Yes, this is the ship that had an engine fire on one of its cruises and was disabled the rest of the trip. You probably read about it or saw it on the news.
With no power to the rest of the ship, life was pretty miserable for the passengers on board, and the US Navy had to deliver food and supplies to replace the rotting food that could not be refrigerated. Of course, one of those foods was spam and the cruising nightmare vacation is now affectionately known as the “Spam Cruise”, although Carnival never asked for or ordered spam from the US Navy. Don’t feel too badly for these passengers though, since they got all of their money back, plus another free cruise vacation that is promised to be spam free.
Don’t worry though. The Splendor is all fixed up and better than ever, so don’t hesitate to hop on board for a cruise.
With that out of the way, on with the review of the Carnival Splendor:
This Carnival Splendor review will cover some of the basics of the only ship in its class. That’s right. There is no other ship currently in the Splendor class, and this is one of the cruise line’s larger vessels. It can hold over 3,000 people and has about 1,500 staterooms, including the new and improved spa cabins which we will talk about later. So take a stroll with me into this one of a kind cruise ship and get to know it better.
Ports and Itinerary
The Splendor is a ship for the West coast of the United States and it leaves weekly from Los Angeles, CA. There are both 7 night and 6 night cruises from the LA port with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and La Paz. But wait, there’s more! For the serious cruisers there is also a 15 night cruise to Hawaii that involves 8 sea days (there and back) and stops in Hilo, Kahului, Honolulu, Nawiliwili, and Kona. And on the way back to LA there will a quick stop in Ensenada before your dream vacation is over.
Cabins on the Carnival Splendor are mostly ocean view and interior rooms. Average room sizes range from 275 to 350 square feet and balconies can add an extra 35 square feet unless they are on the back of the ship where they can be longer. If you want more of a full bathroom feeling rather than just a stand up shower stall, you will have to get a suite. Some of the suites offer double sinks, whirlpool bathtubs, bidets, and some extra amenities like down pillows. One of the new renovation s with the Splendor has been its Spa cabins which are mostly located right beneath the spa on the ship on deck 10. These spa cabins come with a price but offer a more relaxing environment for your cruising experience with Asian tapestries and luxurious slippers and robes. Included with your spa cabin will be free access to the Cloud 9 spa, thalassotherapy pool, a few physical fitness training sessions and some other perks as well.
I love this part of the Splendor as it can be hard to clean your clothes in your bathrooms sink all the time. There is a do-it-yourself laundry room that costs 2 dollars and this room will allow you to iron your clothes as well. But of course you can always put your dirty laundry in the Carnival laundry bag by 11am and have it back by 7pm all neat and folded, and it will only cost you 7 bucks. And since I stink at ironing, I really like this service.
The Sliding Sky Dome for the Pool
This one is just genius. Why didn’t they come up with a dome to cover the pool during those crazy hot days sooner? Who cares? The Splendor has it and people seem to really love it. There is also a huge TV screen for enjoying movies, games, and shows while relaxing outdoors on a lounge chair. These large screens are becoming a staple for Carnival cruise ships.
The Kids HUGE Playroom
The playroom for the kiddies is a 5,500 square foot masterpiece full of games, a plasma screen TV, video games, and more. It’s amazing they can even fit this room on the ship, but I look at it like this: The more kids that are having fun and staying in that room, the more room there is for me to relax, and the shorter the lines will be for free ice cream. You know you are thinking the same thing =).
The Splendors 2 main dining rooms are on opposite ends of the ship, so it might help you burn some calories if you go to the wrong one by accident. The aft dining room is the Gold Pearl, and the Black Pearl is at the forward. The food is sensational as always as includes entrees as jumbo shrimp, lamb, baby back ribs, salmon, flat-iron steak, and a selection of choices for the vegetarians out there.
The two level buffet called the Spendido Lido also offers some fantastic food if you are feeling a little more informal, and there are always the other elegant restaurants you can eat at as well, including the Pinnacle which will set you back another $30 a person. But from what I hear, it’s worth every penny.
The room service menu is a little weak for some, but it does the job with a few of the basics like sandwiches and salads on the 24 hour menu. There is more variety during the day for the room service menu, but that’s when you will want to be eating like a king in one of the dining rooms or restaurants anyway.
The fun stuff
The shows on the Splendor are top notch and you should at least check them out each night to see if they will interest you. If you are like me, you can always walk out if you don’t like what is going on, which happens all too often during a cruise ship show. But the musicals have had some rave reviews on this boat.
There are also tons of lounges and cafes everywhere. You can always find some trivia going on or some musician that is taking requests in about every genre of music. There is even a bean bag toss game and the ever famous and somewhat scary “Men’s Hairiest Chest Contest”. Yeah, hide the kids.
Just taking a stroll down the promenade will enlighten you to a flurry of activity, and the atrium is truly splendorific. So even if you just want to walk around and see everything that is going on it will quite the treat. Just be sure to get a schedule of all the ship’s activities so you don’t miss one you want to take part in.