Thursday, July 10, 2008

Carnival Splendor: On Board In Dover

What a difference a day makes. Although yesterday was damp and dreary, today turned out to be a glorious day to christen Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest and largest ship, Carnival Splendor.

Indeed, the weather wasn’t promising when we arrived at London’s Gatwick airport yesterday. It was raining. A constant drizzle continued through the day, but sometime during the night Mother Nature said stop. We were finally able to walk through the idyllic gardens of Chilston Park Hotel in glorious sunshine this morning before packing up to head from Maidstone, Kent to the cruise port in Dover.

Even the terminal was alive with the excitement of Carnival Splendor’s first call at Dover; however, on board the air was positively electric with anticipation. The stage was set poolside beneath the huge screen for wildly popular classical musician, singer, and television personality Myleene Klaas to perform her duties as Godmother in an unusual Naming Ceremony.

Myleene has a smile as lovely as the flowing peach chiffon dress she wore—one that caused her a bit of embarrassment when a gust of wind caught her hem. Without missing a beat, she charmed the guest with a mention of her childhood as a “Navy brat,” blessed the ship, and then took her place at the piano to begin playing.

Then, in an untraditional move, Myleene’s Royal Navy diver assistant Petty Officer Christian Rumming emerged from the water right on cue and began his dramtic ascent to the ship’s bow as she played. When he reached Carnival Splendor’s name, he smashed a bottle of Nyetimber 1994 Blanc de Blancs against the hull, cannons blasted confetti into the air, and the party was ready to begin. It was really quite an event and Carnival has made a video replay available on the Carnival Splendor web page at

The mood on board is festive and I can hardly wait for sailaway past the famous White Cliffs of Dover. This promises to be a fun-filled three-night preview cruise and after I have a chance to look around some more I’ll have impressions of Carnival Splendor to share tomorrow. So far, I really like what I see.

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