Carnival Freedom, the line's newest ship, may be well into its inaugural season but the line isn't standing still. Indeed, the 113,300-ton, 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor, the next new ship in the fleet, reached a significant milestone this week when its bow was lowered into place.
Carnival Splendor represents a new chapter in Carnival's ship design which, through Freedom, has pretty much followed the design inspired by Carnival Conquest. Not only will Carnival Splendor be the fleet's largest ship, it will also feature some new innovations, such as the addition of a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite -- and 68 special-spa-designated staterooms and suites to its spa. It will also have a water park for kids. The mid-ship pool area will be a new design. Another new feature is the addition of a magrodome (sliding glass roof) to the mid-ship pool (the aft pool already has one); this makes the ship more flexible in colder weather regions. The ship's supper club (Carnival's series of alternative restaurants) will be relocated; instead of its position at the top of the ship on Conquest-class vessels, it will be housed above the Lido Grand Buffet.
It's even being built in a different shipyard than its Freedom brethren, which were constructed at Fincantieri's Malfocone facility, located near Trieste. Carnival Splendor is lodged at Fincantieri's Sestri yard, which is near Genoa. That yard just recently completed CostaSerena and, prior to that CostaConcordia. Interestingly, according to industry chronicler Cruise Business Review, "the Costa ships are already advanced versions of Carnival's Conquest-class and now Carnival is adding some of those innovations to its ships."
Carnival, as you may know, is a sister cruise line to Costa.
Carnival Splendor's maiden itinerary is also new and different; the ship's maiden sailing season will feature Northern Europe cruises.
Carnival Splendor is slated to debut on July 13, 2008 with 12-night Northern Europe cruises from England's Dover. In September -- again, it's 2008 -- the ship will transition to the Greek Isles for a round of sailings before heading across the Atlantic to its winter home in Ft. Lauderdale.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor