Updated September 12, 2019
Carnival Splendor is one of a kind -- the only ship in its class. At 3,006 passengers, Carnival Splendor is big, but it's not Carnival's biggest. It was the first ship to offer spa cabins and a retractable roof over the main pool, and while it doesn't have all of Carnival's newest features, it now offers the line's signature rum and tequila bars and comedy club. If you don't mind the crazy decor, you will easily have a blast on this ship. Don't waste a minute of your vacation -- keep these Carnival Splendor cruise tips in mind when planning your trip.
Tip 1: Eat Around the World
A cruise is a great time to try something new, and Carnival Splendor makes it easy to sample a variety of cuisines, some of which might be new to you. The Lido Restaurant is divided into stations, many of which have an international flair. Try Tandoor for Indian food (there's actually a special oven onboard), Mongolian Wok for Asian stir-fry, the Burrito Bar for Mexican and the Taste of Nations for a rotating lineup of ethnic-themed offerings. The Taste Bar on Deck 5 serves up light bites from specialty restaurants fleetwide, including Italian, Mexican and Japanese hors d'ouevres.
Tip 2: Book a Spa Cabin for Extra Perks
Carnival Splendor offers spa cabins, Asian-themed rooms located close to the Cloud 9 Spa. Passengers who book these cabins receive additional perks, such as complimentary access to the thermal suite and thalassotherapy pool, free fitness classes, spa-brand in-cabin toiletries and priority and discounted spa treatments. Intrigued, but worried about the upcharge from standard cabins? Spa cabins on Splendor come in inside, outside, balcony and suite varieties, so you can choose from several price points.
Tip 3: Find All Carnival Splendor's Pools
If you don't seek them out, you might miss some of Carnival Splendor's more hidden pools and hot tubs. The main pool area is two stories with a retractable roof and easily missed hot tubs on the upper deck. Another pool is located aft, behind the buffet restaurant. Deck 11 has a thalassotherapy pool for adults and a water spray park for kids.
Tip 4: Make Deck 5 Your Main Thoroghfare
Carnival Splendor has a bit of a confusing layout. Because the ship has a second main dining room midship and a galley in between the two, you can't easily travel from the Gold Pearl Restaurant at the back of the ship to points forward, like the theater. Here's a tip: If you need to cross the ship, do it on Deck 5, and only head downstairs to decks 3 or 4 when you're at your desired spot forward, midship or aft. Plus, you'll take in all the action on the way -- from formal photos to Taste Bar bites and live music.
Tip 5: Escape the Crowds on Splendor's Secret Decks
The outer decks situated forward on several cabin hallways aren't really a secret -- they're on Splendor's deck plans -- but many cruisers never realize they're accessible to the public. They make a great place for a quiet conversation while taking in scenic views. If you book one of the obstructed-view forward cabins, you can pretend the decks are your semiprivate balcony.