Splendid Things

Carnival’s newest mega-ship takes to the high seas

By: By Janeen Christoff

Carnival Splendor’s 214-foot-long Twister Waterslide is a main attraction for kids. // (c) Carnival
Carnival Splendor’s 214-foot-long Twister Waterslide is a main attraction for kids. 

With the launch of their largest ship to date, Carnival Cruise Lines hosted a star-studded christening and naming ceremony in Dover, England, onboard the brand-new, 113-ton Carnival Splendor before the ship’s inaugural cruise. British celebrity Mylene Klass, a chart-topping musician, singer and television personality and godmother of the Splendor, was on hand for the celebration before the ship set sail for a roundtrip, three-day cruise from Dover.

The signature send-off was marked by firsts for the cruise line. In honor of its English homeport, the traditional christening of the ship was performed with a rare bottle of 1994 vintage Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine, served by the queen during state occasions. The ship’s hull was christened by a member of the British Royal Navy, another first for the industry. The seaman came from an underwater dive and shimmied a line of rope to the hull, proceeding to smash the bottle of Nyetimber as guests watched poolside via video from decks 9 and 10.

After the ceremony, the ship set sail for Amsterdam before returning to Dover. With a full day at sea, there was plenty of time to explore new offerings onboard.

Of particular importance to many clients will be the Cloud 9 spa, one of the largest facilities of its kind at sea and spanning the forward portion of two full decks. In addition to an extensive variety of treatments and a Thalassotherapy pool, 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites (accessible by private elevator) are also available to passengers — another first for the cruise line. Guests booking the spa staterooms and suites adjacent to the spa receive exclusive amenities such as unlimited access to the spa and its facilities, priority appointments, a pre-cruise concierge consultation, bathrobes, towels, slippers and complimentary fitness classes. Guests also receive Cloud 9 spa amenities in their cabins.

New children’s and family facilities cater to multigenerational travel — a particularly important feature across the Fun Ship fleet. Being the largest Fun Ship, it makes sense that considerable attention was devoted to designing a family-friendly atmosphere onboard. This includes a 5,500-square-foot play area — 30 percent larger than on any other ship in the fleet. Located mid-ship on the Panorama Deck, the two-level facility is divided into separate areas of activity, including an all-ages playroom, a waterpark, a pool area and Carnival’s signature 214-foot-long Twister Waterslide.

There are also onboard programs for every age group, including the new Circle C program for tweens 12-14 years old. And Carnival
caters to every generation when it comes to dining. Family-friendly options include children’s menus in the main dining rooms, 24-hour pizza and ice cream and a program where kids can dine with youth staff on the Lido Deck. Carnival also offers children’s turn-down service with fresh-baked cookies at bedtime, the Fountain Fun Card for soft drinks, nightly babysitting services, Carnival’s Seaside Theatre and 200 interconnecting rooms for families.

Currently, the Carnival Splendor is finishing its Mediterranean cruises and on Oct. 29, the ship will set sail on a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing that will depart Rome (Civitavecchia) and arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Nov. 14. Ports of call include Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, Spain; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. The Splendor will then sail a series of 10, seven-day exotic eastern Caribbean voyages before heading to South America on a 17-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Splendor will be the first Carnival Fun Ship to sail to South America and will then sail a 14-day Cape Horn/Strait of Magellan cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile.

Beginning March 29, the ship will reposition to the U.S. West Coast, where the Splendor will launch year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, Calif., replacing the Carnival Pride. The weeklong voyages call at three popular seaside destinations in Mexico: Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.