The cruise was short, only 7 days to visit Brazil, Uraguay & Argentina which meant 3 stops and only 1 full day in Beunos Aires. Annoyingly RCI had altered the itinerary cutting out the overnight stop in Argentina and trying to book shore excursions was frustrating as they only became available at a very late stage despite requests to confirm with RCI over a long period prior to the website being finally amended. To compensate this lengthy fly/cruise from the UK, we added 4 days in Rio and 2 at the end in Sao Paulo.
The Splendour being one of the oldest in the fleet was cosy by modern standards but thanks to it's refit offered all the facilities associated with the new monstours albeit in a limited fashion.
We are Diamond Club members and as this was geared to the Brazilian market found only a handful of other members, 15 in total of which only 6 had English as their first language the remaining South Americans spoke very precise English and joined in excellent repart each evening prior to Dinner. Our Diamond Concierge Aline Aruajo was wonderful and most helpful in every way.
Our balcony cabin on Deck 6 was one of those remodelled to accomadate the extended add on balcony and was perfect for comfort and location.
Dinner was taken as our choice, My Time, but due to the language problems with other crusers [95% S American] we ended up on a table for 2 each evening at our preferred 8:00pm slot.
Food was excellent with plenty of choice and the service quick as we didn't have to wait for a large number of guests to be served at the same time.
Entertainment was geared in Portuguese with occasionally the Cruse Director [Michelle] asking if she needed to speak English. We saw a couple of shows including the Samba main production which was very colourful. Quiz shows with Sergio were in both languages and as usual good fun.
Shore excursions :
Punta del Este- Guided tour of the posh residential areas and a visit to the main beach, dropped off for an hour to shop not a lot on offer. Take Dollars as the Uraguayan peso is a closed currency.
Beunos Aires : The highlight of the trip!
Tour of the main areas including the palace [Evita balcony scene] the independance square, Eva Perons grave in magnificent cemetry and finally the Bocca area with the street dancers--excellent day trip.
The evening we booked the Tango show in the City Centre theatre through RCI which was fantastic. We did the shorter version without dinner but included free wine/beer/soft drinks. The show lasts for an hour and twenty minutes continuously detailing the evolution of the Tango up to the present day. If this was shown in London's West End or on Broadway it would fill every performance as it was on our visit in BA.
Not a lot to see, main square that we circled twice very slowly then stopped for photos for 20 mins!
Tour of the residential areas and park followed by long drive down the coast.
We enjoyed Rio prior to the cruise taking in the usual tourist spots and our last days in Sao Paulo did the usual last minute shopping.
Excellent all round trip but a long way to go for just a 7 day cruise 4 of which were sea days.
Only blot was Santos port which for emvarkation was a nightmare with 5 other ships all trying to funnel through a congested area with little information available, the port authority is to blame not RCI as it's out of their control.