Last week I was lucky enough to get in board the lovely MSC Splendida. It has been around 3 years since I was on an MSC ship, which was the MSC Armonia (before she was stretched) – see my Armonia Blog here
I was eager to see if MSC had made many changes over the last few years and also what a bigger MSC ship would be like. The Splendida is around 138000 tonnes as apposed to Armonia 65000.
We were on board to host some of our passengers and I was really looking forward to meeting and getting to know them. First stop for us was a day in Hamburg. This is a city I have never been too so it was again a day of discovery.
I am a big fan of Germany having been lucky enough to visit a few towns and cities and Hamburg did not disappoint. As always the food (and beer) was excellent, we found a great little bar which had an old nautical theme to it and felt really traditional. They served some excellent German favorites and I was more than happy to sample the Bratwurst and Jaeger Schnitzel as well as Apple Strudel.
Hamburg is centered around a lovely little Harbour with a great shopping area too. We were lucky enough to be there during a festival and spent the evening browsing stalls, listening to music and watching fireworks. I would definitely recommend a pre cruise stay in Hamburg should you be joining a ship there.
Okay so on to the actual ship I boarded rather late at around 4pm – an issue with some luggage from the day before (dont ask – its a long story), checking in was swift and we were on board in no time and into the room. One thing we did notice is that they did not swipe a card to register against your account. We found out later that this is because you register your own card at Machines near the main reception area, I guess this speeds up the check in process at busy times.
We had an adapted Inside cabin, we had been allocated this as a last minute cabin. As you would expect it was very spacious, with a walk in shower and slightly lower sink area.
Once in the room we decided to head out to have a quick drink before the Muster drill (it had been a long day). We headed to the La Piazetta coffee bar which has a almost Mediterranean Garden theme with lots of intricate tiling. This is also the place to get your authentic Italian Gelato. We were on the Allegrissimo drinks package – which is an all inclusive package which includes most spirits, beer by the glass, soft drinks, water, some specialty coffees and ice cream but unfortunately the Gelato here isn’t included. Oh and the package is £20pp per night….bargain.
Within no time at all it was time for the muster drill. We headed towards the Piano bar on Deck 7 with life jackets in hand and as is the norm these days, our cards were scanned. The drill did take a bit longer than normal with it being repeated in each language that was there, but I didn’t find this an issue.
After the drill was finished we headed back to the room to freshen up ready for our hosted cocktail party, I was also rather excited for our evening meal as we were lucky enough to be dining in the exclusive Yacht Club dining room L’ Olivio.
Our Cocktail Party was held in the Purple Jazz Lounge on deck 7. It is a Great Venue for pre /post dinner drinks with a really great atmosphere and a live singer, oh and not forgetting comfy sofas. we spent an hour or so in here before heading to the restaurant.
L’Olivio Restaurant is such a lovely dining room with a great theming and is very bright and airy. The service was swift and before I knew it my glass was filled with red wine. The meal was essentially 7 courses, there is always a pasta/Risotto dish before the main which is always beautiful. I chose 5 courses on this occasion finishing with the Italian Classic Tiramisu. One of the best I have had in fact every dish was delicious. At this point I reflected upon my time on Armonia and feedback of old regarding MSC Food. On Armonia I though the food was Okay….but just okay and some people really criticise the quality, well if this is anything to go by they have improved it 10-fold.
After dinner we headed to the Aft Lounge as we had heard that there was a 70s themed party. We got there and the dancefloor was full. I was swiftly grabbed by one of the MSC entertainments team and shown to the dance floor. A few Dad dance moves later I headed to the bar and ordered a Mojito, I couldn’t quite believe how upbeat it was in this lounge it was really a lot of fun and I have to say top marks to the entertainment team.
After this there was only one place to go….Bed.
No no no – It was Club 33 time. Situated on deck 16 this is the venue for all of the night owls. Again none of my dance moves were documented.
Look out for the next chapter.