Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Splendour of the Seas
Sailing Date: January 2nd, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Well I don’t know where to start…I guess Tampa. It was my first visit to Tampa and our first cruise. Ask me a year ago if I wanted to go on a cruise and I would have told you not no but h*** no am I going to spend a week on a crowded boat laying by the pool all day drinking my vacation away and having to get dressed up every night to eat “ship food”. Ask me now and I will have my bags packed and flight booked waiting on your doorstep.
We actually got to Tampa a couple of days early to visit family for New Year’s. We were new to this so we went for a drive Saturday the 1st just to see where we had to go the next day. SIMPLE. The port is very nice and easy to get to, compared to our port in Texas, which, from some visits to Galveston, is not too nice. It was easy to find the right terminal and plenty of room for everyone. If you can take the long way from the airport and go down Bay shore Drive….Beautiful view. Our agent told us to get there early even though the book said boarding starts at 1:00pm. We, in our excitement, got there at 11:30am…went through check in…got our pics taken boarding…found our floor….12:15pm. I was told this would take a couple of hours. Maybe we were lucky? I do however recommend getting passports even though a birth cert. is fine, Its just much easier, even though you will only use them twice (once to embark and next when you come back through customs). And get there EARLY!!!!
We went to see our room. We got the jr. suite with a balcony and it was worth the extra 200.00…..incredible view. We were on the 8th deck, the highest deck with rooms. I was kind of worried it would be noisy since the pool deck was above us but we were in the aft so it was fine. I would recommend being fore or aft if you are on the top deck, because you can hear the pool splash from down below in the middle.
We got to our room and the attendant came by and said he had a little more to do but he would let us get settled first……This was the first encounter of the SUPERB service we experienced. We found the Windjammer easy…follow the crowd. There was plenty to choose from. We ate 5 times the first 4 hours, but…..I do feel that SOME of the food was not up to par. In all I would rate the Windjammer a 4 out of five stars, the Dinning room a 2 ½ stars and the Solarium café 3, only because the menu never changed. The Pizza was GREAT however, Hamburgers grilled, and the hot dogs………well, they were hot dogs. Pizza GREAT, I guess I mentioned that. The dining room dessert was incredible as was the appetizers, but the main meal disappointed. We only ate there 3 nights though….maybe we hit the bad nights?? Although if you didn’t like the food they would gladly take it back and bring something else, or if you wanted one of everything they would do that to. I usually got two shrimp cocktails, they were very good.
As far as the dress code. What code??? IT’S VACATION!!!!!!!! We packed way too many cloths. We took suits and evening gowns for the formal and felt over dressed. Not really, but as far as the women’s dress…don’t spend time or money for an evening gown…just bring your Sunday best. Most men wore suits, a few tucks, some not even a suit. Mainly bring comfortable cloths. Dockers, Kakis, polo-golf shirts, shorts, t-shirts, “Sunday dress”. We only went to one formal night and did the pictures which were very nice and worth the 20.00. You will have your picture taken about 20 times. You can go to the photo gallery look at the pics, find the ones you like trash the others. You only buy the ones you like, or none.
Next were the activities. I could spend two paragraphs on this but I will just say….GREAT. I do have to mention that we were lucky to have the room next to us to be the entertainer’s room. We had John Davidson one night and (excuse the spelling) Yackov Smirnoff the other. We met them both. The shows great, the entertainers great, the on-board activities crew incredible. GO TO BINGO…YES BINGO. Hamish was the best BINGO guy ever. Don’t forget the casino. And I must finish buy saying hello to Andre’ from the Ukraine. The BEST bartender ever!! Knew all the card/bar tricks and a hoot to B.S. with…I spent a lot of time at Top Hat Lounge, needless to say. You don’t have to tip the attendants because it is figured in the tab…But you can add an extra tip for “excellent service” and with Andre’ I did!!! Well worth it.
My girlfriend said many times that if we never got off the ship this would be an incredible trip…..Of course we couldn’t do that…The diamond shops were on shore!!!! Our first stop was Costa Maya. Not very impressed. We decided not to go on any excursions except the cave tubing in Belize. We kind of missed that though because of the night before partying….But what happens on the ship stays on the ship!! Anyway when at Costa Maya go parasailing or something because there is not much shopping to do and the restaurants weren’t all that great. The water not as clear as Cozumel but nice. Snorkeling would be nice. We just wanted to experience the port and the shops, we both have been snorkeling before, and we wanted to do that in Cozumel. The next stop was Belize. We didn’t dock there we tendered there. Like I said before we were going to go cave tubing, which I heard was incredible, but we kind of oversleep and literally missed the boat! We had lunch and went on shore later that afternoon. It took 1 hour of wait to take a 10 minute boat ride to shore to see a dirty town! It will be a nice stop a couple of years down the road; they are doing some expansion and renovation now. By far Cozumel was the best! Mexico yes…..but you expect that. We docked up the road at the international pier and had to take a 6.00 cab ride to the “SHOPS” and of course Carlos and Charlie’s. I am glad the boat stayed until 11:00pm. But we could have stayed another day. We mostly shopped, went to a near by beach did some snorkeling ate lunch shopped more, went to Carlos and Charlie’s, and back on the ship……YES it happened that fast…Day gone!
In conclusion I would definitely take another Royal Caribbean cruise…..I’m thinking Mariner of the Seas, January 21, 2006, Eastern Caribbean, Port Canaveral. I want to experience the BIG boat! Look me up if you are on board…..I will be by a bar somewhere!