On July 13th 2008 my Wife, My son (13) and I joined the Carnival Splendor for it's inaugural cruise from Dover (London) on the Northern European Baltic Itinerary. The Carnival Splendor is a wonderful looking Cruise Liner, sleek and new with a very modern look. Embarkment was hassle free as far as loading 3,200 eager passengers can be. The fact that the cruise embarks from Dover encouraged most passengers to be at the embarkment terminal at opening time of 12.00pm creating some congestion. Once on board we were confronted with a by the decor of the vessel, pink pink and more pink with spots and other crazy images. We were prepared as we could be for first time Carnival cruises. We had read the many reviews on other Carnival vessels that described the decors as hideous and off putting but we as a family like abstract and modern and felt that we would grow to like this decor to some degree. So we reserved our initial shock until we had seen the whole of the public rooms. We were able to proceed straight to our balcony stateroom which was spacious and well appointed. We were spared the decor of the rest of the vessel in the staterooms which were traditionally finished with fabulous beds, a space saving flat screen TV and my favorite a shower curtain rather than a restrictive plastic screen door. On further exploration of the ship over the time of the cruise failed to improve our first impressions of the decor, it is hideous and become more hideous the more you seen it. Why would Carnival spend $750 million building a supreme vessel only to let a designer sink this ship with crap like this. This is not art nor is it even close. The public rooms where set out like a rabbit warren, hard to get to and harder to find.
Activities Unfortunately the Carnival Splendor failed also in the area of activities with few and far between, mostly centered around irritating trivia sessions that were mostly based on US questions. On shore days basically nothing of interest was on offer. The only things that Carnival seemed interested in offering as activities were events that would see passengers parting with their cash.
Service This was the saving grace for this ship, the service in most areas outstanding, especially in the dinning rooms. Full points to the catering team and the many wonderful waiters.