Just got back from a five night six day cruise on RCI Splendour of the Seas. Sail date was Dec 4th. First order of business is that sailing out of Galveston has both benefits and challenges. The Distance between the cruise terminal and Houston Intercontinental or Hobby is about one hour and 1/2. You either take one of the shuttles $55 - $75 per person or you book through the cruise line for the day of the Cruise @ $55.00. We have sailed previously out of Houston and chose to rent. There are only two rental companies which allow drop offs Enterprise & Hertz. We went with Enterprise and found them to be exceptional in service and efficiency. Precisely after dropping off the car in Galveston we were at the cruise Terminal 15 minutes later. Check in at Royal Caribbean was the smoothest I have seen yet. We had all our paperwork and documents and 10 minutes later we were on board. Luggage arrived at our Cabin two hours after boarding and prior to sailing. The ship itself is smaller but to my wife and myself this was not a negative we have been on the bigger ships and one other smaller one and the big advantage to the size is no lineups. We never stood in line for anything. The food was above average in the Windjammer Cafe. We usually chose this for breakfast and Lunch and there was always sufficient choices and fresh food put out. This particular dining area afforded a beautiful view forward as the ship sailed. One other point about the ship and eating areas. Royal Caribbean must spend more money on manpower and germicide to clean every food service including Tables. We sat down one morning and watch a table that was unoccupied for about twenty minutes. It was cleaned five times by different people. The main dining area King & I was nicely laid out. Service was above average. Only complaint is temperature of the food. I do not know how far it was from the Kitchen to the Dining room but food arrived warm never hot. Choice was excellent and servings were more than adequate. Two points, on Carnival, NCL, & Princess you get cappuccino free with evening meals not on the Splendour. 2nd point Wine list was somewhat small they had no offerings of Wolf Blass or Lindemans or really any other reputable Australian Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Splendour features two pool areas. We utilized the rear Solarium as it was Kids only in the company of Adults and predominantly it was adults. Nice place to read and completely covered over. The splendour has mini putt golf course that was challenging and fun to play. The nightly entertainment was enthusiastic but the limitations of the size of the stage plus it not being the focus of this ship was somewhat subdued. The seating area for the theatre is beautifully appointed with very nice leather couches. Other ship activities included a rock climbing wall. Saw it but didn't do it. The internet area had nice machines but at $0.50 per minute it was cheaper for us to use wireless in Galveston, Cozumel and Costa Maya. Cell phones for both Voice and Data worked throughout the ship out to sea and in port. Port visits on our Trip included Cozumel and Costa Maya. Getting on and off ship was done with ease. Our Cabin Steward Margarita was like our Girl Friday, there when you needed her or anything. Otherwise it just seemed like magic that our cabin was kept spic and span. We were in a Cat "F" oceanview and this was quite adequate for two. It had a pullman for a third person but I think that would have been crowded. Arrival back into Galveston went very smoothly. The times that they tell you are pretty accurate we hoped to be off early but our time was set for 08:55 and our luggage color was called at 08:50. No fuss no muss off the ship. We rented again from Enterprise to get back to Houston. If you don't have a reservation you may as well take the shuttle. I stood in line with Princess Ship passengers and RCI passengers for over 45 minutes waiting to process my rental. About 1 in three had no reservation and they did not get vehicles. Every available vehicle Approx 78 was rented.
Would I sail on Royal Caribbean. Absolutely!! It was a very clean ship that provided a nice vacation. They look after quite nicely.