My aunt, mom and I planned this trip to meet my cousin who had been studying abroad in Spain and to see as much as the Mediterranean as possible. This was my mom and I's 4th cruise; however, we have always cruised smaller, older ships so I can't compare to the newer, larger ships. We didn't pick the cruise for the ship anyway, but for the ports. The Splendour had a wonderful port schedule with a lot of time in each of the ports. Our sailing was July 3 - July 15.
We arrived in Venice 2 days prior to our cruise. Our plane got in at 9 am which was wonderful for avoiding jet lag. We went right to sight seeing by jumping in getting lost in Venice. We really just wondered around town after checking into our hotel the Allogi Barbaria. The hotel is more a B&B and isn't what you'd call a romantic or memorable place to stay. However, it was certainly functional and you couldn't beat the price in Venice (100 Euro a night for 4 of us). The location is nice and off the beaten path so away from the throngs of tourist.
More on Venice in our Port Review. We used the Vaparetto to get to the ship on embarkation day. Easiest embarkation ever! I was able to carry my luggage on (one wheeled carry one and one shoulder bag type carry on). We got to the ship around 3:00 and there was no line at all.
Right after boarding the ship, we started to encounter what made this cruise special -- THE STAFF! The staff was absolutely fantastic. From our room steward who always had a kind word for us, to the cruise director's staff who we got to know fairly well even though we aren't huge "joiners," to our waitstaff in the main dining room. Our waitress, Vivianna, was truly a joy! In addition to being a genuinely nice person, she did a fantastic job with her recommendations every night for dinner and hints for the port the next day. She even let Lisa practice her Spanish each night - so she was able to learn another accent and dialect. Even the crew who checked us back onto the ship after port days remembered us after the first port.
As I mentioned, we like the smaller ships, and that certainly was true on this ship. The pool did get crowded on sea days, but you could always find a deck chair when you needed one. What surprised us was how empty the evening shows were - this was certainly a first for us. We chalked it up to the busy port schedule, but it was still a surprise. The shows were all good - not the big productions I read about on the larger ships, but entertaining and the perfect length for me - about 45 minutes.
We attended trivia every night (and were first losers most nights and never the winner). This was a really fun activity and evidently our cruising had a bunch of trivia buffs since we had to move from the Schooner bar up to the Viking Crown and then to the Top Hat because our crowd was so big.
I did utilize the fitness center. It was fine for a smaller ship. My only complaint was the temperature- it was warm in the fitness center on the verge of uncomfortable. It was also fairly crowded every time I was in there. I never had to wait, but one of the sea days I was there around 5:00 PM and others had to wait (I got the last elliptical). The track was nice to use, but really only feasible in the morning and evening (I took many walks around it late at night) as there were just too many people and deck chairs during the day.
Disembarkation was just as easy as embarkation. We took advantage of the walk off option and did just that....walked right off the ship and to the people mover.