10 Norfolk to Bahamas Carnival Splendor Cruise Reviews

Enjoyed the Splendor very much. It is a lot like the Conquest style ship but has a few nuances that the others don't. There is sooo much pink in the decor. My wife is legally blind and the crew was very good in helping her when I ... Read More
Enjoyed the Splendor very much. It is a lot like the Conquest style ship but has a few nuances that the others don't. There is sooo much pink in the decor. My wife is legally blind and the crew was very good in helping her when I wasn't right there with her. Our room steward was very good kept ice in the room for her insulin at all times. Also saw that my daughter had brought along a stuffed monkey and he made a towel monkey because he saw her's Very friendly as were all of the stewards and helpers we encountered in the hall. Our wait staff was friendly and took good care of us. One of them was on his first night and was a bit overwhelmed with all of the goings on but kept up a good attitude. The food was good and we got lobster as we were on the 6 day!! The weather was not to great the first full day at sea but we were on cruise and a bit of rocking does not bother us at all. In Nassau there were sprinkles as we pulled in and the waves were crashing over the breakwaters pretty hard. Looked pretty cool watching the spray. We walked to the Astrada Gardens Zoo. We went on our own rather than take Carnivals excursion. It's about a mile and a half walk. Or you can take the #10 Jitney bus. Which we did on the way back. Gave the guy 10$ for 3 of us. We got on as he was going away from the pier and got a mini tour of the island before coming back to the pier area. Had never been that far away from the piers before. The zoo is a bit run down but they do have a variety of animals there. The Flamingo parade was ok. Not a lot of military precision in their march but they did turn left and right when commanded to. The highlight for us was feeding the Lory birds, We walked into their cage and the girl gave us each a piece of apple. You hold it out and the birds come and land on you to eat the apple. We walked thru the Straw Market and headed back to the ship. The wind was really blowing hard now probably 35-40 mph. There was a huge RC ship next to us and they were getting ready to pull out. When they left the wind was blowing directly onto Splendor which started pushing us away from the pier. The thrusters were going full speed to push us back towards the pier. Then 2 tugs came and helped push us back toward the pier along with the thrusters until we left about 45 minutes later. We left Nassau and headed toward Half Moon Cay which was the port we had not been to and were really looking forward to. In looking at the weather I didn't think that we would get to go as it is a tender port and the weather/ seas were going to be rough. I was correct. The seas were fairly calm but the winds were near 40 mph so we putted along for an extra sea day towards Freeport. In Freeport I went snorkeling at Paradise Cove/ Deadmans Reef. I had been there 2 years ago and really enjoyed it. You have to swim a ways out to get to the reef but there were lots of different fish and coral to see. Saw 3 huge spotted eagle rays and a couple of barracudas as high lights. The rest of my family went on the Carnival excursion Garden of The Groves tour. They enjoyed it as well All in all a good trip. My wife and I tuned Gold on this cruise. We got our free drink coupon. Don't understand why you have to wait until the last night to use it other than maybe people will forget to use it. The comedians were ok nothing great. The piano bar had a younger girl playing and she was a bit to much for my mom to handle with her language. I enjoyed her humor but mom not so much she only went one night for a short time. She really enjoyed her last cruise and sitting in there. Can't wait until we can go again on another one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
we were on our 11th cruise, and this was one of the worse one we took ( we took the hurricane cruise on glory a few yrs ago) .Some of the staff did not care if the carts ran over your feet, when we said something they blew you off and ... Read More
we were on our 11th cruise, and this was one of the worse one we took ( we took the hurricane cruise on glory a few yrs ago) .Some of the staff did not care if the carts ran over your feet, when we said something they blew you off and laughed. Ordered a well done steak i think it came from the bilges could not cut or decide what it was. the next day we went to the rotissary, dishes were dirty we finally found a clean one after 6, silverware was dirty. food not at proper temperature, talked to a staff member he said something, smirked and walked away, found a WHITESHIRT, and told him he said he would investigate,never saw him again. a 2 hr wait to pick up alcohol purchased on board. i will say the ENTERTAINMENT WAS GREAT and interesting.This cruise DID NOT live up to the carnival name. I have sent a letter to carnival to advise and complain as i said this is out# 11 and we are PLATINUM members. We will give carnival a try in about 2 yrs when VISTA is in full swing, looking fwd to it Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my husband and I's first cruise. We had researched quite a bit before we left, but we still learned a lot on this first time of what we like and don't like. In previous reviews, other posters had commented on the ... Read More
This was my husband and I's first cruise. We had researched quite a bit before we left, but we still learned a lot on this first time of what we like and don't like. In previous reviews, other posters had commented on the decor of the Splendor. When one poster mentioned the "pink everywhere" I had mentally prepared for the hot pink garishness of teen girls' bedroom pink. In contrast, the decor is actually "old Hollywood meets Art Deco". The pink is a muted pink that is mixed with accents of black, gold and silver. I liked the decor. It was different but I thought it was interesting. Here are the positives of cruising in general (and the Splendor in particular): -We chose an interior room and it suited us fine. We were barely in the room except to sleep. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of closet and drawer space. The bathroom was not claustrophobic small either. -Lots to do: it took a few days for husband and I to accept that we just weren't going to have time to do everything we wanted to do. We got our Fun Times every night and just spent about 10 minutes narrowing down what the "must-dos" for the next day were. It was nice to have so many choices. We did various trivias, BINGO, 3 comedy shows, karaoke, played in the casino, relaxed in the hot tubs, and lots of other really enjoyable stuff. -Cleanliness: I have never been to a public venue with such a great sense of cleanliness. It was refreshing. Hand sanitizer stations everywhere. Crew cleaning everywhere. I mean, literally everywhere we went you could see a crew member wiping something down, wiping the floors, clearing plates and cups. I rarely saw anything out of place the whole time. -Being "off season" there were few families on this cruise. I'd say 80-85% were couples. Not that I don't love kids, but I left mine at home for a reason. We did not experience any ill behaved children or overcrowding in the pools and hot tubs. -We met REALLY great people. From the couples we sat with at dinner nearly every night to the groups we ate breakfast with or hung out in the hot tub with, we didn't meet one unpleasant person. -The cruise director Kevin was great! We even had coffee with him one early morning near the beginning of the cruise and he was just personable and cheerful and seems to LOVE his job. We attended his Q&A about the ship and he provided such interesting and sometimes funny information. -Our room steward (Sanjaya) and waiters (Joe, Paul) were phenomenal. Some people have probably gotten used to how attentive and great cruise staff usually are but both my husband and I work in the service industry in the "real world" so we were truly impressed by the customer service and efficiency of the staff. One night in particular, we were rushing to get through dinner in the MDR so we could get to another activity and our waiter (without us asking) quickly packed up our desserts "to-go" and helped us make our quick exit. -Comedy shows: hilarious -Food: Lido deck buffet was generally good. Step above most on land buffets I've been too. MDR food was hit or miss. Some dishes we liked, others not so much. But that's typical of most land restaurants I have been too. We had a lobster night and that was good. I am a pescatarian (I don't eat meat except seafood) and there was always plenty of options for me. But even a true vegetarian had several options available. On the Lido, I particularly enjoyed the Indian food station. -CHEFS TABLE! My husband knowing me all too well, booked this for us the first day. It is an extra $75/person but it was worth every penny. This is a private dinner (only 12 people allowed) in a private dining room with the head chef of the whole ship. Chef Rakesh is the most down to earth, interesting pro chef I have ever met. He took us on a tour of the galley which was super interesting to my husband and I (husband works in restaurant) and explained lots of how the food service on the ship works. He had prepared four different "bites" of food for us to try. Each one was more amazing then the last. Interesting enough, the staff had asked before hand if anyone had food allergies or dietary restrictions. I mentioned that I am a pescatarian. (Usually when I say this at picnics and BBQs everyone gives me a confused look and gets this panicked expression like "what is she going to eat???!!!") Not to worry, Chef Rakesh explained that he is originally from India, where several people are different forms of vegetarian and he was very used to cooking in that style. All that said, each dish including all the apps and entrees to follow were made specially for me without meat!! We ate the apps, entrees, and all the champagne and wine we cared to drink in the special dining room with the Chef explaining each course as it was served. He even paused to explain how he modified my dish to make it meatless. He answered several more questions about his job specifically and the food service in general on Carnival. Very fascinating! We will definitely being doing this again. Highlight on the whole trip. -Excursions: Fortunately, none of our excursions were cancelled although several other people's were. We did Snuba in Nassau. The people at Stuart's Cove are fantastic. So patient and helpful. Snuba seems easy in theory but certainly has a learning curve. I would love to do this again now that I feel like I know what I am doing. In Freeport, we did the "jeep adventure". Another fantastic tour company. Our tour guide Joanne "Jojo" was witty, interesting and patient. She guided us through Freeport and showed us pretty much all there was to see. The gorgeous beaches and serene "Garden of the Groves" was worth the trip. Here are some of the negatives (or things we know for next time): - Embarkation/Debarkation: Since Norfolk is still a relatively new and smaller port to the cruise game, you can tell they are still working out the kinks. We are locals to the area so getting to the port was nothing. We are elated that Carnival has come back to Norfolk because it makes it super convenient for us. We took an Uber to the port which saved us money rather then parking and paying. The lines were long, probably due to the comparably small terminal and the fact we just don't have a ship coming and going very often. -The BED, oh the bed. Now my husband and I can't decide what it is. Is it Carnival's beds in general, is it the bed in our "cheap" stateroom, or is it just us spoiled by our own sleep number mattress at home. Neither my husband nor I slept well at all. We both felt like we could have slept on a park bench and been more comfortable. In fact, it became our running joke as we sat or lounged in other parts of the ship that every other chair/lounger on the ship was more comfortable then our bed. -Weather: Not Carnival's fault but the winds were really rough the end of Nassau day and then all the next day. So much so, the captain cancelled our stop in Half Moon Cay which was supposed to be our beach day. This gave us an extra "sea day" which was still fun but I was really looking forward to just a laid back day on the beach. -Motion sickness: I took Bonine almost every day and was able to keep the sea sickness at bay for most of the trip. The last two nights however, I felt rough. I think it was a combo of the motion, being tired from all the activities and some of the rich food I wasn't used to eating all the time. Ship Layout: I read the comments beforehand and was a little confused until I actually got on the ship what the big deal was. Yes, the ship layout is WEIRD. We were assigned the Gold Pearl dining room. To get to this room, you cannot travel straight across the ship. You have to either go up or down a deck in either a "U" or "N" patter to get where you need to go. It threw lots of people for a loop and I was easily lost a few times just getting from a simple point A to point B. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First the weather was terrible, can't blame Carnival for that. Embarkation was quick and easy. I've got to hand it to Norfolk they did a great job. This was my wife and I 14th cruise with Carnival but this was the worst ship ... Read More
First the weather was terrible, can't blame Carnival for that. Embarkation was quick and easy. I've got to hand it to Norfolk they did a great job. This was my wife and I 14th cruise with Carnival but this was the worst ship we've been on there were 12 of us. The lay out was very different all the pool areas were located towards the back of the ship. They canceled evening shows. The comedy shows were good. This ship had the worst food in the dining room and lido deck, come on Carnival your menu is terrible it seems like they push you to eat at the Steak house which is what we did and I considered that average. Carnival go back to the days when dining in the dining room was exceptional Beef Wellington etc. We're all very disappointed and will be looking at what RC has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This is our 6th cruise, first on Carnival. It was a difficult decision to go with Carnival, the upside is we recently moved to Suffolk VA and it was a very convenient cab ride to Norfolk. We had a Grand Suite which was huge as was the ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise, first on Carnival. It was a difficult decision to go with Carnival, the upside is we recently moved to Suffolk VA and it was a very convenient cab ride to Norfolk. We had a Grand Suite which was huge as was the bathroom. The down side was that the interior was very tired and the carpet very stained. They were no extra amenities in the Grand Suites. The one perk was Priority Embarkation. Much was said about the decor of the ship which I did not find as offensive as some reviews on line. I thought the ship was very crowded and the lines were often too long. Eating at the Buffet was a challenge and best done on off peak times. The food in the main dining room was ok, best on formal night. We ate at the Steak House Restaurant twice and found it was worth the extra money. Our balcony provided a very peaceful retreat. Activities during sail days were limited as was entertainment. The five day cruise was the perfect amount of time for this ship. We are not sure we will do this again. I will be checking out the reviews for the Carnival Sunshine which will be sailing out of Norfolk next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. I would say the staff made the trip. First our Cruise Director was Kevin. He kept it light, and fun. Basically he had a great sense of humor and could take it as well as give it. Second we ... Read More
We really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. I would say the staff made the trip. First our Cruise Director was Kevin. He kept it light, and fun. Basically he had a great sense of humor and could take it as well as give it. Second we encountered Christine who was a fun,irreverent, and sometimes x-rated piano player at the piano bar. Her entertainment is not family oriented. But that's why we liked it.Basically get drunk and have fun. I would go back on another cruise if I knew they were there. Plus the comedians were first class We were very lucky with our dining companions and really bonded. Our Cabin was really nice. We did not opt for a balcony and honestly we really did not spend a lot of time in the room except for sleep. We would choose this option again as there are a lot of other places to spend your money. We did one excursion which was the Dolphin Experience in Nassau. It was fun and where we probably took the most pictures. Its also the only place we bought photos on our trip. We were neither wowed nor disappointed with the food. Breakfast was great and the buffet at night was pretty decent.. Understand I am a big food person. I would have loved more shellfish like some sort of crab. There was an option to go to the steakhouse which I believe would have cost 35.00 a piece more for dinner. If we do that I would choose earlier in the week then later. I would definitly go on Carnival again. Realize we do drink and like to have fun. You do not have to drink a lot to enjoy yourselves. But it seemed that those who like to part have a better time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The room steward was GREAT! The food at the buffet was not good at all. The pizza & grill food was very good. In Nassau we took a tour of the town with a local taxi, Alexander, he was GREAT! We were to have him for 2 1/2 hours anvery ... Read More
The room steward was GREAT! The food at the buffet was not good at all. The pizza & grill food was very good. In Nassau we took a tour of the town with a local taxi, Alexander, he was GREAT! We were to have him for 2 1/2 hours anvery good as well as the comd he gave us more than 3 hours all for only $20 He showed us around his town, stopped for shopping, food and a tour of some homes. Then we went to Freeport......Not much to talk about. As for The Splendor, it is much need of an update on its decor. The cruise director Kevin was the VERY BEST, the shows were great as well including the Comedy Club. Overall, we had a great time, just will try another ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my tenth or eleventh cruise. It was wonderful. It was a short cruise, 5 days, so we extended the vacation a bit by staying at the nearby Marriott the night before. Embarkation was well organized and the room was available ... Read More
This was my tenth or eleventh cruise. It was wonderful. It was a short cruise, 5 days, so we extended the vacation a bit by staying at the nearby Marriott the night before. Embarkation was well organized and the room was available right away. We were on the Verandah Deck (8) very close to the forward stairs, which we found to be a surprisingly quiet location. The stateroom was immaculate and comfortable, and it was given great care by our steward, Jerry. I love the dining room experience on cruises and choose it for every dinner, if possible. I can get steakhouse food anywhere on land, but I cannot find the creative dishes served in the dining rooms anywhere else. And on this cruise Joe, our waiter, remembered everything-- how they do it, I don't know, but a great waiter (and a great room steward) can literally make the cruise, as it did for me and my travel companion. We didn't do much in the way of entertainment, because we had a late seating in the dining room and were pretty much wiped out at the end of the day. But the shows we took in were good. We're booked in early January on the Miracle out of Long Beach-- a longer cruise with early dining, so we'll be able to take in more entertainment. The cruise was flawless. Absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our third Carnival cruise. Our main reason for taking this cruise was the port location (local to us). We knew the ship had not undergone the 2.0 upgrade, but we were prepared for that. The overall cruise experience was great. I ... Read More
This was our third Carnival cruise. Our main reason for taking this cruise was the port location (local to us). We knew the ship had not undergone the 2.0 upgrade, but we were prepared for that. The overall cruise experience was great. I would walk away saying my wife and I both enjoyed the experience. There were a bunch of "little" details that we noticed that detracted from the joy. At first I thought maybe it was just me, but I heard the same sentiment from our dinner companions and others in the casino while we played there. The lobster was gone from the menu. We knew it was removed from the five day cruise, but others did not. The chocolates on our bed were gone. My wife really liked that detail. The biggest issue seemed to be that the staff was overworked. I can't say for sure that there are fewer staff, but this is the first time I have ever seen outward appearances of fatigue. And it was not just one person. The steward, the wait staff, and the casino all seemed to be tired. There were other small cuts that others mentioned that I had not noticed until they said something. Individually, all these things are petty, but added up you start to notice the cuts. Overall, I would repeat that we still had a good trip. I just think Carnival needs to look at how the cuts look in the overall cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been a cruise snob for over 30 years and always considered Celebrity my mid level cruise line favorite (until lately). Tried Norwegian a few times but last one was just "meh". Last cruise ... Read More
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been a cruise snob for over 30 years and always considered Celebrity my mid level cruise line favorite (until lately). Tried Norwegian a few times but last one was just "meh". Last cruise on RCCL was also okay but again nothing special. Too much cutting back. After reading so many good things about Carnival on the CC boards we decided to dive in. The port of Norfolk and the timing was perfect for us because we have a new grandchild living in Virginia Beach so we combined our visit with our granddaughter and a cruise. So here we go: Hotel: Stayed at the Marriott the night before because of the cruise and park package. We were going to walk to the pier from there but it was pouring rain so we took a 2 minute cab ride for $6.00 including tip. Embarkation: Got there around 10:30 and thought we would be early but apparently everyone else got there early too so it was crowded waiting for the doors to open. Boarding was very organized and we boarded quickly. Remember it was raining and we noticed the luggage sitting outside in carts for quite some time and while we weren't too worried about our own hard sided luggage, we were sure there were going to be some wet clothing on board once the bags were opened. There were, and guest services handled it beautifully. We only had a couple of things a little bit wet. But others were not so lucky. The Ship: I kind of knew what to expect from photos but yikes! It looked like a clown threw up all over the ship. Truly no rhyme or reason to any of the decor in most of the public areas. But we quickly got used to it and had quite a few laughs over it, too. The ship is one of those that you have to go up to a high floor or to a low floor to get from one end to the other due to the DR being in the middle of decks 3 and 4. Just a small annoyance and we were glad to get the extra exercise. The Cabin: Loved it! We booked a balcony guarantee about 4 weeks out and within 3 days had received one of the famous L shaped cabins toward the aft. Huge balcony and though the square footage was probably the same, we liked the layout of the room too. Ladies they have a hair dryer in the dresser but bring a rubber band to put around the handle if you don't want to have to hold on to the button the whole time. The Staff: Some of the nicest, friendliest crew we've ever encountered from start to finish. Room steward, dining room staff, bar staff and guest relations were professional and friendly. The FOOD!!! Honestly the best food we've had on a mid level cruise line in more than 10 years. Sorry Celebrity. Almost every dish we ordered in the dining room was good. My husbands steak was always cooked exactly as he likes it. The lobster on Elegant Evening was real Maine lobster, not that rubbery stuff we've had on other cruises. There was more than enough variety with the Grill, Tandoor, The Rotisserie and the Buffet. Didn't do the Steak House as we thought $35.00 pp was a bit too much. We could pay that at home and really didn't think we needed to because the MDR was great. But the desserts! The desserts were to die for. Really. I love a good home cooked chocolate cake and theirs was the best! Carrot cake was excellent. Butter Pecan Ice Cream heavenly. Apple Pie just like mom used to make. The creme brulee was just okay and I could only find cheese cake with caramel in it and it was so-so. Nassau: Been to Nassau a zillion times and each time we regret getting off the ship. Freeport: Took a van for $10.00pp r/t to Lucaya Hotel. Got a day pass for $16.00 pp which was good for their pool and beach chairs. Loved the pool. Walked around the shops across from the hotel for a bit and back to the ship by 1:15. Disembarkation was not good. I think we arrived in port about 7:00 AM but we didn't get off the ship until 11:30. It wasn't Carnival's fault. Customs got backed up and I think they just aren't used to cruise ships arriving in that port lately. Hopefully that will be fixed. Misc good and bad: Too many smoking areas. I felt like I smelled like smoke all the time. Lots of music and entertainment in the evening. There was always some place to go and dance or listen to music. Having a dedicated comedy club is a great idea. They had 2 comedians that were pretty good, too. The Red Carpet club DJ seemed to be catering to the hip-hop crowd. Even on 80's night he was playing stuff I never heard of and I was clubbing like crazy in the 80's. Too smokey in there too. Nice looking Casino but again too much smoke so no money lost in there this time. All in all a great cruise. I'm now planning another one for our family to take together from Norfolk next year. Carnival won us over!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Carnival Splendor Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 3.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.3
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.2

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