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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We just got back from a five night cruise on RCCL Splendour of the Seas. This was our fourth cruise but our first with Royal Caribbean. We drove to the Galveston area the day before and arrived at the pier at 11:30 am the day of the ... Read More
We just got back from a five night cruise on RCCL Splendour of the Seas. This was our fourth cruise but our first with Royal Caribbean. We drove to the Galveston area the day before and arrived at the pier at 11:30 am the day of the cruise. We used EZ Cruise Parking and I highly recommend their service. Upon arriving at EZ Cruise we discovered the Splendour had arrived late and that boarding had been delayed. We then proceeded to the staging area and immediately were processed through with our SetSail Pass and were on board within 30 minutes of arriving at the pier. We went straight to the Lido Deck and had lunch at the Windjammer, which is well planned out and had an excellent selection. The staff was constantly clearing tables and keeping everything clean. Plus, there was a hand sanitizer available upon entranced to the Windjammer. We had a category F Cabin and were just a couple feet from Cafe Latte-tudes, where I enjoyed a latte quite often, Ben and Jerry's ice cream was also available here. Our luggage arrived after the muster drill and everything was in order. The dinning room is call The King and I Dinning Room and is very well laid out. You do not feel crowded and the staff is very friendly. We attended the Main seating and found our dinner mates to be a lot of fun. We even had another CC member at the table. The food was excellent and always served hot. The only complaint I had was that there was no Key Lime pie on the menu. The menu had been changed for this cruise and we had a new menu. I do recommend the BBB, banana Bailey's Crème brulee, for desert on the last night. On our first sea day, we had an M&M schedule for 1:30 in the Champagne Bar. After discovering that the Art Auction was also meeting there, we moved to the fifth floor above the auction. We had ten people attend the M&M and everyone enjoyed the gift exchange we had arranged. We also had the Captain's Reception and the Formal Dinner on the first day. I was very disappointed that many did not follow the dress code for the evening and I even saw a few enter the dinning room in t-shirts and shorts. The Splendour has two pool areas. The main pool is for all and the Solarium pool is for adults only, except on inclement days. We utilized both areas. The Splendour also has a Rock Climbing Wall and a Miniature Golf course. Every time we went by these areas they were occupied. There is a nice internet area but we were on vacation and did not use this. The theater is call 42nd Street Theater and is well laid out and quite comfortable with leather seats. All the shows we saw was great and well presented, even with the small stage. On day three, we docked in Cozumel at the International Pier. We did not have a planned excursion and took a taxi into San Miguel for a little shopping. We had a beautiful day with a high of 75. We had lunch at Los Palmeros and then returned to the Splendour to spend some time by the pool. The casino is called Casino Royale and is located on deck 4 between the King and I and 42nd Street Theater. The staff was very friendly and the area was always kept clean. On day four we were in Costa Maya. A tourist village has been built at the end of the pier that contains a pool and several bars. We spent the day here and relaxed under a palapa. Day five was a sea day and started out cloudy but cleared quickly and turned cool. DW attended a movie in the 42nd Street Theater while I attended the art auction. I highly recommend Park West for the professionalism and courtesy. I learned a great deal from these auctions. As we were staying a few extra days in Galveston, we decided to have our luggage picked up that evening. Luggage had to be in the hallway between 7 pm and midnight. You are given colored tags and are called by color code. During the night a thick fog set in and delayed our docking by a few hours. We were still off the ship by 10 and back to our car by 11am. This had to be the smoothest debarkation I've ever experienced. I would recommend Royal Caribbean and plan on sailing again soon. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We were on the Feb 26th sailing on the beautiful Splendour of the Seas. We chose to drive down the night before and stayed at the Galveston Hilton since they offered secured parking, as well as a shuttle to and from the cruise terminal. ... Read More
We were on the Feb 26th sailing on the beautiful Splendour of the Seas. We chose to drive down the night before and stayed at the Galveston Hilton since they offered secured parking, as well as a shuttle to and from the cruise terminal. I highly recommend this hotel for a pre and post cruise stay. We spoke with the bellman upon check in to set up our shuttle time and we were able to book the first one at 11:30. Embarkation: We made it to the cruise terminal around 11:50 and we were able to zip through the check in process and were on the ship by noon. We first went to check on our table location for the main dining room. We had table number 12 which was right by the windows. Great location! Then we proceeded up to the windjammer for a bite to eat. They have hand sanitizer stations set up at both entrances and I saw everyone using them. The food here was pretty good. I would say above average for a buffet. We were able to get into our room by 1pm and we met our cabin steward. He took such good care of us all week that we gave him an extra tip above what we had prepaid for. The bedding was wonderful and we both slept wonderfully. Our luggage was waiting for us when we went to our room to get the life jackets for the muster drill. So since I had some time to kill we unpacked and got everything put away. After the muster drill we headed up to the pool deck for the sail away party. For the welcome show they had comedian David Orion performing and he was quite funny. 1st full day at sea: We woke up this morning early in anticipation of our first full day at sea. We had breakfast and lunch just about every day in the windjammer or the solarium cafe. Very good variety, and the crepes in the solarium are out of this world! We attended the Park West art auction and we were able to attain one of the pieces we really liked. They have wonderful deals on a lot of the art so I highly recommend attending at least one of the art auctions. After the art auction, we made our way over to play Bingo. We thought it was kind of high for what you get so we didn't go back for the rest of the cruise. The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers did "Dancing through the Movies" show tonight. It was well done and we enjoyed ourselves. Cozumel: We were able to dock here at the downtown pier. We signed up for the Xcaret excursion through the ship and we had a blast here. Just a warning, they don't tell you that you will be doing a fast paced ten minute walk through Playa del Carmen to get to the chartered bus. Some of the older people were complaining that it was not mentioned. There is so much to see and do here. We chose to hang out under a palapa on the beach area and soak in the rays, as well as snorkel in the inlet. Before we realized it, the time had come to walk to the front of the park to catch out chartered bus back to the ferry. Costa Maya: We almost missed this port because of the weather. It was sunny, but very windy and the seas were rough. Somehow the captain managed to get us docked and we had the port all to ourselves this day. There was supposed to be two other ships in port with us, but I guess they didn't take a chance on docking. For this reason, the vendors seemed quite pushy to us. We did a little bit of shopping and got some great deals on pure vanilla, along with some other stuff. We went back to the ship to drop off our goods, and decided to spend some quiet time at the pool. The stage show that was scheduled for tonight was canceled because of the rough seas, but they substituted with the next nights show. This was the Los gauchos and it's hard to explain but highly entertaining. Final day at sea: We woke up this morning feeling sad because it was our final day at sea. We played some putt putt/ had fun in the casino, among other activities. Since we were going to be staying in Galveston for a post cruise mini vacation, we chose to put our bags out between 7pm and midnight. The stage show tonight was Ballroom fever and we thought it was the best of all of them. Don't miss it. Debarkation day: We had to be out of our staterooms by 7 am so they could start preparing for the next cruise. We went up to the windjammer for a quick bite to eat and then our color was to meet in the Top hat lounge. You could tell a lot of people were sad to see the cruise was officially over. Everyone was quiet and had somber looks on their faces. We breezed through customs and were back at the Hilton for an afternoon dip in the pool. Overall: This was our first cruise and we had an amazing time. We will definitely book again. The crew and staff were friendly and always had an answer for whatever question we might have thrown their way. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
RCL Splendour, 5 Night Western Caribbean, 17 - 22 February 2007 out of Galveston by Richard Thorp (SATXRich). Cabin Categories JS (Junior Suite) & J (Superior Interior), Cabins 8020, 8023 and 8025, Main Seating. CRUISE CRITIC ... Read More
RCL Splendour, 5 Night Western Caribbean, 17 - 22 February 2007 out of Galveston by Richard Thorp (SATXRich). Cabin Categories JS (Junior Suite) & J (Superior Interior), Cabins 8020, 8023 and 8025, Main Seating. CRUISE CRITIC EXPERIENCE: Cruise Critic added to our enjoyment of this trip through Member Reviews, Destination Message Boards, and most importantly the Roll Call Message Board for our specific sailing. The only serious shortcoming of the Cruise Critic experience was that Royal Caribbean's policy of having official "Meet and Mingles" only for 7 night and longer cruises meant that fewer people were likely to find out about Cruise Critic and participate in what now for the second time for my family has been a very nice added touch to the trip. We however were undaunted by the lack of a formal M&M and the group set up our own to include a gift exchange as an ice breaker. As with our previous experience it was a really nice group of folks with some interesting stories to tell about their cruising experiences. Regardless of what ship you sail on participate in Cruise Critic and spread the word to your fellow travelers. Don't be shy jump right in there and energize your message board! THE SPLENDOUR AND 5-NIGHT GALVESTON MARKET NICHE: One of the great things about the cruise industry is that there are product lines and itineraries to please a wide range of travelers. Unless you are real particular you can have an excellent vacation on a range of ships and in fact might prefer different approaches depending upon your mood for a given trip. However, you are going to have the best time on a ship and itinerary that matches your expectations so spend some time doing some research before making your final selection. The Splendour is not a mega-ship nor is it a high end luxury ship. If you consider a Ritz-Carlton barely acceptable this is not the ship for you. The itinerary makes for a nice short trip in the Western Caribbean and is well suited for a first time cruiser, someone looking for a relatively short trip, or someone looking to escape the winter cold but a 7-night trip doesn't work for them. PRE-CRUISE & EMBARKATION: We arrived the day before the sailing with 5 of our group of 6 driving in from San Antonio and the sixth arriving by air at George Bush Airport (the airport that is further from Galveston). Our air arrival used Galveston Limo and in spite of making advanced arrangements had some problem with the pickup but they got the job done! $70 roundtrip from George Bush International (IAH). http://galvestonlimousineservice.com/ We all stayed at the Galveston Hilton. Currently any of the three hotels in the San Luis resort complex on Galveston allow you to park your car in their long term storage lot and will shuttle you to an from the ship which saves you $60-$100 depending on the length of your cruise. We took the first shuttle over to the port on the day of the cruise, 11:30 AM, and with multiple check-in stations we only had four families ahead of us in line and after a very brief wait we were checking in. We had done the on-line check in and had our set sail pass so we saved some inprocessing time. THE SPLENDOUR: The Splendour is a nice mid-size ship. Passenger capacity is about 2,000 but the public spaces and activities are designed where it doesn't seem crowded even with a full ship. I like the layout of one of its sister ships, The Rhapsody of the Seas, a bit better but that is for a variety of subtle reasons and not because of any major flaws with the Splendour. We had three cabins on deck 8, the highest passenger deck, to include a Junior Suite (236 sq ft and 75 sf balcony) and two connection Superior Insides (172 SF). This was our fifth cruise and first with a balcony which we found we really, really liked which shouldn't be surprising. We probably would have been just as happy in a Balcony Stateroom but pricing was really favorable for this trip and we went with the indulgence of the slightly larger Junior Suite. For this trip being on the port side allowed us to enjoy a few glorious sunrises and sunsets from our balcony. Having one Junior Suite with two insides just across the hall allowed us to economize a bit while we all got to enjoy the space and balcony of the larger room. The Splendour offers formal dining with assigned tables and table mates in the King and I with two seatings, informal dining in the Windjammer (which has a really good floor plan for avoiding traffic jams that some buffets create) , fast food in the solarium and a solid room service menu. For some folks the main dining room's menu will be a bit too exotic but they offer standard fare at all meals if you are not adventurous. It is not 5-Star cuisine but of solid quality and something beyond the ordinary. 5 NIGHT GALVESTON WESTERN CARIBBEAN: The 5-Night Itinerary is a great short trip. The schedule gets to be a bit crowded if you are used to 7-Night and longer cruises and want to accomplish the same things. This sailing allows a low cost getaway for folks from Texas and eastern Louisiana. For other folks you total cost will depend on how well you can get into one of Houston's two airports. The trip includes the partial day when you board in Galveston, a day at sea, a day with 12 hours in Cozumel (7AM to 7PM), 8 hours in Costa Maya (7AM to 3PM), and finishing with a full day at sea before pulling back into Galveston during early morning hours. Entertainment: The Splendour singers and dancers put on some enjoyable production shows. No, not high end Vegas but good for an evening's entertainment. The guest entertainers were so-so from our view point but that was a personal taste thing not RCL booking lousy acts just not at the brilliant level we have seen before. The "Jamaican" pool band offered good standard fare and I found the Captain Boom Showband to be really good in the Red Hat Lounge. PORTS OF CALL & EXCURSIONS: COZUMEL: Arrival 7AM, Back on Ship 6:30 PM and departure 7:00 PM. We've been to Cozumel 4 times before but in this review I will focus on the things we did rather than a comprehensive review of everything at this stop. We docked at the International Pier and their was only one other ship in port the day we were there. (You can find out what ships will be in port with you at www.cruisecal.com ) Morning: The excursion we had planned to take was not available on this trip so we went with our backup choice, The Fury Catamaran Snorkel and Beach Break. We were looking for a good beginners snorkel trip (three of the people in our group of six had not snorkeled before). And this fit the bill pretty well. The reef was only so-so as it is still recovering from Hurricane Wilma but still beautiful enough to enjoy and to hook the first time snorkeler on the experience. The Fury Catamaran we were on (#4) was a nice open air boat with upper and lower deck and two banos. The crew created a fun experience and included an underwater photographer to give you the option of a souvenir photo. Take some cash or credit card along with you for this. Of the 3.5 hour trip about 40 minutes was spent in the water which is about right, then a very pleasant trip with open bar along the coastline to a beach spot where you enjoy paradise for about an hour. Pretty much everything at the beach is included and they had kayaks, a good place to swim, beach mats, tables, open bar, banos, and you could purchase lunch if you wanted. However in the case of our trip that didn't make much sense because the tour would have us back to the dock at about 12 Noon. On the powered sail back to the dock, more open bar, dancing on deck, and looking/purchasing the souvenir photo's taken by the official camera person. Not for the experienced snorkeler looking to push the limits and see something new but a fun combination of beach, snorkel and powered sailing. The Fury company also offers some more challenging snorkel tours with multiple reefs or reefs that require stronger swimming skills. http://www.fury-catamarans.com/ Lunch: Back on the ship for lunch and to get the items we wanted to take on our self-escorted afternoon. Afternoon: We decided to do one of the local tourist beaches on our own. We did some research before the trip to include using the Cruise Critic message boards. Where we narrowed things down to either Paradise Beach or Playa Mia beach for this trip each of which had a loyal following. The two beaches are actually next to each other and seem to offer very similar things but use a different business model with Playa Mia charging from several categories of admission and PB expecting certain minimum purchases off their menu. There are some other differences such as the type of beach chair they use. We flipped mental coin and chose Play Mia for this trip. It was a 15 minute cab ride from the International Pier and with a group of 6 we chose a van for $30 each way. We purchased the basic admission $12 for the two under 18 year olds in our group of 6 which included admission, use of kayaks and other water toys. For the four adults we purchased the fiesta package which included an open bar to include bottled water. There is another package above this that included a meal but since we just ate on the boat that would have been a waste. Food and drink is available at the beach ala carte. Also available at the beach with various fees: Scuba trips, snorkeling trips, parasailing, banana boat, wave runners, beach massages, and some shopping though they are in the process of completing construction on an entire section of shops between the beach and the entrance. Included with admission include a great beach that was not at all crowded the day we were there. An area for swimming with miniature Mayan ruins whose real benefit was they provided habitat for some very colorful fish. Snorkeling in this area was fun. Another swimming area with a water trampoline and floating iceberg, kayaks and small sailboats were also included with admission. ( www.playamia.com ) or Paradise Beach at ( http://www.paradise-beach-cozumel.com ) COSTA MAYA: Day 3 of the Trip, Arrive 7:00 AM, back on the boat 2:30 PM, depart 3:00 PM. The Port of Costa Maya: The port area of Costa Maya was built for cruise ship operations. We were the first of three ships into the port that morning and things were not at all crowded at that level. The lack of crowds had one drawback in that the shopkeepers didn't have enough folks to keep them busy and one did feel pretty hounded after awhile. This improved with the arrival and disembarkation of the other ships. The Port area is modern, seems like prices have jumped a bit since our last trip there BUT IF you are really price conscious for local crafts go to the local fishing village, Majuhal and the flea market shopping area. The port area has beach chairs and a large pool with swim up bar. One could spend all their shore time here and have a good time. There are vendors in the terminal area for local beach clubs with various excursions if you have not booked through the cruise ship. We had planned to parasail but the only vendor offering parasailing (Costa Maya / Majuhal is small town compared to Cozumel) had their boats down for maintenance. We were not particularly interested in shopping so decided to purchase a package to a beach club. You can just take a cab down to Majuhal and walk the beach but the beach clubs have restrooms, lockers and activities. On our previous trips we just went to town this time we did the beach club approach. We decided on the Tequila Beach club with $20 for beach chairs, swimming area, rest rooms and non-alcoholic open bar and lunch. $25 with open bar ( see http://www.costa-maya-tours.com/Tour_TequilaBeach.cfm ) Near as we could tell the lunch was pretty much unlimited items off a decent menu, see the link above. Expect the food to not taste like US fast food, beef tastes different outside the US and other items are prepared in local fashion (corn instead of flour tortillas). They had a variety of snorkel / scuba tours, beach massages, etc. available. The club is about a 5 minute walk from the flea market where the shoppers in my group scored some good buys. A great beach to spend a few hours at! Then we headed back to the Port Area of Costa Maya for what my wife considers (and I do not disagree) the best Pina Colada in the entire world at Bandito's. Some of our group then spent the remaining time shopping. ACTIVITIES ON THE SHIP: Even with only 5 days the Cruise Director and his staff packed a lot in to choose from, Bingo, Casino, karaoke, themed dance parties, shows, towel folding, wine tasting, art auctions, belly flop contests, sexy legs contests, etc. all of which an experience Caribbean cruiser will recognize. If none of these appeal to you there is always relaxing on deck or you balcony if you are lucky enough to have one. It was cool and a bit choppy on our first day at sea but we had 3 full days of calm seas and hot sun (once the clouds burned off). SUMMATION: This cruise really hit the spot for my group. We were looking for a few days in the sunny tropics and some of the shipboard activities that we enjoy. We also looked forward to the service and dining experience both in the informal Windjammer and the King and I Dining Room, for us its fun to dress up and go out to dinner on occasion. We did not expect the level of service, dining or shows that we experience on our Celebrity Panama Canal cruise but the Splendour did a fine job of delivering the RCL Western-Caribbean experience. The activities in the ports did not disappoint either. Again, look for a cruise ship and itinerary that matches your tastes, participate in Cruise Critic and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Pre Boarding: Prior to cruising, we stayed overnight in the Hotel Galvez one night and the Harbor House the next. The Galvez in beautiful and victorian and it provides a beautiful view of the ocean over the sea wall. There are NUMEROUS ... Read More
Pre Boarding: Prior to cruising, we stayed overnight in the Hotel Galvez one night and the Harbor House the next. The Galvez in beautiful and victorian and it provides a beautiful view of the ocean over the sea wall. There are NUMEROUS restaurants and bars that are walking distance from the Galvez. The Harbor House is a very low keyed comfortable (NAUTICAL) themed hotel that provides an excellent view of the Port of Galveston and the cruise ships docked there. They offer a complimentary continental breakfast and coffee which came in handy with a family of six!! Willie G's restaurant is right next door to the Harbor House and the food is WONDERFUL, but a little pricey....we had a great lunch there and felt the food to be worthy of the prices! The "Strand" is one street over and there are NUMEROUS places to shop, eat, and so forth. There is also a Port Canal tour given for $10 p/adult and $5 per kid under 13 just behind the Harbor House & Willie G's. This tour takes you down the Port Channel and allows you to see many things including dolphins that come right up to the boat! My kids loved it! The Splendour of the Seasship an older moderately sized ship but the crew has done an AMAZING job maintaining it. It is beautiful and elegant with an eight story centrum that houses two glass elevators with a beautiful astrological work of art in the middle of the centrum area. We sailed this ship ( just my husband and I) on March 7, 2006 and found the excellence in service and food to be just as great as it was on the 1/15/07 cruise. Ship Details:Ship Quality The lay out is very easy to navigate and elevator positioning makes it very easy to get around.....we had two oceanview cabins (we were traveling with our 4 children ages 15, 13, 8 & 3). We made sure we booked cabins directly below the Adventure Ocean program areas and Teen Optix Disco area/ arcade so all the kids would have to do is hop on the elevator and go up to their activities...this made it REALLY EASY !!!!!!Dining/Food Our Wait Staff: Monique; Waiter, Jan; Asst. Waiter and Kumar; Head waiter were nothing short of EXCEPTIONAL! I am a horribly picky eater and found all of the food to be outstanding. The kids menus were VERY extensive, offering numerous options for picky youth. My daughter had a hard time finding something one evening and they had spaghetti SPECIALLY made for her....UNREAL! Stateroom Quality Of course, cruise cabins are smaller than regular hotel rooms.....we had cabins 3504 & 3506; they are joining oceanview cabins....even with the size of the cabins, we had wonderful views out of the windows and more then enough drawer and closet space to accommodate everyone. There is a hair dryer and shampoo dispenser already in the room. We noticed that the staterooms had been renovated since the last time we had cruised on this ship in March 2006. The linens were luxurious egyptian cotton and were embroidered with the RCCL anchor logo. the mattresses were very snuggly and soft...I slept great every night!Ship Staff Quality OUTSTANDING!!!!! and again OUTSTANDING!!!!! You never had to search for anyone to help you...our room steward Bayardo was amazing and made our room 3 times daily....they sneak in somehow when you are not there...I LOVE THAT!Entertainment & Activities Ok........we did not see the shows but we heard they were AWESOME! The activity options were so many we had a very hard time trying to decide WHAT to do so we should not miss out on the other things. All I have to say is BE SURE you go the "QWEST" night...DO NOT MISS THAT....you will laugh for years to come...you can just sit and watch or play the game. My husband and I agree that this game's reputation must proceed it because that was THE LARGEST gathering of people at ANY given time we had seen on the cruise ....it was SRO 10 minutes before it started. DO NOT MISS THIS!. My husband did the Rock climbing wall and the Grand Buffet at midnight was INCREDIBLE. All of RCCL's food is rich and tastes wonderful unlike other cruise lines I have been on.... Children's Programs We had kids in the 3-5 group, the 6-8 group, the 12-14, group and the 15-17 group. They staff was amazing....I mean really WONDERFUL! Lorena, Alex, Monica, Kit Kat, Graham, Slo-jam....all awesome.....these people have one of the hardest jobs on the ship! They have EXCELLENTLY planned & scheduled activities that are from 9-noon then 2-5 and then 7-10pm. They then have pirate night, pj night and so on from 10-1am so the parents can party.The 10-1am costs $5 per hour per child. This schedule ALSO goes on while in port so if you want to do some things on your own, they are available. All of the staff is degreed and has experience in working in youth programs....my kids had a blast and begged to go to every event. This is one area I could go on and on about! My 13 & 15 year old made friends quickly and I basically did not see them the last 2 days until dinner time.:(! OVERALL: This cruise has A TON of bang for the buck! The poolside games....MEN"S SEXIEST LEGS & BELLY FLOP CONTEST...are a riot. Remember it is always what you make of it....however...the staff go out of their way to make sure they never have to tell you "NO". Embarkation was a BREEZE!!! WE showed up at the pier at 11:15am and got right on...by far the SMOOTHEST embarkation I have ever seen! They had lemonade & cookies to snack on....they began letting us on at 11:30am....overall....an excellent experience AGAIN!!!! Thanks RCCL! Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
This is my 8th cruise, second on Splendour, DH's first. He liked the smaller ship and will sail her again as will I. There were few negatives; weather was perfect, staff outstanding. Thanks to Hernan our cabin steward who is now ... Read More
This is my 8th cruise, second on Splendour, DH's first. He liked the smaller ship and will sail her again as will I. There were few negatives; weather was perfect, staff outstanding. Thanks to Hernan our cabin steward who is now off until he joins the Serenade. Ballardo and Hugo in the dining room were fabulous and hope to see them in the future. Would like food hotter at dinner, but it was was still great. Found all staff to be extraordinarily polite. Cruise Director Simeon was awesome. Our cabin was perfect, a little tight walking by the bed, but more storage than we would ever use. Do wish they would go to a code entry on the safe vs. credit card. You lock everything up, but still have to carry c.c. to open safe! We boarded at 2pm, after the rush, carried our luggage with no problems, other than I locked my mine and key was at house. Fortunately we live 20 blocks from the terminal, called cat sitter who rushed key back to ship. I was ready to chew the lock off:) Met our meet and mingle group in Viking for sailaway due to the ice cold, sleeting weather. Next morning was sunny warm and beautiful. Had a great haircut from Victoria in salon - please say hello. Wish I could see her every month.Wednesday found us in Cozumel where we have been several times so took ferry over to Playa del Carmen - walked to ferry terminal from ship. Playa has changed so much over the years, to the better. Walked, shopped, had a few beers and did some beach time. Nothing spectacular. DH's birthday - so we just relaxed. Arrived in Costa Maya, also been there, done that. Took taxi to Mahajaul for $6 (2). A little put off by the hawkers, but got over it. Walked to the end of town then back to across from the Hotel Mahajaul where we were not inundated with offers for drinks, food, massage, etc. Got a massage for $20 - great couple, Augustin and his wife, Blanca. I highly recommend. Back to ship and more food. Celebration at dinner for birthday - lots of fun and laughter. Entertainment was enjoyable and would see again. Quest was a mad house, but hysterically funny. Love and Marriage is not to be missed even if you have to go hungry (impossible on this ship). Last day at sea was great - calm, sunny and a day to do absolutely nothing but plan for the next cruise. We met great friends and look forward to sailing with them again.Arrive at terminal on time. Opted for carrying our own luggage as we only had one bag each (packing experience). We disembarked at approximately 7:30, called our friendly pet sitter and were home at 8:00 am! Now that is convenience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
I'll start by saying that we had a fine time on Splendor...embarkation was extremely easy, and disembarkation was smooth and quick. Service staff was very gracious and eager to please. I would definitely take this ship again, and ... Read More
I'll start by saying that we had a fine time on Splendor...embarkation was extremely easy, and disembarkation was smooth and quick. Service staff was very gracious and eager to please. I would definitely take this ship again, and I'm strongly considering taking it to Brazil when it starts that route later this year. Special Note: Reynaldo at the poolside bar, and, Daniel, who seemed to be everywhere, make the strongest drinks. My group of approx. 12 folks was made up of several single African-American women, aged 33-62, one married couple in their 50's, a grandpa, and a 21 year old, and there was something for all of us. Most of us were repeat cruisers, but even the first-time cruiser did just fine. We spent most of our time poolside, either playing games, listening to the band, or simply relaxing. Because of the ship's size, we never had problems finding one another, yet we also never felt suffocated. Food: The food was surprisingly good in the Windjammer Cafe. We never expect buffet style to be fresh or tasty, but the Windjammer served up both. In fact, a couple of us skipped the always lukewarm dining room food one night to find hot, delicious dining room menu items right in Windjammer. Very good grub, and we didn't have to change clothes. Stay away from the room service chicken wings! Entertainment: While we thoroughly enjoyed the band's company, as it was comprised of a few nice-looking Jamaicans, we quickly grew tired of hearing every single song sung to a reggae beat. They were fun, but their repertoire could stand to expand beyond every reggae song ever written and a couple of Lionel Richie songs in between. The Viking Crown Lounge (disco) was very nice and comfortable, but the DJ is limited. A couple of nights of Ghostbusters and Sweet Home Alabama nearly took us out. Word to the wise: load the DJ up with requests if you want to hear music worth dancing to. I only attended one show in the theater and slept through most of it. Not very entertaining at all. Cabin: Three of us stayed in a junior suite and I think I'm spoiled now. It was about the size of a small hotel room, with lots of storage space, and great attention from housekeeping. I think only the suites are on deck 8, so any time we mentioned our cabin number or deck, we noticed a little special treatment. Cleanliness: It was amazing to all of us how often and just what did get cleaned every day. The day we saw someone on our balcony washing it down was so reassuring and yet a little scary at the same time. In the end, we really appreciated the care that went into ensuring all areas of the ship were spotless. Ports: If you're into beauty, get up early and spend all day on and around the beaches of Costa Maya. It's gorgeous. If you're into overpriced goods sold by desperate locals, spend your time in the marketplace on Cozumel. Summary: This was a great trip for the price, particularly for anyone in the Houston area. Having cruised on Celebrity and Carnival, I can say that Royal Caribbean Splendour gives nice combination of great service with a little "cornyness". Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
What a wonderful time on a wonderful ship. A cruise is the best value for your vacation dollar. The Splendour of the Seas is well kept, the paint is fresh, the carpets are clean, the staterooms are spotless and the brass is polished. This ... Read More
What a wonderful time on a wonderful ship. A cruise is the best value for your vacation dollar. The Splendour of the Seas is well kept, the paint is fresh, the carpets are clean, the staterooms are spotless and the brass is polished. This was our second cruise and if you want a resort vacation experience without paying resort prices then Royal Caribbean is well worth it. Boarding at Galveston was painless, much more pleasant then going through security at an airport. We arrived 11am, boarded promptly and then explored the ship. I found the ship very well laid out and easy to get around. My wife and I had a balcony stateroom which was wonderful. The bedding has been upgraded to include high thread count sheets, euro sham pillows and a duvet cover for the bed. The bedding and comfort was 5 star. I would recommend that if one wants a balcony stateroom you should compare sailing dates to the lunar calendar for moon brightness. I didn't and realize what a great opportunity I missed. We had no moon or quarter moon night skies. A half moon or full moon period would have made the view from the balcony wonderful and very romantic. The food in the main dining room was great. The wait staff was very attentive. Again a 5 star experience. My purpose for this vacation was to relax on the deck with a good book and drinks from the bar. The pool bar staff was great and the pool deck was a great place to soak up some sun and relax. I can't rate shipboard activities as I wasn't interested in them. We made stops at Cozumel and Costa Maya. What I find interesting is Royal Caribbean has developed a docking area that has its own shopping at both ports. My wife and I felt like we were the prey and the shop owners the hunters as we visited each shop. The merchants were very aggressive and pushy. If you want bargains then you need to break out into the local market of Cozumel. Costa Maya is being developed for the cruise lines. It has a new shopping area but they are the same stores as in Cozumel if you look closely you will find armed guards on the walls of the shopping area. Don't know why unless they are there to guard the diamond stores. I don't think you can go wrong with a cruise as your vacation choice. The only wild card is the weather factor. On two cruises we have had stormy weather. This trip on our last day at sea instead of sun we had following seas, with very rough sea conditions and gale force winds. Needless to say my wife was seasick and I couldn't sit on the pool deck and read. Putting this aside a cruse on any Royal Caribbean ship is a 5 star vacation on a Holiday Inn budget. The money is well spent. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
We flew into Houston International airport the day of the cruise. The ship was late arriving as there was an emergency at sea on the previous cruise. The bus arrived about noon and we took our time getting to the port, the driver stopped ... Read More
We flew into Houston International airport the day of the cruise. The ship was late arriving as there was an emergency at sea on the previous cruise. The bus arrived about noon and we took our time getting to the port, the driver stopped for us to get a bite to eat at Whataburger and a convenience store to pick up anything else we needed, and then we arrived at the port about 3:30 pm. The ship arrived in port about 1:00 pm and no one was allowed on until 4:00 pm. Our luggage was unloaded and porters took it directly to the ship, we were given a group number #15 and went into the terminal. They had just called 6 so we had to wait inside for about 1 1/2 hours and then were allowed to register and board. It was not too bad a wait. The muster drill was cancelled until the next morning and dinner was moved back an hour for both sittings. We received our luggage before dinner, but casual was okay in the dining room that evening. The ship is very easy to navigate with one dining room, a small casino, two pools one covered, and the Windjammer Cafe. We ate breakfast the first day in the King and I dining room, service was quick and we enjoyed our tablemates. The sea day was spent exploring the ship, playing bingo, eating lunch in the Windjammer Cafe and making our plans for Cozumel and Costa Maya. The first sea night was formal night and we had our pictures taken and then enjoyed the meal in the dining room. The next day the weather was overcast in Cozumel, so shopping was our choice of activities for the day. We tendered in from the ship, quick, and were dropped off downtown. We walked the local streets for a couple of hours and ended up at Carlos and Charlies for a margarita and lunch. Then we strolled back to the ship and did some on board activities. Costa Maya was bright and sunny with winds pushing the waves into the rocks in front of the mall and eating areas. What a gorgeous site to see the ship docked right in front of us, the waves on the beach and the pool area in town were beautiful. We had lunch in the restaurant at the beach and enjoyed the breeze. We decided to go back to the ship and enjoy the sunshine on deck. The shows were good, we saw both production shows and the final night show. The band in the Top Hat Lounge played lots of different kinds of music. The Karaoke was fun and the Quest was a blast, this was our first time at Quest so we were amazed at the things people will do to win some cheap prizes. We participated in bingo and at the casino and won at both. On the last sea day a crew member became ill and the Coast Guard sent a helicopter to pick her up and transport her to the hospital in Alabama. It was exciting to watch them in action sending down a capsule and and an individual to bring her up to the helicopter. We lost about 1 1/2 hours to the rescue but everyone was happy to hear she was stable and doing okay. We arrived back in port at 9:00 instead of 7:00 and were one of the first off the ship by 9:30 am. Our trip to the airport was non-eventful and we had plenty of time to get our flight at 3:44 pm back to Detroit. This is a nice ship, smaller then the last several I have been on, but the crew is enjoyable, we were always able to find something good to eat in the cafe and the dining room, and the ship activities were fun. The Spa had a special on the second sea day and we had a Top 2 Toe massage and facial that was fantastic. I would recommend this trip to anyone wanting to take a smaller ship on a short cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Splendor of the Seas  Five Nights  January 29 - February 3, 2007 Pre-Boarding  Received a call from RCCL on Sunday afternoon advising that there had been a medical emergency on the current sailing and the Splendour would not arrive ... Read More
Splendor of the Seas  Five Nights  January 29 - February 3, 2007 Pre-Boarding  Received a call from RCCL on Sunday afternoon advising that there had been a medical emergency on the current sailing and the Splendour would not arrive Galveston until 1:00 (instead of 7:00) and that boarding for our cruise would not begin until 3:00 PM. We would be receiving a $20 per person on board credit for our inconvenience. I'll take any onboard credit I can get. Parking  We used EZ Cruise Parking a couple blocks from the pier. By booking on-line we got a $5 discount. You are able to take your luggage with you coming and going. Our price for the 5 day cruise was $35. I'd use them again. http://www.ezcruiseparking.com Embarkation  At approximately 3:00 EZ Cruise shuttled us to the pier and it was a zoo due to the fact that EVERYONE was there for the 3:00 time period (or so it appeared). Because we are Diamonds we were able to get the yellow Priority tag that allowed us to move to the front of the line (mob) and were one of the first ones at the check-in counter with our Set Sail Pass. Minutes later we were on the ship. Cabin  Outside cabin 3522. This was our first outside cabin as we normally book an inside or balcony but when we booked the outside cabins were priced the same as an inside so it was a no-brainer to take an outside. The new mattresses and bed linen are wonderful. I only wish they would have larger pillows as they seemed about half the size of a standard size pillow. Initially the beds were together but the only way you could really look out the window was to crawl up on the bed so the next day we asked our room steward to separate them into a twin configuration. While that meant hubby and I could not sleep in the same bed, it did give us more useable square footage and the opportunity to look out the window effortlessly. Dining  The Dining Room food was OK. Obviously much better than what I can cook at home but a little under-par what we've had on other RCCL sailings. The Windjammer food also was not as impressive as we've experience before either. Nevertheless, we filled our plates for breakfast and most lunches and never left hungry. One more serious complaint was that both ice machines always seemed to be out of ice so the staff would put plastic bins of ice with a community scoop that rested in the ice. I don't even want to think of the number of germs that ended up in the ice. (I didn't use the ice in the bins) Also, frequently the lemonade was watery, and on more than one occasion there was no orange juice at either station at breakfast. We had late seating, table 123 on the upper level of the dining room. Our waitress was Bianca from Romania and while she gave us Excellent Service she was very intense and she could not (or would not) keep reminding us that she did not cook the food but only served it and if we did not like our food for any reason she would FIX it until we did !! Actually everyone at our table was a little scared of her (haha-not really) but when she was out of sight our table mates would mock her in her accent. I will FIX it !!! Our assistant waitress was Monica from Poland. She was the opposite in her demeanor, always smiling and friendly. We actually nominated her for outstanding employee on a card for that purpose we received midway through the cruise. Formal night was our first sea day and all other nights casual. I have never seen so many people dressed in jeans (and shorts) in the dining room&more the rule than the exception. This did not bother me, though, just an observation. Sea Days  The first sea day was very windy and way too cool to sit out by the pool. They allowed children in the Solarium to use the pool which is OK by me. The last sea day was a little better than the first but still windy and cool and off limits for several hours (see Medical Emergency). We were pretty lazy this cruise and didn't partake in any of the Ship Shape activities that we normally participate in, although, my husband did go to the gym sea day mornings and said that the gym was OK but small without a lot of equipment. Cozumel  Tendered not docked. There were two other ships in port, the Princess Grand and a Disney ship that were docked. We did the ship excursion to the ecological water park of XCARET on the mainland. This tour left the ship at 7:15 and the ferry to the mainland was actually docked right next to the ship so we didn't have to tender in and then walk/bus to the ferry dock. The ferry was better than the last time we used a ferry in Cozumel. All enclosed and high speed. 25 minutes versus 45. Also did not feel as rocky. XCARET is fabulous and we recommend it. We were at the park at least 6 hours. After an orientation tour with our guide we were able to explore on our own. We did the Underground (Cave) River Float (included in admission). They give you a snorkel vest to wear that keeps you afloat and you can rent snorkel and fins, bring your own or go without. Also, you can put your belongings (towels, shoes, clothes, etc.) in a locking bag and they give you the key that unlocks the bag. When you get out of the river at the end, your bag is waiting for you. The water is deep enough that my 6 foot husband could only touch the bottom a couple of times. The water is COLD (60 degrees) and it was hard getting in by walking down the steps. You just have to hold your nose and jump in. After you're in, though, you're fine. There are numerous places where you can get out, though. We did the whole river in 45 minutes to an hour. Also, there are photographers at different locations who take your picture that you can later view and/or purchase at the gift shop on your way out of the park. An 8x10 was $12 and we bought one that portrayed the experience quite well. There are beautiful beach coves for swimming and snorkeling, animal, bird, bat, turtle and butterfly exhibits and actual Mayan ruins. There are also two places where you can swim with dolphins (extra charge). Before we knew it our time was up and it was time to re-board the bus back to Playa del Carmen to board the ferry back to Cozumel. This time the ferry took us to the pier where it was a very short walk to the tender. We've done X'el Ha in the past and loved that park, too, but Xcaret is much larger and we would not hesitate to go there again as I know there are parts we did not see. Costa Maya  Had been to this port 3 years ago. Woke up to sunny skies but very windy. The last time we were there the water was very calm but that day there were huge waves (surfing anyone?). Our plan was to go to Majahual and snorkel/swim at the beach there but when we saw those waves, we figured water would be too churned up to see anything snorkel-wise. We decided to go to Majahual anyway to see if the village had grown. It is $3 per person to take the shuttle to the town and $2 per person to take a taxi back to the pier complex. The differences were that the taxis/shuttles can no longer drive into the village (dirt/sand street) but drop off/pick up at the edge of town. Also there seemed to be ALOT more massage tables set up. The cafe, massage ladies, and souvenirs merchants were very persistent and just would not leave you alone. The wind was so strong that you felt like you were being sand-blasted so we shopped a little, took some photos and decided to go back to the pier. Went to the internet cafe ($6 for an hour, $3 for a half-hour) and checked email and browsed some of the shops. At least here the merchants did not hound you as much as in town. Thought I'd check out the pool but water was a little murky and cold. We finally decided to go back to the ship and eat and hang out on the private deck off the spa/gym on deck 7. I like this port but despite the sunny, warm weather the wind and high surf that day spoiled it a little. Concierge Lounge  Even though we were in an outside cabin (deck 3 no less), because we have Diamond status, we were allowed access to the Concierge Lounge on deck 7 normally reserved for Suite passengers only. The Concierge, Ken Boodoo is excellent and has a real knack for remembering people's names. In the evening, from 5:00 (?)  8:30, the lounge is open for complimentary cocktails. We went the first night prior to dinner to check it out. We are not big drinkers; I had a glass of wine and my husband had a beer. The lounge was not at all crowded and Ken was very friendly. He asked if we were traveling with anyone and when we said we were, he said we could invite our friends the next evening (formal night) if we wanted which we did. We took advantage of the lounge only those two nights, though, and the morning of disembarkation for continental breakfast. Loyalty Ambassador  We like to book our next cruise while on board to get the onboard credit. We actually booked two cruises this time, a transatlantic on the Splendour and one to South America on Celebrity's newest ship, the Journey. The LA is Renato Reis from Portugal and he was very helpful and knowledgeable. Both times I met with him, he was not busy with others so I didn't have to wait. I had already done all my research before leaving home of what I wanted to book and the cabins I wanted so it didn't too long. Entertainment  Only went to one show, a comedian/ventriloquist and he was pretty funny. Attended The Quest and it was hilarious as usual but more gross than I've witnessed on previous cruises. Went to the Battle of the Sexes game and several Trivia challenges. Played bingo twice which is two times more than I usually play. Husband won $600 playing craps and I walked away with $38 at a slot machine in the casino so that was great. There were tons of activities to do but we were more laid back this cruise. Medical Emergency  On the last (second) sea day, one of the crew members became seriously ill and the ship summoned a coast guard helicopter to air lift her off the ship. Since the Splendour does not have a helipad, they had to use the pool deck for evacuation purposes. The helicopter did not land on the pool deck but hovered above. They closed the pool deck, the Viking Crown Lounge and all other places that could be dangerous to passengers in the event something went wrong with the helicopter. We were in the Windjammer when the helicopter arrived and the fire doors were closed so no one could enter or leave the Windjammer. The pool deck and other areas were off limits for at least 2 hours while preparations were being made. Also, because of the airlift, it delayed our arriving into Galveston from 7:00 until 8:30. Travel-Lite Departure Pass  This was the first time we used this option. If you meet certain criteria: not much luggage, US citizenship, no duty to declare and no ship transfers to the airport, you can be the very first people off the ship as soon as Immigration has cleared it. We each had one suitcase and it was very easy for us (Travel-Lite!), but there were far too many people with numerous pieces of luggage who should not have been using this option. On another thread, I had mentioned on other cruises I had been on, I had not used my sea pass when disembarking and someone basically called me a liar. Well, I just want to state that, once again, when we disembarked not only did I not use my sea pass card in the machine but no one around me did either. Summary  This was my first time on the Splendour and I found her to be in very good condition. The furniture and (most of the) carpets throughout looked new. All the staff and crew that I encountered were happy, helpful, and friendly. The passengers were probably 95% Texans (that's OK, we're from San Antonio) and out to have a good time and everyone seemed to. We prefer longer cruises (12-14 nights) and will probably not do another 5 day cruise unless it's such a great deal we just can't pass it up because just about the time you get into the groove, it's time to go home. I would have preferred a little better weather but it was the end of January and I know it could have been worse. All in all we had a great time and would recommend this particular cruise/ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
This was our first cruise on RCI having sailed several times on Celebrity and Princess. We arrived a day early in Galveston and stayed at the historic Hotel Valdez. The room was very comfortable and they let you leave your car at the hotel ... Read More
This was our first cruise on RCI having sailed several times on Celebrity and Princess. We arrived a day early in Galveston and stayed at the historic Hotel Valdez. The room was very comfortable and they let you leave your car at the hotel during the cruise. When we arrived back to Galveston, we called the Valdez and they quickly picked us up. When we arrived at the hotel, they had our car ready with the engine running and the trunk open ready for our bags. Day 1 - The hotel shuttle took us to the terminal around 11:30. The embarkation process was fast and easy. We had lunch at the Windjammer buffet. The rooms are not available until after 1:00 p.m. Baggage arrived around 3:00 p.m. The room was extremely clean considering the age of the ship and the bedding was comfortable. The crew was extremely helpful and happy. Day 2 - The seas were moderately rough. There were many first time cruisers who were not feeling well. There were children of all ages on board but they never were any kind of problem during the cruise. The entertainment was average for this size ship and length of cruise with an above average cruise director. The food was fine but not up to Celebrity standards. If it had been up to Celebrity standards, then Celebrity would not be Celebrity. Day 3 - We docked in Cozumel at 7:00 a.m. My wife went scuba diving with an outside vendor she found through cruise critic recommendations. After a nice dive, we spent the afternoon in downtown Cozumel. Cozumel appears to be recovering from the hurricane. Downtown was busy and the merchants and cab drivers were very friendly. Day 4 - We docked in Costa Maya at 7:00 a.m. We took an excursion to the ruins which we enjoyed. Afterwards, we had time to walk through the shops near the pier. These shops are a disappointment after Cozumel. Not much had changed since we were there in February. It appears that there is a slow effort to make more things to do at Costa Maya. Day 5 - The seas were extremely rough. We had strong gale force winds averaging about 45 mph. Outside activities were cancelled and the cruise director made attempts to create more inside activities. Many people were not feeling well due to the rough seas. We arrived about an hour late the next morning due to the rough weather. However disembarkation went fast once clearance was received. Overall this ship is a good value. The ship is clean for its age and the crew friendly, professional and helpful. The food and entertainment are average for this type and length of cruise. I'm sure those that were sick due to the weather did not have as enjoyable a time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Our December 23, 2006 Christmas Cruise on the Splendour of the Seas was most enjoyable, but unfortunately many flaws and weaknesses appeared throughout the week which kept this cruise from being an outstanding one. For the most part the ... Read More
Our December 23, 2006 Christmas Cruise on the Splendour of the Seas was most enjoyable, but unfortunately many flaws and weaknesses appeared throughout the week which kept this cruise from being an outstanding one. For the most part the ship was wonderfully decorated for the holiday event and public areas were clean and well maintained. Yet, as we sat in the Crown and Anchor lounge during our sailaway we were faced with recently used gum stuck prominently on the hardwood floor, unvarnished outside railings and an unwanted sight of a dead bird on the Promenade Deck. Our Junior Suite cabin was quite nice, and the duvet and duvet cover were excellent appointments. The cabin's ambience was marred by a closet door which rattled often during the night and carts being rolled above our heads on Deck 9 all night long. Having purchased a premium cabin our disturbance level should have been lower. The balcony was larger than balcony cabins, but for a larger balcony and a bathtub the cabin didn't seem worth the extra money for a junior suite. The King and I Dining Room was very well decorated, both in its regular design and for the holidays. The menu selections were diverse, interesting and tasty, if sometimes not hot enough. Our waiter and assistant waiter were outstanding. But again a superior level of service was ruined as it appeared Royal Caribbean has hired too few personnel to serve too many tables. More distressing was the deplorable wine service situation. More than 100 couples, had purchased the Diamond level wine package on the first night of the cruise. By Tuesday one of the wine selections from the package list was unavailable. By Thursday, 4 wines had been depleted and by Friday, 6 wines were no longer available. While the wine steward failed to speak with us directly, the dining room head waiter attempted to mediate substitute wines, a wholly unsatisfactory solution for anyone knowledgeable about wine, and attempted to convince us that the wine package is subject to availability. After we maintained over 100 couples being denied access to what they had been sold was more a symptom of inefficient inventory management than unavailability he became more candid but again the Splendour's chance to define herself through the dining experience was seriously harmed. The pool and hot tub facilities were a positive note. Always plenty of chairs available, buffet food on the pool deck was readily available and always hot. Deck attendants, both regarding towels and bar service, were efficient and ever present. Even inclement weather requiring children to be temporarily allowed in the Solarium pool area generally reserved for adults was handled well by the staff, if only the parents handled their own children as well. The salon services were reasonably priced, though the nail specialist seemed slightly sullen on the two occasions she was engaged. The fitness center was well equipped, regularly utilized but having an additional fitness coordinator would have been helpful. Again there were too few staff members available to meet all cruise guest needs. A comment about the Casino. Granted cruise ships cannot expect the level of competence one sees in a Las Vegas casino, but when dealers on more than one occasion pay losing hands there needs to be better training. Sure, if you get paid when you should have lost it makes you happy, but other players aren't so delighted with their losses and overall the integrity of the game, and honesty of the casino, comes into doubt. The 3 ports visited, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Key West were pretty routine. Having been to the latter 2 before, we were content with exploring on our own. In Cozumel, rent a cheap car, drive to Playa Bonita on the opposite side of the island (40 minutes at most) and relax on their beach with plentiful food, drinks, sun and beach chairs. Costa Maya was a nice warm place for those of us escaping winter but the port is a tourist set-up and a ride into town is overpriced and a waste of time and money. Save yourself the cost and effort and enjoy the free beach chairs and resist Mexican vendors. Embarkation and debarkation were a very pleasant plus. Perhaps because we were able to arrive in a line set aside for suite passengers, but our initial check-in was smooth, quick and efficient. Royal Caribbean's Cruise Lite was also a nice opportunity to leave the ship in the first minutes after docking and carrying one's own luggage was a very small inconvenience for the ease it afforded at the end of the cruise. Overall the Splendour of the Seas seems to have left her sterling days behind. It doesn't have to be this way. All of the problems we experienced can be corrected and Royal Caribbean can present a fabulous product with this ship. Having cruised a dozen times on various lines and in conversation with fellow cruisers on this ship, we know most won't sail on the Splendour again, but that's really too bad. Her smaller size and ambience deserve more devotion from the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
We went on a 4 night cruise leaving from Galveston. Our cruise was delayed due to a medical emergency that took place on the prior cruise. We should have boarded by 1:00pm Thursday afternoon and be sailing for 5:00pm. We did not board ... Read More
We went on a 4 night cruise leaving from Galveston. Our cruise was delayed due to a medical emergency that took place on the prior cruise. We should have boarded by 1:00pm Thursday afternoon and be sailing for 5:00pm. We did not board until 11:45 pm. The ship left dock after midnight. We stood in line for hours, with no place to sit, nothing to eat or drink. It was after midnight before we got to our room, and then our luggage was misplaced. Our room numbers were changed which caused the problem with the luggage. It also gave us problems in the dining room, the table numbers were changed, so they made us switch tables with other guests. Of course, it also delayed our trip to Cozumel. We didn't get there until 10:00 am instead of the 7:00am advertised time. With the late arrival at Cozumel, everyone was trying to leave the ship at once. We were packed into a very small area waiting for tender to Cozumel. There were no RC employees in sight as we waited in line, once again, for a very long time. Royal Caribbean gave each guest a $20.00 credit to use on the ship for the delay. I called and spoke to Royal Caribbean and they said that they are not planning any additional compensation for the delay. I feel that is totally out of line. We paid for a 4 day cruise, and got 3 days and a miserable day of waiting. Also a short day for our excursion. Royal Caribbean said that the delay was beyond their control. A medical emergency is beyond their control. But part of the delay was due to computer problems with the terminal that we had to leave from. Their terminal in Galveston is only used during the day, and it is not lighted for a nighttime sailing. So we had to use Carnival's terminal. The trouble with the computers and terminal is something that they should have a back up plan for. And we felt totally abandoned by them, we heard nothing while we were waiting, and had no offers of even a drink of water (until about 15 minutes before boarding). Even though a monetary compensation would not compensate us for the miserable time we spent waiting on Royal Caribbean to get us boarded, as well as the delays on all the other activities, it would have been a step in the right direction. It would show that they actually cared about their passengers. Other than the awful experience with the delay, the food was okay, not exceptional. The areas around the pools were crowded. The room attendant was very good, but I felt the employees at the pursers desk were not as helpful as could be. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Just got back from a five night six day cruise on RCI Splendour of the Seas. Sail date was Dec 4th. First order of business is that sailing out of Galveston has both benefits and challenges. The Distance between the cruise terminal and ... Read More
Just got back from a five night six day cruise on RCI Splendour of the Seas. Sail date was Dec 4th. First order of business is that sailing out of Galveston has both benefits and challenges. The Distance between the cruise terminal and Houston Intercontinental or Hobby is about one hour and 1/2. You either take one of the shuttles $55 - $75 per person or you book through the cruise line for the day of the Cruise @ $55.00. We have sailed previously out of Houston and chose to rent. There are only two rental companies which allow drop offs Enterprise & Hertz. We went with Enterprise and found them to be exceptional in service and efficiency. Precisely after dropping off the car in Galveston we were at the cruise Terminal 15 minutes later. Check in at Royal Caribbean was the smoothest I have seen yet. We had all our paperwork and documents and 10 minutes later we were on board. Luggage arrived at our Cabin two hours after boarding and prior to sailing. The ship itself is smaller but to my wife and myself this was not a negative we have been on the bigger ships and one other smaller one and the big advantage to the size is no lineups. We never stood in line for anything. The food was above average in the Windjammer Cafe. We usually chose this for breakfast and Lunch and there was always sufficient choices and fresh food put out. This particular dining area afforded a beautiful view forward as the ship sailed. One other point about the ship and eating areas. Royal Caribbean must spend more money on manpower and germicide to clean every food service including Tables. We sat down one morning and watch a table that was unoccupied for about twenty minutes. It was cleaned five times by different people. The main dining area King & I was nicely laid out. Service was above average. Only complaint is temperature of the food. I do not know how far it was from the Kitchen to the Dining room but food arrived warm never hot. Choice was excellent and servings were more than adequate. Two points, on Carnival, NCL, & Princess you get cappuccino free with evening meals not on the Splendour. 2nd point Wine list was somewhat small they had no offerings of Wolf Blass or Lindemans or really any other reputable Australian Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. The Splendour features two pool areas. We utilized the rear Solarium as it was Kids only in the company of Adults and predominantly it was adults. Nice place to read and completely covered over. The splendour has mini putt golf course that was challenging and fun to play. The nightly entertainment was enthusiastic but the limitations of the size of the stage plus it not being the focus of this ship was somewhat subdued. The seating area for the theatre is beautifully appointed with very nice leather couches. Other ship activities included a rock climbing wall. Saw it but didn't do it. The internet area had nice machines but at $0.50 per minute it was cheaper for us to use wireless in Galveston, Cozumel and Costa Maya. Cell phones for both Voice and Data worked throughout the ship out to sea and in port. Port visits on our Trip included Cozumel and Costa Maya. Getting on and off ship was done with ease. Our Cabin Steward Margarita was like our Girl Friday, there when you needed her or anything. Otherwise it just seemed like magic that our cabin was kept spic and span. We were in a Cat "F" oceanview and this was quite adequate for two. It had a pullman for a third person but I think that would have been crowded. Arrival back into Galveston went very smoothly. The times that they tell you are pretty accurate we hoped to be off early but our time was set for 08:55 and our luggage color was called at 08:50. No fuss no muss off the ship. We rented again from Enterprise to get back to Houston. If you don't have a reservation you may as well take the shuttle. I stood in line with Princess Ship passengers and RCI passengers for over 45 minutes waiting to process my rental. About 1 in three had no reservation and they did not get vehicles. Every available vehicle Approx 78 was rented. Would I sail on Royal Caribbean. Absolutely!! It was a very clean ship that provided a nice vacation. They look after quite nicely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Splendour of the Seas cruise from Dec 4th thru Dec 9th from Galveston to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Boarding: Boarding process was quick and easy, with hardly any wait at all. We live near Galveston so had driven down and parked at the Port ... Read More
Splendour of the Seas cruise from Dec 4th thru Dec 9th from Galveston to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Boarding: Boarding process was quick and easy, with hardly any wait at all. We live near Galveston so had driven down and parked at the Port of Galveston lot ($45 for this cruise prepaid). You drop your luggage off with the porter and then park and a bus brings you back to the terminal. We found RCI boarding in Galveston much easier than Carnival's was, and the check-in staff friendlier. Room and room steward: We had an Ocean View room on deck 3 because we took a special offer deal they had offered. The room was nice and normal size for cruise ships, but the shower was a little on the small side if you're a large person. Our room steward was Dior (or Diobeth) and she did a wonderful job. She couldn't memorize everyone's names as some do, but she made sure she remembered any special requests like extra towels. Main Dinning Room: If you like cruise ship dinning with assigned seating you will like Splendour. The food varied a little but to me was a little better than some other ships. We also really lucked out with our table mates. Both couples were great company and became good friends. The service was very good as well. The only small fault was that they couldn't seem to bake soft bread, everything had a hard crust on it, but still tasted good. Windjammer: The windjammer buffet was normal for RCI and you could most always find something you liked. I've seen comments about the breakfast buffet having runny eggs on some RCI ships, but I've never found that to be the case, and it wasn't on Splendour. You could get eggs to order and omelets, if you didn't mind a short wait. Entertainment: We didn't make it to all of the shows, or hear all of the bands so I'll only comment on those we did see. The Taylors are a dance and comedy couple. Their dancing is better than their comedy, but since their dancing is great, the comedy wasn't all that bad either. Los Pampas Gauchos is a family act I have seen in Las Vegas and also on Rhapsody of the Seas. The act on Splendour is the youngest team, and aren't quite as good as their parents, but if you have never seen the act you will enjoy it. The RCI singers and dancers were the normal talented group, but they had a featured dance pair and only six dancers. I thought the group on Rhapsody was better. The cruise director was Simeon Baker. He was like a lot of other cruise directors, right down to using the same joke we have heard before. Ports: Cozumel, is Cozumel. We love the place! I would warn anyone who hasn't been there before that if you take a tour that goes over to Playa del Carmen by tender, this time of year is can be very rough! It's about a 20 minute trip, and anyone with any tendency to become seasick will. The up side is that this time of year the temperature is mild and the weather was wonderful. Costa Maya: This was our first time to Costa Maya and we loved it! So far I haven't heard any bad comments about this port. Like most of the ports, make sure you discuss the price with any of the shops. They can now dock three ships at Costa Maya, and we had three there, Splendour, Carnival Liberty, and HAL Veenland. Despite this, it didn't really seem too crowded. Now for the down side of the trip, and Splendour. For some reason, the pursers desk, and personnel on Splendour just aren't up to RCI standards. One of my bags got placed in the wrong room the first day. When I tried to report it to the pursers desk, they weren't helpful or even very interested. I also had a problem when I tried to use a coupon from RCI's book to get an extra $5 credit on WiFi internet. After three tries with the pursers desk, I gave up and never got the credit. Each time they assured me it was taken care of, but it never was. Then when the toilet wouldn't flush, we reported it to maintenance and saw the men working on the problem (it was in that area of the ship). But when my DW asked the pursers desk how long it might take to fix, she was told that there was no problem and the maintenance wasn't working on anything in that area! Of all the people I talked with, I only heard one good comment about the purser's staff, and that was about one person in particular. The same person rated the rest of the pursers staff as rude and unfriendly. RCI really needs to look into this, there's something wrong. The other down side to the trip wasn't RCI's fault. The first day out it was really cold and windy, but we were prepared for that. The last full day at sea (Friday) we had force 9 winds (45MPH) and seas over 20 feet! Anyone prone to motion sickness had a really rough time of it. Both pools were closed and drained, and the Windjammer buffet had spray beating against the windows! Things did settle down a bit after dark. I found one other thing a bit unusual, as did many other passengers. We heard from the Captain on the PA system at least once a day, but I only met one passenger who actually saw the man. The Captain's reception was handled by the Staff Captain, and the one person who did actually see the Captain commented that he wasn't very sociable. I don't know if this is really a problem, he did have a lot to do, but on other ships you normally see the Captain several times, and most of them take part in some of the functions at least once. Overall I would have to say that one shouldn't judge RCI in general by any experience with Splendour of the Seas. Mostly due to the purser's staff, Splendour is well below normal RCI standards. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
We used EZCruise Parking. #1 lot was filled so we were escorted to lot# 2 by a shuttle bus. Parked and the shuttle took us to the port. Check in was a breeze. We walked right through in a matter of minutes. SHIP: Appeared clean and laid ... Read More
We used EZCruise Parking. #1 lot was filled so we were escorted to lot# 2 by a shuttle bus. Parked and the shuttle took us to the port. Check in was a breeze. We walked right through in a matter of minutes. SHIP: Appeared clean and laid out similarly to the Rhapsody and we felt right at home. STATEROOM: Well laid out. Lots of storage. New bedding is very nice. The carpet was iffy. We didn't have loungers on the balcony however our stateroom attendant, Jesus, brought them the next day. Jesus was extremely efficient, called us by our name and anytime he saw us coming he hurried to open the door for us. He made wonderful little towel animals. We didn't have to ask him for a thing after the loungers. As it was COLD he was able to bring us robes which we greatly appreciated.( no robes in the D1 stateroom). No amenities in the bathroom other than soap and something in a dispenser in the shower. The speaker in the stateroom didn't work so we had to open the door to hear any announcements. The vent under the bathroom door rattled...maintenance fixed it with masking tape...nuff said! DINING: Not as good as on other RCCL ships. Breakfast in the King and I was lacking in choices and the food didn't seem freshly prepared. We ate breakfast after that in the Windjammer. The made to order eggs and omelets were good. Forget the biscuits (cold) and gravy (bland, and pasty);-) and the chef needs a lesson on making grits. Lots of fresh fruit and many choices. We didn't go hungry. LUNCH: We either ate salads or went to the Solarium for hot dogs, hamburgers or pizza. Don't miss the crepes in the Solarium. Dinner: Food was average...some really good other not so great. Our server, Judy and assistant Diane were wonderful. Efficient and helpful in making choices. Head waiter Boas, stopped by every evening to chat for a moment, called us by our name. The main distraction was the table of 8 next to our table for 2. 4 adults and 4 children.....the children vied for everyone's attention..all at the same time, whined, talked badly, scooted out of their chairs onto the floor. Nuff said. My husband and I were unable to carry on a conversation in a normal tome of voice. We hoped this was a first night only occurrence, unfortunately it was just the wind up. I would think RCCL could seat people more efficiently. Normally dining is one of the highlights of our cruise....this was not the case. THANKSGIVING DINNER: We ordered a traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner. I fixed turkey and stuffing on Sunday.;-) Ports: Cozumel: the weather was still cold but we decided to go to our favorite place..Paradise Beach. After a very rocky tender ride we hopped a cab to PB ($12 US) The sea was very rough and the wind was blowing. It got a bit better later in the day. We finally left about 2PM ($13 for the cab)and went back to the ship. Costa Maya: A perfect day. The sun was shining, it was warm and we docked. We took a bus to the beach. Lots of little places and everyone trying to get you to come at see his place. We walked to an area that seemed less crowded. Got sun loungers and an umbrella. The area was very shallow. No snorkeling, but it was an enjoyable morning. We had one banana smoothie, one order of bean and cheese nachos and one order of guacamole...$$30 US dollars. Lesson learned...ask before you order! The first 2 & 1/2 days were cold and rough sailing ....the latter part of the trip was perfect. STAFF: Some were outstanding.....but most we encountered seemed to not really care. Few smiles. Pursers Desk was the worst I have ever encountered. I tried to get paper for the printer in the Cyber Cafe...I was told someone would get it in a half hour or so...I went back every 15 minutes for 2 hours and paper never arrived. Entertainment: Average, some good some just OK. We did the self assist off the ship. There were no RCCL staff to coordinate....people were all over the place, some of us in lines and others just pushing their way through....line or no line. RCCL needs to take control and organize this quickly. Did we enjoy ourselves...YES It was a relaxing trip for us. Could it have been better....YES And yes, we will sail RCCL again..it's our favorite line. My overall rating is a 3 - 3 1/3. RCCL can, and has done better in the past and we are hopeful they will again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
This was our second cruise on RCI, the first being on the Rhapsody in August and September this year. This was our fourth cruise total, having also cruised twice on Carnival. We arrived in Galveston on Saturday, November 25, 2006, around ... Read More
This was our second cruise on RCI, the first being on the Rhapsody in August and September this year. This was our fourth cruise total, having also cruised twice on Carnival. We arrived in Galveston on Saturday, November 25, 2006, around 1:00 p.m., and had no trouble with embarking. Saved time by presenting the pre-printed Seapass and got our Gold Member cards quickly. Found our cabin, # 3028, and were truly glad we booked an oceanview cabin again as we found the inside cabins to be somewhat confining feeling. After finding our cabin, we proceeded to the pool deck as usual for our usual departure drink to begin the cruise mood! (We had more than one departure drink as usual!! ;-) Went through the mandatory drill, which took sometime as several other passengers arrived late. Afterwards, found our way back to the pool deck for more drinks and people watching. The first sea day passed as uneventful, some gambling at the casino, onboard shopping, etc. Arrived in Cozumel early on Monday, and got off the ship quickly, around 7:30 a.m. We rented a car (cheap travel for all day @ $58.00), and took off exploring as we enjoy doing. Went downtown for breakfast at Palmeras downtown, had a fantastic Mexican breakfast! Departed there, shopped, and then drove to the northeast side of the island, stopping for lunch at Marlitos. (good, traditional tacos and Dos XXX !!) After lunch, we drove to Chankanaab Park for snorkeling. (We were surprised how much the price had increased there since our last time there in 2002. $16.00 per person, basic.) Departed there around 5:00 pm, as the ship was to depart at 7:00 pm. Stopped and purchased some Rum and Tequila, and drank a couple of Sol's before reboarding at 6:00 p.m. As we had previously been to Costa Maya, we rented one of the golf carts again to travel, avoiding the crowds at the taxi stands. Did the Olinca Beach party for $20.00 per person, while my wife went snorkeling for their $15.00 excursion. She loved it, and claimed it was the best snorkeling ever. After drinking many, many, Sol's and Pina Coldas, we departed drove back to the port for light shopping before boarding the ship. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise on the Splendour, but, did not like the way we felt ignored and rushed on the last night by the staff. They shut the pizza and burger bar down early that night, around 6:00 p.m., so we opted for the Windjammer where the food was only fair in quality and taste. Disembarking the ship seemed to take longer than usual, and, as we did not use the porters and carried own own luggage, we waited for at least 30 minutes for Customs. I'd recommend RCI to anyone, and will probably book another cruise with them this April. Save your money though, and do your own thing off ship, as we saved $$$$ by doing our own excursions each time we cruise. I also recommend renting your own car, as you can move at your own pace, and enjoy the stops much more in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
I want to start by saying that we are huge Royal Caribbean fans. This is our 4th Royal Cruise and we tend to be very forgiving and overlook any negative stuff during our Cruise, no cruise will ever be perfect. So with that said: I would ... Read More
I want to start by saying that we are huge Royal Caribbean fans. This is our 4th Royal Cruise and we tend to be very forgiving and overlook any negative stuff during our Cruise, no cruise will ever be perfect. So with that said: I would give the overall rating of the cruise about 3-3.5 out of 5. Travel to ship: We drove to Galveston and used the ezcruise parking and found that it was fairly easy. We were on the ship within 30 min of pulling into the parking lot. Ship info: We stayed in cabin 7000 with balcony, right behind and under the bridge. The balcony did not have much privacy with that bridge overhang and cameras. The Room was clean and well laid out. The bed was much more comfortable now with the new bedding program. The public rooms were beautiful; however there seemed to be a lot of smokers in all public areas. The ship has tons of glass, but the glass was all real dirty which made it hard to enjoy the view. Maybe it was because she just got back from a long journey from the Eastern Mediterranean? Gifts and Gear Online Service. Disappointed I ordered a gift for my wife a couple weeks in advance to be delivered on the 1st night. We got the gift late the 2nd night after a few phone calls and trips to the Pursers desk. The gift card showed up the 3rd night. Casino: My wife and I have never played cards and usually only spend a few dollars on the slots. We took some free lessons on blackjack before the casino opened. We tried our luck and had a lot of fun and made a few bucks. The Casino staff was awesome!! Dining: The dining room service was average and the food was average at best. The head waiter on our other cruises learned all of our names and worked hard to make us happy. The head waiter on this Cruise only showed up very briefly each night and never made an effort to learn our names or really talk to our table, until it was time to pass out the tips. Windjammer food was less than average and the service was the worst yet. Hard to get any service at all, if you made eye contact with the wait staff they would look away and pretend that they did not see you. They did a great job at keeping the tables cleared when someone left. We had wait staff standing right in front of our table talking to each other and would ignore everyone. If anyone wanted a coke you would have to go stand in front of someone and ask them to bring it to you. We would recommend eating in the dining room. Shore Excursions: We have been to Cozumel a few times so we only went to Carlos and Charley's, which is always fun. Entertainment: The normal cruise ship singers and dancers. The Other entertainment was good. Kids program: Did not take the kids this time. Disembarkation: Fast and Easy Summary: Good Weekend getaway, overall I would say it was a nice ship and average service. Past Cruises: Nordic Empress/ Empress of the Seas 1995 Voyager of the Seas 2001 Carnival Fantasy 2003 - had to try it Majesty of the Seas 2005 Splendour of the Seas 2006 Next Cruise 9/07 Liberty of the Seas Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Itinerary: Depart Galveston 5:00 p.m., Day at Sea, Cozumel 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Costa Maya 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Day at Sea, Galveston 8:00 a.m. Our Story We are 62 and 56 years old, but children at heart. We don't normally stay ... Read More
Itinerary: Depart Galveston 5:00 p.m., Day at Sea, Cozumel 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Costa Maya 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Day at Sea, Galveston 8:00 a.m. Our Story We are 62 and 56 years old, but children at heart. We don't normally stay up late so the entertainment and disco are not noted here since we didn't set foot in the theater or the Viking Crown Lounge. We also avoided the late night buffets. We have been on a weight loss journey for the past 8 months (123 lost between both of us). We avoided our usual extreme indulgences on this cruise. We did fairly well considering our past cruising history of gargantuan orgies. We are dedicated roll call and Cruise Critic (CC) readers and writers and have made friends with many past cruisers. This circle keeps growing with each cruise. We will be getting together again for a third/forth cruise in December 2007. We keep in touch year round on the roll calls and through e-mail. Sea Pass problem A couple of friends were frustrated and thought they were treated like second class citizens because their sea pass (the only identification card needed at ports and on board) was constantly declined, even though they had plenty of credit. They told me that the RCCL employee who registered them at embarkation entered the card as a debit card instead of as a credit card so that each time they made a purchase on board with the sea pass, it caused a request for a pin number at the purser's desk. They spent a lot of time trying to correct this situation. One of them could not get the sea pass to open the cabin door despite several rekeyings. Boarding A friend drove us to the pier. We travel with many bags, water toys, our own water, a little wine, tequila and cognac for the apero and the digest if in our stateroom. None of the libations were confiscated and no questions were asked. To continue the tradition, we had 6 bags and my purse. We checked 4 of them. Finding a porter at the pier was easy. We had upgraded to a balcony stateroom on a last minute whim so we had no luggage tags. Those were provided quickly in the bag room at the pier. Going through security and registration around 1330 hours was done very quickly--no queues. Something we had not noticed on previous cruises was the display of wines before accessing the gangway. Pictures came next. The photographer was definitely in a hurry Quickly please he said. It's the only time we felt rushed and deprived of enjoy the moment. The only other stop before the gangway was at an unidentified table. It turned out to be for children's bracelets. Shore Excursions If you are planning on going to the beach, get your towel the day before your shore excursion at the pool. There are no towels at the gangway before getting off the ship. At debarkation, the crew will tell you to go back and get it from your stateroom attendant (there were none in our room) or to go to the pool deck to retrieve these. They sell cold water at the exit. Avoid the hefty charge since you can purchase it for at least half price once you get to the port. Cozumel We had always wanted to see Passion Island and since this island is owned by the cruise lines, no private tours are available. You MUST booked this tour through the ship. It has a beautiful beach and is the site where the Corona beer commercials are filmed. Below is a detailed schedule, noted here mainly to express the amount of time wasted and to show how short this tour was. The cost was $69 per person (plus tip). There were 6 of us along with 2 busses full on this schedule. The total came to $414 (plus tip) for a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes spent on the island. Despite the wind, (tours had been cancelled the 2 previous days), it was sunny and the water was beautiful. 07:35 a.m.: we get off the tender at the pier and look for our guides we leave the pier and ask the local bus transportation where our guide might be located. I purchase a diet coke for $1 at the cafe and return to the pier. 08:05 a.m.: we finally locate the Passion Island Tour guides at the pier since no sign was displayed by guides, all 6 of us walked right by them 08:35 a.m.: we are still standing in line getting briefed on the upcoming tour 08:40 a.m.: we finally board the bus 09:05 a.m.: we arrive at site to board boat "The TITANIC II" 09:35 a.m.: Hallelujah! we arrive at Passion Island 09:45 a.m.: We weren't quite there yet...another briefing before we can ...hit that beach! 12:15 a.m.: we are on the boat, as instructed, ready to head back to shore 1215 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: the cook from the restaurant where lunch was served is on the boat too. He is passing the hat for a tip to the kitchen crew. 12:30 p.m.: we are back on the bus to get back to town The 2 tour guides spoke English but had limited people skills. This tour was as regimented as being in the military, down to standing in a line, 2X2 and holding your own ticket. When I asked the guide what his name was, he answered, I'll tell you in a minute. We were given the history of Cozumel in one sentence. The guide used the microphone on the bus to mimic the sounds of cacophony birds, cats, and monkeys etc. who live in Cozumel. We were disappointed to spend so little time on a beautiful island. Food and drink (margaritas and rum punch) are included and are plentiful on this tour. The beach is indeed beautiful. The shops are very expensive on Passion Island. A small Talavera sink cost $150. We purchased a big one the next day at Majahual for $60. Since we still had at least 4 hours of warm sun, we hopped in a cab and went to Playa Azul for a little more sun and waves. When the sun started going down, we took a cab to the local grocery store, Chedraui, to get some souvenirs (great place to purchase inexpensive trinkets) carrots, Mexican salsas and other typical Mexican foods. PAMA, a duty free shop close to the pier is where we found some of the colognes the Splendour did not carry. If you tender into Cozumel, there is a vendor that sells t-shirts for $5 each and another that sells silver (possibly plated) jewelry. Costa Maya Our friends (the same ones with all the sea pass problems) had booked the Mayan Reality Tour in Costa Maya, through the ship. It was cancelled due to lack of interest. They found a private company and went on another excursion selected when they arrived at the port. Our group of 4 took a cab (15 passenger Mercedes) from the dock and went to Majahual. The make-shift town is about 10 blocks long. It consists of little shacks with the usual goods for sale. Some of the vendors were quite pushy, even obnoxious. The street is sand and the speed bumps are thick anchor fishing rope. The taxis in town have an agreement with the pier owner that everyone who goes to town is taken back to the pier. The pier owner owns all the land around the pier and rents it to the workers. The cabs from the pier are his also. We were determined to go to the pretty private beach, accessible through a hole in the fence, outside the private pier. The taxi dispatcher was adamant about letting us off there. After we got in the cab, I asked the driver to take us to the Comisariato. He agreed. We found this hole in the fence. After the local mosquitoes took a chunk out of us, ( don't forget the bug stray) we finally made it to Chac-Chi beach. We enjoyed the beautiful day swimming in calm waters, about 200 feet from the Splendour. At one point, I swam too close to the pier, a shuttle driver that goes back and forth to and from the ship stopped his bus and told me to move away from the pier. He did not want me talking to anyone on the pier. There are some bad neighbor feelings since the private beach, Chac-Chi, is blocked by an illegal concrete wall. Lunch was delicious, fried fish with fries, guacamole and pico de gallo for $25. The owner and his employees were gracious hosts. The Ship/Stateroom All areas of the ship we visited were beautiful. Everything was clean; the copper rails of the stair were well polished (the kids sliding down the rails helped). The dEcor was very elegant. The crystal canopy over the Solarium area remained closed the entire time, even during the beautiful day at sea, coming home. This area was relaxing and comfortably warm and sunny during the day. We also enjoyed the quiet areas of the Observatory and Sports Deck. We booked this cruise almost a year ago with an online travel agency. Our original cabin was #6058, an oceanview and the last cabin forward, port side, before the photo gallery on deck 6. We decided to upgrade and asked for an aft even though none appeared to be available online. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that an aft cabin was available. We had the biggest balcony. We watched the wake, the sunrise on the way home and left the door open at night to hear the sound of the ocean (not recommended because of the mosquitoes when you enter the channel in Galveston). On our balcony, there were 2 chairs (no loungers) and a table. Our neighbor smoked cigars&He also had a lounge chair, we didn't. Our stateroom also had a big couch; the vanity area was very roomy. The bed was comfortable and there were plenty of hangars, nooks and crannies to store our numerous belongings. Luggage did not arrive until 10 minutes before dinner time (first seating at 1800 hours). The safe requires a credit card to open and close it's a hassle to carry a credit card and rather defeats the purpose. You might want to check to see if the sea pass will work instead. Everything in our room was fine, except for the ice bucket. It held about 8 cubes when full. The only place I saw a regular size bucket was in the Royal Suite. I requested a bigger bucket and left little stickies requesting ice but never received any other than once a day. We had a refrigerator which held about 3-11/2 liter bottles of water. When we first checked into the room, it was full of $3.50 soft drinks which I removed. 2:00 p.m. was the rendezvous time for our informal cruise critic roll call "Meet and Mingle"(M&M). The ship will organize an M&M for 7 day cruises, but not for 5 day ones. Off we went to the Schooner Bar to reunite with old friends, and new ones that we had corresponded with on the CC boards. Studying the plan of the ship before boarding helps speed up the transit time from one place to another&no need to stop and study the map. Muster drill: A lot of time was spent standing and waiting at our station before being dismissed by the captain during this drill. Young Passengers There were 450 children on this holiday cruise. Even though we saw many well behaved and wonderful children, some were rude and unruly when unaccompanied by their parents. The Splendour of the Greens (mini golf) took a good beating as some hit that ball as hard as they could. It's surprising that the shuffle boards still have sticks and pucks after the strength some kids used to play these. One poor man had his newspaper kicked out of his hand by one of the kids sliding down the rail. Not once did we see any crewmembers lose their cool, despite the chaos some of these kids caused. Young children made full use of the hot tubs which are normally reserved for adults. It takes 4 times around the track to walk a mile. The usual protocol is to walk/run counter clockwise on the jogging track. On this track, children ran walked, played, and skipped the other way or around you and into you. Dining The dEcor (mural aft wall and staircase) in the King and I dining room are beautiful, Thai mosaics etc. A piano player in the center of the room plays soft music while you enjoy an unrushed meal. The waiters were gracious and polished. Our head waiter, Hans was a comedian and a magician. He was everywhere at once and handled every detail/problem quickly and with a smile. Our waitress Nevin was moved to another table after the first night for some reason (station too big for her, they said) Agnelo our assistant waiter was a 27 year old from Goa. The crew normally works 10 month contracts. Agnelo was so attentive that even in the Windjammer buffet area he asked how he could help. The food was good, well presented but entrees were not served piping hot. They ran out of turkey on Thanksgiving night and the ham was of a spam variety (I did not personally try these but enjoyed the cod on Thanksgiving night). Consumption of the tiger shrimp the last evening was discouraged. Each table had their own big silver pepper mill except for ours&they did not refill them; our waiter went on a quest to find a full one after I opened up 2 that were completely empty. The menu was elaborate; however we could have used a bit more information as to the fat/sugar content of some of the desserts. There was all this beautiful tempting bread; there is no low carbohydrate bread. They ran out of fat free milk on day 4. Oil and vinegar dressing are brought to the dining table in the original bottles. The Caesar salad with dressing on the side was great. The chateaubriand and salmon entrees were excellent. Our sea pass was wisely used at embarkation when we saw the display of wines, to purchase the Gold Package: 5 bottles for $113 + the usual 15% gratuity. We preordered a white and a red so these would be at the dining table when we first sat down. Leftover wine is saved for the next meal. If you order wine at the table the night before the next meal, you will avoid the possibility of a long wait. The Windjammer offered a wide variety of foods, an omelet station, beautiful breads, desserts, and a condiment station with several nice big pepper mills, horseradish, good grain mustards, HP and hot sauces, etc. The smoked salmon was plentiful. A frozen yogurt machine is also available. The Lido Deck (main pool) offered barbecue ribs and chicken during the day at sea on the way home. There is also a cereal, fruit and milk station set up before the Windjammer opens. The Solarium included a crèpe station with different fillings along with the usual pizza, calzone, hot dogs, and hamburgers. At Seattle's Best Coffee, my husband purchased a double espresso (about $3 + 15% gratuity), he would have liked to sit at the cafe and enjoy it. Unfortunately, all the tables were taken by people who were not drinking coffee. All coffee is served in paper cups. Wine Tasting An interesting and humorous wine tasting hour was spent with Joseph, a sommelier from India. For a $10 fee (+ 15% gratuity), we each received a silver tin cup on a chain and filled plates with cheese, bread, currants and apricots. The session was well organized; we had the opportunity to sit in the main dining room, and sample the following: Italy Bello Soave, Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc, Stone Cellar Chardonnay, Beringer, Caliterra Merlot, San Lorenzo Chianti, Spain's Condesa de Crianza, France's Bouvet Sparkling wine. Cooking Demonstration I missed the actual demonstration which lasted only about 10 minutes. I was at the detoxifying seminar which overlapped with the demonstration. I did, however, arrive just in time to sample the wonderful aroma of what had been presented and received a pamphlet of the 2 recipes for which samples were offered: champagne & strawberries Sabayon and penne Sardinian style. Sales for the RCCL cookbook Savor Royale were promoted here $27. Room Service Delivery does not start until 0700 hours. It is just as easy for one of us to go up to the Windjammer at 06:00 a.m. and get a pot of coffee, cereal, milk and delicious fresh gold pineapple. Bring a plastic jug in a vinyl holder if you want to get some juices, coffee or tea to the room, yourself. We did not order room service but our friends requested a delivery for a certain time and it arrived an hour later. Casino We did not spend much time in the Casino Royale. Since the slot machines did not want to cooperate, I just cashed in my chips and spent my money on the nice bangles and logo items at the shops. I brought a defective machine to the attention of a casino staff member; he said it would be fixed later but not tonight. Shops One thing to watch for is the scanned price versus the marked price. We noticed that a pair of nail clippers marked $7.99 rang up at $10. The difference was quickly credited by an amicable Canadian crew member. Those expensive clippers were returned after breaking the first time they were used. The perfume shop of the Splendour is smaller than the Rhapsody's and does not offer as much of a selection. If you need an item gift wrapped from any of the shops, take it to the young lady at the perfume shop. She did a magnificent job wrapping up 2 gifts for us. The bow was a work of art. If you buy t-shirts, open them up to make sure they have sleeves (if you want sleeves) and try them on in your cabin before removing the tags so you can return them. Some styles are made smaller than others. The crew will exchange them graciously. Bijoux Turner is a fun place to shop for colorful inexpensive jewelry, scarves, purses, watches and sarongs. An inexpensive watch purchased there quit working the day I got home. I e-mailed RCCL. We are now 4 days later, and I have not heard from them yet other than the automatic reply... If you like amber, don't miss the table full of pendants, earrings and rings, dashing and very unique, the last day at sea. Those were not on sale, unfortunately. It is true that many items from the shops go on sale the last day, if you are willing to wait that long. Art Auction We had planned on attending but just didn't have enough time since these overlapped with other organized activities. The one portrait we heard being auctioned was a Picasso, starting price $25,000. Of course many pieces are much more affordable. You may view a lot of the items after the first auction on deck 4. Spa/Fitness Center We did not use the facilities at the spa; some of the documentation provided includes services for teeth whitening, ionithermie algae detoxifying, hydra lift facial, aroma spa seaweed massage, hot stone massage, acupuncture, and lime/ginger body massage. The prices range from $99 to $205. The line of products used includes Elemis, extensively. We used the fitness center. The manager told us that she held a Masters Degree in Fitness. She offered classes that ranged from stretching, Pilates, yoga, stair stepping, personalized training, and a seminar on detoxifying the body. We took (Pilates and yoga for a $10 fee each); stair stepping was cancelled due to lack of interest. You may reserve these classes in advance. However, should you cancel or not show, you will be charged a cancellation fee, 50% of the total cost of the class. We did not make reservations for these classes. Due to the high number of no-shows, we had no problem attending, however. If you have never taken a yoga or Pilates class and would like to find out if your movements are done accurately, this is a great place to do so. The stretching was done on the sports deck. A very comfortable place mat (your choice of thick or thin) is provided. The towels are plentiful and there are hand sanitizer towels inside the gym. There is plenty of cardio vascular equipment. All the machines worked except one pulley. The body building machines are numerous and will give you a full body work out. The dumbbells and the medicine balls are also plentiful. The sauna is very roomy. There is a water, hot tea and fruit station between the spa and the fitness room. We attended the detoxification seminar. I scheduled a consultation for a body composition analysis BCA). The appointment card was provided. The fitness manager circled the area stating that a 50% charge would be added for a cancellation. I found the sales pitch and the radical approach by the manager harsh, and some remarks insulting. A BCA was something new to me and I was curious to find out what my fat, water, muscle mass and metabolic rate is. I was prepared for a hard sale on the need to detoxify in order to lose weight (even spot reduction is possible!) and absorb your vitamins, though. I would definitely recommend the BCA if you are interested in finding out more about your body ($30 fee + a gratuity at my discretion this time) This BCA analyzer machine retails for about $1600 and provides a print out. Ship Shape Dollars If you participate in any type of exercise for which a ship shape dollar is offered, (a symbol "runner" is displayed by the exercise on the daily printout of activities, the Compass, left in your stateroom) we recommend you identify yourself before the class starts. This will ensure that you get your ship shape dollar even if the class is canceled due to lack of interest if nobody else shows up. This happened to us with the step up class. Tell the crew at the climbing wall before you start walking your mile at the designated time, also. You will get a key chain for just one ship shape dollar. 9 and you get a ship shape back pack. Other gifts depending on how many dollars you earn include a sun visor, a lanyard, and a water bottle. The complete list is at the rock climbing wall. These $ can be redeemed on the last day at sea, around 1730 hours at the wall. Rock Climbing Wall All sizes of shoes are available and a very strong and friendly crew will guide and hold the rope every step of the way. You get padding, gear, and helmet. All you have to do is climb and ring the bell. Kids loved this activity. The Captain At the captain's party, you may have your picture taken with him, if you arrive a few minutes before the start of the party. Our captain was not shaking hands, we were told, that night. This party includes dancing, hors-d'oeuvres of lump fish caviar, prosciutto and smoked salmon along with Kir royal, rum punch, white or red wine. The captain gave the numbers and nationalities of the cruisers; 19 countries and 50 countries for the crew. He also introduced his staff which includes 2 women. There were only 247 previous cruisers on this sail. Captain Oerjan is from Norway. He was sailing with his family. He ate in the Windjammer for lunch. As we attended a sail away party immediately behind the bridge, we noted that the bridge was not enclosed. Some of the captain's navigating equipment starboard side of the bridge is not enclosed and in visible from the Royal Suite balcony. The captain enjoyed giving us coordinates on the public address, every day at noon. Tipping the Crew The recommended fee is $3.50 per person, per day for the waiter and room steward, $2 a day for the assistant waiter and .75 per person per day for the head waiter. Envelopes are left in the cabin to add the cash or you may pre-pay and get coupons to insert in the envelopes. You pass these out the last night at dinner. Debarkation Our friends with the sea pass problem experienced some embarrassment when the bell rang loudly as their sea pass was placed in the scanner. They were asked to step aside and after a call to the purser's desk to review their account, they were let go. For us, debarkation was uneventful and uncrowded, the quickest and most efficient we have seen. This vacation was a great one; our days at sea were filled with activities and were uneventful. We enjoyed this cruise line and this ship enough to sail again tomorrow with the same crew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Intro: This is our third cruise, 2nd with RCI, and 2nd on Splendour of the Sea. I'll give brief daily synopsis as having a 2 year old limited our activities. At the end a few category items. Pre Boarding: We stayed the night at the ... Read More
Intro: This is our third cruise, 2nd with RCI, and 2nd on Splendour of the Sea. I'll give brief daily synopsis as having a 2 year old limited our activities. At the end a few category items. Pre Boarding: We stayed the night at the local Holiday Inn, with a 2 and 4 year old we did not want restless little ones while boarding the ship. So we came a day early and this was money well spent. 100 bucks and we parked at the hotel. They shuttled us to the ship and back. This was the most effortless way we have sailed. Well worth getting there a day early and leaving the car at the hotel. Boarding: Our shuttle left the hotel at 11:30am. We had a 5pm sailing but the ship was ready to receive passengers at 11am. Check-in took all of 20 minutes. We roamed the ship and had lunch on board in the Windjammer. I don't remember specifically what we had but it was good. Our rooms were ready around 1pm. NOTE: The windjammer looks to have been fully renovated as all the buffet lines were new and repositioned. It was a much more efficient process to get through the lines and all the food for the entire cruise was always hot. Sailaway (Evening 1) We ate in the windjammer for dinner as well. With the pickiness of a 2 and 4 year old, this works well. I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu and it was very tasty. With children we basically skipped all the shows for the week, sorry. Day 2: Sea Day: We were able to get our 4 year old plugged into Adventure Ocean and she had a blast for the rest of the cruise. They had activities from arts and crafts, to science experiments. If you have a 2 year old, you may want to leave them home until they are 3 and potty trained. Otherwise this greatly alters your cruise experience. It was just far easier to skip all adult activities than to try and schedule onboard sitters 24 hours in advance. I did get the chance to play a round of miniature golf with my nephew on deck 10, a pretty good time. Day 3 Cozumel: Typical Cozumel. We skipped booking an excursion. We got a cab for 13 bucks, went to paradise beach. Had drinks and fed 4 adults and 4 kids snacks for 60 bucks. Taxi back to the pier another 13 bucks for 4 people. Shopped around for a few hours. Had lunch at Ponchos Back Yard, do not miss this place, and get the tamales. Shopped some more. Note: The ship had to anchor and use tender boats, this always sucks, no reflection of the cruise line, using tender boats just stinks. Day 4 at sea: Again, having a pre 3 year old, limits your activities. We spent the day roaming the ship, playing video games, reading, and eating. Leaving the Ship: This was fairly painless. A charged up DVD player and lots of movies because you will wait. Just don't be in a hurry to get anywhere and you won't be frustrated. We were off 10 minutes before our scheduled time but it was still 10:20 before we saw customs/immigration. This was smooth and we were processed in about 5 minutes. I recommend when you leave your room, go have some breakfast in one of the dinning areas. Because you have to leave your room at 7am. If you are on deck 2 this means you are last off the ship, usually around 9:30, so find some place comfy to sit. Food: You can find something to eat. I prefer the windjammer because I don't care for the formality of dining room service. I like to grab my food and go. After 2 trips on Splendour, I have found all the food I have tried to be good to excellent. Entertainment: While we did not go to any of the shows, the past cruise in February was pretty good as far as the shows go in the 42nd street Theater. Overall: I just like the Splendour Of The Seas, she is a good sized ship for us. Not so big that we get lost and not too small that she moves all over the place while sailing. Good food, Good service, Good time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
We were on Splendour of the Seas over Thanksgiving Week. The ship was very clean and in good shape for her age. The windows were dirty though, which surprised us. Our room was a Junior Suite and was quite spacious. We loved having the full ... Read More
We were on Splendour of the Seas over Thanksgiving Week. The ship was very clean and in good shape for her age. The windows were dirty though, which surprised us. Our room was a Junior Suite and was quite spacious. We loved having the full bathtub! The only negative was over deck 8 is the pool and we heard kids running or chairs being moved over our ceiling until the wee hours of the morning. It was pretty noisy in our stateroom. The food on the ship was ok but not great. I liked the dining room food except for the holiday meal which wasn't very good and was cold. The Windjammer buffet just didn't thrill my DH or I. We skipped meals a few times as it just wasn't inviting. (Not that it hurt us) LOL.. We got on the ship early and very fast. Maybe 15 - 20 min total. Getting off took a bit longer but still was not bad. The worst part of the week was traveling with so many kids that were not supervised by their parents. They were running in groups, removing door decor, pushing all of the buttons on the elevator, throwing items that hit one of our friends and running into us. Would I travel on Splendour again? Most likely. Would I travel on a holiday week? Probably never again! Dsg560 Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
This was our first cruise with RC, Mum 58 and Son 27, though we had been on Celebrity and Cunard before. We flew from Gatwick with Easyjet and booked a car both ways through easyjet's site with ATS. We were supposed to have a car for ... Read More
This was our first cruise with RC, Mum 58 and Son 27, though we had been on Celebrity and Cunard before. We flew from Gatwick with Easyjet and booked a car both ways through easyjet's site with ATS. We were supposed to have a car for the two of us, as were two other couples but we all travelled to the ship together in a 58 seater coach. We were a little peeved with this, but driver offered no explanation, not sure he had enough English and we had no Italian! However it got us to the port and dropped us outside the luggage deposit building. Talking to other people later who travelled from taxi we found that we had had the best deal. The Venice marathon was on, we passed the competitors on our way. All taxis had to drop passengers in Pizza Roma and they then had to walk to port pulling/carrying luggage. Only coaches were allowed to go all the way in to the port. So obviously that was the reason for putting us together and in a coach. Returning home all 3 couple got our own taxi to the airport. Check in at Venice is a little time consuming as you have to drop luggage at one building, then walk to another building for check in. However when we found the RC check in point we went straight to a desk and were dealt with quickly. You then have to leave the building walk to the corner and queue for a bus which then takes you to the ship. This is to do with the port not RC. Our cabin was on deck 7 superior inside and we were very pleased with both our room and position. We were only a short walk from 6 lifts and the stairs, though we have a rule when on board ship that if we have to travel 2 decks up or down we use the stairs. The dinning room was 3 decks below but we used the stairs most times to help to combat the quantities of food consumed. Our steward introduced himself to us and we asked him to change the configuration of the beds to 2 singles and could we have more pillows, I also needed a container for sharps as I am diabetic. All requests were met with a smile and agreement to do them and within a short while we had everything we had requested. We could not fault our steward who was friendly, efficient, polite and made the most fantastic towel creations for our beds at night. Lunch on first day and one of two of the other days we had in the Windjammer at the top of the ship. Well laid out buffet plenty of choice and views wonderful. Rest of time both of us like the dinning room to give us a chance to talk to other cruisers. Dinning room service was excellent, staff couldn't be more friendly or helpful. Our waiter Fillipe was outstanding and yet again we were so lucky with our table companions. We were on late dinner 9pm on the main floor. Dinner at 9pm was a little late would have preferred 8.30pm but after first two days the show was on before dinner rather than after. Good choice on menu for breakfast, and dinner. Lunch had a set menu for the trip with quite a lot of choice and one starter, main and desert changed each day. Also at lunch there was a pasta station in the dinning room which would make to order which was good as I tried it one day. Theatre shows were good and we went to all of them. We particularly liked the Viking Crown lounge. Quiet during day and early evening with wonderful views. Son likes a cigar and they have a cigar lounge at the back of the Crown and we had our pre dinner drinks while he had a cigar in there. Staff great and after first visit knew us by name and what we drank. This was also the late night disco spot and son enjoyed himself there minus Mum on a number of occasions. That for us is one of the great advantages of a cruise as there is something for both of us despite the age gap. As we were on late seating dinner we did not get out of the dinner till gone 11pm most nights - we were a very chatty table. So we did not use many of the other bars due to time restrictions. However we did get the sitting we requested and the table size and 6:30pm would have been far too early, we both eat much later than that at home. I was pleased with the standard of food as we had been spoilt on Celebrity & Cunard and had heard number of bad comments on this board. Son and I both like our steaks rare! That is exactly what we got. Others who asked for medium or well done also got theirs as they liked it. Good choice at dinner but with always steak, salmon and chicken every night as well. One of our table loved the shrimp cocktail and he got that as well as another starter, as did a couple of us on occasion when we asked! he even got one on the night when it was not on the menu and he hadn't even asked for it this time! As a diabetic - type 2 - I was thrilled that at lunch and dinner there was one sugar free desert and they were lovely and my blood sugars liked them as well. We took the ship tours as except for Corfu son and I took different trips. They were well planned but guides could make or break the trip. Ephessus was brilliant and from all we heard everyone had great guides. Crete for both of us was not so good as our guides were not that good. Loved Corfu, the panoramic tour was superb and we were blessed with good weather for all of our cruise. Would we go again with RC. YES, booked for next October while on board. I love Celebrity and prefer their slightly more formal style but unfortunately I teach and I am stuck with school breaks. These do not fit in with most cruise dates. This was the only cruise in my holiday time this october so I took it. As I said I was really pleased with it and we have booked again for a different RC ship next year. This is because it will give us different ports. Loved Splendour and our larger inside cabin. Would travel on her again. Had an early flight and informed guest relations early in cruise. Wrong departure time was given but a trip to guest relations sorted that immediately. No real problem leaving except you have to bus to collect bags etc. Had a wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
* Background  This was our first cruise and we not at all disappointed. We are a couple in our mid-forties and now having a grown up family decided to treat ourselves to a bit of luxury and decadence. We really have nothing negative to ... Read More
* Background  This was our first cruise and we not at all disappointed. We are a couple in our mid-forties and now having a grown up family decided to treat ourselves to a bit of luxury and decadence. We really have nothing negative to say and this was our genuine experience. * Embarkation  we stayed overnight in Venice the night before. Travel from the Airport was very simple to P. Roma with a shuttle bus costing just 3euros each and taking around 15 minutes. I was careful to book a Hotel fairly close by to avoid any transfer difficulties but even so, being a bit tired and sweaty (it was very hot even in early September) we couldn't face lugging all our luggage onto a Vaperetto and instead hired a private water taxi at a cost of 40 euros for a 5 minute journey !!! Adding together the bus-fare this came to a total of 46 euros for the 2 of us which I guess isn't too bad as far as airport transfers go. Our hotel in Venice, C'Pozzo was VERY nice. I had found it on the internet and it was exactly how it was portrayed on their site. Very modern, clean, Japanese style furniture and beautiful modern artwork everywhere. We were delighted to see the artist on our reception, my guess is that he is either owner/part-owner. This Hotel is a real find if you like a modern, clean and fresh environment. We braved the Vaperetto to get back to P.Roma and people were very helpful in assisting with our luggage but it is not an ideal way to travel with a lot of luggage. Took a taxi from P.Roma to the port which took just a few minutes and cost 15euros. We checked in at approx 4.00pm and there wasn't another soul around so we just breezed through. Not a good idea to take our photo at that point though as we were looking a bit frazzled, I wonder how many people buy their embarkation picture ? * Stateroom  We had invested in an Oceanview stateroom with balcony on Deck 7 and it was SO worth it - we just loved our room, loads of storage space, bed was really comfy, loads of pillows, fresh towels every day, sometimes twice a day, everything was great. Our attendant Genaro was very nice, discreet (we hardly saw him) and he also had a sense of humor, putting our sunglasses on the towel animals. The balcony was a real bonus and I really enjoyed standing out there watching the approach to our Ports. I even stayed up till 4.00am to watch our first docking at Katakolon. We also enjoyed room-service breakfasts and a couple of lunches out on the balcony. Tip - make sure you have some small notes to tip the room-service attendant as this is outwit the formal tipping regime. I improvised, using the napkins to make a tablecloth, maybe a good idea would be for RCCL to provide a small one for this purpose. * Ship info  We thought the ship was beautiful, it was our first time so nothing to compare it to but it was very grand, the Centrum area / champagne bar were very luxurious and we regularly saw staff polishing the brass-work and cleaning the public areas. We used the Solarium for chilling out as the pool area was quite crowded and still some children splashing around (we thought they would all be back at school by now). The Solarium was also beautiful but you do need to be up fairly early to get a good seat. We stayed on board at Katakolon and it was heavenly to have it almost to ourselves.The first 2 nights we did feel a vibration from the engines which was mildly annoying then seemed to disappear until the last night. * Dining  We dined every evening in the King & I restaurant. We were on table 12 (for 8), late sitting. We were a bit disappointed as were our table companions to find that only the 4 of us came for dinner each evening, a young Honeymoon couple came twice but the other couple never appeared at all. Our waiter and assistant waiter Lavinia & Dalibor were fantastic. With just the 4 of us we felt we got extra special service and got to know them quite well. They were really nice people who were efficient, attentive but also fun and easy to talk to. The food was always very good and you could have as much as you wanted, 2 starters or whatever, nothing was too much trouble. They were not at all pushy in offering wine/drinks to buy and were very happy to keep topping us up with iced water throughout the meal which we often prefer. We had lunch one day in the King & I which was open seating. This worked fine and lunch was delicious. I had fresh pasta from the Pasta Bar where I picked my sauce and all the ingredients. I would plan my day better next time to build in a nice lunch in the King & I on sea-days rather than snack on the other options. * Excursions  Our absolute favorite was Mykonos, spent a couple of hours sightseeing then a taxi to paradise Beach. Spent the afternoon at the Tropican Beach Club Bar on a Sofa yes a Sofa on the beach !! sipping Pina Coladas with reggae music in the background  heavenly. We did the bus-tour of Athens which for us was enough. Shopping in the Plaka was a bit of a waste of time, the usual touristy shops. Dubrovnik was very quaint, we took a taxi to miss the queues for the shuttle bus which was just as cheap. We stayed on board at Katakolon, we didn't want to visit Olympia which was the only excursion. Our dining friends confirmed we hadn't missed anything and we really enjoyed the ship less crowded. * Activities  we used the Spa for treatments (Elemis). My husband thought it was the best back/shoulder massage he had ever had and it really eased an ongoing pain he has. I had a foot treatment and scalp/hair massage/treatment which was fantastic for my hair with the effects lasting for days. Be warned  they are a bit pushy in trying to sell products, my reflexologist seemed surprised/disappointed that I didn't want to spend $400 on a detox programme of tablets !! All therapists however were excellent and I felt I got good value. We attended the Captains/Chief Engineers talk about the ship and this was very interesting, we also attended the first-time cruiser meeting which was very helpful and set the scene for a great holiday. * Entertainment  we liked the formal nights, getting dressed up / photos etc. Tip  make sure you get some lifestyle photos done, these cost a fortune back home (white background) , these were our best photos and I ended up buying 3 of them and still feel they were worth it. There is no obligation to buy but you need to drag your hubby round all stations to try out all the backgrounds. We only caught one show as after the first one they started making it a pre-dinner show for the late diners and this was too early for us. We chose late dining so we could make the best of the day and not be rushed into getting ready early so we just missed out the shows. We tried out the Casino late in the week and our Dealer taught us how to play Blackjack. He was very patient and got us hooked for a second night  we lost a total of $100 over the 2 nights but felt we had great fun doing so. * Disembarkation  very organized, we took the Padua Trip/Airport Transfer to fill in some time until our late afternoon flight which was very good but we desperate for a cup of tea/coffee as we seemed to walk for miles without a stop. * Summary  we loved it!! It was everything we had hoped for, great service, great food and a fantastic stateroom. We have already booked our next cruise, with RCCL as we were so impressed. Having discovered that we really love beachy islands as opposed to sightseeing, we have booked for the Southern Caribbean this time for 12 nights, I guess we are well and truly hooked. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Embarkation  The cruise left from Venice and we live about an hour away so my husband and I took the train. Since it was raining the day we left, we got off at the Mestre station, which is the last mainland stop before Venice. From the ... Read More
Embarkation  The cruise left from Venice and we live about an hour away so my husband and I took the train. Since it was raining the day we left, we got off at the Mestre station, which is the last mainland stop before Venice. From the Mestre station we took a cab directly to the port. The cab driver dropped us off directly at the luggage area where we tipped the porters handsomely. From there we followed the Royal Caribbean signs to their building. We got there about 10:30 so there were no lines. Once inside we showed our passports, got our Sea Pass cards and maps etc. At about 11:30 they let us on the ship. **Disclaimer** -- This was our first cruise so I might be a little inexperienced about cruising in general but I thought our whole trip was fantastic. It was exciting being one of the first people on the ship. We explored for a little while and went to the shore excursion desk to make a reservation. They were closed but there was a table with staff set up between the excursion and the pursuers desk. The staff there took my spa and our shore excursion reservation. Then we went to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch which we were very impressed with. Lots of fresh salad makings, fruit, sandwiches and hot and cold items. There really was a lot of selection and variety. After lunch we explored more and when the announcement came at 1 that we could go to our rooms, we found our luggage was already there! Tours/Excursions  We only went on one shore excursion with the cruise  sea kayaking in Dubrovnik. It went very smoothly and we had an awesome time. Our tickets told us where to go (the theater) and there our guide met us. We got in a van and rode into town where we met up with our kayak guide. Everything was provided, even snorkeling gear for when we stopped at this little cove to relax and swim. The weather was gorgeous and the water was that perfect clear turquoise color. We even got bottled water. From what I heard from our table mates, their shore excursions went just as fantastic. Rooms & public areas Our room was nice and very comfortable  it seemed like the bedding was new  very clean and plushy. I loved the white and the green and white decor. If you have ever stayed in a European hotel, the size of the cabins will not bother you. Our cabin was on deck 3  perfect location for us. We had a nice window view  it was awesome watching the waves and seeing the stars at night. It was nice and quiet and only one floor down from the dining room. With the closet, drawers and cabinets, there was plenty of storage space for our luggage and clothes etc. Our room attendant, Anthony was very pleasant and helpful. He quickly fixed a toilet issue mid-cruise and brought my husband's dress shirt back from the pressers ASAP. All the public rooms were very clean and elegant. The main staircase area was gorgeous  lots of glass and lights. The Schooner Bar was dark but in a good way  lots of wood and comfy chairs. We went there after dinner every night for trivia. There were always people cleaning and polishing, which was reassuring. The ship always looked spotless. I went to the spa for a mini treatment special  scalp and neck massage and hot oil hair treatment. Both were fantastic. The spa prices were pretty expensive compared with what you pay on land but it was a nice splurge. I wouldn't recommend going there for hair updo's unless you are truly bad at styling. I went for an updo for the first formal night and it was $65!! The next time I did my own and I liked it a lot more and so did my husband. Food  We were very impressed with the quality, variety, appearance and flavor of the food. The King and I Dining room was terrific and we looked forward to eating dinner there every night. There was lots of selection and we were surprised to see the menu changed daily. There were a few dishes that stayed but there was always a new selection of main courses, appetizers and desserts. I can see why people gain weight on a cruise. Our food was always brought out fresh and hot and we always got what we asked for. Several times my husband and two of the other husbands at the table ordered seconds (lobster and steak) and were always obliged. I myself had two desserts a few times! We ate breakfast in the dining room and the Windjammer and both were good. I think it was the same food with the only difference being you were served in the dining room. Lunch was good in both places too  we liked eating in the dining room because it was quiet and they had different items than in the Windjammer. The few times we ate lunch in the Windjammer were also delicious. I don't think we had any bad food on the entire cruise. There is enough variety and options that if you don't like something, there is plenty of other things to choose from. Staff/Service/Entertainment  All the staff there was very pleasant and professional. Our head waiter, Diego and his assistant Dadeous, were terrific. They gave excellent recommendations and were prompt, courteous and friendly. We had the fortune of sitting at a great table too  two other married couples our age with no kids, and a pair of sisters from Canada and a fascinating couple from South Africa. At the last dinner our whole table and two waiters took pictures together. The staff in the Windjammer removed dishes and refilled glasses promptly. I do have to say I didn't really care for the cruise director Tim. I can't remember his last name but he was super cheesy and annoying. I don't know if they are all like that though. I went to the dancing through the movies show  very cute and entertaining. The dancers and singers were really talented. I also did a behind the scenes tour which really gives you an insight into what the performers go through (cramped changing rooms, overhead pipes, rough seas and tiny quarters). It was also neat to see their costumes and how they make it easy to change so quickly. The casino kept my husband occupied. They had a couple of blackjack and poker tournaments which, surprisingly to us, he won! Pretty much every night we ended up in the Viking Crown Lounge or the wine bar. It was very elegant and classy up there although they played some strange music. Several times they were supposed to be playing dance music (according to the schedule) and they were playing screechy slow love songs. Eventually though they would get to the good music. If you sit on the wine bar side, you don't hear the music on the dance side, which worked out well. Disembarkation  Again, we live in Italy so we had no plane to catch. We were in the purple/all others category. I think we got off around 9-9:30. The day we left we got up, had breakfast in the Windjammer, double checked our Sea Pass account and found a good sitting spot to read. Then we just played cards or read and said good bye to all our friends until it was time to leave. It wasn't the horrible experience I have read so much about. We weren't outside in line for hours and it wasn't a hassle. Once of the ship we picked up our luggage, took the free RCCI shuttle to Piazza Roma, walked directly to the train station, which was less than 5 minutes away, hopped on a train to home. We were home by 11 a.m. which gave us plenty of time to do laundry before going back to work the next day. I realize that living so close to the port made things a lot easier but overall embarkation and disembarkation was not as difficult as I imagined. Summary  I really can't say enough about this cruise. My husband and I had a wonderful time and it was the first vacation that we both got to do activities that we both loved and have our separate fun too. It was nice being able to do both. He could go to the casino and I could swim or visit the spa and then we could meet up for lunch. The people you meet are fun and truly make the trip and then of course, there's all the exotic places you get to visit. I've been hooked on cruising and we can't wait to go again. As I mentioned earlier, it was our first cruise so we may be a little over excited, but having traveled A LOT while living in Europe, I would have to say it was one of the best vacations we ever had. We were not disappointed with Royal Caribbean and plan to cruise with them again. Of course, that doesn't mean we won't try other lines too. :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
We arrived in Venice the night before the cruise. Stayed at Hotel Belle Epoque, very easy to get to from the airport and fantastic value for money. Only 85Euros for the 2 of us. Getting to the port in Venice was a piece of cake!! a free ... Read More
We arrived in Venice the night before the cruise. Stayed at Hotel Belle Epoque, very easy to get to from the airport and fantastic value for money. Only 85Euros for the 2 of us. Getting to the port in Venice was a piece of cake!! a free shuttle from PZ Roma took us there in a few minutes, once in the terminal it took us 5 minutes to check in and we were on board at 12.30. We only had carry ons so were able to deposit our luggage in the cabin right away. We requested this particular cabin as we knew it was an excellent midship location. Ours was a late booking and a brilliant deal. (it helps too that my daughter is a travel agent!!) Our cabin attendant Chris was very good and most helpful. Dining.. as usual a good experience, I was a bit disappointed that the menu was not too different from other RCCL cruises, some dishes were offered that were more European but usual fare otherwise. Shows...the production shows were very good, we did not make every show, but those we did catch were good. Concierge Lounge..this is new to Splendour, they are in the process of making it permanent..a welcome addition as last time we were on Splendour this facility was not available. A special thank you to Angelo our Concierge, we know him from Radiance and he is some guy!! Leaving the ship was a breeze, we had a leisurely breakfast and once the lines were quieter left and did not encounter any problems. Again a shuttle back to PZ Roma and then a No.5 bus to the airport. Our flight was 12.40 and we had loads of time even though we did not leave the ship til after 9am. Splendour has been vastly improved upon since or last trip almost 4 years ago out of Galveston, the beds are very comfortable, mattress toppers on them and also new style bedding, feather pillows were supplied promptly by our cabin attendant. I will sail on her again in the future, but, perhaps not in the Med. Ports were not interesting for me personally, the change to Dubrovnik because of troubles in Turkey was most welcome. All in, I would thoroughly recommend Splendour as a great choice of RCCL ship Helen Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Writing this the next day home as all the items are fresh in my mind. Overall I would give this cruise an 8+ out of 10. Most things were great, and I will try to mention those as well as the not so great items. This is our second cruise ... Read More
Writing this the next day home as all the items are fresh in my mind. Overall I would give this cruise an 8+ out of 10. Most things were great, and I will try to mention those as well as the not so great items. This is our second cruise with RCI and my third overall. I traveled with my wife and two sons, 24 and 17 respectively. Embarkation in Venice, Italy was a bit chaotic. The buses carrying the passengers to the ship were not in great supply and no RCI people there to tell you where to board with your luggage was tough. It was a battle of the strongest. You needed to load the bags under the bus yourself. Finding where to drop off your luggage was a bit crazy, it was essentially leave it all at the door and hope it gets to your cabin. Not enough porters to keep the bags moving seemed to be the problem. It did in fact all arrive by 5 pm. We boarded the ship at 1 pm. The boarding paperwork was well done. We had it all done on the Internet before hand which made it a lot easier. The cabin was fine, all the plumbing, electric, and bedding was up to par and the porters did their jobs well. A great improvement is the addition of hotel type safes The food served at the dining room, both breakfast and dinners was A+. If you can't be happy with what and how much various foods were offered at the dining room, you can't be satisfied. The servers work hard to please you, even if they are stretched a bit thin with the numbers of tables that they are assigned. What did need to be improved however, are the buffet lunches, and breakfasts at the Windjammer. Not the same sort of quality gourmet food being served here. The entertainment shows were hit or miss. The first night was a juggler, who did his thing for 20 minutes. A bit of a yawner. There were Elton John and Motown tribute shows that were impressive. The crew dancers and singers were OK but not stunning. The live music acts were only fair. I only want to hear "On Top of the World and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" once if at all. The pool side music was less than exciting and for an older crowd. Carnival did a better job in this category in my estimation. The shore excursions were a tad expensive for what is offered. Bus tours and guides were informative but not entertaining or humorous. Shopping time was 15 minutes in Athens, but they did drop you off and let you on your own for 3 hours to do your own thing. But why pay money for that? The destinations of Athens, Rhodes and Dubrovnik, Croatia are certainly worth seeing, but Mykonos was a bit of a pirate island in my estimation. We had a bad experience with mopeds and the narrow one lane roads that had pedestrians, slow mopeds, and fast two lane driving. The people I met were less than friendly, yet others were wonderful. Same as anywhere. This was surprising for a place which depended so much on the tourist trade. I will travel Royal Caribbean again some day, but not before checking out Carnival again for my next cruise. They seemed more fun oriented, and less high brow. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
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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