Carnival Splendor - Around the Horn of South America

February 17 - March 2, 2009

Carnival Splendor

The Carnival Splendor is Carnival's newest ship (as of February 2009) and is a one-of-its-class ship. The ship was originally ordered for Costa, but changed to Carnival. For this reason, she has more similarity with Costa ships than other Carnival ships.

We had cruised through the Panama Canal on the Carinval Elation in 2007, and when this repositioning cruise was announced, we decided that we needed to go from the Atlantic to the Pacific by the older route. If we had not taken the Panama Canal cruise, I don't think we would have taken this one. We were not able to take the time (and money) to go the entire trip from Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco, so we chose the 2nd leg - Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso (Santiago) Chile.

I remember the Strait of Magellan and the Drake Passage from high school geography and history, but before booking this cruise, I would have been hard pressed to find either on a map. I'm not sure I would have even picked the right continent.

The cruise was fantastic and well worth the investment. There were a couple of disappointments, such as missing Puenta Arenas, but such things do happen. The major goals I had for the cruise were:
  • Sailing around and seeing Cape Horn
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Ushuaia, Argentina - fin del mundo - souviners and mailing postcards
  • Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Chile Inside Passage
  • Gaining no more than a couple of pounds

Of those objectives, the only disappointments were missing Punta Arenas and the Otway Sound penguin colony and not doing as much in Ushuaia as I had hoped (due to bad time management on our part). All of the other goals were met or exceeded.

Those who are familiar with cruising will realize that cruises are sometimes just a sampler because usually only one day is spent in each port. Having been to the ports on this cruise, there are things I would do differently and spend more time with if I am fortunate enough to return to these ports. Those will be noted on the page for each port.

One of the differences from Carnival Destiny and Conquest class ships is the covered Lido. The Lido deck can be covered in just a couple of minutes by a clear dome. Although the Splendor is destined to sail in warm weather at the current time, this cruise also required sailing into colder and ranier weather as we went around the horn of South America. The dome made the Lido deck pleasant, comfortable and usable during this time.

For some reason, I have found Carnival ships a little more difficult to navigate around than Royal Caribbean ships. For example, on decks 3 and 4, if I came up the aft stairs, I could not go forward on those decks due to the dining rooms and galley. I just decided that if I needed to go from one end of the ship to the other, decks 5 and 9 were the easiest. And deck 9 was where the Lido Buffet was located, so I could grab some ice cream on the way by.

The food on the ship was excellent. I am a beef and potatoes person myself, and found each meal to be exceptional - prime rib, filet mignon, chateaubriand, etc. I did, however, find myself looking for an alternative, so on two occasions, I opted for turkey. One of those times, I ate dinner in the Lido Buffet. All other dinners, I ate in the Black Pearl dining room. The second time, I had to choose between the turkey and filet mignon. It was a tough decision, but I opted for the turkey. I should have ordered them both! As for my last goal listed above, I came back at the same weight that I left. I was very surprised. I guess the walking in each port and around the ship helped. On cruises, I avoid taking elevators unless I am hauling baggage or looking at the view in the glass elevators.

Towel Animal

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Lido deck

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Lido deck
Black Pearl dining room

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Gold Pearl dining room
Peter Fisher - Virtuoso Violinist

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Przemek - Pianist
Shirley Dominguez - Harpist

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Galley Tour

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Galley Tour
Backstage Tour

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Backstage Tour