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We sailed Nov. 8, 2008 on this ship from Venice. If you are considering cruising from Venice, DO IT!!! IT WAS AMAZING!! We stayed two nights prior to the cruise at the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal for 210 Euro per night in a standard double which was small but sufficient, had a soaking tub that we both fell asleep in at least once, and was a block and a half from St Marks Square. If we had it to do over, we would have stayed another night. Two days was not enough to see everything we wanted to see. I cannot recommend leaving from Venice highly enough! It was AMAZING! We were the first ship in a line of five and there were people lined up along the canals taking pics and waving because we were all lit up and it was just getting to be sunset. We passed thru the lagoon and were able to see back down the grand canal, our hotel and St. Marks, just as the bells in the square started tolling and the sound rang over the old buildings and the magic of Venice clung to us like a blanket. There are no words to adequately describe it. JUST GO! On the morning of embarkation, we took a water taxi (90 euro) directly from our hotel lobby (no lugging bags here) to the port where our bags were whisked away to be loaded onto the ship, but we had quite a walk ahead of us to the pier. Once we did get to the pier (around noon), since we were in a Junior Suite, we had a lovely mimosa and some nibbles and the smoothest embarkation process ever. Our cabin was already available, so we dropped our carry-ons and hit the Windjammer. The food here was always adequate, sometimes quite tasty, and the service was fairly good. We did find it moderately difficult to find a table for four during peak breakfast times, but never had to sit with others. Our cabin, while slightly worn, and the bed was harder than I remember it being on other ships, was otherwise perfect. Being used to a balcony, we re-booked when the rates dipped and the junior suites were the same price as the original balcony, we were grateful for the extra space. It came in handy when getting together with the couple we were traveling with. An entire couch and two chairs were perfect. The bathtub was great, and made more shower room. I expected the closet to be larger, but between that and the shelves on the other side of the door, we were good. And where we had sub-par service in the dining room, we had THE BEST STATEROOM ATTENDANT EVER! She was amazing! So helpful, smiling all the time, and really made us feel special. That evening, we were thrilled to have been well matched with our tablemates. We were all within 10 years of age and got on well. We've always enjoyed this aspect of dinner. Our waiter and asst. waiter however left quite a bit to be desired. The waiter never cracked a smile, and seemed like it was painful to speak to us, though his english was VERY good. The asst waiter was too busy offering us bread after each course and NEVER remembered what drinks we wanted, which was strange for me since that has never happened to us before. We were quite disappointed that in fact there is no lobster anymore...boo hiss...however, they did have a stash of Royal Beer in the dining room that none of the bars had, so it eased my DHs disappointment. Our first full day was spent in Dubrovnik where we took the ship provided bus ($5 total pp) to Old Town and did a self-guided walking tour of the wall. When they let you off the bus, walk UP the street (uphill) slightly and look for a grocery about 500 feet from where they let you off that has a huge sign outside that says COKE. Just to the left of that, tucked into the corner next to a travel agency, is an ATM...get yourself some Kuna...just $20 worth...there are more ATMs if you need more, but this is the only one between you and the closest entrance to the walls. Sometimes they'll take euro or dollar, but don't count on it. Let me warn you...there are a bazillion steps on that wall! If you aren't at least passably fit, don't expect to get all the way thru it. But it is SO WORTH IT!!! The views of the ocean and the city are incredible! Later, down in old town, we had some wonderful ice cream and did some jewelry shopping, finding the prices MUCH better than Venice! Our second day was in Kusadasi where we explored downtown for a few hours then met our private guide for an afternoon at Ephesus (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE), the Temple of Artemis (a single standing pillar in a field - don't bother) and a nice tour and high-pressure rug factory tour. They really were lovely rugs. My friends bought one. It's been a month and theirs still hasn't arrived. After seeing Ephesus, i have no reason to go back there. Nuf said. Our next day was at sea where I got a hot stone massage which, being a massage regular, was just okay, followed by another high pressure sales pitch for oils and soaks. Corfu was lovely. We met the owner of a local stable just past customs and she drove us to the north side of the island where we rode for two hours theu lovely villages and olive groves. LOVED IT! Then she dropped us off in town, but the shops close from around 3 PM to 6 PM. So, if you want to shop, do it early. Our last port was the most amazing. Santorini. Don't bother walking up or taking those poor donkeys, unless you just have to. The line for the cable car looks long, but it moves fast. The views alone are worth the 4 euro pp! We met our private guide at the top, went directly to Oia (prounounced EEya) the town everyone thinks of when they think of Santorini. I took 600 pictures that day. No lie. Bring LOTS of batteries for the camera. Then we drove around the island and got to see the areas most people live in, went to the highest elevation for an amazing view, and tasted wines at the local winery that has THE most amazing views on the island. I wanna go back and live there. In the winery. Hehehe. Then it was a day at sea and then on back to Venice, where we went by RCCL transport directly to the airport. Do not be surprised when they dump your butt off and don't even tell you where to go. If you flew Delta, go all the way to the opposite end (far left if you're standing looking at the front doors)and wait until they open, which will be about 90 minutes prior to your flight of over a hundred people. The line's gonna get long if you wander, so don't. Oh and they have their own security line, so once they ask you your baggage questions, you can't go back... I highly recommend learning basic words in italian like Bonjourno (hello, good day) and Grazie (thank you) and the numbers from 1 to 10, cause they don't always give flight information in english, and yes nearly every italian speaks passable english, but not if you don't at least TRY to speak to them in their own language. And for God sakes, PLEASE do not run in, scream ENGLISH??? in their face, then talk LOUDER to try to make them understand you. The gentleman whom I had been having a rousing political conversation IN ENGLISH (it was two days after the election)was incredibly insulted and suddenly only able to speak rudimentary english when an American woman come in to the shop like this. He also charged her double what he charged me. You do the math. The Venetians love Americans, we have ALOT in common. Venice has always been governed by an elected Doge, so they understand how precious freedom is. I never once had an issue since I had armed myself with a the right words, would ask the words for this I didn't know, then use it, and knew roughly how much was reasonable for something before I asked. And even though we were lost in the dark (you can't stay lost for long, it's not that big of an island...besides it's fun) we felt completely safe. In fact, the one time a young man fell in behind us with a dangerous vibe to him, a shop-keeper came out and nearly beat him with his broom! I cannot imagine a more amazing trip. I have to go back and do the other itinerary! Oh hubby!!! *cheshire cat smile*

Fell in love with the Med...

Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by joleighva

Trip Details
We sailed Nov. 8, 2008 on this ship from Venice. If you are considering cruising from Venice, DO IT!!! IT WAS AMAZING!!
We stayed two nights prior to the cruise at the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal for 210 Euro per night in a standard double which was small but sufficient, had a soaking tub that we both fell asleep in at least once, and was a block and a half from St Marks Square. If we had it to do over, we would have stayed another night. Two days was not enough to see everything we wanted to see. I cannot recommend leaving from Venice highly enough! It was AMAZING! We were the first ship in a line of five and there were people lined up along the canals taking pics and waving because we were all lit up and it was just getting to be sunset. We passed thru the lagoon and were able to see back down the grand canal, our hotel and St. Marks, just as the bells in the square started tolling and the sound rang over the old buildings and the magic of Venice clung to us like a blanket. There are no words to adequately describe it. JUST GO!
On the morning of embarkation, we took a water taxi (90 euro) directly from our hotel lobby (no lugging bags here) to the port where our bags were whisked away to be loaded onto the ship, but we had quite a walk ahead of us to the pier. Once we did get to the pier (around noon), since we were in a Junior Suite, we had a lovely mimosa and some nibbles and the smoothest embarkation process ever. Our cabin was already available, so we dropped our carry-ons and hit the Windjammer. The food here was always adequate, sometimes quite tasty, and the service was fairly good. We did find it moderately difficult to find a table for four during peak breakfast times, but never had to sit with others.
Our cabin, while slightly worn, and the bed was harder than I remember it being on other ships, was otherwise perfect. Being used to a balcony, we re-booked when the rates dipped and the junior suites were the same price as the original balcony, we were grateful for the extra space. It came in handy when getting together with the couple we were traveling with. An entire couch and two chairs were perfect. The bathtub was great, and made more shower room. I expected the closet to be larger, but between that and the shelves on the other side of the door, we were good. And where we had sub-par service in the dining room, we had THE BEST STATEROOM ATTENDANT EVER! She was amazing! So helpful, smiling all the time, and really made us feel special.
That evening, we were thrilled to have been well matched with our tablemates. We were all within 10 years of age and got on well. We've always enjoyed this aspect of dinner. Our waiter and asst. waiter however left quite a bit to be desired. The waiter never cracked a smile, and seemed like it was painful to speak to us, though his english was VERY good. The asst waiter was too busy offering us bread after each course and NEVER remembered what drinks we wanted, which was strange for me since that has never happened to us before. We were quite disappointed that in fact there is no lobster anymore...boo hiss...however, they did have a stash of Royal Beer in the dining room that none of the bars had, so it eased my DHs disappointment.
Our first full day was spent in Dubrovnik where we took the ship provided bus ($5 total pp) to Old Town and did a self-guided walking tour of the wall. When they let you off the bus, walk UP the street (uphill) slightly and look for a grocery about 500 feet from where they let you off that has a huge sign outside that says COKE. Just to the left of that, tucked into the corner next to a travel agency, is an ATM...get yourself some Kuna...just $20 worth...there are more ATMs if you need more, but this is the only one between you and the closest entrance to the walls. Sometimes they'll take euro or dollar, but don't count on it. Let me warn you...there are a bazillion steps on that wall! If you aren't at least passably fit, don't expect to get all the way thru it. But it is SO WORTH IT!!! The views of the ocean and the city are incredible! Later, down in old town, we had some wonderful ice cream and did some jewelry shopping, finding the prices MUCH better than Venice!
Our second day was in Kusadasi where we explored downtown for a few hours then met our private guide for an afternoon at Ephesus (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE), the Temple of Artemis (a single standing pillar in a field - don't bother) and a nice tour and high-pressure rug factory tour. They really were lovely rugs. My friends bought one. It's been a month and theirs still hasn't arrived. After seeing Ephesus, i have no reason to go back there. Nuf said.
Our next day was at sea where I got a hot stone massage which, being a massage regular, was just okay, followed by another high pressure sales pitch for oils and soaks.
Corfu was lovely. We met the owner of a local stable just past customs and she drove us to the north side of the island where we rode for two hours theu lovely villages and olive groves. LOVED IT! Then she dropped us off in town, but the shops close from around 3 PM to 6 PM. So, if you want to shop, do it early.
Our last port was the most amazing. Santorini. Don't bother walking up or taking those poor donkeys, unless you just have to. The line for the cable car looks long, but it moves fast. The views alone are worth the 4 euro pp! We met our private guide at the top, went directly to Oia (prounounced EEya) the town everyone thinks of when they think of Santorini. I took 600 pictures that day. No lie. Bring LOTS of batteries for the camera. Then we drove around the island and got to see the areas most people live in, went to the highest elevation for an amazing view, and tasted wines at the local winery that has THE most amazing views on the island. I wanna go back and live there. In the winery. Hehehe.
Then it was a day at sea and then on back to Venice, where we went by RCCL transport directly to the airport. Do not be surprised when they dump your butt off and don't even tell you where to go. If you flew Delta, go all the way to the opposite end (far left if you're standing looking at the front doors)and wait until they open, which will be about 90 minutes prior to your flight of over a hundred people. The line's gonna get long if you wander, so don't. Oh and they have their own security line, so once they ask you your baggage questions, you can't go back...
I highly recommend learning basic words in italian like Bonjourno (hello, good day) and Grazie (thank you) and the numbers from 1 to 10, cause they don't always give flight information in english, and yes nearly every italian speaks passable english, but not if you don't at least TRY to speak to them in their own language. And for God sakes, PLEASE do not run in, scream ENGLISH??? in their face, then talk LOUDER to try to make them understand you. The gentleman whom I had been having a rousing political conversation IN ENGLISH (it was two days after the election)was incredibly insulted and suddenly only able to speak rudimentary english when an American woman come in to the shop like this. He also charged her double what he charged me. You do the math.
The Venetians love Americans, we have ALOT in common. Venice has always been governed by an elected Doge, so they understand how precious freedom is. I never once had an issue since I had armed myself with a the right words, would ask the words for this I didn't know, then use it, and knew roughly how much was reasonable for something before I asked. And even though we were lost in the dark (you can't stay lost for long, it's not that big of an island...besides it's fun) we felt completely safe. In fact, the one time a young man fell in behind us with a dangerous vibe to him, a shop-keeper came out and nearly beat him with his broom!
I cannot imagine a more amazing trip. I have to go back and do the other itinerary! Oh hubby!!! *cheshire cat smile*
joleighva’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Junior Suite
Cabin JS 8018
Great balcony, place for four adults to sit and not be on the bed, ottomans are storage too, quiet except in morning when the carts being pushed overhead in the Windjammer were heard, bathtub really nice, bed a little hard.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Corfu
    Corfu was lovely. We met the owner of a local stable just past customs and she drove us to the north side of the island where we rode for two hours theu lovely villages and olive groves. LOVED IT! Then she dropped us off in town, but the shops close from around 3 PM to 6 PM. So, if you want to shop, do it early.
    View All 619 Corfu Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Corfu Cruise Port Review
  • Dubrovnik
    Our first full day was spent in Dubrovnik where we took the ship provided bus ($5 total pp) to Old Town and did a self-guided walking tour of the wall. When they let you off the bus, walk UP the street (uphill) slightly and look for a grocery about 500 feet from where they let you off that has a huge sign outside that says COKE. Just to the left of that, tucked into the corner next to a travel agency, is an ATM...get yourself some Kuna...just $20 worth...there are more ATMs if you need more, but this is the only one between you and the closest entrance to the walls. Sometimes they'll take euro or dollar, but don't count on it. Let me warn you...there are a bazillion steps on that wall! If you aren't at least passably fit, don't expect to get all the way thru it. But it is SO WORTH IT!!! The views of the ocean and the city are incredible! Later, down in old town, we had some wonderful ice cream and did some jewelry shopping, finding the prices MUCH better than Venice!
    View All 1,115 Dubrovnik Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Dubrovnik Cruise Port Review
  • Kusadasi
    Our second day was in Kusadasi where we explored downtown for a few hours then met our private guide for an afternoon at Ephesus (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE TERRACE HOUSES -WORTH THE FEE), the Temple of Artemis (a single standing pillar in a field - don't bother) and a nice tour and high-pressure rug factory tour. They really were lovely rugs. My friends bought one. It's been a month and theirs still hasn't arrived. After seeing Ephesus, i have no reason to go back there. Nuf said.
    View All 617 Kusadasi Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Kusadasi Cruise Port Review
  • Santorini
    Our last port was the most amazing. Santorini. Don't bother walking up or taking those poor donkeys, unless you just have to. The line for the cable car looks long, but it moves fast. The views alone are worth the 4 euro pp! We met our private guide at the top, went directly to Oia (prounounced EEya) the town everyone thinks of when they think of Santorini. I took 600 pictures that day. No lie. Bring LOTS of batteries for the camera. Then we drove around the island and got to see the areas most people live in, went to the highest elevation for an amazing view, and tasted wines at the local winery that has THE most amazing views on the island. I wanna go back and live there. In the winery. Hehehe
    View All 939 Santorini Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Santorini Cruise Port Review