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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This 8 day itinerary was the only one available as the ship had just repositioned from Brazil to Barcelona, and then took us to Venice where it would begin roundtrip summer sailings to Greece and Turkey. Our 8 days consisted of Barcelona, ... Read More
This 8 day itinerary was the only one available as the ship had just repositioned from Brazil to Barcelona, and then took us to Venice where it would begin roundtrip summer sailings to Greece and Turkey. Our 8 days consisted of Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Rome, Naples, (sea day) Kotor, Split, and Venice. It worked out perfect for us and we jumped at the chance to experience each of these ports. My husband and I, along with my brother and SIL traveled together. (We are in our late 50s/early 60s) I booked private excursions through smartcruisetours for Cannes, Florence, Rome and Naples. We had 2 sisters/husbands join us for Cannes, and then a husband/wife and sister/brother group for the following 3 ports. That worked out great and kept the cost down. I arranged all that through the roll call. Because this was such a port intensive itinerary there really weren't many activities on board each day....that was fine with us. With a full day in each port we found time to meet in the Viking Crown Lounge for Martini specials each day at 6pm, and then on to dinner (My time dining)....and then review the details for the next day! We didn't go to any shows all week, which is unusual for us as we generally do go while on cruises....just didn't seem to be anything that was a "must see" for us. There were acrobats performing in the Centrum and we did watch that. The Splendour is a small ship and not one I would choose if there were a lot of sea days...just not enough going on.....but perfect for this trip. We ate in the MDR each night and were satisfied with the food selection and taste. Escargot was on the menu every night, which was a treat......no lobster all week, but I'm from Maine, so no big deal for me! The embarkment in Barcelona was easy, as was the disembarkment in Venice. The only problem with Venice is for a first time visitor it is very confusing once outside on how to arrange for transportation to the island. We opted for a private water taxi with a specific stop requested. At one window the guy said he couldn't take us there because of the tide (the stop is on the Grand Canal!), so we went to another window and that woman said the guy was crazy! Yikes; welcome to Venice! For port excursions we opted for a 4 hour tour to Nice and St. Paul de Vence and loved it! Highly recommend. Pierre was our driver and we loved him. He spoke English very well, and he understood English equally well. Livorno was the next port and we had Simonna for our driver to Pisa, Florence and a Chianti winery for lunch and wine tasting. This was fabulous as well. This was Mother's Day and Simonna has 2 small daughters, so we really appreciated that she was spending the day with us. She spoke English well, and sometimes didn't understand me, but not a big issue. She is friendly and warm, and I would request her again if I was back in the area. In Rome our driver was Guiliano. His speaking and understanding English was fair to average, so that made things a bit challenging. We hired a private guide for the Vatican and the Colosseum, who did speak English very well, so that helped immensely! Guiliano was great about pointing out historic buildings/areas along the way, but we didn't always understand him! LOL We made stops at The Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, and had drive bys of the Spanish Steps and Palantine Hill. In Naples we visited Herculaneum and drove up the Amalfi Coast with Nicholas as our driver. His language skills were about the same as Guiliano's, so another challenging day. I asked him to arrange a restaurant for us with a water view....he got the restaurant part, and it was fabulous, but it did not have a water view...by a long shot!! I was disappointed that we only had a brief stop in Amalfi, and only a drive through of Positano. We had lunch in Sorrento and visited Notturno Intarsio, the inlaid wood works factory and show room. ....it is what it is when you only have a day in port! In Kotor we had arranged a private tour with "Diko". On the port boards here a member named Frank has highly recommended "Milo". Milo wasn't available so he suggested Diko. We had a great time with him. He is taking a college course in English and we had fun helping him improve his skills. He now knows and understands what "Kodak Moment" means! LOL We did a 4 hour tour, which turned into 5 hours and saw some of the sorrounding area/towns, along with the most amazing panoramic views of the port / harbor / sea from high above Kotor. In Split we were on our own and walked up to the Diocletian Palace and spent our time wandering around. We exchanged Euros for Kunas in the terminal which was very easy. If you want to take the basement tours in the palace you must have Kunas for that...no credit cards/Euros accepted. There are a lot of souvenir stands in the basements as well, but I found that they would take either Kunas or Euros. We spent 2 nights in Venice before heading home. We stayed at Al Teatro B&B, which I highly recommend! It's in the San Marco district, with no bridges to cross as you make your way there from the Giglio stop on the Vaporetto line...very easy! This was definitely a trip of a life time and we loved every minute of it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The cruise was short, only 7 days to visit Brazil, Uraguay & Argentina which meant 3 stops and only 1 full day in Beunos Aires. Annoyingly RCI had altered the itinerary cutting out the overnight stop in Argentina and trying to book ... Read More
The cruise was short, only 7 days to visit Brazil, Uraguay & Argentina which meant 3 stops and only 1 full day in Beunos Aires. Annoyingly RCI had altered the itinerary cutting out the overnight stop in Argentina and trying to book shore excursions was frustrating as they only became available at a very late stage despite requests to confirm with RCI over a long period prior to the website being finally amended. To compensate this lengthy fly/cruise from the UK, we added 4 days in Rio and 2 at the end in Sao Paulo. The Splendour being one of the oldest in the fleet was cosy by modern standards but thanks to it's refit offered all the facilities associated with the new monstours albeit in a limited fashion. We are Diamond Club members and as this was geared to the Brazilian market found only a handful of other members, 15 in total of which only 6 had English as their first language the remaining South Americans spoke very precise English and joined in excellent repart each evening prior to Dinner. Our Diamond Concierge Aline Aruajo was wonderful and most helpful in every way. Our balcony cabin on Deck 6 was one of those remodelled to accomadate the extended add on balcony and was perfect for comfort and location. Dinner was taken as our choice, My Time, but due to the language problems with other crusers [95% S American] we ended up on a table for 2 each evening at our preferred 8:00pm slot. Food was excellent with plenty of choice and the service quick as we didn't have to wait for a large number of guests to be served at the same time. Entertainment was geared in Portuguese with occasionally the Cruse Director [Michelle] asking if she needed to speak English. We saw a couple of shows including the Samba main production which was very colourful. Quiz shows with Sergio were in both languages and as usual good fun. Shore excursions : Punta del Este- Guided tour of the posh residential areas and a visit to the main beach, dropped off for an hour to shop not a lot on offer. Take Dollars as the Uraguayan peso is a closed currency. Beunos Aires : The highlight of the trip! Tour of the main areas including the palace [Evita balcony scene] the independance square, Eva Perons grave in magnificent cemetry and finally the Bocca area with the street dancers--excellent day trip. The evening we booked the Tango show in the City Centre theatre through RCI which was fantastic. We did the shorter version without dinner but included free wine/beer/soft drinks. The show lasts for an hour and twenty minutes continuously detailing the evolution of the Tango up to the present day. If this was shown in London's West End or on Broadway it would fill every performance as it was on our visit in BA. Montivideo: Not a lot to see, main square that we circled twice very slowly then stopped for photos for 20 mins! Tour of the residential areas and park followed by long drive down the coast. We enjoyed Rio prior to the cruise taking in the usual tourist spots and our last days in Sao Paulo did the usual last minute shopping. Excellent all round trip but a long way to go for just a 7 day cruise 4 of which were sea days. Only blot was Santos port which for emvarkation was a nightmare with 5 other ships all trying to funnel through a congested area with little information available, the port authority is to blame not RCI as it's out of their control. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We took back to back cruises in South America. We have traveled on over 25 cruises and these two were the worst ever! The food was terrible. There was no variety. You might as well flip a coin if you thought you were going to get a glass, ... Read More
We took back to back cruises in South America. We have traveled on over 25 cruises and these two were the worst ever! The food was terrible. There was no variety. You might as well flip a coin if you thought you were going to get a glass, ice and tea at the same time. Even though SA is known for its beef and other cuisine- we did not have one decent piece of beef on the cruise. There was no SA food. Very little seafood. Service in the dining room was very slow. In the buffet eating area they have gone to a format where you have to wait in a line until they had a table ready to seat you. They often it 4 people at a table meant for 2. The only entertainment they had was a show in the theatre on two nights and a short 10 minute show of acrobats in the centrum on three other nights. Otherwise playing "junior high" level games in the centrum and the pool was the only other entertainment. The library is pathetic. The ship advertises that they just remodeled/redecorated in 2012. Our cabin room certainly had no improvements in it. It was the same as when we sailed on this ship during her first sailing season. Plus RCCL has some of the smallest cabins in the industry. There are very few shore excursion available to choose from. Usually only one per port. I would recommend that you visit South America taking Princess, Oceania or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I've been on two other Royal Caribbean ships and let me tell you that this has been the worst. All the good impression that the other two cruises had made the splendour of the seas just washed them away. Almost all the passengers are ... Read More
I've been on two other Royal Caribbean ships and let me tell you that this has been the worst. All the good impression that the other two cruises had made the splendour of the seas just washed them away. Almost all the passengers are Brazilians and I guess that is why all the activities are in portuguese and makes it impossible for people who speak another language to participare in. As well as it is very difficult to to communicate with most of the staff on the poolside bar and windjammer caffe. The staff basically discrimanate you for not speaking their language, the ignore you whenever you want to order something or they tell you that they are running out of products in order to get rid of you. At the Windjammer caffe the staff never come to take your drink order, and they leave the dirty dishes pile up on your table and when they see you getting up the staff comes and then cleans everything up. The only polite staff were the staff at the King and I for dinner time. As well as the staff at the excursion desk were helpful although for the excursions they told me to be there at 9:15 because the tour would start at 9:30 we ended up leaving the ship at 10 so we ended up losing like half an hour or even more of our tour! In my opinion I believe that if you are already paying for a trip and you are choosing a well known cruise line so that you can have a good time and make the best of your vacacion I think that they should expand their knowledge and help everyone aboard the ship to feel welcome. Since it is an American Cruise line I would also suggest having more english speaking staff members. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was a decent cruise. I am from the USA and I was disappointed that Royal Caribbean did not inform us that a $160 per person tourist visa is required to even board a plane to travel to Brazil. We found out at the port that a $160 per ... Read More
This was a decent cruise. I am from the USA and I was disappointed that Royal Caribbean did not inform us that a $160 per person tourist visa is required to even board a plane to travel to Brazil. We found out at the port that a $160 per person reciprocity fee is required for Argentina. The crew was great as usual. The room and ship were comfortable. There were about 28 out of 2000 passengers that spoke English. The majority of the cruisers were from Brazil, I found the fellow passengers to be extremely friendly. The cruise staff all spoke English and all of out tour guides on the excursions spoke English so language was not an issue. The food wasn't great like eating at Ryan's or Golden Corral for 7 days. There were also lines for the Windjammer cafe. This was my first time experiencing lines for food on a cruise. In the end this was an efficient and affordable way to visit three countries in South America so I would recommend the cruise despite some of the flaws mentioned above. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Just returned from our 1st cruise with Royal Caribbean and had a wonderful time. The food was very good, we ate on my time dinning sometimes in the King and I and Windjammer, the food was very good in both but we enjoyed the Windjammer in ... Read More
Just returned from our 1st cruise with Royal Caribbean and had a wonderful time. The food was very good, we ate on my time dinning sometimes in the King and I and Windjammer, the food was very good in both but we enjoyed the Windjammer in the evening as there was a very good choice of meal etc. There is also a good choice of food and snacks, cakes from the spa area and the hotdogs are good on deck 9. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 (6086)  Cabin was a good size with a balcony big enough for 2. No tea making or fridge. Was always kept clean. We only did one trip and that was in Turkey, Split and mykonos are very nice places to just get off and walk about and have a drink in a bar. We had the beer and wine package which was worth it for us as the drinks on there are dear if you like a drink or two, in the resturants and Windjammer they do keep your wine topped up or will get you a beer when needed. We found all the staff to be very friendly and helpful, the majority of them coming from Brazil. The entertainment wasn't as good as we have had with NCL and PO, but would do another cruise with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Overall we had a great cruise for our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids ages 2, 4, 6). Since we had virtually no family reviews to read about before hand I will focus my review on mostly the young family options on the boat. My husband and I ... Read More
Overall we had a great cruise for our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids ages 2, 4, 6). Since we had virtually no family reviews to read about before hand I will focus my review on mostly the young family options on the boat. My husband and I have cruised 4 times by ourselves, but this was our first time with kids. Embarkation - Was simple and easy. Luggage drop off was a breeze and we had driven to the port (100 euro for 7 nights). It was less than a 5 minute from the car to check in. RC recognized our status on Celebrity so we got to check in as platinum members which made our line a little shorter. They had our cards ready to go, and our drink packages on our cards so we were very happy about how fast everything went. Buffet - This would be my big negative for the trip, especially breakfast. When going down to the buffet most of the time it took 2-3 laps before a table could be located. Even though we were a family of 5 even a party of 2 was doing laps. The weather was nice enough to sit outside and even that was full. They asked us to be patient and they would help find us a seat, however waiting 15 minutes to sit with hungry children is not my idea of relaxing. My other problem is that they only had one person toasting breads in the whole buffet. One guy madly doing bagels, bread, muffins etc....seemed like they could have had another one open. Also the line for fresh eggs was always 10 people deep, I never bothered. The food in the buffet wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, I just made it a point to only do breakfast there and look elsewhere for lunch/dinner options. Main Dining Room - The Main Dining room experience was great. We had family friends on the boat as well and we were able to request the 10 of us to sit at one table (4 adults and 6 kids under 6 years old). The waitress and her assistant were awesome. By the third day they had the kids food waiting for them which made dinner a more pleasant experience. We usually only had to make it through ordering and salad and appetizer course before we could take the kids up to the kids club for the evening, made dinner much more peaceful. I recommend using the adventure dining the nights its offered, and they will take the kids to eat, and you can do a full meal in peace. The food quality itself was really good, and the service was fairly quick. I really liked the head waiter, he was very friendly and always came by to say hi to the kids. I do think they could use someone who just does drinks like they do on celebrity, the poor wait staff on RC always seemed like they were running around! Kids Club (adventure ocean) - Our 6 year old and 4 year old loved the kids club. They begged to go there more days and happily stayed there for hours on in. At each port we offered them the chance to stay or come on shore and it was about 1/2 and 1/2. The counselors were great, they had fun activities, everyone spoke English and they seemed to really loved what they did. I was somewhat skeptical when I saw the size of the room, but the # of kids in there since the cruise was during the school year was never more than 10 and it seemed to always be a feeling of calm chaos! They had fun family activities like scavenger hunts, and bingo etc...I recommend participating especially b/c the kids can win prizes, which is always fun. The hours were great and it was all included except if you left them there after hours (2200 - ??). Royal Babies - We utilized this service for our 2 year old. It was also good. There were times when you could go up to the room and play with your own child, and during dinner and other advertised times babysitting was available at $8 hr. It was well worth the money and although our son did cry sometimes when being dropped off, we either picked him up happy or asleep. They other great program is checking out toys to take back to the room, which we did and it was great. Activities - The onboard activities were OK. The climbing wall was a big hit. It was nice that they had family time for the indoor pool, even though its supposed to be adults only. The daily program gives families 2 2-hr periods each day to take the kids to the pool. I did it twice and got dirty looks from the older crowd each time, but I did explain to a few that it was a designated family time and they looked shocked, and then left us alone. Even if you don't swim the food in the indoor pool area is good and is a healthy option. We missed the activities found on celebrity. There were no thought provoking talks, just trivia from a really eccentric British guy. Viking Lounge - It would be nice if the music started earlier and the wait staff new something about making drinks. It seemed to always be a struggle. One evening I ordered a dark and stormy which I explained was ginger beer and dark rum...the waiter brought me a captain Morgan on the rocks, and asked if I wanted a coke or something to go with it...fail! The place was pretty hopping after 2200 but one of us went to grab the kids at that time so some more adult time would have been nice. Ports - Overall fine. I never do cruise excursions as we book our own, but the docking, tendering seemed to run smooth. I didn't care much for Argostoli, Greece it just wasn't that great, but the rest of our ports wer great. I really liked Ephesus! All in all a great family. If you are on the fence about going with children go ahead and book it. Don't book a balcony room...I would have been a nervous wreck, ocean view is the way to go with little ones. One more thing buy the all inclusive photo package for $200 and have them take family photos every night, it actually works out fairly cheap if you utilize it! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Let me start of by telling you this was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. This was my husband and my eighth cruise, but only the second with our children. We took a 10 year break in cruising to have our kids, currently ages 8 and 4. ... Read More
Let me start of by telling you this was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. This was my husband and my eighth cruise, but only the second with our children. We took a 10 year break in cruising to have our kids, currently ages 8 and 4. Our first cruise with the kids was on HAL, to the Norwegian Fjords, in Jul. Overall, we had a great time. We had great ports; great weather and the kids loved the kids club. That said, we did encounter a few problems along the way, mostly with our cabin. Transport: While we are Americans, we are currently living in Germany and chose to drive to Venice. We drove out the afternoon before the cruise and spend the night at a small hotel just outside of Venice. Saturday morning, we left the hotel about 1000 and had an easy 45 min drive to the cruise terminal. RCCL had a drive up luggage drop and then directed us to parking. Venice Port Authority has four parking lots around the terminal and offers parking for 95 Euro’s for the week. We parked the car and had a very short walk to in process the cruise. There was almost no line, so we had our pictures taken and were on board within minutes. A quick stop to get wrist bands for the kids and we were off to the Park Café for lunch. After lunch, we had a short wait until our cabin was ready. Our Cabin: I had splurged this trip for a Deck Seven (7638) Cat D1 Aft Balcony. I was really looking forward to our cabin and our balcony. Unfortunately, our cabin turned out to be a major disappointment. We found the cabin easily, open the door and were immediately hit by the strong stench of what I thought was mildew. My husband thought it was more a cigarette smoke smell. This presented a major problem. I suffer from allergies and asthma. We immediately opened the balcony door and tired to air the cabin. We reported the problem to the steward, who promised to reclean the cabin and spray down all surfaces. When his efforts did not help the situation, we reported the issue to guest services, who organized having the cabin deep cleaned while we were in Split . Over the next 5 days, the smell dissipated (we kept the balcony door open at all times), but I was forced to use my inhaler quite frequently and had breathing difficulties throughout the trip. I loved our balcony, but other than that the cabin was a great disappointment. Split (Tender Port): Tender dropped us about a 10 min walk from town. The old city was beautiful and fascinating. I wish we had more time. The kids loved having an ice cream, while walking the promenade and the fortifications were very interesting. Our only purchase was some fresh lavender balls we used to try to control the stench in our room. We hope to visit again. Kudasasi: We arraigned a private tour to Ephesus. The company picked us up about 30 mins after the ship docked. We had a private van for the four of us and the company provided carseats for the kids. Ephesus was amazing and the Terrace Houses were a must see. Being on a private tour allowed us to keep our own pace, not have our kids annoy other folks and saved money. We were also able to avoid the craft display. Our tour lasted 3.5 hrs and that was the right amount of time. Our 4 year old fell asleep in the van on the way back. After a quick Turkish coffee and some Turkish Delight, we returned to the ship. Mykonos: We really wanted to visit Delos, but not with the ship. We were quite disappointed when we docked to find out that we were on the far side of the port, with no sidewalks and a 35min walk to town. RCCL arraigned buses to run from the ship to near the city (still a 10 min walk) for $8 a person, but failed to tell anyone there was a Sea Bus that ran on the hour for 2 Euro per person that would drop you off in the middle of town. After our bus ride, walk, we purchased Ferry tickets to Delos and had a short wait for our ferry, which let us walk around Mykonos and buy some pastries. The Ferry was fun and Delos was amazing. Delos is very different from Ephesus, but well worth the trip. The kids elected to stay on the ship, having seen enough ruins the day before. We hired a local guide on the island for $10 per person. He was very informative on the history of the island, excavations, and lifestyle of the previous inhabitants. I just wished we had more time, 2.5hrs was not enough. Argostoli: The weather was a bit cold and rainy, so we chose to make a short venture of this port, while the kids had a short break in kid’s club sessions. We hoped off and found some hot chocolate, croissants, and coffee. The main part of the town is about a 15 min walk from the ship. It is not nearly as pretty or as historic as the other stops. Dining: We really enjoyed the main dining room. We had My Time Dining but had made a standing reservation at 1800 for a table for four. We had a wonderful waiter and steward, who provided great recommendations and extra options for the kids. The food was good, better than we had expected. The staff also sped up dinner for the kids, who do not really enjoy long events, and would give us a short break to run them up to the kids club before our main course. In addition, to four nights in the MDR, we had one night in Izumi, one night with Chops and one night at Chef’s Table. I would do the Chef’s Table again in a heartbeat. The meal was wonderful and the company exceptional. It was a true treat. As for Izumi and Chops, for me Izumi was just ok, nothing exceptional. As for Chop’s, the steak was excellent, the venue nice, but the rest was only ok. On HAL, we had used the Pinnacle and Tamarind, almost every night, if we did Splendor again, I would return to Chef’s Table, but skip the other two. Other impressions: The Windjammer Café is poorly designed and does not have enough seating. Also, being forward, it is a logical place to want to sit and watch the water, when raining or cold, but can only seat 500 of the 1800 on board. We also felt the ship lacks indoor quiet areas to read and relax. This might not be a terrible issue in the summer or warmer climates, but our cruise was in November. We missed a "crow’s nest” type location where we could read or watch the water. It also presented a challenge to find someplace to hang out when the smell of our room was too much for me. Disembarkation: Was easy, we were in Group 4, we had to wait a few minutes in the Theater before being directed off the ship. The first groups departed about 0735, we left about 0745 and had our bags and were at our car before 0800. Adventure Club: My kids love the Adventure Club; so much so, they begged to go to the sessions. My daughter passed on swimming in favor of staying at the kids club. Our daughter would watch the clock, counting down the minutes until the activities started and demand to have one of us take her. They both really enjoyed the games, arts and crafts, toys, movie nights and other activities. Additionally, the staff was excellent and very engaging. A few annoyances we had were with baggage delivery, strollers in the hallways and diapers in the pool. Maybe it is RCCL, but I’m used to my bags being delivered to my room, on this cruise, all the bags for our area were piled near the elevator and we were expected to identify them and drag them to our room. We also had several parents that chose to store their strollers in the hallways (passageways), one family with a double stroller, made it impossible to pass and presented a hazard. Lastly, is more of a policy enforcement, there were several families with children in diapers using the pool. There are signs posted indicating that diapers were not allowed in the pools and it was in the daily bulletin, but the policy was never enforced. Cruise Critic: We had a nice get together on Day 3. It was lovely to meet Ship’s Cat and several others. RCCL put on a nice spread of snacks and drinks. The Cruise Director hosted the event and had a small gift for each of us. Overall: We had a good cruise. If our cabin had not smelled so bad, I would have called it a great cruise. Splendor is a nice ship, with a good staff and is not showing her age. The few things, I dislike about Splendor would likely be different on another RCCL ship. The kids loved the kids club, which gave us time to relax and enjoy the sights. I would consider RCCL again, mostly because the kids loved the activities.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
First off, this was not only our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean, it was our first time cruising full-stop - so I have to be careful not to mix up my perceptions of cruising as a whole, with my opinions of this particular ship. My ... Read More
First off, this was not only our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean, it was our first time cruising full-stop - so I have to be careful not to mix up my perceptions of cruising as a whole, with my opinions of this particular ship. My husband and I are both in our early thirties and not many of our friends or family have cruised so neither of us were entirely sure what to expect – but both being ocean lovers we were sure we would take to life at sea – and we were right. From embarkation right through to disembarking, the service and organisation on board was beyond efficient, professional and reassuring. Everybody seemed to know exactly what they were doing and did it with a smile. Our cabin attendant was cheerful and chatty, whilst our waiter was such a genuine and friendly chap that we swapped email addresses and remained in touch long after the holiday. Our cabin was an E2 grade balcony. Although our first impression was that it looked very small, actually there was plenty of space for everything and we would happily book the same grade again. The balcony was a good size – just a shame about the smoke drifting over from the balcony next door. The evening entertainment and activities weren’t really for us, although we did take in the caberet show, feeling that we should experience at least something. The performers were talented but it was a little too ‘Butlins’ for us, and napkin folding and line dancing hasn’t really ever been our thing – but each to their own, and if you don’t want to join in there is always somewhere else to go. The food was fabulous with a capital F. Every meal we ate in the main dining room was of the most outstanding quality, and the breakfasts and lunches that we took in the Windjammer restaurant were obviously more modest in presentation but of no lesser quality. I don’t normally have an enormous appetite but by the end of the cruise I could barely do up the zip on my formal dress. Whoops! We took the complimentary kitchen tour and it was remarkable to see quite how many people contribute to get those mouth-watering dishes to the tables and made us appreciate the food even more. We loved the outdoor movie screen – watching The Wizard of Oz out in the middle of the ocean was magical – and would have liked a few more ‘old’ movies rather than the kids films that were generally shown, but we understand that the ship needs to cater for families. Overall we had a great time and although we are now ready to try different cruise lines to find the one that suits us best, we wouldn’t rule out cruising with Royal Caribbean again – particularly if we have a family in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
BAD
This is my eighth sailing on Royal Caribbean and the worst ever. Let me start by saying the cabin attendant, guest relations staff and wait staff were all excellent. The food was good but not great. Even though the ship was refurbished ... Read More
This is my eighth sailing on Royal Caribbean and the worst ever. Let me start by saying the cabin attendant, guest relations staff and wait staff were all excellent. The food was good but not great. Even though the ship was refurbished only a few years ago it still show its age but it was always clean and maintained. Two months before the cruise we were told that this would be an "immersion" cruise, that is a cruise that included a majority of guests from a specific country (in this case Brazil) and we would be immersed in their culture. The immersion had the following effects on the rest of the passengers' 1. All prime time entertainment was aimed at the Brazilian audience. It would have been nice if they offered other prime time entertainment for other passengers. The disco was open at midnight. 2. Trying to get waitress service at the lounges was difficult for non-Brazilian passengers. We were a group of six and half of the time I had to go to the bar and get the drinks myself. 3. Getting attention at the stores was equally as difficult. 4. This being a Brazilian "immersion" cruise, I guess the Brazilians were told that they could do as they pleased because they were constantly ignoring lines for service, taking up the entire width of aisles so that others would have to go around them or barge right through them. After 4 or 5 days I decided that barging through them or just standing still and letting them run into me made me feel better. 5. A lot of the crew members were Brazilian and spent most of their time chatting with their countrymen rather than providing service to passengers from other countries. That being said, the tours we booked on-board were terrible. While they stopped where they said they would, the time at each stop was inadequate. We spent more time just riding around the streets of the city than seeing any sights. While I usually like Royal Caribbean cruises (the Oasis was wonderful) I will stay away from older ships and I will NEVER take another "immersion" cruise   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our Cabin was great but our attendant was just barely marginal. He barely showed any interest in our experience aboard. He was even barely capable of faking the little interest he showed. I know that service is a difficult industry and ... Read More
Our Cabin was great but our attendant was just barely marginal. He barely showed any interest in our experience aboard. He was even barely capable of faking the little interest he showed. I know that service is a difficult industry and that it is hard to care but I think it is possible at least to be convincing, even if you must fake it. Our cabin was aft the benefit to the aft Jr. Suite is the size of the balcony. The balcony is a key point for me I love to sit read and relax with a nice cigar. The cabins were very well appointed for an older vessel. We were very comfortable. The beds as always were evil creatures that sucked you a=in and did not wish to let you go. We had a rougher voyage than we are used to but despite that the aft cabin had no more movement than any other cabin we have had. We did get a constant almost vibration that was barely noticeable, you could se it in your coffee cup or in my case the martini. You did get a lot more motion from swells but this was again not an issue except when we had rough seas.Apparently balcony smoking will be a thing of the past starting the first of the year. Personally this will influence me a great deal I may have to consider a return to Carnival. Carnival made the change as well then realized the mistake and returned to smoking. This is the smallest vessel I have cruised on and I thought that it seemed a bit crowded. The smaller number of people aboard did not matter the smaller space just packed you together more. Our overall experience with the crew was one of ‘limited interest in the passenger’; it was not just isolated to our cabin steward. We were cruising on the final leg of the crew’s contract time, it would explain being drained of energy, it would not let them off the hook for at least faking it though. The food was a real disappointment though, many dishes were bland and tasteless in particular the sups were a huge disappointment. I can honestly say that of the soup I had every night the only one that tasted marginally good was the Duck Consume. One of my favorites on every cruise before was the Cream of Wild Mushroom, this time though I would have been happy to have a bowel of Campbell’s instead. One desert though stood out the Lemon Tart was spectacular but every other was also a bland disappointment.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Got to venice the day before. Call me crazy but I hate to rush. And coming from Canada in November, you never know what the weather will be. Anyway, got to Venice and was greeted by rain, lotsa rain. Transport to the city was a bit ... Read More
Got to venice the day before. Call me crazy but I hate to rush. And coming from Canada in November, you never know what the weather will be. Anyway, got to Venice and was greeted by rain, lotsa rain. Transport to the city was a bit chaotic. I had pre-paid the Blue bus but has issues with the validation. Made it anyway to Piazzale Roma and made sure my hotel was close by. Hotel Chiara is about 50 meters from the bus stop, couldn't get any better. The hotel was surprisingly quiet and couldn't have made a better choice. Easy check-in, room was ready and was able to take a nap, have a quick shower and then explore this beautiful town again. Venice is great to walk around. You get lost, you find your way then get lost again. You will eventually find the canal and your way back. Had a great dinner and found a great neibourhood bar to have a few drinks. I was done by 11PM and went back to my hotel for a good night sleep. Woke up early, and as magic, the weather was splendid, sunny and warm and what a view from my room, directly on the canal. Had a quick breakfast and took the occasion to explore again. Got back to my hotel at 11 and as I had already checked out, just took my luggage and headed to the People's Mover. Got to the terminal, checked in right away and was in the Windjammer by 11:45. That's what I call efficient. Cabins were ready by 1:30 and by then, it was just time to explore the ship and finally relax. Weather was so great, sunny and warm that I stayed outside the whole afternoon. Pool bar was busy and everybody was in a great mood. Departure was magical as the ship slowly sailed pass plaza San Marco as the moon rose. A young lady standing next to me said that she was not really a romantic but boy, this was exceptional. Was back in my cabin, had a nap and got ready for dinner. The ship being on the small side is easy to navigate. Had a few drinks at the bar then the dreaded wait to see who will be at your table for the remainder of the trip. I had the 8:30 sitting and ended up at a table of 10. When traveling by yourself, dinner companions are important. My table mates came in slowly until we were all there. I couldn't have been luckier. There was a great diversity and I have to admit that I am a bit of a clown so it didn't take long before we all got comfortable. All my table mates were from the U.S. So I felt like the token Canadian :) Our first port was Split, the surprise of my last cruise. I was very excited to be back. Gorgeous weather when we arrived and as we were the only cruise ship, we were moored, not tendered. Being Sunday, the promenade was full of families and there was such a great energy. Best thing about Split is the free Wi-Fi everywhere. Sat outside at a cafe, had breakfast did a few e-mail and just soaked the atmosphere. To be honest, I have never seen so many good looking people at the same time, must be in the water. Took some home but still waiting for the effect. It was a relaxing day. Sunday market was in full force and I just walked around. Made it back to the ship and had lunch then a quick nap as I still felt the effects of jet lag. For some unknown reason, they decided to have the first formal night that night instead of the following at sea day. Got ready and headed to the champagne bar. Best wait staff I have ever seen, so patient and polite. I made it my go to bar. As stated, following day was at sea, on our way to Naples. Splendour is a small ship so when everybody is on board, all the venues are crowded. Good luck to find a table at the Windjammer. I could never understand why people commandeer a table for almost the whole afternoon when they see people going round and around with their food looking for a table while they have no food on their table or they play cards. We arrived in. Naples the following day. I had reserved a quick excursion to Positano which was such a waste. The tour guide was the most annoying ever, repeat, EVER. She had material for 15 minutes which she stretched to 3 hour by just repeating herself over and over again. It took 90 minutes to get there, we stayed 1 hour then 90 minutes to go back. Not really worth it. Back on the ship by 1, had lunch then to the pool bar. Weather had been great but how things change fast. I was sitting outside and whitin 15 minutes, the temperature dropped10 degrees and the sky turned black and the the wind picked up and the skies opened. And it rained so much that you couldn't see 10 feet ahead of you. Once we left Naples, we were faced with an angry sea. Many times I had to ask myself: "Did a drink too much" just to realize that everybody was green and swaying around the corridors. So back to the bar. I don't really feel seasickness so I was fine but some passengers were really affected. Following day was in Rome and Inhad decided to stay on the ship and relax the whole day. It was such a pleasure to be on an almost deserted ship. Plenty of tables at the Windjammer, room at the cafe-lattitude. Heaven. We were delayed leaving Rome as they found unexplored bombs from WWI in the port. We were faced once again with high winds and waves to a point that we had to skip Florence. Swell was too high to have the pilot ship accost us. So once again, full ship of restless people without anything to do. Spent most of the day in my cabin as you couldn't find a single spot to sit anywhere. What a relief to finally make it to Toulon. Nice weather greeted us and being French speaking, my table mates had asked me to find a good restaurant to have a typical French lunch. We all met at City Hall then had a 2 hours lunch, typical and so delicious. It was our last full day and we took full advantage of it. Toulon is a great city to just walk around and we did. We coughs the last shuttle to the ship, just in time for a nap and then we left for our final destination, Barcelona. Disembarkation was fast and easy. I had rented an apartment for 2 days and got there at 9AM. Spent those days shopping, walking, eating and eating again. So many little places to just sit, have tapas and a glass of cava. Barcelona has one of the most efficient and beautiful airport in the world so it took me 15 minutes to check-in and clear security. I think they do it on purpose so you spend more time in the Duty Free area. Spent way too much money there but it was worth it. Now, about the food. It was generally good, sometimes just acceptable and a few times plain nasty. Had to return my plate a few times so did my table companions. I am not picky and those things happen. I also understand that to keep the prices low, RCCL has to somehow cut costs somewhere. It doesn't bother me. I could have dined at Chops but preferred to enjoy the company of my table mates. Cabin was kept clean but my maid had the bad habit of not checking that the door was closed properly therefore I found my door ajar on a few occasions. When I asked her to make sure it was closed properly, she blamed maintenance, go figure. I had booked this cruise because I wanted to rest and relax which I did. I don't really have anything negative to say as I never expect perfection. My only pet peeve is the rudeness of some passengers. One woman was rude to a waiter because he had the audacity to serve somebody before her husband who's in a wheelchair. She got so mad that I thought she would have a stroke. Really lady, getting mad for this. That didn't stop her husband to walk the 10 meters back to his fat-mobile. I will for sure book another cruise with RCCL as I was well treated. I'd give this cruise a 9 out of 10.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We have just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Splendour of the Seas sailing from Venice. First of all I will mention the very good things on this cruise. embarkation was first class and on the ship in record time. The Windjammer food ... Read More
We have just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Splendour of the Seas sailing from Venice. First of all I will mention the very good things on this cruise. embarkation was first class and on the ship in record time. The Windjammer food was excellent and catered to all needs. Dining room was, in our opinion OK. As usual steak every night in different forms. For the formal night we had 2 large shrimps, which the head waiter said gave more meat than lobster? The problem we unfortunately had on our table was that our waitress had a new assistant, and he was not very helpful in that she did most of the work, thereby forgetting orders etc. Entertainment was good and the ships singers and dancers very good. The staff were first class and very helpful. The ship was spotlessly clean. There was music in the centrum every evening and people really enjoyed themselves. Unfortunately on this trip we encountered very bad weather with very high winds and rain. The Captain could not dock in Livorno because he said the pilot could not get on board, so we made for Toulon. This is where there was a problem in that people on the ship for the second time were not catered, so it was a scramble to find things for all the passengers to do bearing in mind that you could not go on deck because of the weather. The thing that surprised us the most were our cabins. We have cruised on lots of different lines, always in balcony rooms and they have all in all been much the same, but not on the Splendour. This is where apparently it was refurbished. We found that this room was smaller than normal, had no fridge because "fridges were not on this floor". No sofa, coffee table. No cupboards just cubby holes. On entering our room we found on the very tiny desk, coca cola cans, bottles of water and nibbles. There was no room to put these in the cubby holes. If we wanted ice we had to request it. Our room steward was superb and did everything he could to help us. When I went to Guest Services, they said they would sort out the problem and sent us up a bottle of wine "for the inconvenience". I have been on many Royal Caribbean cruises, but on this cruise the cost cutting was very apparent.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
After a fantastic first cruise, also with Royal Caribbean, we almost couldn't wait for this one. We indeed had a fantastic holliday. The splendour was not as great as our previous ship (the Navigator), but still very good. The ... Read More
After a fantastic first cruise, also with Royal Caribbean, we almost couldn't wait for this one. We indeed had a fantastic holliday. The splendour was not as great as our previous ship (the Navigator), but still very good. The personel was good but did not deliver the prommissed wow. They were polite and did their job fine, though. A problem with the ship itself was the deckplan. We love to enjoy the piano-music in the Scoonerbar, while drinking a cool cocktail. The position of the scoonerbar was directly next to the center, one deck above the R bar. The music of the entertainment in the Center was really loud and was programmed at the same time as the pianist. The result was that, unless you had seats directly around the piano you couldn't even listen. The activities on board of the ship were also not for "people like us". We are a young couple (round 30 years old) but the activities seemed to be especially for people around 50 years. In our first (and next) cruise we did not experience this at all. The singers and dancers of the ship were really good. Strong voices, fine shows. The food quality was good, but we missed the extra's from the Jade-cafe. Embarkation from Venice was great. The cruiseport is very easy to find and everything goes fast. And when the ship is leaving you have this wonderfull view of Venice! The shore excursions were fine with one exception: At Katakolon (Olympia) we had a very grumpy guide who didn't like her job at all, was terrible in organising things on the site, was rude to some people and made some major historical mistakes in her story. On the other hand, in Santorini we had the best excursion (and guide) ever! I doubded if I should rate the Splendour "Average". But when I look at the overall picture, it was really a good cruise. We have enjoyed every minute and would book it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Splendour of the Seas—7 night Greece & Turkey-- October 12-19, 2013 I recently returned from the 7 night Greece & Turkey cruise onboard Splendour of the Seas. It has been some years since I was last on Splendour and I was ... Read More
Splendour of the Seas—7 night Greece & Turkey-- October 12-19, 2013 I recently returned from the 7 night Greece & Turkey cruise onboard Splendour of the Seas. It has been some years since I was last on Splendour and I was anxious to sail her after her $50M revitilazation. I flew from Seattle to Venice via Washington DC and Brussels on United Airlines, using miles to upgrade to Business Class. United’s flat bed seats are wonderful and allowed me to arrive well rested. Upon arrival in Venice, I had prebooked private water taxi’s to take my group to our pre cruise hotel, then from the hotel to the ship and finally from the ship to the airport at the end of the cruise . By booking in advance at www.venicelink.com we were able to secure reduced pricing. There were 11 of us in my group, and the total cost for all 3 water taxi transfers came to $90 USD per person which was significantly less than taking taxi’s and/or the cruise line transfers and it was by far the easiest way to get around. After claiming our luggage, we proceeded to the Venice Link booth in the arrivals hall to exchange our voucher for tickets. We were given the number of our 2 water taxi’s and began the long walk (about 10 mins) from the airport terminal to the water taxi pier. Once on the pier it was shear chaos. We saw our 2 designated boats at the pier, however they were loaded with other people and took off. The employee working the pier was less than helpful and after a few minutes things were sorted out and we hopping into 2 boats for the short ride to our hotel. I booked the group into the Hotel Arlecchino which is located on the canal, but close to the main train and bus terminals. It’s also very close to the Pier making the transfer to the ship the following morning very convenient. The hotel was inexpensive by Venice standards, but still cost us $230 USD for the night, including breakfast and free WiFi. The Hotel Arlecchino is a very small property with only 26 rooms. They do not have an onsite restaurant or bar, but there is a small breakfast room which offers a very decent breakfast buffet that’s included in the price of the room rate. The rooms in this hotel are extremely small, but they were clean, comfortable and relatively quiet. The bathroom was quite large, but the lack of a shower curtain made it impossible not to flood the entire bathroom. The beds were very hard and not that comfortable, but after flying all night, nobody had trouble getting any sleep. The manager of the hotel, Francesco, was wonderful and could not do enough to ensure we had a nice stay. Our rooms were ready by the time we arrived, so after quickly dropping off our luggage in the rooms we were off to explore the sites of Venice. Half of the group had been to Venice before, while the other half were first time visitors. We purchased a 24 hour Vaporetto Pass prior to leaving the airport at the HelloVenezia booth for 20 Euro each, and used the Vaporetto’s to get around the city. First stop was St. Mark’s Square for a quick snack and some gelato. We wondered around the shops for a while before taking the 1 hour, self guided tour of the Doges Palace. Following the tour we set out on a gondola ride through the canals. The cost for each gondola was 80 Euro for up to six people. If you ride the gondola’s after 7pm, the cost increases to 100 Euro. The gondola ride lasted approximately 40 minutes and after returning we hopped back on the Vaporetto to the Rialto Bridge. Once there, the group split up to explore the shops and to find a liquor store where we could purchase some local wine to bring onboard the ship with us. After an hour or two of shopping it was time for dinner. I had made reservations at a local restaurant I found years ago and it was just as good this time as it had always been. The restaurant Trattoria Dona Onesta, (www.donaonesta.com) is a very small place tucked away in one of the residential neighborhoods, so there’s no worry of being gouged with high prices and inferior quality food. Everything is made from scratch to order, and the most expensive item on their menu is 15 EURO. At the end of the meal, the waiter offered us complimentary shots or Grappa, Lemoncello or another liquor. After a wonderful meal and a full day walking the canals of Venice it was time to head back to the hotel and get some sleep. Because the hotel is not on a busy part of the canal, it was relatively quiet at night. We slept with the windows open and there was minimal street noise. Breakfast in the morning is served from 7am-10:30am and consisted of a selection of cold cut meats, cheeses, fruit, oatmeal, pastries, juices and wonderful espresso and cappuccino. I had arranged for the water taxis to pick us up at the hotel at 10am and they were right on time as promised. Once onboard it was a short 20 minutes to the Pier. Upon arrival at the pier, there were dock workers available to take our checked luggage directly to the ship. We then made the short walk into the terminal to begin the check in process. Once inside the terminal, they announced check in would begin at 11am and they were right on time. Checking in was a bit slower than we’ve experienced at other embarkation ports, but it wasn’t anything major. Immediately after receiving our SetSail cards we were invited to go through Security and directly onboard the Splendour. We were sitting outside the Windjammer on the pool deck at 11:30am. The Windjammer opened shortly thereafter for lunch and as we were some of the first onboard it was very quiet. Unfortunately that didn’t last long, and by around 12:30pm, the place was jam packed with people trying to find a place to sit. Just before 1pm, they announced cabins were ready for occupancy so we headed down to Deck 8 and our Aft Junior Suites. Originally I had us all booked into E1 balcony cabins, but shortly before final payment, there was a price drop and we were able to score JS’s for $60 pp less than the balcony rate. Also by some miracle, all of the aft facing JS’s were available, so it was a no-brainer to make the move. My cabin was 8588 and it, as well as the JS’s our group occupied was in great condition. The furniture all looked like it had been replaced during the renovation, and the bathroom was completely redone with new sink, vanity and abundant storage. The beds were very comfortable and there was more than enough storage places. The balcony was huge and contained a table, 2 chairs and 2 loungers. The only issue we had with this cabin, was due to soot from the ships funnel. It didn’t appear every day, and depending on which way the wind is blowing you may or may not have any soot at all. Our cabin attendant, while not the sharpest knife in the drawer, did manage to keep our room clean and he did completely scrub the entire balcony and furniture a few times during the week, so the soot wasn’t really much of an issue for us and we enjoyed many hours on our balcony. After settling in and unpacking we went off to explore the ship before Muster Drill. The Splendour was refurbished in 2012, and the ship looks brand new. There were very little signs of wear and tear, and I don’t recall any signs of rust on the exterior. I think the major drawback to this ship is there are too many guests given the small size of the ship and its venues. The Schooner Bar was standing room only every night until closing time. I’m sure this had a lot to do with Anselmo Boles who is one of the best piano entertainers in the fleet, but nonetheless, it did get old not being able to find a seat in the lounge or at the bar any time we went in. The Centrum R Bar was also another place you could not get near. Every seat at the bar was taken and the seating in the Centrum was also full. The Top Hat Lounge was fairly large, but wasn’t used much during this cruise which made little sense given the crowded Centrum and Schooner Bar. There was pretty much non-stop entertainment in the Centrum. During the day, they had several dance classes, yoga and light music being played. At night, there was live music and several parties taking place along with the new Centrum Ariel Shows. The casino was very small, and did not have its own bar, so if you weren’t going to gamble there was no point stopping in there at all. One note.. the casino on this ship was the tightest I’ve ever seen. Very little winning happening here! The shops onboard were also very low on stock. I’m not sure if this was due to the end of the Europe Season or not, but there was very little to be had, including RCCL logo items. They had the usual daily sales and $10 watches, but the selection was disappointing. The new Diamond and Concierge Lounges could have been located in a better place other than within the Top Hat Lounge and the fact that they didn’t have walls that extended all the way to the ceiling made them a bit noisy when events were taking place in the Top Hat. The rooms are fairly good size, but the furniture is way too big and there’s way too much of it for the size of the room. Fortunately the Concierge Lounge never had more than a handful of people in it at any given time so it wasn’t too cumbersome. I never set foot into the Diamond Lounge so I’m not sure how crowded it was. The Pool Bar was the place to be during the sea days, and the live poolside music was provided by all three of the ships house bands at various times throughout the cruise. The main pool was heated to a comfortable level, and there was very little chair hogging which was a miracle given the large number of Germans (they’re notorious chair hogs) onboard. The Solarium Pool was packed every time we passed through, and it was so hot in there, I couldn’t understand how anyone could spend more than a few seconds in there, but it didn’t seem to stop people from camping out. The Park Café was a great place to grab a quick breakfast before going shore, or a light snack upon returning to the ship. The Viking Crown Lounge was used at the nightly disco with the usual music offerings and an a la carte Tapas Menu. Because the Splendour spends her winters in South America, most of her crew are Brazilian due to a law that requires the ship to be staffed with 80% Brazilian citizens. This definitely changes the overall atmosphere compared to other ships in the fleet that have a more varied crew. While the service was overall very good, the attitude of the Brazilians was more of “I’m here to do my job and get a paycheck” rather than “I’m happy to be here and I enjoy my job and my guests”. I don’t mean anything negative against the Brazilian culture and I have some very good friends that are Brazilian as well, but it must be mentioned. Even one of the Brazilian Bartenders said he doesn’t like working on a ship that’s mostly staffed by his countrymen for the same reasons I mentioned. Our cabin attendant did the basics and any requests needed to be made multiple times, for instance, we did not have any tissues in our bathroom and it took several requests and 4 days to get a box of tissues. Getting him to keep us supplied with ice was another challenge. He also had a hard time comprehending the meaning of the “Do Not Disturb” sign. Several times, he would call us on the phone, thus disturbing our nap, to tell us our laundry was ready, C&A tried to deliver a cheese plate etc. and because our DND sign was out they would have to come back. Obviously if the DND sign is out, you shouldn’t be calling! The staff at Guest Services was WONDERFUL and could not have been more helpful with any inquiry. Similarly, our dining room staff was also excellent. We had a 12 top, near the windows on Deck 4, traditional late seating. Mohammed from India, and Eder (not sure where he was from) made a great team and were a pleasure to see each evening. Our Head Waiter Andriy from Romania was also one of the best we’ve ever had. The Cruise Director, Bill Bruckhorst was in a word… BORING! He should be working for HAL where there’s never anything happening after 9pm. He’s very lazy and does not like to run the usual game shows and other events so the ship lacked the usual nightly entertainment options. Even his cruise staff don’t like working with him because he does the bare minimum. We did not attend any of the main production shows or the guest performances. I did hear the RCCL Singers during one of the Centrum ariel shows, and they seemed to be talented. The Centrum shows only lasted 15 mins, and the best one by far was the last one. If you want to see these performances and you don’t want to stand.. get there EARLY. Each time we found a decent spot near the railing on Deck 7 which turned out to be a perfect vantage point. This was the first cruise where we’ve eaten in the MDR since the new menus were introduced and the food was vastly improved. We dined 5 nights in the MDR, opting for Chops and Chef’s Table on the 2 remaining nights. The food in the MDR was delicious every night and the new menu items were a nice change. The quality has also improved and the portion size was perfect. Within our group, I think we tried most, if not all of the items on the menu and nobody and any complains. Due to the shortage of snails, escargot was only offered on the formal nights even though it is still listed on the “Always Available” menu. Dinner in Chops was as good as it always is, and the service was fantastic. Chef’s Table was a bit of a disappointment and not an experience I would repeat on this ship. Unlike Chef’s Table on Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody and a few other ships, where the Chef’s Table is in a private, secluded location, on Splendour it’s located in the MDR, but the walls do not extend to the ceiling. Combined with the fact that the walls are open to the MDR, it’s very noisy. During our 3 plus hour meal, we were “treated” the waiters singing during both first and second seatings. All of the noise from the MDR carries right into the Chef’s Table and it’s far from a relaxing meal, and it’s impossible to hold any conversations during dinner. It was so loud that both the Chef and the Sommelier had to walk around the table when explaining the menu items as it was impossible to hear them if they stood at the head of the table. Whoever designed this space should have their head examined. In spite of the noise, the food was excellent and the service was top notch but this is the first and last time I dine at a Chef’s Table that’s not completely walled off and private. The Windjammer offered up the usual fare for breakfast, including a made to order egg station. Lunch brought varied choices, all of which were very good, hot and fresh. There was a nice selection of European cold cuts, cheeses, olives, etc. out each day and they always had some sort of whole, steamed fish available. One thing to note, they did not have any of the flavored waters available that you’ll find on the other ships. Free drinks were strictly “Old School” water, iced tea and lemonade and of course coffee and hot tea. Park Café was a great place to grab a quick bite for breakfast, lunch or a midday snack as was the Boardwalk Dog House. Food at both venues was always fresh and tasty. Now on to the ports… On this cruise, our ports were Split, Kusadasi, Mykonos and Argostoli with 2 sea days. The weather forecast this week was not too promising with calls for 60-80% chance of rain showers and cooler temps. We lucked out and had sunny skies and temps in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. Our first stop was in Split, Croatia and having been here before we opted to head out of town. I booked a private guide and driver for the day to take us off the beaten path. Split is supposed to be a tender port, but to our surprise (and to the surprise of our crew as well) we were given space to dock. The crew said this was the first time they had ever docked in Split and were a little taken back by this. Not having to tender is always a good thing, and as soon as the gangway was cleared, we were off to meet our guide who was on the pier waiting for us as promised. We loaded up into a very nice minibus and began the 70 mile drive to KRKA National Park. During the drive, our guide told us about life in Croatia and gave commentary on the areas we passed through. Upon arriving at KRKA, we began by exploring the Ethno Village and learning about how the early settlers milled corn and used the power of the parks 16 waterfalls for hydro-electricity. We then set out on a leisurely 2 hour walk through the park visiting the 16 different waterfalls and learning about the flora and fauna. Everyone in my group loved the natural beauty of this park and because we got an early start, the place was virtually empty. Just as we were leaving, the RCCL tour busses began to arrive. After leaving KRKA, we headed back toward Split, this time taking local roads to see more of the Croatian countryside. We made a stop at the village of Trogir where we spent a few hours with our guide learning about this area. It was Sunday so most of the shops were closed, but we managed to find a gelato shop and the town was not crowded at all. After leaving Trogir, we went back to the ship just before sail away. We had a private guide and driver for a full 8 hours at a cost of 59 Euro per person.. far less than what the ship was charging for a tour half that length. Our guide Frane was great and very accommodating to our needs. Our next day was a sea day, and we spent it enjoying the sun and solitude of our aft balcony. Next stop was Kusadasi, Turkey and again I arranged for a private guide and driver for an all day tour of Ephesus and Sirince Village. We were met on the pier by our guide Sami who escorted us to our waiting minibus. Kusadasi was a mad house this morning, as it was a local holiday. We quickly left the city and headed out toward the Temple of Artemis and the Church of St. John. We made a brief stop at the Isa Bey Mosque and explored the grounds and interior. Sami was an Archeology Major and was a wealth of knowledge, without going into so much detail that you became uninterested. He was able to answer every question and really painted a picture of what it was like to live during the ancient times. Following the Mosque, we drove to the Village of Sirince, again arriving before the crowds, and had about an hour to explore the Bazaar and various merchants/cafes. Enroute to Ephesus, we made a brief stop at a local artists shop. This man worked in pottery and he demonstrated how he forms the pieces by hand on his potter’s wheel. We also saw how each item is hand painted and were treated some some delicious pomegranate juice. The items in this shop were beautiful and very reasonably priced. They even told us if any of the items broke in transit back to our homes, they would send us replacements for free. The people in this shop were wonderful.. not pushy at all and even rounded down when figuring out the exchange rate. Everyone in the group found something to purchase and it was nice to support a local artisan in the hopes that they keep the craft alive. Our next stop was at the House of the Virgin Mary. Sami had called ahead to make sure it wasn’t too crowded as he said some groups have spent up to 3 hours in line trying to get in. Luckily his friend was working there that day, and we managed to get right in. The house itself is very small, and not much to see, but the grounds were absolutely beautiful. We spend about an hour there before heading off to the main attraction.. Ephesus. Once at Ephesus, Sami provided excellent commentary on the ruins and how life was back then. He kept us away from the crowds and took us to a few out of way sites that I’m sure not many tourists get to see. Our tour included the Terrace Houses which were fascinating to see and again really came alive with Sami’s vast knowledge. We spend about 3 hours total at Ephesus and the time flew by. Everyone agreed Ephesus was much more impressive than the ruins of Pompeii. After a fantastic afternoon, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant who set up a table for us outside in their garden. We were served a huge Greek salad, bread, water, soft drinks, and a meal of grilled kebobs with pita bread and rice, finished off with a piece of cake and fresh fruit. Lunch was included in the cost of the tour and at $129.00 USD per person for the entire day… it was a bargain! Upon arriving back in Kusadasi, people had the option of exploring on their own, going back to the ship, or going to see a carpet demonstration. I’ve heard horror stories of the pushy carpet salesman and I had a morbid curiosity to see how bad it really was. The store Sami took us to was not high pressure at all and was very informative. They told us a lot about how the rugs are made, how to tell a fake from the real thing etc. They offered us Turkish coffee, wine, water etc and at the end of the demonstration they of course wanted to sell you a rug. We simply declined the sales pitch and thanked them for their hospitality and that was it. Mykonos was our next port, and we had to tender, as NCL was given the single spot at the pier. Actually in Mykonos, it’s better to tender as the tenders leave you right in the center of town, whereas if you dock, you must take a shuttle bus to town. Everyone in my group was free to explore on their own today and we all went off in search of different things, wandering up and down the small streets and alley ways. The walk to the windmills is a short and easy one and affords greats photos of the town not to mention the ship at anchor in the harbor. Due to it being the end of the season, most of the shops had discounted their merchandise and there were a lot of good deals to be had. Back onboard the weather turned during the night, and the up until this point, smooth seas became a little angry and rough. It also became very windy but the ship handled the 30 foot swells very well. We weren’t scheduled to dock in Argostoli until 12 noon, but around 11:30am the Captain made an announcement in all the cabins that due to the high winds and rough seas, the port of Argostoli was closed and we would not be able to make our stop here. He went on to explain that the surrounding ports of Corfu and another few islands were also closed so we would have to spend our day at sea. We spend the afternoon circling around the islands following by two or three other cruise ships that were also locked out of their port calls. The seas were rough, it was windy but sunny and we had the perfect spot to relax on our aft balcony so all was good. The ship continued to rock and roll for the remainder of the day and night, but the following morning we woke up to calm seas, sunny skies and a perfect last day at sea. Nobody really seemed to be too upset at missing this port.. there’s not a lot of information on it and everyone in my group had planned just to walk around the town. Missing Argostoli turned out to be a blessing in disguise though. Because we were basically 7 hours ahead of schedule in arriving back to Venice, we basically spend most of our last sea day hovering off the coast of Venice. This was a blessing because the morning of our arrival back in Venice there was very dense fog that closed the port for a few hours in the morning. Because we had been so close, we were able to sneak in during a break in the fog and were docked in Venice at 4am. When I woke up at 6am, I went out onto the balcony and the fog was so thick, I couldn’t see the pier or the terminal 2 feet away! Unfortunately the 4 other ships (MSC and NCL) were stuck waiting for the fog to lift and didn’t begin to pull into their piers until after 9am. I hope everyone on those ships was able to get to the airport in time for their flights. Debarkation morning, we went for a quick bite in the Windjammer and then carried our own luggage off the ship at around 8am. As a point of reference, those doing the Express Departure were being called off around 6:30am. Normal debarkation began around 7am and they had listed in the Compass that everyone was to be off the ship by 9am. My group walked off the ship at 8am, luggage in tow and were met by our private water taxis right next to the ship. We piled into our 2 water taxis and were on our way to the airport in a matter of minutes. Now a word about the Venice airport… It’s a ZOO! Lucky for us those other ships weren’t able to dock when we did or it would have been even more of a madhouse. The airlines do not accept checked luggage until 3 hours prior to your flight departure, so you are all stuck in this small waiting area of the ticket counters with no place to sit, stand, move or breathe. Lines for Security are long and slow moving as are the lines to check in with your airline. If at all possible, I suggest you check in and print your boarding passes on the ship the night before. In summary, everyone had a wonderful time on the Splendour. While her venues are somewhat small and overcrowded compared to her larger sisters she still provided us a comfortable home for a week of cruising. If anyone has any questions, I’ll do my best to answer. I will post the link for my video and pictures as soon as I get them uploaded.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Our recent cruise on Splendour was very pleasant overall, with some disappointments. Embarkation was speedy and smooth. The sail away from Venice really is quite spectacular. We chose to stay on our balcony as it was a little bit chilly ... Read More
Our recent cruise on Splendour was very pleasant overall, with some disappointments. Embarkation was speedy and smooth. The sail away from Venice really is quite spectacular. We chose to stay on our balcony as it was a little bit chilly on deck. It was beautiful. The ship is looking good for her age and is well maintained. Everything was sparkling and showing little sign of wear and tear. We thought the food was of a good standard generally, and we rotated between the MDR, Windjammer, and Chops Grille - which was truly outstanding, both in terms of quality of food and service. The service in the MDR lacked a little enthusiasm we felt, but we still enjoyed dining there. We only dined there on 3 evenings as we went to Chops and the Windjammer twice. We preferred a Windjammer breakfast or Room Service breakfast to that in the MDR. The Solarium was a favoured spot for us during the day, but as expected on a winter cruise, it could be busy. They also allowed children in the Solarium pool which wasn't a big deal, but could be rather noisy at times. It was a bit cold to be in the outdoor pool though, so I think allowances were made. We stayed in a Grand Suite and had mixed feelings about it. Not sure that we would do it again on this class of ship as the suite perks (or lack of) don't justify the high price. The suite itself was very nice, with lots of storage space and a large balcony with comfortable furniture. The bathroom was spacious and the shower pressure was great. The bed wasn't as comfortable as on previous cruises, but it was OK. The iPad was useful for keeping an eye on our account. We discovered we had been overcharged, and this was quickly rectified at Guest Services. It was very noisy overhead at night and in the morning, but this can be quite a common complaint with suites being on the floor under the pool. We didn't make any special requests to the Concierge, as we had booked our dining arrangements and excursions prior to sailing. We did pop in occasionally to the Concierge Lounge for our complimentary evening drinks and nibbles, but the service was very slow, so there wasn't much opportunity to have more than 2 drinks before dinner. Certainly not enough to justify the money we paid. The Concierge was so-so. We were given priority tender tickets for Santorini, but when we went down to disembark, there was no priority boarding, so the tickets were useless. We were however offered a tour of the Bridge, Galley and Backstage Theatre, which was very interesting. We still don't know where the Suite seating in the theatre was, but we had great seats on the 2 evenings we went to see a show, and they were in a great location, so there was no need to utilise that particular perk. The specialty coffees in the Lounge were nice. If you like a lovely spacious room with nice little touches and decent toiletries, that may be enough of a perk for you to pay the inflated price, but if you enjoy taking advantage of a full range of Suite perks, you won't get them on Splendour. The entertainment was a bit hit or miss, as usual. We spent less time than we normally do in the theatre and Top Hap Lounge (although the Concierge Lounge is actually just a partitioned off part of the Top Hat Lounge. We had a lovely time, with several highlights, but felt we had paid way over the odds for what was provided. Will go back to the bigger ships which offer more suite perks, and for some reason are less expensive (perhaps because there are more of them?). The added 22% Italian tax which was added to every purchase onboard meant that the shops were deserted. Even the 50% sales weren't worth bothering with. The sales assistants looked very bored indeed. They must lose a lot of business when they don't have Turkey on the itinerary to avoid this huge tax. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was my fourth cruise (wife's first) and my first with Royal Caribbean. Given the totality of our experience, I would rate the cruise 2.5 on a scale of 5. The main reason for the average score was the quality of the food. It was ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise (wife's first) and my first with Royal Caribbean. Given the totality of our experience, I would rate the cruise 2.5 on a scale of 5. The main reason for the average score was the quality of the food. It was really disappointing. With one exception, the servings were small, the presentation was uninspired, and the taste was bland. For example: their soups could have come out of a can for all I know. The cream of mushroom was advertised as having chunks of mushroom, but there were none. The lobster bisque had no chunks of lobster. The french onion soup was basically a spare consomme. Same kind of results for main courses and appetizers. We could have gone to Chops or Izumi, but chose not to. After all we paid for this cruise, I really didn't feel compelled to spend any more. The only really good meal was on the last night, when they served lamb shank. Huge portion, great food quality. Breakfast in the Windjammer Lounge on deck 9 was intolerable. Crowded, people literally fighting for table space. It tended to bring out the worst in people. We did that the second day and then I said, "Never again!" My preference was to go to the King and I dining room on deck 4, at least they seat you there and you don't have to sink to guerilla tactics! Plus there was a buffet there that you could get what you wanted, for the most part. A much more pleasurable experience, IMHO. Our cabin steward and the two gentlemen who took care of us in the dining room were excellent. This was typical of all staff on the ship. I kind of felt sorry for our two waiters, they did their best to "put lipstick on a pig" but in the end, the food spoke for itself. When it was launched, the Splendour and its sister vessels were the largest in the RCL fleet. Now they are the smallest. The ship recently went through a renovation and we were pleased with our cabin on deck 6. It was on the outside of the hull and therefore, we had a balcony to enjoy. My cousin was right next door, and the panel between balcony cabins could be swing back so we could all sit together. Bathroom was a bit cramped, but you expect that on a cruise ship. The shower was great, plenty of hot water. The sink faucet had flow control and this was a bit of a pain but not terrible. Cabins are outfitted with two European 220-volt outlets and two US 120-volt outlets. Starbucks right down the hall on our deck was a welcome place to get a cup of coffee in the morning. I enjoyed our ports but time on land was limited and sometimes we had to rush. That's the deal with land excursions. It's been about 25 years since my last cruise and the difference between then and now is telling. We will probably cruise again but not likely with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our first cruise so we really did not know what to expect. We were very exited...Came to Italy 10 days before our cruise and visited Rome, Naples and Florence. Last two days we spent in Venice. Stayed in Ca Maria Adele, a boutique ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we really did not know what to expect. We were very exited...Came to Italy 10 days before our cruise and visited Rome, Naples and Florence. Last two days we spent in Venice. Stayed in Ca Maria Adele, a boutique hotel in Dosoduro area, little out of the way of the tourist area. This was our first stay in Venice, and we loved it, loved it, loved it. it is so easy to get lost in Venice, so easy to find your way again, and really difficult to get bored in that unreal surrounding:-) We arrived to the terminal during lunch time and since it was very busy, had to wait for a while. We had a balcony room on deck 7. I liked the cabin, large enough and very clean, we did not have high expectations anyway. Our budget for this trip was limited, but balcony is a must for my husband. Our bed was very comfortable too. The Windjammer Cafe is in a great location, has a breakfast and lunch buffet daily and serves the same food everyday (no problem for us). We bought soda package ($55) and had unlimited drinks. The food at the King was different everyday. There were so many soups and pasta dishes... The main dining room served variety of food. It is little crowded but you can always find a table. The stuff was very friendly and helpful enough (they really work hard there)... I am not a fan of organized entertainment in hotels and other touristic areas, but have to admit - shows were very good, we did enjoy! Plenty of live music in different locations all evening... Already mentioned our limited budget, plus the fact that we do not like sightseeing in a big group, so we did not buy any ship excursion. We love exploring new destinations on our own, but decided to have two guided tours. Based on the reviews on Cruise Critic and trip advisor, we chose our guides in Venice and Ephesus. Photo walk in Venice with Marco (www.marcosecchi.com) and Ephesus tour with Ertunga Ecir (www.ertungaecir.com) were great experience I would definitely sail on the Splendour of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Firstly let me say this is our first time on a Vision class ship, and most recently we sailed on Allure of the Seas, so this was going to be a big change (or small if you look at the size of Splendour in relation to Allure)! Overall, ... Read More
Firstly let me say this is our first time on a Vision class ship, and most recently we sailed on Allure of the Seas, so this was going to be a big change (or small if you look at the size of Splendour in relation to Allure)! Overall, great cruise with some minor niggles. Will we go back? You'll have to read my review to find out at the end in my summary. Sorry. OK, so I'll give an overview of the cruise, great ports but that depends on what you want to do. We did 3 ships excursions in Dubrovnik, Santorini and Athens. Why? Well we've never been to Dubrovnik nor Athens so didn't fancy taking our chances with transfers / shuttles at RCI costs and then making our own way, and I knew with Santorini taking a ships tour ensures priority tendering, which it did. In Corfu we just visited the old town as we've spent a land vacation in Corfu but not visited the town centre. A major tip for you folks about getting to/from Corfu town. RCI will offer you an all day shuttle service for $10 per person. So you get off the ship, catch a free port bus (or walk it's not far at all) to the parking area where you'll find the shuttle buses. Alternatively instead of paying $10 per person, in the same area as the shuttle buses you'll see a local bus that will take you to the same spot as the shuttle buses for €1.50 each! That's €3 per person for a return trip and these buses run every 15 minutes. Mmm, I wonder why the RCI shuttle buses and drivers were just hanging around the port? So overall impressions, well the ship is in great shape for her age (although some rust is evident, especially on the balconies) and has some 'bells & whistles' after her revitalization in November 2011 (we did see her in Cadiz in dry dock as we sailed on a Liberty TA). She now has an outdoor movie screen, Park Cafe, Boardwalk Dog House, Chops Grille, Izumi, Chefs Table, Nursery, R Bar, Diamond and Concierge Lounges and a Britto Gallery. We flew into Venice Marco Polo airport and after a short transfer using Venice-limousine.com for €50 (far better than Rome to Civitavecchia in my opinion as such a shorter journey) we were at terminal 107 of the cruise port at around 11 am. Several other ships were docked, Norwegian Jade, Carnival Sunshine and MSC Davina. Quite a strange process for dropping off your bags at a building and then walking quite a way across a road to the check in terminal, not arduous but just a little strange. Check in was swift and within minutes immediately after checking in, we boarded, no waiting around at all. We were met on deck 4 near the centrum with a welcome aboard drink and the obligatory sales desks for soda and wine and dine packages. Now one thing to bear in mind on this sailing was that as from July 2013, Croatia became a member of the EU, and so this meant that this itinerary no longer visited a non-EU port. As a result all purchases on board attracted Italian tax (VAT) at a rate of 22% (it has obviously increased recently from the 21% detailed in the letter in your stateroom)! There's no 'duty free' bottles of alcohol nor cigarettes for sale in the 'general store', the contents of the shelves had been replaced by Michael Kors bags! This meant that everything was more expensive than on our previous European sailings out of Barcelona which only charges 10% tax. All purchases from the shops and photo gallery on board have 22% added and so do drinks from the bars, but it is not not shown as a separate tax, I suspect it has been included in the prices as they are definitely higher than what we paid earlier in the year. For example, we normally say 2 alcoholic drinks (house brandy, simple cocktails, house wine) would cost us around $15 -16 including the standard 15% gratuity. On this ship, most of our receipts were between $19 - $21. If this tax hasn't been incorporated into the beverage prices, and isn't charged, then boy have prices been increased. Your 8 x 10 photo will cost you $24.34 ($19.95 + $4.39 tax), a 6 x 8 $15.80 ($12.95 + $2.85 tax). Soon mounts up! Thank goodness for the free photo coupon in the discount booklet (oh yeah, Splendour was still using the booklet, apparently they go electronic on the Oct 26th sailing). No unlimited internet package available, even though wifi is available throughout. The standard cost is now 75c per minute and painfully slow, so much so we didn't buy a package, just used our free minutes (well most of mine was gobbled up by the inability of the system to log me off which resulted in a visit to Guest Relations where I was compensated with $6 worth of time, despite losing $22 worth) and used free wifi in most of the ports. So that would be my tip on this itinerary, find the many cafés and bars offering free wifi and relax with a drink as we did and use the far superior wifi service available. We had a category D2 balcony cabin on deck 7 near the centrum (7570) which was very good, with new carpeting, new balcony furniture and bathroom (although a dreaded shower curtain which attacks you!). Newly renovated with new carpeting, balcony furniture, bathroom. LCD TV, but not interactive so you cannot order to room service nor check your SeaPass account via the TV. The ship is easy to navigate due to its size and the Adults only Solarium has a retractable roof (which despite the great weather was never retracted, making it quite warm and stuffy and uncomfortable in my view), great loungers and even when children are allowed in (normally a couple of hours each day) it never seemed busy except on our one sea day when, as you would expect, beds were at a premium. Plenty of beds around the main pool deck too, and it never seemed too crowded. The Viking Crown now houses Izumi and Chops Grille and these venues take up the prime views in my opinion and reduces the normally panoramic views available from the Viking Crown. It also offers an al a carte menu for snacks, tapas and desserts (think Red Velvet Cake offered at Chops). Later in the evening the venue becomes the 'disco' with the normal DJ ('I'll play what I want, even though the dancefloor is empty, as it's my choice, not the customers!). Sorry, but I find this self indulgent attitude on all RCI ships, not just Splendour. So to the dining venues. There are, as mentioned, the speciality fee paying Chops Grille, Izumi and Chefs table (in a partioned area of the main dining room on deck 5). We ate at Chops twice and although only late reservations (9:30pm) were available online (which I did book) on one day, I had no problem changing once onboard on day 1. Complimentary venues include Park Cafe, Boardwalk Dog House and Windjammer Cafe (all on deck 9). Cafe Latte-tudes is on deck 6 and serves complimentary cakes and pastries, but specialty Stabucks coffee and Ben & Jerrys ice cream is not free! Although if you buy 6 coffees the 7th is free. There are coffee and soft drink stations on the main pool deck and in the Solarium, but it's a bit hit or miss when they have drinks or cups available. A few times the coffee pots were empty or the coffee cold, and instead of dispensing lemonade or ice tea, just water was available. However, when available the orange juice both in the Windjammer and on the pool deck out of these dispensers was far superior to the 'regular' juice in the MDR. All beverages like tea, coffee, juice is self serve in the Windjammer using these machines. The main dining room (King & I) is 2 storeys on decks 4 & 5. My time dining is located on deck 5. Now this is my only negative on this trip, and that is the available seating in the MDR. We choose MTD and pre book online stipulating a table for 2 as we don't like to share unless we meet some people once onboard and elect to eat with them. That's the beauty of MTD for us, we no longer have to dread the first night of wondering who are table mates will be, and will we all get along. I know that's not everyone's 'cup of tea' as many of you enjoy meeting new people at dinner, but that's our choice. So off we go to the MTD 'check in' to be told no tables for 2 available as we are being shown to a table of 8. 'No thank you' I say and insist on a table for 2 which means we are paraded around the dining room looking like lap dogs following the Head Waiter. Not a good start. After dinner I ask why, when we have prebooked a table to ourselves (as it says on the RCI website) is none available? I am informed that the only time available for tables for 2 is at 9pm which is the last time diners are allowed into the dining room. OK, so we change all our prebooked times to 9 pm. Can't say I'm too impressed. So next morning, breakfast beckons. So off we trot to deck 4 and the MDR. Obviously as you might guess we are shown to a table of 10 and are expected to share first thing in the morning when I'm even less sociable than in the evening! This time we go with it, but as expected, as a same sex couple, no one speaks to us and the meal takes forever as it takes a long time to take and deliver 10 orders, coffee, tea etc, especially when the waiter is determined to encourage people to have freshly squeezed orange juice at $4 a glass and for those of us who decline, we wait forever for regular juice. Oh I forgot the requests for camomile tea, apple juice which further delayed the service. For subsequent breakfasts we request a table for 2, invariably to be told quite curtly that none are available, we will have to wait 'over there' (in the Centrum) and 'we are very busy, so it may be a while'! Well you know what, we did wait, no longer than 5 - 10 minutes and we're still in and out in less time then when dining with 8 others! So my comment card clearly stated more tables for 2 required as we were not the only ones requesting them. Now for dinner, yes we got our requested table for 2 at 9 pm (woe betide you for turning up 10 minutes earlier as again you will be told none available). However, sometimes as this was the latest time for MTD, we felt rushed as the wait staff wanted to clear tables, other times it was ok, just depended if you were in the 'naughty corner' where most of the tables for 2 are located in a corner at the back of the dining room or a more 'open' area (table 179 was our favourite). We thought the food however, was excellent, although I know this is very subjective. The portions seemed larger sometimes. The staff are excellent and very friendly although looking more rushed than ever, to the point of having to apologise on several occasions that we had to wait. I've now realised that I've prattled on for over a page about the MDR, so I suppose it mattered more to me than I realised. It didn't ruin the cruise, but left a bad taste about MTD on smaller ships. As for service, in general it is service 'with a smile' to a certain degree. However, I found that those 'in charge' we're less friendly and in some cases downright rude. For example, I went to Guest Services (open 24 hours according to the Cruise Compass) to cash a travellers cheque. There is always a member of staff checking the line to see what you need. I was told very rudely that they could not cash the cheque at this time as guest services is closed! Err there are 2 staff behind the counter, but closed? Why I ask? (Thinking they no longer cash cheques) to be told there is a staff meeting. What he should have said was, 'the cashier in the casino will happily cash your cheque sir' (which I knew anyway) not just turn his back on me. And before you say 'why didn't I go to the casino first' I was passing guest services, not the casino at that time. Entertainment is available as on all RCI ships, but we didn't see a show in the 42nd Street theatre (only 1 level on deck 4), the Centrum has bands playing, acrobats swinging from the ceiling and this is where the 70's party is hosted with the obligatory 'Village People' in the evening. Another tip, if you like to retire early, then don't get a cabin near the centrum as the sounds travel up from the singers or bands playing. Quest is held in the Top Hat lounge on deck 5 and looked fun, but I can't say the CD was on fire, and to be honest a little lacklustre. Due to the size of the ship there is nowhere you could sit and listen to some relaxing music with your drink of choice, as each venue had some sort of loud music in the evening, be it the singalong in the Schooner Bar (great fun) or band playing in the Centrum to the DJ in the Viking Crown. There is the usual Spa and a very small fitness centre, both located aft on deck 9 and accessed from the Solarium but I can't tell you anything about either of these as we didn't use them! Disembarkation was painless. As we had airport transfers included as part of the air/sea package with RCI, we were given baggage tags for a 7:30 a.m. departure (our flight was 11:25) and Venice airport doesn't advise arriving more than 3 hours before departure (RCI also mention this in the cruise compass) as seating is limited in the airport. Odd numbered tags were advised to wait in Top Hat lounge on deck 5, even numbered tags in the 42nd Street theatre on deck 4. Platinum and above Crown & Anchor members could wait in the Schooner Bar on deck 4. Those requiring wheelchair assistance were requested to wait in the Centrum on deck 4. Express Departure guests had to advise Guest Services in advance and would be expected to carry off all their bags from 7:00 a.m. and before 7:30 a.m. (Actually they were allowed to disembark starting at 7:15 followed by tag number 1 at 7:45 and 2 shortly thereafter. We were aboard the bus at 8:00 having collected our bags and passing out of the terminal (no passport or customs check) and on our way to Marco Polo airport at 8:05 for the 25 minute transfer. As I said, painless. In summary, the ship is in good condition, on the whole the staff are friendly and helpful, the service is good, and the ports are excellent (Dubrovnik must not be missed, Santorini is spectacular and Athens for historical sites can't be beaten. Corfu has plenty to offer and Katakolon has one street of shops and a harbour full of pretty cafés and tavernas but little else as it the port stop for Olympia). One noticeable and pleasant difference to the bigger ships are the lack of announcements for bingo, $10 sales, belly flop competition, worlds sexiest man etc, etc. Those of you who have sailed on the Voyager, Freedom and Oasis class will know what I mean. Basically during the day, it is peaceful with very few 'bing bongs'. Bliss. So the $64,000 question, would I sail out of Venice again? Definitely yes, it's such an easy transfer to/from the airport and is a beautiful city to experience and only a 2 hour flight for us. Would I want to visit more of the Greek Islands? Of course, there are so many to visit and they are so charming. Would I sail Splendour again, given a choice, no, she's too small for me and doesn't give the variety of venues I've become accustomed to and that are available on the larger ships. Don't get me wrong, she is a great ship, on which we received our first Crystal block and never appeared crowded (boy those things weigh a lot, around 1.5 kilos or just over 3lbs to be exact!). Although I did have to chase that down as it had been delivered to the wrong cabin!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We travelled from Brisbane, Australia to Venice, via China & Paris. Stayed in Venice overnight (Hotel Corte Di Gabriela, which is amazing btw) before our cruise. Embarkation was quick and easy. Boarded at about 12:30pm. Straight onto ... Read More
We travelled from Brisbane, Australia to Venice, via China & Paris. Stayed in Venice overnight (Hotel Corte Di Gabriela, which is amazing btw) before our cruise. Embarkation was quick and easy. Boarded at about 12:30pm. Straight onto ship for lunch at Windjammers.. Huge selection! Our room was excellent, on the best side of the ship, right by the captain and co, and able to see land/coast as we sailed. Ports were, Split (Croatia), Ephesus (Turkey), Mykonos & Argostoli (Greece). Excellent destinations. Did the waterfalls tour at Croatia which was awesome. Also the caves & winery at Argostoli which was nice too. We ate at Chops Grille three times and at Izumi. The steaks are the best we've ever had.. and the oysters are to die for! Absolutely amazing and the staff were A+.. Our stateroom attendant 'Fernando Walters Calvin' Was one of the nicest people we'd ever met and did a fantastic job cleaning our room, sometimes 2-3 times a day.. Unreal! Our room had a balcony (7002) .. Best level with no overhead noise and no noise from centrum. Theatre was ok, not the greatest, casino was great, tons of food everywhere on the ship, ate dinner twice in main dining room & had salmon one night and stuffed chicken another night, was delicious, hotdogs were nice, bbq ribs at windjammers were yummy. The brisket carved at lunch was so tender... yummy! omlettes made fresh at breakfast.. plus we had room service (3x breakfast, 2 late night burgers, chicken, chips, free ..again amazing!. Starbucks coffee which we had almost everyday (small charge) and drinks were reasonable. Cocktail drink of the day were always $6.95usd & you kept the souvenir glass which I thought was a fantastic deal. Our only gripe is the way RC hold charges on your credit card and later bill you again for the final amount, leaving your account with twice the amount gone until half (holding amount) is reimbursed 2 weeks later.. Annoying! especially for those who might need those extra funds if still holidaying after the cruise.. other than that, We absolutely loved this cruise and are already booking another with RC.. Can't wait to sail again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Loved the ship! The crew were all fantastic as usual. Our waiter Francisco went the extra mile every evening. Wonderful aft balcony cabin. Balcony is the same width as other D1 balconies but about 3x as deep. There was room for a table w/ ... Read More
Loved the ship! The crew were all fantastic as usual. Our waiter Francisco went the extra mile every evening. Wonderful aft balcony cabin. Balcony is the same width as other D1 balconies but about 3x as deep. There was room for a table w/ 2 chairs and 2 full size loungers. Aft cabins are more susceptible to soot but we only had an issue on one morning when we woke to a layer of soot on the floor and furniture. The housekeeping staff cleaned the balcony thoroughly as part of the morning cleanup and we never had any further issues. The "R Bar" located in the Centrum area of the ship on deck 4 was a great place to hang out as there was entertainment every evening. This bar uses all fresh ingredients for the drinks and you can definitely taste the difference. Park Cafe (located on deck 9 aft, within the Solarium) is a good alternative to the Windjammer buffet. They offer fresh sandwiches, salads, fruit cups, smoothies, and made to order bagels. We headed there on embarkation day to avoid the crowds in the Windjammer. The freshly carved roast beef sandwich was delish! This ship is one of the smaller ones in the fleet but I like the cozy feel. You tended to see the same people throughout the week, which was nice. Just the right amount of bars/lounges, outdoor seating, entertainment venues, etc. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
As my title suggests this was the first cruise my wife and I have been on so I would pick a cruise line with a trusted pedigree to be on the safe side I need not have worried they were brilliant and will definitely go with them again ... Read More
As my title suggests this was the first cruise my wife and I have been on so I would pick a cruise line with a trusted pedigree to be on the safe side I need not have worried they were brilliant and will definitely go with them again (RCI). We flew out to Venice to the embarkation port the RCI reps were well organised and we were soon at the check-in desk it did not take long before we were on the ship we soon found our cabin which was a balcony cabin and we were quite surprised how much room there was as we had read reports they were very small not at all perfect size after all you do not spend to much time in there it was nice to sit on the bacony first thing in the morning and watch the world go by there were itineraries placed in the cabin each night to tell you what was going on the next day from the port you were visiting to what activities were going on that day and evening on board. The sevice on board was out of this world nothing was any trouble from the waiters to the cabin stewart who by the way was a brilliant guy by the name of Greg very polite funny and very efficient at his job made our stay worthwhile. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants as the food in the main dining room was very varied and delicious. The shore excursions were varied and interesting you could either book an excursion on board or do your own thing the prices on board can be a bit pricey if there are a few of you you can get them cheaper at the ports. Entertainment was quite good they have a lot of different themed bars all very comfortable and very good for making new friends, the transfer from the ship to the airport was just as easy and efficient as it was coming all in all a very good weeks holiday only thing was it was not long enough next time it will be definitely longer. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our first RCCL cruise at Diamond Level. The diamond concierge and club were very nice to have. The Splendor is smaller and older than many of our previous sails. However, the amenities met our needs for this trip, ourselves and 2 ... Read More
This was our first RCCL cruise at Diamond Level. The diamond concierge and club were very nice to have. The Splendor is smaller and older than many of our previous sails. However, the amenities met our needs for this trip, ourselves and 2 adult children. The balcony stateroom seemed a little smaller than we remember. The bed and pillows were less comfortable. Storage was more than adequate. The size of this ship made it easy to get everywhere and stairs were the obvious choice. There was no obstructed view in the theater. This is the first time that MTD (my time dining) worked for us. Our table was by the window, also a first, and didn't require a wait. Staff was professional and efficient. We found the food a little more creative than previously. Appetizers, salads and entrees were good, but deserts were lacking. One complaint we had regarding food service was that upon returning to the ship in the late afternoon, there were no places to get a late lunch or snack(Hot dog stand concept was good, but closed when we needed it). When open, some of the venues were understaffed (Park Cafe) to accommodate the number of people in line. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed. We don't typically take shore excursions but prefer to venture out on our own. *Split: Interesting to walk around. We enjoyed local wine, bread and cheese purchased as the farmers market. *Kusadasi: we had toured Ephesus previously so this trip we walked through the bazaars in the morning and after lunch took part in a shore excursion to the Turkish Bath *Mykonos: we took a taxi to a small private beach recommended by the cruise staff and ate lunch at a local taverna which was only average and expensive. Overall Mykonos was not our favorite port. *Argostoli: we arranged a private excursion with Sea Kayaking Kefalonia and had a great time kayaking through caves along the west coast of the island. Our guide was terrific and this was probably the highlight of our trip. We enjoyed the cruise staff and participated in many of the activities on board. In particular we appreciated elements of the entertainment and food that reflected the region we were sailing in (Belly dancing class, brief language classes, Gyros sandwiches made poolside, and LaMusica that incorporated opera into their contemporary presentation, etc.) Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We recently cruised out of Venice aboard the Splendour on a 7 day itin. Stops were Croatia, Corfu, Athens, Mykonos and Argostelli. All in all we had a great experience both on the ship and at most stops. Ship is in good condition and has ... Read More
We recently cruised out of Venice aboard the Splendour on a 7 day itin. Stops were Croatia, Corfu, Athens, Mykonos and Argostelli. All in all we had a great experience both on the ship and at most stops. Ship is in good condition and has been updated in many areas including the new big screen over the pool area. Staff was very friendly. We have been on RC 12x and as Diamond cruises we generally have some good comparitives so I will focus on those. Highlights: Casino staff was the best we have seen - very friendly, very attentive and truly made our gaming time fun. Viking Crown lounge turns in to a club everynight and lots of fun up there. Food quality was very good. Also did the Chef's Table and it was exceptional. Very good food and wine pairings. We were in room 8502 - very good repair and spacious. Room attendant was excellent and room was always promptly prepared and cleaned. Ports are generally great stops (see negative on Mykonos below). Misses: Main pool bar can be difficult to get a drink without going to the bar - and sometimes that was a 30 minute wait. They need to staff with more than two bartenders at peak times. Also, pool waiters were hit and miss - a couple of really good ones (Robe and Ivan) and then some not so attentive ones. Mykonos was a dissappointment. We waited over one hour to get a taxi - and never got one right off the docks at the taxi stand. there are only 33 taxis on the island so it just is not condusive to 2500 people visiting at once. Solve your transporation needs before you get there because you will miss the island otherwise - as we did. Gave up and got back on the ship. All in all a good cruise and i would do this ship and itin again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We had only once cruised before, a short venture on the QE2's second last voyage. We did not know what to expect on a "normal" cruise. We were most impressed. The service was among the best we have experienced anywhere. The ... Read More
We had only once cruised before, a short venture on the QE2's second last voyage. We did not know what to expect on a "normal" cruise. We were most impressed. The service was among the best we have experienced anywhere. The crew were genuinely professional, very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. We much enjoyed the entertainment when we chose to participate. The cruise entertainment director, Mercedes, is outstandingly professional and good-humoured. The shows in the 42nd Street Theatre and the Centrum were first class. We found quiet spaces to read our books when we wanted to do so. Generally, nothing was too much trouble throughout the cruise. Our excursions, self-navigated, were ideal. Dubrovnik, Corfu, Athens (great for one visit!), Mykonos and Kefalonia make for a diverse and fascinating itinerary. Even disembarking and returning was a pleasure as the crew bade us farewell each day and greeted us upon our return. The captain was a charming and engaging host when he took part in events. We were really impressed by the RCL ethos and the manner of the crew. We will cruise with them again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
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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