I am a passionate traveller, foodie and explorer mum and love discovering new hot-spots, family-friendly cafes and hidden gems.
Published January 20th 2020
All-inclusive family-friendly fun onboard Carnival Splendor
Cruising is my favourite kind of family holiday. I love that it's all-inclusive - you pay for your fare and you really don't have to pay another cent. You don't have to worry about transport or taxi's or lugging your suitcase around. An incredible kids club is on offer to give grown-ups some much needed kid-free time and all your entertainment is taken care of. Plus you get to visit exotic locations without stepping into an airport. Bliss.
Of course, the ship you pick to cruise on can make or break your holiday. Which is why we love Carnival, as it's always welcoming to families, with amazing, friendly service, delicious food and top-class entertainment.
The cruise company's newest 'baby' in the Aussie fleet, Carnival Splendor is a magnificent ship, with the capacity to take over 3,500 passengers on the holiday of their dreams.
The Magnificent Carnival Splendor Photo: Lisa Wolff
The liner has made a gigantic splash since it first cruised under the harbour bridge in early December 2019.
But before docking in its new year-round home, the liner got a full "Aussiefication" makeover, with new features to appeal to the Australian market. This included an Indian restaurant called Masala Tiger and a splashtastic new Water playground.
Splashtastic Water Play
We climbed onboard Carnival Splendor recently to try out all the fun water activities and we wanted to stay on forever. Believe me, if you also had never-ending scrumptious food at your fingertips, ever-flowing cocktails, entertainment, music, movies AND kids' club, you wouldn't want to leave either.
Water Slide Thrills
There are three main water play zones. There's the Green & Gold WaterWorks, which features the intertwining adrenaline-rushing waterslides - Green Lightning and the Twister. The yellow Twister is a 104-metre-long twisty-turny whoosh down to the bottom of the splash park. It's fast and thrilling, plus, bonus, walking up the steps to get to the top of the slide's mouth is a great way to work off some of the decadent meals.
The Incredibly Thrilling Green and Gold WaterWorks Photo: Lisa Wolff
The Green Lightning is one of those hard-core, super-scary rides that makes you feel all-powerful once you've tackled the challenge. As I stepped into the transparent, green-trimmed capsule and the door slid closed, I couldn't help questioning my sanity. But the suspense is actually more frightening than the ride and after the floor disappears under your feet and you free-fall over 11.3 metres and get whirled around in a gush of swirling water, all I thought about was when can I do this again?
Splashy Cove is the latest addition to the Splendor water fun and this mini water park is perfect for littlies. It has a variety of little (but super-fast) slides, climbing tubes, fountains and showers. The wall of Splashy Cove is decorated with a colourful mural inspired by drawings created by patients of The Children's Hospital at Westmead.
Carnival has partnered with The Children's Hospital at Westmead for over three years and has raised more than $227,800 for the hospital, supporting hard-working doctors and nurses as they care for their brave young patients.
Next, the kids grabbed a lifejacket and we had a dip into the crystal-clear swimming pool. There are two pools on board, as well as five spas and the Adult-Only Serenity Retreat, for when the kids are having fun at Camp Ocean.
What A Feast!
After an energetic welcoming boogie on deck, it was time to eat. The choice of food onboard Carnival Splendor is astounding. I'm a passionate foodie so having a choice of 17 dining venues is paradise to my tummy.
It was the perfect sunny day to have a casual meal outdoors so we grabbed a burger from Guy's Burger Joint (named after well-known Food Network superstar Guy Fieri), which was accompanied by hand-cut, skin-on crispy fries. I loved that there was a generous board of an assortment of toppings to transform our burgers into a deluxe mega-mammoth creation. Toppings included fried onions, fresh veggies, bacon, cheese, sauces and more.
But if you're not into burgers, the Lido has a massive buffet of tasty food - including pick-your-own Mongolian Wok, pies, bbq, soups and salads.
There's also a pizza cafe (Pizzeria del Capitano), the Masala Tiger, The Carnival Deli as well as the main dining rooms.
In addition, there are also outstanding specialty restaurants, which you pay a little extra to eat at. I enjoyed the best steak ever at Carnival Splendor's onboard steakhouse -Fahrenheit 555 so it's definitely worth the few additional dollars.
Now For Something Sweet
Oh, and let's not forget the dessert. I did my best to eat healthily... until my taste buds got hold of the triple-decker chocolate mud cake and the peanut butter S'mores cake. Of course, I had to try the moreish choc chip cookies. The kids couldn't believe their luck that there was a self-serve soft-serve and frozen yoghurt machine right next to our table. Wow, just wow!
The scrumptious desserts on board Carnival Splendor Photo: Lisa Wolff