Tomorrow, Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas will sail from the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain where she has been for the past five weeks. During that time, over 500 workers were hard at work transforming the popular Vision-class ship into a modern work of art.

Splendour of the Seas will emerge from her Spanish drydock tomorrow after a multi-week refit. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

To bring the 1996-built ship firmly into 2011, 124 balcony staterooms were added to Splendour of the Seas.  In addition, all of her staterooms were extensively refurbished with new bathrooms, beds, upholstery, and flat-panel television.  But there’s another new stateroom amenity that’s likely to turn heads: the inclusion of Apple iPads.

Available in each and every stateroom, the iPads can be used to do everything from check your email on the stem-to-stern Wi-Fi to viewing the Cruise Compass daily program, ordering room service, and even booking shore excursions.  Best of all, the in-room iPads can be taken anywhere on the ship, allowing you to pre-order that bite to eat while you’re still lounging in your favorite public room.

While other lines have brought iPads into their top suites, Royal Caribbean has become the first to feature the popular devices in every stateroom category across the ship. These will be available beginning in mid-February 2012, and will be rolled out on the other Vision-class ships when each undergoes its own refurbishment over the next two years.

A rendering of one of the new balcony staterooms aboard Splendour of the Seas, featuring Apple iPads. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

When I visited the Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, British Columbia this past summer to see Radiance of the Seas undergo her own “extreme makeover”, executives hinted that there was more to come, and it seems that they’ve saved some of their most brilliant innovations for their Vision-class vessels.

Far smaller than the gargantuan Oasis and Allure, these ships were originally dubbed, “Ships of Light” in reference to their enormous abundance of floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  They’re cozy, intimate, and highly successful if perhaps more staid than their newer counterparts.  But with features like the intimate Chef’s Table dining experience, the retro-sixties R Bar and the transformation of the 60-foot high Centrum into a “vertical entertainment” space, Splendour of the Seas could just be the ship to sail aboard this Holiday season.

For more information on the amazing enhancements Royal Caribbean has procured for Splendour of the Seas, be sure to have a peek at the Royal Caribbean website!


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