Friday, July 11, 2008

Carnival Splendor: A World of Splendid Things

Joe Farcus, Carnival’s ship architect would like to hear passengers say at the end of their cruise, “I didn’t notice that before. Isn’t that interesting?” Farcus admits it would be impossible to notice every detail on the ships he designs, but he’s happy when passengers are constantly discovering new things.

I hope I made him happy today—I’ve explored Carnival Splendor from the pirate-themed miniature golf course high atop Deck 14 to the Lobby Bar on Deck 3. There are a few spots where I found I “couldn’t get there from here”—for instance, the Black Pearl Restaurant mid-ship cuts off the flow from fore to aft—but overall I found the ship fairly easy to navigate. If you’ve sailed on a Conquest-class ship, you’ll find some changes, though.

There are no whirlpools adjacent to the Splendido Lido Pool on Deck 9. Instead they are sensibly located on either side of Deck 10, shaded by the overhead cover and right alongside the outside rail for uninterrupted sea views—those views are also a theme at the aft located Linear Lido Pool. With the retractable pool roof moved to the mid-ship pool, instead of cutting off the view from the aft pool, the ship’s wake is a splendid sight. Whirlpools at the aft pool and the Thunderball Pool (where the waterslide is located) are not covered for those who prefer full sun. Thoughtful planning such as that insures there are spaces to satisfy everyone’s preference.

One area that stands out in particular is the Cloud 9 Spa. With its vaguely Asian feel, I was particularly enchanted by the Chinese Foo Dogs that guard the Thallasotherapy pool (in the photo above). Day passes for the thermal sanctuary, which includes the therapy pool as well as the thermal suite and relaxation area are $35. If you aren’t into scented steam rooms and the spa’s other sensory delights, you don’t have to miss out on a sauna after your workout. There are complimentary saunas for men and women in changing rooms adjacent to the gym. Sadly, unlike the Conquest-class ships, Carnival Splendor’s don’t have floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking the sea.

Naturally this is just a taste of what’s to come in a complete illustrated ship review next week on

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