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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We had a Good time on our first cruise, although since it was our first, we have no frame of reference. Definitely an older ship, some minor indications in the cabin, other than that very comfortable. Found the Bus easily at ... Read More
We had a Good time on our first cruise, although since it was our first, we have no frame of reference. Definitely an older ship, some minor indications in the cabin, other than that very comfortable. Found the Bus easily at Piazzale Roma in Venice, and was boarding ship withing 60 minutes of boarding the bus. Check in at port was delayed slightly by health declaration form. Luggage came to room 2 hours after leaving port. The Good; Food, plenty of choice, especially for vegetarians as they accommodated my wife easily (egg free vegetarian). Also 2 sugar free desert choices everyday. Table, we got lucky, we had a table with 4 very different couples(by age, nationality, how long married) hence a very enjoyable dinner nightly. Staff, we were very happy with our cabin attendant, waiter, assistant waiter and roaming staff. Guest services was very helpful. But we never met the Head Waiter. Ship, Since it was a smaller ship, everything was easy to access, ship maps at every elevator station, everything in working condition, some scratched in the wall paper in the cabin(expected with an older ship), decent shopping on board, bargains daily), decent casino but few tables open early due to lack of traffic, plenty of slots machines. Newbie Tip: Forget the excursions, the daily planner and port guide delivered to our room the night before the port was incredibly helpful in getting around, we saved a lot on travelling on our own with just some internet research before sailing. Took the train in Athens and did all important sites, all less than 25 euros per person. Easy disembarkation in Venice, back to piazzale roma in an hour after leaving ship. Minor issues; ports, arrival time was always around 7:30am, lack of sleep catching up by the 5th day. weather, got little cooler so indoor heated pool was almost full and some rough sailing on the last 2 days, free sea sick pills handed out. Excursion gave little time to shop and eat in towns (most who took excursions said the same) Entertainment, shows averaged from good to ok. Magician on last day was excellent. would definitely sail again on Royal Carribean, but a newer and larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was my boyfriend's 1st cruise and my 3rd and now we are both addicted to this way of travelling the globe!We decided to spend some time in Venice before the cruise so we searched on the net before deciding to stay in a really ... Read More
This was my boyfriend's 1st cruise and my 3rd and now we are both addicted to this way of travelling the globe!We decided to spend some time in Venice before the cruise so we searched on the net before deciding to stay in a really lovely B&B called the Ca Bonvicini in the Santa Croce area of Venice...we caught Easyjet flights from our local airport and we were there in less then 2 hours - impressive! We decided to get the public water bus from the airport to Venice (Which I booked on line) although it would have been far cheaper to get the bus but we figured it would be less hassle to get dropped off at the Rialto bridge and find the B&B which we did relatively easily thanks to the map provided by the B&B. Now going on a cruise does not limit your baggage unfortunately and we weren't sure how the weather was going to pan out... looking at advanced weather reports - it would be a mix of sunshine and showers (well monsoons in our case!) We enjoyed Venice immensely and would love to go back there again and do some more sight seeing more thoroughly than what we managed to visit in one day but we were still happy with our efforts and one of the joys of Venice is just getting lost....soon it was time to be getting onboard the ship so it was onwards to the Piazzale Roma... getting there was easy but finding the free shuttle bus wasn't... it was only reading CC posts that we knew where to look!!! Anyway some people went past us with luggage labels so we followed them and found the bus! Embarkation was really easy as we had checked in on line and before long we were on board and having lunch in the Windjammer before then finding our cabin... my boyfriend was very impressed by what he could see/eat and do on board so it was a good first impression of cruising for him. We booked the cruise fairly late ahead of departure and paid a really good price for an outside cabin... I did however miss having a balcony cabin as I had one on the Galaxy last year (maybe a balcony cabin for 2010!) You can tell that the ship isn't new but she is kept in good order....she just needs a little more updating for the 21st century such as having flat screen TV's in the cabins but we had more than enough space to sort out our clothes...maybe a bit more space in the bathroom for toiletries but not too bad.The outside window was pretty large and we were happy with the view. 6118 is right at the back of the ship and you will get quite a severe vibration coming into port at times but all in all a nice cabin.The ship has a gym and a spa and we never got to use these facilities, we did use the putting greens of 12 holes but we avoided the rock climbing wall and preferred to walk round the promenade deck 4 times = 1 mile! There didn;t seem that much to do on a sea day in bad weather which is what we experienced but it was nice to watch a few demos (towel folding lol! and a cooking demo and we attended a cha cha dance class too..... We did really enjoy the food on board the Splendour of the Seas and we enjoyed the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch and one evening meal and the rest of the time we really enjoyed the main dining room, the King and I.. we had great service even though we were on My Time Dining which we really enjoyed and managed to secure a table for 2 each night. We also managed to have the same waiters apart from one night but even then we had great service so thanks to Honesto and Jeffery our regulars and Rodrigo and Jose Luiz our one night stand in's.Must also mention the head waiter Hans as he was very hospitable and when my boyfriend's steak arrived well done and not medium rare, he swung into action and within 5 minutes a fresh medium rare steak was on our table... that was certainly excellent service.Room Service food was also great, no complaints here at all and in general, we felt the service to be excellent.Much has been noted about the price of drinks and yes they are expensive with the 15% gratuity on top but as long as the pound is strong against the dollar then it's not too bad and we are not big drinkers.If Royal Caribbean bring out an extended drinks package as they have on Celebrity than that will be more interesting. We attended most of the shows and found the entertainment to be generally of a high standard.. we enjoyed the flown in entertainment such as Jacqui Scott and the Beatles Celebration tribute band especially when they had a great jamming session with Anselmo the piano man in the Schooner Bar on our last night.The production singers and dancers were also good in the Dancing through the Movies show. We didn't go on any ship excursions but organised our own or did a DIY excursion....we enjoyed Dubrovnik but were a bit shocked to discover RC charged you for a shuttle bus into town so we caught a taxu for 10 euros and walked back, it's about a 40 minute walk. Also we called on Dubrovnik on a public holiday so a lot of places were shut including the city walls which we had planned to walk but no one mentioned this beforehand! At least we had lovely warm sunshine in this port of call! Next was Corfu and we hired a car for 40 euros and drove round the island with our CC friends Tim and Lisa... we called in where the tour buses went but for a fraction of the cost and thanks for Tim for driving so well, in particular the splendid parking in Corfu Town!!!! The weather was so so today at least it wasn't raining and after setting off from Corfu we had our meet and mingle party where we had a selction of drinks and rather nice canapes to mumch on so it was nice to meet people who hadn't attended the unofficial meet and mingle on the Sat night at the Viking Crown Lounge! Next port of call was Athens and we banded together to get to the Acropolis... it's 4 people to a taxi and costs 20 euros....it was good that we got there asap for speed and weather reasons. The weather turned and at least we had just about finished viweing the Acropolis... our plan was to get down to the Agora and then to the Plaka... my umbrella got destroyed so I had to buy a new one and by the time i did this we were like drowned rats so we decided on plan b... get food and get warm in a taverna.... the rain would not let up so by the time we had done some shopping in the Plaka, we had flash flooding with some places up to the knees in water.... we had to wade across the sq to get to the metro where for 1 euro each we got back to Pireaus and walked back to the ship and it stopped raining.... typical but everyone looked totally bedraggled! We got use out of the hairdryer in the room for drying out our trainers! Next day was Kusadasi and we were ruined forever by parking up next to the Solstice... we were just drooling over her.....we had booked a private tour here and thoroughly enjoyed our day despite being rained on yet again.... this was my 3rd visit to Ephesus so at least I had seen all the site before in glorious sunshine..I just felt sorry for everyone else including my boyfriend as the heavens opened just before we reached the Celsus Library... it was again a monsoon complete with thunder and lightning..earlier on we visited the House of the Virgin Mary... yet again after a short while the rain did stop.. we continued onto the Temple of Artemis and then the village of Sirince where we were rained on again! We stopped to eat some Turkish pancakes here and very nice they were too!It seems that every tour private or ship booked ends up with a carpet tour and so did ours... it was interesting but not too heavy on the now then let's part you with some money front....those carpets are very expensive.....and we were quite amused with the Turkish people in the Bazaar where we did a spot of shopping back in Kusadasi. Our final port of call the next day was Heraklion as we didn't have a lot of time there we decided not to do Knossos and just spend the hours chilling out around Heraklion viewing some of the sights and to do some much needed shopping for presents.. at least we had some very welcome sunshine for our final port of call! Not sure why RC have Heraklion as a port of call apart from the Palace of Knossos, in my view they should either skip this port of call altogether or at least allow more time here or on Corfu. This itinerary (for some reason) is different from the usual one....maybe someone can tell me why? Our last day was a day at sea which was punctuated by an early morning call into Corfu for a medical emergency.... the forecast was 23c and sunny.... we thought great, on deck and sunbathe... sadly the forecast was yep... more rain and cold! One of the very best things about this cruise is one of the last things and that is sailing back into Venice... it was 7am but there were loads of people up on deck... we were all rewarded with some great sights including crystal clear views of the Dolomite mountains shimmering in pink with the sdunrise... a truly magical sight and not to be missed despite the cold! Disembarkation wasn't too bad as we swapped over our colour coded luggage tags for later departure ones.. however, RC need to know that one shuttle bus is clearly NOT enough to off load a lot of people going to Piazzale Roma and the waiting taxi drivers were trying to charge 5 euros per person to do this 10 min or less journey!!!! In summary, a great cruise obtained for a great price.. shame about the weather... having cruised on the Majesty of the Seas, the Celebrity Galaxy and now the Splendour of the Seas, have to say that I like RC/Celebrity as a product but would like to try out a new/newer ship for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Background: We are an Oregon family of four: two 50-something parents, a 23-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old son. This was the third cruise for my husband, son, and me; the first for my daughter. All cruises have been on RCI: ... Read More
Background: We are an Oregon family of four: two 50-something parents, a 23-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old son. This was the third cruise for my husband, son, and me; the first for my daughter. All cruises have been on RCI: Mariner of the Seas to Mexican Riviera, Rhapsody of the Seas to Alaska, and now Splendour of the Seas to the Eastern Med. Cruise Highlights: * The staff, the staff, the staff. From stateroom attendant Germano to bartender Dimitri to the very helpful pursers (all of them) to cruise director Anthony ... RCI knows how to make passengers feel special. But I'd like to give a special shout-out to the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. They were, simply put, fantastic. The entertainment they provided and their gracious offstage presence are the stuff of sweet vacation memories. We had the occasion to chat at length with the incredibly gifted Jeff Blair and Brittany Mazur, and they are both warm, charming ambassadors for their ship. Port Highlights: * Venice, Dubrovnik, Kusadasi, Santorini, and Corfu = a beautiful itinerary. Every port is worth visiting. See the Jewish Ghetto in Venice (with its barbed wire and guardhouse still in place); the Terraced Houses of Ephesus, Turkey, an active archaeological dig; the breathtaking, white-washed Oia, in Santorini, Greece; and the "old town" in Corfu, Greece, with its tiny beach and incredible olive wood buys. Stay at the Marriott Courtyard in Venice if you want a fairly priced room (20 minutes outside of Venice, with bus service across the street to "downtown" Venice). * Gonca Kizilhan of Kusadasi Tours made Turkey the most memorable port on our trip. A freelance tour guide, she was pure sunshine as we toured Ephesus and spent additional time at port. She is knowledgeable, professional, and exudes great pride in her country. * The RCI Excursion to Oia (in Santorini) provided us with a way to bypass the cable car/donkey issue (the only way to get up to Santorini from the primary pier). Meeting time for our group was 6:45 a.m.; we then boarded a tender that took us to an entirely different pier, where a bus awaited us for the steep ride up the mountainside to Oia. With its white-washed, blue-domed churches that seem to tumble into the sea, Oia is both fairytale and photographer's dream, punctuated by gentle breezes, church bells, and warm, friendly merchants selling high-quality goods. If you visit, look for my heart. Note: This excursion saved us time during our limited stay. We waited for one hot hour for the return cable car trip from town to the tender in the afternoon. We wouldn't have wanted to waste that time in the morning, too. (Waiting times vary.) This excursion also includes an enjoyable wine tasting. SPECIAL OBSERVATIONS: Cleanliness and design: Splendour of the Seas is one of the older ships in RCI's fleet, but it is beautifully maintained. All public areas were lovely. There were just a few minor issues, possibly due to the older ship design. For instance, it was often very hard to find a seat in the Windjammer Cafe. My advice is to make greater use of the main restaurant, which always had a seat available (plus really good food). The second quirk was the lack of announcements in the staterooms (though some folks consider this a plus). I loved them on the Mariner, and really missed them on Rhapsody and Splendour. I suppose this is a wiring issue on the older ships. Just make sure to read the daily Compass, or prop your door open to hear the announcements as soon as they begin. Embarkation and debarkation: Went without a hitch. Incredibly organized. Fellow passengers: There were many, many non-English-speaking passengers on this ship. It might have been due to time of year (August) and favorable exchange rate for Europeans. If you're seeking a cruise that is predominantly American or English-speaking, check with RCI or your travel agent about current trends on this itinerary. Note: RCI's staff all speak English and did their best to make everyone feel at home. Evening shows and other activities were introduced in multiple languages. Entertainment was generic. This issue, however, is the reason I rated our overall experience a 4 instead of a 5+. Cuisine/seating style: No complaints at either of the two restaurants in terms of food. I am not a proponent of the My Time Dining being introduced on all the cruise lines. There's something to be said for getting to know your tablemates and wait staff, and being able to give all family members a precise time and table number at which to meet every evening. Smoking: We're non-smokers, and we were fully aware of RCI's policies: no smoking in the staterooms; smoking allowed on the balconies. We hoped to luck out. We didn't. We paid extra for a balcony, and got extra: our adjacent neighbors' smoke. RCI, please designate one side of your ship non-smoking at the very least. The scenery in the Mediterranean is poetic. Chocking on cigarette smoke is not. It isn't fair to pay a premium for it. Teen club: Our son loves to dance, and there's been a teen club with dance floor (and arcade) on each of the three cruises we've taken. We rarely saw our son on our cruises. If you're bringing a teen for the first time, make sure they go to the club on the first day. They'll feel more at home on the rest of the trip. Really active teens might prefer the newer ships that have more bells and whistles. In summary, Royal Caribbean is a wonderful cruise line, and this was a beautiful trip. Kudos to RCI for working hard to provide a fantastic vacation product. 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Sail Date August 2009
We had booked RCI Splendour of the Seas for our first cruise for our honeymoon. Awesome somes it up. This ship may be one of the older ships in the fleet but it didnt matter. Royal Caribbean should be proud of the crew and ship as they are ... Read More
We had booked RCI Splendour of the Seas for our first cruise for our honeymoon. Awesome somes it up. This ship may be one of the older ships in the fleet but it didnt matter. Royal Caribbean should be proud of the crew and ship as they are a credit to the company. Sailing out of Venice has to be the most romantic time ever. Drinking our champagne provided in the stateroom and eating chocolate covered strawberries whilst watching St Marks Square float by was the highlight for sure. The stateroom with balcony was at the rear of the ship and very private. Much larger than anticipated and the bed was massive and so so comfortable. Joining the ship was made very easy and within 40 minutes we were in our stateroom drinking it all in. Literally! The only drawback to being new cruisers was that we went to the Muster station far too early and sweltered in 90 degree heat waiting for the more experienced people to turn up at the last minute. A lesson well learnt. The Centrum champagne bars are magnificent and the staff couldnt do enough. Took just one night for Carlos the barman to learnt my favourite tipple and be ready with it the next evening. It ws hard to believe we were actually on a ship and not a 5 star plus hotel. We had taken 2nd sitting at dinner in the King & I restaurant and shared our table with 2 other couples who were so much fun. The restaurant staff again were very attentive and the food was excellent. Not as much choice as I had been led to believe on cruise ships but the quality was there. Had taken the Diamond wine package for 12 bottles, bit ambitious but our table companions helped us out! The wine was very good indeed and no problems having wine saved till the next day or taken to our stateroom. Dinner lasted 2 hours every evening and a nice roundup to the day. Then on to the casino or shows depending on our whim. The ship is ideal for adults and teenagers, no real young children on this cruise. The spa was a bit of a letdown and the staff try and cram too many appointments in so it is not a relaxing experience. Very expensive also but worth waiting for the offers later in the cruise with discounts. Entertainment was excellent especially the Motown evening and the Mr & Mrs contest. All very relaxed and plenty of humour. Maybe more should be on in the day possibly espec when the ship is cruising all day but thats a minor matter. Windjammer restaurant excellent and lots of choice. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I have almost no complaints about the RCL cruise we took out of Bayonne to Bermuda, St. Martin, St. Thomas and San Juan PR. The few that I have are:Too little time in San Juan (the best shopping is there by far! Take the free trolly by the ... Read More
I have almost no complaints about the RCL cruise we took out of Bayonne to Bermuda, St. Martin, St. Thomas and San Juan PR. The few that I have are:Too little time in San Juan (the best shopping is there by far! Take the free trolly by the bus station to the top of the hill - get off at El Morro and walk down bearing to your left to get to the outlet stores early).Disembarkation was horrific (be sure to load up on fruit/yogurt/bottled water - as we had to wait quite a while to be called to disembark and the food staff ran out of provisions; all the elevators were being used by folks with lots of luggage or in wheelchairs/with baby strollers - Pack very light for departure, TAG EVERYTHING TO BE PICKED UP THE NIGHT BEFORE! I had to schlep 4 bags down 10 flights of stairs!)The wait staff seems a bit over-extended in the main dining room - hence - orders were confused or forgotten (I think they call this economizing) They tried VERY hard though - but clearly are overworked.NOTE - GRAND SUITE 1568 IS ACROSS FROM THE SERVICE ENTRANCE AND WHEN THE STAFF BRINGS SUPPLIES THE NOISE CAN BE HEARD EVEN WHILE ON THE BALCONY - THERE IS NO WALK IN CLOSET IN THE GRAND SUITE - THE JR. SUITE IS JUST AS NICE - WE HAD 1638 - MUCH QUIETER WITH A NICE BIG CLOSET!Most important BORING MUSIC! Hey - I'm a NYer - we got it all here (thank goodness) where was the Rock & Roll, R&B??? What little decent music they had started at 10 PM and ended at 12 midnight. Somebody give Dave Chapman their playlist please - and if I heard "Piano Man once, I heard it 10 times...enough! The ship needs a musical director under the age of 40 with a hint of nostalgia - not an obsession with it. The latin band was really quite good, unfortunately, Latin entailed everything from Rhumba to ChaCha so you got maybe 1 dance in (if you could find a dance partner - I learned to lead - new skill - thanks RCL).On the positive side:Good foodGood service (Roger Forde was our stateroom attendant - he was outstanding - bought a chaise to my suite for the terrace)Clean ShipFunny Cruise DirectorGreat Gym/Spa (the steam room was very underutilized as was the whirlpool there)Prompt Room Service (you can order from the main dining room menu and then go to the Windjammer to feast!)I would do this cruise again with my family but if you want to just party all night and then fall asleep in the sun during the day to work on your tan - go with Carnival - cheaper - less pretentious and a whole lot more soul and variety of late night entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We just got back from an amazing adventure aboard the Splendour of the Seas. We left Palm Beach on June 25th and flew first to Atlanta and on to Venice. we arrived on the 26th around 11. Got our luggage and a water taxi and arrived at the ... Read More
We just got back from an amazing adventure aboard the Splendour of the Seas. We left Palm Beach on June 25th and flew first to Atlanta and on to Venice. we arrived on the 26th around 11. Got our luggage and a water taxi and arrived at the Hilton Molino very quickly and efficiently. Our rooms were ready, so we showered off and changed and took the shuttle over to Zatere. From there we totally immersed ourselves in Venice! Over 6 hours and tons of pictures later, we made our way back to catch the shuttle back over to the hotel. another shower and change and off to dinner we went! The next morning it was a bit rainy so we decided to take a water taxi to the ship. had a nice breakfast and caught the water taxi. embarkation was painless and we were on board by 12:30. We wandered around for awhile first (not very hungry yet) and then our rooms were ready at 1 on the nose. Checked out our aft balcony (6124) and loved it immediately (will always want an aft balcony!). Met back up with our traveling companions (JS-8th floor) and went to the windjammer. the buffet was good about what you would expect for embarkation. the fish was incredible! after lunch we made our way to our friends room for sail away. when people say it is one not to be missed they aren't kidding! it was magnificent especially since the sun decided to come out and shine!about the ship:the ship was nice enough. we were hardly on it to be honest. the shows that we saw were okay and the food was good. we had some minor hiccups, but RCCL did their best to fix them. one being our tables were not together with our travelmates. it took two times, but we got a great table and had lots of fun with our table mates from Norway! nice service in the dining room and the food was pretty good. again that is so subjective we will leave it at that. our friends had a js right across from some maintenance going on (solarium jacuzzi's were out for 3 days). it was a bit noisy for them and they actually had to lodge a complaint. again, RCCL followed up with them until it was resolved to everyone's liking. ports of call:SPLIT, CROATIA:we took the excursion from RCCL to KRKKA national park (only 1 of 2 excursions we took from the ship). It was well worth the cost. we drove about an hour away. this worked out perfectly as it was rainy when we arrived in Split. by the time we reached the park, it was sunny. our guide was terrific and left us to explore as we wanted. we took our time and hiked through the foot paths and made our way to the bottom of the water fall. we even dipped our feet in at the bottom. we boarded the bus back just as it started to drizzle again. It rained the whole way back but our good fortune held again as it stopped in time for us to explore the area nearest to the port. we really enjoyed walking around and had some Croatian beer to make the day complete!CORFU: we rented a car here in advance. we walked over to the budget office and they promptly brought a car around. map in hand, we set out for Paleokastritsa (we wanted a beach day). coming from south florida, the beach is not as nice as we are used to, but the water more than makes up for it. we stayed just over an hour or so and then drove up to see the spectacular views from the monastery. from there we drove over to the other side of the island and went to Glyfada beach. if anyone wants a beautiful beach and relaxation-this is the place. we could only stay about an hour here as well, but it was worth every second we spent there! the drive back to town was a little hairy. roads are very narrow and crowded! thankfully my dh is an amazing driver and I can navigate well (we make a good team). we returned the car easily enough and then walked back towards the port. as per our tradition, we stopped and got some Mythos beer to enjoy the Greek culture.ATHENS:we were adventurous here and I am really glad we were. we walked from the port to the train station. we bought round trip tickets to the Acropolis and back for 1E each way. we met a very nice lady from NY originally but lives in Greece now. she told us to get off at an earlier stop (I think it was Theolis or something similar) and walk up to the Acropolis. she said it was more scenic and she was right! we bought our tickets to get in and wandered all around. we went to the roman agora, the museum and several other places that the tour groups didn't go to. so for less than 30E a couple, we thoroughly enjoyed the Acropolis. after we were done sightseeing, we took in the Plaka shopping area. we found a cute little cafe and had gyros, greek salad, Alpha beer and complimentary ouzo shots (although it took more than a shot to finish them). then we headed back to the metro station and arrived safely back in Piraeus and re boarded the ship.Mykonos: we took the ship's tour to Delos. it was a very educational and enjoyable tour. we hiked up the mountain to see the overlook. well worth all those stairs and huffing and puffing. after the tour, they dropped us back in town and we walked around. we found yet another cafe to have some gyros. somehow they taste better in Greece. we walked all around Mykonos and took in the windmills etc. the shuttle is provided back to the ship if you were on the tour. other wise it was a 10 dollar charge. Katakalon/Olympia: we pre booked a taxi to take us to Olympia. our drive, Nick, was great. he even gave us wine made out of his own grapes from his yard! we had lots of time to explore Olympia and then the two museums. then we walked around the town for about an hour buying frappes and baklava. Nick took us back to Katakalon and dropped us off in town so we could walk around. we did a lot of shopping here. some pretty good deals and it was our last port. we found a great place to eat on the way back to the ship. the lady that owns it was from New Orleans originally. here we had ouzo, mousaka and grape leaves. it was all very tasty and not too expensive! we made our way back to the ship just as they were closing up the gangway! this was our first time in all our cruises that we were almost always one of the last ones to board. it was just that nice everywhere we went!Venice: after a nice day at sea, we were back in Venice. we had a nice breakfast and then disembarked again rather painlessly. we got our luggage and made our way to the line for the free shuttle to the piazelle roma. from there we were able to walk to our hotel (Al Sole-very nice hotel). one of our rooms was availabe even at 9:30 in the morning! so we dropped all the bags in there and went off to explore some more. it was very hot this day. we came back around 3 to check into the other room and shower off. then we were back at it again. all in all, we walked for about 8 hours this day! had some yummy gelatto, italian beer and then a lovely dinner close to our hotel. we spent the night had a nice breakfast provided and then walked back to the piazelle roma and boarded the bus to the airport. we did much better with transportation costs after our cruise!It was an amazing adventure to say the least. it was our first time anywhere in Europe, but hardly our first time cruising. the ship was the perfect size for our purposes, but I could understand where people with kids might think there wasn't enough to do. we made our own fun everywhere we went. I am looking forward to planning the next adventure! I am happy to answer any questions that I can. I have almost 700 pictures, but would be happy to post a couple if there is something specific anyone wants to see. Patti Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
First cruise and anxious from some of the negativity re Splendour of the Seas. Turns out needlessly anxious in this beautiful and well run ship - all credit to RCCL, Captain, crew and staff.Found ourselves upgraded to a Junior Suite - the ... Read More
First cruise and anxious from some of the negativity re Splendour of the Seas. Turns out needlessly anxious in this beautiful and well run ship - all credit to RCCL, Captain, crew and staff.Found ourselves upgraded to a Junior Suite - the facilities of the suite outweighed the slight disappointment at being moved to starboard side [port side has the benefit of outbound views of Venice from your own balcony].  Suite large for the two of us and comfortable - tasteful colours and well equipped - tea/coffee facilities, mini bar, large balcony, subdued lighting, large tv, sofa & chair, lit wardrobe, bath & over shower, dressing gowns, hairdryer, bed cushions etc.As it happens the return view of Venice was better from starboard as the early morning can be hectic - ie left ship for return to airport 7:30.All arrangements very smooth and well timed, meals, shows, tenders, transfers etc.  Passengers always kept very well informed.  Anthony Richards the Cruise Entertainment Director is a star, very professional and a sharp, sharp wit even when giving useful advice and information.Very attentive staff who never hassle for tips but certainly earn them.  I wouldn't begrudge them a cent.  Gratuities are in discreet envelopes so tou can tip as you find your service [don't pre-tip].  Many thanks to Sajira, Thomas and Milan for all your care, always smiling while working so hard to please.Varied entertainment and classy areas of ship.  Caters for all tastes - some great high energy parties to some subtle class acts in sensational Centrum area.   Poolside trio best in our opinion brought massive South American atmosphere gthrough their talented music and songstress.  Poolside party was great.Shows in our opinion very good, all be it some better than others but all professional and entertaining in very comfortable, fabulous theatre.  Other entertaining areas and brilliant casino area. King & I restaurant good food, excellent service, often tremendous views but most of all the great company and interesting conversation from many friendly people.Windjammer also excellent choice, always informal - if you're lucky like we were you'll see dolphins leaping the bow wave as you eat your breakfast!  Food fresh, varied and oh so moreish!While we have no other cruise experience to compare, speaking to others who have cruised with other lines we were all agreed the Splendour of the Seas would and does take a great deal of beating.  Critism from some posters is harsh - this is not a brand new ship but very well maintained.  Carpet was being taken aboard to relay some areas, not that we ever came across anything at all shabby.Not the biggest ship but that may be to it's advantage as the 'feel' of the ship is very welcoming and inclusive.Don't take our word for it - get booked and go.  Venice in itself will leave a lasting impression enhanced by this lovely ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We sailed on Splendour of the Seas May 16, 2009 from Venice. We were scheduled to stop in Split, Croatia, and then several Greek ports. There were 4 in our cabin (2 adults and a 6/9 year old). My parents were in another cabin. We had a ... Read More
We sailed on Splendour of the Seas May 16, 2009 from Venice. We were scheduled to stop in Split, Croatia, and then several Greek ports. There were 4 in our cabin (2 adults and a 6/9 year old). My parents were in another cabin. We had a great time the first night. Staff were friendly, food was good, ship appeared to be in good condition. At our first port of call, Split, Croatia just as the ship was scheduled to depart we were paged to the medical facility. It turns out that my father (69 years old) had a massive heart attack on the dock while walking back to the ship. We heard the "Code Oscar" from the dining room a few minutes earlier (he collapsed on the dock and fell into the water). The ship was in a hurry to leave, so we were all (nicely) hurried off the ship. The cruise line provided us with an English speaking taxi driver at our disposal. The cruise line took care of making sure we did everything properly with the authorities - and their taxi driver helped us interact with the mortuary, pathologist, etc. They put us in a very nice (5 star) hotel for 3 nights while we took care of everything. They even hired us a taxi to drive us all the way back to Venice so that we could catch our return flight (about 500 miles). After all of this, the only thing they charged us for was the actual medical expenses for the ship's doctor and nurse (less than $2,000). We did not have travel insurance but Royal Caribbean took great care of us at their expense. They even refunded 100% of our cruise for both our cabin and my mother's cabin. I can't say enough positive things about them. I hope nobody ever has to lose a loved one on a cruise, but rest assured that Royal Caribbean has a dedicated and compasionate staff that will make it much easier on you if it ever does happen. We are thankful for everything they did for us and dread thinking about what it would have been like if it happened without the support of the cruise line (if, for example, it happened the night before the cruise in Venice). If you read negative comments about RC and their medical staff, or any other staff, please take them with a grain of salt and realize what a fantastic experience we had when it really counted... We will never use any other cruise line again. RC has earned our business for life. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Background Info: We completed the Splendour of the Seas May 23rd sailing, embarking and debarking in Venice, with stops in Split, Kusadasi, Santorini, and Corfu. I booked through USAA travel and got an incredible price. I reserved a ... Read More
Background Info: We completed the Splendour of the Seas May 23rd sailing, embarking and debarking in Venice, with stops in Split, Kusadasi, Santorini, and Corfu. I booked through USAA travel and got an incredible price. I reserved a guaranteed Oceanview room, and was upgraded to a Balcony on the 7th deck, port side. I booked our flights through Orbitz and we arrived in Venice on the day of departure. We spent an extra day in Venice after the cruise.Hotel Info: We stayed at the Marco Polo Airport Courtyard Marriott after the completion of the cruise. The hotel was nice and clean as expected. Make sure to get a guarantee on non-smoking room and bed type if this is important to you (not all rooms are non-smoking), and bring a copy of your reservation. There is a bus stop directly across the street from the hotel. You can buy bus tickets (1.10 euro each way) at the hotel's front desk. You can take a bus to Palazzo de Roma (Venice). Buses leave every 30 minutes and it takes about 25 min to get there. Note: If you are planning to take the vaporetto (public water taxi) around Venice, consider getting a 24 hr pass. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to the airport, which was the main reason we stayed here.Ship Info: Although the Splendour of the Seas is 13 years old, the only true wear and tear we noticed was on the miniature golf course, which was in desperate need of TLC. Other than that, I thought the ship was well-maintained and kept clean. Hand sanitizers are located throughout the ship and you will be asked to use them before entering any of the dining facilities. I had a massage and mini-facial while onboard (RC was offering $99 ladies' night and gentlemen's night treatments on specific days) which was wonderful. If you are planning on buying anything from the gift shops, wait until there is a sale onboard. Entertainment & Activities: We only attended one of the evening shows which was decent. We watched a few of the others on the RCTV channel and they were pretty good. Had the ports not been as amazing as they were, we probably would have made more of an effort to see the shows. Most shows had two seatings depending on what time your dinner seating was. A lot of daytime activities were also offered, it seemed like there was something for just about every age group-daily lectures, art auction (including works of Picasso and Chagall), poolside activities, daily walks, etc. The activities seemed well organized and thought out.Service: We were happy with the service onboard. Every request we had was quickly met. Our room was cleaned twice a day and the dining service, especially the evening, was excellent. The recommended tipping is about $10/day. You can choose pre-paid tipping (added to your seapass account) and are given vouchers to hand in envelopes to room attendant and waiters on the last night. This method seemed very easy and took the hassle out of getting cash and exact change.Port & Shore Excursions: We pre-booked excursions in Split, Croatia and Kusadasi, Turkey with RC before we left. We toured Santorini and Corfu on our own, and were happy with that decision.Split, Croatia: Our reasoning for booking the Split tour (2 hr Historic Walking Tour) was that we worried some things may be closed since we would be there on a Sunday. Many shops were closed, so we were glad to have done the tour. However, it would have been cheaper to just arrive in Split and purchase a local tour. The main site to see is Diocletian's Palace. There was also a small Chagall Museum, but it was closed so we didn't get to see it. Croatia runs on their own currency (ATMs are available and within walking distance from the ship), but the two places we bought items (gelato stand and souvenir shop) both accepted dollars. In general, I recommend bringing small denominations of cash with you, so you don't get stuck with foreign currency. Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey: We booked the Ancient Glories Tour (8 hours) through RC and it exceeded our expectations. I highly recommend booking a tour here; the main site to see is Ephesus, and it is not possible to walk there from the port, and I imagine that the price of a taxi there and back would be very close to what you'd pay for a tour anyway. On our tour we visited Ephesus, Magnesia, Miletus, and the Temple of Didyma. None of these places were easy walking and most are still under some level of excavation or restoration. Definitely wear comfortable walking shoes, bring water, and extra batteries for your camera. You could easily spend 2-3 hours just walking through Ephesus. The tour also included lunch at a local restaurant which was tasty. Santorini, Greece: All of the cruise ships anchor out, so we took a tender to reach the port of Skala. RC hand outs tender tickets the morning of, so run down and grab your (free) tickets as soon as they are available so you don't have to wait too long for a tender. Once you reach the shore (about 20 min on the tender), there are three options to reach Fira and have access to the surrounding towns: walk up a pathway on a steep cliff, take a donkey up (on the same walking pathway), or take a cable car. The cable car costs $6 (4 euro) each way and only takes 5 min to reach the top. We did not have to wait in line, but we were one of the first groups to come ashore. Once in Fira, we walked to the bus station (which is behind the taxi station) and took a local bus to Oia (also spelled Ia), one of the most beautiful places I've ever been-white-washed buildings, bright blue roof tops-incredible (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was filmed here). The 20 min bus ride to Oia costs 1.40 euro and you buy tickets on the bus only. Taxis are approx. 18 euro. Oia has walking streets only and is easy to get around. Not all restaurants accept credit cards, but there is an ATM at the bus station in Oia and in one the town itself.Corfu, Greece: This island was also beautiful, but in quite a different way from Santorini. Corfu is green and lush, and much larger. Instead of booking a tour, we hired a taxi for 4 hours with another couple that drove us all over the island to some very scenic spots. We negotiated the price and ended up paying 40 euro per person (or per hour), and also gave a tip to our driver because he gave us such a wonderful tour of Corfu. It's about a 5 min walk from the pier to the taxi stand, but the ship offers a free shuttle. In addition, the ship offered a shuttle from the taxi stand to Corfu Town for $5 person each way (tickets purchased in advance on ship). Otherwise, it is an easy 30 min walk along the shoreline to Corfu Town. We hired the taxi right away and visited Corfu Town last. Our taxi driver took us to several scenic spots to take photos, and then to a restaurant/hotel, called the Golden Fox, that is about halfway up the mountain. We ate the best baklava here, then headed to a small "farm" where we purchased fresh olive oil and tried local wine. The olive groves throughout the mountains are really neat to see. After that we visited Paleokastritsa which is a gorgeous (but small) resort and beach area. If we had more time, I would have liked to have taken a boat out to see the caves and grottos here. We ate dinner at a small restaurant in Corfu Town and walked back to the ship.Venice, Italy: Venice is an expensive city, but there are several easy ways to save a little bit of money. First, don't eat at any of the restaurants in San Marco Square-they seem to be the most expensive. Second, if you want to do a gondola ride, you can hire one in a residential district for about 60 euro for 30 minutes (the Grand Canal gondolas are much more). Also, the cheapest way to see the Grand Canal is to take a vaporetto-public water taxi (line 1 or 2) around. Since I had already been to Venice, we didn't see all of the main sites. We did go up the bell tower in San Marco Square which was well worth the 8 euro pp for the best views of the city. We took the vaporetto (12 euro pp r/t) over to Murano, which is where the famous glass is made and a great place to get glass souvenirs. While most shops have credit card stickers on the doors, they don't always accept credit cards, or have a minimum charge, but there are ATMs nearby. Unfortunately we didn't have time on this trip to go to Burano, another island just beyond Murano. Burano is known for its lace and brightly painted doors on all of the houses. The food in Venice was great, especially the pizza.Travel to Port of Embarkation: We took USAir to Venice, and while our luggage was never lost and flights were on time, the food was awful and there weren't individual tvs in coach like most other international airlines have. We had reserved the RC transportation from the airport to the ship. There were RC reps waiting outside customs for us and made the transition to the ship seamless. Once we got to the pier, we were able to check in at 11am, and then board the ship. A buffet lunch in the Windjammer Cafe was ready at noon, and our rooms were ready at 1pm with our luggage already in them.Stateroom: We had a balcony room on the 7th deck, port side, which was had great views leaving Venice. The shower was smaller than I expected, but manageable. There was a small tv in the room and a European electrical outlet as well as an American electrical outlet, so the converter I brought wasn't necessary. Our tour tickets were also waiting in our room upon our arrival. There was plenty of storage space for all of our clothes.Dining: We had the late (9pm) dining which worked out very well since we got back from most of the ports late. Our servers were excellent and the food was good. There were several choices on the menu, and it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to find something you liked. The Windjammer Cafe offered a nice buffet for breakfast and lunch. If you prefer to be served, you can also eat in the King & I Dining room for lunch and dinner. Room service is available 24 hrs a day, but there is a $4 charge for orders late at night. My husband got the soda package for $6 plus 15% gratuity a day, which seemed like a good buy. There were not any alcoholic drink packages, except for wine, so we just bought drinks individually. The drink of the day was $4.75 plus 15% gratuity, most other drinks aside from beer and wine were around $10 each. Also, if you order a bottle of wine at dinner and don't finish it, your server will save it for you for the next night. If you prefer espresso drinks to regular coffee, there is a Seatle's Best Espresso Bar onboard as well, for a small charge.Children's Clubs: There were a few children on the ship, but I wouldn't recommend this cruise for young kids unless you have a lot of family with you to help out. We decided against bringing our toddler with us and were happy with that decision because it would have been difficult and I don't think he (or us) would have enjoyed ourselves as much.Disembarkation: RC offered the option to do an express check out where you carry your own bags off the ship. We chose this option since we only had a few bags and could carry ourselves, so we did not put our bags out the night before. At 7am they made an announcement for the Express Checkout and we simply walked off the ship with our bags-it was really that simple. There were taxis waiting just outside the pier and we took one to the Courtyard Marriott by the airport for 35 euro.Summary: This was a fantastic cruise and I would love to do it again. I thought RC was well organized and the food and service were good, so I would cruise with them again. Split was probably my least favorite port (I would have rather visited Dubrovnik ) but wasn't bad to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Here are the key points to this fabulous cruise.1.  Royal Carribean continues to get high marks from me.  Compared to Princess....there is no comparison.  RC has it all over Princess.  Service was outstanding (the crew knew their ... Read More
Here are the key points to this fabulous cruise.1.  Royal Carribean continues to get high marks from me.  Compared to Princess....there is no comparison.  RC has it all over Princess.  Service was outstanding (the crew knew their "stuff" and, more important, cared.2.  Upgraded to the Owner's Suite....what an experience.  We had 3 in the room so the "extra" room was well worthwhile.  Balcony terrific.3.  Try to be on the Port side......the sail-away from Venice sitting on your balcony is amazing.  Views from the Port side throughout the cruise were exceptional.4.  Ship is smaller than the "mega" ships but had all the amenities necessary.5.  Ports fantastic.  Especially loved Santorini.6.  Food always hot and above average.  Selections were very well balanced.  King and I dining room a little noisy and Windjammer can get crowded on a sea day; however, food/service outweighed the negatives.7.  Work out room also a bit smaller but I could always get a machine.  Step classes were crowded.8.  Crew worked together for some time and it showed.  They were excited about their ship and their captain.All in all, this was my 8th cruise and by far the BEST. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
One of my Sister in-laws was getting married in Venice, so my Wife and I decided to make the most of our vacation and departed the day after the wedding for the Med. We stopped off at Dubrovnik, Ephesus, Santorini, Corfu, and back to ... Read More
One of my Sister in-laws was getting married in Venice, so my Wife and I decided to make the most of our vacation and departed the day after the wedding for the Med. We stopped off at Dubrovnik, Ephesus, Santorini, Corfu, and back to Venice. The ship was very nice. The staff was excellent and the maitre d's for the main dining room were outstanding and funny. A lot of people seem to be givng them a hard time since this was the first cruise that they had gone to the "My Time" dining and they were still trying to work out the kinks. We just joked with them and tried to put them at ease. We are pretty laid back so if the dining room is a bit backed up, we just grab a drink. I mean your in the Med...how can you not be happy! Our room stewards, waiters, pool staff, etc were all excellent, including the bar staff. I even got to watch one of my F1 races on the TV at the pool bar on one of the at sea days! Life was grand. I mean having a drink in the middle of the Med watching F1.....I was in heaven. We had a balcony room on the Port Side and it was perfect! Plenty of storage room, comfy bed, and nice sitting area. I think the only complaing my wife had was the lighting when she was putting her makeup on, but that is typical with most ships and we make do. The only real complaint was the guy next door to us who smoked which made it hard to enjoy our balcony when we wanted too. The food was also very good and had plenty of options. The only complaint we had was with smoking. It made it hard to enjoy the piano bar and champagne bar sometimes with the way the air flowed and smoke was dragged in from the smoking areas. But besides that it was one of the best cruises we have gone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our first Ocean Cruise, we have already been on a River Cruise down the Danube. we chose Royal Caribbean purely because it was an American Cruise Line and we had such a great first experience of any type of cruising with another ... Read More
This was our first Ocean Cruise, we have already been on a River Cruise down the Danube. we chose Royal Caribbean purely because it was an American Cruise Line and we had such a great first experience of any type of cruising with another American line, Uniworld. The atmosphere was just so laid back, although we had 2 formal dinners during the week, which was good, because it gave you the opportunity to really dress up, which is always a treat. The whole experience was wonderful, from the moment we left home, arrived in Venice and returned home.We travelled to Venice independently and arranged for a Limousine to pick us up and take us to the cruise Terminal, (well it was a special trip). Once we arrived at the terminal, it was just so organized, as we had booked a Grand Suite, we were directed to priority check-in, which was slick and very professional. We were offered a glass of champagne and were told that our cabin would be ready after 1pm, but we could go onboard and enjoy a leisurely lunch. This is exactly what we did and so our experience had begun.Sailing out of Venice is just not to be missed, it is an incredible experience that will stay etched in our minds forever. It was just stunning.Although Splendour is one of the smallest ships in the RCI fleet, it is still magnificent. I had read reviews stating that it was old and dated and in need of refurbishment, so was pleasantly surprised by the interior. We had no gripes with the ship, our suite was just enormous and the balcony was huge, which was just brilliant. Grand Suite 8016 on Deck 8 - forward - Enormous, bathroom huge and marble. Lots of wardrobe space and so many drawers we could not fill them. The bed was Kingsize, the robes and towels were so soft and sparkling white. Our balcony was massive with 2 chairs, 2 loungers and 2 tables. The privacy screens really were perfect, you could see nothing of your neighbors through them. We had a sofa bed and 2 armchairs, a coffee table, television, dressing table. There were mirrors everywhere so you always knew how good or bad you looked,we could not hear anything from any of the adjoining cabins, the hallway was never noisy. The very best though, was our Cabin Steward. Top marks to him. All the crew, without exception, was courteous and they always had a smile. Our Cabin Steward, Suri, was just lovely, there was nothing he would not do to help to make our trip perfect. The dining experiences were great, The King and I Restaurant was beautiful, our waiters first class and very entertaining, and the food was very good. We are not able to manage more than 3 courses at the very most, so the amount of food we were offered was just right. The selection was very good and all meals were served as they should be, either piping hot or very cold as with Sorbets and Fruit. The Windjammer restaurant was very good as was the choice of food and amount on offer. You could eat for virtually 24 hours a day like kings if you wanted to on board.The ports of call were well selected and the trips not too long, after all why go on a cruise if you are not going to spend any time onboard relaxing or enjoying all the activities on offer.We splashed out on a Private Water Taxi back to the airport, it was such a thrilling experience, you should try it, a great way to end a magnificent experience.I could go on about how wonderful our trip was, the entertainment, the new friends we made, the calmness of the Med, but it would take me days. Just lets say, the Splendour was SPLENDID.We are now hooked and have already booked for RCI's Independence of the Seas, Canary Island cruise to Madeira and the Canary Islands, 10 nights sailing out of Southampton 25th April 2010. We cannot wait.  Thankyou RCI for making our first sea cruising experience the very best it could have been. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We have been all over the globe, and this was easily one of the best experiences of our lives.   Highly recommended.I cruised with my pregnant wife (20 weeks), and my 80 year old parents (it was Dad's birthday).   My wife and I ... Read More
We have been all over the globe, and this was easily one of the best experiences of our lives.   Highly recommended.I cruised with my pregnant wife (20 weeks), and my 80 year old parents (it was Dad's birthday).   My wife and I have only cruised on "adventure' itineraries like 140 sailboats to exotic locations.   My folks have cruised mostly in the caribbean, but have done a month long repositioning to Alaska through the Panama Canal.   To be honest, I was wary about a big boat cruise, but it was the only thing suited for both my parents and for us (pregnant!).   I was also wary because I ready many reviews of ships before booking, and you can get spooked by some of the negative reviews.   I'll say that pleasing all of us was a tall task, as each of us had our own criteria to satisfy.   My parents were interested in the entertainment and food; my wife and were more concerned with the ports, fitness facilities, and hot tub/ pool areas.   We were bowled over.   What a great trip.   We will always be thankful to the Splendour of the Seas for making our "babymoon" and my father's 80th so wonderful.   Here is a quick review:Cabins:  the cabins were large and well decorated.   Nice water pressure and temperature.   Everything looking new, which is amazing for a ship that was built in 1996.   We were really pleased at the soundproofing.   We couldn't hear anything in the hallways or next door. Food:  The food was excellent.  Great variety, and with healthy choices.    I wasn't sure I'd like the single large restaurant concept, but grew to love it.   There was always an array of good choices.   The soups were hot and always spiced right (not salty), the vegetables were crisp, and not overcooked, and the sauces were first rate.   The fish was very fresh, as were the salads.   Only complaint the steak was just OK.  It was cooked perfectly to order, but was a little tough.   In general, I'd compare the food to a first rate restaurant.   Some of it was gourmet; some of it was simple and pleasing.  The desserts and breads were really exciting.   Fitness;  Great fitness center.   Beautiful spa.   Up to date machines, only had to wait for a machine once twice and I used the machines everyday.   Pools:  The solarium is awesome!  We loved the enclosed, retractable roof.   Crepes poolside, with nice whirlpools.   I saw the crew drain and clean the pools regularly late at night.   Can't say enough good things about the solarium.   So relaxing.   At times, you had to hunt for the most desirable loungers, but you could always get a chair and there was always availability on other decks.  Loved the fantail deck.  My wife thought the solarium was the finest quality of the ship. Entertainment:  a very pleasant surprise.   I didn't want to go at first.   I went just to accompany my Dad.   The bookings were very high quality.  A number of nights, there were standing ovations.   I loved a Beatles tribute band.   Also laughed very hard at a comedian/juggler.   You can tell RCI put a lot of thought into matching the entertainment with this audience.  The dance numbers by the in-house performers were elaborate, energetic and well done.   Gorgeous theater, with plenty of seating even if you came at the last minute.   This was not the Lawrence Welk type stuff I expected.   First rate. Ports.  Wow.  Lisbon, Costa del Sol, South of France, Italy including Rome, Corfu in Greece, Split in Croatia, and incomparable Venice.   Every day was thrilling.   My only complaint was a long line to get back on the ship in Barcelona.   Every other day it was "easy on, easy off."   Well organized.  We only tendered in one port, and it was not a problem at all.   Unmatchable itinerary!Crew:  this is a happy ship.   A number of the waiters have been with RCI for decades, and this ship for many years.   The head waiters were especially caring and professional.   My father, who is demanding, was entirely satisfied.   My wife and were amazed.  The waiters even learned your dining and drinking preferences, and without being asked, prepared the meal with them in mind.   For me, that meant hot peppers were already on the table, and the chef made a hot sauce for me.   The stateroom attendants worked very hard, and did a perfect job.   Loved the towel sculptures.  In general, the ship felt spacious and was well decorated nothing old.   Everyone we talked was impressed.   We met a lot of cruisers who have travelled with this ship several times.   It's the smallest of the big shops (only about 2,000 guests).   I highly recommend it.  Splendour did everything to a very high standard.  You will love this trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This was my 1st cruise and it was truly wonderful. All crew staff were very friendly and helpful especially the Stateroom Supervisor (Marcus), the Stateroom attendant (Angelique) on deck 2 and the Chief Housekeeper. The food was ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise and it was truly wonderful. All crew staff were very friendly and helpful especially the Stateroom Supervisor (Marcus), the Stateroom attendant (Angelique) on deck 2 and the Chief Housekeeper. The food was exceptional and the Waiter,Assistant Waiter and Head waiter in the King and I dinning Room were great. We had table 77 for the 6.30pm sitting. The Entertainment Director and his staff were very helpful (especially Vicky) and the DJ Savio was Fantastic. Poolside attendants were also great especially Kalish. We had booked Junior Suite for 2 adults and one child. The stateroom was adequate. There was plenty drawers and wardrobes although the wardrobes were very dark inside and could do with an internal light. The bedding, carpets,sofa and chairs were clean and fresh. The dressing table was large with plenty of mirrors and storage space but they were looking rather tired. I can cope with that as long as everything is clean - which is was. We were on deck 8 and did get lots of noise from people walking above. We also had a couple of mights when high wind whistled through the balcony and made a huge racket keeping us all awake. However if we hadn't have had the balcony we would have missed the dolphins and a fantastic lightening storm and pouring rain on our last night. We could have got any other view from the deck above. When the rain came the public were told to go inside and not allowed back on deck until it had stopped The pool in the Solarium and outside were both salt water. There are 2 jacuzzi s outside and 2 in the solarium. We used the gym which although small had a good selection of equipment. For a charge of $10 you could do spin class which was always busy. The pitch and put was well worn and bland but we still played. the rock climbing wall was busy at times but the staff were very encouraging and didn't hurry anyone. The wall was open many times during the week and once a week they open it at night which was a totally different experience - great fun. The entertainment was good in 42nd Street and the bands that played in the lounges and on deck were very good. My 15 year old son was rather bored as there wasn't really that much for him to do. I met some truly interesting people on the cruise and made a few friends. It was nice to see that the crew members were so multi-cultural and all the passengers. I can truly say I had a dream cruise and would recommend this Cruise to all my friends. Thank you all once again Shore excursions were available although quite expensive. For some of the port calls like Santorini and Kusadasi we booked private tours in advance. Contacted with local tour operators. In all the cruise was fine - a small, clean, if tired ship with friendly staff. There isn't much for teenagers to do so I wouldn't really recommend it for older families. You do feel the engine and movement on this ship Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My DH & I arrived in Venice 2 nights prior to our departure on April 25, 2009.  As first-time cruisers, we were interested in visiting Venice and still allowing sufficient time to check in on the Splendour.  We flew via Lufthansa ... Read More
My DH & I arrived in Venice 2 nights prior to our departure on April 25, 2009.  As first-time cruisers, we were interested in visiting Venice and still allowing sufficient time to check in on the Splendour.  We flew via Lufthansa from Denver, Colorado to Frankfurt, Germany and connected onto Venice, arriving at 5:15 pm.  Lufthansa service in Business Class was excellent!  We followed the lead of some seasoned Venice visitors, and opted to take the Blue Line Alilaguna boat from Marco Polo Airport over to St. Marks Square.  Cost was 13 E per person, as compared to the Gold (Express) Line that was 26 E.  Enjoyed the lovely views along the water during the 45 minute ride over.  We booked 2 nights at the Locanda Correr, a small guest house about 5 minutes from St. Marks, based on recommendations from Rick Steves and TripAdvisor.  Our room, #101, was the cheapest, at 135E/night, due to the hazardous spiral staircase connecting the bathroom level to the sleeping loft.  But, quite comfortable and clean, and located in a great neighborhood with lots of restaurants and shops.  We were going to buy a multi-day water bus pass, but decided that walking was much more interesting.Saturday morning, we took the "slow boat" water bus line #1 up the Grand Canal to the Bus Station stop (Plz. Roma).  We had read in previous reviews that the free shuttle bus to the cruise dock was hard to find, but asked directions using "travel Italian" from a street vendor and found them at the southern end of the bus depot, at the end of the sidewalk.  There were several busses there, with one having a small "Splendour of the Seas" card in the front window, and we hopped on.  Within 10 minutes, we were on our way.  At no time did anyone announce that this was the bus to the cruise port, which I found a bit strange, but when in Venice...  We arrived at the dock at 12:30, hauled our luggage to the loading area, and followed the crowd through the terminal.  We by-passed several lines until we came to a short line for "Set Sail" pass holders.  Within 5 minutes we had our ID cards in hand and passed through security to board the ship.  Totally painless!  Only one stop for the boarding photo and no delays at all.We had lunch at the Windjammer buffet and set out to explore the ship.  This being our first cruise, we started at the top and worked our way downward.  Were quite impressed with everything we saw.  We learned from other reviewers that the "Welcome Aboard" cocktails were NOT complimentary!  Found our cabin on Deck 6, and were pleasantly surprised with our ocean-view room.  It was immaculate and had plenty of storage space for our needs.   Our travel agent was able to get us a complimentary upgrade from Deck 2 to Deck 6.  Sail away was promptly at 5:00 pm and was lovely, cruising through the lagoon past Venice's landmarks.We had the early dinner seating at 6:30 in the King & I restaurant and were seated with 2 other couples.  We were soon fast friends.  Service was excellent, as was the food.  Our waiters were Turkish and were happy to teach me some Turkish words for use in Kusadasi.  A simple "Merhaba" (Hello) or "Techekur edirem" (Thank you very much), goes a long way when communicating with the locals.  The show that evening was a pantomime performer which was very entertaining.We quickly learned the routine on-board ship.  Breakfast most mornings at the Windjammer, by-passing the fresh-squeezed orange juice (yes, they charge for it!), lunch most days in port, and dinner in the dining room.  We usually hit the snack bar at the Solarium for crepes and had our soft-serve ice cream by the pool for afternoon snacks.  We turned down the soda package, water package, and had nary a cocktail or beer during our voyage.  We did bring some travel packets of Crystal Light if we wanted something different from iced tea or lemonade.  If I had to complain about something, it might be that the lemonade was pretty weak-tasting.  The pool-side BBQ lunch during our sea day was great.  And, my husband entered the "Men's Sexy Leg Contest".  Although he had the best legs, other "young pups" had more of the moves that the lady judges were using to cast their votes.  However, Jerry was recognized in several places in Italy as the "guy with the best legs" by some of our ship-mates, post-cruise!We opted to skip some of the evening shows, but the ones we did see, a 50's Motown performing group, and a dancing & singing production, were very good.  We fell for the Bingo jackpot game during our last sea day, and of course, didn't win!  We played shuffleboard, hung out by the pool, and found the best sunbathing was at the back of the spa on Deck 9, nice and quiet, and not too crowded most days.  On our one rainy day, the Viking Crown Lounge was a nice place to read.Since we're the adventurous types, we opted to do our own thing at all the ports, rather than take the ship's excursions.  More on this below in the port section.  I'd definitely say this is the way to go if you don't like crowds, and less expensive too.On our departure day back in Venice, we chose the Express Check Out and reviewed our bill ($220 US, not too bad, considering, for some shuttle tickets, tips, one photo, and Bingo games).   We were off the ship by 7:10, and walked to the bus station with our luggage, about 15 minutes away.  Just followed the striped walkways to the bridge into Venice past the Police Station.  Stashed our luggage at the "Held Luggage" office at the San Lucia train station so we could go exploring before our train departed at 10:50.  The "Held Luggage" office is just past the bathrooms, and cost 8E for 2 bags left 3 hours.  They make a copy of your passport to secure your bags.  We didn't realize that it was a holiday in Venice (St. Mark's Day AND the long May Day weekend), and when we returned to pick up our bags at 10:30, there was a huge long line of folks waiting to store their luggage.  Before my husband had a meltdown, I walked into the Exit door and politely handed over our claim tickets and money and retrieved the bags.  Not sure if that was the proper protocol, but heck, it worked!We extended our vacation with 2 nights in the Cinque Terre region of Italy along the Med. Coast.  We booked 1st class train tickets in advance before the cruise departed, and that was a good idea, because we didn't know we'd be travelling during a holiday weekend.  The Cinque Terre was awesome!  We hiked between the 5 hill towns all in one day, and still had time for a leisurely lunch, the obligatory gelato in each town, and some beach time.  Sore at day's end, but definitely worth it.  We can highly recommend our lodging in Vernazza at Camere Guiliano, a small guest house perched above the train tracks.  In fact, the train tunnels right below the property!  Cost was 75E/night.We trained back to Venice via Pisa (flagged a taxi driver to take us to the leaning tower, wait for 5 minutes for some photos, and take us back to the station, all in 20 minutes) and Florence, and had one more night in Venice before flying back to the states.  We took the City bus from the Pze. Roma station to the airport for a few Euros, and it only took 20 minutes.  The trip was perfect with the one glitch that my husband left our camera with the full 4-GB chip with over 600 photos on the plane back to Denver.   So far it hasn't been recovered, but we are hopeful that karma will circle back around for us.  We had a reward sticker on the camera with our phone numbers, so maybe someone will return it one day.To summarize, we loved our first cruise, and would recommend this itinerary to anyone who is adventuresome.  Cruising was a convenient way to travel, and while I would have prefered some more time in each port, the advantages outweighed that part.  The Splendour of the Seas will be "retired" soon, with most of the crew transferring over to the Oasis of the Seas, but we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My self,my wife and daughter 8yrs.old flew into Lisbon Easter Sunday to board Splendour of the Sea on Monday April13. We were met as we exited the baggage pick up by a rep. from Royal Caribbean and our driver. Wonderfully excited to see us ... Read More
My self,my wife and daughter 8yrs.old flew into Lisbon Easter Sunday to board Splendour of the Sea on Monday April13. We were met as we exited the baggage pick up by a rep. from Royal Caribbean and our driver. Wonderfully excited to see us she took control and promptly escorted us to our waiting minivan to transport us to the Sheraton Lisbon Hotel we selected through Royal. Our driver was as friendly and helpful as any we have encountered and gave us a quick narration of Lisbon before arriving at the hotel. The Sheraton was first class and very stylish and the room very comfortable with a bath that had a large soaking tub, large walk in shower in all glass tiles as well as a separate toilet room. We could have stayed a few days. Dined in the hotel which offered a wonderful buffet for dinner as well as a huge breakfast buffet which came with the room price.The next morning we were met by a large coach bus our baggage taken and quickly driven to the port.The check in went the smoothest we have ever had with a wait just as long as it took our person to get the cards. This will be an indication of how flawless the rest of the cruise would be. Boarded and our room awaited with our baggage right behind.The room was spotless but the only down side was it was below the Windjammer so we would hear the carts across our ceiling now and then. Touring the ship the Splendour is in wonderful shape and we found the perfect size for our itinerary. Walls of glass in the main dining room was perfect to enjoy the Mediterranean coasts. The Windjammer was fantastic to see each port as we arrived while dining on breakfast. Food in the Windjammer was always fresh and hot. Crisp salads and a wonderful array of choices for breakfast and lunch.The main dining hall was always inviting and we never had a less than great meal. The fish was always fresh and tasty while the lamb dishes were excellent. Our waiters,Yurus(HW) and Jacob(AW) were welcoming from the start and went over and above pleasing us at every meal. My daughter was spoiled rotten by everyone in the dining room every night.Being in South America the crew had a large number of South Americans who we found warm and very accommodating and were infectiously happy. There was a real air of joy onboard.My daughter was in the Adventure Ocean program. Although the room was on the small side the staff made up for any lack of amenities by their enthusiasm and caring for each child. Being such a small ship my daughter would run into the councilors on excursions and would light up with joy. She said she enjoyed this group more than the Freedom group. My belief it was because of the size and happiness of the crew.The weather outside was spring like and only allowed usage of the outdoor pool a few times but it was great. Heated to 80 degrees. The indoor Solarium was used a number of times and was fantastic on the cool days especially for my daughter. Shows at the Theater were varied and was a nice mix of all types of entertainment. I will list the ones we attended:Day 1:Luis Dalton juggled and did many balancing tricks.Was entertaining although you would suspect not by the description. Intro of Bill Brunkhorst who was the perfect fit as C.D. for this trip and was entertaining but not over the top. Day2:Aaron Shaw romantic singer.O.K. Day4 Dancin thru the Movies with the Royal Singers and Dancers. The shows was energetic with the dancing really superb. Day5 Jaqui Scott: Pro off London "Broadway". SHe was fantastic as a singer and played piano. Wonderful personality with the audience. Home Run. Day6 Tommy McPhee: somewhat a young Engelbert Humperdink. A little over the top.Day 9: Jacqueline Roche: violin vituolso who was really good. Day11 Beatles Celebration. Absolutely wonderful. Had the whole house standing and singing along. As good as Spectrum group that plays on the Navigator. Day 12:Philip Hitchcock:magician..put on a great show and was my daughter's favorite.Pierre is a "mime" as in the spirit of Harpo Marx and is an assistant C.D. and he warms up the audience. He is fantastic and was the audiences favorite. Overall a two thumbs up for Royal for their selection of entertainment.We took an excursion through R.C. in each port of call. Every port the organization of getting the groups together before leaving the ship went flawlessly. The ports are as follows:Cadiz,Spain: White Villages and countryside. Beautiful sunny day to view an ancient walled town built on the high plateau in the Spanish countryside.Malaga,Spain. Caves of Nerja. Small seaside town which was absolutely pituresic on sunny spring day and then we were escorted to the caves which was a natural wonder.Barcelona,Spain. Toured Montserrant monastery outside Barcelona which lunch was served on a hillside restaurant. Excellent tour while lunch of pasta,chicken and local wine highlighted a perfect trip.Villefranche,France: Toured downtown Nice with free time to wander then proceeded to Eze France. A walled city on top of a large hill overlooking the Sea. Tour guide was very good in providing info.Rome,Italy. We chose Orvieto tour since we had been to Rome before. If there was one trip I could choose it would be this one. Truly it was ITALY! the tour of this ancient town with a wonderful guide as well as an outstanding lunch in a local restaurant of pasta,rabbit and local wine was the ultimate Italian trip to the real ItalyNaples,Italy. We chose the Capri with lunch. Took a ferry to Capri(a little rough) and had a guided tour of the island with free time. Off and on showers did not discourage us and it really is an amazing island.Corfu,Greece: Panoramic Corfu. A coach tour of Corfu going to the top of the island.Drivers are one of the best we have seen in Europe. Finished with a lunch at restaurant Rex. Great local cuisine. Split,Croatia. Historic Split walking tour. Met at the ship and took a tour of the historic 4th century Roman palace.Took  time to walk the town.Lovely place. Venice,Italy. Sunrise and sailing down the Main Canal on a picture perfect day.Doesn't get any better. Upon docking we were met immediately by our luggage and then a rep. from the Metropole Hotel.(a hotel we booked thru Royal Carr.) We were escorted to a water taxi and motored thru the canals and the driver gave us a tour of a number of canals before we pulled up to our hotel on the Main Canal. Beautiful Hotel. The room was huge and full of antiques, again with a beautiful bath. Our bags were immediately stored and we explored St.Marks which was 2 blocks from the hotel. It was St. Marks Day and the entire city was celebrating. Unreal we had such a wonderful cruise to end in such a spectacular way. That evening we dined in the restaurant in the Hotel Metropole which is one of the top in Italy. It could not get any better. But it did. The next morning we were met by out Royal Carr. rep at 4:00 A.M. and he escorted us into the water taxi,to the airport, onthe shuttle a few hundred yards and into the terminal. Stayed to make sure we were in the terminal through the security. It was the best trip we have ever taken. Everything went smooth as silk.Bravo for Captain Tommy Nyseter and his crew. Reading the reviews I was nervous but now I don't know what ship they were referring to. This ship had the warmest crew that we have ever encountered. Although it is not new ,the Splendour is a beautiful ship kept sparkling clean and polished. We are planning to return to take the Greece tour and now we know the great time that will lie ahead.Royal Caribbean had created the perfect cruise and we can't thank them enough. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Ships Review   Splendour of the Seas March 30th Sao Paulo Brazil to Lisbon   First I must say that I have never been on a cruise I did not enjoy notwithstanding any problems that might have occurred. Having said that of course I ... Read More
Ships Review   Splendour of the Seas March 30th Sao Paulo Brazil to Lisbon   First I must say that I have never been on a cruise I did not enjoy notwithstanding any problems that might have occurred. Having said that of course I have enjoyed some cruises more than others.   This was my first time in Brazil and I decided to travel to Sao Paulo a couple of days prior to the cruise. My flight on Air Canada from Toronto was on time and without problems and there was no difficulty with picking up luggage in Sao Paulo or quickly finding a taxi to my hotel. I was staying at the Golden Tulip a short distance from Avenue Paulista one of the main shopping streets in Sao Paulo. The Hotel was fine though perhaps a little expensive compared to some others I investigated. A buffet breakfast was provided at no extra charge and that was perfectly ok.   I joined a group of 10 others on Monday morning who were also staying at the hotel and we took a coach/bus to Santos. This is not a short journey as the traffic is very heavy even at 11am and it was just over 2 hours before we got to the port. I have to say I never saw as many trucks making the trip down the side of the mountain to Santos as on this trip. A word of warning the entry to the port is awful. The roads are narrow and extremely bumpy as you wind through some very poor areas of the city and it does not give a good impression to visitors.   Upon arrival the luggage was taken from us quickly though there was some confusion, as it seems some passengers did not have the luggage labels. All of us in our party did. Anyway eventually we managed to convince the staff that we did not need new labels and the luggage was taken away. You have to stand in line to take a small and very crowded bus from the terminal to the embarkation lounge a distance of about 100 yards. Why you cant walk that distance I simply do not know and this would save both waiting in line and very cramped conditions on the bus.   Notwithstanding all of the above, it wasn't long before we were all on the ship and safely in our designated cabins.   This is an older ship but it is well maintained and in good condition. The only real concern I had with the ship was that when at sea and particularly when sitting on the bed there is a definite bumpiness rather like riding on an uneven road. This is something I have not experienced on any other RCL ship. It did not keep me awake but it was a strange sensation, and this was also noticeable when sitting in some of the lounges.   CABINS   Not much to say. Not particularly large but acceptable, the bedding was comfortable and there was ample storage and closet space. Be aware that most of the inside and ocean view cabins do not have a refrigerator something I missed on this cruise. It is also time that RCL updated the little 14 inch TV's on these older ships. The Cabin Steward was efficient and she seemed to have the knack of knowing exactly when I left and the cabin was clean upon my return. The bed was comfortable and the bedding of a good quality.   FOOD   There is only one word, which can describe the food. AWFUL.   This was a big disappointment. I am aware that opinion on food depends to a large extent on what you are used to eating. I admit I eat well normally but not on this cruise. There were only 2 types of fish on the menu, Tapalia and Salmon. The steaks were as tough as nails no matter how ordered and there was an obvious lack of quality control. As an example meat in the steak and mushroom pie, which was served in the buffet twice during the cruise had not been properly cooked and instead of the beef being tender it was like eating leather. Several times I ordered items which although shown on the menu were simply not available. The Orange Juice at breakfast time was in fact an orange drink not even the frozen dilute orange juice you usually get on board. Freshly squeezed was available at an exorbitant price. There is no alternate specialty restaurant on board so that was not an option. I would have paid extra to eat there had it been available. Incidentally my review of food was shared but everyone I spoke with on this cruise so it is not just one opinion. My concern here is whether this is an isolated incidence or something we can now look forward to on all RCL cruises as they cut costs. I sincerely hope not or I will not be cruising with them any more.   ENTERTAINMENT   Poor. Part of the problem here was that 85% of the passengers were Portuguese speaking, which meant that the bulk of entertainment was in Portuguese. In fairness given that this ship left Brazil and was going to Lisbon this was not surprising and it did not worry me too much. Just be aware that cruises out of South America tend to favor Portuguese or Spanish speaking passengers. The Staff were able to converse in English and I had no difficulty in communicating on the ship. Entertainment was mainly song and dance but seemed to be enjoyed by many on the ship.   DISEMBARKATION   I was in no hurry to leave the ship as I was staying in Portugal after the cruise. My designated departure time was 8.45am and I got off the ship at that time even though my color code had not been called as I had a ride waiting. Unfortunately while I was on the dock my luggage wasn't and it became a scene of utter confusion. The ship was late docking due to pontoons not being in place at Lisbon. I find it amazing that although they obviously expected the ship they had not put pontoons in place knowing that the ship could not dock directly against the dock. Eventually the luggage appeared but we could not pick it up until the police had inspected and sent their dogs among the luggage to check for drugs, etc.  I saw my luggage on a large trolly and watched as they unloaded it not using the handle but the pulley and breaking it in the process. The baggage handler merely slapped the pulley handle back into place even though it was obviously broken. I had no choice but to carry my luggage as I could no longer roll it on its wheels. It was a mess. I eventually left the dock area at about 9.45am.   The Cruise   I met some super people. I explored Brazil a little and crossed it off my "Bucket List" I relaxed and enjoyed reading, had lots of fun, saw Morocco (another destination on my list) and then spent 2 weeks with family on the Algarve.  I had a good time overall BUT if I likely wont cruise on this ship again and will need some convincing that the poor quality of food on this ship is not something we can look forward to on future cruises with RCL.         Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We sailed Nov. 8, 2008 on this ship from Venice. If you are considering cruising from Venice, DO IT!!! IT WAS AMAZING!! We stayed two nights prior to the cruise at the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal for 210 Euro per night in a standard ... Read More
We sailed Nov. 8, 2008 on this ship from Venice. If you are considering cruising from Venice, DO IT!!! IT WAS AMAZING!! We stayed two nights prior to the cruise at the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal for 210 Euro per night in a standard double which was small but sufficient, had a soaking tub that we both fell asleep in at least once, and was a block and a half from St Marks Square. If we had it to do over, we would have stayed another night. Two days was not enough to see everything we wanted to see. I cannot recommend leaving from Venice highly enough! It was AMAZING! We were the first ship in a line of five and there were people lined up along the canals taking pics and waving because we were all lit up and it was just getting to be sunset. We passed thru the lagoon and were able to see back down the grand canal, our hotel and St. Marks, just as the bells in the square started tolling and the sound rang over the old buildings and the magic of Venice clung to us like a blanket. There are no words to adequately describe it. JUST GO! On the morning of embarkation, we took a water taxi (90 euro) directly from our hotel lobby (no lugging bags here) to the port where our bags were whisked away to be loaded onto the ship, but we had quite a walk ahead of us to the pier. Once we did get to the pier (around noon), since we were in a Junior Suite, we had a lovely mimosa and some nibbles and the smoothest embarkation process ever. Our cabin was already available, so we dropped our carry-ons and hit the Windjammer. The food here was always adequate, sometimes quite tasty, and the service was fairly good. We did find it moderately difficult to find a table for four during peak breakfast times, but never had to sit with others. Our cabin, while slightly worn, and the bed was harder than I remember it being on other ships, was otherwise perfect. Being used to a balcony, we re-booked when the rates dipped and the junior suites were the same price as the original balcony, we were grateful for the extra space. It came in handy when getting together with the couple we were traveling with. An entire couch and two chairs were perfect. The bathtub was great, and made more shower room. I expected the closet to be larger, but between that and the shelves on the other side of the door, we were good. And where we had sub-par service in the dining room, we had THE BEST STATEROOM ATTENDANT EVER! She was amazing! So helpful, smiling all the time, and really made us feel special. That evening, we were thrilled to have been well matched with our tablemates. We were all within 10 years of age and got on well. We've always enjoyed this aspect of dinner. Our waiter and asst. waiter however left quite a bit to be desired. The waiter never cracked a smile, and seemed like it was painful to speak to us, though his english was VERY good. The asst waiter was too busy offering us bread after each course and NEVER remembered what drinks we wanted, which was strange for me since that has never happened to us before. We were quite disappointed that in fact there is no lobster anymore...boo hiss...however, they did have a stash of Royal Beer in the dining room that none of the bars had, so it eased my DHs disappointment. Our first full day was spent in Dubrovnik where we took the ship provided bus ($5 total pp) to Old Town and did a self-guided walking tour of the wall. When they let you off the bus, walk UP the street (uphill) slightly and look for a grocery about 500 feet from where they let you off that has a huge sign outside that says COKE. Just to the left of that, tucked into the corner next to a travel agency, is an ATM...get yourself some Kuna...just $20 worth...there are more ATMs if you need more, but this is the only one between you and the closest entrance to the walls. Sometimes they'll take euro or dollar, but don't count on it. Let me warn you...there are a bazillion steps on that wall! If you aren't at least passably fit, don't expect to get all the way thru it. But it is SO WORTH IT!!! The views of the ocean and the city are incredible! Later, down in old town, we had some wonderful ice cream and did some jewelry shopping, finding the prices MUCH better than Venice! Our second day was in Kusadasi where we explored downtown for a few hours then met our private guide for an afternoon at Ephesus (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE), the Temple of Artemis (a single standing pillar in a field - don't bother) and a nice tour and high-pressure rug factory tour. They really were lovely rugs. My friends bought one. It's been a month and theirs still hasn't arrived. After seeing Ephesus, i have no reason to go back there. Nuf said. Our next day was at sea where I got a hot stone massage which, being a massage regular, was just okay, followed by another high pressure sales pitch for oils and soaks. Corfu was lovely. We met the owner of a local stable just past customs and she drove us to the north side of the island where we rode for two hours theu lovely villages and olive groves. LOVED IT! Then she dropped us off in town, but the shops close from around 3 PM to 6 PM. So, if you want to shop, do it early. Our last port was the most amazing. Santorini. Don't bother walking up or taking those poor donkeys, unless you just have to. The line for the cable car looks long, but it moves fast. The views alone are worth the 4 euro pp! We met our private guide at the top, went directly to Oia (prounounced EEya) the town everyone thinks of when they think of Santorini. I took 600 pictures that day. No lie. Bring LOTS of batteries for the camera. Then we drove around the island and got to see the areas most people live in, went to the highest elevation for an amazing view, and tasted wines at the local winery that has THE most amazing views on the island. I wanna go back and live there. In the winery. Hehehe. Then it was a day at sea and then on back to Venice, where we went by RCCL transport directly to the airport. Do not be surprised when they dump your butt off and don't even tell you where to go. If you flew Delta, go all the way to the opposite end (far left if you're standing looking at the front doors)and wait until they open, which will be about 90 minutes prior to your flight of over a hundred people. The line's gonna get long if you wander, so don't. Oh and they have their own security line, so once they ask you your baggage questions, you can't go back... I highly recommend learning basic words in italian like Bonjourno (hello, good day) and Grazie (thank you) and the numbers from 1 to 10, cause they don't always give flight information in english, and yes nearly every italian speaks passable english, but not if you don't at least TRY to speak to them in their own language. And for God sakes, PLEASE do not run in, scream ENGLISH??? in their face, then talk LOUDER to try to make them understand you. The gentleman whom I had been having a rousing political conversation IN ENGLISH (it was two days after the election)was incredibly insulted and suddenly only able to speak rudimentary english when an American woman come in to the shop like this. He also charged her double what he charged me. You do the math. The Venetians love Americans, we have ALOT in common. Venice has always been governed by an elected Doge, so they understand how precious freedom is. I never once had an issue since I had armed myself with a the right words, would ask the words for this I didn't know, then use it, and knew roughly how much was reasonable for something before I asked. And even though we were lost in the dark (you can't stay lost for long, it's not that big of an island...besides it's fun) we felt completely safe. In fact, the one time a young man fell in behind us with a dangerous vibe to him, a shop-keeper came out and nearly beat him with his broom! I cannot imagine a more amazing trip. I have to go back and do the other itinerary! Oh hubby!!! *cheshire cat smile* Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
My DW and I cruised the Splendour Nov. 1. This was our 2nd RCL cruise of the Mediterranean; last year we did the Voyager from Barcelona. Our flights and connections were all seamless. We flew Air France from O'Hare to CDG to Venice; ... Read More
My DW and I cruised the Splendour Nov. 1. This was our 2nd RCL cruise of the Mediterranean; last year we did the Voyager from Barcelona. Our flights and connections were all seamless. We flew Air France from O'Hare to CDG to Venice; the return was on KLM from Venice to Amsterdam to O'Hare. We stayed one night pre-cruise at the Courtyard by Marriott in Venice and one night post-cruise at the Hilton Stucky. Both hotels met our needs. The Hilton was exceptional. I would recommend it to anybody. The hotel offers a free shuttle to Zattere and San Marco on a regular basis. I know this hotel might be pricey, but were able to get a great rate 145 euros per night. It was more than worth it. The embarkation was the best we had ever experienced. After taking a 20 minute shuttle from our hotel (Airport Courtyard by Marriott) we arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:20 a.m. and we were on board within 25 minutes. There were no lines at all. We weren't allowed access to our rooms until 1 p.m. When we got to our cabin, our luggage was already placed in the room. By 2 p.m. we had unpacked and stored all of our clothes and headed to the Windjammer for lunch. The sail away from Venice was everything you could've asked for. It was awesome sailing down the canal. The only downside was that we sailed away at 4:30 p.m. and sunset wasn't too far behind. It was tough getting good pictures. I was apprehensive about sailing on the Splendour after reading some awful reviews over the past few months. I can tell you from our experience this might've been the best of the four cruises we have taken. My DW thinks the Splendour cabins are bigger and better designed than the Voyager cruise we took last year. Even though the Splendour is 12+ years old, it is still in great shape. It is true the ship doesn't have all of the latest bells and whistles as some of the newer ships (like a newer TV in the cabins), but it is well worth the cruise. We utilized the Solarium a great deal and caught up on some reading and just watched the scenery. The Solarium is a great place to get a mid-day treat of fresh crepes. We ate in the Windjammer every meal we had on the ship. We are not "foodies" and like the selection of the different foods available at the buffet. As may have been mentioned on previous postings and reviews, I am just perplexed as to what a traveler's expectations might be for the food on board. Especially when you are feeding 1,800 customers three times day. I don't expect a gourmet meal. If that is what am expecting, then I would pay to go on a more upscale cruise line. The choices were plentiful and varied. My only criticism is that the Windjammer doesn't have that large of an eating area and it does make it tough to get a table at certain meals. The nightly shows we attended were most entertaining and got the audience involved in the shows. We really enjoyed the Argentine Gauchos and Jonathan Kane, the tribute performer to Elton John. The itinerary for the cruise was exceptional. We were impressed with every port. It was an interesting time being over in Europe during the U.S. Presidential election. The international perspective was enlightening. As a matter of fact, we were in Corfu the Thursday after the election and a Greek merchant proudly displayed his OBama campaign button. The day in Split was disappointing because of the cold rain the entire day. Other than that day, the weather the rest of the trip was exceptional with temps in the upper 60s or low 70s each day. I will say that we approach these trips as adventures and you must be flexible. A prime example is that were had prepared to take the train into Athens from the port. About 60 minutes before we docked, we were informed that the Public trains and busses in Athens were going on strike from Noon-4 p.m. We were docking at noon. We ended up taking a cab (and paying top dollar) to take us to the Acropolis area. We used the trains on the return trip because the strike had ended. I would rate this cruise as outstanding and would recommend this ship to anybody. Our trip was memorable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Splendor of the Seas by Dick Stein Greek Cruise November 1-8, 2008 This was our eleventh RCCL Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 22 cruise with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 13 ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Splendor of the Seas by Dick Stein Greek Cruise November 1-8, 2008 This was our eleventh RCCL Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 22 cruise with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 13 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a balcony guarantee on a promotion with air for less than $2400 each. We had a Delta flight from Cleveland to JFK and on to Venice with a 4 hour layover at JFK. All flights were on time, got a bus at the airport and we were on the ship by 11 AM. Could not go to cabin till 1 PM Cabins: The cabin 6126 (cat. D1) rear balcony that was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony was nice with two plastic lounge chairs, a recliner and a table. The shower is similar to what we get on Celebrity with a hose and wand arrangement. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. My wife enjoyed the bath robes. The bed was comfortable and my wife liked the room but it was a long walk to elevator. Public Areas: The floor plans in the brochure are wrong there was a Seattle's Best coffee and Ben and Jerry's on Deck 6 center and a Concierge Club on deck 7 Center. As a Diamond member we had access to the Concierge Club and enjoyed drinks and snacks before dinner nightly there, it was high light of cruise. We had the Cruise Critic party in the Viking Crown lounge on the second day and elite repeaters gathering there also on the second formal night. Both were well attended and well done. Nice to meet those I say on line. The shows were fine, we gambled on the last night and used my 10% off coupon in the shop for some RCCL items. Enjoyed the buy 5 pay for 4 bucket daily from the pool bar along with the two free drinks with my Diamond coupon. Dining: We had a nice table for 4 on deck 5, table 5 and enjoyed our table mates. We had pizza, cookies and hot dogs several times for a snack. The King and I restaurant was nicely decorated and the food varied from fair to good, and we had breakfast and dinner daily there.. No Lobster all week. The food in the Windjammer was also good for lunch. Tours: We stayed on ship in Athens as we had been there before and there was a transit strike, we stayed on ship in Split due to rain all day. Most tours involved too much walking for my wife so we skipped them. Went on shore and walked around Mykonos, Katakolon and Corfu and bought little remembrances. Disembarkation: Left ship for bus at 7:15 AM and was at airport at 8 AM. Delta did not open till 10:30 AM and we were at the gate at 11:30 AM for a 3 PM flight. Got to JFK on time due to a medical emergency and were 2 hrs late leaving. Got home at 11:15 PM Overall, I was satisfied. Would not due this itinerary again or due a rear balcony due to the long walks. I put a $500 per person deposit down on a future cruise in May 2009 with an on board credit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
This was my first cruise ever & I was travelling alone as a single woman. So, even though I had done lots of research & had read many reviews both on CruiseCritic.com & other websites, I didn't really know what my ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever & I was travelling alone as a single woman. So, even though I had done lots of research & had read many reviews both on CruiseCritic.com & other websites, I didn't really know what my experience would be like compared to all the information out there. I booked 2 days pre-cruise in Venice, our port of embarkation & 2 days post-cruise in our disembarkation port, Lisbon. All hotel & flight arrangements were booked using Royal Caribbean's packages and I used a local travel agency to make my travel reservations. Travel to Venice went pretty smoothly...didn't realize that Custom Air arrangements were available so one could use their airline of choice until after my flight arrangements had been made. Neither my travel agent nor Royal Caribbean mentioned this option during my numerous calls & e-mails to them both throughout the reservation process. I had 2 different airlines that were used...Delta flying to Venice & British Airways flying home from Lisbon. Would have preferred to accumulate all my miles with one carrier's frequent mileage program. Transfer to the hotel in Venice from the airport went OK once the Royal Caribbean agent showed up. Our small group was left standing around not knowing what to do for some time until the agent appeared. My hotel, the Metropole, in Venice was in an excellent location & a wonderful, if expensive, place to start off my adventure. The elegant breakfast buffet (included)was wonderful and the dining area quite beautiful. I ate one dinner in the hotel restaurant that had gotten great reviews and was not disappointed. My meal came to approximately $85.00 - that was for one person without any wine. So it was expensive, but I am glad I tried it. The food and service were excellent and the overall experience was quite memorable. The room I had at the Metropole overlooked a canal on the side of the room and it was great to hear the noises of the boats because that truly was the Venice experience I wanted. The room was appointed very luxuriously and quite comfortable. I was impressed by the level of care taken to maintain the Splendour of the Seas - being that the ship is 12 years old, I had read different comments about her condition. I always noticed staff members cleaning & polishing areas on the ship during my stay while I walked around inside. When I walked outside on deck, I noticed workers also doing various cleaning, painting & maintenance on a regular basis also. So I was impressed with the ongoing service the ship seems to receive on a regular basis. I loved the ship. It was neither too big nor too small. I enjoyed the fact that we had 1800 passengers onboard which allowed me to see the same people on more than one occasion. That was good because it helped me connect with people...being on my own...that was important. I did put several suggestions in the suggestion box during the course of my cruise. These included: no quiet areas on the ship...the solarium has a bar which creates a noise factor that detracts from this area. While speaking to others on the ship, they mentioned this to me. Also, the daily activities during our "at sea" days...we had 4...were lacking in my opinion. Since I do not have any interest in Bingo or cards or the art auction...I didn't find enough to do. Only on the last day at sea did I see 3 things that I was interested in and went to...a cooking demonstration, the captain's corner where you got to ask the captain and ship's engineer questions in a one-on-one meeting, and a towel folding demonstration. I would have preferred more intellectual activities, more films...we only had one movie on the ship and it was the latest Indiana Jones movie, which didn't interest me. I'd like to be able to see movies related to the areas we were travelling to...either by the origin of the actors in the films or the locations used in the films. For example, the film: Casablanca would have been great since that was one of our ports of call. Perhaps, guest lecturers, professors & experts in their fields of history, geography & nature of the areas on the itinerary. These ideas were also put into the suggestion box. Service onboard the ship was excellent. My cabin attendant was very friendly and eager to do a good job. He and I chatted a bit and he seemed to want to make my stay a good and enjoyable one. My room always was made up nicely and I enjoyed the different animals greeting me each evening on my bed that were made out of towels that had been artfully folded. All of my Shore Excursions were booked in advance and the ones for all the ports of call were done through the cruiseline. I only wish that there was more free time included for self-exploration & shopping in each port of call. The shore excursions, while excellent in content didn't allow for that. All of the guides I felt were wonderful in their knowledge of the areas they covered and their personalities were warm & friendly & open to questions all of the time. The dining room experience was a good one for me. I found the food to be much better than I had expected. I really looked forward to dining in the dining room each evening. The waiter & assistant waiter were very good and the waiter, especially, quite professional and had a wonderful & warm personality with lots of good humor. Our head waiter also was a great man who appeared each evening to humor us with his great style and willingness to help out in any way. I thought the evening entertainment was a little thin. Meaning that I thought on some nights, it bordered on "shlocky" or "corny" or not of that high a caliber. Other nights were better so overall I'd give the entertainment a C+ grade or something like 2.5 out of a possible 5 score. I thought the cost to use the internet...$.60 a minute was quite high so I purchased a the largest minutes package available which brought the cost down to $.40 a minute...still quite high in my estimation. I would have liked to have had a self-service laundry onboard as well as some availability of pay phones. $7.95 a minute to use the stateroom cabin phone was definitely out of the question for me and a very high price, I felt. These items were also put into the suggestion box. My aft balcony cabin on Deck 6 was spectacular! Don't think I could ever cruise again without a balcony cabin. I spent more time in my cabin than I had anticipated and it was lovely and full of light and beautiful vistas. It was perfect! Disembarkation went smoothly and because all of my transfers were done through the cruiseline, minimal inconvenience & waiting were experienced. My hotel in Lisbon was quite lovely. Definitely worth the 5-star rating it had. I enjoyed my beautiful room with a water view as requested. I only wish I spoke Portuguese because in Lisbon, not a lot of people spoke English...which I had been forewarned about in my guide book. The lavish breakfast buffet (included)was also fabulous & I looked forward to it very much on my second morning in Lisbon. Hotel staff were very willing to help out and I enjoyed use of the free internet offered in the lobby computer room. Did want to mention that travelling as a single I was charged a 200% premium price for my cabin by Royal Caribbean so I didn't like being penalized for travelling alone. The cruise was more expensive than I had originally planned it to be because of this. Did try out the Spa by taking advantage of the "Salon Sampler" offered one day. Was a great experience...had 7 treatments for $119 which I felt was a great value...they lasted just under an hour. So, while it wasn't a long time in the spa, it was a chance to do something I normally wouldn't have tried probably. In summary, I would love to take another cruise again! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip and would not hesitate to go on Splendour of the Seas again. I thought she was a good ship with character and beauty. I loved all the glass and the windows and the ease of finding my way around once I got oriented with my ship's diagram/map. My overall experience was quite wonderful & I have many memories that will stay with me for a long time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We have just returned from a FANTASTIC 7 night Western Med cruise on RCI Splendour of the Sea. There were 5 in our party,2 over 60's (grandma+grandad),2 late thirties( mum+dad) and our 10 yr old son. We flew into Bergamo(Milan) ... Read More
We have just returned from a FANTASTIC 7 night Western Med cruise on RCI Splendour of the Sea. There were 5 in our party,2 over 60's (grandma+grandad),2 late thirties( mum+dad) and our 10 yr old son. We flew into Bergamo(Milan) with Ryanair and as the flight arrived late at night we spent our first night in Bergamo. The following day we got the train from Bergamo to Venice( with 1 change at Brescia).The journey was very straight forward and at approx 20 euro per person each way was very reasonable.We enjoyed the day in Venice and stayed the night before the cruise at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Quarto D'Altino, approx 15 mins outside of Venice by train. We would definitely recommend this hotel for anyone travelling by train as it was located directly behind the( very quiet) train station.It was a very high standard of hotel and cost 100 euro per room which included breakfast. On the morning of the cruise we got a taxi direct to the port for 60 euro. We arrived at 11.00am and checked in immediately and were on board within 20 minutes. Although our stateroom was not available until 1.00pm we had a good look round this beautiful ship and had lunch in the Windjammer before it got too busy.When we went to our stateroom at 1.00pm we were really impressed that all our luggage had been delivered. We were in an inside stateroom which was more than adequate for the three of us.Although some aspects of the stateroom were very dated such as the tv,the safe and no fridge we found it very comfortable. We set sail on time and the trip down the Grand Canal was breathtaking and is definitely recommended for all. The Splendour of the Sea is not the largest or newest ship we have been on but it is by far the friendliest. We found the ship to be just the right size and very traditional in her layout and design.The centrum had great seating areas for people watching.One of the main assets of the Splendour is her staff in particular the Cruise Director, Jill Tasker and her team.Our son decided to collect Vitality rewards(ship shape dollar) which meant the whole family joined in with activities such as line dancing, walk a mile,fun fitness, bean bag tossing and even napkin folding!! Although we have been on four previous cruises we have never participated in this way and think that the friendliness and enthusiasm of the staff really encouraged us. We really enjoyed the food on the Splendour. We ate in the dining room every night mainly because of our fantastic waiter Milane Melo who made our meal times even more enjoyable.Our only criticism of the dining room was the lack of smaller tables.Most tables were for 10 so we ended up with 5 spare seats.This suited us fine but may not suit others. We had no problems with the Windjammer although at peak times could be very busy.The midnight chocolate buffet was amazing!!! not to be missed. Our son really enjoyed the kids club and again found the staff here to be amazingly enthusiastic and full of fun. He enjoyed the activities they arranged particularly the late night parties and Halloween parade. The adventure ocean is not as large as on other ships but the kids seemed to really enjoy it. We only went to a couple of the shows so can't really comment too much however the final farewell show was the best we had ever seen and really captured the atmosphere onboard. For us the itinerary was great, it suited all ages. We did not arrange any Royal Caribbean excursions and found that it was easy enough to see places independently. In Dubrovnik and Corfu we got the shuttle bus ( $10 return per person,tickets onboard)from the port to the center. In Santorini we got the cable car and in Kusadasi it was a straightforward walk into town. Although we did not want to leave, disembarkation was very easy.We had chosen 8.30am and were off with our luggage by 8.45am.We got the free port bus to Piazza Roma( this was a little chaotic and waited for about 20mins to get on a bus). Overall we had a FANTASTIC cruise.Yes the ship is dated in parts but this should not put anyone off experiencing the Splendour. We would definitely choose this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My boyfriend and I traveled to Venice for the Greek Isles and Turkey cruise beginning October 25th. This was my fourth cruise (all with RC) and my boyfriend's first cruise. We had no problem taking the Number One bus to Venice, then ... Read More
My boyfriend and I traveled to Venice for the Greek Isles and Turkey cruise beginning October 25th. This was my fourth cruise (all with RC) and my boyfriend's first cruise. We had no problem taking the Number One bus to Venice, then we walked to the port from the bus station. Other members noted that there is a free shuttle that will take you from the bus station to the ship, but we never saw any such shuttle and weren't the only ones searching for it while we were there. The walk is fine - about 15 minutes - assuming you packed lightly. We had the same problem when we disembarked. I even asked an employee at the pursur's desk how we would recognize the shuttle after disembarking and she said it would be clearly labeled, but again, we never saw it and walked back in a light rain. Check-in was a little chaotic. Lots of personel standing around not really directing anyone where to go. I did notice that most of them were happy to get you signed up for the on-board soda program or cabin extras like champagne or robes, which of course is at an extra expense to the guest. Since I had printed my SeaPass in advance we had a very quick check-in once we located the correct line and were called up. Another reviewer mentioned that after you go through security there is another line (usually long) that turns out to be for your embarkation photo. This is the first of many, many times the RC photo staff will try and pull you aside to take your photo, which will cost you anywhere between $10 and $20 if you decide to purchase it later. I want to add here that I am generally very pleased with RC - hence the 4 cruises I have taken with them - but I find this constant photo jockeying to be extremely annoying, especially after a 14 hour flight. We opted out of getting the embarkation photo and walked right past all the other people waiting, then boarded the ship. Departing from Venice - You really must be sure to go up on deck and watch as the ship leaves the city. This is an excellent way to view beautiful Venice and is particularly nice as the sun is just beginning to set. I have been to Venice before and we were fortunate enough to be able to stay in the city two days following the cruise, and I would recommend this to anyone with the warning that November is "flood month" in Venice, so you are likely to experience the effects of that. This cruise offered a one hour basic Italian class on the last day of the cruise, which is very helpful if you are going to stay in Venice. As with any cruise (especially overseas), it's also a good idea to fly in the day before and spend the night in the city. I say this because you never know when you might have a delayed flight, miss your connection, or as has happened to me before, the airport workers in your embarkation city could go on strike for a day and then you've missed your ship because you couldn't get there in time. Then you are responsible for getting to the next port to meet the ship. This is about as bad as you are imagining, so do yourself a favor and get to the city early if at all possible. Our stateroom - Our cabin was on Deck 6, which I think was a really good choice because it's about midway up the ship, with no loud clubs or running track above the middle section. We had an inside stateroom which was "large". I did notice it was larger than the regular staterooms on the ship and I thought the bathroom was adequate. I think it was worth the extra money to get a little extra space. If you've never cruised before, be aware that if you get an inside stateroom you will get NO natural light in your stateroom. This is great if you want to sleep like the dead, not great when you need to wake up and get going. Our stateroom attendant constantly kept the cabin clean. Every day he saw us and asked about our day and was generally very nice, and of course he made the "towel animals" for us. He took special care to notice which pillows we used or didn't, and left them on the bed accordingly. Now is the time I want to state that I have read several reviews on this website about the ship being dirty or messy, and from my experience this was completely untrue. Besides our room being kept so clean, I felt the dining areas were all well maintained and many times spotted crew members cleaning decks, the pools and other public areas. I also want to say that all of the crew we encountered were very nice, going out of their way to ask us if we needed anything, greeting us and smiling. This is typical of the cruises I have taken with RC. The ports - We were blessed with exceptional weather for late October, with the temperature ranging from 65 to about 73 degrees. Dubrovnic was nicer and more resort-like than one would suspect. We took the Trestno Gardens and Old Town excursion tour and enjoyed it very much. Our tour guide was personable and gave us enough time to enjoy the botanical gardens, which were fresh, cool and pleasant and a nice choice for a 10am excursion. Afterards we were taken by bus to Old Town and were given a tour of one of the goverment buildings and an old pharmacy before ending at the famous fortress walls. At this point you can either return to the ship with the bus or take another bus later for $5 per person. We chose to spend more time in Old Town and it was definitely worth the price. There are several nice little restaurants right in the center where you can enjoy decent seafood and relax. We also took a self guided tour of the wall for $10 each, which provided great views of the city. No problem catching the bus back. Kusadasi - We took the Ancient Ephesus tour and lucked out with a simply beautiful day of blue skies and a breeze. If you are interested in architecture at all this is a must. Again, fantastic tour guide and an audio tour complete with all the historical facts one could desire. It ended back in Kusadasi with a demonstration and explanation of the famous rug making process and opportunity to buy rugs if you can afford one, as well as some Turkish tea and a scone type pastry. I thought this was interesting, but although the rug store owner said they wouldn't pressure you to buy anything afterwards I had at least 3 employees approach me before making it out the door. This tour is also offered with lunch included for an additional charge. I have no idea what kind of lunch is included but we asked our tour guide if he could recommend a restaurant nearby serving good, authentic cuisine, and we took his recommendation and at at a place called Ikinci Bahar Cafe, about a 2 minute walk from the rug store. We had a fantastic meal complete with Turkish beer for about $30 for both of us. The restaurants and many shops accept credit cards and some accept euros (their currency is the Turkish lira). Afterwards we walked around in the bazaar area and purchased souveniers before returning to the ship. Santorini - OK, you know all the pictures you've ever seen of the beautiful Greek isles showing blue Mediterranean sea water (actually Adriatic) and white stucco buildings making up gorgeous towns? Those were very likely to have been taken in Santorini. Truly, it was beautiful. From the ship you are taken by tender boat to the shore, then you have to get up to the town itself, either by skylift at 3 or 4 euros each or walking or riding a donkey up a long, winding trail for free. We took the sky lift up and walked back down. I am very glad we didn't try to walk up - I am in good shape, but it's pretty steep and you will take at least 500 steps over 250 stairs alongside donkeys which (naturally) don't smell great and poop everywhere. Once you are up in the town, there are lots of shops and a decent archeological museum that we visited. We drank ouzo at a simply beautiful place right on the edge called Vertigo bar. No credit cards accepted here, but a great view of the ocean, your ship, more of the town and a nearby volcano. If you want to shop for jewelry this port had tons of beautiful items, not necesarily cheap though so be prepared to spend. I would love to return to Santorini, although it was fairly crowded and I can't imagine the heat and crowds in the high season. Corfu - We took the Achellion Palace and Old Town excursion. Achellion Palace is cook, worth the trip although our tour guide was only fair. Old Town is nice. Like Dubrovnik, there are lots of restaurants and places to shop. We had some great kabobs at a local restaurant, apparently typical of the island. There's also a nice park in front of the main area. We were left with enough time in Old Town to eat a nice lunch and shop around a view the city, which was nice. The food - I was pleased with the foods. The windjammer is good, about like a Chili's or TGIFridays as far as quality and offers plenty of selections. We ate in the dining room every night. A few nights they offered steak, but never lobster. Also, there was an Indian vegetarian offering every single night, so if you like Indian food you will enjoy this. I especially enjoyed the cold soups. For experienced cruisers: I noticed right away that they don't offer as many courses at dinner as I have previously enjoyed. There's an appetizer, entree with side dish and dessert. RC used to offer a salad also, but now the salads are in the appetizer section of the menu, not their own separate section. I have mixed feelings about this. Let's face it - no one ever starves to death on a cruise ship. Even with only 3 courses you will be full of food and have enjoyed a long leisurely dinner. However, some nights I wanted a salad and another appetizer and felt strange ordering both. Of course, they will bring you whatever, however much you want if you ask, but you will probably feel like a neon sign advertising gluttony if you order extras. Our service in the dining room by both our waiter and assistant waiter was great, as it has been with my other RC cruises. Ship notes - I feel like I noticed more smoking areas on this ship than on other ships. For example, in the Schooner bar there are both smoking and non-smoking sections but they are literally about 1 foot apart, so you will definitely stink of smoke if go there, and of course the casino is smoke filled at all times. I don't know if the difference is that smoking in Europe is a lot more common/prevalant than in the U.S., and all my other cruises have departed from the U.S., or if this particular crowd of cruisers were just majority smokers, but if this bothers you then be prepared to deal with it. Also, I think the crew was only somewhat conscientious about keeping the adult areas child-free. This is in reference to the Solarium pool, where there is a sign posted that no children under 16 are allowed, and the Viking Crown Lounge, which is supposed to be 18 or up. One night we were in the lounge during "romantic hour", and had to deal with several little kids playing around in the dance floor while we were trying to slow dance. I think RC is a little too kid-friendly for those of us who are hoping for a romantic, majority adult cruise. I was told by an English cruiser that the week during which we cruised was a holiay week for most of Europe, so that might have explained the greater than expected number of children onboard. Sorry for those of you who have kids and are taking offense at this. Please understand that there are plenty of cruisers with well-behaved children in the appropriate areas onboard, and there are other parents who let their children literally run free all over the ship, cannonballing in the adults only pool and showing up on the dance floor at 1am. As at all other times, please be considerate of others and mindful of your children, for their safety as much as everything else. RC has a great children's program for multiple age groups that can be utilized almost anytime. Entertainment - We didn't see all the shows, but we enjoyed John Cristie's musical show and the Motown group. If you like Motown at all you will really like this. We also saw the final show featuring the RC singers and dancers and I thought they were pretty talented, although the costumes were a little much. Another bonus is that the theatre has really comfortable seats, but the bar service is quite slow there. You could wait anywhere between 5 and 25 minutes to get your drink. Spa - I didn't use the fitness center but I did have a great massage in the spa. I would recommend this for the last day of sea because then you end your cruise completely relaxed and happy. One more note on the excursions - While I enjoyed all 3 of the excursions I wasn't super pleased with getting to them. By this I mean that you are supposed to meet in a large area on the ship (such as the theatre)to meet your group and head to the port at a certain time. When you arrive at the meeting place, you should expect to see all of the people who registered for any excursion during that time of day, and it will take the two poor crew members a while to organize you all into specific groups. One morning we waited a full hour for our tour/group to be called, time which we would rather have spent eating breakfast, sleeping, you name it. When I have been on other RC cruises they had each tour meet in a different area, but I guess this demanded too many crew members for RC to use this practice on this ship. To wrap it up, my boyfriend and I really enjoyed the itinerary, the food and the ship. Splendour is indeed an older ship but she really is in good condition for her age, and we didn't choose the cruise for the ship, we chose it for the ports and my past experience with RC's good service. We were not disappointed with those things. We met several really nice travelers and generally everyone seemed to be having a good time. One of the couples we met said they have been on 20+ cruises and felt that this cruise met all their expectations. I guess I can understand hoping for a little better food or prompter service in some areas, but considering what you pay for this cruise, especially during the time of year in which we traveled, I think we more than got our money's worth. If you are going to be snobbish about it then shell out about twice as much (or more) for what you paid for your RC cruise and you'll probably be happier. As far as we are concerned, we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My husband and I sailed on the Oct 18 sailing of the Splendour for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration. This was our first European cruise (although not our first trip to Europe) but our 8th cruise overall, including sailings on ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Oct 18 sailing of the Splendour for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration. This was our first European cruise (although not our first trip to Europe) but our 8th cruise overall, including sailings on Celebrity, Princess and others. This ship and itinerary was not our first choice, but the best option available for the dates we had available for travel. We booked through our long time cruise travel agent and did our own air/land portion, using FF miles on Swiss and Lufthansa through United's Star Alliance. These flights were excellent, with connections in Zurich and Frankfort to/from Chicago. Unfortunately, we arrived on the day of an transportation workers' strike, which delayed our flight into Venice, but gave us a great opportunity to sightsee in Zurich. We stayed pre-cruise at the Molino Stucky on Giudecca Island, which was a luxurious way to start our trip. Had I not been able to get the hotel for free, using HHonors points, I would have chosen to stay at a hotel on P. Roma, even though the price for those hotels was over $300 night on this date. We took a vaporetto to the P. Roma and the free shuttle bus to the port. Once off the bus, you have to walk a long way with your luggage to the terminal building, dropping it before you check in under a tented area. Our cabin, 2552, midship ocean view was in rather disappointing condition. The drawers were almost non-functioning. The closet door slammed upon opening (sorry neighbors). The bathroom mirrors were showing the metal behind, the shower seams kind of moldy looking. However, the showers had a great high ceiling and a detachable shower head. Bars of soap were provided but no shampoo and conditioner (except for the wall mounted dispensed product), which I was prepared for thanks to this board. Ample storage space behind the bathroom mirror as well as below. Nice fruit basket and bottle of wine for the TA was in the cabin upon arrival. We left the ship to sightsee in Venice prior to sailing. We found sleeping in this cabin to be the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise ship due to noises from adjacent cabins, morsecode-like tapping at periodic intervals during the night, and a really heavy duvet. Cabin attendant satisfactory. Told him not to waste his time on the towel animals. For some reason, he took our fruit basket even though we still had several pieces of fruit left. Entertainment: We went to all the shows in the main theatre and several of the games/parties in the main lounge. The dancers were very good and an acrobat from Argentina was amazing. Don't miss the string quartet from the UK if they are performing. The cruise staff worked very hard to keep the passengers involved and having fun. We found Jill, the cruise director, to be consistently irritating. We really were disappointed to miss the activities in the Schooner bar, where all the trivia type games are played, because of the smoking passengers. You couldn't even walk through the bar without ending up smelling like smoke until your next shower. The smoking on this ship bothered us far more than other cruises we have been on, possibly because of the high number of Europeans on board. We missed the multiple entertainment options of the larger ships we have sailed on. Food: Not as bad as previous reviewers have stated. Nice presentation, very good service in the dining room. We had a 5 bottle wine package which was nice, although it is difficult to access your opened bottles of wine if you choose to dine in the Windjammer. We chose to dine there for Greek night (nothing in the main dining room was Greek except for the baklava) which was the worst I've ever tasted. We chose to duck into the dining room for dessert (we had a table for two) just to grab the baklava, which was also very bad. Served with pistachio ice cream? Really! Ports: Did Athens on our own, using the shopping guide's direction to the Metro - a half hour walk. Toured Ancient Agora and found our way up to the Acropolis. Wished we were on a tour to hear all the little details we missed with our guide books. Katakolon with ship's tour as the train would have only given us 2 hours to the site, which was great and we lucked out with a wonderful guide. Corfu on the ship's Paleokastristas Lakones and Wine tour. Be forewarned that the items you can purchase in the little villages can be had for significantly less $$ in town, which is not part of the tour. Just loved seeing this lush island and the gorgeous bays and mountains. We sailed between Corfu and Albania which is only 1.5 miles away at it's closest point. Our guide said that Albanians tried to swim to Corfu during WWII. Mykonos on our own. Just shopping and seeing windmills. Incredibly windy which the captain told us was just average for Mykonos - that it is not windy only 2 months out of the year. The people who saw Delos got a bit seasick on the boat ride over, but enjoyed to tour. Split was our final stop and we took a walking tour offered by the ship of the old town and Diocletian's Palace. Very interesting as people live in the palace. Not just a museum type of site. Wandered the town and had lunch at one of the cafes. Arrival in Venice predawn. Left the ship last since we had a extra day here. Much confusion nd long lines waiting for the shuttle bus. Some people took off walking and we saw them struggling as we passed as it is really a long way. There was only one shuttle bus to P Roma which meant people had to wait a really long time. Lots of confusion and no RCCL staff to assist. We all commented how once the cruise is over, they really don't care what happens! In the end, we had a very good time. However, we will not sail out of Venice again, nor on the Splendour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Embarkation It was pouring rain when we arrived at the port. We left our luggage with the porters on a small uncovered loading area. We then boarded the shuttle bus to take us the port terminal. Check In went very fast and we got our ... Read More
Embarkation It was pouring rain when we arrived at the port. We left our luggage with the porters on a small uncovered loading area. We then boarded the shuttle bus to take us the port terminal. Check In went very fast and we got our sea passes in about 5 minutes. What was annoying was waiting for our number to be called to go through security. Everyone was called in groups of 20 which seemed more disorganized than if everyone would just go through as they got their sea pass. Cabin Our superior interior cabin was a nice size and very clean. The bathroom was very small but I was expecting this. The shower curtains could be replaced. They are old and ratty looking. There was no enough drawer space but I'm not sure how to create more room for drawers. The closets were a decent size and we had enough hangers. Our steward Alphesus was great. He did a fantastic job and he was a pleasure. Food I was very nervous after reading past reviews. Well, I thought the food was very good. Not outstanding, but not horrible either. It was tasty and I always enjoyed my meals. The service in the Dining Room was excellent. Our Head Waiter Antony made sure everything went smoothly. Our waiter Baiju was outstanding and he gave us excellent choices. Our bar server Flavia always had our drinks waiting. There were always a variety of choices and I enjoyed every meal I had. The servers in Windjammer were friendly with the exception of the guy in the morning serving coffee who thought he was doing everyone a favor. The Windjammer food did get boring day in and out but it's a buffet. The burgers were not too appealing because they sit in a pan of their own juice and grease. Still, there are enough choices to keep you full. Entertainment Ugh, not a high point of the cruise. It was pretty bad. The cruise director, Jill works with what she has. I found her more amusing than most of the shows we saw. Service The people I was everyday (cabin attendant, dining room servers)were terrific. The bar servers are pretty bad except for the ones by the pool bar. A lot of them are unfamiliar with the drinks and some are just downright slow and stupid. We did have one or two that were decent by on a whole they could all use a training seminar. I had no on board issues but a number of people did and the Pursers Desk did not seem to be helping them. Customer Service seemed to be lacking for a lot of people. Ports I loved them all. Explore on your own. I booked Private guides or took taxis on my own. It was sometimes cheaper and I saw more than my fellow passengers on shore excursions. Venice A beautiful city. Walk until you can't anymore. Buy a good map and you won't get lost. St. Marks at night is overwhelmingly beautiful. I'm not ashamed to say I cried when I saw it. Buy a pass for the vaporetto if you are there more than a day. It will save you money. Croatia If you intend to walk the wall. Do this first. I took a 10Euro taxi ride and beat all the tour buses. Their was still a long line because other ships were in port. There is another entrance at the end of the Stadium if you veer left. I wish I took that one. There was no line at all. They took Euros and Kunas. I don't think they accepted US Dollars. Hold on to your tickets. They get checked about half way around. There is a cash machine before you enter Pile Gate on the right (next to a cafe) and many machines on the main street called the Stadium. The views were beautiful. We walked the wall for maybe an hour and then looked at all the shops. It started raining so I never made it to Banje Beach. We took another cab back to the ship. Turkey. Hired a great guide through Ekol Travel. Ask for Rabia if you use them. I loved her. For $160, I saw Isa Bey Mosque, St. Johns, Bascilia, Ephesus, Terrace Houses, Temple of Artemis and Mary's House. It was a great day . I learned a lot and saw some great sites. The vendors are very very aggressive which I did not like. I would have bought more stuff if they didn't annoy me so much. Corfu Hired a cab for $100 Euro to take us to Paleo. It's beautiful. Just know that this is not an American beach. No sand. Lots of rocks and pebbles. The water was too cold for us to swim. We took a ferry ride for $10E each to see the bays and the caves. Walked in town. I really enjoyed Corfu. Santorini The best for last. I loved this place. In fact I planned the whole cruise around Santorini. It's picture perfect. Like Corfu, the people are so friendly and inviting. I could have spent a week here. We took a 20Euro cab ride to Oia. Looked around for a couple of hours and then waited for the bus that never came to go back to Fira. It must have been 20minutes behind schedule. We saw it first going to Oia on the cab we took back to Fira. We had lunch in Fira, walked around and went back to the ship. Tender Process-A Royal mess. We had to be down to get tender tickets at 7:30am. We get there at 7:15am. The only staff member there is for shore excursions and she tells us that people waiting for tender tickets are sitting in the first row and we should ask them what to do. I should ask the other passengers? Good system. This goes on for the next 20 people and we try to organize ourselves. Finally the girl with the tickets comes in and is just standing around as more and more people come in. She announces everyone in the room will be on the first tender because she has 100 tickets and she will give them out shortly. She stands around some more and by now the room is filling up. She says she will give the tickets out at the back of the room. Everyone that has been there since 6:30am is upset because the people that just walked in are now getting tickets first and it looks like there is now more than 100 people in the room. We finally get the tickets but the fun doesn't stop. The cable car line was long and messy. Lots of pushing and cutting in line. The cable car is 4.50Euro each way. If you are on a shore excursion you will get off the boat first at a different part of Santorini. The boat then repositions and then lets the rest of the passengers off about an hour later. Being a small boat, it always seems crowded. Not enough seats at Windjammer, not enough bars and they are short staffed. We had bad weather so that could be a factor too. 2,000 people with nothing to do at sea day except eat, drink and play scrabble. The constant hawking of shore excursions and shopping guides gets on the nerves. You would think more time should be spent on the historical significance of the places we are visiting and not buying earrings where Barbara Bush shops. You do feel like you are being nickeled and dimed. Paying for soda seems silly. Really, how much is that costing them? The soda card is way too expensive to make it worthwhile. And $20 for photos is outrageous. Spa services are a rip-off. I live in NY and have never ever paid $45 for a manicure. Overall, I had a great cruise. I did not think I would enjoy Splendor as much as I did. I would sail on her again and would recommend her to others. I had such a good time I will book another RCCL cruise to see the Western Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
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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