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ClaireP

Review Splendour of the seas 16 June - Greece and Italy

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We flew the night before, gatwick to Venice and had night booked at the crowne plaza, quart d'altino. I had arranged pick up by their shuttle bus at 10.35pm. This was very efficient and the driver easy to find. After 15 mins drive, we arrived to a modern hotel with greet check in.

 

Our room was very modern, with a huge bath tub. We were offered breakfast for free, as we had a 2nd room booked but my father in law could to travel - so that was a nice touch. The reception staff can also sell you train tickets to Venice and the station is literally behind the hotel. They reception had timetables also. Trains are not that frequent and take about 30 mins to reach Santa Lucia in Venice.

 

We had breakfast, fairly simple but good enough and set off for the train. It took longer than the published time but was simple to do and we would def stay there again for a pre-cruise stay.

 

We left our luggage at the station left luggage, this is down the far end of platform 1. It costs €5 per bag for 5 hours, with a tariff after that. It was very efficient, you get a tag to claim the bags and pay when you collect. We used this on our homeward day also and it seems to get very busy. So drop off early would be my advice and if there is a queue when you return to collect, there is a collect door at the left, so you don't have to wait in line. If you have visited Venice before, you my recall the public toilets are few and far between

 

The station has very clean, modern toilets next to the left luggage for €1.

 

We had a lovely 3 hour wander round Venice, taking in marks square and the Rialto bridge. Then we returned to pick up our luggage (we challenged ourselves to travel with hand luggage for the week). Then a short walk over the bridge into pizzale Roma and across to the people mover. This is on the right hand side of the square, if the canal is behind you but is not really obvious, it is just an entrance in a white building.

 

Tickets are €1 and easily got from a machine inside, which does a number of languages. Up the escalator and onto the people over, which is a type of monorail and runs about every 6 minutes. The first stop is the port, for all ships. A short walk and we were in the terminal for splendour.

 

This was a sneaky cruise, so went for an inside cabin, cheapest possible. This was an experiment as we have not done inside for a week before

 

Check in was very swift, joined the diamond queue and was the next guest in line. Then onto the boarding area, quick passport check, scanning luggage and straight on board, c12.50. Rooms were ready @1, so we waited and went down.

 

Our room was very compact, with the bed configured as a double, it was against one wall. We saw similar rooms done as singles and it looked more roomy but we stayed as a double. The bathroom was also small and perfectly formed but did not really have much storage. Luckily our crown and anchor welcome gift (candied fruit and shortbread) came in a storage tub, which I put to use holding some bits. One other point, there was no mini bar/fridge but room steward will bring ice for you. We quickly unpacked and went exploring

 

Splendour has been recently revitalized, it showed. The solarium was a nice surprise and following some fellow cruise critic advice, we went for a roast beef sandwich at the park cafe, it was as advised - excellent!

 

We also enjoyed the boardwalk dog house twice - that was also excellent.

 

Overall, the ship was great. Good service, lovely selection of food for dinner in the windjammer each night. We ate in the windjammer each night as we went casual for the cruise.

 

Sail away from Venice, one of the reasons this trip was so great. We got a great spot on the port side of deck 10 and held our positions. The journey takes about 30 minutes, the ship is far taller than anything in Venice and it seems quite a strange view. You can see all the main parts, great view of st marks and just really beautiful.

 

Ports of call. We had done some before but had 2 new ones - Corfu and dubrovnik. Key points which might be useful i have noted below. We did our own thing in each port

 

Bari, Italy. Arrived Sunday lunchtime. So very little was open but a nice walk round the walls, by the castle and churches. Got some drinks at the mini mart inside the dock gates, the prices were reasonable

 

Corfu. Shuttle bus offered $10 per person. However, we like to walk. So set off, following the main road and you pass the old and new forts. We walked all round and went in the farthest fort. It cost $4 per person. It was amazing. Also had a nice cafe, with wifi and reasonable prices and toilets. It was very hot! Wandered back through the town and market. A really nice place. If you fancy a walk, it is a nice one, makes the shuttle seem pricy

 

Due to gale force winds in Mykonos, the port was closed. The captain switched piraeus and Mykonos, which was a good plan.

 

Piraeus. Arrived @11, so we went out after lunch. You can get yourself into Athens for a very reasonable fare, via the little train. The first time we tried, it took us a while to find the station. To find it, exit the port terminal ( the wifi there is free but so slow, it was not worth it) and walk round the port, keeping it on your left. Keep walking, it takes about 25 mins at a good pace and then you will see a pedestrian bridge with escalators. Go up and over the bridge. The train is in the building to your left. Single journey is €1.40 and 24 hour pass is €4. We stayed in port as we are going later in the year also but got some supplies in the supermarket

 

Mykonos. Arrived and it didn't look familiar. Turns out the new port was still shut, so we were at the old port further round the island. We had 2 attempts to get in position and did achieve it. Local boats were our tenders and then buses had been arranged to take us to Mykonos town. As we have been several times and the tender looked very choppy, we stayed on board and enjoyed the ship whilst it was quiet.

 

Dubrovnik. This was amazing. The port is very quiet, with supermarket and local market right beside it. The actual city is not visible from the port and the signs were minimal. A shuttle bus was offered $10 per person. We walked out of the port, the policeman at the gate, to whom we had to show photo identification to leave the port :-), advised us the old town was to the right (not over the bridge - if you are there this will make sense). We intended to walk but were a little concerned about wasting time as we were only in port from 7-1. We thought we Might get the public bus from outside the port as 12 Kns per person, tickets are available outside the terminal but a taxi was offered at €10. Outside the terminal they seemed happy to go just to the town, so we jumped in. Glad we did as the day was already very hot and it turned out to be an uphill walk for *most of the way

 

The town was really impressive and much more compact than I expected, having visited Rhodes, Greece for example. We entered at the pile gate, which is the main taxi and shuttle bus drop off. One note of caution, I slipped down the stairs, a combination of newly washed, worn stone steps, it was a hard landing!

 

The city walls are one of the main attractions and the tickets are purchased just inside the gate, on our right as you*walk in, tucked into the wall. They only accept kns. Or credit cards - so again thanks for the great advice, local currency in hand, paid for tickets 70 each. The city walls open at 8. The entrance is just to the left as you enter the gate. Reviews advise good walking shoes and also taking water/drink.

 

Despite it being early, as several ships were due in, stores were open and we purchased water. Then we entered the walls as soon as they opened, climbing up to the start (there are quite a lot of steps and it is quite high in places). The walls are so impressive, I would recommend them to anyone visiting, a great orientation of the city, seeing the churches and the cable car and small streets. Our walk took us just over an hour, at a steady pace and although we finished at just after 9, it was already extremely hot.

 

We then wandered around inside the walls, the harbour had some nice short boat trips to see the walls from the water which we plan to do when we visit again later in the year plus the cable car, from which the views must be excellent. The cable car station was outside the walls on the far side of the city. Looked like if you skirted the walls, you would find it.

 

We decided to walk back to the ship as this was mainly downhill, we were rewarded with some excellent views on the way . This took about 35 mins but local buses pick up right outside the pile gate and drop off at port which is also the ferry port. We looked at the small ships in harbour and wandered round the local fish, fruit and veg market. The flowers were excellent and some already arranged.

 

Back on board we took the chance to cool down and then got a great spot on the promenade deck for sail away. As we were heading home to Venice, we did not go out past the city but it was a very scenic sail for the afternoon with many croation islands visible.

 

Sadly then it was time to get packed up and head for home. We had chosen to self disembark, this was from deck 1 between 7 and 7.30. We were on a flight home at 5.30pm as the earlier flight was at 11 and as we were doing our own flights, this felt risky. Turned out I was glad about this.

 

We woke up, got ready and ventured for breakfast about 6.40. The park cafe was very calm and most unlike normal disembarkation breakfast. A quick breakfast and then down to deck 1. There were a few people waiting, nowhere near the number you usually see for self disembarkation. Although we were the only Ones with hand luggage only!

 

We were off just after 7 but due to the number of ships in port, we were on a somewhat remote pier. We had to board a coach to go to the terminal and put luggage underneath. Once on board, the ride was very short and we were back almost at the terminal we boarded in. If you had done disembarkation with them, your luggage was being bused to this terminal, so the process may have been slow

 

We exited the bus, walked to the people mover and got tickets and then took our luggage to the station left luggage again. There is a left luggage to the right of the entrance to the people mover

 

But as we knew how to use the station one and it looks a little more traditional, we went back there. We had a good walk around Venice, ending back up near the station. We found a great little shop/cafe/restaurant called brek. If you are looking at the station, walk to the right just part the bridge (academia I believe). It does snacks, drinks and a buffet restaurant. Coffee was very reasonable at €1.30 and free wifi. We hid from the heat, as it was boiling and used the wifi. Although we had some free minutes on board, the Internet device was the slowest and most unreliable in 25 cruises, so did some catching up.

 

Then we went back to get our luggage, again a queue was now present and walked across to pizzale Rome to get the bus. There was a lengthy queue for tickets at the ticket shop - quick tip, the newsagent stall in the middle of the pizzale sells official tickets also. We got ours there €5 each for the limited stop aero bus (number 5) which goes from stop A1. Boarded the bus and was at the airport in about 20 minutes. So our return trip had cost €6 each, rather than the $34 each which was offered on board for a coach to the airport

 

A word on the airport, it is very busy, very small and the air con doesn't work that well. Due to the heat we went early and went straight to security, as we had boarding passes. The line for security snaked out of the queuing system and round the terminal. It looked huge but did move quickly

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Neat review, we did this cruise 2years ago and really enjoyed it before Splednour got the facelift. Maybe, we will be back on her again some day to enjoy the new additions...

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Nice review, Claire -- thanks for sharing! I'm sailing Splendour on July 7th. You said you were cruising casual, but did you notice how formal the formal night was? I'm thinking about renting a tux, but don't want to be the only one. Were there many people dressed up?

Thanks for you input!

Rob

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Nice review, Claire -- thanks for sharing! I'm sailing Splendour on July 7th. You said you were cruising casual, but did you notice how formal the formal night was? I'm thinking about renting a tux, but don't want to be the only one. Were there many people dressed up?

Thanks for you input!

Rob

 

Hi Rob

 

We have also just got back from the 16/6 sailing and like Claire, we had a great time!

 

There were 2 formal nights and I'd say approx half of the men in the MDR had dinner suits, so you wouldn't be alone! We always like to dress up on formal nights and were pleased that lots of people had also made the effort.

 

Have a great cruise!

 

Anita

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Great and very interesting review. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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Thanks for the great review! We are sailing on this cruise on September 8/12-so your information is very helpful. With respect to the formal nights, were they on nights 2 and 6 as other threads seem to suggest?

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Thanks for the great review! We are sailing on this cruise on September 8/12-so your information is very helpful. With respect to the formal nights, were they on nights 2 and 6 as other threads seem to suggest?

 

That sounds right from my recollection. We were casual, so stayed out of the way but as Anita said, dress code seemed well observed

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One thing I didn't put in my review, is that this is the first med cruise where the demographics were not mainly English (American, canadian and English) speakers.

 

This meant that all the major announcements from boat drill to navigation to the shows was done as a minimum in English, then Spanish and Italian. At some points, German was also heard and possibly a more eastern European angusge also

 

This did reflect the passenger make up but did make the announcements somewhat annoying

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Hi Rob

 

We have also just got back from the 16/6 sailing and like Claire, we had a great time!

 

There were 2 formal nights and I'd say approx half of the men in the MDR had dinner suits, so you wouldn't be alone! We always like to dress up on formal nights and were pleased that lots of people had also made the effort.

 

Have a great cruise!

 

Anita

 

Thanks, Anita! Definitely going to rent a tux onboard. We're doing b2b for 14 nights. Can't wait!

Rob

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Hello,

Thanks for the review. We're on Splendour next week, could you tell me who were the show entertainers please?

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Hello,

Thanks for the review. We're on Splendour next week, could you tell me who were the show entertainers please?

 

We went to the 2 production shows. Dancing thru the movies and all room fever. The first was very good but my opinion of the second was that the professional ballroom dancers made the others look very amateur but just my thoughts

 

We also had a comedian/magician - didn't go, so can't comment

And 3 Celtic tenors agin didn't go

 

Around the ship, they had a Latin trio and singer and a party band. All ok

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