Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by cowprintrabbit
- Sail Date: May 2006
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Junior Suite
Ship: We found the ship to be very well kept, clean and modern. The overall passenger demographics was quite evenly mixed which was a pleasant surprise. Not very many kids, but some. Overall a wide range of ages. About half of the passengers were from the US. Large contingent from UK and Australia. The Internet consoles were new and modern, but some of the connectivity was poor. They charge $0.50 a minute, so be careful, you may waste a lot of money. I recommend using Internet in port which can be as low as 5 euros for a full hour. Very minimal smoking on this ship which was very nice. Pretty much only areas was Schooner bar and the casino and fortunately not many smoked in casino.
Entertainment: Not bad. Overall I think the sign and dance troupe were one of the best I have seen on a cruise ship. The comedian was not very funny and most of the vaudeville stuff was entertaining. Nothing was Vegas class, but overall the quality was decent and most people were entertained. Overall, the ports were pretty active and the ship kept everyone pretty busy, so there is little time to be bored.
Staff: Generally, the entire staff constantly go out of the way to make the cruise exciting and fun. They are always working hard to meet your every need or request. No complaints here.
Ports: Think HOT. Any later than the end of the May and these ports would be so hot, I would not want to visit. Most ports were upwards of 35 degrees Celsius at mid day. Most of the tours will I give you a bottle of water, but make sure to take extra. The ship will charge you $2 a bottle and you cannot get bottles of water on your coke card.
Greece: Corfu is a beautiful island. Take some time to explore the countryside and relax. The wine tasting tour is nothing more than getting a glass of cheap local wine with your lunch. Enjoy the tour of the island, dont go for the wine tasting. Athens does not have much to do outside of visiting the Acropolis. But dont miss the Acropolis this is a sight to see. Save your shopping for Turkey. There are some stores in Greece, but nothing special and no special deals.
Turkey: This is the place to buy your souvenirs. If you pay any more than 50% of what their first offer is, you got ripped off. Kusadasi is where you can buy $15 Louis Vuitton imitation purses, $75 Patek Phillpe watches and $5 Lacoste polo shorts. A very fun and beautiful place. Definitely take the tour of Ephesus it is an ancient city not to be missed and is simply amazing. Worth every penny.
Food: The food was good, but not the best we have had as far as cruise ships go. Nothing to complain about, it just was not the best to date. The main dining room service was nice, but many of the wait staff had difficulty with English, despite their experience in working on the ship for 8 years! The pizza in the solarium was fair nice when you needed a late night snack, but nothing to write home about. There will be 2 formal nights. We dressed up, but many people dont dress as fancy. Very few people actively dressed down, but there were a few. Most people seem to have fun dressing to the nines. Breakfast and lunch in the main dining room will be the same for the entire cruise. The coke card at $42 is a ripoff for adults. You would have to drink at least 6 sodas a day to break even I dont think people can really drink that much soda. The wine package is overall a savings but you still have to pay gratuity and VAT tax. But in the end, if you want to have a bottle of wine every day with dinner, this will definitely save you a few bucks. They had great coffee on the ship Royal Caribbean blend of Seattles Best which many passengers went out of the way to compliment.
Cabin: we had a junior suite which was quite spacious and had a lot of storage. The extra room and balcony eliminated any sense of claustrophobia and it was relaxing. Most of the furniture is new and the bedding is new. I found the air conditioning to be adequate on the ship unlike some older Carnival lines that we have taken which have been very humid and warm. Our cabin steward was attentive and helpful. On the first day, he ensured we had extra pillows (feather, my preference) on the bed and and egg crate foam on the top to make it softer. I think the junior suite is great value for the very reasonable cost. The bathroom was a little outdated, but very functional. Low water pressure, but plenty of hot water on demand. No outlets in room! Actually there is one by the desk so dont plan on plugging anything in except your hair dryer. The one in the bathroom is in the ceiling and marked electric razors only. They give you bars of soap and a body wash dispenser in the cabin, but no shampoo or conditioner. Bring your own if you need it.
Embarkation and debarkation: was a breeze. One of the fastest I have seen. I really did not feel we had to wait around to board or depart. When we arrived in Venice, we had booked the $30 transfer with the cruise line. They picked us up right from our flight, put us on a bus and took us to the terminal. They had nice cold lemonade in the terminal and we had to wait about 2 hours to board, but it was not too bad. Our flight got into Venice about 9 AM, and I think we boarded the ship by 11:30 or 12:00. Once on board, we grabbed a great lunch in the Windjammer and our room was fresh and ready by 1:00. Our bags were practically at our room by the time we finished lunch. It was nice that on the day of departure, we could leisurely eat breakfast, go back to room, grab bags and leave. We did not have to wait for hours to depart in a common lounge. A lot of people stress before the cruise about embarkation and debarkation and overall this is not something to worry about for this cruise.
Getting to our hotel: We stayed at the Sofitel in Venice. We took the free shuttle from the cruise ship terminal which runs to Piazzo Le Roma. We then walked from the bus yard to our hotel about 100 yards away. We found the Sofitel to be very nice and very convenient for spending an extra day in the city post the cruise and then easily returning to the airport. Overall we paid around 247 Euros for one night which seemed to be a good deal given what we heard others paying.
Deck activities: A lot of people played put-put golf, wall climbing and other activities, but I found it so windy, that it was often uncomfortable. We ended up spending most afternoons in the solarium which we found to be very comfortable, sunny, but without the wind or extreme sun.
Venice: If you want to buy Murano glass, visit the factory which is neat on the island of Murano, but dont buy anything there. Everything will be at least 50% cheaper in the main shops of Venice. You can easily get back and forth between the islands for about 10 euros on the water taxi. You actually can eat reasonable in Piazzo Marco just choose the lunch specials for a fixed price. Dont choose a-la-carte, you will pay a fortune. We only spent one day here, but that was fine for us. You can easily see the whole city in one day, although some may want to spend two to walk through it at a leisurely pace.
Leaving Venice: This was a piece of cake. We walked about 100 yards from our hotel, hopped on the blue bus that runs every hour to Marco Polo airport for 3 Euros each. Some people choose to get ripped off by taking a 100+ Euros water taxi. Dont do it.
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