Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by Jo Anne Davis
- Sail Date: July 2004
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Grand Suite
A breakfast buffet was included with the overnight stay and it was sumptuous and very diverse. Everything from cereal to cut meats to a cheese plate to warming dishes of prepared entrees and side dishes. This would probably have cost 20 - 25 Euros. The hotel prepares you to have high expectations for the cruise. The added bonus of booking a hotel with the cruiseline is the handling of the luggage that is done from the hotel. We were instructed to have our bags outside our door by 7am, and they were magically whisked to the port and delivered to our cabins. It was wonderfully seamless.
We were taken to the ship in a modern a/c bus and accompanied by a RCCL rep that had been stationed at the hotel handling any needs that might have arisen. I can't overstate how well everything was coordinated with the hotel and the ship. Embarkation was equally fast and easy. We were traveling with a family and friends group of fifty, and we were all accommodated very quickly. The pre-boarding docs done online have also streamlined this process. It took just a few minutes to have our passports checked and a credit card recorded. Security was very thorough in examining all carry-on items.
The main dining room in "The King and I" sparkled each night with the spanking white linens and the glassware and china. The bustle of the wait staff proved that each one knew their role and were prepared to execute it with excellence. They did not disappoint. The food was above average and very satisfying. Not one in our group had anything but raves about the quality of the food. Although I had heard remarks about RCCL's ranch steak, the menus have been overhauled and it has been removed. The beef was tender and moist, and was a big hit with the teenagers. There was a large selection of both American and European wines to choose from. When ordering a bottle, enjoy your glass or two and simply ask your waiter/waitress to cork it for the next night. It is a great way to enjoy a finer quality than the hand poured house wine.
Entertainment was fine. Since we were such a large group, we WERE our own entertainment. The teenagers would find their way up to the game room after dinner and play cards and dummy poker (who's the dummy that taught them, haha). Karaoke was alot of fun and many in our group enjoyed participating. It is always fun to see the hidden talents onboard a ship reveal themselves on karaoke night. Just where were these people when American Idol came to town? They were very gifted! The casino became a familiar stop after the 2nd show of the evening and a real camaraderie was developed between the regular players and the dealers. Somehow the relationship made it less painful as they cleared the chips from the table. This itinerary is not for the old or the infirm. The routine was to arise early and be prepared to get off the ship by 9am, board a bus, spend the day sightseeing, and then returning about 5 pm, or just in time to embark. There is only 1 day at sea, and you get that the last day out. It is really needed. You will get wiped out with the full day of touring. Selecting the late dining hour of 9:30 pm did enable us to casually take a nap and relax before preparing to go out for dinner. I don't know how else you can see everything and not be gone every day in port. All of the ports on the western Med cruise involve driving quite a distance to get into the local cities of interest. This cruise was so fabulous that this entire group has already begun plans to return to Europe next summer and are looking to add a few more days and cities to the itinerary. We have all begun training now for the activity level expected! Thanks, RCCL, for a job well done. It will be happy memories for a long time.
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