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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

BACKGROUND- My wife and I are Diamond members, having sailed on the first ship (Song of Norway) to the almost newest (Liberty of the Seas). We are big Cruise Critic fans,and have read all the reviews from when we booked to when we sailed. ... Read More
BACKGROUND- My wife and I are Diamond members, having sailed on the first ship (Song of Norway) to the almost newest (Liberty of the Seas). We are big Cruise Critic fans,and have read all the reviews from when we booked to when we sailed. We were apprehensive about this cruise due to the large amount of negative reviews. I must say that after sailing on Splendour, my fears were unfounded. I will go into detail about the ship itself below. ARRIVAL- We had chosen to book our own flight from Philadelphia to Venice in order to get a non-stop flight. Royal Caribbean would not allow us to buy a transfer from the airport to the hotel, so we were on our own. We found a private water taxi at Viator.com for 94 dollars. This was the best move we could have made. After our arrival at our hotel, the Hotel Carlton Grand Canal, we discovered that we would have had to carry our luggage over two bridges and up the sidewalk. We arrived at 10 am, dropped our bags at the hotel and set out sightseeing. I highly recommend buying a 12 hour water taxi pass for 14 euros. The rate for each trip is 6 euros, so seeing three sights will pay for it. EMBARKATION- Just about the smoothest we have ever experienced. All the pre-cruise passengers at the hotel met at 11:30 am. Our bags were put on a boat to be taken by water to the ship. We and our carry-ons walked about 10 minutes to our waiting bus. After a 5 minute ride to the terminal, we received our seapass cards and walked onto the ship. We were on the ship by 12 noon. Rooms were available at 1 pm sharp. By 1:15 we had two of our suitcases and were unpacking. SHIP- For a ship that is 13 years old, Splendour is in almost new condition. The decor is a bit dated, but much money has been spent to keep it up to RCI standards. All the carpeting in the hallways has been replaced, and the majority of the seating has been at least reupholstered. The Splendour cleaning crew members are constantly polishing and cleaning all the public areas. As for the complaint that the elevators were slow and crowded, we never had to wait more than two minutes for a car. Most of the time we had the elevator to ourselves. CABIN- We had a balcony cabin on the port side. We were pleasantly surprised to find a new sofa, new curtains and refinished desk/storage cabinet. If only they had upgraded the tvs in the cabins to flat screens to save space... also, for those who have sailed RCI before, there is no interactive television to check your account or book excursions, etc. FOOD- This was a major concern. We had breakfast in the dining room the first day. Very slow service and the waiter forgot part of my order. The rest of the mornings we ate at the Windjammer. Food was good. The scrambled eggs were horrible, but the omelettes were terrific and the pancakes much improved. We ate only in the Windjammer for lunches and one dinner. There was always a salad bar, pasta station, carving station with daily changes and an assortment of international items. Hot dogs and hamburgers were available every day, and each evening in the solarium. The solarium also featured fresh made pizza and paninis. Our meals in the dining room were above average. I like my steaks rare and was surprised that mine came rare. For so many cruises I had to settle for medium rare to medium. The soups were delicious. There is no lobster (although there have been rumors as to its return). RCI has eliminated the sommelier, so the waiters are pouring your wine now. Slows them down a bit. I also noticed a trend in the dining room of people arriving as much as a half hour late for dinner. Maybe this a European trend, but RCI should address this in support of the waiters and assistants trying to keep each table flowing. DUBROVNIK,CROATIA- We took the 'Walk the Wall and Maritime Museum' tour. Cruisers should be aware that the description of "50+ steps" is an understatement. There are closer to 500 steps overall, and about a quarter of our group dropped out early in the tour. The views were spectacular, but one should be in good shape to undertake this trip. You need kunas for money in Croatia, but they aren't available on the ship. Usa a money exchange or ATM for them. Don't get too many (we got 100 and spent almost all of them). KUSADASI,TURKEY- We elected not to take an RCI trip here. We had found a sailing trip online thru 'TravelShopTurkey' that sounded perfect. WRONG! We looked both inside the pier and outside where the tours left. No sign of our tour operator. We had paid a deposit and had the balance due on arrival, so no great loss. We decided to walk around town, so we walked thru the bazaar outside the terminal. Found out quick that the merchants are EXTREMELY aggressive. We walked over to Pigeon Island and the old fort for some great pictures. Quite a walk, but worth it. For those savvy RCI cruisers, if the MV Aquamarine is in, take a good look. It was launched in 1970 as the "Nordic Prince". SANTORINI, GREECE- A picture postcard! We went to Oia and walked the streets overlooking the ships anchored offshore. It was crowded, with 6 ships in that day. The white buildings and the contrasting bright blue domed churches were breathtaking. You tender to get to Santorini, which slows down going ashore. After Oia we stopped at a winery for sampling, then ended in Fira, the main town on the island. To get back to the ship you have three choices. Walk down many steps (about a half hour), Ride a donkey (smells bad) or take the cable car. Our trip included passes for the cable car, so we did that. At the bottom you just follow the signs to the Splendour tenders. CORFU, GREECE- We arrived to the sound of thunder and threatening skies. We took the 'Paleokastris, Lakones and Wine' tour and were very pleased. By the time we arrived at our first stop, the skies had cleared and the air was warm. MISCELLANEOUS- I don't really know why, but the casino rarely had more than a handful of people in it. The daily trivia had few participants, and the bingo final jackpot was only 600 dollars. FINALLY- For those of you accustomed to all the bells and whistles of the mega ships, Splendour might be too small. However, for those who don't like the crowds of the bigger ships, Splendour is a perfect fit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This was our 2nd cruise on Splendour and we had a wonderful time. The ship is in good condition for its age. We had an inside cabin on deck 7. We were a bit worried about the motion as it was right at the front of the ship but we had no ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on Splendour and we had a wonderful time. The ship is in good condition for its age. We had an inside cabin on deck 7. We were a bit worried about the motion as it was right at the front of the ship but we had no problems. We felt that the food had improved since last year but could still do with being a bit warmer. Pancakes and Waffles are a particular favorite for breakfast but not when stone cold. We didn't try the dining room for breakfast or lunch, but most of the offerings in the Windjammer were good. The weather was good for the entire week. We had 2nd serving for dinner with our waitress Juzette who was great. The food at dinner was good. Would love to see lobster brought back but that's a minor point. The entertainment varied from quite good to excellent with a magician and an outstanding 4 tops and motown tribute band. Venice We took advantage of a 1 night pre cruise deal at the Courtyard Marriott. It included a good buffet breakfast and transport to the ship. We were taken by minivan to the port at 11am which was excellent. Boarding was very quick and easy as we had completed all the online forms and printed our setsail passes so we were in the Windjammer before noon. Our luggage was already in our cabin when we got there about 2pm. The Sailaway from Venice was chilly and windy but its spectacular and not to be missed. Dubrovnik We had been here over 20 years ago and loved it then so were looking forward to seeing how it survived the war. We took the ship shuttle from Gruz harbor to the town gate and then walked the walls down as far as the harbor. There were fantastic views of the town (with mostly new roofs) then we took a short glass bottom boat trip. We saw quite a lot of fish but the main attraction was seeing the town from the boat. The town has lots of shops and restaurants now and we really enjoyed our day there. Ephesus We took the tour from the ship and were not disappointed. It was fantastic and we would recommend going there. We didn't particularly enjoy the House of The Virgin Mary but others did. The tour of the carpet shop was included and was quite interesting although they are far too expensive for us. Kusadasi was OK but much like other Turkish towns where the shopkeepers keep hassling you to come in and look. We would rather wander and look in shop windows without the constant hassle. Santorini We were nearly first in line for the tender tickets and were on the first boat after the tours had departed. After a 30 min wait for the cable car we went straight to the bus station and caught the bus to Oia. (Following instructions found on this site )This was full so we stood up all the way. Oia was fantastic. We just wandered around, sat in a cafe for coffee and then returned to the same one for lunch as the cooking smells were marvellous. We were in town for about 3 hours and then returned to Fira on the bus. Again we only sat around for coffee, did a bit of shopping and then queued (another 30 mins) for the cable car.Corfu Took the ships shuttle again and just wandered the town. We have been to Corfu a few times before and didn't have any plans to see anything in particular. Venice Debarking was easy. Our flights weren't until 9.30pm so we took the shuttle to the bus station and took advantage of the left luggage place there. We then walked to the Rialto Bridge (about 30 mins) Then it was onto water bus number 1 which will take you all along the grand canal. We hopped on and off at different stops, once to see a market and then for lunch. Then we took the No 1 to St Marks square and just wandered around. The view of a Princess Cruise Ship leaving port was amazing. The Water bus took us back to the bus station for our luggage and the bus back to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My wife and I took the 7 day cruise from Venice aboard the Splendour of the Seas in September, 2008. We are in our early 50s and have been on over 25 ocean cruises and 2 river cruises. We are from the NYC metropolitan area and have ... Read More
My wife and I took the 7 day cruise from Venice aboard the Splendour of the Seas in September, 2008. We are in our early 50s and have been on over 25 ocean cruises and 2 river cruises. We are from the NYC metropolitan area and have visited and dined in major cities throughout the USA and Europe. I write about our background so that what I say here can have the proper validity, in comparison to other reviews of this voyage by neophytes. Just days prior to embarking on the ship, I read the review on this website entitled "Do Not Go On Splendour of the Seas" and was therefore understandably anxious. It turns out that any trepidation was unfounded as the trip - and ship - were wonderful, even with less than perfect weather. We arrived in Venice after a nonstop flight from NYC and took the water taxi [95€] to our pre-cruise hotel, the Jolanda and Savoia. The hotel is expensive (as are all hotels near St Marks Square), but quite worth the splurge as our balcony overlooked the mouth of the Grand Canal and the staff and accommodations were a treat replete with old world charm. It was a five minute walk along the waterfront to St Marks from the hotel. There was included in the price a breakfast buffet which is minimal and rather substandard given the cost, but gets you going quickly. After our two days in Venice, we took another water taxi (€90) to the pier to catch the ship. This is quite convenient as they unload your luggage and transport it to the ship for you. The walk from the taxi stop to the terminal is a bit lengthy but check-in took less than ten minutes (it was 3pm) and our luggage was in the cabin by the time we returned from getting a quick lunch at the Windjammer Buffet. The buffet included a salad, a carving station, several hot entrees, desserts and sandwiches. I found the food to be tasty, hot and well prepared and at least as good as the buffets on Celebrity and Princess. The ship is a good size, i.e., not too mammoth nor too small to provide the essential amenities and then some. I have been on megaships and small ships (e.g., Voyager and Empress), and I found Splendour to be just right. It was quite easy to navigate the ship and within 24 hours, I was comfortable and familiar with the layout. Our cabin, 7592, was very comfortable at about 190 sq ft, with plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom was typical. We had second seating (9pm) dinner which works well on this itinerary as you are often in port until 7pm so you can make a full day of the ports, all of which are extraordinary places to visit. We were traveling with another couple and had, about a month prior to departure, arranged for private tour guides/drivers in each port except Mykonos, which requires only that you wander its warren of streets on your own and enjoy lunch along the waterfront. The cost of your own guide, when shared among two couples, is about the same as the shore excursions thru RCI, but the personal nature of the tour and flexibility it affords makes it so much better than the cattle drive of cruise ship excursions. Our drivers brought us to wonderful places to eat lunch and we enjoyed local flavor (pun intended). We saw special places and things, and spoke with locals and generally got to really get a sense of the place we visited. The only downside is that they cannot act as guides at the Acropolis or Olympia, although they provided us with picture guide books and a general overview. As for the ship, I found none of the wear and tear others complained of. I thought the ship was well preserved and although some components are necessarily showing their dozen years of age, overall the ship is gleaming clean and shiny. I saw no tattered upholstery or carpeting; in fact, much of the carpeting appeared to be recently replaced. Although one day we experienced a sewage smell, we were told by our steward that it was being fixed, and in fact, quickly was. Our waiter, Elizabeth, was excellent, even if every dinner took two hours. I enjoy a relaxing dinner on vacation. Most of the shows were pre-dinner for late seating. The magician was very good and the production show full of energy and a talented cast. We always found a dinner choice that we were happy with; this is not four star gourmet food by any means. It is good and serviceable. I compare it to Chili's, TGIF or some other chain that is consistently good but never outstanding. If you want gourmet food and white glove service, pay the higher fare and go on a more upscale line. Our head waiter helped out when necessary especially since there are no longer sommeliers and the poor waiters are expected to provide that service and keep 20 people served promptly. For those that have trepidation about taking this trip or ship, please don't. While the ship may not have the WOW factor of some newer ones, it is the itinerary that is the wow of this trip. Nobody should be choosing this voyage for the ship; but rather for the splendid places visited and the extended time allowed in each port. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This trip completely failed to meet our expectations. From the beginning we encountered problems with the performance of the ship and its staff. First, when we arrived at the port on a bus provided by the company, we were dropped off at ... Read More
This trip completely failed to meet our expectations. From the beginning we encountered problems with the performance of the ship and its staff. First, when we arrived at the port on a bus provided by the company, we were dropped off at the luggage facility. It was pouring rain and there were not signs indicating where we were to go for check-in. After several wrong attempts to find the check-in location, we eventually found it and were by this time soaking wet. The driver could have dropped us off at the check in door before or after dropping off the luggage. After checking in, we proceeded to the ship. It was still pouring rain. There was an umbrella for the staff checking our sea pass, but the passengers were required to stand in the rain while waiting in line. Our luggage was apparently allowed to sit in the rain because when it arrived in our suite, not only were the suit cases very wet, but the contents of the suit cases were also wet. After we boarded the ship, we were unable to find anyone available to answer questions. When we did find staff to ask questions, there were generally uninformed and unable to answer the questions. These were routine questions that a well trained staff should have been able to answer. That low level of performance continued most of the week. We were in one of the Grand Suites and discovered that there was constant noise from above the room. On investigation, we discovered that the room was under the outdoor pool area and outside the dining area. The noise was coming from the chairs on the deck being moved. The noise continued day and night. We complained to the guest services desk and the purser's desk and were told that someone would contact us about the problem. No one ever contacted us or attempted to do anything about the noise. They shouldn't have suites under that deck or insulate the room from noise or at least tell passenger about the issue before they book the rooms. As to the guest services desk, there was seldom anyone there and when there was someone there, they were not very knowledgeable. The tour operators did not respect the time schedules. On several of the shore tours, the guides gave the guests times to return to the bus. There was always someone who was late, but the tour guides held up the bus until they returned. In two instances, we had to wait for half an hour. This does not excuse the late passengers, but everyone else is penalized for this. The room service performance was unacceptable. One morning they called us an hour before we were to receive our morning coffee to let us know it was coming. It had been requested between 7:00am and 7:30am. We were awakened at 6:00am and the coffee arrived at 6:10m. It cost us an hour of sleep and there was no apology. The room service form did not even have a delivery time before 7:00am The television set in the room was of poor quality and resolution. It was impossible to read the printed information on the news stations. While there was a VCR unit in the room, there were no available VCR's or CD's for rent through the ship library. On Friday night the television movies were both children's movies. Why would you have children's movies at night on a ship which had few children at this time of the year? The quality of the food was very poor in all locations on the ship. We have had better food in chain restaurants. Our dining time when booking the cruise was to be 8:30pm, the second seating. When we arrived at the ship we learned for the first time that our dining time was to be at 9:00pm. While a half hour may not seemlike much, had we known that we would be seated at 9:00pm, we would have booked the first seating. We were advised that there would be a shuttle bus available at the port to transport us to the water taxis and that there would be staff available to assist us. When we arrived in Venice for departure, there was no shuttle bus available and we were again challenged by staff that did not have the knowledge to advise us how to get to the water taxis. Fortunately, we were able to find a local taxi driver who directed us to the proper location. Perhaps Royal Caribbean's other ships do a better job, but had this been our first cruise, it would have been our last. Other passengers who were on their first cruise were ready to make it their last, but we advised them not to judge cruising on this cruise experience. When we arrived home, I wrote to Royal Caribbean and advised them of the above issues and that I would not write a review of the cruise until after I saw how they dealt with our issues. We eventually received a call from their customer services office. I reviewed our experience and was offered a $300 discount on our next Royal Caribbean cruise. I told them that there would never be another Royal Caribbean cruise for us but that we would consider a Celebrity cruise (Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are owned by the same company). Eventually the representative agreed to give us $300 discounts on a Celebrity cruise and that we would be mailed the certificates. After many weeks we had still not received the certificates. I called the customer service representative again and was told that she never agreed to provide the Celebrity discounts. Finally, she said that we would not receive the discounts until we booked a cruise. All in all, another bad experience with Royal Caribbean. In summary, a bad cruise at a cost higher than better cruise lines and no apparent desire to keep customers returning. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
I just got off Splendour's Aug 30 Adriatic sailing. I had nervously read the primarily negative reviews/posts of RCI's smallest(!), twelve-year-old ship. As I really wanted to visit Dubrovnik and Ephesus on the same sailing, I ... Read More
I just got off Splendour's Aug 30 Adriatic sailing. I had nervously read the primarily negative reviews/posts of RCI's smallest(!), twelve-year-old ship. As I really wanted to visit Dubrovnik and Ephesus on the same sailing, I thought I could put up with the various negatives I had read about. This was my 31st RCI/Celebrity sailing. Well, Splendour was truly terrific and I would return in an instant! Cabin: Aft D1 7132. Great, well-maintained veranda with two chairs and two chaise lounges and a large table. The new beds were good but the carpets rather stained and worn. The exterior of the cabinetry was good but the insides in dire need of replacement. The bathroom was very large but the vanity was cracked, the mirrors "desilvering" and some scary dark areas in corners that I didn't approach too closely! Again, the bathroom was OK but really needs to be replaced. The public areas, both indoors and out were in superb condition, beautifully maintained with new carpets in the corridors. The pool and spa areas appeared almost new. One would occasionally encounter "mystery" odors in the accommodation corridors but nothing too scary. The King and I dining room is in great shape and our waitress was superb and brutally honest. If we followed her recommendations, we never "lost". This did mean occasionally having the vegetarian entree and usually having fish. She recommended beef once during the cruise - if you're a "meat and potatoes" kind of diner, this is not the cruise for you. If you're open to trying new things, you'll be fine. The desserts were the best of any RCI ship so far. I read so many negatives about the Windjammer staff that I was shocked by how friendly everyone was. It's amazing what smiling and asking a server or staff member how their day is can do. I found the selection fine but the cutlery always frighteningly spotted/dirty/justplaingross! I can't comment on the entertainment as I usually avoid the main theatre but the ship's pianist, David McFarland is one of the best of my 44 cruises. A true gem with an encyclopedic musical knowledge. The Concierge, Kelly Rizzaldo was charming and very efficient. She was great in helping me deal with my charming neighbors who thought that broadcasting 4th-rate Ricky Martin clones on their ghetto-blaster at 3248 decibels on their veranda was acceptable behavior. I really found little difference in the overall experience between Splendour and (my favorite) Radiance-class ships except for the wonderful size that made everything easily available. Again, a truly great RCI experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
This was the 2nd half of our honeymoon (we are 29 & 27). I have only been on one cruise before (Grand Princess in 1999 to the Caribbean and LOVED it). My husband has never been on a cruise before so he wasn't sure what to expect. ... Read More
This was the 2nd half of our honeymoon (we are 29 & 27). I have only been on one cruise before (Grand Princess in 1999 to the Caribbean and LOVED it). My husband has never been on a cruise before so he wasn't sure what to expect. Royal Caribbean wasn't my 1st choice, but we were mostly interested in the ports of call and since this was a fairly expensive trip, $5,200 for a week with a balcony room, we figured it couldn't be that bad. We did research and read the reviews; we took the negative reviews with a grain of salt. I'm not really going to get into detail about the ports of call, b/c they were amazing. We loved all of the tours we booked and every port was awesome. I wanted to share my thoughts on the ship and the service, food etc....If I had known these things I would have NEVER booked this trip. We aren't wealthy, snotty people and I don't expect a floating Ritz Carlton, but for what we paid I was expecting good service and decent food. Also, the food and service was amazing on Princess so that was what I was expecting on RC. I literally ate salad every day for lunch b/c the other food in the windjammer was worse than the food they served in my high school cafeteria. We would have preferred to eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch every day but it was rarely open. We had to wait in line one morning for 10 minutes to have breakfast when they place was empty. Overall, the customer service was terrible, the food was disgusting, the facilities were old and tacky, the dry cleaners shrunk our clothes, and the food in the windjammer is what I think food would be like in prison. The bathroom showers were terrible, the mini-bar was never refreshed, which boggled my mind since they would make more money if it was refilled every day, the A/C in the room was terrible, room service was AWFUL The hamburgers and hotdogs that were onboard sat in water and I wouldn't even feed them to my dog. Is it really that difficult to have freshly grilled hamburgers and hotdogs? The mini-golf was a JOKE. In our room we could hear people running and thumping all over the place, the boat was poorly constructed. There was no information in our room explaining how we could reach our stateroom attendant, and the card she left just had the main housekeeping number. We were not provided with any sort of welcome book with information about the ship, ship services etc...all we had was a blurry, photocopy of the ship that we couldn't even read. There was no room service menu, it took an hour to get a menu and when you ordered room service they seemed pissed and annoyed, also when they delivered it, they still looked pissed and annoyed. I would compare this cruise to a floating Holiday Inn. I would not recommend this cruise to anybody on earth, maybe college students, but not families or couples looking for service, food, nice accommodations etc.... I can't believe we paid over $5,000 for this cruise. I know what you all are thinking, "she is just a miserable person and is high maintenance" but seriously, I'm not at all. I am telling you how it is; I really am a low-key, down-to-earth person who would like to get what I pay for on a vacation. If we had paid $1500, I wouldn't be complaining, but we paid a lot and the ship was awful. I would highly recommend the Princess line and some other people we met also said Celebrity is good, but they are affiliated with RC, but I think higher end. Many people that we met on the cruise felt the same way as my husband and I. I kept in touch with one couple who actually contacted the Corporate Headquarters b/c they were so disappointed. Spend your money elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We went on the Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas mediterranean cruise, leaving Venice on August 8th. We've been on 6 cruises with various lines, so this isn't new to us. I enjoyed the cruise, but there are some things that ... Read More
We went on the Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas mediterranean cruise, leaving Venice on August 8th. We've been on 6 cruises with various lines, so this isn't new to us. I enjoyed the cruise, but there are some things that are lacking with RCCL. Embarkation was fairly seamless. They had us stand in a very long line going in a large building where you checked in. The line is actually to have your "welcome aboard" photo taken. I wasn't very happy about that, as I would have rather skipped the picture - 12 hours of flying, then riding a shuttle bus is not the best photo op for me! If you want, you can walk into the building and not wait in the long line and just go get your passes. The photo people are pushy (I noticed this through the cruise), but just say no and walk past them. Take your Set Sail pass that you printed with your passports and then you get checked in and given room keys. After that, you get to go on the ship. Rooms aren't ready until 1pm. They have the doors to the hallways closed off, so you can't go by your stateroom and check and see if it's done early. We got on the ship at 11:30 and ate lunch at the windjammer. Windjammer cafe - Buffet galore. Food was pretty good most days. The meat, etc. is not from the states, so it just isn't of the same quality that I am used to. This is especially noticeable with the bacon, sausage and hamburgers and hot dogs. I didn't go on the cruise for burgers and dogs, but if you have kids and are from the states - they'll readily tell you that they aren't as tasty. And I agree with them. Lemonade, Iced tea, coffee, hot tea, milk, orange and apple juice and water are included. All other drinks have a charge. Dinner - The King and I dining room is nicely appointed and not gaudy. Our waitstaff was pretty good, though they always brought out our coffee far after we were into or done with our dessert - even though they took the order at the same time. Portions are fairly sized. I was rather disappointed in the dinners for a few reasons. In past cruises with RCI, we had a different menu every night, plus we had theme nights. This time, we had the same chicken and steak dish every night. There weren't any theme nights at all, and NO LOBSTER. I thought that being we were sailing in Italy and Greece that they would have at least one entree each evening that would be in theme with our port of call. No such luck. We didn't have any appetizers or entrees that did this. I was looking forward to stuffed grape leave, moussakka, etc. but that didn't happen. I think that the chef really let people down with his choices. I can get turkey and fried cod any day at home. Oh well. Entertainment - Wow. This was the worst. First night, we had gauchos. A lady from Argentina and her two male cousins had whips. they did some synchronized routine. It was ok for a first night event. i give it a B- Second night - Headliner was Mary Wilson from the Supremes. There were other entertainers (singers), too. Singers were ok, but she was the main attraction. She sang ONE SONG and it wasn't even a Supremes song. That was it. Third night - a really, really, bad magician who did lousy tricks that i could even figure out. He did tricks that I've seen for the last 20 years that anyone can buy from a magic shop. It wasn't even entertaining. And I'm usually easily entertained. people left during his act. We stopped going to the shows after that. Overall, the entertainment was a D. Cabin - we were in 6584. There were three of us. It was enough space, but we utilized everything to the max. You can store your suitcases under the bed. There aren't any irons on board or allowed on board of the ship - make sure you iron things before you leave home. Toiletries - bring these from home. Other than a little bar of soap - you are on your own, and it's expensive on board. The shower is incredibly small. I knew we were in trouble when our 90 lb 13 year old son came out of the shower and said, "wow - that is small". What I ended up doing was washing my hair, rinsing down, opening the shower curtain and sudsing myself up, then shut the curtain and take the handheld shower head and rinsing off. I hate that fact that the shower curtain touches you and it's unavoidable. It's touched thousands of others before me. Yuk! Ports - Athens - very nice. Took the RCI tour and saw the acropolis - good trip. I wish we had more time in Athens, as it there is alot to see. Mykonos - You don't need to be the first ones off the ship. The shops don't open until 10am or so, so if you are walking around at 8am, you'll be pretty bored. We ate at a little restaurant in town. Don't eat on the main drag - very expensive! Look around on the side streets and you'll find gyros for 2 euros. Actually, coke is more expensive than the sandwiches, go figure. We enjoyed our food very much. Katakolon - not much to do here, except the olympia. shopping was ok, we found some very nice art glass from a family owned glass shop that makes it. Way better than buying the same ugly mass made statues that are in every tourist shop. Corfu - took the 4wd excursion. It was great! We saw all sorts of villages and the country side. Got to eat a nice lunch. bring your bathing suit. YOU MUST BE ABLE TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT (MANUAL) TRANSMISSION! Split, croatia - we did the ruins/trogir tour. Saw some great roman ruins in split. FYI - they don't take euros here and many places don't take charge cards. You can do $$ exchanges on the boat, or just pull $$ from any atm in town. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We took our first cruise this past summer on Royal Caribbean's Splendor of the Seas. This ship is one of Royal Caribbean's older and smaller ships. But we still had a fantastic time! We arrived in Venice on Thursday, July ... Read More
We took our first cruise this past summer on Royal Caribbean's Splendor of the Seas. This ship is one of Royal Caribbean's older and smaller ships. But we still had a fantastic time! We arrived in Venice on Thursday, July 10 around 5 pm. We stayed at the Santa Chiara Hotel because of its location. It was right next to the Piazzale Roma (where the bus from the airport dropped us off) and it was within walking distance to the port. We've stayed in nicer hotels but because of its convenient location, friendly staff and easy choice of walking or taking the free bus to the ship I would highly recommend it. We toured around Venice Thursday evening and Friday morning. We took the free shuttle to the port around noon. Check in was very easy. Although I had checked in online alot of what we did was redundant but still easy. we were on the ship and in our rooms by 1 pm and relaxing by the pool by 1:30 pm. We had our safety drill around 4 pm and we pulled out of the port in Venice at 5 pm. We were finally starting our first cruise vacation! Our itinerary included: Split, Croatia Hiraklion, Crete Kusadasi, Turkey Santorini, Greece Corfu, Greece I'm not going to go into detail on our stops in each port. People have their own likes and dislikes. I will say I was disappointed in the off shore excursions offered by Royal Caribbean. We learned very quickly that we could get off the ship, find a cab on our own and get to our preferred destination much easier than taking something arranged through the ship. By far the biggest complaint we had about the off shore excursions offered on board was the travel time to get to and from the excursion site. We spent an hour and a half to two hours round trip on a bus listening to the tour guide drone on and on about something they were trying to sell (rugs in Turkey, for example). The cabs would take us to the same locations the ship's excursions would take you and we got there much faster. Make arrangements with your cab driver to come back and pick you up at a particular location and time. Every time we did this we negotiated a complete price and pickup time. The cab driver accepted partial payment, returned on time, and took us back to the ship where we would pay the remainder of the fare. We would also include a nice tip because for the most part these guys were very friendly and informative about the locations they were taking us to. About the ship. The Splendor of the Seas is an older ship and it shows. But this being our first cruise, we really had nothing to compare the ship to. In my opinion it was prefect. We had a cabin at the back of the ship, so we had a balcony. I couldn't imagine being on a cruise ship without being able to enjoy the view. Our kids had a cabin right across the hall - no windows. But very convenient to us. The activities offered on board were fun, the kids had a great time and my wife and I had one of the best vacations we've ever had in our 20+ years of marriage. Arriving back in Venice was problem free. Getting off the ship was organized and our bags were waiting for us. We walked from the ship back to Piazzale Roma where I bought tickets on the blue AVTO bus back to the airport. Our only mistake was going back to the airport way too early. We should have spent more time walking around Venice. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested in cruising the Western Mediterranean. I think the one reason we liked this cruise so much was the diversity of the ports. Every stop offered something very different than the last. The biggest disappointment was the salt water pool on the ship. We still had fun at the pool but I never got used to the salt water. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Traveled with a group of 16 and for 10 of us this was our first cruise (myself included). For the experienced cruisers, this was their first cruise out of Europe, so all of us didn't know what to expect. Our cruise was booked back in ... Read More
Traveled with a group of 16 and for 10 of us this was our first cruise (myself included). For the experienced cruisers, this was their first cruise out of Europe, so all of us didn't know what to expect. Our cruise was booked back in January through a travel agency. After our cruise was paid for, I discovered the Cruise Critic website and member reviews and I was very concerned. But proceeded with the best hopes that things on the Splendour of the Seas weren't as bad as other member have indicated. Months before beginning the trip, our issues with Royal Caribbean began. Various members of the group would call RCI customer service with very basic to specific questions and we would get a different answer EVERY SINGLE TIME. Questions such as what beverages where included in the Beverage Packages (answer to that one was only clear once we got on the ship and went to dinner and found out the information we were told on the phone was wrong). One person was traveling with a 9 month old and wanted to know what swimming options were available for the baby. Once again, called several times, given different answers each time and the correct answer was only given once we got on the ship and tried to find the program that we were told would be available, of course it wasn't. In my opinion, calling RCI customer service is only helpful about 25% of the time. We arrived in Venice a couple of days in advance and stayed at the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre. Would highly recommend this hotel for travelers to Venice. It is located right across the street from a train station where all trains go into Venice and it is a 10min, 1 euro ride and is very affordable compared to staying directly in Venice. The cruise terminal was a 10-15 min cab ride away and was very easy to get to. Going to the terminal the hotel arranged travel for our group it was 160 euros, went back to hotel for one night after the cruise and we took taxis at the terminal it was only 80 euros. Upon our arrival for embarkation more troubles arose. First they had switched the dinner times for half of our group from 8:30 to 6:30 and 6. We went right away to the desk to begin the long process of changing the dinner times so that our whole group could have the same seating. Eventually that was changed, but only after we boarded and particularly spent all of our first hours on the ship working on this. But to their credit, they were able to seat all of us in the 9pm seating, we had to have two tables, but they were close by. We arrived at the terminal about 12:30, it wasn't very crowded and lines moved fairly quickly. Here was another example of the bad information telephone customer service will give. One of the members of our party was not a US citizen, so even before booking this cruise, again several people called at different times to find out what visas would be required. We were told only an Italian visa would be needed. When we went to check-in we learned that a Croatian Visa was also needed. The member of our party would not be able to board without the visa, even though we said she wouldn't get off in Croatia, that was not allowed because it was a security risk. They would be happy to sell her the visa for $130, back in NY the visa would have been $65. After waiting for an hour to speak with a very unhelpful supervisor, we had no choice but to purchase the visa. Our main question was, if customer service had told us that a Croatian and Italian visa would be needed, why would we only obtain the Italian visa? We were simply never given all of the correct information. Again, calling RCI customer service is one of the most useless things to do with your time. Once on board the issues didn't stop. As soon as I walked onto the ship, it was clear that is was an old ship. The carpets and decor seriously need an update, the age of the ship was showing everywhere. Still hoping for the best, I headed off to my room. Once in my room I learned that the toilet was not working. Headed straight to Purser's Desk, only to be told that they were working on it and that it was a ship wide problem for decks 6 to 9. The toilet didn't start working till later that night. So we had to walk down the hall to the public toilets. Day 2 the toilet broke again, it was fixed. Day 3 the toilet broke again, it was fixed. Day 4 the toilet broke again, at this point it was getting crazy and very unsanitary, because there was a terrible odor to go with it and the 9 monthly old was staying in that room. On day 3 when I went back to the pursers desk to complain, there was someone else with the same problem, only his toilet had never started working since the ship sailed. The person behind desk proceeded to tell him that problem happened after the ship sailed. Piped in that he was lying, because when I walked onto the ship around 2pm (ship sailed a little after 5pm) our toilet wasn't working. At that point I walked away from the desk, because I was so angry I was seeing red. On day 4 my sister went to request a new room, because the conditions were just to unsanitary for the baby and we were told there weren't any available cabins. Those first few days truly felt like staying in squalor and I have stayed at some really bad hotels in my years of traveling, but at least the toilets always worked in those places. Days 5 to 8 were toilet problem free, the morning that we returned to Venice, the toilet broke again, so getting ready to leave the boat was slightly delayed, however they came and fixed it right away. At some point guest relations did call a couple of times to apologize and to tell us they were doing their best to fix the problem. On day 3 they sent us a bottle of wine with a note of apology at dinner, it was a nice touch but I don't drink and the toilet was broken again the next day. The thing I realized about RCI and their staff, is that they mean well and they really want to be helpful and provide a high level of service. However, when things go wrong, whatever training they are given goes out the window and they don't know how to deal with the situation. One of my many visits to the Pursers Desk, I observed them calling security on a passenger. Apparently, there was a problem with her on board account that required her to leave her credit card with them to resolve the matter. She had come about 30 mins later to get her card back and they weren't done with it. She was asking for her card back because she didn't know why it was taking so long to fix the matter and she had come back from the port early and wanted to go and find her daughter to let her know that she was back on board. As her frustration level grew her voice got louder (I didn't think she was that loud, I would have been far louder) the representative told her to calm down or he was going to call security (this is the point where a manager should have stepped in). She didn't lower her voice and he buzzed security, by the time security rang him back a couple of minutes later, a manager had taken over the matter and taken the woman in back. It was amazing to me, this woman wasn't a physical threat, she was clearly very frustrated and they weren't giving her straight answers. Why call security? What were they going to do to her if the manager didn't step in? I couldn't believe what I was seeing. All the above issues aside, we did manage to enjoy our cruise, even though sometimes it seems that RCI really didn't want us to. The ports were great: Split, Iraklion, Ephesus, Santorini and, Corfu. When we booked, it was supposed to go to Dubrovnik (which was one of the reasons we choose this cruise instead of the one out of Rome of couple of days later) but they changed it to Split around April. Split was OK, very beautiful and peaceful, but we heard from a couple of locals that Dubrovnik was nicer. Did an excursion to the museum and a walking tour which was good, the tour guide was very good. Iraklion: A couple of us did a beach excursion to a hotel, they thought it was only OK, the tour guide wasn't very good and they didn't have much time at the beach. The rest of us walked around the main shopping area and others took public transport to a beach and they enjoyed it. Ephesus: Did the ancient Ephesus tour that was nice, just very hot. Endured the rugs sales pitch. Walked around and shopped. Initially, it was very off putting being harassed aggressively by sales people, but after an hour we got used to it and had some fun with some of sales men in a couple of the stores. Santorini: Very beautiful, it was our favorite port. We took public transportation about 20 mins away to a local beach. That was great, the buses come every 30 mins, but they come early and leave early. The 1:30 bus back to main city center came at 1:10 and left a couple of mins later with a few members of group already on the bus. The rest of us had to wait for the 2pm bus that came around 1:40. Getting back to cruise ship was hectic, because there were about 4 ships in port. The line for the cable car was about 1 hour wait, so that cut our trip short, but Santorini was by far our favorite. Corfu: On our own, just walked around. There was a bus that took us into town and we didn't understand 1) why they were charging $4 and 2) why the payment wasn't done aboard, boarding the bus took about 20mins because they had to collect the money and copy info from your sea pass card. The food on the ship was pretty good. Nothing spectacular, but we are always able to find something to eat, and we had a group of picky eaters. The staff in the main dining room and Windjammer Cafe were excellent. The cruise activities staff were also very excellent. The activities weren't always super exciting but their personalities and the energy they bought to the activity made it tons of fun. The gym was small but functional, however it was always crowded. Days at sea, forget about trying to get equipment after 7:30 or 8am and in the evenings after ports it always crowded. The Vitality program was interesting, took a couple of the early morning and late evening stretch classes, those get crowed as well because it was right in the middle of the small gym and not much room to lay your mat. The pool deck as always overcrowded. If you didn't get there at 8am forget about getting a nice spot. Again overall for my first time cruise this was a good experience. The ports on this cruise are great and the most of the staff are very good. I just wish they would use a better ship or refurbish this ship. I will cruise again and I would cruise would RCI again, just on a newer ship. I will always check out the reviews on Cruise Critic first before selecting my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS CRUISE JULY 11 2008 TO JULY 19TH 2008. This is a brief summary of our cruise on Splendour of the Seas on the above dates. We arrived at Manchester airport and could not believe that there was no queue for the ... Read More
SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS CRUISE JULY 11 2008 TO JULY 19TH 2008. This is a brief summary of our cruise on Splendour of the Seas on the above dates. We arrived at Manchester airport and could not believe that there was no queue for the check in. After a very short while we were through to the departure lounge. That is when the trouble started. We were asked to go to the gate for our departure but when we arrived we were informed that due to technical reasons that we would not be taking off on time. After sitting at the gate for about half an hour we were informed that they could not rectify the problem and that we would be sent back to the lounge to await further announcements. We were then informed that they would be changing the aircraft and we would have to await the inbound aircraft. We eventually took off approx 2 hours late. I must say that the service we received from BMI on the aircraft was superb and they apologized for the lateness. We arrived at Venice International Airport and were soon on the coach to the port. Being as though we are Diamond Members of the Crown and Anchor, again no line for check in and we were soon on the Splendour of the Seas. Day 1 Venice. July 11th 2008. After our delay it soon got round to the sail away and this was very pleasant in quite beautiful sunshine. We had decided to have second seating dinner and Royal Caribbean had altered the times, they now have seatings at 630 pm, 7 pm, 830 pm and 9 o'clock. We had been assigned the 9 o'clock seating. We were shown to our table number 12 but unfortunately we had a table for 8 and we had 10 people. We were then asked if we minded to take another table which did not please us as the Head Waiter asked if we minded to change our seating time to 630 pm. After a word with the assistant Maitre'd we were allotted another table at the 9 o'clock seating. This table turned out to be a very good table. The show this evening was Los Pampas Gauchos whom we have seen before. Day 2 Split Croatia. July 12th 2008. We arrived in Split at around 9 am and this was a tender port. Again being Diamond members we were given number 1 tender tickets and we were soon on our tender and off to see the delights of Split. We have been there once before so decided that we would just have a walk around the town and the Palace. Again bright blue skies with temperatures forecast to be a high of 93 degrees. A wonderful port of call with lots to do and a tip is to buy your currency, the Kuna, when you arrive. They also take the remaining currency you may have when you leave. Notes only. Back to the ship for a leisurely afternoon sitting on the aft deck watching the tenders ply back and forth with the remaining passengers. This evening entertainment was a production show Dancin' Thru the Movies again an old production so we spent the time in the Concierge lounge talking to fellow passengers. Day 3 Sea Day July 13th 2008. A full day at sea on our way to Heraklion Greece. Today's temperature is reported to be as high a 95 degrees. We spent most of the day either in the solarium or sitting on the aft deck. We decided that being as though it was a sea day we would go into the restaurant for lunch. Royal Caribbean have recently changed the format for lunch. They now have a menu and a salad bar. We highly recommend the restaurant for lunch on sea days. Tonight's entertainment was Headliner Showtime with the Graffiti Classics. We would again highly recommend anyone seeing this show. It comprised of 4 people two girls and two boys who played strings with a difference. A very enjoyable show. Tonight was formal night and the Captain's Welcome Aboard Reception was held in the Atrium. Day 4 Heraklion Greece. 14th July, 2008 Day 4 and our cruise is going far too fast. We docked in Heraklion at around 9 am and they claim that the temperatures today will hit 83 degrees. A little cooler than our last few days. Again we did our own thing and just had a walk around the town. Quite a pleasant place to walk around with an ancient fort in the port area. For anyone that loves herbs and spices this we found was the place to buy them. Tonight's show was a headliner show again this time a singer Edmundo Rahme. Day 5 Kusadasi Turkey. 15th July, 2008. Today we docked in Kusadasi Turkey at around 7  am. We arrived to see that there were also 4 other ships in port. Temperatures today were reported to be around 101 degrees and it certainly felt like it. Not a favourite port for us, there was too much hassle from the vendors. We went to see a Turkish baths which was very interesting. Then back to the ship for a little swim and some shade. Tonight's show was another headliner and this time it was Fallon Magic. Day 6 Santorini Greece. 16th July, 2008 Today was our favourite port of call Santorini, unfortunately there were 4 other ships at anchor when we arrived. This made the port very very busy. We tendered at this port and this meant that the queue for the cable car was extremely long. It took approx 25 minutes to get on the cable car. Temperatures today were reported to be around 83 degrees. Once at the town of Fira the views were spectacular. The ways to get to the top are by donkey, walk up approx 600 steps or the cable car. Tonight's show was Ballroom Fever, yet another of the shows that we have seen and not one of our favourites. All in all a very good day. Day 7 Corfu Greece. 17th July, 2008 We docked around 1230 pm after a very leisurely sail in the morning. Corfu was quite a way from the docks so you had to catch a bus to the dock gates and then another shuttle, which RCL charged 4 dollars, to get into town. A very interesting place with plenty to see and lots and lots of shops. Today's temperatures were 93 degrees and plenty of blue blue sky. In the evening a lovely sail away from the docks around a series of islands. Tonight's headliner show was Backbeat Beatles. If you liked the Beatles then you would have loved this show, standing room only in the Theatre. Day 8 At Sea 18th July, 2008 Today a very pleasant day at sea with temperatures of 86 degrees. Tonight's show was Luis Dalton another headliner show. Day 9 Venice 19th July, 2008 All things have to come to an end and this certainly was a very good cruise. When we arrived in Venice we were told that the Grand Canal had to be closed due to a boat festival. Therefore we had to dock in the container port and be tendered off the ship to the Cruise Piers. Royal Caribbean did an excellent job in this, we sailed up the Grand Canal in small launches . What and end to a cruise. Once at the airport a quick check in and all too soon we were back in Manchester after a very good flight with BMI. Overall as I said a very good cruise. The staff, especially our waiters Ajay and Jose, were exceptional. Also the Assistant Maitre'd, Gopar. The ship, even though it is 12 years old, is in good condition. Only a few minor things that needed attention. Unfortunately there were a few chair hogs. Some taking 4 chairs for 2 people, 2 in the shade and two in the sun, but you cannot blame the cruise line for this. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
OUR GROUP: My husband and I are in our late 20s. We traveled with another couple our age and my mother and aunt (50-60). This was the third cruise for Mr. and Mrs. Feisty, second for our friends, and first for my mom and aunt. Our past ... Read More
OUR GROUP: My husband and I are in our late 20s. We traveled with another couple our age and my mother and aunt (50-60). This was the third cruise for Mr. and Mrs. Feisty, second for our friends, and first for my mom and aunt. Our past cruises were in the Caribbean on Carnival Destiny and Carnival Valor. We loved those cruises - fair to good food, excellent service, and fun ports. Everyone in our group ordinarily does land vacations and has done many, including in Europe. THE RUMOR: "You'll love RCI! It's so much better than Carnival. Carnival is full of drunken partiers and has terrible food and mediocre service. RCI has much nicer people and great food and service." THE TRUTH: I was delighted to find drunken partiers on RCI's Splendour since I hadn't found them on either our Carnival cruises. (The "drunken partiers" were charming and a lot of fun, so this is definitely a point in RCI's favor over Carnival.) We were, however, very disappointed with the food and service on Splendour, which was severely lacking in comparison to our Carnival cruises. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION: A++ on both ends. RCI had a free shuttle to/from Piazzale Roma (it's a bright orange bus with a small "Port of Venice" sign in the front and no RCI signs; confirm that you're being taken to the Splendour before you load up though), which made things easy. We got to the dock around 2pm and absolutely flew through the "line." Our cabins were ready, and our luggage arrived in plenty of time before dinner (9pm). Since we had an early flight (11:30am), we dragged our own luggage off at about 7:15am and arrived at the airport a bit after 8am (free shuttle to Piazzale Roma, number 5 bus to airport). It was all very easy. SHIP: Having sailed on Carnival Destiny (also a 1996 launch), we were prepared for the ship to be small and worn around the edges. Like the Destiny, Splendour is well maintained. We did, however, giggle at the ugly decor after we'd been told how RCI's decor was so much nicer than Carnival's. There are some problems with the Splendour - it's just too small. There aren't enough bars (not a problem on Destiny), and it's very difficult to find a place where there aren't already a ton of people. The deck behind the spa was quiet but never empty, so that's a possibility if you're looking for a quiet spot. The Solarium was always hot and muggy, so go there only if you're prepared to fall asleep. The gym was fine but lacked a scale. CASINO: The casino was fine. The dealers were very nice, if a little un-educated about the games (wrongfully picked up friend's chips at least once). There were a couple non-smoking nights, so that was very nice. The poker tourney was not well attended (5 people), so be prepared if that's your thing. DINING ROOM: If you like really plain food and don't mind eating pretty much the same thing every day, then you'll be satisfied. Our group was bored to tears. Breakfast was the same every morning. The only difference in eating in the dining room instead of the Windjammer was that it was served to you. The one time we had lunch in the dining room, it was pretty good, which was not the norm. Every night, the menu consisted of 1-2 unimaginative pasta dishes that may or may not be prepared as described, 1-2 steak options which may or may not be butchered correctly and will be served with a boring potato option, a boring chicken option, 1-2 seafood options (we and our friends don't eat seafood; my mom had mixed satisfaction with her seafood selections), some other meat option (pork or whatever) that was usually disappointing, and a couple of vegetarian options. They had an Indian option (vegetarian) most nights, and that was usually, but not always, very good. The head chef is from India, so that probably explains why there were some successes. On our past cruises, the big decision each night was whether we would order 2 or 3 desserts. I have a major sweet tooth, so I was looking forward to this. We were terribly disappointed with the desserts. If you like Grand Marnier, you may be happy. It seemed like that was in at least one dessert each night. Service: Our servers in the dining room were generally adequate, which was disappointing considering how we'd bonded with our servers on our past cruises. They were good to remember that we liked to start with a plate of fries and a cheese plate each night, but they totally missed our anniversary. WINDJAMMER: I love buffets. I love to eat and eat until I feel like I'm going to explode. I especially adore breakfast buffets, and I'm not picky about them. I hated eating in the Windjammer. The food was always the same! And always boring. Another problem was the staff. They absolutely glared at me any time I wasn't seated! I'm not sure why they were so cranky. OTHER FOOD: This was a problem. We had second seating for dinner (it's 9pm, not 8:30 like we expected), so we always wanted a snack when we got back onboard at 3-6pm each day. From Carnival, we were used to pizza and a grill (hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs) being open pretty much all the time. We were sorely disappointed with Splendour's options. Although there was a place to get pizza and sandwiches in the Solarium, it wasn't always open and the service there was always rotten. The set up for burgers, dogs, and fries nearby was poorly maintained and sometimes closed up early. That was especially annoying considering that the Windjammer often opened late. OTHER PAX: All the passengers we met were lovely. There were about 1,500 from the U.S., possibly in part due to a big grocery convention onboard. We especially enjoyed those folks. ACTIVITIES: Although I missed the water slide, Splendour beat our Carnival ships hands down when it came to activities. The mini-golf course was hilarious (please try it!), and it was super fun to ring the bell at the top of the climbing wall. We also really enjoyed all the dancing. There were several dance classes throughout the week; I remember waltz, meringue, and line dancing. The Swingstreet Trio played slow numbers; the Boleros, a Latin trio, played TONS of salsa, some meringue, and the occasional cha cha and rumba; the DJ on the top floor disco played all types of music. I recommend going to the 70s line dancing class and then hitting the disco that night - hilarious! The fitness classes are about the same as on Carnival - $10 each, not of great quality but better than nothing (I took a yoga class). ENTERTAINMENT: I am still trying to figure out who truly believes the shows on cruises are of good quality. As they go, these were marginally better than the ones on Carnival. We've been taking ballroom dance lessons, so we enjoyed the professional ballroom dancers. CABIN: This was another big disappointment for us. We couldn't fit our suitcases under the bed like we had on the Carnival ships (same suitcase and a new smaller one). I've since read a suggestion to open them up and slide them under, which is a good one. The drawers didn't all work well, and some of the hangers in the closet were broken. My main gripe, though, is the size of the shower. I thought our showers on previous cruises were tight but tolerable. I cursed this shower on a daily basis, and I'm a size 2. Ladies, I'd highly recommend getting your legs waxed before cruising on this ship. Our cabin steward was fine, though he did manage to forget to leave a Cruise Compass one night. Oh, also, the hallway outside the cabin smelled a bit bad. PORTS: Awesome, amazing, incredible - all the positive adjectives you can come up with apply. This is why we adored our cruise even though we were so disappointed with the food and service. If you'd like to check out my in depth reports about what we did each day (this was the Athens/Mykonos/Olympia/Corfu/Split itin.), check out my blog at feistync.wordpress.com. I promise it's worth a look. MISC.: The Wine and Dine program worked well for us. We also very much enjoyed the RCI's special Belgian beer, Royal. Check it out! The shopping tips, in at least one case for us, turned out to be abysmal. RCI goes on and on about The Loom, this "terrific" rug shop (Athens and Mykonos). We popped in a rug shop just down the street from The Loom in Athens and shopped there for a bit. The owner gave us a lesson in machine v. hand made and showed us incredible rugs at fair prices (we have access to a couple of outstanding discount stores in North Carolina, so we didn't buy). We then went to The Loom, where they were trying to sell machine made rugs at hand made prices and wouldn't give you a straight answer about how the rugs were made. I'm very grateful we stumbled into the first shop, and I'm now hesitant to buy from any ship recommended shop without at least doing some research first. CONCLUSION: If you're not too demanding about food and service and haven't visited these ports before, I highly recommend taking this cruise. If you are more discerning, check out some other options and, if you sail Splendour anyway, go prepared so you won't be disappointed. It really is an incredible itinerary and was far and away my favorite option when we booked. It could only have been more perfect IMO by adding a night and a stop in Santorini! Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Having taken over 18 cruises on various lines (5 with RCCL) I've been able to gauge expectations fairly well. This one threw me a curve ball. The itinerary was absolutely fabulous! The ship not. Built in 96, she's 12 years old ... Read More
Having taken over 18 cruises on various lines (5 with RCCL) I've been able to gauge expectations fairly well. This one threw me a curve ball. The itinerary was absolutely fabulous! The ship not. Built in 96, she's 12 years old but looks 20. I recently sailed on the Sovereign (built in 88) and thanks to a recent refurbishment, she looks fantastic, so age isn't a true gauge. A 12 year old ship CAN look fabulous, but the Splendour did not. Here are a few obvious examples we noticed... Public Rooms: Cigarette burns in the leather seats of the Champagne bar, torn leather seats in the Viking Crown lounge, carpet stains, stains on chairs in dining room and in solarium lounge cushions. Cabins: Our cabin hadn't been cleaned upon arrival. We met with the cabin steward to discuss the condition and he did return that night to clean, but there were still sticky glass rings on the tables, spots from splashed liquids on the mirrors, and dirt/hair inside the drawers. He never provided room service order forms, and did the minimum for the remaining cruise. There was mildew in the torn fabric lining on the shower walls and the mirrors inside the bathroom were cracked. Clearly, the Splendour needs a refit! One is forgiving if all else shines. But it didn't. Shops closed early without notice, shore excursion desk was rarely open, shows were OK, food in the Windjammer was below average, service in the Windjammer was downright rude at times. Food and service in the main dining room was better but not up to RCCL standards. They've cut out the Ship Shape Program, poolside band, midnight buffets, ice carvings, Baked Alaska night and some onboard activities. Yes, these are in part, a sign of the times. Cruise lines are looking for ways to cut expenses and increase onboard revenue. But if you offer something else in place, and deliver excellent service, you can get by with it. In this case, the staff argued and exhibited a poor attitude with the passengers leaving a bad image with many of the cruisers. A woman at our table was missing the port book from her suite. Her cabin steward argued with her and told her she must have overlooked it, then proceeded to rummage through the drawers filled with her clothes, etc. looking for a book that was never there. The woman (a previous Princess cruiser) was appalled. Another table mate was standing in front of the logo shop looking at greeting cards and the staff member turned off the lights and started shutting the gate (at 10:05 AM and shops were to close at 11:00AM). He handed the card over to her and said he'd just get that one (since obviously there wasn't time to continue looking). She took the card from his hand, returned it to the rack and said "We're closed." I could go on. The attitude permeated throughout the ship and poor attitude is not acceptable. There are always the outstanding crew members that are MUCH appreciated, but they can't carry the entire staff. However, the solarium is a lovely place to spend time, and their bar staff did an excellent job of chasing children out of the adults-only pool. The string quartet in the Centrum was excellent and provided a touch of elegance. The port lecturer gave great tips for those exploring on their own. PORTS - VENICE With independent air arrangements, we arrived a day prior and stayed at the Antiche Figure Hotel in Santa Croce which I would highly recommend. It's a lovely, boutique hotel on the Grand Canal and a 5 minute walk from Piazzalle Roma where the taxis or buses will leave you. From the hotel, walk back to Piazzalle Roma and take the free RCCL shuttle bus to the ship, or a taxi (it's only a 5 minute ride). You could walk to the ship in about 15 minutes but it's not a pleasant walk especially with luggage. The pier at Venice is industrial with lots of shipping activity. The port isn't great but thanks to RCCL's efficient boarding procedure, you won't be there for long. It only took us 15 minutes to check in, clear security and board the ship. You can walk all of Venice and see quite a bit in a day! ATHENS It's a 20 minute walk to the metro/train station where you can buy a train ticket for 1.65 Euros. Once you board, you'll get off on the 7th stop to visit Plaka and the Acropolis (takes about 15-20 minutes). It's an easy walk to the lovely shops and cafes in Plaka which is delightful. The walk to Acropolis is an energetic one and there's no A/C or shade once you reach the Acropolis, but there is a nice breeze and it's SO worth the walk. You can see the restoration of the Parthenon and gorgeous views of Athens. Our ship was in port from 12 - 7 and we didn't debark until 12:30 but still had time to visit the Acropolis, shop almost EVERY shop in Plaka, and take in a long, late lunch. We took the subway back to Piraeus and were onboard by 5:30 without rushing. MYKONOS Probably the most unique and picturesque port with lovely white washed buildings, wind mills, shops and lovely beaches. RCCL provides a shuttle into town and you can walk 10 minutes to a square where public buses will take you to the beaches or you can just take a taxi. KATAKALON RCCL downplays this port and sells the excursions to Olympia, but if you chose to stay in town, it's really delightful. There's 1 street with shops lined along both sides. You'll find horse-drawn carriages to ride you around and there's a mix of souvenir shops and higher end artistic shops. 12-15 restaurants line the waterfront with outdoor tables under umbrellas, perfect for enjoying a lunch or drink while watching the sailboats in the marina. SPLIT GREAT! Full of history, ritzy shops, grand promenades and cafes everywhere. If you're tired of souvenir shops, you'll love shopping here with upscale name brand stores. Visit the temple of Jupiter, explore the cobblestone streets of the medieval section, and smell the fresh lavender from the flower stalls at the open air fruit and flower market. The marble promenade is breathtaking and a picturesque place for a drink. But if you walk into the town, you'll find amazing cafes with great food facing various squares. Local students dress in colonial attire and will pose for photos. CORFU Probably my least favorite port. The shops all carry the same cheap tourist souvenirs. Not many of the historical buildings within town have been restored. The new section of the city is definitely city, complete with traffic, noise and trash. The older section is more charming but you can see everything in about an hour, unless you take an excursion. In the old days, it was a given that you either booked a great ship with a weak itinerary, or a great itinerary with an average ship. With so much competition and new builds entering the marketplace, we've become spoiled with fantastic ships sailing exotic itineraries. This is not the case. I would definitely recommend this itinerary but probably not the ship until the line addresses some of these issues. The Splendour could be great again - but she needs some attention both to the hardware and staff. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
We sailed from Venice on this ship on 5/3/08. We had heard that there was a complimentary shuttle bus from Piazzale Roma to the ship, but could not find it and no one we asked was able to help us. We wound up walking to the ship, it ... Read More
We sailed from Venice on this ship on 5/3/08. We had heard that there was a complimentary shuttle bus from Piazzale Roma to the ship, but could not find it and no one we asked was able to help us. We wound up walking to the ship, it wasn't a horrible walk but it was a warm day and with our heavy luggage it was quite uncomfortable. Taxis are very expensive but I suppose that might be an option for others if they find themselves in the same situation. Embarkation itself was a breeze. Sailing out of Venice was one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had, the views from the ship were simply stunning. We had booked a superior interior room (172 square feet, category "J"). We were very pleased with the size and layout of the room, and the bathroom as well. No problems there. Our room was always cleaned well and everything we needed was provided. The only problem with the room location was that several nights there were mechanical noises that were very loud that came from above and woke us up. One night it sounded so horrible and lasted so long that we called maintenance to come up and listen to it to see if there was something that they could do. Eventually it was fixed, but only after causing us several bad nights of sleep! Dining was absolutely horrible. This is an older ship so the only options were the dining room and the Windjammer. The food in the Windjammer was at best about on par with the food at my college dorm cafeteria, and at it's worst it was inedible. Breakfast was okay, but it's pretty hard to screw up scrambled eggs, fruit and packaged yogurt. The dining room was slightly better, probably because the food was fresher (some of that stuff at the Windjammer looked like it had been sitting there for five hours). But still, it wasn't that great. It sort of didn't fit the mood of the dining room... it was like going to dinner in a grand banquet hall and then being served food that tasted like it came from Denny's or Applebee's. Our wait staff was pleasant enough, but they did get our orders wrong several times and took a long time to straighten them out. I think there was a bit of a language barrier sometimes as well. They spoke English but I think sometimes didn't quite understand what we were asking for. I was sort of disappointed with the whole dining aspect, I had read reviews that the food and service was supposed to be so great and it was pretty bad. The one special request our tablemates had that was very simple they said they couldn't accommodate. She is pregnant and wanted the cheese plate, but only wanted the hard cheese (can't eat unpastuerized). They told her the trays were prepared already so it couldn't be done...? Why not just take the hard cheeses off of one tray and switch them with the unpastuerized cheeses on another? Didn't seem like rocket science to us, but it wasn't worth arguing about. Our tablemates were wonderful and we had tons in common, so the cruiseline did a good job of matching us up there. The main reason for us booking this particular cruise was the ports of call. No complaints there, we enjoyed them all. Our favorite was probably Corfu. What a beautiful island! That was the one day that we did one of the ship's shore excursions. It was the one called "Paleokatstrista, Lakones and wine". The tour guide was great and very informative. The views of the landscape from the coach were breathtaking. The other major complaint that we have was with the tendering process. They really need to figure out a way to make it speedier and better organized. We unexpectedly had to tender in Katakolon (Olympia). We had reserved a rental car that day and we were so late getting off the ship that the rental car place gave our car away, we wound up having to pay for a taxi to go to the Ancient Olympia site. In Split, the girl that was supposed to hand out the tender tickets at 7:30 in the lounge OVERSLEPT and wasn't there until 15 minutes later. By that time, there were swarms of people waiting in no particular order. They at least need to set up a area to queue in this situation. My husband was the first one there at 7:15 and wound up not even getting a ticket for the first boat since there was no "official" line and people have no manners and just shove their way in front. Our boat didn't leave until 8:45. Really messed up our whole morning, we weren't able to even really eat a good breakfast, just had grabbed a muffin and OJ to eat while we waited. Another note... the captain needs to learn the meaning of the word "forecast" in English (meaning what the temperature WILL BE LATER). He kept on using that word and I think he meant to say what the CURRENT temperature was. The first several days we were sweating to death because we thought the temperature was going to be about 10 degrees cooler than what it turned out to be. Eventually we figured it out and realized he was giving what the temperature was when we docked at 7:00AM, and then added 5-10 degrees to it to get what the actual temperature would be at 3:00 in the afternoon! I don't even want to go there with the "next cruise" thing, but I'll give a quick summary. We said we wanted to book one on Celebrity and our credit card was charged the fee before the guy told us how it worked. Then when he did tell us and we said we might think about it, he informed us he already charged us when we first sat down and the fee was non-refundable (even though we were still sitting there at his desk and had not signed anything). THEN he decides to hand us the terms & conditions printout after we apparently had no choice. It was just ridiculously bad customer service. We may dispute this charge with our credit card, since he obviously did not go through the proper steps before charging us. We need to call Celebrity directly to confirm how it works and see if it something we want to do. Anyway, I would recommend this itinerary but not this ship. I'm not sure about Royal Caribbean. I went on a short cruise to the Bahamas on the Sovereign of the Seas (years ago) and that was nice and there were no problems, so maybe it was just this ship/crew that was the problem. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was our first cruise (although we have travelled extensively in 5*hotels worldwide both on business and pleasure) and were concerned about the appalling recent reviews ,thankfully our cruise was very enjoyable 1) Boarding was at ... Read More
This was our first cruise (although we have travelled extensively in 5*hotels worldwide both on business and pleasure) and were concerned about the appalling recent reviews ,thankfully our cruise was very enjoyable 1) Boarding was at 12pm for a 5pm departure so we arrived at 11.00 and were sitting in the Schooner bar by 11.15 , very impressive . We requested and were given a table for 2 which was great 2) Stateroom , I researched this carefully beforehand , we wanted a balcony and its was a close call between Junior suites on deck 8 or smaller rooms on deck 7 , the disadvantage of deck 8 was potential noise from above around swimming pools etc but we chose the JS 8036 which was right opposite the corridor to the lifts (less walking) and under the pool towels on the upper deck , noise was minimal , we would pick this cabin again . 3) Food , Food was good but not great , King and I menu was a touch repetitive but pretty good overall , portions were on the small side , Windjammer was great for breakfast and lunch but disappointing for dinner (we went once) , we expected the food to be upgraded in the evening but it was the same old buffet as lunchtime , but overall it was fine , Service was terrific 4) Staff , they were mostly South American and were great , very friendly and helpful , cabin attendant did not get off to a great start however when he said no to Bathrobes (we called housekeeping who provided within minutes) 5) Entertainment was disappointing i thought , Soul Sensation was great but Elton john 'look a like' was only ok if you are a fan , otherwise it was jugglers/ magic etc etc , great venue though 6) Despite the ship being small by todays standards there was plenty of room especially around the pool area , Solarium was a peaceful area (and the roof opened once) 7) Ports , all good , we booked trips for Corfu and Turkey (both excellent ) and did our own thing in Dubrovnik and Santorini, these proved good decisions 8) Disembarking , we were off by 8.0am , very impressive , no problems (dishonest tip , we paid £15 to RC for coach to airport but no tickets were issued and none asked for , anybody could have hitched a ride!!) 9) Dislikes , American bias , RC obvious target the American market however i reckon the split was 50 /50 yet everytHing is aimed at the US visitors , Jenifer , the ports and shopping guide was truly dreadful to this non US observer 10) Ship was in good condition , if you looked carefully you could see the ship was 10+years old but overall was a lovely ship with great bars and venues Overall it was a great ship with very very friendly staff , will cruise again Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Took a private water taxi from our hotel to the pier and shared it with 2 other couples from our hotel, so it made the cost more reasonable. I believe it was 120 euros total, including all luggage. As soon as we were dropped off, a RCCL ... Read More
Took a private water taxi from our hotel to the pier and shared it with 2 other couples from our hotel, so it made the cost more reasonable. I believe it was 120 euros total, including all luggage. As soon as we were dropped off, a RCCL staff was there to collect our luggage and we didn't see it again until later on board. EMBARKATION: This was so easy. Because we had already filled out our SeaPass info, we were led to a line for suites guests, Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Plus members. This took about 5 minutes, then we were ready to get in line to board. We went through a real quick security line and we were on our way. From the time we left our hotel until we were already on the ship, it was less than 75 minutes. OUR CABIN: We were in Grand Suite, 8016. There was so many drawers that we never used. There are actually 3 closets, with one of them being a double door closet and floor length hanging space. The other 2 are single door closets, with drawer space below each hanging rod. There are also 3 big drawers in the bathroom, including 2 sinks with cabinet space behind the mirror on each side. In the bedroom area, there is a desk with 2 small drawers underneath the desk area, and 3 drawers to the left of it. More drawers again by the safe, along with a big open space below the safe and 2 shelves above the safe. When we got to our cabin, there were no robes or slippers, and a few of the drawers were pretty dirty inside. I found our attendant and he brought these things, as well as cleaned the drawers. He told me that the prior attendant for this cabin left that day on vacation and was probably in a hurry. No excuse, but at least ours did take care of things. One day our toilet flush button quit working, so he called it into maintenance without us even knowing about it. Same thing for other minor maintenance issues in the room—closet door falling off hinges, one shelf had no pins to hold it up. But the attendant took care of all. FOOD: This area really needs improving. The menus in the dining room had no imagination, and seemed to have some of the same things, just calling it something different. I was disappointed that being a Greek Isle cruise, there were really no "themed" nights. It would have been nice to offer a few Greek items while there, a Turkish item while in Turkey, etc. The food came lukewarm on many nights. Also very disappointed that they no longer serve lobster. (Although the Loyalty Ambassador told me that because so many people complained, they will reinstate serving lobster-just don't know when) Someone at our dining table asked for lemonade in the dining room and was told there was a charge for it, even though it is free in Windjammer. Also surprised that we were charged for cappuccino in dining room, as it is free on Carnival ships. Food in the Windjammer was not great either. I will say that having multiple areas serving the same thing made the lines move smoother. Omelets were good for breakfast. And enjoyed having cut-up fruit every day. We only ate here for breakfast and lunch. CASINO: The staff for the most part were very friendly and nice. Only had one exception to this by the overseer on craps table. Several nights the casino was made non-smoking and this was an added plus for us. I love to play table games, but hate the smoke. It doesn't keep us away when there is smoking, but it sure makes it a nicer experience when the air is fresh. BARS: We never used them, so can't report on this area. ENTERTAINMENT: Never went to any of the shows, so can't report on this area either. SPA: Disappointed in this. For the prices they charge, they could at least provide a robe and slippers. Every other RCCL ship we have been on does provide them. But when my husband asked for a robe because after working out, he wanted to shower before his massage, they looked at him like he was crazy. And after having all the oil on your body, who wants to put your clothes right back on? When I had my massage, I was told by the masseuse that the robes were being laundered, but when I called the spa before my next appointment, I was told that was not true, they just don't provide them, so I brought one from my cabin. Also, there was no quiet place to relax before or after the massage, because there was some sort of diet class going on in that area at the time. No scale in the dressing room to weigh yourself, which is also not the norm on RCCL. SERVICE: Dining room service was very poor at the beginning, but did improve during the week. Our waiter never asked if we wanted anything to drink, other than water and did not offer coffee after dinner. After 3 nights, he finally saw that several people had ordered iced tea each night and coffee after dinner, so he began to have it on the table. Same for those who ordered Pellegrino at dinner. But service was very slow. There were several nights we didn't even finish until close to 11:30, and that is awfully late to be eating, especially if you have to be up and eat breakfast early the next morning to go on a tour. EXCURSIONS: In Dubrovnik, we toured on our own. This was a tendering port, and was very slow. We had tender #1 because we were in a suite, but our friends did not, so we chose to wait with them instead. It took 2 ½ hours for our tender to be called, which was #5. Once on shore, we walked the walls, which we enjoyed, although it sure was tiring. In Ephesus, we used a private tour guide, Levant Solmaz, who was amazing. There were just 4 of us, the guide and his driver. He tailored the tour to what we wanted to do and see, not just a "rote" tour. He took us to a fabulous local restaurant for lunch and although we offered and were prepared to treat him to his meal, he refused. In Santorini, we did the Oia and Santorini Island tour. Our tour guide was not very good; he talked on his cell phone much of the time. He also "appeared" to be hung over, so we complained to the excursion desk about him. We also felt the description of the tour listed in the mailing before the cruise did not accurately represent what we actually got. For instance, at the winery, we were hustled into a room and lined up for a glass of wine, with no explanation about how or where the wine is made. The tour guide also had the driver go a different route because he said the roads were too crowded with tour buses, but we missed the picturesque views we wanted to see. In Fira, the line for the cable car was pretty long, but it did move continuously. In Corfu, we took the Achilleion Palace tour, along with Perama on Old Town. This guide was better than the other one, although the excursion book said we would be on a walking tour of Old Town, which didn't happen. He stood in one area and told us which area was Italian and which was French, but he never took us to the famous church or any other place listed in the book. We did not feel the ship's excursions were worth the money. CONCIERGE LOUNGE: We didn't use this in the morning, but we enjoyed using this each evening. There was open bar, with wine, champagne, and hard liquor and setups. Also, there were some small canapEs and hot hors d'Oeuvres each evening. It was never crowded when we were there. The concierge, Kenneth Boodoo, was great. He made spa appointments for us before we boarded. When we went to the lounge the first day, he came up to us and called us by name. I later found out he has our pictures and that's how he knew who we were. Our travel agent had given us a bottle of red wine, but we only drink white. We took the bottle to dinner and asked if they would exchange it with the same price wine. They told us no, it was already out of inventory. So, we took it to Kenneth and he just gave us a bottle of white, with no problems. We also had a problem with our statement and he took care of it immediately. MISC: We went to Sabbath services on Friday evening. Twenty-five people signed up, but only twelve showed up. The ship provided us prayer books, challah and wine. That was very nice of them. Many people I spoke with had incorrect statements on the last day, including us. They charged us for an extra spa treatment, which we didn't have. Other people were charged for internet which they didn't use, others double charged for bar bills, etc. One lady was at the purser's desk complaining that a watch was stolen from her cabin. We were disappointed that there were no comedy shows in the evenings, but the Hotel Director told me it is because there are so many different languages of guests that it would be hard to do. DISEMBARKING: This was also a very easy process. We ate breakfast, went to our cabin to collect our carry-ons, then waited in the concierge lounge for a while until most of the crowds thinned out. Once we got off the ship, we found our luggage immediately, then walked out. We found a private taxi to take us to our hotel near the airport. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We sailed with a group of cruise passengers (109 in total)out of venice Italy on May 17, 2008. having sailed on the "Splendour" twice before, once out of Tampa, Fl. and once out of Barcelona, Spain we had high expectations as to ... Read More
We sailed with a group of cruise passengers (109 in total)out of venice Italy on May 17, 2008. having sailed on the "Splendour" twice before, once out of Tampa, Fl. and once out of Barcelona, Spain we had high expectations as to what we should expect on board our cruise ship. Let me go over various aspects that I found both enjoyable as well as frustrating. First - Embarkation, it was a breeze. My wife and I are "Diamond" members and as such have cruised with RCCL on 21 previous occasions. The check-in process was a quick as could be. We arrived at the ship around 1:00 p.m. and after checking in went straight for the "Wind Jammer" to eat lunch. The food served there was just what I have always come to expect from RCCL. No disappointments. Second - Cabin & Steward, Our cabin was an inside "J" not very big but, big enough for a cruise that would have us on land most of the time. Our cabin steward "Al" was awesome. He did everything we asked for and then some. (ex. I am a diabetic and when I asked if there was a small fridge available to keep my insulin cold he personally went down and brought up a small beverage fridge from somewhere. Third - Dining, we had early seating on the first floor of the "King & I" dining room. Having previously sailed on 21 other RCCL cruises I have come to expect a certain level of food quality that was just not available on the "Splendor". They have recently changed their menu and not only is it not that great, it would appear that it has been cheapened. By that I mean there was no longer "Lobster" available on the menu, something that I always enjoy even though I am not a "seafood" eater. Several nights I was very disappointed with the food quality and one nIght I actually got up from my table after appetizers and went and ate in the "Wind Jammer" (much better food)and then came back down for desert. Of course our Waiter was wondering if everything was okay and I honestly told him that the food was just not up to par with what I have come to expect from RCCL. I have to admit that the new menu leaves a lot to be desired. One would think that since we are sailing the "Greek Isles" we would have greek food at least once during the cruise. That however was not to be the case. Our waiter (Adrian) and assistant waiter (Jo) were great as far as the service goes and Adrain was concerned that my dislike for the food served in the "king & I' would affect his overall performance score after the cruise. I assured him that this would not be the case as he had no control of either the menu or how it is to be cooked. That brings me to my next point. It would appear that RCCL puts a great emphasis on how their staff rate on the survey that is put in your stateroom on the last night of the cruise. I say this because every time spoke with our waiter he reminded us of how important it was that we give a good report on the survey. It may have just been our waiter that was making it seem so important, I am not sure. That being said, if it is RCCL and not just the staff making such a big deal of it they should use other means to evaluate their staffs performance as well and not just the survey. Last, but not least. - Ports of call, Greece and Croatia are very pretty countries and we had a fantastic time while on land. Everywhere that we went it seemed that we had stepped back in time. Overall, we had a great time and would do it all over again with RCCL. I might however chose a different ship as the "Splendour" is starting to show her age. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We cruised on Splendour of the Seas from 5/3/08 to 5/10/08. Our last cruise was on the Voyager of the Seas which was a larger ship so we were a little worried that sailing on Splendour of the Seas wouldn't be as good. Even though the ... Read More
We cruised on Splendour of the Seas from 5/3/08 to 5/10/08. Our last cruise was on the Voyager of the Seas which was a larger ship so we were a little worried that sailing on Splendour of the Seas wouldn't be as good. Even though the ship was smaller and lacked a few things that the Voyager had we were still pleased with the ship overall. We elected to have first seating at dinner and were glad we did. We were a party of eight (2 families) with the youngest being 20 and the oldest being 60 something. We had a table near the window which was perfect. Our waiter was Jacquelina and the asst waiter was Williams who was great, very polite with a winning smile. The food was OK, it is about time that RCCL changed the menu. Also, the food of last resort at the Windjammer was just gutfill. Your best option if unable to get into the main dining room, is to get a hot dog or burger at the Solarium bar area. The breakfast buffet had the worst sausage and eggs that must have come from powder form. The omelet line was usually at least 6 people deep if you wanted a real egg. Our cruise director Jill Tasker kept the ship jumping, always something to do. We did go to a few shows at the 42nd st theater and for the most part they were good. The dancers and singers were outstanding. The magic show was disappointing but the casino and the Viking Crown Lounge Bar kept us entertained from port to port. The dance music was great and welcomed all ages. We had an inside cabin and our room attendant (Abdul), was great at making the towel animals and keeping us neat and comfy. I (the wife) used the spa one time to try out the Alpha Capsule. The wait to book it was convoluted at best: there were 3 staff members at the one small desk trying to schedule appointments for one guest for at least 15 minutes. In the meantime the line behind me grew. When I did get my turn, I was told to wait while someone could check the schedule with a trainer!? That lasted 10 more minutes. I was finally able to get an appointment for the next day and was told to arrive at 1:00 for my session. When I arrived for my session the next day I waited again behind people who were making appointments and was told to go sit down and someone would be with me shortly. I had arrived at 12:50 for the appointment and was not taken back until 1:20. The capsule itself was very helpful for stiff joints and jet lag, but there was no music (as was advertised, the girl said they don't have it even though I saw a cd player in the thing) and the capsule sat in a room where a seminar was going on not 12 feet away. My relaxing spa experience was dampened due to the constant talking of all the people in the room. Also, my coupon from the room was not honored. Oh well! While we would absolutely sail on Splendour of the Seas again, it would be only short cruises We flew into Venice the day before and stayed in Mestre at the Hotel Altieri. We were quite pleased with the hotel and the staff. The bus to Venice was right down the street about 50 feet away. The only problem with the area was the lack of restaurants. The hotel had a continental breakfast but that was it. A pizza shop a few doors down was open and you could get the pizza and take it back to the hotel, (it has an American menu) but for a sit down and relax dinner the choices were not there. We just relaxed and got ready for the cruise the next day. The next day all of us and our luggage made the trip to Venice on bus #19, great trip but no place special to put your luggage. Getting off at Piazza Roma which is the last stop, we decided just to walk to the ship. Slightly uphill and about 15 mins we were at the ship. Checking in at the dock and boarding was very quick and painless and we were on the ship within 15 minutes of reaching the dock. We found our stateroom and proceeded to explore a bit. The ship departed on time and all our luggage was delivered to the stateroom shortly afterwards. Overall the ship was in excellent condition, extremely clean and well maintained. The crew and staff were very cordial and polite. We only had one gripe when at the Viking Crown Lounge we asked for coffee and were told we needed to go down 2 levels and get our own instead of the server saying he would be back in a few minutes with the coffee. But no big deal. We decided not to do any tours but to do everything ourselves. Day 2 - Our first day was at sea. Took advantage of the pool area. Day 3 - Piraeus, Greece. We walked to the train station (20 min) and took the train from Piraeus to Athens (quite easy), then exited the train and walked up the hill to the Acropolis. The walking is uphill on slick surfaces and we got lost on the way up, but finally saw folks we knew and got back on track. On the way up the hill we passed several quaint sidewalk cafes, and the one that let us use the toilet got our lunch business on the way back down. The Acropolis was amazing with so much history. We took lots and of pictures. The cafe where we had lunch was outdoors and had very fresh food with no cover charge or surprises. Also, the shopping at the little stores in Athens has very different items than the shops in the other ports so DO do some shopping on your way back to the train station. At the train station you will need coins or small Euros to get your ticket at the automated Kiosk. Their metro system is very easy to use. Most people do speak English, especially if you offer them a smile with your question. Day 4 - Mykonos, Greece. We decided to walk to the main part of town. Beware, it is a long walk with out a sidewalk and cars, busses, and trucks have the right of way. We found out later that we could have taken a shuttle off the ship for free. The town was cute and set up for tourists. We did a little shopping, ate and drank again at a sidewalk cafe over looking the water. What a great way to spend the day. This port is as close to what you would expect to see at Santorini if you were going to port there. We walked back to the ship and looked forward to the next port. Day 5 - Katakolon, Greece. The main attraction here is Olympia. The ship did not get in until later than it was supposed to and was leaving at 6:30, so time was a large factor. We did some homework and we could have taken the train and bus to Olympia but we would only have had about an hour to spend seeing the sights. We opted not to go. After talking with some folks who did go, we were happy we didn't. Again, we did a little shopping and ended up at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the harbor. The food was good and we were introduced to Uzo. You have to be careful with that. Back to the ship. Day 6 - Corfu, Greece. We took the shuttle into downtown Corfu. It was a long ride, and walking is out of the question. It is a very large metropolis and fast paced. There was an important historical fortress at the Shuttle stop, so we paid the 4 Euro each and went through. Another long climb, up another high hill on slick surfaces. We got plenty of exercise and some excellent photo ops. After a short trip around the city, we caught the shuttle back to the ship for a late lunch. The shuttles were there every 30 minutes. Day 7 - Split, Croatia. We tendered off shore and had to exchange some Euros into the local currency which is the Kuna. The prices were about what we expected. It was 7.14 Kuna for 1 Euro and we spent 7 Kuna for a small gelato. We were quite surprised at how pretty Split is. Walked along the harbor taking pictures and looking at the local markets. A nice relaxful day, Back to the ship. Day 8 - Back to Venice. Getting off the ship was painless. We once again walked to Piazza Roma once again, the lines for RCCL buses to the Piazza Roma were long. Took bus #19 back to Hotel Altieri for we were staying 2 extra days. We dropped our luggage and back to Venice for some sightseeing. We walked from Piazza Roma to Piazza San Marco, wandering down the side streets and window shopping. Took in all the sights. What a beautiful city. The next day we returned to Venice but this time we took the water bus from Piazza Roma to Piazza San Marco. What an adventure. The bus was standing room only, I was sure that it was going to tip over and that we all would be swimming. But it didn't and we made it to Piazza San Marco. Did sightseeing, ate and drank wine at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the grand canal, went down the side alleys till we found a gondola at a good price. How could we go to Venice and not go on the gondola. What a way to end the perfect vacation. The other members of our family that chose to get off the ship and go directly to the airport used the optional ship express shuttle and made it in time for their 11:00 flight back to Philadelphia. We hadn't the heart to tell them that the best part of the whole trip was our 2 days in Venice. The shopping, the history, the cafe's were outstanding. While we would surely cruise Royal Caribbean again, and we would absolutely go to Venice again, I would stay at the Hotel Alteri, but bring an extra pillow. The bed was so hard but the staff was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was our tenth cruise on RCI and the first on Splendour of the Seas. It was a cruise that we chose because we fell in love with Venice when we ended a cruise on Celebrity's Millennium 2 years ago. My wife and I flew to Venice on ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise on RCI and the first on Splendour of the Seas. It was a cruise that we chose because we fell in love with Venice when we ended a cruise on Celebrity's Millennium 2 years ago. My wife and I flew to Venice on the Thursday night before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard at the airport. It may sound strange but there is a bus (number 5) which runs from the airport and passes the hotel on the way to Venice. Cost is 1 Euro 10 cents each way. There is also the AliLaguna Water bus which runs from the airport to San Marco. With the dollar exchange being so weak, and the uncertainty of where you are booking a hotel in Venice, especially walking with luggage, this turned out to be a great deal. The hotel is well priced and is very comfortable. We would recommend it to anyone with a couple of days to spend in Venice. The Iberia flight from Miami landed a few minutes late in Madrid, but still with plenty of time to catch our connection to Venice. We arrived in Venice mid morning on Friday. After checking into the hotel we took the bus and were in the city at lunch time. One recommendation that we had heard, and will endorse is to take the number 1 vaporetto from Piazza Roma to San Marco, instead of in reverse. The boats are relatively empty in this direction. Be aware also that all trains, cars, buses and ships terminate in this same area. After wandering, getting lost, having a few beverage breaks and walking back towards Piazza Roma for several hours, we too the bus back to Tessera and the Marriott Courtyard. We found a small restaurant close to the hotel and had a great dinner. After breakfast at the hotel, instead of taking a taxi (about $90) or Water bus (about $20) to the port we took the trusted number 5 to the port gates. Yes the bus passes in front of the port. We were one of the first to embark and had the time to enjoy the day on the ship before sailing at 5pm. The ship has had some mixed reviews but we found it to be in very good condition overall, and we enjoyed it's less than 100,000 plus tons size. The layout is simple and the size and makeup make it perfect for destination cruises. This is not a destination in itself ship. This is why Royal Caribbean is using the Vision class ships for it's exotic cruises. Day 1 was spent at sea. The fact that we were sailing 25 miles an hour into a 30 mile an hour wind for the entire first day made for a windy day! It was not rough, it just made for a day to read, shop, enjoy indoor activities or use the indoor pool. Day 2 had us arriving at noon in Athens. We always enjoy Athens, especially the people watching and strolling in the Plaka. We take the train from Pyraeus to Athens and enjoy the city on our own. We walked all around the Parthenon and the government, watched the changing of the guards, and strolled through the flea markets and narrow streets of the Plaka. We sailed at 8pm and enjoyed dinner in the Windjammer. The fact that the second dinner was scheduled at 9pm on this cruise helped us to make our decision to eat several nights in the Windjammer. The ship had changed second seating to 9pm to accommodate a large group of Mexican passengers. In all honesty most of these passengers also found 9pm too late. Second seating was, therefore, pretty empty every night. I hope that wiser decisions are made in future. First seating is too early for us, but 9pm is certainly too late. Day 3 brought Mykonos, and our favorite port. We loved this island. We walked throughout the town, took a lot of pictures of the windmills, Little Venice and the stunning architecture. We then walked to Platos Gialos. The guides that say that this is a 2 mile walk are just wrong. We love to walk, and have no problem with distance. This was a long walk, however. Note this if you plan on walking. We enjoyed the walk, nevertheless, running into a herd of sheep and their old traditionally dressed herder. Picture taking was spectacular and quaint, and we arrived at the beach in mid morning. We enjoyed a couple of hours at the beach, and a few beverages, and then returned by bus to the old port and enjoyed another couple of hours on the town beach with another couple of beverages. This is most certainly a quaint town, and one to be highly recommended. It is beautiful and has beautiful pictures at each turn, narrow alleys and whitewashed buildings and great people watching. We tendered in Mykonos meaning that we did not have to walk the mile to the Tourlos port, north of town. Tendering into the old port was a plus here. If we had not tendered we would have missed the Pelicans which just seemed to show up at about 5.30pm. These 2 pink Pelicans warranted many more pictures and capped off the perfect day. Day 4 was another noon arrival, this time in Katakolon. All tourists head to Olympia. We were no exception. We had a wonderful tour. The tour guide was passionate, well educated in Olympia and the sights, and we were glad that this was the only ship's tour we decided to book. The bus trip to Olympia is short, the time in the stadium and the museum is adequate, and I would recommend this tour to anyone. Day 5 was spent in Corfu, a place that has not changed since I was there as a newly graduated hotel school student in 1978. It was fun walking through Kerkyra town, and enjoying the sights. It rained in the morning and we almost did not hire a car for the afternoon. That would have been a mistake. I drove my wife to Paleokastritsa and up to Lakones afterwards(for the most spectacular views of the bays). On the way back to Kerkyra we stopped at Pontokenisi for the views of the little islands. This will be another island that will be on our long list of places to return to for more time to enjoy. Day 6 had us visiting Split. What a pleasant surprise. We loved it. We wandered through the town and the old palace. We spent some time at the beach, and we walked up to the Marjan park and the hill and walked part of the way around the hill. We finished the afternoon in a cafe in the marina, below the hill, with the most astounding panoramic view of the city, the bay, and the ship, sitting at anchor. As with Mykonos, the tender drops you right off in the middle of the old town. Split had all that is Mediterranean. Flower markets, beaches, narrow streets, great sidewalk cafes, treelined walks, parks and spectacular views of the sea. Day 7 all too soon had us back in Venice. As with all cruises it ended way too soon. I do not like shorter destination cruises, because of the time invested in travel to the locations, but this is a cruise that had some great ports. They are not the must see sights of Rome, Florence or Monte Carlo, but they are Mediterranean and more laid back and restful. This was not a cruise that taxed us physically. We decided to stop overnight in Madrid on the way back, a city that we had not spent time in before. We were very happy that we did so. We stayed in the city center at Hotel Principe Pio. The price was great and the location could not have been better. We had a nice evening walking through the city, enjoying the buildings, architecture, the people and most of all walking along with the thousands of other people on a Saturday night through their beautiful city. On Sunday morning we boarded our flight and returned to Miami. All in all this was a great trip. The ship was very nice, not spectacular, but one which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cabin service was as exemplary as ever, but the service in the rest of the ship seemed to lack a little something. It just did not seem to quite measure up to Royal Caribbean's standards. The food was good but not great. These types of cruises are not about the food or service however. They are about travel, enjoying sights that you can not at home, and broadening your horizons. After all there is no such thing as a bad day on a cruise. we would recommend Royal Caribbean and this cruise to anyone who wants to see Mediterranean ports that they have not visited before. They are not the go, go, go locations of the Western Med, but they are charming, beautiful and thoroughly enchanting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We are a married couple who have been on 18 previous cruises the eight last years, and this was our fourth cruise with RCCL. This was a 6-days transfer-cruise from Lisbon to Venice.We had booked a 2-nights stay at the 4 stars very nice ... Read More
We are a married couple who have been on 18 previous cruises the eight last years, and this was our fourth cruise with RCCL. This was a 6-days transfer-cruise from Lisbon to Venice.We had booked a 2-nights stay at the 4 stars very nice Hotel Marques De Pombal, which was nicely situated on the central avenue in Lisbon, Avenida da Liberdade. The Splendour of the Seas was mostly nice and well maintained, however we were not satisfied with the standard of our basic, category M inside cabin. For example the sink in our bathroom was full of fractures, and the TV in our cabin was very old, and a part was nearly fallen apart. Our Brazilian cabin attendant was very friendly during the whole cruise, but unfortunately we were not all impressed with his job looking after our cabin in a proper way. The boarding process: In Lisbon we were at the Terminal around 11:00 am. We were informed by RCCL representatives at the Terminal, that the check in process would be delayed with some hours. After a little while we were transferred in a bus to a nice five star conference hotel in Lisbon - the Corinthia Hotel. About 6 hours later we boarded the Splendour of the Seas. Later that evening, we learned that the two of us had been very lucky showing up so early at the Terminal. A few hours after my wife and and myself had been transported to the Hotel, it had been chaoticconditions at the Terminal. A lot of passengers were very angry for the huge lack of organisation from the RCCl's representatives at the Terminal. Dining: We were in the late seating in the nice dining room - The King and I. However, there were problems with the service. The problem as we saw it, was that our waiters had too many people to serve. On this cruise we never saw our head waiter at all during our dinners. Even on the last evening, when it is time to hand over the gratitude, the person did not show up at our dinner table or the tables around. We found the menu to be good, but they never managed to serve the soups hot. We had three breakfasts in the King and I. The waiters were friendly every time, however we have never been seated for a so long time eating breakfast with waiter service on any cruise before. The food for breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer restaurant was ordinary buffet food. Unfortunately the service was not good at all. Most time we had to clear our table ourselves. Bar services: We have one major complaint and that is about the service and the skills to the employees at the Viking Crown Lounge. We love that Lounge, because of the very nice view you have from there. However, the service was terrible. E.g. they do not have all the ingredients tomake a proper Mojito.It also took two days the barkeeper had olives to put in our Dry Martinis. As well, one of the waiters in the Lounge one day mix-up my SeaPass card with another PAX’s SeaPass. Public Rooms: We are really found of the ships seven deck Centrum, the 42nd Street Theatre, the Viking Crown Lounge and the Solarium. Entertainment: We found the entertainment to be pretty good, and for instance we have never had so much live music on the pool deck before on any other RCCL cruise. Spa & Fitness: Travelling without children we are really satisfied that we can use the adults only pool and the two hot tubs in the Solarium, without any children around. We appreciated that RCCL enforced the regulations for use of the only adult’s pool, in contrast to some other Cruise Lines, for instance NCL. Itinerary: We really liked the ports on this 6 days cruise. Sailing from Lisbon and to Gibraltar, Sardinia and Dubrovnik, before embarking in Venice. We would specially recommend to take time to sightseeing Venice. Disembarkation: This was quite routine, and it was easy to find our luggage in the Terminal. Conclusion: We were not satisfied with much of the service we experienced from the crew on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Let me start by mentioning the positives about our experience: - RC did a great job matching people up for the dinner table and clientele they get were amazing. Over 30%-40% of the passengers were from North America which was great for us, ... Read More
Let me start by mentioning the positives about our experience: - RC did a great job matching people up for the dinner table and clientele they get were amazing. Over 30%-40% of the passengers were from North America which was great for us, language-wise. - The embarkation was extremely fast, we were in the ship within 20 minutes. Absolutely painless. Shuttle took a while to show up at Piazzale Roma. - Wind Jammer food was simple and great. - Non-Brazilian and Non-Indian staff were really very friendly. I didn't quite understand that. There quite a few Indian and Brazilian staff on Carnival and they were great. - Our Head Waiter and Assistant Waiter (Andrew King) were just amazing. - "Dancing under the stars" was great with a amazing band. - Golf and rock wall was good. - Show on the last day with acrobatics was really impressive. - The docking and cruising on the ship was extremely smooth Now some of the not so positives about our experience on board: - Food was mediocre at best. Depending on what you ordered, the dinner was either fantastic or really bad that you have to send it back. - Waiter was sarcastic and didn't have common manners. I am just talking basic manners that we all have for each other. - Their obsession with Purel was insane. They should have more than one choice - water and Purel. Better yet, when you get to your table they could provide with a bacteria killin hot towel that you can use to wipe your hand before you start your dinner. - Enforcing the adults only pool wasn't done properly. There were kids quite a few times in them. - Stateroom cleaning staff was rude. - The whole concept of tearing each voucher and placing it in an envelope is silly. They don't do that in Carnival. Once you have paid for compulsory tips, you have paid for it. Passengers know how and when to tip additional amount based on the service. It seemed it was forced. - Rude Staff at the pursers desk and in the wind jammer Cafe. - Security staff were worst than customs agents. - Absolute zero guidance about the port of call, even when their shore excursions are sold out. You are on your own. - Limited entertainment on this ship unlike a bigger ship. - Don't order room service, it was pretty bad and limited. - Smell of stench was all over the ship. Really bad maintenance. Needless to say we would avoid Royal Caribbean going forward. We heard lot of great things about this cruise line, I guess we were on the wrong ship. Since I can only comment on Splendor of the Seas, I would advice everyone to avoid this ship like a plague. Three main issues with this ship: - Really old ship or badly maintained. It needs to be dry docked and renovated. - Rudeness of the staff is second to none. More training is required. - Kitchen Management is a problem when 2 out of 4 dishes are exemplary and the other two are horrible. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This cruise was easily one of the most unique cultural experiences I have ever had on a ship. Most cruises offer the on-board diversity of a mall in Montana. Not this cruise. What made the difference was that about 80% of the passengers ... Read More
This cruise was easily one of the most unique cultural experiences I have ever had on a ship. Most cruises offer the on-board diversity of a mall in Montana. Not this cruise. What made the difference was that about 80% of the passengers were Portuguese speakers (either from Brazil or Portugal). That fact alone made this cruise worth every dollar. I chose this transatlantic cruise because it originally included stops in Brazil, Morocco, and Portugal. Touching three continents on one cruise was the chief reason I chose the Splendour. Vision class ships are too small for me -- I prefer the Radiance class ships. My first disappointment came just after the final payment was due when RCI announced that all three Morocco ports were cancelled. Instead, we would stop at Tenerife, Madeira, and Cadiz. I had been to all three, and like each of them. My disappointment was short-lived. I will not bore you with the flight from Portland to Sao Paulo. Flying economy class on international flights must be the equivalent of 100,000 years in purgatory -- and this from a non-catholic. We flew into Sao Paulo and were efficiently bused to Sao Paulo's port: Santos, where we waited to board the ship. It was here that I learned my first cultural lesson. Brazilians are not handicapped with the northern European notion of lining up -- massive rugby scrums are closer to the truth. And I must admit that I am not certain that germanic order is any more efficient than a good old-fashioned crowd-shoving stampede. (For some reason, this cultural attribute seemed to disturb most of the outnumbered English-speaking guests more than anything else.) The embarkation was nothing like the well-oiled boardings of Miami or Los Angeles. But it was a fun new experience. I love aft cabins. There is nothing like watching the sea from an aft balcony while eating breakfast. What I forgot is that the aft balconies on Vision class ships do not overlook the sea directly. They overlook a stark white canopy covering the crew's recreational deck. As a result, I learned a lot about various crew members simply by listening to the exchanges below my balcony. The cabin was clean and roomy. I participated in quite a few more ship activities than usual: bingo, trivia, dances. The cruise director's staff kept us all entertained. And that was a difficult task. Imagine a trivia contest where every question is asked in two languages and where the questions should equally appeal to English and Portuguese speakers. I give extremely high marks to Jaoa Pereira (who is on his way to the Majesty) and Fernando del Azar Cordeu. Both of them should be cruise director stars for RCI. We also had an English language coordinator: Linda Polasky. She was extremely helpful, and is easily one of RCI's future stars. I have to add a special note of thanks to the cruise director, Jill Tasker. I sponsor a dinner for the entertainment cast on each cruise. She was very creative in helping me put together that dinner with the limited dining resources available on the Splendour. Thanks, Jill. That brings me to the entertainment. It was all very good. The singers and dancers did an excellent job with material that does not showcase the abilities of a very talented group of performers. Each of them has the ability to reach through the dark and touch the souls of audience members. And they did. One of the main reasons I go on cruises is live entertainment. This group of talented performers met and exceeded my expectations. I like repositioning cruises because sea days are by far my favorite times on ships. But ships always stop. Our first stop was Rio. I elected to take the excursion to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. It rained. No view. But I took some fascinating pictures of the statue emerging from the clouds. The next two stops, I explored on my own. Salvador is a beautiful city with a restored old town. Like every tourist area, the squares teem with hustlers. This was the only stop on the trip where I always felt on guard. The old buildings are picturesque. Once again, I took some great photographs. I wandered away from the tourist area. While taking photographs, I was accosted by a young woman. But that only added to the color of the trip. The next stop was Recife where I visited the old town of Olinda. More old buildings. More photographs. Beautiful. Then five days of glorious sea days. They was interrupted by a stop in Tenerife and an excursion to the volcano. I had done it before. Too many hours on the bus. But we had a great time walking around Santa Cruz. Next stop -- Madeira (one of my favorite islands). I walked around Funchal with friends and had one of the best fish dinners of my life. If there, do not miss the opportunity to try scabbardfish -- ugly fish with a great taste. Then Cadiz, Spain for a day. Nice Old World splendor. When we left Cadiz, the Splendour showed its age by losing its stabilizers. As a result, we arrived late in Lisbon, and I missed my flight. But it gave me an opportunity to spend another day in Lisbon and an opportunity to visit my favorite cafe where I enjoyed the local sardine pâtE. I met some very nice people from Brazil on the cruise and learned things about Brazil I could not have learned by being on an American-enclave cruise. Overall, it was a great experience. I have left my one complaint until the end because it was not a big deal. But it was a consistent irritant. During the past 18 months I have noticed a marked deterioration in the quality of dining room food on RCI cruises. Part of the problem is that the menus seem to be almost as old as the ship itself. Even taking the repetition issue into account, individual meals were just plain bad. I have never had beef that was simultaneously tough and tasteless. The chicken and duck were no better. And this is where the Splendour's lack of a specialty restaurant exacerbated the issue. On other ships, a dissatisfied diner can find good food in Chops, but not here. Our waiter was absolutely perfect. He did his best to keep our table happy, but he could not overcome problems that started in the kitchen. However, having said that, I would gladly take this cruise again -- just for its growth opportunities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
First let me state if you sail Royal Caribbean NEVER book your next cruise on board the ship with the Loyalty Ambassador. We made this mistake and it cost us an additional 800.00 per person. When we booked on board we were assured that we ... Read More
First let me state if you sail Royal Caribbean NEVER book your next cruise on board the ship with the Loyalty Ambassador. We made this mistake and it cost us an additional 800.00 per person. When we booked on board we were assured that we were receiving the lowest possible price at 3200.00 for a Junior Suite and if we ever saw it priced for less we would be credited the amount. Well guess what...NOT! Royal Caribbean REFUSED to grant us the lower amount even after many phone calls and letters. To make matters worse not only did we find people on board who also did not receive the lower price we found people on board who WERE granted the lower price. Needless to say we were irritated and disappointed by all the Royal Crap. We sailed Royal Caribbean on two prior occasions and could not say enough wonderful things about our cruise. This time we are singing a very different tune. Our Royal Caribbean Cruise was aboard the Splendor of the Seas. The Cruise was for 15 days. We boarded in Valparaiso, Chile on 22 March and sailed around the Cape Horn ending at our last port of call in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 5 April. The ship is older and small. Much to small for a 15 day cruise. I would only consider this ship for a 5 day cruise of less. Our ship became a sick ship within two days of sailing. The medical staff suspect the Norwalk virus was the cause. For the safety of all concerned the guests were not permitted to even get a cup of coffee and had to be served by a gloved staff member. Our food at the buffet was also served by a gloved staff member. This precaution I consider to be acceptable and reasonable (I am an RN) for the over all health and safety of all aboard the ship. What was NOT reasonable was the cancelation of the vast majority of ship board activities. The object being so people did not congregate. This gave us eight days at sea, board out of our minds for lack of much to do that you would normally find about a cruise ship. Also remember we are on a small old ship. On the very last day at sea they finally allowed activities to take place but everything was all crammed together at the same times so we remained discouraged even on this last day. The evening entertainment on the Splendor of the Seas was fair at best. The normal Royal Caribbean dancers only performed twice and were good. The other nights they brought in guest entertainers. A few of the performers were good. However, most were not. They had a magician, Carlos Barragan, who's performance could have been topped by an ten year old with a deck of cards. Really, this guy sucked. The Tango Buenos Aires on day 13 was dull after the first dance as each dance was nothing more than a repeat and the guy who sang one song was not good either. One nights entertainment they showed an old movie, Oceans Thirteen. They had three guys give a Tribute to the Temptations one night. Most people left before the show was over. I could go on and on but I think I made my point. Bottom line the entertainment was of far less quality than we expected from Royal Caribbean. Our dining experience was worse than the entertainment. The quality of the food was fair on the best evening. I ordered steak three times while on board. I couldn't even chew it because it was so tough. The staff was very slow and not attentive. I never once had a cup of coffee with my desert no matter how many times I requested it, it never made it to the table in time before my ice cream melted. We often waited an hour before the main course was served. We were told by other staff members that this ship was required by Brazil to hire 30% Brazilians for the South American cruise and that this was their first time on board and was also their training ship. I believe it. It is the only thing I can think of that could cause the Royal Caribbean standards to fall so low. We feel so cheated out of a vacation. So, let me tell you what was good about our trip besides the fact it is over. We did enjoy going around the horn. It was exciting doing something that you know few other people have ever done. We also enjoyed seeing all the glaciers. The excursions we had were good. The people that took the train ride in Argentina said it was a total waste of their money. Argentina and Chile were beautiful. The cities were clean and there was no obvious sign of poverty. Brazil was the opposite and the pollution of the water in the bays of the ports made me want to cry. The filth of the water was worse than I had seen in India. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Was this your first cruise? No. We have traveled on RCL 4 times previously. After this cruise we are Diamond level in the C&A. How would you rate the cruise overall? Excellent. Even though there was an outbreak of the Norovirus on ... Read More
Was this your first cruise? No. We have traveled on RCL 4 times previously. After this cruise we are Diamond level in the C&A. How would you rate the cruise overall? Excellent. Even though there was an outbreak of the Norovirus on Day 3, the ships crew handled everything professionally and courteously. How was the ship? Splendour, one of 4 Vision-class ships, is considered small by today's standards. She doesn't have many common enhancements like alternative dining restaurants or ice skating rinks, which means the existing venues, while smaller, need to be that much better. They are. Splendour was refurbished several years ago, and while she is showing some age, she is still a beautiful ship. Speaking of restaurants, how was the food? RCL is working hard to raise the food quality standards and, if this cruise is any indication, their efforts are working. The food throughout the ship was excellent, always with a great variety to appeal to everyone. In almost all cases, food was fresh and hot and prepared to order. Even the coffee in the Windjammer was excellent. What? No complaints about the food? Well, to be honest, one. It seemed I could never get a plate of hot french fries, which saved me more calories for later. I've heard RCL changed the usual seating times for this cruise. Is that true? Yes. We actually booked the late seating, assuming it would be at 8:00. Instead the early seating was at 7:00 and the late seating was at 9:30, to accommodate the South American guests who are used to eating very late. We were able to switch to the early seating, otherwise we might have eaten in the Windjammer every night. Were there still Formal Nights during the cruise or has RCL done away with them? Fortunately there were formal nights, for those of us that like to get dressed up. What RCL did away with, for this cruise at least, was semi-formal (suit and tie) nights. Since we packed the stuff anyway we made our own semi-formal nights. Check with the cruise line before packing. Since this was a South American cruise, were there a lot of South American passengers? Yes. Interestingly enough, the cultural diversity of the passengers was the widest I've ever experienced. There were large groups from Asia and Europe as well. North Americans did not make up the majority. I've heard that area of the world can be quite cold and rainy. How was the weather? At the beginning of the trip mild (mid-60's) and got chillier with clouds and rain the farther south we went until we rounded Cape Horn. Definitely a light jacket is needed. Once we rounded the Cape (North of Ushuaia) things started to get warmer and by Buenos Aires it was very pleasant. Did you encounter any rough weather? Yes. A few days at the beginning there was an ocean swell that had the ship moving a bit. For me that is why I go on a ship and not stay in a hotel: I want to feel like I'm at sea. Some people were seasick, however, so if you are prone to motion sickness be smart and come prepared. Were there a lot of opportunities for shopping? That really depended on the port. Some ports there were many shops, others there were only a few. In Chile, lapis lazuli is the thing to buy as is wool. In Argentina leather is very affordable. Don's miss the craft market outside La Recoleta (where Eva Peron is buried). Brazil is not known for shopping, so look for tee shirts that catch your eye. Don't forget, in many places you can bargain for a better price. Did you do any of the shore excursions? Yes. I have written about them on this website in the Destination section. Please go there to read those reviews. In general, however, the shore excursions on this cruise were the most expensive I have ever paid. While generally worth it, be advised that we spent an average of $150 per person per excursion. Besides the shore excursions, did you see any wildlife? We did spot some dolphins one day near the Strait of Magellan, but we never saw any whales. Getting back to the ship, how was the entertainment? Very standard. 2 RCL Production Shows (it actually may have been 3) were interspersed with lounge singers who I never heard of, an impressionist who was terrible, a juggler, magician, and others that I didn't even bother going to. RCL isn't known for their entertainment, and that's a good thing. What about the Cruise Director and staff? Personally, I think the Cruise Director should walk around and talk to the passengers, find out how they are enjoying the cruise, what they thought about the previous nights' show, and just mingle. We never saw her, except on the TV during show repeats. The rest of the cruise staff were involved in the same Bingo/|"Love and Marriage"/Belly Flop/etc. events. Nothing new here. You are a Crown and Anchor Member. Did you use the Concierge Lounge? This was a shortcoming my group (6 of us) felt for the ship. We did use the Lounge on Deck 6, which ran out of seating 10 minutes after opening and filled to capacity 5 minutes after that. So we went to the Deck 3 "overflow" Lounge which had the striking resemblance to a cheerless Sheraton conference room. RCL has created a monster with the C&A benefits/Concierge Lounge, and the situation is only going to get worse. How about embarkation and debarkation? It was fine. That people even still discuss this makes me laugh. This issue was one of the first the cruise lines addressed. They now have it down to a science, and while there may be glitches every now and then, getting on and off rarely takes very long. Most people who complain seem to do so because they couldn't get to the buffet sooner. Would you recommend the ship and/or itinerary? Definitely, but for the right person. 15 days (8 at sea) is a long time for a lot of people. Toward the end the routine got a little monotonous; hey - you can only eat and drink so much. When it was time to disembark I was ready to go home. IF I HAVEN'T ANSWERED YOUR PARTICULAR QUESTION AND YOU HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT russg140@hotmail.com Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was a 15 day cruise of South America starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I booked this cruise about a year in advance while we were on another Royal Caribbean ship so that we could get the on board credit; ... Read More
This was a 15 day cruise of South America starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I booked this cruise about a year in advance while we were on another Royal Caribbean ship so that we could get the on board credit; $100 each person. After booking on ship I made payments and completed the personal information requirements on the RC's web site. All of the on line procedures worked well except that for some reason the system would not accept my air arrangements and so I had to call the cruise line a couple times to make sure that they had the correct information. I booked our air separately myself because for some reason RC's system did not have our local airport and I figured I could get better flights for us doing it myself. I usually do fly to the departure port a day early but decided that since the flight got to Chile early morning there was room for delays. After booking our flights I arranged for transfers at both ends of the cruise. I was glad I did this because the cruise ports at both ends are more than an hour from the airports. The RC's Splendour of the Seas is one of that cruise line's older ships in its Vision Class. It was launched in 1996 and was refurbished in 2006. The ship was nice and well maintained. But you could definitely tell the difference between this and RC's newer ships. A good analogy would be its like having a model year 2000 Mercedes that's well maintained but you know that it does not have all of the latest and up to date bells and whistles. For example, RC's newer ships have flat panel HDTV's, the stunning atriums and promenades, etc. This ship was nice but missing the upgrades. It did have the new upgraded bedding that all RC ships have. While the ship was nice I did not care for its layout with the Windjammer Cafe on the front and the main dining room kinda mid-ship. The gym is on the front of the ship and kinda small; never used it. The ship does have a solarium with a pool and two hot tubs. One of the downs associated with this cruise was the dinner hour for first seating was moved back an hour and started at 7:00 PM, an hour later than normal. Then the show for first seating people was moved to 10:00 PM. This left a big gap with no activities each evening. There was virtually nothing going on in the way of entertainment between about 8:30 when we finished diner and 10:00 PM. So most nights we went to bed rather than wait that late for a show to start. The shows were typical stuff we have seen before, singers, dancers, magicians, jugglers, etc. Nothing to make us stay up to see, it. The main dining room is two level and was nice. There were problems with service as most days we didn't finish dinner until well after 8:00 PM, mostly about 8:15. The problem as I saw it was the waiter had too many people to serve. He had two table of eight, one of six and a two person table. So he was trying to serve a five course meal to about 25 people by himself. Many days by the time we got soup it was still warm but not hot. Contributing to the problem was the ship did not have/use a wine steward. Two of the tables order a bottle or two of wine every day and that took about 15 to 20 minutes for the waiter to retrieve, show, open and pour the wines. The head waiter was frequently helping out but still things were slow. The menu items were standard RC items with just a couple related to countries we visited. Standard stuff but nothing outstanding. There was no lobster night either. The ship has a casino which I characterize as adequate. There were table games and slots but all of the slots were dated, not the new games now available in Vegas and other gambling cities. There were just four (4) of the multiline $.02 cent machine. The casino is also kinda crowded. The RC's representative met us at the Santiago baggage claim and directed us to the buses that would take us to Valparaiso. The bus departed soon with less than a full load; it was a nice 45 passenger tour bus. The ride from Santiago to Valparaiso was about an hour and a half. When we arrived at the port there were three long lines of people trying to check in. We initially got in the Priority Check in Line but after about 10 minutes it was not moving at all. So we got in a second line which did not move and finally we got in the third line and about an hour after getting to the port we were checked in. It was chaos at check in. We later learned that the delay may have been due to the fact that about 75 to 80 passengers were denied boarding in Valparaiso because they did not have the required Visa for Brazil. It seems that many people and/or their travel agents were not aware of the requirement. There were plenty of horror stories of people blind sided by this and having to scramble to find lodging, air transportation and means to get the required visa. One couple that we talked to said it cost them about $500 to get the Visa's on an expedited basis. Then they had to pay for air and hotel to meet the cruise in another city. Although RC has a statement on its home page that passengers are responsible for obtaining any Visas required, I think the blame for this rests on RC because it should tell every booked passenger that a Visa is required and that there will be additional costs for Visas over and above the cost of the cruise ticket. My bet is that there are many complaint letter headed to RC about now. There was also a Tourist Visa required for Chile but it was payable in cash or credit card upon entry at the airport. But still it would be nice to know that as soon as you get off the plane in Chile you must pay $130 per person for US citizens. Another thing that RC should have told passengers ahead of time is the cruise visits three countries each of which has its own currency and exchange rates. We booked a balcony cabin but a few days before the cruise we found that we had been upgraded to a Jr Suite. The cruise line never sent us any notice of this but I noticed the change on line. I do not know the reason for the upgrade but I do know that a few weeks before the cruise the same cabin that we had was being offered at a lower price. When I called to get the lower price I was told that it was a one-day special. But then I saw the lower fare was still available a week later. I suppose that the upgrade was to compensate for the higher price I had paid. The Jr Suite was OK; a 236 sq ft room with more room, two additional sitting chairs, a slightly larger balcony and a tub in the bathroom. After being in the room for 2 weeks it was nice but I would not pay the extra for it. Our cruise departed on time under partly cloudy skies. The first part of the cruise was kinda like a cruise to Alaska. It was cool, drizzling and foggy at times. The scenery cruising the Chilean Fjords was like cruising the Alaska inside passage. It was scenic even with the fog and clouds. Our first port stop was Puerto Montt, Chile. It was cloudy and foggy most of the day and so scenic sights were limited. We did a tour that visited a sausage plant and then went to a restaurant by a lake that served us a lunch spread with sausages, meats and plenty of wine. There was one brief stop at a market for souvenir buying. The next day we cruised the Chilean Fjords and again the clouds and fog obscured a lot of the view. Cruising the Fjords was nice compared to the open waters which resulted in some rough sailing.The next morning we cruised up to the Brujo Glacier where the captain spun the ship 360 so all passengers could see it from their staterooms and/or anywhere on ship. After a couple at sea days and cruising the Straights of Magellan we arrived at Punta Arenas. We took a tour that included a couple of museum and a tour of the city. On hind sight I would just skip these and just walk around town on my own. The next morning we arrived at Ushuaia, Argentina, the city called the "end of the World" because it is the city which is the farthest south in the would; just about 600 miles from Antarctica. We took a "Train to Nowhere" tour and it was nice but not something you really need to do. Skip it and just walk into town; the port is just a couple blocks from mid-town and shopping. The weather at this point was great and so was the scenery. The ship followed the Straights of Magellan and the Beagle channel with a scheduled arrival at the Cape Horn island at about 8:00 AM. WE arrived there with cloudy skies but no wind or rain and the captain circled the island and then tacked back and forth so passengers could see from about anywhere on ship. After rounding the Horn we has another "at sea' day before we arrived at Puerto Madryn, Argentina. WE did not do a tour but walked into town and the few blocks of it and then returned to the ship. This was a kinda nothing stop as far as I was concerned. Then we had another at sea day before arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We did a tour of the city that was good and had as its highlight a stop at the graveyard where Evita Paron is buried. After a stop at a street market we returned to the ship. After two more at sea days we arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Rio IS a beautiful city. We took the "best of Rio" tour which was all day and included lunch at a Brazilian steak house. We saw all of the sights including the Christ stature, Sugar Load Mountain and the Copacabana beach. Our final stop and departure city was Santos, Brazil. We had a tour of Sao Paulo scheduled with our transfers that included lunch at a Brazilian steak house. Departure went well and quickly with just a few glitches. The bus ride to Sao Paulo was through great scenery. The tour of Sao Paulo was mostly nothing but it served the purpose of filling the time until our 9:25 PM flight. Another problem on this cruise was the Norwalk Virus. Problems started about the second or third day of the cruise. Hand wipes were passed out at the entrance of all eating places, in the casino, and the show rooms and lounges. Then after the third day the Windjammer was kept open but staff served everything, including handing out plates and napkins. Most of this was not a big problem but getting drinks like coffee, tea, juice or lemonade was really bad. The staff service in the Windjammer continued until the 13 day of the cruise. We learned later that about 100 people got on the ship and were already sick with the virus. Speculation was that they got it on a plane, or brought it from home. One of the best parts of this cruise for us was the Concierge Lounge which is available for Diamond members. We met a lot of nice people in the lounge and had plenty of free drinks. It because our hangout after dinner since there was not much else going on on ship. As usual my main complaint about entertainment is that the disco does not start until well after 11:00 Pm each night and there is nothing to fill the time between dinner, the show and the disco. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was my 13th cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship but my first time on Splendour of the Seas. The cruise was from Sao Paulo, Brazil around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile. The ports visited were Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, ... Read More
This was my 13th cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship but my first time on Splendour of the Seas. The cruise was from Sao Paulo, Brazil around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile. The ports visited were Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt. Usually, I arrange my own air travel but this time I used Royal Caribbean's air package as it was my first time to South America and I was concerned about the long transfers from airport to ship. I am glad I made that decision. I flew from Toronto to Sao Paulo (via Newark). RCL staff were there to welcome us and the air conditioned bus ride to the port in Santos took about 90 minutes. Check in was quick and we were able to go straight to our cabins. I had an inside cabin on Deck 8. Usually, I get a balcony cabin but there was a big price differential on this cruise. I was apprehensive about having an inside cabin but it worked out fine especially as it was only one flight of stairs to get out on deck. The ship still looks in good condition considering its age. Personally, I prefer the Radiance class of ships. This was a Crown and Anchor Society member cruise so there were all kinds of extra events, door prizes and gifts delivered to our cabins. The highlight for me was the free excursion offered by Royal Caribbean to Diamond members. This was to the Tango Show at La Ventana in Buenos Aires. This was truly an amazing show. The dancing, music and pure passion were fantastic. Lots of wine and food made the experience even better. As on many cruises, the trip is often affected by the service provided by one's cabin steward, waiters and other crew. I had a fantastic waiter (Marcela) and assistant waiter (Flavia) and a great cabin steward (Norton). Being a Diamond member, I had access to the Concierge Lounge on Deck 7 (which used to be the Card Room). As there were a lot of Diamond members on this cruise, an additional lounge was open each evening in the Conference Lounge on Deck 3. Both lounges were full each evening. I must say that the Concierge Lounge is one of the very attractive perks offered by Royal Caribbean. It's not just the free drinks (although that is very nice!) but about the great people you meet in the lounge. Most have traveled extensively and have wonderful stories to tell. It's always nice in the evening to learn what everyone did that day and what they plan to do the next day. I would be hard pressed to go on a ship that does not have a Concierge Lounge. In Rio, I took the RCL Sugar Loaf and City tour. Montevideo, I just walked around the city by myself. In Ushuaia, I visited the prison (now an excellent museum and art gallery) by myself and took the RCL Train Ride excursion in the afternoon. This train ride is on tracks built by prisoners and took us to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Punta Arenas is a nice small town and I walked around it by myself. In Puerto Montt, I did the Cruising Lake Llanquihue & Town excursion. This was a really nice trip and we had an excellent tour guide who taught us a lot about Chile and the surrounding area. The cruise ended in Valparaiso and as I was flying out of Santiago in the evening, I took the 8 hour Coastal Cities, Valleys and Santiago excursion. It included a wonderful lunch in the countryside at El Pregon. If you have read this far, it probably sounds like this was a great cruise and it was. To go around Cape Horn was an incredible experience and not something that many people have done. However, the cruise was not without its problems. The main one was the Norovirus which caused the closing of the spa, fitness center, library, internet cafe Adventure Ocean area and even the casino. In the Windjammer, you could not serve yourself. Hand wipes were required all the time. Thank goodness the Concierge lounge remained open but there were no snacks provided. This all lasted quite a few days and certainly affected the enjoyment of the cruise for many of the passengers. There were problems with the quality of the food especially with the beef. My other criticism is with the smoking on board. On this cruise, smoking was still allowed in cabins and many of the public areas. I found it especially difficult to cope with during trivia and crafts events that were held in bars and lounges. I know this is a controversial matter but it did affect my enjoyment of the cruise. Someone suggested a "Share the Air" program where notices are put up requesting that people refrain from smoking in public areas. This was certainly a difficult cruise to have as a Members Cruise and the Crown and Anchor Society staff worked very hard under trying circumstances. Rachel Hancock, Charlie Kurtuldo, Cindy Cooper, Joanne Banister, Beatrix Garcia, Marta Ramirez and the rest of the C&A staff did an excellent job. My thanks to all of you. The big surprise for us was the arrival in our cabins one evening of huge beach towels with a map of South America showing our voyage. This was for Diamond members only but some others won a towel as raffle prizes. I am sure that there are some passengers on this cruise who feel that I should have been more critical in my review but I certainly had a wonderful cruise and will continue to cruise with Royal Caribbean. Actually, I have 8 future cruises booked - all with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date February 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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