There’s no reason to leave the kids at Camp Grandma when you and your spouse head off to cruise aboard Carnival Splendor. With a 5,500 square foot play area—the largest on any Carnival “Fun Ship”—and activities geared for kids from age 2 to 11 in three groups (2-5, 6-8, and 9-11), plus Circle “C” for ’tweens (12-14) and Club O2 for teens (15-17), you never have to worry about keeping the entire family happy and entertained.
Babysitting in Camp Carnival is offered every night for kids 11 and under from 10pm until 3am for a nominal fee ($6 for the first child and $4 for additional children in the same family). Even children under age 2 are welcome on port day mornings until noon and during the nightly babysitting sessions. If baby is still in diapers you needn’t be concerned—Carnival is one of only two cruise lines whose staff will change them without the necessity of paging mom to do the deed. Just bring your own supplies. Should your little one need a stroller, you can rent one onboard for $6 per day. Rental baby swings and bouncers are also available. For a nominal fee you may also rent a hand held gaming console for a bit of extra entertainment during your cruise.
One deck above Camp Carnival is the children’s water park with spray apparatus and a wet tot lot for watery fun. Of course one of Carnival Splendor’s four pools includes Carnival’s signature 214-foot “twister” water slide.
Carnival Splendor has the first purpose-built Circle “C” facility in the fleet (pictured above) and it’s an appealing space with games and supervised activities. Today I watched a Wii sports challenge that looked like so much fun I wished I could join in.
The piece de resistance, though, is the 2,365-square foot Club O2 with its soda bar, dance floor, DJ, and chill zones for the ultimate in adult-free teenage hanging out. Adjacent to Club O2 is a too-cool-for-grown-ups video gaming center. Special shore excursions offer older kids the opportunity to tour ports of call in a group and the Y Spa teen program is also available.
Kids even get their own turn-down service with just-baked cookies at bedtime and, of course, there are the always popular towel animals to wish them sweet dreams. And that brings us to the nearly 200 interconnecting staterooms and more than 350 that accommodate up to three or four guests—all family- and budget-friendly.
Of course kids need souvenirs of their cruise, so for $10 you can bring home a Fun Ship Freddie tee-shirt, storybook, or doll; a bathrobe for $24; or a book and tee-shirt combo for $17.
Carnival Splendor makes me wish I were a kid again, or at least a grandmother to share all these cool things with grandchildren.