Splendor in the Seas…Maybe Not

We feel a little sorry for the Carnival Splendor. She’s not even four years old and already she’s been rejected, isolated, burned and — while it may be stretching the analogy too far — placed in the cruise ship version of a witness protection program.

She came out of cruising’s womb at Fincantieri, Italy’s most famous shipyard, and by the time she arrived her parents had changed. She was conceived for Costa, the Italian line that for whatever reason didn’t want her. So she was adopted by her “grandparents” — the corporate giant Carnival.

She spent the first three months of her life sailing around random European ports, like an orphan of the seas. Then Carnival brought her across the pond to North America, to Fort Lauderdale, but she only lasted three more months before they sent her to the Pacific Coast.

Carnival gave her a class distinction all her own — Splendor Class — because, well, nobody was that interested in being her sibling, and she just didn’t fit anywhere else. That included in the Panama Canal (too many visits to the buffet?), so the only way to get her to California was around Cape Horn, not far from Antarctica, and could there be a more appropriate graveyard for an unwanted ship?

But she survived the voyage, and another year and a half making trips up and down the Mexican Riviera from Long Beach. Then early one morning, her crankcase split, a fire started and while nobody was burned, she was. The Splendor may as well have been tarred and feathered, the subject of ridicule on CNN and everywhere else where cruise ships in trouble are advertised.

They fixed her up in San Francisco, but life has never been the same. Not that it was all that good from the beginning. So now Carnival is moving her again, from Long Beach to Long Island, or just down the waterway from there in the Big Apple. To get there from California, she’s retracing her waves. Right, not far from Antarctica again.

She’s being replaced in California by a step-sister called the Miracle. Maybe that’s what it will take to give the Splendor a new identity. Or maybe by the time she gets to New York, in about a year, everybody will forget who she is…or at least forget her past.

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
7 nights
May 18, 2012
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Vancouver
Inside $663

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