January 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Splendor
We were a group of 6 people and flew into Miami a day early which I would highly recommend if you are traveling from the Northern States when weather could be an issue.
We arrived at the cruise port at approx. 11:15 AM and after handing our baggage to the porters who have no problem trying to shame you into a tip we walked in and were able to check in after about a 15 minute wait. We then waited approx. 30 minutes or so until we were able to board the ship.
Upon entering the ship we made our way around the ship to do a little exploring. Expect lots of pink which was not obnoxious at all. We really enjoyed the decor of the ship.
We were in a spa balcony cabin in room 1114. Had no complaints at all with this and really l;liked being up on the top deck. There is hardly any people traffic in this area even though the spa and fitness center are on this level. Gylena from the Ukraine was our cabin steward. She did a fantastic job all week long and I cannot say enough good about her and the job she did. Sadly after 11 years with Carnival she is moving on to another Company across the sea.
A benefit of the spa cabin is the access to the VIP section of the spa. This includes a large thermo pool and a steam room, an aroma steam room and two other rooms with heated loungers and seats. We used this almost every day we were there and never really seemed crowded.
We used anytime dining and were usually there at 5:45 and were seated promptly with the exception of the last night when it took about 15 minutes. The dining room is the area that IMHO that could really use some improvements. I'm not sure if Carnival is short handed or have just cut back on the staff but the service was always slow. Never could we get out of there without being there for at least 90 minutes.
Food is subjective so it is hard to really say much about this. We all found some things we liked and disliked but never went away hungry. The buffet at times had cold food at breakfast and lunch. We went to the dining room for breakfast a couple of times and enjoyed the meals there.
It was hard to navigate the ship at times and being we are not smokers could not get to areas of interest without going through there. We usually would either go up a level or down a few and walk thru the cabin areas to avoid this.
There are a few pools on the ship but they were not very big along with a few hot tubs. We never used these and seemed like the lounge chair hogs were out in full force.
The comedians were pretty good on the ship and I would give the entertainment options a B grade overall.
Cozumel was our first stop and we did a tour of the island and visited a Mayan Ruins site. Had a nice time on this trip but was a little longer than we anticipated.
Belize was the next stop where we stopped at Mahogany Bay and ht up the beach at the port. Plenty of lounge chairs along with a nice beach where only cruise guests could go so no petty locals trying to sell you a bunch of stuff you don't want anyway. Bring along your snorkel gear as there is a small reef to do this at.
Isla Roatan we had to tender which took approx. 25 minutes to shore. There we took a two hour ride around the island. Nothing special here as far as I'm concerned. Also some shopping once back in the port.
Grand Cayman is another port that you must tender but was less than 10 minutes to shore. There we took a taxi to a local beach and had a nice time there. Than some shopping once back in the port area downtown.
I did not enjoy the tendering process as you had to get a number from Carnival each time there was a tender off the ship. We probably won't cruise again somewhere we have to tender.
All in all a good week with very few complaints.