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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We truly enjoyed the service level of the staff of this 11 day cruise. Everyone, with the exception of the purser desk, was kind and courteous. The selection of the ports of call was great. Unfortunately, the food at both the "King ... Read More
We truly enjoyed the service level of the staff of this 11 day cruise. Everyone, with the exception of the purser desk, was kind and courteous. The selection of the ports of call was great. Unfortunately, the food at both the "King and I" and Windjammer was not up to par. At the "King and I" dining room, many selections on their menus were not available or prepared in a very crude fashion. At best,the food was equated to something a touch above fast food chains such as Denny's. Of the seven ports we visited, Kotor in Montenegro proved to very scenic, particularly the two hour duration en route to the harbor. It reminds us of the fjords in Norway and the highway going up Whistler in Vancouver, British Columbia. Split, Croatia is very special too. We took a coach to Trogir, a UNESCO town. Very well preserved and relaxing. Santorini is magnificent. We took a bus and spent most of the day at Oia, the poster perfect town that can consume your entire camera memory card and spare batteries. Venice is full of tourist and the best way is to avoid the crowd by wandering around the other islands after you have checked out St Mark's square. Athens has a lot of history and since we were there not too long ago, we decided to take the subway to town and wandered around the foot of the Acropolis. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first time on a cruise and in the Mediterranean. It just seemed like the best way to get to many of these fantastic ports and it turned out we were right. With the jam packed schedule for the cruise, it was actually more work ... Read More
This was our first time on a cruise and in the Mediterranean. It just seemed like the best way to get to many of these fantastic ports and it turned out we were right. With the jam packed schedule for the cruise, it was actually more work than I thought. We relaxed on the ship and ate great, but it seemed that close to every day we were at a different port with so much to do and see. We burned through a lot of shoe leather and saw some amazing sites that will last a lifetime. We also snapped over 1,500 photos on this trip.The food was pretty good. Basically, there are two options to eat, the Wind Jammer (buffet) and the King and I (plated). The Wind Jammer usually had the same menu. We primarily ate breakfast here for a hearty meal before going out. Lots of eggs, bacon, sausage, yogurt, cereal and fruit. A few variations, but mostly remained the same. It was good food too. The Wind Jammer also has sandwiches, salads and other hot options for lunch and dinner. We ate in the Wind Jammer a couple of times when we didn't feel like getting dressed up or eating at our specific time. Also, a nice change to eat a large salad as your meal.The King and I we mostly ate at for dinner. This is where we did the formal and casual nights. The servers are very good and professional. Every night there were different meals to choose from and I was never disappointed. Sometimes there were small portions, but we learned quickly to order an extra appetizer or even another main course. We had a great table of other young couples and young people, which made for good conversation. The desserts were usually phenomenal.Breakfast at the King and I was okay. The options were nothing spectacular, mostly eggs, bacon and toast. No eggs benedict on the entire ship! With a Suite, we did have the option of dining in our room. We ordered breakfast a couple of days we needed to get up early and dinner on 2 occasions when we just wanted to be alone. The breakfast in room worked out great. I think we order 3 or 4 times and each time they got the order somewhat wrong, but nothing that ruined the meal. We actually ate dinner on our balcony one night, which was quite pleasant. We tried to hit the gym a couple of times there. It's a decent gym to hit key muscle groups and we liked running around the outside track on the top floor. The steam and sauna rooms were also a nice touch. We even did the rock wall which was both fun and challenging.All in all, we had an incredible time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I boarded our ship in Venice on May 23rd. Great itinerary of Montenegro, Greece, Turkey and Croatia which is why we selected it. After reading previous reviews that were not real positive, we feel compelled to put in our ... Read More
My wife and I boarded our ship in Venice on May 23rd. Great itinerary of Montenegro, Greece, Turkey and Croatia which is why we selected it. After reading previous reviews that were not real positive, we feel compelled to put in our findings. Our cabin was meticulously maintained the entire cruise and our cabin steward, Jas, was the best we have ever had on any cruise. He was telepathic in providing for us and we really appreciated his fine service. Although the ship needs some updating and renovating (planned for this October we heard), it was still well maintained and always clean and fastidious. The food was outstanding. We ate all of our dinner meals in the King and I dining room and had a 6:30 set time. We have sailed on HA before with a fixed time choice of 5:45 or 8:15 of which neither was desirable for us. It was nice to get to know the waiters and we always had fun with them-Sergio and Abdumalik both had a great sense of humor and took great care of our table. The entertainment we saw was first rate with plenty of variety. We usually wore ourselves out during the day so the entertainment wasn't critical to us but we were pleased with what we did see. As for things that could use a little tweaking, it would be nice to have wifi available in the cabins. Fortunately we were on the same floor as the computer center so it was not a huge deal. The computer speed was not good and the minutes expensive. It was tiring waiting for windows to open, knowing it was costing money. This is pretty standard on most ships and, hopefully, will be improved in the future. We thought the drinks were exorbitantly expensive. RCCL could provide a better value if the balanced this out-they would probably sell more if people didn't feel they had to nurse drinks for an extended period just to feel they received their money's worth. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and felt it was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We flew in the 21st April the before the sailing on the 22nd April, and stayed at the Popodopoli hotel very close to the Piazzale Roma. It was a great location and approx a 20-30 min walk to St.Marks Square.Sunday 22 AprilWe were going to ... Read More
We flew in the 21st April the before the sailing on the 22nd April, and stayed at the Popodopoli hotel very close to the Piazzale Roma. It was a great location and approx a 20-30 min walk to St.Marks Square.Sunday 22 AprilWe were going to take the people mover from the Piazzale Roma to the cruise ship, but we noticed RCI was arranging free shuttle busses every 30 mins to the cruise ship, so we took advantage of that.Embarkation was very efficient and there was no queues and we where onboard by 1pm. Although having to show my passport 4 times to get on the ship was a bit much. We only moved about 10 foot and was asked to show it again!We had an Oceanview Stateroom and it was nicely appointed. The bathroom was looking tired and is in need of the refit, which is planned for November, but everything worked as it should do, so no real complaints.I have to say for a ship that is 15 years old, she is looking in great shape.The public areas where always very clean.The Staff on board the ship from the Captain down to the cleaners always polite, friendly and acknowledged you.We did My Time Dining which worked really well for us, and I must just give Mihai & Catalin a special mention, as they have been our best waiter & assistant waiter that we have ever had! A great efficient team and both very funny!The entertainment on board was on the whole good. The lounge and bars had some great bands.The main shows could be a little bit hit or miss, but they seem to cater for a wide age range, which was good for this ship!My only complaint I would have is that they need to enforce the No Under 16's rule in the solarium pool. This was rarely enforced and the quiet atmosphere which is what you would normally expect was ruined by screaming kids. On challenging the pool attendants about it, the answer was "what can I do!"Suffice to say I told him how he could ask them to get out if they were under 16! Amazingly it worked! Its Not rocket Science! Lets hope they remember to keep asking them to get out if they are under 16! This was our first time on such a small RCI Ship and we were a little apprehensive about it. I'm glad to report that we need not have worried, as by the end of the trip, we all agreed that it was one of the best ships we have sailed on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My sister and I selected this cruise because of the value of the cruise and its ultimate destination in Venice. We originally selected a balcony cabin but were upgraded to a junior suite the day before we left for Lisbon. We have no idea ... Read More
My sister and I selected this cruise because of the value of the cruise and its ultimate destination in Venice. We originally selected a balcony cabin but were upgraded to a junior suite the day before we left for Lisbon. We have no idea why, but we really enjoyed the extra space.We arrived the day before the cruise and stayed in a hotel on the Aerobus route which was comfortable but had few available restaurants nearby which proved to make finding a place to eat dinner on a Sunday evening very difficult. The next morning the port was an easy cab ride away, and much to our surprise, we arrived to NO lines and and were on the ship and at lunch before noon. We spent the next couple of hours getting our bearings since we had not cruised Royal Caribbean before. Our luggage was in our room before 3:00 PM. We adored our room steward who could not have been more friendly and helpful. Andrei was the best we ever had. He kept our room in immaculate condition. I even found a fresh bath robe after leaving my wet one on the balcony to dry. He knew our names and greeted us no matter how far down the hall he was.We loved the "My Time" dining because it was flexible and offered an opportunity to met so many interesting people whose company we enjoyed again and again throughout the cruise. The food was very good, and the service excellent. The frequent serenades by a crew member at dinner was great fun. The solarium pool offered a relief from the winds on sea days.One negative was the small size and somewhat limited selection in the Windjammer buffet. We are used to more dining options and more varied buffets. Our stop in Gibraltar was a disappointment when swells (which appeared quite small to us) would not allow us to go ashore, and we spent the day in the harbor. We enjoyed our excursion to Kirka Nat.Park in Croatia, but mechanical problems with one tender resulted in no time to see Split. Our excursion around Malta was very interesting, and that proved to be one of our favorite. We saw only two shows in the evening, loved the "Beetles" but found an hour of juggling to be 30 minutes too much.We arrived in Venice early in the morning and our disembarkation was quite easy. The "People Mover" took us right to the Pizzale Roma and a quick connection to our hotel Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Just back from the Greek islands on Splendour of the Seas. Had a fairly good time ... but Splendour needs to be totally refurbished, looking old and tired and worn out. Drinks were very expensive (I have seen this numerous times on ... Read More
Just back from the Greek islands on Splendour of the Seas. Had a fairly good time ... but Splendour needs to be totally refurbished, looking old and tired and worn out. Drinks were very expensive (I have seen this numerous times on reviews, but ... nothing has been changed or altered, the prices are still sky high). Why I wonder? Windjammer is too small for the number of passengers, people do not want to share tables, ....it was like a rugby match. Children should not be allowed into the Solarium and pool and hot tubs.... parents travelling with tots should obey the rules or go on a Disney cruise.I found some of the excursions to be a waste of time and expensive (Crete) but did enjoy the Corfu excursion.My time dining was a complete joke - we paid 98.00 upfront and had to fight for a table for 2 for 7.30 (which was pre-booked).All in all, enjoyed the vacation, but it could have been much better.SkattieTorontoAll in all we had a good time ... Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Just returned from Splendour of the Seas leaving from Venice and doing the Greek Islands. I cannot recommend this itinerary enough, each island was more beautiful than the next.We spent two days pre cruise in Venice. Arrival was pretty ... Read More
Just returned from Splendour of the Seas leaving from Venice and doing the Greek Islands. I cannot recommend this itinerary enough, each island was more beautiful than the next.We spent two days pre cruise in Venice. Arrival was pretty simple and the airport was easy to navigate. We were staying at the Hotel Olimpia near piazzale roma. Perfect location! When we arrived at the airport we took the #5 ATVO bus to the Piazzale Roma cost is now 5 euros pp. The bus drops you off very close to the hotel and you only need to cross one bridge to get to it. And one bridge matters, I cant imagine dragging my suitcases over another bridge!! Book the hotel early though, we paid 1/3 of what the price of the rooms were when we checked in because we booked over 10 months in advance. We all loved the hotel, everything you needed was right there or nearby. The rooms were small, we had paid extra to have a larger room since there were 3 of us..totally worth it, the extra space was great and the bed were very comfortable. But if you are going to venice don't forget bug spray because there are no screens on the windows and mosquitos are everywhere, even in april!The hotel is also very close to Grand Canal and the main vaparetto station. I found the vaparetto similar to riding a NYC bus only on water. Often times you could not find a seat and it was very crowded. Make sure you get on the correct one otherwise it will take you forever to get somewhere. The #2 vaparetto is the express and the #1 stops at every stop..takes forever. We took a water taxi a couple of times, definitely expensive but in some cases worth it just to save time.While in Venice we have pre arranged a half day wine tour thru Venice events www.tours-venice-italy.com. Hands down this was one of the best wine tours ever. Every single person in my group loved it and would do it again if we ever go back. There were 18 of us, but 2 of us did not drink (one underage and the other didnt drink but came to be with all of us) They served us 28 bottles of wine, so much food you cant believe and just had a great time. No obligation to buy as they cannot ship to the US, but we did buy several bottles to bring on the ship with us. By accident I thought I was buying 2 bottles but apparently bought a box of wine, it ended up to be the perfect thing, we carried it all over venice with us and had wine all the time lol. We even brought it on our gondola ride. Gondola cost 80 euros for 6 people and we did it at night it was wonderful!We also used the same company to tour st. marks and Doge's Palace. The cost was very reasonable, only 15 euros pp for each tour, and totally worth being able to skip those long lines and walk right in, plus we had out own personal guide explaining everything to us.Embarkation on the ship was very easy and very quick, we arrived around 2 since we did a tour first, which is kind of late for us, but still it was very quick and took less than 10 minutes. We took a taxi to the ship. There was a free shuttle bus at the piazzale roma which takes you over but there was a huge line and lot of chaos, we decided it was worth the 5 euros pp to take the taxi over and it dropped you off right where the porters collect the luggage. Most of our group was staying in JS so embarkation was even quicker since there was no line there, but the rest of the group did not take much longer to get checked in and meet us on the ship. We were upgraded to a GS, room 8012...noisy as noisy can be! It was right underneath the windjammer and they started very early in the morning, but the balcony and the view was spectacular as we sailed out of venice and went thru the canal! The large room was nice but the I could have lived without all the noise.Its been a while since I have been on a smaller ship, but I have to say I still love them. I know the splendour is going in for a refurb this fall, which will add specialty restaurants and a few other things which will definitely update the ship, but we all still enjoyed it a lot. Regardless of what I had read no one in my group had any trouble bringing wine on the ship at embarkation, there were 25 of us and almost everyone in the group had a bottle or two with them either in their carry on or in the checked luggage and every bottle was allowed on, but only at embarkation, after that if you bought something in a port they did make you check it.We were lucky to have really wonderful tour guides on every excursion we took, in each and every port they were as friendly and nice as could be, and would go out of their way to make you happy. I would use each of them again when I go back, and I will go back I really loved this itinerary. We had pre arrange private tours in each port and definitely feel each of them was worth it. Having a guided tour of an area you have never been to before was very imformative and after discussing the ports on the ships with people who went out on their own we definitely learned and saw more than they were able to, in my opinion it was worth the extra money to see and learn so much about the ports.Our first port was Split Croatia, we used www.privateguidesincroatia.com. This guy was wonderful, everyone in my group loved him and only had good things to say about the tour. His prices were very reasonable and the tour was fantastic. Split was a beautiful port, I wasnt sure what to expect but I have to say it really was a beautiful port with lots to see and do, and we all said we would love to come back and actually stay, and having a guide made a difference. Later on the ship someone said to me they didnt think there was anything to do there, well we found plenty thanks to our guide.In three of the ports, Athens, Santorini and Corfu we used the same tour company www.santorinitravel.com At the bottom of the page you will see the additional ports they service. All wonderful tours, we had 3 guides that everyone loved and our excursions were personalized to just what we asked. In Corfu we not only went to the Paeleokastritsa beach, but we actually took a boat tour of the grotto caves, something not to be missed. It was a gorgeous sunny day, the caves were beautiful and just being out on the ocean in those blue waters made it even more worth it. We then went to a lunch at the top of the mountain that overlooked the whole island, the view was spectacular. We heard the ships excursion just did a drive by of the beach so having the opportunity to get out and be on the ocean was definitely a treat, and some of my friends even went swimming was just wonderful.Santorini was spectacular, I think it is impossible to take a bad picture in that port. Most of us rode the donkeys up the mountain, the rest took the cable car, but the donkeys should not to be missed in my opinion. It was definitely the highlight of the entire trip (besides the venice wine tour lol) We then went to oia where we were able to walk around and do some shopping and then some sightseeing and then headed down to another wonderful lunch right on the black sand beach. We loved it, eating and then swimming was the perfect combination for the day. We ended the day at a stop at the local winery where we were able to taste several wines.Unfortunately it was raining the morning we arrived in mykonos. It was the only rain we saw on the whole trip and it cleared up by 1pm or so, but it made for a very wet trip to Delos. Although once we got back to mykonos the weather had cleared up and its such a fanstastic port to explore, it was fun just making your way thru all the streets and seeing all the wonderful sights. Not a lot to do in mykonos, but wandering the streets and having lunch was fun for all of us. In Crete I used a guide which I had found recommended on cruise critic, www.greecetravel.com Another wonderful tour guide and day. He took us to a little town, where by that time we were pretty exhausted from a very port intensive trip, so we all asked for coffee, he took us to this wonderful cafe where we had local coffee and he bought all of us some local pastries which really perked everyone up. Then we went on to a tour of a local olive oil place, where we all bought olive oil at some fantastic prices, later on we saw the same brand in town at higher prices. We then toured the island and went down to the city where the shopping was fantastic, lots of good things bought that day! We ended the day with another treat from Lefteris, more local treats! His site says he only does small tours, but he went out of his way to help my group of 25 and everyone loved him.In Katakalon we opted for a short 4 hour tour of olimpia and the local town, which gave us plenty of time to go back and enjoy the port, shop and have a great lunch right on the water. It was a great way to end the week since we were all so tired by then. Being some of the few diamond plus on the ship, instead of a bridge tour we were invited to the captains quarters for brunch, it was actually a nice change and were able to discuss many things with him that you do not normally get to do. When he asked us all what could be improved, without hesitation we all said the same thing at once...the coffee!!!! lolDebarkation was quick and simple too, several of us had flights that day and just got off the ship, collected our luggage and went right to the taxis waiting outside. Cost was 40 euros for 4 people in a taxi with luggage. Venice airport was a nightmare! They would not allow you to check in until 2 hours before you flight which made for a huge crowd waiting around the check in area. Then the line for security was huge, definitely get there early, we saw a lot of people missing flights because they did not allow enough time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was to be our first cruise,ever, to celebrate our golden wedding.The two nights spent in VENICE hotel were lovely. We made our own way to the ship with no problems. The ship looked quite impressive, until you looked closer.The shower ... Read More
This was to be our first cruise,ever, to celebrate our golden wedding.The two nights spent in VENICE hotel were lovely. We made our own way to the ship with no problems. The ship looked quite impressive, until you looked closer.The shower was a disgrace, no water pressure, the taps were rusty and the chrome peeling off.The drawer doors were very hard to open,sticking, and in need of replaceing.The "Windjammer" restaurant.Do not look at the chairs too closely! They were FILTHY.There was a constant complaint from the guests about running out of various things.But my biggest complaint would be about the cost of THE DRINKS. Approximately £6 for a pint of "beer"? PLUS 15%.The cheapest bottle of wine in the dining room was £19, PLUS 15%!! If you decided to purchase the WINE PACK, at approx' £160,PLUS 15%. You were really being ripped off! In fact,one of our fellow table guests worked out that you were paying the same price as was on the wine list.If you had paid "up front", your Gratuities for the cruise, WHY was it ADDED to the bill,when you signed for your drinks?The "Explorations" or excurcions, as we British say,were absolutely extortionate. I have to say that we did NOT go on any of them. We did them ourselves. For example:"Athens on your own" SOTS price $58 (£36) We did it for 2.80 EUROS EACH!!All in all, I would say that our first cruise expierience has put us off ever doing it again! (Unless it was with SAGA, where ALL gratuities and tours are included.) Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
As ever RCI had a slick and well organised embarkation (Barcelona) and disembarkation (Santos for Sao Paulo). After debarking RCI organised a few hours at a good Sao Paulo hotel to help pass the day until the time for our return flight, a ... Read More
As ever RCI had a slick and well organised embarkation (Barcelona) and disembarkation (Santos for Sao Paulo). After debarking RCI organised a few hours at a good Sao Paulo hotel to help pass the day until the time for our return flight, a much appreciated touch. Fellow cruisers from many countries called for announcements in four languages except in the 42nd. Street Theatre where they managed with just two - English and Portuguese. Splendour OTS is one of the smaller, and older, ships which, I gather is due for some upgrading in 2011. But to be honest you would need to look hard to find evidence of poor maintenance - certainly nothing to detract from the ship board experience. The decking and most of the carpets appear new. The general layout is similar to other ships except that Windjammer overlooks the bow. Getting from deck to deck is easy with nine lifts (elevators) available. It must be said that the all the crew are the most helpful, friendly and happy we have come across on RCI ships. We would have no hesitation in booking another cruise on Splendour of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I cruised on the Mariner of the Seas on a Mexican Riviera cruise and one week later was on the Splendour of the Seas. Although the Splendour is a much smaller and older vessel the difference between the two was amazing. We left on ... Read More
I cruised on the Mariner of the Seas on a Mexican Riviera cruise and one week later was on the Splendour of the Seas. Although the Splendour is a much smaller and older vessel the difference between the two was amazing. We left on this tranatlantic from Barcelona. Barcelona is a busy port with usually two or three ships in port. That day was no different. I arrived late since I don't like to wait and since we were going to be on the ship for two weeks there would be plenty of time for exploration. Check-in went very smoothly and we got on the ship in a matter of minutes. Once we arrived at our stateroom I was initially pleased with the large size, the clear glass veranda and the refrigerator, and flat screen TV. But, it was only a few more minutes that I noticed that the curtain divider had some magazine pages stuffed into the ceiling fitting. I assume it rattled and since it wasn't making any noise I thought I just better leave it that way. I had put some sodas in the refrigerator and thought I'd have one. They seemed awfully warm. It was two days later that I finally figured out that the refrigerator didn't work. I mentioned it to the cabin steward and then it took two more days to get it replaced. The glass veranda panels were a bit salty, but I assumed that once we were under way that they would be cleaned by either the staff, or my steward, probably at the next stop. It turned out that it was MY responsibility to clean the panels. After two stops they were still not cleaned. I noticed that this is a new policy since none of the panels that I could see were clean. I just washed them off with water using the ice bucket. The Splendour is only about 15 years old but it is really showing it's age and no more so than in the bathroom. The first thing you notice is the water pressure in the sink. It dribbles, it drips, it reluctantly oozes through a water saver. That's fine for washing your hands, or brushing of teeth, but even washing your face is a bit of a chore when the water is being parceled out in tablespoons. Thank goodness there was enough water in the shower! I had a Junior Suite and it has a bathtub. I was looking forward to the tub since it's nice to have a nice quiet private soak, especially on sea days. However, once you are in the tub the black mildew in the caulking is a bit irritating. I asked the steward to clean the mold off. He tried, got the black off, but there were still grey spots,and stuff where the caulking was rough. And, the plastic wall panel/wall paper was peeling and separating, which probably led to the caulking in the first place. But, the worst was the floor drain. When you are finished with the bath the floor of the bathroom floods with huge clods of slimy black mold, and stuff that gets stuck in the drain, the size of silver dollars. It comes up out of the floor drain. At least the toilet is a separate system. Eventually the water does recede but it leaves these disgusting patches of slime on the floor. The steward cleans this all up but suggests that because the ship is so old and the drains so clogged that taking a bath is not a good idea and to stick to showers. He then says what all the staff says about the Splendour "It's going into drydock soon, sorry". Royal Caribbean is not known as a gourmet cruise line. On board the Mariner of the Seas the previous week I thought for a second that things might have changed. But, once on board the Splendour of the Seas it was back to basics. If you are a little bit fussy with food eat in the dining room. The choices are always more interesting, and the atmosphere nicer. The staff was absolutely wonderful. When a dish wasn't well received they always offered another selection and best of all it arrived pronto. Sometimes when they knew that we had made a "mistake" they went ahead and brought the "pick of the litter" dish. Another sign of the times aboard the Splendour is the gym. Wasn't anyone interested in fitness 15 years ago? One look at the Splendour's gym and you'll think so. It is by far the smallest, most cramped, poorly equiped gym I have seen at sea in over two decades. If a nice gym and locker room are important to you, you'd better forget the Splendour. Th entertainment on board a transatlantic is always a bit of this and some of that. The Splendour has a single level theatre, with some obstructed view seats. You really can't expect the type of shows and production numbers you would see on a newer or larger ship. But, every evening there was something different. I only went on one shore excursion from Cadiz to Sevilla. It was well run, and the staff very accomodating. Considering the time it takes to get there and get back we had just enough time. This was the excursion that is basically transportation only. In Tenerife I just got off the boat. Walked across the street and rented a car. I didn't have a reservation, and it only cost $55 with everything for a day. Since this was a transatlantic with lots of Latins on board the second seating for dinner was at 9:30PM. I don't know if there is anyway to tell what time the second seating will be. Once I found out I was desperate to change since I really didn't want to be walking away from dinner at 11PM, or later. I was accomodated, but first seating was packed. Then there is the visa issue... Brazil requires a visa. I knew that. I got my visa. But, at our table there was the "Tale of two visas". RCCL allowed one couple to board at Barcelona without a visa for Brazil. Another couple were refused boarding at Barcelona and told to figure it out by themselves and once they got the visa they would be allowed to board, wherever that might be. For that couple the worst was that they had to wait 3 hours for RCCL to find their luggage that they had handed over at the curb. In the meantime watching 100's of other excited passengers board. The onboard couple had a mad race in Lisbon to get the visas. It was a crazy "Mr. Toads Wild Ride" with wrong addresses, wrong documentation, and even a car accident to spice up the day. And, of course it was down to the very last second, including a case of mistaken identity with the Vision of the Seas. The couple who didn't get on spent four days in Barcelona going through all the hoops to get a Brazilian visa in Spain. Confusing? Difficult? Frustrating? Costly? Yes! all of the above. When was the last time you tried to buy a one way air ticket at the last minute? Then, when they finally joined the ship in Lisbon to find out that some lucky passengers had been enjoying the cruise for the past 4 days, even without a Brazilian visa... Well, RCCL is very clear, concise and correct; Visas are the responsibility of each passenger. Regarding the itinerary it is too bad that there were some early "all aboard times". I would have liked to have had a stop in Recife as well. It was nice that we did cruise though the Cape Verde Islands. I choose to get off in Rio. I'm glad I got off there since I was in Ipanema in about an hour instead of being in Santos. However, the facilities at Rio are really not geared up for large cruise ships. I just got out and hailed a cab in the street. And, 1o minutes later I was driving along Copacabana Beach! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
First cruise on Royal Carribean after working for many years on board Costa Cruises, we found out that the american-carnival touch is really heavily present on both companies, so that there is pratically no difference in term of service ... Read More
First cruise on Royal Carribean after working for many years on board Costa Cruises, we found out that the american-carnival touch is really heavily present on both companies, so that there is pratically no difference in term of service and quality. This "standardization" is a bit sad, but it is also why you choose to cruise: you get this standard service of high quality and you are not disappointed. Concerning the ship, it was a bit old but still in good conditions. The cabin with balcony was outstanding. Small balcony but you don't need more. The shower was with curtain, so not very comfortable. Lots of storing space, no problem to store the 15 formal dresses of my wife and everything else! Every inch of it was so functional! Small and old TV, but I hope you don't need it! The food, I think it was good. Disappointed from the bakery, the croissant never fresh, the bread never warm during meals. In the main dining room something very very good, in general we were happy, even if we preferred COSTA's restaurant, maybe just because more italian! Good choice in the windjammer, but never outstanding quality. Food well covered all day through till 2am. Entertainment was good, everynight a different artist, not easy for a 15nights cruise. The productions dancers and singers were very good, but the shows poor on costumes and variety (my wife's opinion, she is a production dancer&choreographer). We appreciated the soft animation (compared to the italian one) always discreet, professionals and short. We enjoyed dance lessons from professional dancers. Live music everywhere and good, but 95% brazilian. We love brazilian music, so no problem. Concerning Transatlantic: guests were mainly brazilian. There was a nice atmosphere. Age average: 50's, but also enough youngsters. We enjoyed so much the 6 days at sea, but this is personal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We are a couple in our early 50's from Florida and really enjoyed our cruise on the Splendour of the Seas from Venice to Greece. Embarkation: We flew into Rome and spent two days there, then took the fast train to Venice. You ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 50's from Florida and really enjoyed our cruise on the Splendour of the Seas from Venice to Greece. Embarkation: We flew into Rome and spent two days there, then took the fast train to Venice. You need to book your train seat in advance over internet. We stayed overnight near Plaza Roma and then took the free bus from Plaza Roma to the ship. I recommend you stay near Plaza Roma to avoid a long bag drag in Venice as the narrow walkways and bridges can make for a tiring hike and the water taxi's are very expensive. Getting on Splendour was quick - we had a junior suite so used the suites-only line which took about 10 minutes. Regular line was a little longer but not too bad. Ship/Crew: Although the ship is elderly (10 yrs plus), it is very nice and clean. The center area was beautiful. Our room (JS 8042) was nice & roomy - we had a room on left side of ship which gave us a great view leaving Venice. All crew members were very pleasant. Our steward was great, very quick with room cleaning and providing amenities. We elected for first seating in dining room which worked well for the itinerary and our waiter and asst waiter were superb - probably our best-ever over 10 cruises. Food: We enjoyed the food in the dining room, many choices (several vegetarian ones plus a variety of seafood, beef, and poultry - no lobster though). I recommend early seating for this cruise as second seating wasn't until 9 PM and dinner took 2 hours. One major problem with ship was small Windjammer cafeteria. The Windjammer food lines were well set up and had a lot of choices, but seating was limited. Many people elected to eat out by pool but this didn't work during cool or rainy weather. We used room service or dining room to avoid peak periods when arriving in port or departing. Ship did not have any pay restaurants but had a filet mignon you could order for $15 at dinner which was very good. Room service had a good menu and the Solarium (covered pool area) had heavy snacks during portions of day and late at night. Entertainment: Evenings featured many choices. We enjoyed the shows, although singers & dancers were pretty basic, nothing exciting. Other entertainment was a Beatles group & Motown group which were very good. We also did nightly trivia and took part in some of the other things such as the Quest game. These provided many opportunities to mingle with other passengers. Fitness/Spa: We did not do any spa activities as it is a small spa and only featured basics such as massages and facials - no special pools or steam areas. The gym was disappointing, very small with only 7 treadmills and a few other aerobic machines which were dated. I spend a lot of time in gym so I can eat a lot and found the afternoons to be very crowded. The jogging track on top was OK in the mornings except when cold or rainy. Split/Croatia: First stop was Split - all stops were for 8 hours. We elected to walk around the town which included some shopping and an old Roman fort which was partly built up with houses & apartments - interesting mix of old Roman walls and newer construction. They have their own currency (Kuna) but take credit cards, euros, and sometimes dollars. Some folks did booked tours but nothing special to see. Corfu: Unfortunately it was very rainy this day. We elected to take the bus ($5 each way) into town to walk around the old fortress and shop. Shopping was fairly good, especially jewelry and leather goods. Booked excursions were mostly buses going around island but nothing exciting. Recommendation: Take a raincoat and umbrella on this cruise as rain can occur unexpectedly! Athens: This was highlight for us as we really wanted to see Acropolis and Parthenon. We heard the booked excursions were hit-and-miss on sights in Athens so we elected to go on our own, as did many folks. We walked 25 mins from ship in Piraeus to metro station and took green line to Thissio stop for only 1 euro. If you do this, stay left when you leave the ship and walk on path along water, you'll see maps along way to guide you to metro - or you can take a taxi to metro for 6 euros. Thissio stop worked great as it avoided downtown. Go to right after departing station and take the curving uphill road to the Acropolis, about ½ mile walk. Acropolis costs 12 euros but going at your own pace is great. We had time to walk around all sites and take as many pictures as we wanted. Afterwards we went left downhill from Acropolis and toured the new Acropolis Museum at the bottom of the hill. It costs 5 euros and was OK, mostly old statues & relics found on Acropolis over the years. After that we walked around shopping area and ended up at a metro station which took us back to Piraeus stop. We were tired from walking so paid 6 euros for taxi to the ship. Mykonos: Only stop where we used tenders - which worked smoothly. Also only stop where we wished we did a booked excursion as those who went to island of Delos saw some great ruins. We elected to walk around port, sightsee and shop. We saw the large pelican, Pedro, pretty cool! Jewelry shopping was possibly better than other places. Many waterside cafes which also had free wifi. Katakalon: Only thing to do here is take a booked excursion to old Olympia site. Bus ride was only 20 mins to site. Site was interesting although only had ruins - mostly stones and some pillars, nothing intact - still very historic. Museum was pretty interesting with the statues. Afterwards we were given time to shop in Olympia and in Katakalon near ship. Shopping mostly consisted of T-shorts and postcards, very touristy. Other option is go on your own taking train to Olympia, but turns out Greek trains were on strike so if you had counted on this you were out of luck! Disembarkation: Departing the ship in Venice was smooth and fast. We booked an airport transfer and were at the Venice airport within 20 minutes of departing the ship. Unfortunately we arrived 4 hrs before our flight. After standing in a long Air France line (all the airlines had long lines) we were told their check-in would not start until 2 hrs prior. So we had to wait in terminal and then stand in line all over again. Our connection was thru Paris to Atlanta and we encountered long lines in Paris for outbound immigration and security. Recommendation: Do not fly out of Venice the same day as your ship arrives and avoid a Paris connection at all cost! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Once we found the people mover at Pizzale Roma in Venice...embarkation onto the Splendour of the Seas was a breeze! The ship is small and older without all the bells and whistles. However, we found her to be beautiful, clean and ... Read More
Once we found the people mover at Pizzale Roma in Venice...embarkation onto the Splendour of the Seas was a breeze! The ship is small and older without all the bells and whistles. However, we found her to be beautiful, clean and well taken care. We also found that there were sufficient activities to keep our multigenerational group (my parents late 60s, myself early 40s and my daughter 7) happy and occupied throughout our week long cruise. All the staff were helpful, friendly and made us feel like VIPs. My daughter enjoyed the AO program and although there were not many kids on board, she managed to make a few friends. This was a port intensive cruise. We visited the following ports: Split, Croatia; Island of Corfu; Athens; Katakolon&Olympia and the gorgeous island of Mykonos. Mykonos was our favourite port, followed by Athens. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our first cruise experience with RCI. Our party of four have just returned from enjoyable med cruise from Venice to Greek Islands and Turkey. We have cruised twice previously with NCL. The positives first: Having checked in on ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience with RCI. Our party of four have just returned from enjoyable med cruise from Venice to Greek Islands and Turkey. We have cruised twice previously with NCL. The positives first: Having checked in on line before leaving UK,boarding was simply and quick. Cruise staff on board were helpful and pleasant. The two waiters on our table in King & 1 dining restaurant were absolute gems. A comedy duo who provided great entertainment to our table of 8 diners for the entire week. Very attentive. Maitre D' was more than accommodating in our dining requirements. The food was good, with choice of 5 or 6 dishes for each course. Breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer provided plenty of choice for all tastes and the food was good. It inevitably became busy and peak dining times and table space was sometimes difficult to find, but did not prove too much of problem. Our outside cabin was clean and had a large double bed, and large window and mirrors which made it very bright. Our cabin attendant made up towel animals and hung them from our cabin mirror (wearing a pair of our sunglasses)whilst we were at dinner, and making our towels into two heart shape swans for our wedding anniversary was lovely. Negatives: The lack of nicely presented complimentary toilets was also lacking. Small piece soap was provided and pump of shower jel on shower wall did not make up for this little touch, which is a minimum requirement of even a small 3 star hotel. The bar drink prices were exceptionally expensive. The cocktails contained more ice than alcohol and were expensive for what they were. We therefore ensured we limited the funds we were prepared to pay out for these. Shore excursions were also very expensive, so we did our own getting around. Overall we had a great cruise. Would we go with RCI again? Yes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Royal Caribbean - Fabulous from the off. Very efficient, friendly crew/staff. Cabin spotlessly clean and comfortable and it was lovely to see the towelling animals! The King and I resturant - super food with plenty of choice. The ... Read More
Royal Caribbean - Fabulous from the off. Very efficient, friendly crew/staff. Cabin spotlessly clean and comfortable and it was lovely to see the towelling animals! The King and I resturant - super food with plenty of choice. The Windjammer busy at breakfast time, so opted to eat in the King and (waiter service) which was much more civilized. Wine very expensive, but got round that by purchasing 'Alice White package' in the Windjammer - 4 small bottles for the price of 3 = $18. We took them to our cabin and even took a glass into dinner and the bars and no problem. A good way to get around the expensive wine packages. Free water and soft drinks available all day. The shows in the 42nd Street Theatre were brilliant, especially the Motown Show on the last night, followed by the 'White Party' on deck. Some of the other entertainment - quiz's etc.. a bit juvenile, but shows in the theatre top-class. Plenty of live music in lots of difference locations all evening. Very noisy around the pool, but plenty of quiet decks to sunbathe. The jewellery making class was well worth it. The on shore excursion to Ephesus was very disappointing, guide not very good and just too many people. We did our own thing in the other ports. Santorini lovely, but be warned about getting down to the port by cable car to return to ship - huge queues. On return to Venice, as we had a late flight, so took the shuttle to Piazza Roma and left our luggage at the bus station (5 euros a bag). We took the 'Vapour' (6 euros) to San Marco and spent the day looking around stunning Venice. In the afternoon we took the shuttle to the airport (6 euros each). I would definitely sail on the Splendour of the Seas again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
The cruise sailed from Venice. That port was a bit chaotic and not so easy to find the place to drop our bags and check in. But, once we did, we were on this fantastic ship. The sail away through Venice was amazing. We had inside cabins ... Read More
The cruise sailed from Venice. That port was a bit chaotic and not so easy to find the place to drop our bags and check in. But, once we did, we were on this fantastic ship. The sail away through Venice was amazing. We had inside cabins on this ship and while the room was totally fine and the steward (Francisco was amazing) we found it was too easy to sleep too much in such a dark cozy cave so will book balcony/window in the future. Would be nice if they would upgrade the TV to a flat screen or mount the TVs as it's in the way. We booked private tours in 3 ports and did Dubrovnik on our own. Really, everything worked out great. Our tour guide in Turkey was great ... Santorini not so great and Corfu ok. The shows and entertainment on the ship were mostly great. The ABBA show was fantastic! Although, RCCL could coordinate the times a bit better because this is a small ship so with the late dinner seating we found it a challenge at times to find a place for a pre-dinner drink or show because Schooner Bar and Champagne Bars were over-loaded so we headed up to the 11th floor where we could find a quiet spot. We would have preferred my-time dining because the late dinner time (9pm) seating meant at times were eating entrees at 10:25pm and we had to get up at 7am for ports so we felt the dinner was too late for us ... but the alternative was early dinner at 6:30pm which was too early. (MTD was full so we could not get it). There were several events on the ship that honestly had us laughing out loud ... the Quest game was hilarious, the "Ship-In-Dales" was great and the Dancing Under the Stars was the best ... it rained that night and I honestly think it made the party (and Midnight Buffet) even more fun. Ever dance to "It's Raining Men" in the rain? We rocked it and had an amazing time and slept in to 11am the next day we had so much fun! To our amazement, it was the only day of our 12 day holiday that it rained! So we missed nothing by laying in that day! Overall, the ship is great. The pool is awesome. The Solarium is awesome and has some nice snacks if you miss a meal. The gym and spa are great. The staff really went out of their way to help us. The Itinerary was great too ... Croatia, Turkey & Greece ... great combo with a nice day of rest during the cruise and the last day. Actually, the last day at sea it rained the whole day and unfortunately, RCCL did not have an "alternate plan" so the activities by pool and outside were all canceled but there were not other activities instead. So we were bored that day but in the end as we had such a busy day in Venice after we docked it was a good "rest day" for us. But for those ending their vacation that would have been a real disappointment for the last day. Leaving the ship ... we chose the "walk off" with luggage program and it was a breeze. No leaving your luggage out the the night before. Just leave the ship in the morning with no muss and no fuss. Again, we highly enjoyed this vacation and will certainly sail with RCCL again. The vacation was a great value and we truly enjoyed it. (Although, accept the fact the drinks are really, really expensive and just plan for that)!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our second cruise and our first without the children. It was also our first on Royal Caribbean. We loved it!! I will try to give an overview of the highlights and share a few tips. We arrived at the train station in Venice and ... Read More
This was our second cruise and our first without the children. It was also our first on Royal Caribbean. We loved it!! I will try to give an overview of the highlights and share a few tips. We arrived at the train station in Venice and took the water taxi across. I think I could have gotten a 2 Euro ticket for the one stop trip to Piazzale Roma but mistakenly paid 6.5 euro a ticket. We made sure that we had only as much luggage as we could handle ourselves and were very glad that we did not have to deal with any more than what we had. We found the place for the shuttle bus on the far side of the parking lot. There were many people waiting and it was hot. We had to wait about 30 minutes. Once we got to the terminal we dropped our bags and went in to get in line to check in. It went smoothly since we had checked in online in advance. Once we got on board, we could go to our cabin. The cabin was wonderful! I am never going to cruise with out a balcony again. It was the highlight of the trip for us. The room was comfortable with a comfy bed and a separate area with a sofa and a desk. It was not in perfectly new condition.... a few hairline cracks in the sink and scuffs inside the drawers. These did not detract from an otherwise very lovely room. We were very glad we brought a travel extension cord due to limited outlets. We went up to the Windjammer for lunch and it was excellent as it was through out the cruise.. always many many choices of fresh and delicious entrees, sides, and deserts. We decided to order a bottle of champagne for the sail away. The pool bar was accommodating and soon we had a nice bottle of bubbly in an ice bucket with 2 champagne flutes. We took these to our cabin and went out to watch the trip down the grand canal as we sailed out of Venice! Ahhhhhhhhhhh..... bliss! We selected the main seating at dinner. This worked out perfectly for us. We were seated with wonder couple, there 3 adult children and a daughter in law. Our waiter was wonderful throughout the cruise. We did the wine package and this was also a good choice for us. We had dinner every night in the main dinning room. One our day in Athens they allowed us to come to dinner a full hour late (with prior approval) as we all had tours scheduled which conflicted with the 6:30 seating time. The food was excellent and the service always fabulous. The ports we all enjoyable and we only had to tender once! We did 3 shore excursions through the ship, one self arranged tour and one day on our own. All went smoothly with the exception of a line up to get off the ship in Athens. Lack of crowd control was a little annoying. For breakfast we tried all options. Room service was very good but the options we somewhat limited. The food always arrived on time and was hot and well presented. We enjoyed having breakfast on the balcony several mornings. The main dinning room had a wide variety of breakfast entrees and we liked meeting new people this way. The Windjammer breakfast was also excellent but was sometimes hard to find a nice table when eating at the same time as everyone else on the ship. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed a violinist, a trio of singers, the production shows and a magician. We also took part in a few of the game shows and went to the karaoke. The Viking Lounge was a lovely place for a drink where the view were spectacular. The art auction was great fun and we bid on and won quite a few pieces. The departure was smooth with the exception of having to wait a very long time for the free shuttle bus. Overall this was a near perfect cruise and we had a fabulous time. I would definitely sail on Splendor again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
When I was booking our trip I was slightly hesitant about this ship after seeing some of the previous reviews that were less than complimentary...I was so glad I decided to go with it! Everything was completely effortless and seamless, ... Read More
When I was booking our trip I was slightly hesitant about this ship after seeing some of the previous reviews that were less than complimentary...I was so glad I decided to go with it! Everything was completely effortless and seamless, from booking the trip, the excursions, the little "extras" in our stateroom...even the embarkation was totally smooth(and quick!) The ship itself is old and the furniture does show signs of wear...it really needs a makeover, but if you can overlook this- you'll be thrilled you chose the Splendour. The price was right, we had a nice size room with a balcony, and every member of the staff went OUT OF THEIR WAY to do whatever it took to make our trip completely special. The food onboard lacked some creativity and variety, but overall there were more than enough choices to make anyone's belly happy. The filet mignon in the dining room was truly awesome and I had the best Singapore Noodles I've ever had! Desserts were a little boring, but when you're gaining a pound a day anyway, I guess it's ok. The ports and excursions were superb; the organization of the excursions and tours is the best I've ever seen. The guides were great, spoke english very well, and were so nice and easy to talk to. They were so informative about every island we visited. We had a wonderful time and will certainly cruise with Royal Carib again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We booked our own flights to Venice as RCI flights are expensive and inconvenient. Embarkation was very easy and efficient and we were able to have lunch in the windjammer before going to our cabin. As it was a special birthday we ... Read More
We booked our own flights to Venice as RCI flights are expensive and inconvenient. Embarkation was very easy and efficient and we were able to have lunch in the windjammer before going to our cabin. As it was a special birthday we decided to book a balcony cabin. The cabin was very nice, if a little tired. However, when we went out onto our much looked forward to balcony, the passengers in the adjacent cabin were chain smokers and their smoke drifted over to our balcony and even invaded our cabin. Therefore we had to keep our balcony door closed all of the time and were unable to make use of the balcony when our neighbours were on theirs. We were really disappointed. We understood that cabins were non-smoking. I suffer from asthma and found it really uncomfortable. At no time during the booking process were we informed that passengers could smoke on their balcony. On the other parts of the ship smoking was restricted to one side. Why could this not be the case with balconies and this be made clear at the time of booking. We have cruised with RCI 4 times now, 3 times on the Splendour, and have always had a lovely experience. However, little things like no chocolate on your pillow when you retire at night, no cold drinks whilst you waited to embark after visiting ports, extortionate drinks prices etc have made us review whether or not we will cruise with them again. One night our cruise newspaper delivered to the cabin was in German !! All in all we felt that RCI's high standards had dropped - very sad. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Booking For my wife's 40th birthday in December 2009, we spent 12 days cruising aboard Explorer Of The Seas around the Caribbean and have been itching to get back on another cruise. We both had some holiday in early July and ... Read More
Booking For my wife's 40th birthday in December 2009, we spent 12 days cruising aboard Explorer Of The Seas around the Caribbean and have been itching to get back on another cruise. We both had some holiday in early July and spotted a great deal on the Royal Caribbean home page at the end of May, for a guaranteed inside cabin. Rather than booking online we decided to call the UK offices as we wanted to check that if prices for balconies were reduced in the future we would be able to upgrade. We were immediately offered the same deal as the web price for an guaranteed inside PLUS $100 On board credit. We bit their hands off and were chuffed until the confirmation email came through and the final price was over £1600! As soon as we received this we called straight back and sods law, the office was then closed and my wife was sat in floods of tears. After a nervous nights sleep we called the office again and eventually, after a few calls back and forwards we had a refund and a new invoice. I would implore anybody to get a final total price before giving any credit card details. All was now sorted however, and we only had 4 weeks to wait for our 2nd cruise to start. Embarkation & Flights As we were embarking from Venice we used Ryanair for our flights, which is a cheap no-frills airline. They advertise flights to Venice, but in reality fly to Treviso, which is 20 miles from Venice. ATVO Eurobus service runs from the airport directly to the Piazzale Roma (where you can pickup the shuttle bus straight to the ship) and takes about an hour. The cost is 9 Euros return (valid for 7 days), or 5 Euros single. There is a ticket machine directly behind the luggage carousel and I strongly advise you to get the ticket from here, or you may face a queue at the main ticket desk in the hall. Once you arrive at the Piazzale Roma the Royal Caribbean shuttle buses are directly in front of the drop-off point and take 10 minutes to reach the ship. We arrived at the embarkation desk at 11:30am, dropped our luggage off, and within 5 minutes were sat by the pool with drink in hand. Fantastic. Stateroom We were assigned room 6591, and although compact was perfectly clean and spacious enough for the little time we intended to use the room. A balcony would have been nicer, but at 3 times the cost not really viable. As we had booked the Romance Package we had chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of Champagne awaiting us in our stateroom, which we took up ondeck to watch the fantastic sailaway from Venice. The Ship The Splendour is the smallest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, and one of the oldest. However the ship was clean and well looked after, but did lack some of the WOW factor of the much larger Explorer we sailed with before. I did think the smaller size of the ship to be plus, especially at embarkation and dining. However my wife missed the glitz and size of a larger ship. Dining We chose to book My Time Dining, and were always able to get the time we wanted. The menus however were exactly the same as some of the ones we had last December on Explorer.Which isn't a bad thing, but perhaps a local dish based on the last port visited could liven the menu up a bit. The service we recieved in the dining room from all the staff was first class. On our last night our waiter somehow managed to get the chef to create a special curry dish just for us, which made a good overall dining experience brilliant. Activities & Entertainment We tend to use a cruise ship as a moving hotel, so tend not to use the day time activities, however we did visit the show every night. Ths shows ranged from poor, to average to very good indeed. The highlight being a Beatles tribute band, and the low point the ships singers and dancers. During the week we also had a slight of hand magician and a Soul singer who were both a decent way to spend 45 minutes before dinner. Service Throughout the ship we had great service from all the staff, and they all helped make a great holiday. Disembarkation We chose to carry our own bags off the ship and were straight through customs by 7am. We had a late evening flight from Treviso so grabbed a taxi outside the disembarkation point to take us to the railway station so we could leave our luggage for the day. The left luggage point is at platform 1 and the cost to leave luggage is 5 Euros a bag for the first 5 hours, and 60 cents for each extra hour. The railway station is a 2 minute walk from the bus station at Piazzale Roma where the return bus to Treviso departs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We had an totally enjoyable and worry-free cruise tour with Royal Caribbean on our recent July 2010 trip! This was our first cruise tour and we did not know what to expect. I must say that the entire experience was great and we would ... Read More
We had an totally enjoyable and worry-free cruise tour with Royal Caribbean on our recent July 2010 trip! This was our first cruise tour and we did not know what to expect. I must say that the entire experience was great and we would definitely book a cruise tour with RCI again. The tour started in Milan where we were promptly greeted by RCI representatives in the baggage claim area of the Milan Malpensa airport. We were quickly escorted to an air conditioned van with two other members of the tour and driven about :30 minutes to the hotel that overlooked Lake Maggiore in Stresa, Italy. We met our tour guide, Annamaria, at the hotel and she provided us with information about the next few days and our land tour itineraries. The hotel was very nice (the Hotel Bristol)and comfortable. The only complaint was that all of the tour members were placed on the first floor with a somewhat obstructed view. We wished that RCI would have offered an option for a better room, but the air conditioning worked great and the hotel was a 4-star right on the lake. We toured the lovely town of Stresa and our guide escorted us to a gorgeous botanical garden by boat where we spend the second morning. That afternoon, we visted Isole Bella and had a great dinner on the Isole Pescatore on Lake Maggiore. We left the next morning for an hour or so drive to beautiful Lake Como where we took a boat ride on the lake and saw magnificent estates owned and occupied by the rich and famous. It truly was breathtaking. We then got on the bus that afternoon and drove to Venice. We arrived in Venice in the late afternoon and we all were so happy to be there and see this vibrant and lively ancient city! We went to dinner at a fine restaurant close to St. Mark's. Unfortunately, the rooms had very poor air conditioning and Venice was experiencing a heatwave so none of us slept well. The rooms of the hotel were all recently renovated but the air conditioning simply didn't work. It was the Hotel Bellinni and all of the guests were complaining about the lack of decent air conditioning. The next morning we had a great tour of St. Mark's and the Doge's Palace where we walked over the Bridge of Sighs. We then got on a water taxi and spent some time in Murano and went to a great glass factory where we saw an awesome demonstration and I ended up spending some serious money on a beautiful champagne service set from Murano. After we left Murano we water taxied back to St. Mark's square and had lunch and from there we took another water taxi and arrived at the cruise pier. RCI had all of our luggage transported from the hotel directly to the ship so we simply arrived and checked in. Check-in was very easy and quick. I was greatly impressed with the Splendour. Although she is far from new, she is in great shape. The crew and staff are very proud of this ship and she must have been recently renovated (newer carpeting for example) because she still looks great. The customer service from the wait staff in the dining room, the bartenders, cabin stewards and others we encountered were wonderful. RCI is a very well-organized line and truly understands its business. The ports that we visited were varied and excellent. We visited Dubrovnik, Croatia and took a nice excursion of the old city. It was a very interesting port and the excursion was by boat and we had a very good tour guide. The next port was Mykonos, Greece where we did a boat tour to the Island of Delos. We returned and had a great lunch in Mykonos and strolled around that beautiful city for a few hours. It truly is a beautiful place and was a lot of fun to see. Next was Kusadasi, Turkey where we took an excursion of Ephesus. This was a fascinating ancient site and we enjoyed this excursion very much. Turkey was quite beautiful. The only negative was the people. They were very pushy and although I wanted to spend more time browsing around the city, we went back to the ship to avoid the very pushy vendors that wouldn't leave you alone. Santorini, Greece was the next port. We decided to rest that day and didn't go on any excursions, but it was a very pretty port to look at from the ship. The last stop was Corfu, Greece, which was my favorite port on the cruise. Corfu is a stunningly beautiful island. We went on the Achilleon Palace excursion that took us to the far side of the island where we saw some incredible natural sites. Corfu is magical. Regarding the cruise itself, we had very good meals on the Splendour. Our wait staff (Lavinia and Thomas) were excellent and the food choices were very good. The food was always fresh and well-prepared. We didn't have a bad meal on the ship. The shows were fine, although the early show didn't start until 9:15 so we only saw a few of them. This particular cruise had many port stops so we generally went to bed early so that we could get up early and get out and see the ports. The drinks were very expensive. A mediocre glass of cabernet was $12, which is almost twice what it should have been. That's really my only negative comment about the cruise. RCI doesn't allow you to bring or drink your own bottles of wine on board and they really sock it to you on the alcohol prices. The cabin was very nice. We had a junior suite that was a nice size with plenty of storage. We also had the laundry done when we got on the ship and it was all returned the next day and they didn't lose anything. We also transferred an airport transfer back to the Venice airport and RCI handled that very efficiently. All in all, this was a great trip that we truly enjoyed. We would definitely use RCI again and don't hesitate to book a trip on the Splendour! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Three years ago, my husband and I (in our early 50's) sailed to the Med/Greek Isles aboard Celebrity to celebrate our 25th anniversary. It was nothing short of perfect. We loved it so much that we were eager to return to the area to ... Read More
Three years ago, my husband and I (in our early 50's) sailed to the Med/Greek Isles aboard Celebrity to celebrate our 25th anniversary. It was nothing short of perfect. We loved it so much that we were eager to return to the area to revisit our favorite ports as well as explore some new ones. The Royal Caribbean cruise on Splendor the Seas fit the new bill in terms of ports, but fell short in terms of overall cruise experience. We arrived on July 15th and took the ATVO Flyer Bus to Piazzale Roma and then walked approximately 10 minutes (and across the new bridge) to our hotel. There were options to avoid the hassle of the bridge (waterbus/vaporetto), but chose to walk. I ended up tipping an eager Venetian man to help us since we had 2 MAJOR rolling duffles to drag over the bridge. We highly recommend Hotel Abbazia for both convenience to the cruise ship terminal (via the shuttle) and the close location (less than 5 minutes) to the vaporettos. The hotel is a restored monastery and is lovely. The staff is welcoming and very helpful. Since we arrived on a VERY hot day, the a/c had difficulty keeping up, but eventually did. We walked around the area close to our hotel and had dinner on the canal. Prepare yourself for sticker shock in Venice! The Hotel had a fabulous breakfast and after we ate, we zipped around the Grand Canal on a vaporetto to St. Mark's. Summer crowds and stifling heat zapped our spirits a bit, but who can complain when one is in Venice! We left for the cruise ship terminal around 1:00 pm, walked back over the bridge and headed to the bus terminal to catch the shuttle. Let me say now that it was only through reading and asking a lot of questions on tripadvisor that I was able to determine IF there was a shuttle and Where exactly to catch it. I had even emailed RCL about this and did not receive a response. Others shared the same complaint. I believe we waited approx. 30-45 minutes to catch the shuttle in the blistering sun as there was quite a line. Embarkation was easy, although people were rather beat down by the heat, which reminded me of one difference from Celebrity...they had cold cloths for us and champagne as we waited to board every time we got on the ship (both initially and after an excursion)....which was a nice touch! Our ocean view cabin was a nice size and the stateroom attendants were great. The ship appeared to to be in good shape. The bars, in my opinion, had cheesy entertainment and the shows at night were definitely substandard compared to the shows on Celebrity (which were FANTASTIC). One night there was a "Rat Pack" show and was embarrassingly bad to me! An enthusiastic female Latin Singer was "ok" but very "night club" type performance. The magic show was probably enjoyed by the kids but was average to me. The ship singers/dancers were very good but typical--they didn't wow me but I appreciated their efforts. The only redeemable show was a violinist who was very good! Events by the pool seemed to be enjoyed by the younger set,and the contests in the Schooner Bar and the Top Hat bar that we attended were kind of fun, but we didn't partake of the activities every night. We ate most of our evening meals in the King & I dining room and the best way to describe it would be "fair" or "bland". The menu had a variety of choices that seemed appealing but just didn't do much for anyone at our table. The Windjammer was consistently good for breakfast. In some ways, we enjoyed the food there more than at the King and I. One comment that I have to make is that I was really surprised at the informality of dress in the dining room. Even on the formal nights, people were dressed somewhat casual. Again, this was a major difference from Celebrity where people seemed to adhere to the suggested dress code. But, food and entertainment were not the main reasons why we chose this cruise. The ports were wonderful and we did go on several excursions. Dubrovnik: We chose the excursion to Cavtat and the old town as an excursion since it was so hot that day and I thought it would be a good idea to enjoy the a/c and view from the bus! We enjoyed the drive along the coastline to Cavtat since it gave us a better sense of Dubrovnik. Cavtat was a quiet yachting area that was picturesque but somewhat uneventful. The old town was beautifully preserved and charming. The crowds and the extreme heat made it tough to really enjoy our time to the fullest. Ephesus: We chose the excursion to Ephesus from RCL since three years ago we went with a private group who REALLY pushed the rug factory. Besides the ruins of Ephesus, we also went to the Terrace Houses and were pleased that they had furthered their excavations so we were able to see some new things. I love Ephesus! Great tour. We ate lunch at an area close to the ship and were annoyed by the watch salesman who threw his watches all over our table. In addition, I had a very uncomfortable experience with our waiter as I came back from the bathroom of the restaurant. We went back to the ship after lunch since both of us are put off by the high pressure sales in the market area and I was shook up by the waiter. Mykonos,Santorini and Corfu: We did Mykonos on our own. We just shopped and took pics and then went back to the ship. Mykonos is a charming island but it doesn't take a tour guide to enjoy it, nor does it take a lot of time. Some people enjoyed it as a beach day. However, Santorini is our favorite port. We took the tour to Oia and the Santos winery since we enjoyed it so much on our last trip. The time given in Oia was plenty to take great pics and walk around (and shop). We LOVE the Nykteri wine at Santos winery and so that was high on our "to do" list. The scenery from the winery is breathtaking. We walked around Fira (shopped some more) and took lots of pics. Long lines at the cable car to get back to the tender since there were several large ships in port at the same time, so we went and had a snack at a very scenic restaurant till the line died down, which it did; it only took around 20 minutes to take the cable car to the tender at that point. Some people walked down to the tender and regretted that choice. Corfu was a new port for us and we were pleasantly surprised at how much we liked it. Much "greener" than the other Greek islands. We did a ship excursion again because I wanted to see the island and not just the town (to shop some more!), so we did the Paleokastritsa, Lakones and Wine tour. It was great to see a lot of the island and Paleokastritsa (also called the "Capri of Greece" was beautiful. We went out on a small boat to see the caves and that was cool. Departure was easy and organized. However, information about the shuttle was difficult to obtain. I don't understand why RCL doesn't make this clearer for people! Most people (including us!) were unsure where to catch the shuttle; when we found out there were long lines. It just seemed that RCL was done with us now that the cruise was over and we were on our own. Not great customer service in my opinion. Summary: We had a wonderful time and the cruise met our overall objective--to enjoy Med ports which we did! The customer service, food and entertainment maybe would have seemed better to us if we had not had something to compare it to! The informality of the cruise reminded me somewhat of a Carnival Cruise that we went on in our 20's, but had just a little more class. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We had considered Viking river cruises for a one week cruise, we had done one last year and wanted to try it again, but the price was out of our budget. We were visiting our daughter in Europe, and we all wanted to see more of Europe. Our ... Read More
We had considered Viking river cruises for a one week cruise, we had done one last year and wanted to try it again, but the price was out of our budget. We were visiting our daughter in Europe, and we all wanted to see more of Europe. Our daughter was studying abroad, and had just turned 21. After much searching, we opted for this cruise on the Adriatic and Agean. We booked it about four months in advance through Cruises Only, I liked their website and found it to be user friendly. We loved our Junior Suite, a few years ago we booked an inside stateroom on Carnival, and wanted something a bit more roomy, even though we had the idea that the room was only a place to sleep. The ports of call were chosen well. We had to tender out in only one of them. We booked the Acropolis tour in Piraeus (Athens) but in other ports we either took a walking tour or went out on our own in a taxi. We ate all of our meals in the main dining room, ealy sitting, in a large table, and enjoyed our company, my daughter even had another girl of her age to talk to. Maybe that was intentional on the part of RCI. The food was of good quality, my wife liked it better than Carnival, I could not tell the difference. Like most cruise lines, they need to make money on your extra purchases, and I found that drinks, excursions, photos,spa,and internet ran up our bill by about $2300, or about 50% of the cost of the cruise. This was expected, and still the cruise was cheaper than the Viking River Cruise alternative, and just as enjoyable. We booked our next cruise, with Celebrity, while on board. That means that as far as we were concerned, it was a big success! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Background info: It was the first cruise to the Mediterranean for my husband and I. We've cruised twice before with children. I had started planning the trip in August of 2009. I frequented Cruise Critic to get information which was a ... Read More
Background info: It was the first cruise to the Mediterranean for my husband and I. We've cruised twice before with children. I had started planning the trip in August of 2009. I frequented Cruise Critic to get information which was a big help, although I learned some things along the way that I'd not seen here! I chose Royal Caribbean for itinerary and price. My main goal was to visit Santorini and I wanted the longest amount of port time we could get there. Hotel info: We headed to Venice three days prior to the cruise; it was a smart move as we had adjusted to the time difference by Saturday and had time to enjoy Venice. (It became more advantageous, IMO since Sunday night you lose another hour.) We stayed at the Hotel Stella Alpina Edelweis in the Cannaregio area. I wanted a hotel convenient to P. Roma, yet in a price range we were comfortable paying by staying in Venice. It was a wonderful choice. We only had one bridge to go over and although those steps were a drag on the upside, it wasn't all that bad and easy on the downside. The hotel was lovely and the staff helpful and friendly. I was very pleased with our choice and would not hesitate recommending it to anyone. Stateroom info: We had an inside cabin on deck 8. You could really feel vibrations and I wondered if it was the location (were we near some engines or something?). We laughed the first night as we joked there was no need for quarters to vibrate the bed! Thing is we noticed it around the entire ship. (The Captain did say at a Q&A that due to the era it was built Splendour does vibrate a lot compared to more recent ships that have newer technology. We got used to it and it was fine.) The room was a comfortable size, plenty of storage space (luggage slipped under the bottom of the bed) having previously traveled with four to an inside cabin this was luxury! We found the bed to be comfortable for us.....some may find them hard. Activities: First, we loved the tear off portion of the Cruise Compass, which listed all the activities for the day. We'd carry it around and refer to frequently as the day went on. One of our favorite activities is trivia, although I am not the brains of the operation. ;-) Most of the trivia sessions were held in the Schooner Lounge which was too small a venue for the number of people who joined in most times. We stopped attending about mid week as there was no room to sit if you didn't get there plenty early. Some groups were large (I think the limit was 6, but some seemed larger). We won one round and got our key chains so we were happy. They had other types other than general trivia........Name That Tune, for example. The other things we went to were the towel folding demonstration, Captain Q&A, and my husband went to an art auction session which he found interesting. The activities staff were good. We particularly enjoyed Leo who held a trivia session one afternoon and was struggling with his English, and had such wonderful humor about it. He cracked us up. You can see we were not sports minded at all and although we do like mini golf, we never seemed to make it there to try it out! Service: We felt the service and attentiveness of all staff to be great. A shout out to our head waiter, Lent, our waiter, Clive and assistant waiter, Ricardo. Ricardo "for sure" was a special delight. Our room steward seemed to always be working. The towel animals were great and he found things that needed to be taken care of (a closet door that came undone) before we did and had a work order put in - it was fixed almost immediately. I also was impressed with how friendly any staff were to us that we happened to see over the course of the week. Dining: We chose the early seating at 6:30 pm and were happy with our choice. I had feared we'd be rushing back to the ship to eat on later port days, but we never felt like that. We had asked to sit at a table of 4 or more and were disappointed to find ourselves at a table for two, but as we looked around we saw they have a number of those 2-only tables and I could see where they'd tend to put couples at them. We later met up with a couple who were at a larger table, but none of them spoke the same language, and that was awkward, so sometimes you can't win The first & second nights were casual nights with a 50's & 60's theme and considered casual. (This info is found on the front page of the Cruise Compass.) The first formal night which was on day three, the first day we were cruising all day at sea and it was the big one - we had not brought real fancy clothes and seeing everyone else looking so grand had me wishing I had. We were fine - I mean no one cared, but it would have been fun to join everyone else in looking fabulous! The second formal night was on Day 5, which was on a port day & not as many people participated to such an extent. The 4th day was smart casual. Day 6 was casual/70's and Day 7 casual. Regarding food - it was good. We're not very particular, if we're not shopping, cooking or serving it we're happy! I enjoyed the fruit soups although they were not as pureed as some I've had on other cruises. We always had breakfast and/or lunch in the Windjammer. I loved it there, so many choices and I enjoyed it all. (We will not talk about the weight gain!) Entertainment: What a wonderful variety and I thought really impressive. The singers/dancers were great. There were two spectacular groups, one a Motown sound group - Soul Satisfaction, and the highlight, I thought were The Beatle Maniacs - they were phenomenal! Then there was a couple called Crazeehorse that did body acrobatics. I wasn't really into that so much, but you did have to be in awe of their strength! They also had a magician, Mark Taylor that I found boring, but that's just not my thing. I felt it was all well done. Disembarkation: We chose to use the express method as 1) I dislike having to think about putting my bag out the night before and 2) we didn't have that much luggage that we couldn't handle it ourselves. You had to leave the ship between 6:45 - 7:15 am. We had no issues getting off, it was quite easy. We did ask about the shuttle back to P. Roma - and a number of us were confused about where the bus was going to be picking us up. It is in the large parking lot near where the ship docks, closer than we thought it'd be actually. We had gone further than necessary, but no biggie walking back to get it. We were back at P. Roma at 7:30 am and walked to the same hotel to leave our bags and take off for more adventures. Summary: The cruise was great. We loved the ship, we loved the ports, and we learned so many new things and enjoyed our vacation tremendously. I wish all those yet to take their cruise have as great a time and weather as we enjoyed. Ports: Venice, Italy I was so glad we had three days and then a fourth upon our return to explore all of Venice. I had not wanted to schedule any tours, or have any set time to visit things as I wanted to be more free flowing. It worked for us. My husband wears a pedometer when we travel and we were averaging about 12 miles a day in Venice. It surprised me how often we'd say, "we've been this way before," it just seems like it shouldn't happen unless planned. We used Rick Steve's book to plan get our information of where/what to see and do. We did a lot. I can't say enough about Venice it's just the neatest place. We went to St. Mark's late in the afternoon and did not have to wait long in line to get in, so we had no problems with the bags we had with us. I did see people who must have gone to the bag drop area and walk right in. We did not do the paid sights inside because of the hour we were inside. St. Mark's did not overwhelm me in anyway way, but I can say I saw it. The Bridge of Sighs from outside is looking odd now as they are doing work and the scaffolding around it takes away from the original look. We enjoyed the Campanile, the Correr Museum and the Doges Palace........we rate Doges the best. We did not do the Secret Itineraries tour - so we don't know what we missed/ We also went to the Jewish Ghetto, Frari Church, we walked out to the Santo Maria della Salute - that was quite a hike. We took a vaporetto back to our hotel. My main complaint would have to be about the lack of restrooms available and the steep price to use one! 1,50 Euro's is high and you need exact change, unless you find someone at the restroom who will give you the right coins. We found that our main issue in Venice and later in the Padua train station. We made use of the restrooms in the museums but nature does not always follow your touring schedule! ;-) Another thing, even though I'd read ton about eating there we had a hard time finding the places that served the cicchetti and never had any. (We'll have to return!) Our first night we chose a restaurant at the end of the street our hotel was on. We got what I considered to be a half a sandwich for each of us and a soda and ice tea. We ate outside and then were quite surprised to find it cost us 20 Euro's. We figure they charged us for sitting outside, a service fee and a coverage charge. From then on we were gun shy about eating anywhere. We had a lot of take out and only sat down for dinner one other time the first visit and then once the last visit. Each time we made sure that the fees were included and we ate inside! We did LOVE Venice and now that we have a handle on the quirks we know how to manage around them. Dubrovnik, Croatia What a pretty area and the city within the wall was a great place to wander and enjoy time. We took the shuttle from the ship. We'd not read or heard anything about it onboard, but I knew from CC it existed, so once leaving the ship I looked for it. We got in a line to find we needed to purchase tickets. A woman was in a separate spot taking care of that, so we got in that line and then went on the shuttle. We did wonder how we missed hearing about the fact it was offered. No issues though. Once dropped off outside the walled area we looked for an ATM to get Kuna's which I'd read we should get. We weren't sure how much to get (and while I knew in my head how much it cost in US dollars to walk the wall I had no idea in Kuna's!!) We made the mistake of not getting enough the first time (choosing the least amount from the options) so had to do it twice. Not a good thing with the fees on our ATM card, but what are you going to do? What floored me though is when we went to get the tickets finding out we could have used Euros! Let me just say I was kicking myself about that for some time.......maybe still am. Walking the wall was fun - and a good work out. It was a gorgeous day when we were there. I was not too hot in jeans, but shorts would have been perfect also. Since we had extra Kuna's after the wall we wanted to use them up so bought some take out lunch by the pier area and ate on a bench and watched another ship leave port. We then walked around the town within the walls for awhile - checking out some churches and small shops. We're not shoppers, but we bought a postcard that left us with only one Kuna to take back with us as a souvenir and remind us of our story. The buses were to be taking folks back to the ship every 10 minutes, but something happened and apparently some people were waiting for 45 minutes - then a bunch all came at once. Have no idea what happened there. I'm just glad we hadn't needed to wait so long! Ephesus, Turkey I had arranged back in December for an all day tour through Hello Ephesus - Ephesus Deluxe for $80pp. I had requested Bill Orkus as our guide since he'd been recommended on CC. He met us outside the port. I was confused about the time we were to meet as I had one email saying 8:30 and another saying 9:00. We were there well before 8:30 and I did become nervous as I saw many names, but not ours. Bill was in fact there, but in his notes had the 9:00 time. When I finally asked someone for help, they connected us. I should have asked earlier. ;-) Bill is a wealth of information and is able to explain the history to you in a way it makes sense and gives you a good sense of how things were way back in time. (I could not get over how OLD things were!!) We started at the Selcuk Museum to get oriented and not get caught up in the bus tours at Ephesus in the morning. (In the summer Bill explained that isn't an option as it would be unbearably hot in the afternoon.) It was helpful to really get a full understanding of what we were going to see. From there (I think!) we went to St. John's Basilica; saw a Mosque, which was quite interesting and we learned a lot about Muslim beliefs; and The Temple of Artemis. We then headed to the school to see about the carpets (we were interested in seeing/learning and it was where lunch would be). We were fascinated by the making the carpets. We were shown what seemed like thousands of rugs and felt badly as we had no intentions of buying even a small one. I'm sure it looked like my husband was going to get one because he just was in awe of their quality and the colors. For lunch we ate outside in this lovely relaxing area and had Turkish starters, salads, kebabs from the grill (believe it was lamb) and fruit. It was lovely. My husband thought the starters were are complete meal so he had eaten a lot up! After lunch we went to the House of the Virgin Mary......how serene and lovely was that; I could have stayed there for hours and meditated. Then onto Ephesus itself and the Terrace Houses which are amazing. (While there the workers were busy taking pictures of baby owls that they must have found.) Ephesus was beyond fascinating! The whole day was amazing. We couldn't have asked for more. We had time when we were done and dropped back at Kusadasi to wander the streets there and soak up more of the Turkish culture. Santorini, Greece Ah, Santorini, the reason I was taking this cruise! I had read plenty and knew we could DIY here, and be happy. I read about people getting their tender tickets earlier than the announcement, but my husband was not ready to go and I wasn't sure if I could go get tickets without him. I overheard some others later and it did sound like I could have - yet when we did go to get the tickets others in front of us were told to come back when they were actually ready to board. My guess is the difference was the tenders were now running and they wanted folks to be loading as soon as called. We were ready and had Tender #4 and only waited at most 5 minutes (extra time for the bathroom. ;-)). When our # was called we simply went down to Deck One and were loaded onto the tender (It was probably around 7:10 - seemed to me we were on Santorini at 7:20 if not earlier). Once on Santorini I knew I wanted us to take the cable car up so we followed the group headed that way and we bought our tickets and immediately boarded the cars and went up to the top. We off-loaded and I read the information I had about getting to the bus station. We came across the donkeys being herded down to the donkey station - something like the running of the bulls! I noticed some shops, eating areas were open, but we had our plan. Bus to Oia. I can't explain why, but this was hard for us! We were re-read the information countless times; returned back to an area with a map that said "You are Here" - but we could not get oriented to find that bus station!! IN my head I kept thinking we had to go UP, not down! But down it is. I'll sum it up to just say we asked several people after wandering around for quite some time and we finally did find it! By the time we had, we'd seem a lot of Fira and saw a lot of tour buses already headed the direction of Oia. Oh well.........we ended up on the 10:00 bus and that turned out to our advantage as we then saw many of the tour buses returning on our way out and when we arrived in Oia the place was emptying for the most part. Something that might help you on Santorini regarding bathrooms - I decided to use a bathroom and walked in the one by the bus terminal......a woman was cleaning and I didn't see anything regarding money so headed to a door - she called to me and proceeded to unlock a cabinet and pull out toilet paper and pointed to her palm indicating I needed to pay money for the paper. I had no change at the moment so I said I couldn't pay and left. Thank goodness I wasn't in desperate need, just taking advantage of having spotted one. The public restrooms are pit toilets and thankfully I never had to figure out how I would squat right to use them, but I'm sure I'd have figured it out! My thought was I wish I'd known about the toilet paper; I'd have stuffed some in my purse before leaving the ship, because the woman left and I could have used the toilet minus her paper. Oia is just one wonderful camera shot after another. When you get to the top of the street, or whatever they call it, go right first, it has the most magnificent views. It was only dumb luck that we did that first. We walked, explored and shot pictures. It was the warmest day by far - I can't imagine being there at the height of summer. We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the sea and just soaked it all up....and used their American style restroom. Yay. After lunch we walked the opposite direction and continued walking past where we'd come up but the views weren't as grand - still beautiful though. We got the 1:00 bus back to Fira, no problems with crowding. I was a bit nervous as my husband noticed it was not going the same route as the bus out and we never had asked if it was THE bus to Fira - we just assumed it was.....as did everyone else. FYI, when we were getting the bus out there was a man who herded us into an area and told us not to get tickets at the window. He then had us get the tickets when the bus was ready to leave, took all of us over to the bus and we loaded. On the way back we all got on without paying and it wasn't until we were getting off that the same man as earlier had us pay for the tickets. We walked around Fira more but it was quite crowded by now and really hot, so we headed back to the cable car and waited just a few minutes before loading and heading down to catch the tender. We waited maybe 5 minutes, luckily undercover RC had provided because it was hot. Once the tender came they piled us on to bulging. It was really hot in there - no air coming through. We were by no means the last tender of the day, so no concerns if you didn't get on this one. It was an easy process on/off. Going through security onboard holds things up just a bit, but we were pro's by now. Corfu, Greece I think because I'd spent so much time researching the other ports, I couldn't wrap my head around Corfu and what we could do on our own and decided to do a ship excursion that looked good. We took the one that did the Achilleion Palace and a walk through old Corfu Town with a visit to the Church of St. Spyridon. It was a good choice - no thinking on our part needed. The best part was once back in Corfu Town if we did not want to take the tour bus back to the ship when it was going to depart (5:15 I think) we could catch the ships shuttle - just show your tour sticker. (I'd read previous reports of folks paying a taxi.) The last bus was at 7:30 pm. Corfu appears to be like any city as you drive to the Palace, but oh my, some of the views and the greenness (especially just coming from our visit to Santorini) were striking. We enjoyed walking the Corfu Town and got ourselves lost, but treated it like Venice.....sooner or later you'd figure it out. We would have liked to have explored the Old Fort there, but didn't want to spend the money for the short amount of time we had left. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Venice: we stayed at B& B Casanova ai Tolentini the night before our cruise and again for 3 nights after the cruise. Highly recommend this B&B, rooms are large and beautifully decorated, free internet access, very helpful staff. ... Read More
Venice: we stayed at B& B Casanova ai Tolentini the night before our cruise and again for 3 nights after the cruise. Highly recommend this B&B, rooms are large and beautifully decorated, free internet access, very helpful staff. Ideal location--less than 2 minute walk to Piazzale Roma where buses (both land and water) are located and only 2 easy to navigate bridges to cross with your luggage. Website is www.casanovaaitolentini.com Highly recommend getting the Rough Guide Map of Venice before you go---it is a very durable and accurate map (we got on Amazon.com). We also enjoyed using Rick Steve's Venice 2010 Guidebook and audiotours (download these before your trip at ricksteves.com.) If you have any students be sure to bring their student ID cards as multiple locations give student discounts (including free entrance to some sites). We bought transportation cards in advance from VeniceConnected.com and also museum passes which are cheaper if you purchase them before arrival in Venice. Ship: we were upgraded from interior rooms to deluxe balcony rooms which we enjoyed. We were disappointed to find the swimming pools have salt water in them. Food: We selected early dining (6:30pm) and were glad we did because we enjoyed having dinner each night with the same people. We did miss main dinner on the day we visited Athens as "all on board time" was 7:30 pm--however we enjoyed the casual dining in Windjammer instead that night. In general we felt the food was not as good as on other ships we have been on (3 course dinners compared to 4-5 course dinners on other ships). Windjammers was usually very crowded, the food there was pretty good. Entertainment: could be improved, had very similar singing/dancing shows on 3 nights, acrobatic entertainers 2 nights, fairly good magician one night. Split, Croatia: we took the Scenic Krka National Park Excursion offered by the ship ($62/person) and greatly enjoyed this, nice 1 hour hike around the waterfalls and then free time to visit small museums and mills. The bus driver let us off in town on the way back and we had time to walk around the Diocletian's Palace and do some shopping and then walked back to the ship. Corfu, Greece: we took the Acheilles Palace, Paleocastritsa Monastery and Old Town Tour Excursion offered by the ship ($64/person) and felt it was well-worth the cost. The guide was great and utilized "whisperer communication devices" that allowed everyone in the group to easily hear her comments. The bus driver let us off in town on the way back and the ship had a shuttle bus back to the ship that was free for those who had been excursions ($5 each way if did not take an excursion). Athens, Greece: the ship docks in Piraeus which is 6.5 miles from Athens. Based on recommendations on this website we took the train into Athens---this saved our family of 4 over $200 compared to taking the ship's excursions. The train station is a long walk from the ship (30 min if walking fast), from where we were docked we walked to the left (past the aggressive taxi drivers) looking for Gate E6 where you cross a pedestrian walkway to get to the train station. In the station it is very easy to get on the train, cost is 1 euro/person each way and a 15 minute ride into Athens. We got off at the Thiossis station and walked up to the Acropolis, good photo ops on the way. Admission to the Acropolis is 12 euros/person and also provides admission to the Athenian Way. We decided to walk to the Parliament to see the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this takes place a little before the top of each hour and is very interesting (the guards wear kilts and studded boots and do an elaborate high stepping march during the ceremony). We then walked back to the Plaka and took the train from the Maleoskrian station back to the pier. Our ship only allowed us about 7 hours in Athens which was not enough time to see everything that we would have liked to (we did not have time to see the museums). We used Rick Steve's Athens Guidebook and found it helpful (also has information about Olympia in it). Mykonos, Greece: we were disappointed by this port. While many people have said it is the prettiest port we did not think so--it is very clean and the houses are all white, however the surrounding landscape was brown and not that interesting to us. We did not take an excursion here and perhaps would have enjoyed it more if we did. We visited a couple of museums (maritime and archeological) however the museums were very small and not worth the admission costs. The beaches are more like gravel than sand. This was the only port on our trip that used tenders and if you were not on an excursion you had to get a tender ticket to leave the ship with some not able to leave before 10 am. Some of our "table mates" rented ATVs and enjoyed using those to site see around the island. It was nice to have a quieter day after the previous hectic day with lots of walking in Athens. Katalon, Greece: it is very easy to get to the train station and take the train to see Olympia (3 euros round trip). The train station is about a 5 minutes walk from the pier, go to the right and look for a museum with pictures of ice cream cones and clowns -- the tiny train station is located behind it (very near to the waterfront). You purchase the tickets on the train. The first train leaves around 8:30 am--try to get off the ship in time to catch this train as the trains only leave every 2-3 hours. In Olympia it is a short walk to the archeological site and Archeological museum---admission to both is free for students and 9 euros/person for others who want to see both the site and the museum (otherwise 6 euros/site and 6 euros/museum)! We enjoyed a leisurely walk around the site, then ate lunch and saw the museums (very worthwhile). There are 3 museums, two of these are completely free and each was enjoyable to visit. Our family easily saved over $200 by going on our own compared to taking the ship's excursions at this port. Disembarkation: tickets were dispersed the night before with options to change your time of disembarkation. We selected 8:10 am and had time for an enjoyable breakfast in the King & I before leaving the ship. There was about a 15 min wait for the free shuttle bus back to Piazzale Roma, but everyone was orderly and may have been a shorter wait if we had disembarked earlier. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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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