June 2014 - Carnival Splendor to Caribbean - Eastern
This was my 16th cruise and I have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Princess, Cunard, Seabourn, Carnival, Norwegian, the Maxim Gorkey and the Stella Maris. My last cruise was in March on Norwegian, also going from NYC to the Caribbean (9 nights).
Let's start by saying I had a good time. Cruises remain a reasonably priced vacation if you don't send on all the extras they push.
Ship had a lot of kids, sometimes the parents actually took care of them.
The ship is in good, not great shape. Staff were generally friendly, especial cabin and late seating restaurant. Traveling alone, I asked to be seated with many people. The large table I sat at was half empty (or full). This ship has fewer specialty restaurants and I heard very mixed reviews of the steakhouse.
The itinerary is a little awkward. You get in to San Juan at 3PM, limiting day activities. We got into St Thomas at 7AM and had to be back on ship by 3PM. Because it was a Sunday, stores started to shut down at 1PM. Grand Turks is almost like going to one the the cruise lines private islands, love the beach and water, nothing else to do.
Large shows were OK. The time where you would get top guest talents seems long gone. Comedy shows were mixed. Of the four comics who appeared, two were good, one fair and one needed to go to therapy and fine a new occupation. DJs seem to have replaced live music in many places.
Gym is OK; several pieces of equipment needed to be fixed ( I mentioned it to staff, they said they put in a work order, nothing was done). Locker room often had dirty towels lying around. Trend on ships is to limit amenities in locker rooms and then sell extras like steam rooms and nicer facilities.
As with most ships, they are about capitalism in its most pure form. Their mission statement must include how many bingo cards can they sell.