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Age: 62

Occupation:Retired medical professional

Number of Cruises: 35

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Sailing Date: 2009-10-25

Itinerary: Mexican Rivieria

Our first cruise 20 years ago was on CARNIVAL and we sailed it a few more times before we discovered CELEBRITY where we're Elite members and PRINCESS Platinum members. With high status on those premium lines and no status on CARNIVAL, we didn't expect much and I was dreading sailing on this large ship without the 'priorities' we're accustomed to: but we sailed because it was a group of friends and we got a smoking price.

We flew into LAX and used CARNIVAL transfers. The rep was in plain view as we went to claim our luggage.
We boarded the bus and even though there were less than 10 of us the bus immediately left our terminal and stopped only long enough to pick up a few people at two other terminals before driving directly to the ship.
Some cruise line transfers pack the bus to capacity before heading to the ship sometimes waiting more than 30 minutes to fill the bus before departing for ship.

At the pier, we took our luggage from bus to porter--about 50 feet, then entered the check-in line to finalize paperwork and get a Zone number for boarding. By the time we finished the process, our Zone number was called and we boarded. The total time pier-to-stateroom was about an hour. I heard others waited longer having arrived before noon which was the earliest check-in time. As usual, the major boarding hold-up is due to the 'BOARDING PHOTO'.

Amazingly, CARNIVAL has solved the disembarkation chaos by 'channeling' guests toward the gangway. This is done by closing most doors and elevators to that deck; thereby preventing passengers from converging from several large areas into one small area. Also, CARNIVAL does not require you to leave your stateroom by a certain time in order to wait in an assigned area.

The comedian was good. The ship's entertainment was very poor. Neither feature singer articulated, most of the time we had no idea what s/he was saying, the same goes for the ship's singers. But, the dancers are the worst: They were awkward with no sense of timing and were out of step with each other most of the time. As a group they were unable to perform even the few basic steps that made up their entire production of 'same steps, different costumes'. A large disappointment.

I loved the ship's decor in copper and pink tones. The furniture was comfortable and the entire ship was immaculate! I saw them vacuuming the drapes on the Promenade deck one afternoon.

The Lido deck serves a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu from several stations; so there's never long lines or wait. There are specialty restaurants, but we did not use them.

We had early dining in the beautiful Golden Pearl Restaurant. Our group had VIP seating with excellent service. I have several food allergies and every night the Hostess would go over the following night's menu with me. Many nights I would pre-order special meals.
There is a large variety of food, it is good and well presented; but, it's not the quality of PRINCESS and certainly can't compare with CELEBRITY, who has the best food at sea.

Every night during dessert, the dining staff would entertain us by singing or dancing! I couldn't believe it, it seemed above and beyond the call of duty. But we all enjoyed it and thought it great fun. Best of all, the staff looked like they were having fun too!

We chose a standard balcony cabin, roomy enough because our large suitcases fit under the bed! The room was well lit, tastefully decorated, immaculately clean and impressive with a full size sofa, a small table to hold a tray, a very long credenza with plenty of storage space, a flat screen wall TV, safe, phone, and hair dryer. There was even a 'stocked' fridge with a variety of beer, several choices of alcohol and mixers (soda & water) with prices less than on deck. The closet was large with plenty of hangers and 2 thick bathrobes. (On PRINCESS you 'request ' bathrobes). We chose Queen arrangement with a small nightstand on either side of the bed, each with a lamp and storage space.

The balcony had a small table and 2 comfortable webbed chairs-one even reclined.
The bed was comfortable.

There were always tons of fun on-board activities, no cruise line does it better! It was a blast to be on board during Halloween! Almost every passenger dressed up and seemed to be in a party mood.

There was a competition for several categories of best costume. Several people put a lot of time and thought into the many creative costumes. More fun and entertaining than Halloween in New Orleans, LA.

There were several hundred children on the cruise, but we rarely saw them. CARNIVAL has many programs available for all ages.

We'd been to the three ports before, so we did our own thing. The ship's shore excursions were expensive.

We're impressed with CARNIVAL, they have an EXCELLENT product for the money.
We 'll sail again with them. We never even missed our 'status priorities.'
We found the Staff to be friendly and helpful and I recommend this ship to anyone.

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