As a family foursome travelling in 2 cabins we joined the Carnival Splendor in Singapore for a 15 night relocation cruise back to Sydney after a multi million dollar refit in Singapore.
The ship which caters for more than 3000 passengers is the largest Carnival ship to be home ported in Sydney.
Passengers were confused in trying to move from one end of the ship to the other as there were blockages which required using lifts or stairs to negotiate these movements. This confusion had staff, including the cruise director, telling passengers to think of the Dolly Parton song “9 to 5” so they could remember which two of the decks that would allow moving from aft to foreword without moving from deck to deck. Most cruise ships provide passengers a map of the ship to help them get around. The Splendor does not. After more than a week people are still asking other passengers for help in finding their way around saying they are still lost on the ship. I am as well.
I have been on a dozen cruises but I have never been on a cruise ship that was as dirty and neglected as the Splendor. Large picture windows in the dining rooms which are so dirty that one can hardly see through the grime and bird droppings. The deck 3 railings have been neglected for decades with no attempt having been made to remove the years of white paint droppings that decorate the unvarnished timber and deck. There are also large paint spillages on the decks crying out for attention. I think back on other cruises where there is constant sanding and revarnishing while at sea and while in port crew are over the sides painting. It takes much care and work to keep a cruise ship in good condition, something that was noticeably missing on the Splendor.
The practice of leaving “sail and sign” cards in the mail boxes outside cabins on sail days is a big no-no. These cards are usually handed to passengers who have been identified by producing passports. I heard of instances where some passengers arrived at their cabin only to find people inside unpacking their bags having used the sail and sign cards to gain access. These cards can be used to rack up sizeable bills which are payable by the real owners of those cards.
The meals in the dining rooms are excellent as are the staff who serve them. However the meals in the buffet are mediocre at best. Serving staff are either lazy or lack the ability to understand English. Serving dishes are displayed two deep with only the closest one able to be accessed by passengers. If you require something from the furthest dish you can wait for some time while they finish a chat before serving you. By the time you are seated and begin to eat you realise the food is now cold. Many people tend not to finish their food because it is cold or of poor quality.
The ship is way too cold. On deck you can be comfortable in shorts and T-shirt but coming inside you may find you need a coat! The cabins (even the inside ones) are spacious, well appointed and comfortable.
The upper decks are crowded but bright and shiny and free of paint droppings.
If you do venture onto the Carnival Splendor bring yourself a map, warm clothing and glasses strong enough to see through filthy windows. As for me this is my first and last cruise on Carnival Splendor. There are many other ships competing for passengers who are looking for a better deal than they will get on Carnival Splendor.
Plenty of room and well kept.