Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by dawnmarie386
- Sail Date: April 2010
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Hotel Info (if any) - We spent 2 days pre cruise at the Hotel Tritone on Mestre. The convenience of the hotel is phenomenal! Clean, comfortable, adequately sized room with included breakfast buffet offering a great mixture of English and Italian style foods. The hotel is directly across the street from the train station and bus stop to Venice (each is a ten minute ride). The bus is included in the vaporetto transportation package through veniceconnected.com making it a great value. Dropoff/pick up point in Venice is the Piazza Roma just down the block from the train station.
Ship Info - Simply the most beautiful glass-walled dining room I have experienced aboard a ship! Spectacular views! Clean, comfortable, and spacious, this ship is holding up quite well. It was a pleasant space to spend two weeks. About the only thing I would suggest is to give the wooden balcony rails a coat of varnish to protect them from the elements.
Activities - As expected, there were opportunities for trivia, bingo (European style with pencil and paper), art shows, gambling tournaments, shopping, wine tastings, towel folding demonstrations. We even made some beaded jewelry.
Service - We had awesome waitstaff in the main dining room and plenty of assistance in the Windjammer as well. I will say that it seemed like there were several new crew members in the My Time Dining section -- that experience could have been a bit more polished. Our cabin steward - Dexter - is a breath of pure sunshine: always happy to assist and quick with a smile. He didn't duplicate a towel animal once during our two weeks aboard -- an effort we really appreciated! Constantin is the My Time Dining maitre' d and he was fabulous, always greeting us by name and making us feel like cherished friends.
Port & Shore Excursions - see details of our excursions below. We did take a Royal Caribbean excursion in Corfu (Paleokastritsa, Lakones, and Wine) because we wanted to visit the Paleokastritsa area on the opposite side of the island and sample some authentic Greek refreshments. It was informative, interesting, and we had plenty of time at each stop although it was obvious that the "season" hadn't yet started. Many of the shops were still closed and the hotels were just beginning to spruce up the paint and landscaping. I am still in awe that the buses were able to squeeze through the narrow, twisting streets.
Summary Travel To Port of Embarkation - On the day of the cruise, we opted for a taxi from our hotel right to the port. This was arranged by the front desk of the hotel and cost 40 euro for door to door service at the port(including our 4 large suitcases!)
Stateroom - We had a balcony cabin on the 7th deck portside. What a treat to view sail-away with a cold margarita (drink of the day) in hand: taking dozens of pictures and waving to Venetians and tourists alike in vaporettos, hotels, and canal-side restaurants. Simply stunning scenery. We had ample storage for all of our belongings. We made use of the European style outlets so we were able to plug up to 4 electric items in at once. The TV was an old Trinitron that had seen better days.
Dining - Overall, we enjoyed the My Time Dining as it does give you total flexibility for planning out your evening. It was especially enjoyable to meet new people each night as it definitely widens your circle of new friends on board. It was great to chat with lots of people each day and find commonalities that we would have missed if we were at one table each night for the entire cruise.
Children's Clubs - Did not use
Entertainment - The Royal Singers and Dancers were upbeat and good. It seems like the shows have all been seen before (70's, ballroom, movie soundtracks) yet we still made it down to each one. There was a juggler who was okay. His act would have played better in a smaller venue. Singer Jacqui Scott was a headliner one night and she was excellent! Another headliner - a "rat pack" tribute needed more work and inspiration.
Disembarkation - Since we were staying on board, our new sea pass cards were delivered the night before and we got off the ship early to spend another day sightseeing in Venice. At the end of our cruise - we waited in the card room until our luggage color tag was called for the transfer to the airport. Couldn't have been simpler or more convenient.
Summary - Splendour of the Seas is more than the sum of her parts. The entire crew from the captain to the room stewards, the dining room attendants, to the bartenders all work in tandem to create a remarkable, unforgettable cruise experience. The amenities from the rock wall and walking/running track, the spa, gymnasium, solarium, various nightclubs and watering holes, the shops, entertainment, bingo, art shows, casino, all the different things to do and experience allow you to be as active or as lazy as you want to be. We had a fantastic time and made memories to last a lifetime!
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Athens (Piraeus)Had pre-booked a tour with Athensbytaxi.com (highly recommended on these boards) and had a delightful driver named Dimitri! He was knowledgeable, funny, and considerate. The acropolis is such an imposing sight and it was interesting to see archaeologists at work on site. It was crowded but flowed. The museum is well done and first rate. I recommend at minimum an hour for this. The original carved women (columns from the Erechtheion) are now here and at eye level they are amazingly detailed. Here was the only place I felt we could have used more time. We rode up Mount Lycabettus for views of the city and a bit of quiet -- well worth it! I especially liked the Roman agora with the tower of the winds structure. Watched the changing of the guards at the presidential palace - had the place to ourselves! Quick shopping in the plaka area was worthwhile - best prices on olive oil soaps and silver jewelry!View All 1,261 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
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CorfuWe took a shore excursion to Paleokastritsa to see the beautiful bays and coves. The water is crystal clear and a beautiful green-blue. Only a few shops open although there were 4 or 5 busloads of visitors. The streets are narrow and winding up and down the hills. Lots of olive groves with black netting underneath to catch the olives as they fall. Wildflowers blooming along the road brightened up the drive. We went to a taverna for some mezes (traditional Greek appetizers, wine, and even tried some Ouzo). Nice and relaxing way to spend a day.View All 678 Corfu Cruise Port Reviews
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Katakolon (Olympia)The big draw here is Ancient Olympia and taxis or the train or a shore excursion are plentiful. There's even some horse drawn buggy rides you could take around the area. We opted to stay in town and wander the couple of blocks of shops and then eat lunch at a seaside taverna. We picked one with a mandolin player for some mood music and tried some fabulous Greek souvlaki (served interestingly with french fries) and also sampled a tasty tzatziki dip. There's some great art shops in town -- nice to see something besides the ubiquitous magnets, shot glasses, and t-shirts. Some great jewelry stores too, with a wide price range from a few Euro to thousands.View All 560 Katakolon (Olympia) Cruise Port Reviews
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MykonosOne port I would definitely like to return to visit. Such a slow, visually beautiful place. The town is pretty far from the dock so I recommend the shuttle bus to town. We then walked around independently and found the Paraportiani church. Head around to the ocean side for amazing views of the windmills and a rock to jump down to for photos. We meandered up a street to check out the shops and happened upon Katerina's so we stopped in for liquid refreshment on the teeny porch with views of the windmills. Great way to pass an hour! The water is amazingly clear with thousands of spiny urchins dotting the rocks. Our waiter told us they are delicious. Petros, the pink pelican, was preening his feathers down by the fish market and posing for photos. Lots of small neighborhood churches, tavernas, and stores, and even a gelato shop!View All 1,082 Mykonos Cruise Port Reviews
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SplitIt was a bit drizzly when we took the tender over to Split. We followed the crowds past the vegetable market to the old palace walls and just meandered the streets peering into shops and taking pictures of the old, crumbling walls. Found the Mestrovic statue and rubbed his toe for a wish. Bought some souvenirs in the basement halls. Not a large area to walk around. Some beautifully kept courtyards. Easily done on your own.View All 404 Split Cruise Port Reviews
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VeniceFirst thing we did was ride up and down the Grand Canal! How simply wonderful it felt to be in Venice! We walked across all four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, as well as took several tours: We did the Secret Itinerary tour of Doge's palace which was fantastic. Great stories of the various activities and people who once worked, lived, and were imprisoned within the palace grounds. Getting tickets on-line before coming to Venice is a great time saver and a good way to beat the crowds and lines. We took advantage of the vaporetto passes which also worked on the buses to and from Piazza Roma and the Mestre where we stayed at night. The vap system is very easy and user friendly. It helps to get a route pamphlet when you get your tickets so you know how many stops until the one you want. The clock tower tour is lively and fun and the only way to get to the top to take wonderful Square photos. We opted for the Georgio Maggiori bell tower (again for photos of St. Mark's square) and had no lines. We used a Rick Steves' podcast (free!) for the Grand Canal, St. Mark's Basilica, and Frari Church. Duck into as many of the churches as you can! The architecture and paintings make each a unique mini-museum and offer some quiet, reflective space away from the bustle that is Venice.View All 1,462 Venice Cruise Port Reviews
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