We (my wife and I) have chosen now for several years this late (November) cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean with the Splendour ots and were so far always lucky, to enjoy a few late warm days - this was also the case this year. We stayed ... Read More
We (my wife and I) have chosen now for several years this late (November) cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean with the Splendour ots and were so far always lucky, to enjoy a few late warm days - this was also the case this year. We stayed before the cruise at a Mestre Hotel (Hilton Garden Inn), which is perfectly located for the Cruise Port in Venice. A ride is offered by the hotel for a reasonalble price, taking you to the port in 10 minutes. One could even take a public bus to Piazzale Roma in walking distance to the ship.
The embarkation at around noon - we are diamond members - was very effective. Entering the ship we were looking fo a welcome drink, but Royal Caribbean obviously has disestablished this nice welcome touch.
Food: The breakfast at the Windjammer offered a nice selection of different styles (European, American and Asian), but at peak hours (especially on early port arrival days) it was quite crowded. Therefore we prefered to take our breakfast in the Diamond Lounge with less variety but much less crowded. We normally do not have lunch. For dinner we had selected late seating (to be able to enjoy the early evening in the Lounge) and were placed at a table with an other couple, which allowed a relaxed conversation. The selection of meals was very good, always different meats, fish or vegetarian. Normally I take soup before the entree but e. g. the french onion soup or the Minestrone was not that good as I know it from former cruises. The waiter and assistant waiter tried to do their best, they were quick and serving the entree for us 4 always at the same time even when we had 4 different choices. We were surprised, that the head waiter did not show up once during the whole cruise. May be, the automatic tipping demotivates some staff members?
Ports: Leaving Venice through the Canale Giudecca, passing close by St. Marks Square and Cathedral is always a special moment - who knows, how long this will still be allowed? The secont port on our cruise was Kotor. The route through the Fjord and narrrow channels into the bay of Kotor is amazing. Kotor itself is like a remnant of former times, a small city with complete city walls extending up to steep surrounding mountain slopes. Museums, churches, forts, the time is too short to see all the sights. The prices there are very reasonable. Next port was Korfu, an island in the Ionian sea. A quite large old town with massive fortifications has lovely narrow lanes with souvenir shops, Cafes and Restaurants. Athens offers beside the famous ancient temples, stadiums and museums a nice downtown area with a flea market and nice restaurants. Somehow one feels, however, the miserable economic situation of Greece, a lot of beggars and unemployed people populate the streets. The Southern- and Easternmost Port of our journey was Mykonos. This is the most stereotype place of Greece I know, with the white houses and blue doors and windows and the series of windmills. A ship arriving there, makes this port immediately crowded so that you rather think you are in a sort of Disneyland. The degree of popularity of this touristic destination has brought prices up, so that it was by far the most expensive place of our cruise (even more expensive than Venice!). Returning home, a stop in Argostoli on the island of Kefalonia was intended. Strong (yet warm) winds did not allow us to dock there. Instead, we continued the cruise to Dubrovnik, where we had an unexpected port day on the last day of our cruise.
The disembarkation in Venice and the journey home (just 3,5 hours by car) was as smooth as the embarkation and we have another lovely cruise to the Eastern Medierranean in our memories. Read Less