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About JennPVMX

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  1. Disembarkation: We may be in a different situation than most cruising out of Long Beach? We flew in, and our flight was out of LAX at 3:00pm. We were not looking to leave the ship quickly! The day before, we were able to choose our disembarkation zones. We purposely chose one of the very last zones. We got mostly packed on Friday late afternoon. I really thought about being productive and doing laundry before going home. I checked out the laundry room. There were three washers and four dryers. One of the washers had an 'out of order' sign on it. The rest of the machines were full. I decided to put off the massive amount of laundry till home and go enjoy the pool with the kids! 🙂 Saturday morning we got up and around and packed our last minute items. We had chosen not to self debark, so we put all luggage except a small carry on bag outside our door the night before. Cruisers are supposed to be out of our rooms by 8:30am. We headed for breakfast in the dining room a little before 8. We had a nice leisurely breakfast, with great service. Then we headed to the Lido deck and grabbed another cup of coffee and played cards and waited for our zone to be called. I think we were off the ship by 10:10am or so. Very painless. Ok, so let's talk about some of our favorite and not-so-favorite parts of the Splendor and this cruise in particular! I'll start with the not-so-favorite, so we can end on a positive note! Not-so-favorite things: 1. The weather. It was really cool on our last two sea days. And the wind was crazy. Enough so on Thursday (Sea Day 2) that we really couldn't go outside at all, much less in a pool. This meant no water slide, no mini-golf, no ping-pong. Not at all a deal breaker. Just something to take note of. I brought all of us one long sleeved hoodie or sweater. I wish I would have brought all of us at least two, and one pair of lightweight pants, yoga, etc. Even the Lido restaurant anywhere near the doors was very chilly. This improved greatly when the roof was put over the Lido area on Friday. Wish it would have happened sooner. 2. I'm an adult. I definitely enjoy my share of adult beverages. That being said, I was genuinely surprised by how quickly a good number of adults (with children, I might add) became over-served. By the time we made it to lunch on embarkation day, the table next to us with a young child, were completely sloshed. And using language that was foul to say the least. On Friday, the last Sea Day, I had to send my daughter back to our table while I stood in line at the Tandoor because there was a physical altercation between a group on that deck. Obscenities flying. I certainly don't fault Carnival. It won't keep me from cruising again. But the atmosphere wasn't as family friendly as I had hoped. I didn't remember our last cruise being quite this way. Ok- on to far more positive things! Our favorites! 1. The crew were lovely. Genuinely. We were always greeted with a smile, whether it's our room steward or at the MDR, always wonderful. And especially so with my kids. They went out of their way to bend down and listen to my daughter and talk to her directly about her menu choices for dinner, etc. I wouldn't change anything about the crew. 2. The Fun Squad- especially Lee, the Cruise Director! They were awesome!! I would personally go out of my way to cruise with Lee again. He definitely has a gift. 3. We absolutely loved these ports. We would do this exact cruise again in a heart beat. We loved going to Mazatlan. It was a great way to get our feet wet, if you will, and let us know we definitely want to return! 4. The Splendor itself. Shocking- right??!! I know the Splendor is heading to drydock later this year. It does show wear in some areas. But I have to share something with you all- it doesn't matter! My husband and I chose this cruise not for the ship, but for the ports. We knew it wasn't a new ship. We chose to see the good. My daughter thought it was the coolest thing ever to cruise on the 'Pink Ship'! This cruise was a wonderful experience for our family. A good mix of down time and plenty of things to do. We made such wonderful memories! Please feel free to ask any questions! I'm certain I missed something along the way! Jenn
  2. Our credit card charged us in pesos. Thanks!
  3. So I thought I'd jot down some notes/info about things our kids were most interested in! We chose not to utilize the kids clubs/camps, fyi- so no info about that. Hub app- This was SO much easier than using a highlighter and paper copy of the Fun Times. Not only do you see show times, etc, but menus- helpful for indecisive children who take thirty minutes to decide! Arcade- my son took full advantage of the ship's arcade Power Hours. A few times during the cruise, they offered a Power Hour- where the games were half price. Seuss Parade- very sweet. My daughter loved this. They got to meet characters. The fun squad- including Lee the Cruise Director- was a part of this, and did a wonderful job with the kiddos. Clue- Our family LOVES games, especially Clue, so when my kids learned that the Splendor had a huge Clue game, they were super excited. We went to the initial 'meet the suspects' show. Really funny, and the kids were hooked! We did our best to get to as many of the opportunities to get 'clues' as we could. The last Sea Day they did a big reveal. Pools- As I previously mentioned, if you have kiddos do yourself a favor and head straight to the waterslide/pool area immediately after boarding the ship! It really was a great opportunity for our kids to have the waterslide to themselves. During our trip, Sea Days weren't great for utilizing the waterslide. It was VERY windy. Occasionally it was so windy that they closed the slide. The pools on the first day were warm. Sea Days, the pools were cool. The last Sea Day, they closed the roof, and the main Lido pool became far more usable. (And the Lido deck did as well. It was really chilly prior to this.) We did spend some time in the hot tubs. They appeared clean and were a good temperature. Mini Golf- do this on your first day or a port day while the ship is still docked. It gets crazy windy, and was closed often. Dive-In Movies- My kiddos loved doing this! We watched Mary Poppins Returns and Ralph Breaks the internet. We actually skipped the MDR for dinner so we could enjoy this. The roof was closed, making the temperature very doable. The towel stand on the Lido deck has fleece blankets, which was a nice addition. Fair warning- do get there a little early, maybe half an hour? Otherwise you can get seats on Deck 10. I do wish they had more than one evening with a kids' movie- but not a big deal. My son says skip the popcorn. No salt, no butter. 😉 Library- I know this is random, but if you do have a chilly day (or three), the library has a good number of board games that you can borrow. It was nice to play a game and drink hot chocolate or coffee and chill with the kids. Next up- Disembarkation and our top few likes and dislikes of the trip. (Feel free to shoot me a message if you're looking for specific info. I'm glad to try to answer any questions. I know the Splendor isn't a ship that gets a ton of coverage.)
  4. Splendor food continued- Please forgive the randomness of this post- lots of misc food stuff! Room Service- We ordered room service a couple times. Someone in another post mentioned that when they came back from a long port day, they immediately ordered room service to have a few things for the kids to munch on while everyone was showering, etc. We did this after Cabo and it was lovely. We ordered a BLT and a grilled cheese- split among us. Just the perfect size snack to hold everyone over till dinner. We also ordered dessert once. The room service chocolate cake was very good. We hardly had a wait- maybe 15 minutes each time? Lido desserts- It has been awhile since we've cruised, but I've read about people being very excited about the beautiful cakes on the Lido deck. They were definitely gorgeous! My kids are very much into ice cream, so we really only tried the cakes once or twice. We decided to grab a few kinds and taste test. We tried a black forest cake, a key lime cake, an orange cake, a raspberry cake, and a chocolate layer cake. My daughter, bless her, said it best. "Mommy, how can cake have no flavor?". Really, the only cake we liked was the chocolate layer cake. It was served on the last Sea Day at the Chocolate Extravaganza- or whatever it was called. The rest were meh at best. The ice cream was a big hit, though! Dr Seuss breakfast- My 8 year old LOVES Dr Seuss and all his characters. She had an absolute blast at the breakfast. They give the kids a chance to meet and take pictures with all the characters. They have Seussical music playing. They have adorable Seuss themed decor. Plus, they have a Seuss menu. For $5- ridiculously cute. My daughter ordered the pancakes, which came in fun colors, stacked tall in the shape of the Cat's hat. Super cute. I ordered waffles that I thought would come with blueberries and raspberries. It actually came out with alternating red and blue frosting in each waffle 'hole'. Eeek. Too much sugar for this mama. I'd definitely recommend going savory at this breakfast. But service was wonderful. We would absolutely do this again. Side note- I'm assuming that we had very few kids on the ship. We traveled before many kids are out of school for the year. We signed up for the breakfast at a table on the Lido deck on the first day, but there were still reservations available at the Seuss parade, the day before the breakfast.
  5. Splendor food continued- Main Dining Room Dinners: We chose Anytime Dining. My theory was that we would likely eat earlier on nights that we were at Sea, and later on port days. That ended up being pretty accurate. We were very please with service in the MDR. On the last formal night, we were handed a pager, but as we walked away, it buzzed. So we never ended up waiting for a table. We didn't specifically ask to stay in a certain waiter's section, so we hopped around. Overall, service was great. Appetizers- Some of our favorites included: stuffed mushrooms (seriously, so good), shrimp cocktail, and a wild rice/chicken soup. The Caesar salad was also very good. No huge misses in the appetizer area. Chicken tenders weren't our favorite, as they were pretty dry. Entrees- Some of our favorite entrees included the filet mingnon (cooked as ordered), the fried shrimp with rice, and the Indian Vegetarian option. There were a couple misses for us on entrees. The first night there was a beef dish, pot roast I believe, that was truly inedible as it was all fat. The spaghetti carbonara could have been very good, but it was very poorly seasoned. Desserts- A few favorites were the ever popular Carnival melting chocolate cake, the cheesecake with strawberry sauce, and the grand marnier souffle. The only major miss was the creme brulee. Ouch. It was overcooked to the point that it was scrambled eggs, and not actually bruleed at all. I've read a good amount about kids in the MDR, kids menus, etc. Here was our philosophy: our kids are pretty well rounded and know our expectations. We take them with us to nicer restaurants at home, so we didn't think twice about taking them to dinner in the MDR. They looked at the kids menu, but it was very simple kids' food- burgers and hot dogs, etc. For the most part, they both chose to order off of the regular menus. For appetizers they sometimes ordered a fruit plate or cheese plate, if the appetizers weren't appealing. The one thing my daughter ordered off of the kids' menu was the banana split, which she loved! Dress in the MDR- I'll be honest. For the most part, we are rule followers. So I read the dress code for the MDR and we packed accordingly. For regular, casual nights in the MDR, we were definitely leaning more towards feeling overdressed. We did see a good amount of t shirts and shorts. Even exercise wear with a sports bra showing. Honestly, I don't care what other people wear for the most part, but it was interesting. Formal nights were again, across the board. Our family wore cocktail dresses and suits with no ties. There were a few who were dressier than us, ie: teen girls in prom gowns, but not many. It definitely didn't appear Carnival turns anyone away. Again, we enjoyed dinners together, and really didn't care what anyone else wore. Next up- Lido cake and Dr Seuss breakfast, and any other food I've missed!
  6. Splendor food continued- Lunch: Off the Grill- This is the little poolside burger place. Burgers, fries, chips, cheese, etc. My 13 year old lived here. It was totally fine, but nothing special. Burrito Bar- Offered as part of the Lido buffet, sort of a wanna-be Chipotle. Line moves slowly, but overall good food. My daughter stuck with chicken, but the shrimp looked well seasoned. Pizza Pirate- For what it is- really pretty good pizza. Lunch was hopping, but later in the day it was super quiet. I enjoyed the margherita pizza. Crust was yummy. Tandoor- This is where my husband and I chose to eat lunch while on ship. Hardly a line. Fresh made naan. Rotating entree options, but our favorites were the tandoor chicken, butter chicken, and a beef dish. Lots of options for vegetarians, too. Yummy fresh veggie sides and relishes. The food was well spiced. Not necessarily hot, but very flavorful. Definitely our favorite lunches on the ship. Lido Lunch Buffet- shocking, we didn't actually eat lunch here. 🙂 We grabbed some fruit occasionally, but that's pretty much it. The ship also offered Mongolian Wok and BBQ. The line for the Mongolian Wok seemed to take forever, and the BBQ place didn't seem to appeal to us as much as other places.
  7. Lee was FANTASTIC! Could not imagine a better Cruise Director! We visited with several other guests at dinner one evening who have much more experience cruising than we do, and they felt like Lee is the best they’ve seen.
  8. So let’s talk food! The Splendor doesn’t have Guy’s or Blue Iguana- so do keep that in mind. Breakfast: Sea Day Brunch: We enjoyed this very much! In the Gold Pearl Dining Room. Had very good omelettes, crispy bacon upon request. Also enjoyed steak and eggs. The kids raved about the chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate sauce. The service here was always very, very good. Never a wait. Port Day breakfast: also in the Gold Pearl. Slightly different menu, no lunch items. Waffles were good, and I think only on this menu, not the brunch menu. Again, no wait. Room service breakfast- delivered during the timeframe we ordered it. Very basic items- fruit, pastries, cereal, yogurt. Coffee! (Can we just talk about how phenomenal life would be with an in-room coffee maker?!) But just fine for our Mazatlan day when we were able to head off the ship at 8am. Buffet- ok. I admit it. I really am NOT a buffet girl. We actually never did breakfast in the buffet. To be honest, it just always seemed like there was a better option. My 13 year old thought he was dying of starvation because he’s.... a teenage boy... so I went with him and grabbed coffee while he inhaled pastries and fruit before Sea Day Brunch began- but I don’t think that really counts! 🙂. The buffet at breakfast seemed busy! Maybe moreso even than lunch. But staff seemed very friendly, and were constantly picking up dishes and cleaning tables.
  9. Puerto Vallarta- We absolutely love this city! We went to some of our very favorite places, sort of did a highlight reel of our previous trips! We stepped outside of the port area and arranged for an Uber to take us to Lolita’s for some fresh squeezed orange juice. We enjoyed our drinks and walked the Malecon towards Los Muertos beach. We visited with some friends and eventually made our way to Langastino’s. We enjoyed drinks here and the kids loved mangoes on a stick from a vendor. There is something about Los Muertos to me... it just feels like home. My happy place, I think! We grabbed a taco or two from El Cunado- a little taco... stall? Cart? Just up from the pier. Great authentic el pastor and chorizo tacos. Plus they’re great guys! We changed out of our swimwear and did a little shopping. We walked Olas Altas and the Rio Cuale and the kids found plenty of trinkets to buy. We wandered over near Guadalajara Pharmacy where there is a gentleman who makes fresh churros at a cart right on the street. Such a treat! We then wandered to A Page in the Sun- a great little coffee shop/used book store. We enjoyed a little AC and ended up bringing home far too many books that our 8 year old just had to have! Eventually we made our our way to Gaby’s Restaurant, right by the church, and met up with some friends for dinner. Truly lovely place, the owners are phenomenal! Our favorite dishes are chile rellanos and a shrimp burrito. So good! This restaurant has indoor seating, plus an outdoor patio with a peek-a-boo ocean view. They show old black and white movies on an old building across the street when it gets dark. Gaby’s also does a cooking class, in case anyone is interested. Next up: food on the Splendor!
  10. Mazatlan- TIme zone is Mountain Time- fyi, in case you're booking excursions. We're not typically large tour/excursion people. We love exploring, visiting the more historical parts of cities, and meeting locals. I was SO excited when we decided on an itinerary that included Mazatlan. It's always appealed to me the way Puerto Vallarta does. We decided to split our day into two sections. First we followed the 'blue line' into Centro. We went to the Malecon, we saw cliff divers, visited the cathedral/church, and explored the market. So the blue line, from my understanding, is designed to get cruise ship passengers to experience Centro. You can literally follow it into town. Along the way, we encountered super sweet volunteers (wearing blue shirts) who gave us a map and chatted with us. It was so great to hear them point out their favorite places to visit, or restaurants to try. Really special. The market!! Eek! I was expecting more of a typically tourist trap type market. Now we definitely found our fair share of Mazatlan t-shirts, coozies and wood carvings, but when you keep going deeper into the market is where you find a far more local-driven area. Stalls and shops filled with local produce, dry goods, and VERY fresh meat and seafood. In it's very natural form... pig heads, etc. We loved experiencing it! We got warm (read: HOT) and decided it was time to head to Stone Island. Everywhere you look are pulmonias- kind of an open air taxi. For a few dollars we had a nice, cool ride to the ferry to Stone Island. The ferry cost approximately $2 per person, round trip. If it helps to know, Stone Island is the second stop. They didn't announce what the stop was, so we almost got off at the wrong one. We hopped off the ferry and grabbed a truck taxi - I'm sure there is a technical term! The truck took us to Lety's on the beach. We spent several hours there. Very good food. Very quiet- only a couple families and one other couple there. Drinks were good. There was a stand renting boogie boards and banana boats nearby. Our kids LOVED boogie boards. They made friends with a couple other kids. Overall truly wonderful time. Would definitely do this again. In fact, we're now thinking of planning a land vacation to Mazatlan, we were so impressed with the city and people as a whole.
  11. Cabo- So let's start off by talking about ship time vs port time. For the love of everything good, this was SO difficult for me to get a straight answer on! Here's what we experienced. In Cabo, our ship time stayed the same (Pacific Time) and Cabo is in Mountain Time- so plan accordingly. Cabo is a tender port. Tender tickets are available on the Splendor near the coffee shop on Sunday around noon-12:30pm. Guest services told me there is sometimes a crazy long line, starting around 9:30am. We didn't worry about the line- honestly, our planned excursion wasn't until 1:00pm Cabo time, and we didn't want to miss out on hours of our cruise. My husband literally walked right up at 12:10pm. We were in tender group 2. Score! The tender process is totally painless. We planned to head to Billygan's on Medano Beach for a couple hours. We walked just outside of the port area, ordered an Uber, and off we went! Very short ride. Billygan's was crowded already! But service was very good. Tip: if you like a lounger, bring a towel for sure. They're far more comfy with a towel. Drinks were very good. Water was cool, but the kids could have cared less! We enjoyed visiting with a few vendors, but we didn't sit in the front row so we weren't overwhelmed at all. Our kids wanted to swim with dolphins. I compared the Dolphin excursion that Carnival offers to what I could find and book on my own. We ended up choosing to book with Dolphin Discovery. Here are the pros of booking with Dolphin Discovery: it was considerably less expensive. We saved over $200. It did not include things that we didn't want. We simply wanted to swim with the dolphins (the package we chose was the Swim and Ride, if that helps). We didn't want hours of beach time or lunch, etc. The largest bonus of booking outside the ship was the personal experience we had. Our little family of four enjoyed a trainer and two dolphins for an hour BY OURSELVES! My kids died. The trainer was great. The cons of booking with this company was mostly that communication up front wasn't stellar. Sometimes it took a week for a reply to an email. Also, I was worried that we would be sitting around waiting on transportation... we were supposed to be done at 4:30pm, but the shuttle was scheduled to leave by 5:45pm. I'm guessing they did this to cover themselves when they have lots of groups? But they took us back to the port as soon as we were finished buying things from the gift shop. Would we do this excursion again? I think once every few years would be enough- but we wouldn't hesitate to use this company in the future. We headed back to the port and made it back in plenty of time. Nice to take a little cat nap before dinner. Up next: Mazatlan!
  12. We flew into LAX the day before our trip. Grabbed an Uber and headed to Hotel Current in Long Beach. I've read extensively about all the options for hotels in LB. We chose Hotel Current based on price ($139nt) and walkability. For what we needed, it was PERFECT. Older motel property, but updated and restored very well. Modern rooms and bathrooms, decor was lovely. Beautiful pool and grounds, although we were all so tired after a full day of travel, we didn't swim. We grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant and stopped by RiteAid for soda and wine. We had thought about the Queen Mary, but glad we chose what we did. The next morning, we at a quick hotel breakfast and called an Uber and headed to the port. First off- Long Beach port is wonderful. Very organized. Enclosed. Our check-in time was 11:30-noon. We arrived around 11:00. I think if I had it to do over, we would have either gotten there at 10:30am, or 11:30am. Not in between. There were a decent amount of people who showed up early, and were in the 'too early/too late' line, where we were too. No big deal. We were still on board by noon. So, I'm a pretty big researcher. I love planning trips. We've been home for one day and I'm already thinking of our next adventure. One tip I heard from a vlogger was to head straight to the pools and waterslide. We did, and I promise you we had the entire area to ourselves for at least an hour and a half! Literally, the kids played in the pool and went on the waterslide over and over, while my husband and I enjoyed a hot tub that overlooks the area. If you have one take-away from my review, let this be it if you have kids! Could not have been more perfect! Excellent start to our trip! Eventually we made it to our room. We chose an Ocean View room. Thought about a balcony, but decided we likely wouldn't be in the room much, and we wanted to spend a little extra money at each port with activities. Good decision for us. Room was exactly as we expected. Small. But storage was manageable. Our steward put the oval coffee table in a storage room, which opened up the room. The bed was very comfortable. We only watched TV while getting ready for dinners, but HGTV was nice- family friendly. Our room steward offered to service the room twice a day, but we let him know mornings were enough. We occasionally heard our neighbor's tv, but sound really wasn't a huge issue. Very pleased. Our itinerary went like this: Sat- Embarkation Sun- Sea Day (formal night) Mon- Cabo Tues- Mazatlan Wed- Puerto Vallarta Thurs- Sea Day (formal night) Fri- Sea Day Sat- Debarkation Next up- Cabo!
  13. So let me quickly introduce our family- we are parents (mid-30's), Son (13) and Daughter (8). Parents have cruised once before to the Caribbean, but it's been 8 years. We most often have annual vacations to Puerto Vallarta or Disney. The kids were allowed to choose this year's vacation, and they chose a cruise to the Mexican Rivera. We sailed the Carnival Splendor out of Long Beach to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We flew in a day early- I'll be sure to give brief details about that too, in case anyone is interested in hotel options. Overall, I'm a pretty Polly Positive personality- we LOVE to travel and can make the best out of almost any trip- but I promise to be a realist too! More to come shortly!
  14. We are sailing on the Splendor in a few weeks. Our return flight home is at 3pm at LAX. Anyone have any advice as to what we can do between debarkation and our flight? Family of 4, including 2 kids ages 8 and 13. We don’t necessarily have plans to rent a car... unless we really need to.
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