CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Splendour of the Seas Western Caribbean April 12, 2004

We just returned from our 5-night cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Overall it was the best cruise out of the 5 that we have taken.

Embarkation: Beyond excellent! Less than 20 minutes from parking our car all the way through boarding the ship. (The ship was docked in Port Galveston, TX)

Stateroom: Beautiful! We had a balcony oceanview room. View was awesome, carpet was spotless, bed was always neat, bathroom larger than average and very clean. Stateroom attendants were courteous and kept up our room in just minutes a day.

Public areas: Casino was very colorful and great fun - roulette, blackjack, craps, poker, and slots. Casino staff was very friendly as were most of the ship's crew members. Swimming pools were a bit smaller than I'm used to, but this is because Splendour has 2 pools. The Solarium pool is more beautiful in person than in pictures. Climbing wall and Mini-Golf course were in good condition and there were always people there enjoying themselves. Centrum was very bright, very tall, and had exquisite decor and furniture. Gym was small but adequate

Dining: 24-hour room service menu is very limited, but keep in mind that you can order any dining room meals during dinner hours. Room service food was OK. Buffets were good, but lacked the variety available on other RCCL ships. Dining in the King and I was great...this is a beautiful 2-floor dining room with huge windows all around. Our wait staff was very talented and friendly. They made the cruise even more enjoyable. Dining room food was well presented and very tasty, though not the greatest I've had on a cruise.

Bar service: Bar service on this ship was very good. I was amazed at how fast the bartenders got to me in the more crowded areas such as the pool deck and lounges.

Entertainment: Thumbs up - best yet! The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers were flawless. Great voices, skillful dancing and acting. Mostly Broadway acts, but they did an excellent job at it. Juggling/hoola hoop duo was superb. I saw a few mistakes but who cares. Comedian and violinist were also very entertaining. 3-4 different bands on board the ship kept public areas very energetic.

Ports: COZUMEL was fun but there were just too many tourists there. A total of 10 large cruise ships were docked, so that was no surprise. Car rentals, dune buggies, horses, and ATVs were pretty much all booked out. There were plenty of bikes and scooters available though if you wanted to do some independent sightseeing. We hired a cabby to show us around for 2 hours. That was only $45 total. COSTA MAYA was more serene and one could easily find a place to relax on any of the beaches - even right off the pier. Nearby towns offered quiet beaches and cultural towns. Remember they are not impoverished, just very cultural. Locals are overly friendly. My only worry is that this port will soon become a hotspot for tourism, and the beaches will eventually become overcrowded. For now, it's a one-of-a-kind destination.

The Crowd: This was the youngest crowd yet. We are used to going on cruises where 60% or more of the passengers were over 50. On Splendour, there was mostly younger couples and there were quite a bunch of teens and kids too (spring break?) - none of these kids were too rowdy. Cruises are more fun with younger people since the entertainment is geared more for a younger crowd. Nothing against older folks though, there were many fun and active older folks onboard as well.

Debarkation: Debarking was on par with other ships. However, Port Galveston is a mess as soon as you leave the terminal building. This is not Royal Caribbean's fault, it's just that the port has no crowd or traffic control regardless of what means you are taking to get back to your car or an airport. You are better off walking back to your car instead of waiting to board a shuttle bus, but there are no sidewalks! My advice, just be patient. No use getting all worked up after such a fun cruise.

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