My review of the Splendour may be irrelevant since hours after we disembarked, she was taken to Cadiz for the refurb, but I think my review may be helpful for those interested in sailing with RCCL for the first time. We sailed out of Venice on Oct 17, 2011, for what amounted to be a transition cruise as the ship was sailing to Spain to be refurbished. The Splendour is among the oldest and smallest in the RCCL fleet, and the company felt it was time to spruce her up. Our Captain mistakenly joked during his welcome speech that they were extending the ship and many passengers aboard were concerned. There seemed to be a consensus among those I spoke with that Splendour was the perfect size. It will definitely benefit from new carpets, flat screen tvs, and alternative dining venues, but in terms of passenger capacity and easy of navigation around the ship, she is absolutely wonderful just the way she is. He did clear up his little joke during a chat with the passengers in the centrum on the second sea day. The ship will remain the same size, and that alone encourages me to sail her again once she is back on the seas.
Embarkation in Venice was...interesting. I'd gotten some bad info about how to get to the ship. Many people had mentioned a shuttle that picks RCCL passengers up in Pizalle Roma. This was not the case. You had to board the "People Mover" which is a light rail type tram that carries your from Piazalle Roma to the edge of the port. To board the "People Mover" enter the building next to the luggage storage place on the bridge side of the square. Buy a ticket from the automated machines (there is no customer service agent to help, you just have to figure it out) then take the elevator or escalator up one floor to board the tram. Get off at the first stop, THEN there was a shuttle bus to the port, but at that point you are so close by that most people walk. Another alternative is the water taxi which picks up and drops off at St Marks. It will take you to the pier. We took it from the pier to St Marks and walked back, so I can't give details on how to do it in reverse, but it is a nice ride along the same route the ship will take sailing out of the city.
When we arrived at check in, it was not busy, but the building is large and there are no signs to direct us. There were plenty of RCCL staff around, but they seemed much more interested in talking to each other than in helping to answer questions. I know it was the end of a long season for many of them and they were all looking forward to getting through this one final week of dealing with us, but I got annoyed quickly both because I'd had little sleep for the previous two days getting to Venice and because it happened over and over and over. We arrived in the building and had to interrupt a private conversation between 2 RCCL employees (who were sitting at a table at the entrance, clearly they were the greeters) to ask which way to go. Then we got to the next station and the man was just standing there staring off into space. I felt like I had to wake him up from a dream to ask him where to go. Then, after having our passports checked 4 times in the space of about 50 yards, we finally had our cruise cards and made it through security. The next step was to board an elevator to get to the ramp that would take us to the ship. The elevator filled up quickly, yet the RCCL employee who was standing in the door of the elevator to keep the door open was also staring out into space, and I finally had to say, "Excuse me, we are full" before she came back to the present moment and let our elevator ascend.
7588 had lots of storage, was good sized and had a decent sized bathroom. Only negative was the shower curtain that sticks to you while showering. Balcony was good size and included a table. There was also a mini fridge in the room.
Love just wandering the streets of Venice! See my review for info on how to get to the ship from Venice.
Beautiful old town. Loved "walking the walls" and dining at an outdoor cafe. If you want to buy any "supplies (water, for example) make sure to do it OUTSIDE the walls of old town or risk paying 3x as much.
Fantastic! Loved the sights-the Lascarius War Room, the Cathedral, Mdina. Wish I had more time there-will definately go back!!!
It's the rock and only the rock. It only takes a few hours and it is nice, but not exceptional.