Carnival Splendor is one of the largest ships Carnival boasts, standing at 952 feet long, with 13 decks and capacity for nearly 5,000 cruisers. The ship has sailed all over the place, taking travelers to Canada, the Caribbean and even on trans-Pacific journeys.
A little bit of background on this ship: she’s the only ship in Carnival’s Splendor class and is a smaller version of the Concordia-class ships by Costa. In fact, the ship was originally built for Costa Cruises, but then Carnival purchased the ship while she was still being constructed.
The inaugural sailings took place in Europe, followed by a trip to Florida, where Carnival Splendor later became the first Carnival ship to make the voyage around South America’s Cape Horn (as she was on her way to Long Beach, California, and was too large to fit through the Panama Canal!). However, it wouldn’t be the last time that Carnival Splendor sailed this long journey. She made the trip again in 2013, to serve the East Coast with sailings to the Caribbean.
Also Read: 17 Ways to Enjoy a Carnival Dream Cruise
Most recently, the ship has been located in Long Beach once again, with cruises offered to the Mexican Riviera. When Carnival made the return trip to the West Coast, though, it did in fact sail through the Panama Canal, becoming one of the largest ships ever to cross through the new Panama Canal locks.
If you’re an American traveler and want to take take a journey on Carnival Splendor, you need to do so soon. Carnival recently announced that it’s sending Carnival Splendor to Sydney in December of this year (2019), to operate year-round in Australia.
Wondering what you’ll do while you’re onboard this mammoth ship? Here are our 14 top things to add to your itinerary when cruising on Carnival Splendor.
1. Kick Back and Relax in Privacy
Before you brave all nearly 5,000 of your fellow cruisers (although, to be honest, you’ll have plenty of space and privacy throughout the ship — you’d never know that this floating island hosts quite so many people), why not kick back and relax in the privacy of your own luxury stateroom?
There are certainly plenty to choose from, with more than 1,500 staterooms on the ship. There are interior cabins, ocean-view cabins with and without balconies and suites. There are also Cloud 9 spa staterooms, where you’ll get extra access to Cloud 9 Spa treatments, and use of the thermal suites and thalassotherapy pool during your stay.
Get all your cabin organization items right here.
The staterooms offer a variety of amenities, including satellite television, a stocked mini-fridge, lots of storage for your luggage and toiletries.
The ocean-view rooms can fit two to four guests, and most of them do have balconies. Some have connecting rooms, in case you’re traveling with the family.
The suites all have balconies and if you book a suite, you get some extra-nice treatment, like VIP check in, your own whirlpool tub and a walk-in closet. The type of suite you book will determine the size of your balcony as well.
2. Hang Out With Your Favorite Seuss Characters
Something you’ll find on all Carnival ships is the Seuss at Sea program and Carnival Splendor is no different. The program includes a wide range of activities, like a Seuss-a-Palooza parade, meet and greets with characters, interactive readings and more.
The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast is a particular favorite, as you dine along with Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, Thing 2 and Sam I Am. They all stop by your table for photos and autographs. The menu is all Seuss-themed as well, though you may want to leave the colorful green eggs and ham to the kids.
3. Go for a Dip
With four pools and seven whirlpools, you’ll never be at a lack for places to go for a dip on Carnival Splendor. The midship pool, or the Splendido pool, has a retractable roof, and Carnival Splendor boasts the only retractable roof for a pool out of all Carnival ships.
This pool also hosts movie nights, so you and the kids (or your favorite adult, too) can enjoy a new flick alongside some free popcorn, while you watch from either the water or your lounge chair.
Make sure you don’t forget any cruise accessories for your vacation at sea.
The Liner Aft pool is adults-only, for a nice, quiet retreat away from the kiddos and all their splashing. The Forward pool is right next to the water slides. A separate water splash park is dedicated just for kids.
Keep in mind that each of the pools has its own hours of operation and its own special activities. There are no lifeguards at any of the pools.
4. Recharge at the Spa
Even if you didn’t book one of those coveted spa suites, you can still take advantage of the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa. There are lots of different spa services to choose from, including massages, facials, salon services, teeth whitening, contouring and more.
You can also use the thalassotherapy pool or the dry heat chamber at your leisure. There are additional spa services just for teens, in case you want to get in a little bonding time.
5. Enjoy a Family Meal
How often do you and the family sit down to enjoy a meal together, all at one table, no phones allowed? When you’re sailing with the Carnival Splendor, there’s no better time to gather everyone around for a family dinner.
There are two main dining rooms on the ship, the Gold Pearl and the Black Pearl and the service is sublime. You are expected to dress up a bit, but no worries. The designated formal night is the only time you’ll be asked to wear dresses and suits.
Related: Carnival Cruise Dining Options Worth Paying For
The rest of the time, just look modern-casual, so no shorts and t-shirts, flip-flops and cover ups, those sorts of things. You get an assigned seating and then are served from small menus that include options to fit every taste, so you don’t have to worry about the picky eaters in your family.
If your tastes tend to lie more toward steakhouse-style dining, you can head to Pinnacle Steakhouse, for fine dining in an upscale atmosphere. The four-course meal options are accompanied by an impressive wine list.
6. Take Advantage of the Adults-Only Areas
After all that family bonding, let everyone go their own ways and enjoy a little free time. The adults-only area is perfect for parents. The Serenity Lounge is only open to those ages 21 and up. Lounge about on a daybed, have a drink at the bar, take a dip in the pool or hot tub and enjoy it all without any running, screaming, whining or splashing.
7. Go Wild at the Buffet
If you were ever going to indulge with a little pigging out, the Carnival Splendor buffet is the place to do it. Splendido offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, where you can find lots of different types of foods at various themed stations.
Get some barbecue at the grill, put together a burrito with all your favorite ingredients, pile high an extravagant salad, try all your favorite pastas and top it off with a serving of absolutely everything your sweet tooth craves.
8. Grab a Late-Night Snack
If you don’t make it to your assigned seating in one of the main dining rooms and you miss the buffet’s opening hours, you can always grab a late-night (or any time!) snack at one of the ship’s 24-hour eatery options. The Pizza Bar is open 24 hours and you can order from a selection of personal-size pizzas.
Room service is also available 24 hours and includes light bites like salads and sandwiches, along with some desserts. A coffee, tea and ice cream station is also open 24 hours on Deck 9, in case you really just want some late-night ice cream.
9. Catch a Show at the Theater
The Carnival Splendor Theater offers lots of different shows throughout your sailing, something to suit every taste. You can enjoy some Broadway-style shows, like musicals; Latin performances; rock n’ roll shows; game shows; lectures and more. There truly is something for every person in your family, regardless of age or interests.
10. Have a Laugh
The El Morocco theater is significantly smaller than the main Theater on Carnival Splendor, at about one-third the size. However, you’ll want to make sure you make it there at some point during your journey, for a Punchliner Comedy Club show. The comedians range from family-friendly to adults-only, so choose with care. The rest of the time, the small theater hosts even more fun, like karaoke parties.
Also Read: 10 Reasons to Cruise on Carnival Sunshine
11. Try Your Luck at the Casino
Why not try your luck at the on-board casino? The large Royal Flush Casino is open just about all the time and is always filled with people trying their hand at a variety of gambling options, including a few hundred slot machines and table games. There are card tournaments and bingo games on the schedule, in case you’d like to join in.
12. Grab a Drink
There’s absolutely no lack of drinks on this cruise ship, with lots of bars to choose from. Try the Splendor Bar for a cozy, intimate space that gets pretty popular. There’s a stage and dance floor, and the venue hosts musical entertainment and trivia.
Robusto Bar is the most upscale out of all your bar options, with a masculine, dark-wood-and-leather feel. It seats far more people than Splendor Bar, so you should have no trouble getting in. It also hosts Latin music every evening.
Our House is a sports bar, with all your favorite games on the big screens.
Oceanview Bar offers just that — great ocean views, as well as views of the promenade, for people and sea watching alike.
El Mojito is Havana-themed, with wine and mojitos on the menu; it also fills up pretty quickly, so you’ll want to snag your seat before it’s gone.
13. Dance and Sing
If you’re more the musical type, check out one of these three venues on the ship. The Red Carpet is an 18-and-up dance club with a live DJ and themed events, so you can stop by when you know they’ll only be spinning your favorite tunes.
The Cool is a jazz club, if that’s your preference; smoking is permitted in this venue, and there are cigar and whiskey tastings.
The Grand Piano is a big space with a piano situated in the middle. Guests are encouraged to make requests and sing along.
14. Shop for the Perfect Souvenir
While you’re sure to pick up some souvenirs during port days, make sure to check out the shops on-board Carnival Splendor as well. There are a variety of duty-free shops, with options to purchase clothing, luxury snacks, liquor, perfume, jewelry, cosmetics — all the normal duty-free options that you would expect.
Related: 10 Items Just for Those Who Love Carnival Cruise Line
Other smaller non-duty-free shops are situated throughout the ship, such as a camera and camera gear shop on Deck 4, and an art gallery on Deck 3.
Ready to Go?
So, does it sound like there’s enough to fill your itinerary when you sail on Carnival Splendor? With loads to do for every age, taste and preference, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of fun on this ship.
From relaxation to energizing fun, foodie favorites to party time, Carnival Splendor offers it all and more. And if you didn’t see everything you wanted in the list above, don’t worry — these 14 things to do when on a Carnival Splendor cruise are just the start of the adventures and fun to be had on this magnificent ship!