We’ve heard much about MSC ships, but the Splendida was the first one we’d seen up close. While she’s a big ship by most standards – at 1637 cabins and 4363 guests – the new ships in the fleet that MSC are launching in an ambitious expansion programme are taking MSC’s dimensions to new levels. So Splendida is gradually becoming mid-sized for MSC!
For more details on the voyages available with MSC Cruises see our main website www.gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne.
Our introduction to the MSC fleet has been in a large coffee table book called ‘Cruising in Style’ so we’ve had an impression of the colour, flamboyance and vibrancy that we felt were to be expected of an MSC ship.
Splendida is certainly not bland!
There are wide expansive public areas often in colourful palates and with lots of curves and flowing walkways. Quite a bit of sparkle and sheen hits the eyes as you walk around – from the Swarovski crystal staircase in the atrium to the marble(esque?) coffee tables, shiny floors and chrome edged pillars. Your eyes will certainly be kept occupied in the Jazz Bar with it’s full rainbow of colours, and in the yellow themed Sports bar – which has sport playing on video screens and a couple of 10-pin bowling lanes. The Club33 area – mainly a nightclub is vivid orange in its décor – and best not to enter without warning, or you may think you’ve ended up on the set of a 60s sci-fi movie!
There are much more mooted oranges in the main restaurant, and toned down reds with browns in the Aft Bar and Splendida Bar Deck5. Some of the colour palate is also more gentle around the rest of the ship too – but MSC don’t wish you to have a dull experience, and so their ships do go for flamboyant design styles and more extravagant colour palates.
There are a variety of styles around MSC Splendida, and you do get the impression that MSC try to cater for a wide range of tastes, it’s possibly a bit of a Marmite approach – love or hate – but in reality there are likely to be pockets around Splendida that will suit different people.
The public areas are generous – we didn’t get the impression that you’d be aware of hosts of accompanying passengers all the time – as there are multiple lounge areas, cafes, and venues to spread around this rather glam and colourful ship. The public areas are mainly on decks 5,6 and 7 and from deck 14 to deck 16 at the top of MSC Splendida.
La Prua Piano Bar on deck 7 with big circular windows and plush green seating seemed like it would be a pleasant location to unwind by day or during the evening sunset. La Piazzetta provides a Mediterranean feel for an snack or treat with distinctive tiles, olive trees and palms to create a relaxed area. Just along on deck is the Casino with countless slot machines before you reach the huge The Strand Theatre.
The buffet restaurants – Bora Bora and Pago Pago – on deck 14 seemed particularly expansive – we were very impressed by the extremely wide range and choice available, though some of the artwork did seem a little extra-ordinary.
Atop MSC Splendida is an AquaPark area as well as L’Equatore covered pool area plus the Aurea Spa and Gym.
MSC operate 5 kids’ clubs by age group with entertainment, sport and dining options as well as a teen spa. They have a partnership with Lego & Chicco. The youth areas also include an F1 simulation area and Virtual World.
Accommodation varies from more compact Inside and Ocean Views through generous balcony cabins to a handful of suites. There are a range of connecting Super Family cabins available too.
Guest experiences start at a basic Bella category for Inside, Ocean View or Balcony, Fantastica category adds other benefits (including drinks at the time of writing), and Aurea is the higher level experience with more included. There’s also a Wellness category of balcony cabins geared to those more likely to use the Gym or the Spa (and adds wellness shore activities). These categorisations may not be straightforward to get your head around, but we’ll happily help.
Then there’s MSC Yacht Club – for a more exclusive experience – this club-like area is located at the fore of the ship on decks 15 to 18, with suite accommodation as well as separate club lounge, club bar, and sun deck. It seems very similar to NCL’s Haven idea.
MSC has had a reputation of a wide international mix of guests with consequent continuous mix of announcements in multiple languages to inform of the activities aboard. Apparently they have a new approach with much reduced announcements and English as a consistent main language – which will make for a more UK-friendly experience.
Our visit to MSC Splendida did open our eyes to the potential particularly for a fabulous fun family time on MSC cruises, especially as the new ships are launched and as the older ships get some freshening up.
You may have seen ‘Cruising with Jane McDonald’ on Channel 5 recently in the UK – the first episode featured a Caribbean cruise on MSC Divina (virtually a sister ship to Splendida).
For more details on the voyages available on MSC Splendida or with the other MSC Cruises ships see our main website www.gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne