Overall, the cruise was great. There were a few things that weren’t great but overall very good. There was only one thing that we really didn’t like... the pushiness of the Spa Workers. We came for a nice relaxing couples massage, but constantly felt pressured to buy things. In the end, they pushed us into buying some seaweed thing for almost $200. We bought it, then returned it a few minutes later because we felt pressured into something we really didn’t want. The whole spa experience was ruined because of the constant pressure and qualifying questions. We felt sales pitched the whole time. That aside, it was a BERY good cruise and we would consider doing it again. In the past, I had been on Royal Caribbean and loved it. I was skeptical about going to Carnival, as it was a lower price and I heard that it was known as a party boat... but actually... the lack of kids on the boat made it more enjoyable. We literally saw like 50 kids on board and lots and lots of adults. That’s not to say that kids wouldn’t enjoy it... it’s just that there happened to be less kids. The cruise that was coming up next for the Splendor (the one for Thanksgiving) had 900 kids on it, so obviously kids DO go on it. Ultimately, the PEOPLE on the boat made the cruise. One of the best things was that Carnival didn’t nickel and dime you for anything. Sure, there was a fee for a weekly sofa card ($35.00 each but totally worth it), WIFI (which actually was terrible, but what can you expect at sea), and alcoholic drink card, but there wasn’t a lot of stupid fees that other ships charge you. Overall, it was a great trip.
5 out of 5
The embarkation process was very organized and easy to follow.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The buffets were not bad. Lots of selection and it was hot. The omelet station was standard but the end product was delicious. The main dining room had a very fun atmosphere, but the food on the first few days was mostly terrible. The flank steak was dry and rubbery, the lobster was grey and tasted weird, and the prime rib was dry. However, midweek, the food started to get amazing in the dining room. Pork tenderloin, rabbit, lamb, escargot and many other dishes left us wanting more and more! We also visited the steak house and we have mixed reviews about that. My 18oz rib eye was AMAZING! Melt in your mouth, pure heaven. My fiancée got the surf and turf with filet minion she ate the lobster first and it was great, then went to the steak. She ordered medium rare and got medium well, with very little pink. To their credit, they replaced the ENTIRE meal (awesome), but it was very rare. The service was impeccable, just... they didn’t quite get the filet minion right. Again... mine... was dynamite. The dining room wait staff were incredible, quick with the refills, provided great service, and danced. They even came and sang Happy Anniversary to us, tossed a towel on our heads and made us kiss while they sang (super funny)! Shouts go out to Alex in the dining room for making that experience unforgettable. As well, in the buffet area, Alina made us smile and laugh. She had a running joke (not sure how it started), but she would lower her head and pout a little, and we would do the same. Every time we saw her and she saw us, we’d all do that, then laugh. We always looked forward to eating at night because of how awesome Alina was. Finally, we have to mention Chriselda from the El Morocco lounge. She was a great waitress, was fun to be around and made us smile every night. She remembered my drinks and would bring me a new pitcher every night. After a few drinks, she let me call her Esmeralda... so that was nice :)
4 out of 5
The activities on the ship were good. Bingo was fun, though I didn’t win lol. The karaoke was fun as well. The hot tubs at the very back of the ship were often very cold (as hot tubs go) and were not as enjoyable as they could have been. A big shout out goes to Danni and Miriam (M & M) for being so friendly and fun to be around. They were like a Visa card (everywhere I wanted to be). From bingo to karaoke, to tender duty, to disembarking... and many other places in between... it seemed like they were just everywhere... and they both made me smile. We also took the Behind the Fun Tour and it was EASILY one of the coolest things that we did on the ship. Meeting the captain, visiting the different departments below deck and learning about ship life was extremely interesting and memorable.
4 out of 5
The entertainment was brilliant. The comedians in the El Morocco kept us laughing (except for the old woman that had really lame zinger-style jokes. I only laughed 3 times at that lady (all 3 were based on farts or poop). The rest made me re-think being there. The rest of the comics were genius and truly funny. The performers in the spectacular lounge were super talented and put on some great shows. The rock show gave me goosebumps several times and was one of the most memorable shows ever. One of our favourite entertainers by far was the magician in the dining room. He really did an amazing job and his slight of hand was incredible. He made us laugh every single night and he made the dining experience very memorable, even on the nights that didn’t have good food.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The PEOPLE made this trip. The food was good, the shows were good, but the PEOPLE... wow! Many I’ve made mention of already (Chriseldain El Morocco, Alina in the buffet, the magician in the dining room, Alex in the dining room, and Danni and Miriam (M & M) who were everywhere. Ludo, our cabin steward was great. He remembered our names, our preferences, and always made us smile. Jodi-Ann at the front desk was amazing as well. I went to her to try and see about a room upgrade, and when one wasn’t available, she comped us with a bottle of wine that was delivered to our room. Totally unexpected and amazing! Overall, the rest of the staff was great. They greated you every chance they got, provided extra information that was relevant and on point constantly, they smiled, and were very helpful, even if they didn’t speak english perfectly. Everyone (except the one grumpy omelette chef), was very pleasant and made the trip enjoyable.
4 out of 5
The ship is aging, so there is not a tonne of new attractions on the boat like rock climbing, etc. As well, there seemed to be rust in a few places, especially near the hot tubs in the back. Everything was clean though and nothing was falling apart.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The cabin was basic, but comfortable. The “king” bed was annoying, as the two twins that made up the king kept separating, especially during physical activity. The TV didn’t work the entire week (we got it fixed on the final day... but since it didn’t work for the first part of the week, I didn’t know it was an included feature). As well, the water in sink was almost ALWAYS hot. Even if we ran the water for a bit. It was always hot (no matter the position of the tap). We had to brush our teeth and rinse out mouth with hot water. The shower, though, was very hot (adjustable), so that was good. It was always clean too, so that was good.
When you embark, make sure you look around deck 9 for food. There is LOTS! Everyone lined up at either the BBQ or the pizza place because that was the first thing you see.
We did a PRIVATE tour on Honduras with a fantastic guide, Jill. She took us around the island and told us a TONNE of information. We visited the Garifuna, an extremely poor village on the other side of the island, visited a GIANT iguana farm, bought some souvenirs from the locals, had a traditional local buffet, and then went shopping in the village... in the tropical rain! So awesome.
We did an incredible private Jeep excursion. First we drove through the city, and went to see some Black Howler Monkeys in a special sanctuary. We got to feed them and the guide was super knowledgeable. Then. OUR guide took us to the jungle, behind sleeping giant hill. Halfway through the jungle, after travelling through lots of mud and rugged terrain (which I could have driven the Jeep theough, but chose not to), we stopped. We put on some mining helmets with lights on top and climbed the mountain using steps. When at the top, we entered a small hole in the side of the mountain. It opened up into a cave, full of bats and the occasional cave spider. We went down for about ten minutes and turned around. It was quite warm in there, but really cool. Finally, we drove out of the jungle and went to a huge property with a large cabana. We were the only ones there and we got a local buffet that was delicious.
We did an underground river (inside a cave) excursion. We traveled 45 minutes to Playa Del Carmen, then took a bus to the cave site. We got all suited up and went underground. We got into the water and started wading / swimming through different parts of the cave. We went with a tour of ten people, but they were all great. Our guide was very knowledgeable and funny.
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