With five new dining experiences, 124 new balcony staterooms, 10 bars and lounges, the new and improved Splendour of the Seas is really living up to her name.
Wendy Liscia, freelance travel writer, was amongst some of the first English speaking guests on board when the ship set sail from Santos in Brazil during her immersion season.
I boarded Splendour when she was three weeks into her new season, following her five week makeover at the Navantia Shipyard in Cadiz. The $50 million spend was well worth it, thick carpets, squeaky clean bathrooms and exquisite sofas in the brand new R Bar; the Centrum’s chic new cocktail bar, were all evident. Unfortunately, the new ipads had not been installed, but the technology behind the interactive information screens gave a taste of what would be in store for other guests.
The large screen Digital Wayfinders, situated on the public decks, help with orientation indicating current deck location, directions on how to get to the restaurants, bars and entertainment venues; but they were especially useful in locating the nearest restrooms. In a choice of languages, these screens also offer details of the day’s activities via the cruise compass. An excellent idea.
Dining is always an important part of any cruise holiday, and for me, this was the best dining I had experienced on any Royal Caribbean ship. The Windjammer, often criticized for buffet style luke warm food, was excellent, but what impressed me the most was the hygiene. In my experience, there may be hand sanitizer stations, but many guests don’t use them. On Splendour the staff are there to see that guest DO use them. A huge plus.
The excellent food and service in the Windjammer continued in the King & I dining room. My Time dining on this cruise is a bonus for guests who prefer to eat around 8pm, unlike the Brazilians and Europeans who consider 10pm ideal. My only regret was that there wasn’t enough time to try out all the speciality restaurants; however, the new healthy eating Park Café had some excellent salads, stuffed breads and biscuits. The Dog House, somewhere I tried to avoid until the penultimate day, was superb; these hotdogs from around the world were tasty, meaty and totally unexpected.
All of the ships staterooms have received a makeover including the installation of brand new bathrooms. The addition of a whole new deck of balcony cabins on deck 6 also means that more guests can enjoy breakfast on their patio.
It is clear that the Centrum is an area where a large amount of the budget has been spent. Comfy chairs and sofas in red velvet and gold hug the small dance floor and the upper levels. The R Bar, with its Italian marble counter, is where the ’mixologist’ creates cocktails from around the globe, whilst entertainers perform at great heights in well choreographed shows.
Many US and European customers feel reluctant to try a cruise where the majority of the other guests are non English speaking, but this experience, in my opinion, was an excellent way to experience a ‘taste’ of South America with the locals.
- 124 new balcony staterooms on deck 6
- All staterooms have been refurbished to include new carpets, bathrooms, and flat screen TV’s.
- New Touch Screen information points help you see where you are, where the facilities are located and what’s on.
- ipads in every stateroom
- New poolside big screen on Deck 10
- Brand new gym equipment – including a rowing machine.
- Park Café – serving make your own salads, healthy choices and snacks
- Dog House – mouth watering hotdogs from around the world.
- Café Latté-tudes
- Izumi Asian-fusion cuisine, featuring a la carte sushi selections
- A la carte dining in the Viking Crown Lounge
- Chef’s Table – An intimate dining experience
- R Bar in the Centrum – A combination of ‘60’s style and chic comfort
- Ariel entertainment
- New to Splendour but not Royal Caribbean – Choppes Grill
- The Vitality Spa
- Fitness classes from kick boxing to Pilates
- Rock-climbing wall
- Upper-deck jogging track
- 18-hole miniature golf course
For Club Members:
- Concierge club
- Diamond Lounge
- Royal Babies® and Royal Tots® programming featuring specially designed Fisher Price activities
- Expanded teen-only hangout areas
- Family-friendly activities including games, contests, enrichment classes and lectures