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MSC Splendida Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
350 Reviews

28-night Grand Voyage - a great cruise and a great MSC job in the virus madness!

MSC Splendida Cruise Review by tim716

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2020
  • Destination: the Middle East
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom

I booked this cruise 3 days before the virus hysteria started. I chose it because it was very cheap (about 40 euro person/day) with an Ok itinerary.

It turned out to be probably the best and definitely the most luxurious cruise in my life.

First of all, because of the virus MSC completely remade the first half of the cruise, making the itinerary much better than I initially booked. Instead of the freezing and wet Shanghai, Okinawa and Hong Kong, which were cancelled, MSC moved the embarkation to Singapore and added Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Saigon (that's two more ports than the original route!), and all the itinerary was in the perfect tropical weather! The itinerary became MILES better.

They let us embark a day earlier, Feb 13th, with no extra charge. I know the ship came 1 hour later than promised and there was about 2 hour line of people who came by the announced embarkation time, but thankfully I found out about that when still at the airport, walked around the city, came at 10 pm and was onboard in 10 minutes with no hassle.

There were just 1300 passengers onboard(the max capacity is 4300!), all the rest got afraid of the virus and (stupidly) cancelled. That turned all the ship into the Yacht club. :) Indeed, the ship felt more like a huge private yacht. I had absolutely no problem finding a sunbed in a shadow, in the sun or whatever at any place of the ship you like, no problem in the buffet, any seat you like in the theater, getting on a tender, whatever. Everything was free and empty.

I had an internal guarantee, a free upgrade to a balcony cabin in the perfect location (right near the midship elevators) made it the absolute luxury.

The food was so-so for the first few days ( I guess they had groceries problem), but then after Kuala Lumpur it became quite good and was like that till the end of the cruise.

Of course the entertainment is a great challenge for a cruise of that length. It was a bit monotonous, most nights were one man shows with 2-3 shows by the same person, but they chose the right people for that and it was definitely not boring. There were also four really beautiful production shows, so I'd say the entertainment was good for this type of a cruise. The animation team probably lacked great ideas a bit (nothing compares to "the Quest" by RCI:) but they tried really hard and were a highlight of the cruise. They were friends to every passenger onboard.

The service on the ship was top notch, I felt like I had three personal concierges. :) (probably also because there were so few passengers onboard).

I didn't use any ships' shore excursions, they were extremely overpriced as usual and I always found the same in the port at least twice cheaper. (The record was the dhow cruise in Khasab which was 86 euro per person onboard, and I found it for just 25 US dollars on the shore with an almost private dhow, just 10 people onboard! Guys, seriously, revise your excursions prices, that's just ridiculous).

The second half of the cruise, as the virus hysteria progressed, was less lucky than the first, we missed two ports, Kochin and Colombo and had a trans-Indian non-stop with 7 days at sea. But Kochin was proactively replaced wirh Khasab, and Colombo was closed on a very short notice, MSC couln't do anything about it. And we still received 100 euro per cabin for the missed Colombo. And I had a wonderful time on the empty ship with a great service and my drink package :)

At the end we weren't allowed into Abu Dhabi, arrvied 1 day earlier in Dubai (which they somehow persuaded to let us in, it was officially closed too) and were still able to visit Abu Dhabi by a free bus provided by MSC.

Overall I had one MORE port than I booked and a 100 euro compensation.

My special praise to the people who managed the routing and port admissions, they did THE IMPOSSIBLE in this situation. For other examples - we were the first and probably the last ship admitted to Saigon, Oman was a serious doubt, etc... These people really deserve a fat bonus in my opinion.

tim716's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom

A BALCONY! Quiet, spacious, in a perfect location, a perfect view, a bit of wear and tear but it doesn't spoil the experience at all.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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