Got to venice the day before. Call me crazy but I hate to rush. And coming from Canada in November, you never know what the weather will be.
Anyway, got to Venice and was greeted by rain, lotsa rain. Transport to the city was a bit chaotic. I had pre-paid the Blue bus but has issues with the validation. Made it anyway to Piazzale Roma and made sure my hotel was close by. Hotel Chiara is about 50 meters from the bus stop, couldn't get any better. The hotel was surprisingly quiet and couldn't have made a better choice. Easy check-in, room was ready and was able to take a nap, have a quick shower and then explore this beautiful town again.
Venice is great to walk around. You get lost, you find your way then get lost again. You will eventually find the canal and your way back. Had a great dinner and found a great neibourhood bar to have a few drinks. I was done by 11PM and went back to my hotel for a good night sleep. Woke up early, and as magic, the weather was splendid, sunny and warm and what a view from my room, directly on the canal. Had a quick breakfast and took the occasion to explore again. Got back to my hotel at 11 and as I had already checked out, just took my luggage and headed to the People's Mover. Got to the terminal, checked in right away and was in the Windjammer by 11:45. That's what I call efficient.
Cabins were ready by 1:30 and by then, it was just time to explore the ship and finally relax. Weather was so great, sunny and warm that I stayed outside the whole afternoon. Pool bar was busy and everybody was in a great mood. Departure was magical as the ship slowly sailed pass plaza San Marco as the moon rose. A young lady standing next to me said that she was not really a romantic but boy, this was exceptional.
Was back in my cabin, had a nap and got ready for dinner.
The ship being on the small side is easy to navigate. Had a few drinks at the bar then the dreaded wait to see who will be at your table for the remainder of the trip. I had the 8:30 sitting and ended up at a table of 10. When traveling by yourself, dinner companions are important. My table mates came in slowly until we were all there. I couldn't have been luckier. There was a great diversity and I have to admit that I am a bit of a clown so it didn't take long before we all got comfortable. All my table mates were from the U.S. So I felt like the token Canadian :)
Our first port was Split, the surprise of my last cruise. I was very excited to be back. Gorgeous weather when we arrived and as we were the only cruise ship, we were moored, not tendered. Being Sunday, the promenade was full of families and there was such a great energy. Best thing about Split is the free Wi-Fi everywhere.
Sat outside at a cafe, had breakfast did a few e-mail and just soaked the atmosphere. To be honest, I have never seen so many good looking people at the same time, must be in the water. Took some home but still waiting for the effect.
It was a relaxing day. Sunday market was in full force and I just walked around. Made it back to the ship and had lunch then a quick nap as I still felt the effects of jet lag.
For some unknown reason, they decided to have the first formal night that night instead of the following at sea day. Got ready and headed to the champagne bar. Best wait staff I have ever seen, so patient and polite. I made it my go to bar.
As stated, following day was at sea, on our way to Naples. Splendour is a small ship so when everybody is on board, all the venues are crowded. Good luck to find a table at the Windjammer. I could never understand why people commandeer a table for almost the whole afternoon when they see people going round and around with their food looking for a table while they have no food on their table or they play cards.
We arrived in. Naples the following day. I had reserved a quick excursion to Positano which was such a waste. The tour guide was the most annoying ever, repeat, EVER. She had material for 15 minutes which she stretched to 3 hour by just repeating herself over and over again.
It took 90 minutes to get there, we stayed 1 hour then 90 minutes to go back. Not really worth it.
Back on the ship by 1, had lunch then to the pool bar. Weather had been great but how things change fast. I was sitting outside and whitin 15 minutes, the temperature dropped10 degrees and the sky turned black and the the wind picked up and the skies opened. And it rained so much that you couldn't see 10 feet ahead of you. Once we left Naples, we were faced with an angry sea. Many times I had to ask myself: "Did a drink too much" just to realize that everybody was green and swaying around the corridors. So back to the bar.
I don't really feel seasickness so I was fine but some passengers were really affected. Following day was in Rome and Inhad decided to stay on the ship and relax the whole day. It was such a pleasure to be on an almost deserted ship. Plenty of tables at the Windjammer, room at the cafe-lattitude. Heaven. We were delayed leaving Rome as they found unexplored bombs from WWI in the port. We were faced once again with high winds and waves to a point that we had to skip Florence. Swell was too high to have the pilot ship accost us.
So once again, full ship of restless people without anything to do. Spent most of the day in my cabin as you couldn't find a single spot to sit anywhere. What a relief to finally make it to Toulon. Nice weather greeted us and being French speaking, my table mates had asked me to find a good restaurant to have a typical French lunch. We all met at City Hall then had a 2 hours lunch, typical and so delicious. It was our last full day and we took full advantage of it. Toulon is a great city to just walk around and we did. We coughs the last shuttle to the ship, just in time for a nap and then we left for our final destination, Barcelona. Disembarkation was fast and easy.
I had rented an apartment for 2 days and got there at 9AM. Spent those days shopping, walking, eating and eating again. So many little places to just sit, have tapas and a glass of cava.
Barcelona has one of the most efficient and beautiful airport in the world so it took me 15 minutes to check-in and clear security. I think they do it on purpose so you spend more time in the Duty Free area. Spent way too much money there but it was worth it.
Now, about the food. It was generally good, sometimes just acceptable and a few times plain nasty. Had to return my plate a few times so did my table companions. I am not picky and those things happen. I also understand that to keep the prices low, RCCL has to somehow cut costs somewhere. It doesn't bother me. I could have dined at Chops but preferred to enjoy the company of my table mates.
Cabin was kept clean but my maid had the bad habit of not checking that the door was closed properly therefore I found my door ajar on a few occasions. When I asked her to make sure it was closed properly, she blamed maintenance, go figure.
I had booked this cruise because I wanted to rest and relax which I did. I don't really have anything negative to say as I never expect perfection.
My only pet peeve is the rudeness of some passengers. One woman was rude to a waiter because he had the audacity to serve somebody before her husband who's in a wheelchair. She got so mad that I thought she would have a stroke. Really lady, getting mad for this. That didn't stop her husband to walk the 10 meters back to his fat-mobile.
I will for sure book another cruise with RCCL as I was well treated. I'd give this cruise a 9 out of 10.