True to the line’s “fun ship” mantra, sailing aboard the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor is loud and full of choices. Top decks bustle with activity, including a quartet of pools, twisting waterslides, a splash park for kids, kids clubs for teens and younger children, a miniature golf course, and a basketball court.
And the grown-ups get plenty of excitement, too: There's a 21,000-square-foot spa, as well as an adults-only deck area. Evening entertainment includes comedy shows, high-energy song-and-dance spectacles, live music acts, and an always-busy casino. If you want a drink, the ship has a whopping 22 bars to keep passengers well lubricated.
This isn't Carnival's newest vessel: the ship first launched in 2008, and a 2012 renovation added the steakhouse, Punchliner comedy club, and Dr. Seuss activities.
What We Love
Pinnacle Steakhouse: The $35 surcharge is worth it at this ship’s only for-a-fee specialty dining room, which is a truly sophisticated affair. The four-course dinner includes cooked-to-order prime rib and filet mignon as well as lobster tail for entrees as well as an appetizer, salad, and decadent dessert.
“Dive-In” Movies: Not only does the midship pool deck feature a nifty retractable roof that ensures all-weather fun, but it serves as the setting for evening “dive-in” movies shown on a 270-square-foot screen under the stars.
Seuss at Sea: Carnival’s Dr. Seuss partnership includes an onboard character parade, story time, and a “Cat in the Hat” breakfast (with green eggs and ham, naturally).
Best Known For
The Punchliner: This comedy club hosts a rotating roster of comedians who perform both G-rated, family-friendly shows and — after the kids are in bed — more bawdy adult routines.
Cloud 9 Spa: The massive 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa — one of the largest at sea — is home to a thalassotherapy (seawater) pool, a thermal suite, and 17 treatment rooms. Carnival Splendor was also the first ship in the line to offer dedicated spa staterooms. Passengers who book one of these 68 cabins have unlimited access to the thermal suite and the thalassotherapy room as well as priority access to spa appointments and upgraded bath products.
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Who It's Best For
Budget-Friendly Cruisers: Carnival offers some of the most competitive price points in the industry, and Carnival Splendor sailings are no exception.
Families with Kids: Multiple clubs for kids host age-appropriate (and complimentary) activities. Kids age 2 to 11 can head to Camp Carnival for arts and crafts and video games, tweens get their own Circle C lounge, and teens can do karaoke and watch movies in Club O2. And while the kids are hanging with their peers, parents can go to the Serenity adults-only deck and really get a break.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Not So Pretty in Pink: Unless pink is your favorite color, you might consider the ship’s rosy color scheme a bit tacky.
Few-Frills Cabins: Staterooms are spacious but aren’t as polished as some of the public spaces. You also won't find extras like slippers or toiletries beyond soap and shampoo.
Going, Going ... Gone: This ship currently does Caribbean cruises out of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, but will permanently relocate to China in 2019.
Elissa Garay is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
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Carnival Splendor at a Glance
- Line: Carnival Cruise Line
- Class: Splendor
- Number of Passengers: 3006
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2008
- Refurbish Date: 2012