CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Splendour of the Seas Western Caribbean January 8, 2005

RCCL Splendour is a beautiful ship with excellent food and wonderful service. Unlike the review of the week by Tokathy, we have very little to complain about. We purposely choose a large interior is there for sleeping, showering and changing only, life awaits beyond the stateroom. We are 51 and 52 and until now, have always considered Celebrity our first choice. This year, however we did back to back cruises (Western on Splendour then Eastern on Celebrity Millenium)and overall would have to say that the Splendour won out quite easily. We know the ship well, as we did 12 night Panama last year on it. This year took along my mother and seveal older siblings, all first-time cruisers. They loved it. Yes, both the Splendour pools were a bit chilly, but we swam in both and they were fine once you're in...we can bath at home or use hot tubs if we want warm.

The wait staff are marvelous and the food in the King and I dining room was easily as good as on Celebrity. Waiter was immensely better on Splendour than Millenium (unusal for Celebrity). Unfortunately, our waiter on Celeb preferred the lovely 20-something ladies at the other table and sometimes neglected us. We did use the climbing wall and my husband really missed it on the second cruise. Even I, a grandmother of 3, easily did the red and green climbs and challenged the blue (intermediate) one. John and Erkan were wonderful staff at the wall. The final day was a horrible windy one and everyone came to cash in their 'shipshape bucks'. Unfortunately the locked cabinet holding the prize material is on the jogging deck attached to the climbing wall. Several extremely uncouth and rude women gave the guys a very hard time, shoved a handful of bucks in their faces and shouted "40 bucks" and since it was too windy to count out the papers, they walked away with T-shirts, backpacks etc, that they didn't deserve. Shame. Later they were overheard bragging about their conquest. Celebrity's buffet is definitely better but even though some of the dishes in the Windjammer (Splendour) buffet were not the best, we just pass them by anyway, for a nice lunch salad with a fresh carved slice of beef, ham, turkey etc. We also took our breakfasts there and enjoyed the healthy choices. Grand Cayman - not one of our favorite ports. Booked my family on a stingray city charter. Shouldn't have bothered, too windy, too wavy, and rather scarey. Pay attention if the ship cancels their excursion. We did it last year and it was a great experience, not so this year. My husband and I chose to walk the short distance from the tender pier to Don Foster's Dive Shop. Great staff, cheap rentals and lockers. Belize - did the cave-river tubing again, but the river was much deeper and swifter this year. Dock area is growing. Costa Maya - one of our favorite ports. Just very relaxing after two days of busy and somewhat difficult excursions. Enjoyed the 'mall' area at the port, pool, free shows in the amphithreatre, shopping etc, then as last year, took the bus $3, to Mahahual village for the day on the beach. bought about 15 freshly made tortillas with a bowl of freshly chopped salsa and another guacamole for $3 from a rustic, traditional Mexican vendor. Yummy.For those too tired to walk the long pier back to the ship there is a free trolly. Cozumel - maybe been there too many times, shopped out, done Chankanaab park (good). Main street to downtown area was under consruction and a major nuisance. booked Tulum Mayan excursion. Beautiful and unique oceanside site, but not nearly as vast or impressive as the Uxmal ruins. I usually book my own excursions but did this one through the ship. Excursions remain rather expensive this way. Overall, a wonderful and memorable week. I want to be careful, as a more seasoned cruiser, to not become so critical and cynical of any ship. To get away from the cold and snow, have great food that I don't have to cook or clean up, enjoy entertainment, meet and enjoy new friendships, see new sights, spend time together as a couple, be treated like somebody doesn't get any better.

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