While officially part of Carnival’s Conquest class, the Splendor is a unique ship in a class of its own somewhere in between the Conquest and Dream classes. At a length of 952 feet, with double occupancy passenger capacity of 3,002 and max passenger capacity of 4,914, it is a bit larger than the other conquest class ships. It has unique features like a mini splash park for small children. Other differences include the sky dome placed near the front of the ship rather than rear and the movie screen at the forward end of the lido. Splendor also has more variety in its itineraries than many other ships. It has a number of home ports with sailings out of Miami, New York, Norfolk VA and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship’s registry is from Panama. Splendor is most famous for its mishap in 2010 when it lost power due to an engine fire and had to be towed to shore. The ship now carries multiple generators.
The ship holds 1150 crew and has a cruising speed of 22.5 knots. Built in 2008 by Fincantieri Navali Italanie Shipyard in Genova, Sestri/Ponente Italy, it has a pearls themed décor most evident in the Black Pearl and Gold Pearl dining rooms and by all the pink spots on the walls throughout the ship. Much of the décor in other places has circular patterns as well.
Décor in some areas of the ship looks reminiscent of an old fashioned steamship ocean liner. It has models of the 1930’s ships Queen Mary and Normandie displayed at the stern of the lido, which is decorated to resemble the Queen Mary.
The ship design and décor of the Splendor differs from other Carnival ships as this ship was originally intended for Costa so much of the décor is done to European taste rather than American. It includes nudity in statues and paintings around the ship which the Europeans are more comfortable with due to the ancient Greek and Roman statues they are accustomed to seeing.
The Splendor has 13 passenger decks. Some have guest rooms, some public areas, and some both. The Sky Deck containing the mini golf course is labeled as deck 14, while the next deck down called the Sun Deck is Deck 12. Deck 13 apparently does not exist. You can actually go one level higher than deck 14 at the entrance to the waterslide, but it is just a little platform for entering the slide rather than an actual deck. Great view though.
Guest cabin categories include everything from low-priced inside rooms to much more expensive suites. There are several categories of each room type, with higher decks increasing the price as well as larger and fancier rooms or suites. Each room includes dispensers of shampoo and shower gel in the shower and a couple bars of soap and a few product samples in a bowl on the bathroom counter so plan on bringing most of your own toiletries. Spa cabins have a number of spa products in little bottles in their bathroom, which are replenished throughout the cruise. Spa cabins also include use of the thermal suite at the spa so naturally they come with a higher price than regular cabins.
Splendor has two main dining rooms, a Lido buffet with a variety of food stations serving different types of food, and for those who want a culinary experience and not just a meal it has a steakhouse. Most itineraries include one or two elegant nights and for the rest the dining room dress code is cruise casual. Elegant nights do not require gowns or tuxes. The dining room dress code for elegant nights just bans shorts, t-shirts, jeans, flip-flops and sportswear in addition to the normal nightly ban on cut-off jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, gym or basketball shorts, baseball hats or caps, beach flip-flops and bathing suit attire. Anyone not wishing to abide by the dress code of the evening can always eat dinner at the Lido buffet where the food choices include pizza and ice cream 24 hours a day as well as a number of different things served at mealtimes. Room service has a limited menu, but it is free any time of day. Dining room menus are available in Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, and Italian as well as in English.
It you’re sailing on the Splendor and want a really good meal, try the steakhouse. It costs extra, but they work wonders with the food there. I had a meal that included a salad with blue cheese and tiramisu for dessert. I don’t like blue cheese or coffee, yet both those dishes tasted good.
Carnival recently revised their smoking policy to ban smoking on stateroom balconies. It is still allowed on the starboard side of the open upper decks 10 and 11 and in select areas of the casino and at a bar and nightclub. People who wish to avoid smoke may not want to book rooms on deck 6, particularly near the midship or forward stairs as smoke from the casino sometimes wafts up the stairways there during busy times.
According to Hotel Director Niksa Pelic, it’s not the décor or the boat itself that makes the ship, it’s the crew. People have a far more enjoyable time on their vacation if the crew is friendly, the ship clean, and the food and service good.
Middle class people are Carnival’s typical customers and everything from more casual attire being allowed in the dining rooms and steakhouse to the level of service from the cabin stewards is aimed toward that demographic. The stewards are quite adaptable though and will adjust the service given to a particular cabin to what the occupant wants. For instance they don’t automatically fill the ice buckets, but if a person asks for ice then their bucket is normally filled for the rest of the cruise. On some ships bathrobes are found in the closet at boarding, but if they are not there they will be brought to the cabin upon request. I’ve only once had to ask, and can’t remember now which ship that was.
Splendor is unofficially scheduled for 2.0 upgrades in March 2016, but they will be minimal rather than a full ship overhaul. The ship already had new engines and generators installed after the fire. Most likely they will add popular features like Guy’s Burgers and the Alchemy Bar, but not update the décor. If the washers and dryers in the self-serve laundries have not been upgraded from the sort that takes quarters to the newer ones that use the sail and sign cards before it gets the 2.0 upgrades, it should get them at that time. In the meantime if you sail on the Splendor plan ahead if you want to do laundry while the ship is in port because if the front desk runs out of quarters they won’t get more until the casino opens when the ship gets underway, so get your quarters at the casino ahead of time.