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464 Splendour of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This was a late 'summer holiday' for my wife and I, and we've done six cruises (including RCCI Independence of the Seas last year). We stayed at the Sofitel in Lisbon the night before the cruise and in the morning, took ... Read More
This was a late 'summer holiday' for my wife and I, and we've done six cruises (including RCCI Independence of the Seas last year). We stayed at the Sofitel in Lisbon the night before the cruise and in the morning, took a short taxi ride to the port area - we dropped off our luggage and were on the ship 15 minutes later (around 11.30 am) - if you do all the necessary 'admin' and print your cruise boarding pass online before the cruise, embarkation is a total breeze! As the staterooms weren't available until 1.00 pm, we looked around the ship a little and had some lunch in the Windjammer buffet restaurant, which throughout the cruise was very good - excellent variety, hot, tasty, and great staff. At one 'o clock, the stateroom was ready and our luggage was already there waiting for us. The room itself was more spacious than the Independence with loads of wardrobes, drawers, shelves etc, the TV was small and very old (over 12 years) but still worked, and the bathroom was fine. The only slight disappointment here was the balcony - it was very small with only enough room for two chairs and a tiny table, i.e. no loungers. Our stateroom attendant was terrific - very friendly and immediately got us bathrobes to use for the cruise which were not included as 'standard'. Although 13 years old, the ship is in very good condition but is certainly 'tired' and in need of a major refit (worm carpets, very scratched or torn chairs around the ship etc) but very clean with the crew keeping everything looking as nice as possible. Briefly, here are some 'plus' points: Food, especially in the main dining room, was excellent with terrific service (we used Anytime Dining - works brilliantly). Public areas and bars, all good with nice music etc, although the prices have soared since our last cruise with RCCI. Shows, some were outstanding and the rest were as expected. However, there were a few 'issues' worth noting... Firstly, the majority of the crew were Brazilian and pretty new to the ship, and it showed. Some could hardly speak English and others simply didn't know where to find things etc, but they were friendly and tried their best. The Cruise Director, however, was terrible (also Brazilian) and clearly out of her depth in terms of good and exciting presentation. She totally relied on her Activities Director who did little but push the (costly) daily bingo sessions. The TV service in the staterooms was terrible - only a handful of films which were nowhere near enough for a 14 day cruise (and repeated over and over again...), sometimes films simply stopped midstream and other times, were on different channels and had different starting times to those advertised. Bearing in mind that this was a Transatlantic crossing with many sea days, this was a big letdown and many people complained. Another problem we encountered was a total lack of care regarding disembarkation - we had pre-booked coach transfers to the International airport in Sao Paulo but were given luggage tags for transfers to the national airport. Luckily we noticed the error and got the right tags, but when we picked up our cases and found the right coach, we weren't on the list for that transfer which caused quite a bit of stress in an already chaotic port (Santos) with very little help available to sort the mess and confusion out. Again, I believe this was down to the totally laid-back attitude of the admin crew, particularly on the last couple of days. The shops on board have very limited choice, and the prices for everyday items like Advil etc. are exhorbitant compared to on-land. Duty-free??? Much better selection and half the price in the ports of call! (An example of their own logo stock - they're selling a really cheaply made 'Officially Licensed' model of the Splendor of the Seas for $29.95. The trouble is that the model is of a completely different ship that looks nothing like the Splendour... small point, but annoying!) The ship has a capacity of 2200 guests - we were just over half that amount at 1298 guests and the ship had space around the pools etc. However, space in the Windjammer (especially at peak breakfast times etc) was sometimes hard to find and I reckon that with a full ship, the public areas such as Windjammer, the pools, and the main theatre would be a total nightmare..... The ports of call were OK - Madeira, Tenerife, and Rio de Janeiro were fabulous, Recife and Salvador were nice, and Sao Paulo seemed a big sprawling mainly industrial city mess, but a really horrible port (Santos) and horrific traffic jams. (I can't figure out why RCCI wants cruises to start or end at Santos - it's horrible, disorganised, and creates a terible impression......) So, my overall feelings about this cruise - good but not great. But we still met really nice fellow-cruisers (thanks Cruise Critics!) and had a wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was our first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. I hope to give some useful information to others considering this cruise. Activities - there just isn't enough going on during the day. The theatre showed a movie on ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. I hope to give some useful information to others considering this cruise. Activities - there just isn't enough going on during the day. The theatre showed a movie on the first day only and then nothing, it was closed during the day. A daily movie would certainly help pass the time. Bingo at 3.30 (minimum 22 dollar fee) was about all, except the Art auctions every day where you could watch everyone NOT buying any art. Gymnasium - this is small and unless you go in the morning or afternoon you will not be able to use any of the equipment. Eating - the Windjammer cafe was good with an excellent choice however be warned at breakfast it is jammed and we often had to take our food outside onto the pool area and eat in the chilly windy weather. We did discover however that you can have breakfast in the formal dining room (between 6.30 - 9.00 which was a little early for us) or you can have it delivered to your room free of charge after 7.00 am. Lunch was not a problem and there was plenty of room during the long sitting. You can also go into the formal dining room for a "30 minutes express lunch sitting" or eat in the inside pool area (although this tended to be burgers, hot dogs and fries). King and I dining room - we chose the second sitting (9.00 pm) and this is too late, particularly when you have been trying to fill your time during the day - also we missed a lot of the evening entertainment. The formal nights are not really formal, don't think you need a jacket, tie, dress etc. I wore trousers and a blouse, my hubby wore a shirt and trousers just as on the other nights. Food at night is fantastic and service is really good. Cabins Don't use the water provided as they charge you $5 per bottle. At the pool area there is a machine providing ice water and coffee all day and night. Just get a glass of water to take to your room Bars The Schooner Bar was were we spent most evenings as the other area Top Hat Lounge was permanently empty, just a few couples dancing. What a shame they could have made much more of this space - dancing classes or shows. We had the Cocktail of the Day at $6 but after a few days were getting suspicious that there wasn't actually any alcohol in these. I switched to a rum based cocktail and this confirmed my suspicions. The cocktails are in a large plastic tub in the kitchen which is ready made up, presumably with little or no alcohol. So if cocktails are your thing, go to the bar yourself and watch the waiter making one up for you - I can recommend the B52s ! Entertainment Again we were disappointed with this - 2 x "reps shows", a magician and a comedy singer. My husband enjoyed the Beatlemania show though. All in all we felt the company were always trying to get more money out of you, even the daily talks about the ports of calls were laced with shopping tips where you could spend your money or organised excursions which cost a fortune. We always did our own thing and there was little information about this. Ship itself felt just the right size for us, the cabins were spacious and there were plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking. I don't think we would use Royal Carribean again, but we will try cruising again but in a warmer part of the year. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
it was our first ever cruise and not sure what to expect, we traveled on the day from England and had to catch a taxi from Trevisio airport ( a bus would have been more sensible) however,we arrived early at the dock-yard and were quickly ... Read More
it was our first ever cruise and not sure what to expect, we traveled on the day from England and had to catch a taxi from Trevisio airport ( a bus would have been more sensible) however,we arrived early at the dock-yard and were quickly and courteously on board. this gave us time to enjoy the ships lunch at the windjammer and it was soon time to search out our cabin.the suitcases were almost there too..so well done to the staff. the food was very good both at the windjammer ( expect long queues on cruise days) and the king and i dinning room. also, the other guests at our table were superb ( apart from the two that never showed up) and we had plenty of memories of fun times. the ports visited were excellent (something for everyone's taste ) and transfers on and off the ship-including tenders were pretty well organised. now,the main reason for this review....our room was clean and tidy, with just a few signs of wear-and-tear of a ship of this age..the shower was a bit slow but we could cope with that...BUT there was a constant 'grinding' 'flushing' noise from above between 7 am to 10pm...upon querying this with the staff they explained that it was due to the pool mechanics above the cabin ...but could not relocate us due to lack of room on board..i think this is pretty POOR for an excuse...and SPOILT what would have been a superb cruise. so ANYONE contemplating a cruise on Splendour should AVOID 7049 at all costs..and furthermore RCCI SHOULD WARN future passengers too. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Embarked on a 7 day cruise to Croatia, Turkey, Santorini Greece, and Corfu, Greece. Traveling with my partner, mother (83yrs) and her friend brought on a new series of challenges with getting to the ship, on board activities, and getting ... Read More
Embarked on a 7 day cruise to Croatia, Turkey, Santorini Greece, and Corfu, Greece. Traveling with my partner, mother (83yrs) and her friend brought on a new series of challenges with getting to the ship, on board activities, and getting on and off at ports. The trip went with almost no hitches, but the weather in October means a 50/50 shot at decent weather. Arrived into Milan and took a brief train ride from Milan to Venice. At about 2.5 hours travel time, and $27 Euros, the ride was nice, and arrived in to the main Venice Train station at about 2p. From there a vaporetto ride to the hotel, Hilton, and a brief walk from the stop to the hotel. Traveling with my mother, her luggage, my luggage, and many bridges made me rethink the transportation means on our trip to the port. Purchased a 24hour Vaporetto ticket on the first leg and had full use of the system for 24 hours from first use. (always validate the ticket at the dock before you board the first time). Hotel great location on the Grand Canal, and they usually have some specials. Balked at the $15 Euro breakfast special buffet, but the next morning, rethought that as a bargain. The Euro does not go far, and things are very expensive, but do not let that deter you, just be smarter in your purchases. Kind of relaxed for a bit, then took advantage of the free hotel shuttle boat to St. Marks, then walked around at dusk, took the #1 around the grand canal. This in itself is a great tour, and good way to see the sights. Back to the hotel and bed. Up early the next day and off to St. Marks. Struggled to find a breakfast spot (hence rethinking the hotel deal) and most places were over $20 Euro for a Continental Breakfast. 1040a appointment at the St. Marks Basilica, then a 1155 secret itinerary tour at Doges Palace..both booked on line prior to leaving....1st was free, 2nd was about $10 Euro. Back the hotel, grabbed the bags and water taxi from hotel to ship. Water taxi is $60 Euros, 4 people and 4 large bags. Dropped you off at the pier and RCCL takes the bags from you there, wonderful. Shuttle van/bus about 4-5 blocks to the pier check in facility, but it is walkable. Embarkation is set at 1p, but given previous European cruises, most folks arrive at 10a after their International flights arrive. Not wanting to be in the mess, we arrived at 2p, and there was no wait. Remember that having a jr. suite or better does get you a separate line, so if you do arrive early, look for the special line, it should be shorter. Required health forms, passport, credit card, cabin key, required welcome aboard pictures all took less than 20 minutes and we were on board to complementary mimosas in the atrium. Ship is an older RCCL, and apparently on the books for retirement. I like the size and enjoyed the Grandeur out of Tampa last year. With only 2 elevator banks, forward and mid, it is easy to navigate. Somehow the 3 elevator banks get more confusing. We were in the back, so it was a bit of a walk to the elevators, but fine. Mom had a jr. suite, nice size, older cabin, clean, and very large balcony with 2 chairs and table and lots of extra room. We were in the inside, small cabin, clean with very small bathroom. Quiet and dark, sleeping was fine, but next time going to outside or Suite...the ship was full and this was the only week we could all go, so it was fine. European cruises had a blend of 25% American, 25% Brits, and the balance from a variety of countries. Many South Americans, Scots, Irish, Germans, Italians, and Spainish. The group was a bit more pushy and less tolerant of line waiting than a typical American cruise, so be patient. They tend to ignore lines and go to the front. Seat camping was common in the casual dining venue, which is always annoying at lunch time. Weather was not really suntan weather, so it was amusing to watch the lounge chair saving poolside. Seems no one cruise line has managaged a way to solve that problem. Dinner for us was set at 630p, with the later option at 900p and Your Way Dining. We were fine with 630p, I really love 730p, but afraid of the anytime dining. Here it actually looked like it worked, and people on it said they had no problems. I never saw a line when we were leaving, so it must work. Dinner was fine, staff was pleasant, a little over worked, but prompt, meals hot on arrival. Menu was good, leaning more towards beef, and not a lot of imaginative choices. Desserts were fine, again a few surprises, but not many. While if wasn't knock your socks off, it was good, and I didn't lose weight. Two formal nights and most everyone participated with a large number wearing tuxes, which I was surprised to see. Far more than on a US cruise. Facilities were good. Viking Crown Lounge nice place to see it all, Schooners pub catered to the Brits and was a nice bar. Atrium Bar had a nice trio all of the time, pool bars were underused due to the weather. Gym was never crowded, and had the weather been nicer, they have about 40 lounge chairs at the front that are not as crowded. Solarium was well attended and seat saving was popular there. Food at the Solarium was unacceptable and I would say unsafe. Fresh burgers were "dumped" on top of the old, no circulation of food. I wonder how long they were there by the end of the day. Hot dogs cold, soup cold, limited supplies were restocked and the staff did not seem interested. Pizza was good however, and I did ask for it well done to ensure it was cooked. Gym also has a free sauna and steam rooms, with the usual charges for everything else. Casino was well attended, as was the art show and production number shows. All of the entertainment is what you would expect from RCCL, and everyone seemed to enjoy all of the shows. The 7 days saw 2 production shows, one or two other dance shows, and two special shows with entertainment brought on board. The Beatles tribute was very entertaining, since I am not a real fan of the Beatles and a salute to Motown was very good as well. Theater is not really large, so do arrive 20 minutes early to get a good seat, it fills up fast. Ports are listed below with what we did. Disembarkation went well. They have some new options, the self disembarkation, and an opportunity to remain on board until 3p for $35. We did the color deal, and had a 810a departure. It went very smooth, with no pushing...until we got outside. The bus for the free shuttle to the main plaza in Venice broke, so we stood for about 45minutes with limited information. Of course when the bus came, any semblance of a line was tossed in to the sea and survival mode kicked in. We made the bus, got to the plaza and took a short 5 minute walk to the train station. You can make it from the Port to the station by foot. It would take about 20 minutes but involves one rather steep bridge, with limited sidewalk space. I would think if you only had one roller board bag you could do it. Well it was a nice time, weather not perfect for sunning, but good to see everything without sweating like a dog....I still think May is my favorite time to see Europe, as the weather is good, school is still in session, and the hordes of vacationers have not yet arrived. But, it is always better to have gone at any time of year, than not to have gone at all....Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We sailed on 3rd Oct from Venice. Boarding was very smooth and easy. The ship was very clean. Food was adequate without being spectacular. The biggest problem with the Windjammer (and this is true on the Independence also)was never being ... Read More
We sailed on 3rd Oct from Venice. Boarding was very smooth and easy. The ship was very clean. Food was adequate without being spectacular. The biggest problem with the Windjammer (and this is true on the Independence also)was never being able to find a seat. They need to be able to find a way to seat more people. Even at offpeak times it was almost impossible. Ships staff were ok. Some better than others. Cabin stewards great. Waiters and bar staff ok, although some would forget your order either partly or altogether. Also, was charged for some drinks that I should not have been as we had a drinks package and had shown the cards. When I pointed it out I got an instant apology and was shown 'cancellation slips'. I asked for a copy of them but was told I couldn't have them. When I got my bill they hadn't been removed. Reception said they would sort it out but didn't so it appeared on my final bill. Small amounts but I wrote to RCI on my return to complain giving them 2 weeks to reply. I heard nothing. Not good. Thankfully it was not a more serious issue. The itinerary was great .. we were blessed with very nice weather. Tendering was pretty smooth although if you just missed a boat you could have a good long wait for the next one. The single biggest let down was the entertainment. It was appalling. I have sailed on 12 cruises with 7 different companies and this was the worst by far. I can only assume they know the ship alone will sell the holiday and don't have a big budget for entertainment. The only good shows were acts flown in. The singers and dancers were third rate. Many people got up and walked out. Others fell asleep. If they were half as good as say Thomson that would have been acceptable but sadly were not. Overall, I would not sail on that ship again but only because of the entertainment. As we had cruised with RCI before we went along to the Welcome back party. It seems they have recognised the entertainment issue and are flying in the actual cast from Hairspray for the Oasis. That's all well and good for people lucky enough to go on that but what about the rest of the fleet. I pointed this out to RCI also and really hope they do something about it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Splendor of the Seas by Dick Stein Greek Cruise November 1-8, 2008 This was our eleventh RCCL Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 22 cruise with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 13 ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Splendor of the Seas by Dick Stein Greek Cruise November 1-8, 2008 This was our eleventh RCCL Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 22 cruise with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 13 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a balcony guarantee on a promotion with air for less than $2400 each. We had a Delta flight from Cleveland to JFK and on to Venice with a 4 hour layover at JFK. All flights were on time, got a bus at the airport and we were on the ship by 11 AM. Could not go to cabin till 1 PM Cabins: The cabin 6126 (cat. D1) rear balcony that was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony was nice with two plastic lounge chairs, a recliner and a table. The shower is similar to what we get on Celebrity with a hose and wand arrangement. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. My wife enjoyed the bath robes. The bed was comfortable and my wife liked the room but it was a long walk to elevator. Public Areas: The floor plans in the brochure are wrong there was a Seattle's Best coffee and Ben and Jerry's on Deck 6 center and a Concierge Club on deck 7 Center. As a Diamond member we had access to the Concierge Club and enjoyed drinks and snacks before dinner nightly there, it was high light of cruise. We had the Cruise Critic party in the Viking Crown lounge on the second day and elite repeaters gathering there also on the second formal night. Both were well attended and well done. Nice to meet those I say on line. The shows were fine, we gambled on the last night and used my 10% off coupon in the shop for some RCCL items. Enjoyed the buy 5 pay for 4 bucket daily from the pool bar along with the two free drinks with my Diamond coupon. Dining: We had a nice table for 4 on deck 5, table 5 and enjoyed our table mates. We had pizza, cookies and hot dogs several times for a snack. The King and I restaurant was nicely decorated and the food varied from fair to good, and we had breakfast and dinner daily there.. No Lobster all week. The food in the Windjammer was also good for lunch. Tours: We stayed on ship in Athens as we had been there before and there was a transit strike, we stayed on ship in Split due to rain all day. Most tours involved too much walking for my wife so we skipped them. Went on shore and walked around Mykonos, Katakolon and Corfu and bought little remembrances. Disembarkation: Left ship for bus at 7:15 AM and was at airport at 8 AM. Delta did not open till 10:30 AM and we were at the gate at 11:30 AM for a 3 PM flight. Got to JFK on time due to a medical emergency and were 2 hrs late leaving. Got home at 11:15 PM Overall, I was satisfied. Would not due this itinerary again or due a rear balcony due to the long walks. I put a $500 per person deposit down on a future cruise in May 2009 with an on board credit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We went on the Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas mediterranean cruise, leaving Venice on August 8th. We've been on 6 cruises with various lines, so this isn't new to us. I enjoyed the cruise, but there are some things that ... Read More
We went on the Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas mediterranean cruise, leaving Venice on August 8th. We've been on 6 cruises with various lines, so this isn't new to us. I enjoyed the cruise, but there are some things that are lacking with RCCL. Embarkation was fairly seamless. They had us stand in a very long line going in a large building where you checked in. The line is actually to have your "welcome aboard" photo taken. I wasn't very happy about that, as I would have rather skipped the picture - 12 hours of flying, then riding a shuttle bus is not the best photo op for me! If you want, you can walk into the building and not wait in the long line and just go get your passes. The photo people are pushy (I noticed this through the cruise), but just say no and walk past them. Take your Set Sail pass that you printed with your passports and then you get checked in and given room keys. After that, you get to go on the ship. Rooms aren't ready until 1pm. They have the doors to the hallways closed off, so you can't go by your stateroom and check and see if it's done early. We got on the ship at 11:30 and ate lunch at the windjammer. Windjammer cafe - Buffet galore. Food was pretty good most days. The meat, etc. is not from the states, so it just isn't of the same quality that I am used to. This is especially noticeable with the bacon, sausage and hamburgers and hot dogs. I didn't go on the cruise for burgers and dogs, but if you have kids and are from the states - they'll readily tell you that they aren't as tasty. And I agree with them. Lemonade, Iced tea, coffee, hot tea, milk, orange and apple juice and water are included. All other drinks have a charge. Dinner - The King and I dining room is nicely appointed and not gaudy. Our waitstaff was pretty good, though they always brought out our coffee far after we were into or done with our dessert - even though they took the order at the same time. Portions are fairly sized. I was rather disappointed in the dinners for a few reasons. In past cruises with RCI, we had a different menu every night, plus we had theme nights. This time, we had the same chicken and steak dish every night. There weren't any theme nights at all, and NO LOBSTER. I thought that being we were sailing in Italy and Greece that they would have at least one entree each evening that would be in theme with our port of call. No such luck. We didn't have any appetizers or entrees that did this. I was looking forward to stuffed grape leave, moussakka, etc. but that didn't happen. I think that the chef really let people down with his choices. I can get turkey and fried cod any day at home. Oh well. Entertainment - Wow. This was the worst. First night, we had gauchos. A lady from Argentina and her two male cousins had whips. they did some synchronized routine. It was ok for a first night event. i give it a B- Second night - Headliner was Mary Wilson from the Supremes. There were other entertainers (singers), too. Singers were ok, but she was the main attraction. She sang ONE SONG and it wasn't even a Supremes song. That was it. Third night - a really, really, bad magician who did lousy tricks that i could even figure out. He did tricks that I've seen for the last 20 years that anyone can buy from a magic shop. It wasn't even entertaining. And I'm usually easily entertained. people left during his act. We stopped going to the shows after that. Overall, the entertainment was a D. Cabin - we were in 6584. There were three of us. It was enough space, but we utilized everything to the max. You can store your suitcases under the bed. There aren't any irons on board or allowed on board of the ship - make sure you iron things before you leave home. Toiletries - bring these from home. Other than a little bar of soap - you are on your own, and it's expensive on board. The shower is incredibly small. I knew we were in trouble when our 90 lb 13 year old son came out of the shower and said, "wow - that is small". What I ended up doing was washing my hair, rinsing down, opening the shower curtain and sudsing myself up, then shut the curtain and take the handheld shower head and rinsing off. I hate that fact that the shower curtain touches you and it's unavoidable. It's touched thousands of others before me. Yuk! Ports - Athens - very nice. Took the RCI tour and saw the acropolis - good trip. I wish we had more time in Athens, as it there is alot to see. Mykonos - You don't need to be the first ones off the ship. The shops don't open until 10am or so, so if you are walking around at 8am, you'll be pretty bored. We ate at a little restaurant in town. Don't eat on the main drag - very expensive! Look around on the side streets and you'll find gyros for 2 euros. Actually, coke is more expensive than the sandwiches, go figure. We enjoyed our food very much. Katakolon - not much to do here, except the olympia. shopping was ok, we found some very nice art glass from a family owned glass shop that makes it. Way better than buying the same ugly mass made statues that are in every tourist shop. Corfu - took the 4wd excursion. It was great! We saw all sorts of villages and the country side. Got to eat a nice lunch. bring your bathing suit. YOU MUST BE ABLE TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT (MANUAL) TRANSMISSION! Split, croatia - we did the ruins/trogir tour. Saw some great roman ruins in split. FYI - they don't take euros here and many places don't take charge cards. You can do $$ exchanges on the boat, or just pull $$ from any atm in town. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Traveled with a group of 16 and for 10 of us this was our first cruise (myself included). For the experienced cruisers, this was their first cruise out of Europe, so all of us didn't know what to expect. Our cruise was booked back in ... Read More
Traveled with a group of 16 and for 10 of us this was our first cruise (myself included). For the experienced cruisers, this was their first cruise out of Europe, so all of us didn't know what to expect. Our cruise was booked back in January through a travel agency. After our cruise was paid for, I discovered the Cruise Critic website and member reviews and I was very concerned. But proceeded with the best hopes that things on the Splendour of the Seas weren't as bad as other member have indicated. Months before beginning the trip, our issues with Royal Caribbean began. Various members of the group would call RCI customer service with very basic to specific questions and we would get a different answer EVERY SINGLE TIME. Questions such as what beverages where included in the Beverage Packages (answer to that one was only clear once we got on the ship and went to dinner and found out the information we were told on the phone was wrong). One person was traveling with a 9 month old and wanted to know what swimming options were available for the baby. Once again, called several times, given different answers each time and the correct answer was only given once we got on the ship and tried to find the program that we were told would be available, of course it wasn't. In my opinion, calling RCI customer service is only helpful about 25% of the time. We arrived in Venice a couple of days in advance and stayed at the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre. Would highly recommend this hotel for travelers to Venice. It is located right across the street from a train station where all trains go into Venice and it is a 10min, 1 euro ride and is very affordable compared to staying directly in Venice. The cruise terminal was a 10-15 min cab ride away and was very easy to get to. Going to the terminal the hotel arranged travel for our group it was 160 euros, went back to hotel for one night after the cruise and we took taxis at the terminal it was only 80 euros. Upon our arrival for embarkation more troubles arose. First they had switched the dinner times for half of our group from 8:30 to 6:30 and 6. We went right away to the desk to begin the long process of changing the dinner times so that our whole group could have the same seating. Eventually that was changed, but only after we boarded and particularly spent all of our first hours on the ship working on this. But to their credit, they were able to seat all of us in the 9pm seating, we had to have two tables, but they were close by. We arrived at the terminal about 12:30, it wasn't very crowded and lines moved fairly quickly. Here was another example of the bad information telephone customer service will give. One of the members of our party was not a US citizen, so even before booking this cruise, again several people called at different times to find out what visas would be required. We were told only an Italian visa would be needed. When we went to check-in we learned that a Croatian Visa was also needed. The member of our party would not be able to board without the visa, even though we said she wouldn't get off in Croatia, that was not allowed because it was a security risk. They would be happy to sell her the visa for $130, back in NY the visa would have been $65. After waiting for an hour to speak with a very unhelpful supervisor, we had no choice but to purchase the visa. Our main question was, if customer service had told us that a Croatian and Italian visa would be needed, why would we only obtain the Italian visa? We were simply never given all of the correct information. Again, calling RCI customer service is one of the most useless things to do with your time. Once on board the issues didn't stop. As soon as I walked onto the ship, it was clear that is was an old ship. The carpets and decor seriously need an update, the age of the ship was showing everywhere. Still hoping for the best, I headed off to my room. Once in my room I learned that the toilet was not working. Headed straight to Purser's Desk, only to be told that they were working on it and that it was a ship wide problem for decks 6 to 9. The toilet didn't start working till later that night. So we had to walk down the hall to the public toilets. Day 2 the toilet broke again, it was fixed. Day 3 the toilet broke again, it was fixed. Day 4 the toilet broke again, at this point it was getting crazy and very unsanitary, because there was a terrible odor to go with it and the 9 monthly old was staying in that room. On day 3 when I went back to the pursers desk to complain, there was someone else with the same problem, only his toilet had never started working since the ship sailed. The person behind desk proceeded to tell him that problem happened after the ship sailed. Piped in that he was lying, because when I walked onto the ship around 2pm (ship sailed a little after 5pm) our toilet wasn't working. At that point I walked away from the desk, because I was so angry I was seeing red. On day 4 my sister went to request a new room, because the conditions were just to unsanitary for the baby and we were told there weren't any available cabins. Those first few days truly felt like staying in squalor and I have stayed at some really bad hotels in my years of traveling, but at least the toilets always worked in those places. Days 5 to 8 were toilet problem free, the morning that we returned to Venice, the toilet broke again, so getting ready to leave the boat was slightly delayed, however they came and fixed it right away. At some point guest relations did call a couple of times to apologize and to tell us they were doing their best to fix the problem. On day 3 they sent us a bottle of wine with a note of apology at dinner, it was a nice touch but I don't drink and the toilet was broken again the next day. The thing I realized about RCI and their staff, is that they mean well and they really want to be helpful and provide a high level of service. However, when things go wrong, whatever training they are given goes out the window and they don't know how to deal with the situation. One of my many visits to the Pursers Desk, I observed them calling security on a passenger. Apparently, there was a problem with her on board account that required her to leave her credit card with them to resolve the matter. She had come about 30 mins later to get her card back and they weren't done with it. She was asking for her card back because she didn't know why it was taking so long to fix the matter and she had come back from the port early and wanted to go and find her daughter to let her know that she was back on board. As her frustration level grew her voice got louder (I didn't think she was that loud, I would have been far louder) the representative told her to calm down or he was going to call security (this is the point where a manager should have stepped in). She didn't lower her voice and he buzzed security, by the time security rang him back a couple of minutes later, a manager had taken over the matter and taken the woman in back. It was amazing to me, this woman wasn't a physical threat, she was clearly very frustrated and they weren't giving her straight answers. Why call security? What were they going to do to her if the manager didn't step in? I couldn't believe what I was seeing. All the above issues aside, we did manage to enjoy our cruise, even though sometimes it seems that RCI really didn't want us to. The ports were great: Split, Iraklion, Ephesus, Santorini and, Corfu. When we booked, it was supposed to go to Dubrovnik (which was one of the reasons we choose this cruise instead of the one out of Rome of couple of days later) but they changed it to Split around April. Split was OK, very beautiful and peaceful, but we heard from a couple of locals that Dubrovnik was nicer. Did an excursion to the museum and a walking tour which was good, the tour guide was very good. Iraklion: A couple of us did a beach excursion to a hotel, they thought it was only OK, the tour guide wasn't very good and they didn't have much time at the beach. The rest of us walked around the main shopping area and others took public transport to a beach and they enjoyed it. Ephesus: Did the ancient Ephesus tour that was nice, just very hot. Endured the rugs sales pitch. Walked around and shopped. Initially, it was very off putting being harassed aggressively by sales people, but after an hour we got used to it and had some fun with some of sales men in a couple of the stores. Santorini: Very beautiful, it was our favorite port. We took public transportation about 20 mins away to a local beach. That was great, the buses come every 30 mins, but they come early and leave early. The 1:30 bus back to main city center came at 1:10 and left a couple of mins later with a few members of group already on the bus. The rest of us had to wait for the 2pm bus that came around 1:40. Getting back to cruise ship was hectic, because there were about 4 ships in port. The line for the cable car was about 1 hour wait, so that cut our trip short, but Santorini was by far our favorite. Corfu: On our own, just walked around. There was a bus that took us into town and we didn't understand 1) why they were charging $4 and 2) why the payment wasn't done aboard, boarding the bus took about 20mins because they had to collect the money and copy info from your sea pass card. The food on the ship was pretty good. Nothing spectacular, but we are always able to find something to eat, and we had a group of picky eaters. The staff in the main dining room and Windjammer Cafe were excellent. The cruise activities staff were also very excellent. The activities weren't always super exciting but their personalities and the energy they bought to the activity made it tons of fun. The gym was small but functional, however it was always crowded. Days at sea, forget about trying to get equipment after 7:30 or 8am and in the evenings after ports it always crowded. The Vitality program was interesting, took a couple of the early morning and late evening stretch classes, those get crowed as well because it was right in the middle of the small gym and not much room to lay your mat. The pool deck as always overcrowded. If you didn't get there at 8am forget about getting a nice spot. Again overall for my first time cruise this was a good experience. The ports on this cruise are great and the most of the staff are very good. I just wish they would use a better ship or refurbish this ship. I will cruise again and I would cruise would RCI again, just on a newer ship. I will always check out the reviews on Cruise Critic first before selecting my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We sailed from Venice on this ship on 5/3/08. We had heard that there was a complimentary shuttle bus from Piazzale Roma to the ship, but could not find it and no one we asked was able to help us. We wound up walking to the ship, it ... Read More
We sailed from Venice on this ship on 5/3/08. We had heard that there was a complimentary shuttle bus from Piazzale Roma to the ship, but could not find it and no one we asked was able to help us. We wound up walking to the ship, it wasn't a horrible walk but it was a warm day and with our heavy luggage it was quite uncomfortable. Taxis are very expensive but I suppose that might be an option for others if they find themselves in the same situation. Embarkation itself was a breeze. Sailing out of Venice was one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had, the views from the ship were simply stunning. We had booked a superior interior room (172 square feet, category "J"). We were very pleased with the size and layout of the room, and the bathroom as well. No problems there. Our room was always cleaned well and everything we needed was provided. The only problem with the room location was that several nights there were mechanical noises that were very loud that came from above and woke us up. One night it sounded so horrible and lasted so long that we called maintenance to come up and listen to it to see if there was something that they could do. Eventually it was fixed, but only after causing us several bad nights of sleep! Dining was absolutely horrible. This is an older ship so the only options were the dining room and the Windjammer. The food in the Windjammer was at best about on par with the food at my college dorm cafeteria, and at it's worst it was inedible. Breakfast was okay, but it's pretty hard to screw up scrambled eggs, fruit and packaged yogurt. The dining room was slightly better, probably because the food was fresher (some of that stuff at the Windjammer looked like it had been sitting there for five hours). But still, it wasn't that great. It sort of didn't fit the mood of the dining room... it was like going to dinner in a grand banquet hall and then being served food that tasted like it came from Denny's or Applebee's. Our wait staff was pleasant enough, but they did get our orders wrong several times and took a long time to straighten them out. I think there was a bit of a language barrier sometimes as well. They spoke English but I think sometimes didn't quite understand what we were asking for. I was sort of disappointed with the whole dining aspect, I had read reviews that the food and service was supposed to be so great and it was pretty bad. The one special request our tablemates had that was very simple they said they couldn't accommodate. She is pregnant and wanted the cheese plate, but only wanted the hard cheese (can't eat unpastuerized). They told her the trays were prepared already so it couldn't be done...? Why not just take the hard cheeses off of one tray and switch them with the unpastuerized cheeses on another? Didn't seem like rocket science to us, but it wasn't worth arguing about. Our tablemates were wonderful and we had tons in common, so the cruiseline did a good job of matching us up there. The main reason for us booking this particular cruise was the ports of call. No complaints there, we enjoyed them all. Our favorite was probably Corfu. What a beautiful island! That was the one day that we did one of the ship's shore excursions. It was the one called "Paleokatstrista, Lakones and wine". The tour guide was great and very informative. The views of the landscape from the coach were breathtaking. The other major complaint that we have was with the tendering process. They really need to figure out a way to make it speedier and better organized. We unexpectedly had to tender in Katakolon (Olympia). We had reserved a rental car that day and we were so late getting off the ship that the rental car place gave our car away, we wound up having to pay for a taxi to go to the Ancient Olympia site. In Split, the girl that was supposed to hand out the tender tickets at 7:30 in the lounge OVERSLEPT and wasn't there until 15 minutes later. By that time, there were swarms of people waiting in no particular order. They at least need to set up a area to queue in this situation. My husband was the first one there at 7:15 and wound up not even getting a ticket for the first boat since there was no "official" line and people have no manners and just shove their way in front. Our boat didn't leave until 8:45. Really messed up our whole morning, we weren't able to even really eat a good breakfast, just had grabbed a muffin and OJ to eat while we waited. Another note... the captain needs to learn the meaning of the word "forecast" in English (meaning what the temperature WILL BE LATER). He kept on using that word and I think he meant to say what the CURRENT temperature was. The first several days we were sweating to death because we thought the temperature was going to be about 10 degrees cooler than what it turned out to be. Eventually we figured it out and realized he was giving what the temperature was when we docked at 7:00AM, and then added 5-10 degrees to it to get what the actual temperature would be at 3:00 in the afternoon! I don't even want to go there with the "next cruise" thing, but I'll give a quick summary. We said we wanted to book one on Celebrity and our credit card was charged the fee before the guy told us how it worked. Then when he did tell us and we said we might think about it, he informed us he already charged us when we first sat down and the fee was non-refundable (even though we were still sitting there at his desk and had not signed anything). THEN he decides to hand us the terms & conditions printout after we apparently had no choice. It was just ridiculously bad customer service. We may dispute this charge with our credit card, since he obviously did not go through the proper steps before charging us. We need to call Celebrity directly to confirm how it works and see if it something we want to do. Anyway, I would recommend this itinerary but not this ship. I'm not sure about Royal Caribbean. I went on a short cruise to the Bahamas on the Sovereign of the Seas (years ago) and that was nice and there were no problems, so maybe it was just this ship/crew that was the problem. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We are a married couple who have been on 18 previous cruises the eight last years, and this was our fourth cruise with RCCL. This was a 6-days transfer-cruise from Lisbon to Venice.We had booked a 2-nights stay at the 4 stars very nice ... Read More
We are a married couple who have been on 18 previous cruises the eight last years, and this was our fourth cruise with RCCL. This was a 6-days transfer-cruise from Lisbon to Venice.We had booked a 2-nights stay at the 4 stars very nice Hotel Marques De Pombal, which was nicely situated on the central avenue in Lisbon, Avenida da Liberdade. The Splendour of the Seas was mostly nice and well maintained, however we were not satisfied with the standard of our basic, category M inside cabin. For example the sink in our bathroom was full of fractures, and the TV in our cabin was very old, and a part was nearly fallen apart. Our Brazilian cabin attendant was very friendly during the whole cruise, but unfortunately we were not all impressed with his job looking after our cabin in a proper way. The boarding process: In Lisbon we were at the Terminal around 11:00 am. We were informed by RCCL representatives at the Terminal, that the check in process would be delayed with some hours. After a little while we were transferred in a bus to a nice five star conference hotel in Lisbon - the Corinthia Hotel. About 6 hours later we boarded the Splendour of the Seas. Later that evening, we learned that the two of us had been very lucky showing up so early at the Terminal. A few hours after my wife and and myself had been transported to the Hotel, it had been chaoticconditions at the Terminal. A lot of passengers were very angry for the huge lack of organisation from the RCCl's representatives at the Terminal. Dining: We were in the late seating in the nice dining room - The King and I. However, there were problems with the service. The problem as we saw it, was that our waiters had too many people to serve. On this cruise we never saw our head waiter at all during our dinners. Even on the last evening, when it is time to hand over the gratitude, the person did not show up at our dinner table or the tables around. We found the menu to be good, but they never managed to serve the soups hot. We had three breakfasts in the King and I. The waiters were friendly every time, however we have never been seated for a so long time eating breakfast with waiter service on any cruise before. The food for breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer restaurant was ordinary buffet food. Unfortunately the service was not good at all. Most time we had to clear our table ourselves. Bar services: We have one major complaint and that is about the service and the skills to the employees at the Viking Crown Lounge. We love that Lounge, because of the very nice view you have from there. However, the service was terrible. E.g. they do not have all the ingredients tomake a proper Mojito.It also took two days the barkeeper had olives to put in our Dry Martinis. As well, one of the waiters in the Lounge one day mix-up my SeaPass card with another PAX’s SeaPass. Public Rooms: We are really found of the ships seven deck Centrum, the 42nd Street Theatre, the Viking Crown Lounge and the Solarium. Entertainment: We found the entertainment to be pretty good, and for instance we have never had so much live music on the pool deck before on any other RCCL cruise. Spa & Fitness: Travelling without children we are really satisfied that we can use the adults only pool and the two hot tubs in the Solarium, without any children around. We appreciated that RCCL enforced the regulations for use of the only adult’s pool, in contrast to some other Cruise Lines, for instance NCL. Itinerary: We really liked the ports on this 6 days cruise. Sailing from Lisbon and to Gibraltar, Sardinia and Dubrovnik, before embarking in Venice. We would specially recommend to take time to sightseeing Venice. Disembarkation: This was quite routine, and it was easy to find our luggage in the Terminal. Conclusion: We were not satisfied with much of the service we experienced from the crew on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This was a 15 day cruise of South America starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I booked this cruise about a year in advance while we were on another Royal Caribbean ship so that we could get the on board credit; ... Read More
This was a 15 day cruise of South America starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I booked this cruise about a year in advance while we were on another Royal Caribbean ship so that we could get the on board credit; $100 each person. After booking on ship I made payments and completed the personal information requirements on the RC's web site. All of the on line procedures worked well except that for some reason the system would not accept my air arrangements and so I had to call the cruise line a couple times to make sure that they had the correct information. I booked our air separately myself because for some reason RC's system did not have our local airport and I figured I could get better flights for us doing it myself. I usually do fly to the departure port a day early but decided that since the flight got to Chile early morning there was room for delays. After booking our flights I arranged for transfers at both ends of the cruise. I was glad I did this because the cruise ports at both ends are more than an hour from the airports. The RC's Splendour of the Seas is one of that cruise line's older ships in its Vision Class. It was launched in 1996 and was refurbished in 2006. The ship was nice and well maintained. But you could definitely tell the difference between this and RC's newer ships. A good analogy would be its like having a model year 2000 Mercedes that's well maintained but you know that it does not have all of the latest and up to date bells and whistles. For example, RC's newer ships have flat panel HDTV's, the stunning atriums and promenades, etc. This ship was nice but missing the upgrades. It did have the new upgraded bedding that all RC ships have. While the ship was nice I did not care for its layout with the Windjammer Cafe on the front and the main dining room kinda mid-ship. The gym is on the front of the ship and kinda small; never used it. The ship does have a solarium with a pool and two hot tubs. One of the downs associated with this cruise was the dinner hour for first seating was moved back an hour and started at 7:00 PM, an hour later than normal. Then the show for first seating people was moved to 10:00 PM. This left a big gap with no activities each evening. There was virtually nothing going on in the way of entertainment between about 8:30 when we finished diner and 10:00 PM. So most nights we went to bed rather than wait that late for a show to start. The shows were typical stuff we have seen before, singers, dancers, magicians, jugglers, etc. Nothing to make us stay up to see, it. The main dining room is two level and was nice. There were problems with service as most days we didn't finish dinner until well after 8:00 PM, mostly about 8:15. The problem as I saw it was the waiter had too many people to serve. He had two table of eight, one of six and a two person table. So he was trying to serve a five course meal to about 25 people by himself. Many days by the time we got soup it was still warm but not hot. Contributing to the problem was the ship did not have/use a wine steward. Two of the tables order a bottle or two of wine every day and that took about 15 to 20 minutes for the waiter to retrieve, show, open and pour the wines. The head waiter was frequently helping out but still things were slow. The menu items were standard RC items with just a couple related to countries we visited. Standard stuff but nothing outstanding. There was no lobster night either. The ship has a casino which I characterize as adequate. There were table games and slots but all of the slots were dated, not the new games now available in Vegas and other gambling cities. There were just four (4) of the multiline $.02 cent machine. The casino is also kinda crowded. The RC's representative met us at the Santiago baggage claim and directed us to the buses that would take us to Valparaiso. The bus departed soon with less than a full load; it was a nice 45 passenger tour bus. The ride from Santiago to Valparaiso was about an hour and a half. When we arrived at the port there were three long lines of people trying to check in. We initially got in the Priority Check in Line but after about 10 minutes it was not moving at all. So we got in a second line which did not move and finally we got in the third line and about an hour after getting to the port we were checked in. It was chaos at check in. We later learned that the delay may have been due to the fact that about 75 to 80 passengers were denied boarding in Valparaiso because they did not have the required Visa for Brazil. It seems that many people and/or their travel agents were not aware of the requirement. There were plenty of horror stories of people blind sided by this and having to scramble to find lodging, air transportation and means to get the required visa. One couple that we talked to said it cost them about $500 to get the Visa's on an expedited basis. Then they had to pay for air and hotel to meet the cruise in another city. Although RC has a statement on its home page that passengers are responsible for obtaining any Visas required, I think the blame for this rests on RC because it should tell every booked passenger that a Visa is required and that there will be additional costs for Visas over and above the cost of the cruise ticket. My bet is that there are many complaint letter headed to RC about now. There was also a Tourist Visa required for Chile but it was payable in cash or credit card upon entry at the airport. But still it would be nice to know that as soon as you get off the plane in Chile you must pay $130 per person for US citizens. Another thing that RC should have told passengers ahead of time is the cruise visits three countries each of which has its own currency and exchange rates. We booked a balcony cabin but a few days before the cruise we found that we had been upgraded to a Jr Suite. The cruise line never sent us any notice of this but I noticed the change on line. I do not know the reason for the upgrade but I do know that a few weeks before the cruise the same cabin that we had was being offered at a lower price. When I called to get the lower price I was told that it was a one-day special. But then I saw the lower fare was still available a week later. I suppose that the upgrade was to compensate for the higher price I had paid. The Jr Suite was OK; a 236 sq ft room with more room, two additional sitting chairs, a slightly larger balcony and a tub in the bathroom. After being in the room for 2 weeks it was nice but I would not pay the extra for it. Our cruise departed on time under partly cloudy skies. The first part of the cruise was kinda like a cruise to Alaska. It was cool, drizzling and foggy at times. The scenery cruising the Chilean Fjords was like cruising the Alaska inside passage. It was scenic even with the fog and clouds. Our first port stop was Puerto Montt, Chile. It was cloudy and foggy most of the day and so scenic sights were limited. We did a tour that visited a sausage plant and then went to a restaurant by a lake that served us a lunch spread with sausages, meats and plenty of wine. There was one brief stop at a market for souvenir buying. The next day we cruised the Chilean Fjords and again the clouds and fog obscured a lot of the view. Cruising the Fjords was nice compared to the open waters which resulted in some rough sailing.The next morning we cruised up to the Brujo Glacier where the captain spun the ship 360 so all passengers could see it from their staterooms and/or anywhere on ship. After a couple at sea days and cruising the Straights of Magellan we arrived at Punta Arenas. We took a tour that included a couple of museum and a tour of the city. On hind sight I would just skip these and just walk around town on my own. The next morning we arrived at Ushuaia, Argentina, the city called the "end of the World" because it is the city which is the farthest south in the would; just about 600 miles from Antarctica. We took a "Train to Nowhere" tour and it was nice but not something you really need to do. Skip it and just walk into town; the port is just a couple blocks from mid-town and shopping. The weather at this point was great and so was the scenery. The ship followed the Straights of Magellan and the Beagle channel with a scheduled arrival at the Cape Horn island at about 8:00 AM. WE arrived there with cloudy skies but no wind or rain and the captain circled the island and then tacked back and forth so passengers could see from about anywhere on ship. After rounding the Horn we has another "at sea' day before we arrived at Puerto Madryn, Argentina. WE did not do a tour but walked into town and the few blocks of it and then returned to the ship. This was a kinda nothing stop as far as I was concerned. Then we had another at sea day before arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We did a tour of the city that was good and had as its highlight a stop at the graveyard where Evita Paron is buried. After a stop at a street market we returned to the ship. After two more at sea days we arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Rio IS a beautiful city. We took the "best of Rio" tour which was all day and included lunch at a Brazilian steak house. We saw all of the sights including the Christ stature, Sugar Load Mountain and the Copacabana beach. Our final stop and departure city was Santos, Brazil. We had a tour of Sao Paulo scheduled with our transfers that included lunch at a Brazilian steak house. Departure went well and quickly with just a few glitches. The bus ride to Sao Paulo was through great scenery. The tour of Sao Paulo was mostly nothing but it served the purpose of filling the time until our 9:25 PM flight. Another problem on this cruise was the Norwalk Virus. Problems started about the second or third day of the cruise. Hand wipes were passed out at the entrance of all eating places, in the casino, and the show rooms and lounges. Then after the third day the Windjammer was kept open but staff served everything, including handing out plates and napkins. Most of this was not a big problem but getting drinks like coffee, tea, juice or lemonade was really bad. The staff service in the Windjammer continued until the 13 day of the cruise. We learned later that about 100 people got on the ship and were already sick with the virus. Speculation was that they got it on a plane, or brought it from home. One of the best parts of this cruise for us was the Concierge Lounge which is available for Diamond members. We met a lot of nice people in the lounge and had plenty of free drinks. It because our hangout after dinner since there was not much else going on on ship. As usual my main complaint about entertainment is that the disco does not start until well after 11:00 Pm each night and there is nothing to fill the time between dinner, the show and the disco. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
I want to start by saying that we are huge Royal Caribbean fans. This is our 4th Royal Cruise and we tend to be very forgiving and overlook any negative stuff during our Cruise, no cruise will ever be perfect. So with that said: I would ... Read More
I want to start by saying that we are huge Royal Caribbean fans. This is our 4th Royal Cruise and we tend to be very forgiving and overlook any negative stuff during our Cruise, no cruise will ever be perfect. So with that said: I would give the overall rating of the cruise about 3-3.5 out of 5. Travel to ship: We drove to Galveston and used the ezcruise parking and found that it was fairly easy. We were on the ship within 30 min of pulling into the parking lot. Ship info: We stayed in cabin 7000 with balcony, right behind and under the bridge. The balcony did not have much privacy with that bridge overhang and cameras. The Room was clean and well laid out. The bed was much more comfortable now with the new bedding program. The public rooms were beautiful; however there seemed to be a lot of smokers in all public areas. The ship has tons of glass, but the glass was all real dirty which made it hard to enjoy the view. Maybe it was because she just got back from a long journey from the Eastern Mediterranean? Gifts and Gear Online Service. Disappointed I ordered a gift for my wife a couple weeks in advance to be delivered on the 1st night. We got the gift late the 2nd night after a few phone calls and trips to the Pursers desk. The gift card showed up the 3rd night. Casino: My wife and I have never played cards and usually only spend a few dollars on the slots. We took some free lessons on blackjack before the casino opened. We tried our luck and had a lot of fun and made a few bucks. The Casino staff was awesome!! Dining: The dining room service was average and the food was average at best. The head waiter on our other cruises learned all of our names and worked hard to make us happy. The head waiter on this Cruise only showed up very briefly each night and never made an effort to learn our names or really talk to our table, until it was time to pass out the tips. Windjammer food was less than average and the service was the worst yet. Hard to get any service at all, if you made eye contact with the wait staff they would look away and pretend that they did not see you. They did a great job at keeping the tables cleared when someone left. We had wait staff standing right in front of our table talking to each other and would ignore everyone. If anyone wanted a coke you would have to go stand in front of someone and ask them to bring it to you. We would recommend eating in the dining room. Shore Excursions: We have been to Cozumel a few times so we only went to Carlos and Charley's, which is always fun. Entertainment: The normal cruise ship singers and dancers. The Other entertainment was good. Kids program: Did not take the kids this time. Disembarkation: Fast and Easy Summary: Good Weekend getaway, overall I would say it was a nice ship and average service. Past Cruises: Nordic Empress/ Empress of the Seas 1995 Voyager of the Seas 2001 Carnival Fantasy 2003 - had to try it Majesty of the Seas 2005 Splendour of the Seas 2006 Next Cruise 9/07 Liberty of the Seas Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
RCCL let us start our cruise in Key West instead of Galveston. Nice smooth boarding which was a pleasant surprise since getting the alternate port set up with RCCL had not been smooth until we found an internet agent who knew the rules for ... Read More
RCCL let us start our cruise in Key West instead of Galveston. Nice smooth boarding which was a pleasant surprise since getting the alternate port set up with RCCL had not been smooth until we found an internet agent who knew the rules for getting it done. We were also initially pleased with the move up to deck 8 from deck 7 in spite of not seeing much difference in the cabins. Then we found out that the cabin on deck 8 was near the stern instead of the middle of the ship. We were told we had to live with the change. We had to endure far more engine and prop noise then we would have in the center of the ship. As a couple with about 30 cruises behind us this was not so much bad as disappointing. What was bad was: The mattresses in the cabin were lumpy and stained. It took five days of complaining to get new ones which were harder then the floor. Considering how nearly useless the purser's staff was with the mattresses we just did not bother to complain about the dirty black bottom edge of the shower curtain. Who inspects the cabins. Our room steward seemed to be trying hard but without support there was little he could do. Speaking of support we wrote an email to RCCL customer support over a week ago and the only response we have to date is a form saying don't email us again as it 'may' delay our looking into your complaint. We offered to send high quality digital photos. The food was fairly decent and the ports were nice. In fact the only reason we selected this transatlantic was that it ended in Lisbon. Based on the poor experience with the balcony cabin it is likely to be a very long time before we book another RCCL ship. How sad since the Celebrity division has been more then satisfactory for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Background Information - This was our first cruise. Our party had 4 people in it. 2 adults early 40s, 1 15 year old, 1 11 ¾ year old Travel To Port of Embarkation  We arrived from Milwaukee at 12:15pm, leaving Milwaukee at 6:30am via ... Read More
Background Information - This was our first cruise. Our party had 4 people in it. 2 adults early 40s, 1 15 year old, 1 11 ¾ year old Travel To Port of Embarkation  We arrived from Milwaukee at 12:15pm, leaving Milwaukee at 6:30am via Northwest. There is a station with cruise lines where you check in right by the baggage pick up area. You give them the vouchers if you paid for the transportation between the airport and the port. They said the buses run every 30 minutes. We waited 1 hour and 15 minutes for a bus that was fully loaded when it arrived but they squeezed us in. The bus was in a very bad state and had a horrible odor coming from the bathroom on board. CLUE #1: Take out some comfortable clothes from your luggage before you put on the bus as it may be a long time until you see your luggage next. We didnt and were sorry. WE put our luggage on the bus at 1:45pm, arrived at the port around 3:30pm where they unload and deliver your luggage to your room. CLUE #2: Check in looked to take most folks 5 minutes. We had a very old woman check us in and it took her 30 minutes. She screwed up the room keys putting the charging on the kids cards and not ours etc. We mentioned this in the cruise survey that she needs a new job. Funny, when we leaving to go home we saw her wondering around the customs area looking just as confused. CLUE #3: They make you do a MUSTER drill that takes like 30 minutes or more to complete. If you are afraid of tight spaces or crowds wait until the very last minute to go up the the deck to do this. This was a horrific experience for me as you are packed liked sardines together with life jackets on all on the same deck for a long time until everyone on the ship is accounted for. This means if the ship holds 1500 people all 1500 hundred are on the same deck at one time and are checked in on a clipboard. ISSUE #1: When they let us off this deck we went back to our rooms to take the life jackets off. We kept seeing folks trip in front of us and decided to watch were we were stepping so we did not trip too since the crowd issue had already become a problem during the muster drill. These folks were tripping over our luggage!!!! It was around 5:30pm. We were very upset as our formal clothes were being stepped on by tons of folks. This was happening with Royal Caribbean personnel standing 5 feet away. I guess they were focused on keeping the folks moving rather than our stuff getting trashed. We stopped up everyone and picked up the 7 pieces of luggage being tripped on and took them to our room OURSELVES.  Stateroom  My husband and 15 year old son stayed in one Oceanview room and me and my almost 12 year old stayed in another Oceanview room next to them. They did not adjoin. We were on the 3rd deck rooms 3518 and 3520. The rooms were tiny, but we read they would be. The mattresses were uncomfortable, but we read they would be as well. " CLUE #4: If you are traveling as a family and do not have adjoining rooms, bring walkie talkies OR get keys to each others rooms. We probably spent 20% of our time aboard ship looking for one another.  Ship Info  If you are into swimming this is NOT the ship for you. They had 2 pools. One that was salt water and could only be used at certain times with kids and was small AND one that was on deck 9 outside that was as small (maybe 40 ft by 25 ft) that hundreds of folks tried to flock around. I never was able to get close enough to even put my foot in with all the small children and sunbathers in their. It was disappointing. My kids put their swim trunks on ONCE in the 5 days.  Dining  We ate breakfast in the Windjammer daily. Yes  the scrambled eggs were running as listed in many of the reviews. The omelets however were great and prepared fresh. The juice was less watered down then the reviews said they would be. We had late seating and ate in the King and I. Our servers were WONDERFUL (Joliet and Jose). The food was great as well. You can get doubles on any of the items. My 15 year old ordered 2 prime rib dinners. CLUE #5: They do not enforce the dress code in the King and I. For our family this was a blessing. CLUE #6: Pictures they take will be found on deck 6 for purchase. We did not find them until the last day of the cruise as they kept saying to view them, just not where they were located.  Activities  Well there were some. My 15 year old NEVER let up with how bored he was and how much he hated being on the ship. They had mini golf on the ship, but it was windy and too frustrating to even try. They had a rock climbing wall that was open less than 5 hours of the entire cruise of 5 days. They have a gym  but they would not allow our 15 year old in stating he had to be 16. He is not into sunbathing  thus he sat in the very tiny ocean view room watching tv. Our almost 12 year old mingled and played video games in an area of probably 8 ft by 12ft most of the time. He too complained of being bored, but much less than his older brother. He met up with some other kids and basically you saw the kids walking around the ship in packs. " "Children's Clubs  they had them, but really only kids that were much younger seemed to have organized activities. 12 and older, were bored. Service  TOP NOTCH. They staff on this ship treat you well. Leo and Jan in the Schooner bar quickly became our favorites. Even walking by they would say hi to you by your first name. They were personable and very, very good to us. Our room attendant as well was great. His name was Renard. We had brought soft sided coolers with us; including a 12 pack of beer in each of them in our luggage. Some folks said it would get confiscated and to hide it in your rooms as the attendant would take it as well. Not only did we get it aboard, BUT our attendant filled our coolers with ice while we were out to keep our beer cold. He also made the famous towel art  which was a highlight of our day to come and see. Entertainment  The shows were ok. Not great and not bad. There was a juggler act, dancing act, singing act and newlywed game show. We also did Bingo to break up the day. The Art shows really gagged my husband. If you go on this cruise line you will see why when you watch a few. Shore Excursions  Since this was a first time to Cozumel we did not organize any. We took a taxi in and walked around. There is a time share that is right where you depart the boat. If you get asked to go to it when walking the streets take them UP on it. They pay for your taxi ride back, give you free drinks, food and use of their beach and you are minutes from getting on the boat again. Do this before 1pm or they stop the tours. Costa Maya  we paid for a beach party and snorkeling $120. For this money we were to get an hour of snorkeling for 4 people. We got 30 minutes (they count the time it take to drive in the boat 5 minutes each way as time towards the hour). If you are doing the math we are still 20 minutes short. All I can say about that is their watches run differently out there if you get my drift. The beach party was to come with all the drinks you wanted, use of beach chairs, nachos, a main course meal for each of us and a locker. Oh yeah and a clean bath room. Well, we used the beach chairs  each drank one beer because the place looked filthy and a mixed drink was out of the question. So was eating any food they were making. It was gross. The bathroom initially was clean, but soon became filthy with no toilet paper. The lockers we had to argue about for 15 minutes to use and we had to give $5 with the promise we would be reimbursed. We had to argue to get our $5 back as we has expected based on all the rest of the scam. The name of the place was Quintos or Cuintos&& Just for my misery, our 15 year old son wanted to ride a jet ski. We negotiated 30 minutes for $40. Of course, the watch was running on Costa Maya time and he was on the jet ski 20 minutes. Disembarkation  This was done well. You had to have your bags out in the hallway by 10:30pm packed the night before you got off the boat. This was done very efficiently. " "Summary  We wanted to take a cruise for years and scrimped and saved until it was something we could afford to do as a family. We are thankful for the fulfilling this dream with our children. The food was wonderful and there was ample time to relax and that was very much appreciated. I think if we did this again we would need more ports as that was our favorite thing to do OR a ship with more water activity areas. We heard time and time again, folks saying that they had cruised on other cruise lines and the service from the staff was the best they have ever had. I have to believe that as we felt like ROYALTY even with the blundered luggage issue. BON VOYAGE to our new friends at Splendor of the SEAs: Jan, - Czech , Joliet, Jose, Leo and Renard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
I just got back last night. Overall, it was a nice vacation, but very disappointing in some ways. Some of it was RC fault and some is probably mine. BOARDING -- We flew into IAH on Friday night and stayed at the Doubletree, which is set ... Read More
I just got back last night. Overall, it was a nice vacation, but very disappointing in some ways. Some of it was RC fault and some is probably mine. BOARDING -- We flew into IAH on Friday night and stayed at the Doubletree, which is set up with RC. We got up in the morning and got on the bus to Galveston. Bus ride was nice and quick - just over an hour. I think we lucked out. The boarding was really really fast. I was impressed with how quickly everyone was processed, through security and boarded. We got off the ship a little bit late (30 min.) but fairly easily and the shuttle got to the airport terminal timely. FOOD -- This was very disappointing. The Windjammer was a huge let down. The food was often cold and not all that great. I do not expect to get the best food ever from a buffet, but at least keep it hot or at least very warm. And what was with those horrible eggs? I have never seen eggs so runny. The only thing that saved me was the omelette station - except the men at the station could not understand anything I said to them. Also, the beverages were very inconsistent. The orange juice was often watered down and the lemonade was usually incredibly sweet and overly tart. Maybe they could taste the stuff before they give it to us. In the King and I (formal Dining Room), I thought that the service was fairly good. No complaints there at all - except one night almost everyone at our table received different menus with different items excluded-very confusing. The food was ok-nothing great. Steak always over cooked, which reminds me - the meat carving station in the Windjammer usually had very very low quality dry meat. The head waiter was kind of a freak. He always would come over and act like a lion or sing who let the dogs out. I think he thought we were laughing with him, but it was more like at him. ROOM -- We had an Ocean View room and it was fine. The bed was ridiculously uncomfortable. I slept better on the lounge chair by the pool. Our stateroom attendant was great - Leon. We always had fresh ice and always found ways to take care the room without running into him. He got a great tip. ENTERTAINMENT -- This was hit and miss. Some was good and some was not so good. The Love and Marriage was funny. Battle of the sexes was really bad. The singers and dancers did a nice job. The comedian was not that funny. Overall, I was really tired of every host or MC doing that "let me hear you... oh no, I am sure you guys can do better than that..." Maybe if they gave us something to clap or cheer about more, we would be more excited. The music was good. My only problem was that the pool band took so many breaks. They were on break more that they performed. I love the steel drums - can't get enough. The man and woman who performed at the Captain's reception and often in the Centrum were nice. It would have been even better if they knew more than just those six songs that they performed over and over. Pool games were fun and entertaining. It is amazing what people will do for practically nothing when on vacation. PORTS -- Cozumel: Tendering took longer than I would have liked (pier is in really bad shape). We had to wait 30 minutes to get off ship and almost an hour to get back on. Downtown and some beaches seemed to have made great progress after Wilma. Costa Maya: Beautiful port - plenty to do. Majahual was fun. Liked it even more than Cozumel. Mexico overall: I was really frustrated with the fact that you can not use prepaid calling cards (even international cards) at the pay phones. I guess they want the money spent there - not back home. The problem is, I don't think I should have to pay $1.50/minute. Oh well, you live and you learn. Another issue: why is so hard to get a Corona? It seemed like everywhere I went, all they had was XXs. That was weird to me. OTHER -- The Solarium was a complete waste of space in my opinion. They was a retractable roof, but only opened it the day we got on and off the ship. I would have loved to enjoy the Solarium on the sea days. I am sure it would have reduced the over crowding at the main pool as well. The pizza there was good though. Fitness room was good. They had a nice selection of cardio machines and free weights and other weight machines. I was able to work out a few days. The casino was fine. It had a good variety of games. My wife was really upset with a pit boss and complained about him because he was very rude to her. The bars were good and gave many diverse places to hang out and have a cocktail. OVERALL -- I guess this ship was not for us. We were much happier on the Adventure of the Seas (2002). We probably won't go on another ship smaller than Adventure. Hopefully the food has not deteriorated on all of the RC ships. We will definitely have to hedge our expectations going forward. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
To preface this cruise review. This was our 13th cruise. Numbering 5 with Celebrity, 3 with Carnival, 1 with Disney, NCL, Princess and now our 2nd with RCL. We arrived in Galveston (1 and 1/2 hour drive from AP)) the night before our ... Read More
To preface this cruise review. This was our 13th cruise. Numbering 5 with Celebrity, 3 with Carnival, 1 with Disney, NCL, Princess and now our 2nd with RCL. We arrived in Galveston (1 and 1/2 hour drive from AP)) the night before our cruise and stayed at the Galveston Hilton. Great location with good service and excellent shuttle service to the port in the morning. The greeting as we boarded the Splendour was somewhat disappointing in comparison to Celebrity. We were handed a bluish liquid in a 1/2 ounce plastic hospital pill dispenser type cup to welcome us aboard. We then went unescorted to our Aft Junior Suite. The ship was in great shape for her age, some wear and tear but clean, although we noticed dirty room service and poolside items that were not cleaned up very promptly. The cabin was wonderful, large (230 plus square feet) with a large balcony. Later we visited other Junior Suites on the starboard side and discovered that our balcony was much larger. Our cabin steward introduced himself and for the next 9 nights quietly and very efficiently did his job. Cute towel creations and the like. Being Diamond level Crown and Anchor members robes and a coupon booklet awaited us. An additional perk later in the week was a Champagne brunch reception for just Diamond level and above members. This proved to be one of the best dining experiences of the week. In regards to dining: We were hugely disappointed, again in comparison to Celebrity.The dining room food we felt was average to below average, very similar to cafeteria style food. For dinners, salad and soups were excellent. The Entrees were never hot, the meat often tough and the pastas similar to canned product. The desserts were well below what was expected, the ice creams were fine, the baked goods were below average other than a very good Key Lime Pie. I am a picky but not 5 star consumer and most of the dinners overall were to me and my tablemates not of high quality. We never had lunch in the dining room. We did have lunch in the Solarium: the hamburgers were always cool, the rolls on some occasions stale, the fries were good and the pizza for the most part was of the frozen food variety. Lunch in the Windjammer was fine, a great salad bar, a carving station, many choices that were appetizing and hot. Breakfast in the dining room was very good. A full menu, always prepared hot and as ordered. Windjammer breakfast was very average, decent selections with watery eggs and juices but a good omelette station that prepared eggs any way you please. The afternoon tea was good, with good selections of pastries and a daily taco bar. My children ages 16 and 19 had ordered room service daily and were very happy that the food was delivered quickly, fresh and good. In regards to dining room service, our waiter Albert and assistant waiter Sam measured up to the best of any waiters we have had. Sam was extraordinary. Hans the head waiter was nothing short of incredible. Hans personally worked every table as a headwaiter, waiter, assistant waiter, comedian and magician. Ports: Cozumel- Spent most of the day at Paradise Beach. Fantastic, good beach, toys and bar. Good for entire family. Did incredible job recovering. Afternoon, Cinco Sole for purchases and Carlos and Charlies for lunch. Awesome day. Grand Cayman- Only day of rain. Went shopping downtown. Churchill's for my Cuban cigars and pocketbooks for the ladies. Montego Bay- Booked Negril trip with A-Z Planners- Awesome day at Margaritaville in Negril. Doc was our driver (bus for 15) and was great! Belize-Took water taxi to Caye Caulker, wonderful beach day. Costa Maya- 6 dollar round trip to Majahual. Spent day at the beach and returned to ship. Worth seeing old time Mexican beach front with new found tourism boom. Entertainment was not a highlight. The singers were fine and the dancers worked hard but were not particularly professional. The comedian was good and a Violinist was good but most other shows were unremarkable. The casino staff was great. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. Overall a very good cruise but not as good as we have had! Hope I did not ramble! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
Our trip started out rough, but got better as it went. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary. We did not get our documentation until really late due to some problem with the RCCL office. We paid in full on time, but they did not think ... Read More
Our trip started out rough, but got better as it went. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary. We did not get our documentation until really late due to some problem with the RCCL office. We paid in full on time, but they did not think we did, so it took our agent some work to straighten this out. We could not get paper document in time, so we got e-docs. I bought the air transportation with RCCL. Thinking this is safer, they will have to get us to the ship. Wrong! When we got to the airport, our flight was delayed. We were told we would miss our connection, so the airline (Air France) rebooked us on a flight 9 hours later - this flight would arrive 3 hours after the sail time of the ship. I tried to call RCCL, the person on the phone told me their Miami office was closed due to the Hurricane. She put me on hold for a long time. Then the airline said they could put us on an earlier flight and get us to the ship in time, just get our boarding pass in Paris. We believed them. By the time we get the Paris and tried to get boarding passes, we were told we were never booked on that flight at all. Air France was no help, we could not reach anyone at RCCL due to the time difference, so all we could do was wait. Finally, it was 8 am in the US, I was able to talk to RCCL. I was told to forget about Barcelona, ask for tickets to Marseilles instead. It took some negotiation with Air France to get the tickets changed. They said they were not responsible for the hotel or food. We flew to Marseilles. Our bag did not arrive. We filed an report with the airline. We asked about where the ship port was and got a hotel near by. We enjoyed our night at Marseilles. The next morning, we took a taxi to the seaport. We were lucky to have a very helpful driver. The seaport was 45 km long and we had no idea which port our ship was coming in. He stopped and looked and called the port police. Finally, we were led by the port security to port 4 and watched our ship sail in. Check in was easy. They were sorry for us. It took a very short time. We had a shore excursion booked for that morning. They refunded our money right away. We had to file another report with the ship. The crew told us where to buy underwear in Marseilles. We were a little worried that we would look really out of place for formal night. The purser office even loaned me something to wear. But luckily, by the time we got back from Marseilles in the afternoon, our bag was already in our room. RCCL also gave us credit for the hotel and taxi. That was nice. We enjoyed the rest of our trip. But the food on the ship was not good. In the dining room, the food was plain and service was average. One couple on our table decided to do an experiment and gave 10 euro to the head waiter. Our table got more attention after that. In the Windjammer, the food was below average. The ship is showing its age. A lot of things are broken. The sauna was broken for 2 days before they fixed it. Our sink drained very slow. We took 3 shore excursions with the ship. They were good. The whole day one was exhausting. Half day ones were better. All the ports of call were nice. We enjoyed them all. Entertainment was ok on the ship. The cruise director did a good job. But the shows were not as good as previous cruise we have taken. Getting off the ship was easy. I was worry about our early flight (10:30am) but they got us to the airport with plenty of time left. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
This was my third cruise, though my first with RCI. The ship was attractive, clean and comfortable, though the windows needed cleaning and there were some signs of wear. The most unpleasant experience we had was the strong sewage smell ... Read More
This was my third cruise, though my first with RCI. The ship was attractive, clean and comfortable, though the windows needed cleaning and there were some signs of wear. The most unpleasant experience we had was the strong sewage smell while we moved about the lower decks of the ship and when we were returning to the ship. Our hallway was almost nauseating, at times. I have never experienced this on the other cruise ships I have travelled, and for this reason alone, I will not be cruising on RCI again. Again, I have only my other experiences to compare,but I felt Splendour fell short of my expectations. The food service was fine though we were usually served last art our table, and it seemed to make little difference if we arrived early or not. The general quality of the food was not up to the standards of the other cruises I've taken. It was good standard food, but none of the special treats that I enjoyed on my other cruises...sushi, caviar, frogs' legs and all you can eat seafood night. The entertainment was good, though not as extensive nor as outstanding as I remember from other trips. The gym was adequate, though the one person working there seemed to be very busy. She needed help. The pools and spas were well maintained and there were always plenty of towels available. This was my cruisemates' first cruise. I think they were disappointed with some of the presentations we attended. My sister hated the crass commercialism of the Shopping Presentations and remarked that she felt she was trapped on the Shopping Channel! It was a real turn off. She was expecting an informational presentation on highlights at each port that we were to visit...things not to miss,,,that type of thing. We were very glad that we only booked one excursion on the ship, as we found local activities at much more reasonable prices on shore. All in all, we enjoyed our vacation, but I will be returning to my old P&O Princess for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
General: The waitstaff and cabin stewards are excellent - what you would expect. The cruise director, assistants, kid's program staff were very good. My kids wanted to stay in the program. I disagree with cruisecritic.com's ... Read More
General: The waitstaff and cabin stewards are excellent - what you would expect. The cruise director, assistants, kid's program staff were very good. My kids wanted to stay in the program. I disagree with cruisecritic.com's overview of the ship where they claim the median age is 40-something. It seemed to be more like 60-something, and they complained about *everything*. I know that because the poor DJ got complaints because he could not possibly continue to play songs from the 1940's while we (those of us under 100) were looking to do a little dancing (with our kids in the ship's kid's program). The sound system in the main hall looks impressive, but is not utilized properly during shows. I could not even hear the kick drum. Again I feel that they were trying to not blow any hearing aids out. Either that or the sound engineer was incompetent. Very disappointing. I think Royal Caribbean could do some more age-specific functions. Let the over 55 crowd play bingo while those of us that want to can dance to some music that is 80's to current. And let the DJ turn the music up! Food: The food is good, but the lines to get the food are sometimes very long. For breakfast I found myself eating cold eggs by the time I got my coffee. On other cruise lines a waiter would bring a pot of coffee as soon as we sat down. However you do have the option of being served in the dining room instead of using the buffet. Some things are not laid out optimally, for example children are generally not allowed in the solarium but that is where the burgers / pizza / hot dogs, etc are located. On other ships the "grill" is located out by the main pool area. Ship: Ship is in good condition. However, you can tell it is not new. They have to maintain it while people are cruising, for example in the solarium (an enclosed area with an indoor pool) they revarnished one of the rails and the smell near that area (lounge chairs, etc.) was not pleasant. It is very frustrating to walk onto the pool deck and not be able to get a lounge chair. There are not enough of them, and people are protective - they leave a book on the chair and go get lunch - thereby "saving" their seat. I think if you are planning to leave for more than 15 minutes that should not be allowed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
We sailed on Splendour of the Seas, sailing date 12/22/03-01/03/04, Port Galveston, Texas. This was our seventh cruise and the third with RCL. It was to be a happy holiday time together. Unfortunately, RCL did not perform at a level we ... Read More
We sailed on Splendour of the Seas, sailing date 12/22/03-01/03/04, Port Galveston, Texas. This was our seventh cruise and the third with RCL. It was to be a happy holiday time together. Unfortunately, RCL did not perform at a level we have come to expect from their cruise line. The Splendour of the Seas was placed in service in 1996. It is not up to the standard for modern enjoyable cruising I have experienced on RCL other ships. The power plant renders a nauseating rumbling that is felt most prominently in the King & I Dining Room. This is felt no matter what the sea conditions are. The stabilizer system has had problems in the past. RCL changed the itinerary of this cruise at a late date omitting Jamaica and adding half day visits to parts of Central America. These half-day afternoon visits were worthless as arrivals were late and shore time minimal. Departure to Belize was scheduled for 7:00 AM. Tender transports were delayed until 10:00 AM to those without excursions booked through RCCL. The wait for a tender exceeded one hour. Grand Cayman arrival was scheduled for 1:00 PM and arrival and tenders did not start till after 3:30 PM. We missed our own booked shore excursion entirely. Our entire family was looking forward to swimming with the stingrays. Not to be. Another disappointment without an explanation or apology being offered. No one seemed to be in charge or wanted to take responsibility. The cruise director never seemed to know what was going on or to help us deal with these constant problems. The Panama Canal Two Ocean Railroad was horrible. A brief pre-train bus trip was turned into a nightmare because the tour operator scheduled another ship's group in front of us. We stood in the open tropical sun for 45 minutes without explanation, as we were made to wait for buses. We spent two hours on what should have been a 10-minute bus ride. We drove at 5 miles per hour through the slums of Colon and other equally horrible sites without explanation. We arrived at the Train Station and waited another half hour till 1:30 PM for the returning train. There is only one train and tracks. The tour operator knew by booking the group ahead of us that our trip would be delayed by three hours. We were not given lunch. We were not told where to purchase lunch. We were given a box with sugar snacks and sold beverages. We left the boat at 10:00 AM and returned after 7 PM. Over 9 hours without a proper meal and dragged around the slums for a third of the time. There was a RCL representative on our train and he made no effort to explain the situation or offer us alternatives. Back on the ship I went to the pursers desk to complain. I was told to come back in a half hour when the shore desk opened. I waited for a half hour in line to fill out a complaint form. I gave my form to the lady at the desk who told me they knew all about it and did not need to fill out a form. This was the same lady who I originally talked to at the pursers desk Scheduling Panama on a Sunday is a mistake. The large duty free shops are closed. While we were on our ground tour the ship itself sat in the lake for hours and did not get into Colon till almost 5 PM, two hours late. Arriving late or not at all was the theme of this cruise. At Roatan, Honduras we were to arrive at 12:00 PM. We were able to get off the boat at 3 PM. We had 2 hours of daylight to see the island. Diving tours were obviously cancelled. In Costa Maya we got to the port area and the captain decided the seas were too rough and left. The seas were 6 feet and not that bad but the stabilizer situation must have weighed on the Captain's mind. The seas and winds picked up and made the sailing day miserable. Our dinner meal service was slow. Our waiter had to share his assistant waiter with another waiter. Could not tell you why. Food was consistently cool as in not hot. Between this and the constant shaking vibration we felt very sad and angry for the whole situation. We mentioned this to the staff who felt this was well known to RCL and nothing was being done about it. We went to the pursers desk to let them know how we felt. We were told there was nothing they could do and we would have to wait till we got home and then communicate with Miami. This only served to feed our resentment. The phones and Internet service were non-functional for the first nine days. RoyalCaribbean replied 6 weeks later and said the ships had ball bearing problems in the past and everything is fine now (for who?). They feel they have the right to change the itinerary with or without notification or compensation (so you don't always get what you pay for). Tour operators are independent contractors and they are solely responsible for the tours (guess RCCL is not making any $$$$ on those tours that seem twice as expensive as independently arranged stuff). They were sorry the food was cool and will try to do better (send everything back and you will find it does come back hot the 2nd time). They were sorry about the Internet but it was probably caused by bad weather (guess I got my tan at the salon). RCL can and should do better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
Some of the reviews for the Splendour remind me a bit of reviews I read about Monarch of the Seas a few years back just before it was sold. The Monarch proved to be a well-run happy ship and the same was true of Splendour. The ship may ... Read More
Some of the reviews for the Splendour remind me a bit of reviews I read about Monarch of the Seas a few years back just before it was sold. The Monarch proved to be a well-run happy ship and the same was true of Splendour. The ship may not be the newest or biggest but it’s well-maintained and the crew is still 100% committed. Fares are very competitive so if you pay $500 for a 7 day cruise in reasonably exotic waters you can’t expect the experience you might get on, say, Seabourne. What we got was honest value and a very pleasant cruise. Embarkation was good, possibly because we arrived at about 12 Noon and had completed all the online check-in documents. We were quickly aboard, said hello to our steward Annie, dropped our bags and headed for the Windjammer which I found surprisingly quiet for an embarkation day. Food everywhere, while not the best, was more than adequate with plenty on offer in the Windjammer and reasonable variety in the dining room where our waiters Maria and Maricel made every evening an event. We were travelling light but managed to make a fist of Formal nights. A jacket and tie was enough to avoid you feeling uncomfortable. We took the occasional breakfast and lunch in the MDR too. Options were reasonable. Some of the secondary dining locations such as the dog house and Park Café offered variety as did the enthusiastic ice cream lady on the pool deck. We had an inside (3081) and crowded in a third adult – my son. Not as nice as a balcony but it wasn’t exactly hardship either. The TV showed some watchable films – Ant Man, Jurassic Park, National Lampoons Vacation etc. they came on a loop and I think we eventually saw them all. Not sure what German guests were making of continual repeats of Allo Allo though! There was just about enough room for us to organise things. There was plenty of storage. The shower curtain could have been a bit more generous but it’s a small grumble. A better bet was to head for the pool deck to see some blockbusters on the big screen including Everest, A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson) and The Walk. Blankets were provided. Entertainment looked adequate too although the only time we went to the main theatre the lighting of the acrobats seemed to be out of synch. Acrobatics and shows in the Centrum were better I thought – especially the Beatles tribute bend who were excellent. Ports of Call were unusual. We took a dhow up the fjords at Khasab which was really pleasant. We got to see dolphins following the boat and had 30 mins in which to swim off Telegraph Island – and get ashore to see the ruins of the old British telegraph station. In Muscat we walked around the town under our own steam. It was reasonably interesting. We managed two half days of rain there which was unlucky given they get 12 days of rain all year. In Abu Dhabi we visited Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque which was very impressive, The visit to the Heritage Village was cancelled because of the Red Bull Air show which was disappointing. The alternative offered – a coach tour of Yas Island wasn’t as attractive. For the last day the ship docked back at Dubai. Since we had a few days booked in Dubai after the cruise we took the opportunity to stay aboard which was a relaxing end to the trip. To be honest, I wonder why I go sometimes. I tend to stay in insides, never go to the shows, don’t drink, don’t pay for speciality dining, don’t gamble, don’t use the spa or gym or climbing wall or mini-golf and only take a few excursions. Despite that I enjoy being on ships and the Splendour was a nice ship to be on. It says a lot for the commitment of the crew that they kept standards sky high just a few weeks before the ship is sold to Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first experience of cruising so we had mixed feelings once we started to read the reviews but I suppose you can't please all of the people all of the time. We were met at the airport and because of the time of day 8:00am ... Read More
This was our first experience of cruising so we had mixed feelings once we started to read the reviews but I suppose you can't please all of the people all of the time. We were met at the airport and because of the time of day 8:00am we were taken to a lovely hotel for breakfast and whilst there we completed our paperwork in preparation for boarding the ship. That was effortless and then a short journey to the ship we were told that our cabins would be available in a couple of hours but all facilities were open for us to use so again that was fine. We really enjoyed our holiday, the food was first class, our cabin 2004 was adequate clean and plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, we had an ocean view but with a pothole so it was a little dark. The staff were friendly and very obliging and nothing was too much trouble. We ate every night in the King & I restaurant and had no problem booking a table and the food was excellent. The Windjammer at lunch time was always extremely busy and there was a window of 1.5hrs 12:30-2:00 when it was very chaotic and tables were very difficult to get. We had one day at sea which was difficult with 2000 people all using the ships facilities they were strecthed to the limit with people having to sit on the deck floor as all sunbeds were full. Drinks packages we bought the package before we started our holiday all I would say is if you are not sure if it's for you there's no hurry as you can purchase on board the only stipulation is when you buy it it has to be for the rest of your holiday eg buy Wednesday you would pay for 5days. Water, juice,coffee and tea are free from drinks stations. If you don't want to go on trips you can do your own thing and there are free buses from the ship to take you into the resort. There was plenty of entertainment choices from line dancing to quizzes during the day if that's your thing and the evening could easily be enjoyed going to a show or just relaxing in one if the bars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I have just returned from my 6th Cruise and 2nd with RCI. I chose this cruise mainly for the Price and Destination offered and all in all was very good value for money. Splendour is nearly 20 years old and on its last season before ... Read More
I have just returned from my 6th Cruise and 2nd with RCI. I chose this cruise mainly for the Price and Destination offered and all in all was very good value for money. Splendour is nearly 20 years old and on its last season before transferring to Thomson (where it will greatly improve their fleet). Some people mentioned it was tired looking but i didn't think this was the case. The Staff in general were extremely helpful,fun and hard working. Our BA Flight arrived in Dubai before 0800 so we were met on arrival and transferred to the Le Meridian Hotel over the road from the airport for breakfast and to complete the check in procedure which took about ten minutes. We were then transferred to Port Rashid and was onboard by 11am and our stateroom was ready about 1pm. We had full use of the ships facilities as soon as we got on board. Our Cabin 3031 was a Category N Inside Stateroom and had sufficient wardrobe and storage space and 2 very comfy beds. We ate most nights in the King and I restaurant, on my time dining, which i pre booked in advance before leaving the Uk and had a table for 2 every night with no problem. The Formal nights aren't anything to get hung up about, we were planning on going to the Windjammer on the Formal nights as packed a jacket but no tie or tux but the waiter said it is no problem, so we went to Formal night in trousers jacket and shirt. We used the windjammer for lunch and breakfast, at times it was chaotic as so many people were eating here and you would get your food(which there was a great choice) then struggle to find a table to sit at. The entertainment was ok, not really my thing and as we ate late the only show we went to watch was the Beatles tribute band, who were brilliant,then up to the Disco in the Crown Viking Lounge. The night we departed Muscat there was a Middle East deck party which was ok,there was a belly dancer and after 3 middle eastern songs it kicked into full Ricky Martin and US/UK artists songs but everyone had a good time. The Drinks package i pre purchased in uk at approx £28 a day for the Select Package,this entitled us to Beer,Wine by the Glass and Soft drinks and non alcoholic cocktails....my only frustration with this is no one actually explained which beers were included so each time to make sure i didnt get charged i asked is this included in the package. The cheapest Wine was approx $9 per glass and Beer about $6 per drink which you would have to pay an 18% gratuity charge on top so i think i got my moneys worth just....if you have the drink package you also have to pre pay your gratuities for the cruise which i did as i cant be doing with tipping. The Excursions offered by RCI were not cheap either.... KHASAB-We decided to do the Dhow Cruise,RCI wanted £47 pp for a half day tour, i booked it in advance locally for 25 Euros and our boat had shade and 14 people on board(all from our ship and included fruit,water,tea,coffee) the boats used by RCI had over 100 people on and had no shade upstairs. I know we had the best deal MUSCAT-We did the Big Bus Tour,it was the same price booking direct or via RCI so we used RCI,we were picked up from the Port but a 2 hour(if you don't get off) bus tour at over £40 wasn't great value in my opinion. Muscat itself is only about a 20 min walk from the Port to the Souk anyway. ABU DHABI-We did the Big Bus Tour,it was the same price booking direct or via RCI so we used RCI,we were picked up from the Port and after doing part of the Red route(where the headphone jacks didn't work) we jumped on the Purple bus to visit Yas Island(with a tour guide no headphones), after 5 hours in total when we got back to the red route we took the shuttle bus back to the Port, but this was great value for money and well worth it, as so much to see in Abu Dhabi DUBAI-We decided we wanted to visit Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world so pre booked before leaving the Uk for about £25 ourselves. We got a taxi from the Port which was approx 60 AED (you have to pay a 20AED surcharge leaving the Port which is included in the fare) and to get back to the Port we only paid 30 AED. It was well worth the trip to the 124th floor and the amazing views,entrance is via the Dubai Mall which is massive! I have a few gripes with Royal Caribbean, they are very sell sell sell....trying to sell you upgraded drinks packages,trying to sell their Asian and Steak restaurants at a huge supplement,trying to sell you a tour of the ship to the galley,the bridge etc,always pushing the Spa,the Large Screen showing activities from the Cruise Director was always a sales pitch and was repeated about 5 times on the bounce before they would switch it off, the annoying jazzy,piano,light drum music that had no lyrics played around the pool that no one has ever heard of and the very expensive wifi rates. Lots of people use wifi now and i'm sure if they dropped their prices a little they would sell more. After 4 days of no contact from the outside world we decided to go for it....$20 per day for 1 device and 50% off for a 2nd Device...so $30 per day (the small print says once taken it has t be for the duration of the cruise...so couldn't use it just for 1 day) and i only really wanted it to be able to do my online check in for my return flight the day before flying home. Oh and No bottled water...unless you paid for it or upgraded your drinks package! Disembarkation was painless, we were told to meet in the showlounge at 6am (Breakfast was available before) and were called by Number and taken to the Terminal where our bags were waiting for us, we were then transferred to Dubai airport with no problems. The Food was good,not spectacular but nice all the same and the King and I Restaurant was good for a 3 course evening meal. Windjammer buffet had plenty of choices but limited seating at times and there was also a burger/hot dog eatery and snacks in the Solarium area. All in all i was very pleased with this cruise, to get flights,transfers,meals and a cruise for a week for £600 with gratuities was brilliant, a 5 night holiday in Dubai with no food would cost you more and you also get to see so many interesting places. The highlight for me was Khasab seeing the Omani Fjords and the dolphins swimming alongside our Dhow and Abu Dhabi, every building is bigger or more ecentric than the last...oh and the fantastic weather which was 80-85 degrees every day. The ship was very good, a smaller ship compared to most now at 70,000 Tonnes but was full of hardworking and joyful staff. I would definitely use RCI again Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 10th cruise, 3rd on this class of ship and 3rd with Royal Caribbean. This cruise may have started on a tired outdated ship but there was nothing else tired about it except the passengers who seemed determined to have a great ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise, 3rd on this class of ship and 3rd with Royal Caribbean. This cruise may have started on a tired outdated ship but there was nothing else tired about it except the passengers who seemed determined to have a great holiday. You should be proud of your staff, they were hard working, friendly nothing too much bother. Ok the theatre show, with exception of Beetles tribute were not brilliant but the other locations around the ship were brilliant. Great musicians and singers made for a party every night. Food was good, waiters and unusually head waiters determined to make sure you enjoyed what was offered and happy to change if you didn't. Cabin stewards and not only your own so nice and cabins kept immaculately. I just wish the cruise lines would take on board that there is a place in the market for these smaller ships. We don't all want massive ships and bigger is not always better. So please replace this ship with an updated version. Gripes - usual. Drinks extortionate as were excursions. No tea coffee toiletries supplied. No fridge. So come on RC, build a new small ship, sort out the things noted above and increase size of inside staterooms and their bathrooms, and you would continue to have a loyal following. And thanks fellow passengers for making this one of our best cruises ever. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our second Royal Caribbean experience the first being the Voyager of the Seas in November last year. The Splendour of the seas is smaller and older. Smaller need not an issue but there are signs of aging in parts of the ship. ... Read More
This was our second Royal Caribbean experience the first being the Voyager of the Seas in November last year. The Splendour of the seas is smaller and older. Smaller need not an issue but there are signs of aging in parts of the ship. The Stateroom was a little jaded as were some of the public areas. Having said that the service was excellent as was the food. The entertainment was just about OK but the speakers, who gave briefings on the destinations, need to be changed or given training in public speaking. The facts may have been interesting but the delivery was flat, monotone and dull. This seemed to suit many in the audience who soon fell into a restful sleep. The deck pool and wirlpools were fine but on sea days you had to be up early to get a sunbed and up very early to get one in full sunlight. The staff did try and impose the rule that "a sunbed could not be reserved (with a towl etc.) for more than half an hour" but they were fighting an uphill battle. There was also an indoor pool that was actually better for swimming. We mainly judge by comparison which is why this ship doesn’t score to highly. But is this was the first time that I had stepped onto a cruise ship I would have been very impressed. Especially considering the price we paid. Return BA flights from Heathrow, seven night’s full board accommodation with more food than anyone could eat with visits to some interesting and exotic locations and all this for just seven hundred quid. The only question is “how do they do it?” Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
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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