Carnival Splendor Cruise Review to Mexico

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

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1 cruise (first)

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3 out of 5

A Mixed Experience

Sail Date: August 21, 2011

Reviewed: 5 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

Overall, the cruise was fun and relaxing. Staff were helpful, the activities were fun, the layout was convenient, and the staterooms were lovely. I felt that the liquor policy was too draconian: forced to pay excessively for all drinks, which were small portions and expensive to start with. No reason that travelers should not be allowed to bring in [at least some of] their own alcohol. The "safety" excuse that we were given was completely false and disingenuous. This left a bad feeling from the beginning that was very hard to shake for the duration of the cruise. It encourages people to figure out ingenious ways of getting their own spirits aboard. Shopping on board was also extremely limited. Why not carry magazines and a larger selection of books, since reading is such a major activity? Wny not carry more sundries and basic amenities (cosmetics, writing supplies, flashlights), etc.? Too much "Carnival" logo merchandise, not enough other options. Needed more basics, fewer luxury things. I also had a problem with the gratuity pollicy. I had two $70 gratufities added to my bill, after having 15% gratuities added on to everything before that. I realize that staff need to be appropriately compensated but the cruise line should do that. I want to tip staff when the service merits it. Finally, I felt that the ship was too crowded, especially with children whose parents were not watching and disciplining them. At night, they would run down the hallways yellling and screaming. Next time, I'd choose a cruise more oriented towards adults, thought it is also true that Carnival is billed as a family kind of line, so this wasn't their fault. But they should come down more on parents whose kids run amok.

Pros: Stateroom, food, variety of events onboard, ports of call

Cons: Excessive charges for things, forced gratuities, liquor policy (can't bring liquor aboard), charges for beverages, undisciplined children running around on ship, crowding and lines

Recommends Carnival Splendor? No.

Ship Quality
The ship itself was laid out well and easy to get around on. The decor was too "Las Vegas style" for my taste, but it was clean and comfortable. We bought a fairly inexpensive stateroom which was wonderful. It was well lit, had a lovely window, good closet & storage space, and well designed for comfort and convenience. The dining facilities were pretty good, though dining local options were limited, and the lines on the Lido deck for most meals were long and slow. Elevators aboard were fast and stairways were conveniently located for fast movement from place to place. I was disappointed in the pools: they were small and always crowded. Decks for reading were fewer than I expected, and tended to be crowded. Needed more "adults only" areas.
Food and Dining
The food service on the Lido deck was generally very good, but lines were often long and slow. Some of the lunch options (c. f. "Tandoori," or "Mongolian Grill") were too heavy for lunch and should have been available at dinner time. Crowding and confusion in the Lido dining area were a problem, and children tended to be running around unsupervised at meal times which was annoying. Food options were quite good. Dining in the Gold Pearl was very nice, but took too long for dinner (2 and 1/2 hours, on average). Service was usually good, but at times slow and the waiter was distracted with too much going on. Most of the food was delicious, though the Mongolian Grill was terrible. My meal was soupy and needed rice rather than noodles. Occasionally the meats were dry or lacked flavor, but mostly they were good. There should not be an extra charge for the Pinnacle Dining Room. It should be an option, just like the Gold Pearl.
Entertainment
Overall, quite good. Shopping could have been better: the focus on diamonds at the expense of other great Mexican shopping opportunities was annoying. Should be much more on taking advantage of the local fare at the ports of call. Shopping on board was very very limited.
Cabin / Stateroom
We had a relatively inexpensive stateroom and it was wonderful: well lit, comfortable, quiet, lots of storage, excellent service.
Service and Staff
Staff were terrific.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The excursions booked aboard ship were too expensive for what they were. Our excursion was very long and much of it uninteresting, though our guide was excellent. Same excursions available on shore for much less. Had we to do it over again, I'd skip the excursions at Cabo.
Don't Miss: Nothing.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
When Mazatlan was cancelled, we should have had two days at Puerto Vallarta instead of two days at Cabo. {We were unfortunately unable to disembark the second day at Cabo due to weather and were stuck on the ship the whole day, so only got two days off ship instead of three.) Puerto Vallarta has much more to offer and should be two days as a port of call. Another suggestion: We thought that the itinerary should be: go to Puerto Vallarta first, spend two days there, then back to Cabo on the way back for one day. If it is necessary to go to Cabo first, spend only one day there, then a day at sea, then two days at PV. Rather than three days off ship in a row, intermix off ship and on ship better.
Don't Miss: Shopping at the market, zipline


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