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sydney stay & barrier reef splendor

22nd May 2024 | 16 nights | Carnival Cruise Line | Carnival Splendor

Tips included onboard
Full-board cruise on Carnival Splendor
4-night stay in central Sydney
Flights & checked baggage
Moreton Island, Queensland
Willis Island, Queensland (Scenic Cruising)
Port Douglas, Queensland
Cairns, Queensland
Airlie Beach, Queensland
Sydney, New South Wales
Tips included onboard
Full-board cruise on Carnival Splendor
4-night stay in central Sydney
Flights & checked baggage

Sydney Stay & Barrier Reef Splendor

Head down under to explore Sydney and the highlights of New Zealand on this great-value holiday. You'll have a 4-night stay in Sydney, plenty of time to relax after your journey and explore this gorgeous city. Take a tour around the famous harbour and visit one of the many famous beaches, such as Bondi & Manly, enjoy a tour of the iconic Opera House and even climb the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge for breathtaking views and an incredible memory to take home. Following your Sydney stay, join mid-sized Carnival Splendor for your cruise to Queensland and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. The largest living organism visible from space, you'll have ample opportunity to explore this incredible region from above and below the waves. Ashore, expect lush rainforests, relaxed surf-towns and sun-drenched beaches just waiting to be explored. Here's what's included:

What's included?

  • Return flights with generous checked baggage allowance
  • 4-night pre-cruise stay at a hand-picked Sydney hotel
  • 10-night cruise onboard Carnival Splendor in an inside stateroom
  • Tips are included for all on every Carnival Australia sailing
  • ATOL protection

Upgrade: Great value rates on oceanview, balcony & suite grades

Customise Your Holiday: Add additional nights before or after your cruise in Australia, or ask about stopover options in cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai & more. Call or enquire for details

Transfers: Many of our customers prefer the convenience of using taxis and ride-share services like Uber; we, therefore, have not included transfers as standard. Allow approximately £100 per car in total; alternatively, our team would be happy to provide a quote for a pre-booked car service upon request.


What's included with the Cruise

  • A well-deserved holiday!
  • Your stateroom, featuring the Carnival Comfort Bed Collection and nightly turndown service... additional stateroom features include a television, in-stateroom safe, individual climate control, full bathroom and ample storage space.
  • Spectacular production shows and entertainment, including hysterical comedians
  • Numerous lounges featuring live music and entertainment
  • Fitness center
  • Pools, hot tub spas and waterslides
  • Year-round youth programs for kids 2-17 years of age
  • A variety of dining options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late-night in the Main Dining Room and/or Lido Restaurant.
  • A variety of dining options for breakfast, lunch and snacking at speciality food spots (featured on select ships), such as but not limited to: Guy's Burger Joint, Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, BlueIguana Cantina, Mongolian Wok and Ol' Fashioned BBQ.
  • 24-hour Pizzeria
  • 24-hour soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • The following beverages served in the Main Dining Room and 24/7 in the Lido Restaurant: non-bottled water, lemonade, iced tea, hot chocolate and non-specialty coffee and tea

Cruise Circle Collection packages adhere to our 7 point charter:

  • Up-front, honest pricing
  • No hidden fees
  • No booking fees. Ever.
  • A personal service
  • Educational trips and ship visits
  • Good quality accommodation
  • No unreasonable flight times
Learn more about our charter

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View Package
Day
Date
 
Arrival
Departure
 
1
22nd May 2024 Wednesday
Fly to Sydney
 
 
Fly to Sydney
Flights

Fly from the UK to Sydney. Most flights arrive 2 days later in Australia

3
24th May 2024 Friday
Sydney
 
 
Sydney
Hotel

Upon arrival, make your way to your hand-picked hotel in the heart of Sydney for a 4-night stay

4
25th May 2024 Saturday
Sydney
 
 
Sydney
Hotel

Day at leisure in Sydney

5
26th May 2024 Sunday
Sydney
 
 
Sydney
Hotel

Day at leisure in Sydney

6
27th May 2024 Monday
Sydney
 
 
Sydney
Hotel

Day at leisure in Sydney

7
28th May 2024 Tuesday
Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales
 
 
 
16:00
Sydney
Hotel

After a relaxed breakfast, make the short journey to the cruise terminal to join Carnival Splendor

Sydney, New South Wales
Cruise
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney is a definite stop on every cruise that travels Down Under and often serves as a starting or ending point for ships that also travel to New Zealand. Australia's largest city, Sydney is one of the world's most intriguing ports of call, with its appeal extending from a sophisticated and vibrant urban metropolis to stunning natural wonders. Although it is a modern city strongly influenced by British roots and current American popular culture, Sydney's real character is derived from its exotic location and brash beauty. Walking through the glass and concrete downtown, known as the Central Business District (CBD), you could be in any other Western-culture metropolis -- until a fluorescent red and green lorikeet parrot swoops overhead or an unexpected flash of the brilliant blue harbour appears between the skyscrapers. Any proper visit to Sydney must begin in the harbour, which is both the birthplace of the city and its current iconic centrepiece. The area is called Circular Quay (pronounced "key" by locals). It is hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for a city's heart than this, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge displayed against the inlet's bright water. Sydney spreads across a massive geographic area, but the majority of its most interesting areas can be found near the ocean coast in the area known as the Eastern suburbs, as well as in its delightful inner-city neighbourhoods, which each possess a distinct vibe. Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare running east from downtown to the ocean beaches, hosts Sydney's famous gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade each February and is popular year-round because of its bars and cafes. Sydney is a well-balanced blend of a big city lifestyle and the laid-back Australian mentality. Although Aussies who hail from other towns often disparage Sydney for its flashiness and hectic pace, urban inconveniences seem minor here compared to places like New York and London (although the peak-hour traffic and public transport system are actually quite bad). Tourism is a huge industry around Sydney, and locals are accustomed to providing visitors with service, helpful directions and a rousing welcome to the stunning city that they call home.
8
29th May 2024 Wednesday
At Sea
 
 
9
30th May 2024 Thursday
Moreton Island, Queensland
08:00
18:00
Moreton Island, Queensland
Cruise
Moreton Island, Queensland

The pristine beaches of Moreton Island are a popular getaway for Brisbane locals who flock to these shores, particularly during school holidays. Moreton Island was placed on the cruise map in 2013 and, thanks to positive feedback from passengers, now appears regularly on cruise itineraries. Visitors usually enjoy a full day of fun on the island, arriving early in the morning and leaving around 8 p.m. Moreton is the third-largest sand island in the world and an ecological jewel, located about 35 kilometres off the coast of Brisbane on "Nemo's Super Highway" or the East Australian Current. Sitting on the edge of the picturesque Moreton Bay and its Marine Park, the island is 38 km long, and just less than 8 km at its widest point. The island is also famous for spectacular marine life, and impressive sand dunes with 95 per cent of the land zoned as a national park to protect its unique natural qualities. Its balmy waters teem with dolphins, whales, dugong, manta rays and stingrays. There are no sealed roads on Moreton Island, so it tends to attract people with a sense of adventure, as well as a love of the great outdoors. It is an ideal place to escape the stresses of city life. There are three townships on the island. Bulwer is a small holiday village for local travellers with a handful of essential services and a passenger ferry terminal. Cowan Cowan is famous for World War 2 relics and wrecks. Kooringal is at the southern end of the island. Here you can eat locally grown rock oysters from the Toulkerrie Oyster Farm and also purchase necessary grocery supplies. Tangalooma is a private beach resort and one of the few places in Australia where you can enjoy the unique experience of feeding wild bottlenose dolphins. The resort was established initially as a whaling station and is now a marine education and conservation centre.

10
31st May 2024 Friday
At Sea
 
 
11
1st Jun 2024 Saturday
Willis Island, Queensland (Scenic Cruising)
15:30
16:30
Willis Island, Queensland (Scenic Cruising)
Cruise
Willis Island, Queensland (Scenic Cruising)

Willis Island lies beyond the Great Barrier Reef and is one of Australia's three southernmost islands -- the only one of which that is actually inhabited. However, it is not a residential island. It is inhabited by a weather station. Cruise ships sail by the island while an onboard guide points out notable sights, which may include the island's flora and fauna. --By Shayne Thompson, Cruise Critic contributor

12
2nd Jun 2024 Sunday
Port Douglas, Queensland
08:00
17:30
Port Douglas, Queensland
Cruise
Port Douglas, Queensland

The laidback tropical town of Port Douglas, around an hour’s drive north of Cairns, is the gateway to two UNESCO World Heritage-listed natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef and the expanses of the Daintree Rainforest. It’s also a popular resort destination in its own right, with the tree-fringed sands of Four Mile Beach stretching down the bay and a leafy, compact town centre lined with hip cafés and bars. Superyachts from around the world berth at Port Douglas’s sheltered marina, where tour boats depart for sightseeing cruises to nearby coral cays and expeditions to spectacular diving spots on the outer reefs.

13
3rd Jun 2024 Monday
Cairns, Queensland
07:00
15:30
Cairns, Queensland
Cruise
Cairns, Queensland

Cairns, Australia's closest port city to the Great Barrier Reef, was once little more than a jumping-off place to the reef or the remote Daintree rainforest to the north. Now, with the busiest airport and cruise port in Australia's northeast state of Queensland, and enough tour operators to plan a month of activities, there's reason for travellers to venture beyond the reef and the rainforest. Most cruise passengers won't have enough hours to do the best of what Cairns offers -- a major diving or snorkelling trip to the outer reef, for instance, takes a full day -- but there are plenty of tour choices that are unique to Australia. They include a half-day snorkelling trip to see an amazing array of sea creatures on a nearby portion of the reef, hugging a koala at a tropical zoo, or just hanging around the beach of a city-built saltwater lagoon swimming pool designed to separate tourists from the crocodiles that frequent some of Cairns' ocean beaches. Cairns is a pedestrian-friendly city that buzzes with travellers day and night. Don't miss its vibrant waterfront. Within 10 minutes from the cruise terminal (if you dock downtown), you'll find shopping, dining and, most important to the economy of Cairns, dozens of tours designed to get you out of town. Excursions include bungee jumping and white-water rafting, glass-bottom boat rides and a Skyrail cableway that runs above the rainforest canopy.

14
4th Jun 2024 Tuesday
Airlie Beach, Queensland
08:30
17:30
Airlie Beach, Queensland
Cruise
Airlie Beach, Queensland

The town of Airlie Beach serves as a gateway to the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands and the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. Whitehaven Beach on the Whitsundays is renowned as one of the best beaches in the world, with impossibly white sand and crystal clear waters and can be reached from Airlie by a small boat ride.  

15
5th Jun 2024 Wednesday
At Sea
 
 
16
6th Jun 2024 Thursday
At Sea
 
 
17
7th Jun 2024 Friday
Sydney, New South Wales
Fly to the UK
06:30
 
 
 
Sydney, New South Wales
Cruise
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney is a definite stop on every cruise that travels Down Under and often serves as a starting or ending point for ships that also travel to New Zealand. Australia's largest city, Sydney is one of the world's most intriguing ports of call, with its appeal extending from a sophisticated and vibrant urban metropolis to stunning natural wonders. Although it is a modern city strongly influenced by British roots and current American popular culture, Sydney's real character is derived from its exotic location and brash beauty. Walking through the glass and concrete downtown, known as the Central Business District (CBD), you could be in any other Western-culture metropolis -- until a fluorescent red and green lorikeet parrot swoops overhead or an unexpected flash of the brilliant blue harbour appears between the skyscrapers. Any proper visit to Sydney must begin in the harbour, which is both the birthplace of the city and its current iconic centrepiece. The area is called Circular Quay (pronounced "key" by locals). It is hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for a city's heart than this, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge displayed against the inlet's bright water. Sydney spreads across a massive geographic area, but the majority of its most interesting areas can be found near the ocean coast in the area known as the Eastern suburbs, as well as in its delightful inner-city neighbourhoods, which each possess a distinct vibe. Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare running east from downtown to the ocean beaches, hosts Sydney's famous gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade each February and is popular year-round because of its bars and cafes. Sydney is a well-balanced blend of a big city lifestyle and the laid-back Australian mentality. Although Aussies who hail from other towns often disparage Sydney for its flashiness and hectic pace, urban inconveniences seem minor here compared to places like New York and London (although the peak-hour traffic and public transport system are actually quite bad). Tourism is a huge industry around Sydney, and locals are accustomed to providing visitors with service, helpful directions and a rousing welcome to the stunning city that they call home.
Fly to the UK
Flights

After a relaxed breakfast onboard, disembark for your return flight to the UK, most of which arrive one day later. Alternatively, ask about extending your stay in Australia or a stop-over on your journey home

Carnival Splendor's deck is brimming with excitement, making it challenging to pick just one favourite spot. Each onboard area drops subtle hints about the incredible fun you're in for. El Morocco Lounge is the ultimate hub for comedy, music, karaoke, and entertainment – it's got that relaxed '30s vibe. The "Royal Flush Casino" sets the stage for some thrilling wins, and jazz hotspot, The Cool, speaks volumes without words. And let's not forget Fahrenheit 555™, a top-notch dining experience!

If you're all about keeping the fun going, they've got you covered. If you love "splishing" and "splashing," Carnival WaterWorks™ is the place to be! Looking for a laid-back thrill? Check out the new Green Lightning thrill-slide. And for those who enjoy floating or swimming, there are pools everywhere, including one midship with a retractable roof for pool time, rain or shine. So, whether you're a splash-and-dash type or a lazy river lover, prepare for a water adventure!

But if relaxation is your thing, the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat™ is your slice of heaven. And for the ultimate relaxation, the Cloud 9 Spa™ offers more ways to unwind than you can imagine, both on land and at sea. You won't want to miss the serenity of a Thalassotherapy pool or the soothing vibe of a dry heat chamber. It's all about taking it easy and making the most of your Carnival Splendor experience.

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](/articles.cfm?ID=545).

Theatre

The tri-level, 1,400-seat Spectacular Spectacular sets the stage for the main evening entertainment. The program kicks off with a "welcome aboard" song-and-dance performance and rotates out several Broadway-style spectacles throughout the course of the cruise (typically with two seatings per night) that tout themes like the high-energy rock 'n' roll show, *Epic Rock*, and *'80s Pop to the Max*. In other evening time slots, the show lounge plays host to game show-style interactive events such as *Hasbro*, *The Game Show*. During the day, it stages orientations, lectures, *Dr. Seuss Story Time*, bingo games and more.

Daily Fun

What would a Carnival cruise be without trivia contests (on everything from Dr. Seuss to *Star Wars*), bean bag tosses, towel animal theatre and the men's hairy chest contest? Now that's entertainment. The busy daily program on any given day might highlight spa seminars, cooking demos, art talks and auctions, sports tournaments (such as lobby bowling, volleyball and ping-pong), shop talks and sales, card/gaming tournaments (*Texas Hold'em*, blackjack, etc.), early-morning stretch classes and more. Look, too, for one-off events such as a sailaway party, ice-carving demo, and a Dr. Seuss character parade and Story Time event. DJ-spun or live music is typically held poolside and/or in the main lobby during the afternoon.

At Night

The smaller aft-side 425-seat theatre/lounge El Morocco exudes an exotic Northern Africa-inspired aesthetic (animal prints, lanterns and tiles), with lounge-style entertainment anchored on evening comedy sets from Carnival's *Punchliner Comedy Club* program. Sailings rotate a changing roster of comedians who typically perform two nightly sets, one for families and ones for adults only. The 790 square-metre (8,500 square foot) Royal Flush has a capacity for close to 500 gamers, comes with about 200 slot machines and plenty of casino prize games and gaming tables. The decor plays up the "royal flush" theme with a playing card motif that covers the ceiling and literally comes out of the walls with card-inspired sculptures. Art talks/auctions, karaoke and shop events continue through the early evening. On one night of the cruise, there's a grown-up late-night scavenger hunt held onboard, dubbed the Carnival Quest. Another big evening draw are the photo ops -- Carnival is quite good at setting up diverse photography backdrops around the ship, and getting pro shots taken is a big draw, especially on elegant nights. For live music, look to the lobby stage for a live band or acoustic performer playing a variety of music or the casino stage for lively party music. The Grand Piano Bar puts on live piano tunes nightly. There's a beach party on the Lido Deck one night of the cruise, and a handful of special scheduled evening gatherings (held at assorted venues) that cater to LGBTQI+ groups, singles (ages 40-plus) and more. Another fun Splendor feature is its Dive-In Movies, held poolside on the Lido Deck, under the stars (a retractable roof ensures all-weather access), with films screened nightly on a 25 metre (270 square foot) screen.

Carnival Splendor Bars and Lounges

About half of the Splendor's 20-plus lounges and bars are distinctive spaces touting their own personalities, while the other half are more discreetly hidden away in eateries and in the main theatre. The Promenade Deck, on Deck 5, is the social and imbibing centre of Splendor. Drinks are priced a la carte; unlimited alcohol (with a 15-drink daily limit) and soda packages are available at a daily rate.

Splendor Bar (Deck 3): Though this pink-and-gold hued lobby bar itself only has seating for 10, surrounding tables with comfy seats invite lingering near this always-crowded ship hub. The space anchors the soaring, illuminated atrium above, and touts a stage (and dance floor) for live music, trivia events and more.

RedFrog Pub (Deck 4): The most lively bar on the ship, the RedFrog Pub has plenty of seating and a stage where popular Carnival band Music Manila rocks the house most nights. When things get going, it can be hard to even get through the door of this popular venue.

Our House (Deck 5): Don't miss the big game just because you're at sea, thanks to this 55-seat sports bar outfitted with numerous flat screens, brown leather banquettes and stadium-inspired decor, set just off the casino.

Oceanview Bar (Deck 5): This slender strip of a lounge proposes intimate seating nooks with expansive windows overlooking the sea on one side and a bustling pedestrian promenade on the other. Great for people-watching, the bar boasts a stage for nightly musical entertainment and is serviced by a busy bar just adjacent to the casino.

Grand Piano (Deck 5): Tune in to near-nightly singalong piano music at this atmospheric piano bar, with seating for 100. Pull up a stool at the fun keyboard-themed bar that encircles the pianist, and be first in line for requests.

Alchemy Bar (Deck 5): This circular cocktail bar is an intimate space with bar stool seating at high tables, and a handful of highly sought after seats at the bar. It's the place to come for sophisticated cocktails and entertaining Martini Making and Tasting Classes.

The Red Carpet (Deck 5): This red-hued 18-and-over dance club (you'll be greeted with mannequins waiting in line on the "red carpet" out front) is the ship's hub for late-night action, with a live DJ spinning tunes with themes like '80s hour and "electric white night".

The Cool (Deck 5): Designed as a jazz club, with a stage and dance floor, leather seating (with room for nearly 90 patrons) and murals depicting jazz great Miles Davis, this lounge is quiet most nights.

El Morocco (Deck 5): A secondary theatre/lounge, El Morocco recreates the famous 1930s' New York supper club of the same name with its zebra-patterned banquettes and palm trees. Nightly comedy shows are held here, along with frequent karaoke events.

Blue Iguana Tequila Bar (Deck 9): As well as serving tequila based drinks, this bar turns out buckets of beer, glasses of wine and frothy cocktails to the daytime pool crowd and evening drinks on Dive-In Movie nights.

Red Frog Rum Bar (Deck 9): Located next to the Splendido Pool, this bar serves different rums, rum cocktails, draft beer and other drinks to cool you down on a hot day.

Serenity Bar (Deck 9): This popular daytime watering hole services the adults-only aft-side swimming pool, and also dispenses beverages for diners in the adjacent Lido Buffet. ## Carnival Splendor Outside Recreation

 

Pools

Not surprisingly, Splendor's pools, sun decks and sports decks are big draws. In all, there are two pools and five hot tubs, along with a water slide and water-spray park for kids. The central Splendido Lido pool is popular with families, featuring a large, open, glass-walled area that's two decks high. It can be closed in inclement weather with a retractable sky dome. A highlight of this dramatic space is the Seaside Theatre with its 25-metre (270 square foot) outdoor screen, which shows concerts, sports, movies and more throughout the day and into the night. Splendor's aft pool deck is airy and welcoming, offering transporting views over the ship's wake and open sea. Because of its proximity to the buffet and bars, its two roomy hot tubs and adults-only status, it's a favourite hangout for those travelling without kids.

Recreation

Scare yourself silly on the Green Lightning waterslide, which launches with a 11.3-metre freefall drop as the capsule floor opens, followed by a slingshot curve, and quick exit into a giant green swirling bowl. There is also a much tamer spiralling Twister waterslide (access to the slides is from Deck 14). Nearby, a small kids' splash park offers slides and water features geared toward the 11-and-under set. On Deck 14, look for an elaborate pirate-themed nine-hole mini-golf course that's free to play, as well as a convertible basketball/volleyball court. Deck 10 is home to a pair of Ping-Pong tables. There is also a nearly life-size chess set for alfresco strategizing on the Lido Deck.

**Sun Decks** All pools come with surrounding sun decks that are equipped with cushioned loungers; there are some additional loungers up on Deck 12, overlooking the main pool. Adults travelling alone will enjoy Serenity, the quiet adults-only sun deck, way up on Deck 12 at the front of the ship.

Carnival Splendor Services

In the main lobby, at the base of the ship's multi-story atrium on Deck 3, passengers can access the guest services and shore excursions desks; guest services is open around the clock, though you'll need to consult the daily program for shore excursion desk hours. Travellers interested in booking a future cruise can check in at the designated reception desk on Deck 5. Atlantic Deck, on Deck 4, houses the library, which, while tastefully appointed with leather seats and Alexandria-inspired murals, has limited hours. Our advice? BYOB -- bring your own books. You will also find the Internet cafe on this level.

Passengers can also use their laptops throughout the ship, which offers wireless Internet access. Pricing is the same for the ship's computers as it is to access the web on personal laptops. The Social Plan starts at AU$36 for a three-night cruise; the Value Plan starts at AU$40 for 24 hours; Premium starts at AU$50 for 24 hours. Bulk full-cruise plans are also available. Splendor also has several do-it-yourself laundry and ironing rooms. There are two or three washers and dryers, and one iron and ironing board in each launderette. The cost is AU$3.25 per washer load and AU$3.25 per dryer load. Vending machines dispense small boxes of detergent and water softener at AU$1.50 per box.

An art gallery is located near the entrance to The Black Pearl restaurant on Deck 3. To review photos or purchase camera- and photo-related gear, visit the Pixels Gallery on Deck 4. Also on Deck 4 is a boardroom for meetings, hidden away in a little-trafficked area of the ship. A doctor-equipped medical centre is situated on Deck 0. Shops come clustered together on Deck 5, outside of the entrance to the show lounge. There is a special-occasion shop selling candy, flowers and the sort; as well as a duo of duty-free shops. One focuses primarily on apparel, Carnival-branded gear, chocolates and alcohol; the other on perfume, jewellery, watches and cosmetics.

Spa

With the bi-level Cloud 9 Spa, one of the largest and most elaborate in the Fun Ship fleet (spread out over Decks 11 and 12), Splendor outdoes itself. First, the two-story spa, with its Pan-Asian design, is gorgeous and features another first for the line: a soothing thalassotherapy pool covered by a glass dome and featuring heated, ionised water and pulsating water jets.

There's a thermal suite of climate-controlled rooms, including steam rooms, offering varying degrees of warmness and coolness. Heated ceramic loungers are lovely. A day pass to the thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite is a AU$40, though it's free for passengers booked into one of the 68 spa cabins and suites. Cloud 9 offers an impressive menu of services in 17 treatment rooms: facials, various kinds of massages, acupuncture and body treatments, such as Ionithermie cellulite reduction and seaweed massage. Elemis beauty products are used exclusively.

One interesting offering is the Elemis SkinLab Facial Mapping Analysis, where therapists use advanced clinical imaging to identify specific skincare concerns (this was carried out next to the busy spa reception desk on our visit which wasn't ideal). The spa services can get pricey -- AU$120 or more – but the quality is excellent. It's a good idea to check for port specials, which tend to be less expensive. The salon offers everything from conditioning treatments to shellac manicures and pedicures and tooth whitening. Grooming services are also available for men. There's also a YSpa concept, offering teen-inspired treatments, salon services and fitness classes for passengers ages 12 to 17. Salon services are available for all ages. *

Fitness

The fitness centre, open from 6 am to 10 pm is first-rate. In addition to free weights and resistance weights, there are more than 30 treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes, each with its own TV screen. For a fee, consultants are available for personal training, metabolism testing and nutrition planning. The gym also offers seminars like 'Eat More to Weigh Less' and 'Secrets to a Flatter Stomach'. Finally, you have no excuse to give up your daily walk while you're onboard. On Deck 12's open-air track, six circuits equal one kilometre.  

Splendor gets it right on the dining front, offering everything that's become an industry standard, along with a few surprises: a super Indian tandoori grill, a stir-fry station, great pizza and a superb chef's table experience that includes an entertaining pre-dinner tasting session in the galley. Special dietary requests can be made when booking, including vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, low cholesterol, low sugar, etc, plus there is the option to speak to the restaurant managers on boarding. Dedicated kids' menus are on hand, too.

Free Dining

The Gold Pearl and The Black Pearl (Decks 3 and 4) Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

Seating a combined total of 1,866 passengers, The Gold Pearl is the larger of the two venues, with room for 1,122 diners, and also offers pleasant aft-view seating, overlooking the ship's wake.  The majority of tables accommodate four, six and 10 diners with a limited number of two-tops. Open-seating a la carte breakfast and lunch are offered in The Gold Pearl. Dinner tables are assigned in two seatings -- at 5.45 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. -- or passengers can opt to walk in at whim via the "Your

Time Dining" option available at Black Pearl Restaurant. When the wait staff -- friendly and attentive as they are -- start singing and dancing, a signature Carnival twist, you know it is nearly time to leave. The three-course dinner menu is robust and focusses on familiar favourites and international flavours. There's always at least one vegetarian choice and designated healthy main plate, that's lower in calories, sodium, cholesterol and fat. Some half-dozen desserts include the line's signature decadent warm chocolate melting cake with vanilla ice cream. The International Flavours selection changes daily and includes an appetiser and entree (and cocktail) inspired by a destination around the globe such as Italy. For AU$30, you can enjoy a number of steakhouse selections such as lobster tail or surf and turf, in the main dining room. One downside of eating in the main dining room is the service can be somewhat slow, which can be a problem if you want to attend a show. If you have somewhere to be, order as soon as you arrive. 

Spendido Lido (Deck 9 and 10): B, L, D The Spendido Lido, a self-serve buffet that rises two levels on the Lido Deck, is a crowd-pleaser because of its uncommon variety and its proximity to the pools, hot tubs, water slide and sun decks. With capacity for nearly 1,400 diners, there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and enough ocean views to go around. However, the lines can get long, especially at breakfast, so be prepared for waits. Splendido Lido serves a continental breakfast, beginning at 6.30 am, and then breaks out into a full-blown breakfast, offered from 7 am to 11.45 am. This is a ship that stays up late and sleeps in -- it's not unusual to see cruisers enjoying bacon and eggs close to midday. The buffet lunch served from 12 pm to 1.30 pm can be pretty grand. At the Mongolian Wok, for instance, you select a bowl of fresh vegetables -- onions, mushrooms, snow peas and carrots, for example -- that the chef then fries with chicken, salmon, pork, duck or squid and a choice of sauces. Every day, look for a rotating daily selection based on the chef's choice, such as a Mexican culinary theme. In the evenings, from 5.30 pm until 9 pm, Splendido Lido serves buffet-style dinner for a laidback night of dining. The salad bar and carving station will seem familiar because they're a repeat from lunch, but other items are typically from the main dining room menu. During lunch and dinner, the dessert bar offers a choice of tempting cakes. A self-serve ice-cream and frozen yoghurt machine is available 24/7. There's no wait staff in Splendido Lido, so if you want a glass of wine or an aperitif to accompany the meal, you'll have to walk to a poolside bar to get one.

Carnival Deli (Deck 9) Meals: L, D Open from about 11 am to 11 pm, the deli counter is located on the Serenity Deck and is open when the hot buffet is closed. You'll find sandwiches such as pastrami, along with favourites like grilled cheese or chicken wraps. There is usually a line, but it's a handy, free go-to for whenever you're hungry or want something a bit healthier.

Masala Tiger (Deck 9) Meals: L There are a big queues at this popular free dining spot for a reason. Masala Tiger dishes up some of the best Indian food you'll find on land or at sea. Dine al fresco at one of the tables adjacent to the counter or take your meal inside to enjoy in the main buffet seating area.

Swirls Soft Serve and Fro Yo (Deck 9) Meals: 24/7 These soft-serve machines are dispersed throughout the Lido Marketplace, and are open 24 hours a day. Soft-serve ice cream comes in vanilla, chocolate or swirl; while we usually saw chocolate, strawberry or vanilla frozen yoghurts. Choose between cup or cone.

Pizzeria del Capitano (Deck 9) Meals: 24/7 Located near the pool, Pizzeria del Capitano dishes up pizza slices and pizzas made to order. It's tasty, free and offers enough variety to justify multiple visits. Gluten-free pizza is available by request.

Guy's Burger Joint (Deck 9) Meals: L Guy's Burger Joint serves a selection of burgers for lunch, with the option to customise with cheese, onion rings, or chili options, along with an entire toppings bar. Salty but tasty, they're a hit with all ages.

Fee Dining

The Chef's Table (Deck 3); $AU120 per person Meals: D Available on all of Carnival's ships, the Chef's Table dining experience includes a multicourse dinner with wine matching, pre-dinner drinks and a tour of the galley, which includes an entertaining tasting session. On Splendor, this dining option takes place in the 28-seat Pink Pearl (an annex to The Black Pearl main dining room). The experience can be booked onboard at the guest services desk for guests ages 12 and older only.

Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (Deck 3); $AU12 Meals: B On select sea days, the main dining room hosts a "Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast," a play on the line's Dr. Seuss partnership, which features characters like the Cat in the Hat and, you guessed it, green eggs and ham.

JavaBlue (Deck 5); a la carte Meals: Snacks Splendor has a premium coffee bar that sells barista coffee, herbal teas, iced lattes, milkshakes, cookies and cakes, which are not priced at more than a few dollars each. This coffee bar-style spot is always buzzing.

Juice & Java (Deck 5); a la carte Meals: Snacks Freshly squeezed juices and caffeine are the order of the day at this popular drinks outlet. The queues here tend to be shorter than those at JavaBlue, especially at peak times.

The Seafood Shack (Deck 9); a la carte L, D Located inside the Splendido Lido, this seafood venue dishes up everything from classics such as fish and chips and oysters to seafood platters, and lobster priced by the kilogram.

Fahrenheit 555 (Deck 11); $AU55 lunch, $AU35 dinner Meals: L, D Carnival Splendor's steakhouse is great value when you consider the robust menu and polished service, and the stylish top-deck venue. Reservations are recommended at the 108-seat eatery, which oozes classic Art Deco-style steakhouse decor. If you are looking to indulge your sweet tooth and your love of Instagram, order the Art at Your Table dessert, which tastes as good as it looks.

Room Service; a la carte Meals: 24/7 Food, soft drinks and bottled water are available 24 hours a day, while beer, wine and Champagne can be delivered to your cabin from 10 am to 11 pm. Each item is priced individually. While breakfast is free everywhere else on the ship, you have to pay for it if you use room service.

Pizza Delivery; $AU7 Meals: 24/7 Use the Carnival HUB app to order a fresh pizza and have it delivered to wherever you are on the ship.

Carnival Splendor has a total of 1,506 staterooms, all fairly standard in their respective categories, with balcony, ocean-view and interior cabins all equally configured at 17 square metres (185 square feet). The balconies themselves add an additional three square metres (35 square feet) or more of outdoor space to equipped staterooms.

Apart from some extra perks in suites and designated spa cabins, and, of course, different ranges of cabin sizes, there aren't all that many big differences in stateroom amenities. As one ship executive explained: "This is a one-class ship." To that end, every stateroom has a telephone, individual climate control, hairdryer, small safe, mini-bar (which is empty), bathrobes and an interactive flat-screen television that lets you do everything from checking your account to ordering a bottle of wine or shore excursion tickets.

There is a multisection wardrobe with hangers, shelves and drawers for storage, as well as some additional drawers/shelving within the desk/vanity table and nightstands. Every stateroom, excluding interiors, also comes with a table and sitting area and has been fitted with Australian three-point plugs. Truthfully, the rooms feel a bit dated and could use a refresh. The ship hasn't had any major refurbishments since its 2008 launch and, in the staterooms especially, it shows. With the sole exception of the spa cabins, no stateroom has much in the way of toiletries -- except for shampoo and bath gel dispensers in the showers and soap bars.

Apart from the suites, bathrooms are shower-only, and only bathrobes are provided. There are 1,441 passenger staterooms overall. Standard cabin categories comprise 556 inside cabins, 331 oceanview cabins, 503 balcony cabins, and 51 suites and grand penthouse suites. There are also 65 Cloud 9 passenger staterooms comprising three grand suites, 34 balcony cabins, four ocean-view cabins, and 24 interior cabins. Of the 1,441 cabins, 220 can be inter-connecting for families and groups of friends. There are 29 wheelchair-accessible cabins available across the available cabin categories.

Interior: Splendor offers a generous number of interior cabin options. All measure 17 square metres (185 square feet), and some tout unique configurations -- one unit has an upper/lower format that offers more floor space than the standard double twin beds, with a single twin bed and an upper Pullman. Nineteen others actually have windows overlooking walkways on outdoor decks (which allow natural light, but are not so ideal for privacy); they're situated near the front of the ship, on Decks 6, 7, 9 and 10. There are even 14 cabins designated as "insides" that offer two porthole windows; they're scattered around Decks 1 and 2 forward.

Ocean-view: There are nearly 350 ocean-view staterooms onboard, at 17 square metres (185 square feet apiece). The majority are standards with two twin beds that can be pushed together as a king. Some units only afford obstructed views (though at better rates).

Balcony: Balcony cabins are no roomier than inside or ocean-view staterooms, at 17 square metres (185 square feet), but offer a variety of balcony sizes, ranging from the standard three square metres (35 square feet) to nearly six square metres (60 square feet) with extended balconies or even seven square metres (75 square feet) with wraparound balconies. All balconies come with two seats and a table. The aft-view extended balcony units are especially popular for their vantage point overlooking the ship's wake.

Mini-suite: Splendor has two junior suites on Deck 9 (units 9205 and 9206), measuring 25 sq. metres (275 square feet), with standard three-metre (35 sq. foot) balconies. The spacious mini-suites offer sitting areas, combination shower/whirlpool tubs and double sinks, and two large closets, along with a walk-in dressing area. **Suite:** The suites, which grant passengers VIP check-in for priority embarkation, all come with private balconies and are clustered largely on Decks 7 and 10. They include 25 square metre (275 square foot) Ocean Suites (42 units, on Decks 7, 9 and 10) and 32 square metre (345 square foot) Grand Suites (10 units, on Deck 7); those measurements don't count balconies that add up to an additional eight metres (85 square feet) of space. There's also one spacious, wheelchair-equipped 41 square metre (450 square foot) modified Ocean Suite (cabin 7226), trimmed with a massive 10-metre (110 square foot) balcony. The size doesn't really buy much in the way of extra elbow room, in terms of moving about the cabin. The "extra" instead, is found in larger bathrooms and walk-in closets and, in a few cases, slightly larger balconies. Unlike the other cabins, which are shower-only, the suites feature bathrooms with combination showers/whirlpools/bathtubs, bidets and double sinks. Suites also have a second sink outside of the bathroom itself.

Spa: Splendor's 68 Cloud 9 Spa cabins (spanning interior, ocean-view, balcony and suite configurations) were a first for the line, and have since been introduced on other ships. Located on the Panorama and Spa Decks -- 10 and 11, respectively -- the spa cabins offer the same sizes and layouts as other non-spa-designated units on the ship; the four spa suites measure 25 square metres (275 square feet), with six square metre (65-square-foot) balconies. Unlike the rest of Splendor's cabins, the design theme is Asian to reflect the serenity of the Cloud 9 Spa. That includes drapes, bed linens -- even the carpet in the hallways. Passengers in the spa cabins are also treated to upgraded terrycloth robes, slippers and Elemis toiletries. Most of the cabins are located on Deck 10, directly below the spa, and are accessed by a private spiral staircase or glass elevator. Other amenities include unlimited use of the thermal suites and thalassotherapy pool, two yoga or pilates classes and special spa packages and discounts. Spa suite passengers get priority embarkation.

Sun Deck
Spa Deck
Panorama Deck
Lido Deck
Verandah Deck
Empress Deck
Upper Deck
Promenade Deck
Atlantic Deck
Lobby Deck
Main Deck
Riviera Deck

Best for...

Budget-conscious, gregarious families, couples and solos looking for an unpretentious vibe that's all about having fun

Not the best for...

Anyone who doesn't appreciate off-color humor, lively hairy chest contests, burgers and BBQ, and thumping music

Who goes on Carnival Cruise Line cruise ships?

Carnival Cruise Line sells itself as the "fun" cruise line, and it attracts cruisers who are looking to have a good time with little to no pretensions. Carnival cruisers, who range from young to old, tend to be quite friendly, looking to strike up conversations with other people in the buffet, by the pool and, really, anywhere. Carnival is also one of the most family-oriented lines in the industry, and you're bound to see lots of kids onboard, even during the school year. When school is out, you can expect the number of kids to be well into the hundreds. The line is also popular for family reunions, and bachelor and bachelorette parties. People on Carnival cruise ships hail primarily from the United States, mainly the south and Midwest, but you'll also meet folks from Canada, England and usually a handful of other European countries.


Do I have to dress up on a Carnival Cruise Line cruise?

Carnival cruises are casual, with shorts, tee shirts, capris, swimsuits or swim cover-ups de rigueur during the day (no bathing suites in the dining venues, however). Most nights the dress code remains much the same, minus the swimwear, though technically the cruise line asks that people not wear shorts into the main dining room. The policy is inconsistently upheld. On "elegant" nights, you'll see a range of clothing from ball gowns, dresses that leave little to the imagination, tuxes and suits to the same shorts and tees people sport all day long. Most men, however, opt for long trousers and collared shirts, while women don sundresses, or a skirt or trousers with a blouse. Men are not required to wear a suit jacket or tie in any venue.


Is everything free on Carnival Cruise Line cruises?

No. While Carnival is one of the more inclusive cruise lines when it comes to dining, you will still have to pay extra for some specialty dining, all drinks (alcoholic and non, except water, select juice at breakfast, and coffee and tea), shore excursions, visits to the spa and any retail purchases, including photos.


What are Carnival Cruise Line's most popular activities?

Aside from the main pool, which is the hub of much of the line's fun activities, almost every Carnival cruise ship also has at least one waterslide, with several having multi-slide water parks. Additionally, several have a top-deck SportSquare that features a colourful collection of outdoor amusements, including Ping-Pong, billiards, foosball, mini-golf, Twister and a SkyCourse ropes course. On the line's newest ships (Vista and Horizon), there's also the SkyRide, a recumbent bike attraction suspended 150 feet up in the air, requiring riders to pedal their way around an 800-foot track that wraps around the outer decks. Inside, you'll find activities that range from trivia and Bingo during the day to comedy shows and high-tech song-and-dance revues at night. Carnival ships also have lively bar nightlife, especially on ships with a RedFrog Pub; there's also an always-busy casino.


Prices based on:

Interior Stateroom
Interior Stateroom

  • Twin beds that convert to a king
  • Please note that 1A grade cabins will be will be either 1 lower and 1 upper bed, or 1 lower bed a 1 convertible sofa bed
  • Television, safe, mini bar, phone, sitting area with chair, hair dryer
  • Private bathroom with shower

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise

Ocean View Stateroom
Ocean View Stateroom

  • Twin beds that convert to a king
  • Picture window
  • Television, safe, mini bar, telephone, sitting area, sofa, hair dryer
  • Private bathroom with shower

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise

Balcony Stateroom
Balcony Stateroom

  • Twin beds that convert to a king
  • Balcony
  • Private bath with shower
  • Wardrobe, safe, mini bar, phone, television, sofa, hair dryer
  • Sitting area with chair and coffee table

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise

Junior Suite
Junior Suite

  • Two twin beds that convert to king
  • Single sofa bed
  • Sofa and coffee table
  • Desk and seat
  • Full bathroom with shower
  • 3 wardrobes
  • Private balcony with patio and lounge chairs

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise

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