December 2015 - Carnival Splendor to Caribbean - Western
I love cruising and enjoy Carnival, so they were my 1st choice to bring in the New Year. The itinerary was good, a stop in Grand Cayman, instead of Costa Maya, would have been a better choice, since there was very little to see or do in the latter. Food, housekeeping, waitstaff, and the Spa techs were all outstanding. My issues began w/the initial check-in. 40 minutes for security, another 15 for passport review and then over an hour to get to the actual check-in counter. This is unacceptable!!! We stood like cattle w/o benefit of even a cup of water. This process should be streamlined, if you did online c/i, have your docs in order, you should be allowed to board from security. I u/s Carnival now wants to charge people to expedite the process, but since everyone on this fully booked cruise already paid a premium in excess of 30%, this was just poor service. It along w/the lack of staff made this an unforgettable start to the cruise. Additionally, forcing people to pay a mandatory tip for a drink, coke or lukewarm coffee was insane. I had no problem w/tips for waiters, stewards & such, but I don't tip folks in Starbucks. 50 cent tip for a glass of soda is outrageous and this process needs to be ended immediately. The rest of my trip, especially ziplining in Honduras was outstanding!