This 8 day itinerary was the only one available as the ship had just repositioned from Brazil to Barcelona, and then took us to Venice where it would begin roundtrip summer sailings to Greece and Turkey. Our 8 days consisted of Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Rome, Naples, (sea day) Kotor, Split, and Venice. It worked out perfect for us and we jumped at the chance to experience each of these ports.
My husband and I, along with my brother and SIL traveled together. (We are in our late 50s/early 60s) I booked private excursions through smartcruisetours for Cannes, Florence, Rome and Naples. We had 2 sisters/husbands join us for Cannes, and then a husband/wife and sister/brother group for the following 3 ports. That worked out great and kept the cost down. I arranged all that through the roll call.
Because this was such a port intensive itinerary there really weren't many activities on board each day....that was fine with us. With a full day in each port we found time to meet in the Viking Crown Lounge for Martini specials each day at 6pm, and then on to dinner (My time dining)....and then review the details for the next day! We didn't go to any shows all week, which is unusual for us as we generally do go while on cruises....just didn't seem to be anything that was a "must see" for us. There were acrobats performing in the Centrum and we did watch that.
The Splendour is a small ship and not one I would choose if there were a lot of sea days...just not enough going on.....but perfect for this trip.
We ate in the MDR each night and were satisfied with the food selection and taste. Escargot was on the menu every night, which was a treat......no lobster all week, but I'm from Maine, so no big deal for me!
The embarkment in Barcelona was easy, as was the disembarkment in Venice. The only problem with Venice is for a first time visitor it is very confusing once outside on how to arrange for transportation to the island. We opted for a private water taxi with a specific stop requested. At one window the guy said he couldn't take us there because of the tide (the stop is on the Grand Canal!), so we went to another window and that woman said the guy was crazy! Yikes; welcome to Venice!
For port excursions we opted for a 4 hour tour to Nice and St. Paul de Vence and loved it! Highly recommend. Pierre was our driver and we loved him. He spoke English very well, and he understood English equally well.
Livorno was the next port and we had Simonna for our driver to Pisa, Florence and a Chianti winery for lunch and wine tasting. This was fabulous as well. This was Mother's Day and Simonna has 2 small daughters, so we really appreciated that she was spending the day with us. She spoke English well, and sometimes didn't understand me, but not a big issue. She is friendly and warm, and I would request her again if I was back in the area.
In Rome our driver was Guiliano. His speaking and understanding English was fair to average, so that made things a bit challenging. We hired a private guide for the Vatican and the Colosseum, who did speak English very well, so that helped immensely! Guiliano was great about pointing out historic buildings/areas along the way, but we didn't always understand him! LOL We made stops at The Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, and had drive bys of the Spanish Steps and Palantine Hill.
In Naples we visited Herculaneum and drove up the Amalfi Coast with Nicholas as our driver. His language skills were about the same as Guiliano's, so another challenging day. I asked him to arrange a restaurant for us with a water view....he got the restaurant part, and it was fabulous, but it did not have a water view...by a long shot!! I was disappointed that we only had a brief stop in Amalfi, and only a drive through of Positano. We had lunch in Sorrento and visited Notturno Intarsio, the inlaid wood works factory and show room. ....it is what it is when you only have a day in port!
In Kotor we had arranged a private tour with "Diko". On the port boards here a member named Frank has highly recommended "Milo". Milo wasn't available so he suggested Diko. We had a great time with him. He is taking a college course in English and we had fun helping him improve his skills. He now knows and understands what "Kodak Moment" means! LOL We did a 4 hour tour, which turned into 5 hours and saw some of the sorrounding area/towns, along with the most amazing panoramic views of the port / harbor / sea from high above Kotor.
In Split we were on our own and walked up to the Diocletian Palace and spent our time wandering around. We exchanged Euros for Kunas in the terminal which was very easy. If you want to take the basement tours in the palace you must have Kunas for that...no credit cards/Euros accepted. There are a lot of souvenir stands in the basements as well, but I found that they would take either Kunas or Euros.
We spent 2 nights in Venice before heading home. We stayed at Al Teatro B&B, which I highly recommend! It's in the San Marco district, with no bridges to cross as you make your way there from the Giglio stop on the Vaporetto line...very easy!
This was definitely a trip of a life time and we loved every minute of it!