1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Splendour of the Seas
First to let you know this is the first review I've ever written and only doing so at the encouragement of others. I was worried about not having enough to say, but now I can't believe how I rambled on and on ... well here goes: We are a couple ages 55 & 61 from New Jersey and have cruised well over a dozen times with various cruise lines such as Princess, Disney, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. This was our 2nd RCI cruise; the first was approx 10 years ago. I chose this cruise because of the full day stop in Belize as we had never been there before and I read on the cruise boards about the river cave tubing and wanted to give it a try. I find myself looking for itineraries with port stops we have not previously made. Special news on Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor & Celebrity's Captain's Club: It appears that the 2 clubs merged as of the first of the year (Captain's Club & Crown & Anchor) so we were automatically listed as "Diamond" level for this trip as we have many cruises with Celebrity ... that gave us a few nice perks, 20 minutes free Internet each, free fancy drink with souvenir glass each, matching Bingo play, free wine tasting coupon passes (Cost others $9.95 each), lots of Casino coupons, early disembarkation tags, VIP tender passes, a travel tote bag, etc. We flew in a day ahead, as we didn't want to gamble with Mother Nature and her passion for January snow storms in New Jersey. We stayed at the Tampa Airport Westshore Hilton and took their $5 pp shuttle van to the port. (Their shuttle from the airport to the hotel was free). Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived around noon, were second in line and were on the ship within 15 minutes of climbing out of the van. When you boarded, they did not have staff escort you to your cabin like some other lines do, which is fine with us, we like to go it on our own. The ship was built in 1996 and is beautiful, clean, easy to navigate around and very well maintained. Our cabin (Owners Suite #8000) was wonderful ... the bathroom was bigger than some cabins we have had in the past! It had a Jacuzzi tub and glass shower, double sinks, toilet and a bidet. We had booked the cruise back in May and the prices for suites were very reasonable at that time. We probably spend more time in our cabin than the average cruiser, so we went for the suite. The cruise line had a chilled bottle of wine waiting for us upon arrival and would deliver a tray of goodies in the afternoon; we never seemed to be in the cabin when they were delivered to see who was bringing them. I was surprised that we did not have a butler, (other cruise lines have butlers for the suite passengers) but our cabin attendant (His first name was Lukman) was wonderful and the concierge called us once to say hello and tell us to call if we needed anything ... I guess if there were alternative restaurants onboard and we needed reservations a concierge would come in handy ... also to book shore excursions, but we booked our own excursions privately before we left home, and were very glad we did. The ship's Stingray City tour in Grand Cayman was cancelled because of rough water. We booked ours with Captain Marvin, it was not cancelled and was fine, the water was a little rough, but in Stingray City you are only standing in water up to your waist, so no big deal that a wave came by every few seconds ... they also had a woman videographer on board Captain Marvin's boat who got into scuba gear and took photos of us from underwater while you snorkeled and interacted with the stingrays ... She worked for a company called "VIP." we ordered the DVD version and they mail it to you ($45 for VHS & $55 for DVD). We received it in the mail a few days after we got home and it is wonderful. It was sad to see how damaged Grand Cayman is, the port area is operating and most of the stores are open, but once you go outside the port area it's very bad. We have been to Grand Cayman many times and were shocked to see the damage. The Westin Hotel looks like the only one open. Roofs are missing from many buildings and trees are down everywhere. In Belize the ship's cave tubing excursion was cancelled due to high rough water, as they had heavy rains in Belize the day and night before we arrived .... the excursion we booked online with X-treme still went on as the water receded enough by 10 a.m. to make it a go ... in RCI's defense, they had to make the call the night before as to cancel or not to give everyone enough time to make other plans. The cave tubing was great, I would go again in a second ... my only complaint is that they took around 30 people and there were only 3 guides ... things were not as organized as they should have been and we were basically "winging it" on our own most of the time as we couldn't hear their instructions/directions as the group spread out on the way down the river ... the extra few inches of rain in Belize the day before resulted in all the water rushing down from the mountains into the river, so it was more like cave "white water" tubing ..... we could only do the one cave instead of the usual three because the water was so high in the other two caves that there was limited head clearance ... (There were no bats in the caves, I checked it out with my miners hat light) ... I guess the water gets so high in the caves quite often after a rain and the bats would be washed out, so I guess they live elsewhere or at least I hope so ... The hike to the cave tubing start point through the jungle was about 40-45 minutes (carrying your tube & life vest) and the jungle canopy was nice, gave you shade and made it comfortable ... only problem I ran into was some fire ants got my one ankle ... ouch! I thought Costa Maya was a waste, but that's my fault, I never did any research into what was available there. We never went into the town via bus or checked out any beaches away from the port area. The beach to the right (as you walked on the dock toward shore) was closed and to the left was very crowded (Grand Princess was docked with us). We found an umbrella and chairs on the beach near a square pool right on the shore/rocks and spent an hour or so there ... you couldn't swim there because the beach was all giant coral/rocks and rough waves and the square pool near us had all green furry slime in the bottom and was ice cold ... the other nicer pool was in the center of the mall type restaurant/shopping area and I felt like if I swam there I would be the entertainment for the masses, so we passed. We shopped a little then just went back on board. Cozumel we took a cab to Paradise Beach ($12 cab each way). We have already done a few of the ruins and tried Chankanaab Park on our last visit. Paradise Beach came recommended by some cruise board folks we spoke with so we figured we'd give it a try ... it was nice ... it was free and they had nice beach lounge chairs (similar to the ones on the ship) nice umbrellas and clean rest rooms all free to use, they just expected you to buy a beverage or a bite to eat, which was fine, sodas were only $2 ... nachos $6 ... (they were never pushy, the waiters just strolled around carrying a menu). They had snorkel equipment available for rent and a nice bar, also you could pay $5 and get a wrist band good for all non-motorized water sport items (floating trampoline, kayaks, rafts, etc.) but the water was a little rough and a bit cold, so I just got my feet wet. We did get a quick rain shower and the afternoon was very cloudy ... so we took a cab back to the ship and I shopped in the stores by the dock a little and after a very extensive bargaining session I got myself a nice gold bracelet with Australian opals in it ... I have always admired those opals so I figured why not! Back to the ship stuff: The dining room service at dinner (late seating, upper level, table #17) was consistently good, (Waiter Adrian & Asst. Waiter Brazilio) we had a great group at our round table of 8 ... a perfect table size for easy conversation ... we had many laughs during the week and we enjoyed their company very much. The waiter would bring out extra dinners for the center of the table for us to try. The nightly dinner selections were all right. The service was smooth even when some of us ordered 4 courses and others only 2. I did miss having fresh baked bread sticks (not offered) and just having the basket of bread on the table, the assistant waiter would come around with a tray/basket of bread to choose from, and he would place your selection on your bread plate. (I know, petty gripe.) At dinner later in the week they again had nothing that my other half would eat (he won't touch lamb, pork or fish) they always offered a chicken breast or a steak, but he already had resorted to that once already earlier in the week, so before anyone else arrived at our table I asked our waiter if he could have a filet mignon ... the waiter seemed nervous and said he would have to check with the head waiter ... then the head waiter came over and spoke with me and said he would check and see as it might not be available, be frozen, etc. ... I started feeling uncomfortable about even making the request and said never mind if it's too much bother, he would just have the chicken breast again ... the head waiter said no, that he would check ... and he came back and said it would be ok ... so he did get it, but they made you feel like you were really putting them out ... in the past on Celebrity when we asked for something special ... like shrimp cocktails every night and there was never a problem or discussion. We ate in the main (King & I) dining room for breakfast twice and lunch twice and I was very surprised that the service was poor 3 of the 4 times. The servers seemed frazzled and understaffed. The lunch menu was the same all week with one or two additions they would stick on the bottom of the menu on a separate paper. I enjoyed a few of the lunch selections very much, but wished the menu varied more daily. The food on the breakfast and lunch buffets was not as good as I thought it could have been or had experienced on other cruise lines, (except for the lamb chops one day at lunch which were quite good) the food was rarely hot and very strange combinations and selections ... I was looking forward to those flaky croissants at breakfast that I've grown to love on Celebrity, but theirs were terrible ... after a few days I would have killed for a glass of orange juice at breakfast that wasn't watered down beyond recognition ... the Windjammer coffee machine was often empty and decaf & ice tea very strong ... the pizza in the Solarium pool was pretty good, lots of cheese ... We never tried the hamburgers or hot dogs ... but many people did. We were disappointed that the water in the indoor Solarium pool was so cold and the outdoor pool was even colder ... while relaxing on chairs in the Solarium the first sea day we observed many people put their feet in the water, saw their shocked facial expression and watched them turn around and leave ... we didn't use the rock climbing wall or the miniature golf course, but many folks did ... they held art auctions in the Atrium area, we passed on them ... I lost a little money in the casino (tight slots) ... the comedy shows (Yakov Smirnoff -- Monday night, Tom Parks -- Thursday night & Chuck Gunter -- Friday night) were good ... at times I was laughing so hard I was crying!!! The Jump Jive & Swing show (Sunday night) was fair, we didn't go to the Tuesday night show, they had a female singer (Elaine Lesley) or the Wednesday night production show (Make Mine Broadway) so can't comment on those. The pool area musical group was the standard on most ships with the exception of the one singer who when I first heard him I thought they were hosting a bad Karaoke contestant. We did not attend the Bingo sessions, but they pushed them every chance they got ... some folks complained about the price to play. In the hot tub one afternoon we met the lucky couple that won the Caribbean Cruise for two ... that was a great Bingo prize and they couldn't have been happier. The last night the Bingo jackpot was over $5000 and we heard that two people split it. An improvement they could make was the luggage delivery system (or lack of it). While we got our luggage within an hour of boarding (I'm sure the tags marked "Suite" made the difference) other luggage stood everywhere on carts outside the passenger elevator areas blocking access to the elevators and stairs for what seemed like the entire afternoon. Some folks didn't get their luggage until well after 6:30 that night. We attended the Meet & Mingle on Sunday night as scheduled (we had received an email before we left home with the date, time and location) but the ship's staff had not been aware of the event so they had nothing ready for us ... we still enjoyed chatting with everyone we had met on the cruise boards and it was fun to match the names with the faces. To make it up to us, the ship's staff planned another M&M later in the week and delivered invitations to our cabins, so we would be sure to attend. They had soft drinks and snacks and gave away a few prizes. Since we were traveling alone it was nice to see & compare cruise notes with people around the ship that we had met at the M&M. A few of the more experienced RCI cruisers who seemed not entirely happy with Splendour of the Seas filled us in on the better amenities on many of RCI's other ships and suggested we give them a try. We had a 2 p.m. flight home so we hung around on the ship and actually got to be the last ones off ... at 10:10 a.m. They were about to close the gangway ... I kept asking people for my special prize for being last off the ship and got nothing ... go figure! All in all we had a good time & met many nice people. I enjoy a few things about Celebrity a bit better, but if I saw an extra special itinerary on one of their larger ships I'd give RCI another try.

Splendour of the Seas - Western Caribbean

Splendour of the Seas Cruise Review by tokathy

Trip Details
First to let you know this is the first review I've ever written and only doing so at the encouragement of others. I was worried about not having enough to say, but now I can't believe how I rambled on and on ... well here goes:
We are a couple ages 55 & 61 from New Jersey and have cruised well over a dozen times with various cruise lines such as Princess, Disney, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. This was our 2nd RCI cruise; the first was approx 10 years ago. I chose this cruise because of the full day stop in Belize as we had never been there before and I read on the cruise boards about the river cave tubing and wanted to give it a try. I find myself looking for itineraries with port stops we have not previously made.
Special news on Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor & Celebrity's Captain's Club: It appears that the 2 clubs merged as of the first of the year (Captain's Club & Crown & Anchor) so we were automatically listed as "Diamond" level for this trip as we have many cruises with Celebrity ... that gave us a few nice perks, 20 minutes free Internet each, free fancy drink with souvenir glass each, matching Bingo play, free wine tasting coupon passes (Cost others $9.95 each), lots of Casino coupons, early disembarkation tags, VIP tender passes, a travel tote bag, etc. We flew in a day ahead, as we didn't want to gamble with Mother Nature and her passion for January snow storms in New Jersey. We stayed at the Tampa Airport Westshore Hilton and took their $5 pp shuttle van to the port. (Their shuttle from the airport to the hotel was free).
Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived around noon, were second in line and were on the ship within 15 minutes of climbing out of the van. When you boarded, they did not have staff escort you to your cabin like some other lines do, which is fine with us, we like to go it on our own.
The ship was built in 1996 and is beautiful, clean, easy to navigate around and very well maintained. Our cabin (Owners Suite #8000) was wonderful ... the bathroom was bigger than some cabins we have had in the past! It had a Jacuzzi tub and glass shower, double sinks, toilet and a bidet. We had booked the cruise back in May and the prices for suites were very reasonable at that time. We probably spend more time in our cabin than the average cruiser, so we went for the suite.
The cruise line had a chilled bottle of wine waiting for us upon arrival and would deliver a tray of goodies in the afternoon; we never seemed to be in the cabin when they were delivered to see who was bringing them. I was surprised that we did not have a butler, (other cruise lines have butlers for the suite passengers) but our cabin attendant (His first name was Lukman) was wonderful and the concierge called us once to say hello and tell us to call if we needed anything ... I guess if there were alternative restaurants onboard and we needed reservations a concierge would come in handy ... also to book shore excursions, but we booked our own excursions privately before we left home, and were very glad we did.
The ship's Stingray City tour in Grand Cayman was cancelled because of rough water. We booked ours with Captain Marvin, it was not cancelled and was fine, the water was a little rough, but in Stingray City you are only standing in water up to your waist, so no big deal that a wave came by every few seconds ... they also had a woman videographer on board Captain Marvin's boat who got into scuba gear and took photos of us from underwater while you snorkeled and interacted with the stingrays ... She worked for a company called "VIP." we ordered the DVD version and they mail it to you ($45 for VHS & $55 for DVD). We received it in the mail a few days after we got home and it is wonderful. It was sad to see how damaged Grand Cayman is, the port area is operating and most of the stores are open, but once you go outside the port area it's very bad. We have been to Grand Cayman many times and were shocked to see the damage. The Westin Hotel looks like the only one open. Roofs are missing from many buildings and trees are down everywhere.
In Belize the ship's cave tubing excursion was cancelled due to high rough water, as they had heavy rains in Belize the day and night before we arrived .... the excursion we booked online with X-treme still went on as the water receded enough by 10 a.m. to make it a go ... in RCI's defense, they had to make the call the night before as to cancel or not to give everyone enough time to make other plans. The cave tubing was great, I would go again in a second ... my only complaint is that they took around 30 people and there were only 3 guides ... things were not as organized as they should have been and we were basically "winging it" on our own most of the time as we couldn't hear their instructions/directions as the group spread out on the way down the river ... the extra few inches of rain in Belize the day before resulted in all the water rushing down from the mountains into the river, so it was more like cave "white water" tubing ..... we could only do the one cave instead of the usual three because the water was so high in the other two caves that there was limited head clearance ... (There were no bats in the caves, I checked it out with my miners hat light) ... I guess the water gets so high in the caves quite often after a rain and the bats would be washed out, so I guess they live elsewhere or at least I hope so ... The hike to the cave tubing start point through the jungle was about 40-45 minutes (carrying your tube & life vest) and the jungle canopy was nice, gave you shade and made it comfortable ... only problem I ran into was some fire ants got my one ankle ... ouch!
I thought Costa Maya was a waste, but that's my fault, I never did any research into what was available there. We never went into the town via bus or checked out any beaches away from the port area. The beach to the right (as you walked on the dock toward shore) was closed and to the left was very crowded (Grand Princess was docked with us). We found an umbrella and chairs on the beach near a square pool right on the shore/rocks and spent an hour or so there ... you couldn't swim there because the beach was all giant coral/rocks and rough waves and the square pool near us had all green furry slime in the bottom and was ice cold ... the other nicer pool was in the center of the mall type restaurant/shopping area and I felt like if I swam there I would be the entertainment for the masses, so we passed. We shopped a little then just went back on board.
Cozumel we took a cab to Paradise Beach ($12 cab each way). We have already done a few of the ruins and tried Chankanaab Park on our last visit. Paradise Beach came recommended by some cruise board folks we spoke with so we figured we'd give it a try ... it was nice ... it was free and they had nice beach lounge chairs (similar to the ones on the ship) nice umbrellas and clean rest rooms all free to use, they just expected you to buy a beverage or a bite to eat, which was fine, sodas were only $2 ... nachos $6 ... (they were never pushy, the waiters just strolled around carrying a menu). They had snorkel equipment available for rent and a nice bar, also you could pay $5 and get a wrist band good for all non-motorized water sport items (floating trampoline, kayaks, rafts, etc.) but the water was a little rough and a bit cold, so I just got my feet wet. We did get a quick rain shower and the afternoon was very cloudy ... so we took a cab back to the ship and I shopped in the stores by the dock a little and after a very extensive bargaining session I got myself a nice gold bracelet with Australian opals in it ... I have always admired those opals so I figured why not!
Back to the ship stuff: The dining room service at dinner (late seating, upper level, table #17) was consistently good, (Waiter Adrian & Asst. Waiter Brazilio) we had a great group at our round table of 8 ... a perfect table size for easy conversation ... we had many laughs during the week and we enjoyed their company very much. The waiter would bring out extra dinners for the center of the table for us to try. The nightly dinner selections were all right. The service was smooth even when some of us ordered 4 courses and others only 2. I did miss having fresh baked bread sticks (not offered) and just having the basket of bread on the table, the assistant waiter would come around with a tray/basket of bread to choose from, and he would place your selection on your bread plate. (I know, petty gripe.) At dinner later in the week they again had nothing that my other half would eat (he won't touch lamb, pork or fish) they always offered a chicken breast or a steak, but he already had resorted to that once already earlier in the week, so before anyone else arrived at our table I asked our waiter if he could have a filet mignon ... the waiter seemed nervous and said he would have to check with the head waiter ... then the head waiter came over and spoke with me and said he would check and see as it might not be available, be frozen, etc. ... I started feeling uncomfortable about even making the request and said never mind if it's too much bother, he would just have the chicken breast again ... the head waiter said no, that he would check ... and he came back and said it would be ok ... so he did get it, but they made you feel like you were really putting them out ... in the past on Celebrity when we asked for something special ... like shrimp cocktails every night and there was never a problem or discussion.
We ate in the main (King & I) dining room for breakfast twice and lunch twice and I was very surprised that the service was poor 3 of the 4 times. The servers seemed frazzled and understaffed. The lunch menu was the same all week with one or two additions they would stick on the bottom of the menu on a separate paper. I enjoyed a few of the lunch selections very much, but wished the menu varied more daily.
The food on the breakfast and lunch buffets was not as good as I thought it could have been or had experienced on other cruise lines, (except for the lamb chops one day at lunch which were quite good) the food was rarely hot and very strange combinations and selections ... I was looking forward to those flaky croissants at breakfast that I've grown to love on Celebrity, but theirs were terrible ... after a few days I would have killed for a glass of orange juice at breakfast that wasn't watered down beyond recognition ... the Windjammer coffee machine was often empty and decaf & ice tea very strong ... the pizza in the Solarium pool was pretty good, lots of cheese ... We never tried the hamburgers or hot dogs ... but many people did.
We were disappointed that the water in the indoor Solarium pool was so cold and the outdoor pool was even colder ... while relaxing on chairs in the Solarium the first sea day we observed many people put their feet in the water, saw their shocked facial expression and watched them turn around and leave ... we didn't use the rock climbing wall or the miniature golf course, but many folks did ... they held art auctions in the Atrium area, we passed on them ... I lost a little money in the casino (tight slots) ... the comedy shows (Yakov Smirnoff -- Monday night, Tom Parks -- Thursday night & Chuck Gunter -- Friday night) were good ... at times I was laughing so hard I was crying!!! The Jump Jive & Swing show (Sunday night) was fair, we didn't go to the Tuesday night show, they had a female singer (Elaine Lesley) or the Wednesday night production show (Make Mine Broadway) so can't comment on those. The pool area musical group was the standard on most ships with the exception of the one singer who when I first heard him I thought they were hosting a bad Karaoke contestant.
We did not attend the Bingo sessions, but they pushed them every chance they got ... some folks complained about the price to play. In the hot tub one afternoon we met the lucky couple that won the Caribbean Cruise for two ... that was a great Bingo prize and they couldn't have been happier. The last night the Bingo jackpot was over $5000 and we heard that two people split it.
An improvement they could make was the luggage delivery system (or lack of it). While we got our luggage within an hour of boarding (I'm sure the tags marked "Suite" made the difference) other luggage stood everywhere on carts outside the passenger elevator areas blocking access to the elevators and stairs for what seemed like the entire afternoon. Some folks didn't get their luggage until well after 6:30 that night.
We attended the Meet & Mingle on Sunday night as scheduled (we had received an email before we left home with the date, time and location) but the ship's staff had not been aware of the event so they had nothing ready for us ... we still enjoyed chatting with everyone we had met on the cruise boards and it was fun to match the names with the faces. To make it up to us, the ship's staff planned another M&M later in the week and delivered invitations to our cabins, so we would be sure to attend. They had soft drinks and snacks and gave away a few prizes. Since we were traveling alone it was nice to see & compare cruise notes with people around the ship that we had met at the M&M. A few of the more experienced RCI cruisers who seemed not entirely happy with Splendour of the Seas filled us in on the better amenities on many of RCI's other ships and suggested we give them a try.
We had a 2 p.m. flight home so we hung around on the ship and actually got to be the last ones off ... at 10:10 a.m. They were about to close the gangway ... I kept asking people for my special prize for being last off the ship and got nothing ... go figure!
All in all we had a good time & met many nice people. I enjoy a few things about Celebrity a bit better, but if I saw an extra special itinerary on one of their larger ships I'd give RCI another try.
tokathy’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Rates
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.