we sailed with 2 teenage sons from Venice on the Splendour in late June to the Eastern Med. Our only prior cruise was some years ago in the Western Caribbean on the Explorer, without the children, and i really enjoyed that, despite my previous perceptions that cruises were for 'old folks".
Now that I am an 'old folk" age 58, I guess I fit right in !
The Splendour is smaller, which has two advantages: first, embarking and disembarking is MUCH quicker. Second, and this is a perception, it may not be true, it seems that the ratio of space to passengers is better on the smaller ships than the larger ships. The ship was full, but much less crowded that the Explorer was, also full.
The staff was friendly and helpful without exception.Food was OK, not anything really special, but very acceptable and we all found something to enjoy at every meal ( we did not try the speciality restaurants, as they are VERY expensive for travellers from South Africa due to the exchange rate).
Entertainment was apparently also OK- my oldest boy, age 17, had a ball- a week-long party ! the younger boy, 16, was less happy, but not due to anything about the ship, rather unhappy at the cruise itself as he does not like having to do what is scheduled if he wants to do something else.I don't drink alcohol, and looking at the prices i am really glad i don't. i am sure that even by US standards the prices are VERY high- a cruise may be a very good time to take a break from alcohol- call it a Lent substitute- but the drinks prices are eye-watering !
Ports on the cruise were good- just research the shore excursions very well- many are not worth it, just going ashore and making your own way around is as good.
Do however try the Kayaking in Dubrovnik, if you have at least some level of fitness- its great, and take your snorkel/goggles with.
Mykonos -you don't need to take a tour- just go ashore- the town ( a real tourist trap, but photogenic) is right at the port, as is a small beach.
Corfu, Bari, Athens are all great- in Athens, if you go to the Acropolis in summer, go EARLY, its very FULL, very Hot.
we took advantage of the late-departure option, an extra cost but worth it as our flight was only at 1800. we stayed on the ship, ate and swam and had the ship to ourselves until new passengers started boarding at 1200. (we did however have to vacate the stateroom by 0900, but they have a facility to keep your airplane hand luggage safe until you leave- latest at 1530.)
Lastly, 3 items:
1. we had a stateroom with a balcony- for the Med its worth it if you can afford it, as you pass lots of islands and the view is nice- we did not in the Caribbean, as there is less to see in the day or night.
2. smoking- while RC has a policy of only allowing smoking on one side of the ship , and then only in the open area on deck, i still feel that it is too generous- smokers should be banned to the very upper deck, in the front of the ship, where they do not disturb anyone. Also, the casino allows smoking, so don't go through there- not sure what you do if you want to gamble and not smoke- i guess the two vices go together !
3 Food_ relax and enjoy it- it has to cater for all tastes, so it is never going to be gourmet cuisine, at least not in the main dining areas, but its is perfectly acceptable, well presented, and tasty.