This is the first time I have cruised with Royal Caribbean after reading a couple of reviews I was not sure what to expect, I choose this cruise for the ports of call rather than the cruise line, also I was bringing my Mum with me, as she has never cruised before.
I booked one of the new E1 Grade Balcony cabins on deck 6 and booked 6568, this is a midship cabin on the Starboard side, I was very impressed with the cabin, new fixtures and also new carpet, flat screen TV, the bathroom was more of a wet room, but very functional, I would also add that having the beds in a twin configuration did not limit the space in the cabin, like it has on other cruises i have been on.
So where to start:
The Splendour has just been through a multi million pound refurb and it shows, the cabins were really good, the ship was really clean and had a new feel to it, when you come on board you enter into the Centrum which is amazing, the ship in general is great with a good mix of bars and eating venues, I didnt try the speciality restaurants, but they did look nice, but we did eat in the Windjammer and also the King and I dining room. The spa and also the Solarium are both really nice and well furnished, one thing i would say about the design of the ship is that considering there are 2500 people on board you dont feel it, the only time it felt a little crowded was on the sea day when everyone was trying to get a bed by the pool.
Now this was a bit hit and miss, now in general the food was good, but there was the odd evening where the food was not as hot as i would have wished, the second formal night i had the black angus steak, which you would have thought would be good, but i was mistaken, it was just not good, the NY strip i had the next night was much better, i also thought the choice in the dining room was slightly limited. Now the Windjammer however i thought in some ways had a better choice and also was good for service, now the only thing i would say is that at times it was very crowded and was hard to get a table, but normally you will be able to slip onto a table with ppl as generally ppl are happy to share.
Dont bother, quite frankly the person in charge was more interested about telling you about the shopping of each port rather than the actual attractions, we went to the port talk before Bari on the sunday, now the person in charge focused on the shopping more than anything else, one thing to be aware of if in Mykonos you want to go and see Delos then YOU NEED TO BOOK THE ROYAL EXCURSION, this we only found out when we got to Mykonos and found out that the last ship to the island left at 11am, this was not mentioned in the port talk.
The schooner bar is by far the best place to chill out and listen to Juanito who is an awesome pianist, apart from that, the Top hat Lounge has kareoke and also events going on most evenings, or if you fancy partying late into the night then the Viking Lounge becomes a night club until 2am. There is also the Centrum with live music and events going on all the time.
Ports of Call
All can be done on your own with a map and some info from the tourist office near the ports, Athens is the only place where a shore excursion could be a good idea, but there is a subway and also a good bus link from the port area in Piraus, there are also taxis where if you are more than two people having a chat and negotiating a price for a private tour could be worth doing.
In conclusion i would cruise with Royal again the Vision class are nice and not to big, also you do not feel much movement at all there were only the odd occasions where i thought, hmmm we are definitly moving, on the way to athens we did bounce a bit, but i did not feel like i was in a tumble dryer.
The only i would add is to watch your on board spending, as if you drink a bit then getting a drinks package would be a good idea in retrospect i wish i had done this!