Not the Best Cruise I've Ever Taken

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 18

Overall rating:

3 out of 5
Verified Review
Carnival Splendor

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 15, 2017

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 6214

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

I hadn't been on a cruise in two or three years so the new "cattle call" style embarkation procedure was a frustrating surprise.  It began waiting in a ridiculous line to go in the building at our scheduled check-in time, meeting up with a guy sitting on a stool who checked our passports and confirmed we had entered our credit card information for our on-board account.  Next we waited in another ridiculous line to be handed a number and directed to a waiting area to guess what? WAIT for our number to be called to get on the ship! Once our number was finally called , we waited in line to have our picture taken.  Meanwhile, I had to ask as we waited in line to get on the ship when we would receive our sail and sign cards.  The new process leaves your card in the mailbox outside your cabin.  We had scheduled our embarkation for noon, and by the time we got on the ship, it was after 1:30 and our room was ready.  It was the worst and frustrating way to start a cruise.  Once on board, we made our way to the Lido deck to get some lunch. It was impossible to get near the buffet, to get a table, to move.  Too many people.  Not relaxing whatsoever.  This set the tone for the entire cruise.  Waiting in lines to eat, waiting in lines to disembark at each port, waiting in lines to get back on board.  We could never get a decent chair on deck unless we were at the pool before breakfast.  We couldn't get in any of the hot tubs because they were always packed with people.  The same people.  As for the ship, it was fine.  I understand it had recently been renovated.  The décor was typical of a cruise ship.  Nothing spectacular or to write home about.  The layout was pretty simple to memorize so I felt like I knew where I was going by the 2nd day.  The best thing about the cruise was the crew.  Everyone was pleasant and helpful.  I felt like I mattered and wasn't just one of millions of passengers they encounter every day.  We had an inside cabin on the 6th deck in the very front of the ship.  We felt a lot of movement but after speaking with people on the same deck in the center of the ship, they felt a lot of movement too.  Our cabin had that "boat" smell.  If you've cruised before, you know what I mean.  It isn't unpleasant but it is distinct.  It was roomy enough and had plenty of storage space.  I was pleased that the bathroom was roomier than other cruises I have been on.  There was a curtain rather than a shower door on the shower so I didn't feel claustrophobic when I shaved by legs.  As for the on-board entertainment, we attended a show the first night that was supposed to welcome passengers aboard.  It started with little vignettes pre-recorded by towel animals.  After tolerating bad jokes and puns, the live show began with maybe 10 dancers who encouraged the audience to participate in an aerobic routing.  It was after 11 at night and the last thing I wanted to do was exercise or watch people exercise.  The cruise director was next and called two couples on stage to do some stunts and games.  It was ho-hum and we ended up leaving before it ended.  We had the same boring time at a comedy show.  There were no seats so we had to stand in the back of the theater.  It turned out to be a blessing because we were able to escape soon after the comedian started.  His jokes were lame and his biggest "haha" moment was doing the same impression for multiple people.  Exit stage left.  At no point on the cruise were we able to catch a big, broadway style show that we were expecting.  It was all "Hasbro" inspired game shows, mostly about CLUE.  One of the most annoying aspects of the cruise was being hassled everywhere we went by the posse of photographers.  Walking to dinner?  Pass by "photographer row" where there were at least a half-dozen sets, each with a photographer soliciting you to pose.  Sit down to dinner? Cue the photographer.  Getting off the boat? Wait and pose!  Ca Ching! The other money making enterprise was the terrible art they were trying to auction.  Or the crappy souvenirs they marked down drastically the last day to sell as if you're getting a good deal on a watched marked $698 with 75% off.  Carnival wants your money and will do whatever they can to entice you to spend.  This cruise may be my last because of all the waiting, all the high pressure selling we had to endure, and being stuck on a floating hotel with thousands of annoying people.  I'd rather fly to an all-inclusive resort and deal with less people.  By the way, the four ports in four days was a lot.  I was exhausted getting off the boat, exploring each place for a small amount of time, getting back on the boat, and doing it all over again the following day.  There wasn't any time to recuperate and I felt like I needed another vacation after this one.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The food was just okay. The steakhouse fare was awesome. The dining room food had some shining moments but they were few and far between.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
You couldn't get near a pool or hot tub because of the hoards of people. It was too hot to mini golf. The ping pong tables were fun for the first five minutes. There wasn't much else to do but eat to fill your time.


1 out of 5
No big shows. All board game based. The comedians were awful.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Service was excellent. Our dining staff were awesome - shout out to Kevin, Rewel, and Nathaniel! Love them all! Our steward, Bernardo, was exceptional as well. Always had a smile and bent over backwards to accommodate us.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
My first interior stateroom and it wasn't bad. It was pretty roomy and frankly, I didn't miss the balcony too much.

Ship tip

Go see Jocelyn at the El Mojito for a tasty martini!

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

3 out of 5

Grand Turk Island

3 out of 5

San Juan, Puerto Rico

5 out of 5

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5

Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), Dominican Republic

5 out of 5
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