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28 Mexican Riviera Singles Cruise Reviews

My friend actually won this cruise and asked me to go with her. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to enjoy this beautiful ship and meet new friends along the way. I was a little shocked when we were boarding the ship and they handed ... Read More
My friend actually won this cruise and asked me to go with her. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to enjoy this beautiful ship and meet new friends along the way. I was a little shocked when we were boarding the ship and they handed us a piece of paper that explained the situation regarding the nonavirus but was quickly calmed by the explanation of them scrubbing down the ship before we could get on it. When we were finally able to enter we were greeted by sanitation stations all over the ship, some were people physically squirting sanitation on our hands and others were do it yourself stations. I was amazed at seeing the employees literally scrubbing down the walls and handrails to our stateroom twice a day. We were lucky enough to have a cabin with a balcony and the cabin was great. Honestly I was thinking it would be so small you could barely move but it was spacious and well thought out. Despite the situation I thought that the crew really did everything in their power to keep all of the people on this ship is safe as possible. I had a really great time on this beautiful ship and would diffidently recommend anyone to enjoy this ship and crew. The cruise director Roberto and Assistant cruise director Bianca were amazing at keeping everything so lively, fun, and entertaining. I have to give a shout out to a couple workers in the Garden Cafe. The food was surprisingly good with a good selection for different pallets. The special shout out has to go to June, Clyde and Mark because they were friendly and kind and were always willing to help whenever they could. Thank you all for making this cruise amazing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have never cruised before nor had a ever wanted to. My friends talked me into it and I am beyond happy they did!!! Can’t wait for my next one. We chose The Bliss and I was blown away with this ship. From the minute we stepped aboard to ... Read More
I have never cruised before nor had a ever wanted to. My friends talked me into it and I am beyond happy they did!!! Can’t wait for my next one. We chose The Bliss and I was blown away with this ship. From the minute we stepped aboard to the sad moment we disembark was the best holiday I have EVER had. I brought all the things for getting sea sick, gravel, bracelets etc. Never used a thing!!! You didn’t feel like you were moving at all, sometimes you forgot you were on the ship. Wow what an experience!! The fun at the pool, always something happening, games or a band, so much fun. Delicious food and such a variety. Cagney was my favourite!!! We had a balcony stateroom and I would sit out there and watch the beautiful sunrise and sunsets. The entertainment was unbelievable, we saw the Jersey boys, a Beatles cover band and three comedians. FABULOUS!! The three ports we went to were amazing, I liked Cabo the best. When I told people this was my first cruise they all said the same thing, you have set the bar high on this cruise, you will never see entertainment like this on any other cruise. Oh well guess I better stick with Norwegain then. Thank you to all the crew on the Bliss, you all were amazing. Thank you to the booking staff as well, you too were amazing and so helpful. Now on to the next one Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
first I look for the age of the ship ,(build in 2018) reading review in you tube and found out is a 5 star cruise , very Elegant ,and with style ,high quality in decoration and best restaurants and entertainment on it ,my first one and I ... Read More
first I look for the age of the ship ,(build in 2018) reading review in you tube and found out is a 5 star cruise , very Elegant ,and with style ,high quality in decoration and best restaurants and entertainment on it ,my first one and I am so glad that choose this Cruise ,it fill up all my expectation. The observatory lounge is unique you can see everything from there. The buffet area is really big ,the food is really good and fresh ,crew in this area are very respectful and very kind , there is always room to enjoy your meal. music bands on the cruise are amazing , the only critics that I have , is you should have a bigger cigar room. Bar in the ships are great ,crew on all areas are very professional and friendly . I have take already the promotions for my next cruise in the next 4 years and from now ... I AM A FAN OF NORWEGIAN CRUISES !!! THANK YOU FOR THIS MAGNIFICENT EXPERIENCE . Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Convenient cruise- easy getting form the Long Beach airport to the cruise ship- & used the shuttle as only myself traveling, but if I was with a group would have used UBER to get to & from the ship . I wanted a short itinerary, ... Read More
Convenient cruise- easy getting form the Long Beach airport to the cruise ship- & used the shuttle as only myself traveling, but if I was with a group would have used UBER to get to & from the ship . I wanted a short itinerary, to determine if I would enjoy solo cruising. Was great being able to have cabin to self, able to do what I wanted when I wanted & how I wanted. Totally enjoyed the sauna, steam room & gym. was well taken care of by my room steward, Supron - always had a full ice container, room cleaned as necessary Did the Chef's table & was impressed by all the food that was fixed & served, Learned many interesting facts about the food, preparation & many ingredients for the many foods that was served to us. Even learned some new things about different herbs & spices to combine with different foods. In Ensenada discovered a great place to go for a massage- Massage & Facial Wellness - within walking distance of the ship- and very reasonable priced, then did a chocolate class at the Maya Cacao- learning how chocolate is made form cacao beans- Did I mention that is all organic & they use the profits to support orphanages in the area Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The staff was courteous, fun, friendly,helpful, accommodating and kind. My room always sparkled. Room service was in the time frame stated. And the entertainment was top notch.They were great talents. The comedians brought down the house. ... Read More
The staff was courteous, fun, friendly,helpful, accommodating and kind. My room always sparkled. Room service was in the time frame stated. And the entertainment was top notch.They were great talents. The comedians brought down the house. The lounge singers were hypnotic! I had an incredible memorable time!!!!!!!!!!! And as a solo single gal traveller I felt completely safe as well. The excursions were informative, educational and inspiring ( I selected excursions that were geared toward the arts and culture and they definitely delivered) I was overjoyed with every aspect of my excursion experience. The memories are so rich and enriching that I'm still elated thinking of it. If I absolutely had to think of any criticism is that I do wish more ships has solo cruiser rates ( but I understand that that's not the norm for the cruise industry... while I would love it! I just planned accordingly ). And in regards to the menu as a vegan and gluten free traveller I appreciated their efforts so much and hope that they will continue to grow in that area so that there is even greater variety of entrees that incorporate both. Overall great job!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Overall was a great atmosphere, cruise director lee was always very informative and funny, the staff was always upbeat and helpful, and the stops were amazing! The food was good and you can order as much as you want.. I've been on ... Read More
Overall was a great atmosphere, cruise director lee was always very informative and funny, the staff was always upbeat and helpful, and the stops were amazing! The food was good and you can order as much as you want.. I've been on a diet so I definitely indulged! They had comedy shows that were very good. There were typically 4 different comedy shows a night, two that are rated R two that are rated PG. So there's humor for everyone. We played miniature golf upstairs, they had many different courses, and although I think they should move some of the signs to be in different positions to where you need to put, it was still very fun! Dani was our lucky dealer! We won with her both in blackjack as well as craps. I would highly suggest seeking her out. It's all about energy when you're gambling and she brings the positivity! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I cruised over Halloween week with a large hosted singles group. While I pretty quickly figured out that the hosted-singles thing wasn't my cup of tea, I was entirely pleased with the Bliss, and with NCL in general. The ship ... Read More
I cruised over Halloween week with a large hosted singles group. While I pretty quickly figured out that the hosted-singles thing wasn't my cup of tea, I was entirely pleased with the Bliss, and with NCL in general. The ship itself is absolutely beautiful. It rarely felt crowded, except for a few times when trying to get an elevator right after a show let out, but that's just the nature of a megaship. Otherwise, I could always find a lounger or a seat at the bar. The cabins are well-laid out, with three (!) outlets at the vanity of our balcony cabin, instead of one as on the older Jewel-class ships. The closet had a hanging rod & some open shelving. Could have used a little more drawer storage space (there's only the two drawers under the sofa,) but we made it work. Everyone we encountered was great, from our room steward to the bartenders to the Guest Services folks that we had to speak with a couple times. Service in the MDRs was sometimes a little leisurely; but I was generally seated with a large group, so blamed the slowness on that. I really liked the shows, which is an area where NCL really shines. Jersey Boys was outstanding, and ¡Havana! was quite well-done & beautifully staged, if a little short on plot. Some in my group thought it was going to be another Broadway-style show & complained that it was boring, but, hey, I liked it for the song-and-dance revue that it was. Wasn't too impressed by the comedy shows, they seemed a little flat. The unexpectedly-wow show was Happy Hour Prohibition. Don't miss it, it's a great up-close cabaret style revue that's a little goofy & a little naughty & all good fun! I spent every spare moment in the Thermal Suite. It has a good-sized pool and lots of seating in the saunas & steam room. Plenty of tile loungers facing aft were a good way to enjoy a leisurely sea day, watching the water. Loved, loved, loved Bliss; and can't wait to sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We really enjoyed our cruise on Bliss. It's very big ship with lots of dining and entertainment options. It was also Halloween and we had like 1000 singles on the ship, so that was great people watching. We flew in the night before ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise on Bliss. It's very big ship with lots of dining and entertainment options. It was also Halloween and we had like 1000 singles on the ship, so that was great people watching. We flew in the night before and stayed at the Hyatt regency in Long Beach. I can't say enough good things about it. It was perfect and about 15-20 mins to port. We had a gorgeous view of the queen Mary which we unfortunately didn't have enough time to visit. The one part that was not pleasant was check in at San Pedro world cruise center. It was extremely chaotic, very little signage. Our Lyft driver was confused. Porters were taking new luggage and helping passengers getting off. Super confusing mixing the two different cruises. Once we figured out where to go, the line wasnt bad. It moved sort of quickly. Once through security we waited in another line to get checked in and receive room keys. Again signage was poor and we had to ask. Disembark was also poor and chaotic once off the ship. At check in they didn't give us a map of the ship and we had to go back and ask. By the time we got in to the boarding wait area... they had started boarding groups 1-4. We were group 21. We waited about 20 mins and were on the ship by 11:15 am. Once on the ship we ran for guest services but were told that Vibe Beach club passes were already sold out. I think they only have 70 of them. Somewhat discouraged we went to the Social to book go karts, laser tag and shows. That was fairly easy and short. Laser tag was 9.95 and go karts too. Happy hour prohibition was 35.98 but includes 5 regular sized drinks. Plus we loved that show but not for kids. Once booked we headed up to the garden Cafe and pool deck on 16. Lots of people , we grabbed a snack and a drink and two loungers in the shade. Sail away was pretty easy to entertaining but drinks expensive and no straws. Then off to check out our balcony room...more on that in room review but we liked it. First show was ¡Havana!. It was great and we both enjoyed it. It was an original musical, lots of singing and dancing but blessedly short. I think a little over an hour. Get there early 20 mins for a good seat. We sat middle row in the middle. Very much enjoyed it. Next we saw Jersey Boys and though longer...2 hours it was fabulous and Broadway quality. Very entertaining story, awesome singers and sets. Again get there early...we were late and sat too far back and couldn't see as well as I would have liked. I would have seen this twice but we went to the last one. We did not see comedy but heard it was great. Too much to do. Pool was great with an adults only pool next to the kids water park area. We did one water slide but I didn't have the courage to do the ocean loop because u drop 10 feet. Lots of seating but it fills up fast. Go karts! So fun! Do it once and prepare to get dirty. They are electric but still pretty fast. I got bumped a few times so if u have back or neck issues don't do it. We waited at least 30-40 mins after reservation time in line. Ladies don't bring a purse, they won't hold it and there's no where to put it. My boyfriend ended up winning first place. Ride is only about 10 mins long. Bars were so amazing on this ship. We went to almost all of them. But district brewhouse and sugar cane mojito were our favorites. My boyfriend did the beer tasting ($23) one afternoon and really enjoyed it. We also got the mojito flight for 19.95 one afternoon which is 6 mini different mojitos and loved that. I wish we had gotten two! We did not have the drink package. Atrium bar and Q smokehouse were also awesome places for drinks. We also really enjoyed Margaritaville. It's 14.95 but worth it. Lots of food and best burger on the ship. I would say that place had the funnest staff too. Most everywhere the service was good to great. We didn't have a bad experience but some places were nicer than others. Dining- we mostly did specialty restaurants. We ate in Manhattan room once and though service was good, the table was in a bad location near where they scrape plates into a huge gross pile of food. Not what u want to see. The waiter was very quick with the wine pours! Good was decent to good but nothing special. The Q Smokehouse- we loved this place and went twice for dinner. Fabulous smoked meats in the pit master platter! Highly recommend. 4 kinds of meat including brisket! Jalapeno cornbread was delicious! Awesome country music. A must do! Ocean Blue- we should have sat outside for this one but we didn't....food was great. I had bacon wrapped seabass and it was the best Seafood of the cruise. Salmon cakes were perfect. Highly recommend this one too. Cagney's- was ok. Not amazing. Probably would have rather done Q again. But not bad. Los lobos- this was a tough sell for me. It was good but the restaurant it replaced Moderno Chucusarria was my favorite and truly amazing. Other Norwegian ships have that restaurant still. I'd rather go there. But it was good... Standard Mexican fare. Food Republic- kinda chilly in here but neat views with no outdoor seating. Really neat mini plates of food and worth the alarm carte prices. I thought the shrimp phad thai was delish. We also checked out the bake shop and the sweet chocolate place. Yummy truffles and bon bons. Worth it if u like chocolate and affordable. We thought the Local was not as good as it's predecessor O'Sheenhans. Also almost all the places for breakfast serve the same thing every day. This gets old by day 5. Norwegian should address this. Not everyone likes eggs, waffles, cereal or pancakes. We very much enjoyed freestyle dining. I hate eating dinner the same time every day. All the ports were great... Mazatlan was my favorite and we did our own adventure in each port. Cabo was a blast. More time in port would have been better. Tendering went very well in Cabo. There is a ton for adults to do on this ship. They do have kid things but most of the entertainment is more adult centric which we really liked. We also got a day pass to the thermal suite and loved it too. So worth it for 60 per person. The therapy hot tub /pool is huge and very effective. I also thought the snow room was fun..wear shoes...and the aromatic steam room was great. Parties- Caliente was very hip. A glow party on deck. Music was loud and dancey. We brought a 100 glow sticks to give out and the kids enjoyed this a lot. Nashville nights and lights was also a blast. This is current country not old country. Lots of line dancing and very fun with a live band, Greg white Jr. Our fav. We also listened to and very much enjoyed Tim Boaz on the piano in the district brewhouse. Great piano songs and super cool guy. Actually most of the music was really good. One of our favorite things was hanging out in the observation deck. You really have to go here. It's huge and amazing and comfy. People tend to camp out here but if you go later at night, there's always a seat. Very well done. All ships should have a place like this. We will absolutely sail the Bliss again. Maybe try Alaska next time. Also we had a fun time at our cruise critic meet and greet. Very fun meeting different people. Bring straws! They don't have them. Keep calm and sail on! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Loved my Norwegian Bliss Cruise. Best: Food was really good. Ate at the Garden Cafe, The Observation Deck 15, The Local, and the 3 dining rooms. Overall I thought these were above average. Staff throughout the ship were the ... Read More
Loved my Norwegian Bliss Cruise. Best: Food was really good. Ate at the Garden Cafe, The Observation Deck 15, The Local, and the 3 dining rooms. Overall I thought these were above average. Staff throughout the ship were the nicest, most helpful, and fun people I've every encountered on a cruise! Bravo Norwegian - I hope you treat them well. The bartenders were outstanding. My room steward was charming, unobtrusive, and kept my room immaculate. Anytime you asked staff a question they would bend over backwards to help. The BEST. I totally enjoyed the entertainment. The band called Familiar Strangers was fabulous. They played Calypso pool side then throughout the cruise played Motown and Bob Marley and other sets mainly on the 6th Floor Atrium which was a really comfortable venue for entertainment. You guys are talented. I loved the comedy show - Thanks for not swearing the whole time while STILL being very funny. The Cavern Club Beatles were WONDERFUL. Go down and get in line 45 minutes before the scheduled performance. They will let you in about 1/2 before the show and you can drink. The cruise director was very good and the guy from Hong Kong that hosts many of the games was sooooooo funny. As big as this ship is, I never felt overcrowded which was amazing. Don't miss the peaceful Observation Deck on 15. The room configuration is a bit weird and small. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This Cruise was perfect for a quick getaway and a party platform for my soon-to-married Uncle. This cruise is a little rowdy but knowing this HAVE FUN. I probably would not bring children on this one. The cruise was very affordable ... Read More
This Cruise was perfect for a quick getaway and a party platform for my soon-to-married Uncle. This cruise is a little rowdy but knowing this HAVE FUN. I probably would not bring children on this one. The cruise was very affordable and Carnival did a great job providing top value for the price paid. My Uncle is 84 and the Bachelor party consisted of 35-48 year olds as well as my 84 year old UNCLE. -Check in at the Long Beach Terminal was a Breeze. No lines or Hassles. We arrived at 100pm and were immediately on board. However, the 710 fwy had a lot of traffic, south bound towards the port. -THe Ship is nice. Not the newest but all the amenities were adequate and clean.I was disappointed the pool was not filled until sail away. -The staff were very hospitable. -Our Room E116 was an Interior room big enough for 3. AC worked perfectly. Our room was ready immediately and something new-->Carnival now provides you the room keys outside of your room door in an envelope. -The soap and shampoo are of better quality from what I remember too. -The Food was very good. From Guys Burgers to the Mexican Station. WOW, KILLER SHRIMP and BREAKFAST Burritos. Sea day Brunch always impresses and Dinners were of quality too. I loved the Ceaser Salad and escargot ..The Cheesecake and Molten were awesome. -Entertainment was great. The night club and casino were fun. Actually the Casino paid out a lot this trip. (CRAPS!!!!). The energy was excellent. The Piano Bar, Comedy Club and Karaoke were very entertaining. We never saw a show--> NO TIME :) -Debarkation was extremely quick and what I always do is pack and go up and eat breakfast while the herd is vacating. -FINALLY, this was my first time buying CHEERS. Im too old to smuggle and how much do you really save on a 3 day cruise? I paid the $171 and I drank my money's worth. The Alchemy bar has the best drinks, probably worth 15 bucks plus at a great restaurant. Having 3 blue cheese stuffed Olive, Grey Goose Martinis a night, was a treat. Also being able to consume the Coffee house coffee and Irish coffee was fantastic. The Vitamin waters helped on the ENSENADA day. I really think Cheers is worth it. I debated on this but ultimately I am so happy I spent the money. Knowing all your non alcoholic drinks especially coffee are included was reassuring. I do not like the regular coffee upstairs. This is my 4 mini cruise on Carnival. If I had the time, I would do this monthly. Good job Carnival on providing such a great product for an affordable price. My 84 year Old Uncle ran circles around us. He was in Heaven. I appreciate the guests and employees for making his Bachelor party the BEST. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This is a smaller ship so therefore less people and I had a great time. The Christmas activities were really nice. My cabin stewards were great despite the amount of cabins they were servicing, and my cabin was well serviced. Room ... Read More
This is a smaller ship so therefore less people and I had a great time. The Christmas activities were really nice. My cabin stewards were great despite the amount of cabins they were servicing, and my cabin was well serviced. Room service was on time and very friendly. The dining room staff were awesome and super fast delivery of food or drinks. I am booked back on this same ship next Christmas The cabin is an accessible one which I need as a am an above knee amputee. The roll in shower works really well with a nice big bench. There are plenty of grab bars around the bathroom as well. There was plenty of space for my wheelchair to get around the cabin. The only down side to it is if you are restricted completely to a wheelchair you would have problems getting out on to the balcony. There is a large step to climb over to get out there. With my prosthetic leg on this was not a problem but it would have been nice to roll out there in my wheelchair. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I'm not sure where all the bad reviews come from, but Carnival ROCKS! Their staff is en pointe! They anticipated my every need. I traveled alone and every staff member I encountered made sure I felt special. The food was fabulous! The ... Read More
I'm not sure where all the bad reviews come from, but Carnival ROCKS! Their staff is en pointe! They anticipated my every need. I traveled alone and every staff member I encountered made sure I felt special. The food was fabulous! The buffet does shut down just before lunch, to turn it over, so be aware. Each buffet has a theme, such as American, French, Italian. They don't run out of food either. It was so pleasant to take a plate and find a seat outside to enjoy the ocean view for a leisurely brunch. The main dining room is mouth watering! Just the right amount of choices for your 3 course dinner. And feel free to get one of everything if you want. I didn't have dinner reservations and only had to wait about 10 mins for a table on the last night (due to my timing)The spa staff exceptional! Make sure you get the manager special from the spa tour on Embarkation day. Worth every penny. The Elemis products are top notch. The only down side is that the jogging track is right above the spa treatment rooms, and you can hear people running. But, its not intolerable. OH, and you can get a spa robe to use in your cabin, like to wear to and from the pool/jacuzzi. So be sure to ask for one. Can I possibly put any more '!!' in this review? The ship was nice and clean. The decor is a little Vegasy, and a wee bit dated. They did deck it out for Christmas, which I hadn't anticipated. And the Christmas decor was pretty. There are easy to read maps at every elevator and most stairwells, so its hard to get lost. This was my 1st cruise and I'm ever so glad I went. Lots of fun stuff to do, from shows, to bingo to trivia games. Tons of raffles to enter, chances to win prizes. The Fun shops are pretty well stocked with Carnival shirts and keychains. There are even some toys for the kids. The jewelry shop is popular. Very sparkly. Make sure to go on the 1st day and enter all the raffles. I'm not convinced the prices are all they promise, but you can say you got your watch on the ship, right? The casino is a nice size and offers slots and table games. They allow smoking in the Casino, but to be honest, the smoke is very well filtered. It was no worse than any large Vegas casino room. I didn't gamble, but know it's only available while at sea (laws, I guess) Bingo is a hoot! Its very interactive. The Yahtzee and Hasbro games for the kiddies are very entertaining. I dare you not to smile! I enjoyed the live shows too. Very generic and family friendly. Songs you know and costumes that don't make you blush. There is a PG and R rated comedy show. I only went to the PG show and it did make me laugh. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Carnival really tries to keep the lines to a minimum. The tender to Catalina is very quick. They run at least 2 boats back and forth so you can expect to wait no more than about 15 minutes. Coming back took about 45 mins all told. Go on the Undersea Boat tour on Catalina. I loved seeing all the fish! Also rented a Golf cart and toured the island. You can do the whole route in an hour, so don't spend extra on that. Shopping is a little lacking , but I still managed to stop in just about every single store. Mostly typical tourist kitch, like Tshirts and magnets. Prices are normal, too. I really cant find anything good to say about Ensenada, unfortunately. There is a small pavillion right on the dock, so you can jump off the ship, buy a doodad, and get right back on (like I did). The view from the dock is lacking and to be honest, only after dark was the view worthy of even a picture. Carnival does a nice Disembarking presentation, so if its your 1st cruise, you don't want to miss it. Lots of good information and it really made leaving much easier. Took about an hour to get off the ship. OH and the Carnival bus to and from the airport is a must! So stress free! No traffic, no hassle, no parking, no worries. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This cruise was for my husbands birthday, a couple friends came with us. We had a great time, the service was pretty amazing too. There were never really any waits for drinks. The highlight of the cruise certainly was the cruise ... Read More
This cruise was for my husbands birthday, a couple friends came with us. We had a great time, the service was pretty amazing too. There were never really any waits for drinks. The highlight of the cruise certainly was the cruise director staff. Chloe the cruise director is like the energizer bunny. That girl never stops and is at almost all shows, events and games. J-swift was so incredibly awesome, friendly, outgoing and funny, we had a great time at bingo with her. The entertainment was like most other ships, kind of cheesy, but fun and upbeat. The ports were fun as well. We had two days in Cabo. I don't understand why they don't stay docked overnight. We had to board the ship and cruise around over night and returned in the morning. Puerta Vallarta was an even better port and time. There are plenty to do at both ports. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
What can I say? This was a wonderful cruise. The service was excellent. The food was excellent. I especially liked the Nick and Nora steakhouse – it was amazing! There was lots to do on the ship , Never boring. I had the best mac & ... Read More
What can I say? This was a wonderful cruise. The service was excellent. The food was excellent. I especially liked the Nick and Nora steakhouse – it was amazing! There was lots to do on the ship , Never boring. I had the best mac & cheese I've ever had during the brunch at Sea. The Dr. Seuss breakfast was a lot of fun and well worth the five dollars. Shows were entertaining as were the comedians. I enjoyed playing my favorite slot in the casino – jackpot party. Lots of places to get away for quiet to just sit and watch the ocean or read. I especially enjoyed seeing an occasional whale or dolphin from the ship. Some new things for me on the cruise was the Clue Game, hunt for little ducks, the oversized Hasbro games and the Dr Suess Breakfast. The Platinum Perks were good but not always well executed- sent to unnecessary long lines, given 10 and 11 tags delaying getting our bags at the end, only one laundry bag in room, could only use my drink coupon at breakfast and lunch in dining room. The Platinum Party and the Cruise CRITIC meet and mingle were both very nicely done. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I sailed on one of the very first Azamara cruise when the line was spun off of the Celebrity line. I also sailed this itinerary on Holland America. When the itinerary appeared on this Azamara cruise I decided to "rediscover" ... Read More
I sailed on one of the very first Azamara cruise when the line was spun off of the Celebrity line. I also sailed this itinerary on Holland America. When the itinerary appeared on this Azamara cruise I decided to "rediscover" small ship cruising traveling an itinerary I truly enjoyed. The GOOD: The itinerary was excellent. People need not be afraid of traveling to the tourist ports in Mexico. Security was present everywhere without being intrusive. Officers with guns make some people nervous, I found them to be a comfort because even petty crime was unlikely to occur with a officer nearby. Everyone in the ports was friendly and accomodating. There was some "begging' going on but it was primarily in the form of "I am a student. Would you be willing to help me by buying such and such." They were very courteous and with a "n"o they moved on without trouble or acrimony. The Quest was immaculate and kept that way throughout the cruise. The Senior Officers were amazing. They were everywhere speaking with quests, being approachable, watching shows, interacting wherever they could. As an example, upon returning from the 17 hour excursion to the Copper Canyon on Valentine's Day, the Captain was on the pier and greeted everyone upon their return and personally handed every lady a rose! There were two lecturers. One was outstanding and the other was good. The shows were varied and generally excellent. There is a free (including detergent) self service laundromat. In addition there were three laundry specials offered during the cruise which involved a set price for a bag of laundry done by the crew. The buffet was outstanding! We never had to wait or justle for a table. The food was excellent! It ranged from hot dishes to cold dishes with a surprisingly wide variety. It is doubtful that you would not find something that you would enjoy. These comments were true of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The BAD: The dining room was not so much bad as it was terribly disappointing. When i sailed on the Quest last time, the Captain informed me that they had 150% of the budget for food per person as compared to other cruise lines. That ratio has obviously changed. The menus were static with two Chef features every night. The food was rather ordinary and we never had a Wow! meal. However, in all honesty we found the food better and the atmosphere better in the buffet area so we ate more often in that locale. The other problem in the dining room was that if you were willing to sit with other at a table service would not begin until they filled the table - 5 minutes, 10 minutes and we waited at leaast 20 minutes one night. We did not find that acceptable. The service in the dining room was iffy. The cabins are small. In fact they are the smallest cabins I have ever been in since my first days of sailing with Royal Caribbean. The bathroom was even smaller. There is no way for an average sized person to sit straight on the commode. There is no way for an average size person stand in the shower without having a part of your body clinging to the plastic shower curtain. This was my 40th cruise and the worst sized cabin of the lot. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
$189 Per Person Special Offer with Free Room Upgrade & $50 On Board Credit. Room E101 is PERFECT close to everything Prefer Anytime Dinning which is 1 Floor Above Stateroom E101 Cheers Program $240 Per Person, Start Drinking ... Read More
$189 Per Person Special Offer with Free Room Upgrade & $50 On Board Credit. Room E101 is PERFECT close to everything Prefer Anytime Dinning which is 1 Floor Above Stateroom E101 Cheers Program $240 Per Person, Start Drinking the Moment you Get On & Even While You Wait in Line To Get Off Day 1 Catalina Island -Reccomend Renting a Golf Cart in Advance from Catalina Auto & Bike Rental $83 for 4 Hours on a 4 Person Golf Cart ***The Other Golf Cart Rental Places do not have good Golf Carts... -Cart was too SLOW & could barely go uphill with 4 people. Day 2 Ensenada Baja California -Reccomend UTV Rental from the Cruise Port: $180 for the day ***Do Not get ATV if you fall the cruise ship medical does not take any type of insurance and charges $125 just for the doctor consult. Boyfriend fell in Ensenada & Used a Wheelchair for the Duration of the Cruise... Day 3 at Sea -Reccomend Bingo & all the fun activities!!! ***Alchemy Bar is the BEST all natural drinks on the boat*** Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise to travel to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta with our niece and her husband as well as our adult daughter. The Le Cirque Bijou show was the BEST show I have seen on ANY cruise. The comedian and magician shows ... Read More
We chose this cruise to travel to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta with our niece and her husband as well as our adult daughter. The Le Cirque Bijou show was the BEST show I have seen on ANY cruise. The comedian and magician shows are not to be missed. Really great magic and funny comedian who doesn't have to be raunchy to be funny, Desserts and buffets were delicious and service in dining rooms was great. One nice thing about the Jewel is that ALL the staff try to make your cruise experience a wonderful one. The gratutities are mandatory so let them do all they do to help insure your pleasant trip. Love that the ship is kept very clean inside and out. Washy Washy. My drink package was excellent as I never had an issue with anything I asked for and my drinks were not watered down as I had read on other reviews. The captain was everywhere on the ship and accessible to all. Cruise director Iain was also very personable and friendly and funny. Wish we had an overnight in Cabo San Lucas as it would be nice to spend the whole day at the beach or doing activities. Last tender is at 2:30 so you need to start your morning very early to enjoy as much time on land as possible. Other than that, I would definitely go again on this cruise and I know I would have loved it just as much. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Although I know this was going to be very special because it was the 50th Anniversary Cruise....filled with elites, cast members from the T.V. show and special entertainment [folks who had won best this and best that], it was going to be ... Read More
Although I know this was going to be very special because it was the 50th Anniversary Cruise....filled with elites, cast members from the T.V. show and special entertainment [folks who had won best this and best that], it was going to be my very first Princess cruise onboard a ship with fewer than 1,000 passengers onboard. I've been cruising since 1985 and sailed for 10 days onboard the beautiful Sun Viking to the Caribbean. It was a small ship and my very first experience with cruising. I fell in love with the sea and sailing on her. I started with Royal Caribbean but have chosen Princess as the years have gone by! The port in L.A. was so easy....drop off luggage, find a parking space [I live in the San Fernando Valley] a 50 minute drive away. Walk across the street to the Port entrance with the delightfully cheery Princess employee's to welcome and direct you. I will NEVER get tired of being treated well by them. What I love most about driving to the pier is that you can see the ship docked at it's berth and the goose bumps start at my feet and travel to the back of my neck as the ship comes into view. I can see flags flying and the very top deck with the promise of the week or two ahead filled with sun and fun. With the Pacific Princess there is none of this......You CAN'T see the ship behind the buildings.....what an eerie feeling....have they left without me? NO! She's there. She's just so much smaller than I've ever seen at this pier before. From the Diamond, Golden, Star, Crown and all the rest.....this is the first time the ship is smaller than the building she's anchored next to! I checked in within 20 minutes of dropping the luggage, parking and walking to the registration desk. There was another bit of a wait [15 minutes] until we could actually start to board. Walking onto this ship, showing my key card and getting into the elevator was the easiest I've ever experienced on boarding a ship. The crew welcomes you and asks where your stateroom is so that they can direct you to the front or back of the ship. As you step inside the ship you get the feeling of entering into a time warp. There's dark woods, wrought-iron railings, large stair cases.......sort of Titanic-like. She's friendly and welcoming.....like visiting a Great Aunt's home, who's lived there forever and taken great care of her environs. I entered my Stateroom. The furnishings were fresh, old feeling, but fresh and clean. The woods were dark and there were doors on the closets [just like at home.] I had a veranda stateroom, not huge, not so small that I felt like the walls were closing-in, it felt "just right!" I met my Steward; a nice young man "Andre", he had a clipboard and asked if there was anything special that I would like. I told him that I liked the bed separated, although there was only me and my Service Dog in the cabin, I don't like the feeling of a big bed in a small room. I think separating the bed gives the room a larger feel. He said he would do that when I went to dinner. I also like a top sheet on my bed [between me and the duvet.] I had early traditional dining and he said he'd take care of it later. He proved to be a lovely person who always greeted me with a friendly "good morning" each and every day. I found that there was NEVER a long line ANYWHERE onboard this ship. How delightful it was to ALWAYS be able to catch an elevator, to always be able to go where I wanted to go without the feeling of maddening crowds everywhere and to be able to go to the buffet and find a table to sit at.......that was really nice!!! I'm really beginning to like the small ship experience. It's so easy to figure this ship out and to find everything so easily. I really liked that feeling. Our cruise director was Sammi. She is a hoot! That's the only way I can explain her best. She puts her heart and soul into her job and shows you that she really likes what she's doing. The Hotel Director, the Dancers, the Staff in total were wonderful and helpful. When you travel through life with a Service Dog it's not always easy for the folks you encounter. There's potty box's, extra towels, needs and necessities that MUST be met and EVERYONE onboard this ship [except for the occasional server who just had to whistle at him] treated my dog with the utmost respect. Thank you Pacific Princess for your professionalism and kindness! The buffet and dining room staff are top notch. They work very hard to please and although there were a few glitches in the food area.......it was obvious at some points that they were understaffed and our server was doing "double-duty!" I know what it's like to work to the max and do the very best I can do.......they did just that! I loved the entertainment.......It's so different to be at the same level as the entertainers and to literally have them almost in your lap and even more interesting to watch how they manage to not knock your drink off your table at those high kicks. They were wonderful and I felt totally entertained at the end of each show. Having the Love Boat cast onboard with us was an extra special treat. To hear Jack Jones sing the Love Boat song in person is pure fun and joy! They were ALL gracious and lovely to share their time with us, some of them for the entire 2 weeks. I must admit, this cruise was totally going to be about the ship and not the ports. I walked off and back on without ever going on any excursions. Sometimes the cruising experience is just about the ship, the ocean, the entertainment and the food! And, because Princess was celebrating it's 50th year, I knew I'd love every minute onboard! The seas coming up the Baja coast were over-the-top rough and this small ship certainly showed her sea worthiness. Disembarkation was a breeze......so easy....again, no long lines and big smiles and thank you's from the lovely crew and staff! Getting the luggage, Immigration, getting my car could not have gone easier for me. Remember, I'm alone with a 95lb Service Dog in tow. With a Porter to help me, I could handle the luggage, the dog and get the car by myself. For any woman who's traveling by herself, there are lots of people all around to help and assist you at every turn. I can't wait until I can board another small ship and have that same experience all over again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Jr Suite V1 After a hectic first quarter and busy second quarter my friend and I wanted a quick break before Summer rates start going sky high and our workload increases. About three weeks out as luck or good yield management would ... Read More
Jr Suite V1 After a hectic first quarter and busy second quarter my friend and I wanted a quick break before Summer rates start going sky high and our workload increases. About three weeks out as luck or good yield management would have it we got a special inside Casino rate for the May 31st to June 4th sailing out of Long Beach, California. So we booked it under an inside guarantee and got assigned a nice inside mid ship cabin on Main (Deck 5) Midship next to the elevators which is find for a budget summer cruise. We were assigned a 2:30 Pm to 4:00 Pm boarding time and the ship was pretty full except for the Grand Suites and Jr Suites so we decided to purchase Faster to the Fun which meets at 11:00 am and boards as soon as the ship is cleared for boarding. Two days before sailing we got the Upsell call to move from Inside Main M145 to Veranda Jr. Suite V1 for a low $200 flat fee. Since I was at work I asked about the features of the suite while I got on my tablet and looked over the deck plans I downloaded for my October 2014 sailing. I asked a few more question while I looked up the reviews for the statement room and saw that most people hate V1, V3 Starboard and V2, V4 Portside since people on the bridge observation deck can see in to the rooms and the balconies are small. I said we'll gladly take the upgrade and did my happy dance at the cube farm. After carefully reviewing Carnival's policies we cancelled Faster to the Fun since the benefits for Suite class passengers is early embarkation and debarkation which we want and don't really need early tender tickets since our on Catalina Island we would sleep in and use a third party vendor to save a few bucks. Carnival Imagination is an older Fantasy Class vessel built around 1995 and is a stretched version of the Tropicale; which in the 1980's was based on classic Transatlantic Ocean Liners. Veranda Deck is home to the lifeboats/tenders and reminds me of classic boat decks except the deck doesn't completely wrap around the whole ship but is nice for pre dinner strolls or late night walks. The lack of balcony staterooms and Single Deck Dining Rooms with a galley in the middle date this design and causing some confusion among first time cruisers. However, Carnival Imagination is a well maintained ship and has some of the Fun Ship 2.0 features like the Water Park, and Ship Wide WiFi for only $5.00 per day which is similar to land based budget hotels. The public spaces are well maintained and sort of Retro Cool now that the 1980's are cool again. Food and beverages onboard are standard for the industry and on par with what you would find in Business Class or at a Downtown Hotel catering to Business travellers. Formal night featured Prime Rib and North Atlantic Lobster Tails, while Fillet Mignon appears at the SeaDay Brunch and at one of the nightly MDR meals as beef tenderloin roast. We enjoyed a Canape tray pre ordered from the Bon Voyage shop and room service delivered with it. Both times we did room service our orders were correct and service was quick and friendly (Tipped each time same server). The Lido deck buffet was decent to good and offered several different items each day for lunch and dinner. The Mid-Night Mexican Buffet was small compared to the extravagance of the past, but since we chose late seating it would have been a waste of food for us. Still it was nice to see sugar sculptures, fruit craving, one ice craving, and flower arrangements made up of food. The hot food looked ok but the desserts stole the show so I tried a little of the flan which was light airy and delicious. Tea Time on the Sea Day was a causal American style service. With lots of dessert options and only two types of finger sandwiches, still it is nice. The Chef's Table was a culinary adventure and well worth the cover charge plus gratitude, so to me it's like doing and excursion and includes a group photo. We still talk about that magical evening and our favorite courses. Entertainment onboard was geared to a younger crowd the new cast was good but still need to fine tune some of the dances during Epic Rock and Divas. The comedies were fun and tended to engage the crowd, so they both did a little insult comedy which can either be funny or a turn off. I found them both good but not for kids due to contend. The nightclub was packed at night, as was Karaoke. The hairy chest contest was funny to watch but it depends on the personality of the contestants. The Casino was busy at night and the tables were crowded most of the time. Not much enrichment on board but that's not why we go on Carnival. The passengers on board this start of summer cruise consisted of mostly of passengers between 18 - 50 about 55%, with children 17 and under the second largest group around 30%, and 50 and over around 15%. This cruise is close to the high season and one of the officers mentioned there were 2018 passengers onboard this sailing. Most of the passengers were from the western states however several hundred were form aboard including a large group from China, and a tour group from New Zealand. Due to the young average age the decks were still busy after midnight and things didn't really die down until after two in the morning. Stateroom V1 is Junior Suite starboard side and is spacious and contemporary. The leatherette sofa is comfortable as are the beds. The bathroom is a little bigger than the standard rooms so there's room to shave but it still has a clingy shower curtain. There is plenty of closet space and a small fridge and bar. The nightstand/vanity is big and has two US outlets and one EU outlet still needed a power strip for all our electronic devises that we didn't really use. There are stairs from the Lido deck to the Bridge Observation deck right outside the room, also people and the Upper Bridge wings can look into the cabin. For security we kept the door locked when we weren't in the suite. Most of the time when we were in the room we kept the shades open the air valve closed and the balcony door open to enjoy the fresh Pacific air. Two things different about RCL is that the AC can be shut off and most RCL balcony cabins have sliding doors that can be locked in the open position. My friend and I liked V1 the people watching from our cabin was cool but we really loved V1, especially on speedo day and borat day. The balcony on V1 is tiny compared to newer builds but is still a nice place to have coffee and juice in the mornings with an old fashioned newspaper while just wearing the soft comfortable bathrobe and watching the sea. Overall this spring/summer cruise was amazing the crew was friendly and professional. Our tablemates were well matched. The Excursions were fun and geared toward my market segment. I was greeted by name by most crew members who I interacted with (Bar staff, Serenity Deck, MDR, Cabin Attendant, Entertainment Staff, Gym/Spa, Chef's Table) I felt like I was on Celebrity Cruise instead of Carnival (and at 1/4 the price). I'm wondering if they track me as good as the airlines and Las Vegas Casino do? Well the service is much better on Cruise Ship than on land at least for me. Wine Country ATV Adventure First business; it's a Carnival backed tour so if something goes wrong the company will know right away especially in a foreign country the adult side of me likes that piece of mind and assurance. The operation is new and the ride is around and in El Cielo (Ranch) in Valle De Guadalupe a 30 to 45 minute ride North of the port. Once there Miguel 1 and Miguel 2 (two guys named Miguel) spent 20 minutes showing us the new semi automatic Honda ATVs. After that we went on an hour long ride around the Ranch and along the countryside on dirt roads and easy trails. Half of the people in our group were new to ATVs and everyone was under 50 which is cool so those of us with Miguel 1 could hit full throttle and power up and down the hills. My homeboy was with Miguel 2 since he hadn't ridden one in ten years. He had a good time if a little slower. It's the dry season when we went I only wished it had rained the day before or during so we could get muddy. The wine tasting was cool in the cellar of El Cielo, which looks likes a modern Napa Valley winery but an excellent value. They matched the wines with local cheeses and fresh baked breads. I a pick up a couple of good bottles of Merlot for $20.00 US. This was almost a perfect excursion for me, to be perfect throw in some cigars, skeet shooting and/or target practise than it would really be Awesome. After all Beavis and Butthead said, "ATF Rules, Alcohol, Tobacco and FIRE-Arms!" (plus ATVS) Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a ... Read More
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a snorkeling excursion which was uneventful but the boat ride and scenery to and from the area was worth the excursion. La Paz we docked about two miles away, we boarded busses that took us to the small town. It was fun walking around this town, fun shops and the people were very friendly. Loreto was a beautiful small town like you would see off the beaten path, loved it. It was an easy walk from the ship exploring the quaint town. The high school children preformed at the town square in their traditional garb, what a delight. Puerto Vallarta is a large town but each to walk in. We did the zip line which was quite a site. When we returned to LA we decided that this was such a great cruise we will defiantly take it again. The Crown Princess is a great ship with very friendly staff, good food and the night entertainment can't be beat. We would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
First a little about myself. This is my 21st cruise overall, my ninth cruise with Carnival and my first cruise on the Splendor. I've been to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta four prior times. I booked this cruise for the ship. After this ... Read More
First a little about myself. This is my 21st cruise overall, my ninth cruise with Carnival and my first cruise on the Splendor. I've been to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta four prior times. I booked this cruise for the ship. After this cruise it will do a two week cruise to Hawaii and then go around South America and end up in New York. I took a look at its New York itineraries and decided I would rather go to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta for a fifth time (besides, Long Beach is a drive to port for me). This cruise was original scheduled for six nights (more on that soon). I prefer one week or longer. I could have taken the prior cruise which was scheduled for a full week except that it spent two days in Cabo and I really didn't want to do that (though with the modified itinerary, that is exactly what I ended up doing anyway). So I am at work on Friday, January 11 and I get a message to call my travel agent -- now. There can be only one reason for a message like. I figure that she is not going to inform me of the delivery of three million dollars as my share of the twelve million dollars that I earned helping some prince that I have never met smuggle out of some African country that I have never heard of. It has to be bad news, and it is. The Splendor is spending time in Puerto Vallarta to repair seals damaged by an underwater fishing net. I am trying to figure out what other kind of fishing nets there are, perhaps above water fishing nets to catch flying fish? At any rate the repairs are taking longer than expected. The ship will arrive one day late. Okay, this is a drive to port for me, so I'll end up spending an extra day at home. I quickly realize things could be a lot worse. For example I could be on a ship that will arrive one day late, and have flight arrangements that are no longer good. Or, I could have driven to the port and be expecting a Sunday arrival, allowing me to be at work on Monday. Then I realize I could be flying to Los Angeles and suddenly need to make last minute changes to my flights or get a hotel for one extra night. So all in all, I'm in pretty good shape. It is also not lost on me that January 13 is the one year anniversary of the sinking of the Splendor's sister ship, owned by Costa. Then I realize the original itinerary cannot be completed in five nights. Carnival has changed the itinerary to one day at sea, two days in Cabo another day at sea and return on time (hopefully) on Saturday. My choices are to accept the new itinerary, plus a pro-rated refund, plus refund of taxes, plus a refund of Puerto Vallarta port fees, plus an on board credit of $50, or I can accept a full, penalty fee, refund. I have four credits on my Sail & Sign card ($75, $8.58, $50 & $9.98). The $75 is from a future cruise that I bought on a prior cruise. For those that are not driving, Carnival is offering up to $200 to change flights or the same amount for an extra night's hotel stay plus a food allowance. As I said, I booked this cruise for the ship, as there is no other ship of the same class in the Carnival fleet, so I'm on the cruise. Though I really am not looking forward to spending two days in Cabo, I had something more interesting planned for Cabo than Puerto Vallarta, so at least that worked out for me. It would be better if Cabo was not a tender port. Overnighting when docked gives the passengers a chance to experience the night life. Since Cabo is a tender port, we will not be able to do that. There is one more interesting aspect to this. The Carnival Inspiration is also scheduled to dock in Long Beach on Monday, and the dock in Long Beach can only handle one ship. Fortunately for Carnival, San Pedro is only a few miles away and one of the ships can dock in San Pedro and Carnival can easily run a few buses between the two ports. Which ship will end up where? I'll find out Monday morning. Monday, January 14 -- embarkation day I pack this morning and leave home just after 10am. Even though I catch a little of the morning rush hour (which in Los Angeles last from 4am to 11pm) I make it to the port in about one hour. The Splendor is in Long Beach (meaning the Inspiration is in San Pedro). Every time I have boarded a ship in Long Beach (this is my third cruise out of Long Beach) have had priority boarding, so I am unaware of the issues that most passenger face when embarking in Long Beach. There is some sort of zone boarding system. Your zone number is based on how early you arrive at pier. I am booked in a standard port side balcony cabin on deck nine (the Lido deck). So there are two obvious questions. One, why this cabin and two, how does someone who is not platinum (or above) and not in a suite get priority boarding? No, my uncle is not the CEO of Carnival. I am a member of the Carnival Vacation Club. Today things were even worse than normal for boarding in Long Beach. The hand full of priority passengers was no problem for Carnival. However, with two ships in two different ports, Carnival had to split its staff between the two ports. Apparently the embarkation process did not go well, and we left port about one hour late because it took so long to get everyone check in with only half the normal staff. I am in the first group to board (just before 12:30pm) and I immediately head to my cabin to drop off my carry-on. Then I find my room steward to make sure he knows it is my back pack in the closet. Then I am off to photograph the ship. I start at the pointy end upper deck and work my way aft and down. After photographing the rear Lido deck I notice the Deli station is open and nobody is in line, so I decide to have a couple of sandwiches. Since my cabin is on the Lido deck, and it is now after 1:30pm, I decide to go photograph my cabin. Rats, no luggage yet. I photograph my cabin and then decide to check out the observation deck, only I can't get out of my cabin. My luggage has arrived along with someone else's luggage that looks like mine, and is blocking the door way. However, I am in 9226 and the luggage is clearly marked for 9210 -- oops. I decide that the only good way to get it out of my way is to drag it down to the other cabin myself. I unpack and take some more pictures of the ship. Then I decide to rest up for the muster drill. However, the muster drill which should have taken place at 4:30pm does not take place until 5:30pm. Several announcements are made that the muster drill is being delayed because there are people still in the terminal. Why is anyone late when they should have been here yesterday? At dinner I got the answer. As I noted above, because the staff that would normally handle just one ship had to be split between two ships, there was only half a staff to handle a full ship. Things were not running very smoothly. Finally the muster drill takes place. As I noted earlier, this ship is a sister ship to the ship that sank one year ago. Part of the problem (in Italy) was that several hundred people had boarded but had not participated in the muster drill because it was scheduled for the following day (that unfortunately for some, never came). Now if I was asked which deck the muster station was on, I would have guessed deck 3, the Lobby deck. That is the deck you enter on and that the bottom deck of the atrium. However, the muster station is actually on deck four, the Atlantic deck. Most likely one would not know that unless they had been on the ship before. One nice thing is that we don't have to bring our lifejackets. The straps from the lifejackets end up dragging on the ground and people trip on those things all the time. As soon as the muster drill is over I head over to the aft Lido deck where I expected to find my roll call group, but I didn't find anyone. Perhaps it was because it was a little cooler than most people feel comfortable with, though I found it quite nice (I like cool). After we hit open water I expected the ship to accelerate, because to make it to Cabo in one day requires a high speed run. However, the ship did not accelerate. I went back to the cabin and found the map channel on the TV (channel three). There I noticed the speed slowly increase until we were going about 20.5 knots (which is about 23.5 MPH). Then I realized why. In order to reduce pollution around the port, ships are required to run at a reduced speed near the port. I believe it is ten knots within ten miles of the port. Once outside that range the ship picked up speed. We lost an hour getting started; however, we will gain an hour because we are not setting our clocks ahead one hour to match the local time in Cabo. We will stay on Pacific Standard Time (or I guess you could say that in reality we are not losing another hour by moving the clocks ahead). Between all the standing at the muster drill and all the walking around I did photographing the ship, I was not sure which was more sore, my back or my legs. So I decided to just relax until dinner time. I have the late seating in the Gold Pearl restaurant (the rear most restaurant). The Splendor is laid out a lot like the Conquest class ships. The Splendor is about two to three percent bigger than the Conquest class ships and has a little water park for the younger kids that the Conquests class ships do not have. It has the normal Carnival water slide, but does not have the extra big slides the Fantasy class ships are getting with the waterworks upgrade. This brings up one of the two reasons my favorite class of Carnival ships is the Spirit class, and that is the mid-ship restaurant, which on this ship is the Black Pearl restaurant. That restaurant is on decks three and four as is the Gold Pearl restaurant. However, it also blocks access to the Gold Pearl restaurant. You have to go up to deck five, go all the way to the rear, then down one or two decks to get to the Gold Pearl restaurant. But it is not just when going to the Gold Pearl restaurant that this comes into play. Once, when I was on the aft lido deck (deck nine) I wanted to search for photographs, which is on the Atlantic deck (deck four). I took the elevator down to deck four and found myself trapped. This does not happen on the Spirit class ships as there is no mid-ship restaurant. The other reason I like the Spirit class better is that it has the best space ratio of all the Carnival ships. I am seated at a large table with two couples and a gentleman from Ventura (which is not too far from where I live) who has 58 cruises with Carnival (and 45 with Royal Caribbean). One couple is from Canada and the other couple is from Montana (the state - not the former quarterback). Good group, as is our wait staff. It was from the two couples that I learned about the problems with embarkation. One couple spent four hours in line and they are not too happy about that. At any rate, I have sweet & sour shrimp which is very good. After dinner I go back to the cabin to rest and prepare for running around the ship late at night to get more photographs. However, I am too tired and sore and finally give up that idea of photographing the ship at night and just go to sleep. Tuesday, January 15 -- day at sea I am up in time for sunrise. Unfortunately there are not many clouds in the sky, so it is not a great sunrise, but at least it is a sunrise, so I take a few pictures from my balcony. Then I head to the observation deck above the bridge. The door is on the port side and there is a strong wind blowing across the ship, from port to starboard. Okay, it is a very strong wind. As soon as I push the door open the wind catches the door like a sail and instantly the door is fully open, and I still have a really good grip on the door handle. I weigh well over two hundred pounds and I have been dragged outside as easily as one would through a bucket of water in a water fight. One of the room stewards saw what had happened. Seeing that I am okay he decides to close the door -- except he can't. I have to help him close the door. After taking a few pictures I weigh my options for returning to the cabin. I finally decide to take the stairs to the tenth deck and where I can get inside via a wind protected door and take the stairs back down to deck nine. Then back in the cabin to upload the pictures, shave, shower and dress. Then out of the cabin for breakfast and to allow the cabin steward do his job. The two shortest lines in the buffet are at the Off the Grill which is a serving station next to the dome covered pool and the cook to order omelet station. The lines for the four inside serving stations are long. Why stand in line for precooked eggs when the line for cooked to order eggs is shorter. I went to the Off the Grill near the domed pool as there was no line at all there. The roll call group had planned to meet on the aft lido deck at 10am. Once again I don't find anyone. However, while taking pictures around the ship one person says I guess you are the one posting the corny jokes (on the roll call thread). Okay, so one person found me. I also wanted to check for any good photographs (of me taken the day before). However, even by mid-morning the pictures are not ready for viewing. So I grab my camera and run around the ship taking pictures. It is cool and windy and most people are not doing much. The dome over the pool is closed and the kids are taking advantage by swimming in the covered pool. I walked past the mini water park and it was closed. I never saw the water slide open either. In fact, by early afternoon the top decks are also closed off because of the strong wind. In the afternoon I checked out the store, but find nothing of real interest. I did find a couple of pictures to buy. The eight by ten pictures are $22! I was given an invitation to a ten dollar sale of watches and other accessories. I've been to those before, and I have purchased some items. After all, ten dollars is not much of a risk and I am still using one of those ten dollar watches. I like it because it is digital, which makes changing time easy. Also, it is plastic so I don't have to take it off if I pass through a metal detector. I only wear it on vacation. At home I wear a different watch. That said, the people who go to these sales can be pretty aggressive, and I am not in the mood to put up with that today, so I don't go. If you do go to one of these, make sure your arms are properly attached and that your medical insurance is paid up. I am also invited to an art auction. Incredibly Carnival is still using Park West. Concerns about Park West go way back. In fact, in August 2008, I attended a Park West auction on the Carnival Victory, purely out of curiosity. Nonetheless, recently Park West lost a lawsuit over its activities. I know at least one other cruise line no longer uses Park West. I don't go to the art auction either. In fact, by mid-afternoon, with nothing much happening, and my back acting up, I decide to retreat to the cabin. The Discovery Channel provides some entertainment while my back heals. Tonight is elegant night. I get dressed up, sort of. I've got enough pictures of me in a suit. I want something different with a little color. So instead of a white dress shirt I'm wearing a Hawaiian shirt. For dinner I have the prime rib which is very good. I also make sure everyone at the table, including the waiter, knows I will not I will not be at dinner tomorrow night, as I am going to be at the steakhouse. Tonight the entertainment is a production show, Fiesta Latina. It is high energy and very good. Since it now close to midnight, I decide to just hit the sack. See you in the morning.Wednesday, January 16 -- Cabo San Lucas I am up in time to see us proceeding within sight of land. The wind is blowing something fierce. As Cabo is a tender port I am concerned that we will not be allowed to go to shore. I decide to venture out onto the observation deck. I eye the door carefully, well aware of what happened to me yesterday. I am worried that if I am not careful, I'll be thrown out hard enough to go over the railing. Just below the observation deck is the bridge. I can imagine the surprised look on the captain's face as his view changes from ocean to some passenger falling from above, turned upside down (naturally I would go over the rail head first) with my body and face plastered to the window by the force of the wind. The only good thing that would come of this is the great picture I would get of the captain's surprised look, since I do have my camera with me. At least I'm sure of winning the next photo contest Carnival has if this does happen. So, I grab the door handle with both hands, brace myself and turn the handle. It worked, as this time I am only dragged half as far as yesterday. However, closing the door without the help of the room steward proves to be quite challenging (again, I weigh well over two hundred pounds). For the record, I leave the same way I did last time, up the stairs to deck ten and back in through the wind protected door leading out to the Panorama deck, soundly defeated by the force of something that I cannot even see (though I can feel it). As we get closer to land the wind subsides and once inside the bay it is quite calm, so it looks good for going ashore. The temperature is about 66 degrees which is fine for me, though most people will find it a little chilly. Nonetheless, since we are not moving, the weather is nice and the dome is open. I have only one goal for this port and that is to go to the glass factory and get something for my sister and brother-in-law. As such I have no intention of joining the morning rush to the tenders. I eat a late breakfast (brunch) and board the tender around noon. I actually make it out of the marina area without having to dodge any of the vendors. I find a taxi that is willing to take me to the glass factory. The only problem is he says that there are two glass factories -- which one do I want to go to? I didn't know there were two, but nonetheless I have the name of the factory and a map. $20 round trip and he will wait for me. We arrive at the same glass factory the tours go to, in fact one is there watching a glass blowing demonstration. Great, I have the entire showroom to myself. I quickly find the martini glasses I am interested in. The price marked is 77. I'm guessing that is Pesos, and the sales lady confirms that. At twelve Pesos to the dollar, that works out to about $6.50 each. During my search I noticed that there are several pitchers. I find one that matches the martini glasses and I get the three items for $38. Back to the marina and I pass by a shop with some shot glasses. One shot glass for my friend and my souvenir hunting is over. Now back to the ship with the goal of not breaking anything. This means I am holding my loot and not my camera, so I miss quite a good photo opportunity. The seals climb on to the back of the fishing vessels begging for a handout, just like a dog at the dinner table, except most dogs don't weigh four hundred plus pounds. Back on board I find a safe place for my loot. Round trip, departing ding to reentry ding (ding is the should the security machine makes when you insert your card to check in and out) is about two hours. I walk around the ship a bit and then head back to the cabin to rest up for dinner, which will be at the steakhouse tonight. My back is hurting me if I stand too long. I have the rib eye, Creaser salad and the chocolate sampler. The steak was great, the salad good and the chocolate sampler a little bigger than I expected. I was expecting some small, pillow mint sized, samples of different chocolates. Instead I ended up with four small cups of different chocolates, and I'm kind of full, so I only finish off two of the small cups and half of each of the other two. After dinner I head back to the cabin to work on this, upload the pictures and to get off my own back. Thursday, January 17 -- Cabo San Lucas When I wake up I check the TV. The ship left Cabo yesterday, headed east, then south, did a figure eight and we are now headed northwest toward Cabo. We were doing about ten knots which surprised me. I would have expected a speed of four to six knots; after all we are not going anywhere. I'm out on my balcony to see us arrive in Cabo again. I did everything I wanted in Cabo yesterday and have no interest in going through the tendering process, especially given that the last tender back to the ship was at 1:00pm. That would mean to spend any time in Cabo, I would have to catch an early tender to Cabo and I was not interested in doing that. If I had gone into Cabo it would have been my sixth visit in the last eight years. Ships love to visit this port, so I'm sure I'll be back, even if it is on another Panama Canal cruise (I do want to do that again). The weather is a little better with the temperature getting into the seventies. So I just walked around the ship and bit, worked on this, uploaded pictures and just relaxed. I did notice it was 2pm and the ship was turning. Yet we just sat there for a rather long time. I thought it was because the captain was waiting for the harbor patrol to clear a way for the ship to leave. The water taxis and jet skis seemed clueless that a very large ship was preparing to leave. These small boats are headed back to Cabo and are directly in front of the ship. However, at dinner I found out that the ship had waited for one family that apparently arrived at the tender dock after the last tender left, but before the ship left. Though I noticed a tender leave the ship very late, I just assumed that it was one of the Mexican officials leaving the ship. This afternoon was the repeat passenger party. I arrived on time for the party; however, the doors were not open yet. So I had a chocolate martini at the martini bar called El Mojito. Then I had two drinks at the party. After the party I went back to the cabin to sleep off the effects of the three drinks. At dinner I didn't like any of the starters, so asked for the tiger shrimp dinner to be served as a starter and had the gourmet burger for dinner. Both were good. One of my table mates seems to have the most cruises with Carnival on this cruise. At dinner he gets a glass of wine which he shares with me (the others at the table turned down his offer). Given all the drinks I have had, the condition of my back and something new, my allegories are acting up, I decide the best course of action is to head back to the cabin. One of the gifts I received as a returning passenger was a coupon for a free drink. However, the restrictions made it unusable for me. It is only good in the main dining room during breakfast, brunch or lunch. It is good for any drink up to nine dollars, however, I eat breakfast and lunch at the buffet and I am not going to start drinking at breakfast or lunch (mid afternoon is early enough for me). Friday, January 18 -- day at sea We seem to be making better time and a check of the ship information channel (channel three) confirms this. On the way to Cabo we were going about 20.5 knots. On the way back we are going about 21.5 knots. As we head north the weather is getting a little cooler, from the mid-sixties dropping to the lower sixties. Though I think it is nice, the dome is closed. I leave the room long enough to grab a little nutrition walk around the ship and peek into the stores to see if there are any specials. The main goal here is to give the room steward time to do his job. The ship is selling anything with Mexico on it at a big discount. Why, because the ship will not be returning to Mexico. The next cruise is to Hawaii, and then the ship heads around South American on its way to New York. So, I get a key ring for fifty cents and two t-shirts for ten dollars (yes, five dollars each). Back at the cabin I decided to upload my pictures work on this and give my back a rest. January is not the best time to be cruising the Mexican Riviera if it is sun and swimming that you are interested in. I knew that and would have booked an April or May cruise except the ship would no longer be here. So, I am relaxing which one of the things cruising is all about. So while it does not sound all that exciting, all my goals (given the modified itinerary) have been met. I was able to cruise on the ship and I obtained the glassware I wanted to get in Cabo. Speaking of the ship, people describe it as overdone in pink. So I was expecting a lot of bright pink when I boarded. Well, it is not covered in a bright pink color. It is half way between pink and light purple. Personally I don't get the comments about Pepto Bismol pink. I went looking for it and I couldn't find it. Unless the colors have faded since the ship was new, the color is closer to a dull lavender (in my opinion). Now I don't believe that I explained why I chose the cabin I did. I have been in a forward facing balcony cabin (through the Panama Canal - it was great), I have been in the forward most side facing cabin, I have been mid-ship several times and in rear facing balconies several times. On this ship I wanted to be on the port side for two reasons. First, that is the side El Arco is on as the ship approaches Cabo. Second, that is the side of the ship that the door to the outside observation deck is on. As I said before, the layout of this ship is just like the Conquest class of ships. I was on the Carnival Freedom in 2011 and had a similar cabin on the starboard side of the ship. The problem was the longer walk (in time - I didn't mind the longer distance) it took to get to the outside observation deck because the only door to the outside observation deck is on the port side. I had assumed that there would be two doors (one on each side). This time I checked the deck plans before I booked. Nonetheless, being on the side of El Arco would have been more important than which side the door was on, but it was a consideration. Also, on one cruise I had a cabin that was directly across from a crew access door. Hearing that door close all the time was a little annoying. As a result I prefer a cabin that is across from other cabins. So, I looked for a balcony cabin that was on the left side close to the front that only slept two (so that Carnival would have no reason to move me). If I was in a cabin that slept three or four and a family of three or four wanted to book, and no cabins that sleep three or four were available, Carnival would have moved me to a different cabin that only slept two to make room for this new family, and I didn't want that to happen (in fact, before the repair issue, the ship was sold out). The balcony cabins on either side of me both sleep three. So that just leaves the deck choice. First I wanted a deck with cabins above and below me. Second I wanted access to the forward observation decks. Deck seven would have also met this criteria (on this ship). However, one advantage of the lido deck (deck nine) is quick access to the action. Out the door and onto the pool deck and the buffet deck - no elevator and no stairs. Had it been warmer that would have been a nice added bonus. Well at any rate this is a day at sea, the weather is cool and it is our last day. I'll pack later, but I do want to get things organized. Otherwise, it is not very a very exciting day. Too cool to interest me in swimming and between my allergies and my back, I'm more interested in laying down then running around or even sitting at the computer. Prior to dinner I went down to guest services and picked up a few envelopes. The room steward, assistant room steward and waiter have been great. I'm paying the normal gratuities via my ship board account, but these three have done an excellent job and I'm going to give them a little extra just as a way of saying thank you. After dinner I pack, put my suit case out, leaving some clothes out for tomorrow (I don't want to be one of the cruise director jokes about having nothing to wear except the bathrobe because I pack everything in my suitcase) and go to sleep. Saturday, January 19 - debarkation day I wake up just before the ship enters the harbor. We are earlier than the posted arrival time. I'm in no rush. Not only do I have a very high number (29), but I'm not going straight home. A group of us on the Cruisers from California forum are getting together for lunch at a restaurant near the pier, so I've only got a five minute drive ahead of me and we are meeting at noon. The only incentive I have for getting off before 11:00 is to avoid having security chase me down. I did leave the cabin to get some breakfast, but returned to upload the last of my pictures (I took a few sunrise pictures this morning). Around 8:30 I leave the cabin so the cabin steward can get the cabin ready for the people going to Hawaii later today. I decide to just go to the pool under the dome and watch wind surfers on the big TV screen. The highlight of the morning, prior to my debarkation number being called, is the dome being opened. First time I had a chance to see that done live. Actually my number is never called. The last number called before mine was 27. The next number called was five hundred and something (I doubt that anyone had a number higher than thirty something). Even then I waited a while, and it worked, the custom lines were half the normal length when I got there. After customs, it was off to the luggage holding area which was now quite empty, then off to my car. I arrived at the restaurant at 11:30 and had a nice lunch with the group. Then it was about an uneventful hour drive home. So, did I enjoy the cruise - yes. Was it my favorite cruise - no. I had to live within certain realities. Those realities included my wanting to cruise on this ship, the fact that the ship was leaving for New York, that I didn't like the New York itineraries, that it was winter (not spring), that given the repair delays, this was now a five night cruise instead of a six night cruise and we were only going to visit one port that I have been to four times before. It also didn't help my mood any that two weeks earlier Carnival had charted the ship that I had booked a cruise on. Changing to a different date on the same ship didn't bother me. What did bother me was that I booked an early saver rate, I was booking the same cabin on the same ship during the same month. However, Carnival would not allow me to book at the same rate I originally booked at. So I had to pay about $100 more for the same cruise not because of anything I did, but because of a choice Carnival forced on me. So with all the changes and my back bothering me, I could have been in a better mood before this cruise started. Nonetheless, I did accomplish all my goals, given the modified itinerary. I cruised on the ship, took lots of photographs (over one thousand - good thing digital pictures are free), picked up a gift for my sister and brother-in-law and relaxed. All in all, not a bad way to spend a week. Hopefully (for those of you in New York) this review (and the pictures I am posting with it on the main boards - I cannot post pictures in the review section) will be of some help in planning your cruise. The ship is a good match for New York, as it has a sliding dome that can be closed when the weather is bad and opened when the weather is good. Many of the ships that cruise the Caribbean do not have a covered pool, when limits outdoor choices when the weather is bad. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I had room 1083 right behind the big screen TV. I never heard a peep out of the big screen and I only hear one set of adults being loud in the corridor. It was extremely quite up there for a cruise ship and I was hugely pleased with the ... Read More
I had room 1083 right behind the big screen TV. I never heard a peep out of the big screen and I only hear one set of adults being loud in the corridor. It was extremely quite up there for a cruise ship and I was hugely pleased with the room. Very large and comfortable for a solo person. That was for a cruise I just finished last week. I have cabin number 1077 for this cruise in Oct of 2011. That (the cruise this thread is about) is exactly one year and one week from the one I just finished. That's about 355 days away. LOL. I'm an avid outdoors-man but I was still a little anxious to head out into the streets of Mexico on my own. I met a very young couple in Long Beach as they were getting off and I was just starting my cruise and they said that one of the best adventures they'd ever had was the Extreme Canopy in Puerto Vallarta. I remembered them saying that and I signed up on ship the night before that port on a whim. They met us with signs just as we stepped off the ship. We took a speed boat all the way across Banderas Bay. We went ashore at a tiny but absolutely charming and beautiful traditional sleepy spanish fishing village. We boarded WWII Mercedes troop carrier 4-wheel drive trucks and slogged up a very steep cobblestone road as far as the jeep/truck could carry us into the Sierra Madre Mountains then we saddled up on mules for as far as the mules could carry us then we hiked to the top of the mountain. That adventure was absolutely a blast....and then we did the zip line....or 10 zip lines and 2 rappels back down to the 4 wheel drive trucks then back down to the beach/fishing village where most drank as many iced down Coronas as they could down before the speed boat took us back to the ship. I can't wait to do the same next year. In Mazatlan I got braze and struck out on my own. I walked to the waterfront to the $2 water taxi based on directions I read on the Internet. Went over to the "Island" which isn't an island and walked over some rocks until the grass huts appeared where I found ATVs, restaurants with sand floors that served Coconut Shrimp, and Randi of Randis Happy Horses....who was telling her story of being an Expat and basically a bail-out from the hustle and bustle of American city life...for the price of an ice cold Margarita at 11AM. I ate my shrimp then rented an ATV and went south on the beach for at least 25 miles and never saw another human being. When I came back across the water taxi I asked a taxi driver if he had ever heard of the Huicholes Indians? He said but shop owner in Old Mazatlan had and pointed me to a small place that sold there art. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huichol and I bought some of their wonderful art. Originally I had intended to watch the sunup and sun down on the ship everyday and just poke around town while in ports but the two grand adventures I stumbled upon in the previous ports lent to a search for a third in Cabo. And I found it. This is me doing that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
After all the planning, work outs, shopping, & anticipation, we finally met up by midnight at the LA hotel recommended by Tripadvisor & AAA. We might be 55 year olds but that night we were like college kids as we gathered & ... Read More
After all the planning, work outs, shopping, & anticipation, we finally met up by midnight at the LA hotel recommended by Tripadvisor & AAA. We might be 55 year olds but that night we were like college kids as we gathered & shared our excitement! We woke the day of departure; imagine our shock as we watched FOX News cover the tragedy of the Chilean earthquake. When they brought up the tsunami warning, we knew we were in for possible disappointment. This is when we knew we were right to buy trip insurance. I called Princess immediately & sat on hold until the rep told me that they had calls in to the authorities & would call us if the trip would be affected. We decided to hope for the best & go ahead with our embarkation plans. Our personal shuttle arrived at noon, graciously took us to our wine shop so we could stock up, & off we went to the LA Harbor. The baggage handlers along side the ship were so much fun -- thanks guys for your warm welcome! Our 3 first time cruisers were WOWED by their initial visual of the ship. The embarkation process was perfect, the best of the 3 cruise lines I've been on. In the waiting area, we watched the news as Princess made periodic announcements that the harbor was closed by the Coast Guard due to the tsunami. In my opinion, the waiting passengers handled the delay well. There may not have been enough seating for everyone but this never happened before so why would there be. We may have waited an hour before they made the happy announcement that the gangway had been lowered & embarkation had begun. The Sapphire Princess was the first ship out of the harbor once the Coast Guard made the decision. We 8 ladies went to the covered front of the ship to experience the trip out to open sea. We said a silent prayer for our neighbors in Chile. The remainder of the trip was a wonderfully normal cruise. The high points of the cruise were: 1. mini-suite balcony. We had two mini-suites & two interior cabins. It is worth the extra dollars to have the larger balcony when traveling with a group as we shared the space with our friends. If it were just my hubby & I, the regular balcony would be fine. 2. Princess allows celebratory wine/champagne to be brought on board. We were celebrating a pending retirement, a birthday & a graduation & Princess' understanding allowed us to celebrate together in our suite. This is why I recommend Princess above the other lines I've cruised. 3. The ship's size. Sapphire is the perfect size. Who wants to sail with 3000 passengers? We had no trouble finding deck chairs, outdoor seating for our Horizon Court breakfasts, lounge seats for the jewelry show, etc. I have zero desire to sail on any super sized cruise ships, even if the fare is less on them. 4. Our traditional dining experience. Traditional dining IS the cruise experience. You can go to a restaurant at home (freestyle dining), why would you do the same old thing on a cruise? I prefer the late seating because we have time to return from our excursions, get all gussied up, have a glass of wine & still make it to the table on time. We were blessed with the perfect waiters, Alan and Joel from the Philippines. (Alan is sacrificing time at home because he is putting his daughter through medical school). Every guest should get to know their waiters on a personal level; it so enhances the cruise experience! We know they see a new table of guests every week but the way they treated us made us feel like we were special every night. We tipped them very generously. Hello Alan and Joel! 5. Skywalker Lounge. We had along one daughter for whom this trip was her graduation gift She actually likes to be with us eve though some of us are old enough to be her grandma. We took her to the Skywalker Lounge every night so she could dance the night away &that she did. If some of the crew were up there they made it a point to dance with her a few times & we got out there to dance too.We helped her make wonderful life long memories. 6. Shipboard activities. Our group really enjoyed the dancing,exercising & entertainment opportunities on board the ship. We ended up in the ship's video more than once. The crew were full of energy, they appear everywhere &they work hard to make the days at sea fun. We really appreciated what they were doing for the passengers. If we suggested any improvements, they would be: A. the latte bar needs a selection of sugar free skinny latte choices. B. Revamp the nighttime entertainment. That's where we found fault. We thought the dance company costuming absolutely STUNK. Giant gold lame' stars on a man's shirt/pants? Come ON! Talk about emasculating a person. The costuming was circa 1970. The average age on the ship was 55. Hey, we're the baby boomers. The music too; how many years will we hear covers of 45 year old Neil Diamond songs? Let's get a little more current. They had talent but their creativity had been squashed. We stopped going to the shows because they were so sappy. The Island Princess (2008) had more current content. The ship group, the Babydolls, lead singer was not good either, but the thin singer was great. Loudness will not cover a substandard voice. We felt that the karaoke contests had much better voices so we went there whenever there was a performance. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
My husband does not relax like "normal people" and, unless they would agree to let him work in the engine room for the duration, cruising doesn't appeal to him. I absolutely love it, so off I went on my own. Embarkation in ... Read More
My husband does not relax like "normal people" and, unless they would agree to let him work in the engine room for the duration, cruising doesn't appeal to him. I absolutely love it, so off I went on my own. Embarkation in LA was extremely efficient, no more than twenty minutes from curbside to stateroom. My stateroom was clean and comfortable. Odd duck that I am, I seem to be one of the few that has never had a complaint about Princess' mattresses. My only complaint about the ship was an occasional "funky" odor in the hallway and on the Promenade Deck. That and the fact that I did not do my homework well enough to realize that the Video Arcade was directly above my stateroom. Small inconveniences, not enough to obsess about. I opted for traditional dining at a table for ten, knowing that while I was not obligated to eat there every night my chair would be waiting for me without reservations should I choose to. My table-mates were varied and interesting. Overall the food was good, some of it excellent. While the service provided by my particular waiter was not as good as I had experienced in the past, it was by no means poor. The deck stewards and buffet stewards were wonderfully friendly and attentive. I liked the fact that the Sapphire has deck chairs on the Promenade Deck, great for reading or just watching the ocean go by. I took the Ultimate Ship's Tour, offered on our last sea day. Although it was a tad pricey I felt it was worth every penny and would recommend it to anyone who's curiosity radar goes off when they see a "Crew Only" doorway. From what I understand a lottery is done on those who have signed up and only a small group is taken (there were eleven of us). Photos are not allowed, but we were accompanied by a member of the photography staff and the pictures she took, as well as a chef's coat and plush robe were delivered to our staterooms that evening. We toured the backstage areas of the Princess Theater with some of the performers, The Medical Center with the Doctor (who is an absolute hoot!), the Galley with the Executive Chef (who had a lovely snack waiting), The print shop, photo lab and laundry with the Purser, the Engine Control Room with the Chief Engineer, and we climbed up into the funnel with the Staff Captain. Last stop was the Bridge where the Captain posed for individual photos and presented each of us with a souvenir of our voyage. My advice to all cruisers, be it first-timers or seasoned, is that your trip is what you make of it. Treat your servers and stewards with respect and you will get wonderful service. When you have to wait for an elevator, look around, realize where you are and how lucky you are to be there. My cruise was not perfect, but it was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Getting there and embarkation: For me getting to Long Beach was a simple ride of just over thirty minutes. Although I will admit there are times for other cruises I have spent the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach just to watch my ... Read More
Getting there and embarkation: For me getting to Long Beach was a simple ride of just over thirty minutes. Although I will admit there are times for other cruises I have spent the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach just to watch my "ship-come-in". A day or so before the cruise, Carnival called and requested that we not show up until 2pm on the date of departure. Since I usually get to Long Beach at around 11am and am having my first DOD by noon, I compromised and got there at around 12:30pm. Unlike my last cruise I ran into absolutely no lines during the check-in or embarkation. Well, there were about 20 people in front of me on the gangway, but that is because they stopped the line to move something around on the walkway. All-in-all it took me less than 25 minutes from arriving at Long Beach to get on the ship. There were people at the elevator directing people to go to the Lido deck to wait for their cabins, which they said would be ready by 2pm. Since I am so good at following directions I hustled up to the Lido deck for a DOD. The "Fun Ship", always one of my favorites! I grabbed some lunch, another DOD, wandered the Lido deck, and dang it wasn't 2pm yet. Headed toward my cabin anyway, and found that pesky sign hanging on the hallway doors saying that the cabins were not ready yet. So, I opened the door and walked through. Not a soul in sight. Opened the cabin door no problem, and looked around. The Cabin: I had booked a Category 11 suite. I was absolutely surprised. On the Paradise I get a Cat. 12 suite, which I typically never use the sitting area, and I swear this Cat.11 on the Splendor was so much more efficiently set up. Because of the proximity of the sitting area in this suite, it was actually used more! There were two closets, one in the dressing area before the bathroom, and one by the beds. Now, when you have multiple people in the cabin this is priceless. There also appeared to be larger drawer spaces. The balcony was of ample size it just seemed less deep than the Paradise. Unpacked, ready to go, I headed back toward the Lido deck where some nice folks from CruiseCritic.com, had planned on a Meet & Greet. Then off we go to the Muster Drill... After Muster drill I go back to the Lido deck for a bit of the Sail Away party, than back to the cabin to clean up for dinner. I spent a bit of time at the various game shows, and the like after dinner, than off to the Casino. The Ship: I have heard many complaints about the ship being too pink. Actually looks like a washed out mauve to me, but I found nothing distasteful or gaudy with it. Personally, I like pink polka dots! I found her easy to navigate. Being basically in the center of the ship had it's advantages. The Ports of Call, etc: Monday and Tuesday were sea days. They went by rather quickly. These days were spent eating, going to various ship activities, eating, gambling, drinking, and eating some more. Monday was the first cruise elegant night on the ship. So, before my (almost) last meal of the day, I got all dolled up and went to dinner. Where, yes I did order both the prime rib and lobster. On Tuesday, some of us from the CruiseCritic's group got together and did a cabin crawl and were able to see a variety of cabins across the ship. This was fun and useful, in helping me plan where I might want to be located next cruise. Wednesday, I was up early and watched us dock in Puerto Vallarta. By 9am it was already 90 plus degrees outside with 89% humidity. I had only one thing planned for PV, and that was a signature swim with the dolphins. I had breakfast and headed for my excursion. We were water taxied over to the swim sight. That took about 15 - 20 minutes. There was a 20 minute introduction to dolphins, and safety measures. After which we were herded off the dolphin pools (tanks). There was no "locker" as it stated in the brochure, you were given a cubby hole to put your belongings. They did provide towels at the end, so if you go, there is no need to lug the towel from the ship. Leave all your jewelry in the safe on the ship, because you cannot wear your watches and rings into the pool. They fit you with a life vest and you get in the water. You are in a group about 10 people, with 2 dolphins that are yours for the next hour. My dolphins were both 10 months pregnant. They were a mother and daughter. Every now and then the alpha male dolphin or one of the younger dolphins would start a ruckus on the other side of the pool, so we had to stop and go back to the edge of the pool. While you are in the water, there is nothing but the edge of the pool to hang on to. You cannot touch bottom. The dolphins swim in and around you, they take various pictures and the last thing you do is "ride" the dolphin back to the point were you get out of the pool. You can pay a reduced price for someone in your party to just observe and take pictures if you want. The pictures they take are pretty expensive. $99 for 8 pictures, and since they only really take 3 or 4 of you, you may wind up buying more than you need. It is a very nice efficient photo system. They put them on a computer and you chose the ones you want. They can print them or put them on a CD. They also feed you lunch, but I was told by some that ate it, it really was not very good. I had bottled water and a soda, both free. After taking the water taxi back to the ship, I decided it would be best to shower and put on fresh clothes before venturing back out into PV. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men (or apparently women on a cruise). When I got back to my stateroom, I went in to wash my hands, and there was no water. Nope none! Not a drop. I opened the stateroom door and there were some workers in the hallway which I apparently was oblivious to when I walked in 2 minutes prior. A pipe had burst leaving my cabin and 6 others without water. It would be about an hour before it was fixed. So, seeing how I already had my suit on, and it was hotter than heck. I headed toward the Lido deck, to get a nice cold DOD. (And, of course some food...) Probably would have showered in one of those showers near the pool area, but decided that taking my shampoo and room towel up there was probably not a good idea. Since I was already hot and sweaty and my cabin mate needed to get some closed toe shoes for our "Behind the Fun" tour of the ship on Saturday; we decided to walk over to Walmart. Yep, I just sailed for two and a half days to go shopping at Walmart! We stopped at the little flea market outside the area where the ship docked. There is also some shopping and places to eat after you enter the controlled area. When we got back to our room, our water was back on, and the shower felt terrific! The bad part about early dining is that if you really want to dine in the dining room, it is almost a rushed occurrence at the end of the day. Late dining is too late for me, and I know there is always the Lido deck. But I do like the sit-down thingy. I believe in January, the Splendor goes to the "anytime dining". Thursday we got to Mazatlan, where again it was painfully hot and humid. Heat index of about 112! I got off the ship long enough to take a ride around town and get back on to the comfort of my favorite Lido deck bar, and the DODs. Now, the ride through town lasted about 90 minutes and my cab driver gave quite a bit of history, and even stopped a few times for some photos. Total charge $20 plus tip! During dinner, the ship stopped for a medical emergency and took someone off the ship. Friday, we tendered into Cabo San Lucas, went to a beachy area, went to some shops, petted a baby tiger, and had some breakfast. Cabo is a quick stop, and we were lucky to get off the ship and back on during the time the wait for the tender was not long. Saturday, our last was our last sea day. I took the 3 ½ hour "Behind the Fun" tour. The cost was $95, but it was worth it. They must have given us over $50 of goodies after the tour. We got to go to the main galley, the Steak house galley, the laundry, the crews quarters and mess, the infirmary, the morgue, the "jail", behind the stage, the engine control room, the bridge, the bow of the ship by the ships bell (which is the crews deck area), the Captain's dining room, and the environmental area where they recycle everything. It was very informative, and the time passed rather quickly. (Files/Behind the Fun.pdf) The Food: Since I keep bringing up food... let me just say this.... There is NO food shortage on this ship. I was amazed at the variety. There is a Burrito Bar, Mongolian BBQ, a Sushi bar (hrs from about 5 to 8pm), a Rotisserie Chicken place, a nice deli, a grill, the pizzeria, and then the buffets. (and I think I forgot a couple of places!) Numerous drink and ice cream stations are located all over the place. The lemonade and icetea were better than most ships I have been on. Plus the glasses and coffee cups are larger than I have normally seen. If you want to spend the extra $30/person you can eat at the Pinnacle Steak Room. The folks that I talked to that went raved about the food. All I can say that anyone that goes on this ship and tells me they can't find anything that they can eat, needs to stop cruising! I found the quality and variety of food to be much better than on my July sailing on the Paradise. I was more than pleased with all the service on this ship. The crew was exceptional. From Goose the cruise director, Michael, and Leslie the asst. CD. My room steward Rio was absolutely the best. My wait staff, Richard and Mohammed were funny and efficient. My favorite bartender Yulia, served me on both the Lido deck and the aft lounge in the evenings. The Maitre d' Miguel was a sharp tongued witty person. So, in a nutshell here is what I enjoyed on this cruise: The service - from stem to stern was stellar The food - was good, some was terrific, didn't have anything bad The activities - plentiful My "Behind the Fun" tour and pictures with Captain Pagano (he is the one in the commercial that tells the kook that sounds the horn to get out!) I enjoyed not losing my butt in the Casino, and becoming an official members of the Player's club and enjoyed some free drinks there. Here is what I didn't enjoy::::: Hmm, well, actually, there was nothing that I didn't enjoy. The weather was not Carnival's doing, so I can't blame the heat and humidity on them. Although I know there are some out there that will try! Now, the broken water pipe, well although it was a minor inconvenience, I think it was handled in a timely efficient manner and really with little disruption. I was never worried, as I knew too many people on the ship that would have "loaned" me the use of their shower. The extras: We had a Captain's reception on the Promenade Deck where drinks were a dollar off. We had a past guest party with free drinks and snacks. Pins and invitations delivered to the room. We had a farewell party with free drinks. We had two cruise elegant nights, Monday and Friday. Monday was Lobster or Prime Rib. Friday was Prime Rib, and they had escargot for an appetizer. We were able to buy $100 certificates for the next cruise. It is a good deal, gives you $100 toward the down payment when you book and $100 on board credit (depending on cabin type). It is good for 5 years and if you can't use it, you just send it back and they send you your $100 back.(Files/Future Cruise.pdf) I hope if you go on this ship you have a Splendid time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009

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