Carnival Splendor makes big splash
Ship Review by Michael Coleman, January 2009
The cruise line renowned for bringing fun to the high seas has introduced its biggest Fun Ship ever.
At 113,000 tons, the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor offers a host of onboard restaurants to please any palate, a two-level childrens play area complete with an onboard water park, and a 21,000-square-foot spa facility with adjacent accommodations.
Of the ships 1,503 staterooms, nearly 200 are interconnecting while more than 350 are capable of accommodating up to three and four family members at a time.
From hand-rolled sushi and a supper club modeled after New Yorks renowned steakhouses to a Mongolian wok, the ship features Carnivals widest-ever variety of formal and casual dining options at sea.
Multi-course meals are served in the ships two-level main dining rooms, but a global diversity of choices await passengers in The Lido restaurant which boasts a tandoori oven offering Indian chicken, fish kebobs, breads and other delicacies and the hugely popular Mongolian wok station where guests select their own vegetables, seafood, meat and spices.
Carnivals reservations-only, nominal-fee supper club – The Pinnacle – serves dry-aged prime steaks, fish and other dishes in a quiet, secluded locale on Deck 11 aft.
Touting Splendor as the ultimate vacation for families, Carnival has left no stone unturned in its quest to deliver, well, a fun onboard experience.
The ship offers different youth programs catering to specific age groups, including Camp Carnival (ages 2-11), Circle C (ages 12-14) and Club O2 (ages 15-17), along with childrens menus, a stroller rental program and even babysitting services.
The focal point for many of the ships youth activities is the 5,500-square-foot childrens play area roughly 30 percent bigger than the largest facility in the Carnival fleet. Located mid-ship on Panorama Deck, the two-level locale is divided into separate areas with each focusing on a different activity or function.
One area, for instance, is an all-ages playroom with a variety of toys, games and puzzles. Another features a computer room with the latest gaming consoles, while a third offers a dance floor and plasma screen TV displaying music videos and popular childrens movies.
The biggest kid smiles occur in and around Splendors four swimming pools, one of which is covered by a retractable Sky Dome which houses the popular Carnival Seaside Theatre, an oversized screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming. Another pool, on Panorama Deck, features the lines signature 214-foot-long Twister Waterslide.
With all there is to see and do aboard Splendor, parents might need to re-charge if not in a host of quiet onboard nooks then in the Asian-inspired Cloud 9 Spa.
Spanning two decks and featuring panoramic views of the sea, it features 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites a first for Carnival – accessible by private elevator. Those who book a spa stateroom or suite receive a number of exclusive spa-and fitness-related amenities.
The ship begins year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, California, in March . . . fun included.
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