Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Nicole721

PICTORIAL REVIEW: Nicole721 Takes a JOURNEY onboard the Carnival Splendor

Recommended Posts

Hydrated and caffeinated, we set out to walk around and explore as many of the side streets as we could. I’m obsessed with the streets in Old San Juan. The colors, the narrow streets, the way every building is different and unique. I can’t get enough. This was my fourth visit to San Juan and I still walk around with my jaw dropped to the ground. Every corner we turned brought something new into view, and the longer we looked, the finer the details were. We spent an entire morning just walking around.

 

fullsizeoutput_30c7_zpsmoxk6t2h.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_30c9_zps2unzjk4o.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_30d1_zpsns03d7sw.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_30e0_zpsszq1gx02.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_30e8_zpstia08ttt.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our time in port was short – we docked around 8:00 AM and our back onboard was at 2:30 PM – so by noon, we were ready to start our walk back to the ship. As we were walking, we spotted a Starbucks and I just had to make one more stop. The Puerto Rico Starbucks locations have a pastry called Quesito con Nutella, which is like a flaky Danish filled with Nutella. It’s delicious and it’s not a proper visit to San Juan until I have one.

 

fullsizeoutput_30e9_zpsimtgslh5.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_30eb_zpscbgpdcp0.jpeg

 

With the obligatory Quesito con Nutella checked off the list, we made one more stop at the Walgreens to stock up on Diet Coke (for Mom and Stephanie), coconut water (for me) and snacks for the airplane ride home. A Holland America ship was docked with us (with a Royal Caribbean and a Celebrity ship at a pier across from Old San Juan), and Walgreens was packed with hundreds of ship workers and tourists stocking up on the essentials. Walgreens also had a large selection of souvenirs, but there are also plenty of booths along the pier where you can pick up t-shirts, beach towels, magnets and all kinds of jewelry.

 

fullsizeoutput_30f7_zpsdnpstglx.jpeg

 

We dropped our bags back at the room and headed up to the Lido deck for lunch. I was still stuffed from the delicious PBJ sandwich I had at Cuatro Sombras (…and the Quesito from Starbucks) so I picked at a plate of hacked nachos we put together with chips from the burrito bar and chili, cheese and pico from the grill. Lido hacks are fun, aren’t they? On a ship without the 2.0 upgrades, the nachos were just about as good as it got.

 

fullsizeoutput_30f9_zpsblai05tc.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of hitting the pool deck, we lounged out on our balcony, where we left port a little later than scheduled. The views of El Morro and La Perla as we sailed out towards open waters were spectacular. Sailing out of San Juan, the best views are from pure aft, with second best being the starboard side of the ship.

 

fullsizeoutput_30fa_zpsbkxs8qln.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3101_zpsy4jm7ani.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3103_zps5frj6s4n.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3113_zpsyneaffli.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3114_zpsatjaftha.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This evening was our second formal night, the throwback formal night, and plenty of old school Carnival events on the Fun Times as part of our Journeys itinerary. First up was the Captain’s Cocktail Party. Ten years ago, the line to get in was dozens of people deep 20 minutes before the doors even opened and it was just about impossible to get a drink. This time, the attendance was thin -- either because it was the first of the evening (the first cocktail party was at 5:00 PM, with the second at 7:00 PM) or because many of our fellow cruisers had Blue and Red cards and may not know that the Captain’s Cocktail Party meant 45 minutes of free drinks. It worked in our favor, though: we had as much champagne as we could drink and plenty of mini quiches and meatballs replenished on our plates.

 

fullsizeoutput_3120_zpsn9exnpwg.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3131_zpsovpkuiyv.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_313b_zpstwnitld4.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dinner menu was a throwback, as well, with the old Captain’s Gala menus. Entrée options included lobster, beef tenderloin and, my favorite, Vegetables Princess. And Baked Alaska for dessert (not on parade, but just as delicious). We each ordered the beef tenderloin and split a Vegetables Princess and it was just as tasty as I remembered it to be the last time I had it – more than ten years ago.

 

Bread Basket

fullsizeoutput_313c_zpsrk8ibuo8.jpeg

 

Italian Wedding Soup

fullsizeoutput_313d_zpsua9t0u6k.jpeg

 

Chilled Strawberry Bisque

fullsizeoutput_313e_zps1olx7h5b.jpeg

 

Caesar Salad

fullsizeoutput_3140_zpsocbxrvwt.jpeg

 

Tossed Salad with Iceberg, Tomatoes, Cucumbers

fullsizeoutput_3141_zpsuz4i5vbb.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was no Playlist show tonight, so after dinner, we sat out near the casino, where there was a singer doing a live acoustic set. The evening movie was an encore presentation of Dirty Dancing, so we stayed in the room, where TBS was running a Cameron Diaz marathon.

 

When midnight struck, we headed down to deck three for our final formal night throwback activity: the Grand Gala Buffet. The line wrapped all the way around the lobby and the doors opened late, which, at midnight, meant plenty of people trying to creatively cut the line and plenty of people grumpy about people cutting the line.

 

fullsizeoutput_314e_zpsxsyvtxv3.jpeg

 

Carnival stopped doing these buffets years ago. I think John Heald said at one point it was because so much food was going to waste and given how much food they put out, I imagine that’s very true. The spread was incredibly creative and expansive, with tropical fruits, all kinds of breads and salads, fruit and ice carvings, a variety of aspics and seafood, sliced duck and various pates and the dessert spread to end all dessert spreads. And if all of that wasn’t enough, there was a separate hot bar, with sandwiches, chicken breasts and beef filets. It was midnight, and they were serving filet mignon on a buffet line. Beyond the sheer manpower it takes to pull off this kind of event, I can’t even begin to fathom the expense. It was truly extravagant. We didn’t eat much – a bunch of grapes, a slice of cake and a parfait between the two of us (plus a slice of cheesecake we took back to Mom) – but the experience of walking through it and marveling at the presentation and variety…I missed that. And I didn’t realize how much I missed “old cruising” until we were reminded of the things we no longer have (like the Captain’s Party and this grand buffet).

 

fullsizeoutput_314f_zpsev3e98zh.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3154_zpsk26hgdp3.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3157_zpswcclyg4h.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3159_zpsnvcotmno.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

fullsizeoutput_315e_zpsmwjoihjv.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3165_zpsb1fyqt9y.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3167_zpsfwvrondi.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3168_zpsn68od5ds.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_316b_zpszn8kfgbu.jpeg

 

We settled back in the room with a Sex and the City marathon, too awake to sleep. The next day would bring our final port of call in Grand Turk, and as slow as the start of this cruise felt, the end was coming up far too fast.

 

And on that note...I'M OFF TO BARCELONA TO MEET THE HORIZON!!! :) Will be back to wrap this up once we're in Spain!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still really enjoying your review and beautiful pictures. The tour you did to Nevis, did you book it through Carnival or was it a local tour? Going to Nevis is definitely something I'd LOVE to do next time we get back to St. Kitts, especially now that St. Kitts is developing most of South Friar's Bay (Ritz Carlton Resort and more development scheduled), so the little beach bars, including Shipwreck, were ordered to shut down at the end of February, so that's basically going to eliminate one of St. Kitts' popular beach areas. Even before that, I've wanted to see Nevis and from your pictures it's now become #1 to do.... it's just gorgeous! So happy to see San Juan on the road to recovery and so happy that ships are returning there, and to the other islands hit hard.

 

The other question is about the Grand Gala Buffet (since we are still tossing the idea of that Journey cruise around). I definitely remember having it on our first cruise. If I'm remembering correctly, they let everyone walk through, to look only (so everyone has a chance to see it, untouched), and once everyone has been through the "look only" line, then those wanting to eat can go back through. Is this still the way it's done?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The color of the water in St Kitts is my absolute favorite shade of ocean. I've only ever seen it that color there, and I will never forget how beautiful it was. Some day we will have to go back, if just to see that gorgeous color in person again.

 

It's good to hear that San Juan is doing well. I've heard a lot from friends who have family there that other parts of the island are very, very slowly recovering. But the tourist dollar is helping for sure. I can't wait to go back in October. And I always have to stop at the Starbucks too. Not for the pastries or the coffee, but because Starbucks Puerto Rico still carries my beloved Almond syrup that was discontinued in the US mainland nearly a decade ago. Last time I was there I picked up 2 bottles of it (and got some very weird looks from ship security when I came back on the ship and they realized my 1 liter bottles weren't alcohol, but instead just sugar), and I ran out over 6 months ago. I need to replenish.

 

We've been trying to decide what to do when we are in Puerto Rico this year. I'm on the Cuatro Sombras website now. I'm debating doing their cupping seminar now (if I can convince my non-coffee drinking husband to do it with me), it looks like an amazing little roastery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And on that note...I'M OFF TO BARCELONA TO MEET THE HORIZON!!! :) Will be back to wrap this up once we're in Spain!

 

Really enjoying this review and, hopefully, I'll be enjoying the Horizon review soon.;) Have an amazing time!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love reading your reviews as they take right with you and you pictures are so colorful and vibrant..what type of camera do you use? I cannot wait for your review on the Horizon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellory drove us back to the pier to meet back up with our water taxi and we parted there, with him asking us to leave reviews online if we enjoyed our tours (so, consider this that!). And as we began the 45-minute ride back to the ship, with a reggae version of Baby I Love Your Way playing on a speaker and the sea spray misting my face as the bow of the boat plowed through the waves, I could not have been happier or more at peace. Nevis and this entire excursion was beyond any expectations or hopes I could have had.

 

fullsizeoutput_3031_zpsddg8lnbw.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3034_zps8ilhjc9t.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_3055_zpst3w7pyzz.jpeg

 

We got back to the ship at 4:30 PM – just when all aboard was scheduled. There were dozens of people standing around the deck three promenade watching for pier runners and as Stephanie reminded me, we were the people we’re always watching for!

 

fullsizeoutput_305e_zpslq5np8cp.jpeg

 

Back at the room, Mom was literally sitting at the door, waiting for us to get back. She may or may not have called guest services twice to make sure the ship wouldn’t leave without us. And she had room service peanut butter and jelly sandwiches waiting for us so we’d have a snack when we got back. I love those room service PB&J’s. They’re the perfect post-excursion snack.

 

fullsizeoutput_306b_zps8nbj2x3l.jpeg

Great review Nicole. Cam you please let me know the excursion company you used for Nevis. We visited last year and going back again in 2019. Sounds like a great way to spend the day.

 

Sent from my SM-G930T using Forums mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can’t wait for the rest of this AND the Horizon ❤️ thanks for all you do to share your adventures with us

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We haven't been on a Journeys cruise (yet) but Splendor was our first ever cruise! Loving the review!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We love the splendor and I’ve enjoyed your review. It makes me want to look into a Journeys cruise too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review and very nice pics. Thanks for taking the time!

Wife (mine this time ) and I are taking first Splendor cruise Third week of June and as its our first real vacation in close to 4 years, I am pulling out all the stops. We both love Cabo and have been a couple times so despite the prospect of searing heat down that way, I am sure we will be either whale watching or sipping cool drinks somewhere on Medano.

Have to agree on the decor of the Splendor but meh...its a vacation so who really cares imo. We will be there to have fun, blow off steam and experiment with modern alcoholic chemistry.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We had booked cabin 6489 – an aft extended balcony cabin. Our room seemed more spacious than some of the others we’ve sailed in (but that is entirely perception), and our balcony was much deeper than a standard balcony, with two chairs and a table, and room for at least two more.

 

fullsizeoutput_2ca9_zpsrv9lfrz6.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_2cab_zpsmqavf8kw.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_2caf_zpsqfx07vtl.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_2cad_zpsqgklaxba.jpeg

 

I find having the room ready when we board one of the more valuable Platinum perks. Not monetarily, of course, but the ability to ditch our carry on bags as soon as we board to free ourselves up to explore the ship without having to mind them is really nice. So, now freed of our bags, we headed up to the Lido deck to grab lunch. The Splendor is one of the few remaining ships built in the last ten years that have not yet undergone the 2.0 upgrades. This means no Guy’s Burgers, no Red Frog Pub and no Blue Iguana Cantina. The Lido fare onboard the Splendor is much like it was ten years ago: a grill, a burrito bar, a deli (still with the old menu), the pizza stand (with the newer Pizza Pirate menu), Taste of Nations and the rotisserie. It does have one unique feature though: a barbecue station on deck 10, where the pasta bar usually is. And since it was new and different and because we like barbecue, it was an easy choice for lunch. It was fantastic. I don’t usually care for pork, but the pulled pork sandwich was aces.

 

fullsizeoutput_2cb5_zpss8ifo4tg.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_2cba_zps3uf9yjdl.jpeg

 

This is great information thank you. My wife and I are in an extended aft balcony on Splendor this fall. Great pictures!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love this review! Too bad it wasn’t finished. Thinking about the Splendor and lots of good info here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...