Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by KievLewis: Splendour of the Seas - Eastern Mediterranean
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Splendour of the Seas - Eastern Mediterranean
We enjoyed our week on the Splendour of the Seas. I think I have been spoiled by the size and impressive facilities of the Voyager-class ships, but the Vision-class ship is very nice. Our stateroom, 2nd deck forward, had a porthole but was still light and comfortable. In the future, though, I would be reluctant to have a room that has an interior adjoining door, as it means you have a chair instead of a divan, and our neighbor opened the door one or two times - though we had asked that it be locked.
Another caveat: RCCL puts a six-pack of soda and two bottles of water on the room desk and charge ($8.60) for it if used. We didn't want it and stowed it in the closet. Of course, when they saw it was 'gone' we were charged for it on the final day and there was no time to do dispute the charge.
We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard at the Venice airport the first night, and a week in advance I was able to arrange a trip to the port for 33 Euros through the hotel. More
We were at the ship by noon for the 4:30 sailing and there were no lines - we just walked aboard. Even though we were among the first to board, our bags weren't delivered until after dinner - which bugged my wife but didn't bother me at all.
We had great table-mates: a chef at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando and his wife, who worked for the Orlando Visitors Bureau, and a fellow in the construction business whose wife is office manager for a Houston plastic surgeon. Fun people to get to know, and I'd sail with them anytime!
I do think that the declining dollar has hit the dining room: Meals weren't as nice and the portions weren't as big as earlier cruises. The lobster was a couple bites. More chicken and pork chops as 'featured' entrees, yet still tasty and with good service. I've read some reviews that indicate the waiters on RCCL's smaller ships are not as good as on the new vessels, but I certainly didn't see evidence of this.
One humorous discovery: The singing waiters don't sing! Learned this when they used a scratched CD to play "O Solo Mio" and it skipped. Wow, and there ain't no Santy Claus, neither! The Voyager had its 'best places' and so does the Splendour. After the evening show, we'd go to the Champagne Terrace on the ground floor of the Atrium, where they had various musicians every night - the best was a Latin group. The Viking Crown Lounge, which was a nice evening venue for jazz on the Voyager serves as the disco on the Splendour. The Schooner Bar - which we didn't think was interesting on Voyager, was like an English pub and popular on the Splendour.
Entertainment was not bad: average to really good lounge acts, and in the showroom the RCCL Singers and Dancers always are good. Had an Elton John impersonator so one very good show, and a Four Tops-like group do another. One act I didn't care for was Mysterique, but that was just not my taste.
The ports were great, had a couple of interesting excursions and nice weather. Corfu is beautiful, as is most of what I saw in Greece. I'd go back.
We didn't get off the ship in Croatia. The weather had turned bad and the night before we were advised that Natalie would need a $40 visa - assuming that they could even arrange one. We canceled the excursion and enjoyed a restful day on board instead. Not a huge disappointment - heard no stories from anyone later that would lead me to regret the decision - mainly due to the weather.
Back in Venice, we had a post-cruise excursion to Padua, and I had booked a room at the Best Western Premier on St. Elena island. From the airport (where our tour terminated) we checked our bags into the Left Luggage room and took at bus (No. 5, EUR 2) to Plaza Roma, the transport hub for buses and boats. The boats cost EUR 6 per person without regard to the length of the trip, and took us to St Elena island, a residential and park district. The hotel was only a couple blocks from the landing. The hotel is a former convent, but the sisters never had it so good: we had a two room mini-suite, very bright and comfortable, which overlooked a canal (Then again, in Venice there are probably only two hotel rooms that DON'T overlook a canal!).
The hotel is only a 20-minute stroll (over countless footbridges) to the famous St. Marco Square.
That afternoon, we reversed course (boat and bus) and returned to the airport for the flight home to Kyiv. Returned to 2 feet of snow after a blizzard earlier in the day, and our cold Ukrainian winter.
All in all, a very good trip. We're already counting the days til February and our Mexico cruise on Vision! Less
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