Overall Rating: Excellent
|Departed From:||Long Beach|
|# of Nights:||7 Nights|
Jerry and I selected this vacation for a number of reasons: I had vacation time that I had to use (or lose); departing city close to home (Arizona to California); lots of days at sea (3 total); extremely affordable for 7 night balcony; overnight at one port (Cabo San Lucas); AND - we finally earned Platinum (VIP) status!!!
Taking Friday off from work was a fabulous idea. I was able to get all of the chores completed and come home to a relatively clean home! We drove to Phoenix on Saturday and flew non-stop to LA. (The 90-minute drive was worth the $500 total saving in air.) With that being said, we will NEVER fly out of Phoenix again. What a nightmare! That airport is a zoo.
We had a complimentary shuttle to our Holiday Inn Express and we were able to be in our room by noon - eventhough the advertised time was 3pm. Our hope was to be able to watch the men's basketball game in person (UofA was playing). Didn't do that. Taxi fare from hotel to colisium (and back) was totally out of our price range. So we watched UofA get defeated on t.v.
Jerry is not the exerciser in our family. However, I did manage to convince him to walk with me to the grocery store. We were told "just a few blocks up". Don't believe what you are told. It truly was over 1.5 miles away. Not bad empty handed. The walk home was much slower but it did enable us to enjoy some California sunshine.
We had a delicious dinner at an Indian/Italian restaurant around the corner from the hotel. The hotel offered a full breakfast in the morning and we were up and ready to leave for Long Beach very early (our arrived driver came at 11am).
Sunday was a very cold, cloudy day in LA. We arrived at the departure port as the last of the previous cruisers were leaving. Long Beach has a separate VIP room. After about a 15 minute wait (for staff to arrive), we had our keys, were checked in and were walking through security to board the ship. We were unable to get to our room and headed toward the Lido Deck.
The Splendor is the biggest ship that we have ever been on. The layout, however, is very similar to other Carnival ships and we had no problem navigating our way around. We found a fabulous table overlooking the main pool and stayed there until the announcement that our rooms were now ready (probably about 1/1:30). We didn't care! We were officially on vacation.
Layout of Lido Deck was incredible: pizza and grill by main pool. FOUR buffet lines inside (one totally dedicated to sweets). Each buffet line had a marque announcing the type of food (which changed daily). Burrito bar in the middle of one of the lines; mongolian grill in the middle of one of the lines; carving station (which entree changed daily) in the middle of the third line. Ice Cream station inside with both yogurt and ice cream. Back of ship had deli station and Tandoori. Upstairs on 10 was the rotissari with grilled veggies, grilled chicken and smaller salad bar and sweets.
Room was pre-selected as we prefer back of the ship, port side balcony. Lovely room with adequate space for the two of us. Room steward was fabulous. He and his helper remembered our names and greeted us as Miss Debbie and Mr Jerry - even if they saw us in other areas. The only thing we noticed, and asked about, was the bathroom "give-aways". Only french bar soap for the sink and the liquid soap and shampoo in the shower. No longer the bowl with razors, toothpaste, etc. (Good thing we did pack those items).
We selected anytime dining and it was perfect. I was able to pre-select my evening meals by meeting with the hostess early Sunday. She wrote down all of the food allergies and I had absolutely NO problems the entire time. She even checked with me a number of times throughout the week to make sure! I had a variety of entrees the entire week. We found a waiter that we LOVED the 2nd night and requested him each time. Alexander took excellent care of both of us and made sure that I had a double order of the protein and sometimes a triple order of the veggies.
Never went to any of the main shows. Not out of dis-interest. Just didn't have time. We did see three out of the four comedians. And, we spent a great deal of time in the casino. Didn't lose; didn't win.
We have been to the Mexican Riveria in the past and had no intention of leaving the ship. Tender port which went well as we got off the ship in Cabo late in the afternoon and spent a total of 1 hour tyring to find a basketball bracket sheet (Carnival no longer has newspaper highlights and the t.v. never spelled out the backets). Once Jerry had his brackets, he was content.
The ship did require everyone to return that night (about 9pm). We sailed away so that the casino and shops could open. We were back in Cabo by 6am the next morning.
We stayed on the ship the 2nd day and loved being able to wander around the ship, etc., etc.
Puerta Vallarta was Thursday. This was a docked port and there were no problems getting on/off the ship. We walked to a nearby beach. Stayed there for quite a bit and enjoyed the solitude, ocean and "views". We then took the city bus (less than $1/person) to the mercado. Walked around the shops. Bought nothing. (It's all the same schlock)
Took the city bus back and enjoyed the remaining time on our balcony and in the ship.
Next day at sea was very warm but total overcast. I was very careful about not being out in the sun for long as this is truly the time your skin will burn!
Platinum status - what can I say. We had dipped fruit and chocolates one night, 2 gifts another, pins and a special invite for cocktails another and free laundry service every day, as well as preferred embarkation and debarkation. We felt very pampered!
I did take advantage of a spa special on Friday and loved every second of my almost 90 minutes of treatment for $119: hot rock massage, full facial, foot rub, body exfoliation and neck and scalp massage.
As we sailed toward LA, the weather became colder and "rainy". Saturday was truly spent indoors. The main pool area put the sunroof on!
Two formal nights: Both of which we dressed "to the nines". Truly the minority. Lots of folks in what I would call normal work or even more casual than that.
Lounges and bars: Didn't partake in any other than the sports bar (duh!). Heard daily that the piano bar was the place that was rocking and totally full. We were on this ship the first week of college spring break. Yes, we saw lots of college kids at embarkation AND THAT WAS IT!! They obviously found their niche.
Party boat??: I don't think so. I spent most of my outdoor time at the adult only pool, lido deck aft. The music was soft and almost to the point where you couldn't hear it. Conversation was normal and respectful. And, NO KIDS. Main pool had the big screen t.v. Concerts playing during the day; movie under the stars at night. I wandered over there a number of times and really encountered families with young children.
Hardly visited the front of the ship while at sea so I can't report on the basketball courts, mini golf, fun area, splash pad or serenity side. Never heard any complaints.
Don't recall waiting in any lines. Don't recall extremely loud music or noise in any areas. All in all this was a fabulous (SPLENDID) vacation