After an uneventful flight, we arrived in Venice and sought our MSC sign in the Arrivals Hall. There was every other cruise line and other companies but no sign of MSC. Eventually, we found our contact and she was behind the others but the sign was down as she was checking names off her list. We were directed down the hall, past the coffee stand and out to the MSC office outside. After checking in there, we waited 20 minutes or so before we were led to the bus in the car park, not an easy trek with a trolley. The coach had no room for hand luggage overhead larger than a handbag. The trip to the port was quick and we were dropped at the end of a queue for bag drop. This was a long queue but in 20 minutes or so we dropped our bags at the door and proceeded upstairs to check in area. This was crowded and the first thing was to get our silly cruise photo taken. This was humorous and kept us smiling while waiting to check in. Check in was smooth enough and then we had to wait for number 15 to be called. This entailed a long wait and there was juice and water available. We had arrived at about 12.30 and we boarded at 2.15pm. We were told our staterooms would not be ready until 2.30 but we sneaked up and it was ready so we dropped off our bags.
Ship is beautiful and shiny. A lot of reflective surfaces, mirrored elevators and, of course, the famous Swarovski stairs. This was a favourite area for photographs all week. Our stateroom was a balcony, B2, port side, quite forward. There is an overhang from the top deck but it only causes shadow from about noon to 2.00pm on the sea day. The view down was towards deck 7 and lifeboats. View forward was restricted by the hump. Stateroom was very comfortable and spacious enough. Plenty of room under the bed for cases. Hairdryer in drawer was surprising good, I am told. Ice bucket provided but never filled, nor did we seek it to be filled. Met steward a couple of times, by accident. The room was kept very well. One towel animal and a note wishing us an enjoyable cruise. The balcony door slid open and stayed open as it is heavy. The aircon seemed to stay on even when the balcony door was open. The lock for the door is a button which was quite stiff so we did not bother locking it.
Excellent, comfortable stateroom, tastefully decorated. Loads of storage and good sized ensuite. Quite forward and with some shadow from overhang at noon to about 2pm.
We exited the port and took a tram, 4TL any journey. You put the coins or note into a machine which dispenses a jeton and change. Insert jeton into turnstile and wait for tram. We got off at Eminonu and walked up to the Sulemanye Mosque. Lovely mosque, no crowds and free, clean toilets. Cover legs, arms, heads(women). We then walked downhill towards the Grand Bazaar, lots of shops with quite persistent shopkeepers. Walked on towards Hagia Sophia and it was an easy walk. Line was quite short so we only queued for 10 minutes or so, admission 30TL. After that we walked across the street and visited the Basilica Cisterna, adm. 20TL. By then, prayers were over and we could visit the Blue Mosque, free but cover up, shawls are provided at the mosques. Easy to get the tram from Sultanahmet, near Blue Mosque, back to Tophane, the stop for the port.
Grabbed a taxi at the pier. €10 to old city and split that with another couple from the ship. Pile gate very crowded. Tickets to access the walls available just inside the Pile gate, 100kuna each, about €15pp. This is a must do. Spectacular. Left walls at the marina and walked back through the Stradun, visited the cathedral with the gold reliquaries and got taxi at the same gate again and back to ship. Lovely port.