We were invited to attend this all inclusive event onboard MSC Magnifica and expected the highest levels of service and food as they were basically tempting travel agents to go out and get people to book with them.
Arrival at Southampton and security checks were quick and easy and we were told to wait in the seating area. Drinks and snacks were provided free of charge. Actually getting to check in though was a different matter we were not told that as we weren't part of the Thomas Cook group that we could have used the suite guests check in lane and have been onboard with 15minutes of the check ins opening instead it was nearly an hour later.
Upon boarding the ship our hand luggage was taken from us by staff who then escorted us to our cabins unlike the pointing you vaguely in the direction that you get so often nowadays.
Our balcony cabin was nicely decorated and fitted out with more colour than on other ships. The red and black colour scheme gave it a luxurious feel alongs side the walnut coloured furniture. We were provided with threee wardrobes and a few drawers but there was plenty of space under the bed for cases. The cabins are all equipped with flat screen TVs, Hairdryers at the dressing tables and a mini bar. There is plenty of storage space in the bathroom and shower gel & shampoo are provided in wall mounted dispensers. On the balcony itself there were two chairs and a small table which were comfortable.
Dining was problamatic and a let down over all ~ food was bland and presented with out any flair, quite often it was cold. On a table for 8 two people had to send meat back for further cooking even though they had ordered it medium well, desserts we missed out and the dining room was very noisy and quite tight space wise ~ I don't think the noise level was helped as we were seated at the side of the waiter station.
Decor throughout the ship is opulent with lots of gold and brass in evidence and decadent purples. Smoking is allowed in all bars on the port side apart from the nightclub and does have a tendency to drift. The atrium is a very nice area with plenty of seating and a classical trio playing in the afternoons and evenings.
Some areas on the ship have been changed from those in the original brochures which caused a few problems when we were looking for the bar that was hosting our Meet & Greet.
The Yacht Club Suites were still being completed whilst we were onboard and a few of the rear cabins were still awaiting the lights on the balcony to be wired in.
The pool decks were nice and pleasantly arranged with a stage area near the unenclosed pool whilst the pool with the magrodome had pleanty of chairs and tables surrounding it along with a bar and ice cream servery.
The Sports bar was one of the most impressive on the ship with a self leveling pool table plenty of TVs and food available from the bar.
The spa area features a smoothie bar for you sip whilst awaiting your appoinment. I had a mini back massage and felt totally relaxed but the prices were steep ~ you would probably be aswell waiting to see if any specials are offered on port days.
Overall the staff were polite & efficent but they could do with some extra attention from the trainers for the waiters in the restaurant. Food was OK but again could do with a little extra attention and seasoning. The ship is glitzy to look at but not in the over the top carnival way and I do wonder if the childrens club will be large enough during times of peak demand?