This was my first cruise with an Italian Cruise Line and after reading the reviews on here I was slightly worried.
Our vacation got off to a bad start with the cancelling of all flights from the UK due to the Volcanic Ash incident, this resulted in a 36 hour coach journey to Barcelona.. We spent the night before the cruise in the GBB4 Hotel which was ten Min's from the cruise port by taxi.
When we made our way from the hotel to the Port we got our first glimpse of the Splendida, she is truly a beautiful ship and after our journey it was like an oasis.
Upon arrival at the Cruise terminal we dropped our bags with the porters and were directed into the check in area. In Barcelona you go through security before entering the check in area which certainly speed-ed up the process. We checked in as normal and were on-board the ship within 15 Min's of arriving at the port. (well done MSC)
When we boarded the ship we were taken to the lifts and given verbal directions for how to get to our cabin. WE immediately went to the cabins to drop off our hand luggage.
We had cabins 8120 and 8122 on the starboard side. The cabin was decorated in dark wood with a blue and green colour scheme the cabin was a good size with ample storage space and the suitcases fitted easily under the bed. The cabin had a small cosy chair, coffee table, dressing table and stool. The dressing table had a hairdryer in the draw and had spot lights over it with a large mirror. The cabin also had a mini bar the mini bar was only charged to your cabin on the last night so if like us you had the soda vouchers we could drink the cans in the fridge and then replace with one we bought with our soda vouchers in the bar. (another good system by MSC) The balcony was a good size with a small table and 2 comfortable plastic wicker style arm chairs. We opened the divider between our two cabins which made it seem much larger. The bathroom was also of a good size it was very bright and like the rest of the cabin spotless. The bathroom had a bath with a shower over it. They did have a shower curtain but the way this was attached to one of the walls ensured it did not cling to you when showering. The room also had a dispenser for Body Wash and Shampoo with Conditioner. There was also shower caps and it was a soap dispenser at the sink. Lots of storage in the bathroom to with 3 glass shelves and 2 under sink cupboards. Towels were changed twice a day even when we had hung the towels up.
We then got on with exploring the ship everything was very clean and you could still smell the newness. As everyone says this ship is beautiful with all of the public areas being welcoming and comfortable.
We had lunch on the first day at the Bora Bora buffet which was of very good quality with loads of variety from main meals to salads, burgers and pizza. As Splendida picks passengers up at every cruise port except Tunis the buffet was fairly quite as lots of other passengers were out on there excursions.
After lunch we headed for a tour of the ship looking at the bars and pools and got our barrings. When we returned to the cabin we were pleased to see that our luggage had arrived and the housekeeping team came to introduce themselves the two who looked after our cabin were great and everything was done when we were away from the cabin we hardly seen them for the week as they were so efficient.
This is were I had my only gripes on the cruise. I am used to sailing with NCL and love there freestyle concept as it fits in with my lifestyle and I found the set dinning very restrictive.
My partners parents do not like dinning late so we had to go for the early (main) sitting this was a little to early for me as I love watching the ship sail out from port and this was usually slap bang after the first course for dinner.
We were assigned a table of 8 with a lovely group of 4 from Holland. Unfortunately only one member of the party spoke English and as we didn't speak Dutch this led to dinner being very uncomfortable. Due to this we requested to move tables with the maitre de. As the sitting was full there was nothing that could be done at that time but he said he would try his best to help when he could. The next night we again dinned in the main restaurant and found that it was putting a damper on our cruise. The following day we had been out all day in Malta and had a late lunch on the pier so we decided to skip the main dinning room and we ate in the Sports bar. The food in the sports bar was excellent and great value for money (it was actually the best meal I had on the ship) The following night we went back to the main dinning room to be advised that we had been moved to a table for 4 yippee.
On the 2nd last night we decided that we would give the Santa Fe a go for dinner instead. We walked past the restaurant but unfortunately as it was closed there was no menu out for us to look at to see if we could dine there (one of our part is vegi) As it wasn't we thought that like NCL there would be a copy of the menu in reception and went down to find it. When we asked we were told no and that we would have to go the the restaurant that evening to see the menu. I explained that all we needed to know was was there a vegi option on the menu and that if we went to the restaurant and there wasnt we would be to late for our dinner sitting and unable to dine still nothing could be done the answer was thats the way its is. (very helpful)
We did go the the restaurant unfortunately there was no vegi dish on offer we still dinned there the food was dreadful with no flavour at all very disapointing and expensive.
Buffet = Excellent Main dinning room = Average but the risotto and pasta were exceptional(gala dinner was a turkey breast covered in cheese no sign of stake or lobster here) Paid for venues = only sports bar was worth the money
We found it very disapointing that the buffet was not open on an evening as we would have opted for that on several occasions as the cruise was very port intensive
Overall if I had liked the traditional dinning I think MSC Splendida would have ticked the box for me whilst the food was average it was still ok and as I say the risotto is the best I have ever had.
We only had one serious negitave on the cruise one evening we were sitting on the Balcony before getting dressed for dinner when there was a strange sound and the balcony filled with dirty water that smelled like a sewer. We called reception who sent the maid to tell us she would clean it which was great but we wanted to know what it was as it smelled like someone had flushed a toilet over us. We called reception again and they sent the head of housekeeping up who told us it was because the ship had moved (advised this was rubbish as if the flood the balcony everytime the ship moves on a calm sea they were introuble) Eventually we got an explination that someone had hit the wrong button and emptied the pool filters onto our deck and they said sorry.
Accidents happen and they completely sorted it and the apology was well received.