My husband and I just got back from a week-long cruise down the Mexican Riviera and can’t stop raving about the fun we had aboard the Carnival Splendor!
From perfect sunsets to dance parties and amazing food, there’s something for everyone aboard a Carnival cruise and we took advantage of everything we could. Here’s how our amazing vacation went:
Getting onto the ship was an absolute breeze thanks to the brand spanking new Long Beach Terminal! We had priority boarding which made our wait less than 30 minutes and I HIGHLY recommend opting for the Faster to the Fun package for your cabin. This will put you into the same priority boarding for about $10 per day of your cruise for the whole cabin. For our 7 day cruise, the FTTF package cost $69 and after seeing the long lines for general boarding, we were sure that that money would be well worth it!
Embarkation is also made faster now by delivering your Sail & Sign cards directly to your stateroom rather than waiting for photos and a card in the terminal.
We made it on board the Splendor and enjoyed lunch and exploring the ship until our room was ready!
We stepped into our spacious balcony room and were met with a wall of windows and a door out to our own private balcony.It had two chairs, one that reclined and one that didn’t and a small table. We spent many hours out on our balcony enjoying sunsets, watching whales and star gazing (seriously…the stars you can see out in the middle of the ocean is mind blowing!). We had the room set up with a king bed, but it can also be configured with two twins, and the couch also transforms into a bed. Some balcony rooms also include an additional bunk to make room for 4 people.
Our room had a mini fridge & safe, 3 closets as well as storage in the vanity area, side tables and under the couch. There’s no shortage of storage! There’s a full length mirror in one of the closets (a must for elegant night!)
and the bathroom, while pretty standard for a cruise ship had multiple shelves perfect for keeping all of our bathroom essentials!
I absolutely loved the food we had aboard the Splendor. There were only one or two items we weren’t as thrilled about, but that was more personal preference more than quality. The fun of cruising is that your food is included so you can feel a little more adventurous about your choices. So many people we talked to mentioned that they love bringing their kids because their kids can try things like lobster and escargot without the pain of losing money if they don’t like it! We only used the buffet a few times but even my buffet hating husband enjoyed the food. The Splendor also has an Ol’ Fashioned BBQ, a Mongolian Wok, a Burrito Bar, Tandoor Indian and 24 hour Pizza Pirate and Swirls Ice Cream. Don’t miss out on the Room Service on board either-they have lots of great free options and some options for a small fee. We ordered the wings in a few different flavors along with sweet potato fries ($2 for fries and $5 for wings) and both were delicious! My only wish would be that they offer full breakfast in their room service options. At this time, they only offer continental breakfast options like fruit and pastries-I would LOVE to wake up to breakfast in bed with some eggs and bacon, am I right?!
Also on board is the Pinnacle Steakhouse. For an added charge of $35 per person, it is WELL worth the price! We dressed up one evening an enjoyed dinner there with our group and it was hands down the best dinner we had all week. The service was impeccable, there were so many delicious choices on the menu and the cocktails were different than what we had seen all week. From the mini potato soup appetizer to the tender and flavorful filet and our shared cheesecake for dessert, we can’t wait to book another dinner at Pinnacle for our next cruise!
There is never a dull moment on board a Carnival cruise, and we had the amazing MarQ as our Cruise Director, keeping the fun going from early morning to late night. He was energetic, funny and knew his audience whether he was dealing with families on the Lido Deck or with the 21 and over crowd in the night club.
Ours was a Carnival LIVE sailing with Carly Rae Jepsen, who gave an amazing hour long (FREE) show on the Lido deck for us! Check out more on that HERE.
Your Carnival cruise fun will be based on what you like to do, so make sure to go through your Fun Times brochure each night to decide your fun for the next day. There are multiple fun shows each day, Bingo, parties, contests, shopping and more during the day, while night time offers concerts, the Piano Bar (Christine was our piano gal on the Splendor and was HILARIOUS), nightclubs for adults and teens and multiple bars.
The kids all seemed to love the kids clubs that are included in your cruise cost. There’s options for kids ages 2-17 and are WAY more fun than hanging with mom & dad.
We highly recommend taking in a few of the comedy shows while on board. Our sailing had several comedians with different styles of shows. Anything from family friendly to 18+ Explicit shows cater to the comedy needs of everyone on board and they are all funny!
Don’t miss out on the fun mini golf at the top of the ship, it’s the best views you’ll have while putt putting around.
Our favorite show? The Lip Sync Battle!!! This fun battle takes place throughout the week, starting with auditions at the beginning of the week and light hearted competition between the two passengers chosen as the week goes on. This all culminates with the ultimate Lip Sync Battle at the end of the week in the main theater. Our two contestants blew us away with their moves and they put on quite a show. Just like the TV show, there are costumes and back up dancers-do not miss this on your sailing!
There are three pools on board the Splendor. One on the Lido deck, one at the back of the ship and one next to the Twister waterslide. We had pretty chilly days at sea so we kept our swimming time limited to mostly hot tub time. There are several hot tubs around the ship and while it’s nearly impossible to find one without kids in them, we found that waiting till after 10pm played in our favor and we had a hot tub to ourselves every time. The lido deck pool can be used rain or shine, hot or cold weather thanks to a retractable roof. This made a huge difference on the cooler and windier days we had! Families will love the kids water park, perfect for kids to play in a little water and splash around without bothering a soul!
Carnival offers so many amazing excursions at all of the ports of call, and I highly recommend booking some on your trip! On our trip, we stopped in Cabo San Lucas for two days and Puerto Vallarta for one day. In Cabo San Lucas, we chose the Sail & Snorkel Fiesta. This excursion takes you on a sail over to pelican rock for about 45 minutes of snorkeling before they take you around the famous El Archo arch with unlimited drinks and fun with the crew. My husband got the chance to see a puffer fish while he was snorkeling, and there were loads of other beautiful fish to see as well!
In Puerto Vallarta we chose the Ultimate Canopy: Zip, Ride & Slide excursion and this was absolutely a highlight of our trip. This all-day excursion took us into the jungle at the base of the Sierra Madre mountains for a day we’ll never forget. We zip-lined, rode UTVs, climbed a cargo net, jumped into a tarzan swing from a tree (my FAVORITE part!!) and finished with a mile long superman style zip line through the jungle and a waterslide to cool off with! We highly recommend this adrenaline rush filled day and even better, the hand made quesadillas at the end!
OUR FAVORITE AREAS ON THE SHIP
After a week on board the Splendor, we were able to fully explore and find our favorite spots. One of our favorites was the walking track all the way up on deck 12.
We would finish breakfast and go for a brisk walk together for at least 10 laps (1 mile) It was a great spot for us to spend time together and take in the view while walking off some of the food and drinks from the day before.
Inside the walking track was the basketball court. My husband loves to play and took part in a little hoop time, but there tends to be a lot of young teens playing most times, so while we loved the court we didn’t play as much as we would have liked.
Want to be kid free for a while? One of our top favorite spots on the ship was the Serenity deck! We set up shop on one of the big round cabana beds and ordered drinks with no distractions. Heaven!
Carnival ships have “secret” decks at the front of the ship on several levels. We were lucky enough to have a stateroom at the front of deck 6, only a few doors away from the secret deck on our level! There were several on the Splendor and if you want peace and quiet with a stunning view amongst the 3000+ guests these are the best spots on the ship!
The end of the cruise creeps up on you. Don’t miss out on the balloon drop in the atrium on the last day, it’s such a fun celebration!
Your steward will deliver debarkation information to your room the night before you get back into your home port. This will include luggage tags, should you with to check your luggage and have Carnival take them off the ship (you will be able to pick them up in the terminal) as well as your debarkation group number. The Carnival debarkation process is a well oiled machine. They give you a time to be out of your stateroom, then you simply wait for your group number to be called to leave the ship! Customs is in the port terminal and took us about 15 minutes from getting in line on the ship to being done! The buffet and dining room are both open for breakfast while you wait, and the coffee bar is also open.
We had the most amazing time aboard the Carnival Splendor and can’t wait for our next cruise with Carnival, next time with the kids!
To book your own FUN Carnival vacation, click HERE to check dates and times for the itineraries you want!
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Our stay was hosted by Carnival but all opinions are our own.