By: Lindsay Banas
Whether you’re looking for a cruise filled with fun and adventure, or one that allows you to relax and bask in the sun all day long, Carnival Splendor, from Carnival Cruise Lines, allows you to do all that and more. It is a voyage to be remembered and treasured.
GETTING READY TO BOARD
On Tuesday, Kiera, one of my dearest friends, and I approached the port where our ship would set sail from in San Pedro, California. Waiting to approach our drop off point, we were captivated by the sheer size of our vessel. The Splendor holds 3,006 passengers and weighs in at 113,300 tons, making it the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever deployed on the west coast. When we finally got dropped off, we made our way through to our check-in point. There, we were greeted by a cheery young man by the name of Richard, who got as all checked in and sent us to get our room keys. There was a slight mix up with our rooms, but Rob quickly got us settled in and continued to send us on our way.
ABOARD THE CARNIVAL SPLENDOR
Upon entering our ship, we were immediately greeted by crewmembers with smiles on their faces that were willing to point us in the direction of our room. As we stood in the Golden Atrium, we found ourselves indulging in the beautiful decorations and skilled craftsmanship of the ship. We made our way to our room on the tenth deck and opened the door to our two-bed, quaint cabin with a deck that allowed us to enjoy the outdoors from the privacy of our room. We quickly put our things down so we could go explore the ship and all it had to offer.
FIRST NIGHT ON BOARD
Before we left San Pedro, we quickly went on deck and waved goodbye to my family eating at a restaurant that bordered our entrance into the open sea. About an hour later, we made our way over to the Spectacular Spectacular lounge, where we enjoyed a show, which included break dancing by G Force and Motown covers by St. Thomas native, Marcus Anthony. Next we went over to the Pinnacle Supper Club. Here, you can eat a five-course meal, with a drink and dessert included, for $30 per person. The food here is exquisite, and the display of it is very artistic and sophisticated. You can choose from options such as a nine-ounce filet, 14-ounce strip sirloin, 24-ounce porterhouse or a lobster tail, among many other choices. I chose to have the lobster tail, and with a little butter drizzled over it, it made for the perfect meal. I also chose to have a dessert of fresh fruit with sorbet, which was very tasty as well.
The formal presentation and atmosphere of the restaurant make it a truly special dining occasion for anyone. During the dinner, we felt the swaying of the ship, but I sat next to a man who had been on many cruises in his lifetime, and he didn’t feel a thing, so I assume that the more you cruise, the less you feel. After dinner, we went off to explore the ship some more and found ourselves playing Dance Dance Revolution and racing cars in the arcade. As we left, we walked through the full casino that the ship has to offer. We chose to call it an early night and headed off to our room.
A RELAXING MORNING AT THE SPA
The next morning we woke up and stepped out on our deck and were greeted by a dozen or so dolphins happily swimming alongside our ship. It was an incredible sight. Next, we cruised down to the Lido, which is the name of the poolside restaurant, where we had a buffet-style breakfast. We found ourselves surrounded by a large selection of foods, with everything from cereals to customized omelets. Kiera and I made ourselves a tray filled with food and enjoyed it as we sat next to the window and observed the sea outside that stretched as far as the eye could see. We then found our way to the Cloud 9 Spa, and along the way, we passed a fully equipped gym, with weight machines, treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals. The spa is restricted to those who are staying in one of their Cloud 9 Spa staterooms or suites, so if you have the opportunity to stay in one of them, I would highly recommend it. They offer massages, ranging from $119-$269, sauna rooms, relaxation rooms, a beauty salon and a private whirlpool. I enjoyed an extremely relaxing morning in one of their relaxation rooms, where the temperature was raised to a warm, comfortable temperature, and soothing, instrumental music played throughout the room. My lounge seat was located right next to a window, so I enjoyed the gorgeous view of the ocean as I drifted in and out of sleep. Then we went to the whirlpool, where we relaxed on the bed shaped loungers as jets gently massaged us. The Cloud 9 Spa is a real treat that makes for sheer serenity.
A DAY IN THE SUN
After the spa, we went to go soak up the sun at the Splendido Lido pool. Fellow passengers who were singing and clapping along to the Motown music of Marcus Anthony surrounded us. It was a very upbeat, fun atmosphere to be enjoyed by individuals and families alike. Next we walked up two decks so we could try out the waterslide. The whole way down the slide we were laughing and giggling like little kids. We also checked out the miniature golf course on the top deck, but we opted to leave the golfing to the pros and went and sunbathed instead. From our lounge chairs we watched as guests were called up to the stage next to the pool to participate in challenges and games. I then headed over to the Lido where I enjoyed a custom made burrito from the burrito bar.
Next, we headed over to the Jacuzzis that sat outside with an amazing ocean view. We relaxed as we saw dolphins in the distance as they jumped and played in the water. We then headed back to our room, but made a quick stop along the way into Circle C, a room that is designated for 12-14 year olds and is filled with board and video games, and played Guitar Hero III. There are also other designated rooms for the younger crowd, such as a room for teens aged 15-17 that serves as a hangout and dance club. For the young toddlers, there is a room where they can be watched so parents can go off and have time alone. Our day in the sun was filled with fun and adventure.
AN EVENING FILLED WITH ENTERTAINMENT
After our day in the sun, we made our way back to our room to get ready for dinner. Before we left for dinner, we watched the sunset from our deck. It was absolutely breathtaking. We then left for dinner at the Black Pearl Restaurant. There, we enjoyed an appetizing dinner. I tried many of their foods, all of which I loved. I tried their strawberry bisque as an appetizer, as recommended by a fellow passenger, and thoroughly enjoyed it. While there, I also enjoyed a Caesar salad and salmon, served with broccoli and a mushroom risotto, it was all exceptionally tasty. Halfway through our meal, we were entertained by the entire staff of the restaurant with a dance to the Pussycat Dolls’ Jai Ho. It was very entertaining and the crew seemed so happy to be up there dancing. Afterwards, Kiera and I headed over to the Spectacular Spectacular lounge once again, but this time we were treated to an unbelievable performance titled Vrooom. The show pays tribute to rock-and-roll legends, such as ZZ Top, Bob Segar and Elvis, and was extremely enjoyable. Finally, to conclude our night, we headed over to the Grand Piano, a piano bar on the ship and one of the 22 bars and lounges on board. This is one place I highly recommend you spend some of your time. While we were there, we were welcomed by Ron Pass, our piano entertainer for the evening. He was so incredibly captivating. You couldn’t help but find yourself singing along to tunes such as Sweet Home Alabama, You’re so Vain and Walking in Memphis. All the while, we sat around and sipped fancy drinks while talking with the people around us and laughing at all the jokes Ron would tell. It was definitely one of the highlights of the night. We then headed to our room and left the next morning wanting more and wishing we had more time to relax and explore the ship.
The Carnival Splendor is very family-oriented, but also an incredible getaway for couples and friends. Beginning April 5, 2009, Carnival Splendor will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, California. With so much to do and see, there isn’t a moment not to treasure aboard the Carnival Splendor.
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