Carnival Splendor is the sole ship of the Splendor class, a smaller, modified version of the Concordia-class cruise ship, operated by Costa. She entered service on 2 July 2008. At 113,323 GT,[7] she was the largest ship in Carnival Cruise Line until Carnival Dream debuted in September 2009. There are currently no plans to build another ship like her.

The ship was originally designed and ordered for Costa Cruises and is similar in design to Costa Serena, Costa Pacifica, Costa Favolosa, Costa Concordia, and the Costa Fascinosa with a larger spa and children's facilities. But the Carnival Splendor was transferred to Carnival Cruise Lines throughout construction.[9]

Ship highlights

The 3,006-passenger vessel offers a 21,000 sq ft (2,000 m2), state-of-the-art, indoor spa that consumes two forward decks, which is the largest spa ever on any Carnival ship. The spa features an elaborate thermal suite, a variety of health and beauty treatment rooms, and Carnival's first Thalasso therapy pool. Encircling the upper level of the spa is a winter garden with a ceremonial tea house. Spa access is complimentary for those staying in the non-smoking "spa" cabins on the Panorama and Spa decks. Those in additional cabins might buy passes for the day or for the length of the voyage; typical fees are approximately $35 per day. Unlike with most Carnival ships, the sauna and steam rooms are part of this fee-based access and aren't free to all passengers.

The 5,500 sq ft (510 m2) children's playroom located midship is additionally the largest in the Carnival fleet. Above the facility is a dedicated water play area, a first for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Located at the stern of the ship is a sports deck featuring arena-style seating for games and additional events. A reservations-only supper club is located atop the poolside Lido restaurant, providing diners with magnificent ocean vistas. The mid-ship pool, one of four on board, is enclosed by two full decks of glass walls. The area is covered with a two-deck-high retractable dome that can be closed throughout inclement weather. A large balcony encircles the upper deck of the pool area. There are flat screen televisions in every stateroom and award-winning shows are offered.

Although the similar Conquest-class ships have received Carnival's "Funship 2.0" upgrades, including Guy's Burgers, RedFrog Rum Bar, Blue Iguana Cantina, and more, the Splendor hasn't yet been slated to receive the upgrades.

Christening

Carnival Splendor's godmother is Myleene Klass, who on 8 June 2008 christened the vessel in Dover in a lighthearted ceremony where she played Sailing on the piano, while a Royal Navy diver climbed up five decks on a rope, and broke the bottle of champagne on the bow by hand.[10][11][2]

Special voyages

Carnival Splendor's inaugural season began on 2 July 2008 with a cruise from Genoa, Italy to Dover, England, followed by a three-day cruise to Amsterdam. Thereafter followed five 12-day Northern Europe cruises from Dover to the northern European ports of Copenhagen, Warnemünde, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Amsterdam. On 11 September 2008, the ship sailed to Southern Europe, to visit ports like Civitavecchia (near Rome), Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice, Messina, Barcelona, Cannes, Livorno, Marmaris, Izmir, Istanbul, and Athens. She began her crossing of the Atlantic on 3 November 2008, towards its new home port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[2]

In January 2009, Carnival Splendor embarked on a relocation from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean, its new home port being Long Beach, California..The ship is too wide for the Panama Canal, so it made the journey by sailing around Cape Horn. It was the first Carnival ship to have ever made this voyage. The relocation took 49 days, and included visits to ports in Dominica, Barbados, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. In Long Beach, she sailed year-round cruises to Mexico, replacing Carnival Pride.[2]

In March 2009, Carnival Splendor was the host ship for Mayercraft Carrier 2, a four-day cruise from 27 to 31 March, from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico hosted by musician John Mayer and featuring music and comedy shows.[2]

In February 2013, Carnival Splendor sailed again around South America, repositioning to New York City to sail year-round. The South America voyages were sold in blocks from 13-18 day cruises. She then sailed one 7-day cruise to Bermuda followed by the same current operating 8-day cruises to the Caribbean/Bahamas replacing the Carnival Miracle's year-round deployment.[2] In November 2014, the Carnival Splendor was re-positioned to Florida to offer seasonal seven day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. In March 2014, Carnival announced the Carnival Splendor would sail seasonally out of Norfolk, Virginia before heading back to New York beginning in 2015. This is the newest & largest ship ever to sail from Norfolk Half Moone Cruise & Celebration Center. The itineraries include a Bermuda cruise, three 5-day Bahamas cruises, a 6-day Bahamas cruise, & a 2-day Cruise to nowhere.

In October 2015, Carnival announced that the Splendor will be re-positioned to China in 2018 offering year-round short cruises joining the Carnival Spirit which will reposition to China instead of the Carnival Miracle.[2]

Incidents and accidents

2010 fire

On 8 November 2010, at approximately 06:00 Pacific time, on the second day of a voyage from Long Beach to the Mexican Riviera, the ship experienced a fire in her engine room, cutting all electrical power. According to Carnival president, Gerry Cahill, a "crankcase split, and that's what caused the fire", adding it was isolated to the aft generator room.[2] The fire was extinguished by the afternoon, and no one was injured. Nearly 4,500 passengers and crew members were on board at the time.[21]

The crew was unable to restore power to the engines, and the ship was towed by tugboat to San Diego.[2][2] Without power for air conditioning and refrigeration, passengers were fed rations delivered via U.S. Navy helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.[24] Splendor was escorted by, and received aid and security assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau.[25] Carnival Splendor arrived in San Diego under tow around sunrise on 11 November, and docked around noon.[26] Carnival promised to refund all passengers for ticket and travel expenses along with a voucher for a free cruise of equal value to their cruise on Splendor.[27][28]

The reasons for the total power loss were unclear and under investigation. The ship has three 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 12V46C medium-speed diesel generating sets in the aft engine room and three in a forward engine room.[6] Each generator is connected to two switchboards. The failure of a single engine or generator shouldn't normally cause a total power loss.[29] Clark Dodge, former chief engineer for Washington State Ferries, said, "If things were designed properly, all the power shouldn't have gone out."[29][30]

2012 armed robbery

On 23 February 2012, while in Puerto Vallarta port, Mexico, 22 passengers on the Carnival-organized "City and Jungle Tour" were robbed by an armed bandit.[3] Passengers lost money, cameras, purses, passports, additional documents and valuables. No shots were fired and everybody escaped without injuries.[3]