Our recent cruise on Splendour was very pleasant overall, with some disappointments.
Embarkation was speedy and smooth. The sail away from Venice really is quite spectacular. We chose to stay on our balcony as it was a little bit chilly on deck. It was beautiful. The ship is looking good for her age and is well maintained. Everything was sparkling and showing little sign of wear and tear.
We thought the food was of a good standard generally, and we rotated between the MDR, Windjammer, and Chops Grille - which was truly outstanding, both in terms of quality of food and service. The service in the MDR lacked a little enthusiasm we felt, but we still enjoyed dining there. We only dined there on 3 evenings as we went to Chops and the Windjammer twice. We preferred a Windjammer breakfast or Room Service breakfast to that in the MDR.
The Solarium was a favoured spot for us during the day, but as expected on a winter cruise, it could be busy. They also allowed children in the Solarium pool which wasn't a big deal, but could be rather noisy at times. It was a bit cold to be in the outdoor pool though, so I think allowances were made.
We stayed in a Grand Suite and had mixed feelings about it. Not sure that we would do it again on this class of ship as the suite perks (or lack of) don't justify the high price. The suite itself was very nice, with lots of storage space and a large balcony with comfortable furniture. The bathroom was spacious and the shower pressure was great. The bed wasn't as comfortable as on previous cruises, but it was OK. The iPad was useful for keeping an eye on our account. We discovered we had been overcharged, and this was quickly rectified at Guest Services. It was very noisy overhead at night and in the morning, but this can be quite a common complaint with suites being on the floor under the pool.
We didn't make any special requests to the Concierge, as we had booked our dining arrangements and excursions prior to sailing. We did pop in occasionally to the Concierge Lounge for our complimentary evening drinks and nibbles, but the service was very slow, so there wasn't much opportunity to have more than 2 drinks before dinner. Certainly not enough to justify the money we paid. The Concierge was so-so. We were given priority tender tickets for Santorini, but when we went down to disembark, there was no priority boarding, so the tickets were useless. We were however offered a tour of the Bridge, Galley and Backstage Theatre, which was very interesting. We still don't know where the Suite seating in the theatre was, but we had great seats on the 2 evenings we went to see a show, and they were in a great location, so there was no need to utilise that particular perk. The specialty coffees in the Lounge were nice. If you like a lovely spacious room with nice little touches and decent toiletries, that may be enough of a perk for you to pay the inflated price, but if you enjoy taking advantage of a full range of Suite perks, you won't get them on Splendour.
The entertainment was a bit hit or miss, as usual. We spent less time than we normally do in the theatre and Top Hap Lounge (although the Concierge Lounge is actually just a partitioned off part of the Top Hat Lounge.
We had a lovely time, with several highlights, but felt we had paid way over the odds for what was provided. Will go back to the bigger ships which offer more suite perks, and for some reason are less expensive (perhaps because there are more of them?).
The added 22% Italian tax which was added to every purchase onboard meant that the shops were deserted. Even the 50% sales weren't worth bothering with. The sales assistants looked very bored indeed. They must lose a lot of business when they don't have Turkey on the itinerary to avoid this huge tax.