Enjoyable cruise overall.

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 4
Helpful Votes: 158

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Carnival Splendor

7 Night Exotic Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 11, 2015

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8439

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Review summary

Embarkation was organized but a bit slow.  We were pleasantly surprised with the colorful, festive decor upon entering the ship.  Our balcony stateroom was a good size with plenty of storage space.  The balcony itself was on the small side.  When making reservations I always request a foam topper for the bed.  It hadn't been put on and mentioned to the room steward.  He tried by adding a comforter under the fitted sheet but wasn't enough.  We went to Guest Services and within a short while we had a foam topper on the bed.  Ship and room were always kept clean.

Buffet food was good to very good with a large variety.  The thin crust pizza was excellent and available 24 hours.  There was a nice omelet station every morning.  There were items every day, such as the very delicious grilled sandwiches, grilled cheeseburger and French fries, salad bar, fruit, ice cream and frozen yogurt machines.  But there were also different items daily, for example Mexican or Italian dishes.  Lemonade, iced tea, hot tea, coffee, water and ice were available 24 hours.

In the main dining room, the Anytime dining was a complete disaster.  Very long waits, no organization for seating and not enough waiters.  The first night seating time and service was acceptable.  The second night which was formal, we waited close to an hour and once seated, service was very slow.  We noticed many tables available and yet many people were still waiting to be seated.  The third night they were giving out pagers, but had run out.  Too make a long story short, after waiting about an hour, we decided to switch to the 8:15 seating.  Our table happened to be ready at this time, but we spoke to the maître d, Ramesh and told him we wanted to switch.  Not a problem!  We had our choice of two tables for two.  Since it was around 8:15, Ramesh escorted us to the table we selected.  Turned out the waiter, Howard, and his team were one of the best we ever had.  (On the NCL Epic we had no problems with the Anytime dining.)  Food was good.  The beef dishes were better then the fish, which were very dry.  We also tried the dining room for one of the sea day brunches.  We were seated at a large table which had very slow service, but noticed the tables for two were much quicker.  Some interesting selections, food was good.

Compared to RC Oasis with its ice skating and diving shows, the NCL Epic's Blue Man Group and the Michael Jackson show on the MSC Divina, we found the evening entertainment lacking on the Splendor.  The Las Vegas/Broadway style shows in the main theater, sadly, were boring except for maybe the last show of the cruise.  The dancers were great, but needed some fresher, new choreography.  Then there were the comedy acts, mostly adult shows.  There were a few different comedians which performed many shows each.  We saw one of the shows which was funny but nothing special.  The décor in the main theater and the El Morocco room where the comedy acts performed were beautiful, though.  And there were several very good bands playing throughout the ship.

During sea days, it was almost impossible to find a deck chair anywhere.  Unless you went early and saved them, which you aren't supposed to do.  During the evening, the main areas and walkways inside were very congested.  It didn't help that along these areas were the many photographers crammed in taking pictures with the different backgrounds.  Some of them very annoying and aggressive.   We had a few taken and even though they weren't bad we didn't purchase.  

On the RC Oasis there were twice as many guests, but you would never know.  The Splendor just had too many passengers for the size of the ship.  

St. Maarten is a great island for jewelry shopping.  You just need to take a short water taxi ride.  It's $7RT pp.  There's a nice little beach right there as well.  In San Juan we also did a little shopping right off the pier.  It was our first time in Grand Turk.  There was a small newly built shopping area right off the pier.  It was nice but very expensive.  It took us about 45 minutes to walk through.  Then we spent some time in Margaritaville.  Best margaritas!  Looked like a lot of others decided to do also, as it was packed.

The debarkation process went smoothly and at a good speed.  The suitcases were on a turntable like the airport, rather than on the floor like they usually are. 


Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The Anytime dining had very unorganized and long waits for seating and not enough waiters. The 8:15 seating was much better. Food was good. The beef dishes were very good, however, the fish was very dry and not a lot of taste. Buffet was great for all meals if you'd rather not eat in the dining room. Many selections.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
A lot going on if you wanted to participate, however, we prefer to just relax.


3 out of 5
The shows in the main theatre were quite boring. Dancers were great, singers not so much. However, the shows needed fresher, new choreography. The comedy shows, which were mostly adult shows, were ok, nothing special. The bands playing throughout the ship were very good.

Children's Programs


Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The few times we went to Guest Services they were friendly and accommodating. Our Maitre D, Ramesh was very personable and helpful with switching us from Anytime dining to the 8:15 seating. And our waiter, Howard and team, were one of the best we've had.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
For an older ship it was in great condition, the decor was very festive, colorful and comfortable and always kept clean.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Balcony room was a nice size with plenty of storage space and was very comfortable. Balcony itself was on the smaller side. Cabin steward was usually quick to make up room and did a good job cleaning it.

Ship tip

Check out the Taste Bar. Great for a quick little bite while walking through the ship, without having to go to the buffet.

Ports of call

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

5 out of 5
Take the $7 RT pp water taxi, rather then just shop right off the dock. There's also a nice little beach right there. One of the best islands to jewelry shop. You just have to be careful and have knowledge (expecially of price) on the items you want to purchase. Always ask for the best possible price and request a writtien appraisal which should be free of charge. You can usually get a little better deal if you can pay cash.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

3 out of 5
Nice area to shop if you are there during the day. There's a Guess clothing store, Guess shoe/accessory store, Dooney & Bourke and Coach. You can get a good buy, but can probably do just as good in the States.

Grand Turk Island

3 out of 5
First time on Grand Turk. Nice little newly built area off the ship. However, rather expensive. Make sure to stop in at Margaritaville for a fabulous margarita!
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