This was our first cruise and before we departed we went from high expectations to it cant be that good for the price we paid ( Â£349 ). Well overaall the cruise surpassed our highest expectations and like people have said before, cruising is addictive and yes we are hooked, looking to go again in October and December.
So let me tell you about our trip and not all was great but most of it was.
Embarking : Smooth as only 72 of us embarked at Valletta with everyone very friendly and welcoming. We were then showed to our cabin again by a white gloved staff member who chatted all the way and showed us around the cabin on arrival.
Cabin : We were worried that an inside cabin may be a bit claustraphobic, no need to worry it was great quite spacious and spotlessly clean with everything we needed. All introduction information was spread out neatly on bed and our luggage was waiting for us on our arrival. The cabin steward introduced himself and was great all week for extra pillows and bits of advice. Towels wer changed at least twice a day and again we were more than happy with the cabin.
Staff : Every single time we passed a staff member they said hello or how are you, excellent from the housekeeping staff amazingly friendly and yes it does make a difference. The restaurant staff were great as well, we eat in the La Reggia and quite simply they could not do enough for us even having our wine and water ready after the first day, we are creatures of habit but that to me is amazing service. The reception staff were not so good, even a little rude at times but that was one of the few things that left a bad taste in the mouth.
Ship : Splendida it is indeed, your first thought is the pure size as you see it in port and when on board it does not dissapoint,the public areas are always very clean and are up to 5 start hotel standard. Great idea to put kids area and disco up a tower and out of the way. Pools clean and well maintained. One thing I was impressed with and we dont smoke was the fact that certain internal bars allowed smoking these areas were well marked. The shops were wll stocked and not overpriced again well done MSC.
Food and Drink : The bars were all very inviting and same as above the drinks were very well priced â‚¬6.75 for a cocktail and also the snacks, cakes, icecreams etc were all well priced so once again well done MSC you have a captive audience and it is not abused. The restaurant was top notch 7 courses for lunch and again for dinner, not big courses but you dont need them, the food was of top quality nothing was a let down. The buffet was as expected a dog fight and was always busy, so we elected to eat at the restaurant. Why do people never go to the restaurant and eat in the buffet all the time?
Entertainment : The shows with one exeption were excellent and entertaining, there are 2 girls from Mongolia and 2 men from Ukraine who are very very bendy and strong was incredible to see, good variety entertainment from a sand artist to a hand shadow artist and jugglers, magicians, singers, acrobats and of course dancers. The quality was overall very good and each show was well attended. I enjoyed the fact that one night the kids from the kids club came on stage big moment for them and they will remember that for a long time.
Ports : We departed from Valletta and went to Messina, Rome, Genoa, Barcelona and Tunis. We did not take any tours as we found them expensive eg to Rome â‚¬45.00 for trip to Rome and Map on the train it was â‚¬9.00 and pick up a map anywhere.In Messina and Barcelona you can walk or get bus really easy.In Tunis even easier walk and get a taxi ( â‚¬ 20.00 return to Tunis ).
Disembarkation : Bad weather meant we could not dock at Valletta at 9 am so we waited until 5pm and the weather was the same so we were taken to a harbour on the south of Malta and taken off by Tender, maybe a few morw annoucements would have helped but they very kindly let us keep our cabin until 3pm and authorised an extra lunch in the restaurant, the real test comes when unusual circumstances occur and with the exeption of maybe 1 or 2 more annoucements MSC dealt with the situation very well.
Overall we reccomend a cruise on the MSC Splendida as the ship surpassed our expectaions and hooked us on cruising, afew tips we learnt and are happy to pass on.
1.We prefer to tip individual service and asked the â‚¬7.00 per day per person service charge to be removed and this was done easily and without fuss.
2. Get a drinks package either the cheers which we did â‚¬115.00 each but we had receipts for nealy â‚¬400.00 or the all inclusive.
3. Eat in the restaurants
4. Dont take the tours, do it yourself its more fun
5. Go to the shows they are worth it
6. Room service at breakfast is free, so have a pre breakfast breakfast, a cup of brown and a croissant. Starts the day nicely
7. Relax and enjoy yourself