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Royal Caribbean International: Splendour of the Seas

Splendour of the Seas Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

Plenty of windows for ocean view in the public rooms and dining room.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Balcony cabins; mega-ship sports facilities, huge casinos.

Onboard Experience

The second of what are now called the Vision-class ships, also including Legend, Enchantment, Grandeur, Rhapsody, and Vision of the Seas. These ships are all nearly identical with many things in common, the only difference being that each iteration gets a little bigger and carries more passengers. The all have the distinctive Royal Caribbean "Centrum", seven decks high on these ships, atop of which one finds the Viking Crown Lounge. The decor is light and contemporary, and mostly in good shape because the Royal Caribbean keeps it that way, though it isn't unusual to see some wear and tear in pockets.

Decor

All of the ships of the class have public rooms full of large expanses of glass to let in glorious sunshine and sea views. She was hailed in her day as a large ship that still preserved the sense of being at sea. Today, she's an older ship, and actually considered small, but still elegant and classy enough to attract a younger clientele looking for sea escapes and action at night.

Cuisine

Breakfast in the Windjammer Lido cafe includes cooked to order omelets, or scrambled eggs at the buffet, but fried eggs are not available. Lunch in the Lido is equally pleasing albeit a simple selection. More interesting is the afternoon tea bread pudding or cobbler along with sandwiches, cakes, cookies and ice cream. Overall, passenger satisfaction ratings for the dining room meals are good, as well as for the Windjammer buffets for lunch and and afternoon teas. The option for a late night snack seems to vary on a nightly basis.

Tipping

Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50 for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50 for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter. These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion.

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.

Cabins

Splendour's cabins are cleverly designed to make them feel larger than they actually are; even the smallest feature a small sitting area, and there's a lot more storage space than you'd have any right to expect. Inside cabins start at a tiny 135 sq.ft up to 172 sq.ft. while Oceanview staterooms measure 154 sq. ft.. Family Ocean View Staterooms (237 sq.ft.) can accommodate up to six people. Standard amenities include TV with pay-per-view movies, CNN, safe, lighted vanity, individual temperature control, hair dryer; bathrooms have showers and medicine cabinets; minibars and tubs are found in the highest category stateroom.

Superior Oceanview with private balcony are 195 sq. feet plus a 41 sq.ft. balcony. The five categories of suites include the Junior Suite (241 sq. ft. 64 sq.ft. balcony) and the Royal Family Suite, accommodating up to eight people, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms (463 sq. ft., balcony 55 sq. ft.).

Fitness/Spa

The gym's awfully small for a ship this size. The main pool on Sun Deck is adjacent to the Solarium, a stunning glass- enclosed second pool with whirlpools and comfortable lounge chairs. In the "ShipShape" fitness center, you'll find a spa operated by Steiner's of London (they of the notoriously pushy staff). A rock-climbing wall has also been added to Vision.

Attire

There are two formal nights per cruise. Maybe it's this ship's particularly festive reputation that induced most men to don tuxedos for formal nights, even though a dark suit would work fine. In general, though, this ship offers so much to do that you're likely to see fellow passengers dressed every which way.

Public Rooms

You'll find the Champagne Terrace at the bottom of the the Centrum, where live palm trees and a string embellish the ambiance of brass, marble & glass. This is also the shopping area, where three large duty-free stores offer plenty of browse time. There are light woods and marble set fountains throughout the ship, which along with the live foliage and open expanses of outside windows, give the entire ship a feeling of aliveness.

High atop the Centrum, on deck 11, is the ever popular Viking Crown Lounge, perfect for watching the scenery go by (a near 360 degree field of vision near the very top of the ship) in Alaska or the Panama Canal. It is also the place to be at night when it becomes the ship's late-night disco. There's more dancing in the evening in the Anchor's Aweigh Lounge, albeit at a less frenetic pace, while another popular bar is the nautically-inclined Schooner's. Vegas-style floor shows are presented in the That's Entertainment Theatre with generally good sight lines from all seats. And as if all that is not enough, Casino Royale has all the table games and slots a non-professional gambler could ever need.

There is a library as well as The Crown and Anchor Study, with computer assisted visual aids to show the ship's position and more information from the bridge. Nearby is a card room and conference center.

Restaurants

The two-story restaurant, amidships, with great views, features a raised platform for pianist or small ensemble. While large enough to handle a thousand people per seating, tables are far enough apart to preclude a feeling of crowdedness. The Windjammer, forward end of Deck 9, also has floor-to-ceiling windows.

Service

It's obvious that the multinational staff and crew enjoy watching their passengers enjoy themselves. They're uniformly cheerful, knowledgeable, and eager to help. The wait staff in every restaurant is noticeably solicitous and conscientious.

Cabin service staff is efficient but unobtrusive. The purser's desk is notably responsive, especially in view of how much troubleshooting they must have to do on a ship this size. Room service, though, can be pretty slow.

Entertainment

Royal Caribbean is one of the few cruise lines to offer "name" performers, and comedians. Lounge performers are also seasoned and polished.

Children's Facilities

In addition to separate play areas for kids aged three to 12, there is also a teen lounge that converts to a disco, making Vision an excellent choice for families with children of many different vintages. The "Adventure Ocean" youth program has age-specific facilities and programs supervised by youth counselors for Aquanauts (age 3-5, must be toilet trained), Explorers (age 6-8), Voyagers (age 9-11), Navigators (age 12-14) and Teens (age 15-17). The program runs year-round in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Parents can leave their children at Adventure Ocean while they take shore excursions. For this purpose, the facilities open 30 minutes ahead of morning shore excursion departures. Otherwise, organized activities are offered from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with group babysitting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a fee. Teen centers are now open past 2 a.m. Teens will find their own private coffee house and disco.

A new program for infants and toddlers 6 months to 3 years, in partnership with toy maker Fisher-Price, offers 45-minute playgroups for children accompanied by an adult, involving storytelling, creative arts, music and a variety of Fisher-Price learning toys and games. Aqua Babies are six months to 18 months old while Aqua Tots are 18 months to three years old.

Private babysitting is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., provided sitters are available, for children from one year old. The rate is usually between $8.00 and $10 per hour depending on the number of children in the family. Cash payment is made directly to the sitter. Arrange through Guest Services at least 24 hours in advance.




Ship Overview

The second in Royal Caribbean’s Vision-class, Splendour of the Seas launched in 1996. In addition to new staterooms and a new family suite being added, upgrades to the ship in 2012 included an outdoor movie screen poolside, the casual Park Café and Boardwalk Doghouse eateries, Asian, and steak-house specialty restaurants, digital signage, lounges for elite past passengers, and a new nursery.

The first Royal Caribbean ships to offer balconies in a number of categories, these Vision-class vessels, named for sister ship Vision of the Seas, have acres of glass skylights that allow sunlight to flood in and windows that offer wide sea vistas. The soaring central atrium at the heart of each ship is anchored by a chic bar that fills with music after dark and is the ideal spot for watching the daring aerial performances overhead.

Big, bigger, biggest! Royal Caribbean has the largest modern mega cruise liners in the world, as well as some of the most innovative technology on its newest ships, from robot bartenders to the fastest Wi-Fi at sea. Its fleet of 25 and counting are all-around favorites of passengers—arguably the most multigenerational (and Millennial) crowd at sea—who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Each ship in the fleet has action-packed activities such as surfing pools, rock-climbing walls, and on the newest ships, skydiving simulators, and 10-story slides.

Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Open, light-filled public areas offer sea views from almost every angle
  • Each vessel now offers numerous dining options, both free and for a fee
  • Daring aerialists offer a new wow-factor high above the central atrium

Cons

  • Some lounges serve as a thoroughfare and suffer from continuous traffic flow
  • Except for premium suites, accommodations lean toward the small side
  • There are no self-service laundry rooms
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 762
  • Entered Service 1996
  • Gross Tons 69,130–78,491
  • Length 867
  • Number of Cabins 915
  • Passenger Capacity 1,800–2,000 (2,076–2,435 max)
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Feb 24, 2013

Santos Brazil

This is the email that I wrote Royal Caribbean, awaiting their response... To whom it may concern, I am writing you this letter to convey me and my husband's disappointment in our honeymoon trip taken with Royal Caribbean. As experienced cruisers, we had expected a level of quality of major cruise operators and of Royal Caribbean; this was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean and 5th cruise for us each respectively. We greatly enjoyed our

last trip with Royal Caribbean out of Rome, my husband proposed to me on your Navigator of the Seas during the summer of 2011. Therefore, we felt it was a sound decision to again choose Royal Caribbean and selected the 7 Night Argentina & Uruguay Cruise on the Splendour of the Seas for our Honeymoon. We could not have been more shocked and disappointed with the level of quality encountered by Royal Caribbean on the Splendour of the Seas - as we had high expectations from our experience on the Navigator of the Seas. As a brand name, the expectation of quality should be consistent; this clearly was not the case here. See the following issues we encountered on this cruise: • We feel extremely misled regarding the cruise itself. My husband and I are experienced travels and the thought of a Cultural Immersion cruise out of Brazil was a welcomed adventure for us. We both are native English speakers, and speak some Spanish, but no Portuguese. We were informed by Royal Caribbean that the cruise cuisine and activities would be geared toward the Brazilian taste; however, English would be also spoken as a secondary language. This could not be farther from the truth. The number of native English speakers on the boat had to band together to do anything on the ship, and the crew made little to no attempt to engage us. It was also told to us by Royal Caribbean representatives that English would be an option for excursions, television, all staff would be bi-lingual and activities and more importantly announcements would be made in English (just not first). From the beginning of the cruise until the very end there was absolutely no English being spoken. We are both well-traveled Americans that have been to many non-English speaking countries and would never expect anyone to speak English to use while traveling. In this case however, we were blatantly lied to that we would still be able to have fun and participate in the cruise even if we did not speak the native language. The poor service and quality on this cruise was extremely disappointing. As stated, this trip was our Honeymoon a once in a lifetime opportunity to see South America. We spent a total of $7,000 dollars on the trip ($3,300 for the cruise, $1,100 on the ship and the remainder for flights). During the time we were onboard we were not engaged by the staff until day 5. Up until that point not a single staff member passed by with a smile or a hello. Our Suite was in disrepair. The room that we stayed in was Suite 8582 on the ship. While our stateroom attendant was extremely nice and courteous the room cleanliness and quality was just not up to Royal Caribbean standard. During our stay our bathroom sewage backed up two times, to which we had to call someone to fix it both times (and wait extended periods of time). Our bathroom door broke two times as well, screws kept popping off the door. Our towel bar was broke the entire time and never fixed. At one point I couldn't find one of my shoes so I looked underneath the bed only to find an old hair tie (full of someone's hair) as well as a few pills of Tylenol that had been left there by the last guest. The total cost for the suite was $1600.00 per person. I would have expected the stateroom attendant and staff to offer at minimum their apologies for all of the inconveniences. The service on board the ship was by the far worst part of the experience. The staff was not only not friendly but we encountered several individuals that were blatantly rude to us when we had questions. The service in the windjammer and on the pool deck was where it was the worst. Many times when we went to eat we couldn't find a place to sit (due to volume) as well as there were many tables with plates and cups sitting there for extended period of time. On two separate occasions I sat with the previous guests food my entire meal. Besides the evident lack of staff to clean up these areas, on the pool deck plates and cups were left out so long that they were actually rolling around on the deck/floor (falling from the upper deck to lower deck). In our previous cruise experience we were greeted by every staff member we encountered with a hi, how are you, anything I can do to make your stay with us better. Until day five, not one of the staff members acknowledged us with a simple hello even as they passed by. The overall service was horrific and made us actually feel not welcome. To the bar staff, waiters, casino dealers we rarely were met with a smile. At no point were we offered the purchase of beverages or anything while trying to enjoy the pool. There were no staff members walking around period to check on any of the guests to see how they were doing. The food was of horrible quality. Not only were the food choices extremely limited (pasta, hamburgers, deli meat and French fries as the main staples) but the food quality was not up to Royal Caribbean standard. The fruit was never ripe, the cheese and deli meat quality were horrible. Besides the food quality being poor the variety was also so limited. The majority of the excursions were nice (although the options are very limited). There were no water sports or anything really to do besides sightsee. The first excursion we went on was an "English Tour" - the person did not speak English even though we were told she would. Her English was not proficient enough to give a tour, which was really frustrating. If Royal Caribbean isn't able to offer excursions in English, they just shouldn't advertise them this way. Activities-There wasn't a single activity in English. I don't know how Royal Caribbean expects any English speaking guests to have fun, if they can't participate in any pool activities, bingo, casino (everyone was allowed to speak other languages at the table), nightly shows, dance classes etc. Why would Royal Caribbean advertise this cruise to us if we can't do anything on the ship? Even the activities director made every announcement in Portuguese without any thought to just making a second one in English. On our previous cruise many of the shows were tailored so that even if you don't speak the language they could still be enjoyed, this was not the case here. I have never been so disappointed in a trip as I was in this one. I doubt I will be going on Royal Caribbean again and will surely be writing a review on several websites. This cruise in no way should be advertised for English speaking guests as it doesn't even mildly attempt to accommodate them. Royal Caribbean had set a standard for us in quality that we had come to expect and I was sadly mistaken as that must have been a one-time occurrence. The other English speaking guests we encountered were also blindsided by the experience, as I think every English speaking person found each other simply to ask, is that what you were told about this cruise? It would have been nice to have an experience of a lifetime for my Honeymoon. We feel strongly that your organization needs to do something to correct the situation, as this was not acceptable.

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By PAUL_CR

  • New

Jul 16, 2012

Greek Islands

The ship is one of the smaller in the fleet, and a lot smaller than the Explorer which was our last cruise. We felt that it was much more accessible and intimate and yet large enough to not feel crowded. In fact, I am sure that the smaller ships have a bigger public-space/guest ratio than the larger ships! Staff were as always very friendly and helpful- not a single issue to complain about in the entire week. Food is good, but nothing

special, and facilities are modern, clean and well looked after. We had a balcony stateroom, which I can certainly recommend for this cruise ( not so for the Caribbean, where there is not much to see between stops- in the Med there is, and having a place to sit outside and watch the islands go by is worth the extra cost I am not a great fan of ship activities, so I would rather not comment Corfu and Bari- worth a tour. Mykonos- no- just go ashore- you can shop and swim right there, no need to pay to go anywhere. Athens- Parthenon and Athens is worth it- but go very early- in summer, by 0900 there are 50+ coaches waiting! Dubrovnik- kayaking- great fun, but not for the unfit- its quite long and requires a degree of fitness and strength. Venice- we stayed there for 2 days before the cruise- magnificent! From embarkation to the end it was a real pleasure to deal with RCI. They are so friendly and helpful- nothing is too much trouble. I recommend the MY-TIME dining, as it is convenient. we did not see many of the shows, as we don't cruise to see shows- rather spend time on deck. My teenage sons loved it- a week-long party !

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  • New

Feb 5, 2011

Mediterranean

Well, unfortunately I have no cruise experience. I booked a Mediterrean cruise on Royal Caribbean (Splendor of the Seas) which was originally scheduled to disembark on April 14th. Now two months before the cruise and about 4 months after having booked the cruise they called to say that the date for disembarkment has moved to April 4th (ten days before the original disembarkment) and after I had already purchased my airplane ticket. They gave two

options either a complete refund (which would be fine had I not purchased my plane ticket) or total voucher/credit of $600. This would be o.k. also had my ticket not been purchased on an airline that charges at least $275 for changes made to the reservations. Additionally any change in fare for myself and my husband's ticket would not be covered. I spoke to someone in their service department who told me that I should not expect for the cruise ship to reimburse me for the charges associated with changing my reservations as their website states that they can make changes. But yes, who plans a trip thinking that their trip will changed? To say the least I am now waiting for them to make a final decision as to what additional reimbursements if any will be given as their are other persons in this siutation. My advice is if you book with Royal Caribbean know that your plans can be changed. I took out travel insurance on both my ticket and cruise and they will not cover costs due to the cruise ship making changes to the schedule. Suffice it to say I won't be taking any trips with Royal Caribbean even if it is a free one.

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  • New

Dec 30, 2010

Greece

All old worn out ships from America get sent ot the Med. This ship needs to be sent in to dry dock and refurbished. Old and dated. The best things on this ship was the staff. The food in the buffett was sooo much better than the food in the main dining room. We had a balcolny cabin that was good in footage, but they had a small 13' tube TV. Come on. get witht he times RC. Also our room never had any hot water or any air handler. What this means

is the engineer was in our cabin 6 time trying to fix the heating and air conditioning (as both where needed on this trip) they could never get it fixed. When we needed heat to would blow cold, and went we need air it would blow heat. They finally just shut it off and the only air movement we got was when we opened the balcony doors. The we had to contend with the smokers on left and right of us. They should have offered us another cabin, but they never did. Lots of kids on the cruise with parents letting them run wild. Kids and small children in the adult only areas. So to get any peace it was in your cabin. Aslo, the cruise occured when the volcano in Iceland erupted. People who had booked their complete cruise package through RC where left stranded with not help from the cruise line. RC needs to step up their game other cruise lines and travel agencys covered their customers (Costa Cruise and Thomas Cooke). RC just left everyone fend for themselves. Can't believed they did this as they insist on passagers buying travel insurance. As a matter of fact if you did not watch the news you did not even know the volcan had gone off...they never anounced over head about any of this! I have learned my lesson if I take any trip it will be through a travel agent who in the case of ACTS OF GOD has my back becuase RC sure did not. The excursions of the boat were fantasic. One trip got cancelled and we where added to another excercusion and the difference in the trips was refunded. Not WOWed

Read More
  • New

Dec 30, 2010

Greece

All old worn out ships from America get sent ot the Med. This ship needs to be sent in to dry dock and refurbished. Old and dated. The best things on this ship was the staff. The food in the buffett was sooo much better than the food in the main dining room. We had a balcolny cabin that was good in footage, but they had a small 13' tube TV. Come on. get witht he times RC. Also our room never had any hot water or any air handler. What this means

is the engineer was in our cabin 6 time trying to fix the heating and air conditioning (as both where needed on this trip) they could never get it fixed. When we needed heat to would blow cold, and went we need air it would blow heat. They finally just shut it off and the only air movement we got was when we opened the balcony doors. The we had to contend with the smokers on left and right of us. They should have offered us another cabin, but they never did. Lots of kids on the cruise with parents letting them run wild. Kids and small children in the adult only areas. So to get any peace it was in your cabin. Aslo, the cruise occured when the volcano in Iceland erupted. People who had booked their complete cruise package through RC where left stranded with not help from the cruise line. RC needs to step up their game other cruise lines and travel agencys covered their customers (Costa Cruise and Thomas Cooke). RC just left everyone fend for themselves. Can't believed they did this as they insist on passagers buying travel insurance. As a matter of fact if you did not watch the news you did not even know the volcan had gone off...they never anounced over head about any of this! I have learned my lesson if I take any trip it will be through a travel agent who in the case of ACTS OF GOD has my back becuase RC sure did not. The excursions of the boat were fantasic. One trip got cancelled and we where added to another excercusion and the difference in the trips was refunded. Not WOWed

Read More

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