Some of the reviews for the Splendour remind me a bit of reviews I read about Monarch of the Seas a few years back just before it was sold. The Monarch proved to be a well-run happy ship and the same was true of Splendour.
The ship may not be the newest or biggest but it’s well-maintained and the crew is still 100% committed. Fares are very competitive so if you pay $500 for a 7 day cruise in reasonably exotic waters you can’t expect the experience you might get on, say, Seabourne. What we got was honest value and a very pleasant cruise.
Embarkation was good, possibly because we arrived at about 12 Noon and had completed all the online check-in documents. We were quickly aboard, said hello to our steward Annie, dropped our bags and headed for the Windjammer which I found surprisingly quiet for an embarkation day.
We had an inside (3081) and crowded in a third adult – my son. Not as nice as a balcony but it wasn’t exactly hardship either. The TV showed some watchable films – Ant Man, Jurassic Park, National Lampoons Vacation etc. they came on a loop and I think we eventually saw them all. Not sure what German guests were making of continual repeats of Allo Allo though! There was just about enough room for us to organise things. There was plenty of storage. The shower curtain could have been a bit more generous but it’s a small grumble. On the plus side we experienced no noicse problems at any time and the air con worked just fine allowing us to select either cold or warm and everything in-between.
Basic cruise terminal. Deep inside the commercial port requiring a taxi to connect to the ship.
Not yet geared up for tourists so it was interesting just to walk around. The Corniche - promenade - was pleasant and ran for miles around a headland. There were interesting fortifications around the town and a Souk that seemed to be pitched at locals rather than tourists. We bought some useful t-shirts for 1 Rial - about £2. Also a bag of Frankincense for about £6. I have no idea what it should cost but it looked like a bag of meth. No idea how our bag didn't get pulled on the way home.
The Mosque was excellent on a mind-boggling scale and we got a good commentary from the guide. Not just on the architecture but on Islam and local cultures etc. Unfortunately the second part of the trip to Heritage Village was cancelled due to the Red Bull Air Show which was disappointing.