Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand new ship? The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered was just perfect and it was a pleasure to sail her. However her maiden voyage was not plain sailing and we were stuck in Southampton due to bad weather in the Atlantic, thus missing the port of Lisbon and overnight stay. Yes this was very disappointing but when you saw the forecast you could understand why the captain chose to delay departure.. why take a brand new ship through a huge storm!?
The ship itself is simply beautiful. As soon as you board you are greeted by the stunning Galleria and it took us the whole first day to walk around and discover the ship. Although I know its big it was bigger than expected The ship was kept spotless throughout the cruise and it the design throughout is stunning. From the signature crystal staircase to the impressive Galleria with the LED roof and the lovely pool deck, everything is beautiful.
Food and Drink - Expectations were low as MSC does not get a good rap for food, however the MDR food was well above par. Food in the Buffet restaurant was also very good. We found the speciality restaurants a little overpriced and also you could not use your drinks package in any of them (unless you are on premium deluxe package) so adding drinks to the cost would mean around €50-€60 per head which is not worth it given the MDR was very good anyway. Bars were all very nice. We loved the British Pub which was very authentic and also the Sky Lounge which was the most relaxing bar on the ship with the best service. Entertainment seemed always be shoved in the Grandiosa lounge and never anywhere else. Drinks package was a bit confusing.. so we took the easy package which allows you to have any drink up to €6 value.. easy right? Wrong.. So in the British Bar you can have a pint of Heineken for €6 but if you want a pint of Heineken Lite for €6 you can't because this is one of many exceptions. OK so if I want a drink that's €6.50 (like most are) then I just pay the difference, right? Wrong, you pay the full amount! Fancy a tea in L'Atelier Bistrot lounge, watching the world go by on the Galleria.. this will cost you, even though the very same tea is available for FREE in the buffet area or the same coffee included in your drinks package.. MSC just don't do easy!