Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship: Overview and Things to Do

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the Carnival Splendor cruise ship, with an overview, itineraries, and things to do onboard.

Once upon a time, Carnival Splendor was the largest cruise ship in the cruise line’s fleet. While that’s not the case anymore (and hasn’t been for quite some time), the ship still offers loads of classic fun and amenities befitting her size.

Here’s everything you need to know before you take a Carnival Splendor cruise.

Carnival Splendor Stats

As mentioned, when this ship debuted, she was the largest in the Carnival family. However, that was in 2008 and larger ships followed just a year later. Still, Carnival Splendor’s size is nothing to dismiss. This ship measures in as such:

  • Gross tonnage: 113,300 GT
  • Length: 952 feet
  • Double occupancy: 3,012
  • Staterooms: 1,506 
  • Full guest occupancy: 3,948
  • Passenger decks: 13
  • Officers and crew: 1,150

Construction and Refurbishments

Originally built for Costa Cruises, Costa transferred Carnival Splendor to Carnival in the mid-2000s, during construction. Built by Fincantieri in Italy, the ship cost $697 million. It was christened in July 2008, before it launched into service in Europe. 

This ship has seen a lot of the world over its lifetime. After that initial European deployment, the ship was transferred to Florida and the Caribbean for the winter. Then, Carnival decided to move the ship to California, but, unfortunately, the ship was too big to fit through the Panama Canal.

Carnival Splendor Dry Dock in Freeport, Bahamas
Carnival Splendor Dry Dock in Freeport, Bahamas (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock)

So, the ship sailed around Cape Horn over a two-month journey that was a first for the Carnival fleet (and this wouldn’t be the last time that Carnival Splendor would travel this route for repositioning).

Over the years, Carnival Splendor switched between the East and West Coasts of the United States multiple times, before later being moved to Australia. 

Over all this time, the Carnival Splendor cruise ship has undergone its fair share of refurbishments, as you’d expect for a ship originally built in the mid-2000s. Refurbishments took place in 2011, 2016 and 2019, with more refurbishments scheduled for the latter half of 2024. 

The 2011 refurbishments were minimal (so minimal that you might not even call them refurbishments). Repairs were made following an engine fire.

Waterpark
Carnival Splendor Waterpark (Photo Credit: A.Flassig / Shutterstock)

In 2016, cosmetic enhancements updated flooring and added staterooms and suites (including six scenic ocean view staterooms and Captain’s Suites on Deck 9). The most extensive refurbishments by far, though, took place in 2019. Over nearly a month, Carnival gave this ship an overhaul. 

Beyond touching on basic cosmetic updates, the changes included the addition of 218 beds and 13 connected staterooms. Finally, Carnival added a swathe of features and venues that are now considered Carnival brand staples, including:

  • The Water Works water park
  • The Seafood Shack 
  • Masala Tiger
  • The Serenity adults-only area 
  • Alchemy Bar
  • Java & Juice
  • RedFrog Pub
  • The Warehouse video arcade
  • Cherry on Top
  • Guy’s Burger Joint
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar
  • RedFrog Rum Bar

Staterooms

Among Carnival Splendor’s 1,506 total guest staterooms, you’ll find…

  • 29 accessible staterooms
  • 21 interior upper/lower staterooms
  • 8 ocean view upper/lower staterooms
  • 551 interior staterooms
  • 329 ocean view staterooms
  • 6 scenic ocean view staterooms
  • 537 balcony staterooms

Here’s what you can expect with each option.

The interior staterooms can be broken down further into Cloud 9 Spa interior staterooms, interior staterooms with picture windows and interior staterooms with portholes. The first gives you spa-specific amenities. The second gives you natural light but also a (somewhat) undesirable view of a walkway. The last gives you a porthole for, again, natural light, but, also again, not much in the way of views.

Carnival Cruise Line Inside Stateroom
Carnival Cruise Line Inside Stateroom

Interior staterooms will differ in size, but are between 185 square feet and 220 square feet. Amenities in the interior staterooms include a dedicated stateroom attendant, storage space, in-room safes, climate control, and a television.

In general, you can expect interior staterooms to feel a little on the dated side, but if you don’t plan on spending that much time in your stateroom anyway (and with so much to do on this ship, that would certainly make sense), you might not mind.

Just like the interior staterooms, ocean view staterooms can likewise be broken down into a few sub-categories, including Cloud 9 Spa staterooms, scenic ocean view staterooms, and standard ocean view staterooms.

While the Cloud 9 Spa ocean view staterooms do give you spa-specific amenities, it’s worth noting that the “ocean view” is more of a walkway view than a true ocean view.

Carnival Cruise Line Balcony Stateroom
Carnival Cruise Line Balcony Stateroom

Your best option out of all of these is, by far, the scenic ocean view, which offers a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-ceiling window on the far end of the stateroom, for ample views from every single spot in the cabin. Ocean view staterooms differ, again, in size, but range from 220 square feet to 320 square feet.

Balcony staterooms come in multiple subtypes, including Premium Vista balcony, Cloud 9 Spa balcony, aft-view extended balcony and standard balcony. The size ranges from 220 to 260 square feet.

Read Also: Which Staterooms to Book on a Carnival Cruise

Cloud 9 Spa balcony staterooms come with spa-specific amenities. Premium Vista Balcony staterooms offer wrap-around views. Aft-view extended balcony staterooms feature stern-side views and ample outdoor space.

Standard balcony staterooms are the most basic of the bunch, but still not shabby, with lots of natural light, a big window by the bed and great views from the balcony. 

Suites

The suites aboard Carnival Splendor include…

  • 42 Junior Suites, Ocean Suites and Cloud 9 Spa Suites
  • 10 Grand Suites
  • 2 Captain’s Suites

The Junior Suite is 310 square feet and contains a walk-in closet and whirlpool tub. Extra VIP amenities that suite guests get (no matter what suite you stay in) include priority check-in and boarding, priority dining room seating time assignment, priority debarkation at select ports, in-room bottled water, in-room bathrobes and pillow-top mattresses.

Carnival Cruise Line Suite
Carnival Cruise Line Suite

The Grand Suites are just slightly larger than the Junior Suites, with 430 square feet, including a vanity area.

The Cloud 9 Spa suites are very similar, but with Cloud 9 Spa amenities that are exclusive to Cloud 9 Spa suite and stateroom guests. These amenities include welcome ritual gifts, priority spa reservations, unlimited use of certain spa amenities, complimentary fitness classes, discounts on treatments and more. 

Ocean Suites measure in at 560 square feet and offer expansive views of the water, both inside and out. 

Lastly, the Captain’s Suites total 806 square feet, are slightly newer than the other suites on the ship and offer the most luxurious accommodations possible on the entire ship. You get a king-sized bed, two full bathrooms, a separate living room and more. 

Free Dining

Carnival Splendor’s free dining options include…

Guys Burger Joint, Carnival Cruise Line
Photo By: Russell Otway
  • Guy’s Burger Joint, for burgers with celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s own stamp of approval
  • The Black Pearl and The Gold Pearl, the ship’s main restaurants, for a classic, three-course dining experience
  • Lido Marketplace, for near-endless options in a buffet setting
  • Swirls, for ice cream on the go
  • Pizzeria del Capitano, for pizza at any hour
  • The Sweet Spot, for satisfying your sweet tooth 

There are also a selection of dining and/or food experiences that you can enjoy for free, such as cooking demonstrations and special sea day brunch service.

Specialty Restaurants

If you find that you’re hungry for more during your Carnival Splendor cruise, there are additional dining options if you’re willing to pay for them. For-a-fee, specialty restaurants aboard the Carnival Splendor cruise ship include…

Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
  • The Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, for — what else? — a classic steakhouse experience
  • The Seafood Shack, for casual fried seafood bites and other favorites
  • JavaBlue Café, for coffee on the go
  • RedFrog Pub, for brews and quick bites
Carnival Cruise Line Chef's Table
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

You can also enjoy extra-special dining experiences for a fee as well, such as The Chef’s Table, wherein you dine in a VIP, exclusive atmosphere hosted by the ship’s chefs; the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, for kiddos and featuring favorite characters; 24-hour room service; and pizza delivery to anywhere on the ship.

Bars and Lounges

While you can grab a drink at many of the above restaurants, if you want a full bar vibe, you’ll want to visit one of these bars and lounges aboard Carnival Splendor.

Carnival Cruise Line Alchemy Bar
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line
  • Alchemy Bar, for carefully crafted mixed drinks and cocktails
  • BlueIguana Tequila, for all your favorite tequila-based beverages
  • RedFrog Rum Bar, for island vibes, rum and beer
  • The Piano Bar, for live music and libations
  • The Sports Bar, for plenty of ways to watch the game with a drink in hand
  • The Casino Bar, for drinks while you try your luck in the casino

There are also other drinks-based activities you can enjoy during a Carnival Splendor cruise, whether that be a wine-tasting or mixology class. 

Activities and Entertainment

There’s always something to do on this Carnival ship. 

Plenty of Pools

With four pools and seven whirlpools, you’ll never be left wanting for places to go for a dip on Carnival Splendor

The midship pool, or the Splendido pool, has a retractable roof. 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.

Open Deck
Carnival Splendor Deck (Photo Credit: Mark Krapels / Shutterstock)

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.

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, on Deck 11. 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.

Adults-Only Areas

The Serenity Lounge on Deck 9 is only open to those ages 21 and up. Lounge about on a daybed, drink at the bar, take a dip in the pool or hot tub and enjoy it all without running, screaming, whining or splashing.

Catch a Show at the Theater

The Carnival Splendor Spectacular Main Show Lounge offers lots of different shows throughout your sailing, something to suit every taste. You can enjoy some Broadway-style shows, like musicals; game shows; lectures and more. The lounge’s lobby is located on Deck 3. 

Try Your Luck at the 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.

Carnival Breeze Casino
Photo Credit: Turn_Mug / Shutterstock.com

The casino is located on Deck 5. The slots are open early morning to late on sea days, while the tables are open late morning to late on sea days. The slots are closed while the ship is in port and the tables open after the ship departs port on port days.

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. The ship’s “Fun Shops” are located on Deck 5. 

Kids Venues

There are several kids’ venues on the ship as well, for those times when the family might want to split apart and get in some solo fun.

For the youngest kids, Camp Ocean hosts ages 2 to 11 for specialty, camp-like programming, plus babysitting after-hours, until 1 am. Camp Ocean is situated on Deck 10.

Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship
Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock)

Preteens will find the Circle C club for ages 12 to 14 on Deck 4. Scheduled activities are combined with plenty of freedom for kids of this age to hang out on their own terms.

For the older kids, there’s Club O2, open to ages 15 to 17, on Deck 5. Similarly, teens will enjoy a mix of programming and freedom, suited to their age group. 

Carnival Splendor Itineraries

Ready to hop aboard this ship and see what it offers in person? Check out Carnival Splendor’s upcoming itineraries and begin planning your trip today.

Carnival Splendor FAQ

How big is Carnival Splendor?

When Carnival Splendor debuted, the ship was the largest in Carnival’s fleet, at 113,300 GT, 952 feet and 1,506 staterooms. The ship can hold 3,012 people at double occupancy or 3,948 people at full occupancy.

How many decks are on Carnival Splendor?

Carnival Splendor offers 13 passenger decks.

Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle is a travel and food freelance writer whose work can be found in print and digital publications all around the world. She is additionally an entrepreneur specializing in content and marketing services. Beyond frequent travel, Riddle enjoys cooking, reading, camping and spending time with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and just about anywhere in the Caribbean. Find out more about us here.

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