8 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Sail Date: December 24, 2011 Ship: Carnival Splendor Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Family (older children) Reviewed: 6 years ago
This was our first cruise, so my overall impression of the Carnival Splendor is that it is a huge Las Vegas style floating resort with a lot to offer. I loved the gym and the jogging track. There is plenty of space to catch the sun and to still be sheltered from the wind. I was happy at the wide age range among the passengers, grandchildren to grandparents with all ages in between, but our 19 & 21 year old daughters seemed to fall into a gap, too old for the teenage activities, but too young for the singles mixers.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
We had a mixed experience dining on the ship. The meals were good with a fair amount of variety. They really were adept at cooking steak as well as vegetables. The downside was that we selected the flexible dining time in the restaurant, which meant that we never were able to get seated with other people, something that we wanted to do to get to socialize. On Christmas night we had a 40 minute wait to be seated followed by a meal with some pretty slow service. The next night I was having a really good and spicy jambalaya, when I accidentally swallowed a blackened hot chili pepper. It took two glasses of water, half of my daughters root beer, and two glasses of milk to kill the fire in my mouth. In both cases the staff was really apologetic and the manager had a nice conversation with us. We liked the variety in the buffet but hated the lines.
3 out of 5
There were several big musical productions and several nights of comedy. The family friendly comedians ended up being the funniest. One of the nights of multiple comedians was awkward since there were large gaps between the shows. My wife attended a dance class that was very crowded. A lot of the classes and free activities seemed to be infomercials to sell you something. There was an Asian couple that sang nightly in the lobby that were surprisingly good county western singers.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
We were very happy with our interactions with the staff. We had conversations with the people who cleaned the rooms, the waiters, and some of the managers, and almost everyone was easy to talk to and the seemed sincerely happy to talk to us and also to be happy to be working on the ship, even though they frequently mentioned the long hours. We ended up having more problems than normal, lost shore excursion tickets, all of us got stomach flu (and had to sit out New Years in our cabins), and we had a dining room mishap, but in all cases we were able to quickly get the help that we needed.
5 out of 5
The ship is huge, but it has an excellent selection of facilities, so I can not imagine cruising on a smaller vessel. It took a day before we were comfortable accessing the entire ship. The public areas of the ship are kind of a pastel cross between Las Vegas, South Beach, and Disneyland, but without the subtlety, but who cares, and besides, it made for a good conversation. One of the comedians referred to the room he was performing in as the Bin Laden room, because of its tackiness. At night the staff always seemed to be cleaning or doing preventive maintenance, so everything was clean and well maintained.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We really liked our window stateroom on the bottom deck. The room was spacious enough for the two of us and was well laid out with a tasteful decor. The wooden closets and cabinets are simple and elegant.
Pros: Getting to share a fun experience with the whole family, but having our individual freedom.
Cons: Just like a trip to Las Vegas, the whole cruise experience seems like it is designed to extract money from you. We were also disappointed that the dining situation was not conducive to meeting other people.
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