Splendid on the Splendida? You get what you pay for
If you are looking for a cruise where the highlight is fine dining then MSC is not for you. We had been looking for a floating hotel to relax in for a week. We found the dining room meals good on the whole and quite adequate. 6 courses Italian style with a starter, salad, pasta, main course, cheese and pudding. Small portions but we couldn't eat every course every night. We missed having veg, Italians don't do meat and two veg meals but our waiter brought us a plate of veg with our main course every night after we asked for it.If you don't fancy the main courses there is always an alternative of grilled chicken breast, grilled fillet of fish or beef paillard. We never discovered what that was. If you want to use the cafeteria for lunch or evening meal you will find the food is very similar every time. 6 or 7 hot stations, the grill which has hot dogs and hamburgers and fries plus a 3rd meat which changes every time. we saw pork chops and beef steaks. There is an ethnic choice which had 3 or 4 curries one day 3 or 4 greek dishes another day. A daily choice station with another 3 or 4 meat or fish dishes with accompaniments (Rice or potatoes) and a pasta station with 3 or 4 choices of pasta. Finally there is a pizza station with 3 or 4 different pizza to choose from. In addition there was a cold choice (meats and salads) and bakery items and desserts or fresh fruits.The reviewers who reported cold food in the buffet were correct. We only found the food hot if we went in for lunch at the beginning of service. Later on it became lukewarm. Our dining room food was always hot enough and you can eat all 3 meals in the dining room if you want. We had a free room service breakfast every day as we are both disabled plus I need coffee as soon as I wake up! It was a great idea. We tried the cafeteria breakfast once. If you are looking for a full English you wont get it on an Italian ship. Bacon was weird and inedible but there were sausages and scrambled eggs and boiled eggs but again not very hot. There are loads of continental breakfast choices, cheese cold meat etc plenty of cereals and bread/croissant sweet pastries. 24 hour unlimited tea coffee water and ice is available at any of the 8 beverage stations.
There are a lot of German, Spanish and Italian guests on the ship. They are loud extrovert and don't do queueing. The cafeteria is in two parts Bora Bora where all the hot stations are and Pago Pago at the very back of the ship where you can always get a seat. Just have to walk a bit further with your lunch. The ship is beautiful and the staff very friendly and helpful. I found it very useful to speak with the English speaking Hostess Karen at her information opportunity. She told us about a left-luggage facility in the cruise terminal at Barcelona. We disembarked and left our cases at the CONSIGNA desk just outside the terminal. We paid 9 euros per suitcase and went off exploring Barcelona. The cases were delivered to the airport for us. Great. You need to decide what you want from a cruise to see if MSC is for you. We wanted to be looked after for a week after a lot of health and family problems. We think for the money we paid we had a fabulous restful week. The cabin was spotless we even had a bathtub. We spent a good few hours sitting on the balcony reading, wallowing in the bath, taking our time to get ready for dinner.Eating a leisurely meal with lovely dinner companions who we had a lot of fun with. The shows were great for us - one or two a bit am dram but what do you want for nothing. There was a fantastic Opera night with a soprano and a fabulous tenor. There was entertainment in all the bars and lounges in the evening and I would be amazed if there was nothing at all to suit people.
Yes you have to pay for water and alcohol and yes it is a bit steep but we worked out that for Â£67 a day we had a plenty of nice food to eat that I hadn't shopped for or cooked, breakfast in bed every day,lovely sights to see being waited on every day in a lovely clean ship with entertainment every night chilling on our own balcony or in the library relaxing, and flights to Barcelona. Tell me where you could have a weeks holiday like that in England for that money. I really do think unrealistic expectations are a problem for some cruisers. If you do your research and find a cruise that's going to give you what you want you wont be disappointed. I would definitely go on another MSC cruise. I think it was a great week. If you want English food and can't get on with loud passionate talkative Italians and Spaniards don't go on MSC. The ship is absolutely beautiful and the staff are constantly cleaning. I liked being shown to our cabin on day 1 by our steward and escorted to our table at night. Our waiter, Winda, really put himself out for us and one night brought 3 different main courses for our dinner companion until she was happy with her meal.MSC suits us and we will definitely go again.