I have recently returned from a cruise to Oman & the UAE on Splendour of the Seas. I would start by saying that my previous cruise experiences have been on Norwegian and I much prefer their freestyle mantra. While a small ship I though overall for it's age Splendour of the Seas looked in good condition in the public areas though I felt that in the lesser traffic areas (like the corridors and stairwells for cabins on lower decks) it looked pretty tired.
Embarkation was a complete nightmare - I had completed all required paperwork online because that was recommended to speed up check in, but when I got to the port at 1:30pm I lined up for 2 hours before getting checked in. In previous cruises I have never spent more than 20 minutes in line. I understand that I am not an RCL member so was waiting in the longer line but it was a bit ridiculous, more staff would have streamlined the process and perhaps a line for those who hadn't bothered to complete their forms in advance as those were the ones that held it up for everyone else.
Dining wise I only ate in the Windjammer purely because as a solo traveller I preferred not to sit with a table of 8-10 in the King & I, this highlighted my preference to travel with NCL where I could sit at a table of 2 in the main dining room at any time of my choosing. The food at the beginning of the week was good but towards the end it felt like some of the meat was being recycled into stews and didn't taste great. Food was lukewarm unless you got there right on 6:30pm for dinner but the variety of food was fine.
Entertainment was dreadful, aside from the aerial show which was good but incredibly short I felt the standard was well below what I have seen on other ships. There weren't any fantastic theatre shows to speak of and some of the singers struggled to stay in tune.
Port wise it baffled me that the ship spent 2 days in Muscat but only 1 in Abu Dhabi when there is so much more to see there. Muscat was a good port though. Khasab was good for me because I booked a Dhow Cruise but to be honest if you hadn't booked a shore excursion through the ship then this port would be a complete waste of time, there was little to no representation on the pier from the locals and of course no taxies so you really had no option to explore other than via the ship's tours. Information about the ports within the cruise compass newsletter was minimal and my observations of information being provided by Guest Services and Shore Excursions staff was that they also were not particularly knowledgable on the ports we were visiting. When I got off in Khasab to go on the shore excursion there was a complete lack of organisation and staff, only 1 person handing out stickers for multiple tours and it was only by luck that I noticed a local holding a numbered sign for my tour across the other side of the pier - no announcements, loud speaker, nothing. The tour itself was excellent though.
I chose an interior cabin which for the price was fine but I regretted my choice to go on the 3rd deck which was directly underneath the casino and the main atrium bar - it was like having someone move house above my head every night all night. I didn't request a move because I got it at a very cheap price so I completely accept that I wasn't in a position to negotiate a better room. Air con in the room didn't work properly, even when set to the warmest it could go it was absolutely freezing - I asked for it to be fixed and was told that the person who had stayed in that room the cruise prior had said it was too hot so it had been made colder, it was never fixed and I slept in long pants and a jumper to stay warm. The shower had the opposite problem even at it's coolest setting it was almost too hot to stand in. When I tried it on the first day at a mid-range temperature it nearly burnt me - but I guess at least I was always sure of a hot shower which sometimes you don't get on ships.
Staff in general didn't seem excited or happy to be onboard with the exception of the housekeeping/room attendants who were all very lovely. While I am sure it would be have been better if I was in the main dining room not once in 6 days did anyone ever ask me if I wanted to order a drink, not in the Windjammer, or the pool deck, nowhere - it kind of surprised me. Both times I needed to see Guest Services I had to line up for over 30 minutes however that may have been more to do with the people in the line and their line of questioning than the staff themselves, but while the staff helped me with what I needed they never smiled or seemed welcoming.
I disembarked a day early in Abu Dhabi so disembarkation was obviously a whole lot faster for me than embarkation.
Overall it was just an "okay" trip, not one I would talk about for weeks after or be recommending to my friends and family.