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Two facts about MSC cruises become apparent within a few hours of boarding the ship - in our case the Splendida to the Norwegian fjords. One: it is all about making money and two: the cruise is not meant for non- Europeans. Of the almost 4000 passengers aboard, about 90% were German and the rest mostly Italian and French. I doubt if there were more than a dozen English speakers on the entire ship. In fact, during the 15 day cruise, we hardly heard any English spoken at all. The ship is clearly not equipped to handle the number of passengers it crams aboard - except in the sprawling bar areas. The available space, already inadequate, is not properly allotted. The most glaring examples are the dining rooms. There are two main dining halls and passengers are allotted one of them even before the cruise starts. The one we were allotted (Villa Verda: less spacious than La Reggia) had tables so closely packed, especially at lunchtime that one could barely get up off the table without bumping into the chair behind. Coupled with a few thousand voices chattering at once, it resembled a fish market. To add to the chaos, for some inexplicable reason, the other larger dining hall was closed for breakfast and lunch. In effect, paying passengers discovered that only one dining hall was included in the price of the cruise. In all other cruise lines, passengers have access to multiple free dining locations. In stark contrast were the 17 bars scattered throughout the ship, which occupied most of the public areas. The obvious intention was to entice passengers to spend the maximum amount on drinks. I estimate that on an average, passengers spent one third to one half of the cruise cost extra on drinks. Even in the main foyer, if one just wanted to listen to the music, you were made to feel out of place unless you bought a drink. At lunch and dinner, even a basic commodity like water had to be purchased at 3 euros a bottle. The final straw was having to pay an extra Euros 3.5 for a breakfast staple like freshly squeezed orange juice. Considering that in the 14 day cruise, six days were spent entirely at sea, there was surprisingly little to do - except drink and shop, of course, out of sheer boredom. There wasn't even a movie theatre. If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to order it in your cabin at a rather exorbitant price of 7 euro; and watch it on a tiny 21 inch television, which was anyway placed at an awkward angle for viewing. To be fair, the nightly entertainment shows (included in the price) were quite decent, although they only lasted for 30 to 45 min. All the other dance parties etc. were held in the bars, where one was expected to buy drinks. If you thought that paying full fare entitled you to a hassle free cruise with nominal additional cost, you were in for a rude awakening. Moreover, almost all the entertainment on offer was centered in the bar areas, for which you had to pay through your nose for the drinks. The so called speciality restaurants were restricted to two in number, of which one was a sports bar which served American fast food. The prices however were many times that of a McDonalds or Burger King. MSC is truly a money making machine and they are good at it.

Beware of Floating Palaces

MSC Splendida Cruise Review by philippi666

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Norwegian Fjords
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom – Aurea
Two facts about MSC cruises become apparent within a few hours of boarding the ship - in our case the Splendida to the Norwegian fjords. One: it is all about making money and two: the cruise is not meant for non- Europeans. Of the almost 4000 passengers aboard, about 90% were German and the rest mostly Italian and French. I doubt if there were more than a dozen English speakers on the entire ship. In fact, during the 15 day cruise, we hardly heard any English spoken at all.

The ship is clearly not equipped to handle the number of passengers it crams aboard - except in the sprawling bar areas. The available space, already inadequate, is not properly allotted. The most glaring examples are the dining rooms. There are two main dining halls and passengers are allotted one of them even before the cruise starts. The one we were allotted (Villa Verda: less spacious than La Reggia) had tables so closely packed, especially at lunchtime that one could barely get up off the table without bumping into the chair behind. Coupled with a few thousand voices chattering at once, it resembled a fish market. To add to the chaos, for some inexplicable reason, the other larger dining hall was closed for breakfast and lunch. In effect, paying passengers discovered that only one dining hall was included in the price of the cruise. In all other cruise lines, passengers have access to multiple free dining locations.

In stark contrast were the 17 bars scattered throughout the ship, which occupied most of the public areas. The obvious intention was to entice passengers to spend the maximum amount on drinks. I estimate that on an average, passengers spent one third to one half of the cruise cost extra on drinks. Even in the main foyer, if one just wanted to listen to the music, you were made to feel out of place unless you bought a drink. At lunch and dinner, even a basic commodity like water had to be purchased at 3 euros a bottle. The final straw was having to pay an extra Euros 3.5 for a breakfast staple like freshly squeezed orange juice.

Considering that in the 14 day cruise, six days were spent entirely at sea, there was surprisingly little to do - except drink and shop, of course, out of sheer boredom. There wasn't even a movie theatre. If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to order it in your cabin at a rather exorbitant price of 7 euro; and watch it on a tiny 21 inch television, which was anyway placed at an awkward angle for viewing. To be fair, the nightly entertainment shows (included in the price) were quite decent, although they only lasted for 30 to 45 min. All the other dance parties etc. were held in the bars, where one was expected to buy drinks. If you thought that paying full fare entitled you to a hassle free cruise with nominal additional cost, you were in for a rude awakening. Moreover, almost all the entertainment on offer was centered in the bar areas, for which you had to pay through your nose for the drinks. The so called speciality restaurants were restricted to two in number, of which one was a sports bar which served American fast food. The prices however were many times that of a McDonalds or Burger King. MSC is truly a money making machine and they are good at it.
philippi666’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom – Aurea
Cabin B3 11163
Cabin was comfortable, but nothing fancy. Shower stall was cramped. The television was not placed for comfortable viewing from the bed; and the picture quality was average.
Piero della Francesca Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

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