28 days from Dubai to Hamburg visiting places I had never been was the mantra for our cruise.
We set sail on March 12th 2020, same day I believe the world Pandemic was officially announced. Should MSC have let the cruise depart Dubai? - absolutely not. MSC's only objective was to get their vessel back to one of its home ports. There was no regard given as to the well being of its passengers, or the dangers it was potentially going to expose everyone to along the way.
In reviewing our cabin and the ship I will take out the emotion and absolute chaos that ensured at the Guest Services Counter and how absolutely ill informed and unhelpful they were on many occasions. Yes, unprecedented times but to be given email addresses to send your query to or told, "you didnt book that onboard so we cannot help you" was in itself frustrating and as unhelpful as you can get. This is when enquiring about laundry and gratuities prepaid - no they could not assist you!
Pandemic nightmare aside, we were fortunate enough to have cabin 9010. 9010 is a suite at the front corner, starboard side of the ship. The cabin was large with some of the best views onboard the ship. It consisted of a spacious bedroom, shelving areas, dressing table (with hairdryer in the drawer) a TV, mood lighting and a small extra hanging cupboard. The bedroom has a large panoramic fixed window that looked out over the centre of the bow, plus a sliding glass door to the side out to a narrow balcony. You walked through into a sitting room that again was large with a pullout sofa bed plus two single lounge chairs, coffee table, small fridge and a TV. Off the sitting room was the walk in robe.
The walk in closet/dressing room was a treat with lots of hanging space plus drawers and a safe. the bathroom was off the walk in closet. The bathroom was ship standard, small and a bit tight but adequate. Being only two of us, there was ample room to move around.
We only got to stop in one port and this is were the cabin can get interesting, depending on your outlook. The following can be either a negative or positives.
1. You hear the anchors chains etc.
Yes you hear the thrusters and the anchor chain being deployed and it can be noisy. If you have an excursion you wont be late! If your trying to have a sleep in, you will be woken.
2. Walking is a must.
The suite is located at the front of the ship so you are walking long lengths to get places.
We were on the 9th floor, walked to mid ship then either up or down the stairs-never used a lift, for the restaurants. Plenty of natural exercise after all the eating, if you have walking difficulties it could be difficult to walk the distances.
Overall we enjoyed the ship and its ambiance. We thought MSC Splendida was more tasteful in its decor than gawdy, stylish rather than in-your-face. The theatre shows were appalling to say the least and in saying that, we aren't fussy people.
Food was what we expected, small but adequate serves (you could always ask for more) some food was very good, some ok, some not to our taste. When the latter happened we would retreat to the Italian cafe for coffee and some of their lovely lemon slice.
Would we go again - yes.
Overall the ship on a normal cruise would be fine (albeit floor shows) with a number of bars, coffee areas, pools etc. What it does lack is sea-time entertainment such as bingo and quizes with prizes to get passengers interested.
We learned a lot on this journey, ships hierachy let nothing out of the bag and staff are last to know. Had it been normal times we would have made it to Hamburg instead of being offloaded in Marseille. Once the journey began much was outside of the ships control but as I said - they should never have left in the first place and as such creating an unnecessay, unsavoury and costly experience for its passengers.