My self,my wife and daughter 8yrs.old flew into Lisbon Easter Sunday to board Splendour of the Sea on Monday April13. We were met as we exited the baggage pick up by a rep. from Royal Caribbean and our driver. Wonderfully excited to see us she took control and promptly escorted us to our waiting minivan to transport us to the Sheraton Lisbon Hotel we selected through Royal. Our driver was as friendly and helpful as any we have encountered and gave us a quick narration of Lisbon before arriving at the hotel. The Sheraton was first class and very stylish and the room very comfortable with a bath that had a large soaking tub, large walk in shower in all glass tiles as well as a separate toilet room. We could have stayed a few days. Dined in the hotel which offered a wonderful buffet for dinner as well as a huge breakfast buffet which came with the room price.
The next morning we were met by a large coach bus our baggage taken and quickly driven to the port.The check in went the smoothest we have ever had with a wait just as long as it took our person to get the cards. This will be an indication of how flawless the rest of the cruise would be. Boarded and our room awaited with our baggage right behind.The room was spotless but the only down side was it was below the Windjammer so we would hear the carts across our ceiling now and then. Touring the ship the Splendour is in wonderful shape and we found the perfect size for our itinerary. Walls of glass in the main dining room was perfect to enjoy the Mediterranean coasts. The Windjammer was fantastic to see each port as we arrived while dining on breakfast. Food in the Windjammer was always fresh and hot. Crisp salads and a wonderful array of choices for breakfast and lunch.The main dining hall was always inviting and we never had a less than great meal. The fish was always fresh and tasty while the lamb dishes were excellent. Our waiters,Yurus(HW) and Jacob(AW) were welcoming from the start and went over and above pleasing us at every meal. My daughter was spoiled rotten by everyone in the dining room every night.Being in South America the crew had a large number of South Americans who we found warm and very accommodating and were infectiously happy. There was a real air of joy onboard.
My daughter was in the Adventure Ocean program. Although the room was on the small side the staff made up for any lack of amenities by their enthusiasm and caring for each child. Being such a small ship my daughter would run into the councilors on excursions and would light up with joy. She said she enjoyed this group more than the Freedom group. My belief it was because of the size and happiness of the crew.
The weather outside was spring like and only allowed usage of the outdoor pool a few times but it was great. Heated to 80 degrees. The indoor Solarium was used a number of times and was fantastic on the cool days especially for my daughter. Shows at the Theater were varied and was a nice mix of all types of entertainment. I will list the ones we attended:Day 1:Luis Dalton juggled and did many balancing tricks.Was entertaining although you would suspect not by the description. Intro of Bill Brunkhorst who was the perfect fit as C.D. for this trip and was entertaining but not over the top. Day2:Aaron Shaw romantic singer.O.K. Day4 Dancin thru the Movies with the Royal Singers and Dancers. The shows was energetic with the dancing really superb. Day5 Jaqui Scott: Pro off London "Broadway". SHe was fantastic as a singer and played piano. Wonderful personality with the audience. Home Run. Day6 Tommy McPhee: somewhat a young Engelbert Humperdink. A little over the top.Day 9: Jacqueline Roche: violin vituolso who was really good. Day11 Beatles Celebration. Absolutely wonderful. Had the whole house standing and singing along. As good as Spectrum group that plays on the Navigator. Day 12:Philip Hitchcock:magician..put on a great show and was my daughter's favorite.Pierre is a "mime" as in the spirit of Harpo Marx and is an assistant C.D. and he warms up the audience. He is fantastic and was the audiences favorite. Overall a two thumbs up for Royal for their selection of entertainment.
We took an excursion through R.C. in each port of call. Every port the organization of getting the groups together before leaving the ship went flawlessly. The ports are as follows:
Cadiz,Spain: White Villages and countryside. Beautiful sunny day to view an ancient walled town built on the high plateau in the Spanish countryside.
Malaga,Spain. Caves of Nerja. Small seaside town which was absolutely pituresic on sunny spring day and then we were escorted to the caves which was a natural wonder.
Barcelona,Spain. Toured Montserrant monastery outside Barcelona which lunch was served on a hillside restaurant. Excellent tour while lunch of pasta,chicken and local wine highlighted a perfect trip.
Villefranche,France: Toured downtown Nice with free time to wander then proceeded to Eze France. A walled city on top of a large hill overlooking the Sea. Tour guide was very good in providing info.
Rome,Italy. We chose Orvieto tour since we had been to Rome before. If there was one trip I could choose it would be this one. Truly it was ITALY! the tour of this ancient town with a wonderful guide as well as an outstanding lunch in a local restaurant of pasta,rabbit and local wine was the ultimate Italian trip to the real Italy
Naples,Italy. We chose the Capri with lunch. Took a ferry to Capri(a little rough) and had a guided tour of the island with free time. Off and on showers did not discourage us and it really is an amazing island.
Corfu,Greece: Panoramic Corfu. A coach tour of Corfu going to the top of the island.Drivers are one of the best we have seen in Europe. Finished with a lunch at restaurant Rex. Great local cuisine.
Split,Croatia. Historic Split walking tour. Met at the ship and took a tour of the historic 4th century Roman palace.Took time to walk the town.Lovely place.
Venice,Italy. Sunrise and sailing down the Main Canal on a picture perfect day.Doesn't get any better. Upon docking we were met immediately by our luggage and then a rep. from the Metropole Hotel.(a hotel we booked thru Royal Carr.) We were escorted to a water taxi and motored thru the canals and the driver gave us a tour of a number of canals before we pulled up to our hotel on the Main Canal. Beautiful Hotel. The room was huge and full of antiques, again with a beautiful bath. Our bags were immediately stored and we explored St.Marks which was 2 blocks from the hotel. It was St. Marks Day and the entire city was celebrating. Unreal we had such a wonderful cruise to end in such a spectacular way. That evening we dined in the restaurant in the Hotel Metropole which is one of the top in Italy. It could not get any better. But it did. The next morning we were met by out Royal Carr. rep at 4:00 A.M. and he escorted us into the water taxi,to the airport, onthe shuttle a few hundred yards and into the terminal. Stayed to make sure we were in the terminal through the security. It was the best trip we have ever taken. Everything went smooth as silk.
Bravo for Captain Tommy Nyseter and his crew. Reading the reviews I was nervous but now I don't know what ship they were referring to. This ship had the warmest crew that we have ever encountered. Although it is not new ,the Splendour is a beautiful ship kept sparkling clean and polished. We are planning to return to take the Greece tour and now we know the great time that will lie ahead.Royal Caribbean had created the perfect cruise and we can't thank them enough.