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Splendor January 12 2018 Hawai’i Journeys Review


marion10
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I’ve gotten so much from Cruise Critic so I wanted to pay it back with a review. Since this was a 14 day cruise it will take a while.

Some firsts for me:

  • First Carnival cruise
  • First time cruising in the Pacific
  • Longest cruise
  • First time to Hawai’i 
  • First time cruising with friends

 

As the cruise started Saturday, we flew out from Chicago on Thursday to LAX. We rented a car from Enterprise at the airport that we would return later in downtown Long Beach. We stayed at the Renaissance in downtown Long Beach- the Enterprise location was across the street. We did have to pay for parking at the hotel.  It took us about an hour to drive from LAX. We spent very little time in Long Beach- we spent Friday driving north to the Getty Villa and visiting friends in Malibu.  We also stopped by a nearby Target to get soda and wine. Saturday morning we returned the car across the street. We had late checkout at the hotel and a 12:30 boarding time for the ship. We took an Uber from the hotel to the pier.

 

Next post will be Day 1 of the cruise.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, marion10 said:

Saturday morning we returned the car across the street. We had late checkout at the hotel and a 12:30 boarding time for the ship. We took an Uber from the hotel to the pier.

The last two times we dropped off a car at that Enterprise location, they shuttled us to the pier for free.

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(Okay should have asked about Enterprise taking us to the pier- but it was a cheap Uber ride).

Check In was very smooth- I’d say it took less than 1/2 an hour. We had our sodas and two bottles of wine in a rolling suitcase which went through the metal detector without any issues.

 

Then onto the lido deck for lunch. It was pretty busy. We tried to find the BBQ place on 10 but couldn’t figure out how to get there. We asked to share a booth with another couple and took turns going to the buffet. I waited a while in line for Mongolian Wok but gave up and just went to the regular buffet line. When I got back, found my husband had ordered me the drink of the day- nice!

 

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get a lei when coming on board- but the process was efficient.

 

Soon it was 1:30 and time to go to our rooms. We had a spa balcony. Our sign and sail cards were in envelopes right outside our door- they were sealed so we could see if they had been tampered with.  I felt our room was well designed ( except for the lack of outlets - but we expected that)- but somewhat worn. There were some chips on the furniture. Ample closet space, spa robes ( had to ask for slippers). I liked the shelves around the sink- made it very easy to stay organized.  We unloaded some of our sodas and put the white wine in the fridge and went exploring. We also logged into our Carnival Hub app. We had asked that our friends reservation be linked with ours for dining and they were already added to the Hub messaging app. 

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Overall impression of the ship- uh- that’s a lot of pink. I really did not like the decor. There was a lack of nice public spaces. This would become more apparent as the cruise went on because it was often cold and windy at sea and upper decks would be closed.  I just did not find it appealing at all.

 

We came back and met our steward. We selected once a day service in the morning. That was fine for us. She got us some slippers. Since this was a spa cabin we had the Elemis toiletries.  ( They were replaced once during the cruise).

 

Just before dinner we noticed that our refrigerator wasn’t cooling. We tried call our steward but got no answer. We called housekeeping and they said they would send someone out.

 

It was time for dinner and off we went. It took us a while to figure out how to get to the Golden Pearl but we made it! We had been texting with our friends and they were at our table for four when we arrived. We had the early seating.

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Did you have the midnight gala buffet on your cruise? I've been told by someone on a Journey's cruise right now that guest services on their ship indicated that they are no longer doing these on Journey's cruises, despite still being advertised as such.

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2 hours ago, Keys2Heaven said:

Did you have the midnight gala buffet on your cruise? I've been told by someone on a Journey's cruise right now that guest services on their ship indicated that they are no longer doing these on Journey's cruises, despite still being advertised as such.

 

They did- more about that later.

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Forgot that before dinner we had the muster drill- yes it’s outside.

 

So dinner- were at a table for four with our friends. We were actually disappointed that we didn’t have a bigger table - but four it was. Our servers were great and very attentive. I don’t remember what we had the first night, but generally I enjoyed the food. Sometimes the presentation could have been a little better-but a good variety.  One thing I liked was the appetizer section- I think they called it “ Fabulous Finds” where you could try something exotic ( at least to me). I tried blood sausage (yuck), ox tongue ( tasty) and alligator fritters while on Board.

 

There was some waiter singing/dancing every night- it was fun at first but we got tired of it and usually left right as it started.

 

We got back to our room and a technician looked at the fridge and said he would get it repaired tomorrow or if it couldn’t be repaired.

 

We still wanted to get ice- called our steward - no answer. Called housekeeping and they told us to call room service. Got ice to chill the sodas.

 

After unpacking a bit- we went to the Welcome Aboard show. It was okay- I think there are a lot of limitations because the stage is small. We went to almost all the evening shows and they were just okay. 

 

The Hub app worked really well- we were able to message everyone in our group. Easy to find what was going on and I loved being able to check the dinner menu.

 

 

 

 

 

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First day at Sea. We slept well. Beds a little soft. We went to the CruiseCritic Meet and Mingle which was in the Robusto bar which has a lot of little couches. Lee, the cruise director was there and maybe another activity person. No giveaways, no food. Not much mingling. Lee did make an effort to talk to everyone and answer questions.

 

We also went to a Facebook group meetup which was a little livelier and a Facebook cabin crawl which was fun . Thanks to those who organized and the people who had a shot as their giveaway in the cabin crawl!

 

Around lunch our steward told us the reason the refrigerator wasn’t working was it wasn’t plugged in! Problem solved.

 

Sea day activities 

Nancy Caruso was our onboard naturalist and really added a lot to our trip. I went to almost all of her lectures.

 

There was also Glee Club which I sorta wish we had gone to. This would culminate in a show at the end of the cruise.

 

Never went to any of the shopping activities or casino.

 

i went to most of the evening shows and comedy shows. Will summarize later.

 

Loved afternoon tea. Usually skipped dessert at lunch and went to tea.

 

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As we got further away from shore the internet package we had purchased ( we did the medium rate one- not the premium and not the social. After connecting to the WIFi after an hour or so you could get your mail and maybe pull up a Facebook page. Also TV ( except for Carnival TV )stopped. Our monitor was small and grainy . Given the long sea days, I would have loved some in- demand movies, even at an extra charge.

 

We went to the Studio VIP show. All the Playlist productions blurred together for me. The cast  had to know an amazing amount of material- but they did not wow me.

 

After the show, we went down to the Punchliner comedy club. We found the 18+ shoes usually better than the PG shows. There really was impressive variety of comics on board.

 

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So some evening shows were Viva Variety- we had Christopher Alan Graves, a hypnotist and a comedy juggler. Personally, the hypnotist creeped me out- but it was a good show. The rest were Playlist productions- which I have said all sort of blurred together. I found the production numbers only okay.

 

There was also a running game of Clue that I did not participate in. I went to one Academy of Fun lecture (All About Food) which was okay.

 

We spent some time in the Piano Bar with Eden- enjoyed that.

 

There were dance lessons (including hula) that I did not go to.

 

I went to a few crafts - they were really fun but they started at 8 am!

 

During the sea days most of the upper decks were closed due to wind and many times the pools were closed as well although the hot tubs were open. Even with the roof closed it was pretty chilly around the main pool.

 

There were also Dive in movies- I can summarize those in the next post.

 

Because of the weather- I was really glad we had a balcony. It was sheltered enough that we could sit on it or prop the door open and just listen to the waves. We had a sofa in our room and we spent many happy relaxing hours reading or napping while listening to the sea.

 

We had some stargazing sessions with our onboard naturalist- although some had to be cancelled because of the weather. My husband had an app on his phone Sky Guide that we used to look at the stars- so that is an idea you might want to think about for future cruises.

 

Our trip was very special because we had the lunar eclipse- how wonderful to see that unobstructed- I will always remember that.

 

 

 

Edited by marion10
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Dive in Movies

 

it could get chilly- Carnival did provide blankets to be checked out and free ( often cold) popcorn.

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Venom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Crazy Rich Asians

Night School

Avengers: Infinity War

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The Equalizer 2

 

These were the ones before our ports.

 

 

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Food 

 

I’m not a big breakfast eater. We had room service for breakfast almost every day. My husband might pick up a little something at the buffet.

 

I enjoyed Sea Day brunch or lunch in MDR- beats wandering around for a table and if you shared a table you usually had a great ocean view.

 

Pizza very good but sometimes a long wait. Deli good but usually just one poor guy working and lines could be very long. Tried Ole Fashioned BBQ and it was tasty. My husband was happy with the Tandoor buffet because I don’t really care for Indian food so he doesn’t get it often at home.

 

Mongolian Wok was okay- but long lines. Never tried the burritos.

 

Our first elegant night was on Wednesday- the 5th cruise day. I did see one man in a tux. My husband wore a sport coat and tie. I wore a long black dress with a big scarf. The dress reverses to a print.

 

 

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I was looking through my Funtimes but I couldn’t find anything about time change. As I remember there were two time changes each way- so going to Hawaii we went one hour a ahead and then later another hour. Reverse gong back. This is why I always have an analog watch! An easy way with your iPhone is to figure out a city in the time zone and set your iPhone for that city. So we used Juneau and Honolulu.

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Maui! Finally after 5 days we arrived in Hawaii- we had beautiful rainbows all around as we pulled into port. We docked in Kahului which is more industrial port- there really is not much to do within walking distance around port. We rented a car at Enterprise which was within walking distance of the port- maybe 1/3 of a mile. They also allow after hours drop off. It didn't take long to get our car. We had bought the Gypsy Audio guide for Maui for our iPhone and it was fantastic only $5 and works off your phone's GPS- no worry about cell coverage. We drove to Iao Valley State Park, then to a small park that had houses featuring the different cultures from Hawaii. We drove about an hour on the road to Hana. Stopped at a beach and saw turtles and had fresh coconut. Even though the government furlough was on - Haleakala National Park was open but no rangers and the visitor center was closed. Fortunately our audio guide has great narration and directions. We made it almost to the top, but were meeting friends in Kula for dinner. We drove to Kula which is a small town and got there early, so had time to visit a little glass blowing studio and chat with the artist. We weren't doing a Luau and couldn't really find anything else to do at night, so by 8:00 we had turned in the car and were back on the ship, content with our first Hawaiian day and the price- since we split the rental car with two couples and the guide was $5.00.

Edited by marion10
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On to Honolulu- our next port. I don’t remember which pier we were at but it was away from Aloha Tower - so a bit of a walk if you wanted to go there. We took the free shuttle to Hilo Hattie’s  at a downtown shopping mall- from there you could take the city bus to a variety of destinations- we rode up the North Shore but it was not a particularly scenic but we did get a chance to more of the island- we could have ridden further but wanted get back for the Luau we had later that night. We had booked Ka Moana Luau on Groupon which included transportation from the cruise port- we really enjoyed it- the Luau was outside at a Marine Park - so we got to see a few exhibits before dark. Food pretty decent - enjoyed the crafts beforehand- got to make leis and do some palm weaving. I was a little nervous about getting back to the ship on time but no worries,. Our driver was great and pointed out sights and talked about Hawaiian culture.

 

 

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