw the ship. Arrived a little after 11:30 am and waited in line to get cabin keys. We didn't check in early near the Queen Mary and had to wait for the other 8 zones of people to enter the terminal before we got in. We were on board by 12:30 and went for lunch on the Lido deck. About 1:20 pm announcement was made that we could go to our cabins. Get an oceanview cabin if you have young kids. They spent a lot of time looking out at the shore, sea, dolphins, seagulls, boats, etc. Both loved the pull down bunk bed. The staff was great throughout the whole ship. I dropped my camera and someone turned it into lost and found. I had the camera back within an hour of losing it. Our waiter, Surin, was outstanding and patient with the girls while they were deciding what they wanted to eat. The older granddaughter enjoyed Camp Carnival, family comedy show, and afternoon tea. The younger one wanted to stay with us and only went to Camp Carnival when they had face painting. Both liked the T-shirts they received from Camp Carnival on the last night. It was a good first cruise for both of them. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I have been on multiple Carnival Cruises and have also experienced RCCL. Although my sons and I enjoy Carnival, I have always been intrigued by Disney Cruise Lines. We planned a 6 day cruise January 2012. My sons and I had a nice ... Read More
I have been on multiple Carnival Cruises and have also experienced RCCL. Although my sons and I enjoy Carnival, I have always been intrigued by Disney Cruise Lines. We planned a 6 day cruise January 2012. My sons and I had a nice vacation. The ship was lovely. Our stateroom was very large, clean and nicely decorated. The service was excellent. It was easy to find our way around the ship. A note on the cabin. We were in 7620 which was listed as a 7a (Navigator's Verandah). This cabin actually has a plexiglass rail and not a port hole. On some boards I read that this is what is referred to as a "secret balcony". It was nice as we paid the price of a less expensive balcony but got such a nice one. The highlight would have to be the nightly shows. They were spectacular! I have never seen entertainment this amazing on a ship before. The children's facilities were very nice. My boys had fun there. One of the positive things about the children's clubs were that my 7 and 9 year old got to be together. On Carnival they would have been in separate groups. Also, they could just have free time in the clubs verses joining in on the group activities. They enjoyed that. Security wasn't the greatest in the children's facilities. My 9 year old had permission to check himself out. My 7 year old could only with his 9 year old brother. They never checked the security on the computer and my 7 year old would just leave when he wanted. My son found being on a Carnival a bit more personable as the leaders in Camp Carnival knew the children by names. I can see how this is not possible on Disney due to the amount of children...but he missed that. Unfortunately there were many negatives. Disney has always been so expensive compared to Carnival. I expected so much more from this cruise or at least equivalent to Carnival. A few of their shortcomings were with the photographers and most importantly the food. They are always taking our photo on Carnival. I love going every night to find our photos and the Carnival photographers are amazing. I always joked that they must follow us around the whole week as they get so many good shots of my sons. On Disney they took 2 photos of us. Once at embarkation and once at dinner. All other photos were taken if you waited in VERY LONG character lines. The 2 photos they took were disappointing. A good photographer wouldn't have waited until my sons were smiling. They didn't smile in either photo and not worth the money. I looked at other photos to see if they got many good ones of other families and I wouldn't have paid for the others either. Typically, I never complain about food. I am glad that someone else cooked it and cleaned up after. Honestly, the food on this cruise was AWEFUL! There was not one meal or appetizer in the main dining rooms that I enjoyed. The presentation was terrible as well. I tried the fish, the chicken and the beef. One night I ordered the steak. It was a very thin but big piece of beef. It was tough and slathered in gravy. The gravy was so salty and it tasted like it came from a can. The steak was accompanied by corn on the cob. The corn looked like it was cooked yesterday and reheated. I do not like to complain to the waiters. I know they are working very hard. Plus, I didn't want to make our tablemates feel uncomfortable by me complaining. I just ate what I could and smiled. All the meals were bad. I am sure that the waiter would have brought me something else but by the time I got my meal, my kids were ready to leave. These restaurants were not nice (except for Triton's), they had the atmosphere of Denny's except Denny's food is actually better. The kids meals were not great either. Another aspect I found frustrating was that as soon as we ordered they would bring my sons' meals. They arrived way before my appetizer. My main meal arrived 45 minutes after my sons were served and I only ordered one appetizer. As we had the late dining time it was 9:30 by the time I was done and did not want to stay longer to order a dessert. The buffet was worse. We went twice and then simply avoided. Carnival has elegant, beautifully presented, delicious meals. Carnival has prime rib, lobster and a much better selection. There was no lobster at all on this cruise. I think if I would have paid the same price as Carnival, I wouldn't be nearly as disappointed. The fact that I paid almost double for this cruise makes me sad that I chose Disney. I really felt ripped off. Clearly there are people who think Disney is fantastic. There was a line up at the desk to book the next cruise. I was not in that line up. In the end my boys and I had a nice vacation but three of us can have fun in a motel in the middle of nowhere. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was my first cruise. I traveled with my husband, daughter (1) and son (10). What I have to say is similar to the other reviews here but I thought I would add my opinion to anyone considering going. What Was Good: Everyone smiled ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I traveled with my husband, daughter (1) and son (10). What I have to say is similar to the other reviews here but I thought I would add my opinion to anyone considering going. What Was Good: Everyone smiled at us, no matter where we were. There was always a friendly face and someone to greet us. When I was trying to push a stroller and carry a tray, there was always a worker ready to lend a hand and help. There were a lot of good shows and they try to keep your kids entertained. Guest services was very polite and willing to accommodate. One night we missed our time for dinner and I asked if my family would be able to sit at the later dinner. They arranged everything for us. What Was Bad: The food. I hate to talk about it but my husband got food poisoning the second to last night. What was supposed to be an awesome vacation for us turned out to be awful for him. Ever been vomiting on a boat rocking back and forth? Not good. I felt so bad for him. It was a small room as well. He said his chicken tasted bad and sure enough he got sick that night. Besides the food poisoning, the food itself is about the same you would get in a school cafeteria. In fact, it brought back school memories for me! The food at sit down dinner was slightly better. I would equate it to a cheap buffet. It was really that bad and I'm not particular at all. There is no food 24 hours a day except room service. As you can imagine that food wasn't good either. After you eat dinner, essentially all the food closes except for the pizza place. When it was time to give my daughter her bedtime snack, I hated the idea of pizza or fried chicken. I gave her fruit but she spit it out. It was not fresh. Besides the food (which is unforgivable to get sick on a cruise), the kids club was just okay for my son. He had fun but mostly he said he was bored. For his age range I am not sure they cater as much. He made friends with one other boy, the same age. My daughter was too little to enjoy it. The lines for each character were so long that by the time we would get to a character she would be too tired and cranky to get a picture taken. We put her in the Flounders Reef but as someone else mentioned, you don't know when activities are going on around the ship. The times she went in my husband and I circled and circled and circled the decks with nothing to do. The only adult thing planned for that block of hours was "DJ at the pool." We went and there was no DJ, just some radio tunes playing by the adult pool and about 100 parents crammed in a small space. The staff in the daycare is wonderful though and was very accommodating to my daughter who tends to be shy. I know it sounds strange but there is not nearly as much going on as most other cruises (so I hear). We found there were large blocks of time there wasn't really anything happening. Then when a show would be going on, nearly everyone on the ship crams to see it. Dreams was the name of a show they put on and it was really nice. However, everyone else on the ship wanted to see it was well so my son and I had to sit on the floor in the back of the auditorium...not so much fun. I live in the LA area and got a really good deal on this cruise. If it wasn't for that I would feel totally robbed of my hard earned money. My husband is still a little sick and we don't feel a bit more relaxed or at ease after this vacation. As sad as it may seem, my husband and I started talking about how we need a vacation from this vacation! One other thing I wanted to mention. If you cruise with a 2 or under child you will find there is nothing for them to do. We had hoped for at least an indoor playground or open space she could play in. Alas, we were stuck walking her in the stroller around and around and around. Two things that are simply unacceptable on this cruise was the food (and food poising) and the waiter we had. My son is a vegetarian and EACH and EVERY night at dinner the waiter said, "Why don't you get the steak? C'mon!" I had to remind him that my son has dietary issues. He also pressured my husband to get the steak each night. He said, "Why don't you eat meat!? C'mon!!" My husband does not eat meat. These were arrangements we made with Disney ahead of time. We felt not listened to and pressured. Believe it or not...we just wanted to avoid dinner, food, and our server by the end of the cruise. I certainly hope others have a better experience. I do not plan on taking another cruise and certainly will not be going on any more Disney cruises. I do love Disney and Disneyland, and will stick to that. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I have cruised on Splendor 6 times and always had a great time. I cruised on Jan.29 - Feb. 4, 2012. I am Platinum VIP. I cruised SOLO. Cabin #7345, Cat. 1-A, is fantastic for one or two cruisers and the cheapest catagory. Cabin ... Read More
I have cruised on Splendor 6 times and always had a great time. I cruised on Jan.29 - Feb. 4, 2012. I am Platinum VIP. I cruised SOLO. Cabin #7345, Cat. 1-A, is fantastic for one or two cruisers and the cheapest catagory. Cabin steward was great. Anytime dinning: I would choose early dinning at 6p.m. Maitre D would try to seat me with other solo cruisers. That was very nice. Cruising solo is very easy to join a large table of cruisers so I could meet other cruisers and I had a great time meeting new people at breakfast, lunch and dinner at the dining room. Entertainment was great. Lots of music everywhere where I could dance and have fun. I loved the Piano Bar with Ron the singer and player. We all had a great tine. The Latino band was fantastic for dancing and listening. Trivia games - They had lousy questions so I didn't play much. I love to play Trivia that have fair questions for all countries with general questions. Casino - I never play. It is a waste of my money and no fun. Shopping - I went shopping at Wal-Mart in Puerto Vallarta. I also went shopping at Cabo. I took a taxi-bike ride into town to shop for cosmetics and I kept my taxi driver with me to take me to a cheapy store for shopping. It was fun for him to hold my hand so I wouldn't fall in pot-holes, bad side-walks and steps. I gave him $20. for the taxi and his time. That was great service for me who is a senior with bad eye-sight. FOOD - I enjoyed eating lots of foods. BUT....watch out for the Hot Chocolate machine that must be dirty inside because the chocolate was spoiled at times. Watch out for the salad dressings and make sure they are safe to eat because they get spoiled sitting outside at the Sandwich grill. I had to throw a sandwich away because the thousand Island dressing smelled and tasted spoiled on the last night of the cruise. I guess it got spoiled by just being on ice outside on the deck. Two of my friends ate fresh sushi every evening and on the last evening they got sick and vomited the sushi. Service was really bad at dinner time because the waiters don't know you so most of them don't really care if they give you great service. The main problem with them is they don't bring you the condiments or extra things that you need to eat your meal like sour cream and butter for your baked potato. Apple sauce for pork chops. Horseradish for prime rib. Things like that really bothered me. It's the price you pay for eating dinner with different people every evening. I don't like traditional seating because if I have boring dining people at my table it can be real boring for me. Waiters do try their best to please you if you can find them when you need them. They don't have enough help to really do a great job of providing all the needs of the diners. Overall... I had a great time on this ship but I don't plan to cruise on it again because it has gone downhill on foods and service in the dining room. That is very important for me as a cruiser. Some cruisers have other things that are more important to them. One more thing....They took my portable battery fan out of my luggage and didn't leave me a letter to state that they took it out. I was supposed to wait until the departure day to go look for my fan at the Red Carpet room but my friends rushed me into leaving the ship right away and they were giving me a ride home so I didn't go look for it. One last comment: I didn't like the way the Mexican security at Puerto Vallarta put their hand into my COIN MONEY PURSE to do a search. Lucky I had my dollars hidden in another place in my tote bag. I complained to Carnival's manager of security. She called me at my cabin later that day. She didn't care at all and said it was part of security. I just said okay since I got the message that she didn't plan to have a talk with the Mexican security who had told me they were looking for fruits in my tote bag. Does fruit fit in my coin money purse? "DUH"... I hate it when security puts their hands on my tiny purse. Since I am a VIP I had great embarkation and disembarkation. It was a fun ship for Solos. LucyR. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This is a review of a trip I took last year. Splendor was great. Very pink if memory serves. Embarkation was good, we got on fairly quickly, managed to find a table on the lido deck and had lunch, while we waited for our rooms to be made ... Read More
This is a review of a trip I took last year. Splendor was great. Very pink if memory serves. Embarkation was good, we got on fairly quickly, managed to find a table on the lido deck and had lunch, while we waited for our rooms to be made ready. The spa was amazing - everything was clean and brand new. This was right after the fire, so brand spanking new shineies is to be expected, but was still much appreciated considering just how many people go through the spa in a month. We purchased spa access on board for both my husband and I and this was well worth it. We spent a lot of time during the sea days in the spa, I really enjoyed the heated loungers and the Thalassotherapy (spelling?) pool. The spa staff were very accommodating. All the cabin stewards were really friendly and helpful. The room was comfortable enough for two people. Very clean and quiet. We did the behind the fun tour on the last day. This was an eye opener and really neat. We got to see the kitchens (we did the chef's table which included a tour of this area, the cooks we ran into all remembered my Husband and I), the crew common areas, the electrical areas and propulsion stuff (room with lots of instruments and blinking lights), and go up to the bridge. I would recommend. The MDR was touch and go for me. Dinner definitely better than lunches. I found the lido to be surprisingly decent and enjoyed the premium (extra $) restaurant. At the premium restaurant we ordered a cheese plate - it was huge, they brought a massive pile of various really nice cheeses and then carved giant chunks - insanity! I also remember the ceviche from that meal, which was really great, very refreshing. Also room service each morning as really nice - bagels with cream cheese, orange juice, and hot coffee. :) Main theatre entertainment was entertaining, like blander versions of Vegas shows, but still enjoyable. We did have to walk out during one of the comedy shows (can't remember who it was, but he was being really rude about a transgendered passenger, I found this very inappropriate in a not very funny way and complained to service desk, who were polite and said they would forward my complaint to management - don't know if anything came of it though). The piano bar was okay, I liked it, however, my husband who normally loves piano bars did not. Main pool area was very busy and crowded, I did not get a chance to use. There were apparently a lot of children on board but I did not notice them. I did spend a lot of time in the adults only area, which was never crowded. Should note: I am not a fan of little kids, this was not an issue the entire cruise. The only annoying passengers were a group of drunk frat boys who made a number of "cat calls" (Ooooh! Baby!, I have a package for you!) at me and the other female passengers and almost hit me in the head with a foot ball. I played joiner one day, came in third place for trivia, hubby came in fourth for the manliness contest. Was fun. :) I marked public rooms as a 4 as smoking was allowed in the casino area. Cigarette smoke stings my eyes (I'm hypersensitive to it). Most of the areas surrounding the casino smelt of smoke. We arranged our own shore days - diving in Cabo and wandering in Puerto Vallarta. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I took a cruise to Cozumel with 2 friends. This was my first cruise and I was very excited. However, there are so few positives about my cruise experience that I am not planning to do this again. First, the ship. The Carnival ... Read More
I took a cruise to Cozumel with 2 friends. This was my first cruise and I was very excited. However, there are so few positives about my cruise experience that I am not planning to do this again. First, the ship. The Carnival Triumph's interior decor was dated, cheesy, and depressing. Our room appeared to have not been renovated since the early 1990s. I found no aesthetic, visual appeal to our stateroom. The art was cheap and tacky, and the room/bathroom color is best described as dull salmon. The TV was small, box-style, and old. One positive to the room was the balcony which I am glad I paid extra for. There was room to sit comfortably and look out to sea. I was also suprised at the comfort of the bed. It also could be that the motion of the ocean almost rocked you to sleep. Either way, I slept like a baby each night. The staff: I detected an overall vibe of boredom and depression from the staff. The cleaning staff/housekeeping appeared to be from the Phillippines or Indonesia. They smiled and said hello in the halls, but it was unusual to come across so many foreign staff. The front desk was nice except for one lady who had a very poor attitude each time I came across her. She seemed to be there morning, noon, and night so I suppose she was just tired and unhappy. In general, the presence of so many immigrant workers (Many indians, bulgarians, etc made up the waitstaff), gave me an odd impression. I suppose they dont hire American crew because outsourcing labor is cheaper. The food: The food was AMAZING! This was really the highlight of the trip. My friends and I enjoyed the buffets and breakfasts. But oddly, there were no "free" sodas. You have to buy those from the bar (expensive) so we often settled for the free, watered-down juices. The cost: Dont let the low cruise cost fool you. You pay for EVERYTHING except the food. Want a bottled water? $4. A cocktail? $10. A photo? $10-$20. Bingo? $20 Nurse? Dont get sick or injured! -$40 Internet? Dont even try. It is slowwww and will run you about $40 for what comes out to approx. 15 minutes of usage. It quickly became tiring to be nickled and dimed for everything, considering how bad the ship is in need of updating. My $500 cruise ticket wound up turning into about $1000 after all was said and done. The entertainment: Very cheesy. The shows were just not entertaining and were not funny. The other options were bingo, gameshows, boardgames, casino, etc. The ship could use a movie theatre, REAL entertainers (dancers, professional singers, broadway style shows, etc). The entertainment was so cheap and stale. I am wondering where they are spending the astronomical amount of money they are bringing in. It is surely not on entertainment. The pools: Small. Badly designed. Cheap. Crowded. Poorly designed. The shore excursions: Once we arrived to Cozumel, we were dissapointed to find rainy weather. Not in anyones control but a major disappointment. We did a zipline activity that was fun. It also cost $90. Want a cocktail at the rainy beach in Cozumel? Better bring your wallet:) The overpriced drinks follow you onto the coast. All in all, the trip was "cheap accomodations", "nickel and dime the guests", "sub par entertainment", and "fabulous food". I would not recommend this cruise for singles. It seemed that the families with kids/ couples were enjoying themselves. For young singles in their 20s or 30s, put the money to better use and do the cruise experience after you have kids or hit retirement. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was our second Disney Cruise. The first on the Magic 4 years ago (Western Caribbean 7 Night) Our girls were 6 and 8 then. My 8 year old literally fell asleep at the dinner table one night (think face plant on the table) on that ... Read More
This was our second Disney Cruise. The first on the Magic 4 years ago (Western Caribbean 7 Night) Our girls were 6 and 8 then. My 8 year old literally fell asleep at the dinner table one night (think face plant on the table) on that cruise and missed the pirate party on deck and the fireworks. I have become really good at scouring websites and cruise booking engines and know how to find the deals. I stumbled upon kids sail free promo in October and didn't have to ask twice to book this trip. My oldest daughter was finally going to get her pirate party! This trip our girls were one and two months shy of 11 and 13. We flew into LAX the morning of our cruise and arrived at 11am. We hired a private shuttle service for under $70 total including tip and arrived at the cruise terminal at 12:15. We were on the ship by 1:00. Our ocean view stateroom was fine. Cabins are small on all cruise ships. Bathrooms are tight. If that's not what you are looking for...don't cruise. We've had inside, outside and balcony cabins on cruises and feel that for the amount of time you spend in your cabin go for the best value price wise when booking. Yes a balcony is nice to sit on, but it can double your cruise price. Our family would rather have more money to spend in ports and activities. This time booking an ocean view was less expensive than the inside room! Our girls enjoyed the sail away party again. Disney does a great job with this. Dining was typical cruise ship. Disney is great with the unlimited soda/beverage choice on the pool deck and at the buffet. It would be nice if the drink station was located in the middle of the ship versus the back. I wouldn't say the food was horrible nor would I say 5 star all the time. We had some really great things- some mediocre and a few things that were not good at all. If you don't like it don't eat it. Find something else to eat. There are options available. I would say the steak and lobster were fabulous. One steak was overcooked. I asked for another. If the menu isn't to your liking- talk to your waitstaff- they can suggest or modify what is on the menu. Don't be afraid to order 2 entrees if you can't decide or are unsure about something. I've been cruising for 12 years and yes- dining/food has declined across the board on all cruise lines over the years. If you are looking for off the chart fabulous meals and accommodations- you should be booking with a luxury cruise line. Disney is not in that category. Also for a change of pace- make sure you visit one of the sit down lunches. Check the kids into kids club and enjoy a leisurely lunch instead of buffeting it everyday. Kids club- The staff at the Edge was great! We were able to get our almost 11 year old into this club space and the girls had a ball. The wave phones on this ship were a godsend and our girls enjoyed total freedom the entire cruise. We also enjoyed many hours of kid free time as they were busy with the many friends they met on the boat. I am almost embarrassed to say that we usually returned to our cabin by 11 or so each night and our girls stayed at the Edge until Midnight. They stuck together and along with the other 6 girls they met, had a fantastic time. No complaints here! Adult Activities/Entertainment- this is one area I think Disney can improve on. There are movies showing. A few geared toward adults. We saw "The Help" on our way to Puerto Vallarta on a sea day and were looking forward to seeing "War Horse" on our last sea day. For some reason they changed the showing the last day to "Pirates of the Caribbean". We had a piece of literature in our room the first day of our cruise that had all movies listed and purposely saved "War Horse" for the last sea day for a time filler. When our navigator arrived, it had been changed. I went to Guest Services to inquire. They had the week long list we had so the gal was confused as well. She went to investigate and came back and said yes- it had been changed. Sorry.... not the kind of remedy I would expect from Disney- they could have easily have shown the movie that was supposed to have played after Pirates and made everyone happy. I give Disney an F here. There are lots of alcohol tasting seminars, the Quiet Cove pool area, the spa. I feel there could be a few more activities offered during the day while at sea. I do have to say it was fabulous to lay by the pool in the Quiet Cove- no loud music or screaming kids. Just the occasional buzz of my wave phone when the girls were checking in with us. Very Relaxing! Other cruise lines should take lesson from Disney here. Our last Disney Cruise we lounged at the Mickey pool while the girls rode down the water slide all day long. Nightly Entertainment- the shows are a must. I do have to say that they are the exact same shows we saw 4 years ago. It was long enough ago that I didn't remember everything, but also feel that Disney should get into a 2 year rotation to keep guests wanting to come back. Our girls loved to dance and do Karaoke each night too. On sea days, why don't they have Karaoke during the day? The pirate party was fun- fireworks are fun too- we ate at second seating so couldn't even think about eating again at the party. Staff- Of all cruise lines- Disney staff is overall most friendly- willing to help- and do what they can to make your trip enjoyable. I do have to say that the attention to detail was down a notch from the last Disney cruise. The princesses in the lobby are great- if this is on your list to do- make sure you arrive a bit ahead of time and be prepared to wait. Even my girls at 11 and 13 had a few pics taken. One last huge shout out to Disney- thanks for letting us bring our own liquor on board! a bucket of beer is $30 and most drinks are over $7. A glass of wine at dinner each night- it can get pretty costly. We brought 4 bottles of wine and my husband walked to Walmart in Puerto Vallarta and purchased a 12 pack of Corona. Each night we enjoyed a glass of wine poured in our cabin. We enjoyed it all the way to the dining room and then only had to order a glass during dinner. I enjoyed the ports, but do have to say that I much more enjoy the crystal clear water of the Caribbean and the warmth of the water. I also really missed the private island. A must if you are paying full price for a Disney cruise. In Puerto Vallarta we opted to take a taxi into town- see the cathedral and then walk thru shops and the beach. There are the typical port shops, restaurants etc. In Cabo we enjoyed a stroll thru the marina and ended up on the beach for the day- day 2 we hired a water taxi from booth A-7 to take us around the arch and for time on lovers beach for $35 for the 4 of us. I heard from others who used this booth that para sailing was just $40 per person. **the dolphin adventure in cabo is literally within walking distance of the tender drop- book that independently- not thru Disney and you will save quite a bit of money** In summary- a vacation is what you make of it- if you want to find something to complain about- there will always be something. When the trip is over- ask yourself- do the good points outweigh the bad? Most of the time it will. Secondly- most people who write reviews only do so if they have a bad experience. Future Disney cruisers... this is not an awful cruise- I admit a few things slipped thru the cracks- but I also had a great week and my kids had the opportunity to take a second Disney cruise. There is a reason why Disney is offering kids sail free and the prices are a bit lower on this destination. keep that in mind when you book and you will enjoy your trip. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was the second cruise aboard a Carnival ship, and our fifth cruise in the past 4 years. Like many others have said, check-in was a breeze. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. We were told that our cabin ... Read More
This was the second cruise aboard a Carnival ship, and our fifth cruise in the past 4 years. Like many others have said, check-in was a breeze. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. We were told that our cabin would not be ready until 1:30 pm, and to proceed to the Lido deck for lunch. Unfortunately, all 2000+ passengers were told the same thing and the Buffet was packed with people, and the offerings were very marginal. We decided that the safest choice seemed to be hamburgers. We looked around the ship a bit, and though gaudy, it seemed clean enough except for the windows. Every window on this ship was filthy. The cabins are very small compared to any other ship that we have been on. When we were unpacking and putting away our clothes, we found a tube of Industrial Strength adhesive in one of the drawers, and an eyeglass case that someone had left. Later, when we were departing the ship on the last day, we found a slightly moldy orange under the bed. I guess that with so many quick turnovers, things get missed. Just prior to departure, there was the mandatory passenger and crew muster. I was surprised that the crew didn't really take this seriously, as they were talking and joking to each other in our Assembly Station F. Though we were told during this drill that our station would be the first to the lifeboats, we were never shown where our lifeboats were. Having been a professional mariner on large ships for the past seventeen years, I found this entire drill to be very unprofessional. At dinner the first night we met Team Head Waiter Ernesto, and his assistant, Team Waiter Made Rai. Their service and demeanor made this cruise for us, but the food certainly did not. Generally, the worst food we have ever had on a cruise ship. Lots of prepackaged type products, and mostly served lukewarm or cold. None of the bakery items were other than one could buy in a grocery store. The buffets had very little choice and were closed more often than they were open. I was really surprised one morning to find that our "made to order" omelets had grated, processed cheese in them! How can a cruise ship not even have real cheese? The second night of our cruise, the floor drain in the bathroom started to make extremely loud gurgling noises that, on several occasions, woke us up. The overpowering stench of sewage made our cabin unbearable. For some reason, the odor was only in the cabin, and not in the hallway outside. Interesting to see my wife fanning the door of the room, while in her pajamas, in the wee hours of the morning, to try to get some of the smell out. When I mentioned this to guest services, they were very nonchalant about it, which leads me to think that it is a pretty common problem on this ship. Knowing from my marine background that some ships use ozone to treat their sewage, and that this is a potential health risk if inhaled, I was concerned. Eventually, I saw the ships' Safety Officer, Marijo Puljiz, walking on one of the decks and I asked him about it. Fortunately, he said that this ship does not use that type of system. He immediately radioed about our problem, and assured us that it would be fixed. It was, but there was no apology or compensation offered at any time during the duration of the cruise. Would I cruise Carnival again? Probably not. It seems more geared to young people that just want to drink. Alcohol is pushed incessantly, you will be asked several times an hour, morning till night, if you want drinks from the bar. The noise level on the ship is unbearable. The only respite that you will get is inside your cabin, otherwise, blaring music is the theme. Except for the comedians, the shows were generally a bit tacky. A cross between a high school musical and a very cheap Las Vegas show. I think that I will stick to Holland America in the future.....even though it is owned by Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This is a good bargain for a family or entry-level cruiser. However, do not expect to pay Holiday Inn prices and get a Ritz-Carlton experience. If you know what to expect, you can have a good time. PROS: Good value. Loved the spa ... Read More
This is a good bargain for a family or entry-level cruiser. However, do not expect to pay Holiday Inn prices and get a Ritz-Carlton experience. If you know what to expect, you can have a good time. PROS: Good value. Loved the spa cabin which was larger than other interior cabins I have had on other lines. Enjoyed use of the big hot-tub, aromatherapy room, and other perks of the spa cabin. It was a nice place to get away from the crowds. Shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta was a highlight of my life (Rhythms of the Night) and well worth the $99 a person for a magical experience on an island off the coast. Liked the ability to access dining menus and fees as well as other stuff from the room TV. Extremely hard-working staff. Felt reasonably comfortable as a lesbian couple on a family ship. NEUTRALS: Food was mediocre. Generally good in the Golden Pearl and loved the people at our table as well as the wait staff (they can dance but they cannot sing). Be sure to try the chocolate melted cake. Lido deck was hit or miss, mostly miss. Was happy to find the rotisserie upstairs and eat the roasted chicken and good mac and cheese. Was not thrilled with breakfast until I tried the omelet bar and discovered you could get an egg however you wanted there. Overall my strategy was to eat things they cooked right there (Mongolian BBQ, etc).There were areas to get away from kids but the Serenity Deck is situated right below the miniature golf course deck so sometimes noisier than I would have liked. Entertainment also hit or miss. Vroom a great show. Comedian Russ Nagle hilarious. The others not so much. CONS: Wish we had spent two days in PV and only one in Cabo. Could have spent a week at the island of Caletas (near PV) where our offshore excursion went. Only educational thing on board was a great gourmet cooking demo at the Pinnacle (get there early). Would have loved something about the Mexican culture or Mexican cooking. Spa cabin services not available day of departure as they are giving tours. Had expected tai chi but none offered. Also, interior decor in atrium area was horrid. I actually detoured it as much as I could to not have to see it. WEIRDNESS: It was strange to turn on my cabin TV on Saturday morning to see a wrecked cruise ship (Carnival owns Costa). Surreal and very sad. At the same time, I felt safe on this ship, and our lifeboat drill was first thing we did. Our captain made an announcement and we had a moment of silence. Unfortunately, it was during the last minute of a playoff game, which was awkward. I have to say he sounded very touched and choked up about the Costa tragedy. Anyway, to sum up, I would do this again if I could stay in a spa cabin and go to Caletas Island again for Rhythms of the Night. Otherwise, I'll cruise with Olivia Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
My family and I went on this itty bitty 3-day jaunt on board the Carnival Inspiration in January 2012 to Ensenada, Mexico and back from Long Beach, CA just so I could "test-drive" cruises. I tend to get motion sickness at the ... Read More
My family and I went on this itty bitty 3-day jaunt on board the Carnival Inspiration in January 2012 to Ensenada, Mexico and back from Long Beach, CA just so I could "test-drive" cruises. I tend to get motion sickness at the drop of a hat and my parents were a little concerned about that, since we're planning to go on a 12-day cruise on board the Caribbean Princess in August 2012. After speaking with multiple co-workers about their Carnival experiences, I kind of went on board with low expectations in terms of service, food, quality of the ship and noise/atmosphere. I think it would be safe to say that my expectations were blown out of the water, so to speak. I guess I'll just give a little brief run down of what I was happy with and what I wasn't so happy with. Pros: 1. Food. Everyone I spoke to complained about the buffet and the main dining areas. While I sorta agree with the buffet being a tad "meh," the main dining areas were AMAZING. The food was fresh, beautifully prepared and even though we opted for anytime dining, we kept asking for the same server and bartender/sommelier, who were both pretty awesome. I loved how Carnival offered a "Ever wanted to these?" portion of the menu and I managed to sample alligator! Delish! Oh, and unlimited ice tea, lemonade, tea and coffee? Yes, please. I really almost managed to wean myself off Diet Coke over the weekend, thanks to their beverage selection. My family and I also loved the Mongolian stir-fry station they had set up outside near the swimming pools. 2. Service. Again, see above re: dining staff. Most of the other Carnival staff members we met were professional and efficient as well, aside from 2 exceptions. 3. Amenities and entertainment. I personally loved their comedy acts and the Vegas-style performances (I think one was called "Shout!" or something along those lines? Not sure anymore). I couldn't get over how BIG the ship was and how much there was to see and do. We never set foot in the spa or fitness facilities the entire time we were on board. Cons: 1. Crowds. Every main area of the boat was always packed and it did at times seem to be overrun with really loud and drunk people. However, there were plenty of quiet places to hide in, so this never really became a problem. 2. Ports and excursions. After reading multiple reviews of Carnival's land excursions, we decided to just wing it and ended up having a good time on our own. 3. Day 3's Day at Sea. This was my "Ack!" moment of the cruise, when the ship anchored out at sea for the entire day and bobbed on the waves. It was the only day during the cruise when I felt I might be sick, due to the constant motion of the waves. I tried looking out over the horizon as others had suggested - no use whatsoever. In the end, I learned that just always being on my feet and moving seemed to help, as well as chewing ginger candies and popping Dramamine. All in all, a really great trip! I'd repeat this in heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We had been thinking of experiencing a cruise for many years, but it never fit into our plans (all our destinations have been Europe) until my wife's very best and dearest friend from college asked us to join her and her husband for a ... Read More
We had been thinking of experiencing a cruise for many years, but it never fit into our plans (all our destinations have been Europe) until my wife's very best and dearest friend from college asked us to join her and her husband for a Carnival Inspiration cruise to Avalon and Ensenada. Without a doubt, we are glad we accepted the invitation. Our stateroom was adequately sized, very comfortable, well maintained, and well located. The forward and aft elevators were sufficiently far away to give us great privacy from traffic and noise, but close enough for easy access to the rest of the ship. Our steward was a great help in many ways, including knowing our names within the first couple of hours and promptly readying our room while we were out and about. We have to call room service elsewhere for this service, but our steward was tuned in to this travel peculiarity of ours. Carnival Inspiration food is more than adequate in quantity and quality. One can hope for no more when thousands are being fed. However, the Chocolate Melting Cake is world-class and if sprigs of fresh basil were put on the ship's rendition of Pizza Margherita (available 24/7) we could have existed on nothing else. Also available 24/7 from a deli are some fine renditions of Reuben and Corned Beef sandwiches. If one is looking for a generally quiet environment, forget it or sit on the fantail all the time. Music and people talking are everywhere which fits not only Carnival's inclusive "family fun" theme, but also the all Italian senior officer crew. Like my wife from Naples, Italy, they too only function at their best apparently in a cacophony. As to the crew and staff, all were very helpful, professional and engaging to us. The ship and facilities are well maintained although like all of us showing the usual wear and tare of time and use, but dealing with it gracefully. Sure the decor is a bit dated (Andy Warhol meets Baroque), but that is part of the ship's charm. Lastly, getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Carnival has it down to a science. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This review is well overdue... We sailed on 1/22/12 from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera with two small children ages 5 and 3. We were reluctant to go on a 7 day cruise with such small children who had never gone on a cruise before. The ... Read More
This review is well overdue... We sailed on 1/22/12 from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera with two small children ages 5 and 3. We were reluctant to go on a 7 day cruise with such small children who had never gone on a cruise before. The only reference we point we have in terms of cruises were Carnival Cruises. We were able to sign up for a "kids sail free" promotion and paid for a Category 6 stateroom. I knew that they were out of this selection, including staterooms in the category 5 when I signed up, so I was told by Disney Cruiselines that I would likely get upgraded. Sure enough, we were upgraded to a much larger category 4 stateroom which is a little bigger than the others (304 square feet). The whole process with this cruiseline was just so well organized. Living in Orange County California and only minutes from Disneyland, we are very familiar with how the Disney Experience is. From the moment we got to the Los Angeles cruise terminal, the "Disney Magic" was clearly setting this experience a part from our other cruise experiences. Thole embarkataion process was so organized and so effortless. We were able to check in and do most of our paperwork online. When we got on the ship, they announced every family by name and welcomed you aboard. They had lunch ready to go for us at the restaurants and had plenty of activities to start enjoying. The pools were open, the unlimited soft drink station was ready to go and we were able to get into our staterooms by 2:00PM. When we got into our room, we were surprised at how much room there was. We were on deck 8 and closer to aft than midship, which was a perfect location for us since we were close to the pools and quick dining options. It was a short walk to the theaters and also close to Animators Palate and Parrot Cay restaurants. We didn't enjoy Parrot Cay as much, however, the food was ok. We enjoyed Animators Palate and Triton's restaurant the most. We saw plenty of characters and had plenty of impromptu and scheduled character photo opportunities. They are walking everywhere and roaming around. If you go to a scheduled photo shoot, take the time to look at who's going to be scheduled and get there during the 15 interval or they'll close the line. Also, if you want a good seat, be sure to get to the shows about 10-15 minutes early. People save seats, even though they aren't allowed to. Be sure to read and comb through your daily Navigator so you can see what's scheduled and what specials you can take advantage of - such as buy one get one cocktails, spa packages etc. We used the Oceaneers Club several times. The staff was great and by the middle of the week, they knew our children by name. We did not leave our kids in the Club for as long as we thought we would originally since there were so many family activities to do. We would drop them off an hour or two at a time based on what activities they had scheduled (daily activities found in Navigator). One of the best parts of the cruise was that during the second seating dinner, they would have the children's food served between 8:45PM and 9:00PM and the youth counselors would come down and pick up the kids to play while we finished our dinner and had a cocktail in Route 66. This was a great experience for our family and I am glad we were able to do it before they repositioned the cruise back to the east coast. We did the port adventures but they can get pricey. Well worth it to not have to worry about navigating through Mexico yourself. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Carnival Splendor January 8th -- 15th After many months of anticipation and planning, it was finally our time to sail on the Carnival Splendor to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! Since they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, I ... Read More
Carnival Splendor January 8th -- 15th After many months of anticipation and planning, it was finally our time to sail on the Carnival Splendor to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! Since they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, I have posted a link to our pics! Enjoy :) http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2627883290350.2130253.1053331324&type=3 Day 1- Embarkation We arrived at the Port of Long Beach at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 8th. After dropping our luggage with the porters, we stood in a very short line of no more than 10 people and proceeded through the entrance of the building. Once inside, we quickly went through the security check set-up our S&S account, got our picture taken and were on the ship by 1:50 p.m. Out of our 4 cruises, this was by far the easiest and fastest embarkation process. As we boarded the Splendor, we were taken back by her grandeur and beauty. Yes, the main theme of her décor is pink circles with zebra; however, it never bothered us whatsoever! Once on board we took the main lobby glass elevators up to the upper deck and to our surprise, they had just opened the doors to the staterooms. As we walked to our cabin, we realized how big the Splendor was! After walking, for what seemed to be forever, we arrived at our far aft extended balcony cabin # 6448. This cabin is amazing. The L-shape design gives this room a super spacious feel and the extended balcony was awesome! The only negative thing about this cabin (at least for me because I am extremely prone to sea sickness) is the direction of the bed and the movement of the aft. Every other balcony cabin we've had, the bed faces front to back, thus, you roll side to side in bed. This bed faces the balcony, thus your head is constantly going up and down and what I would describe as "around".... which I am guessing is due to the aft location! Since I start taking my meds 2 days prior to sailing, I did not get sick; however, the movement was a little difficult to get accustomed to. We quickly unpacked our carry-ons and headed up to the Lido deck to grab some lunch. The Lido deck was crowded, so we opted to try the Rotisserie (up from the main Lido buffet area). This area was actually quiet and the food was absolutely amazing! This ended up being one of our favorite places to eat throughout the week. After eating, we headed down the main pool area, where I got a henna tattoo for $10.00. We then enjoyed our 1st drink of the day and set off to explore the ship. The ship is beautiful, well maintained and very clean! Note: Just as we had read, the layout of this ship is somewhat tricky to maneuver (especially when compared with the Spirit, where every floor goes front to aft). It does take some getting used to, especially getting to the bottom floor of the Black Pearl Dining Room for anytime dining. Many times, it felt like we were in a maze, going up, down and around; however, by day 3, we found a way to eliminate the hassle and simply just walked the upper deck hall to the Splendor lobby elevators. Once we were done exploring the ship we headed back to our cabin where we found our luggage had already been brought inside by our cabin steward (although we had not met him yet). As we unpacked our clothing, a chocolate cake was delivered by the bon voyage department. Even though we were still full from lunch, we figured what the heck and took a little bite. It was very good.... my only complaint was that it did not come with a cover and although I left our cabin steward a note requesting one, it never arrived. So on the afternoon of Day 2 we ended up throwing it out ? As we finished unpacking our suitcases it was now time for the safety drill~ this was the first of the 3 times that we saw our cabin steward the entire trip. As we stood in Zone H, we noticed that our zone was quite small, in fact there were less than 20 people total, compared to the massive amounts of people in the other zones. The drill went smooth and was very fast and it was finally time to set sail!!! Not long after the Splendor set sail, the sun was setting and the view of Long Beach was breathtaking. In the distance we could see Catalina Island and a Disney cruise ship (I think it was the Wonder) that actually ended up cruising close to us all the way down to Mexico. After checking out the remainder of the ship, we got changed and headed up to the Black Pearl for our first experience with anytime dining. Upon arriving for dinner, there was a small line, maybe 10 minutes. Once we checked in with the desk, we were then asked to step to the side where we waited another 15 minutes. Finally, we were directed to our table. All in all the dining process took about 2 hours that night.... we just figured it was due to embarkation. After dinner we headed up to the Morocco Lounge where they had karoke and Superstar Live! After singing a few songs in Karoke it and hearing the same guy over and over sing Frank Sinatra.... it was finally time for Superstar Live.... I put in a song and was surprised when I was the first person called to sing with the band! Holy smokes was it fun ? We then headed to the disco where we ended up dancing until around 2 a.m. Day 2- Sea Day We awoke on Day 2 around 8:00 a.m. and got ready for the CC meet & greet in the Golden Pearl Dining Room at 9:30 a.m. Once we arrived at the dining room, we gave the code word "swordfish" which was what our group had agreed upon. When we said this, the staff looked at us like we were crazy. They told us we were more than welcome to walk around the dining room and try to locate our group~ Gee thanks Carnival! Needless to say, we did not find the CC group; however, we did enjoy breakfast in the Golden Pearl. The food was okay~ very continental. Service was a little slow. We decided that the buffet was a far better option for us in the morning. After we ate, we headed up to the Lido deck, got some chairs and enjoyed cruising down to Mexico. Throughout the day there were plenty of activities going on and if you got bored, you could always go and hang out by the aft pools on the Lido deck and watch the drunken fools in the hot tubs!!! Tonight was the first elegant night and we love getting all done up!! Since we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, we got a little more dressed up than many and ended up getting some beautiful pictures! So worth the hassle of finding the right color tie to match my bright coral dress ? Our only complaint about tonight was again, the service for anytime dining. The entire process took just under 3 hours, which is way too long and frankly not acceptable. We noticed that once we sat down, our waiter did not arrive to take our orders until several of the other tables around us filled up. Thus, we ended up getting our food the same time as the other people who had waited nearly 1 hour less than us. To make matters worse, the bread was hard, my soup was cold and there were slivers of shell throughout my lobster, making it inedible. Rather than waiting for a different plate, I opted to advise the maitre d' desk of our dissatisfaction and grabbed a slice of pizza on our way back to the cabin. After dinner we changed our clothes and headed out for karoke and the disco....... which ended up becoming our evening ritual, followed by a 3 a.m. pizza nightcap ? We met some really nice people, who we ended up hanging out with throughout the cruise! Day 3- Cabo We awoke early to make sure that we got an early tender and ended up with Zone 2. I can't remember what time the tenders started; however by 9:30, they were already at Zone 15 or so, thus we slipped into that group and were on shore by 9:45 a.m. (10:45 Cabo time). We headed straight to Senor Frogs for our pre-Pez Gato shot of tequila and spent the rest of the afternoon on the Pez Gato, where we went snorkeling at Santa Maria Bay. Being frequent Pez Gato sailors, we were pleasantly surprised when Melanie presented us with a nice bottle of wine for our anniversary. These guys really know how to have a good time and in our opinion, they are one of the best tour operators in Cabo! Once off the Pez Gato, we returned to the marina area where we strolled around and sat at Senor Frogs and people watched! Once back on the ship, we ate dinner on the Lido and then headed out for our evening of fun! Day 4 -- Cabo Today we opted to sleep in a little bit before heading into Cabo. We were onshore around 10:30 a.m. and had a nice relaxing day walking through Cabo and eventually to Medano Beach where we went to Billigan's and had a great lunch and some drinks. The prices were pretty good and the host was awesome. He really got the crowd involved with the contests, etc. We then took a water taxi back to the Marina for $2.50 per person. Once back on ship, we decided to give anytime dining another try and headed back to the Black Pearl. Tonight, the line was much shorter (maybe due to being in Cabo) and the service was much better. Since typically we never complain about anything while on the cruise, we have to admit that tonight's experience was far better than the others... whatever the reasoning, we were quite pleased that CCL took our complaint seriously and made sure the problem was corrected. After dinner, we did karoke, the piano bar and the disco, followed by our evening ritual ? Day 5- Puerto Vallarta We awoke this morning to the boat shuttering, as the captain backed it into port in P.V. It's actually quite amazing that they are able to back this large of a vessel into such a tiny spot! Once the boat was docked, we enjoyed breakfast sitting on our balcony and watching all of the activity down in the courtyard area, including the sea lion picture opportunity that did not make me very happy ? We sat and watched them cart that creature back and forth to a truck (I am guessing for water breaks) in between photo opportunities for the tourists. We got off the ship around 11:00 a.m. and walked to the Mundo Nogalito office for our zipline adventure! The directions given were 100% accurate and the M.N. office was surprisingly nice. Once everyone in our group arrived, we hopped into this safari looking truck and headed on our journey across town to Mundo Nogalito! The grounds were breathtaking and the ziplining was awesome! 12 ziplines total..... including a tandum line where husband and I raced to the finish! The guides were very professional and informative. The tequila tasting was excellent and lunch at the restaurant was delicious! We spent the remainder of the day shopping in P.V. people watching, and taking in the culture. It was a very fun and memorable day! We again returned to the Black Pearl around 8:30 p.m. and had a wonderful dinner as we set sail from P.V. Day 6 -- Sea Day Today we slept in and enjoyed breakfast in bed. We had a lazy day, relaxing watching movies in our cabin and laying out in the sun on our balcony. Tonight was the 2nd formal night and the past guest party. As we were getting ready we had an incident that I was, and am still, furious about as I type it. While sitting at the vanity, doing my hair and make-up in nothing but my anniversary suit, I heard keys (yes, they were actual keys like on a key ring) outside of our door. Since cabin #6450 is also off the little atrium, I didn't think too much about it~ until I heard the key go into the keyhole of our door!!! It happened so fast, that I couldn't even get words out of my mouth. As I jumped up from the vanity and over the bed, my eyes met an unfamiliar male's eyes. My husband happened to be walking out of the bathroom and was like "what the heck". We then heard a faint "I'm sorry ma'am". My heart was racing so fast and I was so furious that I could not see straight. Since when does any service member of CCL enter a passenger stateroom without knocking first!!!! We finished getting dressed and headed to dinner. Throughout dinner, my husband was telling me to let it go, but I simply could not. Upon finishing dinner we went to guest services and made them aware of the incident. At first they told me it was impossible as this was a "keyless" ship and that there were only 2 people on the ship with actual keys. After I insisted they were keys and that I had heard them go into the key hole, I was asked to hold on and a different person came to the desk. After a few minutes we were asked if we had gone 2 days without our cabin being serviced~ at first I responded NO, because we had our evening turn-down service, but we were then advised that our cabin had been "red-flagged" due to the "Snoozin" sign being up 2 consecutive days in the afternoon. Thus, a CCL service member had reported it, at which time the "master of arms" had to clear the red flag. While I am thankful that CCL is watching out for our safety and making sure that we were still alive, for the life of me, I will never understand why they did not knock before entering. I found this to not only be unacceptable, but also humiliating. When I asked about filing a formal complaint, I was told by guest services that I could fill out the guest survey that would arrive via email within 7 days of our cruise. Really?? Despite the unfortunate events of earlier in the evening, we did manage to make our usual outings.... karoke, piano bar and the disco, followed by our pizza nightcap ? Day 7 -- Sea Day When we woke up this morning we realized that our vacation was nearing an end ? We spent today up on the Lido deck hanging out with our new friends, catching some sun and then played miniature golf and enjoyed the Serenity area. Still not sure what they were thinking to put the miniature golf course above it, but it is a very nice play to get away if you want to catch some peace from the rest of the partying fools on the ship. After dinner, we packed our suitcases and set them outside of our cabin as instructed. We then headed up for our ritual of evening activities and exchanged contact information with all of our new friends! After dancing until 2 a.m., we headed for our last slice of pizza and off to bed. Debarkation It was cold and cloudy when we arrived back at Long Beach. We were Zone 3 and were off the ship by 8:30 a.m. and in the car by 9:00 a.m. Again, this could not have gone any smoother. Despite a few small hiccups, overall this was one of the best vacations we've ever taken. We are already in the process of booking our next family cruise on the Splendor in January 2013 ? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Folks it all starts and ends with great Guest Services and how they handles any potential problems. And I hope you don't have any on your cruise. But if you do they should be handled professionally and quickly with a great solution. ... Read More
Folks it all starts and ends with great Guest Services and how they handles any potential problems. And I hope you don't have any on your cruise. But if you do they should be handled professionally and quickly with a great solution. The Emerald Princess by far has the worst Guest Services is my travels by far. I was celebrating four years cancer free and when I went to guest services I was rudley told by a young girl young enough to be my daughter that "We dont do that here" and then she shared it with the rest of guest services and they had a nice chuckle about it. It was only after 5-6 days of me nagging the desk and following up on my own to find out they had a Susan K Komen "Walk The Deck For The Cure" and then I was bought off with a dinner at Sabatinis and a bottle of red wine. Again after 5-6 days and about 4-5 people before speaking to management. Will never cruise with Princess again. Carnival just as bad when me and my family was blocked from getting on board ship after an 18 hour drive by photographers who insisted on taking our pictures. Complained to desk they said sorry and that was the end of that. Wrote a letter and then was offered a 12.95 plate of Chocolate covered strawberries on our next Carnival cruise. Talk about adding insult to injury. No more cruises with Carnival. And trust me I share this story with people and blogs everywhere. Well lets spray some magic pixie dust over this bad stuff and go on to the great review of the Disney Wonder. We were celebrating my wife's 60 birthday and have never cruised the Pacific Coast before. We have cruised Disney before going on the Disney Dream's Inaugural Cruise. Another great cruise. Disney is very well organized about getting you on the ship and the entire process took about 1/2 hour before we were on board ship. Rooms were ready at 2 and the Beach Blanket Buffet was lay ed out well with lots of great food choices. Muster drill was painless and very well done. With Disney safety is always first. You can always be assured your little ones are well taken care of here. Then the Sail Away Party. There is no other cruise line that does a Sail Away Party to speak of and nobody and I do mean NOBODY does it like Disney. They put the E in excitement and make sure you leave all your troubles behind. You really feel like you are on vacation. Just a mention on our room. We had an inside stateroom. Our inside stateroom on the Oasis of the Seas sailing was 182 sg feet with veranda. Our inside stateroom was 184 sg ft and Disney has tubs as well even in the inside staterooms. The biggest bathrooms at seas. We are return Castaway Members after just one cruise. Did we have a cheesy discount book waiting for us with the usual 10% off the usual purchase in the shop stuff? Nope we got a great canvas beach bag with two huge rice krispy treats that looked like sandals, two very nice metal water bottles and a keep sake key chain. After only 1 cruise Room steward was great with great towel animals and chocolates at bedtimes. Something the other cruise line (some of them) have stopped doing. Its the little things though that make the difference. How much do you really save on a little bit of chocolate and how is it reflected in a cruise fare? First night was at Palo's for my wife's birthday. Here was the only stumble. I had let them know it was my wife's birthday and dinner was good but it was not as good and presentation was not as grand as we had on the Emerald Princess and Sabatinis. Disney could learn here. Plus there were only 4 tables and the Maitre D never stopped by to wish my wife a happy birthday. Instead he choose to visit a table of past cruisers he knew and visit with them. Our waiter did however write a beautiful Happy Birthday wish on an empty plate for my wife. No singing nothing else. ??? I went to Guest Services the next day just to make sure that at dinner that evening perhaps the waiters in the rotational dining schedule could sing to my wife. Jennifer in Guest Services immediately took control of the situation explaining they do not sing in Palos because of the ambiance ?? Ok But they would at night on the 16 and that was my wife's actual birthday anyway. And it went great. We also came to out room that night to find a very nice bottle of wine and a towel birthday cake and a card waiting for my wife. Also there were little gifts and cards left the rest of the week by both our friends Jennifer and Colin at Guest Services. Yes I said friends because Guest Services at Disney will treat you like friends and family. New Cruise director Jimmy London also did a fine job with all the fine shows and all the entertainment. How could you tell? Walk by any club or bar and they were packed day and night with laughing families and adults having a blast. And Jimmies staffs attention were on the guests not each other in the hallways and on deck. Fireworks at sea,Pirates, Captain Jack Sparrow, Rotational dining between three great colorful restaurants with great food in each.(the food was very good and plate presentation was gourmet with real Baked Alaska served and done in parade fashion) Waiters on parade cutting food for the kids and making sure everyone's favorite drinks were waiting for them. Every dinner was a show onto itself plus the Maitre D was kind and all over the place. And have you ever seen the bartenders do tricks and dance on all those great promo videos you see from cruise lines? They guys on Disney actually do it WOW. Every show was done in the professional manner we know and love with the execution of excellence Disney is know for around the world We also did the All Day RainForest Pass in the spa which gives you all day in great showers and different steam rooms and thermal beds for some great chill time. The only downer about this is its positioned under the basketball court (big opps). Go early or late in the day or on a port day for relaxing time hint hint. Plus the beautiful and safe ports of Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. What more could you ask for? I was so blown away we are doing this all over again April 22 in a couple months. Hey I love Disney and a Shout out to our friends Jennifer,Colin, Mitch,Clair (Main stage members) and Jimmy London and staff You made us feel like family and we love you for that. Im gonna tell your boss. See some of you soon I hope. Folks if you want a great cruise I would wonder why you wouldn't choose The Wonder? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I went with a family of seven on a cruise to Cabo in January. The Carnival Spirit was a nice ship but we were a little disappointed with the overall experience. It all started a week before the cruise. Carnival called us and asked if we ... Read More
I went with a family of seven on a cruise to Cabo in January. The Carnival Spirit was a nice ship but we were a little disappointed with the overall experience. It all started a week before the cruise. Carnival called us and asked if we would like to upgrade to 3 balcony rooms with interconnecting doors on the back of the ship and on the main deck that was near all the activities. We decided to take the offer because our original rooms were deck 2 inside staterooms and we figured for $200 a room we couldn't go wrong. Embarkation: The ship boarding went smooth and we were on the ship and in our rooms in 30 minutes. You just have to be aware that when you park at the San Pedro Pier you should drop your luggage and passengers off first and then park. Staterooms: When we arrived in our staterooms we were very pleased. The rooms were spacious and the balcony view was great from the aft of the ship. The stateroom porter was very friendly and took the time to call everyone by their first name throughout the entire cruise. The first thing we tried to do was open our balcony doors so that all 3 room balconies were connected. To our surprise we found that you need a special key to open the doors. We called down to guest services and they informed us that the balcony doors on the back of the ship could not be opened because of safety reasons. This was a big disappointment because this was the main reason we upgraded to balconies. Kid Activities: My 15 year old daughter loved the Club O2 activities and make a lot of new friends. The only time we seen her was breakfast and dinner the entire cruise. I also have a 8 yr old and 11yr old who enjoyed Camp Carnival. Dining: The La Playa Grill buffet was good and their was a good variety of foods to choose from. The kids loved the chicken fingers and hamburgers served outside at the pool grill. We ate dinner ever night at the Empire Dinning Room. Service was very slow and it took us 2hrs every night to eat. The staff was not very friendly the first 4 night and it seemed like we were a bother to them. Finally on the last night we received great service and the food was good. Port of Call: When we arrived in Cabo we were a little disappointed in the fact that we had to tendor to get to shore. Shame on us for not checking. The tendor process was very slow and you had to take numbers to tendor. It took us 4 hours to get ashore and by the time we got to shore we only had 2 hours to enjoy Cabo and then it was back to the ship. The 2nd day the tendor was quick, 1st come 1st serve. We rented jet skis from Banyon Tours and the staff was friendly and gave us a great deal on the rental. Although the waters in Cabo are very beautiful we were a little disappointed. We have been on several Caribbean islands and were expecting the waters to be as clear and blue as there. All and all we had a great time in Cabo and the locals are very friendly and welcoming people. Disembarkation: We arrived back at the Port of San Pedro at 8:30am. We decided to check our luggage thinking so that we did not have to roll around 7 pieces of luggage everywhere. It is a good thing we did because the process took 4 hours. After speaking with our room service porter we found out that the ship was going to dry dock and they were of loading everything on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I really wanted to love this cruise. I have cruised 15 times previously (albeit without children, whereas this time we had a 6 month old and a 4 year old), I love cruises and I love Disneyland. Alas, it was not what I expected. To be ... Read More
I really wanted to love this cruise. I have cruised 15 times previously (albeit without children, whereas this time we had a 6 month old and a 4 year old), I love cruises and I love Disneyland. Alas, it was not what I expected. To be fair, it was not horrible. The service in regard to our waitstaff and the kids' activities was excellent. But there were too many negatives that overall I would not recommend DCL, at least with young kids. I began encountering problems even before we boarded, which in hindsight should have been a red flag. When I went to check in our family on-line a few days before the cruise, I discovered that I had to pick an arrival time at the port (because we were using a shuttle and not DCL's transfers). The only one left was 3-330pm. Given the fact that our shuttle was to drop us off at 1230, and that I had two young kids including an infant that I had no idea how I would keep entertained in the terminal for 3 hours, I called DCL for help. The first time, I got a rude lady who told me there was nothing she could do because it was a Port of Los Angeles issue and not something DCL caused. I later found that to be an out-right lie. So my husband called back, not getting much further, with a different rep who told us it was our fault for checking in so late, despite the fact that when I had tried weeks before the system would not let me and despite the fact that DCL had not given us a heads' up about it since I have never had to pick an arrival time with any other line before. Finally, on the third call, with a supervisor, we got some assistance. I found this same strange-for-Disney inability to help when I went to the Guest Services desk two hours after boarding. I was trying to sign my daughter up for this special princess tea they have on board. I was told it was already booked and that it "usually books in the first hour after people board". Um....ok? Shouldn't this be a signal to you then that you need more than ONE??? Disney shoves all this princess crap down our girls' throats...of course all the little girls are going to want to go. I would think they would be better prepared for this contingency. We were ultimately waitlisted, and, despite only 4 parties being ahead of me, were never called. I had a similar problem with the adult-only restaurant, Palo. We did get our one night there (I think everyone is allowed one night) and it was pretty good. But apparently the place has brunches and teas which I tried to book months prior to the cruise but could never get in. Again, I was waitlisted, and heard nothing more. Since we had a child under three, we booked nursery time. You are only allowed 18 hours when you book. I was able to get a little more when I pestered them the first day. The service in the nursery was excellent and they were wonderful with my son. The problem is that because DCL doesnt give you any kind of idea when things will be scheduled, you are basically booking the nursery hours blind. What that translated into was that when my husband and I did get time alone, no adult activities were happening. (Except the occasional cigar club and martini tasting, which we have no interest in). I really wanted to go to the trivia and games, but we had the baby during these times. I asked if we could still go and was told no. I think Disney should either A) give you more time; B) give you the schedule in advance so you know when you will need the nursery time; C) offer babysitting; or D) let you take the infant with you. The food was pretty good in the dining rooms, but the buffet, when it was open, was kind of mediocre. I say when it was open because it had limited hours and if you did not get there by a certain time, you were kind of screwed food wise. My husband and daughter had that problem at least twice. Our cabin was alright, but we barely fit. Yes, there is a tub in the bathroom but it is half-sized. That didn't bother me although I could never get anything but scalding hot water to come out which is kind of a problem when you have young kids. It was also very noisy...when the tenders were being taken in and out it sounded like a major construction site outside our window. Frankly, given the weird placement of the cabins (we were on deck one) I don't think they were initially intended as passenger cabins anyways. Our cabin steward was nice, but sometimes slow on the cleaning. I know we were hard to pin down in the morning but we were always at dinner 545-7pm and we would come back to put the baby to sleep and the cabin still wasn't turned down for the night. At least twice I told him to not worry about it and just had him hand me extra towels because we were already heading to bed. Room service was fine and prompt except no one ever collected trays. They would line the hallway up and down for hours. It was actually kind of gross. I don't expect them to be taken away in a second but I would leave our cabin and see dirty trays outside the door and then return FIVE hours later seeing these exact same trays had yet to be cleaned. The adult activities, as I hinted above, are limited, unless you like alcohol tasting. They also had a couple presentations (mostly to buy spa crap or their vacation club) but not much else. The kids' club was very nice and had lots of activities. I think my husband would have rather played there. My daughter had a great time, so that was a plus. OVERALL: Not a horrible experience, but not great either, especially given the fact that you pay that extra Disney mark-up to travel on the Disney Cruise Line. I just don't think it is worth what you pay for it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2012
We have been on the Spirit for 3 or 4 times. In July 2012 we cruised to Alaska and the Spirit was as wonderful as ever. However we just returned from the Mexican Riviera on the Spirit again and what a difference. We were traveling ... Read More
We have been on the Spirit for 3 or 4 times. In July 2012 we cruised to Alaska and the Spirit was as wonderful as ever. However we just returned from the Mexican Riviera on the Spirit again and what a difference. We were traveling with 5 other couples, all past cruisers and all of us had similar complaints about dinner. The menu had been cut back drastically with fewer items to select from. Table service was TERRIBLE. The waiter seldom remembered from night to night what we liked to drink. Appetizers were often forgotten. Dishes were nearly "thrown" onto the table. Food was mostly never hot and on several nights meals were sent back to be reheated. Coffee was served long after desserts were delivered. Ice cream was served in Hot Dishes and was mostly melted when delivered. This continued even after we told the waiter. We own a restaurant in Las Vegas and we know good quality food and good service. We also know what temperature cooked food should be held at too prevent spoilage. It is my opinion that neither was present on this cruise. We have cruised only once on Norwegian Cruise Lines and will never do so again. I do not like "Free Style Dinning". I felt as if we were eating at "Denny's"! This experience was not much different. We have booked and paid for 2 more cruises in the next 2 months on different Carnival ships. If these upcoming cruise seem to be Carnivals new platform they will be loosing several good customers. Beautiful City.. Wonderful people, Fantastic Beach along the Melecon Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Firstly this was supposed to be 3 port cruise- Cabo San Lucas, Mazetlan and Puerta Vallarta, but found out after booking that Mazetlan was cancelled (due to crime, according to reviews) and not replaced- instead we spent 2 days in Cabos, ... Read More
Firstly this was supposed to be 3 port cruise- Cabo San Lucas, Mazetlan and Puerta Vallarta, but found out after booking that Mazetlan was cancelled (due to crime, according to reviews) and not replaced- instead we spent 2 days in Cabos, a small tender port with little to do. We decided to go anyway just to chill, because we were already in San Diego for a conference and our options were limited. That was just the beginning. We hated the preassigned seating and set dining time. It's just not for us. And the drink waiters pushing drinks from morning (yes, with breakfast) till night gets tiresome. As does having to go through the smoky casino to get through the ship. The food was consistently poor quality, the decor a cheap looking gross pink zebra theme, our cabin very noisy from our neighbours slamming the balcony door constantly and partying all hours of the night, waking us up. And I don't know if schools were out but there were tons of kids running around unsupervised. (And why oh why would there be a Kids evening program from 10 pm-3 am - no joke!! specifically for 9-11year olds) Generally a nightmare. There is another reviewer here that says it well, KEG306, and with few exceptions, I agree. Our cruise was a week later, but the experience similar. If there was a bright side it was that the cabin crew were very polite and efficient. And the dining room wait staff team was great. We will not likely ever go again on Carnival if this is what it is like. For a few dollars more book another cruise. We have nothing but good to say about Norwegian. We will book them for our mediterranean cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We drove to Long Beach from northern California on Sunday morning & checked in to Hotel Maya for the night. Loved the hotel & the view of Long Beach harbor. Left our car there for the next 5 days & took the hotel shuttle to ... Read More
We drove to Long Beach from northern California on Sunday morning & checked in to Hotel Maya for the night. Loved the hotel & the view of Long Beach harbor. Left our car there for the next 5 days & took the hotel shuttle to the cruise terminal. All quick & easy; we would do this part again. We arrived at the cruise terminal at about 12:15, checked one bag, did self assist for the small one. Line looked a bit long once inside, but moved rather quickly. We did all the pre-stuff on-line so just had to show our credit card & we were on our way. Crossing the gang way was a nightmare!! It was raining pretty hard & the wind was blowing the rain sideways. Most of the folks in front of us were elderly & the rain & wind seemed to slow them down, which made being behind them dreadful. By the time we reached the ship our legs & feet were completely soaked. Thank goodness we wore waterproof jackets, that saved our top half. The very first thing that greeted us at this point was the port-o-potty smell-WHEW! Once on the ship we were greeted with welcomes, told our cabins wouldn't be ready until about 1:30 & directed to the Brasserie for lunch buffet. We entered the Atrium & took a quick look around. As in other reviews, we found the purple, orange & green neon lighting tacky. Vegas lounge looking for sure. We walked through the Promenade deck to reach the buffet & the smell of cigarette smoke wafts through this entire area. We soon found the source-the Cigar Bar where smoking is permitted-has no doors. Rather it is open into the Promenade. We made it a point to avoid this area if possible; we both found the cigarette smoke smell ever present & obnoxious. The buffet was Italian & we didn't expect much so we were pleasantly surprised that it was actually quite good. I had some sort of fish & it wasn't fishy or dry, just nice flavor. We also appreciated the salad bar that was stocked with plenty of fresh fruit & salad fixings, we ate a lot of that! We only hit the dessert bar once & didn't much care for the lemon chiffon cake I got.(As noted by many other people, the decor here is definitely strange. Purple tubing trimmed in neon orange & black spider web looking things covered the ceiling. We never could figure out what it was supposed to be). Just as we finished eating there was an announcement that all cabins were ready. We went directly to our cabin, & met our steward, Bosco on the way. He was very friendly & pleasant, knew our names & remembered them through the whole cruise. He was very good at keeping our room tidy & fresh in a very unobtrusive way. Our cabin was about what we expected, not large or roomy, but not terribly cramped for 2 people either. Plenty of closet & drawer space for the 2 of us, suit cases (even the giant one) fit neatly under the bed. In room safe big enough to hold our wallets, video camera & my jewelry. And everything was clean & neat. The room itself is very quiet. We never heard other people in their rooms, except for the toilets flushing. What can you expect when you have a giant garbage disposal going off? We could however, hear people in the hallway, ALOT. On a side note, we absolutely hated the people who let their kids run up & down the corridors outside the cabins & needed to carry on loud conversations with each other. Wasn't sure if we could complain to our steward? Just decided to chalk it up to idiots. We didn't want to let small things spoil our time. I would have to say the cabin decor was really sad. The feel of the cabin could have been greatly improved with a few simple changes like soft blues & greens used in the fake curtains, bed cover, carpeting, etc. Instead it was gold & red & oranges - very outdated & conflicting with the huge watercolor painting in blue & yellow. We had Any Time Dining in the Mardi Gras. We went about 7:45 & waited about 7 minutes to be seated; not bad! This was the only night we had any wait; the rest of the nights we went right in. 1st night our head waiter, James was a very pleasant fellow, but kept complaining about his assistant waiter to us, who was definitely slacking. My water glass sat empty through half the meal, until James refilled for me. 2nd night we had Oksana & she was fantastic! She seemed to always appear at just the right time, dishes cleared quickly & unobtrusively, refills done, etc. 3rd night can't remember her name but terrible service again, coupled with a guy who dribbled water across our table & bread basket every time he refilled our water. He was always looking away, as if he didn't even notice us. Last night we requested Oksana & we received wonderful service again. Food was up & down. Flat iron steak tender & juicy but a very strong, gamey flavor. Crab cakes like mushy tuna. Lobster was tender & delicious but very small, maybe 6-7 bites. Shrimp served with it rubbery & tough. Atlantic salmon delicious, and moist. We always had the fresh fruit cocktail & it was always good. Desserts hit & miss too. Grand Marnier souffle was good. Chocolate melting cake good. Pumpkin pie was terrible, with a texture/consistency of jello. How do you screw up pumpkin pie?? We tried breakfast at the buffet, always something good, plus all the fresh fruit. Made to order omelets at the poolside grill were good, but limited fresh ingredients, only olives, cheese, bell peppers, salsa, tomatoes (which looked sad) and onions. (We are healthy eaters, in case you couldn't tell by now!) We tried the panini bar, it was okay. Hubby tried the sushi, said it was okay. We had pre-ordered continental breakfast from room service every morning. We really enjoyed having coffee, fruit, bagel in our room before we started our day. Even though you schedule your delivery time (for ex. 7:00-7:30) it was very hit & miss. One day they actually woke us up, coming almost 15 minutes early. And they ignore the do not disturb sign. But still loved having that service. We did not book any shore excursions through Carnival. We just felt that it was too expensive. I researched a great deal before we left & had things booked on our own. We got off the ship about 8:00 am, wanting to bypass the large crowds getting off later. Tendering was simple & quick. Getting back on was the same, no waiting at 3:00 pm. We saw dolphins jumping in the water near our tender & the driver turned around so we could go by them again & get a better look. Getting off the ship in Ensenada was easy too. Again we left early to beat the crowds, about 9:30 am. Returned about 6:00 pm & easy getting back on. Security check was very simple. We really enjoyed our time off the ship & our excursions. Public restrooms on the ship were all clean, but the longer we were on the ship, the more out of order or broken doors there were. And of course the ever present port-o-potty smell in them.V We enjoyed all the ships photographers & the little photography set-ups everywhere. Gave us lots to chose from at the end of our cruise. Watch for the Yoo-Hoo! guy, he's great! You'll know exactly what I'm talking about as soon as you hear him. Liked the Serenity area. Too bad the weather was so cool on this cruise, could have been more enjoyable with warmer weather. No loud/drunk folks when we were there. Didn't try the Waterworks, although it looks fun. Just too cold! Lido deck pool looked nice, but again too cold. Only a few brave kids got in it. Saw 2 comedy shows, one family friendly, one adults only. Both were relatively funny. Warning-adults only is pretty raunchy at times. Started to watch a game show type thing in the Paris lounge, but it was at the front of the ship & the rocking was really getting to us, so we left after 5 minutes. Our biggest complaint would be the constant side to side rocking motion we experienced the entire time we were at sea (including anchored at Catalina). While neither of us was nauseous, we felt a general malaise, lethargy & exhaustion the whole time, which really overshadowed the experience in a negative way. We ended up napping more than we ever have, just to cope. My hubby is a person that is affected by very little, and it did him in too, so i know it was bad! We probably would have had a more positive view of cruising if we hadn't felt so lousy while on board. Oh yes, and that last day "fun day at sea"? I think the only purpose of this is to get people to spend money. We set sail at 10 pm Wednesday night & didn't stop until the wee hours Friday morning, rocking side to side the entire time. Ensenada is not that far from Long Beach. Why not another day in one of the ports? I think the answer is money. Not sure we will cruise again. If we do, I do not think it would be with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Embarkation was a breeze as our flight had been delayed and we arrived around 3pm. No lines. Walked thru security, nice not having to do the airport disrobing and straight to a waiting agent. No problems checking in, had our photo taken ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze as our flight had been delayed and we arrived around 3pm. No lines. Walked thru security, nice not having to do the airport disrobing and straight to a waiting agent. No problems checking in, had our photo taken and on board in minutes. Our room was a Porthole on the Empress deck, E9. Inside price with two large portholes, plenty of light. Nice renovations, plenty of room for two. Two outlets by headboard and desk/vanity and one outlet in the bathroom (shower only). Three closets, room safe, lcd tv, 2 chairs, king bed(suitcase storage under bed)robes, open, uncrowded feeling. No noise from ship but could hear the fun in the hallway occasionally. Mardis Gras Dining Room service and food were great. Lobster on the second night. I had plenty to eat, but if you need or want more, just ask. Dinner every night was served hot and timely. Lido - Plenty to eat. Sure there are lines but they can be avoided by altering your eating schedule by half an hour. Disappointed in the bland and dry red velvet cupcakes and various cookies. Pizza was good, ice cream and frozen yogurt yummy, other desserts and treats were tasty, deli sandwiches were good, Mongolian barbq always great (station with a line most of the time its open). Room Service - Limited menu. Ordered grilled cheese sandwiches and they arrived promptly, with the cheese nicely melting, yum yum. Other comfort food ordered and same prompt and hot delivery. Football Playoff Weekend and plenty of TV's tuned in, lot's of fans wearing their teams colors, good natured, and loud, cheering, booing and generally having your neighborhood get-together. Fun, Fun, Fun, even when the Packers lost. Activities and Shows - I could see someone feeling like there is TOO much to do. There is something going on from morning thru the night. The weather was cool and limited pool and jacuzzi use. Plenty of lounges available :) Disembarkation - Did the self-assist and off the ship and thru Customs before 8am. Got to Long Beach airport so early that we opted to change our flight to get home earlier. Overall, another FUN cruise aboard Carnival. They had a Future Cruise booth open on this cruise and we purchased two certificates. Already planning our son's 21st Bday aboard the Splendor. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
DH and I are both in our late 60's with some mobility problems. We chose this 7-day trip as our "practice" cruise. This was DH's first cruise and my first cruise as an adult. Our cabin, VB 6080, was mid-ship and ... Read More
DH and I are both in our late 60's with some mobility problems. We chose this 7-day trip as our "practice" cruise. This was DH's first cruise and my first cruise as an adult. Our cabin, VB 6080, was mid-ship and close to the elevators. It was clean and had plenty of storage. Our stewards were friendly and accommodating. I had asked our TA to request a fan per a cruisecritic suggestion. It was in the room when we arrived and I never needed to use it. The AC and heat worked perfectly. And as everyone knows...the beds are super comfortable. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill, the Lido Buffet, the Canaletto and the Vista Dining Room where we had open-seating. The food was very good and so was the service. We always requested a table for 4 or 6 and had great visits with our variety of table-mates. Before I get labeled as a total "cheerleader"....I will report that one man had a tough piece of steak in the MDR (which he should have returned) and we will never forget our first breakfast when a lady at our table announced "it was the worst cruise ever". If I hadn't read months of pros and cons on cruisecritic....I might have take her seriously. Instead it was pretty funny...!!! I hadn't even considered signing up for any of the spa services. However, that very first day we toured thru the hydro-pool and the thermal spa room and purchased the one week program for $199, Laying in the hydro-pool was so relaxing. We also liked using the walk-in showers in the dressing rooms. Sure hope that was one-way glass....??? We watched a few shows, played bingo once, sunbathed on the observation deck, shopped in Puerto Vallarta and basically had a very nice cruise. Was every single thing perfect..?? No. I did see a worn spot in the Explorer's Lounge. Thought about taking a photo and posting it on youtube. Decided it really didn't spoil our cruise tho... The only thing I would do differently was when we were leaving the ship. They announced that wheelchair passengers should exit at another area and since we both use canes we proceeded to use the main gangway and it was really too steep. Luckily a nice HAL volunteer came to my rescue and helped me with my carry-on bag. Lesson learned. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and ... Read More
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and perhaps a more sophisticated demographic which we found to be quite incorrect. We looked forward to our Chirstmas cruise on the Oosterdam but unfortunately we left the ship quite disappointed. Likes: Friendly officers & crew Well trained and friendly PSD staff Easy Check in Meals generally tasty Breakfast dishes excellent Good buffet lines Complimentary after dinner specialty coffees albeit not brewed Linen hand towels in public restrooms Gents being handed jackets on formal nights Santa Gifts for children on Christmas Balcony furniture Table fully set in MDR Size and shape of coffee cups in MDR Brewed coffee in MDR and throughout the ship....free No steward carts in hallways Very comfortable beds Towel animals on bed each evening Full hot breakfast available from room service Wine stewards in MDR Not being hustled for drinks around pool areas Scooped ice-cream available free Juice available free in buffet Fully tiled cabin bathrooms Medicine chest in bathroom Glass holders in bathroom Adjustable table in cabin Coffee, tea, cookies set out for bridge players and CC meeting Dislikes: Tables in outdoor bars and buffet areas left un-bused and dirty for long periods Unexciting production shows Lack luster entertainment No Laundromat Closing of MDR on sea day for Mariner's luncheon MDR closed on port day, no help for H/C person in Lido buffet Very crowded MDR for dinner Dinner service extremely slow; dinners took full two hours each night Number of out of order fixtures in public restrooms bathroom Small atrium No refund of FCC after 4 years Very small accessible cabins No onboard wheel chairs for disabled; must rent at cost of $200 for 7 days Very limited shops and boutiques Crow's-nest Lounge used for too many activities...coffee bar, library, dance classes, trivia contests, internet lounge, meeting room...... Large columns blocking views in Vista Theatre Glasses and bottles in pool area Poor condition of Lido poolside lounges. Very limited cabin closet space Bath soap, shampoo and conditioner in dispensers Limited drawer space Very small ice buckets....ice melted before happy hour Cabin fridge used for mini-bar Wines more expensive than other lines Running out of pool towels in late afternoon Dinners often cool Meat often tough Smoking including cigars permitted Onboard activities poorly organized and equipped No note paper in cabin Dirty glasses not removed from cabin in evening. San Diego is such a poor terminal non US Citizens, including Canadians MUST report to USINS at 0645 with passports, not withstanding HAL and INS having passport and NEXUS information months ahead. Gentlemen allowed in MDR at diner in shorts and t-shirts. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Do you enjoy the smell of raw sewage? What about the smell of taco farts? Do you enjoy lots of tattoos and earrings? And a boat with so much neon, mirrors, and sparkly lights it looks like a disco from aft to fore? Does ... Read More
Do you enjoy the smell of raw sewage? What about the smell of taco farts? Do you enjoy lots of tattoos and earrings? And a boat with so much neon, mirrors, and sparkly lights it looks like a disco from aft to fore? Does Carnival's famed hairy chest contest sound like fun? Do you like loud music blasting during dinner? Are you down with lots of beers and margaritas? Then my friend... the Carnival Inspiration's 4 day Baja Cruise is for you. PLUS: - A delightful stop in Catalina. Avalon is a pleasant, peaceful town, though I would've enjoyed it more had fewer of my fellow guests gone the lazy, thoughtless, polluting route and sped around on gas-powered golf carts everywhere. Stopping for a seafood lunch and an ice cream is a must, and you've got to get out and go for a big walk around the beautiful island. - Quite decent food. The lead chef for dinners on this boat should be commended. The buffet fare is completely standard, but the seated dinners were delicious and creatively presented. - Good work by wait staff in the main dining room. The "table artist" (table magician) did a fine job. The dining staff earned a good hundred bucks in extra tips from me. - Delightful ocean views. Along the California and Baja coasts you're sure to see plenty of dolphins, porpoises, and MINUSES: - Any time the boat had to go a while without dumping, the stairwells and public areas smelled strongly of sewage... like taking a big whiff of a septic tank. In several spots on deck, and in every stairwell and in every elevator waiting area, you were sure to smell the sweet, sweet smell of the effects of hundreds of passengers gorging at the buffet. It was absolutely disgusting and I've never been on a boat that's had this problem before. At first I thought I could chalk it up to the harbor at Long Beach, but no... it was the boat. (By the way, for those of you unaware, cruise ships don't just magically pipe their sewage into city sewer systems. They dump it out at sea. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of your poop and toilet paper floating around out there.) - This boat is aging badly. Kids and first time cruisers may not notice it, but cruise veterans certainly will. The decor evokes the 80s... not even the 90s when the boat was built. It has few balconies, the public areas are rough around the edges, and it's wildly outclassed these days, of course. There's a reason it's been relegated to 3 and 4 day cruises now. (The water slides were very popular with my kids, though.) - My steward was quite lazy and only became interested in my needs on the last night ("give me more tips" night). From failing to clean out dirty glasses and silverware, to ignoring towels on the floor when cleaning the bathrooms... this wasn't the best steward I'd had by a long shot. - Ensenada smells like your stereotypical border town... a great combination of beer, taco gas, and dog crap. Boy, were the sidewalk salesmen ever aggressive. Ensenada wants your fat American tourist money, and it wants it bad. Anyway, the beers and margaritas were great, though. - The fellow passengers were not a classy bunch. But it's a four day cruise from Long Beach. You should know what kind of fellow passengers you're getting just from that alone. - Sailing around for a "day at sea" on this route is wasteful and is blatant money-grabbing. Better to spend two days in Catalina where people can really get out and enjoy themselves, rather than sailing some massive arc from Ensenada back to Long Beach. But if they did that, we'd spend less on beer and cocktails on the boat, wouldn't we. I see where you're going with this, Carnival. THE SUMMARY: I can see why plenty might enjoy Carnival's party atmosphere, but it's not for me. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing, though! This boat needed some upkeep badly despite the staff's efforts to clean, and the sewage smell was utterly overpowering and nauseating. Some staff were excellent, while others were clearly tired, disaffected, and bored with a group they didn't expect to tip well. The ports were hit and miss (Avalon: hit... Ensenada: miss...). I'm glad I'm home and as a cruise veteran, while I'd be open to a Carnival cruise in the future, I will not be sailing this route or sailing on this boat again. Read Less

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