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Carnival Splendor Atrium
Connect the Dots: Carnival Splendor Atrium

Carnival Splendor
July 2008
All Things Splendid

by Linda Coffman

From a distance, Carnival Splendor may not appear to be substantially different than her fleetmates. She may not even appear larger, although at 113,300 tons she is the largest "Fun Ship" constructed to date. However, while there is no doubt that she is Carnival ship, Carnival Splendor is truly an evolution in design and function.

The new 3,006-passenger Splendor-class ship offers a striking view of "Splendid Things"—the design theme created by Joe Farcus, Carnival's ship architect. "When I thought about the name of this ship, it brought to mind all the splendid things there are in the world," Farcus said. "The central idea that ties the rooms together is the concept of fine, luxurious, sumptuous elegance."

Farcus took the ship's name to heart and translated it into such things as splendid jewelry (the formal dining rooms), a splendid nightclub (patterned after El Morocco), and a splendid poker hand (Royal Flush, the casino). While discussing the complex elements that tie the decor together, Farcus admitted that nothing would make him happier than to hear passengers say at the end of their cruise, “I didn’t notice that before. Isn’t that interesting?” He says it would be impossible to notice every detail on the ships he designs, but he’s happy when passengers are constantly discovering new things.

Indeed, when designing the ship's interiors you could say that Farcus discovered his feminine side—beginning in the Splendor Atrium (pictured above) the walls are decorated in stainless steel with circular cutouts backed by pink-stained wood with a black pigment rubbed in to bring out the grain. Those elements are repeated in elevator lobbies and give the public spaces a continuity that would otherwise be missing. And that's just the start.

Dining
Carnival Splendor's array of traditional and alternative dining choices are as expansive as you'll find at sea. According to Natko Nincevic, Carnival's senior vice president of hotel operations, "Today's consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to cuisine, and they want not only longtime favorites, but also the opportunity to enjoy new choices they typically wouldn't try at home."

Carnival Splendor Gold Pearl Restaurant

Gold Pearl Restaurant

The Black Pearl Restaurant and Gold Pearl Restaurant are the formal dining rooms where diners are seated amid splendid oversized strings of pearls. Along with the selection of six different appetizers and soups, two salads, and six entrees, look for the "Signature Selections" on the menu, dishes created by French Master Chef Georges Blanc. In addition to the always popular lobster, served once each cruise, Carnival's decadent Chocolate Melting Cake is available every night. Don't be in too much of a hurry to leave the dining room or you'll miss the inventive and talented wait staff performing musical numbers just as energetically as they served dinner.

Set beneath a skylight for romantic starlit dining, The Pinnacle, Carnival Splendor's supper club features a combo for couples who want to take a spin around the glass dance floor between courses. For the $30 per person cover charge, it's one of the best restaurants—and dining bargains—at sea. Not only is the food exceptional (escargot, New England crab cakes, Russian caviar, lobster bisque, grilled lamp chops, prime rib, Dover sole meuniere, free range chicken, veal chops, lobster, and several cuts of beef from 9 to 24 ounces), but the presentation is sophisticated and the atmosphere decidedly upscale. It's a fine dining experience you won't want to miss.

The variety of casual dining choices begin with made-to-order omelets for breakfast and move on to a wide variety of buffet items for lunch, as well as meat-carving and pasta stations, Indian tandoori selections, and a Mongolian stir-fry wok in the casual Splendido Lido Restaurant. In addition to the usual selections, there are Oriental dishes, a daily taste-of-nations specialty, a Pizza bar, outdoor Grill areas serving fresh burgers and grilled favorites, and the Deli for just-made sandwiches. Several serving stations dispense ice cream treats. Try the California Roll Sushi Bar on Promenade Deck for freshly prepared sushi before dinner. Also on Promenade Deck, The Coffee Club serves specialty coffees and pastry treats for a nominal charge.

For parents who want to share a romantic dinner for two, the Camp Carnival program and group evening babysitting takes the hassle out of child care. In addition to the many choices, Carnival Splendor offers the flexibility of dining whenever you are hungry—around the clock. Room service never closes and, while the choices are somewhat limited, a picnic on your private balcony is always a treat.

Staterooms
With so many categories from which to choose, category selection might seem daunting. In reality, there are only five cabin configurations, but every passenger is assured of standard accommodations that are, on average, larger than those on most cruise ships. On Carnival Splendor, they range from standard Interior and Oceanview staterooms to Oceanview staterooms with private balconies and Suites and Penthouse Suites with large private balconies. More than 60% of all staterooms are outside and, of those, over 60% have balconies.

New to Carnival Splendor are 68 exclusive smoke-free "spa accommodations" with unlimited access to the Cloud 9 Spa facilities via private elevator and special amenities, including the use of special "Cloud 9 Spa" logo items, personal fitness bands and yoga mats, complimentary fitness classes, and priority reservations for spa treatments and services.

Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

Carnival Cruise Lines has always prided themselves on spacious cabins and Carnival Splendor’s are no exception. Although it is a new ship class, the staterooms are very similar in layout and décor to Conquest-class vessels. Yet the cabins appear more open because the desktop-to-ceiling storage unit found on older ships was eliminated and the desk/vanity has been lengthened to include additional under-counter storage. The television is a flat screen mounted on the wall.

Unlike the recent trend for cabins with few drawers, Carnival Splendor’s standard balcony cabins have three nice deep ones built into the vanity/desk, where you’ll also find a mini-bar-fridge, a personal safe and more storage behind cabinet doors, and open book shelves. There are two huge drawers in the base of the sitting area sofa and even some additional small storage cubbies in the two nightstands.

Staterooms feature mirrored accents, a hairdryer in a vanity/desk drawer, and terrycloth bathrobes are provided for use during the cruise in all oceanview accommodations. The outstanding lighting that encircles the living area even extends to the front of the closets, which can be dark holes on some ships.

Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a lumpy, bumpy bed with scratchy sheets and pancake thin pillow. To insure sweet dreams, Carnival provides more than a chocolate treat on your pillow. The exclusive "Carnival Comfort Bed" systems are simply heavenly. They start with plush mattresses and add soft and comfy duvets, upgraded pillows, and linens for a good night's sleep. 

Bathroom amenities include shampoo and bath gel in shower mounted dispensers and an array of sample toiletries. The shower itself is roomy and has a pull-out clothesline for drying bathing suits or hand laundry. A real convenience is the two-sided (regular and magnifying) bathroom shaving/make up mirror. Closet and drawer/shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves, are more than adequate.

Family-friendly accommodations include nearly 200 interconnecting staterooms and more than 350, including suites, that accommodate up to three or four. Passengers with physical challenges haven't been overlooked—staterooms have been designed that take their special needs into consideration.

Continue to explore Public Spaces & More --> Carnival Splendor (Part 2)

Cruise Diva's Blog Highlights from the Carnival Splendor Inaugural cruise from Dover:

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