Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
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Adults-Only Pool
Adults-Only Pool / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Fiesta Latina
Fiesta Latina / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Nine-Hole Mini Golf
Nine-Hole Mini Golf / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Piano Bar
Piano Bar / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Carnival Splendor

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

True to the line’s “Fun Ship” mantra, sailing aboard the 3,006-guest Carnival Splendor is loud and full of choices. Top decks bustle with activity, including a quartet of pools, twisting waterslides, a WaterWorks splash park for kids, kids clubs for teens and younger children, a miniature golf course, and a basketball court.

And the grown-ups get plenty of excitement, too: There's a 21,000-square-foot spa, as well as an adults-only deck area. Evening entertainment includes comedy shows, high-energy song-and-dance spectacles, live music acts, and an always-busy casino. If you want a drink, the ship has a whopping 22 bars to keep passengers well-lubricated.

This isn't one of Carnival's newest vessels. Splendor was launched in 2008 and is the sole ship in its class. A 2012 refurbishment added a steakhouse, Punchliner comedy club, and Seuss at Sea activities for kids, while a 2019 refit gave the ship the Alchemy Bar and one of the cruise line’s best-loved free food options: Guy’s Burger Joint, a partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

What We Love

Pinnacle Steakhouse: The surcharge is worth it at this ship’s popular for-a-fee specialty dining room, which is a truly sophisticated affair. The four-course dinner includes cooked-to-order prime rib and filet mignon as well as lobster tail for entrees as well as an appetizer, salad, and decadent dessert. 

“Dive-In” Movies: Not only does the midship pool deck feature a nifty retractable roof that ensures all-weather fun, but it serves as the setting for evening “dive-in” movies shown on a 270-square-foot screen under the stars.

Seuss at Sea: Carnival’s Dr. Seuss partnership includes an onboard character parade, storytime, and a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (with green eggs and ham, naturally).

Best Known For

The Punchliner: This comedy club hosts a rotating roster of comedians who perform both G-rated, family-friendly shows and — after the kids are in bed — more bawdy adult routines.

Cloud 9 Spa: The massive 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa is home to a thalassotherapy (seawater) pool, a thermal suite, and 17 treatment rooms. Carnival Splendor was also the first ship in the line to offer dedicated spa staterooms. Guests who book one of these 68 cabins have unlimited access to the thermal suite and the thalassotherapy room as well as priority access to spa appointments and upgraded bath products.

Who It's Best For

Budget-Friendly Cruisers: Carnival offers some of the most competitive price points in the industry, and Carnival Splendor sailings are no exception.

Families with Kids: Multiple clubs for kids host age-appropriate (and complimentary) activities. Kids aged 2 to 11 can head to Camp Ocean for arts and crafts and video games, tweens get their own Circle "C" lounge, and teens can do karaoke and watch movies in Club O2. And while the kids are hanging with their peers, parents can go to the Serenity adults-only deck and really get a break.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Not So Pretty in Pink: Unless pink is your favorite color, you might consider the ship’s rosy color scheme and playful yet over-the-top décor a bit tacky.

Few-Frills Cabins: Staterooms are spacious but aren’t as polished as some of the public spaces. You also won't find extras like slippers or toiletries beyond soap and shampoo.

You’ll Need to Head Down Under: As of late 2022, Carnival Splendor is sailing from Sydney on itineraries to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

Elissa Garay
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger