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This was my 1st time on this ship, my 6th RCCL cruise and my 9th cruise overall. I traveled with my sister who has cruised twice before on other lines. Overall our experience was delightful. This cruise began and ended in Venice Italy and cruised to Dubrovnik Croatia, Kusadasi Turkey, Santorini and Corfu Greece. We flew in the day before our sail date and stayed on the island of Venice. This was a mistake, as we did not pack lightly. Venice is an amazingly beautiful city, but the transportation can be a real challenge. We took the direct bus to Venice from the airport for 5 euros each, then decided to walk to our hotel from the bus station. Once you arrive on Venice from the bus, taxi or train that is the end of the line for wheels. You have a couple of choices, gondolas which are outrageously expensive, water taxis, which seemed to charge 100 euros no matter where they were taking you, water buses for 6 euros for 1 hour or 12 euros for 12 hours or as we did walk. Our hotel which we booked on our own was not as close to the bus terminal as it looked, plus we had to scale 5 bridges which all have stairs, so the rolling luggage was little help. I would strongly recommend staying near the airport as we did when we returned or staying near the bus terminal. If you have your heart set on staying anywhere else, pack light and make sure your hotel is near the canal. After we checked into our hotel we strolled around the area and had a very nice dinner. The next morning we got up early and did some sight seeing, we had plenty of time to see San Marcos Square before we had to return to the hotel to get our luggage and make our way to the bus terminal for out shuttle to the ship. This was the only time I will complain about RCCL. When we arrived at the bus terminal there were no signs to tell us where to find the shuttle, no staff from RCCL. We finally asked enough bus drivers and we found our shuttle. There was a fully loaded bus ready to pull away and about another 50-75 passengers waiting for the next bus. By the time the same bus returned there were at least 200 passengers waiting to get on the bus. They swarmed the bus and the driver threw up his hands and began yelling, he made a phone call and the only word I understood was "unprofessional". The passengers began throwing their luggage into the bus and forcing their way on. It was pretty obvious we weren't getting on the bus anytime soon, so we located a taxi. Some taxi's were charging 40 euros per passengers, we found one that used the meter and took 4 of us for 15 euros. Once we arrived all was well again. I believe this was the 1st sailing for this port for the season, so I'm hoping they just needed to work out the kinks. This ship was nice, I think Americans were in the minority so we had a nice mix of Europeans as well as many Asian groups. The passengers were mostly mature, but nor elderly couples. There were a few young people and some children, but not many. We had a Jr. Suite with a balcony, it was really nice having a bathtub. The Service was excellent as usual, the food was top notch, great selection. I think they may have changed the buffet a bit to cater to the many Europeans, but there were all the American staples. I became a Platinum member on this cruise and enjoyed the reception they had. I didn't book any excursions from the ship, or go to any of the port lectures. I only went to 1 show and enjoyed it, it was a tribute to Motown. I didn't find the ship had the best exchange rate for euros and made sure I stocked up before I left. I booked a facial/back massage for the 1st sea day as soon as I got onboard. I was pleasantly surprised that I was also able to get a massage on the second sea day with only 1 day notice. I don't usually take the classes at the gym, but after Santorini I took a stretch class which was very enjoyable. The first port was Dubrovink Croatia, we didn't know much about the port and wasn't sure what to expect. I met a couple who visited the city last year by car and they suggested to walk the wall. The old city is surrounded by a fortress wall. When we got off the ship we walked to the end of the pier where there was a place to exchange money for Kuna and by bus tickets. It only cost a couple dollars to ride a bus for about 15-20 minutes to the old city. We looked around a little bit then went to the wall. It cost less than $10 and took about 90 min. to walk the entire wall. It gave us beautiful views of the city and the water, well worth it. We stopped by a little restaurant and had an amazing lunch. The Sea Bass was a big hit. The city has an amazing history which we learned about by using the audio guide while we walked the wall. The people were very friendly and the city was unique. The next day we arrived in Turkey. We had arranged a private tour and our driver met us at the terminal. He took us to the ruins at Ephesus which were amazing. This is the main attraction at this port. Turkey was nothing like I imagined, it was more modern and green. After the ruins we had our guide take us to a grocery store where we picked up some local canned foods, like grape leaves and spices. If you have any friends or family who like to cook make sure to pick up some Saffron, I couldn't belive how cheap it was here. Our driver also took us to a fantastic buffet lunch and we had the place to ourselves, the food was amazing, the produce especially. This would be a vegetarians paradise. We also went to a rug co-op. They demonstrated how they make the rugs and explained the differences in style and materials, they showed us how they get the threads to make silk, super interesting. If you purchase a rug at the co-op the Turkish government will pay shipping anywhere in the world. I should be getting mine in a few weeks. We returned to the ship and went back out to the port shops for a few more things. I found the shop owners to be very pushy, it was difficult to just window shop, they were practically dragging you into their stores. We tried some of the "ship recommended shops" and found them to be uncomfortably pushy. I purchased a leather purse in one of the recommended shops and had negotiated in dollars and he tried to ring me up in Euros which would have added 40% to my cost, so be aware. We did find a few shop owners they would just let you look without trying to force you to buy stuff, so we got what we wanted and got out quick. We also had to get a shish ka bob, so we asked our favorite shop owner where a good place was and his daughter walked us right to it. On our way we walked right past a Mosque where they were holding a funeral. The most memorable port of all was Santorini, I would highly recommend a ships tour for this island, make sure it is one that lets you off at the 1st port. If you have a tour that lets you off at the 1st port you get off the ship at noon and you get to take a bus to the top of the island. If you get a tour that lets you off the ship at the 2nd port you get off the ship at 1 and you have to wait in a long (1-2hour) line to take a tram to the top of the island. If you go on your own, you get off the ship at 1:30 and have a choice wait 2 hours for the tram, walk up the 1000' cliff, it is a gruelling 30-45 min. for someone in shape or you can do as we did and for 5 euros take a donkey. This may sound like fun, but I wasn't enjoying it at all. My donkey kept scrapping me against the wall and they all kept slipping on the cobblestone walkway, and running over the people walking. It was about a 20 death defying ride on a sweaty, stinky beast of burden. Once up to the top the city is beautiful. The white buildings with the domed topes were a dream to look at. We took a bus for 1.2 euros to the end of the island and walked around a bit then back to Fira for some shopping. Since I didn't want to deal with the donkeys or the hill on the way back we decided to go back at 3pm (all aboard was 4:30) I tried to find the end of the line for the tram, but it was at least an 1.5 hour wait, I never found the end, so I decided to walk down, which was exhausting, and my calves were cramped up for 3 days even after a massage. If I have Santorini as a port of call I will probably stay onboard and admire from a far. Our last port was Corfu, we took the ships shuttle to the town center and explored from there. We went to an archeological museum which had a lot of great artifacts and the Asian art Museum housed in the palace of Saints Michael and George. These were both within easy walking distance of the shuttle bus stop. We missed the Achilleion Palace, the streets and buses were more than I wanted to deal with and it is about 15km out of the city. The people who went to see it said it was so worth it. Corfu was much larger and had a more European feel. The island is covered with olive trees so this is a great place to pick up anything olive related. They make beautiful bowls and things from the wood. It was nice having a day out to sea to pack before we headed back to Venice. disembarkation was a breeze. With it being a smaller ship there didn't seem to be a heard of people leaving at one time. When we got off the pier there were buses to take you to the airport (prepaid on ship) or the bus station and taxis were plentiful. We took a large taxi mini bus taxi that dropped us off at the hotel on the way to the airport. It was 40 euro for the whole bus so it was about 5 euro per person. We had an early flight the next morning and the shuttle the hotel had got us there about an hour before out flight and the line was huge. fortunately Marco Polo is a small airport, so they just waited until everyone was checked in and onboard before they left. We were behind schedule about 20 min. Overall I really enjoyed it all. The ports were different and interesting the people were terrific. The ship was clean with excellent service. I was able to get everything I wanted, when I wanted it.

Splendour of the Seas - Western Mediterranean

Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by kalliea

Trip Details
This was my 1st time on this ship, my 6th RCCL cruise and my 9th cruise overall. I traveled with my sister who has cruised twice before on other lines. Overall our experience was delightful.
This cruise began and ended in Venice Italy and cruised to Dubrovnik Croatia, Kusadasi Turkey, Santorini and Corfu Greece.
We flew in the day before our sail date and stayed on the island of Venice. This was a mistake, as we did not pack lightly. Venice is an amazingly beautiful city, but the transportation can be a real challenge. We took the direct bus to Venice from the airport for 5 euros each, then decided to walk to our hotel from the bus station. Once you arrive on Venice from the bus, taxi or train that is the end of the line for wheels. You have a couple of choices, gondolas which are outrageously expensive, water taxis, which seemed to charge 100 euros no matter where they were taking you, water buses for 6 euros for 1 hour or 12 euros for 12 hours or as we did walk. Our hotel which we booked on our own was not as close to the bus terminal as it looked, plus we had to scale 5 bridges which all have stairs, so the rolling luggage was little help. I would strongly recommend staying near the airport as we did when we returned or staying near the bus terminal. If you have your heart set on staying anywhere else, pack light and make sure your hotel is near the canal. After we checked into our hotel we strolled around the area and had a very nice dinner. The next morning we got up early and did some sight seeing, we had plenty of time to see San Marcos Square before we had to return to the hotel to get our luggage and make our way to the bus terminal for out shuttle to the ship.
This was the only time I will complain about RCCL. When we arrived at the bus terminal there were no signs to tell us where to find the shuttle, no staff from RCCL. We finally asked enough bus drivers and we found our shuttle. There was a fully loaded bus ready to pull away and about another 50-75 passengers waiting for the next bus. By the time the same bus returned there were at least 200 passengers waiting to get on the bus. They swarmed the bus and the driver threw up his hands and began yelling, he made a phone call and the only word I understood was "unprofessional". The passengers began throwing their luggage into the bus and forcing their way on. It was pretty obvious we weren't getting on the bus anytime soon, so we located a taxi. Some taxi's were charging 40 euros per passengers, we found one that used the meter and took 4 of us for 15 euros. Once we arrived all was well again. I believe this was the 1st sailing for this port for the season, so I'm hoping they just needed to work out the kinks. This ship was nice, I think Americans were in the minority so we had a nice mix of Europeans as well as many Asian groups. The passengers were mostly mature, but nor elderly couples. There were a few young people and some children, but not many. We had a Jr. Suite with a balcony, it was really nice having a bathtub. The Service was excellent as usual, the food was top notch, great selection. I think they may have changed the buffet a bit to cater to the many Europeans, but there were all the American staples. I became a Platinum member on this cruise and enjoyed the reception they had. I didn't book any excursions from the ship, or go to any of the port lectures. I only went to 1 show and enjoyed it, it was a tribute to Motown. I didn't find the ship had the best exchange rate for euros and made sure I stocked up before I left. I booked a facial/back massage for the 1st sea day as soon as I got onboard. I was pleasantly surprised that I was also able to get a massage on the second sea day with only 1 day notice. I don't usually take the classes at the gym, but after Santorini I took a stretch class which was very enjoyable.
The first port was Dubrovink Croatia, we didn't know much about the port and wasn't sure what to expect. I met a couple who visited the city last year by car and they suggested to walk the wall. The old city is surrounded by a fortress wall. When we got off the ship we walked to the end of the pier where there was a place to exchange money for Kuna and by bus tickets. It only cost a couple dollars to ride a bus for about 15-20 minutes to the old city. We looked around a little bit then went to the wall. It cost less than $10 and took about 90 min. to walk the entire wall. It gave us beautiful views of the city and the water, well worth it. We stopped by a little restaurant and had an amazing lunch. The Sea Bass was a big hit. The city has an amazing history which we learned about by using the audio guide while we walked the wall. The people were very friendly and the city was unique.
The next day we arrived in Turkey. We had arranged a private tour and our driver met us at the terminal. He took us to the ruins at Ephesus which were amazing. This is the main attraction at this port. Turkey was nothing like I imagined, it was more modern and green. After the ruins we had our guide take us to a grocery store where we picked up some local canned foods, like grape leaves and spices. If you have any friends or family who like to cook make sure to pick up some Saffron, I couldn't belive how cheap it was here. Our driver also took us to a fantastic buffet lunch and we had the place to ourselves, the food was amazing, the produce especially. This would be a vegetarians paradise. We also went to a rug co-op. They demonstrated how they make the rugs and explained the differences in style and materials, they showed us how they get the threads to make silk, super interesting. If you purchase a rug at the co-op the Turkish government will pay shipping anywhere in the world. I should be getting mine in a few weeks. We returned to the ship and went back out to the port shops for a few more things. I found the shop owners to be very pushy, it was difficult to just window shop, they were practically dragging you into their stores. We tried some of the "ship recommended shops" and found them to be uncomfortably pushy. I purchased a leather purse in one of the recommended shops and had negotiated in dollars and he tried to ring me up in Euros which would have added 40% to my cost, so be aware. We did find a few shop owners they would just let you look without trying to force you to buy stuff, so we got what we wanted and got out quick. We also had to get a shish ka bob, so we asked our favorite shop owner where a good place was and his daughter walked us right to it. On our way we walked right past a Mosque where they were holding a funeral. The most memorable port of all was Santorini, I would highly recommend a ships tour for this island, make sure it is one that lets you off at the 1st port. If you have a tour that lets you off at the 1st port you get off the ship at noon and you get to take a bus to the top of the island. If you get a tour that lets you off the ship at the 2nd port you get off the ship at 1 and you have to wait in a long (1-2hour) line to take a tram to the top of the island. If you go on your own, you get off the ship at 1:30 and have a choice wait 2 hours for the tram, walk up the 1000' cliff, it is a gruelling 30-45 min. for someone in shape or you can do as we did and for 5 euros take a donkey. This may sound like fun, but I wasn't enjoying it at all. My donkey kept scrapping me against the wall and they all kept slipping on the cobblestone walkway, and running over the people walking. It was about a 20 death defying ride on a sweaty, stinky beast of burden. Once up to the top the city is beautiful. The white buildings with the domed topes were a dream to look at. We took a bus for 1.2 euros to the end of the island and walked around a bit then back to Fira for some shopping. Since I didn't want to deal with the donkeys or the hill on the way back we decided to go back at 3pm (all aboard was 4:30) I tried to find the end of the line for the tram, but it was at least an 1.5 hour wait, I never found the end, so I decided to walk down, which was exhausting, and my calves were cramped up for 3 days even after a massage. If I have Santorini as a port of call I will probably stay onboard and admire from a far.
Our last port was Corfu, we took the ships shuttle to the town center and explored from there. We went to an archeological museum which had a lot of great artifacts and the Asian art Museum housed in the palace of Saints Michael and George. These were both within easy walking distance of the shuttle bus stop. We missed the Achilleion Palace, the streets and buses were more than I wanted to deal with and it is about 15km out of the city. The people who went to see it said it was so worth it. Corfu was much larger and had a more European feel. The island is covered with olive trees so this is a great place to pick up anything olive related. They make beautiful bowls and things from the wood.
It was nice having a day out to sea to pack before we headed back to Venice. disembarkation was a breeze. With it being a smaller ship there didn't seem to be a heard of people leaving at one time. When we got off the pier there were buses to take you to the airport (prepaid on ship) or the bus station and taxis were plentiful. We took a large taxi mini bus taxi that dropped us off at the hotel on the way to the airport. It was 40 euro for the whole bus so it was about 5 euro per person. We had an early flight the next morning and the shuttle the hotel had got us there about an hour before out flight and the line was huge. fortunately Marco Polo is a small airport, so they just waited until everyone was checked in and onboard before they left. We were behind schedule about 20 min.
Overall I really enjoyed it all. The ports were different and interesting the people were terrific. The ship was clean with excellent service. I was able to get everything I wanted, when I wanted it.
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