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A long review for a short cruise (Splendida)

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    A long review for a short cruise (Splendida)

    Thank you for all your kind comments on our previous thread about our time onboard MSC Splendida.


    As we’ve both already written quite a bit I didn’t want to go on about too much more, or to repeat what’s already been said, but instead to take the opportunity to elaborate on some of our earlier points and share some pictures we hope you’ll find interesting.


    We were met by Katie of cruise.co.uk at Hamburg airport who provided us with these lanyards and name badges which were very handy to help us all identify each other… I’ll be keeping mine to use for work as all my colleagues know how much I love cruising, and it’s possibly a good advert for our agent of choice!





    Lunch was taken in the buffet, we usually always go to the MDR for lunch, so this made a change and was a bit more of an eye-opener. We were greeted by this lovely looking cake and fruit creation:





    The choice in the buffet was varied, from a roast beef joint on the carvery, vegetables, salads, potatoes, burgers and hot dogs, fries, pizza, breads and meat. Andy and I had a couple of slices of pizza, some fries and a salad. The pizzas were lovely and soft, on a thin crust, not overloaded with topping but executed to a high standard, which you’d expect from an Italian cruise line.


    We had a look at the desserts, but knowing that we would be eating dinner late we didn’t choose anything from the buffet, heading instead to the piazza later in the afternoon for one of the beautiful cakes on offer there (which are chargeable and priced individually)


    I had a beautiful chocolate cake and Andy had a selection of small cakes - they were absolutely divine!! The chocolate cake was actually incredibly light with an airy sponge and a mousse like filling - perhaps my photo doesn’t do it justice, but we met with some of our fellow cruisers the next day and gave our recommendations.


    That evening we dined in the TexMex, which if I’m honest isn’t really to my taste, we don’t eat much food of this type at home, maybe fajitas once a month but that’s about the extent of it. As we all often say on this forum, food is subjective, so although we didn’t enjoy it as much as we enjoy the MDR, the food was nicely cooked and the portion sizes were generous. Andy and I shared a table with Connie and Jodie from Cruise and had a great evening filled with much laughter! The blushing margarita drink we had was very tasty, and very alcoholic! The salt on the rim of the glass had the desired effect of making me pull some very funny faces when I took a sip haha.


    The rest of the night was spent having a few glasses of champagne and re-acquating ourselves with the crew who we knew from previous cruises!


    Monday morning was a fairly early wake up so that we could join our fellow group on the tour of the ship. This is something we’ve often thought about doing, so it was a really lovely ‘treat’ for us. Many years ago I started training as a chef, so I was very interested to see the kitchens and bakery, they were spotlessly clean as you’d expect and the hygiene was second to none, with the butchery area being ‘behind bars’ like a prison cell. Having us guests wear the overalls, hairnets and mouth covers just goes to show how seriously hygiene is taken in this area.


    We had a bit of a chill out day, again sampling many of the drinks available on the premium Allegrissimo package which we’d upgraded to. We can highly recommend the Côtes de Provence rosé available in the Le Enoteca wine bar. This bar also serves tapas in the evenings. The standard Allegrissimo package tends to only include Heineken draught lager, but in this bar you can also have Murphy’s, Amstel, New Castle Brown and John Smith’s on draught - handy tup for anyone wanting to cruise with MSC. On Lirica-class the same is true in the English Pub at the front of the ship.


    During the day, we were also ‘guests’ at a wedding that took place in the atrium surrounded by the glittering staircase. A Russian couple had the ceremony onboard. One of the Ukrainian staff saw I was listening to the wedding service, and we managed to have a small conversation in Russian later on, which I’d not practiced since I was at school.


    The atrium is such a wonderful area and I can’t imagine how romantic it must have felt for Aleksey and Elena. She looked absolutely beautiful in her gown… I might be a big softy but it brought a tear to my eye. Unfortunately our best friend suffers sea-sickness and with Andy’s parents only cruising Cunard it’s not an option for us!





    The evening’s theatre production was inspired by Coney Island so was largely based around circus acts, acrobats and dancing. The finale was quite special and this picture was taken from the very back of the theatre, which has 1604 seats. As you can see no obstruction to the view!





    A cognac and an amaretto were the perfect drink for us - be warned though, the measures aren’t exactly small and when the crew get to know you like a drink they’re not afraid to do what they call a “double double” - hic!!


    The 7 course dinner in the MDR for the gala night was exactly what we are used to from the previous cruises, the same menu and service. Andy really enjoyed the lobster bisque! I won’t repeat our previous comments on the gala dinner as already covered this.


    Our final on Tuesday night was taken in L’Olivo, the Yacht Club restaurant. The food was superb. The beef tartare starter was really flavoursome, with tender beef and a quail egg. We sat with Steve from MSC and Phil - we had a great chat over dinner.


    My main course was probably one of the best fillet steaks I have ever had. As we also travel to Paris regularly I’m used to some of the best food courtesy of a restaurant we know in Le Marais. I like my steak blue, which can mean that it’s difficult to get right, however this really was just how I like it, perfectly seasoned and tender; so easy to cut and chew.


    The rest of the night was spent with our fellow cruisers and the staff from cruise.co.uk. In the disco we met with Antonio, the CEO of MSC UK - he wanted to ask how we had found the cruise. At that point he didn’t know we were such avid MSC cruisers. When we told him we brought a tear to his eyes - a tear of joy may I add. Indeed he said hearing feedback like that makes it all worthwhile.


    I didn’t get to sleep until 4am, to be awake at 7am to get ready to disembark in Southampton. We were aware that a full border check would be done. As our train home to Birmingham wasn’t until 11:45 we decided to hang around the ship and let the queue die down. As so many people were going on excursions to London, Bath, Winchester etc the queue was very long, so MSC could only get people off the ship as quickly as the UKBA could check passports. Perhaps the full-check was due to the number of Russians and Chinese onboard? We’ve never experienced this before but then again we’ve never cruised back to Southampton.


    We sat in the piazza with a couple of glasses of champagne to have ‘one for the road’ and once the queues had gone were straight off the ship.



    #2
    Lovely little review and some nice photos too Thanks!

    Those cakes look delicious, so I'll definitely have to give them a try. I'm still not sure whether to use some of our OBC for a premium drinks package. I suspect we'll spend a lot of time in YC, but I want to spend some time in all of these other venues too so I wonder if we'd take advantage. Probably best to just PAYG in our case, but I'm so used to having the flexibility and convenience of a premium drinks package that it'll be strange to have to sign for every drink!

    Blue steak! A man after my own heart! And steak tartare is just the best - I'll be looking out for that on board.

    I must say the theatre looks very well designed in terms of view. Other photos seem to show a good rake affording decent views to everyone. I've never normally had much issue in a theatre mind you, but it's good to know they've thought about it. Do they have little tables for drinks anywhere in the theatre? I saw this on Celebrity Infinity and I've no idea why more cruise ships don't do it - it makes so much sense!

    I looks like you all had a wonderful time. Hopefully I'll meet you and Andy on board some time in the future - I reckon we'd have a right laugh
    Duncan S

    See my blog!

    Comment


      #3
      You've certainly convinced me to give them a try. Thank you for sharing your trip, I thoroughly enjoyed it ........................Carol

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Duncan,
        The photo of the theatre was from the back of the upper floor which you get in to on deck 7; I think this really shows just how great the theatre is - there are a few lounge chairs with tables in this part. It also means that should you not enjoy the show then it's easy to leave without annoying others.... I think we've all seen shows that weren't so good hey?

        With the OBC you've got I think you'd be more than ok paying as you go, or what is it you normally drink? If it's cocktails maybe get a book of vouchers? The wines by the bottle are very reasonable, I think the Provence was about €25 per bottle?

        Maybe have a think about what else you will spend your obc on?

        Tim

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by 1fifthavenue, birmingham View Post
          Hi Duncan,
          The photo of the theatre was from the back of the upper floor which you get in to on deck 7; I think this really shows just how great the theatre is - there are a few lounge chairs with tables in this part. It also means that should you not enjoy the show then it's easy to leave without annoying others.... I think we've all seen shows that weren't so good hey?

          With the OBC you've got I think you'd be more than ok paying as you go, or what is it you normally drink? If it's cocktails maybe get a book of vouchers? The wines by the bottle are very reasonable, I think the Provence was about €25 per bottle?

          Maybe have a think about what else you will spend your obc on?

          Tim
          I like trying different cocktails. I like nice wine with dinner, and dessert wine etc. but that should be included in Yacht Club anyway, and I doubt we'll dine outside of YC.

          Other than that I like nice intersting beers / craft beers, as well as whisky - single malt scotch. No idea what this is like on board. Probably a drinks package wont be too necessary and we'll PAYG!

          I've definitely seen shows I wish I could escape from, though I have a tendancy (much to Alex's distress) to sit fairly near the front (normally at the end of row 5ish). That said, I'm not too keen on dance performances and acrobatics etc. which I know MSC do a lot of due to them not being reliant on language. Musical revues can be good fun though, so I'll be on the lookout for them.

          Based on your photos, I might end up spending all £600 on cakes and milkshakes!
          Duncan S

          See my blog!

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks Andy, I really enjoyed reading your review and seeing the photos. Having only done one MSC cruise on Opera, we found the food to be bland and not very interesting. However, your account of the food on Splendida leads me to believe that either we were unlucky or that MSC have upped their game on the catering front.

            Maybe we should consider giving MSC another try.
            Jill

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Smith7 View Post
              Thanks Andy, I really enjoyed reading your review and seeing the photos. Having only done one MSC cruise on Opera, we found the food to be bland and not very interesting. However, your account of the food on Splendida leads me to believe that either we were unlucky or that MSC have upped their game on the catering front.

              Maybe we should consider giving MSC another try.
              Aw thanks Jill! The food can be a mixed bag, there have been dishes before that we've found to be lacking on the spice front - for example one lunch over summer there was a thai curry which lacked any chilli - I think they play it safe to feed the majority?

              At lunch times there is always an 'ethnic' corner which tends to be Chinese or Indian dishes

              Tim

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks. Can I ask how the ship compared to previous Msc cruises you had been on?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by dst87, Falkirk View Post
                  I like trying different cocktails. I like nice wine with dinner, and dessert wine etc. but that should be included in Yacht Club anyway, and I doubt we'll dine outside of YC.

                  Other than that I like nice intersting beers / craft beers, as well as whisky - single malt scotch. No idea what this is like on board. Probably a drinks package wont be too necessary and we'll PAYG!

                  I've definitely seen shows I wish I could escape from, though I have a tendancy (much to Alex's distress) to sit fairly near the front (normally at the end of row 5ish). That said, I'm not too keen on dance performances and acrobatics etc. which I know MSC do a lot of due to them not being reliant on language. Musical revues can be good fun though, so I'll be on the lookout for them.

                  Based on your photos, I might end up spending all £600 on cakes and milkshakes!
                  Morning Duncan

                  With the premium drinks package, literally everything apart from Johnnie Walker Blue Label, litres of raki and wine by the bottle is included. Andy is quite fond of his whiskies and there is a good selection, ranging from your average supermarket brands to brands like Macallan Gold and Tullibardine...

                  In terms of craft beers there's a selection of German and Belgian beers, for example Affligem Blond, Franziskaner and a couple of wheat beers.

                  Have you checked the excursion programme for your cruise? maybe a drinks package and excursions would be a good way to go?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Andy & Tim thanks for your interesting review,it was great to meet you,did you get your bottle of champers for the journey back?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Morning Duncan
                      One thing to remember..there is no bar service in the theatre, at least there wasn't on Preziosa..if you want a drink get it before you enter.
                      Having sat through Asterix vs Cleopatra??? without one I was straight to the bar afterwards.

                      Regards
                      Garfield

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by 1fifthavenue, birmingham View Post
                        Aw thanks Jill! The food can be a mixed bag, there have been dishes before that we've found to be lacking on the spice front - for example one lunch over summer there was a thai curry which lacked any chilli - I think they play it safe to feed the majority?

                        At lunch times there is always an 'ethnic' corner which tends to be Chinese or Indian dishes

                        Tim
                        Sorry Tim for calling you Andy.

                        I definitely like the idea of the 'ethnic' corner as we both love Indian and Chinese food. Methinks we will have to give Splendida a try.
                        Jill

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by 1fifthavenue, birmingham View Post
                          Morning Duncan

                          With the premium drinks package, literally everything apart from Johnnie Walker Blue Label, litres of raki and wine by the bottle is included. Andy is quite fond of his whiskies and there is a good selection, ranging from your average supermarket brands to brands like Macallan Gold and Tullibardine...

                          In terms of craft beers there's a selection of German and Belgian beers, for example Affligem Blond, Franziskaner and a couple of wheat beers.

                          Have you checked the excursion programme for your cruise? maybe a drinks package and excursions would be a good way to go?
                          I'll consider it once on board... I suspect we'll be cheaper to just PAYG, given that all of our drinks at dinner and in the YC will be included. We'll see! Sounds good about the selection, though of course I probably will have to visit all the different bars to find it. We shall see...

                          I have quite the range of whiskys from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society - cask strength and very delicious.

                          I don't think we'll need an excursion. In Amsterdam we'll just be walking right into the city and exploring on foot. In Bruges we've got a taxi booked with some folk from Cruise Critic, and in Hamburg we have our own plans anyway. We don't typically like taking excursions (though we have once or twice) but the only port left is Le Havre and I think we want to relax on the ship.

                          That said, all of the photos of Honfleur are making me want to get an excursion to there... We shall see!
                          Duncan S

                          See my blog!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Garfield, Waterlooville View Post
                            Morning Duncan
                            One thing to remember..there is no bar service in the theatre, at least there wasn't on Preziosa..if you want a drink get it before you enter.
                            Having sat through Asterix vs Cleopatra??? without one I was straight to the bar afterwards.

                            Regards
                            Garfield
                            I had heard that. It's a bit strange, but as long as we know in advance we can bring our own drink from the bar. How barbaric!

                            At least it avoids the problem with trying to flag down a waiter in the theatre, a task which I can find endlessly frustrating when they're not up to scratch!
                            Duncan S

                            See my blog!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Hawkinsmg View Post
                              Thanks. Can I ask how the ship compared to previous Msc cruises you had been on?
                              Morning!

                              Fantasia class ships are the newest in the fleet at the moment, until Meraviglia and Seaside launch. We've sailed on Lirica class ships which are smaller and older. The cabins on Lirica class are starting to feel a bit tired but are still beautifully clean. The public areas on Lirica class are also beautifully kept but starting to show their age in terms of furnishings looking dated if that makes sense?

                              Fantasia class offer a much bigger selection of bars and entertainment as the ships are so much bigger.

                              We've not yet sailed on a Musica class, so perhaps we will need to give one a go next year! One of my friends was on one over Christmas and he loved it. From his pictures it looked lovely, and from what I've seen on the deck plans it looks a cross between Lirica and Fantasia.

                              Comment


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