MSC Splendida Cruise Review by Poppy1010
- Sail Date: February 2012
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
Embarkation in Barcelona was totally painless in comparison to the chaotic situation I incurred in Venice last year. It took less than 15 minutes from the time we got out of the taxi at the port to the time we were standing in our cabin and our luggage was there before us! So embarkation in Barcelona port gets top marks from me. 5/5
We had a balcony cabin (category 8) on deck 10. It was a decent size cabin with a double sofa. I travelled on the Magnifica last year and my cabin on Splendida was definitely bigger. There was plenty of storage space and empty cases fit easily under the beds. There was shower gel and shampoo but I would advise you to bring your own or buy some cheap and cheerful stuff in the duty free shop -- Profumeria -- on deck 7. I counted the hangers. There were 18 of which 4 were trouser hangers. The cabin was kept very clean and there was a turn down service every night. Our cabin steward looked after us very well and rapidly responded to any requests. We had towelling bath robes which was great. The only complaint I would have though is that our robes had seen better days. Mine had a big hole in it. Some of the towels were also getting a bit tatty. 4/5
The ship itself is beautiful and spotlessly clean. There are lots of people cleaning and polishing during the day. There is some smoking is permitted in parts of the ship mainly on the 13th floor and in designated areas in some of the bars. It isn't a problem most of the time but I found in some of the bars it permiated into the non smoking areas so I avoided those bars. We did occasionally have difficulty getting a lift in the middle section of the ship but if you went to the lifts at either end it wasn't a problem. 4/5
We were assigned to the Villa Verde restaurant and ate there for dinner and breakfast. We had lunch when on board in the buffet Bora Bora/Pago Pago on Deck 13th. I thought the food wasn't great but I ordered more pastas and risottos and generally Italian fare and that was better. However if its great food you are looking for then I think you might be disappointed. There's free tea, coffee and herbal teas available 24/7 at beverage stations in Bora Bora on deck 13th. This was not the case on the Magnifica last year so it was a bonus. However, the coffee wasn't great so if you like your coffee pay for it in L'Espresso on deck 7. There's decaffinated instant coffee in the presses under the hot water/coffee dispensers. One of the waiters will show you where to get it. 3/5
The destinations --
Casablanca - Took the guided tour here and would recommend first timers to Casablanca to do that. We were taken to the main places of interest -- Mosque, Palace, Cathedral, Market and an old Pharmacy. Anyone who wandered out into Casablanca on their own returned quickly enough. The tour guide said Casablanca is more a working city as opposed to Rabat, Fez and Marrakesh which are more tourist orientated but its always good to see the real place - well as much as you can on a guided tour! Thought the other tours for example to Marrakesh were too long. The half day tour of Casablanca that we took sold out, so if you are interested in doing this I would advise you to book as soon as you get on the ship.
Gibraltar -- Again took a tour here. Went up to see the monkeys on the Rock. We were taken on a drive through of Gibraltar town itself but didn't have any time to wander around. I was disappointed about this. Alot of people chose to wander around themselves as opposed to taking a tour.
Valencia -- Beautiful city. A shuttle bus was provided for ','7 per person and you could do your own thing when you arrived there. Well worth a visit.
Marseilles -- Again a shuttle bus was provided but cost ','15 per person this time. We spent alot of time around the old port which is quite picturesque. Took the Petit Train up to Notre Dame Basilica. The queues up at the Basilica to get back on the train were huge and there were no order to them, so we took the number 20 bus back to the city rather than queue for over 45 mins with no certainty of getting back on a train. Found the whole queuing for the Petit Train a bit stressful. Just note the Aix en Provence tour available from Marseilles sold out early.
Genoa. Surprising pleasant. Took a ','10 city tour which gave us an idea of what we would like to go back to see and wandered around for the rest of the day.
I would give the destinations 3/5 as they were all cities. Last time I cruised we stopped in places like Rhodes which were definitely more relaxing.