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Cruisin’ the Mexican Riviera

Planning a cruise to the Mexican Riviera in the near future? Here’s some insight on my latest cruise with the Carnival Splendor!

Pre- Cruise Essentials

I’ve already written an article on what to expect & bring on a cruise, but that was a general overview.  Want another look, click here! Now this article is directed specifically for the Carnival Splendor cruise that explores the Mexican Riviera aka Puerto Vallarto, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Carnival cruise line allows you to do early check-in and organize your trip all ahead of time on your account, via their website. I highly recommend doing this as early as possible.

All rooms come standard as 2 twin beds, but by checking in early you can make sure when you arrive that you get the king bed you actually want. Any special occasions, accommodations, or restrictions that need to be noted can all be added to your account too! Set up excursions for the days you are at port or what I like to do, look into the excursions so you have an idea of what you can do  when you arrive. Sometimes the excursions are overpriced, but much to your surprise that’s not always the case! Many times we have opted out of the organized excursion through Carnival and then we pay close to double once we are there. For Mexico this is NOT the case! You can always negotiate prices when you arrive, but always be careful and aware of where you are going.

If you are anything like me, and bring several electronic devices that will need charging, then this next part is for you! The rooms do not come with very many outlets… actually this room only had 1  and that was no bueno for me! I mean c’mon how in the world am I going to charge my camera batteries, cell phone, and my laptop all with one outlet?! If anyone else is sharing the room with you, then forget it, you’ll never get all those electronics fully charged! My recommendation is to order a Stanley 3-Outlet Desktop Power Hub … it will definitely come in handy! I know there are some people right now laughing and thinking why in the world does this girl bring so many electronics with her on vacation. So I can share my thoughts and pictures with you right here on this blog, duhhhhh. 🙂

*** If you purchase a different power hub make sure it does NOT have a surge protector, Carnival does not allow that!!

One thing carnival does not offer for free is soda or pop, so if you are a soda drinker and don’t plan on paying extra $$ for their unlimited bubbles plan, then take advantage and bring 12 cans of your favorite canned soda. Ginger-Ale or Sprite is always a good one to bring, as someone may get a little sea sick on the trip or might need it to settle the stomach after a long day of drinking Tequila at port. haha!

You can also bring 1 bottle of wine, PER PERSON for a 7 day cruise! Not a wine drinker, throw in some Champagne or Rose. NO hard liquor or beer is allowed to be brought on board.

Carnival Splendor

The Carnival Splendor leaves Long Beach and stops in several ports throughout the Mexican Riviera. Smaller than many other ships, but don’t worry it doesn’t lack any fun on-board.

Beautiful layout. It’s  like a hotel on water! Some of you may suffer or be fearful of getting sea sick on-board; I highly recommend booking your cabin in the bottom & middle of ship. The bottom decks are less likely to rock side-to-side and the middle of the ship forward and back. Are you a gambler? If so, then check out the casino which is located in the center of the ship on level 5. Though this casino is a bit smaller than that of the Dream and Imagination, it still packs a punch with fun and enough tables to keep you busy all sea day. How do I know? Well I’m guilty of spending an entire sea day at the slots….don’t worry I left every now and then for food and to watch the movie by the pool. he he

Serenity is their adult only area. YESSSSSSS! Don’t get me wrong hanging with the kiddos can be fun, but some adult time and peace and quiet is what vacation is all about! Pick a lounger by the bar or even relax in the Jacuzzi, whatever you are there for I promise you’ll be satisfied. There are plenty of seats so you don’t have to rush over and lock in a chair early in the am.  On the same level is the Spa. This ship is overall well maintained and the staff is wonderful.  We will gladly cruise on the Splendor again!

If you are trying to plan out your room based on evening dining, don’t worry, they have you covered. Carnival will place you in a dining room closest to your room so you’ll have less walking and more time eating! Just in case you were wondering… The Gold Pearl Dining rooms are in the back of the ship on levels 3 & 4 whereas the Black Pearl is in the middle of the ship.

Ocean View Room

Not sure what to expect when booking your ocean view room… Click on the pictures below to have them enlarged.

Normally when I cruise, I stick with the interior rooms well because I don’t spend much time in the rooms after all.  I’m there to explore the ports and enjoy the on-board activities. We thought what the hell, let’s check out what an ocean view room on the Carnival Splendor, has to offer! We definitely noticed a size difference, the extra space was greatly appreciated! The room has 1 king bed, a pull out sofa bed, coffee table, vanity, accent chair, and 3 closets.

Bon Voyage!

1st Stop: Cabo San Lucas

You can read more about our adventures in Cabo here.

2nd Stop: Mazatlan

What did we do in Mazatlan? Click here to read all about it!

3rd Stop: Puerto Vallarta

Definitely a must see! Check out our article “Puerto Vallarta in 1 day.”

What To Do When You Have a Day at Sea

Carnival cruise-line does a splendid job of making sure there are plenty of activities the days you are at sea. I’m talking every 30 minutes or less something new kicks off! Some spend their sea day or days at the casino, while others are teaming up to win a trophy ( aka ship on a stick is what they call it) at trivia. Not a fan of either? Well don’t worry there is movies by the pool, mini golf tournaments, comedians, lip sync battles, dance floors, and bars, to name just a few. Literally something for everyone!

During this cruise we had 3 sea days – 1 immediately after leaving the Long Beach port, the second and third were after Puerto Vallarta. It was nice to kick off the trip with a relaxing pool day. and relaxing after 3 days of

After every turn down service they left these adorable towel animals on our bed. SOOOOOO CUTE!!

Spending A Lot Of Time In The Casino?

Every cruise is a LITTLE different, but on this particular ship, if you are gambling a lot make sure you are getting your points. When you are at the tables, make sure to let them know every-time you add more money. The casino hosts are usually pretty good about being aware, but if you notice them not inputting it into the system then just give them a nudge. These points will give you discounts on future cruises and maybe even a drink pass while on board this cruise. Who doesn’t want to drink for free or even cruise for free?! Get those points people!! For those of you that prefer slots, insert your VIFP card (room card) and once you get to 1500 points you’ve got your free drinks! The points are earned by time spent in the casino.

Bon Appetite

Most of you are probably thinking, ” How can the food on a cruise ship be any good,” but much to your surprise, the food is quite tasty! They have many different options on-board; a buffet, casual dining room which offers several different meal options ( pizza, burgers, Mongolian, and more), late night dining options, and all of these are included in your cruise price. Eat up, you’ve already paid for it! Some might be thinking that the portions must be small, but let me tell you… the portions are just right and if you can’t decide between to items on the menu, just order them both! If you wish to plan a special dinner there is a steakhouse on -board for an additional fee. Make sure to reserve a spot as this can get busy.


I hope these insights from our cruise are able to help you better prepare for your next cruise. Have you cruised the Carnival Splendor before? Comment below with your thoughts!


Beachin’ Traveler

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