Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by eggplant7
- Sail Date: November 2008
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
I booked 2 days pre-cruise in Venice, our port of embarkation & 2 days post-cruise in our disembarkation port, Lisbon. All hotel & flight arrangements were booked using Royal Caribbean's packages and I used a local travel agency to make my travel reservations.
Travel to Venice went pretty smoothly...didn't realize that Custom Air arrangements were available so one could use their airline of choice until after my flight arrangements had been made. Neither my travel agent nor Royal Caribbean mentioned this option during my numerous calls & e-mails to them both throughout the reservation process. I had 2 different airlines that were used...Delta flying to Venice & British Airways flying home from Lisbon. Would have preferred to accumulate all my miles with one carrier's frequent mileage program.
Transfer to the hotel in Venice from the airport went OK once the Royal Caribbean agent showed up. Our small group was left standing around not knowing what to do for some time until the agent appeared.
My hotel, the Metropole, in Venice was in an excellent location & a wonderful, if expensive, place to start off my adventure. The elegant breakfast buffet (included)was wonderful and the dining area quite beautiful. I ate one dinner in the hotel restaurant that had gotten great reviews and was not disappointed. My meal came to approximately $85.00 - that was for one person without any wine. So it was expensive, but I am glad I tried it. The food and service were excellent and the overall experience was quite memorable.
The room I had at the Metropole overlooked a canal on the side of the room and it was great to hear the noises of the boats because that truly was the Venice experience I wanted. The room was appointed very luxuriously and quite comfortable.
I was impressed by the level of care taken to maintain the Splendour of the Seas - being that the ship is 12 years old, I had read different comments about her condition. I always noticed staff members cleaning & polishing areas on the ship during my stay while I walked around inside. When I walked outside on deck, I noticed workers also doing various cleaning, painting & maintenance on a regular basis also. So I was impressed with the ongoing service the ship seems to receive on a regular basis.
I loved the ship. It was neither too big nor too small. I enjoyed the fact that we had 1800 passengers onboard which allowed me to see the same people on more than one occasion. That was good because it helped me connect with people...being on my own...that was important.
I did put several suggestions in the suggestion box during the course of my cruise. These included: no quiet areas on the ship...the solarium has a bar which creates a noise factor that detracts from this area. While speaking to others on the ship, they mentioned this to me.
Also, the daily activities during our "at sea" days...we had 4...were lacking in my opinion. Since I do not have any interest in Bingo or cards or the art auction...I didn't find enough to do. Only on the last day at sea did I see 3 things that I was interested in and went to...a cooking demonstration, the captain's corner where you got to ask the captain and ship's engineer questions in a one-on-one meeting, and a towel folding demonstration.
I would have preferred more intellectual activities, more films...we only had one movie on the ship and it was the latest Indiana Jones movie, which didn't interest me. I'd like to be able to see movies related to the areas we were travelling to...either by the origin of the actors in the films or the locations used in the films. For example, the film: Casablanca would have been great since that was one of our ports of call. Perhaps, guest lecturers, professors & experts in their fields of history, geography & nature of the areas on the itinerary. These ideas were also put into the suggestion box. Service onboard the ship was excellent. My cabin attendant was very friendly and eager to do a good job. He and I chatted a bit and he seemed to want to make my stay a good and enjoyable one. My room always was made up nicely and I enjoyed the different animals greeting me each evening on my bed that were made out of towels that had been artfully folded.
All of my Shore Excursions were booked in advance and the ones for all the ports of call were done through the cruiseline. I only wish that there was more free time included for self-exploration & shopping in each port of call. The shore excursions, while excellent in content didn't allow for that. All of the guides I felt were wonderful in their knowledge of the areas they covered and their personalities were warm & friendly & open to questions all of the time.
The dining room experience was a good one for me. I found the food to be much better than I had expected. I really looked forward to dining in the dining room each evening. The waiter & assistant waiter were very good and the waiter, especially, quite professional and had a wonderful & warm personality with lots of good humor. Our head waiter also was a great man who appeared each evening to humor us with his great style and willingness to help out in any way.
I thought the evening entertainment was a little thin. Meaning that I thought on some nights, it bordered on "shlocky" or "corny" or not of that high a caliber. Other nights were better so overall I'd give the entertainment a C+ grade or something like 2.5 out of a possible 5 score.
I thought the cost to use the internet...$.60 a minute was quite high so I purchased a the largest minutes package available which brought the cost down to $.40 a minute...still quite high in my estimation.
I would have liked to have had a self-service laundry onboard as well as some availability of pay phones. $7.95 a minute to use the stateroom cabin phone was definitely out of the question for me and a very high price, I felt. These items were also put into the suggestion box.
My aft balcony cabin on Deck 6 was spectacular! Don't think I could ever cruise again without a balcony cabin. I spent more time in my cabin than I had anticipated and it was lovely and full of light and beautiful vistas. It was perfect!
Disembarkation went smoothly and because all of my transfers were done through the cruiseline, minimal inconvenience & waiting were experienced.
My hotel in Lisbon was quite lovely. Definitely worth the 5-star rating it had. I enjoyed my beautiful room with a water view as requested. I only wish I spoke Portuguese because in Lisbon, not a lot of people spoke English...which I had been forewarned about in my guide book.
The lavish breakfast buffet (included)was also fabulous & I looked forward to it very much on my second morning in Lisbon. Hotel staff were very willing to help out and I enjoyed use of the free internet offered in the lobby computer room. Did want to mention that travelling as a single I was charged a 200% premium price for my cabin by Royal Caribbean so I didn't like being penalized for travelling alone. The cruise was more expensive than I had originally planned it to be because of this.
Did try out the Spa by taking advantage of the "Salon Sampler" offered one day. Was a great experience...had 7 treatments for $119 which I felt was a great value...they lasted just under an hour. So, while it wasn't a long time in the spa, it was a chance to do something I normally wouldn't have tried probably.
In summary, I would love to take another cruise again! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip and would not hesitate to go on Splendour of the Seas again. I thought she was a good ship with character and beauty. I loved all the glass and the windows and the ease of finding my way around once I got oriented with my ship's diagram/map.
My overall experience was quite wonderful & I have many memories that will stay with me for a long time!
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