We miss the Splendida! We had a great cruise, leaving from Barcelona on Dec 2nd and returning to the same on Dec. 9th. The ship is immaculate, well-maintained, and has very nice, spacious gathering areas. We were staying in the Yacht Club, which really defined our experience on the Splendida. You are simply pampered from the moment you set foot on board. You're met by bellhops and butlers who whisk away your luggage, walk you through embarkation, and then give you a private tour of the Yacht Club and the ship.
Our stateroom: Absolutely gorgeous, with extra space because it was designated for three people. We had a fold-out sofa bed for our toddler, and our baby slept in a travel crib that MSC provided (very high quality). Great water pressure in the shower. Longer balcony due to larger room size. 110 and 220 Volt outlets available (so you don't need an adapter, possibly just a converter depending on your device.)
The Top Sail Lounge - the main gathering area for the Yacht Club, absolutely beautiful and located at the very front of the ship. The view was breathtaking. I loved to sit there with a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning when we were pulling into port or in the late afternoon when we were leaving. Best seat in the house. The staff is incredibly responsive - anticipating your needs, bringing you things sometimes even before you ask for it. The snacks in the Top Sail Lounge were delicious - tarts, fresh fruit, pastries, etc. They make fantastic cappuccinos and mixed drinks. They serve a continental breakfast in there daily which was usually enough for us (we did go to l'Olivo for one breakfast).
And speaking of l'Olivo - never a bad meal there. They were all spectacular. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there at various points, and they were all splendid. The service is great, the food is the best on the ship. We ate in the main dining room once and never wanted to leave the Yacht Club after that (though the main dining room is useful if your toddler wants a hot dog and fries in a hurry.)
You can also get lunch on the One Deck - they have a nice salad bar (antipasto style) with fresh pasta cooked in front of you. It's a nice light lunch.
The staff is fantastic - friendly, professional, incredibly helpful in every way. They were especially kind towards our children - you can tell that they really like kids. They taught my toddler Italian, which he loved, interacted with him every time, and one of the servers at l'Olivo (Raffaele) actually took my toddler over to enjoy some of the live music in the restaurant. They were really, really sweet people.
Pools and entertainment - There are multiple swimming pools, but we stuck mostly to the indoor one (l'Equatore). The pool is a bit deep (5'7 at the shallowest point). The hot tubs were very nice. We also went up to the One Deck for the hot tubs there, which had nice windbreaks all around them. We never took in any of the shows in the theater, but we did walk through several of the lounges while performances were going on, and they were very nice. The dance floor was always packed, and there seemed to be a decent variety. We stayed for a bit at each show - my toddler loves music and wanted to dance :)
It was the low season, so the ship never felt crowded - the top sail lounge was generally very sparsely populated, which was nice - you definitely had your space. Everyone we met was very friendly.
Aurea Spa - Had a nice massage there. The private elevator from the Yacht Club deck is a nice touch.
Fitness Center - plays the same euro-pop over and over, but has nice facilities.
Overall, just a really beautiful ship, and the yacht club experience is simply fantastic. It was a truly exceptional level of luxury. It would be really hard to sail any other way from here on out!!! I guess you could say the Splendida Yacht Club spoiled us for all other cruises. :)
Nice, brief tour of the city followed by an extended on-your-own visit of the aquarium. Prompt shuttle back to ship. The aquarium is really extensive. A brief city tour is really all that's needed here, in my opinion.
We visited Aix-en-Provence on our own but used the transportation there and back provided by the cruise line. So it was a cruise line excursion, but we were on our own, which worked well. Aix-en-Provence is relatively compact.
We simply got a taxi at the port and used that to tour around... there are a zillion touts right where you disembark. That worked relatively well.