We were on the maiden voyage of the MSC Splendida. Our airport transfer went smoothly from FCO Rome to Civitavecchia. Embarkment was supposed to be in numerical order we were no 8- but of course was TOTALLY disorganised. It took over 3 hours from when embarkment commenced to get onto the ship after hundreds of rude italian boarding the ship pushed in. Once I got with the Italian programme of pushing in myself we suddenly were on board. This was the most stressful part of the cruise thankfully. Once we got onboard all was forgotten. I only chose this cruise because the ship was new & I can speak italian. This ship was amazing. The decor was spectacular, our cabin with balcony was great, in a perfect position and we slept like babies every night. For what we paid with 2 kids for free it was value for money. And No tipping. We had gratituites added to our bill at the end - which for us was cheaper than handing out money all day to various people & getting stressed about whether we gave too little or too much. The so called kids clubs was rubbish - so don't bother going on this cruise if you want your kids babysat it aint going to happen. I would never leave my kids with anyone so for me it was irrelevant but other aussies on the cruise with little ones were very upset about this - and I don't blame them. The food if you like European cuisine was excellent from the starters to the desserts. My husband ate about 7 courses every meal not to mention my 13 year old son - Yes you do have to buy bottled water, softdrinks and there are no 24 hours a day buffets. None of that bothered us as honestly how much food can a person stuff into themselves. The entertainment was average to below average, most people on board were european - so listening to the entertainers trying to sing in english was comical to say the least. Embarking and disembarking while in port was stress free, the tours were over priced we only did 1 tour costing $450 AU in Tunisia. A supposed shopping tour. It was a waste of money and time. I could have bought the same stuff in the terminal. And there were pick pockets everywhere. The rest of the ports we got our own taxis and basically they took us on private tours which was great. If you are in a hurry as we were this is a great intro to Europe. If you are an impatient english only speaking person who is used to American style cruising - don't bother with this cruise. If you want a true continental cruise with the locals then you can expect fabulous decor, al la cart feasts and value for money. Would I cruise again? Yes but next time I'm doing an American ship to compare the difference.