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8 Rome (Civitavecchia) to Europe - Western Mediterranean MSC Cruises MSC Splendida Cruise Reviews

This was my first Mediterranean cruise I have only cruised in Australia and Asia and New Zealand, and I was so impressed. Very easy getting onto Splendida, in Singapore it can take hours to board a ship and even longer to get off. The ... Read More
This was my first Mediterranean cruise I have only cruised in Australia and Asia and New Zealand, and I was so impressed. Very easy getting onto Splendida, in Singapore it can take hours to board a ship and even longer to get off. The Spendida is such a very beautiful ship. What I want from cruise accommodation is something grand and opulent, to make me feel special and pampered and Spendida sure delivered. All cruise ships are grand but The Spendida isn't the standard cruise ship opulence its just the tiny touches added in all the right places that make it special. The public areas are all spacious, you would not think there was 3000 other passengers on board. The food at the buffet was always delicious and the best pizza's, food at restaurant was always nice. Our cabin was good. I ensured the dinks package was good value, they offered good activities and there was always something to do while not in port. The staff was always friendly professional from check in to check out. The is such a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We just returned from the MSC Splendida western mediterranean itinerary hitting Genoa, Marseilles, Barcelona< Tunisia, Malta, and Messina after having boarded in Civitavecchia. The biggest complaint was after the airline and transfer ... Read More
We just returned from the MSC Splendida western mediterranean itinerary hitting Genoa, Marseilles, Barcelona< Tunisia, Malta, and Messina after having boarded in Civitavecchia. The biggest complaint was after the airline and transfer service got us to the port very efficiently by 10:30 we were left waiting to be boarded until almost 3pm. We were suggested to go into Civitavecchia but after an overnight flight from Canada who has the energy or desire to run around sightseeing. MSC blamed the Italian immigration, but in all reasonableness they were boarding the VIP type passenger no problem so that was a load of you know what. They just did not or were not prepared to let us on mainly it appears to allow them to market you drink pacakes, tour packages, etc. Once on board and settled all was quite good. We did book a special package of tours they offered of 3 cities for $109 euro a savings of roughly $40, a reasonably good deal. Our cabin location was quite good just off an elevator stairway access, other than the odd child playing in the hall not noisy at all. Food was good not great great which is quite all right. Dinners, I generally chose the regional dinner menu and they were all very good. My wife who for dietery reasons generally went with the chicken or a fish dinner with vegtables. Lunches we went to the buffet and had no problem finding something satisfactory from a spagehtti to a bowl of soup or make up a sandwich. They also had pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries for those who can't live without more north american fare. Breakfasts we did the buffet and I generally had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage a side fruit etc. again lots of choices like cereals, yogurts, toast, the european rolls and meat,cheese etc. No complaints. The tours were all good, informative and delivered what they advertised. Tunis was the only exception because of bad weather we were delayed arriving and the tour was rushed and we did not get into the museum, no apologies from the tour company or MSC. Just thats the way it was. Overall the cruise was good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Since this was our first cruise (m+f from Sweden, ages 30 and 27), we do not really have a frame of reference from comparing to other cruises. Having said that, we will try our best to rate this cruise in an objective manner. ... Read More
Since this was our first cruise (m+f from Sweden, ages 30 and 27), we do not really have a frame of reference from comparing to other cruises. Having said that, we will try our best to rate this cruise in an objective manner. Embarkation: We purchased a Fly-and-Cruise package which greatly reduced the hassle of getting to Civitavecchia port (although changing flights in Amsterdam felt unnecessary given the multitude of direct flights between Stockholm-Rome). There were no problems finding our way, we were met at the airport by MSC representatives who greeted us in a very friendly way and gave us a ride to the port in a big taxi. Firstly, Civitacecchia port is a lot more adjusted to industrial freight purposes than to cruise liners. Although the MSC crew did their best, the terminal embarkation procedure (which took place in a big hangar-type building) felt a bit crowded and at times, it was hard not to feel like being part of a sheep herd. However, it all worked out without problems, we received our cruise cards and a load of other documentation and got on board after about a one hour wait. On board, we were greeted by friendly staff who guided us to our cabin where our luggage awaited us. Cabin: The cabin was very nicely decorated and sufficiently sized. Our cabin (11287) was situated on deck 11 at the very back of the ship. Cabins in the back have HUGE balconies, it was about 10x10 feet and probably 2-3 times bigger compared to a standard mid-ship balcony, which of course felt very luxurious! The only negative thing about cabins in the back is the noisy vibrations when arriving at new ports in the morning. After having read other reviews, we were prepared for these vibrations and did not mind them, but have this in mind if you are easily bothered by such things. Ship and Public Rooms: The MSC Splendida is incredibly big, impressive and jaw-droppingly beautiful in every way. The ship is continuously cleaned by the staff and basically looks just as fantastic in real life as it does in pictures and video clips, both inside and outside. Enough said. I don't know about the situation during summer, but during our mid-september cruise there were plenty of space in all public rooms and finding a seat or a sun chair was never a problem. The Bora Bora/Pago Pago lunch buffet did get pretty crowded but one great advice in the buffet is to go to the very back of the ship, where finding a seat is a lot easier. Food/Dining: As stated in other reviews, the food was good but I am sure it could have been better. We enjoyed the Mediterranean-style lunch buffet, but if you want hot cooked food for lunch you should probably look elsewhere on the ship. We never used the buffet in between major meals but really recommend the Sports Bar, which had great food at a low price. Their Chicken Wings were great! Evening dinners in the La Reggia restaurant were also generally good, with some dishes being great and some not so great. Regional menus were good, although the soup dishes were pretty forgettable and often looked more like a cup of tea. Also, ordering items "from the grill" outside of the regular menu suggestions is probably not recommended as not even salad was included! Just some fries and some overcooked dry chicken in my case. Since you have dinner at the same table every night and there was only two of us, we were placed together with two other scandinavian couples. We all got along great and had a really good time every night, this was probably the biggest positive surprise of the entire cruise! Entertainment: Again, we don't really have any other cruises to compare it to, but the general feeling is that MSC wants to embrace their european cultural heritage by emphasising live music and theater entertainment on board. The theater variety-style shows were really good with a different show every night, and the theater is huge! The acrobatic acts (like the awesome rope climbers and balancing artists) were personal favourites. Also, there was a lot of musical live entertainment in the various lounges and bars. Shore Excursions: There was a fairly large selection of excursions for every stop, although they were often a bit expensive for our taste and we only did one or two. Instead, we mostly just left the ship to explore the different cities by ourselves. The stop in Barcelona was way too short and we barely had time to take a sightseeing bus tour, let alone do any shopping. However, the bus tour is recommended for sightseeing as it is very time efficient. Spa & Fitness: For those interested in massages or spa treatments, there is a huge selection in the big MSC Aurea Spa. We only tried the gym but the spa looked promising. The Fitness area on deck 14 is big and well equipped with a great view and no overcrowding. Upon every visit, we were almost alone in the gym. Service: As europeans, we felt the service level was mostly very good by our standards, although there were a few exceptions. The La Reggia breakfast service was not very impressive, there were too few options and the crew seemed anxious to get rid of us so they could start clearing our table. At the Bora Bora lunch buffet, the service was OK considering the amount of people being served. The cabin cleaning procedure was flawless (the cabin was cleaned 2-3 times per day) and never felt intrusive or disturbing. The people at the information desks were all very helpful. Dinner service in La Reggia was very good and fast-paced, the system with having the same waiter every night seemed to be working really well. At our table we soon became friends with our waiter and after a while he even learned our names. For my birthday, which amazingly coincided with the big gala dinner of the last evening, our waiter (Mushin!) brought me a candlelit extra big piece of cake and sang for me in Indonesian which was a great surprise! Rates and Value for money: Our only real complaint with MSC (the reason for not giving it 5 out of 5) is that beverages and the 15 percent service fees are not included in the cruise price. It is beyond us why MSC maintains this system although almost everyone seem to dislike it. For many people, this is THE primary reason for choosing another cruise line after having tried MSC. Everything should be included in the menu price, with a text that says "Tips are included". All in all, value for money is OK but when you consider these "hidden" extra costs, the cruise does not feel cheap although I am sure there are more expensive ones. Summary: We had a great cruise and would gladly recommend it to anyone, but you should know what to expect in terms of food and payment structure etc. If you have read through this and other reviews, you hopefully do :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We enjoyed this cruise so much. Everything was great. Our room (12029) was a balcony on the 12th deck between the bow and mid section. Rooms were very clean and the wife kept saying how nice the bed and sheets were. What a sight to see as ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise so much. Everything was great. Our room (12029) was a balcony on the 12th deck between the bow and mid section. Rooms were very clean and the wife kept saying how nice the bed and sheets were. What a sight to see as we were coming into a port while we were getting ready for breakfast. I was thinking about getting an inside room, but I would definitely go for the balcony room again. The buffet breakfast was great with so many things to choose from, more than you could eat and everything was hot, juice and coffee were free. We ate so much that we didn't need a lunch. The lunch buffet was also great, again with so much to choose from. The ship was beautiful and the shows should not be missed. Shows started at 9:00pm and were about 1:15 minutes long. The swimming pools were done up nicely, and they had a adult only pool too. We never got a chance to visit the night clubs because by 10:30pm we were tired from all the sightseeing and getting up early for the next days port. We did get to the casino on the last night, very nicely done, didn't win nothing. As for dinner, we were assigned to the first seating at 7:00. (Very elegant) On formal night, a sport coat and tie is fine and a dress for the lady is okay. Some people went all out with a tux and some came with just a nice shirt. You can order anything off the menu, several varies to choose from. For desert we ordered 2 of each for each of us. The food could use a little spice. We also ordered items that were not on the menu with no problem. Also you get 7 vouchers for a free bottle water with your dinner. All other water and drinks you have to pay for. What we did at the buffets is get free water from the ice machine. Two of the nights we ate in the Santa Fe restaurant and had the steak which was very very good. Tips are added to your final bill, so much per person per day. So no tipping is necessary while on board. I tipped our room stewart a few extra $$ because on the second night I asked him where the ice machine was. He went and got the ice for us. From that day on when we would arrive back from sightseeing, there would always be ice waiting for us in the room. All of the staff people were very nice. Overall we were very pleased with the whole cruise and all the ports that we stopped at. We would love to do it again. One other thing...we didn't take the cruise excursions they offer....too expensive. We found the best way to see everything was go to a tourist information center and hop on a sightseeing bus. They are cheaper and you can usually hop on/off at different stops. Make sure you ask the tourist center for a street map too. We felt safe in each port. At each port, departing and returning back to the ship was very easy with no wait lines at all. We were very satisfied with our vacation on this ship and would go again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Back Story: Bought a packaged deal of air, 7 days on Splendida, 3 days afterward in Rome w/3 private transfers in spanking new Mercedes - very nicely done. Info background: Not much to go on as MSC's website is not ... Read More
Back Story: Bought a packaged deal of air, 7 days on Splendida, 3 days afterward in Rome w/3 private transfers in spanking new Mercedes - very nicely done. Info background: Not much to go on as MSC's website is not user-friendly, few English speaking folks had contributed CC reviews since her July 2009 debut. Full Disclosure: a happy HAL passenger for some years. Ship is pristine but personally thought the decor tends towards the tacky side. It would also appear management is enamored w/the American Wide West as evidenced by Photo Gallery when pix are not displayed. Cabins are fine; rest of ship more brash than necessary. Entertainment: MSC at a disadvantage w/too many languages spoken on board so must confine acts to mimes, acrobats, singers and dancers who sorely needed a choreographer. Some acts better than others which is the norm. Afternoon games lead by Italian speaking staff. Obviously I could not participate. Food: Quite underwhelmed by Bora Bora & Pago Pago offerings including the touted pizza. On 2nd try after eating a cheese/salami sandwich w/side salad, I thought I can do this @ home. Thereafter, dined in dining room w/service, much better offerings and a non-zoo atmosphere which the other 2 deeply portray. Thoughts: Appetizers and soups were usually quite good as were Regional Menu Selections. Beef inedible; lamb chops good. Vegetables surprisingly good. Pastry offerings uniformly dry so ordered gelato. Assume they want one to spend 4-5-6E at their pastry & gelato counters. I abstained. Excursions: Only took 1 which had German/English guide so the 3-1/2 $62 tour should have been $30 for me; and exasperated the English-speaking folks. MSC offers shuttles for which they charge in 2 of the ports; offers NO free maps or anything else of value and due to her size, must dock further away from most main port docks...they need to do more for the customer. Bottom Line: If my French were better I would take a MSC cruise again, but their Reception Desk needs to understand customer relations, and management needs a shake-up along w/an upgrade of their user-unfriendly website. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
ABOUT THE SHIP ITSELF: We enjoyed the ship. At almost 4,000 passengers it is large and having first sailed in July 2009, it is new. It was very comfortable and most of the public rooms were decorated in a manner different from the major, ... Read More
ABOUT THE SHIP ITSELF: We enjoyed the ship. At almost 4,000 passengers it is large and having first sailed in July 2009, it is new. It was very comfortable and most of the public rooms were decorated in a manner different from the major, N.A. cruise lines. Our tastes run to a more sedate style than is found on, say, most Carnival ships, but this one had its quirks with the Purple Jazz lounge being "interesting". The decor was generally a little dark with the exception of the main atrium which runs 4 or 5 stories and has a white theme but with brass elevators and circular stairs with the steps themselves made of shiny, crushed crystal. The couches and chairs often have unusual shapes and there is clearly an Italian flair to the interior design. The water temperature in the pools was surprisingly cool considering it was still in the mid to high 20's celsius (approaching 80 fahrenheit), including the one fully covered pool. However, all 3 pools were nicely laid out and the two largest had several fountain-like features, including fake palm trees, to capture the imagination of the kids on board. There was an adult only area with its own pool which occupied the aft deck - unfortunately, I like an aft bar to enjoy sail-aways on with a beverage and so they layout of this deck (which did have a bar but no seating at the very rear of the ship) was not ideal to me; but this is a minor quibble. The ship has very nice lounges, the standard ones have adjustable shades for your head, including family wicker beds and other types. Getting around the ship was not too difficult although in some areas there were limited elevators and in others you have to go up or down a deck to manage your destination. Nothing remarkable from most newer ships. ABOUT OUR ROOM: We had a standard balcony room on deck 9. My wife found this the best room we have had on any cruise (this was our 8th and our 5th different cruise line). This was in part because the bathroom was fairly generous and we had a bathtub - although I don't think this is true of the majority of rooms of this category, nor do I know why our room had one. The closet and storage ran perpendicularly from the long wall and afforded great space to store clothes with a large number of hangers. The balcony was of a standard size and had decent resin wicker furniture. Instead of a couch it had a large chair and a sitting cube plus the usual desk arrangement. The lighting was fine. Although the stain was dark, the room seemed spacious and was very comfortable for the week. ABOUT THE FOOD: Consistent with many other reviews of MSC cuisine, I will say that over-all the food in the main dining room was not up to the standard of other major cruise lines we have tested. The appetizers, soups, pasta or risotto and the desserts were generally good to very good. The salads suffered from the use, almost exclusively, of ice-berg lettuce and uninspired dressings. The meat courses were hit and miss. I would say that about half the time the meat was cooked decently to nicely and the other half it was over-cooked to the point of being too dry. It was never inedible and so I would not say that the food was awful, but I would not go on an MSC cruise expecting food to be a highlight. Moreover, while I understood the vegetarian options were pretty good, for North Americans expecting to see regular options for thick cuts of red meat you will be disappointed these simply were not available. We did try some of the specialty restaurants and I can report that the true alternative restaurant L'Olivo which serves "Mediterranean cuisine" was excellent (but still not big cuts of red meat) and the ambiance and service equaling the standards of Celebrity. The L'Enoteca wine bar with Tapas, which we regretfully only sampled on our last day on board, was a wonderful experience with very nice, if limited, tapas and excellent wines in a very nice space. We had some snacks in the Sports Bar and the sliders were excellend and an excellent value but the chicken wings were fried (which I don't like) and generally uninspired. We did not try the Tex Mex alternative as that is food we can readily get at home. MSC does not charge an entry fee to these restaurants but does charge for each item - these charges generally seemed reasonable. ENTERTAINMENT: As the ship makes announcements in 5 languages, the entertainment is a little bit of a challenge to make sure it serves all clientele be they Italian, Spanish, French, German or English-speaking or other. There is a main production each night and these are well-timed so that you can easily see the show regardless of dining time (Early at 7:00; Late at 9:30). We really enjoyed the shows which are kept crisp and are no more than 50% of the show is made up of singing and dancing which I find so underwhelming. The activities are quite varied for a North American and included several circus-type acts, a 5 language ventriloquist, shadow puppets, hula hoops. For those of you of a certain vintage, this was like watching an Ed Sullivan-type variety show where you might see virtually anything. Even where we weren't thrilled with the act, it remained a "must see" each night to see what kind of off the wall production the Italians had prepared for us. OVERALL VALUE - With the pricing of everything being in Euro's and the exchange rate being fairly high (we are Canadian and a Euro cost about CAD$1.61 at the time of our trip) some of the inevitable extras on the cruise might be viewed as expensive, but I think not materially more so than on a Caribbean cruise. I think the MSC room prices are typically significantly less expensive than the major cruise lines, so the cruise turns out to be no more expensive than the majors and quite likely lower priced overall. As noted above the food was simply not as good as the major lines but the buffets for breakfast and lunch were largely comparable (perhaps a little less inventive) and so only the main dining let the ship down on the food front. If you are not a die hard red meat person and like pasta, then I think you will survive quite nicely although you won't rave about the food. We would certainly take another MSC cruise as the over-all experience is excellent with a great room, a handsome ship, interesting entertainment the unique international feel of the fellow passengers that cannot be found on the majors and good enough food to fuel you for the duration of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We were on the maiden voyage of the MSC Splendida. Our airport transfer went smoothly from FCO Rome to Civitavecchia. Embarkment was supposed to be in numerical order we were no 8- but of course was TOTALLY disorganised. It took over 3 ... Read More
We were on the maiden voyage of the MSC Splendida. Our airport transfer went smoothly from FCO Rome to Civitavecchia. Embarkment was supposed to be in numerical order we were no 8- but of course was TOTALLY disorganised. It took over 3 hours from when embarkment commenced to get onto the ship after hundreds of rude italian boarding the ship pushed in. Once I got with the Italian programme of pushing in myself we suddenly were on board. This was the most stressful part of the cruise thankfully. Once we got onboard all was forgotten. I only chose this cruise because the ship was new & I can speak italian. This ship was amazing. The decor was spectacular, our cabin with balcony was great, in a perfect position and we slept like babies every night. For what we paid with 2 kids for free it was value for money. And No tipping. We had gratituites added to our bill at the end - which for us was cheaper than handing out money all day to various people & getting stressed about whether we gave too little or too much. The so called kids clubs was rubbish - so don't bother going on this cruise if you want your kids babysat it aint going to happen. I would never leave my kids with anyone so for me it was irrelevant but other aussies on the cruise with little ones were very upset about this - and I don't blame them. The food if you like European cuisine was excellent from the starters to the desserts. My husband ate about 7 courses every meal not to mention my 13 year old son - Yes you do have to buy bottled water, softdrinks and there are no 24 hours a day buffets. None of that bothered us as honestly how much food can a person stuff into themselves. The entertainment was average to below average, most people on board were european - so listening to the entertainers trying to sing in english was comical to say the least. Embarking and disembarking while in port was stress free, the tours were over priced we only did 1 tour costing $450 AU in Tunisia. A supposed shopping tour. It was a waste of money and time. I could have bought the same stuff in the terminal. And there were pick pockets everywhere. The rest of the ports we got our own taxis and basically they took us on private tours which was great. If you are in a hurry as we were this is a great intro to Europe. If you are an impatient english only speaking person who is used to American style cruising - don't bother with this cruise. If you want a true continental cruise with the locals then you can expect fabulous decor, al la cart feasts and value for money. Would I cruise again? Yes but next time I'm doing an American ship to compare the difference. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
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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