Im sure you have read my first Blog on my Splendida Trip. If not you can take a look here
This Blog is really to give an insight of what we did mainly on Day 2.
I explained that on day 1 we hit the nightclub at the end of the night….Well we did this in the knowledge that the next day we were up bright and early for our ship tour. Bright and early being 8.30am prompt meeting at the Theatre.
And we were all there present and correct.
The Tour started in the Theatre which is called The Strand. We were greeted by the entertainments director and a team of guides. It is worth noting before I go on that you can actually book this tour with MSC and I can tell you 100% it is worth it…so read on
The state of the art Theatre seats up to 1600 guests, and spans decks 6 and 7 – it is one of the largest I have seen and I was very impressed. Once we had signed in and obtained our passes we set off for a tour of the back stage area including the changing rooms – it was a very professional looking area and it really felt like being behind the scenes in the west end.
Next we moved on to the nerve centre of the operation, the state of the art sound and lighting booth. From here everything can be controlled and they are constantly in contact with the stage manager. And with a press of the button the controller showed us how they bring the lights down. I asked if I could do it…He laughed…..I wasn’t joking!
We then moved on to the laundry – which was so hot and i dont think I could work in there for too long. It is interesting to see how all of the table clothes and staff uniforms are dealt with. The best machine for me has to be the bedding / table cloth steaming and folding machine – wow.
Our Penultimate visit was to the Yacht Club area – Described as a ship within a ship in the yacht Club is an exclusive area with 24-hour Butler service, private Concierge, luxurious suites and all-inclusive food and drinks. It has a really relaxed atmosphere and they also have their own small pool area. I could definitely see the draw of booking this area. One of the forum members mentioned to me that he normally books Balcony cabins, but has actually booked an Inside Yacht Club for a similar price to the Balcony, but he gets lots of extra benefits – It makes sense when you think about it. So do consider this option.
Now this was where the tour for me got really interesting. We moved on to the kitchens. I have done many ship tours but this is the first time I have been asked (or told) to put on a protective suit – From top to toe – just look at us here.
I must admit though I was happy that they asked us to do this because it really does go to show how seriously they take hygiene. We were also not allowed to take pictures in this area. Getting to see the large freezers and the amount of food and the efficiency that they go about it all is really impressive and actually makes you really appreciate the food you are being served. We were taken around by the head Baker who was a jolly German chap and his passion for the MSC brand and the food that was being prepared in the kitchens was clear to see. In fact everyone in the kitchen seemed very passionate about their work and I do think that this is reflected in the quality of the food. And for those that have heard negative comments bout the food with MSC I will say (which I said on my last blog) it has changed for the better and I have to give top marks to the kitchen team.
After such a great tour we had time to grab a quick lunch in the self service restaurant which is called Bora Bora. It has a great Polynesian theme which brought a warmth to the area. Okay so that last statement sounds a tad ‘cheesy’, but honestly I do find sometimes self service restaurants can feel quite cold due to way they are designed…not here. The food here was great – lots of choice, from fast food to Carvery through to cold cuts and fast food…Including some fantastic Pizza (which you should expect from an Italian brand I guess). There are also the usual self service Tea and Coffee Machines.
After Lunch we went for a brief from our Excellent MSC hosts talking about the future of the brand and especially the new ships MSC Meraviglia & MSC Seaside due to be launched in 2017 (plus other ships on the horizon) – These ships will be the largest in the fleet and will have many innovations, real game changers for the brand and they are clearly excited…..In fairness I am. I don want to talk too much about them as I am goimg to blog about them in the future as more info and videos are released, but let me say these ships will definitely be competing with the likes of Royal Caribbean and NCL.
After the brief it was off to check out the pool areas. We sat in the sun and watched a few poolside games going on. I noticed it was the entertainments team from the night before, and as they did in the Aft Lounge again they created a lovely fun atmosphere round the pool. It is worth knowing that Splendida also has a small indoor pool area with Jacuzzi’s – perfect if its a chilly day.
This evening we wanted to watch a show in the Theatre, having missed the well received West Side Story we were confident that tonight’s show was going to be great. Well it was a fun show, rather wacky with some great acrobatics and singing. The shows on MSC are normally performing arts which is great for all nationalities so there isnt really much of a language barrier. lots of songs are also in English.
On to Dinner – We were in the main restaurant this evening and I really wanted to see if the previous evenings meal had been so good because it was in the Yacht Club. Was I going to get Luke warm tasteless food (I have seen those words used on a review of an MSC trip a few years ago) – well I had 6 course of the 7 offered. Every single course was perfect and I wish I hadnt skipped the salad course. At our table we had some guests that had dining requests and the Maitre D came over and made sure they were okay with what they were getting and that it fit in with their needs which was a nice touch.
As we are talking about food we also were lucky enough to visit the Tex Mex restaurant Santa Fe on day 3. This has a great theming in a Mexican style. It is a specialty restaurant whereby you pay per dish rather than paying a set price. Meals such as Burritos, fajitas and Chili Con Carne are served along side plate filling steaks with Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises to wash it down with. It was delicious and reasonably priced and I would definitely dine there again. One thing though…they dont serve rice, that is the one and only criticism – would stop me going again though!!
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time on board the MSC Splendida and would definitely recommend the ship and in fact the brand to anyone. I told you on part one of this blog that I went on a trip on board MSC Armonai around 3 years ago and I enjoyed it, but what I have seen in 3 years is a massive improvement on areas that were criticised in the past, that mainly being food and service. I am Happy to report that Food and service on this ship is some of the best I have had at sea (Excluding Ultra Luxury brands of course). So give MSC a try they might just surprise you!!
Call me if you would like to discuss a cruise with MSC.