The Ship...Exterior. Beautiful. Very stable, and maneuvers easily in tight spots, as we have witnessed in some ports. The outside deck plans were user-friendly with one minor exception. Would have been nice to be able to walk completely around the ship, without having to go up and down stairs, or through doors. For casual walkers around the ship, this was a nuisance. There is a running track, but only covered the fore area of ship. Views from different parts of the ship were excellent. Outside walk on Deck 3 limited to side of ship, (port & starboard), no access for views from bow, or stern. Still, a nice walk nonetheless. Lots of deck chairs, although at times some were bundled up, and not available to use, which we thought was a little odd, especially in the sunny warmer days,(this is just a minor point). Good variety of amenities, like basketball court; golf area (netted); golf putting area; three swimming pools (more soaking than swimming); 5 hot tubs (2 indoor); waterslide (very cool!); lots of deck areas; pleasing to the eye.
Interior...It's a Carnival ship. Not conservatively decorated! Not a single spot was missed! Spots everywhere. Pink and black, and a host of other colors. Visually very stimulating. For some, maybe too much! Lots of elevators (glass included). Stairways everywhere to keep you fit! Promenade Deck 5 was interesting, as there were shops (actually only two), a casino, coffee bar, a couple of entertainment areas strictly for younger guests, the Red Carpet Disco with super visual and audio equipment, piano bar and at the stern the El Morocco lounge, which is very tastefully decorated. There is also a Formal Shop, where you can buy flowers, or rent tuxedoes (etc). The Spectacular Spectacular (main theatre, forward) was awesome. The sound system rivals the best land-based theatres. The lighting and stage props were also awesome. The two main dining rooms (Decks 3 & 4) being the Gold Pearl (aft) and the Black Pearl (midships) were roomy, comfortable, and yes, visually stimulating. Lots of little nooks and corners where one can rest, or sit. The main lobby (Deck 3) was well arranged with a dance floor, with band stage on one side, and a full counter bar on the other. Off to one side is the Hotel Lobby desk (Purser), and the Excursion Desk. The hallways to the rooms were extra wide, and did not feel cramped, as you walked along. Three laundry rooms were the target of many guests during the cruise, but when you found the empty wash machine, all went well. The Spa (Deck 11), and the gym are awesome. In high demand, timing was everything in obtaining a cardio machine (elliptical, or treadmill). Views were stunning! Well equipped Library, with many games to be lent out, after signing for it. Deck 9 is the location for the main buffet, and several smaller eating venues (grill; Tandoori; pizza etc). My wife is a vegetarian, and she really liked the variety available, the most of any cruise ship thus far.
Service...AWESOME!! All crew & staff were marvellous. After travelling on the same ship for 57 days, we became extremely aware as to how hard each and every crew/staff member works, day in and day out! There were no exceptions. Be it room service, or room attendant, to dining room staff, to cooks and chefs, to entertainment on stage and behind the scenes, to engineering, to administration, and of course, to the navigational staff. There were ports of call, and nature talks by Dirk, (excellent!)as well as technical talks (computer-related)by MickeyLive!, which were very informative and entertaining as well. There were table magicians who came to your table, and impressed the diners with their magic. A very nice touch during the dining experience! We were extremely impressed. Announcements were clear.
Dining experience...very, very good! Good presentations, and tastefully presented. At times, the selection seemed a little boring, but during the 57-day cruise, that would not be surprising! We still enjoyed each and every meal.
Embarkation/Disembarkation...some times a little quirky, and seemed logistically to be awkward (not using two different ramps for different needs, especially when passengers were going out on excursions had to line up with those disembarking the cruise-as this ship did multi-cruises, back to back, and many stayed on ship). This problem should not arise again, as the ship is now doing 7-day cruises, and everyone disembarks at end of each cruise. Staff and crew were very friendly and helpful at all times.
There have other reviews for you to read. We are submitting ours to try and give a balanced review. We realize nothing is perfect, and there were some little hiccups here and there. But not enough to warrant criticism. We have travelled with 5 other cruise lines, (11 cruises thus far), and can honestly say we enjoyed our experience with Carnival, and in particular, the Splendor.