Splendour of the Seas Entertainment
The hub of the ship is the Centrum, which got a full makeover in 2011. Its lowest level is Deck 4, where the R Bar serves up classic martinis in a setting that's supposed to be 1960's mod decor. The bar and additional comfy seating surround a small dance floor and bandstand. That's where all the action takes place, including art auctions, cooking demos, ballroom dance classes, audience-participation games like ring-tosses and "live horse racing," and late-night themed dance parties. The Centrum space soars up to Deck 8 with a windowed ceiling on the pool deck above, and the upper reaches have been outfitted with stage lighting and rigging for aerial acrobatic performances (think high-flying bungee swings). The performances, some of which are publicized in the daily programs and some of which are serendipitous, vary in quality; if you go to only one, make it the farewell spectacular.
The ship has a few main lounges. Adjacent to the R Bar is the clubby yet whimsical Schooner Bar. There, the floor by the bar is actual teak decking, varnished and polished to a rich, glossy sheen. Several tables feature ersatz bits of masts and rigging sprouting from them like transformed umbrellas. A piano with sing-along seating is there for evening entertainment and trivia game purposes.
Located on Deck 4 forward, the 802-seat 42nd Street Theater is one of the most functional and intelligently designed we've experienced. Sightlines from either the main floor or balcony are excellent. Seating is on fixed banquettes, which guarantee adequate space to enter and exit rows, and space is maximized by eliminating tables in favor of drink holders on armrests. On a one-week cruise, expect several performances by the ship's singers and dancers and a few specialty acts. (On our cruise, it was a Beatles tribute band, a comedian and Bowser from Sha Na Na.)
The art-deco Top Hat Lounge, located forward on Deck 5, is the ship's secondary performance venue. It plays host to art auctions, bingo games, dance lessons and dancing to live bands, karaoke and various presentations, from future cruise sails to shopping talks.
The most recognizable public room on Splendour of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's signature Viking Crown Lounge, up on Deck 11. It's a lovely spot to watch sailaway from indoors, and it's also the late-night disco venue.
The Casino Royale on Deck 4 has slot machines and all the requisite card tables (poker, blackjack, craps, etc.). We found the casino staff unusually friendly and helpful, and we've never had so much fun losing money.
The cruise staff conducts a large number of games, competitions and other activities, both on sea days and in port. As on other RCI ships, this cruise staff seemed to truly enjoy the activities they supervised and participated in.
Splendour of the Seas Public Rooms
Splendour lives up to its name with gorgeous colors, rich woods and shiny marble gracing its public rooms in muted, soft tones. There are also floor-to-ceiling glass panels that highlight the Centrum with spectacular views of the sea on sunny days.
The reception and shore excursion desks can be found on Deck 5 in the Centrum. The Centrum Shops are adjacent, selling duty-free goods, sundries, logowear, jewelry, perfume, fashion and formalwear.
The photo gallery, where you can view and purchase pictures taken by the ship's photographers, is located on Deck 6, overlooking the Centrum and surrounded by cabins. Thumbs up to the machines that show you all photos of you when you insert your cruise card; thumbs down to the costumed crewmembers hounding you every day to take photos with them.
Two flights up on Deck 8 is the "Royal Caribbean Online" Internet lounge, which offers real-time access to the Web 24/7. The room is beautifully designed and bordered by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean and the top-most part of the Centrum (which means you can hear the pianist playing below).The ship is now outfitted for Wi-Fi, bow to stern, but some spots onboard might get better reception than others. You can pay for Internet as you go for 65 cents a minute or purchase a package: $35 for 60 minutes, $55 for 100 minutes, $75 for 150 minutes, $100 for 250 minutes or $150 for 500 minutes. To use Wi-Fi on your own laptop, you must first sign up for an account at the Internet cafe.
On Deck 9, the new BRITTO gallery is a colorful venue selling logo items designed by pop-art icon Romero Britto. In addition to prints and paintings, passengers can purchase luggage, key chains and umbrellas with the artist's designs.
Conference rooms are located on Deck 3. There are no self-serve laundry rooms on Rhapsody.
Splendour of the Seas Spa & Fitness
The main, open, central outdoor area on Deck 9 has a large pool surrounded by four shaded hot tubs. An outdoor movie screen shows a number of family and blockbuster films, as well as popular sporting events and music videos; movie screenings are scheduled for select evenings. Lounge chairs are your basic plastic and metal affairs. A couple of Ping-Pong tables are located on the pool deck.
Toward the stern is the Solarium with the secondary pool and another two hot tubs. This area is covered by a retractable glass dome, and it's a warm hideaway when the weather is chilly outside. It's also adults-only (minimum age 16). You'll find nicer lounge chairs, tables and chairs for playing cards or eating snacks from the adjacent Park Cafe.
On Deck 10, a jogging track circles the ship, overlooking the pool areas. It passes by the Splendour of the Greens 18-hole mini-golf course (with lights for after-dinner games), shuffleboard courts and Royal Caribbean's signature rock-climbing wall. An additional sunbathing area, dubbed the Observatory, is located on Deck 10 forward. There is no basketball court.
The Vitality Day Spa and fitness center, run by Steiner of London, occupies Decks 9, aft. It offers all the usual treatments (massages, facials, hair and nail services), as well as acupuncture, medi-spa procedures to reduce wrinkles and enhance lips, waxing and special offerings for couples, men, teens and kids. The Cruise Specials newsletter that accompanies the Cruise Compass usually lists same-day spa specials and other discounts.
Splendour has a perfectly adequate gym for a ship of its size, with treadmills, elliptical trainers, exercise bikes, weight machines and free weights. Fitness classes -- yoga, spinning and boot camp (for $12), as well as free abs and stretching classes -- and spa seminars take place in the central aerobics area.