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14 Day Hawaii Cruise
From Los Angeles to Hawaii

Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Kona, & Hilo
Carnival Splendor

Ship Wine Lists &
Other Featured Spirits

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If in this report you see any typos, misspellings, factual errors or other types of errors, please let me know. Please include the web address (URL) of the report in which you found the error. Thank you! Send your email to:

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Wines On The Ship

There are two wine lists on many Carnival Cruises. One is the Wine List available in the main restaurants (not at the Lido Buffet). That Wine List is extensive with a great variety of offerings with a large price range, everything from very inexpensive to extremely expensive. The wine ranges from $27 per bottle to hundreds of dollars per bottle. The other Wine List is a very short list of about 20 wines that are offered in every bar. These tend to be less expensive, usually from $7 to $12 per glass and from about $27 to $40 per bottle.

My wife and I tend to like red wines and there are only 7 red wines on the Bar Wine List. Here they are:

Wine Type Winery Location Glass BottleRating
Pinot Noir Castle Rock California$ 9.25$33Good
Pinot Noir Layer Cake California$11.00$40Good
Merlot Santa Helina Chile $ 7.75$27OK
Cabernet SauvignonSanta Helina Chile $ 7.75$27OK
Cabernet SauvignonLayer Cake California$10.50$38Good
Red Blend "GIFFT" Kathie Lee GifordCalifornia$ 9.00$32Untried
Shiraz Peter Lehmann Australia $10.50$38OK

The ratings are those of myself and my wife. My ratings only have 5 categories: Excellent (5), Very Good (4), Good (3), OK (2), Bad (1). Generally I only purchase wine that falls into either the "Excellent (5)" or the "Very Good (4)" categories. Life is too short to waste it on wine that is just "Good (3)" or "OK (2)". Wine does not have to be expensive to get an "Excellent (5)" or "Very Good (4)" rating by us. Nor do wines get an "Excellent (5)" or "Very Good (4)" rating just because they are expensive. Even many of those tend to be only mediocre. From the above you can see that we are not very happy with the Carnival Bar Wine List selections available. The more extensive Restaurant Wine List, however, does have quite a few "Very Good (4)" and "Excellent (5)" wines offered.

We did bring some bottles of wine on board that we consider "Excellent (5)" or "Very Good (4)" for fear that these may be the only wines worth drinking on this cruise. We don't mind paying the higher price of wines by the glass and by the bottle on the ship, but they need to be wines that are worth drinking. My wife and I are by no means "wine experts" but we have tried over a thousand different wines and own our own vineyard, Silver Rails Vineyards. Thus we feel we've tried enough wines to know what we like and what we don't like.

One thing we are disappointed about Carnival is that very few of their ships have wine bars or offer any wine tasting events on their cruises. On our prior Carnival cruise on the new Carnival Horizon ship they did have a "Library Bar" that featured some high end wines that you could purchase and pour yourself. They had a wine dispenser machine where you would insert your Sail & Sign Card® and select a "2 ounce taste", a "6 ounce pour" or a "9 ounce pour". This proved to be very popular and the wine bottles would often run empty pretty quickly. It was totally unattended so sometimes you'd have to wait a few hours before any ship staff came to replenish the empty bottles. It would be really nice if Carnival would offer this on all of their ships and have it checked more frequently to replenish the bottles.

Dining Room Featured Wine

The same wines were featured on the dinner menu for The Gold Pearl restaurant every day of the 14 day cruise. Below are my ratings of the red wines offered with dinner. We don't often drink white wines so I'm not able to provide our ratings of those nor of the Kathie Lee Gifford wine that I have no desire to try. The restaurant also has a much more extensive separate wine list that I haven't viewed on this cruise yet.

Wine Type Winery Location Glass BottleRating
Merlot Murphy Goode California$ 9.75 $35Good
Red Blend "GIFFT" Kathie Lee GiffordCalifornia$ 9.00 $32Untried
Pinot Noir Layer Cake California$11.00 $40Good

Drinks Menu

Menu of Drinks available in every ship bar

The above is the menu of drinks available in every bar on the Carnival Splendor. I think this is a standard menu on all, or maybe almost all, Carnival ships. A few bars on the ship had different style drinks menus but they basically listed the same drinks. The Promenade / Casino Bar had a different Drinks Menu, but the list of wines available was the same as what is listed above.

Spirits Menu in The Piano Bar. You could also order wine and other drinks not listed.

Bar Menu in the Punchliner Comedy Club

Bar Menu in the Oceanview / Casino Bar

Mini Martini Tasting

Mini Martini Tasting Menu

We had spotted the "Master The Martini, Mini Martini Tasting, $20 Per Person" sign in front of the El Mohito Bar earlier in the cruise and decided that we needed to do this sometime during this cruise. On a prior cruise, I think it was on the Panama Canal Cruise on the Carnival Miracle, I had ordered the Mini Martini Tasting. I did not realize they were going to pour all 4 Martinis at once and wasn't set up to take a photo. On that cruise they only offered the Mini Martini Tasting one time. On this cruise you can go to the El Mojito Bar and order the Mini Martini Tasting any time on any day. I hope they will be doing the same thing on our next cruise on this ship from Long Beach to Singapore in October of this year. For the Mini Martini Tasting you get to order any 4 of the 8 Martinis listed in the menu. In order for my wife and I to try all 8 of them my wife ordered the first 4 and I ordered the last 4. I thought the bar tender would pour them 4 and 4. But no. She prepared all 8 of them and proceeded to pour all 8 at the same time as you can see in the photos below!

Pouring All 8 Mini Martinis At Once!

Left: Our 8 Mini Martinis
Right: We inspired others to go for the tasting too

I guess it was rare for the bartender to pour as many as 8 Martinis simultaneously. Thus, she set up her own smart phone to take a video of her pouring them. I took a ton of photos rather than a video. After she finished pouring the Martinis, I deleted all but the best 2 of the series. The bartender liked the photo that I took of her pouring the Martinis so much that she asked for a copy of it. She set our phones up so that she could transfer the photo from my phone to her phone over Bluetooth. I knew this could be done but I had never shared a photo with others over Bluetooth before.

A small crowd had gathered around our seats while she simultaneously poured the 8 Martinis, some taking photos, some taking a video, and others just watching in amazement. A few people wondered how we were going to be sober enough to get back to our cabin after drinking that many Marinis. Someone even jokingly suggested that we call an Uber to take us back to our cabin. Actually each of these "Mini Martinis" only contained about one half ounce of Vodka. An entire tasting set of 4 only contains a total of 2 ounces which is the same amount of alcohol in a single regular Martini.

Re-Doing the
Mini Martini Tasting
in the El Mojito Bar

A few days later we went to do the Mini Martini Tasting again, this time picking the 4 Martinis that we liked the most. Our bartender this time tried to pour 10 mini martinis simultaneously. That didn't quite work out, so she went back to just pouring 8 at once which she has mastered.

Mini Mule Tasting

We did the Mini Mule Tasting. Barbara got the first 4 mini mules on the mule menu and I got the next 4 mini mules on the mule menu. We each drank half of our mules and then swapped mules so we could both try all 8 of them. Our favorite was the Vanilla Mule. When we were done I purchased a full Vanilla Mule and brought it with me to the Grand Piano Bar which was right next door.

Mule Tasting: Master The Moscow Mule

Wine Bar

I finally located the "Wine Bar", or at least what used to be the "Wine Bar". You can find photos and mention of the "Wine Bar" on some older literature and web pages related to the Carnival Splendor, but I could not find it on any information we were given about this cruise. I also had not found it on any of my exploring of the ship. I asked a number of staff members but nobody was familiar with where the "Wine Bar" was located or if there even was one on the ship. In exploring the maps on the Carnival Hub App, I finally discovered the location of the "Wine Bar" or at least what used to be the "Wine Bar". It is the "El Mojito" Bar where we had just done the Mini Martini Tasting! Looking at the Map View of "Deck 5: Promenade" in the Carnival Hub App, this bar is labeled as "El Mojito / Wine Bar". But it is definitely no longer a "Wine Bar" in the sense of offering anything more than the same small selection of wines available from any other bar on the ship.

Carnival seems to have recognized that craft beer has become very popular over the past couple of decades. The newest Carnival ships such as the Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Panorama even feature brewing of craft beers right on the ships! In contrast, Carnival seems to have removed dedicated "Wine Bars" from their ships that already had them and don't feature any wine tasting activities. This is a total mystery to me. At least in the new ships they have added the "Library Bar" which features self-serve tasting of a few select high end wines. Maybe Carnival corporate is still deciding how to address the issue of offering a wider selection of wines and wine tastings, or maybe they feel the "Library Bar" is enough for the wine enthusiasts on the ship.

If in this report you see any typos, misspellings, factual errors or other types of errors, please let me know. Please include the web address (URL) of the report in which you found the error. Thank you! Send your email to:

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