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Iz

Just Back From Splendour In The Med - 24th July Cruise

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We've just come back from a very fast week on Splendour and after reading so many reviews, good and not so good, before we went, here's ours ! Let me just say that having been on CruiseCritic for quite a few months beforehand really did help - we felt we knew a bit about everything !

[color=darkorchid][b]THE SHIP[/b][/color]

[color=black]It looks fantastic from the bus bringing you from the airport - if I'm honest, I would have to say that it looked a bit smaller than I was expecting. The checking in process went very smoothly and took no time at all. The ship is absolutely gorgeous inside - everything looks brand new and gleaming. I thought all the public rooms looked amazing - especially the Centrum and the 42nd Street Theatre - really beautiful..........The pool area never seemed too crowded, except maybe on the sea day ( get up early or you'll be wandering the decks all day !)[/color]

[color=darkorchid][b]STATEROOM[/b][/color]

Because of CruiseCritic, I wasn't expecting a big cabin, so I wasn't disappointed there ! However, after the first few minutes, you do get used to it and there is ample storage space for everything - remember to put your suitcases under the bed ! There were 3 of us in the one cabin - me, DH and 15 year old daughter, who slept on the folded-down sofa bed. She loved it and we thought our bed was also fine. We had a balcony which i would definitely recommend - if I'm being very picky, maybe it could have done with a lick of paint. It was lovely being able to sit and just watch the water, especially at night. The room was kept absolutely spotless - new sheets and towels every day (twice for towels if you wanted that) and we loved the famous towel animals. I tried doing one for my daughter on our first night home and failed miserably !

[color=darkorchid][b]FOOD[/b][/color]

Was a bit worried about this beforehand because of all I had read, but please don't worry.............we are very hard to please and thought the food was fine - didn't have a bad meal at all. Windjammer was great for breakfast and lunch and afternoon tea, although I can see what people mean about the flow of traffic in there - it is a bit chaotic at times. We ate in the dining room every night bar one and I for one loved having meals served to me that i didn't have to cook first..........must admit I felt quite guilty about the availability of food 24 hours a day - the amount of waste must be horrendous........especially after the midnight buffet (1 am actually)......it was absolutely gorgeous but how much was wasted ? Had room service twice just because we could.

[color=darkorchid][b]ENTERTAINMENT[/b][/color]

There was always something happening - music ? ?(wait till you hear the female singer) by the pool most of the day, a show every night, the casino, something in the lounges and bars. We thought the shows were of a really high standard - the singers and dancers were great and Neal Austin, the comedian/magician was hilarious ! If I could change anything, it would be to appeal to a slightly younger audience - we're in our mid-forties and the shows did concentrate more on music from the forties and fifties. The male singer in the Schooner Bar - can't remember his name, sorry - was excellent.

[color=darkorchid][b]EXCURSIONS[/b][/color]

We only booked trips to Rome and Pompeii through RCI. Both were excellent - very well organised, especially to Rome. Anthony, the tour guide, made th day, although you only get the chance to see a tiny fraction of the Vatican Museum, St Peters and the Colosseum - we're going back later this year hopefully. Really regret not getting to Florence - we were reluctant to try it on our own because of the distance between Livorno and Florence itself. By all acounts, it was not to be missed. At Villefranche (which is the only picturesque port, by the way), we felt quite proud of ourselves by taking the train to Monte Carlo - very easy to do, although the station can be very busy in the morning when everybody comes off the ship at once. I think we would have seen more of Monte Carlo if we had taken an RCI trip - if it's a first time for you in any of these places, it may be the best way to do it. You'reonly going to get a taste of each place, mind you, but you might be less likely to miss things. Marseille on the Sunday was not great - everything was closed so that's probably the best day to stay onboard and get the hang of the ship and just relax !

We had a great time - didn't want to come home. A week is not really long enough - I think I would try 12 nights next time. I would have no hesitation in recommending Royal Caribbean and no, they're not paying us commission ! I know this was a first experience of cruising for us and we have nothing to compare it to, but, as I said before, we are notoriously hard to please and we loved it ! All the RCI staff were friendly and helpful - no complaints there either. If there's anything I've not covered or if you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them........get in touch............have a great holiday, all of you lucky people who have still to go ! [color=darkorchid][b]ISABEL[/b][/color]

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Thanks for the review

We are ready to go on the Sept. 4 cruise

Which dining time did you have - We are scheduled for late but are wondering if the second main (Is it 7 or 7:30) would be too early if we take excursions each day

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Hello, Iz.

How did your daughter enjoy the trip? Were there any teens around her age on ship? Did she get a chance to meet the other kids (through the Teen Center) or were you so rushed for time that she didn't have much chance to mingle?

What would you say is the ratio of non-Americans? Is there a lot of smoking (despite no-smoking signs) aboard?
Thanks for any advice.

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gdidde - our main seating meant that we could appear in the dining room any time between 6.30 and 7.30. Even on the Rome day, we made it round about 7 pm - that was about an hour after we got back to the ship so it worked out fine.kimanjo - Lindsay, our daughter, absolutely loved the whole thing, so much so that she had a little weepy spell on Sunday after we got back, she missed it so much. She's quite shy so she didn't particularly want to join in any of the activities - it would have been different if her older sister had been there ! There were loads of teens on the ship and by the end of the week, they were definitely hunting in packs ! The captain very kindly gave us a breakdown of the nationalities on board at his reception on the Sunday night - there were 40-odd different ones, but out of about 1800 passengers, the contingent from the States was the biggest by far - about 750, I think ! Us Brits were the second biggest group, although you would never have thought that, listening to the accents around you at the pool.

Any other questions- just ask. It justifies me lurking around the boards even though our cruise is over !

Isabel

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Hi Isabel

Great review its spot on. I hope you meant the girl with the beautiful voice was my wife Susan on the karoake !!

Keep in touch....................Ted

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Hiya Ted - tell Susan not to worry - the female I was talking about was the lead singer in the band that always seemed to be playing by the pool - think they were called "Locomotion" - and she was bloody awful, to say the least ! Tell "Whitney" we're all asking for her, by the way :D Thought about going to Beamish today, but that was all we did about it, I'm afraid ! Somehow, the thought of any journey at the moment is just too much.........ended up in Edinburgh instead. Talking about Carnival cruises, I was speaking to a neighbour who sailed with them in June in the Caribbean for 2 weeks. She's also been with RCI and according to her, RCI win hands down - despite Carnival's cabins being bigger. I got a brochure today for RCI's cruises next year from Southampton in and around the Med - most of them are 2 weeks - on the Legend of the Seas and there's a Brilliance of the Seas 12 night cruise from Barcelona too. Next year seems so far away though - we're thinking about going back to Rome in October maybe for a long weekend. Hope you're all well - how is Susan's Dad, by the way ? And were the dogs pleased to see you ? Keep in touch.................Isabel

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Iz,

Thanks for the review, we are on Splendour Oct. 23rd and are planning on some excurisions through the ship. Glad to hear you were happy with yours, especially when reading so much about private tours. We are planning on some ports on our own & some through the ship. You have made me even more excited for October to get here, although I hate to wish for the end of summer.

Wendy

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Hi Wendy - you lucky person ! Wish we still had it all to come.................if you have any questions about the Splendour or the Rome or Pompeii trips, just ask - it'll help to relive the memories ! Isabel:)

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Hi Isabel, We also, like Wendy, are on the Splendour Oct. 23. and getting excited. We are thinking about doing ship tours rather than private. Which Rome and Pompeii tour did you take? Did the word around the ship talk of the other ship tours to the other ports as well? Any info would be appreciated. Bye the way..your review was super. Nancy:)

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Iz,

Thank you for the review! We're on this ship on 11/6. We plan to do most of the ports on our own. Can you tell me what time you had to be back on board? I want to stay as long as we can (especially Rome and Florence) but don't want to risk missing the ship.

Thanks again!

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Nancy - we took the Rome- the eternal City tour - it leaves the ship at 7.30 am and we were back abaord about 5.45 pm. It is a long day but there's a good break in the middle for lunch. It goes to the Vatican Museum first and then the Sistine Chapel and finally into St Peter's Basilica. As I said before, our tour guide, Anthony, made the day - he was fantastic ! After lunch, we w ent to the Colosseum but only for about a hour which wasn't nearly long enough, I thought. The whole trip was run very well though. The Pompeii trip was for four hours starting at 1.30 pm, and Pompeii itself is only about 30 minutes away from the ship. I didn't realise it covered such a big area so we saw only a fraction of it, but it was still well worth doing . We had friends who did the Sorrento/Amalfi drive tour - they really enjoyed that. I really regret not having gone to Florence - the thought of another 10 hour trip put us off - but I feel that we really missed out there.

Icky - with the exception of the day in Villefranche (Monday), the ship sails at 7 pm and you have to back on board by 6.30. At Villefranche, it sails at 10 pm and the last tender leaves Villefranche at 9.30. Hope this is of help to you.................................Isabel

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Hi Iz,

I'm sailing on the 10/23/04 Splendour. Don't believe you mentioned a Marseille tour. Did you hear any talk on the ship regarding excursions in this port? Still undecided on what to do in Marseille.

Thanks

Mary

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Iz,

Thanks for the response to my first question. I have a couple more (if you don't mind).

#1--We you able to get off the ship right at 7:00 a.m.?

#2--Did you feel much movement while you were at sea? We are on Deck 8 a little aft of mid-ship (unless RCI changes our room assignment. We're in a guarantee cabin). I am very prone to motion sickness. My sea bands usually do the trick so I'm not terribly concerned but thought I would ask.

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I am leaving on Splendour in less than 2 weeks. Very excited. Anyone have any advice? Anyone else on this cruise?

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[b][font=Century Gothic][size=4]Icky,[/size][/font][/b]

[b][font=Century Gothic][size=4]Hello, what are your plans for Marseille? [/size][/font][/b]
[b][font=Century Gothic][size=4][/size][/font][/b]
[b][font=Century Gothic][size=4]R and R[/size][/font][/b]

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thank you very much was a nice review puts my mind at ease,were going on oct 30th euro cruise on splendor,cant wait we had inside cabin last time and this time we got good deal on js,:)))))

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IZ,

First, thanks so much for the review. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. We sailed on the Splendour back in 1997 and she was beautiful. I was a little concerned that she might have been a little "tired" by now.

Second, we are booked on this cruise for July 2005. We will be traveling with our 16 year old and 2 1/2 year old. Were there many younger children (in the 2-5 year old range) on the cruise? We aren't worried about the teenager (just let her have her iPod and a good book and she is fine) but we are a little concerned that we will be the only one with a toddler on board.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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R and R

We have reserved a car through National. We will pick it up at the train station in Marseille. We are going to drive to Pont du Gard and Arles. Time and energy permitting, we will stop at some of the other towns in Provence. DH is very concerned about jet lag so I don't want to plan too much. Have you made your plans yet? Has anyone else done anything like what we have planned?

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[b][size=4]Hi Icky,[/size][/b]

[b][size=4]We haven't decided about Marsielle yet whatever we do it will be on our own as the other ports. I requested maps from some of the sites and have been sent a nice one on Rome. Barcelona we got one of the city, bus lines and shopping area. Very nice and found a site that told about all the places the Hop on and off bus stops in Barcelona. [/size][/b]
[b][size=4][/size][/b]
[b][size=4]I wish in away it was time to pack very excited about it. Our neighbors are sorry they didn't look into it better as they have asked us about it yesterday. [/size][/b]
[b][size=4][/size][/b]
[b][size=4]I sure hope we can get off at 7. One board I read said that they let all the ship tours off first but they just fall in with them and off they go. [/size][/b]
[b][size=4][/size][/b]
[b][size=4]Good to see you on the boards again.[/size][/b]
[b][size=4][/size][/b]
[b][size=4]R and R[/size][/b]

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Hi everybody - sorry to have taken so long to come back - been very busy here.MJH - We didn't do a tour on the Marseilles day. To be perfectly honest. we were quite happy to stay on the ship for that first full day. Friends who took the RCI shuttle bus in to Marseilles came back and said it was a waste of time since everything was closed (because it was Sunday) but others have said it is worth going to the Cathedral there - it's on a steep hill but transport is provided.


Icky - The only day we had to leave the ship really early was onWednesday for Rome - we had to assemble at 7.15 and left at 7.30. As far as I know, the ship was in each port before the stated docking time each day so i can't see why you couldn't get off at 7 am. If you're ona tour, you have to meet in one of the lounges first and then go for the bus, but there's nothing to stop you getting off if you're going on on your own. If anybody knows differently, please feel free to jump in !
The only night we felt movement was on the first night when it became quite windy. I am not prone to seasickness at all but i did feel a bit queasy ! The rest of the time, it was very calm - you do feel a very slight sway every now and then but I honestly wouldn't worry. The steward will provide medication if you need it.

CASkippr - I think you'll find the ship is just as gorgeous as before - don't worry and there were lots of small children on board when we were there. I think it must be a good sign that the RCI entertainment team kept thm very busy because we hardly ever saw them during the cruise. I know your toddler will be too young to take part in the activities - but I honestly wouldn't worry - have a great time !

Cruisnfool - formal nights were Sunday and Thursday - hope this helps !

Isabel

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Great to have such a recent review as we join Splendour this Saturday!

I have a few last minute questions -

I have read that the dining times for main seating are anytime between 6.30 and 7.30 - does this apply every night, even on formal night?

We are travelling as a family group of 8 with two small children aged 6 and 2.1/2. Were there many children in the dining room or did most children eat in the cafe?

Noted Marseille on Sunday - thanks for the info - I think we'll stay on the ship if everything is closed.

We're doing our own tour in Rome starting out at a civilised 9.30 am!! (half of the day gone though!) but our 6 year old only wants his picture taken with one of the gladiators at the Colisseum, so it won't take too long. We're just doing a short tour of Rome as I guess it is going to be hot there. How hot was it? How crowded was it at the Colisseum? Did you go to the Vatican church (St Peters?/ sorry not good on churches! - if so - can you go into the church in longish shorts/elbow length sleeved tee shirt?

Re Rome day - Does anyone know of anywhere particular to stop stop on the way back to the ship - beach by the sea - for a quick dip and drink in a bar?

How bad was the traffic into/out of Rome. We are taking a private tour, so want to make sure we leave plenty of time!

Livorno day - is there anywhere local to Livorno that is a nice day out, except Pisa or Florence - perhaps somewhere easy to get to where there is a nice beach?

Any input at this late stage most welcome!

Thank you / Gail

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Hi Gail - Hope I can answer some of your questions - I'm sure others will volunteer information too! The times for main seating did apply every night - we usually came down for dinner around 7 and stayed in the dining room till around 8.30. I can't honestly say that I noticed many small children in the dining room - it never occurred to me at the time but I suppose many families with kids did eat in the Windjammer.

I hate to think I've put you off Marseille just because of what we did. We hadn't slept the night before we left and had very little sleep the first night on the ship so we were shattered and very glad that we hadn't booked a trip on the Sunday. You should maybe post a question quickly about Marseille and see what other people thought.

Rome was hot but I didn't think it was unbearable - there had been very heavy rain a few days before we got there and that had cleared the air. Our guide said we were very lucky that it was so cool ! It was probably in the mid 80's so that was positively tropical for us Scots ! We took the RCI trip and the morning was mostly inside the Vatican Museum and St Peter's (which will take your breath away). They are very strict about bare shoulders and knees but a normal t-shirt with short sleeves is fine. Don't know if I would risk shorts unless they were very long ! After lunch, the Colosseum was very hot and reasonably busy but we weren't there for very long - there was only time for a taster of each place. Your son will get his picture with a gladiator - just remember to ask the gladiator to put his cigarette out first:D The traffic coming into and getting out of Rome was horrendous but we were hitting both rush hours, remember.

Can't help with the question about beaches, I'm afraid but I'm sure somebody else will if they can. Hope you and your family have a great holiday - I'm sure you will. Let me know how you got on when you get back...........all the best...............Isabel

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