My wife and I booked this trip a few months ago when we knew we could get away. The embarkation port and the ports of call drew us to the Splendor of the Seas. While not new to cruising this was my first taste of RCI (my wife's second). I had read some of the previous reviews that weren't glowing but I just figured that it was just a bit of grumbling. I decided to just see what was in store for us.
This has to be one of the best experiences we have had getting on a ship. We stayed in Venice for three days before the cruise and decided to take the bus to the city and the people mover to the ship. The bus is excellent, don't waste your money on a ground cab and only take the water taxi if you want to experience the views or are mobility challenged. The cost is 6 Euros (5,50 if you purchase it online before arrival) and it takes you right to Piazzale Roma. From there you can walk to your hotel if you are staying in the city or take the people mover to the ship. The people mover is located in Piazzale Roma between the two car parks on the northwest corner of the square. There is a sign out front that says People Mover. There will be a long line in front of the entrance, don't get in the line it is for the baggage check to the airport. Just work your way through the line into the entrance. The cost is one euro and it takes you fairly close to the port entrance. There is still a bit of a walk to the ship but is not obtrusive if you are able to walk (if you stay in Venice you have to be mobile). Once in the port the luggage drop off is not in the building that you go to check into. It is to the north of that building. They don't have any signs saying this and you will find out just before you get to the terminal. Save the walk and just go to the building on the right of the terminal and drop off your luggage.
This was the smallest
We booked an inside cabin hoping for an upgrade but without previous sailings we didn't expect to receive one. We didn't, our cabin was #2015. It is by far the smallest cabin we have ever had on any ship. The bed was configured as a double, but unless you really have to sleep with your significant other, ask to have them separated. Together the room only affords one access aisle to the bed and either you climb across the bed if you are on the wall side or you have the aisle in between the two separate beds allowing both easy access to both. The washroom in the cabin was equally small; you end up sitting side-saddle on the toilet as there is no room for your knees if you tried to sit straight on. The shower is also small, on the faucet side it is at its widest but narrows toward the back. With the curtain pulled across you end up with it stuck to your body, there is no way around that. I just stopped using the curtain as there is a drain just on the other side of the shower lip. Not too much water ended up on the floor if you are careful.
The furniture in our cabin was worn, one drawer front was partially detached but it wasn't one we were using so it didn't pose a problem for us. There is a very small table/stool in the cabin, if you like room service this is what you would have to use. My wife generally likes breakfast in the cabin but didn't use it as it would be too cramped to eat in our cabin. There is a nice flat screen mounted on the wall that cantilevers out, probably the best setup we have seen. The selection of channels is limited but it was nice to have TCM for quiet evenings in after hectic days.
There were two things about our cabin that couldn't be resolved. The first is the strong smell of old tobacco. The second was a loud buzzing sound while in motion. Our cabin steward valiantly tried to use spray deodorizers and an electric de-ionizer to remove the smell to no avail. I knew we would get used to the smell but it was still very present right to the end. If you are very adverse to any tobacco smell do not take this cabin. The humming sound can be quite noticeable at night. My wife and I both wear earplugs when we sleep (so we don't have to hear each other) so the noise wasn't a problem for us, but when I awoke and took the plugs out I really heard it.
- The ship docks about 600 metres from the edge of the old town (we were told that it is a 15 to 20 minute walk but we did it in under ten). The ship offers a shuttle from the dock to the other side of town for 10 euro p.p. My wife and I figured that it would be the same walk from the drop off point to the sites as just walking from the ship so unless you have no ability to walk, the shuttle is a waste of money.
The old town is full of interesting alley streets and many churches. We seemed to run into them every fifty feet or so. The final church we ended up at was the Basilica Di San Nicola, very impressive ceiling.
I can not give a review of any of the sites as everything was closed. All the museums and cultural sites are locked up on the day of rest. Even the public toilets are locked and bolted. My suggestion is if your ship makes port on the Sabbath, take a (expensive) ship excursion away from town or spend an hour (that is all it takes) walking the streets, have a gelato, explore the basilica and then go back to the pool.
- The port is a little way from the town but is walk able in about 30 to 45 minutes. There is a shuttle offered by the ship for ten dollars but there is a much better way. A free shuttle bus is provided from the ship's berth to the port entry, just outside of the main building is a public bus stop. Bus #16 does round trips all day from the port to the old town for 1,50 euro. The distance is not that far (maybe a mile or so) but it is a busy road to and from the port and it cuts the time to about five minutes. There are two forts in town to explore; the new fort on the top of the hill is quite a hike up. It costs 3 euro to enter but has absolutely no information about what you are seeing. If it wasn't for the ship provided information on the sights of the town I wouldn't have known anything about what I was seeing. It is a good place to take pictures from but that is it. The entire fort is just empty rooms. The old town is a busy maze of small narrow streets with lots of shops and restaurants. The island is known for its beaches and would be a good place to have a beach day
This is a tendered port, very wind blown and pretty. If you would like to send a message back home, this is one of two ports with free wifi. The other is Athens. All the restaurants in the town advertize free wifi. I was told by a fellow passenger that the tour to Delos to see the ruins was very good. My wife and I just walked around and made our way to the old grain windmills perched on top the hill near the town. Like all the ports, it was exceptionally clean.