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24 MSC Cruises MSC Splendida Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Mediterranean

We got the Fantastica experience that included 12 drinks per passenger. Even though it was in MSC's computer system, we did not get the drink vouchers as we embarked. For one reason or another the reception staff couldn't take ... Read More
We got the Fantastica experience that included 12 drinks per passenger. Even though it was in MSC's computer system, we did not get the drink vouchers as we embarked. For one reason or another the reception staff couldn't take care of the issue right away and we had to make 3 trips to the reception desk. However, that was the only issue we had. Ship: It was immaculate. Very beautiful. We liked sitting at the lobby as it was the most stunning place. Our cabin was the same as we had in other cruises. Our stewardess was always friendly and asking if we needed anything. There are no urinals in the men's bathrooms. The elevators were also packed in the evenings. We had to take the stairs most of the time, but we welcomed the exercise. Dining: We were assigned to La Reggia. We had Alejandro as a waiter, from Honduras, and he was as good as it gets. The ceviche appetizer was great as well as most meals. Only a couple of times we found some fish dishes not that great. The portions were small, but you can always order more food. We, instead, would go for a nice fresh slice of pizza at the buffet, when necessary. We also used the buffet for breakfast and I found a couple of things that I really liked. The ship was at full capacity, but we always found an empty table. Entertainment: There were 3 or 4 after dinner shows we enjoyed, such as space Odyssey. The shows were 30 minutes long. Most nights, at 11:45PM the entertainment team had funny activities at the Aft lounge. The lounge was always packed for these activities, and hard to see anything if you get there late. Bars: We usually found ourselves having coffee or drinks at La Piazzetta. We also liked the Purple Jazz bar and the sports bar. On the other hand, La Prua piano bar was uncomfortable with all the cigarette smoke coming up from the casino. I found the drink prices standard as most places. Entertainers sang/played mostly popular English songs. Kids Club: My children, 10 and 11, found the kids activities in their group geared toward the younger ones. So they would spend most of the time with us or at the pools. As a parent, I found the kids club staff very nice and accommodating. My kids looked forward to the sail away and foam parties at the water park, animated by the entertainment team. Photos: Buy the $100 package before you sail. They do not have it available during the cruise. We made the mistake of not buying it before hand. Once in the ship, you have to negotiate. I liked how Royal Caribbean had photographers as you exit the ship at each port. MSC did not have them. Wellness: My wife got her hair done and a massage. She was very satisfied and they had decent prices. Ports: We loved all the ports. We were among the first to come out to the port and the last to come back in. In Valencia and Marseille, it was cheaper and more convenient for the 4 of us to take a taxi than to buy the MSC downtown shuttle. We paid 15€ for a taxi each way for 4, instead of 46€ (2 adults and 2 kids) round trip with MSC, and we could get the taxi to go back anywhere, instead of walking back to the rendezvous place. We always went on our own and did not buy any excursions through MSC as we found them expensive. Overall, we had an amazing time. We experienced excellent service all around the ship. We don't speak Italian, but made several Italian friends. Compared to Royal Caribbean, we found some things better at MSC and some better at RC, but that was fine with us. We accepted the differences and got our money's worth. I will sail with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was my second cruise with MSC (first one was in August 2014 on Fantasia). We travelled with 2 kids (aged 4 and 2) and I missed having a specific pool were families with small children could stay (with deck chairs, bar, etc). The ... Read More
This was my second cruise with MSC (first one was in August 2014 on Fantasia). We travelled with 2 kids (aged 4 and 2) and I missed having a specific pool were families with small children could stay (with deck chairs, bar, etc). The small covered kid's pool in most of the time in the shadow and the water is cold. The opening times of the kids' club for children under 3 is really scarce. The food, on the contrary, was varied and healthy. Service in general terms was much better on my first experience with MSC; this time I have not felt that cruise members were so helpful, gentle and implicated (staff at kid's club, cabin, waiters, etc). The night entertainment can be improved (in particular the Theater spectacles). The itinerary too (many of the destination were not really worth visiting). The cabin, the common areas and the food are really good. The main hall really impressive. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Please do not take this cruise. My family went on this cruise and while there were some positive experiences with the destinations we visited, breakfast buffet and turndown service there were to many things negative. The customer service ... Read More
Please do not take this cruise. My family went on this cruise and while there were some positive experiences with the destinations we visited, breakfast buffet and turndown service there were to many things negative. The customer service on the ship was just ridiculous, elevators became unusable due to there limited capacity and the shops overcrowdedness, the pools on the ship were small and packed without a shallow end. Everything costs extra, even a small little cone of gelato was several euros. Not a nice cruise, unless you get your room for a very reduced rate don’t waiste your time money or sanity. I made a formal complaint with MSC and they never replied. I also reported our dissatisfaction to Expedia and they too did not reply. The service rep who took care of our rooms twice a day was attentive and very thorough and for that I am thankful Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Embarkation and disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly. Cabin was adequate but we couldn't enjoy balcony due to chain smokers on next balcony. Unfortunate because husband got quite ill with bronchitis and URI and were ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly. Cabin was adequate but we couldn't enjoy balcony due to chain smokers on next balcony. Unfortunate because husband got quite ill with bronchitis and URI and were quarantined on day 6. MSC says smoking isn't tolerated on balconies but maids apparently missed clue of ash tray on balcony. Bed was comfortable. Food was below average. Both in restaurant and in buffet. Buffet was way out of control. Seemed like a shark feeding frenzy each and every day. The idea of forming a line was foreign. Even had someone grab a utensil out of my hand as I reached for it. Dining room was way too crowded. Table we were at was in pathway of waitstaff and chair kept getting pushed as they crammed through. Entertainment was not quite high school quality. Excursions were far too rushed. No time to enjoy surroundings as keeping up with guides was a job itself. We found this on all the excursions we went on. Medical staff was good. Medical center was clean and efficient. Costs there were very reasonable. Had to drink tap water unless we wanted to pay for alcohol package. 12 coupons for drinks came with package. One night at dinner I decided I wanted a gin and tonic. No, I was told, I have to get that in bar. Next night stopped on way to bar to get one to take to dinner. No, I was told , I couldn't take drink out of bar. After I rolled my eyes they "relented" and gave me the gin and tonic in a different glass (?) Would never cruise this line again Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Since friends and I were already in Italy we decided to try a Eurocentric cruise. Our travel agent suggested MSC and we booked the Splendida from June 11th through June 17th. We found to our surprise that many things that are covered on ... Read More
Since friends and I were already in Italy we decided to try a Eurocentric cruise. Our travel agent suggested MSC and we booked the Splendida from June 11th through June 17th. We found to our surprise that many things that are covered on American cruise lines were considered extra by MSC. We were nickel and dimed to death on this cruise. We wound up spending $700 more than we expected to by the end. I hasten to say we did not take any excursions because they were outrageously expensive. I also didn't appreciate being charged $40 each day for service charges. On American cruise lines WE decide how much each service person will get based on the service they gave us, with MSC we were just charged outright. Several of the stops were nothing special like Genoa which was a dump and Palermo which was also a dump. I don't like mineral water and was only given an allowance for two bottles of mineral water a day. When I tried to substitute regular water I was charged extra. Kids were out-of-control on the pool levels so as an adult I couldn't enjoy any time at the pool. My bathroom smelled like a sewer and the outlet didn't work. The food available at the daily buffet was greasy and the hamburgers were soyburgers. The Santa Fe Tex Mex restaurant had really substandard food which we paid extra for. As an American I found the entire cruise to be disappointing and can say with confidence that the Disney Cruise Line is far superior. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I have just recently returned from a cruise on board the MSC Splendida. I travelled with my partner and our 2 boys aged 10 and 7. We did the Mediterranean cruise from Genoa for 7 nights 27th May – 3rd June. We have cruised with MSC ... Read More
I have just recently returned from a cruise on board the MSC Splendida. I travelled with my partner and our 2 boys aged 10 and 7. We did the Mediterranean cruise from Genoa for 7 nights 27th May – 3rd June. We have cruised with MSC once before, last year on the MSC Preziosa so knew exactly what to expect. The Splendida is practically exactly the same except for some different themed bars etc. The ship looks great, very clean with some lovely areas. We again chose the Aurea experience, we all like the choice of ice creams, drinks (cocktails) and the my choice dining. The included massage is also very welcome, we walked a very long way through the week. The weather was absolutely fantastic all week. We made use of the main pool area on the top deck and the kids enjoyed the pool and made some friends through the week. They also enjoyed the water slide although on a couple of days it was out of service. We usually had no problems with sun beds. There was often entertainment. A snow\foam party and a dj when leaving Cagliari which we thought was great. Our cabin was very nice on deck 12 near the front, the sofa always converted to a bed and back again when we were out and kept very clean. The food was also very good in the restaurant with a very good selection. The kids had the choice of the children’s menu or the normal menu or something from both which they often done. We also chose breakfast in bed one morning which was delivered on time and very nice. I did chose cereal for the kids expecting this to come with milk but it didn’t. It seems I should of also ticked the option for milk, the kids wasn’t happy with me! So it was off to the buffet for 2nd breakfast. The ports of call were all very nice, on some days there was free port shuttle buses and on others it was close enough to walk or a paid service provided by MSC. These are often expensive, with the 4 of us it’s cheaper to get a taxi, and much easier too. For example the bus to Marseille would have cost the best part of 60 euro for 2 adults and 2 kids but a taxi was 20 each way. Another option is to walk to a bus stop and catch a public bus for a few Euros each. We never done any of the excursions, we chose to do this all on our own. We had fun exploring. We did do a 3-4 seater 3-wheeler thing tour of Palermo for 35 Euros. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but was great fun. The driver whizzing through the streets and traffic stopping at all the key points of interest for the chance for a photo or to get out and take a look. There is plenty of entertainment on the ship; we didn’t do any of the shows this year. We just didn’t find the time. The kids only spent an hour or 2 at kids club; they didn’t really go much on it. I think they preferred to be with us and messing around in the pools and slide and making friends. We purchased the cabin entertainment pass for unlimited use of the F1 sim, 4d simulator and the bowling; this had gone up from last years 55 on the Preziosa to 80 euro. The kids love the bowling and probably between them had about 70 games through the week and at 6 Euros a player offers good value. It was also fun for a couple games with a beer, it’s not a full size alley. They also enjoyed the 4d sim and made use of that. The f1 car is also very good but on a couple of days it wasn’t working and on others had no sound. I think I only went on it once were it was working properly which was a shame. The f1 sim on the Preziosa is better in my opinion. We also were able to borrow a football and have a kick about in the sports area. The staff were mostly very friendly and polite, remembering our names. The restaurant Maitre d’ only letting the kids eat if they could tell him the cabin number in Italian. They enjoyed this banter. There was one waitress who remembered us from the Preziosa last year. We had a great week on the Splendida, fantastic weather and some nice places visited. It was certainly good enough to come back home and book up for August 2018 on the MSC Seafront. We all can’t wait. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Got on in Barcelona it was raining embarkation was pretty easy room was great had a balcony we were on level 12 right in the middle we didn't know what to expect as first timers but we had a great time met some really nice people we ... Read More
Got on in Barcelona it was raining embarkation was pretty easy room was great had a balcony we were on level 12 right in the middle we didn't know what to expect as first timers but we had a great time met some really nice people we took the drinks package through our booking agents and it paid off as drinks averaged 5/6 euros each food was good shows were fine and weather was great ship was huge and lovely to walk around and find a nice sometimes quiet place to sit it had a sports bar showing all the football and boxing plenty of beds if you needed one to sunbathe staff work hard and ship started to really fill up as we neared the end of our cruise pizza was fab and there's enough variety to surely satisfy everyone we will sometime in the future do another cruise possibly in the Caribbean .Also the ports we stopped at where fine genoa and Valencia the stand out ones for us Marseille Palermo Cagliari Parma were nice just done the hop on bus tours which was fine we stayed on board at the Rome stop as been a few times and it was Sunday so we knew it would be very busy Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
we chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent, the embarkation process was very smooth & quick, most of the staff onboard were friendly, helpful, courteous, we chose suite, it was spacious, with panoramic view, & ... Read More
we chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent, the embarkation process was very smooth & quick, most of the staff onboard were friendly, helpful, courteous, we chose suite, it was spacious, with panoramic view, & small walk-in wardrobe, the disappointing thing was there were no amenities, except soap & shampoo from dispenser, we expected the suite to have more amenities, the buffet had an array of choices, we were spoilt for choices, & also the restaurant had different menu every day, so it was good as we could only go to one restaurant to eat, or buffet, good entertainment whole day through, & in the evenings too, didn't; take any shore excursions with them, as they all were starting quite early, & we wanted to take it easy, heading off at around 11, the bus service from port to city were too expensive, as it was drop & pick, they could have kept it more reasonable, check for other services, or public transport, much cheaper & equally good, disembarkation was not very good for us, as they did not give us tags for our luggage, & by the time we asked them, they said it was late to get luggage service, didm;t give us reason as to why the tags were not delivered in our room. so in the morning one kind cleaner helped us with our luggage to the exit point, so that ruined our overall experience. As it was their fault for not giving us tags, they should have assisted us with our luggage. But overall it was a good experience. Lots of activities to keep one occupied. Lots of quiet seating areas too to relax. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
An honest review I wills start with the PROS I) Service in the bar and restaurants excellent. 2) The guy attending to our rooms was excellent 3) Service in the breakfast and dinner restaurants excellent 4) All transactions on ... Read More
An honest review I wills start with the PROS I) Service in the bar and restaurants excellent. 2) The guy attending to our rooms was excellent 3) Service in the breakfast and dinner restaurants excellent 4) All transactions on board very smooth. 5) Drinks of good quality 6) food in restaurant ok breakfast really good dinner ok not a great deal of choice buffet food not much different to average all inclusive. CONS 1) BE WARNED you will be kicked off the ship on your last day at 9am and bussed off to your airport, it happened to our party and our flight wasnt until 19.45 THEY REALLY DO NOT CARE. 2) Queed to get on board in Malta for over an hour made worse by groups of people stating that they where a party and nust board together (as many as 20 at a time and no children) when our group objected we had the comment " your only English" when we finally boarded the ship I was fuming and to see 4 staff members laughing and joking with their hands in their pockets I was even more annoyed. One man putting EVERY single item on a scanner another 2 members of staff confiscating the bottles they where taking on board. 3) Waited hours to board and you couldnt buy any food they did however supply juice after a long journey it was poor. 4) Paid nearly 20 Euros each for a trip to Marseilles and a short walk away we noticed a FREE shuttle bus service THAT IS A DISGUSTING WAY TO TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I am a 46 year old from Indiana. I traveled with my family which consisted of my wife, my 2 10 year old boys, my 70 year old mother and her 68 year old sister. We have all cruised before on Princess, NCL, Celebrity, Disney, and MSC. ... Read More
I am a 46 year old from Indiana. I traveled with my family which consisted of my wife, my 2 10 year old boys, my 70 year old mother and her 68 year old sister. We have all cruised before on Princess, NCL, Celebrity, Disney, and MSC. This cruise was in March and we had just cruised on the MSC Divina las October. I have no cruise status, but the family does travel alot. Embarkation was in Genoa. We learned last fall on the Divina that you dont need connecting rooms if you get balcony rooms next to each other. When you do this you can open up the divider on the balcony between the two rooms and use that to go back and forth between the rooms. The only downside to this was that one night it was pretty stormy outside and the divider banged made noise until I found a way to secure it. Embarkation was fst and friendly. My mother has a cane and once the MSC staff saw this they sped us all through the process and we did not have to wait at all. One nice feature about the ship picking up passengers at about every stop is that our room was ready for us as soon as we got onto the shop at noon. We knew pretty much what to expect with the ship prior to arrival because it is essentially the same as the Divina. I do have to say that the Divina seemed a little nicer than the Splendida. There were a couple more upcharge restaurants on the Divina, although we didnt eat at any of them on either ship. Coming from the USA where there is a mexican restaurant on every corner and a steakhouse on every other corner it was hard for me to justify paying more to eat mexican on the ship. We always get a balcony at the rear of the ship on the floor nearest the buffet. This allows us to grab food and return to our balcony if we cant find a table in the buffet. This was a problem on the Divina, but we never had a problem finding a table at the buffet on the Splendida. This also allows you to be a quick walk to the pool or hot tub without having to walk down a long hallway. The food at the Main Dining Room was so so. I definitely would not go on MSC for the food, but I definitely would not skip the MSC because of the food. It is no Celbrity, but it wasnt much worse than DIsney. My youngest got steak every night and the rest of us tried pretty much everything. The wait staff was friendly but not speedy. You have to expect long dinners in the Main Dining Room though. We only ate in here 4 nights. The evening buffet was smaller than the lunch buffet which was a real bummer. There were not as many choices for dinner than for lunch. There were always good pizza, hamburgers, and a good pasta. They had calamari everynight. I usually like calamari, but this was the fisshiest tasting, rubbery stuff I have ever had. The big disipoinment was not free lobster on the boat. Overall though I liked the food. It was in the 60's most days and people were not at the pools. I had the drink package and found that the pool bar was the place to be. Very friendly bar staff and no crowd. The ports were nice except for Marseille. Marseiile was the dirtiest place I have been. I have been to Beijing, Central America, and Chicago and found Marseille to be a huge waste of time. Not worth the bus ride. Palermo was the best, then Malta, then Rome, then Barcelona. I would do this cruise again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
When I set out to find a decent destination for our honeymoon this Feb, after trotting half the globe I stumbled upon the idea of taking a cruise. After comparing various itineraries, reviews on this platform and the overall costing ... Read More
When I set out to find a decent destination for our honeymoon this Feb, after trotting half the globe I stumbled upon the idea of taking a cruise. After comparing various itineraries, reviews on this platform and the overall costing (considering the destinations covered), I decided to take MSC Splendida from Genoa. Based on the mixed reviews for this ship I read here, I was a little skeptical but the slightly off season costing was way too appealing to pass by. But all along I kept my expectations pretty basic and ensured my wife did the same ;-), that was until we boarded the cruise. From thereon, the entire cruise + the remainder of the trip before and after it, I can safely say the cruise was worth every penny. And the best part was even my wife loved it. May be the fact this was our first ever cruise, we did not really have a benchmark to compare it with, but based on the feel good factor with the food, our stateroom cabin, service and port of calls we can say we would surely cruise with MSC again. Now, the details. As mentioned earlier, we took the cruise from Genoa, after our train journey from Venice. If you are reaching there by train from any place, ensure you get down at Genoa Piazza Principe station and NOT at Genoa Brignole. Because the cruise terminal is a 7-8 minute walk from there even with the luggage. The embarkation process was pretty smooth. It took us 25 minutes from the time we entered the cruise terminal to the time we entered our cabin. But may be this was because of slightly off season for cruising or lesser people boarding it from Genoa, because we heard and it seemed like the cruise was fully occupied. We had a balcony stateroom, and it was pretty spacious with a queen bed, a sofa and a table, dressing table and the washroom. Plus of course the best attraction, the coveted balcony. Even that was pretty spacious with decent enough room even after two chairs and a small coffee table. The best one get for the price I suppose. Just an update here, our cabin was towards the front of the ship, and hence the balcony was not at the actual edge of the ship on the sides. There was a small deck and a boarding area for emergency boats below between our balcony and the left hand side edge of the ship, whereas I could see the cabins on the rear side of the ship were directly at the edge meaning absolute privacy when you were in the balcony. But by no means, the design interrupts or spoils the view even from the balconies towards the front of the ship. Coming to the dining, way beyond our expectations honestly. The buffet is open close to 20 hours every day, serving various cuisines including for vegeterians (slightly limited options though but good ones nonetheless). The tea & coffee makers, water and ice machines are obviously accessible for all 24 hours. The specific restaurants for lunch & dinner are pretty good too. You would be assigned one before boarding or after it, and that would be your designated restaurant for lunch and dinner, should you not wish to take the buffet in the cafeteria. These restaurants, as it seems, serve any and every cuisine if you ask for it a day in advance. we actually found it hard to believe that we would be eating authentic Indian vegeterian food (rice and rajma or chhole, etc) from the second night onwards as we asked for it on our first night dinner at the restaurant. And the service there is pretty amazing. The manager and the Maitre d' (Vincenzo Queni) actually checked on us before or after every meal if we were happy with the food and were more than happy to make any changes we requested. I guess it was their service at the restaurant which made the difference between having a good cruise and a great one. Coming to entertainment and activities, lots of options available, although we only went to the theater a few times. And while the musical plays were good, they seemed repetitive after the second day. They would better off to mix it with different kind of performances to make it a true cultural blend as the cruise obviously gets tourists from all around the globe. So that is surely one area the MSC can and should work on. Service as I have mentioned was good. Our housekeeper seemed a little over enthusiastic to clean up our cabin, almost every time we stepped out even if just for a quick meal. We did not mention this to her but it is something which can get annoying, because one is looking for the cabin to be cleaned only at a designated time and not every few hours. One thing which was slightly below par was when on our last evening I complained at the reception twice about my neighbor smoking in their balcony despite the entire deck being a non smoking one, nothing was done. It was only after my third call late in the evening when I reminded them about it and also told them that lit cigarettes were being casually tossed directly from the balcony could be a fire hazard, that it was addressed. Thankfully the neighbors checked in only on my last evening and not before that. And while we are at the service bit, I find the gratuity / service charge at 9 euros per person per day a bit too exaggerated. Yes the service was good but 126 euros for a week long cruise for two people is surely too much and should be re-looked at. (Also please account for this while budgeting for the cruise, as it is only charged at the time of the check out on the last day). Port of calls were good. We loved Rome, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseilles. Just a heads up here, the excursions offered by the cruise are fairly expensive, as expected. And so are the shuttles from the cruise till the port exit / city center. For Rome, the shuttle was free till the port exit, but that was not the case at Barcelona and Marseilles. The funny part at Barcelona was, the cruise shuttle which was charging 8 euros per person for a return journey from the city center was leaving from right next to the port terminal's shuttle service to the exact same destination for a price of around 3 euros. So, if you are looking to save some money, you are better off at planning the public transport bit for every port of call before hand. And even if you are unable to do it, wait till you get down and see for yourself the available options before opting for the expensive cruise shuttle service. Also, for Valletta and even for Palermo, one does not really need either of the options as the port is right next to the city center, easily accessible on foot. Ditto for excursions, one can always plan on their own to save some money, and even time because obviously you have limited time at every port and you would not want to waste that in figuring out where to go unless of course you want to surprise yourself. Coming to Genoa, we intended to explore that after disembarking from our ship and before we took the return flight back home on the following morning, but the weather was a bit rough for that. It was too cold and also raining. Some of the places we visited were almost deserted as not many ventured out on the slow Sunday afternoon. Even we returned to our hotel after a while. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
When researching for an European cruise for Christmas holidays we came across this which was of quite low tariff. Having sailed in semi-luxury cruises before we were somewhat concerned about this cruise because of relatively low charges. ... Read More
When researching for an European cruise for Christmas holidays we came across this which was of quite low tariff. Having sailed in semi-luxury cruises before we were somewhat concerned about this cruise because of relatively low charges. Negative reviews certainly did not help our anxieties. Yet we decided to go on the cruise which proved we made the right choice. The ship has a nice decor and appears grand. I do not rate the food in the cruise as extraordinary and if food is your primary priority do not use this cruise. Best would be not to go in any cruise, or even any holiday and spend that money in lavish restaurants in your own city. As with any holiday there were few minor disappointments but they did not affect us. The service we received was generally good, yet we thought crew was not that friendly. They work incredibly hard though. I believe the massive workload and relatively low wages would make them somewhat frustrated. There were not many restaurants in the ship, which was OK by me. The buffet restaurants were open almost 20 hours a day and tea, coffee and water were available 24 hours a day. There were many drink packages to select depending on one’s needs. We used only one shore excursion, Rome and Vatican, which I thought was good but somewhat rushed. Other facilities and activities in the ship are generally OK. I think not having a captains announcement every morning would be a disappointment, but daily newsletter may serve the purpose. If you want a decent holiday and want value for money, this would be one of the options to consider. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our 3rd cruise with MSC (previously on Presiosa and Splendida). Orchestra is a slightly smaller ship that those we’ve previously been on but it it still very big and has plenty on board. Great selection of bars, coffee shops, ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with MSC (previously on Presiosa and Splendida). Orchestra is a slightly smaller ship that those we’ve previously been on but it it still very big and has plenty on board. Great selection of bars, coffee shops, shops etc. It was spotlessly clean, well maintained and all the staff we encountered were very friendly and helpful, all speak English well. Good mix of guests on board, lots of Italians but a good mix from across Europe and even Japan, the US and Australia. 2 lovely main pool areas, one more ‘livelier’ than the other with the Animation team running activities around that one. Our cabin was lovely, well maintained, spotlessly clean and fixtures and fitting of a high standard. 3 of us were sharing a balcony cabin and it was spacious enough, the sofa came out as an extra double bed. Would recommend the drinks package – this year they were really plugging it. Its great value for money, not only for the alcoholic drinks but for soft drinks and for ice creams & milk shakes too. We pre-paid before the cruise for the Allagressimo package. Food on board is plentiful – buffet restaurant open for 20 hours per day! 2 main restaurants L’Ibiscus and Villa Borghese – these offer the fixed 1st and 2nd seating dining experiences, included in your cruise. The staff were great, very efficient and friendly. Food was excellent, good choice and delicious. Lovely especially for the Gala evenings when everyone is dressed up. We ate in L’Ibiscus 5 out of 7 nights, it was that good. The Buffet restaurant is clean, tables are cleared quickly, we didn’t experience too much queuing. Great choice of food for all meals, breakfast full breakfast choice available together with all the continental meats, pastries etc. All food was warm and tasty. Lunch and snack time was also great with an excellent selection to choose from. Just make sure you walk the entire length of it – both sides offer the same food but at the back there’s the ‘ethnic corner’ which offers Chinese, Indian selection. There’s also a Shanghai Chinese Restaurant. You pay to eat here, we didn’t and it never seemed busy. Plenty of bars on board offering something for everyone. There’s coffee shops/bars, a tapas/wine bar, pool bar, Busy bars were Savanah Bar and the Shaker Lounge, these offered entertainment, dancing & animation team activities. Other bars offered dancing, pianist, guitarist etc. Spacious bars, plenty of seating for whatever kind of evening you want. Covent Garden Theatre – very spacious – offering 2 shows per night (for early and late sitting diners). The shows we watched were fantastic. The offer singing (live), acrobats, dancers etc. Superb. I can especially recommend Gotham and the Michael Jackson evening. But all that we saw were good. Our ports of call were fantastic and I can highly recommend visiting any of these : Venice (we stayed in Treviso the night before joining the ship, got the Barzi bus over to Venice in the morning and straight to the port to joining the ship. Embarkation was busy but well organised and we were on board around 12.30. Next day Bari, busy fishing town, nice harbour, good shopping area & designer shops, historic; Katakolon small beach resort & can visit Mount Olympus from here; Santorini, visited Thira (very steep climb, donkey ride or cable car to get to the top. We got the bus over to Oia in the afternoon - both stunning & very beautiful; Pireaus, Athens, very busy & bustling city. We got he metro over to Athens (got off at Monisteraki station) which brings you our near to the Acropolis. Great place to visit, lots of history, see the changing of the guards on the hour, the old Olympic stadium, the Parthenon etc; Corfu Town, beautiful, green, friendly people, we took the bus to Gouvia and spent the afternoon on a lovely pebble beach; Kotor, Montenegro - absolutely stunning scenery! Sail in through a fjord with ragged grey mountains and beautiful green forests all around. The town itself is a walled city, you can climb the walls - very steep but worth it for the fantastic views, lovely place, and back to Venice which is amazing! All in all I can recommend MSC Orchestra. I think it has something for everyone, every age is catered for. There’s kids clubs and activities. Animation Team offer activities though the day and evening - You can join in if you like, or just watch. Very happy with what MSC has to offer. Really couldn't fault them https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g189398-d1024952-r381316920-Mediterranean_Sea-Greece.html# Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The interior decor of the ship is very pleasant and welcoming. the inside cabin was spacious, clean and homely, the restaurants were well run with friendly attentive staff. There was a good choice of diferent themed bars with competant ... Read More
The interior decor of the ship is very pleasant and welcoming. the inside cabin was spacious, clean and homely, the restaurants were well run with friendly attentive staff. There was a good choice of diferent themed bars with competant agreeable waiters/waitresses, there is also a vast selection of drinks including some of the best cocktail's and martini's that you could desire. The entertainment did not please me, quizes in five languages, none of them seemed to be English, daytime and evening poolside and bar entertainment consisted of inane games where the misconception that excessive volume compensates for poor content made being in close vicinity uncomfortable. Fortunatly there were other areas that you could retreat to. The evening theatre shows, being international were opera type and novelty acts the the auditorium was never full, which confirms that it did'nt realy appeal to the international audience Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Seen one MSC Fantasy class ship seen them all (we had previously been on Magnifica), BUT despite similarities they do have unique touches. The nightly theatre entertainment was good (not stunning or amazing) - but certainly enjoyable ... Read More
Seen one MSC Fantasy class ship seen them all (we had previously been on Magnifica), BUT despite similarities they do have unique touches. The nightly theatre entertainment was good (not stunning or amazing) - but certainly enjoyable and a nice touch to each night (shows lasting 30 - 45 minutes - well by the time you take the 5 language translations out less actual SHOWTIME...) :-) The mix of Med and Atlantic ports was great - we especially loved Canary Islands and Madeira Islands - both places we had never considered visiting previously and delightfully different. Definitely try to mix and match your dining options, e.g. try brecky in the restaurant not buffet area, ditto lunch. This ship really only has one other dining option (pay for) tex mex - there is also some american style food in the sports bar but there's plenty of burgers, chips and hot dogs in the buffet anyway. This time we took out the allegrisimo drinks package (water, coffee, cocktails, wine, beer, gelato) it was far better than just a water, wine or just a cocktail package. Some shore excursions were not great. for example caves of Nerja in Malaga wasted far too long at a nothing place (balcony of europe) I figure to fill out time to make the tour seem longer (and therefore charge more), also casablanca tour only real value was the mosque - however Teide trekking at Teneriffe was one of the best we've done, plus Funchal 4x4 was fabulous. As English speakers we had smaller tour groups which was an added advantage re waiting for others to catch up, but sometimes not if for example combined with German tour and the guide preferred German language it was obvious less English translation is provided. In the end we have some gripes but really the magnificence of the MSC ships, the delights of the ports, children free and other special offers e.g. birthdays is hard to beat:-) Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We did the Western Med cruise from Barcelona in April 2015 , the check in was so smooth, no hassles, no waiting, all excusions i had pre booked was 100% accurate as well as drinks vouchers. The service on the ship, Splendida, was fantastic ... Read More
We did the Western Med cruise from Barcelona in April 2015 , the check in was so smooth, no hassles, no waiting, all excusions i had pre booked was 100% accurate as well as drinks vouchers. The service on the ship, Splendida, was fantastic and our Cabin Assistant was super fiendly and efficient. All excursions were well organised no q's and disembarking and re embarking was very simple. All the ports we visited namely Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Palermo & Valetta were great and we were blessed with awesome weather throughout even though it was early spring. The embarkation in Genoa could be improved, the only port we had a hiccup. The cabin was suffice and well kept, we had a balcony cabin. There is plenty to do and lots of entertainment day and night. We had dinner in the formal restuarant a couple of times as well as buffet area, although busy in buffet area we never stood in long q's and dirty crocery / cutlery was removed very quickly. If there is 1 gripe its the casino area that smells of smoke and unfortunately filters out into areas close by, we avoided that area as often as possible. We have done 4 cruises with MSC and have already booked our 5th one next year in April, have always had a great experience Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We're do we start embarkation at Genoa was a shambles great start .We were all given numbers which u didn't need we queued for around 1 hr 30 mins which was in a hot and stuffy building Then came the ship msc splendida which ... Read More
We're do we start embarkation at Genoa was a shambles great start .We were all given numbers which u didn't need we queued for around 1 hr 30 mins which was in a hot and stuffy building Then came the ship msc splendida which is a great ship but let done so much by staff who don't no what they are doing .Having sailed with other cruise lines this was terrible Food was ok nothing special The ports the ship visited were Good the only down side was when Msc riped people off with port buses u were charged a staggering €16 each for the marseille port when there is a free bus on this port to the centre and they were charging €8.50 each at Barcelona port when there is a port bus for €3 each from the same place with the cruise lines we have sailed with before the were free Entertainment on board was terrible we are used to west end style shows like the ones P and O put on The 24 all inclusive drinks package was good as the service charge was included the only thing is it's not 24 hour as the last bar closes at 2 am .We had free room service on the package we had but if we wanted drinks in the cabin they were charged even though we had free room service and 24 hour drinks package so how is this 24 hr If u want good service good food good entertainment and not get riped off go with P and O Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
It was the first cruise of my life and i picked MSC cruises because of its amazing price and an agent told me its a very family friendly company. I went with my husband and my two kids Likes: - The buffet was a bit crowded but ... Read More
It was the first cruise of my life and i picked MSC cruises because of its amazing price and an agent told me its a very family friendly company. I went with my husband and my two kids Likes: - The buffet was a bit crowded but it was really vast and there was a huge selection of food! we were able to get to sit by the window every night allowing us to watch the sun set while the kids were playing in the kids club. - The buffet was so big that some time I would get a bit lost navigating through the different food areas. - there was a kids corner that allowed me to select all the healthy food for my kids while my husband focused on the great Italian pizzas and the american style burgers. - the reception was really efficient in guiding us around the ship and informing us of all the neat things to do for the kids. Dislike: - embarkation and disembarkation were not flawless taking a long time to get on board making my kids very restless and making me feel a bit claustrophobic. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first cruise and exceeded all expectations, my husband and I, our 11 year old son and my mother who is disabled and uses a wheelchair full time. Our cabin was a balcony fantastica grade which although compact had all ... Read More
This was our first cruise and exceeded all expectations, my husband and I, our 11 year old son and my mother who is disabled and uses a wheelchair full time. Our cabin was a balcony fantastica grade which although compact had all facilities and ample storage space for 3, my son actually used the sofa and was perfectly comfortable ( not a sofa bed - as we had opted for this type of room to be next door to mum and the disabled cabin which was extremely spacious, approx 1.5 times the width of the standard cabin, perfect for the wheelchair to maneuver, the bathroom was also a level floor wet room and there was a ramp out to the balcony so mum was able to be totally self sufficient, much thought had gone into the design with low level shelving / clothes rail etc. One benefit of the fantastica package was the option to order breakfast in the cabin, and this was an invaluable service particularly for my mother, but also enjoyed greatly by our son who preferred to take time getting up and also the breakfast in the main buffet could be rather busy at peak times ie prior to disembarkation for the day trips. I found the service and staff attitudes to be helpful and accommodating and did not experience any negativity at all. The main buffet bora bora / pago pago was enormous with certainly something to suit all tastes, we only discovered the "ethnic" section after a few days and enjoyed a wonderful biriani & some thai food there, there was also fresh pizza and always a carvery roast joint, plus everything you can imagine and more, yes occasionally quite busy but we always found an accessible table quickly. The evening restaurant we were assigned was the La Reggia, & the food was lovely except for the "always available" chicken option which was really a very bland grilled breast with fries, maybe ok for kids. For us the only problem was you had either first or second sitting, first being at 6.30 which we felt was too early, particularly on the day in Rome when we only arrived back to the ship at 5.30 pm and second sitting was at 9.00 which again for us is far too late, it would be an improvement if you could have a flexible timetable, or at least be able to swap on occasion but i was told if we changed we wouldn't be able to change back again later in the week. Pools: 2 x outdoor & 1 indoor not unsurprisingly a little cold at the time of year! - but plenty of jacuzzi's with lovely hot water, sometimes busy but we found the back ones usually less busy / empty, fab to watch the sunset at the end of the day mmmmm!! Bars: So many to choose from, most with music or entertainment of a very high standard, plus the fabulous broadway style shows which were so professionally performed. Again all areas of the ship we found to be very wheelchair accessible, at peak times ie just before dinner sittings the main midship lifts were often crowded and we had to wait a while, however we solved this by walking along the passageway to the lifts at either end and found there often was no one else there. Drinks: We opted for the allegrissimo all inclusive package and found it well worth the money, (certainly saving us overall quite a lot) e.g: wine by the glass was 5 euros per glass / gin & tonic 6.50, cocktails approx 7 euros. With ice cream, coffee, tea & water included too it made sense for our party. Ports of Call: All were extremely accessible with ramps/ or passenger tunnel & lifts in the terminals so no problem for the wheelchair or people with pushchairs. ON ARRIVAL: Our tickets stated 3pm for check in, but luckily they opened it early and we were on board by 11.30. ON DEPARTURE: I hadn't realised that usual cruise practice is to disembark all guests as early as possible, i had expected it to be more like an Hotel with room check out by 10 ish and leave ship maybe by midday, however, all guests were given a disembarkation time of 9.20, and out of the room by 8 am & were ushered out in groups enmass to collect luggage in the terminal. I am sure this could be vastly improved to facilitate a more relaxed departure, especially as the brochure states "8 days / 7 nights cruise" which in this case is not! Having said that... when i asked at reception if it were possible to do something for us to delay the early departure as our flight home did not depart until 6pm and with my mum having to be sat then all day in her wheelchair, they were very helpful and allowed us to leave our luggage at the reception area and to stay on board a little longer which made all the difference to us, otherwise i think it would have marred an otherwise perfect experience on board. Tips for Civitaveccia /ROME: Had a fantastic tour of Rome with : CIVITA TOURS Departed ship approx 9am On the advice of another guest we took the "FREE SHUTTLE" which is available from the ship to the terminal just outside the port ( this is because the port authority does not allow the public to move around inside the port area on foot, so the free shuttles are laid on by the port) and there as you get off the shuttle there are several touts offering various options such as car hire, shared taxi or mini bus trips & bus tours, but the "Panoramic Tour" by Civita ( who are the same operator as the shuttle and were there parked visibly just where you get off the shuttle) proved to be fantastic both in value for money, and quality of what we got to see and do. At 28 euros adult / 20 eu Child it was far cheaper than the trips on offer on board. Departed at 9.30 and promised we would be back by 5 in time for the shuttles back b4 the 5,30 deadline ( I think there was probably an earlier one too) First stop the Vatican: With an hour to look around outside and in st Peters square, for us this was ideal, we even had time to pop into a small trattoria for a pizza lunch ( good job we did as not too much time avail later in the day) Surprisingly inexpensive at 30 eu inc wine, (it was in a little side street just off to the right side before the square) Cheap trinkets and souvenirs were better price here than in Rome later. NB: The line to go inside the Basilica was phenomenal, no chance unless you had several hours to wait!! there was a skip the line option with Civita at an extra 15 eu pp. (Outside there are many other independent touts offering to get you inside quickly - But not sure if this was a good idea as someone told me they paid for this then the chap was sent back to get & provide his "License" after which so much time was wasted their other party members had reached the front of the Q, they asked for a refund and of course were refused, and once inside they still had to pay a guide!! So beware.) Back on the bus the guide pointed out important places of interest and showed us some more of Rome. Next was a quick photo stop at the Colosseum, perhaps a tad brief, but enough for a few lovely photos, and our guide ( Elena, I think was her name, was really informative and knowledgeable, even if she could hot foot it along from one spot to the next pretty quickly!) Then on foot we walked through the center visiting Trevi fountain ( unfortunately at this time was hidden mostly by scaffolding) however, was nice to see and also to have a 30 min stop to browse the local shops We then had a walk over to the Pantheon ( fabulous for me the best building) followed by the lovely Navona Square ( beware here very expensive, it cost more for a quick glass of wine and a coke - really to use the loo, than it did earlier for the lunch!!) and finally back to meet the bus at the Justices' Palace and we arrived back to the shuttle as promised at exactly 5 pm. Excellent Day Out, Highly Recommended. GENOVA: We decided to visit the aquarium, 24 eu entry adult / 12 child, great and well stocked and presented aquarium. A nice visit and great place to look back from the outside deck towards the ship gives you a real perspective of its huge size! From the ship looking left over the port you can see the Spherical Dome of this Aquarium, it is only about 15 - 20 mins to walk, but we taxied there and walked back ( taxi 15 eu) TUNIS: The port area is better organised than we expected, taxis are official, regulated and fixed price, eg to medina 40 euros return per taxi , the driver will wait for you and you pay him when you get BACK which was really comforting! Plus 20 eu extra to add an additional stop in Sidi Bousaid. Medina: Personally i say don't bother..... Horrible, dirty and not at all the quaint bustling market place i had expected, we decided to go on to Sidi Bou Said in the hope of leaving with a better image of Tunis than that left by the medina! Sidi BouSaid: Yes this was more like it, a lovely picturesque blue & whitewash town, with market place tourist oriented and good place to pick up some nice pottery or mosaics etc, bargain hard as they start high!! For those who don't wish to travel from the ship it is worth getting off just to look around the fake souk they have made there at the port, again can pick up a few souvenirs.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We booked this because this was a good value cruise and we had limited choice of dates to go away for but we won't travel with an Italian cruise line again, the standards of professionalism aren't the same as other lines ... Read More
We booked this because this was a good value cruise and we had limited choice of dates to go away for but we won't travel with an Italian cruise line again, the standards of professionalism aren't the same as other lines we've been on. Our room was spacious with a balcony and well laid out. We had requested a cot pre boarding for our 6 month old baby and it wasn't there they didn't even seem to have the request.. We asked if we could have one and 2 cabin stewards took 10 mins trying to assemble it but failing. We had bought our own cot in case so it wasn't too bad. We also borrowed the onboard infant seat, bottle warmer and carrier which was good to have available. Our room steward was ok but his English was not great though he was representative of the crew which is that they were ok but not as friendly as that on our other cruises. Food variety in buffet was poor but the actual food was tasty especially the pizza. Breakfast got dull quickly, so glad we were only on a 7 day cruise. The restaurant was lovely to sit in and food was ok but we never had either lobster or king prawns or steak which are standard fare on other ships, felt quite cheap. There wasn't even a premium restaurant to have this at, only a tex mex. This was the only ship we've been on without very obvious hand sanitisers. I'm sure this is why lots of our fellow passengers got cold and flu viruses on our ship. Our baby got this too and had to be treated by medical staff who were ok but again not great English and quite behind with their techniques. Eg his fever was treated with paracetamol but he was also covered with alcohol wipes which isn't the done thing any more according to doctors we spoke to later. Expensive too! The ship itself was also quite stylish with plenty of rooms but lacked a good promenade deck. Overall we cant recommend this cruise line or ship and was glad it wasn't our first else we would never cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
For me and my mother this was our first cruise. We have flown from Riga to Milan and then took a train to Genoa. Unfortunately on our way back we had no information upon disembarkation in Genoa about the trains not operating all over ... Read More
For me and my mother this was our first cruise. We have flown from Riga to Milan and then took a train to Genoa. Unfortunately on our way back we had no information upon disembarkation in Genoa about the trains not operating all over Italy, so we had to take a taxi from Genoa to an airport in Milan, which cost us about 200 Euro. If we had been provided with the information beforehand we could have booked a shuttle with some others passengers (although this could have been easily organised by MSC itself). The embarkation process in Genoa was well organised, there were no queues and our luggage was delivered to the cabin before we ourselves reached it. At the port we bought the smallest wine and water package, which was just perfect for only two of us. The food on the ship wasn't luxurious but still very good. The dinner service was great, although until the second or third day of the cruise we were not informed that we are not supposed to give tips to the staff and are being charged a fixed amount. Our cabin didn't have a window, so we didn't spend much time in there. But it was adequately sized and furnished and was kept clean at all times. We were quite impressed by the hardworking staff actually. We used sauna twice and fitness centre once and were pleased by both of them. Especially we enjoyed the relaxation room and its view. HOWEVER, there was a massive drawback we experienced with this cruise. For our day in Tunis we’ve chosen the Carthage & Medina (TUN05) guided tour. As a part of it we were taken to a carpet demonstration. It so happened that we really liked one of the carpets and agreed to buy it for a price of 300 Euros. The carpet shop didn’t have their own credit card reader and so 100 Euros we paid in cash at the shop, and the remaining 200 Euros were paid by credit card in a totally different shop in the middle of the market (we were accompanied there by one of the sellers and the tour's guide). The merchants, as well as the guide, reassured us that the carpet will be safely delivered to our home in Latvia via courier post in about three weeks. As of March 2015 we have not received anything. We tried to contact the shop, but it turns out the telephone number provided on the receipt is false. We have contacted MSC regarding this situation but unfortunately have not received any support from them. It’s a shame such a company cannot ensure the decency and integrity of its partners and that the customers are not being fooled. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We did this cruise with the msc Splendida in the autumnholiday (it is a week's holiday in autumn, the week of nov 1, all of germany and belgians have holiday then, I'm not sure of the rest of Europe). So you can imagine it was ... Read More
We did this cruise with the msc Splendida in the autumnholiday (it is a week's holiday in autumn, the week of nov 1, all of germany and belgians have holiday then, I'm not sure of the rest of Europe). So you can imagine it was very, very, very crowdy. Lot's and lot's of children, lot's of german people. The ship was on it's maximum capacity. Even staff mentioned it was way to crowdy. Buffet was hell, no place to sit, waiting in line for fries, waiting for drinks...So we ate a lot in "Villa Verde". You could get breakfast and lunch with table service there. On our last morning, we went to Villa Verde for breakfast. We didn't get a menu, waited a very long time, didn't get to order, waited very long. When the waiter came by, we asked for cappucino's (had the allegrissimo packet) and he refused to get this. Then we asked for regular coffee. He served al people around us but refused to serve us, didn't even look at us. I think the stress and pressure of al the crowds got to him and he looked as if he was on a breakpoint. We left Villa Verde and went to the buffet (it was a horror to get a table or even food there), but we had to go of the ship and wanted to eat at least something before the long trip home. I was so glad we had a balcony cabin. When the ship is so crowded, is it is a blessing you can order breakfast and eat it on your balcony, no crowds there! Pitty this was not possible on the last day. We also took a lot of drinks to our cabin to enjoy them away from the crowds. The cabin has a nice size, we were with our son and he had a double sofa-bed that was made up every night. Cabin was very clean and well kept. All personal on the entire ship was very friendly, everything was very clean, I was amazed to see this. So many peope on this ship and so clean and organized. We had first seating in "La Reggia". Food was good but not refined. Good choice everyday. I did find that the children's menu was not so healthy, not enough veggie's on them and always fries. Did order a lot from adults menu for my 7 year old son. Waiters where very friendly. We took the allegrissimo packet and at the end of our cruise we came to the conclusion we shouldn't have done that. If we counted al our drinks up, we didn't use the complete forfait. We are no heavy drinkers, did drink some cocktails and special coffee's because we had the packet. Glad I could drink other coffee's with the Allegrissimo packet because the coffee at the buffet and at breakfast was undrinkable for me. It was also very difficult to get drinks from the bars. Waiters only serve one order at a time and then stand around "waiting" for the order to be prepared at the bar. This can be more efficient I think. In my opinion it is not impossible to take another order while you wait for the other ones to be prepared. Pools had salt water and where very cold, even the inside pool. My son always got in the whirlpool, that was warmer and no salted water. It was very difficult, even impossible, to find a sunbed on deck. There was not much to do for children. There is a children's club but my son speaks only dutch and he couldn't understand the games and didn't know what he was supposed to do so he gave up. Getting on and of the ship was most of the times very quick. A few times we had to stand in line very long to get of or to get on. Guess we just chose the wrong time to do that (together with groups). We did the most of the excursions ourselves, this went very good. Only excursion we took with MSC was on Sicily, the Etna. The excursion was good organized but not worth the money. A 1,5 hour ride to the Etna, 1 hour free time on one of the craters and then the long ride back. It was in 3 languages so the guide was talking all the time. My son had the be quiet all te time on the bus (3 hours!) because the other passengers had to hear wat the guide said. My son is very carsick and they couldn't promise us a seat in front of the bus. The weather was very bad, couldn't see the Etna, couldn't see anything on top. So I was a little dissapointed. MSC could have canceled this tour or at least suggest another excursion for who wanted. They must have known there was nothing to see with this weather conditions. Overal I enjoyed this cruise, but just because we didn't pay a lot of money, it was a special offer for travel agents (my husband works in a travel agency), I would have been dissapointed if I had payed the full price. Would I do it again? Definitly NOT in a school holiday! Of season, I would try msc again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
A bit about us: We traveled as a party of 8, two families with children aged 19-22. We have done 8 or so cruises in the past around the Mediterranean so we have quite a bit of reference. Embarkation: We felt embarkation was pretty well ... Read More
A bit about us: We traveled as a party of 8, two families with children aged 19-22. We have done 8 or so cruises in the past around the Mediterranean so we have quite a bit of reference. Embarkation: We felt embarkation was pretty well handled. We had a private transfer to the ship, so can't comment on the transfers, but it was all very smooth. Once aboard, we wanted to swap two of the cabins within our party so that I could be next to my parents so that we could have adjoining balconies. Once they understood, this was handled efficiently and with no charge. The Ship: The ship as a whole was one of the larger ones we have been on. It is rather magnificent to look at, the navy and white colour scheme is very nice, it definitely looks smart. However, we all agreed that the ship is VERY confusing to navigate. We are regular cruisers, and never before have we had this problem. After a week on board, I still couldn't tell you where I was on the ship at a given time without a map. I am surprised I haven't read this in other reviews, I really must stress, it is very confusing! We decided that there are a few reasons why that is. First of all, it is a big boat! Another reason is that it is very poorly signed; the signs around the boat are dark brown with a sort of silver lettering which you have to peer at closely to read. The lifts don't tell you what is on each floor, and the toilet symbols for girls and boys are pretty similar, we had more than one experience of someone being in the wrong toilets! One of the main restaurants is on deck 6, but you have to go to deck 7 and then down again to get to it. In my opinion the main reason the ship is confusing is because most of the time wherever you are on board you can't see out, so you can't see which way the ship is going. In most of the bars they close all the curtains at 6 ish (even though it's light out), and at that point you are blinded by the blingy interior and all sense of direction is lost! Another big reason is on most ships there is a corridor that runs the length of the boat on leisure decks, and decks that run the length of the ship on the outside, and from there you have a reference point of where you are, you can see where you're going, etc. However, the Splendida has only one deck with promenades outside, and there isn't really a corridor on the leisure decks, so in order to get from one end of the ship to another you must walk through all the bars, lounges, etc, which as I say, you can't see out from. This makes it all very confusing. The confusion isn't helped by the interior of the ship. In a word: bling! Many have said the ship is beautiful, so it really is down to taste, and most cruise ships are a bit bling but we thought it was very tacky. The main atrium/reception area (if you can find it) has the most horrendous staircase I have ever seen - it's as if swarovski vomited all over it! The lounges are often themed in bright colours and sparkles. This isn't really a big problem, and the ship is always clean and comfortable. The ship has these sort of alcoves on the sides. We could see no reason for these bits on the ship, so we assume they are aesthetic - so the ship doesn't look like a big slab. However, having a cabin in the alcove was a real disadvantage - more on this later. The ship was probably the smoothest we've ever been on - perhaps due to it's size. Any wavy-ness was very minimal. Other guests aboard tended to be European, it is definitely a family ship, there are lots of children around so there was a good mix of ages aboard, and this gave for a nice busy atmosphere (except for two children who pressed all the lift buttons then ran away!). Announcements are muffled and come in several languages so it's easy to miss them, but it's not a problem really. Europeans don't know how to use a lift, they get in regardless of the direction it's going, and regardless of people trying to get out. The lifts are, as other have said, very busy at peak times. The Cabins: The cabins were very nice and clean. Almost all of the cabins aboard ship were balconies, and we very much enjoyed ours. Two of our cabins were next to each other so we had the balcony partition removed so we could sort of share the balcony. They clean the balconies twice a week, which seemed a bit excessive, but they are very into their cleaning. However, some of the cabins (ours included) are set in a sort of alcove on the side of the ship. We could see no reason for these bits on the ship, so we assume they are aesthetic - so the ship doesn't look like a big slab. However, being in this alcove means far less sun on the balcony, and a huge overhang over the top, so this was a real shame. I would advise others to request cabins that aren't in the set back sections, as the price is the same. It's also worth noting that some of the cabins lower down in the ship are nicer, but are the same price. Some of our party were on deck 9 and they had a slightly nicer interior and a bath as well as a shower (we just had a shower). The showers were nice and powerful. Overall, the cabins were very comfortable and we were very happy with them. The Lounges/shops/communal areas: As I have mentioned, the main thing to say here is that it's all very sparkly. There is lots of choice in terms of bars and places to hang out, and everywhere is comfortable. Many reviews comment about excessive smoke, which we felt was rather unfounded, there are only a couple of places where smoking is allowed, but you can avoid those if you wish. We sat in one of those areas one evening, and it didn't bother us much. The pool areas are fairly typical of pool areas on cruise ships. There are 5 pools in total, and they are pretty big and have fun fountain type things in them which the children enjoyed. A criticism of mine would be that they were almost always packed with children, which makes it unappealing for adults! Jacuzzi's were also always packed, which was a shame. There are a few shops which sell everything you'd expect. There are some good deals to be had on perfume. We bought two watches and the guy serving us was very cocky and generally a bit unpleasant. The Staff: With a few exceptions including our dinner waiter and waitress who were wonderful, we felt the staff were probably the worst of the cruises we've done. Generally, they seemed a bit miserable, and uninterested in us! Bar staff had a tendency to (I suspect purposefully) ignore when you were trying to get their attention, and were rather sullen. We had a bad experience one lunchtime in one of the main restaurants where someone confused the order, and we missed two or three of our courses. The staff seemed like they couldn't care less, until we started to complain loudly at which point they became rather overbearing. However, that was a one off, and usually the staff were perfectly adequate, they just didn't smile or make eye contact. On previous cruises we have found staff far more friendly and willing to chat or at least look at us. Food: We love good food so it would probably be fair to say we have high standards in terms of food! There are a few places to eat aboard. There are two main restaurants which are essentially the same, you will be assigned to a table in one. There is a buffet which they call two different things, but they are the same thing - food, decor, etc. they are just different sides of the pool. There is also a Tex Mex restaurant which is paid. The buffet is on the main pool deck has a HUGE variety to choose from. I would say that it does everything you want a buffet to do, the food is fine, just what you'd expect for a buffet. It is loud and chaotic in there, especially at peak times (breakfast probably is the worst). The buffet goes very far back on both sides, so if you walk further round (if you think you've reached the end, keep going because you haven't), you will discover even more food options. From the buffet you can take the food to wherever you like, so we always took it and ate at one of the tables by the pool or on the balcony in our cabins, because it seemed far nicer than in the buffet itself. Breakfast by the pool is the way to go! The two main restaurants serve the same food, so only the decor is different (they are both very shiny). The food in the main restaurants was poor. Most days there were a couple of things on it that were nice, but it wasn't consistently of high quality. I feel that on a cruise the evening meals are what you look forward to, and you bear in mind that catering for 3000 people is tough, but it just wasn't very good. High point: spaghetti carbonara, low point: pina colada soup(!) and crab-stick salad. I would also say that there is a decent amount of choice in the main restaurants (2 or more options for most courses), but I think they tried to make food that is a bit complicated; if they weren't trying so hard to have 'fancy' food it might have been better. There are 6 courses, but they are fairly small portions, so it is possible to manage all courses if you wish! They are perfectly happy to accommodate whatever you like, for instance, I often had two appetizers but no soup. We tried the TexMex place for lunch, which charges a surplus, and we spent about 8 euros each. We had serious problems with the decor and theming of the restaurant (it feels kind of like a cafe, not like it was something worth paying extra for) but the food was good, much better than the restaurant. It's worth a visit. Drinks: We had the allegrisimo package and we think we got good use out of it. We thoroughly enjoyed all the cocktails, we particularly liked the BBC and Pina Coladas. On the package there was a very limited choice in terms of wine - just one white, one rose and one red option! It was fine, but there was no real choice. We were dissapointed that in the main restaurants where we ate dinner every night and some lunches that you can't have coktails or mixers, so the choice is basically: beer or wine or soft drinks. Entertainment: We only went to the theatre once, probably because we thought it wasn't very social, the seats are all in rows, where on other boats seats have been arranged in little groups, and you can't have any drinks in there! Shows were visual to accommodate many languages and were entertaining. There are singers and musicians in all of the bars in the evenings. Some people may like it, but we found it a little annoying, as they are very loud, and music is always a bit cliche! As is the case on many cruises, we are plagued by photographers. In the evenings there is one at every turn, all around the hideous staircase in the atrium, and prowling around the restaurants. They are only doing their job, but they are rather pushy - they don't take no for an answer. I found myself seeing one and going another way to avoid them. Ports: On the whole, we tend to enjoy the experience of cruising as much as the ports, so the ports aren't really our priority in terms of the holiday. This time of the year the ship goes around Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Tunis. We got on at Barcelona, but people were getting on and off everyday, so there is a constant change of passengers. Getting on at Barcelona we didn't see much of it, but we've been before so we were fine with that. Marseille was a pleasant enough place to visit. The shuttle bus service was 15 euros and was essential as there was no way we could have walked into town. We wandered around the harbor museum which was quite interesting, and overall it was a perfectly nice place, but we felt that there are much better stops to visit in France. Genoa is a nice little place, where we have been before, and while it is nice to wander around, there isn't really anything to see. It is an easy walk from the ship to the town, which is nice, and Children will enjoy the pirate ship! Naples is somewhere we've been before too. The town itself isn't very interesting; the real things to see are Mt.Vesuvius and Pompeii, which were good, Pompeii is really interesting and I would recommend it to anyone. This year we did the Mt.Vesuvius excursion which was fine, but my mum was disappointed there was no bubbling lava! It was a fairly difficult walk up the hill, so it's not for everyone. Messsina was a nice enough place, we wandered around the shops and did a city bus tour. There is an interesting astronomical clock in the town center which is worth a look at. It's a nice port because it's right by the town, so the town center was just 2 minutes from the ship, so no shuttle buses to deal with. Tunis is somewhere we have been a few times. The port is in La Goulette, so if you want to actually see Tunis, you must go on an excursion (there is no shuttle bus and I wouldn't trust a taxi). We have done excursions in the past in Tunis and they were alright, if you want to have the souk shopping experience and barter for souvenirs, it's worth a go. This year however, we just had a look in the little shopping complex right by the boat in the harbor; they've built a pretend shopping souk with a few shops selling souvenirs, spices, perfume, doing henna tattoos, etc. If you're not feeling adventurous enough to do an excursion into Tunis, it's a great option, we really enjoyed it. Overall, most of the ports we have been to before, so they weren't new to us. They were all pleasant enough, but generally they weren't anything too special. Pompeii is great, so if you haven't been you should go, and it's fun to get a taste of a different culture in Tunis, but overall I felt the ports were a bit boring. I would recommend different ports or an Eastern Med cruise around Greece, Turkey, etc. as they tend to be more interesting! Closing thoughts: We had a fabulous holiday (holidays are always great!) and we enjoyed MSC. Overall we wouldn't rush to recommend MSC, but we wouldn't avoid it. It is a very similar style of cruise to Royal Caribbean, with a nice atmosphere. It's a busy ship and we were a bit let down on the food and some of the staff, but overall we had a great time, and would have no problem with doing it again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
splendida 7 nights, western Mediterranean Family of 6, 2 adults and 4 kids 11,12, girls and 15,17 boys embarked in marseille dec 8 th 2013. We had 4 in bunks on the 5 th deck inside and a king opposite on deck 5 with an ocean view. In ... Read More
splendida 7 nights, western Mediterranean Family of 6, 2 adults and 4 kids 11,12, girls and 15,17 boys embarked in marseille dec 8 th 2013. We had 4 in bunks on the 5 th deck inside and a king opposite on deck 5 with an ocean view. In the ocean view room you only heard the air con ( very slightly, like a low hum, nothing to keep you awake) and in the inside cabin you heard low engine noise, I'm so glad the kids were in there and we had upgraded to ocean view for $350 nzd. It was so worth it. The kids use their iPods , so never hear the noise. Also the ocean view room was bigger, one more wardrobe and a lounge chair (kids had one chair, we had 2) and a longer desk, so well worth it for the space and being able to watch docking from bed, seeing what the weather was like, or just watching the stars at night or the coast lines as we passed with their lights. There is a 500 mm shelf In front Of the window so you can lean on that and look out with the cushions they give you for the bed. It was wonderful. We also had a room on the side that the boat followed the coast line so at 5 am when you are awake with excitement you can see the lights of the costa brava etc, better than an ocean/ sea only view only. ( we were going anti clockwise around the Mediterranean so were on the right hand side ) Ask for a cabin to face ' your' coast line. We didn't get a drinks package, as we don't drink alcohol or coffee, but caved on the first night as all thirsty at dinner, so bought 14 mineral bottles of water for 26€ and made the kids drink heaps of water from the bathroom before going so it would last the trip. The bathroom water is the same as the water in the bora bora cafeteria and they have glasses in the bathroom so you have access to water. Some reviews made out there were no drinks anywhere free But buy one filter bottle and if you don't like the taste filter it into your glass that way. Takes that ' chlorine ' taste out of it, If you have kids, get them drink bottles and just use the one filter bottle ( as they are $$) to fill their bottles from the bathroom or from bora bora water. ( which tastes better as it is colder) That water is nice, but I always add ice, so not sure if it is slightly more filtered in the restaurant than the bathrooms, it shouldn't be, it should all be the same. Water, tea and coffee and milk are in bora bora always, juice..if you can call it juice, is breakfast only. We ate breakfast and lunch in bora bora and in villa and reggia. We could sit and dine anytime, during breakfast or lunch, but Dinner we got late seating (8.30pm, early sitting 6pm) in villa which is what I asked for. It was brilliant, food superb. Bora bora plentiful and looked great just sometimes the taste was a little weird, ie the gnocchi , being an Italian ship should be mouth watering. It was rubbery, no flavour to a lot of things, just bland. Bacon seems deep fried and too hard to eat sometimes, but The desserts were always good in bora bora or the 2 restaurants ( there is one paying restaurant...Mexican. It was always empty) But it served it's purpose, there was always something there ( open 6 am till 2 am) teenagers could get full. And enjoyed it. I was spoilt with villa once for breakfast and then didn't go back to bora if I didn't have too ! Once you have fine dining for breakfast and lunch..why eat cool / cold food with the hoards! The food in villa and reggia. Always of a higher quality. Warm plates , hot food. 7 courses order as much as you want.. All 4 mains if you fancy. Sometimes the translation wasn't quite right, ie a vanilla and almond tart was actually just a custard tart... But with no base But usually it was very edible and portions were not small like some have stated. I would say medium size pasta course, normal soup dish size etc if you had all 7 which I did do sometimes, I rolled out. The sizes are fine. If you have one main course, then yes, you will go to bora bora afterwards for a feed like my kids did even after 7 courses. It was nice to have fine dining for free. Kids enjoyed it and our waiter Dominic from India a legend . We would go to the 7pm theatre show ( lasted 45 mins, late show 9pm) and then the sports bar to watch English football ( champions league was on the week we sailed...grrr) or back to cabin to get dressed for dinner. It is Sunday best more than cocktail dresses. And some just casual h&m attire. We tried to look smart at least for gala nights, kids in suits etc The shows, if any songs , were in English which was good. The purple bar had an Italian singer but she sang English songs, the other places had piano men not singing or a string quartet with no singing or if there was it was opera and you don't mind that in Italian! The announcements at the beginning of each show are in 5 languages and also at the end . But that was ok. At genoa they announced the life jacket drill in your room, even though everyone was in the theatre. What the? So much for a quick sleep at 5 pm. Half an hour of different languages,..now tie the vest like this...ay? I'm not even there. We had ours when we got in 6 days ago. They didn't do it for Rome or Barcelona in your cabins just genoa. I rang reception and said..what the!!?? They said 1000 people got on, so....!?? Shut mine off...I've heard it. We had 2600 on board, 1500 less than usual. It was great because of that. I would hate to be in the boat with it full. Italians seem to say 15 words for the 3 we might use ie 'that's great' , turns into 2 mins of yelling with their hands. After a week, I was over it. I missed hearing English and engaging in conversation with people. If you were a single traveller who didn't speak Italian or Russian and weren't seated with other single people at dinner, it would be a lonely cruise. There were no lift problems, no pushing, shoving, a high Chinese contingent, but they smoked themselves in the casino so didn't see them. Couldn't hear anyone in cabins next to us but there may not have been anyone. The restaurants had tables empty, it was just very relaxed. We liked eating in Pago Pago, at the back of the boat. The best views. It is bora bora...but called a new name half way down . When it is really busy they use the back as a ' posh' restaurant Kids had no problems playing table tennis, squash, fusball, basketball, as no teens/ kids on board. Maybe about 25 all up. Our kiwi kids met one family with teen Ozzie girls otherwise the odd French boy playing play station in the evening with my kids. Not much to do really, but the pools weren't full, due to weather..very calm and sunny, ( 12-16 deg) but not many in indoor pool and no one in the outdoor ones. ( there are 2 and one inside) 10 hot tubs around the boat. They were usually full but if you picked a good time you could find at least one empty. 2 on the back deck are good for when you are sailing out if the cities. Internet was 60 mins 16€ ( we didn't use it) movies 7€ on tv which is a ripe off! why not free? There are 2 English news channels...and national geographic sometimes , the rest sport or Russian/ Italian/ German , why not give us some movies to watch as there is nothing to do on board but sit in a hot pool. Some salsa lessons are free, but that's it, even bingo costs. You can't sit on the deck, you have to lie down as only sun loungers there. So if you want to sit and read a book you can't really..unless you lie down. The f1 simulator was 8 € , the 4 d cinema was 6€ there are space invader machines 1€ We gave the 4 kids teen cards with 30€ on each and told them to enjoy. They did... Mostly on space invader / shooting things. Hubby and I had a game of bowling €6 for 10 balls ( or 5 ' plays') And a gelato each for 2.5€ for 3 flavours, and watched the sun set leaving Sicily, and bought a cake from the pizzeria plaza type place, for 1.90€ seemed to cheap not too. They were huge slices so bought 2 different ones and shared it as a family. They were yum, but didn't need to go back once done it. The desserts and afternoon tea eclairs and tarts were ample and very tasty, we never went to the bars and bought anything. Laundry: 20 garments for 25€ We brought a clothes line ( plastic with wire inside it , 1€ on board with us ) and some pegs and washing powder, and we didn't wash jeans etc but underwear and tops and ran the clothes line around the 2 lounge chairs at night and the stuff was dry by morning ( as was your skin, use moisturiser...Central air con!) There is a clothes line in the shower, would fit 2 swimming costumes but if you brought some cheap wire hangars you could wash 5 -10 tops and hang them up to dry that way. Wouldn't fit just on the line as too small even pegged. The hangars in wardrobes are stuck in there, so bring a few of your own, or buy some in a port and throw them later We did it twice in our room and kids run their line around the 2 bunk safety bars between the two beds and their knickers dried. We brought a small torch for next to our bed incase of lights going out and we could get to kids room. Didn't need it, but handy to know it was there. Cruise gets busy after 15 th dec and Christmas and new year..nuts. A guy we met got flights from gatwick to genoa and a balcony cabin for him and the mrs £400 each. Jammy git! I'ld do it again if we could get that type of price!! Cities. Marseille port bus was on strike when we arrived, cab was €20 plus bags. Thanks France. Barcelona 3.50€ return on port bus to city Tunisia ( La Goulette ) we didn't risk scaring our little girls with men groping them so we just had a camel ride at the dock and looked through the souk there. ( use camel in souk, not near the boat. Much better ride..longer) It was perfect. Sicily, you dock right in the city, we just walked up and within 5 mins realised..what a dump and went to mcdonalds for wifi and then back to the boat Rome free msc bus to entrance to port DO NOT WAlK , too far, train station then a 20 min walk, 6€ one way 1.20 hr train ride to Rome, Got off at St. Peter's had a look inside, and then walked to colosseum, took about an hour but was great to see the sites. Then a tram back to one of the train stations on the Pisa line, that stops at the port where the ship is ( Rome is south and inland from the boat) Like a tgv but dirty and seats not as nice, but ok. Would get to 170 km/h Good ride. Genoa walked to aquarium, about 20 mins and went on the cho cho train for 7€ adults €3.5 for kids for 40 mins around the city. Was brilliant. Aquarium 23€ too Exy. Then went for a brilliant hot chocolate for 15 € for 6 of us and free wifi, so much better than on the boat as we spent 2 hrs..6 of us destroying their board band width! Hot chocs in the port of Rome were 20€ -and 26€ for Spain. So 15 € and nice and chocolatey was a good buy. We put a Christmas dec and a Maori art work on the doors so we could easily spot our door out of 100 as we walked along the corridor. Just used some blu tak. Helped us, but especially the kids find their room quickly . No counting of room numbers needed. A great tip we got off cruise critic. Body wash and shampoo in dispense bottles on wall in shower, NO conditioner. Bring your own if you need conditioner. Bring a 4 /6 power board thing, and one travel European plug. Charge everything then We got a 1€ over the door wall hook! with 5 hooks on which we used on a wardrobe door, as couldn't attach to bathroom door as it had a weird door on, but we could hang scarfs, belts, hats, swimmers to dry off it. Worked well. Couldn't find a shoe over the door storage, so grabbed that and it was probably slightly better as took up less space as you walked past. ( we had it facing the bedroom, but could have had it hanging side wardrobe) We also bought for 1.4€ air fresher glad things that sat on the side one in the bathroom ( lavender) and one in our running shoe bag! Lilly of the valley. If you don't and your shoes are smellers, you will regret not spending the money. And bring a large bag to out all running shoes in not just yours, cos hubbies smell worse after 4 days on his feet Throw them all in and food the bag down and put it in the wardrobe and let Lilly do her thing Most of the staff are from Indonesia ( Bali) so make an effort to at least learn thank you before coming aboard. The smile on their faces, makes your slight effort so worth while.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
MSC Splendida Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.3
Entertainment 5.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 3.0
Service 5.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.7

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