This was our first cruise so we really did not know what to expect. We were very exited...Came to Italy 10 days before our cruise and visited Rome, Naples and Florence. Last two days we spent in Venice. Stayed in Ca Maria Adele, a boutique hotel in Dosoduro area, little out of the way of the tourist area. This was our first stay in Venice, and we loved it, loved it, loved it. it is so easy to get lost in Venice, so easy to find your way again, and really difficult to get bored in that unreal surrounding:-)
We arrived to the terminal during lunch time and since it was very busy, had to wait for a while. We had a balcony room on deck 7. I liked the cabin, large enough and very clean, we did not have high expectations anyway. Our budget for this trip was limited, but balcony is a must for my husband. Our bed was very comfortable too.
The Windjammer Cafe is in a great location, has a breakfast and lunch buffet daily and serves the same food everyday (no problem for us). We bought soda package ($55) and had unlimited drinks.
The food at the King was different everyday. There were so many soups and pasta dishes...
The main dining room served variety of food. It is little crowded but you can always find a table. The stuff was very friendly and helpful enough (they really work hard there)...
I am not a fan of organized entertainment in hotels and other touristic areas, but have to admit - shows were very good, we did enjoy! Plenty of live music in different locations all evening...
Already mentioned our limited budget, plus the fact that we do not like sightseeing in a big group, so we did not buy any ship excursion. We love exploring new destinations on our own, but decided to have two guided tours. Based on the reviews on Cruise Critic and trip advisor, we chose our guides in Venice and Ephesus. Photo walk in Venice with Marco (www.marcosecchi.com) and Ephesus tour with Ertunga Ecir (www.ertungaecir.com) were great experience
I would definitely sail on the Splendour of the Seas again.
I would not be exaggerating if I say our guided tour of Ephesus with Ertunga (www.ertungaecir.com) was one of the highlights of our cruise. We were picked up on time from the port and taken to Virgin Mary's House. We came there just on time, before the cruise buses. Then we drove to Ephesus where Ertunga walked us around and explained us the sight. The Library was fascinating and the Grand Theater impressive too. One of the visitors was singing in the theater so we had chance to hear the acoustic. Ertunga's knowledge of the area is exceptional. He was very flexible and allowed us to choose what we wanted to do and see, but had good recommendations when we asked. Even introduced us to Turkish rug making. It was a great experience and there was no pressure at all. I would not hesitate to contact him again and would certainly send any friends or family going to Turkey his way
We took a boat to Delos island which took about 30 minutes. This is one of the few islands that they did not allow people to inhabit because excavations are still going on. The Temple of Apollo and Artemis worth to see.
We spent the afternoon browsing, there are lots of shops where you can find cheap handicrafts and also luxury brands.
After short tender ride, we walked from the dock area towards the old city section of Split (Stari Grad). There are lots of narrow streets. Take a map because it is very easy to loose your way. Veli Varos is worth to visit which is just west of the Riva. There are so many nice restaurants and shops. It is different from most places in Europe. Small but amazing town... I wish we had more time in Split
we took a photo walk in Venice with Marco, he is a local gentelman. Venice is truly spectacular city to photograph. it was good idea to start the tour in early morning, we could see how the city starts up and early morning light was good for photos. The vapporetto is the best way to tour the Grand Canal, it is like stepping back in time. St Marc's Basilica is free to go into, but it worth to pay 5 euros to go to upper floor to see the museum and bronze horses. From the roof terrace you get lovely view of the Square. This is a truly beautiful place to visit and a must do in Venice. I would highly reccommend Marco (www.marcosecchi.com) especially for the people who like to photograph