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terri23

Splendour Holiday Cruise - REVIEW!!

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Wow – what a holiday vacation! Our ten days flew by. Here’s a (somewhat lengthy) recap.

 

Embarkation: this was a breeze and we were on board by 1:30. Our departure was delayed for nearly an hour (we started to inch out and then….inched right back). Never knew why…but at least we finally “got out there”!

 

The Ship. Splendour is Rhapsody’s older “sister”. Both ships are beautiful and we are lucky to have them sailing from Galveston (just an hour’s drive from home). It’s interesting to note the differences between the two ships (I believe this will require much more investigation ;)). Splendour’s gym is smaller (and no spinning classes) but it will be expanded during this spring’s drydock. Carpeting needs replacement in some areas so hopefully that will be taken care of, too. There were always people cleaning, polishing, varnishing etc., but a little more vacuuming would have been a good thing.

 

Christmas Festivities. Decorations were beautiful in the Centrum and dining room. Lots of garland and decorated trees. The Centrum had a huge display of gingerbread houses and “Santa” was flying his sleigh in the middle. On Christmas eve there was late night caroling in the Centrum – led by the entertainment staff and officers (including Captain Yngvar Knutsen). Very nice! DH later went to midnight mass as well. On Christmas morning there were gifts for the children (again in the Centrum). But none for us “big” kids – were we bad??? The Captain’s Welcome Aboard reception featured Christmas greetings along with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner on Christmas Day was formal and included some nice choices (beef and veal medallions, roast turkey).

 

New Year’s Festivities. What a party! Dinner on New Year’s Eve was formal and included lobster salad and a grilled filet mignon. Lots of party favors were provided at the table (noise makers, horns, hats and tiaras). Music and champagne were offered in each of the entertainment venues and we wound up at the Viking Crown Lounge at midnight. The Captain counted down the last ten seconds of 2005 and then blasted the Splendour horn at midnight (and the crowd went wild!). Very fun!

 

Ports of Call. This was intended to be an “R&R” trip for us, so we were looking for beaches and other low-key entertainment. Cozumel – still suffering effects of Wilma but very resilient. Tendering was a breeze. We went to Paradise Beach for the day – they were at maximum capacity but still the service was excellent! We enjoyed meeting PB Tom and had a great time here!! Grand Cayman – tendering was SLOW due to choppy seas. It took two hours for our number (3) to be called. Most of the snorkeling excursions were canceled. We just had lunch, did a little shopping and came back to the ship early. LONG lines for the people who waited until later to return. Jamaica – we went to Sunset Beach resort. Even at $40 pp, I think it’s worth it, especially compared to $100 pp at the more luxurious resorts. Jerk chicken goes great with mai tais, by the way!! Too bad we got rained on in the afternoon, or we would have had even more fun. “Security” leaving Jamaica was a nightmare – people pushing and cutting in line. Then we had to wait in line for a bus back to the ship (it was raining hard by that time) – more of the same rude people. I have to think (hope) the weather was a factor. Belize – we took a reef snorkel and beach excursion that was FUN! The snorkeling was good enough and the beach was very nice. The party atmosphere on the boat (catamaran) was fantastic! They picked us up right at the Splendour (no tender), so that was an advantage. Costa Maya – went through the dock area and took a bus to Majahual. Had a couple of beers at Pez Quadro (sp?) and headed back to the ship after wandering in the dock area a bit more. We were surprised by the amount of trash littering this pretty coastline. We also noted the pools in the terminal area were murky – not at all inviting. We will do an excursion to the ruins next time we stop here.

 

Dining. We normally did breakfast and lunch in the WJ and dinner in the DR. The food was reasonably good – we are “foodies” but didn’t expect gourmet fare. We (two) were seated with a family of six in the DR but it turned out to be a good mix and we had very enjoyable dinners. Some of the better DR offerings were Vidalia tart, veal medallion, lamb shank, rack of lamb, scallop risotto, tempura mahi mahi and mushrooms in puff pastry. The lobster tails were fairly good and DH enjoyed the turkey and stuffing. Some of the better WJ items were crispy bacon, salad bar, mashed potatoes, cheese board (dinner only – good international selection), stuffed salmon Florentine, cheese sticks (I’m embarrassed to say!) and spring rolls (both the latter at WJ “tea”). Twice we went to WJ early in the dinner serving for a plate of cheeses to enjoy with a drink in our cabin while we got ready for the “real” dinner (8:30) – cholesterol festival, LOL. Some of the not-so-good DR offerings were the shrimp ravioli, “salmon trout” (lunch), lobster cake, pistachio ice cream (trust me), sliced tenderloin (dry and tasteless) and praline indulgence (nobody at the table liked this). Last but not least the food in the WJ was sometimes barely lukewarm…catch them when they come out with a new pan if you can.

 

Entertainment. Our CD Tim Seivert was fairly good – excellent at Quest and horse racing. His assistant “Peter Pan” was a bit like nails on a chalk board…but maybe I just blame him for me not winning at bingo :p. We enjoyed the “Jump Jivin’ Swing” show on the first night. The pool band Focus was terrific, and we also enjoyed the Captain Boom Show Band. The violin show with Jacob Konvisor was not very good – his jokes weren’t very funny but still better than his music selections. The Beatle Maniacs were real crowd pleasers but I just couldn’t bring myself to sing along to, “We all live on the Splendour of the Seas” (yellow submarine) – too over the top!! The “Hoedown” was pretty lame. The Quest and Love & Marriage shows were very funny. The “Dancing Thru the Movies” production show was OK. We missed several of the other headliner entertainers since late seating shows were at 7 pm and we were rarely ready to go “out” by then.

 

Hot Button Topics.

Chair hogs – they were out there in full force. At least Rhapsody had a sign limiting chair saving to 30 minutes, but Splendour didn’t. One day, DH noticed a woman “toweling” the front row by the pool at 8:30 (he was on a coffee run) – we saw her come back at 3:30! Nevertheless, we found chairs on the upper deck whenever we needed them, so it was all good.

Flip flops in the DR – didn’t notice any. Just about everyone was festively (is that a word?) dressed, even on non-formal nights.

Tipping – service on Splendour was top notch – the best of our whopping three cruises so far. Our cabin steward was fantastic (hint: ask for new pillows if yours smell like sweaty socks). Our wait staff was good. Other staff always had a friendly greeting. They worked so hard for us over the holidays - we thanked them and tipped extra.

Bed bugs – perhaps. I woke up at 5:30 one morning with about 20 itchy welts (smaller than mosquito bites) on my hip/torso :eek:. I slept on the sofa the last two nights!

Smuggling – well, three wines, one champagne and some rum came aboard just fine. We also bought tequila at one of our stops and it came aboard with no problem. LOL we actually carried some rum (and, um, some of the tequila) back off with us! BTW, we skipped the wine & dine package. We purchased a package on Rhapsody (the selection and prices were much better) but not on Splendour (we “did the math” and it wasn’t worth it.) So we just ordered dinner wines from the regular wine list.

Kids – no real problems – a couple of kids in the Solarium pool were asked to leave and DH saw swim diapers in the pool (and promptly got out!).

 

C&A / M&M. The C&A welcome back reception was nice (more champagne is always a good thing). Too bad we missed our M&M – we went at the original time and no one was there; turns out it was rescheduled for the next day, but there was no notice and no invitations were distributed. A few of our group was able to figure out the change and attended – wish I had done a little more detective work!

 

All in all a great cruise!!!! We had a wonderful time!

 

Special thanks to all you CC’ers for providing so many helpful hints (e.g., a dirty banana in my own (large) insulated mug at Sunset Beach – I never would have known)!!

 

Happy New Year!

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hello,

 

Thank you for your review. As you live about an hour from Galveston, could you please advise on which airport to use when we fly home to California after our cruise on the Splendour arrives in Galveston in November of 2006. We can use either Hobby or Bush or even drive to San Antonio (I have not been to that part of Texas so we might take an extra day or so to see San Antonio and maybe Austin).

 

Thanks,

 

Fred

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Fred - Hobby is closest to Galveston (~30 mins). Bush is farther (at least an hour) but is much larger and may have better flight options. San Antonio is about a 3-4 hour drive from Galveston. Hey, if you can extend your vacation, why not?? Have a great cruise.

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We were also on this cruise so I will try to add to Terri's review where she was unable to comment.

 

Entertainment:

 

The comedian was fabulous but I can not remember his name right now. So I guess that is not much help.

 

Diamond Dave, the lead sing for the Diamond's was another headliner and, while he has a good voice, his entire act as hokey at best.

 

Ports:

 

Belize - New River and Lamanai Tour was very good if only for the boat trip. Climbed to top of ruins and have a picture. Also have reconfirmation that I am still afraid heights but no helicopter pad at top of ruins so had to climb back down

 

Jamaica - went to Doctor's Cave Beach - very crowded. Would probably stay on ship if ever in Montego Bay again.

 

Grand Cayman - was surprised by lingering effects of hurricane. Cozumel seems to have do better at hiding the effects at the port area at least and it has only had a few months to do so.

 

Costa Maya - went in dirty pool at the port at daughter's request. No obvious signs of disease yet!

 

Kid's Club staff were amazing and we had trouble getting our 3 and 7 year old to come with us at night.

 

All in all a great cruise and we have rebooked already.

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Terri23

 

Thanks for your review. Myself, wife, and 16 yo son are cruising March 13, 06. With 2 other couples. I can't wait!!! I have been on Rhapsody, and she is a beautiful ship. I hope Splendour is just as beautiful.

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]]Special thanks to all you CC’ers for providing so many helpful hints (e.g., a dirty banana in my own (large) insulated mug at Sunset Beach – I never would have known)!!

 

Thanks for the review... we'll be sailing her soon!

 

What is this dirty banana thing????

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You sort of skimmed over the part about the bedbugs. Were there bedbugs on Splendour? We have a cruise scheduled on Splendour in March 2006 and I certainly don't want to sleep with bedbugs or bring them back home in my luggage. I have read that they are hell to get rid of. We have sailed on her before and agree she is a beautiful ship.

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Marla - glad to pass on some valuable info! A Sunset Beach dirty banana is fresh banana, rum and Blue Mtn coffee liqueur (the "dirty" part), blended with a little cream & ice to frozen perfection! We asked for ours "extra dirty" - YUM!! And we had our own big mugs instead of the little cups the drinks are normally served in (saved some mileage for sure ;)).

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mohendry, I never saw any bugs but something sure bit me. DH never had a problem and neither did I the first several days. Could've been something from the beach?? Trying to think positive as I have read the same things about bringing BB's back home.

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Marla - glad to pass on some valuable info! A Sunset Beach dirty banana is fresh banana, rum and Blue Mtn coffee liqueur (the "dirty" part), blended with a little cream & ice to frozen perfection! We asked for ours "extra dirty" - YUM!! And we had our own big mugs instead of the little cups the drinks are normally served in (saved some mileage for sure ;)).

 

Thanks, Terri!

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WE did Splendour last year and Rhapsody this year. Everything was exactly as OP said. Wish we would have tried the Belize snorkel trip last year- sounded like fun!

Yup Rhapsody did better then Splendour for chair hogs!

We found that we missed the mini golf! Dorkey as that sounds. I also thought Splendour Gym was large then Rhapsody Never used the spa on either ship- too$$$

Sounds like WindJammer is the same- lots of cool food. Did Splendour have ready made omletes? Rhapsody did- we missed our create your own.

No presents for us adults this year either on Rhapsody. Glad I got my travel bag last year on Splendour- I imagin it was a cost factor? Rhapsody was packed- how about Splendour?

Getting to Galveston was a nightmare! WE had Confirmed Rservations with Galveston Limo. They never picked us up!:mad: WE waited 4+ hours and had called 2 times telling the operator jsut where we were and they siad yes, we will be there. They drove by on the main road 3 times as we stood there waiting! Finally got to Galveston after spending $154 for a cab! :( The company only told us sorry for the inconvenience!:mad: No other reason of why we were left stranded at Bush.

Now on the upside- stay at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston! What an awesome stay and a great shuttle with a nice little history to the ship! Love Galveston Hate the Limo service.

Saw lovely Splendour when we docked on the 2nd. Glad to hear she is as lovely as ever! Gabrielle

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