We cruised the Greek Islands on Splendour of the Seas from Sept. 26 to Oct.3 out of Venice. It was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and it probably wont be our last.The service crew and ship were all outstanding and after some shabby treatment from Carnival we are now converts.
We were lucky enough to notice a price drop after we had made final payment and ended up with a $660.00 ship board credit and got upgraded to a Jr. suite.
We took the 4 hour drive to Toronto on a Thursday and flew out on Air Transat on the Friday to arrive in Venice via Montreal at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday. We used the R.C. transfer were met outside luggage claim and boarded a bus for the port. After a 20 minute trip we arrived at the pier. We simply unloaded our bags from the bus and a lady put some tags on them and away we went to the ship leaving our bags with her. Having just spent 10 hours on an overnight flight the details are a little blurry but I do remember filling out some forms while waiting in line. I think they were health related but since they were in Italian Iím not sure. I also know that we had preferred boarding because we were in a Jr. suite. This part went very fast and there was champagne and pastries for us before we boarded. I can see my watch in the boarding photo and it says 2:25 so thatís when we boarded.
Departure was set for 5:00 P.M. so we had lots of time to explore the ship. Though this ship was built in í96 she seemed to be in great shape. Just a word about our cabin, a Junior suite. It was nice to be upgraded but I donít believe I would pay for one. There just isnít that much difference from a balcony cabin aside from preferred boarding and a bath tub. Our cabin steward ,Bruno from Brazil , was outstanding and very professional. Besides taking care of our every need he offered valuable advice about each of the ports we visited.
After the now life-jacketless boat drill we set sail. Tug boats actually tow the ships down the Qiudecca Canal and out to sea. I assume this is to limit damage to the shore from the shipsí wake. This has to one of the most spectacular sail-aways in the world. We stood spellbound on our balcony watching this vista unfold until we were in the Adriatic. We went to the dining room to arrange for a table for 2 and found out that we already had one. We over heard people trying to get times for My Time Dining and it seems that this is actually Their Time Dining. People were asking for certain times and were being told that time just doesnít work. I think this plan is a dud.
We found the food in the dining room very good to excellent and the service outstanding,especially our waiters Iliu from Romania and Roderick from the Phillipines.
As for the ports,it would be hard to pick a favorite,each was wonderful in itís own way.The only port we booked a ships tour was Santorini. This was only to take advantage of the bus to the top of the island and so avoid the cable car line ups.
All the other ports are easily seen on your own unless you want to see Ephesus from Kusadashi. Even there we had booked an independent tour guide at a fraction of the price of the ships tour.
We returned to Venice very early in the morning and were of the ship before 9:00 A.M. The disembarkation procedure was one of the most efficient we have experienced. The shuttle from the ship to Piazzale Roma dropped us off literally at the door step of our hotel (Santa Chiara). We dropped off our bags and had the day and evening to explore Venice. The next day we caught the bus across the parking lot and were at the air port 20 minutes later. Back in Toronto at 9 that night .
All in all this was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and I recommend it highly to anyone wanting to see the Mediterranean. Just be sure to spend some time in Venice before or afterward.