May 2016 - Carnival Splendor to Caribbean - Eastern
The Carnival Splendor was anything but. The staff ranged from indifferent to rude. The food, save for the Pinnacle (awesome waitstaff) and the main dining rooms (poor waitstaff, spoke to Sasha, the dining room captain, with no real effect), was lackluster, overcooked and often just simply unavailable. I was very much looking forward to the spa, but even that was hit or miss. The steam rooms were not properly heated, nor were the Thalosso pool and heated chairs on occasion. Our accounts were overcharged. Carnival failed to add our on-board credit. The WiFi was expensive and spotty. In the evening, food lines were unreasonably long; mostly, there just did not seem to be much availability in terms of hours.
But worst of all, Carnival left 300 guests, including myself, outside trying to return to the ship for more than 20 minutes during a thunderous storm. The wind was blowing, lightning strikes streaked the sky around us, while the pouring rain pelted us from all sides - pouring rain does not even do the situation justice, what we experienced felt like a tsunami/hurricane. The rain was so hard at points that you actually could not see, or even breathe, at times. It was a frightening experience and I am not easily frightened. Yet, Carnival did nothing. Literally nothing. They continued their normal embarkation process as though nothing were happening at all. When we finally got on board, there were no apologies or acknowledgement of what had happened. When we went to guest services, the response was a blunt "We cannot control the rain." We were also told that they thought about giving out ponchos, but decided against it, because they did not have enough. So they decided not to do anything. There was seemingly zero leadership or protocol for what to do in the event that a sudden and potentially storm overtakes the ship during embarkation, which is unacceptable. I have no confidence that the captain and crew of the Carnival Splendor could appropriately handle a crisis situation; I simply do not trust them with my safety.
The comedy show (Mike Estime) and the nightlife were standouts, as were the perpetually enjoyable Love and Marriage show, random trivia, BINGO, karaoke, and Adults Only events. Chloe the Cruise Director was a pleasure. Annya at guest services was amazing and diligently helped us to sort out the errors on our account. I also enjoyed the food in the dinning room, it was consistently good and there was a nice variety.
I enjoyed both ports. We paid for excursions, but there was plenty of fun to be had at port, which was a great idea. Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville in the Turks and Caicos was fun.
Carnival could do much more to target millennials like me and my friends. See that there is an app in development. Would have been nice to have on this ship.
The overall experience left me with the unshakable conclusion that Carnival doesn't care about it's guests. Guests are valuable commodities - something to be exploited but not truly cared for.