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MSC Splendida Cruise Review by Trouvailless

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MSC Splendida
MSC Splendida
Member Name: Trouvailless
Cruise Date: October 2013
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Mediterranean
Cabin Category:
Cabin Number:
Booking Method:
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Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5.0
Entertainment 2.0
Spa & Fitness 1.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5+
Rates Not Rated
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Ship Facts: MSC Splendida Review (by Cruise Critic!) | MSC Splendida Deck Plans
First cruise on Splendida

Just back from MSC Splendida out of Barcelona and returned there on 4th November. First cruise on this line and I had read all the posts I could find, and whilst some of the naysayers were correct in their comments, there was nothing awful or even vaguely unpleasant about the cruise line. The ship is very very large and beautifully appointed, although I did think there was no real flow from one space to the other in terms of decor, unlike Celebrity which is always co-ordinated. Certainly whoever thinks the Pizzetta is reminiscent of a Tuscan street ain't been near Tuscany! The public areas and the cabins are very clean, and the crew, and this includes everyone I met, were extremely professional, particularly noticeable in the main dining room where the waiters were highly competent and always available - one never felt to be in the forgotten corner!

My sister and I shared a twin balcony cabin midships; quite good space, lack of hangers as always, although we could probably have asked for more, would be difficult to accommodate more things if on a longer trip than 7 days I think. Very quiet, although there was a communicating door but no noise from the adjacent cabin. The official announcements were all but unintelligible because of feedback but this is often the case on cruises.

We had taken the Allegrissimo 24 package after all, as we reckoned it would be easier to keep track of our costs that way, but I am not a big drinker, so the one wine glass of 40 cl at dinner, the coffee after breakfast and again after dinner, with a cocktail pre dinner, and only time for one ice cream on an at sea day, didn't give me a winning hand, although my sister did rather better. I personally wouldn't bother again.

We didn't use the pool and spa facilities, as we were ashore most days, but there is absolutely nothing to do of any sort on sea days, which drag, although I spent too much time at the slot machines, reasonably successfully, but I would like to have had a chance to go to talks, or play trivia games, or even watch mini displays, but apart from things around the Pool and Bingo in the early evening one day I think, there was nothing to pass the time. In the evening there was of course the theatre, and we attended one odd ballet cum gymnastic show, which was symbolic or mythoological, but well performed and an enjoyable evening, but going on the shore excursions meant we were not up to getting ready for the other evenings' shows at 7.30. However there was an absolutely outstanding opera singer in the main Atrium, accompanied by an accomplished musical trio, and she had to battle against the horrendous noise of a couple of thousand diners emerging from the restaurant above. Talking of restaurants we were disappointed to see there was only one alternative dining, a Texmex which is great if you like Texmex but not too thrilling if you don't. Had believed from MSC publicity that there was a choice of a la carte dining options. The food in the main idining rooms was middling to good. Some starters and desserts were excellent, main dishes a bit hit and

miss. Overall 3*-4* I'd say. Certainly there was considerable choice, and I can only assume that those

Posters who spoke of pasta and pizza either did not use the MDR or didn't find the roasts and ethnic sections of the Buffet.

The shore excursions were somewhat limited by the lateness of the season as two we had paid for in advance were cancelled, and we had to substitute from a limited range. One word of WARNING on going into Tunis. We were taken to the inevitable carpet traders, and there is no doubt that the quality of the place and their products were first class, HOWEVER I decided to purchase a rug, not to be delivered to my home, but according to the vendor IT WILL BE DELIVERED TO THE SHIP AND YOU CAN PAY WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD ONBOARD IN EUROS. What actually happened was that the rug duly packed in my presence travelled back on the coach to the terminal, where we all got off, and the guide who was part of the trading company it seems, said he was not able to go through Immigration, and I was to go onboard, get my Euro card, and return to him (under a tree by the side of the road!) where he would complete the transaction with his mobile card machine. I had had to leave a deposit so thought it better not to lose that, went and returned with card, proper card slip and receipt plus my own money back, and he then explained that although the till showed the transaction in Euros this would also show the Tunis Dinars, and he showed me the rate of exchange on his calculator, which was correct. All well and good, but I had to lug the rug the whole way back to the ship myself! Now home and my Visa card statement shows the value of Euros actually paid was 6 more as the transaction HAD been processed in Tunis Dinars, and my bank had therefore charged me not only a transaction charge for the effort, but also an exchange currency charge, so I ended up paying a further €20 on top. It turned out reasonably safe, but had I thought this action would be conducted off the ship I would not have even considered making the purchase: it was the "safety" net..

Would I go with MSC again, probably unlikely. I like big ships but not perhaps with that many guests. Can't see it appealing to our US friends, although perhaps the Caribbean cruises MSC do are slightly different. We certainly got value for money, everything is less costly than on the US lines and there is no pressure to buy stuff, and if we had been users of the pool and spa we might have had an altogether more successful holiday, but we can do all this at home so it doesn't really appeal when away.

We didn't use the pool and spa facilities, as we were ashore most days, but there is absolutely nothing to do of any sort on sea days, which drag, although I spent too much time at the slot machines, reasonably successfully, but I would like to have had a chance to go to talks, or play trivia games, or even watch mini displays, but apart from things around the Pool and Bingo in the early evening one day I think, there was nothing to pass the time. In the evening there was of course the theatre, and we attended one odd ballet gymnastic show, which was symbolic or mythoological, but well performed and an enjoyable evening, but going on the shore excursions meant we were not up to getting ready for the other evenings' shows at 7.30. However there was an absolutely outstanding opera singer in the main Atrium, accompanied by an accomplished musical trio, and she had to battle against the horrendous noise of a couple of thousand diners emerging from the restaurant above. Talking of restaurants we were disappointed to see there was only one alternative dining, a Texmex which is great if you like Texmex but not too thrilling if you don't. Had believed from MSC publicity that there was a choice of a la carte dining options. The food in the main dining rooms was middling to good. Some starters and desserts were excellent, main dishes a bit hit and miss. Overall 3*-4* I'd say. Certainly there was considerable choice, and I can only assume that those Posters who spoke of pasta and pizza either did not use the MDR or didn't find the roasts and ethnic sections of the Buffet.

The shore excursions were somewhat limited by the lateness of the season as two we had paid for in advance were cancelled, and we had to substitute from a limited range. One word of WARNING on going into Tunis. We were taken to the inevitable carpet traders, and there is no doubt that the quality of the place and their products were first class, HOWEVER I decided to purchase a rug, not to be delivered to my home, but according to the vendor IT WILL BE DELIVERED TO THE SHIP AND YOU CAN PAY WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD ONBOARD IN EUROS. What actually happened was that the rug duly packed in my presence travelled back on the coach to the terminal, where we all got off, and the guide who was part of the trading company it seems, said he was not able to go through Immigration, and I was to go onboard, get my Euro card, and return to him (under a tree by the side of the road!) where he would complete the transaction with his mobile card machine. I had had to leave a deposit so thought it better not to lose that, went and returned with card, proper card slip and receipt plus my own money back, and he then explained that although the till showed the transaction in Euros this would also show the Tunis Dinars, and he showed me the rate of exchange on his calculator, which was correct. All well and good, but I had to lug the rug the whole way back to the ship myself! Now home and my Visa card statement shows the value of Euros actually paid was 6 more as the transaction HAD been processed in Tunis Dinars, and my bank had therefore charged me not only a transaction charge for the effort, but also an exchange currency charge, so I ended up paying a further €20 on top. It turned out reasonably safe, but had I thought this action would be conducted off the ship I would not have even considered making the purchase: it was the "safety" net..

Would I go with MSC again, probably unlikely. I like big ships but not perhaps with that many guests. Can't see it appealing to our US friends, although perhaps the Caribbean cruises MSC do are slightly different. We certainly got value for money, everything is less costly than on the US lines and there is no pressure to buy stuff, and if we had been users of the pool and spa we might have had an altogether more successful holiday, but we can do all this at home so it doesn't really appeal when away.

The greatest failing of this line is undoubtedly the allowance of smoking in the Casino, where not only those who were playing the tables and the slot machines were allowed to smoke, but crowds of smokers who were doing neither propped up the bar or hung just smoking, and the noise and smoke was dreadful, and now that non smokers' lungs are not used to coping with that level of smoke it was totally unacceptable. Also although I had dismissed as a general moan from one of the posts the level of noise in the Buffet, he actually understated it. Now that so many people shout into their mobiles all the time, the shouting to each other and the general noise of so many cruisers in one place was extraordinary. The children of whom there were dozens it being half term were in the main unseen and indeed unheard. However those dining at the 2nd sitting were very very small babies in buggies and mostly asleep, so perhaps the 1st sitting was noisier. We did find the tolerance of the waiting staff as regards breastfeeding at a communal table was too great, and there should perhaps be a special corner of the room for this necessary feed to take place, or even a request that the mother cover her breast with a napkin or similar if this is done across the table from diners.

One last point. Several Posters mentioned the difficulty with communicating with the Reception desk staff, but we found them to be very helpful indeed on the several times we has to go there. The Head Office in the UK with whom we booked were absolutely the most efficient and courteous we have ever come across, and we have been cruising for many years.

Definitely I wouldn't want you all to think there is anything basically wrong with the cruise line. It is what it is: a well run, clean and efficient ship, and at the prices we are asked to pay, very good value for money. Individual tastes are all that defines whether one would use a particular line.

 


Publication Date: 11/20/13
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