DESMOND TUTU TO SAIL ON CRYSTAL SERENITY IN 2015

Tutu for Crystal at 25

Tutu for Crystal at 25

In what must be regarded as something of a true coup, the venerable Archbishop Desmond Tutu will sail aboard the ultra luxurious Crystal Serenity as part of the line’s 25th anniversary celebrations next year.

The learned and erudite Archbishop Tutu- long a profound and eloquent proponent of human rights and peaceful, non violent resistance in the years of the Apartheid regime, has been a huge figure in the long, slow ‘truth and reconcillation’ process that is an essential part of South Africa’s attempts to deal with its violent racial excesses. It is literally impossible to quantify his value in this cause. Working with his friend, the late Nelson Mandela, Tutu is rightly hailed as a major architect of the nation’s transition into the modern world.

For the 25th anniversary of Crystal Cruises, it is hard to imagine a more potent or engaging guest speaker.

Archbishop Tutu will be on board the Crystal Serenity on March 13th 2015, for the twenty one day voyage from Perth to Cape Town. 

In all, Crystal Cruises has lined up more than fifty international standard guest speakers to celebrate its first quarter century. The line, together with its two, six star rated ships- Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity- has been the most consistently lauded luxury vessels in the cruise market ever since their debuts in 1995 and 2003, respectively.

 

PAUL GAUGUIN STARTS REFIT

Paul Gauguin cruises the waters of French Polynesia

Paul Gauguin cruises the waters of French Polynesia

Singapore dockyard is the chosen venue for a current ongoing refit of the boutique M/S Paul Gauguin.

The 19,000 ton luxury ship has cruised exclusively in the waters around French Polynesia and the South Pacific since being delivered to her owners from the former Chantiers shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France, back in 1998.

Managed for many years by Radisson Seven Seas in its pre- Regent days, the Paul Gauguin quickly acquired a reputation for ultra luxurious cruising and an elegant, intimate.on board ambiance. Not surprisingly, the Paul Gauguin soon became very popular with honeymooners, providing a cost effective, all inclusive way to see that highlights of one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the world.

Highlights of the ongoing current refit include:

* The restoration of all teak decking on Pool Deck, plus all new umbrellas for shade.

* All chairs in La Palette lounge and the L’ Etoile restaurant have been completely reupholstered.

* All cabin balconies have been furnished with new tables and chairs.

* All new chairs in the Internet Cafe.

* Polishing of all in suite and stateroom furniture.

* Refurbishment of the stage in Le Grand Salon.

* A comprehensive overhaul of the on board sound system.

* Some steel work, plus overall hull repainting.

The company was a one ship operation for many years, but now also operates the yacht style Tere Moana- formerly Le Levant of Ponant Cruises -on a series of itineraries in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

CAPTIVATING COPENHAGEN- THE QUEEN OF SCANDINAVIA

 

Copenhagen city fountain

Copenhagen city fountain

Copenhagen; a cool, compact city of green cooper spires, cobbled squares filled with outdoor cafes in the summer, and fantastic, fun filled theme parks. A roisterous, swaggering city that wears its heart on its sleeve and offers a warm welcome to miilions each year. Human in scale, Copenhagen is a city with a real heart and soul.

Compact and easily walkable, the city is brimming with wonderful sights. Passengers arriving by sea are greeted by the winsome Little Mermaid, the symbol of the city. Based on the story created by local hero, Hans Christian Andersen, the diminutive little waif sits silently on her rock, gazing with sightless eyes out to sea.

The sights and sounds come and go like so many ceremonial drum rolls. At the heart of the town is Tivoli, a twenty three acre theme park that gave the young Walter Disney the idea for the string of theme parks that still bear his name. A shimmering, ethereal wonderland full of captivating lights, theatres, restaurants and thrilling fairground rides, Tivoli is the very heart and soul of Copenhagen.

Stroeget is the main shopping street; a pedestrian only thoroughfare that winds along more than two kilometres. Filled and fronted with every kind of shop you could want- from the mainstream to the downright quirky-Stroeget also has many bars, restaurants and cafes, and it hums with life at any time of the day or night.

So, enjoy these few snaps of this pretty, welcoming little city!

A city of green copper spires

A city of green copper spires

The famous Gefion fountain

The famous Gefion fountain

Danish Resistance open air exhibit

Danish Resistance open air exhibit

Copenhagen statuary

Copenhagen statuary

The old naval barracks, Copenhagen

The old naval barracks, Copenhagen

City centre square

City centre square

City centre

City centre

Stroeget, the main shopping centre

Stroeget, the main shopping centre

That portico is pure classical Greek

That portico is pure classical Greek

Lots of Art Nouveau architecture here

Lots of Art Nouveau architecture here

Radhuspladsen, the town hall

Radhuspladsen, the town hall

Close up of the town hall

Close up of the town hall

The city has lots of quirky statues

The city has lots of quirky statues

The entrance to Tivoli Gardens

The entrance to Tivoli Gardens

The city is full of these great vistas

The city is full of these great vistas

Orsteds Park, Copenhagen

Orsteds Park, Copenhagen

City centre

City centre

Canal side setting

Canal side setting

PISA’S MONUMENTAL FIELD OF MIRACLES

Campo dei Miracoli; the 'Field of Miracles'

Campo dei Miracoli; the ‘Field of Miracles’

The infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa has been so lampooned down through history that many people are actually unaware that it is not a stand alone tourist attraction. The quirky, white marble masterpiece of a building actually constitutes just one of an incredible trio of buildings that grace what is known in Italian as the Campo dei Miracoli- quite literally, the Field of Miracles.

An amazing triple flourish dominates the grassy expanse of the complex, comprising of the Duomo, the vast Romanesque cathedral, an elegant Baptistery, and, of course, the infamous Bell Tower itself, the Campanile. 

By far the biggest and most expansive of these buildings is the stunning cathedral. Construction originally started on it in 1062, some four years prior to William the Conquerer’s invasion of Great Britain. It’s a staggering sight; sheathed in floor to ceiling grey marble and white stone, it is entered by a pair of vaulting, bronzed doors installed in 1595.

Inside, you are almost literally overwhelmed by acres of glistening, black and white marble. Overhead, a fantastically gilded ceiling leads up to the vast, frescoed dome the looms above everything else. You could spend the whole day just breathing in the sumptuous, overblown splendour of this cool, vaulting, marble clad colossus. But the Field of Miracles has far more to show you.

Off to the west of the cathedral is the Baptistery, a squat, hulking Romanesque construction that began to take shape in 1153. With a circumference well in excess of three hundred feet, this is the largest surviving building of the kind in Italy, and the marble clad facade bears many of the ornate, overly fussed decorative elements found on the cathedral. Inside, the surprisingly spartan interior has some truly amazing acoustics.

Last, but far from least on the public radar, is the infamous Leaning Tower, a soaring, white marble wedding cake now slanted a full fourteen feet from the perpendicular. It’s demise has been gleefully predicted since construction began in 1173. It took a full 177 years to complete; a quirky white colossus, shearing against a powder blue Tuscan sky.

And that infamous lean? Five years after construction began, when the building had already reached the third tier, it became obvious that a pronounced ‘lean’ was beginning to manifest itself. Partially, this was down to the poor quality of the foundations but, in main, it was as a result of the overly soft sub soil. The architects wisely left it for a hundred years, allowing the soil to harden, before resuming construction.

You can climb the 206 steps to the top, and savour an amazing panorama. But, truth be told, the most amazing vistas of all are to be had at ground level, across the vast, sprawling expanse of this amazing. awe inspiring complex.

So, to give you an appetiser, here are some of the visual highlights of this amazing triple flourish- the fabled Campo dei Miracoli.

The stunning Duomo

The stunning Duomo

Close up of the Duomo

Close up of the Duomo

Detail on the cathedral facade

Detail on the cathedral facade

The beautiful Baptistery dome

The beautiful Baptistery dome

Inside the Baptistery

Inside the Baptistery

Facade of the cathedral

Facade of the cathedral

The detailing is exquisite

The detailing is exquisite

Ageless stone and stunning sky

Ageless stone and stunning sky

Cathedral from another angle

Cathedral from another angle

Walls of the old Ospedale

Walls of the old Ospedale

Part of the walled old citadel

Part of the walled old citadel

Cathedral and Baptistery

Cathedral and Baptistery

Cathedral full frontal

Cathedral full frontal

Close of the Romanesque front

Close up of the Romanesque front

Typical Tuscan outbuildings

Typical Tuscan outbuildings

Gate to the Field of Miracles

Gate to the Field of Miracles

Duomo and Campanile

Duomo and Campanile

Cathedral and Bell Tower

Cathedral and Bell Tower

Baptistery and statuary

Baptistery and statuary

Bell Tower and cathedral

Bell Tower and cathedral

Enjoy!

FARSUND; A NORWEGIAN IDYLL

Gorgeous Farsund waterfront

Gorgeous Farsund waterfront

I had never heard of Farsund before. It was an unknown port of call tacked on to the end of an eight day cruise. I wasn’t expecting much from it, to be honest.

It is a port that most cruise ships never visit. Low profile and obviously off the mainstream cruising radar. Hence my low expectations.

Boy, was I wrong.

Check out these pictures of this compact, beautiful little port of call. Farsund is chocolate box pretty, compact and uncrowded. In fact, I found it one of the highlights of the cruise. A rare, undiscovered gem, with all of the charm, but none of the crowds.

Of course, the fact that we had a picture perfect day weather wise did not exactly hurt, either. But, in any event, Farsund is worth a few hours of anybody’s life.

Cruise lines, please take note. It really is far out in Farsund.

 

The harbour is made for strolling

The harbour is made for strolling

Talk about a town on the water

Talk about a town on the water

Farsund town hall

Farsund town hall

Clapboard houses are typical of Norway

Clapboard houses are typical of Norway

Across the harbour panorama

Across the harbour panorama

Water and walkways

Water and walkways

Beautiful rolling greenery surrounds Farsund

Beautiful rolling greenery surrounds Farsund

Gabled houses on the waterfront

Gabled houses on the waterfront

Just outside the town

Just outside the town

The weather was perfect for strolling

The weather was perfect for strolling

Close up of the town hall

Close up of the town hall

Some people have cars to get around...

Some people have cars to get around…

Probably not so appealing in winter

Probably not so appealing in winter

Looking back at the Farsund marina

Looking back at the Farsund marina

FRED. OLSEN’S BALMORAL

Balmoral

Balmoral

Since she joined the Fred. Olsen fleet in 2008, the 43,000 ton Balmoral has enjoyed the distinction of being the largest passenger ship in the fleet, and also the line’s flagship. As such, she is one of the most popular ships sailing in the UK market today.

She was built by Meyer Werft in Germany for the now defunct Royal Cruise Line in 1988 as the Crown Odyssey, and quickly gained a reputation as one of the most luxurious and elegant cruise ships in service anywhere. Sailing on a series of world wide itineraries, the new ship quickly attracted a hard core of loyal passengers, drawn back time and time again by superb food and service, as well as by her elegant Art Deco interiors, and spacious cabins. In a few short years, she became something of a legend in the cruising firmament.

When Royal Cruise Line was absorbed into NCL (as it was then) the ship was renamed Norwegian Crown, and placed on the summertime New York to Bermuda run, with longer Caribbean cruises in the winter. A brief spell with Orient Lines, another NCL satellite, saw her revert to her original name, and she once again assumed far more of a world wide, globe trotting role.

When Orient Lines was wound up, she returned once more to NCL, and picked up the Norwegian Crown name for the second time. In this guise, she was often seen in South American waters during the winter. But, with the parent company intent on seriously big new builds, it was obvious that she would soon be surplus to requirements.

What came as the big surprise was the actual buyer.

Model of Balmoral in the main lobby

Model of Balmoral in the main lobby

Fred. Olsen had been looking for another ship to join their fleet, especially with the imminent, impending demise of the beloved Black Prince. They purchased the ship from NCL, renamed her Balmoral, and then sent her to a German shipyard for major cosmetic surgery.

This involved slicing the vessel in half, and the addition of a whole new mid section. This contained two new restaurants, several balcony cabins, a new pub and, outside, a new pool and hot tubs on the highest passenger deck. Though a substantial interior refurbishment was carried through to give her the classic Fred. Olsen ‘feel’, the company very sensibly retained much of her original elegant, highly lauded Art Deco styling. The ship was then put back into service.

As Balmoral, this still beautiful ship operates everything from three night, weekend party cruises to full world cruises in January. The Balmoral is just as likely to be found in the Norwegian Fjords or New York these days.

Steady, luxurious, and as intimate and well fed as the Fred. Olsen tradition has always dictated, the Balmoral has become one of the most popular and consistently successful cruise ships in the UK market today. With a large number of affordable single cabins, as well as some of the most commodious and expansive balcony suites found on any ship of her size, the Balmoral is one of the best buys in the cruise industry today.

The pictures in this collection were taken on board by me during a cruise to Norway in the summer of 2012. Enjoy!

Balmoral flank shot

Balmoral flank shot

Seven Continents main restaurant

Seven Continents main restaurant

Elegant table settings

Elegant table settings

Aft lido panorama

Aft lido panorama

Forward show room

Forward show room

Gangway shot in Bergen, Norway

Gangway shot in Bergen, Norway

Art Deco lobby staircase

Art Deco lobby staircase

Broad Balmoral passageway

Broad Balmoral passageway

The aft facing Lido Lounge

The aft facing Lido Lounge

This is the new part of the ship

This is the new part of the ship

The Morning Light pub

The Morning Light pub

Observation Lounge overlooking the bow

Observation Lounge overlooking the bow

Another shot of the same room

Another shot of the same room

The funnel, looking forward

The funnel, looking forward

Gorgeous, curved aft terraces

Gorgeous, curved aft terraces

The original aft pool deck

The original aft pool deck

Port side promenade deck

Port side promenade deck

The 'Fred' logo on Balmoral's funnel

The ‘Fred’ logo on Balmoral’s funnel

Dolphin sculpture on upper deck pool wall

Dolphin sculpture on upper deck pool wall

Long bar in the show lounge

Long bar in the show lounge

BEAUTIFUL BERGEN- NORWAY’S NATURAL WONDER

Panoramic Bergen

Panoramic Bergen

Like both Rome and Lisbon, Bergen is surrounded by a cradle of seven rolling hills. A brilliant, beautiful confection of brightly coloured clap board houses and fishing boats set like insects in aspic at the head of a stunningly beautiful fjord, Bergen is a city with its feet wet. Like Venice, the city is very much a ‘bride of the sea’.

Fleets of stout, stocky fishing boats in a hundred rainbow hues discharge their daily catch into the market square, right in the middle of town. Sea food does not come any fresher, or easier to pick up for the locals. Along that same quay stands the shambling, fascinating complex of the Bryggen, an avenue of preserved, thirteenth century former merchant houses, now skilfully converted into an amazing, if somewhat quirky shopping arcade.

Here, you can pick up anything from a Rolex watch to a reindeer blanket, all at suitably stratospheric prices. Just outside, a swathe of bars, cafes and restaurants spill out across cobbled streets washed by brilliant summer sunshine and, just as often, driving rain. If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will usually change.

Bergen is a city that can trace its roots back to the ancient Hanseatic League in the thirteenth century. Crouching along the waterfront is the petrified, twelfth century former banqueting hall of King Haakon; a squat, stony gray throw back to Norway’s feudal era.

A city built on water

A city built on water

Elsewhere, you’ll find a surprising amount of elegant, immaculate Art Nouveau houses and shops lining a series of  brightly coloured thoroughfares. In places, this stout, typical Norse city is surprisingly evocative of Paris, complete with squadrons of wheeling, screeching seabirds that descend on the harbour like squadrons of dive bombers.

But Bergen is also a city blessed with great natural beauty; garlanded with gorgeous flowers, parks, and elegant, sometimes quite sombre statuary. Clean, vibrant and brimming with life, Bergen is never, ever dull.

Best view? No question on this one. Take the fun, local funicular railway ride up to the top of Mount Floyen, for a spectacular view out across the magnificent sweep of the city, the fjord, and the wide open sea beyond that. It’s an exhilarating panoramic feast for the senses; one not easily forgotten.

The harbour itself is full of bustling ferries, yachts and fishing vessels at any hour of the day or night. During the summer months, flotillas of cruise ships nudge in and out of the harbour practically every day.

Of course, the city is not a cheap date. But Bergen is fascinating and compelling by turn, and even just a few hours spent exploring its cobbled streets, or simply window shopping along the many market stalls on the bustling quayside, represents a really valuable return for the effort.

Or you can simply do the ‘virtual’ tour, and browse through the selection of photographs below. These were taken in August 2012, on an incredibly warm and beautiful summer day in what is Norway’s ultimate summer time city.

This is Bergen in bloom- enjoy.

Typical Bergen water dwellings

Typical Bergen water dwellings

The Bryggen

The Bryggen

Houses and hillsides

Houses and hillsides

The fish market

The fish market

Spires and stunning scenery

Spires and stunning scenery

Some really sombre statuary

Some really sombre statuary

Lush, green and beautiful

Lush, green and beautiful

The open city centre

The open city centre

Beautiful, pristine buildings

Beautiful, pristine buildings

A spectacular panoramic waterfront

A spectacular panoramic waterfront

The hills surrounding Bergen

The hills surrounding Bergen

Old steamer in Bergen's historic harbour

Old steamer in Bergen’s historic harbour

King Haakon's Banqueting Hall

King Haakon’s Banqueting Hall

Walls of the old fortress

Walls of the old fortress

Green and grey; a Bergen signature

Green and grey; a Bergen signature

The roof of the Banqueting Hall

The roof of the Banqueting Hall

Bergen's streets are full of charm

Bergen’s streets are full of charm

The inner harbour; a blaze of colour

The inner harbour; a blaze of colour

City centre fountains

City centre fountains

The funicular to Mount Floyen

The funicular to Mount Floyen

SINGAPORE- THE LION CITY

Shades of old Singapore

Shades of old Singapore

Originally established as a trading outpost of the British Empire by Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore became one of the most alluring and exotic destinations in the world; a ‘must see’ place that had to be savoured by many people at least once. It’s strategic location as the crossroads of Asia attracted many visitors, and indeed it still does.

Unfortunately, in 1942 it also attracted the Japanese Army. The fall of Singapore was one of the great British military disasters of World War Two- the largest mass surrender in the history of the British Army, in fact. The Singaporeans never quite looked at their old colonial masters in the same deferential way ever again. Independence became more or less inevitable.

Today, Singapore remains a unique, almost totally western style city. It seems to have more in common with Vegas or Manhattan than with Vietnam or Malaysia. With a brash, glittering skyline of steel and glass that manifests itself in a multitude of breathtaking architectural twiststhe modern city has only faint traces of its ancient Asian heritage. Fanatically clean and almost totally antiseptic, the glittering metropolis attracts both awed glances and intense loathing in almost equal measure.

Expensive and entertaining, if not always totally endearing, Singapore may well leave you more than a little baffled. This is a city stuck somewhere between the past and the future that it is so desperate to be a key part of; in plain sight of both, yet not firmly rooted in either. There’s a sense of disconnect here that is almost tangible.

Raffles facade

Raffles facade

Standouts do remain. Raffles Hotel is as chic, elegant and hideously over priced as ever. The Long Bar is full of podgy, over weight tourists sipping lasciviously at the local Singapore Slings. A barman once shot a tiger in this same hotel.

As the Japanese swarmed into the outskirts in 1942, the Raffles barmen spent their last minutes as free men by smashing every bottle of hard liquor that they could find. When the Japanese had taken Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941, they got roaring drunk, before running amok with bayonets in the local hospital. The scene was indescribably horrific.

The sheer gallantry of those Raffles barmen that day was right up there with that of the dance band on the Titanic. Unlike that famous story, theirs is largely unsung.

You’ll still find some of that old, more authentic Asian heritage down in the food and drink stalls near the old airport road. Here, for a ridiculously cheap amount, you can pick at delicious dishes of the local beef and noodles. Tourists tend to avoid it, preferring the eateries on Clark Quay and its neighbour, Boat Quay, with their amazing riverside vistas.

In Singapore, you can buy almost anything, although you’ll do so at a price.The city is magnificent, pristine, and more than a little maddening. In trying to be all things to all people, all of the time, the Lion City seems to have lost any sense of true purpose or direction.

Should you go see it? Well, if you’re in the region, then yes. The hotels are, of course, world class. And Singapore’s Changi Airport is an object lesson in efficiency and security in terms of travel and transit.

Either way, explore and enjoy and- hopefully- enjoy some of these pictures below.

Singapore harbour at dawn

Singapore harbour at dawn

Another side of the city

Another side of the city

The modern skyline

The modern skyline

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

Church viewed from my hotel room

Church viewed from my hotel room

Looking down towards the river

Looking down towards the river

Sensational new waterfront hotel

Sensational new waterfront hotel

It's a linear, clinical vista

It’s a linear, clinical vista

Looking towards the archipelago

Looking towards the archipelago

The W Hotel; three towers and a roof garden

The W Hotel; three towers and a roof garden

Futuristic, fantastic; a Far Eastern Dubai?

Futuristic, fantastic; a Far Eastern Dubai?

Singapore has world class shopping malls

Singapore has world class shopping malls

Yes, there are cows. Plastic ones

Yes, there are cows. Plastic ones

Malls offer just about everything

Malls offer just about everything

Entrance to the Fairmont Hotel, Singapore

Entrance to the Fairmont Hotel, Singapore

Steel and glass as far as you can see

Steel and glass as far as you can see

A city with world class leisure facilites

A city with world class leisure facilities

There's a free form swimming pool up there

There’s a free form swimming pool up there

Everything is relentlessly cutting edge

Everything is relentlessly cutting edge

Modern arenas line the waterfront

Modern arenas line the waterfront

Traces of old Singapore are still thete

Traces of old Singapore are still there

Even an old juke box...

Even an old juke box…

Exactly what it says on the tin

Exactly what it says on the tin

Lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, Singapore

Lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, Singapore

SEVEN SEAS MARINER IN THE CARIBBEAN

First up, these photographs are a throwback to 2008, when I cruised the Caribbean on the sublime Seven Seas Mariner.

Recently, the ship underwent a comprehensive interior refurbishment, in line with that carried through on her sister ship, the equally appealing Seven Seas Voyager.

So these pictures capture what is, essentially, a moment in time. But look closer, and they capture so much else as well that is most definitely still there.

The pictures showcase an environment of space, ease and elegance. There are no crowds, no lines for anything. This is no mass market floating city on the briny.

Here, less is more. Less people equals more high quality service. Less numbers to cater for equals more personalised, quite outstanding and creative cuisine.

Less means more room. And much bigger rooms. Every single one with a private balcony.

Leave the tux at home; less dressy equals more casual.

All inclusive means you can close your wallet, and open your mind to the idea of delicious, total indulgence.

And more quality, personal attention, combined with elegant surroundings, equates to less stress.

More low key as an experience, and far less noisy. This cruise turned down the volume, so that you could hear the real mood music properly.

You could hear the rhythm of the rolling sea. A song as old as time, too often lost in the ringing and chirruping of an on board casino.

You could hear the warm breeze, and feel it kiss your face as sunset ghosted across the ocean like a spectacularly lowering theatre curtain.

Music drifting across the terrace; ice cubes tinkling in your sunset Cuba Libre.

Not less, but truly more. What an adventure….

Open pool deck on the Mariner

Open pool deck on the Mariner

With a side order of Caribbean vistas

With a side order of Caribbean vistas

Want mood music? Fine

Want mood music? Fine

Too much a good thing?

Too much a good thing?

Lunch time buffet appetisers

Lunch time buffet appetisers

The good life, Regent style

The good life, Regent style

Live, lovely jazz

Live, lovely jazz

A sign of quality

A sign of quality

The view from my balcony. Priceless

The view from my balcony. Priceless

Keeping it intimate

Keeping it intimate

Night club bar

Night club bar

Central main stairway

Central main stairway

Beautifully styled Regent interiors

Beautifully styled Regent interiors

Looking up at the Atrium

Looking up at the Atrium

Less effort, more elegance

Less effort, more elegance

Entrance lobby on the Mariner

Entrance lobby on the Mariner

Show lounge

Show lounge

Aft terraces are art works, too

Aft terraces are art works, too

BBC. Balcony. Butler. Champagne

BBC. Balcony. Butler. Champagne

Coffee bar. Regent style

Coffee bar. Regent style

CARNIVAL SPLENDOR MEXICO INAUGURAL CRUISE, 2009

In the summer of 2008, Carnival took delivery of it’s only one off ship design; the 113,000 ton Carnival Splendor. Intended for year long cruises to the Mexican Riviera, the new ship first made a few cruises in Europe. before crossing the Atlantic.

The immense ship- the largest ever built for the line up to that time- then made a series of sensational voyages that took her right around the coast of South America, before finally arriving in Los Angeles, ready to begin the season of cruises she had been intended for.

However, just before the seven night cruises began in earnest, the Carnival Splendor ran a one time, five day cruise down to Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas. It was an itinerary that has never been repeated since.

These pictures were taken on board during the course of that cruise. As you will see, the Carnival Splendor represented a total, Farcusian experience in terms of interior decor. She was, in fact, the last Carnival ship for which the legendary Joe Farcus had complete interior design responsibility; a role he had fulfilled with dazzling success ever since 1972, and the inauguration of the pioneering Mardi Gras.

Famous and distinctive funnel wing

Famous and distinctive funnel wing

The aft pool deck

The aft pool deck

The central lido deck

The central lido deck

Carnival Splendor at Ensenada

Carnival Splendor at Ensenada

Port side view of the Splendor

Port side view of the Splendor

Deck. Ship. At sea.

Deck. Ship. At sea.

Splendor perspective

Splendor perspective

My balcony stateroom

My balcony stateroom

The Atrium Bar

The Atrium Bar

Typical Farcusian whimsy

Typical Farcusian whimsy

Part of the main staircase

Part of the main staircase

Dessert, Carnival style

Dessert, Carnival style

Carnival and Cabo

Carnival and Cabo

Funnel and the far horizon

Funnel and the far horizon

Seabirds alfresco breakfast

Seabirds alfresco breakfast

Looking down to the big screen

Looking down to the big screen

The amazing indoor boulevard

The amazing indoor boulevard

Another boulevard shot

Another boulevard shot

Splendor is typically vibrant Farcus

Splendor is typically vibrant Farcus

Typical Carnival sea day

Typical Carnival sea day

Open Magrodome and funnel

Open Magrodome and funnel

Carnival Splendor buffet

Carnival Splendor lounge

Another interior lounge

Another interior lounge

Outdoor deck party

Outdoor deck party

The disco on Splendor

The disco on Splendor

Pool area with roof closed

Pool area with roof closed

The Lido Buffet

The Upper Lido

Statues outside the disco

Statues outside the disco

Promenade Bar

Promenade Bar

Entrance to one of the main restaurants

Entrance to one of the main restaurants

Serenity Deck

Serenity Deck

Beautiful terrace view...

Beautiful terrace view…

Love seats, Carnival style

Love seats, Carnival style