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37 Genoa to Europe - Western Mediterranean MSC Cruises MSC Splendida Cruise Reviews

After our very first cruise, Costa in the Caribbean, which was ok, the islands are beautiful, but even though you have a luxury cabin, there are no privileges, no priority and no flexibility ! and it cost a bomb ! we said never again ! ... Read More
After our very first cruise, Costa in the Caribbean, which was ok, the islands are beautiful, but even though you have a luxury cabin, there are no privileges, no priority and no flexibility ! and it cost a bomb ! we said never again ! family persuaded us to try again with MSC Yacht Club, well what a difference ! it was just great, the mediterranean this time, early booking gives you half price for the second adult, senior discounts,etc. 70 luxury cabins,lovely staff falling over you with smiles and speaking a minimum of 4 languages, i thought i had gone to heaven ! you have a Yacht Club card which gives you priority in the lift and you have access to all the rest of the ship, but the 3,000 other guests can not come into the Yacht Club spaces,area, they do not have the same card, frustrating for some as they try and try again and wonder why they can't get in, as the partitions are glass ! we are treated like royalty, you can hardly get your bum on a seat and staff come up asking what we would like ! they have a special uniform, very smart, private restaurant, free dining times, private jacuzzi(2), private pool, private deck and buffet outdoor dining, the food was just too much ! in the restaurant and on deck, fine dining ! we went to the other buffet just to see how the others dine, it was the usual, by the time you get a free table, space, the food is cold and the noise is deafening ! you buy something and they call your butler to deliver it to the cabin ! and the embarkation, special for MSC Yacht Club, a lounge apart, red carpet (no it was blue) champagne , petits fours, snacks, chocolates !!! no queuing ! escorted aboard ! the best is that you pay for your cabin and ALL is included, eat and drink all day and night, if that is your thing! not mine ! no substitute alcohol, all brands, free mini bar, in your cabin! i could go on and on ! a special thanks to our designated waiters, Daniele, and Zvonimir ! and Fernando in the Top Sail Lounge,the best cocktails, and Dwi our cabin butler ! lovely people, very professional ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We usually cruise the Caribbeans but wanted to show our daughters a bit of Europe for a change. Although the food reviews had us worried we figured it couldn't be too hard to find something eat. Wrong! I can only say that most ... Read More
We usually cruise the Caribbeans but wanted to show our daughters a bit of Europe for a change. Although the food reviews had us worried we figured it couldn't be too hard to find something eat. Wrong! I can only say that most of the time half the buffet was closed and the other half was over crowded. They served the same food the whole cruise more or less (recycling everything). They had 1 kind of soup (Miso) the whole week. The coffee was really undrinkable (they have the same machines as Carnival so they must be using the cheapest kind of coffee beans I guess). The staff seemed miserable which would explain why the service wasn't good (room attendant being the exception). We never got our onboard credit (even though we had a hard copy to prove it)- 'they couldn't find anything in their systems' we were told after days of begging them to check. This was unfortunately the cruise were several of our fellow cruisers were murdered in a museum in Tunis (we knew the risks so stayed on ship). The handling of the incident was utterly shameful. The cocky captain should have been fired for this but that is another story. I can go on and on about how there were always broken down elevators and you had to wait for long periods or walk up the stairs. The ship itself is actually nice but run and maintained very badly. A big part is the company that sits in Italy and obviously has better things to do or worry about than the ships they send out - they would not make it in N. America (I guess that's why their ratings are so low). I will add that although they left us a piece of paper on our last day offering us 50% any 7 day cruise - we will not use it and that says it all. Shame on you MSC. p.s. their shows were the worst (by far) I have ever seen on any cruise ship (I have been on 9 so far), also the kids club was the worst I have ever seen Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I'd hate to see Americans skip this cruise ship and itinerary based on the mixed reviews so here is mine. Our main goal was to have our two teens exposed to new people, food, cultures and customs and to stay interested in their French ... Read More
I'd hate to see Americans skip this cruise ship and itinerary based on the mixed reviews so here is mine. Our main goal was to have our two teens exposed to new people, food, cultures and customs and to stay interested in their French and Spanish classes in school. We achieved that and way more with memories for a lifetime! Easy embarkation in Genoa - no line, breezed right through since we didn't need to get in line at the exact hour it started. It was oversold, all cabins seemed to have kids in them including ours since it was the week of Spring Break and our cruise ended on Easter Sunday. Anyone cruising this time of year should be understanding of that. We could always find a table even if we had to walk a bit further down. Get out of your room! There are many places to go on the ship, lots of entertainment, great European people watching and a cute Italian coffee piazza. The free TV included two English channels so we could always keep up on the news. We liked the Italian flair and how the courses were served - so much food and many choices. If you didn't like something (shrimp with the heads on) the waiter was happy to bring something else. Our waiter lived to make us happy (and we were)! My family is healthy so we often took the stairs for a few floors instead of waiting for the elevators, no problem. Get in shape for this cruise - it is a huge ship. Fitness center was well equipped overlooking the bow. Get off of the ship! These are interesting ports, you don't have to buy expensive excursions through MSC, there were Red Line hop on/hop off buses at every port. MSC substituted Palma de Mallorca instead of Malta due to wind conditions and it was all fine - you just have to roll with it! The Euro right now makes everything seem affordable. No need to worry about wine/beer packages, a glass of wine/beer is E6. A huge bottle of water for the table is E1. Best to read up on ports, how far they are located from the cities (Rome has never been on the water and is one hour away) and do a little homework on what you can see and do. The Cruise Director spoke four languages fluently! This trip brought the world into my teen's consciousness - we talked about the Tunisia attack and the immigrants on boats making their way to Palermo and Italy. The Vatican is always in the news and now we have been there. There is a huge world outside our American suburb and you must go on the cruise with a good attitude and with the intention of enjoying new things! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband, child (age 13), and I along with another family of three decided to sail on the MSC Splendida during the Christmas season. This is our second cruise (first cruise was with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines). The U.S. website was not ... Read More
My husband, child (age 13), and I along with another family of three decided to sail on the MSC Splendida during the Christmas season. This is our second cruise (first cruise was with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines). The U.S. website was not user friendly when accessing the web check-in. After many calls to both my travel agent and MSC, I finally received our tickets and luggage tags (the day before sailing). The check-in process went very smoothly without long waits. Initially, we were impressed with the ship and then it slowly went down hill. Luggage took about 5-6 hours to arrive at our door. The room was your typical stateroom with balcony with minimal clothes storage. Our throw pillows were piling and our comforter had a hole in it. We opted for the Alligrissmo Drink Package which was well worth it if you want endless water (natural and sparkling), expressos, cappuccinos, soda, ice cream, mixed drinks, wine, and a limited variety of beer. We saved our receipts and added them up at the end of our stay and we surpassed the cost of the package. When we stopped at the ports, MSC charged passengers to take them out of port to be dropped off at the city centers. I fell that this service should have been included. Another charge was to enter areas of the ship for a fee, such as the solarium. Activities for the kids are very, very limited in my opinion compared to Royal Caribbean. The kids didn't even want to look at us or get off of the ship when we sailed with Royal Caribbean since the kid's club was a blast for them. It's not really enjoyable when you're trying to enjoy a drink at 2300 in the adult lounge area and little kids turn it into a romper room on the MSC Splendida. Watch so you don't trip over a stroller! Stateroom cleanings where never consistent with the timing. The night before check out, we received a notice stating our minibar would be locked at 1800 but then we received a knock on our door at 2245 to lock the minibar. Needless to say, I did not let them enter since we were ready to go to bed. The nightly entertainment was good and some of the employees in the smaller bars were very personable. Everyone on board spoke english-some much better then others. Needless to say, this was probably our first and last cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Cruise viewed and paid in 1 month. We need to relax and only go out from walk from ship in Marseilles (BUS) to buy some Soaps and in Messina We had been make a similar cruise in our honey moon and we need to appreciate more from the ... Read More
Cruise viewed and paid in 1 month. We need to relax and only go out from walk from ship in Marseilles (BUS) to buy some Soaps and in Messina We had been make a similar cruise in our honey moon and we need to appreciate more from the ship. It was all 5* except the sea but in November in Med hadn't miracles :) One more time Aurea SPA was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We cruised on Splendida on November 9th round the Med. After having many problems with customer service prior to the cruise I had vowed never to sail with MSC again, but it was all forgotten when we were on board. Firstly we had flown ... Read More
We cruised on Splendida on November 9th round the Med. After having many problems with customer service prior to the cruise I had vowed never to sail with MSC again, but it was all forgotten when we were on board. Firstly we had flown from Gatwick (England) to Genoa, the flight was with BA as part of the package but we were only landing around 4pm so it was cutting it a bit fine. It was a Sunday and we were the only aircraft in the airport, so everything went very quick and we were soon on the transfer bus. Getting through the formalities at the port was also quick and we were on board in minutes. Just as we got to the door of the cabin (12137) the alarm sounded for lifeboat drill, so it was grab the life jackets and back down the stairs. After drill our cases arrived at the cabin so we were able to get changed for dinner at 6.30. The cabin was very clean and larger than most balcony cabins on other lines we have used. The view from the balcony on deck 12 is superb, though looking below at deck 8 and 9 the view would be obstructed with the lifeboats; so if you are booking any of these it may well be worth checking this out. The ship is kept very clean, with cleaners working all day even going round picking up crumbs in the bars; they are by far the cleanest ships we have used. I wish the same could be said of some of the passengers who seemed to use every excuse not to use the hand sanitizer that is provided at all the dining venues and when boarding the ship. I guess these are the same people who blame ships for causing noro virus! The food in the MDR was fine, I have had better on earlier cruises but they are all cutting back to keep prices down. We never went hungry and there was always enough to choose from. The buffet was a bit samey but again there is enough choice. Some people moan about never being enough space, but if you walk to the back of the ship there are always spaces; there is also the option to share a table (OMG). We found that there were enough bars and entertainment to go round for a full ship and always found a nice venue. We particularly enjoyed the Aft Lounge, good live music with dancing, we like latin and ballroom and danced all night. We had pre-booked the Allegrisimo package and just to check how it was I kept the stubs and totted them up at home, I was quite surprised how much we would have spent with drinks coffee and ices. We are not what you would call big drinkers but the final bill if you add on the 15% service charge would have been double. We did have one waitress in the bar who said we couldn't take glasses into the next room I told her we would bring it back but she just grunted, so I didn't bother taking it back. Never had any problems moving from room to room with drinks after. The weather and sea were great during the cruise I think there was only one day we had rain so not too bad for mid November. After seeing babies with nappies on in the pool and Jacuzzi we decided to give them a miss (Yuck). There were not many children on board due to it being just after the holidays, but the ones we met were well behaved and well looked after during the day with the animation team. Bit of a mention to the animation team, they work very hard all day and night and are a great laugh. They keep everyone entertained with games during the day and dancing at night. Some of the productions shows were a bit hit and miss, some a big hit some a big miss. The ports we sailed to were as follows but this is a personal view so other may see them in a different light. Naples was our first port, it is a bit of a Marmite place you either love it or hate it; but it is a non compromising place that is what it is and always will be. I have been there many times and love the place, if you want to venture further you can get the ferry to Capri or Sorrento, or the train to Pompeii or Sorrento. The City and ferry are only a short flat walk from the ship, but the train station is at the far end of the main street; if you want to get there quick take a cab. Next was Messina, again only walking distance but there is not a lot to entertain you for a full day, so in retrospect may have been better getting the train to Taormina. We then sailed to La Goulette, there is not much in the vicinity and it is a long way to Tunis. We took the tour to Medina, It was a good tour though we were soon to find out we should have used a repellent due to the sand flies that are still active at that time of year. You don't feel them and don't see them, but you get an allergic reaction from the saliva; big extremely itchy blobs that were still coming up after we got home. After a day on the very calm sea we sailed into Barcelona, having been before we decided to just have a walk round the city. It is worth getting the shuttle as it is quite a walk to the city though it is possible but why waste your sightseeing time looking at the port for half an hour each way. Next stop was Marseilles, though it is ok round the port in town with bars and restaurants the rest of the town is a bit of a dump. The shuttle drops you off outside of a nice shopping centre so this is good if you want to pick up a few thing. The cruise port is a long way from town, about half an hour drive, so don't even think you can walk it; and there is area on the way so not very safe to walk. They charge an exorbitant 18 euro each for the shuttle, though there is a free one from the port but don't know where it will drop you off. As it was raining we decided to bite the bullet and pay for the ship shuttle. We sailed back to Genoa and the process of disembarkation went quite well we left the ship at the exact time we were given. We were then transferred to the airport, this was not too good as or flight was not until late afternoon. At the airport we were able to leave out cases at the MSC lounge, and 6 of us got a taxi back to Genoa for a nice day out. It was a bit chaotic and busy at the airport but we left on time (well nearly) for a good flight home.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was the second of two back-to-back cruises (Fantasia/Splendida) as a solo traveller. The nice surprise at check-in was an upgrade to the Yacht Club. ( since I had paid full double rates for both cruises, it certainly would not have ... Read More
This was the second of two back-to-back cruises (Fantasia/Splendida) as a solo traveller. The nice surprise at check-in was an upgrade to the Yacht Club. ( since I had paid full double rates for both cruises, it certainly would not have cost the company but never the less, it was very nice). The biggest advantage was it was so much less crowded but the service levels, food and wine were also a definite step-up from the week before too. ( Raffaele and Guiseppe in the restaurant were lovely and Willy, the butler, was a consumate professional) My balcony was the same size as on the first cruise and although the room layout and furnishings were different, the total size was no larger than some cabins on the non-Yacht Club decks. The Yacht Club is fairly self-contained, cabins, an inside lounge, dining room and a large outside pool/bar/eating area. An interesting quirk is that while the restaurant is on the same level as the Yacht Club, it is at the opposite end of the ship so involves a walk outside along the entire length of the ship or taking the lift down from level 15 to level 7, walking the length of the ship inside and then going back up to level 15! On the first cruise, luggage had to be outside the cabin on the evening before disembarkation. On the Yacht Club, it was by 7 in the morning which was so much easier. The only problem was the disembarkation transfer. Our bus to Genoa Airport sat for ONE HOUR after everyone else was on board waiting for THREE people. Every other bus left within 15 minutes while we waited for another 45 minutes. It nearly caused me to miss my flight. Who would have accepted responsibility for this? Absolutely unacceptable! So if I was to cruise with MSC again would I choose the Yacht Club? Definitely if it was European school holidays! Definitely if I was travelling with my husband, it's the only possible way he would consider a ship this big.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our second cruise with MSC and our third overall (Disney Dream was our first). I had originally booked a Bella Balcony cabin but was upgraded somehow to YC1. We ended up in cabin 16033. The Yacht Club experience was more than we ... Read More
This was our second cruise with MSC and our third overall (Disney Dream was our first). I had originally booked a Bella Balcony cabin but was upgraded somehow to YC1. We ended up in cabin 16033. The Yacht Club experience was more than we had ever hoped for. It was so good, in fact, that we will probably try to go YC again if we can even remotely afford it. If I were to try and find some negatives about the experience on the Splendida and the YC it would have to be the food in l'Olivio. It was OK but aside from some interesting choices it was lacking in overall choice. The service there was excellent, however. Another negative was some timing discrepancies in when food was available in the lounge buffet or the pool deck buffet as well as some report times for various activities. Thats it. The rest of the experience on the ship was top notch. Excusrions were hit or miss. Most of these are of personal taste. Do your research before you commit. Note that the more cruise ships in port the less appealing the excursion experience will be. We had the basic Allegrisimo drink package and used it well outside of the YC area. In our case it was worth the cost. This time it included gellato as (IIRC) last time we cruised on the MSC Fanstasia it was not included. Other advantages to the YC is having the express elevator at the bow of the ship and the ability to cut to the front of the line when embarking. We will sail with MSC again and will book the Yacht Club again, as well, if financially possible. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our second trip this year with MSC - our first was in June on MSC Fantasia where we had a fantastic time and made us book again with MSC. We booked our transfers with MSC from Linate to Genoa & back - they were on time and we ... Read More
This was our second trip this year with MSC - our first was in June on MSC Fantasia where we had a fantastic time and made us book again with MSC. We booked our transfers with MSC from Linate to Genoa & back - they were on time and we found our rep as soon as we got our luggage - definitely we will book transfers again with MSC. The boat is beautiful and very well kept - décor is immaculate and colour scheme fantastic. Evening shows are beautiful and we really used to look forward for them and we enjoyed all of them - they were all different from Fantasia - I do not know why some commented that they are repetitive - all the shows we watched were all different and absolutely fantastic Food is really good - buffet Bora Bora is very good and with a lot of variety - our evening meals at La Reggia was absolutely perfect - with a 6/7 course meal - the restaurant supervisor Domenico & his attendant Wayan were always ready to please us - they were fantastic and very polite. Our room attendant Franciscus was very good & polite also - always ready to help Entertainment was very good with 5 bars/lounges having live music - all the singers were good and we used to look forward after our dinner to go and listen & dance! Disembarkation was very well organised and efficient. Definitely my wife and I will cruise again with MSC next year - we cannot wait for our 3rd trip with them Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This ship is worse than the Divina! The food that we ate in the restaurant was the same as the Divina on the same day. But the food was cold when it was supposed to be hot. Boring. Thank goodness for the Indonesian waiter: always a smile ... Read More
This ship is worse than the Divina! The food that we ate in the restaurant was the same as the Divina on the same day. But the food was cold when it was supposed to be hot. Boring. Thank goodness for the Indonesian waiter: always a smile for his Australian table. Tried to be efficient but the food was slow coming and cold. Divina wins points here. The Maitre D' was past his use by date. Could not smile. In fact it was a game we Aussies played to see if we could get a smile out of him. Managed by exception. Often the tours we wanted to go on were not available because "there were not enough people!" They were mostly expensive: we could have done better tours through research on both the Devina and Splendida. The ship was supposed to go to Palermo but it didn't. Went to Tunis instead. Either our cabin was dirty or our food was contaminated by other pax not using the tongs available but using their hands. Both my wife and I ended up with very heavy chest infections. When I opened the door to the cabin at night I was able to get a good night's sleep. Having had issues on the Devina my suggestion is that neither ship is worth the money.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We are back from our MSC Splendida cruise (6 April to 13 April) and Italy tour this week. Personally would rate this cruise as 4 out of 5. The itinerary was Genoa - Marseille - Barcelona - Valencia - Sea day - Tunis - Civitavecchia and ... Read More
We are back from our MSC Splendida cruise (6 April to 13 April) and Italy tour this week. Personally would rate this cruise as 4 out of 5. The itinerary was Genoa - Marseille - Barcelona - Valencia - Sea day - Tunis - Civitavecchia and back to Genoa. It was my DD3 first ever cruise and the three of us very much enjoyed our cruise together. We didn't go with high expectation, and were pleasantly surprised in most aspects. 1. Embarkation and disembarkation Both were fast and efficient, arrived at Genoa port from Venice before 10:30am. And by about 11am, we were in our cabin (quite a surprise, as I thought the room won't be ready that early). Disembarkation was smooth also, though the official check-out time is 7am, there was no problem for us to stay in our cabin up to 8:45am. A quick chat with our Madagascan room steward the night before ensured that. 2. Cabin Our cabin was upgraded from oceanview to aft balcony 8248 (which is supposedly an accessible cabin) by MSC. Though we asked our TA to note that if there was a need for this cabin by people with special need, we would be willing to move back to our booked cabin, but we still ended up with 8248. The room is obviously spacious and has fantastic aft view. The room was not spotlessly clean (it's so big that there were corners not clean thoroughly), but sufficient to impress even my DW (who likes to keep things clean, neat and tidy). We did find a cigarette butt on our balcony once (we are non-smokers), though we didn't notice our neighbour smoked on their balconies, my guess is it was probably thrown by someone from a higher deck and it got blown back down to our balcony. We didn't hear loud engine sound or lounge music (right below our cabin is the deck 7 aft lounge) or feel excessive movement in our cabin. The only disturbance was when the thrusters were used in port. Which was not really a big issue, as we were more often than not already up by then. We also mostly used the lifts or stairs at the aft to go to the MDR and buffet. Only need to wait for lift to go kids club or disembark and walk to the theatre, so to us, it's convenient in a way. 3. Service quality We found the MDR wait staff (both our waiters are from Bali, Indonesia) and room steward excellent. The reception was mostly helpful and problems solved within minutes (I dealt with them a few times: asking for a replacement cruise card as I left mine in our luggage sent for disembarkation, sorting out our missing safety drill attendance record, and others were to ask for local weather forecast, collecting passports etc), and the account department efficient (I wanted to pay part of my on board expenses with my extra Euro on disembarkation morning, and it was done within minutes) and the bill was correct without error (the final part by credit card was charged yesterday). Ship crew from ranking officers to cleaners I met on the ship were polite and would usually greet us first. Bar staff are not pushy sellers, and the photographers would not aggressively pursue you for more photo takings too. Photo taken were very nice too, and eventhough we didn't budget for it, we still ended up buying ship taken photo. The biggest negative was the buffet wait staff, which sometimes would left used plates and dirty tables unattended to for a relatively long time. This was not a big deal actually, as we usually could find empty tables if we walked to the aft (which was easy for us, as we stayed in an aft balcony). The only time we found the buffet crowded was on the morning we visited Tunis (the ship ported at 7:40am ship time), so probably everyone was eager to have their breakfast before going on excursions. 4. Public area, facilities and overall atmosphere As noted by many reviewers, the ship is elegantly beautiful, so I will skip this part. Deck 18 solarium and deck 15 aft pool were usually full early, the pool was in heavy use on sea day, but one could still easily locate empty sun loungers. May be not as spacious as other higher end cruise ships, I never felt overly crowded. When we need to use baby stroller to go on shore excursions, we usually used the aft lifts, as they were less crowded. There are many nice and cushy lounges, most of the times, there were live music/song performances. Though if you have young teens who want to enjoy more than the mini bowling, 4D cinema, F1 simulator available, it is not on a same par with newer RCCL ships. We were generally happy with the surroundings, didn't encounter rude fellow passengers or staff (though we could probably interact better if there were more English speaking passengers). Other than slight smoke smell in the casino, we felt that the air quality on the ship was good in general. 5. Entertainment and kids club I can't comment on teens entertainment (disco, electronic games etc) as we didn't have one in our group. But I have to say (for our family and friends group), kids club (3-6, 4-11), wine bar, pool deck, theatre etc were all above our expectation. Even my DD3 enjoyed the shows, live music at the atrium and lounges and she even joined the dancing at L'Enoteca wine bar. We didn't stay up past 11pm as our DD needs to go to bed early, but our mates would enjoy themselves till 1am. My biggest disappointment is they didn't have theatre show on our last night (Civitavecchia to Genoa). Instead they were holding something they called circus (mini games), which we didn't take part. I spent the time with my DD listening to the songs at the La Piazzetta while waiting for DW to finish her shopping. Kids club facilities are adequate, the caretakers could all speak English to some degree. The activities I saw were more geared toward younger kids. My DD3 loved her time at the mini club (age 3-6), but I have a feeling bigger children might not find it as good. 6. Food and beverage I think the MDR food was hit and miss, may be 2 out of 5 times were miss, menu translation could be Googlesque at times. I think pasta was better than risotto. My biggest disappointment was actually the main courses for the kid usually were accompanied by french fries! The dessert were too creamy for my taste too. Went to dinner buffet for snack once (because my DD wanted to sleep early), the choices were not many (mainly some grill stuff, pizza and pasta), but don't think I would ever go hungry. Buffet lunch exceeded our expectations by miles, we love two out of three of the ethnic corner dishes we had (Spanish and Indonesian were good, Greek was average). Morning buffet was just average, with little variation. We usually ordered room service (free from 7:30am to 10:30am) and grabbed some extra bacon, omelette and fruits from the deck 14 buffet ourselves. A little disappointing that they don't have an omelette station to cater to your taste. Fruits and salad were good. Drink choices (fruit juices by the machine in the morning only) and sauces were average. I also took the fresh sliced lemon, ice and sugar to make my own lemon drink in our cabin. The bar prices are fairly reasonable though I didn't try anything other than non alcoholic cocktails. Paid for gelato was really tasty, in fact, cheaper and better than what I got at highly-recommended gelateria on TA (I had gelato in Venice, Rome and Florence too). Didn't use the fee Tex Mex restaurant, Santa Fe though. I always thought this restaurant is actually to cater for American guests who miss burgers and steaks? Overall, I think MSC could do with some improvements in the quality food (for me, choices are good, as I don't really fancy steak or fried or grilled stuff anyway), but they are surely not as bad as some reviews. 7. Ship organised excursions and enrichment programs We DIY at all the ports, and didn't part take in any seminars. My feeling was that there weren't many seminars or demos, but I will just skip this part. Overall, it was a good value cruise, especially for family with young children and I think if the itinerary is right, we have no hesitation to cruise with MSC again. We were lucky that during all our port days, the local weather was either sunny or cloudy. Never excessively windy and no rainy day at all. A brief recap of our port activities: Genova: Embarkation port, only a slight walk around the train station and maritime port. Marseille: We took cab (outside cruise terminal, by meter) to St-Charles station and take bus #50 to Aix-en-Provence. Chanced into a local Easter music festival and bands parade, went to local markets and Cathedral. Took metro to old port in Marseille and petit train to Notre-Dame de la Garde. Cab back to cruise terminal. Barcelona: We used port shuttle bus + metro to get to Sagrada Familia (must book ticket on-line, as a guide, we used 50min to get from ship to Sagrada), metro to Casa Milla, tapas lunch. Followed by walking and shopping along La Rambla to the shuttle bus stop. The ship stopped for an extra hour in Barcelona than what was originally stated in our cruise ticket. Though we also left Tunis half an hour earlier. So, no complaint here. Valencia: We took free port shuttle bus to the gate ans bus #4 into the old town (we disembarked at the final station, near the townhall). Went to see the Nord train station and the bull fighting arena beside it. Walked to Mercat and La Lonja (the church opposite La Lonja is worth a visit too). Wife decided against further sight seeing, so we went to Colon to shop and bought grocery at a local market too. Again took buses to go back to the ship. Tunis: We shared taxi with our mates, Tunis port has organized taxi operations right outside the terminal (price is fixed and payable back at the terminal, btw, the custom officer didn't even bother to check passport or immigration card). Our driver wanted to bring us to more places for more $ (he wanted 100 euro!), we just told him that we didn't have the time and rejected. But we did give him extra as he advised us on museum opening times (problem being ship docked too early, it's only 7:30am local time then). The standard price was 70 euro (6 pax taxi, Sidi+Carriage+Bardo museum). If I ever go back again, I would learn French, change dinars with our driver (Bardo museum entrance fee is 11/adult and the money changer there don't take Euro coins, so we ended up with spare dinars) and pay 1 dinar to take photos at Bardo. Rome: It's already well documented on how to travel to Rome using trains and its many interesting places. So I would just mention that we were stuck at Termini station for over 40min because of some kind of local train worker strike that day. So do build in extra time allowance if you are not using ship excursions. We went to Spagna, Fontana de Trevi, Piazza Veneiza and Colosseo. All easily walkable with prior homework. As we DIY the travelling costs for the three of us were much cheaper than if we took MSC's shuttle bus or excursions. An example, in Valencia MSC charging 10 euro and 6 euro respectively for adult and child for its shuttle bus service. We only paid 6 euro by taking port shuttle bus + public bus. A quick recap, it's about 84 euro (Marseille, exclude petit train, two taxi trips were about 30 each), 20 euro (Barcelona), 6 euro (Valencia), 38 euro (Tunis, half share), 24 euro (Rome). Overall, we are happy with the port choices and times available. The only time we were slightly pressed for time was Rome (reason mentioned above). Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I found it hard before I left for my cruise on the MSC Splendida to find real reviews which covered many of my questions for the ship itself, which I will try to answer here to help others. I arrived at genoa port in February this year ... Read More
I found it hard before I left for my cruise on the MSC Splendida to find real reviews which covered many of my questions for the ship itself, which I will try to answer here to help others. I arrived at genoa port in February this year for my cruise of the ship, arriving at the dock you are taken into a large room in which you just register and receive your cruise card, this can be very confusing as there are so many people waiting to also register, I recommend you stand in the queue regardless of the number you are given or you will be waiting forever! After this is done however you board the boat. You have to take your cruise card everywhere are this is your currency on board, you do not pay with money, you can either set up a card which payments will be taken off or you can use cash and just keep putting more on the card, then if you have any left over at the end of the week you get it back :) also tips cannot be taken off, and paid individually, they charge 7 euros a night and 3.50 euros for children and these are only extra charges you pay :) You go straight to your room where your luggage will be taken there and left outside your room for you. I stayed in cabin 10114 on port side with a balcony, it was a spacious room with a bed which was made of two single beds together, although still comfy (but ask for extra pillows as only 2 are provided for the room) a hairdryer, couch, dressing table, coffee table, wardrobe with safe and an en suite with a sink toilet and shower, within your shower you are provided with large dispensers of shampoo and body wash but not conditioner, so I would only recommend taking this as they are filled daily. They also tell you you can't use straighteners but it never caused any bother..:) The room was tidied once in the morning and also set for you going to sleep at night, however you do have the do not disturb sign if you don't want this done. The maids couldn't do enough for you and are such hard workers. For meals, there are many restaurants, Villa Verde, La Reggia, Bora Bora, Pago Pago and Santa Fe, the only one you pay for is Santa Fe, the Mexican restaurant, which is amazing which many choices ranging from 3 euros to 14 euros. You are set to one of the two main restaurants of Villa Verde or La Reggia, and you will never be in the other, I never went to these restaurants as I found they were very formal and preferred the buffet more relaxed style of Bora bora. Although the food was amazing, no complaints, many choices and real handmade prepared food :) Drinks are on the pricey side, 2.70 euro for a can of juice with 15% service charge provided on all charges, including in Santa Fe, but the prices are the same in your mini bar so if saves you having to go to another deck to buy a drink. The cocktails are amazing! Around 4 euros for non alcoholic and 7 for alcoholic, recommended! These are available in almost all of the lounges on almost all the decks and all different themes, ice cream is also available at around 1.20 euros and is AMAZING! The excursions are good but expensive, we went on them in Barcelona, Rome and Tunis, DO NOT go out in Tunis as it is very intense scary and I found all the men to try and touch me, it does not seem like a safe environment especially for those with children, would only recommend for those who wish to see how other parts of the world really live.. We went for the biggest tour in Rome including the Vatican for 82 euros each and it was incredible! Great tour guides on all tours and couldn't fault them, especially the man in Tunis, he was so good at relaxing you about the culture. The entertainment on board was also amazing, we went to two shows over the week, a variety show and a show including dancers. They are amazing and fully recommended and no extra cost! You are let known of all activities on and deals and opening times in your daily programme delivered to your room including deals for the spa, often 50% off as often very pricey! Or deals in the duty free or souvenir shops which are open while you are at sea. The main language spoken on board is English, well was for our week, however English are the minority, very rarely did you hear someone speaking English, the majority were actually Chinese and VERY rude! However all staff were lovely and could speak whatever language you spoke to them in :) we also had professional photos done which are charged at 19.95 euros each but are a good souvenir! The photographer is available in photo points or at the main stairs nightly :) Disembarking was easy, you received coloured tags which you put on your bags and leave outside your room the night before and they were taken to the port, however you are asked o attend a short meeting so they can tell you everything which is very helpful :) I hope this review is very helpful and I will add anymore I can remember later on :) Enjoy the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I flew from Heathrow to Nice arriving at 10.00am, it took the courier over 3 hrs to get a coach sorted out, this meant that we did not get on the ship until 4.00pm. The Splendida is spectacular with all the glitz of 'Vegas' My ... Read More
I flew from Heathrow to Nice arriving at 10.00am, it took the courier over 3 hrs to get a coach sorted out, this meant that we did not get on the ship until 4.00pm. The Splendida is spectacular with all the glitz of 'Vegas' My cabin was on deck 10 in the aft section, it was massive with a huge double bed & included robes in your wardrobe.The balcony was 5mx4m The food and service in the restaurants were 1st class,wine which was not of the highest quality was �£24 + 15% service charge, a tad expensive. There was a charge made for bottled water. I was disappointed that there was no coffee offered at the end of your meal.It meant a trek up to the buffet restaurant on deck 14. If you like a Full Welsh breakfast, you will be disappointed, the bacon was streaky, fatty and lacked any flavour. The shows and entertainment was very good, but I was surprised they made a charge of 10euros for Salsa, Cha-Cha,& other dance classes during the day. A HUGE NO NO for me was that smoking was allowed in the lounges, especially near the dance floor and your clothes smelt of stale smoke at the end of the night. The Captains Cocktail party was a bit of a let down, as they ran out of cocktails. Make sure your on the 2nd sitting. All in all very good cruise, made some very good friends, had loads of laughs. Next time I would book my own flights,   Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Right lets get straight to the point here! My party and I of experienced independent travellers have no complaints about our first ever cruise, but a number of observations that may be of use to others. We knew in advance it was an ... Read More
Right lets get straight to the point here! My party and I of experienced independent travellers have no complaints about our first ever cruise, but a number of observations that may be of use to others. We knew in advance it was an Italian cruise ship that would have a large mix of Europeans on board, in particular Italians, French, Dutch, Germans, Spanish etc and that we Brits would be in the minority. We knew in advance that the food in the buffet style restaurants would obviously have to cater to international tastes and that the food in the Villa Verde and Reggio restaurants would be of a high standard. We were not disappointed. However we did hear moans from some fellow Brits that the food was not well presented or like the food in the UK. Come on, get a life! In the restaurants the food was excellent and the service superb. They are serving in excess of 500 people at each sitting. In the Bora Bora and Pago Pago buffets the food is laid out for all to see and for all to help themselves. How else can these buffets cater for hundreds at a time? Be prepared however for the rudeness of the Italians and Spanish who just push in and queue jump at meal times in the buffet restaurants. Grin and bear it or stop moaning and make the effort to go to your allocated restaurant where you can have breakfast lunch and dinner served to you in lovely relaxed surroundings by attentive staff. Treat the staff well and they'll look after you. .This is a large ship, a really large ship but with everything you need. Smokers are catered for, casino goers are catered for, drinkers are catered for but not apparently the disabled or those with mobility problems. We witnessed several elderly and younger passengers with mobility problems that the crew did not appear to have any foresight or ability to help. I even witnessed an elderly couple having to abandon their allocated sitting in the Villa Verde restaurant because they could not reach their table at the far end of the restaurant. Even though they had informed MSC of their disability why on earth would you give them a table they could not reach. What made it worse was that none of the tables near the door were allocated to shall we say the elderly or infirm passengers. What made me angry was that the staff did not have the initiative to arrange a table swap. What made me incandescent was that a table of fellow Brits would not give up their table near the door for this couple. I hope MSC read this and do something about table allocation sooner rather than later and I hope the hypocritical Brits are ashamed of themselves for not giving up their table. Shame on you. Right back to the point - we embarked and disembarked at Genoa. Quick, easy and efficient. Our cabin with balcony was at the stern; perfect in every way. Clean, plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The room staff were excellent and efficient. Activities on board varied in style and quality, but remember they have to cater for 6 or 7 different nationalities. The shows were good, again some repetition in several languages, but mostly visual to cater for different nationalities. Drinks were very expensive - buy yourself the Allegrissimo package. Even if you are only a moderate holiday drinker you'll be happy you bought the package. Barcelona - Enjoyable. Tunis - A big disappointment in every respect. Valletta - Lovely and enjoyable. Messina - You need to plan what you want to do here. Civitavecchia - A long way from Rome. Careful planning required. Highlight of the holiday was the cruise itself. Biggest disappointment was the number of fellow Brits who constantly moaned about it not being like home. My advice to them would be put your hand in your pocket, pay more and travel with Cunard. Would we cruise with MSC again? Yes. Will we actually cruise with them again? Yes. Holiday was £700 each. We paid the 98 euro service charge per couple to the cabin and restaurant staff because they deserved it. We bought the Allegrissimo drinks package which worked out at 312 euros per couple and included the general 15% service charge for drinks etc. If some of my fellow Brits are offended because I've castigated them for their behaviour and meanness then so be it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My husband and I are both first time cruisers. We chose to book our cruise on MSC Splendida mainly because of the itinerary. We want some Mediterranean sunshine and Neither of us had previously visited Tunis, Malta or Sicily. These ... Read More
My husband and I are both first time cruisers. We chose to book our cruise on MSC Splendida mainly because of the itinerary. We want some Mediterranean sunshine and Neither of us had previously visited Tunis, Malta or Sicily. These destinations sounded more inserting to us than some of those offered by the Royal Caribbean ships in the Mediterranean. Before we embarked we were quite nervous because of some of the poor reviews regarding the ship. However we both had a fanatic cruise with MSC and did not experience the problems we read about. Embarkation was incredibly simple. We checked in online before we left and so the process of receiving our cruise cards and getting on board was very quick (a matter of about 5-10 minutes). As soon as we embarked we were pointed in the right direction to our cabin by friendly staff. Despite most of the staff having English as a second language we had absolutely no problem communicating. All staff we encountered spoke by good if not perfect English (much better than any Italian we could manage!) and they were without exception extremely polite and helpful. Staff were friendly and said hello as we passed in the corridor and our waiter at dinner provided excellent service. This could not be faulted. Our cabin was a good size and was comfortable and spotlessly clean. We noticed the staff cleaning and polishing the ship constantly so that it always looks stunning. The cabin stewards were very good at waiting until we had left the cabin before they went in to make up the bed and clean so we never felt rushed or the pressure to clear out for them. We thought that the food was excellent. We we're allocated to La Reggia restaurant and ate here every night. The menu was classic Italian with lots of small courses including appetisers, pasta courses and a meat or vegetarian main course. They did not serve tap water with the meal which meant we had to buy bottled water (we actually bought a package width 14 bottles for the week). This is a little but penny pinching but after many holidays in Italy we are used to ordering bottled water with meals so this was no different for us. The Bora bora buffet was fun! We thought there was a large amount of choice and although it does get very busy at peak times we always found a table. Our advice would be to head towards the back where it was quieter, had a lot of tables and lovely views through the rear windows. The food again is largely Italian in style with lots of pizza, pasta and salads although they also served burgers and other types of food. If you don't want to buy drinks (these are expensive with the 15% service charge) you are left with tap water with ice and lemon or squash. There are also a variety of teas and coffee to choose from. Some people complained that the buffet is the same every day which we thought was fine as there were different type of pizza and pasta each day and anyway there was no way we could have sampled everything in one day! Dressing for dinner was quite relaxed. Most people around us seemed to be following the dress code although not everyone and it didn't seem to be enforced much. My husband debated whether to bring his tux and decided against it which was the right decision as he was fine in a suit and tie on gala night. We thought MSC ought to enforce the dress code a little more. The deck got quite busy especially on the day at sea and you did need to be out earlyish to get a sun bed in a prime spot. However there was enough space. We especially liked the solarium at the very top of the ship where the no under 18's policy was strictly enforced. The ports we visited were interesting and beautiful: Barcelona: we didn't bother with an excursion here as the port is very close to las Ramblas and it is walk able from the ship in about half an hour. There is a more expensive shuttle bus run by MSC and a cheaper port bus as well. Tunis: we did the cultural and historical tour excursion and had a great day with a very knowledgeable guide. Haggling for ceramics and souvenirs in the souk was fun. Malta: again it is possible to walk from the port into La Valetta so we spent the day enjoying the sights Sicily: there's not much to do in Messina so we took an excursion to Taormina which was fabulous and we would thoroughly recommend it. Rome: we had been to Rome before so we saved money by catching the train from Civitavecchia. Costs around 5 euro each way. Alternatively you can take a bus excursion through MSC. The entertainment was ok. Probably the best MSC can do when catering for such a multilingual audience. The shows had a few good acts and a lot of dancing which got a little boring. We preferred instead to sit in one of the bars, listen to music and enjoy an evening cocktail. Disembarkation was once again orderly and organised. We had to leave our cases outside the door before 1am and then be out of the cabin by 7am the following morning. We received colour coded labels for our suitcases so it was easy to collect them in the port terminal. We hope this review is helpful. It is our findings as first time cruisers so unfortunately we cannot compare the MSC Splendida to other ships and other cruise lines. Some of the people we met did not seem to like this ship and cruise line as much as others although they also declared all of the destinations rubbish so I don't think much would satisfy! Our experience was very positive and we would cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Our initial impression was that reaching the ship and embarkation was easy and boded well for a good holiday - little did we know ! We were met at our cabin by a member of staff who was very dismissive and not particularly helpful. The ... Read More
Our initial impression was that reaching the ship and embarkation was easy and boded well for a good holiday - little did we know ! We were met at our cabin by a member of staff who was very dismissive and not particularly helpful. The cabin was well appointed and had a surprising amount of storage space. The cabin was clean. Our meals were taken in Le Verde restaurant and to say the least the food to start with was very mediocre although this improved towards the end of the week. The food did not reach the gourmet standard promised, was obviously mass produced and lacked flavour. The portion sizes were very small and no one explained that you could order some or all of the courses. So the first night was not too bad. Then the fun began when we met our fellow cruisers on mass. This is not a cruise for the English. To a large extend we were ignored both by the staff and fellow passengers. The rudeness shown to us by our fellow Europeans was unbelievable - for example no one would let you in or out the lift, the Bora Bora restaurant was a free for all with people pushing us out of the way to get to the food first - common courtesy did not feature on this trip with the exception of our fellow British and American travellers. The swimming areas were overrun with families who hogged the sun loungers - I watched one European family take seven beds but use four of them - and when the beds are at a premium it was rather annoying. The rule that staff remove towels on unoccupied beds after half an hour was a myth. The hot tubs were inaccessible most of the time as they were occupied by last groups of children who just did not move - so much for everyone having a turn. We soon learnt as an English family that we were second or even third class citizens on this ship. The staff were also rude or indifferent, with the exception of the the staff that looked after us in the evening. The women on the reception desk were particularly disinterested and lack any sort of knowledge in relation to their ship and how to resolve any issues or problems. The trips ashore on the whole were the highlight of the cruise but of course only after we had been shoved out of the way by our fellow passengers who needed to be at the front of the coach or the party. We will not be going back to MSC but given their attitude to us I don't suppose that they will care anyway. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I think like most when booking with MSC after we booked we checked reviews online and thought that we had made a mistake. I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion but my experience of the Splendida could not have been more ... Read More
I think like most when booking with MSC after we booked we checked reviews online and thought that we had made a mistake. I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion but my experience of the Splendida could not have been more positive. We booked the cruise because it was extremely cheap. We felt for the price we paid if we kept an open mind about things it would be fine. We cruised from Genoa, stayed in the town the night before and walked down to the cruise terminal on the morning. We had done the online check in so there was no Que for us we walked through the terminal and straight on the ship. We were taken back by the size of the ship and how clean and shiny everything was. The ship was spotless, the staff were pristine and the main stair case in the centre of the ship was amazing. We dropped our bags in the cabin and went straight to the bar for a cocktail to get our week started. The decor of the ship was great, extremely modern. Our stateroom was great, an interior room but plenty of space and very comfortable bed. The ship stopped in Barcelona, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Valencia and Marseilles. On the advice of the staff on the ship we didn't get off in Casablanca, we had a great day on the ship whilst it was quiet. Every other stop was great. Lovely European cities with great weather (except for Gibraltar). The Dining was excellent. Again for the price that we paid we could not complain about the food. It was top quality and loads of it. We ate in the restaurant every night with 2 British couples and we had a laugh every night. The food was great and no one at our table had anything other than positive to say about it. We would have 1-2 bottles of wine with diner every night and that would then set us up for the rest of the night. We spent most nights in the casino, drinking, having fun, talking to other couples and watching experienced gamblers playing roulette or blackjack. We found the casino the best fun on the ship at night as everyone had a great buzz about them. On some nights we made it to the disco which again was fun. First thing every morning I played squash with a guy I ran into by accident. The squash court was a great facility to have on the ship and it was a great surprise to find out that the ship had one. We got the drinks package at £38pp per night. It may sound expensive but when you factor in that 15% is added to all of your bar bills it is very good value. We really got more monies worth from it and I will always get one on the rest of my cruises. Disembarkation was fine just very depressing because we had such a good week and didn't want to get off the ship. I hate the feeling on the morning that it all over and you must get off. All in all we had a great time. No complaints. We enjoyed MSC so much we are sailing with them again next week. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our first cruise and we therefore had nothing to compare the experience with. All in all, we found the ship to be very luxurious and stylish, the staff very helpful and standards of cleanliness and hygiene were exemplary. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we therefore had nothing to compare the experience with. All in all, we found the ship to be very luxurious and stylish, the staff very helpful and standards of cleanliness and hygiene were exemplary. We initially booked the cruise because it was calling at Gibraltar and it was a destination we were very interested in visiting. In comparison with other cruise operators the price was also attrative. We flew from Gatwick to Genoa and the transfer to the boat at Genoa port was included, however for those who had travelled independently, taxis were available for 25Euros. We had checked in on line but still ended up waiting in the cruise terminal to board the ship for around 3 hours, luckily we had taken plenty to read. Our balcony cabin was lovely. Bigger than we expected, including a bath with shower over in the en suite. Beds were large and comfy. As other reviews have commented there are some negatives. We also found the smell of cigarette smoke wafted around the ship and occasionally the smell of drains also. We tried the Bora Bora buffet just once. We were unable to find a table and the noise and crowds of people just weren't for us. Instead we took all of our meals in the Reggia restaurant, relaxing whilst the waiters took care of us. We have been on holiday to Italy a number of times and so knew what to expect from the restaurant menu. Lots of courses with very small portions. Some of the food was excellent, some was not so good. If you didn't like your choice the staff were more than happy to get you something else to try. One thing that surprised us was the ban on bringing any alcohol on board. On returning from any excursion your bags were scanned and any alcohol confiscated to be returned to you at the end of the cruise. There was a mini-bar in the cabin but the items were quite expensive. We enjoyed dressing up for the Gala evenings and found that the majority of guests had also made an effort including quite a few ball gowns, though not many tuxedos. Entertainment in the bars was excellent, especially the jazz bar and for those who like to dance, there was live music each night in the Aft Bar. Leaving and rejoining the boat in port was well organised and there were plenty of taxis available or a shuttlebus service if you did not want to go on an excursion. As has previously been mentioned only a small number of the guests speak English and at lunch time we often ended up on a table with Dutch or German guests. In the evening we were placed on a table with other couples from The UK and we had a great laugh, often being last to leave the restaurant. We were prepared for the cost of drinks, water, coffee and the service charge of 7 Euros per day, per person but it was still a bit of a shock at the end of the week when we got the bill. The excursions and shuttlebus tickets added several hundred Euros alone. I'm glad we went and the Ship is amazing but the public areas often feel very crowded and the day seems very structured with restaurant times and excursion times. I think I need a holiday to get over the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
The MSC Splendida surpassed our expectations. The embarkation process was a bit disorganized and took a while and most people sat in the hot waiting room for a few hours, but we walked around the city so for us, it was not too bad. ... Read More
The MSC Splendida surpassed our expectations. The embarkation process was a bit disorganized and took a while and most people sat in the hot waiting room for a few hours, but we walked around the city so for us, it was not too bad. We were happily surprised to have been upgraded from an inside cabin to a balcony room and the room was very nice! Everything was clean and the balcony and view were stunning. The one negative is the closet was a bit small. The ship itself is beautiful and clean. The style is very Italian and dramatic and everything is constantly being cleaned and polished. The food was decent, sometimes good but always well presented. Room service breakfast was small but tasty, and the restaurant and buffet always had a pretty good selection. Some people on board felt a bit nickled and dimed, as one has to pay for any type of beverage including water in the restaurants (with the exception of complimentary coffee, tea, and "juice" during breakfast). The buffet has free water, coffee and tea at all times it is open. Other things like gelato have a charge as well. As Europeans though, we are used to paying for drinks, so it was not a problem. The excursions were not very good for the price, but the places where the ship docked were exciting and beautiful. The shows were colorful and interesting. For the more conservative, the costumes of the dancers were little more than a thong and tiny jacket, so perhaps not for children. It was impressive how with so many languages aboard, they were able to entertain everyone quite well. Disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly. Overall we were very pleased at the value and experience aboard the MSC Splendida and cannot wait for our next trip! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Hi all reviews are subjective and it's about managing expectations. After reading the mixed reviews we decided to place our expectations towards the low end of the spectrum particularly after our fantastic time aboard the Carnival ... Read More
Hi all reviews are subjective and it's about managing expectations. After reading the mixed reviews we decided to place our expectations towards the low end of the spectrum particularly after our fantastic time aboard the Carnival Magic in Aug. Perhaps this is why we had a superb family vacation! We are a family of 4 Brits and arrived at Malpensa airport on 17th dec. After being greeted we were told to wait by an exit. After 30 mins we were shown to our coach ,that was the last communication. As this is our second cruise we knew that the transfer would take 2 hours, we also knew that our luggage would be transferred to the ship directly, a lot didn't so confusion reigned as we strolled to the ship. We had checked in online with MSC so straight to fast pass check in and on board within 30 mins! The Splendida is really beautiful , from the jaw dropping Swarovski staircase to the many beautiful themed bars. The ship seemed about 80 % full with majority of passengers Italian,French ,German and Spanish with a smattering of Brits and Americans . All drinks have a 15% service charge added to the list price which was the same on carnival. A 7 euro daily service charge per adult and child over 14 was also added again the same as carnival. Our cabin number was 11029 located 6 cabins from the front and under the pool areas which was handy. The balcony cabin was a nice size and the kids( 13&11) were ok in the sofa bed. A safe,hair-drier, minibar,dressing gowns and flat screen tv were included. European 2 pin plugs are required. We were allocated a table for4 in le Reggia restaurant table 706 upstairs. Our waiter Anibal was fine. We were the 6pm sitting and always overrun by 30 mins not surprising with 7 courses! There were casual,informal,formal and 2 gala dinners. Gala saw a few dinner suits but mainly jacket and tie, the same for formal. The other 2 wear what you want. The dress codes were observed by about 60 % on our sitting. The daily booklet delivered to your room indicated evening dress code. The food was Italian - appetiser,starter,soup,salad,pasta,main course,dessert. As a family we will try most foods but if Italian food is not to your liking then it's the buffet for you! Now the buffet Bora Bora is altogether a different proposition, at peak times it is a scrum! Tip take the lift nearest to room 257 ( prefix floor no.) and this will take you to rear of buffet where it is quieter. Great for people watching, this is when our European friends start to arm wave and get excitable. Tip find a table first and guard it, even a coat on a chair is no guarantee your table will be free when you return! To be honest we gave up breakfast after day 2 but our itinerary allowed us to as most ports we arrived at 1pm. So straight to lunch which was quieter and started at 11.00 -it was lie ins for us! We pre booked the Cheers package which was drinks inclusive with lunch and dinner - 357 euros for the four of us. This was not available on board. You still had to sign a bill each meal but the amount was reduced to zero! You could take breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms. The kids loved the pools but are not kids clubs fans so cannot comment also we never bothered with the main entertainment, the music in the bars was fine for us. The Christmas decorations began to appear after day 2 and were a great seasonal touch. The staff in general were great and courteous at all times but then we had no problems. Our cabin steward was a star the wife loved the no making of beds etc. The biggest bonus for us was the weather, average 19 C and in Valencia peaked at 24! Clear blue skies all week. The ports we visited were Barcelona, Casablanca ( tip take a taxi to Hassan 11 mosque with worlds tallest minaret tower, it is not walkable. Taxis become cheaper as you walk out of immediate area. If you walk to town allow 35 mins, taking a right at the crossroads. There is a market behind a walled area which is good fun if you are assertive. The wife was not happy and had us back on the ship within 2 hours!). Gibraltar, Valencia and Marseille were the others. Summing up a great family holiday we would definitely go with MSC again as long as the price was as good as this was. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Have cruised twice previously in recent years with NCL (Gem) and Costa (Fortuna). Went with open mind and were happy with cruise and would book again if a good deal came up. Costa and NCL could not match the price we paid for 2 ... Read More
Have cruised twice previously in recent years with NCL (Gem) and Costa (Fortuna). Went with open mind and were happy with cruise and would book again if a good deal came up. Costa and NCL could not match the price we paid for 2 balconies cabins. However you must take into account all additional charges to really work out which company offers you the best deal. Firstly ship really is "splendid", and the cleanest ship I have been on. If I was made to choose between the above 3 companies I would say my preference was Costa, MSC then NCL. There are pros and cons with each company/ship. Here are a few points: - Embarkation / Disembarkation -â€" very good -â€" as people get on at many ports it was not busy in Genoa. Had to vacate room by 7.30am which I thought was a little too early as kids still asleep, transfers all went fine. - Smoking -â€" never a problem, only smoking on open decks and barely noticed it. - Mixed nationalities -â€" I like cruising with Europeans, probably more so than british, never experienced any rudeness -â€" lifts a nightmare though, you need to be quick or use the stairs!. - Ship beautifully clean. But very big and not good idea if you have mobility issues. - Drinks -â€" took the Cheers (forfait) package. Worked very well, especially for children who could get drinks at meal times and around the pool deck whilst buffet was open (12-4pm most days) as a result we only had to purchase the odd drink in a bar. Also Peter Pan tokens very good value as can be exchanged for ice creams or lovely milk shakes. I would recommend purchasing a package or tokens in advance as you avoid the 15% charge. - Water, ice, tea and coffee available 24 hrs in Buffet. - Pools -â€" Nice indoor & outdoor pools, - and lots of spas which were all adequately warm, and flume (although more suited to youngsters rather than teens). - Decks -â€" lots of room on decks -â€" lovely comfy pods on deck 17. - Staff -â€" No real issues -â€" on such a huge ship you can't expect to get the same level of personal service. My perception was that staff were less friendly and keen compared to Costa & NCL. - Bathrobes in cabins is nice touch. - Food -â€" neither good nor bad, adequate (my parents ate all their meals in the dinning room with a wider choice of dishes and better quality). - Buffet -â€" food fine, never a problem finding a table (tip -â€" go right down to the stern -â€" lovely and quiet -â€" although quite a walk up to the hot food for breakfast!). - Entertainment -â€" young entertainment staff very good, spoke several languages fluently and arranged fun games for all nationalities. - Sports -â€" squash court (with tennis rackets) is great, sports pitch was set up as a soccer pitch, table tennis & table football & shuffleboard. Equipment has to be booked out from F1 Simulator which is tucked away at the top of the ship. (Tip, take your own TT bats/balls and equipment for your favourite sport it saves the hassle of having to book out equipment. - 4D Cinema -â€" 7E for about 10 mins -â€" but children enjoyed it. - Bowling -â€" 5E for 6 goes -â€" bit of a waste of money really. - Gym -â€" very busy when I went so I gave up and ran on the deck, although their jogging track is ridiculous and non existent, I ran on deck 7. - Spa -â€" only paid to go once when it was half price ($8 for hour). Sauna & Steam rooms only. - Kids Club -â€" Our children didn't use them. - Shows -â€" all were visual shows which overcame the language barriers some were very good, some not so good. - Cabins -â€" spacious, balcony lovely, kept nice and clean. (opened up divider between our balconies which was great. Steward a bit elusive, but was quite nice not having him hanging around. When I phoned Reception asking for things a few times, it was never sorted, but couldn't be bothered to worry about little things. - Ports -â€" Didn't do any of the excursions as too expensive for our family of 5. Also there are usually options to using their shuttle buses -â€" do some research. - Itinerary -â€" Not very long in some ports, you need to really plan it if you go it alone. Naples: Got ferry to Capri, but was raining hard by the time we got there, so went up on funicular had quick look around then came back. Ferry journey not much fun with 3 children as couldn't go out on deck. Palermo -â€" lovely weather so stayed on board Tunis -â€" camels on portside great, shopping village fun, but nightmare being hassled as we left port. Town very run down, looked for nearby beach but couldn't find it, not much time there so went back to ship. Palma -â€" took local bus No. 1 into main square, then train to Soller (just opposite bus stop). We all loved the train journey, definitely worth the money. Took tram down to Port Soller. Lots of building work going on at the moment, but nice beach and lots of shops. Got the 211 Express bus back to Palma and then No. 1 back to the port. All very easy. - Barcelona -â€" Took blue port bus ($2) into town (about 1-2 mile walk). Hoped to do cable car, but ran out of time. Middle station closed for renovation and couldn't work out how to get to the other entry points, by the time we did it had closed! - Marseille -â€" Long way to town -â€" ship shuttle too expensive for our family -â€" lovely weather so stayed on ship. To summarise, was impressed with ship & cabin and would cruise with them again, don't go if you like to cruise with English speaking guests and if you except high quality food and attentive service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We have been on MSC cruises several times before. We have now sailed on seven of their ships. Since our first MSC cruise over six years ago,as the fleet has grown, we have seen a slow but steady decline in standards. We have persevered ... Read More
We have been on MSC cruises several times before. We have now sailed on seven of their ships. Since our first MSC cruise over six years ago,as the fleet has grown, we have seen a slow but steady decline in standards. We have persevered with the line because we love Italy and the Italian "feel" of the ships. However, this year will be our last trip with this company. The food in the main Restaurant was far from acceptable, in fact in all honesty it was pretty dire. The "buffet restaurant" was like a war-zone at times, the food was stone cold by the time you found somewhere to sit and eat it and I suspect it was only lukewarm to begin with. In addition to the actual seating problems, the tables were not cleared and cleaned as soon as they became vacant...as a consequence we found that on most occasions when we used this restaurant, we were sat at a table with mounds of dirty dishes left from the previous occupants....this was while staff meandered at a snails pace around the area, most of these staff wore a distinct lack of interest on their faces. I guess their wages are so low it is hard to motivate them. Our cabin steward was really nice and helpful but he was probably the exception to the rule. The service in the bars was often slow, even though sometimes there were few customers. The entertainment in some of the bars was amateurish....in previous years we have enjoyed the extremely talented Los Paraquayos and on Splendida last year there was also an excellent classical trio. This years offerings was a pianist and a trio (all of whom, though good, were only average) and both played the same type of music. In the Piazza (or shall I call it the street market?) a Neopolitan type group endeavoured to be heard above the noise of the people passing through...we couldn`t say if they were good or bad as their voices and music could not be heard...did the entertainment manager not spot this and improve their amplification equipment....poor management. As for the show, well perhaps the least said on that subject the better....same acts all week, in different costumes....none very good....in fact the entertainment was utter rubbish...so bad you had to laugh. The old complaint about having to buy water with meals and not being served coffee after dinner used to seem trivial to us, but over the years we have noticed that MSC seem to find more and more small things to charge you for. In addition to the daily service charge they now also put an additional service charge on all drinks in the bar and restaurants....this is a bit of a cheek when passengers already make a service payment. We sat with three other couples who were all seasoned cruisers....they were all in agreement when they said that MSC was the worst line they had been on. So this has been our last cruise with this company. We love the Italian atmosphere but we feel that things like service, food and entertainment have deteriorated badly over the past few years so, regretfully, we won`t waste our money next time on an inferior product like MSC....its gone to the dogs! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My partner and I did our second msc cruise from Genoa with Splendida. Embarkation was a doddle, swift and polite staff made sure we were on board within 30 mins from entering the port.As this is our second msc cruise (about to book ... Read More
My partner and I did our second msc cruise from Genoa with Splendida. Embarkation was a doddle, swift and polite staff made sure we were on board within 30 mins from entering the port.As this is our second msc cruise (about to book another) we don't listen to negative views of people who want a ship full or English people and English food. It's an Italian cruise line with all that lovely pasta and nice wines to accompany it and not full of moaning English people (not all English moan of course).The architecture and quality of the ship's interior is stunning and palatial in parts. We could have had a party in our cabin if we'd wanted to.Yes, there are a few things - no coffee/tea in the cabins - but then go out and find a nice coffee bar for a proper coffee and enjoy the ship. If you want a cruise with a Mediterranean feel then go on MSC - if you want home from home then STAY AT HOME or go on P & O. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I was prepared for the worst - Butlins-on-Sea? - having read some of the reviews on this site, but we had such a fantastic time we have booked a second cruise with MSC for later this year (Eastern Med on MSC Divina). Maybe as I was ... Read More
I was prepared for the worst - Butlins-on-Sea? - having read some of the reviews on this site, but we had such a fantastic time we have booked a second cruise with MSC for later this year (Eastern Med on MSC Divina). Maybe as I was sceptical it exceeded my expectations; maybe if I had super high expectations I would have been disappointed? I think most of these reviews have been written by people who have a bee in their bonnet and who want an audience. I am quite a laid back person and go on holiday to relax and enjoy myself. I actively choose to see the good in things and let minor annoyances go. If you go on holiday looking for a fight, if you're the kind of person who likes to complain, there is so much to do on these ships you will definitely find something to complain about. Below is my honest opinion on different parts of the cruise. I hope you find my impressions as a first-time cruiser helpful. CABIN Our cabin and bathroom were spotlessly clean and were maintained that way all week but the fantastic attendant, Manoj. Our cabin was on the port side so for the majority of the time we had the view of the land we were sailing along side: a very nice view from our balcony. One thing I heard lots of people complaining about was that on the last night, once you have packed and your suitcases have been taken for disembarkation, the hangers in the wardrobe rattle around VERY loudly. I ended up getting up and taking them all down. There was space under the bed to put your empty suitcases. A wardrobe with hangers, six or seven narrow/tall drawers, 2 bedside tables, a desk (with hairdryer), a small table and chairs, a safe...anyway, you can see the pictures of the cabins, there is plenty of space to unpack everything. My parents' cabin was a disabled-access cabin and was cavernous (9137). FOOD & DRINK You are allocated a table in either of 2 main restaurants, which carry the same menu each night. La Villa Verde is green and La Reggia is a carbon copy in salmon. At lunch there is free seating but in the evening you are assigned a table. You can dine in the self-service canteen or pay to go to the speciality restaurant, but we mostly ate in these restaurants, which were very civilised. The buffet restaurants had a tendency to be a bit manic with people making a mad dash to each food station as if the food was in short supply (it really wasn't) or maybe they were having some kind of race, I don't know. The lunch and dinner menu in the civilised menus went like this: Appetiser (choice of 2) Soup (choice of 2) Salad (chef's) Pasta/Risotto (choice of 2) Main course (choice of 3 or 4 I think) And just when you think you't eat any more, there's a cheese course and dessert menu (plenty of choice), ice cream or sorbet and sugar-free options. The menu varied every lunch and dinner, each one being themed on a different Italian region. There was also a standard menu (eg bolognaise) that was available everyday in case the options weren't appealing to you. The wine list was extensive and ranged from EUR7 for a 50cl carafe of house wine to $$$!!! Prosecco was priced at EUR20 which I thought was reasonable, and we drank some good wines that were about EUR18-28. We did not get the drinks package and I think overall we spent about the same amount but were not restricted in our choice. The drinks were not as expensive as I thought they would be, but then I live and work in London so maybe I am just used to higher prices. Drinks packages -- we decided to get the all inclusive drinks package but it was too late to add it to our reservation as it needs to be booked a minimum of 21 days before you go. We decided to drink freely whatever we wanted; plenty of mineral water (EUR2.30 for 75cl), fruit smoothies in the spa, fine wine, sparkling wine, gelaterie ice creams, jumbo martinis, gin and tonic...you get the picture!!! Despite this we still did not spend as much as if we had bought the drinks package. I took some photos of the menus so give an indication of onboard prices, as before I went this was the one thing I couldn't find much information on. I will try and attach them to this review. In the wine bar you get complimentary tapas with any alcoholic drink ordered and in the other bars you get a bowl of crisps and a bowl of pretzels when you order alcoholic drinks. SPA In the embarkation terminal there are stalls where everyone is trying to flog you their onboard products. We did decide to buy a spa package. This cost us EUR196 and included 4x30minute Balinese massages and access to the spa for the duration of the week for my husband and me. I am so glad we did this! The massages were ok, relaxing but nothing to write home about by any means. We really enjoyed spending time while we were sailing in the relaxation room, reading on the loungers and looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows and going for a sauna and steam. This for me was the unwinding I really had hoped to do on the cruise but away from the crowds around the pools on deck 14. SERVICE In the restaurants, cabin, bars and reception we received good service. I somehow managed to leave my passport in the embarkation terminal, which is totally unlike me. I was a bit stressed, and the European staff at the reception desk were a bit aloof, but in the end they found my passport and kept it for me in the terminal and I was reunited with it on disembarkation. Onboard there is a real mix of nationalities working, the restaurant staff were mainly Indonesian, the cabin attendants seemed to be from India and across Africa but there were all faultlessly polite and helpful. The Italian staff were a bit snobbier but everyone was helpful and smiley in general. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION To be honest, these bits weren't that fun, but I don't think there is any good way to get 3,500 people through one door, pretty much in single file, without feeling a bit like cattle. The terminal (holding pen) was pretty bland; there was complimentary water/juice but nowhere to get anything to eat and we had only been given some nuts on our BA flight so we were feeling pretty hungry/impatient to get onboard (where lunch was being served), which didn't exactly help us feel patient. Take some snacks in your hand luggage if, like me, you get grump when you get hungry! There are stalls in the embarkation terminal where the crew try and sell you drinks packages, spa treatments, speciality menus etc. We did buy the spa package and thought it was worth every penny. The attitude with the other things was that we would buy it when we wanted it rather than pre-buy anything. I am glad we decided to do this as it meant I didn't have anything to keep track of and could just relax. The night before you disembark you have to leave your luggage outside your cabin and you are reunited with it in the terminal land side (it is a bit of a free-for-all but seems to work). We had to leave our cabin ridiculously early (7am) and had to be at the rendezvous point for disembarkation (in our case the theatre) for 8.45. Even on this morning when every single passenger wanted breakfast at the same time, the waiters in La Reggia were still composed and offered a fantastic service as they served up our pastries, muesli, coffee, fruit juice, perfectly poached eggs, smoked salmon, cheese and ham.... SHORE EXCURSIONS These are a total waste of money. All of the towns visited on this cruise (Barcelona, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Valencia, Marseille) were accessible independently. In Casablanca, the only non-European city, you have to fight your way out of the port through a hundred local taxi drivers all promising to show you around Casablanca. Haggle, but if you want an excursion, go with a local taxi driver not on the MSC excursion. Put your money in the pocket of someone who genuinely needs it and who lives in that area. We walked from the port to Hassan II mosque (about 30-45 minute stroll) and picked up a lovely guide at the mosque (Ahmed) with a minivan who for EUR10 each drove us around for 2.5hours, to the Corniche, Cathedral, Old Town, shopping areas etc and gave good insight into the history and politics of Morocco. ENTERTAINMENT The dancing was good but other shows were good quality but so annoying as everything is repeated in English, Italian, French, German and Spanish. This was so tedious we only went to one show and left the multi-lingual ventriloquist after one joke and ten minutes...fortunately the musicians in the Jazz bars and other bars just played great music and this was much more enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
long honest review of MSC Splendida New Year Cruise - Mediterranean This cruise was a last minute booking and was suggested by our travel agent, we had no knowledge about the ship or Msc beforehand - in fact I had never heard ... Read More
long honest review of MSC Splendida New Year Cruise - Mediterranean This cruise was a last minute booking and was suggested by our travel agent, we had no knowledge about the ship or Msc beforehand - in fact I had never heard of them before ! My husband and I had taken a honeymoon cruise way back in 1993 on the Cunard Countess, and a 3 night cruise on Carnival Cruise lines in 1991 - so a large gap between cruises. This time we had our 6 year old daughter with us We were offered a balcony room deck 8 with £100 on board spend each and booked our own flights from Gatwick to Genoa. Once everything had been booked I then started researching the ship. And came across this forum - reading the reviews with mounting horror, wishing I hadn't been so hasty.... I now knew about the service charge (not paying !) No tea, coffee, or even water available, so we went on holiday prepared. Our experience which I hope will help someone. When we first saw the ship we were astounded - it is huge and quite an impressive sight Embarkation 7/10 December 27th we were to embark at 1pm in Genoa, as we were at the port early (11am) we decided to see if we could board early, as their were already many people milling around. Fortunately this was allowed our luggage was taken from us and we checked in, this was pretty easy, as it was still early, we later found out that 3000 people were embarking that day. We were given our boarding cards, these you need when getting on and off the ship, you can also use them to purchase goods on board, so you don't need to carry cash around with you. We refused to register our credit card saying that we would be paying with cash instead. We signed up for a water and soft drinks package (14 x 1.5 litre water and 14 x tinned drinks) at a cost of €65 We had the obligatory photo taken before going on board the ship, as we walked up to entrance their was a long line of ushers ready to take us to our room. Our Room 8/10 We had a balcony room on deck 8 above the theatre, which was nice, 2 single beds and a sofa bed for our daughter. Clean & fresh smelling, just enough space for our clothes, bathroom with a great shower and air conditioning that was adjustable, hair dryer in the bar, a TV that only had 4 English channels - all news (CNN etc.) The balcony had 2 wicker chairs and a table, just enough room to sit out on. The service lady was very nice, and visited 3 times a day, and kept our room perfect The Ship 9/10 Wow its pretty amazing - the staircase is fantastic, the whole ship is very ornate and impressive, the staff clean constantly, hoovering, cleaning off fingerprints, polishing the already gleaming windows ! We started to try and find things that were amiss just to reassure ourselves that it couldn't be so perfect. We did find a few light bulbs out here and there!! Food 6/10 Breakfast We ate buffet breakfast in the bora bora cafe each morning, the food was not always hot - mostly warm. The front of the cafe was always a mass of people, but at the back it was quieter, and seats could always be found. The menu was the same each day, there was .... Cold Meats, Cheese, Yoghurt, Croissants/ Danish, cereal (rice crispies, muesli, cornflakes, frosties), Toast, Rolls, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, porridge, omelette, fried eggs, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, hash browns, baked beans, prunes, pineapple, melon and bananas Tea, coffee, orange / fruit juice, milk. There was always lots of food, unfortunately only one place to get the fried eggs and omelettes - which was at the very front server - which was always busy Breakfast could also be taken as room service, or in the restaurants. Lunch again available in the restaurants, or in the bora bora as a buffet. Menus varied slightly each day - but they always had hot dogs, chips, burgers, minute steak, pizza, fresh fruit, bread, cheeses, rolls, jelly, cake, pasta (3 or 4 different types) fish and usually a roast - we twice had a carvery, rice dishes. Again plenty of food, and a good choice - food warm not hot. The most popular was the hot dogs and chips, these were again only available from one position, at the entrance. No drinks available apart from Ice, drinks had to be bought. Afternoon Tea again in the Bora Bora - small filled rolls, cakes and biscuits. tea, coffee and hot milk available only, Dinner Our restaurant was ville verde on early sitting (6.30) we were placed with another English couple who were lovely and had a boy aged 5, so our children quickly made friends and sat together. The menu consisted of 6 courses, appetiser, salad, soup, pasta, main and desert. Each day we had a different Italian regional dish, the food was fine, not great, but edible. The children's menu was naff - pizza of the day (cheese & tomato it never changed) pasta dish with tomato, macaroni or bolognase sauce, a fish dish, cheeseburger or hot dog, fries, soup (which was horrid). My 6 year old had pizza every day, and had very few fresh vegetables. The ice cream was nice though. No drinks free - everything had to be bought. Entertainment 7/10 Each night there was a 40 minute show, and they were all slightly different. The shows mainly consisted of dancers, a bit of magic, balancing acts, singers, there was a great hand shadow act, 2 of the nights were taken up with Opera - we didn't bother with that ! The shows though short were enjoyable, and appealed to most. There were also numerous jazz, piano music in the many bars around the ship. - we didn't see any of these. What was on was good, but there wasn't enough entertainment. Kids Entertainment 0/10 Our daughter never went to the kids club, our table companion did and I think there were only 3 English children in the club. He said it was OK The kids club put on a small show for the parents apart from that - there was no shows at all - no pantomimes, no kids TV, nothing. We spent most of the time on board playing cards. Excursions 5/10 We only went on one excursion, and that was to the caves of nerja in malaga. It was about €110 for the 3 of us, consisted of a 40 min coach drive, a tour round the caves (paintings were closed off for renovation), 10 mins spare time, into town for an hour, then back to the boat. It was good, but expensive. Many of the excursions would have cost us nearly €200 - so we didn't bother. Itinerary 6/10 We didn't choose the cruise because of its Itinerary - and we soon realised that most of the ports were miles away from the city centres. Virtually all the excursions were to look at buildings etc, which didn't really appeal to our 6 year old. We stopped in Barcelona, where there was a shuttle bus laid on (not free) - though we walked nearly into town Casablanca - walked through the port, but never got close to the city - taxi touts kept hustling us. Malaga - we went to the caves of Nerja Alicante - never left boat Cittevecnchi (Rome) was going to catch the train to Rome, but didn't get up early enough ! Staff 9/10 Reception help desk 1/10 The staff on board were all very good, friendly and helpful, always a cheery hello - or happy new year.... However there was an exception..... the reception staff :- these were some of the rudest, people I have ever met Why ? The full explanation is below. Our whole cruise was tarnished by an incident, that should have been dealt with quickly and easily by the reception or accounting staff. When we booked the cruise we were given a total price from our travel agent, We were offered either 1) an all inclusive drinks package or 2) £100 on board spend each (daughter didn't qualify) As my self and my husband don't drink a great deal, we took the on board credit. It was only from reading from forums that water / tea / coffee weren't included in the price, but again we accepted that and took a bottle of squash with us. We also found out from the MSC web page that a service charge was billed to each adult at a rate of €7 per day, however it wasn't compulsory quoted from their website For your convenience, MSC Cruises will automatically add a modest service charge to your on board account, which will be based on the number of days in which services are actually rendered and vary by itinerary: Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Westbound Transatlantic sailings: €Euro 7.00 per adult per day There is no service charge for children under the age of 14, whereas, guests between the age of 14 and 17 will pay 50% less than the adult fare. Service charges are subject to change and may vary based on the ship's on board currency. Should you wish to make adjustments, you may do so by contacting the Guest Relation Manager at any point during your cruise. We eventually got the MSC booklet 4 days before leaving the UK, which fortunately had the above statement written in it. We had already decided, that as we had paid for the cruise we weren't going to spend €130 on a service charge that we hadn't been told about, but were happy to tip individually for good service. The first day on the boat we went down to reception with our msc booklet and spoke to 'Claudia' and asked to see the guest relations manager. She told us that he wasn't available as we were in port, and wanted to know what the problem was, we quickly explained that it was about the service charge and that we wouldn't be paying for it. From that moment her attitude changed, she rudely told us that is was compulsory, and that was their policy and that had been in effect since January (I guess 2010), I again stated that actually she was wrong and it wasn't compulsory and I had written evidence of it. she handed us a sheet of paper and told us to write a letter explaining the reasons why we didn't want to pay the charge. We did this straight away and handed her the paper and asked what would happen next, she replied that she would give it to the ships manager, who would decide if our service charge would be granted or not. We replied that we wanted an answer, so she told us to come back another time. The next day I went back down to the accounting desk and spoke to 'Shameen (?)' and again explained the problem, she went over and got a summery of our account, and put it front of me, it showed an on-board credit of €116, 3 x €1 charges to UNICEF and 6 x €7 service charge amounts, she explained that our on board credit was going towards the service charge, so it wouldn't actually cost us anything !! My on board credit was strangely missing.... I patiently explained again, that our on board credit was not for paying their service charge, that it was a hidden charge as it was not given to us when we booked, and we would not be paying it. She said well in that case you need to speak to the guest relations manager and make an appointment. So back I went to reception and saw a different girl (Italian with black short bobbed hair) who was very rude when I wouldn't tell her what it was about, sighed, huffed and puffed and told me to come back at 7pm that night. I said sorry - can't do that - I was on early sitting at 6.30pm, she eventually gave me a time of 8.30pm and stuck our cabin number on a post it note. 8.25pm I went back to reception armed with my letter explaining why we wouldn't be paying the charge and the booklet that MSC had sent us. Saw a different receptionist and told her that I had an appointment, she wanted to know what it was about, I wouldn't tell her so she hunted for the appointment that was made, and surprise surprise couldn't fine it. She told me to come back the next day. By this stage I was getting very annoyed and repeated I had an appointment and wouldn't go until I saw the guest relations manager. She told me to take a seat and that the manager would be down soon. I waited for another 5 minutes (8.40pm by now) and no sign of action, so I went and stood in front of reception looking very angry, this gave the desired result. She spoke on the phone and took me to the guest relations managers office behind reception. I explained the service charge problem to him, told him that his reception staff were very rude and asked why I had to leave my dinner early, and miss the beginning of the show because this service charge problem couldn't be sorted out simply by the reception or accounting desk. Again he tried to tell me that the service charge was compulsory, so I got out the MSC booklet and their terms in writing - which he read, he told me that the service charge would be removed at the end of the week. I told him, that unfortunately due to the attitude of the staff, I didn't believe that it would be sorted, and didn't want a problem when disembarkation and paying the final bill, and wanted his statement in writing that the service charge would be removed. He refused to do this, and kept saying it would be his word that it would be removed, I refused to leave until he eventually photocopied the letter I had written and signed the bottom. Fortunately the service charge was removed. And we tipped our waiters (even though he got our dinner order wrong virtually every night) and cabin staff personally. Conclusion. The Splendida is a beautiful ship, however - we felt that it was too big with too many people on board of different nationalities to effectively entertain them. The Reception staffs rudeness and bad manners and the Service charge fiasco left a really sour taste in our mouths and did spoil an enjoyable cruise. If MSC spent a bit more time training their front of house people in reception to deal with problems instead of having to make appointments with managers then the rating would be higher. The impression I was given was that if they could make it as difficult as possible for me to actually see someone - then I might just go a way and not make a fuss. Ron Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
MSC Splendida Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.3
Entertainment 5.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 3.0
Service 5.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.7

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