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Venice: we stayed at B& B Casanova ai Tolentini the night before our cruise and again for 3 nights after the cruise. Highly recommend this B&B, rooms are large and beautifully decorated, free internet access, very helpful staff. Ideal location--less than 2 minute walk to Piazzale Roma where buses (both land and water) are located and only 2 easy to navigate bridges to cross with your luggage. Website is www.casanovaaitolentini.com Highly recommend getting the Rough Guide Map of Venice before you go---it is a very durable and accurate map (we got on Amazon.com). We also enjoyed using Rick Steve's Venice 2010 Guidebook and audiotours (download these before your trip at ricksteves.com.) If you have any students be sure to bring their student ID cards as multiple locations give student discounts (including free entrance to some sites). We bought transportation cards in advance from VeniceConnected.com and also museum passes which are cheaper if you purchase them before arrival in Venice. Ship: we were upgraded from interior rooms to deluxe balcony rooms which we enjoyed. We were disappointed to find the swimming pools have salt water in them. Food: We selected early dining (6:30pm) and were glad we did because we enjoyed having dinner each night with the same people. We did miss main dinner on the day we visited Athens as "all on board time" was 7:30 pm--however we enjoyed the casual dining in Windjammer instead that night. In general we felt the food was not as good as on other ships we have been on (3 course dinners compared to 4-5 course dinners on other ships). Windjammers was usually very crowded, the food there was pretty good. Entertainment: could be improved, had very similar singing/dancing shows on 3 nights, acrobatic entertainers 2 nights, fairly good magician one night. Split, Croatia: we took the Scenic Krka National Park Excursion offered by the ship ($62/person) and greatly enjoyed this, nice 1 hour hike around the waterfalls and then free time to visit small museums and mills. The bus driver let us off in town on the way back and we had time to walk around the Diocletian's Palace and do some shopping and then walked back to the ship. Corfu, Greece: we took the Acheilles Palace, Paleocastritsa Monastery and Old Town Tour Excursion offered by the ship ($64/person) and felt it was well-worth the cost. The guide was great and utilized "whisperer communication devices" that allowed everyone in the group to easily hear her comments. The bus driver let us off in town on the way back and the ship had a shuttle bus back to the ship that was free for those who had been excursions ($5 each way if did not take an excursion). Athens, Greece: the ship docks in Piraeus which is 6.5 miles from Athens. Based on recommendations on this website we took the train into Athens---this saved our family of 4 over $200 compared to taking the ship's excursions. The train station is a long walk from the ship (30 min if walking fast), from where we were docked we walked to the left (past the aggressive taxi drivers) looking for Gate E6 where you cross a pedestrian walkway to get to the train station. In the station it is very easy to get on the train, cost is 1 euro/person each way and a 15 minute ride into Athens. We got off at the Thiossis station and walked up to the Acropolis, good photo ops on the way. Admission to the Acropolis is 12 euros/person and also provides admission to the Athenian Way. We decided to walk to the Parliament to see the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this takes place a little before the top of each hour and is very interesting (the guards wear kilts and studded boots and do an elaborate high stepping march during the ceremony). We then walked back to the Plaka and took the train from the Maleoskrian station back to the pier. Our ship only allowed us about 7 hours in Athens which was not enough time to see everything that we would have liked to (we did not have time to see the museums). We used Rick Steve's Athens Guidebook and found it helpful (also has information about Olympia in it). Mykonos, Greece: we were disappointed by this port. While many people have said it is the prettiest port we did not think so--it is very clean and the houses are all white, however the surrounding landscape was brown and not that interesting to us. We did not take an excursion here and perhaps would have enjoyed it more if we did. We visited a couple of museums (maritime and archeological) however the museums were very small and not worth the admission costs. The beaches are more like gravel than sand. This was the only port on our trip that used tenders and if you were not on an excursion you had to get a tender ticket to leave the ship with some not able to leave before 10 am. Some of our "table mates" rented ATVs and enjoyed using those to site see around the island. It was nice to have a quieter day after the previous hectic day with lots of walking in Athens. Katalon, Greece: it is very easy to get to the train station and take the train to see Olympia (3 euros round trip). The train station is about a 5 minutes walk from the pier, go to the right and look for a museum with pictures of ice cream cones and clowns -- the tiny train station is located behind it (very near to the waterfront). You purchase the tickets on the train. The first train leaves around 8:30 am--try to get off the ship in time to catch this train as the trains only leave every 2-3 hours. In Olympia it is a short walk to the archeological site and Archeological museum---admission to both is free for students and 9 euros/person for others who want to see both the site and the museum (otherwise 6 euros/site and 6 euros/museum)! We enjoyed a leisurely walk around the site, then ate lunch and saw the museums (very worthwhile). There are 3 museums, two of these are completely free and each was enjoyable to visit. Our family easily saved over $200 by going on our own compared to taking the ship's excursions at this port. Disembarkation: tickets were dispersed the night before with options to change your time of disembarkation. We selected 8:10 am and had time for an enjoyable breakfast in the King & I before leaving the ship. There was about a 15 min wait for the free shuttle bus back to Piazzale Roma, but everyone was orderly and may have been a shorter wait if we had disembarked earlier.

Travel Tips for Spendour of the Seas

Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by lulu1996

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2010
  • Destination: Western Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Venice: we stayed at B& B Casanova ai Tolentini the night before our cruise and again for 3 nights after the cruise. Highly recommend this B&B, rooms are large and beautifully decorated, free internet access, very helpful staff. Ideal location--less than 2 minute walk to Piazzale Roma where buses (both land and water) are located and only 2 easy to navigate bridges to cross with your luggage. Website is www.casanovaaitolentini.com Highly recommend getting the Rough Guide Map of Venice before you go---it is a very durable and accurate map (we got on Amazon.com). We also enjoyed using Rick Steve's Venice 2010 Guidebook and audiotours (download these before your trip at ricksteves.com.) If you have any students be sure to bring their student ID cards as multiple locations give student discounts (including free entrance to some sites). We bought transportation cards in advance from VeniceConnected.com and also museum passes which are cheaper if you purchase them before arrival in Venice.
Ship: we were upgraded from interior rooms to deluxe balcony rooms which we enjoyed. We were disappointed to find the swimming pools have salt water in them.
Food: We selected early dining (6:30pm) and were glad we did because we enjoyed having dinner each night with the same people. We did miss main dinner on the day we visited Athens as "all on board time" was 7:30 pm--however we enjoyed the casual dining in Windjammer instead that night. In general we felt the food was not as good as on other ships we have been on (3 course dinners compared to 4-5 course dinners on other ships). Windjammers was usually very crowded, the food there was pretty good.
Entertainment: could be improved, had very similar singing/dancing shows on 3 nights, acrobatic entertainers 2 nights, fairly good magician one night.
Split, Croatia: we took the Scenic Krka National Park Excursion offered by the ship ($62/person) and greatly enjoyed this, nice 1 hour hike around the waterfalls and then free time to visit small museums and mills. The bus driver let us off in town on the way back and we had time to walk around the Diocletian's Palace and do some shopping and then walked back to the ship.
Corfu, Greece: we took the Acheilles Palace, Paleocastritsa Monastery and Old Town Tour Excursion offered by the ship ($64/person) and felt it was well-worth the cost. The guide was great and utilized "whisperer communication devices" that allowed everyone in the group to easily hear her comments. The bus driver let us off in town on the way back and the ship had a shuttle bus back to the ship that was free for those who had been excursions ($5 each way if did not take an excursion).
Athens, Greece: the ship docks in Piraeus which is 6.5 miles from Athens. Based on recommendations on this website we took the train into Athens---this saved our family of 4 over $200 compared to taking the ship's excursions. The train station is a long walk from the ship (30 min if walking fast), from where we were docked we walked to the left (past the aggressive taxi drivers) looking for Gate E6 where you cross a pedestrian walkway to get to the train station. In the station it is very easy to get on the train, cost is 1 euro/person each way and a 15 minute ride into Athens. We got off at the Thiossis station and walked up to the Acropolis, good photo ops on the way. Admission to the Acropolis is 12 euros/person and also provides admission to the Athenian Way. We decided to walk to the Parliament to see the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this takes place a little before the top of each hour and is very interesting (the guards wear kilts and studded boots and do an elaborate high stepping march during the ceremony). We then walked back to the Plaka and took the train from the Maleoskrian station back to the pier. Our ship only allowed us about 7 hours in Athens which was not enough time to see everything that we would have liked to (we did not have time to see the museums). We used Rick Steve's Athens Guidebook and found it helpful (also has information about Olympia in it).
Mykonos, Greece: we were disappointed by this port. While many people have said it is the prettiest port we did not think so--it is very clean and the houses are all white, however the surrounding landscape was brown and not that interesting to us. We did not take an excursion here and perhaps would have enjoyed it more if we did. We visited a couple of museums (maritime and archeological) however the museums were very small and not worth the admission costs. The beaches are more like gravel than sand. This was the only port on our trip that used tenders and if you were not on an excursion you had to get a tender ticket to leave the ship with some not able to leave before 10 am. Some of our "table mates" rented ATVs and enjoyed using those to site see around the island. It was nice to have a quieter day after the previous hectic day with lots of walking in Athens.
Katalon, Greece: it is very easy to get to the train station and take the train to see Olympia (3 euros round trip). The train station is about a 5 minutes walk from the pier, go to the right and look for a museum with pictures of ice cream cones and clowns -- the tiny train station is located behind it (very near to the waterfront). You purchase the tickets on the train. The first train leaves around 8:30 am--try to get off the ship in time to catch this train as the trains only leave every 2-3 hours. In Olympia it is a short walk to the archeological site and Archeological museum---admission to both is free for students and 9 euros/person for others who want to see both the site and the museum (otherwise 6 euros/site and 6 euros/museum)! We enjoyed a leisurely walk around the site, then ate lunch and saw the museums (very worthwhile). There are 3 museums, two of these are completely free and each was enjoyable to visit. Our family easily saved over $200 by going on our own compared to taking the ship's excursions at this port.
Disembarkation: tickets were dispersed the night before with options to change your time of disembarkation. We selected 8:10 am and had time for an enjoyable breakfast in the King & I before leaving the ship. There was about a 15 min wait for the free shuttle bus back to Piazzale Roma, but everyone was orderly and may have been a shorter wait if we had disembarked earlier.
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Cabin Review

Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Cabin D1 7540
Great location, ample closets, the bathroom is small--especially the shower stall
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins