Really bad. Seriously shocked. =(

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review to Mexico

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 21

Overall rating:

3.2 out of 5
Carnival Splendor

7 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail date: June 02, 2018

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8308

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

Overall, the cruise was just bad. Not redeeming bad, but literally just bad. Bad service, disappointing food, broken sink first night, yellow stains on sheets, crew looks mad or upset to be there, messed up customer service, felt second-class or prejudiced against, and offered drugs in every port. Lol. Disclaimer too, I absolutely hate slamming a cruise so hard, I never do this. But it was so awful that I feel compelled to let everyone know. Unfortunately, I just don't think I'll ever cruise Carnival again. It actually is making me feel wary about cruising again in general, which is awful, I'm such a cruise fanatic. And I'm not at all snobby, picky, setitng a high bar, nothing. This was, legit, bad. And I apologize to Carnival fanatics - I know you'll tear my review down, but everything I'm saying is 100% true. Believe me when I say I never wanted to rate anything of their poorly, but this is reflective of my trip in its entirety. I just had a really terrible time and birthday on the ship, I couldn't wait to get off and go home.


4 out of 5
Super easy to board. People kind of everywhere telling you where to go, not always with suuuper accurate info, but at least easy to ask questions. Once you're in the Carnival building though it was a breeze. Quick too, well organized.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

1 out of 5
I'll start with how much of a Carnival fanboy I was. This is my third cruise with them, and I thought they could do no wrong. Which is why I'm so heated. =( The food was not good at all. I came on expecting some awesome food in the dining room. It was super basic. Muddy flavors, bad cuts of meat, dry chicken, and nothing close to gourmet. It was on par with an IHOP or Dennys, but throw in some escargot (ok, the escargot was good though). The buffet wasn't good at all, but I live in Vegas and get buffet food all the time, so I think my standards are a bit high when it comes to this. But theirs didn't stand out at all. Drinks were ok, not very strong, but honestly I was cool with that because I don't drink much anyways. The coffee bar was good, but add chocolate to anything and the whole drink is dominated by the chocolate. Also, frappucinos have big ol ice chunk balls in them, which block the straw from sipping. I know it sounds super picky but when that's all I drank every morning, it wears on you like water dripping for hours, heh. Oh man, I feel awful for making such a bad review....but this was so disappointing to me I can't help but post these so that everyone gets the positive with the negative. And this ship is SURE possible of a super negative experience.


1 out of 5

This made me sad. =( My last two carnival cruises had EXCELLENT pizza. This one was gross. It took forever to make and always had an obnoxiously long line, then when the pizza came out it was gummy and undercooked in the middle, black and burnt on the outside, and stuff just slid off of it, the toppings just run as fast as they can away from that crust. It was not very good at all, unfortunately.

The Gold Pearl Restaurant

1 out of 5

Were treated horribly in here. The first night was good, but we were at a different table. Once we moved, it was the worst thing on the ship. I dreaded going to dinner. The food was never that great, disappointing every night. And I'm not even a food snob. ;_;

Red Carpet Dance Club

4 out of 5

It was fine...they never turned on the floor lights though, which doesn't really utilize the room to its potential. Not many people went there though.

Grand Buffet

3 out of 5

It was average - normal buffet, nothing special or extra. I'm from Vegas though, so I might have higher expectations to be considered a good buffet. I honestly felt like it was a little small. Not a lot of range.

El Morocco Aft Lounge

3 out of 5

Really pretty, and excellent set-up. Unfortunately, just not large enough to fit everyone to comfortably see a comedy show. Couldn't really fit inside some nights, so opted to skip them rather than stand in the back in dress clothes.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
Basic stuff. I'm 35, and it felt like nothing actually interested me. It felt either too young or too old. Karaoke is something I always enjoy, but their online system where they don't provide a song list and you just go up and ask if they have your song (which is like needle in a haystack unless you pick something extremely common in karaoke....well, but not always either, some omissions were strange). It makes it awkward to go up, get told your song isn't there, then have to go back and find another one. It feels like you're bothering the dj, and when other people are waiting, you just feel like sitting down. Also, the venues filled up WAY too fast for comedy and karaoke. Even 15 minutes early, every chair in both lounges, at the same time, would be completely full, with people even standing in the back. That's weird, especially in a smaller room (Cool Lounge). I just wouldn't even go because the room was so uncomfortably stuffed, and I missed two karaoke sessions and comedy shows because of that. Everything else was just not interesting for me. The basic art auctions, the hawking of onboard tax and duty free purchases, trivia dominated by kids, and hairy chest competition. If it was on the lido, it was just uncomfortable being around the swarming people with kids running around everywhere yelling and weaving through chairs, and people moving chairs into walkways and blocking paths off.


3 out of 5

It was better than most of the buffet items, but it wasn't as good as lots of other reviews make it out to be. Plus they have a tendancy to run out of items and take a long time to replace them, especially the naan. And they didn't have a basic jasmine rice...they have one that's flavored with veggies and spice , but the flavor is a bit different. Then they have soggy white rice. No inbetween. =(


3 out of 5

Service and Staff

2 out of 5
Guest Services was really nice and got things done, they just weren't thorough in fixing anything. I was FTTF so my room was supposed to be ready as soon as I boarded, but my room never had keys outside of it, which I had to go to guest services twice for (they told me to go check back soon, then come back if it wasn't there. An hour later, still not there). I went back to them again and they just printed me two room keys there. The other keys never even showed up at the room. Then when I got there, I had ordered two towels to be in the room, and I also had someone order a birthday package and another ordered a second cake to be in there. Inside, only two towels were there - one from the birthday package, and only one from what I ordered. So missing was both birthday cakes and one of the two towels I ordered. I didn't know about the second cake since someone secretly bought it for me, so I wouldn't have known if I didn't happen to call family right before I took off and they asked me how the cake was. Guest services eventually got me one cake and the towel. I had to go back to guest services the next day to ask about the second cake, which they then delivered. But they didn't follow up to make sure everything was fixed, and waiting in that line 3 times the first day and on the second day is no joy...those are LONG lines. I also found out I was supposed to receive a coupon to get a picture for my birthday, but they never gave me one. I noticed I had it loaded on my phone app, but when I went to ask about it they said they needed the card, which I never got (they botched the whole birthday thing). They eventually honored it on the app, but not without some weird hesitation. Ok, I'd know what the steakhouse would be like, but they screwed up my reservation. I booked it back in January. I just happened to swing by on the day of the res to check the menu, and they asked me to verify the reservation. They couldn't find it - then they did, but they said I was in the wrong stateroom, and they had spoken to me on the phone to verify already....which I was surprised about, because I hadn't been called by anyone. My room was upgraded the day before the cruise (they called me to ask if I wanted to purchase a balcony room, I said yes so they transferred everything), so they said someone in my old room (me) confirmed the reservation. Well whoever they talked to wasn't me, and it seems they either didn't verify who was on the phone or the person pretended to be me (which would make sense, I have a feeling they received free towels, two cakes, and a coupon and didn't say a word). But in the end, the steakhouse staff told me it was my fault for not notifying them that my room changed the first day. So this angered me - no one stated that I had to do this, not the guy who upgraded the room, not guest services, no one. So I'm supposed to magically know that I need to check with the steakhouse on the first day to alert them that my room is different? So they told me I didn't have a reservation. I was PISSED, I had paperwork registered to my name saying I did. Then suddenly they said they could accomodate me, "but next time please let them know if my room changes." I was furious they seriously tried to blame me for paying more to upgrade a room for losing my reservation, even though it was still under my name and booked, but they gave it away to whoever said it was me in the old room....I mean what would they do when they come up and see that their name isn't even mine? Anyways, I cancelled my "accommodation" because I was just really bothered by how they handled it. And finally, the dining staff. It was AWFUL. Which is the most surprising thing, since the last two itmes I went, I thought it was amazing. But I felt like a second-class guest. They wouldn't even hand us a menu until two large groups sat down. Even when they were late and we were early every single day. A couple times we got the menu, but they didn't even come back to take the order until after the other groups arrived and had been given menus. We were only a table for two, but our dinners took almost two hours every night, because they would always swing back to us after helping the entire large tables, as they came in late all the time. We didn't get water refills at all our first night. One night we never even got a dessert menu, and that was when I had asked for one. It would take 20-30 minutes to get a menu, then they'd take the order 20 minutes later, then we'd get the food 30 minutes later, then they'd take another 15 to clear the plates, then entrees would show up 15 later, then after finishing they'd take like 20 to clear the plates, then they'd deliver a dessert menu, come take the order 15 minutes later, then bring desserts 20 minutes after that. It was *awful*, it almost felt like I was being prejudiced against because I was gay (it was a table for just my partner and I....and I PROMISE I wasn't a finicky or picky dude, I was super polite the entire time, not once did I let them know I was upset with the service until the very end.). The waiter's section was only 4 tables - two large, and two two-tops. There's no excuse for such awful attention. He'd be standing there just staring off into space lot, or making small talk with the big groups. The other two assistants were just as absent. Sometimes all three would disappear for 15-20 minutes at a time. The only night we had good service was a port night when neither big group showed up, and they had 4 people total to serve, two being us. That night was amazing. Oh, btw, guest services does not have a separate line for VIP or FTTF guests, so that's another perk that is missing.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
So I went on thinking I'd love the design, as tacky as it seemed. I love that stuff. I also heard about how run down it was getting, but figured people were just being picky, and that never bothered me. Well.....the ship wasn't all that tacky-good, it was tacky-bad. They were right. You do get used to it though, but it just doesn't feel as luxurious as the others, such as Pride or Liberty. It felt bargain-bin for a cruise ship. Also, yes, it's run down. It's super clean, but there's lots of damage everywhere that isn't being replaced. Lots of black marks on walls and stuff (especially in the rooms and even in the Pearl), lots of yellow marks on bed sheets and weird liquid stains on the couches. Many windows have lots of mineral build up too, which is weird because they announced window cleaning and everything but it looked like they hadn't done anything. Also, many of the sunbeds out were sticky for some reason, had a weird cake of dirt on them that didn't seem to get waterblasted out.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5

Ship tip

Sail on a different ship. =( Man, that hurts me to say, but I'm not cruising Carnival again if I can help it. But yeah, either a different ship, or makes sure you get an EXCELLENT rate on this cruise.

Ports of call

Long Beach (Los Angeles), California

4 out of 5

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3 out of 5
So Cabo's cool, but the layout is confusing. You aren't really clear on if you need a water taxi or if you should walk it. And LOTS of beach hawkers. It's something that's part of going to Mexico, but it gets congested here since beach is limited.

Mazatlan, Mexico

4 out of 5
I actually loved this port. I will warn you though, no one tells you you have to take a shuttle from the ship to the port entrance. They said you arrive in a shipping dock, but they aren't clear that once you get off, you have to wait in a really unorganized line to get on a shuttle that literally takes you 2 minutes up the road (through cargo) and drops you off. It could have been easily walked, but not allowed. Then, once there, you have to take a taxi. Don't walk. The stuff you want to see is just too far from there. Don't even attempt to visit the Golden Zone without one - and don't do what I did and walk the boardwalk in the summer. I wanted to die. But it's really pretty there!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4 out of 5
I love Puerto Vallarta. Excellent city. But the port they drop you off in is, again, too far from anything to walk. Get a taxi to Zona Romantica. Unless you want can walk to that.


4 out of 5
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