For the past three years Kach has been pushing for us to go on a cruise, and for the past three years I have refused. I love the sea, I love sailing, I love water sports and I love being out on the open water, but for some reason I never felt that I would enjoy being on a cruise, always seeing them as a kind of giant, floating hotel which you had to stay inside of for days at a time, or else you’d drown! In short, I couldn’t have been more wrong, the cruise was an amazing experience, was nothing like a hotel and we had plenty of opportunity to get of the ship and explore cool destinations like the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
Our cruise with Carnival Cruise Line changed my opinion so much that I decided to put together this list of tips for other first-time cruisers, to help them get started too!
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Our Cruise on Carnival Splendor
The Splendor of the Sea ship from Carnival Cruise Line is quite a sight to behold, capable of carrying 3012 guests as well as 1150 crew members to service all of their needs and wants. While this sounds like a huge number you needn’t be worried about feeling crowded or packed in, at 952 feet in length there is tonnes of space, 113,000 tonnes in actual fact, is the weight when fully loaded.
The Splendor can be your home for cruises of either 2-5 days or 6-9 days departing from Fort Lauderdale or Miami, Florida and cruising to either the Bahamas, Bermuda or the Caribbean, although I’d happily just stay on board docked in Florida!
Related Article: Our Pre-wedding Caribbean Pictorial with Carnival Splendor
How to Book a Cruise with Carnival Cruise Line – Splendor of the Seas
Firstly, Carnival runs cruises to many destinations from Alaska to the Panama Canal, departing monthly for a minimum of two days to a maximum of nearly two weeks. If like us the Caribbean is your dream cruise destination, then just go online to their website http://www.carnival.com, select Plan in the top left corner and enter your choice of departure month, cruise length and port of destination. In the United States the options are Charleston in South Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida, Galveston in Texas and New Orleans.Your choice of month and departure point will then determine which of their many ships will be docking at your desired time and place. There are certain special rates that can apply if you’re over 55, ex-military, a member of the Carnival VIFP club or a previous customer. This will then provide a choice of cruises for you to browse with varying stopping points along the way also showing full details of on-board amenities, entertainment options and available room types for the dates selected. Scroll further down and you will also see other available cruises that may suit you better at slightly different times and places.Just choose the combination that suits you best, follow the links to choose your preferred location on the boat (middle, front or back and which deck), and the price options for upgrading to include details like a balcony or sea view. There is the option to pay for insurance in case you unfortunately need to cancel your cruise at $79 per person which you then pay for at the same time as your $500 deposit after supplying your personal information to reserve.
What to Pack For Your Cruise With Carnival Cruise Line – Splendor Of The Seas
Whatever room you choose you are guaranteed a great amount of storage space so if packing light is not your strong point, don’t worry! After 3 years of backpacking we are finally achieving our dream of becoming luxury travellers and so have been accumulating a lot more luggage. For our Caribbean cruise we really wanted to make the most of the nice on-board facilities and dine in style so we definitely recommend packing your best party outfits for both dinner and dancing in the nightclub later on.If you book a Caribbean cruise too you’ll be stopping off at least one or two islands over the course of your trip so a selection of beachwear plus comfortable cover ups to explore the town a little are great. For me this was a fantastic opportunity to show off all the swim suits, outfits and accessories that I just never find the time or opportunity to wear elsewhere but if you do forget anything, the ship is also a great place for a little shopping for everything from souvenirs to a work of art, plus special pieces to treat yourself to like jewellery, luxury make-up and perfume, watches and liquor. Don’t forget that the shore excursions will be great opportunities to pick up unique items to remember your holiday by.
How To Choose Your Cabin On Your First Cruise With Carnival Cruise Line – Splendor Of The Seas
Much like the whole ship, accommodation choices on board vary hugely to suit the needs and wants of each passenger, from small and cosy, economically priced to spacious balcony suites for the whole family. The same high level of comfort is applied throughout, with all staterooms served by a room steward, complimentary room service attendant and plenty of perks inside to make your stateroom an easy and peaceful escape whenever you need it.Carnival Cruise Stateroom Options:
Interior Stateroom: the most affordable of the staterooms, two guests can comfortably travel with the full comforts of a private bathroom, luxurious linens and 24 hour room service.
Upgrades from an interior stateroom are porthole rooms with small sea view, space for up to 4 people and option of connecting rooms. Then there’s the picture window located on the walkway sleeping 2 people, Cloud 9 Spa rooms that sleep 3 people and offer private spa access, special amenities and priority spa reservations. Then there are the upper/lower interior staterooms with the same features but more flexibility in the use of space.
Sea view: The soothing views of the sun rising and setting over the vast ocean will settle any passenger’s wobbly sea legs, we loved waking up to this sight and ordering our breakfast in bed from room service. All enjoyed while spotting the tropical islands in the distance! These rooms can sleep 4 and can also connect to other rooms if travelling in a larger party.Upgrades from a sea view are the scenic ocean view, differing only in the floor to ceiling window allowing full views of land, sea and sky and also the Cloud 9 Spa with sea view, sleeping 4 guests in close proximity to the spa facilities where you can enjoy priority access.
Balcony: If just seeing the view isn’t enough then opt for a balcony stateroom, allowing you to step out into your own personal space to feel the ocean breeze rush past, enjoy a morning coffee or an evening glass of wine taking in the changing shades of the sea below before joining the many delights to be found on deck. These rooms can also sleep up to four.Upgrades from a balcony room are the Aft-View extended balcony offering more outdoor space sleeping 3, the Premium balcony larger in both room and balcony for 3 people, Premium Vista balcony also for 3 with a rare corner location for wider views and again the Cloud 9 Spa Balcony with space for 4 and connecting rooms plus easy access to the spa facilities.
Suites: to really experience the complete luxury the Carnival Splendor can offer, opt for a suite which features a balcony, walk-in closet and a whirlpool bathtub. All of this accommodates three people and also gives the added bonus of VIP check-in when boarding.
Upgrades from the Junior Suite can give you an extended balcony in the Ocean Suite, room for 4 people plus extended balcony in a Grand Suite and of course convenient Spa access with a Cloud 9 Spa Suite.
How to get the most out of the Carnival Splendor of the Sea
Anyone who’s never been on a cruise will usually say the same thing – that they are worried they’ll feel bored and claustrophobic on board a boat for several days at a time. Having already convinced Jonathan that that is not the case, I couldn’t wait to show him all of the activities available on the Carnival Cruise Splendor of the Sea. Starting from Caribbean style beach parties, dance classes (very important for our upcoming wedding) fitness facilities to burn off all the calories we would eat, educational lectures and seminars, mini-golf, nightclubs and even the option of taking in a movie from the top deck pool.If you’re traveling with kids you can guarantee that you won’t see them from the minute you step on board, they’ll be straight into the kids clubs, teens’ circles, pizza-making parties or the huge twister waterslide. This leaves you in peace to relax in one of several spas including the Thalassotherapy pool, go for a run along the Oceanside running track or join a wine-tasting or cocktail making workshop. If the unlikely happens and you experience a rainy day, the midship pool even has a retractable roof so your enjoyment can go on uninterrupted. Our favourite activity during our cruise? Bingo!
Check out the Entertainment
The Carnival Splendor of the Sea cruise ship seems to have been designed entirely around entertainment, with each space offering varying forms of performances whether musical, theatrical, dramatic or comedy, guests are guaranteed to find their preferred choice of diversion or discover something new!
Included in the cruise cost you can attend comedy shows, take part in a game show, a karaoke contest or just sit back and be blown away by theatre productions inspired by classic musical eras and genres that will inevitably have you out of your seat and dancing. Also traveling on board are several live bands well-worth watching across a few venues either at the piano bar, the relaxed pub or the lido deck.
If the night still isn’t over for you head to the nightclub which often hosts themed parties and whose resident DJs have a well-curated set to keep you dancing until sunrise.
Food on Board the Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship
This immense cruise ship is absolutely packed with dining options, many of which are included in the all-inclusive cost of your Carnival Cruise. Firstly ‘the dining room’ is a casual, relaxed space to enjoy evening meals, where dinner options include mouth-watering plates of steak, duck, scallops and prime ribs plus kids favourites no matter how picky they are, to be rewarded with a huge choice of desserts.Brunch is covered for both early risers and late sleepers at Sea Day Brunch, and also works well as a lunch spot for Mac n Cheese plus any kind of egg you can think of. Aside from these breakfast, lunch and dinner staples, those looking for something a little different have the world of choice from Mongolian Wok, Indian Tandoori, The Burrito Bar to freshly prepared Deli sandwiches. If you have indulged too far there is always the ‘Good Eats’ restaurant for delicious and colourful self-serve salads.
If none of the above takes your fancy or you have an occasion to celebrate in style some options with additional costs are the primely located Pinnacle Steakhouse found at the apex of the ship and definitely a dressing up occasion. A children’s birthday just begs to be started off with breakfast in the world of Dr Seuss and a plate of Green Eggs and Ham.Between meals there is no end to the choice of refreshments, sweet treats and sharing nibbles to be found either poolside, while browsing the onboard shops or even while taking part in a cooking demonstration from the friendly chefs. Best of all, those with dietary restrictions don’t have to miss out on all of the overwhelming culinary options, they are completely catered for with vegetarian, gluten free, kosher, low carb, low, fat and low cholesterol on all menus.
Note: This sponsored trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of the Management of Carnival Cruise Line. The opinions and text are all mine.