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 Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor seen in her first season at the Northsea Canal passage from Amsterdam at the 12th of august, 2008.

No, I did not make the mistake to forget the 'u' in the ships name, actually Carnival themselves saved some paint on the ship as you can see above. But in the first place, the ship wasn't even meant to be in the Carnival fleet, as she was designed and originally ordered as a unit in a four-ship class for their European brand Costa Cruises. Within the fleet of Carnival Cruise Lines, she thus is a one-off. Of course, she is a modification to the Destiny-design from 1996, so a lot of people will say she isn't but officially, she is. It was the largest order by Carnival Corporation yet for their Costa Cruises brand, starting with the now ill-fated Costa Concordia in 2006. This ship, as we all know, hit rocks at the small island of Giglio close to the Italian port of Civitavecchia at friday the 13th of january 2012 and was the first large modern cruiseliner to founder. This claimed the lives of 32 people and causes a devastating blow to the cruise-industry. The second ship in this class was the Costa Serena, that started her sailings in 2007, followed by Costa Pacifica in 2008. In the same year, the last ship of the class was transferred to Carnival Cruise Lines themselves as their largest ship to that date. She measures some 113.323 tons, is 290,20 meters long, 35,50 meters wide and has a draft of 8,20 meter. She has 13 decks available to her maximum of 3540 passengers. Another figure given is 2974, but this is based at a two-per-cabin basis. These people are cared for by 1150 crewmembers. As a line's first, the ship has the largest spa in the fleet, even one of the largest on any cruiseliner, measuring some 40.000 square-foot. Also, the ship is the first to have a seawater-therapy pool aboard. The ship was built at the Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani wharf at Monfalcone, Italy as yardnumber 6135. She floated out at the 3th of august 2007, before she was delivered to the company at the 30th of june 2008. The ship is registered at Panama.

The ship sailed for Dover, where she was to be named at the 10th of july by Myleene Klass, and English actress, singer and pianist. Carnival wouldn't be Carnival if they did this in a very unusual way. Myleene Klass was singing Rod Steward's song 'sailing' while playing the piano on the ships Lido deck, but meanwhile the hard work was really performed by Royal Navy diver Christian Rumming, when he suddenly emerged from the waters next to the ship with a large bottle of British 1994 vintage Nyetimber sparkling wine instead of the usual champagne in his hand. He climbed five decks up the side of the ship using a rope, before he smashed the bottle and Carnival Splendor was officially becoming a part of the Carnival-fleet, the 23rd to be precise. Fireworks were set off and confetti streamed, and for a few times it seemed that the wide dress that Myleene Klass was wearing started playing with the wind. She was able to hold it down with one hand and replied that 'It only worked for Marilyn'.  Of course also present was Gerry Cahill, President of Carnival Cruise Lines. He explained the use of British sparkling wine instead of the French champagne when he said that the UK was becoming a very important market for the company, doubling passengernumbers the past year. She undertook her first three-day cruise to Amsterdam before the ship sailed a series of cruises in Northern Europe during the summer of 2008. Of course, Carnival Splendor was also the largest ship that had ever sailed from the port of Dover, by the way. After these European cruises, she was re-positioned to the Caribbean.

Carnival Splendor offers a staggering 22 bars and showlounges to her passengers, as well as a large 5500 square foot childrens playground named Camp Carnival. Although she is a Destiny modification, the change in passengers needs between those ships makes Carnival Splendor a very different ship. While the lower decks are practicly the same on both, the upper decks of Carnival Splendor are of a totally new lay-out so a Destiny-passenger also has to find his or her way around. New within the Carnival fleet, the ship offers a retractable glass roof covering the midships pool area's. Also, an adults only outside area is offered, called Serenity. The overall theme of the ship is 'Splendid Things', like the oceanliners of the 1930's, Miles Davis and pearls. This unique theme is inherited by it's original Costa Cruises design, where all ships have their own themed interiours.

In the early morning of the 8th of november 2010, the ship suffered a fire in the engine room while she was two days out of the port of Long Beach sailing for the Mexican riviera. During the afternoon, the fire was out and nobody got injured in the incident. One generator had been burned totally and the ship was unable to sail at her own power, so she was under tow of some tugs that took her to the port of San Diego, where she arrived at the 11th of november. Because there was no power for airconditioning and cooling-systems, helicopters from the US navy that took off from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. were used to fly in fresh products. Of course, the cruise was cancelled and passengers recieved a full refund as well as free tickets for another cruise. 

At the 23rd of february 2012, a group of 22 passengers were robbed by an armed bandid during the City and Jungle Tour while the ship was docked at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They lost all kinds of personal belongings, but luckily nobody got injured and no shot was fired.

In early 2016, the Carnival Corporation ordered several ships for their brands, including a 133.500-ton ship for P&O Australia, the first newbuilt ordered for this P&O subsidiary. The ship was going to be a sister to Carnival's Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon and was planned to enter Australian service from 2019 onwards. But in december of 2016, it was decided that this new ship was to be used within the Carnival fleet itself, so the company could offer the same amenities from different homeports. To fill in for the gap in the Australian fleet, Carnival Splendor, which is a one-off in the Carnival fleet anyway, was the choice to go 'down under' instead. Although a relatively new ship in comparissement with the rest of the Australian fleet, the reactions in Australia were mixed. The P&O Australia brand again recieved an older ship instead of a new one and this is a common complain with Aussies about the brand. It has to be seen or this swap is a good choice for this market, as other companies, mainly Carnival's biggest rival Royal Caribbean, is willing to bring over newly built ships to Australian shores.

As the original newbuilt was planned for 2019, also Carnival Splendor will be starting Australian sailings in early 2019. Of course she will be the most modern ship within the fleet of P&O Australia, as all others were built in the 1990's. But in 2019, also Carnival Splendor will be eleven years old and although an improvement from the 1989-built Pacific Pearl that left for CMV in early 2017, her arrival will not be as exciting as originally anticipated with a brand new ship.    

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