We bought this as a package that included flights. We looked forward for over a year to a beautiful new ship and watched the progress of its construction. Sadly the anticipation was the best part. Bellissima is a huge ship that crams in as many cabins and people at the sacrifice of public areas. There are never enough seats in the public areas although there are tables available, the lack of seats makes it difficult to find a spot. The deck chairs around the main pool are crammed in and always seemed to be reserved even though this is supposed to be a no no. The main pool deck 15 has the smoking area so it stinks of cigarettes. There is always entertainment there, if you call it that, and games with only a dozen or so participants at all times. It’s very loud and in your face, so a quiet time around the pool is not possible. The other very small pool at the rear is better but again lacks seating. The music here is over loud speakers and could be softer. There’s a bar here but again lack of seating and also a smoking area. Bar staff overall on the ship are rude or indifferent, and lack the necessary skills to operate a bar. The bars are also lacking in seating, with so many guests onboard and nowhere to sit. The so called adults only bar was out of order at least twice when we tried that one, and one of the bars only had drinks above our drinks package. Now regarding the drinks package. We bought the easy package a year out from the cruise. We have friends who sailed earlier this year on another MSC ship who were able to have drinks up to €6.50......so they happily had Jameson’s on their cruise with no problem at any bar. MSC are very misleading in their description of the packages and describe a selection of spirits, cocktails and wines. We were aware that the beers included were Heineken and found also Amstel light, which is ok. The selection of spirits however is bottom shelf Bells whisky, Vodka, Gin and bottom shelf Rum. No bourbon, which is my drink.
All of the decent drinks were €6.50 but our package was up to €6.00 and no exception. We can only assume that MSC have changed that between the time of our friends cruise and ours. The cocktails aren’t cocktails, they are mixers like G&T and Vodka and orange, but we did find a way around it. If you are stuck on the easy drinks buy your non alcoholic cocktails and a shot of rum etc with the mixer separate and just mix it in! When we questioned the drinks package all they were interested in is upgrading your package for an exorbitant amount of money. We would’ve been better off paying as we go. Bar manager Tafseer Said did his best to rectify our issues with the bar and whenever he saw us he always checked that things were ok. Chocolate bar a huge waste of space that could be better accommodated with, say a lounge area, as lots of chocolate on display but no one in here buying. The massive casino is just another attempt at making money and could’ve been a quarter of the size as hardly anyone using it. Obviously an indoor smoking area which was offensive. Again that would’ve given more nice public area. No library or place to have a quiet read. Cirque Du Soleil was a amateurish performance and the so called cocktails were a choice of non alcoholic mai tai, gin and tonic or rum and something. NOT COCKTAILS as described and they were awful with most people not drinking them.
Dining.....we didn’t eat in the animal farm buffet although did a walk through a couple of times. As a Coeliac I needed to eat in the main restaurants. A plus is that this is a Coeliac certified ship with a Gluten Free kitchen. I was served only by the head waiter at all times and every effort was made to accommodate this without exception. Yoseph in the the main dining and Marcelo at breakfast. I usually skipped lunch but on one occasion did use the restaurant for lunch. We found the service slow here and they charged for a bottle of wine rather than a glass on our package. My advice is to keep track of the charges as there were a few mistakes made and other guests had the same issue. The evening meals were nice but towards the latter part of the trip they became mundane. Service however by Greisy Maria in the main dining room was excellent. If you are Coeliac you will have no worries here. My only issue is that the buffet could have some dry pre packaged crackers gluten free so that a light lunch with, say cheese and lettuce could be had. On the Hurtigruten line this was accomodated. I do carry my own rice crackers however and I would recommend doing this.
As stated above. Deck 11 port side. Good cabin except walls are too thin and we were woken every time guests next door came in.
We took the bus ( not the hop on hop off) from outside the port which went around the town. It gave a little insight. We then had time to walk around town. Not a lot to do in the short time. We would’ve liked to see Columbus birth house but ran out of time.
Would probably rate higher if we’d had more time. Took taxi straight to Sagrada Familia. Wow, this is very much worth seeing. Mind blowing. We hadn’t pre purchased tickets but it wasn’t so busy so we didn’t have to wait. After that we decided to get hoho as we wanted to see as much as we could. Got off at Güell Park stop but what they don’t tell you is it’s a half hour walk or more all uphill, which is ok for us but by the time we got to the ticket office at the top the only tour left was 4.30 and we didn’t have time to wait. We wasted our money on hoho and would’ve been better to just take another taxi to the the main things we wanted to see.