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Carnival Splendor Review

2019 Best for Shore Excursions
2017 Best for Families
2016 Best for Cabins
View More

Find a Carnival Splendor Cruise from £139

Carnival Splendor
4.0 / 5.0
1446 reviews

Pros
Have fun and unwind with lively shows, a huge spa and great kids' programming
Cons
Pink-splashed ship decor can border on tacky, and cabins could use an upgrade
Bottom Line
A larger Carnival ship that delivers ample activities, entertainment and great-value pricing

About

Passengers
3,006

Crew
1,160

Passenger to Crew
2.59:1

Launched
2008

Shore Excursions
172
Sails To
Australia & New Zealand, South Pacific
Sails From
Carnival Cruise Deals
Tiana Templeman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Carnival Splendor Overview

Carnival Splendor is a big vessel with a huge personality -- and it sets itself apart from the Carnival pack in grand style. Splendor is designed around the loosely realised theme of "splendid things" with cheery and playful -- if sometimes jarring -- decor. We're not architects, but when we first walked onboard -- and we are not alone in reacting this way -- we felt under assault by a design that we can only describe as overwhelming.

Carnival's longtime interior designer Joe Farcus sees "whimsical" in the massive dining room chandeliers. We see a DNA helix. He sees "drama" and "excitement" in the squiggly pink and black image that appears on table tops, elevator panels and walls. We see an amoeba. And we've never stayed in a cabin that had bright-pink crown molding. Let's just say there is nothing understated about Splendor.

However, decor notwithstanding, Splendor has great bones and a festive spirit. We talked to a lot of passengers, many of them Carnival loyalists, and asked a single question: "Are you having fun?" In just about every case, the answer was an emphatic "yes". Splendor has 14 decks and touts enough diversions to appeal to everyone from kids to seniors. Remarkably, there is only an occasional sense of overcrowding, and there are plenty of quiet spaces -- like Serenity, the adults-only sun deck -- to seek respite.

The 113,300-tonne Splendor marks its own class of vessel for Carnival, basically a larger version of the ships from the line's earlier Conquest Class. One of Splendor's most impressive features is its expansive spa, among the most elaborate in the fleet. Pan-Asian in design, the Cloud 9 Spa spans two decks and includes a state-of-the-art fitness centre that easily rivals any at sea. With more than a dozen lounges and bars, water slides, mini-golf, multiple age-appropriate kids' programs, nonstop activities and a singing wait staff, Splendor makes good on delivering what Carnival passengers have come to expect: fun.

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Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • Meals in the main dining room and buffet, and at Pizzeria del Capitano, Guy's Burger Joint, The Carnival Deli, and Masala Tiger.
  • Access to the adults-only Serenity sun deck area
  • WaterWorks waterslides and Splashy Cove kids water park
  • Movies at the poolside Carnival Seaside Theatre
  • Most daily activities unless noted below
  • Use of the fitness centre
  • Use of Carnival's Camp Ocean kids club until 9 pm for children aged two to 17
  • Gratuities

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • All drinks beyond water, tea, coffee and select juices in the buffet
  • All Cloud 9 spa treatments, along with fitness classes and personal training
  • Access to the Cloud 9 thermal area
  • Specialty coffee
  • Room service
  • Shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Activities such as casino gaming and bingo
  • Photos and artwork
  • After-hours babysitting in the Camp Ocean Kids Club

Top Carnival Splendor Itineraries

Carnival Splendor
carnival journeys - new zealan

Sydney (Australia), Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Sydney (Australia)

View All Carnival Splendor Itineraries (34)

Fellow Passengers

Carnival Splendor sailings attract an overwhelming majority of Australian residents, followed by New Zealanders, looking for close-to-home, value-packed cruise vacations. The ship attracts lots of families and groups of as many as 80 people. The age spread is all over the place -- from retirees to kids in strollers. Shorter sailings and itineraries that overlap with school holidays host the most kids onboard. The focus remains firmly on fun, so passengers are looking to have a good time, whether it's by the pool, catching a show or hitting the dance floor in the lively Red Frog Pub.


Carnival Splendor Dress Code

Daytime: During the day you'll see all kinds of T-shirts, shorts, sundresses and bathing suits with cover-ups. Remember to bring appropriate clothes and gear for shore excursions and other activities. Note that even in the Lido buffet, shirts, bathing suit cover-ups and footwear must be worn.

Evening: There are two evening dress codes on Carnival Splendor: "Cruise Casual" and "Cruise Elegant." On casual nights, men will want to wear longer dress shorts or pants -- jeans are OK -- and a collared shirt. Women can wear sundresses, skirts and tops, dress shorts and capris.

Cruise Elegant nights, of which there are usually two on a seven night cruise, calls for a slightly fancier outfit, such as dress slacks and dress shirts for men and dresses, fancy blouses and pants or skirts for women. Some people go all out in long gowns or a suit, but that's the exception, not the norm.

Not permitted: Swimwear is only allowed in open deck and pool areas. Flip-flops, sleeveless shirts (for men), cut-off jeans, T-shirts and gym shorts are not permitted in the dining room.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival Cruises.


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Carnival Splendor Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins3.54.2
Dining3.53.7
Entertainment4.03.6
Public Rooms3.03.9
Fitness Recreation5.03.8
Family4.03.9
Enrichment1.03.2
Service3.54.1
Value For Money4.53.9

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More about Carnival Splendor

Where does Carnival Splendor sail from?

Carnival Splendor departs from Sydney

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Splendor?

Cruises on Carnival Splendor start from £139 per person.

Is Carnival Splendor a good ship to cruise on?

Carnival Splendor won 4 awards over the years, including Best for Shore Excursions in 2019.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2019 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2017 Best for Families
  • 2016 Best for Cabins
  • 2014 Best for Families

Carnival Splendor Member Reviews

Carnival Splendor
Milcho
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Would do Carnival again but not Splendor.... Read More
Carnival Splendor
vicmoor
Sail Date: Dec 2019
As always the staff were very obliging, polite and helpful and we did have a lot of fun, as always with Carnival.... Read More
Carnival Splendor
jspqld
Sail Date: Jan 2020
We had sailed on the Splendor back in 2011 & the Carnival Splendor once again gave us a great cruise!... Read More
Carnival Splendor
Lisa.I
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Please be aware if you have sailed on the Carnival Spirit and expect this ship to be on par, you will probably be disappointed. We will not be returning to Splendor even at the budget price.... Read More

Carnival Cruise Line Fleet

Carnival Ecstasy
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

1118 reviews

Fun and friendly with a laid-back vibe; highlights include waterslides, a singalong piano bar, nightly Punchliner Comedy Club and mini-golf; carries some 2,500.

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Carnival Elation
4.0 / 5.0
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Elation is the seventh of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels (debuting in 1998), and went through a significant upgrade in 2009.

Carnival Fantasy
4.0 / 5.0
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Carnival Fantasy may be the oldest vessel in the Carnival fleet, but it certainly has style, and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Carnival Fascination
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination debuted in 1994 and went through a significant upgrade to public areas, top-deck spaces and cabins in 2010.

Carnival Imagination
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun and friendly with plenty to do from sunup to sundown including high-energy pool deck fun and stage shows, plus waterslides, mini-golf and more.

Carnival Inspiration
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

A smaller ship packed with energetic fun all day long; highlights include nightly comedy, enthusiastic karaoke, waterslides, mini-golf and 10 bars and lounges.

Carnival Paradise
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Smaller ship with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere: highlights include short warm-weather itineraries, a waterslide and mini-golf; carries about 2,500 people.

Carnival Sensation
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, friendly vibe with a packed lineup of daily activities, nightly comedy, energetic stage shows, silly pool deck fun, and a multi-slide waterpark.

Carnival Victory
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fewer attractions than other Carnival ships but only offers short sailings; highlights are the comedy club, four pools and water slide; about 3,000 passengers.

Carnival Spirit
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


One of Australians' favourite cruise ships -- like a true Aussie, it's laid-back, fun and friendly -- from crew, to passengers and the atmosphere.

Carnival Pride
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Lively and fun with a dizzying art-through-the-centuries decor, nightly standup comedy, two waterslides, four pools, and lots of bars and lounges; can carry about 2,500.

Carnival Legend
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Fun and friendly with lots of pool-centric fun, a multi-slide waterpark, nightly comedy, and 16 lounges and bars; spends much of year in Australia.

Carnival Conquest
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Unpretentious vibe with pool-centric fun and water slide, plus Hairy Chest and Mr. and Mrs. Conquest contests; also 11 bars and 9 eateries; carries about 3,500.

Carnival Glory
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Lively entertainment and activities include nightly stand-up comedy, high-energy Playlist Production stage shows, twister water slide, and a nonstop schedule of daily activities.

Carnival Miracle
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Fun, family-friendly ship focused on Carnival signatures like the high-energy Playlist Production shows, nightly comedy, RedFrog Pub and line dancing deck parties.

Carnival Valor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Silly poolside games, piano bar sing-alongs and PG- and R-rated stand-up comedy give this smallish mega-ship its fun vibe; also features the RedFrog Pub.

Carnival Liberty
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Fun, friendly vibe focusing on Carnival signatures like the Punchliner Comedy Club, gut-busting Guy's Burger Joint and cocktail-focused Alchemy Bar; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Freedom
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Fun, laid-back and friendly; highlights include nightly comedy, high-energy stage shows, twister water slide and the popular RedFrog Pub; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Splendor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Can hold upward of 4,000 passengers; features indoor/outdoor pool with retractable dome, Twister water slide, mini-golf and just one extra-fee restaurant.

Carnival Dream
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Fun, friendly vibe; features Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, family-friendly and adult stand-up comedy, nightly karaoke, water park and mini-golf.

Carnival Magic
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Holds about 4,000; highlights include water slides, the RedFrog Pub, two-bathroom family cabins that hold up to five, a ropes course and Carnival's signature fun.

Carnival Breeze
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Nonstop activities and attractions include top deck water park and ropes course, 4D Thrill Theater and nightly standup comedy; can hold up to 4,700 cruisers.

Carnival Sunshine
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Fun and friendly with nightly stand-up comedy and short, energetic stage shows, plus a calorie-packed burger joint from celeb chef Guy Fieri; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Vista
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Holds a bit more than 4,000 passengers; offers a waterpark, suspended-in-midair recumbent bike thrill ride, ropes course and the first IMAX cinema at sea.

Carnival Horizon
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carnival's newest megaship, holding some 4,000 passengers, launches April 2018; highlights include new barbeque/brewery and Teppanyaki restaurants, an IMAX movie theater, waterpark, beer brewery and ropes course.

Carnival Sunrise
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


A completely reimagined ship, Carnival Sunrise is Carnival Triumph transformed with new venues, entertainment options, and a whole new Fun Ship look.

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