This is our 2nd cruise. Our first was with the American NCL Epic. After much research and logistics-checking, we chose to sail on the MSC Bellissima.
Yes, I read all the comments for her sister ship, the MSC Meraviglia and noticed something: the Americans disliked MSC, the British tolerated it, the Europeans loved it. Since I am a Canadian-Israeli, I just warned my family to expect the same level of service we received on our last overland trip to Italy but emphasized that the ship would be gorgeous and with lots of things to do. With that in mind, we were not disappointed.
MSC is an Italian shipping company and nearly 75 percent of the passengers are Italian. The rest are Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Russian, with some Israelis and Turks. It is a nice, spicy, fun international mix, especially when you factor in the origins of all the onboard staff. It DOES, however, pose a language issue in which ALL announcements are repeated in five languages at length. So yes, the lifejacket drill is a wee bit l-o-n-g.
Our cabin was mid-ship on the 12th floor and was conveniently located between the panoramic, exterior-view elevator and the main central lifts and staircase. I take higher floors simply to avoid the lifts during peak hours - we opt for the stairs. The cabin was much wider than what we had on the Epic, so we had plenty of room to walk past the sofa, which was kept permanently in the bunk bed configuration for our stay and made easy access to our balcony. Lots of storage space. We asked them to empty the mini bar - mostly so my kids wouldn't chow down on pricey candy bars but also so we could keep chilled water in the cabin. With 4 people, I missed the convenience of a split bathroom that we had on the Epic but we survived or even ran up to the pool deck to use the bathrooms there if we had a bathroom timing conflict.
In-Cabin TV: I didn't spend a lot of time in front of the TV except for a couple of minutes in the evening. MSC: could you please add subtitles as a default on the programming? It doesn't have to be translation but having the words in front of you make it much easier to understand what's going on. Yes, I know I previously made a comment about not watching TV. We were just curious what the results of the election were...
This is where we boarded the ship. We flew in the day before on a Vueling low-cost flight from Tel Aviv that landed in BCN at 08:30 - this gave us a full 1.5 days prior to boarding the ship. Transferred to our La Rambla hotel using the very well organized Aerobus service that deposits you at the top of La Rambla. We then walked 10 minutes to our hotel, checked in, deposited our trolleys, and then went to explore. We had a bad experience with one of the Blue Cruise bus drivers - he tried to convince us that the reason he short-changed us was because the price does not include tax. Be warned: The cruise bus price is 3 Euro per person. Make sure you have exact change so as not to get scammed.
The cruise offers bus service to the marina - it is very costly in our opinion. We just walked around the marina and went to a local supermarket and watched street performers. We already did the touristy train thing to the Notre Dame church on our previous cruise.
Just walked off the ship to go for a walk and stretch our legs. Cute town.
Could not get enough of Malta. She is an absolute gem. We fell in love with this island and hope to visit here again.