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Tom Dillon

Age: 56 to 65


Number of Cruises: 6 to 10 Cruises

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Splendour of the Seas

Sailing Date: December 1998

Itinerary: 11-day Circle the Caribbean

We had to request twice to have our cabin thermostat turned down (colder), but it was taken care of immediately and effectively. We were very impressed with the service on this ship. Room stewards/stewardesses (even those not assigned to our room), dining room waiter, assistant waiter, assistant headwaiter, wine steward, bartenders, Purser's staff, and Cruise Director's staff were all extremely professional, courteous, and friendly. All seemed genuinely glad that we had chosen their ship for our vacation, and acted like it.

We only had two real disappointments on our cruise. One was food quality, which my wife said did not even come close to measuring up to that on her previous RCI cruises. The food itself was "just OK," and the variety was sorely lacking. We don't care for veal or lamb, which was served several times. The menu was, frankly, somewhat boring. I did have two filet mignons that were exceptionally good, but overall, both the dining room and the Windjammer had boring menus. Our real disappointment, however, was the entertainment.

On an 11-night cruise, we expected an older crowd, and were not surprised that the average passenger seemed to be about 70 years of age. However, we were extremely disappointed to discover that the entertainment was aimed at that age group. The female soloist sang songs from the 30s and 40s. The solo and duet comedians were in the same age range as the average passenger, and their jokes were even older. I have never seen as many people get up to leave a shipboard performance as I did on this cruise, often as early as three minutes into the performance. My wife and I usually stay out of courtesy, but we just couldn't on this cruise.

For the most part, the entertainment was HORRID! Two exceptions: the ventriloquist (from the Soap sitcom) and "El Gaucho" were superb, and we enjoyed them thoroughly (We also noticed that no one left their performances). Lots and lots of geriatric passengers nodded off during the other shows. We thought this was pay so much for such lousy entertainment. Oh, well.....they didn't take up too many topside pool chairs, although we did start calling the Solarium the "sanatarium." Mostly nice people, though. My wife and I are Texans in our mid-50s, and our table for 8 included another couple our age from San Jose, CA, a couple in their late 20s from New York City, and a couple in their 70s from Cincinnati. We were very lucky to have hit it off well, and really had a good time at meals in the dining room. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Special kudos must go to the assistant headwaiter and Derick. Both went out of their way to assist us, and neither seemed motivated by a tip (although both received them from us). Very class act! The cruise director didn't impress us that much, but his staff really did! They were about the best I've seen, and my wife agreed. She had met one young man (Matt) on the Grandeur, and was pleasantly surprised to see him on the Splendour. John, from New York, and Kate, from England, were super!

I think that, all in all, this was about the best "long" vacation I've ever taken. We had a pretty good idea what to expect, and our expectations were either met or exceeded. We would repeat the cruise in a heartbeat! One recommendation, however: Stay an extra day in Aruba and bypass Ocho Rios.

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