We travelled on MSC Splendida with our daughter and her partner. It was their first cruise and the itinerary was good. We fancied being spoilt for a week without worrying about a large bar bill at the end of the holiday so we chose to travel in the Yacht club.
The trip to Marseille was good, as was the Holiday Inn Express near the station. The cruise port is a long way from the centre of town so be prepared for a 25 euro taxi ride. Embarkation went smoothly and our butler, Ishmael, escorted us to our cabins. The cabins were lovely with walk in wardrobe and well appointed bathrooms. The balconies are smaller than on other ships we have sailed on. Ishmael took us on a tour of the facilities available within the Yacht Club. Everything was beautiful with a large sun deck/pool and the Top Sail lounge with snacks and drinks always available.
We went for lunch in the Olivio restaurant, specifically for Yacht Club and had an excellent lunch with good service. The restaurant is the other end of the ship, still on deck 15 so it either involves a walk along the outside deck or navigating through the maze of bars and restaurants on deck 6. Luckily Ishmael escorted us and explained the priority lift service.
We sailed late afternoon in the rain and almost at once hit rough seas, maybe the Yacht Club's location at the front of the ship makes things feel worse than they are but it really was quite uncomfortable - only 2 of us made it to dinner! The centre part of the restaurant suffers from a bad vibration which in addition to a rough sea makes things quite difficult, the food however was very good.
Breakfast is available in the Olivio restaurant or in the Yacht Club Top Sail lounge (cold buffet style), both were excellent with freshly squeezed orange juice and a good selection on the menu.
Barcelona on Monday was a sad affair in cold monsoon like rain. No information was forthcoming on disembarkation - in fact, no information was forthcoming at all. On other cruise lines, the Captain has always said a few words each day but there were no announcements at all. Perhaps the ship was being sailed by remote control as we did not see one officer for the entire week.
Monday night was very rough again and once again only 2 of us went to dinner. The seas got worse during the night and at 5:00 am I gave up and went down to Deck 5 and slept on a sofa for a few hours as it was so uncomfortable on Deck 15 - one of our party fell out of bed due to the rough weather. No information was available about the storm and it later transpired that we were on the edge of Cyclone Cleopatra which did so much damage in Sardinia. The seas did not improve for the entire week which really marred our enjoyment of the Yacht Club facilities.
Tunisia was the next port of call where we had arranged a private guide who was fantastic. We didn't get hassled at all and had a great day - our guide's name was Ben Jebar email@example.com Very reasonably priced and really knowledgable without giving too much information. We felt safe and were well looked after.
The other ports visited were Palermo, Rome and Genoa before our return to Marseille. At each port, no information was forthcoming about which deck to leave the ship, where the shuttle buses were or even a basic map of the port. On NCL, for example, there is always a talk on the next port of call with a basic map and info on some shops and restaurants - on MSC, nothing!
The shows in the theatre were ok but very short but there was little else on offer. We went to one quiz which was pitiful. There was a pianist in Yacht Club a couple of times during the evening but the sound was similar to a child's electronic organ. The violinist in the restaurant played the most depressing selection of music that I have ever heard. The ship boasts a 4D cinema which was also pathetic. The only English speaking tv channels available in the cabins are news - films are charged for.
Summing up, the Yacht Club offering is very good but really only worthwhile if the weather is kind to you. MSC has very little else to offer and we would not repeat the experience.