March 2015 - Carnival Splendor to Caribbean - Eastern
Since this was my 4th and my husband's first cruise I wanted it to be a good experience for him so he will do it again. He loved it so we have will have more fun cruises together. It was not all perfect. Everything did not go as planned but we made the best of each situation and had a wonderful trip. Life is full of imperfections so I would never let a little this or that ruin my fun. The ship experience itself was wonderful. The ship is beautiful, big and clean and with something for all ages. We did not realize that so many kids were still out of school for spring break and the ship was full of kids. At first I was afraid it would be a disaster. I have to admit as an adult, I prefer adult cruising to having huge numbers of kids of all ages. I can say that having the ship full of kids did not in any way impair our trip. Our first disappointment was dining. We could not get booked in advance for early dining and were told to ask for it when we boarded the ship. We did and we three adults were seated at the end of a table of 6 small kids separated from their parents by us. We refused the table as we did not want to have all our meals with 6 unknown kids. So...we ended up being given anytime dining. That would have been just fine except all thee of us having walking issues and we had purchased our cabin to be close to our dining room. The anytime dining was at the far end of the ship so we had a major long walk for each meal we had in the dining room. We also missed having an assigned table so you can develop a relationship with the wait staff and other diners near you. It was not the end of the world however. We still enjoyed the food. It was good, not gourmet but good and well presented. The filet mingnon over ribs was excellent. So tender I only needed a fork to cut it and the beef bourguignon was tender and so yummy. The casual dining deck had a huge variety of foods and only the pickiest of picky could possibly complain. A surprise was how delicious the pizza was. I never expected to eat pizza on a cruise but I did. The ports we visited were all beautiful and a joy to be able to see and experience. We had booked shore excursions online well in advance of the cruise. Two ended up leaving us behind though not because we were not in the designated place. The first was a St Thomas overview from Cruises only. We arrived at the place and time we were supposed to be there and the man had already left. We were very upset about it and disappointed. Cruises Only expects you to call the local emergency number right then and there to tell them your problem and then you have to call a special number again when you finish your cruise to get a refund. We found a local taxis driver who got us on an island tour with a friend in the business and it was great. It cost 1/2 what the Cruises Only tour cost and we visited more areas so we were not disappointed. In Nassau we went to the Blue Lagoon to swim with the dolphins. It was so much fun. Do it. You will love it. Again in Gran Turk a Carnival shore excursion for a submarine viewing of the fish and coral reefs got messed up. Our ship was late getting in because the port authorities started our disembarkation process and then in the middle stopped us and let a Norwegain cruise liner tie up at port and disembark the whole ship and made us wait. I am sure there is a reason for it but it seemed a little strange to us. When you got off board and started looking for your tour group honestly it is a little confusing. The Norwegain guides had signs and were right in front where you could see them. The Carnival guide was in a kiosk in the middle of the court and you had to find them. We did, got signed up as 3 of the first people and got our wrist bands showing we were on that tour. The guide told us to go sit on bench and he would come get us. Well he never did and so we were left behind. We were getting nervous so we checked and were told they captain had left and he was called to come get us. You could see him just barely out of port and he refused to come back even though he had us on his list and had only picked up 10 of the 13 assigned people. Needlesstosay we were upset. The Carnival rep they could not offer an alternate event. The beach was right off the cruise ship so we went back on board and put on our swimming suits and stayed on the beach. The water is so clear you can see your feet at all times, fish swam by and we had a great time. So, we didn't get what we planned but we still had a great day. We were there to have fun and that is what we did. Onboard the Splendor it was great sailing. There are activities for everyone and we picked ones we enjoyed. The photographers are super fun guys. We took loads of pictures and came home with some really good ones. Everyone on the ship was super nice. The wait staff, the cabin people, all the service people, just everyone was nice. Getting off after the tour was not super easy to understand. Announcements were made on the intercom and if you did not exactly understand you could get conflicting info from staff. We had an early flight out and should have been off the ship early but due to confusion were on hours longer than we should have been. We used a Carnival bus to take us to the airport in Miami. I would use a taxi next time. It cost less and you don't have to wait for the whole bus to fill up. So, not everything was smoothly done but it didn't matter. We had a wonderful time and would do the whole thing again in a heartbeat. We are still on a happy high and we got home Easter. I would highly recommend this cruise.