MSC is a family-owned Italian company and Italians love children, therefore it's no surprise that Splendida is incredibly family-friendly. Children two and under travel free and there are low fares for youngsters up to the age of 18 who share a cabin with their parents. In addition, there are discounted deals for single parent families. Splendida has packed complimentary kids' club programmes and separate dedicated facilities for youngsters of all ages, plus children's menus in every restaurant. Although babysitting isn't provided, the Kids Around the Clocks service offers supervised late-night play and napping while parents take the night off. It is usually available between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. and costs 10 euros for three hours. That said, in Mediterranean countries children are not tucked up in bed as the same time as youngsters in the U.K., so seeing children up and about with their parents very late at night -- after resting during a traditional afternoon siesta -- is the norm rather than the exception. This is definitely a ship where parents won't get any stern looks or glares when their children are having fun.
Children younger than three can join Baby Time, with an accompanying adult, for play sessions every morning, afternoon and evening. Times are generally 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7p.m. to 11 p.m. This area on Deck 15 is housed in the Il Polo Nord -- The North Pole -- which has a wide variety of toys and games. It can also be used by other youngsters up to the age of 12. MSC offers a baby laundry service which washes the clothes of babies and children, up to the age of six, in a separate machine using a sanitising programme and gentle detergents to clean at temperatures as low as 30 degrees C. For parents with younger children, items such as bottle warmers, pushchairs and bouncers are available to hire, and day-to-day baby necessities are sold in the shop.
The Mini Club, based on Deck 15, is for children aged three to six, and offers sessions from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is a mix of indoor and outdoor activities such as playing with Lego, puzzles, dance, circus games, karaoke and themed evenings such as a pirate night and carnival night. Happy Dinners offers a speedy children's dinner for Mini Club members, where the youngsters are served their meals while the grown-ups enjoy their starters. The children are then escorted to the Mini Club by the entertainment staff while the adults sit back and have a leisurely dining experience. This is a free service.
The Junior's Club, on Deck 15, is for seven to 11-year-olds and has the same opening hours as the Mini Club. Similarly, it offers age appropriate sessions covering everything from arts and crafts, sports, theme nights and the popular web series starring Kelly & Kloe (also shown in the Mini Club) where youngsters have the chance to become Kelly & Kloe stars themselves by taking part in a casting session and making a video of their performance to take home as a souvenir, for 19.90 euros.
The waterslide, the Tobaga, on Deck 15 is for children aged eight and over and it is normally open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Next to it is a children's swimming pool for youngsters of all ages who are out of nappies.
All children up to the age of 11 are issued with an electronic bracelet for the duration of the cruise, which shows their name and cabin number and enables kids' club staff to contact parents quickly if necessary.
In common with the rest of the ship, members of the kids' club are multilingual, but language is never much of a barrier as far as children are concerned and parents are often amazed at how quickly youngsters from different countries start playing and communicating with each other.
Teens are divided into two age groups, 12 to 14 and 15 to 17, called Young Club and Teens Club respectively. They have their own I Graffiti area on Deck 15 and a teens' area next to the games arcade on Deck 16. Opening hours are generally 9:30 a.m. to noon and 8 p.m. to midnight, and there is plenty of space for chatting, playing computer games or simply chilling. Various activities are arranged throughout the day for each group, including sports, challenge games, karaoke, themed parties, and a nightly disco. They can also go to the Generation Dinner in the buffet restaurant with members of the entertainment team, which is a free service.
Teens can also use the Tobago waterslide on Deck 15, which is generally open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A prepaid Teen Card is also available, which doubles as a cabin key and offers under-18's the opportunity to buy items onboard. Available to buy in 30 euro and 50 euro amounts, it cannot be used to buy alcohol or tobacco.