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Carnival Splendor Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,446 Reviews

Carnival Splendor - Chaos from start to finish

Carnival Splendor Cruise Review by gandc01

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

I had sailed on the Splendor in 2013 from Santiago to Buenos Aires. It was wonderful. When I heard that the Splendor was being repositioned from Singapore to Sydney, I was really looking forward cruise.

The cruise had to be booked through the Australian department but that meant finding the 800 number.

But it was a disaster from start to finish. Carnival has two departments - the US and the Australian departments. The repositioning cruise started in Los Angeles. Once it left Hawaii, it became part of the Australian department. What this meant was that this cruise was no longer on the US Carnival web site. The travel agent said the cruise did not exist so I spent half a day finding the Carnival Australian department and how to book the cruise. The department is based in Denver and the computers in Denver do not talk to the Miami computers. The fare was paid in Australian dollars on a .au web site.

The cabin and dining room staff were very good. The rooms were always made up well. We enjoyed the towel animals...yes I know they are an environmental disaster but they helped to cheer us up after another chaotic day on the ship.

The carnival app crashed all the time. The IT guy said that was how it was. One apple user could not get it to run at all.

You can only book Shore excursions onboard. No online pre-booking is allowed.

The worst part of the booking process was that you cannot pre-book shore excursions. Initially I was told that this was a government requirement. That of course was a lie. It meant that I had to run to ShoreEx as soon as we were onboard. I then found out that my credit card may not be linked to my ship card and if this was the case, I could not book the cruise. So I stood in the Guest Services line - the self serve machine was broken - while my partner stood in the ShoreEx line. The photo shows this chaos.

I then had more grief with getting the Internet set up until I found a sympathetic staffer who sorted out my card and my internet. I was lucky to be lined up for only an hour.

I assumed that this is what Australians tolerated. It turns out that they were as upset about this stupidity as I was.

The ship was in dry dock in Singapore for a month to get ready for the voyage. But the chaos continued. Here is a list of the state of the ship.

-There was no cruising sign (I made my own).

-The safe failed twice and had to be replaced.

-The shower held up with masking tape.

-The bedside light had to be rewired

-The juice machines failed.

-The coffee machines failed.

-The hot tubs were closed and the waterslide was closed, each for couple of days.

-There were 4 elevators down at any one time.

-I got mystery phone calls from guest services in the middle of the night.

-The TV did not work until the middle of the cruise.

-The washing machines were down.

-The safety briefing so screwed up we never learned how to put on a lifejacket.

There were many other problems described by other guests but I have only listed the problems I experienced first hand.

Five of the six shore excursions required tenders. Every tender was a nightmare due to the captain's lack of skill in maneuvering the ship. On the first tender, he fussed for two hours trying to get stable water so passengers could board the tender. He finally figured out that if he turned the ship so it acted as a breakwater on the starboard side and then tendered on the port side, it would work. We were three hours late for our private tour of Bali. To add insult to injury, another couple deliberately took our car and driver and we had to wait another hour for the driver to bring our car back to the terminal. Our six hour tour lasted 90 minutes. Every other tender had similar problems as the captain could not figure out how to position the boat (in very minor swells) to expedite the tender process.

I sail on Carnival for the food.

On this cruise the food was mediocre. I had salmon 13 of the 15 nights as there was nothing worth eating. My partner had many disappointing meals.

The food highlight was the Masala Tiger. It was a curry lunch buffet. It was one of the reasons I picked the cruise and I was not disappointed. The Guy Fieri burgers were good but the buns were sweet. I had to go to deli to get pretzel bun for my burger. The popcorn had no butter so I had to melt butter with hot water.

There were nine sea days. There were few dance classes. There was only one port talk. There was no zumba nor exercise classes. They took away the bathrobes. Thank god the internet worked well so I could spend most sea days in my cabin doing work while onboard.

It will be awhile before I would consider Carnival again. If the Australian Rules on no pre-booking shore excursions are enforced on US cruises, Carnival and I will part company.

gandc01's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review


The cabin had many maintenance problems listed above. It was roomy. The balcony was used for drying clothes as the laundry machines did not work for the most part.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

The tour was cut from 6 hours to 90 minutes as the captain could not maneuver the ship so passengers could board the tender boats. This is not the tour operator's fault. The tour, such as it was, was ok.

View All undefined undefined Reviews
Komodo Island

We were again late getting onto Komodo because the captain could not maneuver the ship properly. The dragons were great. I had chartered a boat so we went to a remote place for snorkelling that was wonderful. We saw the black manta rays. Pink beach was cold but the snorkelling was good.


We were two hours late getting to shore because of the captain's lack of skill in running the tender process. We had to wait two hours for another slot for snorkelling. The snorkelling was not very good and was extremely rushed.

View All 6 Snorkeling Reviews

The ship was a sailing ship and the ride was long and rough. The snorkelling was not very good. There was a lot of dead coral. The catamaran was the trip to take as the snorkelling was better and the boat took passengers directly off the ship, bypassing the disorganized tender boat process.

View All 1 Sailing Reviews

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