Carnival Splendor - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Carnival Splendor

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 369 out of 500

Accommodation: 144 out of 200

Food: 218 out of 400

Service: 255 out of 400

Entertainment: 77 out of 100

Cruise: 261 out of 400

Overall Score: 1324 out of 2000

Carnival Splendor Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 113,323

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9333163

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $500 million

Entered Service: July 2008

Registry: Panama

Length (ft/m): 951.4/290.0

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 27.2/8.3

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (63,400kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 13

Total Crew: 1,150

Passengers (lower beds): 2,974

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 37.0

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.5

Cabins (total): 1,487

Size Range (sq ft/m): 179.7-484.2/16.7-44.8

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 574

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 25

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 18

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 7

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This family-friendly, fun-filled ship has a great water-slide

Overview. Carnival Splendor shares the same generally balanced profile as sisters Carnival Conquest, Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor, and Carnival Victory, although it was originally designated as a ship for the Costa Cruises brand. The interior decor displays a vivid palette of colors that excite the senses.

The Ship. The deck and public room layout is logical, so finding your way around is relatively easy. Most of the public rooms are located on one deck off a main interior boulevard, above a deck which contains the two main dining rooms.

Public rooms include a large Royal Flush Casino. Gaming includes blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker, Caribbean Stud poker, Face Up, Let it Ride, Bonus, and Wheel of Madness, and an array of more than 300 slot machines.

Recalling the drive-in movie theaters of the 1950s, the Seaside Theater shows movies, and sports features on deck, with seating in tiered rows and the screen facing forward (popcorn obligatory, of course). The ship has bow-to-stern Wi-Fi Internet access - for a fee, and this includes all passenger cabins.

Carnival Splendor is a floating playground for the young and young-at-heart, and anyone who enjoys constant stimulation and lots of participation events, together with the three ‘Gs’ - glitz, glamour, and gambling. This really is cruising Splash Vegas style - a fun, all-American experience. Because it’s a large resort ship, there will be lines for things like shore excursions, security control when re-boarding, and disembarkation, as well as sign-up sheets for fitness equipment.

Forget fashion - the sine qua non of a Carnival cruise is all about having fun. While the cuisine is just so-so, the real fun begins at sundown when Carnival really excels in sound, lights, razzle-dazzle shows, and late-night high-volume sounds.

Minor niggles include the fact that many pillars obstruct passenger flow, particularly in the dining rooms, where they make it difficult for the waiters to serve properly, and the food itself (particularly the bakery items).

Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).

By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).

Accommodation. There are many different cabin price categories, in seven different suite/cabin types, sizes, and grades. These include suites with private balcony; deluxe outside-view cabins with private balcony; outside-view cabins with private balcony; outside-view cabins with window; cabins with a porthole instead of a window; interior cabins; and interior cabins with upper and lower berths (good for families with very small children). There are five decks of cabins with private balconies.

The standard cabins are of good size and come equipped with all the basics, although the furniture is angular, with no rounded edges. Three decks of cabins (eight per deck, each with private balcony) overlook the stern. Most cabins with twin beds convert to a queen-size bed format. Book one of the suites (Category 11 or 12 in the Carnival Cruise Lines brochure) and you’ll get Skipper’s Club priority check-in at any US homeland port - useful for getting ahead of the crowd.

There are even ‘spa’ cabins - a grouping of 18 cabins located directly around and behind SpaCarnival; so fitness devotees can get out of bed and go straight to the treadmill without having to go through any of the public rooms first.

A basket of small sample toiletries is provided in all cabins, although it’s better to take your own preferred brands.

Dining. There are two principal dining rooms, the 744-seat Black Pearl - located amidships, and the 1,122-seat Gold Pearl, located aft. Both are two decks high and include a balcony level - Gold Pearl is the larger of the two balconies. There’s a choice of either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45pm and 9.30pm). There are few tables for two, but my favorites are the two tables for two, right at the very back of the Gold Pearl restaurant, with ocean views astern. Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.

Other dining options. The Steakhouse has fine table settings, china, and silverware, and leather-bound menus. The specialties are USDA dry-aged prime steaks and seafood items. It’s worth paying the cover charge to get a taste of what Carnival can really deliver in terms of food that is of better quality than what is served in the main dining rooms. Reservations are required, and a cover charge applies.

The Lido Restaurant is a casual self-serve international food court-style eatery. It has two main serving lines and several stand-alone sections. Included in this eating mall are a New York-style deli, a 24-hour pizzeria, and a grill for fast foods such as hamburgers and hot dogs; one section has a tandoori oven for Indian-theme items.

Each night, this venue morphs into Seaview Bistro to provide a dress-down alternative the main dining rooms, serving pasta, steaks, salads, and desserts (typically between 6pm and 9pm). An upstairs rotisserie offers chicken.

Entertainment. The large, multi-deck Spectacular Showlounge seats 1,400, and hosts colorful large-scale entertainment including Las Vegas-style production shows (think girls, feathers and flesh) and major cabaret acts. It has a revolving stage, hydraulic orchestra pit, excellent sound, and seating on three levels. The upper levels are tiered through two decks.

An alternative entertainment venue is the El Morocco, a 425-seat lounge located aft; this typically features live music and late-night cabaret acts including smutty adult comedy. Adjacent is the Grand Piano Lounge/Bar.

Spa/Fitness. The Cloud 9 Spa spans two decks (with a total area of around 40,000 sq ft/3,715 sq m, including the 16 spa suites - or 13,000 sq ft/1,235 sq m, excluding them). Located directly above the navigation bridge in the forward part of the ship, it is accessed from the forward stairway.

Facilities on the lower level include a gymnasium, solarium, a thermal suite (a number of saunas and steam rooms - some infused with herbal aromas), thalassotherapy pool (check out the huge Chinese dogs), and a beauty salon. The upper level houses 17 massage/body treatment rooms, including two VIP suites (one for couples, one specially configured for wheelchair access), Rasul (Mediterranean mud treatment - best for couples) chamber, floatation therapy room, treatment rooms, and outdoor relaxation areas on both port and starboard sides with integrated massage cabana. If you simply want to use the thermal suite, there’s an extra cost.