Splendour of the Seas June 9 - June 23 2007 Travelled with my husband
Day 1 Left home for an early morning shuttle from Glasgow to London, Gatwick. We booked our cases to go straight through to Venice. Arrived in London in good time and flight to Venice left only a little late. Arrived in Venice to find that our luggage hadn't! Something to do with a broken conveyor in Gatwick. Joined a long queue to report our lost bags. Stood in queue for 2 and a half hours before reaching the desk. Filled out a form and were given a few toiletries and T-shirt pyjamas. Rush to bus and sped to pier arriving just in time for the muster drill and only 30 mins before sailing. After drill went to Pursers desk to report missing luggage. We were given some more toiletries and a T-shirt along with some vouchers for laundry.. I had packed a spare t-shirt each and a spare pair of underpants each so we did not have much to wear. We went to dinner in the King and I restaurant in our travelling clothes. Our table companions were an American family with 17 and 14 year old children and we got on very well with them. Our waiter and assistant were both from the Philippines and were very attentive. After dinner we went to the welcome show then had a couple of drinks before bed.
Day 2 Our first port was Dubrovnik. As we had visited here before we took the local bus into the city. It was nice to wander the cobbled streets although as it was Sunday some shops were closed - mainly the ones where we might have been able to buy some clothes!! I did buy a hat but we couldn't find a single shop that sold sunscreen - very strange. It was nice to sit in the square and have a drink and watch the world go by. We didn't walk the walls as we had done them before but they are a must if it is your first visit although go early before it gets too hot and too busy. We returned to the ship for a late lunch in the Windjammer. Checked with the desk but no news on even where our luggage was. Later sat and read near the pool but in the shade. Evening as before but we also went to a Trivia Quiz which we won and got as a prize - wait for it ......... luggage tags!
Day 3 A sea day. We sat in the sun for a while but had to retire to the shade. It was very hot especially as I had only trousers to wear. I had washed our T-shirts and DH managed to buy a pair of shorts in the gift shop and I got another t-shirt. The shop had very little to help out folks with no luggage. There was no underwear or ladies shorts/skirts and no shoes. All I had were Crocs and DH had leather shoes. We had breakfast and lunch in the dining room but as it was a formal night we went to the buffet instead. At the show we felt very underdressed with everyone in their finery. There were 46 groups of people with no luggage and it was like a club as everyone had a "Shipshape" t-shirt.
Day 4 Kusadasi - great for us as we could go on a spending spree! We had visited Ephesus before so just went into town and shopped. After our shopping spree we sat and had a drink at the harbour. Prices for clothes in Turkey are very reasonable and many things are sold as "genuine" fakes! Leather goods though are great value. I would recommend a trip to Ephesus though if you haven't visited before. It's a long , hot day but well worth it. Checked about luggage and they have now found it in Venice and our best hope is getting it in Corfu on day 6. At least we have a proper change of clothes now.
Day 5 Santorini where we had booked a ship's tour. We had to tender to shore and were taken by coach to do an island tour. It's a very pretty island and lots of photos were taken. We also visited a winery before being taken back to Fira. A ticket for the cable car was provided to use at your leisure. We sat and had a drink in a cliff top cafe which gave a great view of the 5 ships in port. We also saw where the cruise ship had sank a few months ago - it was very near the shore and there was a boom round the area as it was still leaking oil. There was an hour's wait for the cable car. I don't know how long it would be later on or the next day as there were 11 ships in port then. We returned to the ship to a lovely surprise - our cases were in our cabin. They had security seals on them and had been from Glasgow to London to Venice to Rome to Athens to Santorini. Well travelled indeed. Until we did our tour I didn't even know Santorini had an airport. This was the second formal night so we were able to dress up with DH in his kilt. We had a laugh with one of the waitresses about what was under it!
Day 6 Corfu. As we had spent a holiday here a few years ago we just took the shuttle to town. It's a nice town to wander round with lots of narrow streets full of shops and bars/restaurants. We did some shopping - olive wood articles are good - and had a couple of drinks. There are some interesting places to visit in the town itself with a couple of fortresses and churches. The cricket pitch is a grassy area near where the buses leave and has lots of bars and restaurants to sit in. The ship's beach trip was actually to the hotel we had stayed in. Took the shuttle bus back. You could walk but it is quite a hike in the heat.
Day 7 Sea day. Relaxed at the pool. Had a swim or two and caught up with some reading. I had intended to go to the towel animals demo but missed it as I didn't realize the time. Our last meal with our table companions was fun and I was given a red rose by the mum. Many folks turned in early as they were leaving the next day but we stayed up and listened to the group playing.
Day 8 Venice again and many folks left the ship. In fact there were only 26 people doing a B2B. We took the waterbus into St Mark's Square and wandered around the sights St Mark's church, tower, Rialto Bridge, Doges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and lots of little squares and narrow streets crossing the narrower canals. At first we were pleased to see the place so quiet as we had arrived early but as the morning wore on it got busier and hotter so we returned to the ship late morning. They had provided a lunch in the dining room for the B2B folk which was nice as it was really busy at the buffet with the new arrivals. After the muster drill we got changed and then met with the folks from our roll call. We didn't have enough for a M and M so arranged our own. About 18 folk turned up and it was nice to put faces to the names. It was spectacular to watch the ship leaving Venice in a convoy with 2 other cruise ships. The view of Venice is wonderful. Then it was time for dinner and to meet our new dining companions. This time we had an elderly English lady and her Sicilian husband who didn't speak good English so didn't say much. While we were dining the Maitre D' appeared and crouched down between DH and myself. He asked if we would join the Captain the next evening for dinner at the Captain's Table. Naturally we said yes!
Day 9 Sea day so relaxed, swam and read. Sent some clothes to the laundry. During the afternoon the Captain came on and said we were having to sail near to a fishing village in Corfu so a boat could come and take a young passenger ashore with his family. This happened though we didn't watch. Clothes back in double quick time and done for free with voucher. It was formal night and also Captain's reception. He told us there were 138 different nationalities amongst the passengers. Some countries has only 1 or 2 people while Britain was the second highest with about 300 and America was most with 1300 people. We met the Maitre D' outside the dining room and along with 3 other couples were taken to the Captain's table. There we had a photo taken and a special menu with wine. It was wonderful, especially the special dessert. The Captain told us that the emergency was that a lady had given birth to a premature baby. She was only 25 weeks pregnant so they needed an incubator for the baby. He was born on a Bermuda registered ship, in Greek waters to American parents so might have triple nationality! The meal lasted for ages and before we left the Captain invited us all to visit the Bridge the next morning.
Day 10 Mykonos which was an afternoon arrival. We met 1 of the other couples for our tour of the bridge. One of the other couples had said they weren't coming but we were surprised to find the other Scottish couple were missing. After waiting for a few minutes we were security screened then taken onto the Bridge. It was much bigger than I expected and we were shown around by the first officer and even taken onto the outside section where there is a Perspex part to the floor where you can see the waves many decks beneath! The Captain arrived to meet us again and chatted for a while. They have 1 female officer from Canada who works on the Bridge. As we came off the Bridge we met the missing couple who were astonished that we had been as it was still not 11.00. Oh but it was! They had forgotten to put their watches on so sadly they missed out. When we arrived in Mykonos we took the free shuttle bus into the town. It's very pretty with narrow street and white buildings. There is an area called Little Venice with lots of places to eat and drink. We walked up to the windmills and had a great view from there. Then we wandered around the narrow streets and had a drink or two before returning to the ship. As the ship was in port until 23.00 dinner was open sitting as many folks decided to eat in town. The dining room was still busy though.
Day 11 Athens. We had a ship's tour of the sights of the town and Plaka - shopping - district. As my broken ankle is still weak we opted not to climb the Acropolis and this tour just took us to the bottom so we got some good pictures. There are many spectacular sights in the town. We stopped at the Olympic Stadium as well as the Parliament and saw the soldiers with their funny skirts and shoes. After seeing the Cathedral we had shopping time in the Plaka. There are a great variety of shops and places for a cool drink. It was so hot - 100 degrees - we were glad of a seat and to find the fans sprayed a mist over you. It was very tiring as it was so hot. It was nice to be in the cool coach again and we waited 15 mins for 2 people who never turned up even though they had left their guide books on the seat. The coach took us back to Piraeus and the ship. Had got more laundry done and again returned in record time. We also received our photos from the Captain's Table along with signed menus. A nice touch.
Day 12 Katakolon Again we had a ship's tour to Olympia. We were on the first coach and the guide told us all the history of Olympia as we drove there. When we got into the site she took us round but she went into so much detail that people just switched off. Luckily there were trees we could stand under or we would have been passing out with the heat. It was taking about 15 mins for each stop and the last straw was when she asked was there any questions and someone asked how many athletes ran in the Stadium at one time. Instead of saying she didn't know she took 15 mins to get round to saying that. We gave up and wandered off on our own as we knew to meet at the gate. It was the same in the archaeological museum. Great long explanations about everything. Then we stopped in the village for 30 mins before heading back to the ship. We were the second last bus of over 20 to get back and were so late we had to board the ship instead of walking round Katakolon village and having a drink on the seafront. We had a few laughs with some others in our group about how we could get her to stop talking including removing her chewing gum as she said she couldn't talk without it! When we went back to our cabin last thing we were surprised to find the "do not disturb sign" in our door. On opening the door the lights were off and the TV pulled out facing the bed and switched on. Very strange. However when we put the light on we saw our steward had made a figure in the bed with the towels and pillows complete with chocolate eyes and wearing my glasses. What a laugh.
Day 13 Corfu again so we took the shuttle to town and had a wander and did some shopping. There were a lot of walking tours of the town which is good if it is your first visit. We returned o the ship for a late lunch and relaxed by the pool and had a swim later. It was quiet as many people were still ashore.
Day 14 Split. This was our second tender port. It is a beautiful city with a lot of history. Again we had been before so explored on our own. Lots of walking tours here too. Diocletian's Palace is worth a visit and there is a good market with lots of stalls just nearby. The ice cream is wonderful and very cheap. Spent the last of our Croatian money - apart from Dubrovnik all the other ports take Euros - and returned to the ship. It was not a ship's tender but a bigger boat that took us back and it was a bit scary getting off onto the ship as it was rocking a bit. As tomorrow was our last day we packed after dinner.
Day 15 Venice again. We were up at 6.00 and went for an early breakfast. Our group left the ship at 9.00 and were taken to the airport. It was mobbed and there were no seats so we had to stand around until just after 11.00 when we could checkin. Then we went through and the plane left about 20 mins late. On arrival at Gatwick we found all internal flights were delayed due to the horrendous thunderstorms that had been over England. Eventually arrived in Glasgow 90 mins late to be met by a friend and driven home complete with luggage!!
Good points : Staff, all were so friendly and seemed to know your name after one meeting. Ship itself was lovely and there were always plenty of places to sit either in the sun or out of it. It never felt too crowded. Also plenty of space in the bars and lounges. I loved the towel animals too. The food was good with plenty of choice.
Not so good points : The shows were the same each week. The brochure did say some might be the same but not all. I feel there could have been some that were changed. Lack of choice of goods in the shops especially for those with no clothes! There were too many jewelry shops.
Would like : It would be nice to have a fridge in the cabin.
Overall we had a good cruise in spite of our luggage problems. This was our first cruise with RCCI but I am sure it won't be our last!