I’ve always dreamed of going on a Mediterranean Cruise. This past summer we decided on a family vacation cruising through the Mediterranean. Cruising the Mediterranean is a walking history book for kids and families. Seeing places like Ephesus with their own eyes is the best show & tell program for kids and teens.
Finding the right ship for a Mediterranean cruise is like buying a pair of jeans. You have to find the right fit. It’s important to take your time, do the research, and find the right match for you and your family. For us one of the most important things was finding a port of embarkment that was easily accessible by plane, and of course, the best itinerary.
At the time of our cruise, there was a big controversy between the city of Venice and the cruise industry. The city was trying to get the cruise ships to change their path and ban them from sailing through the Giudecca Canal. While we were there, they decided to start ending the era of the vast cruise ships rearing above the iconic buildings of Venice. The city announced plans to restrict the cruise ships’ access to the Giudecca Canal.
Getting to the port was easy. We hopped on a water taxi from Hotel Daneili, where we had stayed for three days prior to our Mediterranean Cruise. The water taxi took us directly to the cruise port. Once at the port, we dropped off our bags, checked in, and went on the ship. We arrived early in the afternoon just in time to have lunch on the ship.
The first thing you see on the ship is the Centrum, which is the center of the ship. It was used in the evenings as an entertainment area with girders installed above from which aerialists could perform.
Our Junior Suite with Balcony was probably the most spacious room we have ever seen on a cruise ship. It was a good size for two people with plenty of storage space. They even provided shampoo in a dispenser in the shower. It had a sitting area with sofa (which opened into a bed) making it very useful for families with kids like us. It came equipped with an iPad in our stateroom, for passengers to check their accounts, book shore excursions and watch films. Our kids wanted to know if they could keep them, and of course, the answer was “No”. Some of the perks that came with our Junior suites was access to the Concierge Lounge, and priority tender tickets. On days that we had excursions, we where one of the first people to get off the ship.
Our room was situated towards the front of the ship, and on the side where we could see the crew and captain outside maneuvering the ship.
On Deck 9, you can swim or lounge in the spacious main pool area or chill out in the Solarium, with its retractable glass ceiling and vaguely Roman design motifs. Just astern, the spa and fitness center offers the usual selection of treatments, steam rooms, saunas, plus small aerobics and workout rooms. There’s a sports court out back for basketball and other games (mostly soccer), and one deck up is a rock-climbing wall, a miniature golf course, and a jogging track.
For kids, the Adventure Ocean playroom on Deck 10 is stocked with toys and games. Teens get their own Optix Teen Disco right next door, along with a small video arcade.
There is only one dining room on Splendour, named The King & I, which is split over two decks and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My Time dining is what we chose and our own private table (you are free to dine when you want).
The Windjammer buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food is laid out at individual serving stations, which reduced queues, but the room was invariably buzzing with passengers criss-crossing from one servery to another. We normally went to the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch.
- Chops Grille: Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse is located adjacent to the Viking Crown Lounge and features a menu of prime cuts prepared a la minute.
- Izumi: Featuring a sushi bar with hot-rock cooking, the pan Asian cuisine restaurant is a no-hassle, authentic dining experience. Izumi is located adjacent to the Viking Crown Lounge (open for lunch and dinner.
- Park Café: An indoor/outdoor gourmet market featuring salads, sandwiches, soups and pastries (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, complimentary).
- Viking Crown Lounge: The line’s signature space will feature a new menu of classic dishes such as jumbo shrimp cocktail or Kobe beef sliders, Asian inspired tempuras and soft shell crab and much more (a la carte pricing).
We really enjoyed our cruise on the Splendour of the Seas. It gave us a little taste of the Mediterranean.