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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

A little about us - we are professionals in our early 30's - no kids yet - 2 prior cruses in the Caribbean on Celebrity. This was also our first time to Europe. With frequent flyer miles we arranged a free flight into Venice. We ... Read More
A little about us - we are professionals in our early 30's - no kids yet - 2 prior cruses in the Caribbean on Celebrity. This was also our first time to Europe. With frequent flyer miles we arranged a free flight into Venice. We boarded the Splendour about 11am on the 26th. We had every intention of checking in, dropping off luggage and going back into town but since we love cruises, we found ourselves by the pool bar and meeting friends from San Francisco. First impressions of the Splendour - nice, but no Celebrity Galaxy or Century. Not as clean or nicely maintained as the Celebrity ships. We quickly made friends with our pool staff bartenders - Lukas from South Africa, Allan and Marcio. We met another couple and looked forward to the next week ahead! We were seated at the late seating - 9:15pm. We prefer the late dinner so when we get home from the day ashore we can relax or have a drink before rushing to dinner. One note, all the brochures and info stated 2 formal nights, 4 casual and 1 smart casual. There were actually 2 smart casual nights, not 1. Dinner was OK for the week. Again, hate to compare but not nearly up to the standards of Celebrity. We had to hail down the drink server and always ask for water instead of the ass't waiter just re-filling. This was the only disappointing part of our trip and because of it, we will probably not sail RCCL again. To give a glaring example, my husband ordered two appetizers on the final night of the cruise: risotto and soup. Only the risotto came. I'm sorry, but if you can't get the orders right ON TIP NIGHT, something is very wrong. Anyway, we spent most of the evening in the casinos and exploring and making friends. There is no craps table but we were more than happy with the slots, roulette, blackjack and Caribbean poker. We did purchase the RCCL 12 drinks for $39.99 card which was very easy and a good deal. Also, we found MANY Americans. We thought it would be mostly Europeans and were pleasantly surprised. The ship is considered an American ship and accepts USD in the casinos. You can cash in Euros for USD but you cannot exchange USD for Euros as they are not allowed to carry. All tipping was in Euros for the tours so be sure to get some at one of your ports or before embarking. The tours are all day and long and barely time to find a cash machine. Headed home from the ship. We decided to get transfers from the ship to the airport at the last minute through our travel agent - what a GREAT decision! I am amazed at the organization and speed at which we were taken off the ship and onto the waiting coach buses. So worth the $19/per person cost. We checked out bags at Venice and since we were connecting in Heathrow, they actually checked our bags through to Newark! This was British Airways and we were then getting on a Virgin flight. Apparently, that is standard now to avoid having to re-claim your bags in London and then re-check. Saved so much time since we had to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. Our flight from London was delayed an hour but they upgraded us to Business Class for no good reason so no problem with that! All in all, the trip was beyond our expectations! We made some wonderful friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately, having cruised in Celebrity a few times, we are spoiled and RCCL did not even come close to the service and cuisine that Celebrity provided. We are very, very 'low maintenance' people but in the future, will spend the extra couple of bucks and sail on Celebrity. We heard too many complaints from other people about the dining room so it was no just 'us'. Our stateroom attendant was EXCELLENT! The bar and casino staff were wonderful and really made this an adventure we will never forget! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Introduction: Before booking this cruise, we had considered Viking River Cruises, and a trip on the Rhine and Danube rivers. We opted for Royal Caribbean because of price. We flew to Germany, met my daughter who just finished a semester of ... Read More
Introduction: Before booking this cruise, we had considered Viking River Cruises, and a trip on the Rhine and Danube rivers. We opted for Royal Caribbean because of price. We flew to Germany, met my daughter who just finished a semester of study abroad in Europe, and drove through Switzerland and Italy to Venice, where we joined the cruise. We had a couple of nights in Venice before the trip, which we enjoyed, except it is difficult to navigate there and difficult to get around with luggage, because of the many bridges with steps over the network of canals. Boarding: About noon on Saturday we checked out of our hotel and made our way back to Piazza Roma, the end of the road, where the RCI shuttle buses were loading. We loaded our luggage on one bus, but there was no room for us, so we took another bus, hoping we did not lose our luggage. We did not, it was waiting on a luggage cart when we got to the pier. We got in line for security and check in. Since we had a junior suite, we got into a shorter line, and were boarded within an hour. All in all a bit hectic, but not too bad, just about what we expected. Cabin: Our junior suite was really just a roomier cabin, with a sofa bed separated from the joined twin beds by a small partition, about a foot above the bed, so there was not real privacy, but it was roomy and comfortable. The location of cabin 8034 was amidships, near the stairs and elevators, but just off the traffic areas. It was quiet and convenient in all respects. The bath had a tub-shower, and it was kept stocked with clean towels. Dining: We sat at a table for ten in the first seating, with nice people, and we were happy that there was another young woman our daughter's age, also travelling with her parents. We all got along well. The food was well prepared and presented, in good quantity, all in all very good without being called "gourmet". There was something for every palate. The wines by the glass were expensive, that was my only complaint. Ports of call: We enjoyed them all, and did not spend too much on excursions because we enjoyed walking. At most ports we were able to dock, but did have to use the boat once or twice, but that was no problem. In Athens you need to take a trip to the Acropolis from the port of Piraeus, which is a business and industrial city. Even with the added expenses of drinks, excursions, spa, Internet, and tips the total cost of the seven day cruise was much less than the river cruise, and we had just as much fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
It was our first cruise ever. We headed to Venice three days prior to the cruise;We wanted a B&B which was close to Piazzale Roma and the port. We found one clean and romantic little B&B. If some one is looking for a local feel, ... Read More
It was our first cruise ever. We headed to Venice three days prior to the cruise;We wanted a B&B which was close to Piazzale Roma and the port. We found one clean and romantic little B&B. If some one is looking for a local feel, this is a perfect place. The staff is great. Easy to reach from Piazzale Roma (gateway for land transportation and you'll arrive if you come by four-wheel taxi or airport bus). Take a Vapereto no' 1 (Taxi boat) and get-done in Santa Stae and follow the Map(download the map from there website) which will take you 4 to 5 minutes to reach this place by walk. You can also walk from Piazzale Roma which will take you 15 to 20 minutes but not easy if you are carrying heavy luggage. Embarkation - It easy to reach the Port from Piazzale Roma. On the day of the cruise Tag you luggage before you leave from your hotel. Reach to Piazzale Roma by 10am (not nessary, at this time there will be not much of crowd). There will be transfer couch waiting, RC will be written on it. This is free of Charge (the only).Carry you seapass and passport with you. Once you reach to the port they will take care of your luggage and guide you to register.This will not take much time. Regarding you luggage it be delivered to your cabin around 2 PM. Stateroom info: We had a balcony cabin on deck 7. We took the port side and mid ship location as per the review. For this Route its better to take the StarBoard side. the view is better from the cabin. We could feel the vibrations, It does not matter were the location is.The whole ship Vibrates. In some location it vibrates more. We got used to it. The room was a comfortable size, plenty of storage space. Excursion: We book 2 Excursion online from RC. Ephesus (KD1) and Cofu (CG05). Epheses is worth it but Cofu not so grt. We have seen better Palaces and Church. I felt the old city is much better to walk around and to do local shopping. Dubrovnik, Croatia and Santorni we did it ourself. Dubrovnik: You can buy ticket for the RC transfer couch or walk directly to the couch and show you RC card (which they will give on the first day, this card is you entry to you cabin, CC, ID) .They will debit 5 USD per person one way. This is more convenient or you can walk. It will take 45 mins to reach the gate. The old city is beautiful you can walk within the wall, a great place to wander around yourself. Walk top of the Wall ( you need to buy ticket for this) if possible. Great View of the city. Santorni: We did this on our own. Down load a map of Santorni. this will help you understand the Island. It very easy to move around with local transport. The ship reaches early in the morning. So you get enough time to see around. Here the ship is in tender mode. You will have to collect your tender tickets (you don't have to Pay). You can collect it in the morning from the desk (try to leave early).You will be given nos, once called you can head toward the small boats which will take you to Santorni. Once you reach here you can either walk the stairs or take a cable car or take the donkeys. We took the cable car and went up to the top. You will reach Fira, We were off-loaded. We walked around Fira and took a local bus to Oia (pronounce IA) .this is more beautiful than Fira. We head back to Fira and took another Bus to Akotori to see Red Beach. Remember to head back to the port on time. If your late you will miss the Cruise. Over all it was a great experience. It would have been great if it was not raining. It continuously rained the whole time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
GOOD The service was as great as we expected! Our attendant Germano was very friendly, he engaged us in small conversation and gave recommendations when we asked and never made us feel that he was too busy. The man sitting beside me at ... Read More
GOOD The service was as great as we expected! Our attendant Germano was very friendly, he engaged us in small conversation and gave recommendations when we asked and never made us feel that he was too busy. The man sitting beside me at dinner was allergic to gluten, and he and I both were pleasantly surprised at how well the dining staff was able to accommodate his needs. Languages: I was impressed that this American cruise company accommodated so many of the European languages for every announcement. I speak enough of a few languages to know that they were quite competent in their announcements, and all of the staff I met was multi-lingual. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Getting on and off the ship was quick and easy. We had checked in online (highly recommended!), so check-in at the ship was quick with very little wait. We boarded the ship around 2:30, had lunch, and received our luggage around 4:30. Since we were staying in Venice a few days after the cruise, we wanted to disembark as late as possible to sleep in a bit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, but disembarkation went quicker than expected and we were asked to leave the ship at 9:00. Since we had only one suitcase each in addition to my laptop backpack and camera bag, we asked and the staff allowed us to carry off our luggage ourselves on disembarkation day. BAD No iron: We were surprised and disappointed that there is no provision for ironing clothes on the ship! After making the effort to bring nice clothes and dress-up for formal nights, we had to resort to hanging clothes in the shower to clear the wrinkles from the suitcase. Expensive internet: Although I did bring my laptop, internet service starts at $35 for one hour, so we didn't use it. I have a hard time understanding why one hour on the ship costs the same as one month at home. Casino: I didn't like that the casino fills the full width of the ship, so that to walk from the main dining room to the theater required us to walk through the casino. It was actually depressing to walk past the addicts just so I could see a show after dinner. Shuttles in Venice: It was raining the day of our sail-off from Venice and we were unprepared, so we were disappointed to wait in the pouring rain about 15 minutes for the Royal Caribbean shuttle bus to the port. After disembarking from the ship the last time, we waited 45 minutes for a shuttle to return us to Piazzale Roma in Venice. There were 2 private taxi vans charging 5 euros per person and profiting from the sparse Royal Caribbean shuttle buses. DINING We ate dinner in the main dining hall "The King and I" every night but one. The meal started with a choice of 4 breads. The menu offered around 8 salads/first dishes, 8 main dishes, and 6 desserts. The portions were correct, we tended to eat everything on our plate without feeling full or hungry when we finished. The staff quickly learned that we preferred to drink decaf coffee and brought it without asking after the second night. The man sitting next to me had a gluten allergy; he and I both were surprised at the quality of meals he was able to enjoy and how easily the dining staff accommodated him. At every meal they were able to modify an existing item on the menu, always provided him gluten-free bread, and they did not make a big deal about it. We were surprised with an additional dessert and song one night for our anniversary. We ate breakfast and lunch every day in the Windjammer Cafe. Some mornings we slept late and were glad they served breakfast until noon. The variety of food was even more than we expected. We did not find the buffet islands to be too congested; our only waits were short ones at the coffee machine. Occasionally we had some difficulty to find a table, but the staff was very quick to clear the tables and the waits were not nearly as long as we read about in some other reviews (such as Oasis). The beautiful melon carvings and ice sculptures were nice touches. STATEROOM We reserved an inside stateroom because of the cost, but afterwards we both agreed we prefer the inside stateroom because of the quality of our sleep! When lights are turned out, the room is pitch black and we slept very soundly; there was no daylight to trigger our body to begin to wake up at daybreak. The room was small, but not as small as some Parisian hotels where we have stayed! OTHER After the first night, we were pleased with the quality of the shows. I was pleased with the rock climbing wall. I had never attempted it, so I was grateful that the staff was very helpful. The wall had 6 courses of various difficulties; although I am 52 and not athletic, I was able to ring the bell after climbing 3 of the courses, the 4th required more finger strength than I could muster. Being so high above the top of the ship which is 9 stories above the ocean was intimidating at first, but I was made confident by the safety equipment, the competence of the staff, and their instructions and suggestions. We take a library for granted, since we enjoy reading a book or playing games in a quiet atmosphere with big windows for seeing outside. The library on Spendour is adequate, the choice of books is medium, and we were glad that there were plenty of Scrabble and Othello games available. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
As a first time cruiser it was with slight apprehension that we booked what we hoped would be an amazing introduction to cruising aboard Splendour of the Seas on its Eastern Mediterranean itinerary. We were not disappointed! Flights from ... Read More
As a first time cruiser it was with slight apprehension that we booked what we hoped would be an amazing introduction to cruising aboard Splendour of the Seas on its Eastern Mediterranean itinerary. We were not disappointed! Flights from London to Venice via Dusseldorf, booked through RCI, were very expensive but we booked at the time of the volcano crisis and wanted the reassurance of a package trip. Everything went smoothly, including transfers to the ship, although the embarkation queues were longer than expected. Once on board in the mid afternoon we freshened up in our cabin, ate lunch at the Windjammer cafe and enjoyed the decks and views. Our outside cabin was larger than expected with plenty of storage space and a very comfortable bed. I was slightly surprised that the toiletries provided consisted of a single bar of soap but having taken all we needed it wasn't a problem. Overall, the ship was comfortable with numerous quiet spaces for relaxing and more bustling areas such as the pool deck with plenty going on. The solarium pool area was a favourite although it was difficult to find a sun bed on the 'at sea' days. The food in the dining room was excellent, varied enough to find something different each evening and portion sizes were sensible. The evening entertainment in the main theatre wasn't as spectacular as I'd expected but was varied and enjoyable nonetheless. The highlights were the Beatles tribute band and the violinist. Entertainment in the bars and on deck was always excellent. All four ports of call offered differing experiences. Dubrovnik's historic old town viewed from the city walls was very attractive and easily toured in a day. Kusadasi provided a gateway to the ancient ruins at Ephesus but had little else of note unless you enjoy shopping in a fairly high pressure environment! Santorini was stunning, with Fira and Oia perched on the cliffs the views were amazing and wandering the narrow lanes was especially enjoyable. Shops here were much more varied than other ports with some offering one off hand made items too. By the time we got to Corfu we were ready for day on the beach so took a taxi to Dassia beach to chill out for the afternoon. We would cruise with RCI again despite the high price of excursions and drinks. We enjoyed the mix of people on board from all over the world and liked dressing up for the formal nights although it was possible to eat at the Windjammer if you preferred not to don the finery. This was our first cruise but definitely won't be our last. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Our cruise was a family reunion type of get-together. Ages ranged from 13-67 and there were 8 of us. We went on a 7-day mexican riviera cruise. the ship is very large and designed in not the most user friendly way. for instance, trying to ... Read More
Our cruise was a family reunion type of get-together. Ages ranged from 13-67 and there were 8 of us. We went on a 7-day mexican riviera cruise. the ship is very large and designed in not the most user friendly way. for instance, trying to get to the golden pearl restaurant is not easy - there are different entrance locations on different levels. crazy. food was average - nothing to write home about. but the again, cooking for the masses can never be exceptional. the chocolate extravaganza tasted very processed and not very good at all. one of the offerings was melon on a skewer doused with hershey's syrup. hmm. the ship, when you consider all the people on board, is very very clean. even the cafeteria style lido deli is tidy. They just don't have enough chairs & tables. the mongolian grill is painfully slow - be ready to stand in line for 20-30 min. and ask for extra sauce at the end. very tasteless stir-fry for a thai bbq sauce! they ran out of beverages every now and again but with so many people, it's understandable. don't drink coffee in the afternoon - it's been going since breakfast. go to the coffee bar and pay for a cup of java instead. much better. the tapas bar was a nice change from the usual fare and so was the tandoori bar. but generally, the food grows tiresome. the excursions we took were great - the spa was great on board the ship. i recommend getting a treatment. and the cost of the spa packages goes significantly down the last 4 days of the cruise. we wish we would've booked the spa pool in the beginning though - that's the best deal. Not a very friendly kids club staff. They did nothing to help our two teens feel welcome or excited about activities. the first meeting wasn't "HI"! Welcome"! It was "here, fill these out and i'll give you a sticker so you can get into the club. you can't get in without it". then she turned and left and we had to track her down in another club to give her the paperwork. she just took the papers, put a sticker in their hands and left. kind of rude. the kids were on the fence about going to the club and that clinched the deal.first impressions go a long way i guess. we wished there wasn't smoking allowed in so many places. we come from a smoke-free state and it just stunk. they allow smoking in the casino (which you can smell throughout the adjoining shops and all the way to the sushi bar), in the cigar lounge (robusto), and in the piano bar. that left the el morocco lounge and the atmosphere-lacking el mojito lounge. not much. red carpet was 18+ years and it didn't need to be as far as i could see. it was the most consistently lively place there and would've been fun for everyone in our family to dance all together. they should make el morocco 18+ and open up red carpet for everyone. we had fun together, but in the end, it was not our style of cruising i guess. we liked the smaller ship and classier atmosphere of holland america and the food was so much better too. but this was a family-style trip and we wanted something for so many different age groups and interests. it was okay for that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Background Information - We are a mother and daughter from Chicago and St. Louis and this was our first trip to Europe. My lucky mom cruises regularly, and Royal is a favorite of hers (she just turned diamond this first leg!) This was my ... Read More
Background Information - We are a mother and daughter from Chicago and St. Louis and this was our first trip to Europe. My lucky mom cruises regularly, and Royal is a favorite of hers (she just turned diamond this first leg!) This was my third cruise (second aboard Royal Caribbean) so I had high expectations for great service, fun activities aboard ship, and excellent food. The Splendour didn't disappoint! It was comfortably familiar, and yet a brand new experience at the same time. Hotel Info (if any) - We spent 2 days pre cruise at the Hotel Tritone on Mestre. The convenience of the hotel is phenomenal! Clean, comfortable, adequately sized room with included breakfast buffet offering a great mixture of English and Italian style foods. The hotel is directly across the street from the train station and bus stop to Venice (each is a ten minute ride). The bus is included in the vaporetto transportation package through veniceconnected.com making it a great value. Dropoff/pick up point in Venice is the Piazza Roma just down the block from the train station. Ship Info - Simply the most beautiful glass-walled dining room I have experienced aboard a ship! Spectacular views! Clean, comfortable, and spacious, this ship is holding up quite well. It was a pleasant space to spend two weeks. About the only thing I would suggest is to give the wooden balcony rails a coat of varnish to protect them from the elements. Activities - As expected, there were opportunities for trivia, bingo (European style with pencil and paper), art shows, gambling tournaments, shopping, wine tastings, towel folding demonstrations. We even made some beaded jewelry. Service - We had awesome waitstaff in the main dining room and plenty of assistance in the Windjammer as well. I will say that it seemed like there were several new crew members in the My Time Dining section -- that experience could have been a bit more polished. Our cabin steward - Dexter - is a breath of pure sunshine: always happy to assist and quick with a smile. He didn't duplicate a towel animal once during our two weeks aboard -- an effort we really appreciated! Constantin is the My Time Dining maitre' d and he was fabulous, always greeting us by name and making us feel like cherished friends. Port & Shore Excursions - see details of our excursions below. We did take a Royal Caribbean excursion in Corfu (Paleokastritsa, Lakones, and Wine) because we wanted to visit the Paleokastritsa area on the opposite side of the island and sample some authentic Greek refreshments. It was informative, interesting, and we had plenty of time at each stop although it was obvious that the "season" hadn't yet started. Many of the shops were still closed and the hotels were just beginning to spruce up the paint and landscaping. I am still in awe that the buses were able to squeeze through the narrow, twisting streets. Summary Travel To Port of Embarkation - On the day of the cruise, we opted for a taxi from our hotel right to the port. This was arranged by the front desk of the hotel and cost 40 euro for door to door service at the port(including our 4 large suitcases!) Stateroom - We had a balcony cabin on the 7th deck portside. What a treat to view sail-away with a cold margarita (drink of the day) in hand: taking dozens of pictures and waving to Venetians and tourists alike in vaporettos, hotels, and canal-side restaurants. Simply stunning scenery. We had ample storage for all of our belongings. We made use of the European style outlets so we were able to plug up to 4 electric items in at once. The TV was an old Trinitron that had seen better days. Dining - Overall, we enjoyed the My Time Dining as it does give you total flexibility for planning out your evening. It was especially enjoyable to meet new people each night as it definitely widens your circle of new friends on board. It was great to chat with lots of people each day and find commonalities that we would have missed if we were at one table each night for the entire cruise. Children's Clubs - Did not use Entertainment - The Royal Singers and Dancers were upbeat and good. It seems like the shows have all been seen before (70's, ballroom, movie soundtracks) yet we still made it down to each one. There was a juggler who was okay. His act would have played better in a smaller venue. Singer Jacqui Scott was a headliner one night and she was excellent! Another headliner - a "rat pack" tribute needed more work and inspiration. Disembarkation - Since we were staying on board, our new sea pass cards were delivered the night before and we got off the ship early to spend another day sightseeing in Venice. At the end of our cruise - we waited in the card room until our luggage color tag was called for the transfer to the airport. Couldn't have been simpler or more convenient. Summary - Splendour of the Seas is more than the sum of her parts. The entire crew from the captain to the room stewards, the dining room attendants, to the bartenders all work in tandem to create a remarkable, unforgettable cruise experience. The amenities from the rock wall and walking/running track, the spa, gymnasium, solarium, various nightclubs and watering holes, the shops, entertainment, bingo, art shows, casino, all the different things to do and experience allow you to be as active or as lazy as you want to be. We had a fantastic time and made memories to last a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
* Background Information This was our first cruise as Platinum Crown and Anchor members - so it made it a bit special - would we be treated any differently? * Hotel Info We arrived in Venice a couple of days early - after a couple of ... Read More
* Background Information This was our first cruise as Platinum Crown and Anchor members - so it made it a bit special - would we be treated any differently? * Hotel Info We arrived in Venice a couple of days early - after a couple of near misses, we always do this - no chance of missing the ship. By luck we stayed at the Arlechinno hotel just off the Piazzale Roma, a great location and very convenient for the shuttle bus to the port. * Embarkation This was the best embarkation we have had (better than Miami or Tampa). Luggage disappeared off the shuttle straight onto trailers and off to the ship (presumably via security). This is where we first felt special - a dedicated check-in for Platinum (+). Check-in was no quicker - but the cakes and champagne were a nice treat. * Sailaway The sailaway from Venice down the Guidecca canal is stunning. Some of the best views in the world. * Stateroom Our stateroom was fine - normal inside cabin. We didn't spend too much time in it. The only complaint would a lack a pressure and warmth in the water in the shower. * Dining We enjoyed the food - all good quality and never had reason to send anything back. The service on MyTime dining was often slow - half an hour to get a bread roll or find your wine bottle is not good enough. * Children's Clubs Our children were disappointed by the kids' clubs. The activities were less well organised than we have experienced in the past. Our teen often left the club bored by the lack of activities, playing on the Wii seemed to be the only activity. * Entertainment Normal Royal Caribbean fare. The singers and dancers were fine. A good West End singer and a fun magician did well. But overall, I don't cruise for the shows and find them rather poor - wonder if the larger ships are any better? * Disembarkation This is when the effects of the Iceland volcano hit. We had been told that airports and flights were cancelled - the internet lounge was packed with people trying to rebook flights and hotels. We had paid for a "late departure". This is an excellent programme - for around $30 per person you stay on board on departure day - we had use of the lounges, pool, windjammer etc- all for the price of a meal in Venice. Due to the ash problem, there was a lot of confusion about whether the programme was actually running - at one point we were asked to leave. When we finally disembarked, we were straight through security , got our bags and the a taxi to the (closed) airport. Due to the ash we were in Venice for a further 5 days before eventually flying home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Background Information - Hi again! We are a mother and daughter from Chicago and St. Louis and this was our first trip to Europe. This review will detail our experiences on the second leg of our back to back cruise. Check out our previous ... Read More
Background Information - Hi again! We are a mother and daughter from Chicago and St. Louis and this was our first trip to Europe. This review will detail our experiences on the second leg of our back to back cruise. Check out our previous review for more information on our first week at sea. The volcano - The volcanic eruption in Iceland and subsequent ash cloud made it impossible for many, many passengers to meet the ship by sail away time. Royal Caribbean originally announced it would delay our departure for 24 hours to allow more people to get to the ship. As a consequence of this delayed departure our scheduled call to Kusadasi would be cancelled. However, during the evening it became apparent that people would not be able to get to Venice due to airport closings and travel difficulties. On Sunday morning, we heard an announcement that we would, in fact, be leaving Venice about 9 am and would be able to make ALL of our scheduled ports although a bit differently than originally planned. While our hearts went out to those whose cruise vacations were turning into an unimaginable catastrophe, we rejoiced at our own turn of fortune to be able to sail immediately. Activities - One advantage for us was more "down time" this second week since the shows and activities were for the most part repeats of the first week. This allowed us to relax a bit more than the first week when we didn't want to miss a thing! Port & Shore Excursions - Please see details of our excursions below. I have listed the ports of call in the order we actually saw them. We took advantage of the shuttle offered in Dubrovnik. Dining - The My Time Dining service was definitely more polished this week. As suspected, the kinks were working themselves out. It was great to have some of the same waiters throughout the two weeks. Wonderful, unobtrusive service allows you to get to know your table mates which makes the experience so memorable! Entertainment - This week we had two new shows, a magician Scott Pepper who was amazing, and Flash and Fever who did a combination plate spinning, comedy, and balancing act that blew us away. Summary - As I said in the first review: Splendour of the Seas is more than the sum of her parts. The crew, the atmosphere, the amenities all work to create a comfortable place to relax and get to meet and know new friends from around the world. Whether it is eating breakfast with folks from Ireland, meeting new friends from around the US, or dining with table mates from Scotland, Canada, or England, we definitely met some truly wonderful people. Our meet and mingle party was a fantastic way to put faces to names of people we had first met through these boards on cruisecritic.com while planning this trip. Thank you, Royal Caribbean, for your gracious hospitality, the fun raffle prizes, and tasty refreshments! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We stayed in Barcelona for two nights before the cruise. Wonderful city, very glad that I got to see as much as I did! We stayed at the Ayre Hotel - Gran Via. Very nice hotel, overlooked the city, and perfect location to get anywhere! The ... Read More
We stayed in Barcelona for two nights before the cruise. Wonderful city, very glad that I got to see as much as I did! We stayed at the Ayre Hotel - Gran Via. Very nice hotel, overlooked the city, and perfect location to get anywhere! The Magic Fountain was just behind the hotel, a must see! We used public transportation, and the Hop On Hop Off bus for everything! HOHO was well worth the price to see as much as possible, in a short time! Must Sees are Parc Guell, Sagrada Família , and Las Ramblas! The architecture in the city is just amazing! Check out the McDonalds in Passeig de Gràcia. They had table service, wonderful cappuccino and amazing desserts! Nothing like our McDonalds! I would like to go back and explore more of the city! This was my 6th cruise, but first time to Europe, and first time on Royal Carabbean. I've cruised with Norwegean, and Carnival before. In my opinion, as far as the cruise line, NCL and CCL are both better than RCCL. We had an ocean view room on the Splendour, sailing April 2-9, 2010. The ship was very nice, however, the service was not up to par with any of the other lines that I've been on. The room steward was good, we had all the normal towel animals, and she always made sure to greet us. Did have to ask for ice most nights, but that is my only complaint. I can't say the same about our wait staff. Both the Lead Waiter and Asst Waiter were new, and I don't think that they have much training! The Asst waiter was nice, but the lead waiter was such an alpha male that he belittled him whenever possible. There were some nights that it was just the two of us, and still the service was still mediocre! I was very disappointed with the main dining room. The selections were not that bad, but they were rather boring. The desserts were the real disappointment! There was one night where there was no chocolate on the menu...how can that happen??? This is a cruise that is so port intensive, that I didn't really go to the bars. We had late dinner (9:30 pm), so it was close to 11 pm by the time we got out of the dinning room! They did schedule many of the shows before dinner, they were good. Nothing stood out, but enjoyable. It was too cold for the outside pools. Very nice indoor pool! The ports were all amazing! First Villefranche. We traveled on our own, and took the bus to Nice. It was simple, and very easy to get around. There were some pretty steep hills and steps, but there were lots of things to see, so it was an enjoyable walk. Nice was wonderful! Their presentation of their food was amazing! The Straw Market and fish market were great! Such small little streets, with people, and cars! I would not want to drive there! The restaurants looked great, and huge servings! We passed several flea markets, it was interesting to see what they considered antiques, considering all of the amazing the history in Europe! Next was Rome. We arranged a tour with RomeInLimo! They were the best!!! We had Vinny, if you want to get around all the normal bottlenecks, he knew how! With his knowledge of the city, I can't imagine how you could have seen any more! I strongly recommend this tour operator! There was so much history in Rome, it gave me the chills to think of all that happened in the places that I saw! I arranged to take to tour with some very nice people that I met through the Cruise Critic Roll Call, it was so much better than a ship tour, and cost us half the money! Make sure to sign up for the Roll Call for your ship, it's a great way to meet some very nice people before the cruise, and makes the cruise experience more fun! In Naples, we were lucky enough to have Vinny (RomeInLimo) again for our tour of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast too. They arranged our own private tour of Pompeii. This is strongly recommended, since you only have a few hours there. She was very interesting, and made the tour fun. Lunch in Sorrento, very beautiful city. Loved the restaurant that Vinny took us to! Had pizza and some Lemoncello...mmmm! The Amalfi Coast, and Positano...unbelievable beauty! Again, lots of hills! Next Corfu, we arranged a tour with CorfuTaxiTours, we had Dimitris. He gave us a great tour of the island, and told us some very interesting stories! He gave us a private tour of an Olive Factory, and we got to see Tripa Tavern. The owner offered us a snack. I would love to have been able to have a meal there! Very cool place! Next was Split, Croatia. We walked into town on our own, went to the market, very interesting setting with the Palace of Diocletian. Had some local brandy in a small bar, it very good! Finally Venice...this was the city that I most wanted to see...it didn't disappoint!!!! We had two nights at the Pensione Guerrato. I couldn't ask for a better host, room, or location, and very reasonable for Venice! We overlooked the Market near the Rialto Bridge. Venice was magical!!! Make sure to just wander, getting lost in Venice is half the fun. We found some amazing places, by accident!!! We took the Water Bus everywhere! Went to Murano and Burano. I loved the amazing colors of the homes in Burano. I would have liked more time there! Took the Alilaguna Water Bus to the Airport. I definitely want to go back to this city to explore. I loved all of our ports, but this was my absolute favorite! It is a magical place!!!!!!!! All and all it was a wonderful trip. It was a perfect time of year, not warm enough to use the outside pools, but perfect for sightseeing! Every port was amazing. Each port had plenty of walking up hills and steps, but the sights were worth it! The ship wasn't the quality that I expected, but it wasn't much of a disappointment, because you were too tired to do very much after all the traveling in the ports! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Having made our own way to Sao Paulo, we caught up with the RCI rep at the airport and were advised when the bus transfer would commence. Although this was another hour to wait, the rep explained the choice was either to wait at the ... Read More
Having made our own way to Sao Paulo, we caught up with the RCI rep at the airport and were advised when the bus transfer would commence. Although this was another hour to wait, the rep explained the choice was either to wait at the airport or at the cruise terminal as boarding would not commence until 11am. The bus journey took just under a couple of hours but we were pleasantly surprised by some of the breathtaking scenery that appeared about an hour into the journey. They area is clearly busy, but the dual carriageway road network helped keep traffic moving well without impetuous drivers risking overtaking. This seemed commonplace throughout our various ports of call. Having pre-registered online, the check-in process was relatively quick and painless, although we had to fill in the credit paperwork manually, despite having done so online - one of those unnecessary frustrations after 18+ hours of travelling. We then were transported to the ship but could not access the cabins (or staterooms as they call them) until 1pm. Then there was the frustrating wait for cases to be delivered to the rooms. One suggestion would be to make sure that you access your cases before checking in and getting a change of clothes etc. We soon met our room attendant, who was very pleasant, as were all the staff. We reported a flickering light and were delighted to find it had been repaired by the time we returned later in the afternoon. We had a problem with the room safe later in the cruise, and this was sorted within 15mins. The attendant was always smiling, very efficient, and left varying towel decorations every other night. Wet/dirty towels were replaced twice a day whether you wanted then changed or not. Despite being due to go into dry dock next year, the 14 year old ship seemed to be well maintained, and there was always someone with a paintbrush in their hand! There was regular entertainment around the open air pool, and many people took part in the various games that the team arranged. The solarium pool generally seemed cool due to air conditioning, but at least it was guaranteed to be wind free. That said, it was popular and had its own bar and hot snacks area. We regularly used the aft deck for sunbathing, as it was generally shaded, and quiet, although the music was occasionally played when the climbing wall was in use. The top deck was well used by those undertaking their daily constitutional walk - 4laps/mile! There were several days when we were sailing into strong head winds which meant that there was a combined wind speed of 60+mph!! There was a good range of exercise equipment which was was very well used, especially on sea days. Each evening before dinner we enjoyed a cocktail in the schooner bar. The staff were very nice and chatty, and there was usually a guitarist, or pianist playing. Constantine arranged the my time dining table allocations wonderfully efficiently, and apart from the first couple of evening we just turned up as and when we were ready. We were free to choose to sit alone, or with English speaking guests. We were happy with the flexibility and with the people that Constantine sat us with, especially as we did sit with some of them more than once. The restaurant staff were very helpful and accommodating, the choice of meals fair, and well presented. One frustration that we had was having to sign for drinks as we ordered them, rather than waiting till the end of the meal. We commented on this on the mid cruise questionnaire, and were pleasantly surprised when it was commented on by Constantine and the head waiter. For the rest of the cruise we signed at the end of the meal! :) The meals in the buffet style windjammer restaurant were wide ranging and always freshly restocked. The biggest problem was finding a table at times, but turnover was quite quick. Occasionally there were lunchtime barbeques, or paella, around the open air pool and they always proved popular. The Captain made daily announcements about weather, sea conditions, and progress which were very informative. The six days crossing the Atlantic were not too bumpy, and broken up by passing archipelago Fernando de Noronha and Cape Verde. The only other thing we saw was a flock of albatross that flew alongside the ship till the equator. As for entertainment generally, it either suited or it didn't (a Spanish Elvis was not our taste!). It was always varied, and there was no show without Claudia, the cruise director! The shows in the theatre were always professionally presented. There was a lot of promotion of art sales, and bingo, neither of which appealed to us We did go on a couple of shore excursions which were well organised, but we did our own thing on Madeira, and enjoyed the experience much more cheaply. Tips were prepaid, and although there was supposed to be a 15% service charge added to each bill (we were still on Brazilian mode and didn't get charged), there was the opportunity to add a further tip when signing! All in all we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and staff did everything they could to make sure that we did so. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Coming from Los Angeles we chose to go on a South America cruise in february around the the time of Carnaval. I personally have cruised six times and have cruised with Royal Caribbean two times prior to the trip. My partner and I booked ... Read More
Coming from Los Angeles we chose to go on a South America cruise in february around the the time of Carnaval. I personally have cruised six times and have cruised with Royal Caribbean two times prior to the trip. My partner and I booked the cruise through Royal Caribbean directly. We booked our air travel through Expedia because we wanted to stay in Brazil a few extra days after cruising and the Royal Caribbean packages did not allow for this. Before booking our airfare we confirmed with RCCL that the arrival time into Sao Paulo would work for catching a RCCL official shuttle to the port. Upon booking the cruise and subsequent calls to RCCL we were told that we could not pre-book the shuttle service, but that we needed to provide our flight itinerary with the cruise line in advance, which we did. Even the week prior to departure we called RCCL to double-check that our 1:20pm arrival to the international airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil would allow us to catch a shuttle to the port. We were told that we could simply purchase shuttle tickets at $22 each from RCCL representatives who would be at the airport. With everything in order and pre-planned we departed Los Angeles on friday and arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil ahead of schedule at 1:00pm on saturday February 6th. After a very short walk through customs we entered the arrivals area and did not see RCCL representatives. We looked all around the airport for the shuttle that we would be taking to the port. My partner and I spent a stressful hour desperately trying to communicate with anyone about finding the shuttle. No one at the airport spoke English and not even the information desk could help us. Upon finding one English speaking airport official, they told us that RCCL staff should be available to sell shuttle tickets. As time ticked away frustration turned to panic and we did not want to miss the ship. With no other options and no way to contact RCCL, we were forced to purchase a one-way fare via taxi to the port in Santos. The taxi fare cost us $150 USD and the taxi ride took two hours. This is a HUGE oversight that RCCL makes in their description of and advertisement of this cruise, which they advertise as leaving from "Sao Paulo." Upon arrival at the port in Santos we entered the cruise terminal at around 4pm with luggage in hand ready to embark on the cruise. Once inside the terminal we could find NO RCCL staff or employees to assist us. Again, nobody at the port spoke English and we had no luck finding help with contacting RCCL. We were fortunate to find one woman from MSC cruiseline who spoke English who informed us that the ship had already completed boarding. At this point we were stuck at the port 2 hours taxi from the airport with the ship still there, but nobody to assist us with how to proceed. We had no choice but to meet the ship at the first destination, Buenos Aires. At this time it was 5pm on February 6th and the ship did not arrive in Buenos Aires until 9pm on February 8th. We then had to pay for return transportation to the International airport in Sao Paulo where we booked one-way flights to Buenos Aires. The next available flights were the next morning at 10am and cost us $650 USD for two tickets. We then checked into an airport hotel at the expense of $100 USD. The following day, Sunday February 7th, we were still unable to contact RCCL or anyone in Brazil to help us, as their offices are closed on the weekends. We flew to Buenos Aires. Upon landing we were forced to purchase Visas for Argentina, $140 USD each. If you arrive by cruise ship you are not required to purchase a visa, but because we arrived by plane we were required to. We then paid $50 USD for bus transfers to downtown Buenos Aires and checked into a hotel the night of the 7th of February. Keep in mind that ALL expenses were on top of the pre-paid cruise which included lodging, transportation, and food. After two full days in Buenos Aires we arrived at the port to meet the Splendour of the Seas when it arrived at 9pm. This process was extremely disorganized and we were treated like second rate citizens. Not one employee responded to our explanation of missing the ship. We were forced to wait an hour while all of the guests onboard disembarked, until we were allowed on the ship. We finally got checked in and to our stateroom by 10:30pm, after dinner had ended. On top of all of the horrible experiences we went through to get on the ship, the onboard experience was no better. While few crew members were kind, nobody at the pursers desk could advice us of what to do regarding missing the ship. The remaining four nights of our seven night cruise were decent at best. When booking our cruise we considered RCCL over other cruise lines because of its American base. The entire cruise was in Portuguese, all announcements, activities, shows, etc. We even had to request English menus at dinner because everything catered to Portuguese speaking guests. All in all, this was a horrible experience and a terrible way to spend a vacation. The worst part is that RCCL has been rude, unresponsive, and disinterested in our situation. A clear error on their part was to guarantee us a shuttle would be available at the airport to take us to the port and this did not happen. I highly discourage anyone from booking this particular itinerary with RCCL. I would also advice anyone who is not Portuguese speaking to not book a cruise out of a Brazilian port. I am still awaiting a response from a manager at RCCL who can explain the disorganization and hopefully provide a remedy to this horrible experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
This was a late 'summer holiday' for my wife and I, and we've done six cruises (including RCCI Independence of the Seas last year). We stayed at the Sofitel in Lisbon the night before the cruise and in the morning, took ... Read More
This was a late 'summer holiday' for my wife and I, and we've done six cruises (including RCCI Independence of the Seas last year). We stayed at the Sofitel in Lisbon the night before the cruise and in the morning, took a short taxi ride to the port area - we dropped off our luggage and were on the ship 15 minutes later (around 11.30 am) - if you do all the necessary 'admin' and print your cruise boarding pass online before the cruise, embarkation is a total breeze! As the staterooms weren't available until 1.00 pm, we looked around the ship a little and had some lunch in the Windjammer buffet restaurant, which throughout the cruise was very good - excellent variety, hot, tasty, and great staff. At one 'o clock, the stateroom was ready and our luggage was already there waiting for us. The room itself was more spacious than the Independence with loads of wardrobes, drawers, shelves etc, the TV was small and very old (over 12 years) but still worked, and the bathroom was fine. The only slight disappointment here was the balcony - it was very small with only enough room for two chairs and a tiny table, i.e. no loungers. Our stateroom attendant was terrific - very friendly and immediately got us bathrobes to use for the cruise which were not included as 'standard'. Although 13 years old, the ship is in very good condition but is certainly 'tired' and in need of a major refit (worm carpets, very scratched or torn chairs around the ship etc) but very clean with the crew keeping everything looking as nice as possible. Briefly, here are some 'plus' points: Food, especially in the main dining room, was excellent with terrific service (we used Anytime Dining - works brilliantly). Public areas and bars, all good with nice music etc, although the prices have soared since our last cruise with RCCI. Shows, some were outstanding and the rest were as expected. However, there were a few 'issues' worth noting... Firstly, the majority of the crew were Brazilian and pretty new to the ship, and it showed. Some could hardly speak English and others simply didn't know where to find things etc, but they were friendly and tried their best. The Cruise Director, however, was terrible (also Brazilian) and clearly out of her depth in terms of good and exciting presentation. She totally relied on her Activities Director who did little but push the (costly) daily bingo sessions. The TV service in the staterooms was terrible - only a handful of films which were nowhere near enough for a 14 day cruise (and repeated over and over again...), sometimes films simply stopped midstream and other times, were on different channels and had different starting times to those advertised. Bearing in mind that this was a Transatlantic crossing with many sea days, this was a big letdown and many people complained. Another problem we encountered was a total lack of care regarding disembarkation - we had pre-booked coach transfers to the International airport in Sao Paulo but were given luggage tags for transfers to the national airport. Luckily we noticed the error and got the right tags, but when we picked up our cases and found the right coach, we weren't on the list for that transfer which caused quite a bit of stress in an already chaotic port (Santos) with very little help available to sort the mess and confusion out. Again, I believe this was down to the totally laid-back attitude of the admin crew, particularly on the last couple of days. The shops on board have very limited choice, and the prices for everyday items like Advil etc. are exhorbitant compared to on-land. Duty-free??? Much better selection and half the price in the ports of call! (An example of their own logo stock - they're selling a really cheaply made 'Officially Licensed' model of the Splendor of the Seas for $29.95. The trouble is that the model is of a completely different ship that looks nothing like the Splendour... small point, but annoying!) The ship has a capacity of 2200 guests - we were just over half that amount at 1298 guests and the ship had space around the pools etc. However, space in the Windjammer (especially at peak breakfast times etc) was sometimes hard to find and I reckon that with a full ship, the public areas such as Windjammer, the pools, and the main theatre would be a total nightmare..... The ports of call were OK - Madeira, Tenerife, and Rio de Janeiro were fabulous, Recife and Salvador were nice, and Sao Paulo seemed a big sprawling mainly industrial city mess, but a really horrible port (Santos) and horrific traffic jams. (I can't figure out why RCCI wants cruises to start or end at Santos - it's horrible, disorganised, and creates a terible impression......) So, my overall feelings about this cruise - good but not great. But we still met really nice fellow-cruisers (thanks Cruise Critics!) and had a wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Splendor of the Seas is as close as it gets to the perfect layout for a ship. Everything seems to be right where it belongs...I normally hate sea days and we had plenty but I loved them all. The food couldn't be better or more ... Read More
Splendor of the Seas is as close as it gets to the perfect layout for a ship. Everything seems to be right where it belongs...I normally hate sea days and we had plenty but I loved them all. The food couldn't be better or more plentiful. I've been on bigger and newer ships but this was just right for me. I mostly cruise on NCL (9 times) but I feel the more classy the ships become the more they are lowering the classic experience of cruising. NO formal nights or dress code...too much like a free for all-come as you are Karaoke party. This is why I decided to give Royal Caribbean a try. I loved the Dress Up and theme nights...it really helps to let new cruise patrons to learn the ropes and know what it's all about. While I can't fault the ship, the food, the staff, the entertainment or the itinerary I was saddened by the fact that Theater Etiquette has gone down the drain. When I'm in a theatre I don't like a Bar-free for all atmosphere...The constant Flash Photography was distracting, annoying and against all entertainment union regulations but the Cruise Director waved here hand dismissively and walked away and several of the MAJORITY tried to tell her to put a stop to it. Trying to watch a show where dozens of people have both their hand fully extend over their head holding a camera with the LCD screen blazing and flashing and flashing all over the theatre as well and standing up blocking the view and casually snapping flash photo's was just too ignorant...I don't blame the unsophisticated passengers I blame the cruise director for not putting a stop to it. My other one down side is apart from NCL cruise ships don't understand the needs of the single passenger...we are not a SPARE to be stuck in any old place...perhaps we don't want to be jammed in with strangers...If two can sit at a table for four why can't one sit at a table for two....What's the difference. Be more flexible! Let us enjoy our cruise and don't force us into groups we don't blend with. Let us meet people and perhaps eventually join them. I've had too many horror situations at large tables as a single and would rather be on my own. This however was a great cruise (repositioning)Portugal to Brazil and an amazing deal...all I can say is keep up the standards...let loners be loners if they want. Thanks you Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Ok, I'm giving this cruise 4 out of 5, so don't get my negatives below out of proportion. THE GOOD: Food (oh the food!), dining room service, the ship's "bridge" officers, bar staff, housekeeping. Cabin. The ... Read More
Ok, I'm giving this cruise 4 out of 5, so don't get my negatives below out of proportion. THE GOOD: Food (oh the food!), dining room service, the ship's "bridge" officers, bar staff, housekeeping. Cabin. The weather. Unbelieveable value for money (even the arranged flights were a bargain). The sea surface (a doddle). Embarkation. The ship: easily big enough, and beatifully maintained. Most ports of call: Maderia: clean, safe, beautiful. Santa Cruz: bustling Spanish city; get out of town. Recife: Now we're in Brazil. Keep your expectations low. Beach reminded me of Waikiki. Salvador. Loved it. Take the little ferry to the island with all the locals. Rio de Janeiro. More than I'd imagined - in the toursit areas, any way. Beaches to die for. THE BAD: Cruise director. Ugh what a pain, so out of her depth, she was nausiating. Final port: Santos / Sao Paulo. Don't go here if you don't have to. Nothing of merit, lots and lots of squalour and crime. Incessant on-board announcements of BEENGOH! Look, no-one was showing up, so do they cancel it? No, they bring it to the pool area! Puleeze! The UGLY: Without doubt the worst department, by far, was Guest Services. It would take me an age to list all the problems that they created / ignored / refused to fix / denied existed. Not just passengers were fed up with the Purser's office staff. I won't name them, but several crew had given up on these people by the end of the cruise. "You have to do this" "You have to do that". "It's not possible". You know the litany of cover-up phrases that inept people - a whole department - uses. "Oh, that form should have been delivered to your cabin". The times I heard that. I'm an accountant so I know how such an office should be run. But anything they got involved with was a shambles. The blatant erros in the daily planner, "Compass" became an ongoing joke. I hope the powers at RCI HQ get to read this. Please, do yourselves and your future passengers a big favour - dump the lot of them. Put someone in charge who can manage people and get things done - properly, first time. When you think that their work spills over into security: immigration forms that either didn't exist or were not needed, it starts to get a little frightening. Rant over. I'm now going to return to my overall score: 4 out of 5 (it would have been five but for you-know-who). Notwithstanding, we had a great time and have wonderful memories of all the friends we made on board - guests and staff. Thanks to you for making it a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We are a young european couple that has cruised before: this was our 3rd cruise. We were on the Explorer and the Volendam before, both in the Caribbean. Because we have travelled extensively in Europe, we knew what to expect from the ports ... Read More
We are a young european couple that has cruised before: this was our 3rd cruise. We were on the Explorer and the Volendam before, both in the Caribbean. Because we have travelled extensively in Europe, we knew what to expect from the ports of call (a cheerful southern-european chaos...). Let's start to say that 95% of the passagengers on this cruise must have had a real bargain. We paid € 499 per person for an inside cabin, and there were some on our table that paid as little as $ 200 per person. Considering what they fed us and the quality of the entertainment, Royal Caribbean could not have made a lot, if any, money on this cruise. The ship was basically repositioning from Venice to Brazil, so there were a lot of crew changes. Many new crew members came on in Venice and Dubrovnik, they were not very experienced and you noticed on the first few days that they needed to get adjusted to each other and the ship. The first days a lot of them did not known where things were or brought the wrong wine to the table. Generally the service was fast and friendly and things vastly improved after a couple of days. You notice everywhere that this is an American ship. Although it sails in Europe, it has nothing to do with Europe at all. You can only pay in dollars on board, which is ridiculous as all ports of call (except Dubrovnik) are in the Euro-zone. Paying in dollar is not normal in Europe, American passengers complaining about that were frowned upon by fellow passengers and shopkeepers everywhere. Make sure you have the local currency! Living in Germany, we expect a certain amount of courtesy and politeness. Although no more than 25% of the passangers were American and no more than probably 5% of the staff, the customs and behaviour of the staff were American. If a European waitress would say "Hey you guys" to her customers she would probably be sacked. We were walking in one port of call when our diner waiter on his free day spotted us on the other side of the street and yelled our first names out loud. Very inappropriate! As others have already commented, the drink prices on the ship are fairly high, especially alcoholic drinks. We do understand that Royal Caribbean has to make money one way or another, and it also helps to keep binge drinking under control. We did not see any drunk people. Water, lemonade, ice-tea, tea and coffee are available free of charge all day, so nobody has to die of thirst. All the countries visited have a tradition of good wines, so you could easily enjoy them on your days ashore at a very low price. As any cruise line, Royal Caribbean does not allow you to bring your own booze on board. The quality of the live music in the bars was good, although after a few nights we noticed that they repeated the same songs every night. Music that was advertised as "ballroom music" was nice, but often unsuitable for ballroom dancing. The terrible anti-slip marble flooring in all these locations does not provide good dancing without dislocating a few knees or ankles. The shows were really good, especially those put on by their own singers and dancers. The cabin was perhaps not new, but everything was very clean and in good working order. I actually thought that the bathroom was bigger than I remembered. We selected our cabin ourselves directly on the RCCL website and made sure that we were in a quiet location. On a previous cruise we were directly under the kitchens, which caused a lot of noise 22 hours a day. Other people on our cruise were directly under the casino and heared people walking all night. The most wonderful thing about this cruise was the My Time Dining. You can make reservations or just turn up at the time you want. You get to sit with an everchanging set of people on a large table every night, or you can even request a table for 2. We loved the large tables for 8 or 10 people and within a few days, we knew so many people! Sometimes we felt like eating at 6 o'clock, other nights at 8.45, and it was never a problem... The only thing that disappointed us greatly were the outrageous costs of shuttle transfers. Beware that you often do not need the coach offered by the ship, and certainly not for that price!!!! The ship is either near the centre of town, or can be reached with a cheap taxi which for 2 is cheaper than the coach. We do all our sightseeing on foot or with the local bus or train. $ 28 per person (€20) for a bus to Lisbon airport is highway robbery, a taxi cost us only €13 from our hotel downtown to the airport, from the port it cannot be more than €15 or €20. Taxis in Dubrovnik were €7,70, which is about the same as two people taking the RCCL coach for $5 each. In Malaga, we took a taxi from the station for only €8 which is 2x the distance than the drop-off point of the coach that charges $5 per person. RCCL takes avantage of the insecurity and lack of local knowledge of some passengers! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
we have cruised Ocean Village, Thomsons, airtours and P&O - thought we'd give RCCL a go and I personally was quite excited after reading the reviews. PROs - great food, dining service excellent, good cabins cons- MANY!!!! - be ... Read More
we have cruised Ocean Village, Thomsons, airtours and P&O - thought we'd give RCCL a go and I personally was quite excited after reading the reviews. PROs - great food, dining service excellent, good cabins cons- MANY!!!! - be very careful about your flight times RCCL throw u off the ship as early as 7am -we were in airport 9.30 and flight wasn't until 3.45 (others were as late as 7pm!!!) - friends had hotel in Portugal and had to be off ship by 7am!! DRINKS- extortionate!!! approx £10 for 1 beer & Vodka & diet coke. Trips ridiculous prices-so much so no-one went on them. entertainment- BORING!!! been on many cruise ships and this was by far the worst ever really don't know why people rate RCCL so much - only advantage to Ocean Village is the formal dining Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We booked a 10 day cruise from Venice to Lisbon. The price was excellent - $349pp. The ports were a little bit unusual - we've done alot of cruising and wanted to do something different. The ship and the cruise itself was, ... Read More
We booked a 10 day cruise from Venice to Lisbon. The price was excellent - $349pp. The ports were a little bit unusual - we've done alot of cruising and wanted to do something different. The ship and the cruise itself was, unfortunately, somewhat spotty. I like the ship. This is an older ship - it is not too large. The cabins (we had an inside cabin) seem to be larger than those on the newer ship. That was very nice. Boarding the ship in Venice was a real problem. We took a private boat to the boarding area because we had alot of luggage, and my wife used a handicapped scooter to get around. The boat dropped us off near the train terminal. We had to walk from the drop-off point to where a shuttle bus would take us to the boat. As we walked we passed panhandlers akin to those on the 59th street bridge in manhattan. One of them grabbed a bag from me, walked it to the top of the ramp, and then wanted money for walking the bag ten feet. When we got to the bus waiting area there was a line. Unfortunately, when the bus pulled in everyone attacked the bus from all sides, threw whatever luggage they could into the bus and just climbed aboard. There were no Royal Caribbean personnel at the shuttle bus boarding area to maintain order. When we got to the drop off point (by the ship), they got all the luggage off and my wife's scooter. But then when the bus pulled out, it struck her and just pulled off. When I tried to report the matter to ship's personnel (numerous times), I was told that there was no safety/security officer. When we got home I tried to report the matter via internet, but have still not heard from anyone. Despite the problems getting on, the cruise turned out to be very enjoyable. The ports were all secondary ports, but that was what we wanted. One problem I didn't expect was that many of the ports required you to take a shuttle bus, and these busses were NOT complementary - you had to pay for several of them. I felt like I was being nickle and dimed, but it turned out it was only another 40USD for the both of us, and the cruise itself was very inexpensive. Royal Caribbean of late has been getting a spotty in the food and entertainment areas. We've been on recent cruises where it was very good, and others where it was poor. This one was mediocre. The meats were very good and well prepared. Soups and pastries left alot to be desired. Why is it that whenever they serve "Lobster Bisque" on these cruises it is some concoction which you've never seen before? The choices for dining was either at the Windjammer, or the dining room. This particular ship did not have extra dining facilities. The windjammer was not capable of accommodating all of the guests, and there was usually some kind of a problem getting seats in there for breakfast. There were two seatings for dinner - early and late. The late seating (which we had) was at 8:30. If you were in the late seating, you went to the late show, which usually started at 10:45. This meant you didn't get to bed until close to 12:00PM each night. Normally you go to an early show if you are in the late seating, and late seating is usually not quite this late. Royal Caribbean has apparently switched to "Seattle's Best" for the coffee, and everyone was complaining that the coffee on the ship was terrible - it tasted burnt. Breakfast was standard fare. When I tried to get them to make a cheese omelette at the buffet (there was an omelette station), I could never get them to melt the cheese. At lunch they had a salad bar, but there was usually something missing - on most days there was no blue cheese dressing. The pastries were unremarkable. The head chef was Indian, and there was a nice selection of Indian cuisine during the cruise. Entertainment was very spotty. I remember when cruises used to have name entertainment - no more. There were two of the now mandatory "review" shows. This is the kind of show you get at theme parks like Disney. I am not impressed with these. The other nights there were regular performers. Most of these were pretty bad, but a couple of these were very good. There were a couple of acrobat? acts that looked like rejects from the Ed Sullivan show. But there was a singing group doing a tribute to Il Divo that was EXCELLENT. I think this was the first time they were on the cruise, and the activities director hadn't seen them before and was pleasantly surprised. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
First off let me say that we have sailed with 5 different cruise lines so are in the position of making comparisons. We look for good value for money in a holiday. This trip we sailed on RCI's Splendour of the Seas Greek island ... Read More
First off let me say that we have sailed with 5 different cruise lines so are in the position of making comparisons. We look for good value for money in a holiday. This trip we sailed on RCI's Splendour of the Seas Greek island cruise, leaving Venice (Italy) on 3rd October 2009, and calling at Split (Croatia), Corfu (Greece), Piraeus (Athens - Greece), Mykonos (Greece), Katakolon (Greece) and returning to Venice (Italy). There were 35 different nationalities amongst the passengers, the majority from the U.S.A., the next largest group was British then German. The Ship. Difficult to fault the ship. Splendour is what I would call medium sized, holding a maximum of just under 2,100 passengers (on this trip there were a few more than 1800) and weighing in at around 70,000 tons displacement. Although apparently one of RCI oldest ships, you wouldn't know it from the way the ship is maintained. It is excellent, with few signs of wear and tear (a few marks or torn fabrics on the 42nd street theatre and Centrum couches.) It is well laid out and easy to find you way around unlike some other ships we have sailed on (Costa Serena - nightmare!). There are plenty of places to sit and relax in the evening either out on deck or inside, listening to the many offerings of live or recorded music you will find available all over the ship. There is a wide variety of bars, some focusing on music some with back-ground music. There is a "space" to suite everyone, but therein lies a problem; bars mean drink. With Royal Caribbean International, drink means profit; a BIG profit. More of this later, for the cost of drinks and extras with this company put a BIG dampener on this holiday for us. On the one and only full day at sea on this trip, there was plenty of room all over the ship, both inside and on the many sun decks to accommodate all us passengers with ease. Plenty of sun beds to go around. The crew also made the sea day very entertaining and supplying even more food (if that is possible) by way of an on deck BBQ, plus of course all manner of entertainment. Cabin (sorry - stateroom) We were located in an inside "L" class cabin on deck 6 (main deck) with of course no windows at all. This cabin along with most others are referred to by RCI as a stateroom. Being inside and no windows, the room really was pitch back once the lights were out and many times we nearly over slept! It was good enough being clean, tidy and adequate. With a small toilet/shower facility and enough storage for all our clothes plus a small TV with enough channels and information available, though I was unable to find how to access our on board account via the TV. I suspect this cannot be done on this ship or level of stateroom. The bed was most comfortable, and absolutely huge (super king size). So big in fact that on my wife's side (fortunately) there was only 3 inches gap between the corner of the bed and the fitted cupboard/tv cabinet requiring my good lady to climb over the corner of the bed to access her side of the bed. She found this far from amusing at 3 A.M!, though at bed time I found it most amusing! The room was fairly quiet, but footfall noise from next deck up could become intrusive. Overall; not bad, not bad at all. Food & Drink For many cruisers, dinning is a big part of the experience. There are two main dinning areas on board Splendour. The more formal "King & I" restaurant offering fixed time early (18:30hrs) or late (21:00hrs) servings or RCI's "My Time" dinning (for details of My Time please see RCI's web site) and the less formal self service "Windjammer" restaurant. Both offer very good food. The Windjammer was our chosen place to take breakfast, offering a staggering selection of food and drinks. You would have to be unbelievably fussy not to find something you liked. The food was always well presented, hot (were appropriate) and plentiful. BEWARE; - If you choose fresh squeezed juices such as the orange, they are a separately chargeable item. All other offerings are of course included. Well aren't they? Ah, well not quite. If you want coffee types other than the standard RCI free coffee, (which is quite good if you like strong tasting coffee which I do) for example Cappuccino, then this again is a separately chargeable item. Dinner. For many cruisers, the highlight of the day. We elected for the formal early sitting and had opted to sit on a large 10 person table. RCI had selected a good group of passengers to sit together. We were blessed with a fabulous group of new friends, comprising of couples from England, Denmark, and the U.S.A. For us this was excellent and just what we wanted. With a fine selection of food, served well and tasting brilliant we were very pleased with the food. I would class the evening meals overall as very good rather than excellent. However, every evening there was always a different Asian vegetarian offering provided by the head chef who apparently is Asian and trained in classical Asian cuisine. Let me say, as someone who has plenty of experience with Asian food this guy really knows what he is doing with spices. The Asian vegetarian options were truly outstanding and worthy of an excellent rating. Do you like a drink of wine with your meal? We do. This is one major source of irritation for us. After a good friend of mine returned from an RCI cruise and told me of the drink costs we contacted RCI before we sailed asking about drink prices on Splendour. Below is the listed reply from RCI; Draft Beer is $7.50 a pint, bottled beer is $5.25 or $6.25 for the larger Aluminium Cans. Drink of the Day is $6.95, Beefeater and Tonic, $7.50, Glass of House Wine $6.25, Bottle of House Wine $26 Mohito $7.50, Can of Coke $2.25. Dry Sack sherry $6.50 Bristol Creme sherry $6.25 Strongbow cider $5.75 Diet coke $2.24 Based on an exchange rate of 1.55$ to the UK pound, this makes house wine £16.79p. The (fractionally cheaper) option is to purchase a "wine package" where you pay up front and you get to choose which wines you care to drink from a fixed selection of offerings (go to Before You Board > Cruise Additions > Food & Drink on the RCI web site for full details). Different (more expensive) packages offer better quality and greater choice for a higher premium price. We eventually opted to purchase a 7 bottle "Gold" (cheapest) package for a total of £109 (including the mandatory 15% service charge!). On return from the cruise I researched the choices available and I discovered that most could be sourced in the UK for no more than around £6/bottle and most of those for less than £5/bottle. I am aware that you pay a premium for wine in a good restaurant and especially on cruise ships, but remember we have the good fortune to be able to compare with 4 other cruise lines, and RCI is by far, THE most expensive that we have sailed with when it comes to drink! It goes without saying, and rightly so, that you are not allowed to bring your own alcohol on board either initially or when re-boarding at the ports of call (where you baggage is scanned for security reasons - and I guess this would detect booze no doubt!). You can bring water etc back on board and you may want to consider that when you see the price of bottled water on board also. Service Being a U.S. owned and managed ship, I had expected 1st class service throughout, especially when it is suggested that your end of cruise gratuity payment to the service staff is $9.75 per day per passenger! (this is discretionary, but this level of tipping IS expected!) Yes the service the in cabin (sorry, I mean stateroom) was adequate, as was the table service (if somewhat slow), but really no better than other ships we have sailed on. On several occasions we were asked (apologetically) if we could vacate the dining table ready for the next sitting. This was primarily because service systems (not personnel) and placements of the tables (too close for the waiters to easily progress around the table in a single rotation, but having to walk back and forth to get to all sides of the table), all conspired to slow service delivery down substantially. Food still arrived fresh and hot though so no complaints there. Again, on the menu you could find a wide variety of food choices, and you would be hard pressed not to fine something you liked. For coffee at the end of service, although listed on the menu, should you choose an "specialty" coffee such for example, cappuccino then guess what? Yes that's right' it's a separately chargeable item, plus of course the mandatory 15% service charge. Entertainment We attended most shows in the 42nd. theatre and can report that most were good, two were excellent, and the remaining OK. Other offerings of recorded and themed music (frequently in the Viking Lounge at the top of the ship on deck 11) and in the Centrum are great and I enjoyed these offerings a lot. It has become a habit of ours that during or after the shows when cruising, that my wife and I enjoy a cocktail. My wife enjoys a brandy Alexander. She reports that sampling offerings from 4 of the bars on board. Not one got it right (no nutmeg apparently !!) and incorrect proportions of ingredients. Cost was $5.75 (+15% service charge) or about £4.26, still a little expensive. My regular choice is a Negroni. Sadly this contains more that one spirit, and although they mainly tasted fine for me a stomping $9.25 (£5.97) was WAY over the top. For example, this cocktail bought last February on Fred Olsen's Boudicca was around £3.50!!! You see what I mean? Itinerary We chose this trip because of the itinerary. So yes it was exactly what we wanted and we got what we expected. We cannot comment about RCI's excursion offerings other than from what I saw of the prices they seemed just a little expensive compared with others we have done with other cruise lines, but on this trip we had the experience to "go it alone" (with help from other Cruise Critic submissions with tips and tricks that all worked out well) Embarkation and disembarkation Now I appreciate that we travelled to and from the ship independently, locating and using the free RCI shuttle bus from Venice's Pizzale Roma to the pier and back again. First, embarkation: Thanks to Cruise Critic and a preliminary visit the day before sailing we found out from local bus personnel where the RCI shuttle bus would terminate at the main bus terminal, and it's a good job we did, for there were no signage what so every on cruise day pointing to when there shuttle bus stops!!!!. When you did find it, there was no organisation what so ever. The only RCI rep that came with the bus didn't speak Italian well enough to talk with the bus driver (good job one of the passengers did !!) and boarding the bus was madness, almost fighting to load your own cases into the luggage hold. When we did get the ship embarkation point, once again very little signage and no personnel to guide us. Once inside the check-in centre things were better but still horrendously slow and ponderous. Not a great start. Disembarkation: First we had to be up, dressed, breakfasted and off the ship by 08:20 (others had to be off well before us). If we wanted to stay on board until later, it would cost us $35 each, but would still have to vacate the cabin by 09:00, and relax and use the ship facilities until latest 15:30 (I think). You have to use your credit card to make any purchases on board during that time. Once we were actually off the ship, things were equally poor. Once out of the port terminal, no signage to direct us to the shuttle bus terminus, and few staff to offer directions. It took 20 minutes to find it pick up point, then a 1 hour wait in the queue for the one shuttle bus, but at least getting on the bus was supervised by someone with experience. This is a far cry from other companies I have used, were embarkation / disembarkation is generally smooth and slick. I suppose if we had used a taxi the journey to and from the bus terminal to the pier and back again would have been a lot smoother. Also bare in mind that at Venice the city bus terminal is only a 20-25 minute walk from the ship pier. Gratuities We have touched on this already, but let us take a closer look. Gratuities and the level thereof can be quite emotive, for you are always aware that the people who are serving you are dependant on your gratuities to afford them a decent income for the long hours they work. Now think again; you are expected (though you don't really have to) pay gratuities at the rate of $9.75 (about £6.30) per day, per passenger. This was a 7 night cruise, so the total sum for us as a couple is around £88 per week! Now, add to this, EVERY purchase you make on board is subject to a further, mandatory 15% gratuity fee, this means for example that for table wine, you are paying gratuity twice for the same service! We are not amused. Conclusion On the whole, yes we enjoyed the trip, but then again, any time away from work for me is quality time! Would I sail with Royal Caribbean International again? Well probably not. Not unless of course there was say about £200 on board credit included in the package. Value for money ? Well we did get what we thought was a good deal from our agents (GoCruise in Preston Lancs), including a couple of nights in Venice pre-cruise. So I guess the best we can say is that it was fair value for money, but not good. While I mention Venice, allow me to say a few words about this city. Venice is a city I adore. We have been there now 4 times, the last being just 2 years ago, when we concluded that it was a fair place price wise to visit, with stunning architecture with that exquisite Italian style that you only fine in this part of the world. Cost wise, the same cannot be said for it now though. Yes, I know there exchange rate does not favour visiting EU countries with about a 17% (+) drop in value for us English over the last 12-18 months, but comparing costs with our last visit 2 years ago, we estimate that costs are around 35% (+) more expensive. For example, an average though nice meal for two with a glass of house wine each and two courses only, in a nice "al fresco" type restaurant, NOT near the popular tourist centres of Rialto or San Marco, costed out to over 60 Euro (or about £56 GBP). With beer about 4.50 Euro per 500ml (about £4.2 /pint), two American coffee's, and 1 cappuccino plus 1 Danish type pastry was 10 Euro (£9.30 ish), we would have to think carefully about re-visiting Venice in the foreseeable future, which is a great pity for it is a truly wonderful place. Enjoy your trip Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was our first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. I hope to give some useful information to others considering this cruise. Activities - there just isn't enough going on during the day. The theatre showed a movie on ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. I hope to give some useful information to others considering this cruise. Activities - there just isn't enough going on during the day. The theatre showed a movie on the first day only and then nothing, it was closed during the day. A daily movie would certainly help pass the time. Bingo at 3.30 (minimum 22 dollar fee) was about all, except the Art auctions every day where you could watch everyone NOT buying any art. Gymnasium - this is small and unless you go in the morning or afternoon you will not be able to use any of the equipment. Eating - the Windjammer cafe was good with an excellent choice however be warned at breakfast it is jammed and we often had to take our food outside onto the pool area and eat in the chilly windy weather. We did discover however that you can have breakfast in the formal dining room (between 6.30 - 9.00 which was a little early for us) or you can have it delivered to your room free of charge after 7.00 am. Lunch was not a problem and there was plenty of room during the long sitting. You can also go into the formal dining room for a "30 minutes express lunch sitting" or eat in the inside pool area (although this tended to be burgers, hot dogs and fries). King and I dining room - we chose the second sitting (9.00 pm) and this is too late, particularly when you have been trying to fill your time during the day - also we missed a lot of the evening entertainment. The formal nights are not really formal, don't think you need a jacket, tie, dress etc. I wore trousers and a blouse, my hubby wore a shirt and trousers just as on the other nights. Food at night is fantastic and service is really good. Cabins Don't use the water provided as they charge you $5 per bottle. At the pool area there is a machine providing ice water and coffee all day and night. Just get a glass of water to take to your room Bars The Schooner Bar was were we spent most evenings as the other area Top Hat Lounge was permanently empty, just a few couples dancing. What a shame they could have made much more of this space - dancing classes or shows. We had the Cocktail of the Day at $6 but after a few days were getting suspicious that there wasn't actually any alcohol in these. I switched to a rum based cocktail and this confirmed my suspicions. The cocktails are in a large plastic tub in the kitchen which is ready made up, presumably with little or no alcohol. So if cocktails are your thing, go to the bar yourself and watch the waiter making one up for you - I can recommend the B52s ! Entertainment Again we were disappointed with this - 2 x "reps shows", a magician and a comedy singer. My husband enjoyed the Beatlemania show though. All in all we felt the company were always trying to get more money out of you, even the daily talks about the ports of calls were laced with shopping tips where you could spend your money or organised excursions which cost a fortune. We always did our own thing and there was little information about this. Ship itself felt just the right size for us, the cabins were spacious and there were plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking. I don't think we would use Royal Carribean again, but we will try cruising again but in a warmer part of the year. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This is my third cruise with Royal Caribbean. The first was on Legend of the Seas (Western Europe), the second was on Radiance of the Seas (Alaska) and now Splendour. There was 6 of us traveling in 3 staterooms (2 people in their 70s, 2 ... Read More
This is my third cruise with Royal Caribbean. The first was on Legend of the Seas (Western Europe), the second was on Radiance of the Seas (Alaska) and now Splendour. There was 6 of us traveling in 3 staterooms (2 people in their 70s, 2 people in their 50s and 2 people in their late 20s) The Splendour is an older ship which means that it is smaller and certain areas show wear and tear. However overall, it is very well maintained and exceptionally clean. With European cruises, most of your time is spent ashore and when you get back to the ship, all you want to do is relax and unwind. The cruise was in mid October. We were lucky that it was sunny and warm in most of the port cities outside of Venice and Split. However the seas are rougher in the October/ November but we only felt it on our cruising day. Here's my take on some of the ship amenities and ports of call: Room - We stayed in an outside cabin on the 2nd floor with a window and no balcony. There was a single person sofa in the room, small table and vanity desk. The room was a good size and we were pleasantly surprised by the number of drawer space for all of our clothes. If you are picky about shampoo and body wash like I am, make sure you bring your own. Only bar soap and low end shampoo is provided. No conditioner. There is a hairdryer in all rooms. Irons are a fire hazard so they don't allow them. You can have your clothes pressed and washed for a fair price. There were 2 formal nights. Food - The food is okay. Better on other ships. There is always one good thing on the menu. I highly recommend the early dinner seating because most of the excursions get back around 3pm and after having dinner at 6:30pm, you can watch the show and not go bed stuffed or have to wait until 9pm for dinner. If you book the 6:30pm seating, you can always come at 7pm. Their service is very quick Spa - Everyday there are spa specials. I had a 20-20-20 special with a mini facial, back massage and foot massage. My mom had a facial. Both facials were mediocre. My back massage was very good (I wished I had booked a full hour) but the foot massage was horrendous. Excursion - The only excursion that we went on was in Corfu. Our grandparents and parents went on an excursion in Athens (more about this later). In general, we like to do everything on our own and most of the time, we will "bump" into the Royal Caribbean tours and they never hassle you about listening to their tour guides describe the sites. The staff really make the ship however. They are nice and overly accommodating. As for the ports of call, here are some of my tips: Embarkation - Venice: We were actually one of the few people who braved a flight on the same day as embarkation. This is definitely a risk since your flight can be delayed and if you miss the departure time, the ship will leave without you. Even though the ship sails at 5pm, they want you on the boat no later than 3:30pm. Anyhow, we took Delta from JFK with a connection through Rome. Everything worked out very smoothly, no delays. Our plane arrived in Venice at 12:30pm and we were at the port for embarkation by 2pm. The taxi charged us 10 euros per person (60 euros) to the port. Port 1 - Split, Croatia: We were pleasantly surprised by the quaintness of Split Croatia. We did this city on our own because the ship docks in the center of town and it is a 5-10 minute walk to the main sites. This is a very easy city to walk through with restaurants and cafes pouring out of the streets. We had lunch at one of the local restaurants. Their grilled shrimps were delicious! Port 2 - Corfu, Greece: This is the only city that we took an excursion because after extensive research, we found that it is not a very easy place to do on your own. We booked the Acheilles Palace, Paleostrakan and Old Town Tour. The tour first brings you to an old monastery in Palesotrakan that offers amazing views of the water. Then off to the Palace which is very nice and then to Old Town. However by the time we got to Old Town, there was no time to walk through the streets so we decided to stay in Old Town by ourselves and not take the excursion bus back. We had a really nice lunch at the cruise ship recommended restaurant (Cafe Rex), walked around and then took a taxi back to the boat for 8 euros. I highly recommend spending a bit of time walking through the streets of Corfu. Port 3 - Athens, Greece: The older people in our group took an Athens and Plaka excursion which they said was a rip off because they did not get much time at the sites and spent most of the time in the bus. Two of us decided to brave it and take the subway. It is not difficult and hard to get lost because there are many people from the cruise heading in the same direction. The only caveat is that the subway is a healthy 30 minute walk from the pier. Make sure you budget enough time. Otherwise if you take a cab to the subway it costs approx 20 euros. Once at the train station, it costs 1 euro to get into Athens and the ride on the subway is 15 min. Although the cruise material tells you to get off at a stop known as Malesokrian (I think thats the way it is spelled), we read online that it is much more scenic to get off 1 stop earlier at Thiossis. I HIGHLY recommend this because you will walk on a smooth path up this tree filled road towards the Acropolis. Great photo ops. The stop afterwards drops you off in the middle of town which is a bit chaotic, with lots of people, cars and buildings. By the time we climbed the Acropolis, there were a number of Royal Caribbean excursions there and we just latched onto one of them and listened to the guide talk about the history of the Acropolis. Afterwards, we walked to the New Acropolis Museum which is a must see if you are in the area. Finally, we went to Plaka for lunch and took the train from Malesokrian back to the pier Port 4 - Mykonos, Greece: Mykonos is by far the prettiest port that we visited. The boat tenders near the pier and it is very easy to get on and off the boat and make multiple trips to Mykonos. We slept in this day and left for Mykonos around 9:45am compared to 7am on previous days. This still gave us plenty of time to explore. This is definitely a walking city so all we did was wander around. Definitely check out the Windmills and if you are lucky you will get to meet Pedro the Pelican. We had lunch at one of the restaurants by the pier and it was delicious. Although I have never been to Santorini, Mykonos is post card perfect. Since we went in Oct, which is consider the low season, it was crowded but not as crazy as the summer where 900,000 people will visit. Port 5 - Katakalon (Olympia), Greece: Katakalon is the port city that gets you the closest to Olympia Greece, the city where the first Olympics was held. We were extremely lucky because on this day, the Olympic torch ceremony was being held for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and we were able to see the Olympic torch go by in Olympia Greece. Some of our fellow cruisers even got to see the entire ceremony! In terms of getting to Olympia. There are 3 options. First is to take the cruise ship transfer which is very expensive. The second is to take a taxi which costs between 40-50 euros roundtrip. However the cheapest way is to take the train. It was easy, our whole family did it including our grandparents. The train station is a 7 minute walk from pier through town. The only catch is that the train comes every 2 to 3 hours depending on the time of the year. The first train usually leaves around 8:30am. The train that we took, which was the next one left at 11:11am. It might be worthwhile to look at the train times online. The 11:11am train got us into Olympia at 12:00pm which was plenty of time. It is 5 min to walk from the Olympia train station to the archeological site. When we got there, we sat a cafe and waited for the Olympic torch to go by. We then proceeded to the archeological site at 1:45pm and leisurely walked throughout the site (which is quite large). Please bear in mind that it is very hot at the site with no shelter so make sure you bring hats! We were completely done by 3:20pm and took the 3:42pm train back to Katakalon. The train arrived at 4:30pm, with an hour to spare before we had to be back on the boat. Hopefully this information will help you plan your cruise. We had a great time and hope you do so as well! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Traveling to Venice: We arrived in Venice on Friday, October 23, 2009, from Chicago. Even if you have to pay extra, I recommend getting a non-stop flight. We had a three-hour layover in Munich and it actually took 24 hours off our clock ... Read More
Traveling to Venice: We arrived in Venice on Friday, October 23, 2009, from Chicago. Even if you have to pay extra, I recommend getting a non-stop flight. We had a three-hour layover in Munich and it actually took 24 hours off our clock by the time we reached our Venice hotel. Also be aware the baggage pick-up at Marco Polo Airport is really slow. It took us over 40 minutes to get two suitcases. Other people around us stated that they have had had waits up to an hour. We took the AVTO Fly Bus for 3 Euros from the airport to Piazza Roma. The ride only takes 20 minutes. Through Expedia I had reserved a room at the Best Western Olimpia Hotel in June. When I arrived at the hotel at 5:30 PM I was told there was a mix-up with the reservation and that I was being sent to a better 4 star hotel (Principe). The Olimpia gave us free beers and paid for a water taxi to take to the new hotel. Normally we would have been fortunate to get an upgrade of hotels in Venice, but the Olimpia was just a few yards from the ship's free shuttle bus in Piazzale Roma while the Principe was further away and required us to cross a bridge with two heavy suitcases. Our Stateroom: Our travel agent found that we could upgrade from 7th deck junior suite to one on the 8th level for only $200. We were glad we did this because we found we used the cabin more than we thought we would. Also, it was a super location next to the ship's computers, elevators, and stairs. However be aware that on the 8th level the pool area is above you and you will hear occasional noise from above. Dining: I am a very particular eater, mainly beer, beef, and pizza. I was surprised on the excellent quality of the food. With only two choices for meals, the restaurant or the buffet, I expected to pass on most of the offerings but was surprised that there were multiple items that I could choose. Also, for $14.95 extra a filet was always available. One quirky thing in the restaurant is concerning how you want your beef cooked. You can either have it medium rare or medium well. Since I like medium I decided on medium well for my sirloin steak and found it to be too well done for that thin of meat. My wife chose the same option for her prime rib and it was perfect for her. You also have the choice of eating dinner at 6:00 PM or 8:30 PM or you can go for "My Time Dining" that allows you to choose your time. With "My Time Dining" you can make a reservation each night, or you can just show up and hope that you won't have to wait for a table. We usually chose 7:00 PM and selected a table of two. If you are lucky ask for table 79 and hope that Rodrigo is your waiter. His service was outstanding. Staff: Most of the staff is from countries other than the United States. The entertainment director was the only American I noticed. The crew is very international from all parts of the world. They are very professional and aim to please. Our stateroom attendant was very efficient and fulfilled all our requests. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
it was our first ever cruise and not sure what to expect, we traveled on the day from England and had to catch a taxi from Trevisio airport ( a bus would have been more sensible) however,we arrived early at the dock-yard and were quickly ... Read More
it was our first ever cruise and not sure what to expect, we traveled on the day from England and had to catch a taxi from Trevisio airport ( a bus would have been more sensible) however,we arrived early at the dock-yard and were quickly and courteously on board. this gave us time to enjoy the ships lunch at the windjammer and it was soon time to search out our cabin.the suitcases were almost there too..so well done to the staff. the food was very good both at the windjammer ( expect long queues on cruise days) and the king and i dinning room. also, the other guests at our table were superb ( apart from the two that never showed up) and we had plenty of memories of fun times. the ports visited were excellent (something for everyone's taste ) and transfers on and off the ship-including tenders were pretty well organised. now,the main reason for this review....our room was clean and tidy, with just a few signs of wear-and-tear of a ship of this age..the shower was a bit slow but we could cope with that...BUT there was a constant 'grinding' 'flushing' noise from above between 7 am to 10pm...upon querying this with the staff they explained that it was due to the pool mechanics above the cabin ...but could not relocate us due to lack of room on board..i think this is pretty POOR for an excuse...and SPOILT what would have been a superb cruise. so ANYONE contemplating a cruise on Splendour should AVOID 7049 at all costs..and furthermore RCCI SHOULD WARN future passengers too. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Embarked on a 7 day cruise to Croatia, Turkey, Santorini Greece, and Corfu, Greece. Traveling with my partner, mother (83yrs) and her friend brought on a new series of challenges with getting to the ship, on board activities, and getting ... Read More
Embarked on a 7 day cruise to Croatia, Turkey, Santorini Greece, and Corfu, Greece. Traveling with my partner, mother (83yrs) and her friend brought on a new series of challenges with getting to the ship, on board activities, and getting on and off at ports. The trip went with almost no hitches, but the weather in October means a 50/50 shot at decent weather. Arrived into Milan and took a brief train ride from Milan to Venice. At about 2.5 hours travel time, and $27 Euros, the ride was nice, and arrived in to the main Venice Train station at about 2p. From there a vaporetto ride to the hotel, Hilton, and a brief walk from the stop to the hotel. Traveling with my mother, her luggage, my luggage, and many bridges made me rethink the transportation means on our trip to the port. Purchased a 24hour Vaporetto ticket on the first leg and had full use of the system for 24 hours from first use. (always validate the ticket at the dock before you board the first time). Hotel great location on the Grand Canal, and they usually have some specials. Balked at the $15 Euro breakfast special buffet, but the next morning, rethought that as a bargain. The Euro does not go far, and things are very expensive, but do not let that deter you, just be smarter in your purchases. Kind of relaxed for a bit, then took advantage of the free hotel shuttle boat to St. Marks, then walked around at dusk, took the #1 around the grand canal. This in itself is a great tour, and good way to see the sights. Back to the hotel and bed. Up early the next day and off to St. Marks. Struggled to find a breakfast spot (hence rethinking the hotel deal) and most places were over $20 Euro for a Continental Breakfast. 1040a appointment at the St. Marks Basilica, then a 1155 secret itinerary tour at Doges Palace..both booked on line prior to leaving....1st was free, 2nd was about $10 Euro. Back the hotel, grabbed the bags and water taxi from hotel to ship. Water taxi is $60 Euros, 4 people and 4 large bags. Dropped you off at the pier and RCCL takes the bags from you there, wonderful. Shuttle van/bus about 4-5 blocks to the pier check in facility, but it is walkable. Embarkation is set at 1p, but given previous European cruises, most folks arrive at 10a after their International flights arrive. Not wanting to be in the mess, we arrived at 2p, and there was no wait. Remember that having a jr. suite or better does get you a separate line, so if you do arrive early, look for the special line, it should be shorter. Required health forms, passport, credit card, cabin key, required welcome aboard pictures all took less than 20 minutes and we were on board to complementary mimosas in the atrium. Ship is an older RCCL, and apparently on the books for retirement. I like the size and enjoyed the Grandeur out of Tampa last year. With only 2 elevator banks, forward and mid, it is easy to navigate. Somehow the 3 elevator banks get more confusing. We were in the back, so it was a bit of a walk to the elevators, but fine. Mom had a jr. suite, nice size, older cabin, clean, and very large balcony with 2 chairs and table and lots of extra room. We were in the inside, small cabin, clean with very small bathroom. Quiet and dark, sleeping was fine, but next time going to outside or Suite...the ship was full and this was the only week we could all go, so it was fine. European cruises had a blend of 25% American, 25% Brits, and the balance from a variety of countries. Many South Americans, Scots, Irish, Germans, Italians, and Spainish. The group was a bit more pushy and less tolerant of line waiting than a typical American cruise, so be patient. They tend to ignore lines and go to the front. Seat camping was common in the casual dining venue, which is always annoying at lunch time. Weather was not really suntan weather, so it was amusing to watch the lounge chair saving poolside. Seems no one cruise line has managaged a way to solve that problem. Dinner for us was set at 630p, with the later option at 900p and Your Way Dining. We were fine with 630p, I really love 730p, but afraid of the anytime dining. Here it actually looked like it worked, and people on it said they had no problems. I never saw a line when we were leaving, so it must work. Dinner was fine, staff was pleasant, a little over worked, but prompt, meals hot on arrival. Menu was good, leaning more towards beef, and not a lot of imaginative choices. Desserts were fine, again a few surprises, but not many. While if wasn't knock your socks off, it was good, and I didn't lose weight. Two formal nights and most everyone participated with a large number wearing tuxes, which I was surprised to see. Far more than on a US cruise. Facilities were good. Viking Crown Lounge nice place to see it all, Schooners pub catered to the Brits and was a nice bar. Atrium Bar had a nice trio all of the time, pool bars were underused due to the weather. Gym was never crowded, and had the weather been nicer, they have about 40 lounge chairs at the front that are not as crowded. Solarium was well attended and seat saving was popular there. Food at the Solarium was unacceptable and I would say unsafe. Fresh burgers were "dumped" on top of the old, no circulation of food. I wonder how long they were there by the end of the day. Hot dogs cold, soup cold, limited supplies were restocked and the staff did not seem interested. Pizza was good however, and I did ask for it well done to ensure it was cooked. Gym also has a free sauna and steam rooms, with the usual charges for everything else. Casino was well attended, as was the art show and production number shows. All of the entertainment is what you would expect from RCCL, and everyone seemed to enjoy all of the shows. The 7 days saw 2 production shows, one or two other dance shows, and two special shows with entertainment brought on board. The Beatles tribute was very entertaining, since I am not a real fan of the Beatles and a salute to Motown was very good as well. Theater is not really large, so do arrive 20 minutes early to get a good seat, it fills up fast. Ports are listed below with what we did. Disembarkation went well. They have some new options, the self disembarkation, and an opportunity to remain on board until 3p for $35. We did the color deal, and had a 810a departure. It went very smooth, with no pushing...until we got outside. The bus for the free shuttle to the main plaza in Venice broke, so we stood for about 45minutes with limited information. Of course when the bus came, any semblance of a line was tossed in to the sea and survival mode kicked in. We made the bus, got to the plaza and took a short 5 minute walk to the train station. You can make it from the Port to the station by foot. It would take about 20 minutes but involves one rather steep bridge, with limited sidewalk space. I would think if you only had one roller board bag you could do it. Well it was a nice time, weather not perfect for sunning, but good to see everything without sweating like a dog....I still think May is my favorite time to see Europe, as the weather is good, school is still in session, and the hordes of vacationers have not yet arrived. But, it is always better to have gone at any time of year, than not to have gone at all....Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We sailed on 3rd Oct from Venice. Boarding was very smooth and easy. The ship was very clean. Food was adequate without being spectacular. The biggest problem with the Windjammer (and this is true on the Independence also)was never being ... Read More
We sailed on 3rd Oct from Venice. Boarding was very smooth and easy. The ship was very clean. Food was adequate without being spectacular. The biggest problem with the Windjammer (and this is true on the Independence also)was never being able to find a seat. They need to be able to find a way to seat more people. Even at offpeak times it was almost impossible. Ships staff were ok. Some better than others. Cabin stewards great. Waiters and bar staff ok, although some would forget your order either partly or altogether. Also, was charged for some drinks that I should not have been as we had a drinks package and had shown the cards. When I pointed it out I got an instant apology and was shown 'cancellation slips'. I asked for a copy of them but was told I couldn't have them. When I got my bill they hadn't been removed. Reception said they would sort it out but didn't so it appeared on my final bill. Small amounts but I wrote to RCI on my return to complain giving them 2 weeks to reply. I heard nothing. Not good. Thankfully it was not a more serious issue. The itinerary was great .. we were blessed with very nice weather. Tendering was pretty smooth although if you just missed a boat you could have a good long wait for the next one. The single biggest let down was the entertainment. It was appalling. I have sailed on 12 cruises with 7 different companies and this was the worst by far. I can only assume they know the ship alone will sell the holiday and don't have a big budget for entertainment. The only good shows were acts flown in. The singers and dancers were third rate. Many people got up and walked out. Others fell asleep. If they were half as good as say Thomson that would have been acceptable but sadly were not. Overall, I would not sail on that ship again but only because of the entertainment. As we had cruised with RCI before we went along to the Welcome back party. It seems they have recognised the entertainment issue and are flying in the actual cast from Hairspray for the Oasis. That's all well and good for people lucky enough to go on that but what about the rest of the fleet. I pointed this out to RCI also and really hope they do something about it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Splendour of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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