We sailed on the Carnival Splendor from Dec 3-11, 2013 (NYC to Port Canaveral, Nassau) - see our ship ratings below
Overall, cruise was ok.We have been on other cruiselines in the past and this was the first on Carnival.Pros and Cons,
Pros- Value,Cabin size(we had a balcony cabin),Room Steward( Dennis),Pool Drink Runner( Roderic),average ship activities, casino(actually won money)
Cons- Buffet(closed at 3:00pm),drink prices
Again, overall the cruise was ok.Splendor was very clean and to be honest any time away from work is good.Would we take it again.... I would say yes so go and enjoy !!!
I really enjoyed my cruise. Everything was excellent except lines in the buffet line, and room service. We ordered a peanut butter and jelly for my daughter at four pm. We left to go to dinner at the early seating (one hour and forty five minutes later) and we still had not seen room service. We wanted to go to dinner without her but we had to take her because her sandwich never came. We did not leave her at camp carnival because she would not eat. Also one night we had to call room service to order ice and that was a forty five minute wait. Needless to say again not happy with room service. We went on carnival spirit ship to Mexico also with almost a thousand lest people with same size buffets lines to long
Carnival's Splendor, which took us to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas for a week long 'fun' cruise, wasn't what I was expecting. We travel a ton, but this trip was very disturbing. Let me begin at the end. Last day of the cruise, our room flooded. Water cascading from the ceiling and down the walls. Not drips, but RUNNING water. Called Guest Services as we were trying to get ready for our evening. Supervisor showed up, assured us we would be contacted and that things would be resolved before returning to our room. After a night of dinner, dancing, gambling and visiting with family, we arrived to our room at two-thirty in the morning. We had to leave the ship by ten a.m. The bed was pulled from the wall, helter skelter in the middle of the room. Bedding thrown in a corner on the floor. Side tables and lamps thrown on the bed. sopping wet towels spread throughout the room. Our clothes, luggage and belongings thrown on the floor in a damp heap. Message light on phone. Message is: "Thank you, Mr. *****. We have solved the problem. Ifyou would like a new room, please call." I call. At two-thirty in the morning, they expect us to pack all of our things they threw on the floor, wait for an attendant, and move to an inside cabin from our balcony room. I want to have a supervisor look at the state of our room. Wait a half an hour. No response. I call again. Nothing. I walk down the hall, find housekeeping at random, and a half hour after that, we crept into a damp bed, room still trashed, exhausted after the employee at least changed the sheets and pillows. Got to sleep by four in the morning. Nobody ever showed up to take care of anything. The result: Talk to guest services. Nothing. Talk to others. Nothing. But let's start at the beginning..... It took three evenings to finally have my immediate family seated with the rest of my family for dinner, as Carnival made a mistake with booking. I was polite, but was ignored and put off for three days until we physically dragged our chairs through the dining room to the big table, scrunching in with them. What a scene, and a horrible one, but I was at my rope's end. We came on the cruise to be with family, and dinner is the main gathering place to talk about our times on the ship! Then, of course,as we were blocking the aisles, they solved the problem very easily. Day four. One hundred dollars cash was stolen from our cabin. Very crafty, they are! Had eight hundred in the safe, but whoever stole it was good. Only took five twenties. Again, ignored. My bad in forgetting to lock the darn safe that time. No comment from Carnival. Snorkeling excursion in Cabo booked via Carnival: Worst ever taken. 45 minute trip to destination, given 45 minutes to snorkel, except you had to swim for almost fifteen minutes to reach the bouyed off section due to so many ships in the area. Paid $80 per person (4 of us) for 20 minutes of snorkeling in twenty five feet of murky water. Took pictures, offered to compare them to the advertised pictures. Carnival declined to see them. Saw eight fish. Result: half of our excursion refunded. One of our bags was put in the incorrect section when the porter took them for disembarking. Couldn't find it. Left, flew home. Carnival found it, but didn't call us. I called them, finally. We had to pay for shipping of the luggage to our home. Response: 'Thank you for vacationing with Carnival.' I enjoy gambling, but let me tell you, the dealers DO NOT like you having a good time, and certainly don't like you winning! Dour, sour, even downright offensive dealers consistently, every night. I gamble to have a good time, but it's difficult to have that good time when it's so obvious that they don't like you. I'm not an offensive person, have respect for everybody, but it was so bad that after the third night of rudeness, I didn't tip a dealer once for the rest of the cruise. I sent several emails from home to explain what happened, and we find out that for everything, we were compensated $60. Yes, that's right. Sixty dollars. You decide for yourself if you'd like to spend nearly six thousand dollars on a family vacation with Carnival and expect this in return. But I have to love the email address! ICare@Carnival! That's irony.
We boarded the Splendor in Long Beach for a seven day cruise. Here is a link to the Cruisemates photo album
Pre-Cruise Stay We drove to Long Beach from Sacramento and had a pre-cruise stay at the Long Beach Hilton. The cruise boards had let me know about the special Carnival code. The special code provided shuttle to and from the cruise terminal, seven nights parking, and one night stay for only $95. With tax and parking for an additional day the cost was about $122. This was an excellent deal. We did wish the hotel had a microwave and mini refrigerator but we cannot complain. The Hotel did have excellent Italian coffee (Lavazza) for the coffee maker. However, we learned the Hilton designates floors seven and above as the silent floors. People making noise on these floors will be asked to leave the hotel. We were on the fifth floor. This floor was apparently the “make as much noise as you can at 4AM in the morning floor”. There were teenage cheerleader competitors staying in the surrounding rooms. This was not the hotel’s fault. Just a warning to others torequest a room above the seventh floor. Although you may not get it with the code. Earplugs are key.
Embarkation Carnival had called and left a message that our check-in time at Long Beach Terminal was 2p.m. I disregarded this message completely. The Long Beach terminal has early check-in from 9a.m. to 11a.m. This early check-in used to be at the Queen Mary Hotel, it is now at an outdoor kiosk at the regular Carnival Terminal. We took the shuttle and got to early check-in at about 9:45a.m. There was no line at all. Just six tellers all waiting to check us in. We were in zone one and we did have to wait until about 1:30p.m. to board. We found a nice comfortable spot on a concrete bench and my hubby brought out the video game and we played monopoly until it was time to board. The room was not ready yet so we headed to the Lido Deck for lunch. I got the Mongolian BBQ and my hubby got a hamburger, hotdog, fries, and I think a slice of pizza. He started with the Mongolian BBQ but was not happy with it. We were eating by 2p.m. The early check-in made this a really smooth embarkation.
Food and Entertainment The Mongolian BBQ would be good for people who have never had a real Mongolian BBQ. The noodles were too thin, there were no bean sprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, or straw mushrooms. The sauce also needed more flavor, plus soy sauce on the tables would have helped. The food at the grill was very good. My hubby liked the hamburger. The grill had the usual hamburger, hot dogs, fries, potato salad, Chili etc. The pizza parlor was good if the pizza was just out of the oven. The calzones were worth the 10 minute wait and one of my favorite foods for lunch. The Breakfast Buffet never changed and the bacon is just never crispy enough and a disappointment. The pancakes, ragout sausages (sausages in red meat sauce) and hard boiled eggs were very tasty. I got a chance to try the burrito bar. I got a steak burrito and asked for the hottest salsa. It had very little heat. The best was the dining room food. The desserts were excellent; if you are a chocolate lover try the chocolate melting cake!! The service was very good and a special thanks to Marlon and Wilfredo for the great service. We were blessed with wonderful tablemates, which made the time go by quickly. Thanks guys you were a blast!! The prime rib was tender and juicy. However, Carnival should stop trying to make filet mignon. Filet mignon has very little fat and over cooks easily. In 2008 on the Freedom in the main dining room the Filet Mignon was overcooked. On this cruise the Filet Mignon was overcooked. My hubby’s favorite and I have to agree with him, is the cream of wild mushroom soup.
The Ports The ports were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Something to note; Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan are on the Pacific Ocean. Cabo San Lucas is on the Sea of Cortez and is much clearer and less rough. Really nice to swim or snorkel in.
In Puerto Vallarta we booked the Wild Dolphin & Snorkeling excursion. The tour was ready to leave as soon as the ship docked and we just made it onboard the tour boat. About five minutes into the tour, a small boat with other cruise ship passengers approached and these cruisers had to jump from the small boat onto the main boat. The crew on this trip was wonderful and fun. We had the choice to kayak, snorkel or hang out at the beach. We decided to snorkel. The Pacific Ocean was very murky and not the best for snorkeling. We did see some fish though and on the way to Marietas Island we saw a pilot whale which was very cool. No wild dolphins though but it was never a guarantee to see any. They are wild after all. For lunch, there were sandwich fixings as well as potato and tuna salad and an open bar which included Pina Coladas, Margaritas, and rum and cokes. I really enjoyed the Margaritas. Beware of the jelly fish in the Pacific Ocean. Ladies with long hair, tie your hair back. A young lady had a jelly fish caught in her hair and it stung the heck out of her back. My hubby had a small sting on his leg but not from the one in the girl’s hair (didn’t want you to get the wrong idea here). The Jellies didn’t sting me at all. After all, “I am the Jelly whisperer”. After the tour ended, we went to the board walk in the Malecon area (it’s only a short cab ride). I should have brought my camera as it was a beautiful sunset. There are multiple sand sculpture artists that create beautiful sculptures for tips so bring some change.
My hubby found an aquarium in Mazatlan. Yes the bird show was in Spanish and all the exhibits were in Spanish. The aquarium is mainly for the Mexican people and it’s a small aquarium. However, the cost was only 75 peso at a 10 to 1 exchange rate that is only $7.50 and for the price you got a lot for you money. We took a pulmonia (open air taxi) to the aquarium; piece of advice, always negotiate the price before getting in any cab in Mexico. After the aquarium we took another pulmonia into the Golden Zone for shopping.
Cabo San Lucas was beautiful and my favorite port. Everyone on this cruise wished we had more time at Cabo San Lucas. My hubby and I hired a glass bottom boat that took us by Pelican Rock where you could see the fish clear as day. Cabo is the best place to snorkel. We went around the arch to the Pacific Ocean side. DO NOT SWIM ON THE PACIFIC OCEAN SIDE! IT’S VERY DANGEROUS. Lover’s Beach is on the Sea of Cortez side and I found the surf too rough for me to swim in, although there were people resembling Olympic Swimmers, ha ha, swimming and snorkeling. We only stayed at Lover’s Beach an hour then our glass bottom boat captain took us to Medano Beach. This beach is safer to swim in. We headed to the Baja Cantina’s roped off chaise lounges. They rope the lounge area off so the vendors can’t disturb you while you are relaxing. We ordered a bucket of six Pacifico beers with lime slices for 150 pesos. At 10 to 1 exchange rate it’s about $15. We took turns swimming in the Sea of Cortez and just chilled until the glass boat driver picked us up at 1p.m. We did some shopping then got in the long line for the tender boats. To Carnival’s credit the line moved quickly. Next time I will skip Lover’s beach and just head to Medano Beach.
Shows and entertainment On this cruise we had three shows: The Beat, Fiesta Latina, and Vroom. My favorite show was Fiesta Latina. I love Latin music and the dancing in this show was wonderful. The two lead dancers performed an amazing dance that left me speechless. It’s a real rarity for me to be speechless. Vroom was also a high energy action packed fun show. The female singer Adrian Hall was an excellent singer and dancer. She also sang at the Past Guest party. The Beat was fun, but not as good as the other shows. My hubby enjoyed the Vegas style costumes. If you have small children, do not sit up front or they may see more than you might want them to.
Debarkation The saddest day of the cruise. We learned to never do the self debarkation; we really over pack too much for that. Me with my shoes and my hubby with the electronics. Carnival has switched from calling colors to calling zones. The first zones to be called were zones 1-5. My guess is this group had the early flights to catch. For us this was no big deal. We were in zone 7 and got called with the 6-20 group. It was really easy to get off the ship and through customs. They have really improved the process since my last cruise out of Long Beach. We called for the hotel shuttle, which only took about 5 minutes to arrive. We were on the road by 10:30a.m. and falling asleep at the wheel by noon. Ha ha, hardy har har.
Overall, we had a good time and it was worth it. I’d give the cruise a solid B+.
In nautical terms it is proper to refer to ships in the feminine manner…such as "she" or "her", but with the Carnival Splendor they aren't kidding. This ship is most definitely a girl. Maybe it's the pink wood patterns, or the both dining rooms being named "Pearl".
While some may disagree, it has been my experience that if one has been on one Destiny or Conquest class Carnival vessel, they have been on all the Destiny/Conquest "Fun Ships". Pink décor aside, this is largely true with the Splendor as well. Some exceptions are the "Cloud 9 Spa" and mid-ship, as opposed to AFT, sliding sky dome.
Food was typical Carnival, which is not such a bad thing after all, in that continuity from ship to ship appeals to me as a Carnival quality. Of the three production shows, the last one… a rock montage named Vroom" was my favorite. All three ports of call provided picture postcard scenery and ample adventure activities.
***Puerto Vallarta*** Expert Hiking Tour = a bus carried us up to an area where we hiked through the Mountains. It was hot and the terrain was usually often slippery on anoften steep grade, but the river crossings made the trip worthwhile.
Rhythms of the Night was the highlight of my whole trip. This tour starts on a party boat out to Caletas; a secluded area where John Huston once made his home. Once arrived, we were met my costumed entertainers, where we were presented with a Mesoamerican themed luau show. The dancers there seem to have the agility of gymnast. And the buffet food by candle & touch-light as the sun set was a marvelous experience.
*** Mazatlan*** The Colonial Villages of the Sierra Madre: visited a adobe brick "factory" where clay is turned into bricks, an old fashioned bakery, a tile shop, a furniture shop, and two colonial towns.
Both Concordia and Copala are historic picturesque "real Mexico" towns which makes the trip worth the money. The beautiful churches, both dating from the 18th century are the centerpieces of these lovely places. Lunch at an ambient Copala restaurant was included, which enhanced the adventure.
*** Cabo San Lucas*** I did Carnival's Land and Sea shore excursion, which included a visit to Land's End via party boat, a stop at Cactus Mundo botanical garden, and San Jose Del Cabo and its picturesque church. Enbarkation was a bit too sluggish, but debarkation was a piece of cake.
In summery…. it was a great vacation and I can highly recommend the Carnival Splendor to Mexico's Pacific!!
A letter I wrote to Carnival today......
To Whom It May Concern:
I am an experienced cruiser with NCL and Royal Caribbean and embarked on my first Carnival Cruise on Oct 25. I am writing to tell you of my disappointment with my cruise particularly pertaining to the advertised Adult Halloween Party, the rudeness of the staff of the Splendor and the very annoying lack of communication on the ship.
As there was a planned Halloween party on the cruise, I purchased $225 worth of costume items and dragged them from New York to Los Angeles in anticipation of a great Halloween party aboard the "Fun Ship". On Tuesday of the cruise week the party rumored to be moved from Saturday night to Friday night. We began to ask crew members and even guest services for details and nobody knew a thing. Nor did anybody have valid information on ship vs. port time, the anticipated weather or any other planned activities. Over and over we got the answer that "The Captain would make an announcement" Almost no ship info (for the future) on the interactive TV and defiantly no weather or radar reports.Toward the end of the cruise I took to shoving books in the hinge of our cabin door so I could hear these valuable tid-bits from the Captain as this is the only information available!
Finally on Thursday we got the information that the Halloween party would at 9:45 on the Lido deck but with no explanation why it had been changed.
I arrived on the Lido deck 9:45pm sharp and found a very large group of costumed people mulling about. It wasn't until after 10pm anything at all began. Cruise director "Goose" was the MC for the festivities. The group was immediately launched into a costume contest of which the categories were Best Group, Most Creative, Scariest and Best Overall with a few packets of M&Ms being tossed into the crowd of 500 or more costumed people. The first judging was for Best Group and those who wished to participate were asked to line up and come by the camera for judging by the crowd via the Jumbo-tron on deck. After a short time a winner was chosen by applause of the crowd - winner, Jose and the Pussy Cats. Next was the Most Creative category which went pretty much the same with the exception of Goose yelling over the PA system every 5 minutes that we had to "hurry this up because the Show was beginning soon". After another short time that category had also been decided by the group - winner, Chick Magnet. The last two categories, Scariest and Best Overall, were quickly and off-handedly decided by Goose and the two girls helping him and announced simultaneously. There was no crowd participation or voting, only Goose reminding us again and again how "this has to be quick because of the Show". The two winners, Devil and Geisha Girls were pulled up to the camera quickly, given some kind of certificate and the WHOLE PARTY ENDED by 10:30pm! My also costumed shipmate never even made it to the party as it was over before it even started!
It was bad enough that the Adults Costume Party lasted all of a 1/4 hour but that it was not moved to another part of the ship! We wandered around deck 5 in costume looking for the party and found nothing. To add insult to injury everything on the ship closed early that night. Karaoke was done by 11pm, the piano bar was closed by 12:30, even the disco was dead! Why was the Halloween party moved and squeezed in on another night? If the night had to be moved, why wasn't it moved to the disco, or somewhere else after the contest? There was nothing open on the whole ship but the casino. I was back in my cabin and out of my $225 costume by 12:30 and mad as hell!
I wish this was the only issue with my vacation. The staff was quite rude as well.
Our Steward walked into our room on the first night while my cabin mate and I were sitting on our patio trying to relax after long flights, etc. My cabin mate was in her underwear and we asked that the Steward come back in a little while when Doran was dressed. The steward ignored our request and continued to come into our room and out onto the patio with us. As we protested her presence she handed us something to sign. My cabin mate could not see the paper so the steward proceeded to put on the patio light and insisted that we sign her paper. The steward's behavior was very rude and made my friend very uncomfortable to be sitting in her underwear in front of a stranger.
I opted to have a massage at Cloud 9 and booked a 75 minute massage/facial. The technician was from the Philippines and did little more to me than forcefully rub her forearms up and down my body. She then did the facial and put a serum of sorts on my face and left the room for 14 minutes (I timed it when it seemed to be too long). When she was done she then spent another 20 minutes trying to sell me products. This was not a "you may want to try this or that" sell, she wasn't letting me out of there until I told her straight up that I WAS NOT BUYING A THING!!! I was very disappointed as I had paid good money for this service and was no more relaxed when the big sell was over than before I arrived. I could understand these tactics if the services were free and you had to accept the pitch at the end in exchange but I paid my money to walk out tense and annoyed.
As we were departing for Mazatlan I stopped at the Guest Services Desk to make change for a large bill. I asked for specific denominations and was given back completely different bills, I asked again for the denominations that I originally requested and the money was pushed back at me with the woman saying "If I give all the ONEs to you there will be none for anybody else". Was that necessary? Wouldn't it have been far less rude to ask if I would mind having fewer ONEs as they were running short of them? These basics are customer service 101.
At this point I was quite unhappy and asked to speak with a manager. I was told by the same woman that I could not speak with a manager until I told her what my issue was. Since my issue was her, I protested again that I just wanted to see a manager. I told the nicer young man in an officer's uniform of my experience with changing money and the issue with our Steward. He took a few notes and apologized.
Upon returning from Mazatlan part of our group opted to enjoy a hot tub. As I was stepping into the tub I heard my name being called across the entire ship paging me to the guest services desk. I have aging parents in comprised health at home in NY and assumed something must have happened to be paged across the entire ship! Had it been something minor I would have gotten a call or a note, right? Friends were even running to our area to find out what happened as they were so concerned for me. I grabbed my cabin mate and made my way to the elevators. I was so visibly shaken that a little child asked my friend "is that lady is ok?" while we waiting for an elevator. When we arrived at the guest services desk I blurted out my name expecting to be given a glass of water, a seat and terrible news when I was asked if I had checked back in with the ship upon returning from Mazatlan!?!? When the same rude woman at the desk from before asked me this I said "of course I check in"! She then said "Ma'am, you couldn't have checked in, we have no record of you coming back on the ship". I replied "I certainly didn't jump over a balcony to get back on, and as a matter of fact I was stopped by the metal detector because there is metal ring in the brim of my hat". There was no apology for scaring me to death, etc. Just more RUDE. It wasn't my fault the security personnel was not IDing every person by picture as they got on the ship which would have caught that my card had not registered when I dipped it.
The next morning the Steward appeared at our door telling me that her manager wanted to speak with me and she wanted to know when I would be in the room. I gave her the time of 2:30 to 3pm, after returning from Cabo. We left the room a bit late that morning to avoid the crush of people at the tenders. As we were walking out of the room the male that assisted the Steward was in the hall and asked me "Are you finally leaving? Again, RUDE! I rushed back from the excursion that afternoon to make the time I said I would be there and the manager never showed up. More RUDE.
That night my friend ordered a drink from a cocktail waitress while we were at the Sushi Bar. My friend likes Bloody Mary's but didn't feel like having all the spices so she ordered vodka, tomato juice and lemon. The waitress proclaimed "Ewwwww" as she wrote down the order. Even when she brought the drink back she let out another "Ewwwww" as she placed the drink down. Is this necessary? More RUDE.
We spend a lot of time in the Casino and I even found the dealers to be stand-offish and rude. One man in particular who was from China but looked more like he was from Poland seemed to relish in beating and sweeping the table. Only one very tall young man from I Serbia I believe was talkative, friendly and helpful.
It was no surprise at the end of the cruise that we got all disembarkation paperwork BUT the comment cards. I can extrapolate that we did not get any as I had complained about the Steward barging into our room the first night. We looked for replacements but were told over and over we would find them in our room. So please don't bother looking up a comment card from us as we never received one.
In closing I'll tell you that I am one of a group of 75 from NY that were on the ship together. We originally booked for May at group size of 125 but after being cancelled due to the flu outbreak only 75 rebooked this week. We cruise annually and this was our first try with Carnival as we usually go RC. Normally I come home with a smile and complements galore and can't wait for the next.
I invite you to verify the validity of all my claims as much of what I described should be documented.
I also respectfully request that you refund to me the $225 I spent on a costume that I wore for all of two hours with no promised party. I can provide credit card receipts to verify my claim of $225 which vary from dress to cape to gloves to theatrical contacts upon your request. See below for a picture.
I hope to hear from a Customer Service Manager and look forward to your reply.
This was a 50 day South American Journey from Florida to California with visits to places including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, not to mention Barbados, Dominica and the beloved Cape Horn.
Buenos Aires stood out as a European charmer. Cape Horn clearly stood its place as one of nature's angry forces tossing the massive 113,000 ton ship. Then came the glaciers, fjords and incredible scenic wonders of the world, and then the majesty of Lima on the doorstep of Macchu Picchu and Nasca.
We crossed the equator twice and covered nearly 14,000 miles of sea in a new large ship which never lost its adventurous flair while retaining the comforts of a fine resort. Although Celebrity cruise ships and Holland America's beloved 700 guest Prinsendam holds my gold standard for fine dining, the Splendor was pretty good and offered good choices.
I was impressed with our suites -- one penthouse (430 s/f), and one balcony suite (340 s/f) complete with fine furniture, woodwork, granites, luxury home baths with whirpools, double sinks embedded in granite and colored mosaic marble. These suites were among the best I have seen at sea and worththe price.
The ship offered many music venues, and I was impressed with the European trio and the vocal duo. Also, I enjoyed the pool theater venue Luciano Pavarotti. As a classical tenor myself, this made me very happy.
We visited all the ports by private local vehicles which gave us freedom and choice, not to mention avoiding large crowds in tour buses. This has been our choice of a way to visit ports primarily in Europe.
The most memorable aspect of the trip was to travel with our beautiful daughter Mariana, who was the center of attraction. She celebrated her second birthday while crossing the equator and as a surprise, one of my beloved Neapolitan love songs was played from my CD in the dining room. This made for a memory to last a lifetime.
The journey was a great way to see the entire continent of South America, with its many ports and, of course, Cape Horn. Only a cruise ship can offer such depth to such a large continent. Better yet, Carnival's Splendor was nearly brand new and quite large, offering enough space and size for such a long journey.
I just got back from the Carnival Splendor on an Eastern Caribbean cruise; San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic, and Nassau. This is only my second cruise. We stayed in Fort Lauderdale the day before. A very hard city to navigate. We were very thankful for a shuttle to the port. We were early, about 10:15 is when the hotel brought us. I had 58 people in my group, but came to the port with just my immediate family. It was their first time to cruise, and it was really great to share this experience with them. Their ages range from 3 years to 74 years. Check in was a breeze -- no line and to my surprise I was VIP. My family and I sat in a special section and boarded first.
The ship was very nice, very pink. At our given time we all checked out our rooms. My parents and sister had an Empress balcony, we had a Main OV, and my son had a Rivera IN. My sister, husband and I checked out the new Cloud 9 Spa, which was very nice. We took advantage ofthe $35 package while at sea, "girls day." Only negative thing is they don't check people as they should. We paid for services and a few people just walked in. You are given a wrist band for your day pass or even if you are in the Spa rooms you wear bands. They said they do a walk around every hour.
We had a very large group and Carnival did a wonderful job seating everyone close together. Everyone loved the waiter and staff. Unfortunately two tables, including ours, had very poor service. All of our tables in our group were done and we still did not have our main course. This went on every night. One person in our group had cruised 7 times and he said he won't do another Carnival cruise as this was the worst service he has ever had. Yes, we did complain, but it didn't do any good.
Ports San Juan: This cruise the Captain allowed us free dining in the formal dining room during our time at San Juan. How great! We were able to tour the city. That was a treat. How beautiful the old city is.
St. Thomas: I had never done my own excursion before. The taxis were safe and reliable. All prices were the same. We did Megan's Beach again, beautiful. My family couldn't get over how clear the water was. Taxi took us back and we saved $39 for our family by going on our own.
Dominican Republic: Did the horseback riding excursion. $79 -- well worth it. The guides were polite, helpful, and friendly. We were supposed to ride for an hour, but we were on our horses for 1-1/2 hours. Yes, the paths were cut throughout the grounds and no, we didn't get to ride in the waves. The guides were careful to only tell you the good things about their country. They would ride alongside of you and make conversation with you. Very nice. Bring money -- they sell you pictures at a very fair price.
Nassau: Wow! how beautiful. We did the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter for $112. Well worth the price. We were on the boat 1 hour to and from the ship. They only charged my son, dad, and husband $25 to ride the boat and watch us play with the dolphins. My granddaughter (3) got to do everything for free. The trainers are really great with kids. Lots to see. Bring money for pictures, t-shirts, etc to buy. Go through Carnival because we didn't get to the ship till 5:20 pm and I really started to panic. They called the ship and we were just fine. My mom and sister went on the Atlantis beach break. It was very bad, I'm sorry to say. It costs $80 with lunch. They were given their money back. Other friend did the Atlantis Dolphin encounter at $129, which was not as good an experience as our's. They had very limited time with the dolphin, and his wife was not even allowed to take pictures.
Shows Four out of seven were good -- the comedians, hypnotist, and juggler were fantastic. A very good experience.
Disembarkation Disembarking went smooth, except for the customs people that kept asking my three-year-old granddaughter what state she was born in. Then they asked what day she was born on. She is 3. Then they looked at my daughter-in-law and said "I guess she is yours." I would definitely go to Port Everglades again. Maybe not on Carnival, though, because I would like to try a different line. So, maybe I'll be back.
Getting to Dover from Vancouver Canada was a snap with flight to Heathrow, tube to Victoria station and train to Dover. We did take a cab from Dover Priory (train station) to the Best Western Churchill. That was not a great choise of hotel on my part but fortunately only one night.
We left Dover England Sept 11, 2008 and proceeded to La Harve France. This was a stop we looked forward to but the excursion we chose was canceled so we ended up doing the town of Rouen and did have a great guide on the bus.
We had a great cabin 9204 forward on port side Lido Deck 9. There was a door to the outside right across the hall and it lead to the top of the command position so we had access to the port and starboard wings which made for some great photo opportunities while going in and out of harbor. Our cabin was small but we had a wheelchair accessible bathroom which was very nice for showering and used as our dressing room.
The dining room meals were above OK but not into the Great category.The Lido restaurants were above average compared to six previous cruises.
The weather was great so we didn't have to worry about our forward cabin being uncomfortable in rough seas. The decor of the ship is pretty VAGAS but you do get used to it and it didn't bother me at all. I loved the size of the ship but it did take some time to figure out the dining room access.
We were on board with our Carnival vacation club membership so our VIP embark and debark were a snap but I think it went very well for everyone.
The entire cruise with stops in France, Spain, Portugal, Spain and another at Cannes then on to Livarno and Rome were great stops if not a little overload in the history category (not their fault), but we thoroughly enjoyed our excursions in every port.
Even the tender in and out of Cannes went well because the port is equipped with everything they need to make it work. I am sure in a storm you would miss this port due to its exposure to the Med.
When we got off the ship in Civitavecchia we took the train to Rome which was an economical way to go. We stayed in Italy for another week with stops in Rome, Florence and Venice using the train as our transportation. It worked very well and we only speak English.
Great trip, Great Ship, We really had very little to complain about. Cruising is our absolute most enjoyable holiday. Ready to go again.