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MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby Skier Pete » 22 Oct 2016 00:13

MSC Splendida repositioning cruise Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016


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Choice of itinerary

The choice was made simply because we had the spare time to fill and this cruise was available.



The Ship


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Gross tonnage........................137.936 tons
Number of passengers..............4.363
Crew members.......................About 1.370
Number of Cabins...................1.637, incl. 43 for guests with disabilities or reduced mobility
Length / Beam / Height............333,30 m / 37,92 m post panamax / 66,80 m
Decks..................................18, incl. 14 for guests
Maximum speed......................22,99 knots
Average speed.......................18 knots
Environmental technology.........AW T-Advanced Water Treatment, Energy Saving & Monitoring System, Clean Ship 2



Choice of cabin


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The cabin
(168 sq. ft.; not including the bathroom)


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Bathroom
(24 sq. ft.)

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We booked the cruise not long before the sailing date and the cruise was only part of a longer cruise, sailing three days earlier than our embarkation, from Hamburg. The cruise had been on sale for a long time on the German market before the few remaining cabins were released in UK. Consequently the Yacht club and Aurea suites were fully sold out.
I chose to ask for one of the remaining "Fantastica" balcony cabins stating I preferred a starboard cabin so as to make the most of any sun on the sea day from Gibraltar to Barcelona,
Unfortunately there were only connected cabins available so I compromised the sun on the balcony in favour of an unconnected cabin on the port side (the last one available on the ship)

The cabin had two full height/width wardrobes and a third full height one containing six drawers and two shelves, one for the safe and one for the pool towels.
There was also a vanity unit, a two man sofa and a coffee table. The storage was completed with two, two-drawer bedside tables.

The balcony was 42 q. ft.


Pre-cruise arrangements


As this was a repo where we left Southampton and returned to Gatwick we opted for the train to Southampton for embarkation. It involved three trains home to Cardiff; Cardiff to Reading; Reading to Southampton.

Per person
Home to Cardiff £4.24
Cardiff to Reading £15
Reading To Southampton £13.60 (including an upgrade to 1st Class. Well it was such a little amount to upgrade I couldn't resist it.)

All very reasonable when you consider that a coach from Gatwick to home would be £51.50.

We built in a lot of spare time into the journey to allow for the extra time required for the Cardiff to Reading journey as the Severn Tunnel was closed.

So we had an early start from home catching our first train at 07:22 finally arriving in Southampton at 13:17. Whilst on the final train we met 1fifthavenue and partner with whom we shared a taxi to the ship, A very nice couple who I bumped into on one or two occasions whilst on the ship.

Embarkation
Our cases were quickly taken by the porters as we got out of the taxi and off to check-in.
MSC have changed the way they do things now. You check-in on line, print off the check-in document and hand that along with your passport to the check-in desk person. I still used my priority check-in privilege although it didn't really make much difference as it only meant jumping a queue of about 3 couples. It took less than 1 minute to complete those formalities. Off to have your hand baggage x-rayed, then board ship where they examine your ,now stamped, check-in document at the top of the gangway.
There was no queuing as only about 300 guests boarded at Southampton, they remainder ~3100 had boarded at Hamburg and Le Havre.
Next stop was in the guest reception area where I was greeted very enthusiastically by Arvind with whom we had made good friends on our recent Caribbean and trans-Atlantic crossing. he told me he was delighted to see our names on the guest list. He had originally been destined for MSC Opera in the Caribbean but was given an emergency transfer to Splendida and had only boarded the ship two weeks earlier.

I knew that if we had any problems or niggles that they would be quickly sorted fort us.
After a short chat with Arvind we went straight up to our room, even though we were told they wouldn't be ready until 14:00, we found our room ready with the door held slightly open by the latch mechanism. We went in and saw that the daily program, our chocolate coated strawberries (but not the Prosecco), information about the muster drill, and our cruise cards were on the bed waiting for us. I find it strange that the cards are left in an unlocked cabin, especially as they have personal information printed on them and can be used immediately without having to activate them first.
The first thing we did, after sampling some of the strawberries, was to return to the guest reception desk where Arvind's wife Rebecca also greeted us, even more enthusiastically than Arvind.
With her help we activated our cards, each having a separate account. We had individual accounts to spread the points earned for the loyalty club between us and not have them all put on one member's account. I've been told that a new top level is in the offing and I wanted us to both get to 20,000 points, (at present the top level is 10,000 points with other levels at 4,200, 2,200 and 100, so I'm hoping that the trend to approximately double the points for each new level holds and I'll automatically be on any new top tier).



Dining

The buffet

Just after boarding we went for some lunch in the buffet which offered a wide range of choices. We opted for their freshly made pizza which is excellent.
We used the buffet for breakfasts and some lunches, always finding somewhere to sit without too much trouble. The standard of the breakfasts was very good, the same could not be said of the lunchtime menus, which left something to be desired.
The late evening offerings were pizza, or, "make your own" sandwiches, wraps and paninis, which were more than adequate for a fill up when your excursion was so late returning that you missed dinner, as happened to us on one occasion.


The MDR
We were seated at a table for eight, with two other British couples and a mother and daughter from Croatia, both of whom spoke good English.
All were good company but we didn't quite have the same rapport as we had had on other cruises.
The food was of a variable standard, some very good but the occasional dire offering. MSC seems to be going down hill a bit on the food front.
The waiter was efficient but again wasn't as friendly as on our previous cruises. The two exceptions were the assistant maître D', who knew us from our last cruise and greeted us warmly, and a head waiter we knew from Sinfonia.
The assistant Maître D' (AMD) helped sort out a problem, I caused, in a very kind manner. I had inadvertently given a glass of Prosecco to one of the others whom I had wrongly assumed was on a drinks package and as a result she received a bill for it. I said I would get it sorted by virtue of having a Black Card and knowing the AMD. I went to his station and asked if he would waive the bill as it was a mistake by me and I was a black Card holder. He immediately went to the waiter and had the bill voided. All power to the Black card and my making the effort to befriend the right members of staff. My dining companions were very impressed that I'd pulled it off and promptly called me Mr. Black card for the last two nights.


The Speciality Dining"

We were lucky enough to get given two meals for two , from a limited menu, as Black Card Holders, in the speciality diner, the TEX MEX.
We used these benefits to have relaxed lunches on our two sea days. The choice was from five main dishes and only one dessert. our choice was the New York strip steak. The steak was 350g (12 oz) and beautifully cooked and served with asparagus , mushrooms and a choice of potatoes or chunky chips.
It was an excellent meal which we both had on each occasion.

If only the MDR could serve meals of a similar standard !!




Entertainment



The entrainment in the theatre was the usual mix of the 14 strong resident dancers and singers with the gymnastic, acrobatic and contortionist artists.
There was a show every night

night 1) ITALIA IN MUSICA. We missed this show as we were tired after an early start and a long day's travel.

night 2) COMMEDIA , Dante's Inferno. A song and dance show with a large element of acrobatics gymnastics etc. What it had to do with Dante's Inferno, other than lots of projected red flames, Ii don't know. A mediocre offering by recent MSC shows I've seen.

night 3) WEST SIDE STORY. Only singers and dancers performing excerpts from the Broadway show. Quite entertaining.

night 4) L' AMOUR A show we'd seen before on Orchestra so we gave it a miss. The show we saw was classical singers singing unknown, to us at least, Italian love songs.

night 5) SPACE ODESSEY This again was mostly the singers and dancers, wearing brightly coloured sci-fi fantasy costumes and that was the only saving grace for a mediocre show

night 6) NATURE The singers and dancers, dressed as flora and fauna, with major parts of the show performed by the acrobats etc. This show ended with the traditional MSC end of cruise display of UV activated letters spelling put GOOD BYE in many languages followed by the singing of "Time to Say Goodbye"

night 7) BEST OF SHOW As it says on the tin, the Cruise director's choice of segments from all the earlier shows.

All in All the theatre shows were moderately entertaining but fell well short of the standard I've seen on MSC ships on other recent cruises


other entertainment


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The F1 simulator




As usual there was live music in most of the bars and lounges as well as the atrium and the acts I saw were very good and ranged from classical to pop.

There was a "crossing the line ceremony" for crossing from the Atlantic to the Med. which is stretching the concept a bit far in my opinion.

The other major entertainment for me was the F1 simulator, 4D cinema and the 10 pin bowling.
Each was priced at €6 per go, expensive, until you know about the €35 entertainment package which allows as many goes as you want for all occupants of the cabin. BARGAIN

There were enrichment activities held during the mornings' and afternoons but I didn't try any. i'm not into paper flowers or paper rabbit making myself.




DAY ONE; EMBARKATION
I've covered most of this with embarkation and shows. other than that we spent some time catching up with Arvind and his wife Rebecca and another reception girl, Delissa, who was also on Orchestra with us.


DAY TWO; CROSSING BoB


At sea, crossing the Bay of Biscay which was benign, only a force 3 to 4 wind with a very slight swell. fortunately an easy day in the bay .

I took the opportunity of driving the F1 sim , there was only a small queue, probably because it was very difficult to find where the simulator is situated. We also played 10 pin bowling when you could get a free lane. There were a few teenagers who had the entertainment package and spent a lot of time playing. They were very good a giving up a lane when others wanted a turn.

This was also the first of the Gala (formal) nights, and there was the, (now traditional on MSC at least), Tiramisu parade. This was something our fellow table mates hadn't seen before. They were also surprised when I said that it was the first of two Gala nights and that the next one would have the "Baked Alaska" parade.



DAY THREE La CORUNA


A port that was new to us. Our research before our cruise suggested that the main attraction was the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, a place we had visited before when calling at Vigo on a previous MSC cruise on Opera. So we decided to take a tour of the sites of La Cotuna of which the oldest working lighthouse in the world was their star attraction. The original lighthouse was built by the Romans in the 1st century AD and still has the brickwork markings of the spiral ramp thar was used by mules carrying wood and oil as fuel for the light.


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you can make out the spiral of bricks going up the tower



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Bedford admiring the gold helmet/crown in the museum in the old fort



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An ancient , restored "cruise ship"



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The main Street with its famous iron window frames



The finale to the stay in port was the sight of 5 English students, who had forgotten to put their watches forward, running into the docks shouting "Wait for us" as the ship pulled away.

I'm happy to report they caught a train to Lisbon and re-embarked the next day.



DAY FOUR LISBON


We chose to do the ships tour which was a late addition to the list of tours. It was simply listed as a tour of a winery with a wine tasting included. The actual excursion was a two hour tour from the north bank of the river to the south bank via the Vasco da Gama bridge, 17 km long!!!, to the south bank and on to the winery. The return was via the statue of Christ the Redeemer and the April 25th bridge.

The fun part of the coach ride was the driver following his sat nav down a long , narrow and windy road. managing to put several big scrapes down the sides and grounding the bus twice.

The actual winery tour was interesting and the wine tasting of two glasses of dessert wines was very well received.

We eventually got back at 19:30 so had missed dinner, and made use of the pizza station in the near desserted buffet.


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The start of Vasco da Gama bridge



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Barrels of wine, each one holds 22,800 litres (over 22.5 tonnes of wine)



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Lisbon's Christ the Redeemer



DAY FIVE GIBRALTAR


We spent the morning cruising through the straights and we saw four or five schools of dolphins playing in the bow wave as it moved along the side of the ship.
Docking was at 15:00, we walked off the ship and joined with six others and took a minibus tour to see St Michael's cave, the top of the rock, avec monkeys, and the siege tunnels.


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The Rock



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Tailless Macaques sometimes wrongly called Barbary Apes



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A 64-pounder




DAY SIX AT SEA


Another day relaxing watching dolphins at play and making good use of the F1 simulator. By now I could go round the Monza track without running off at any corner, but I still got lapped by the other cars. Left foot braking is weird.



DAY SEVEN BARCELONA


A port we've visited many times, s,o as we were limited to only a maximum of 5 hours ashore we decided to get off late-ish, around 09:15, catch the port shuttle (€4 return) and go to the aquarium (opens at 10:00). After a couple of hours there it was back to the ship for lunch then early sail away ,14:00. Top of Andie's priorities was packing before the ship moved, so we packed quickly and were just about finished in time for sail away.



DAY EIGHT DISEMBARKATION


This was a time to forget, utter chaos, never have I had such a chaotic disembarkation as this one. We had opted for an MSC transfer as it was only €34 as compared to the taxi last time €40 including tip. As a result we were in the first group, (of 18 groups) due to be disembarked and so were in the first group to be in theatre, at 08:45. The next group, due 10 minutes later, arrived , and the next, by now there wasn't even standing room. The entrance was shut to prevent any more guests pushing their way in. Eventually at around 10:00 the first group were led off the ship and once ashore normality reigned and the rest of the journey home was easy.

Apologies for the scarcity of photos but we took the conscientious decision not to take many this time but just relax and enjoy the cruise.
Skiing comes 1st; Cruising a close 2nd

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Re: MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby khkate » 22 Oct 2016 09:22

Thanks for a great review Pete. Your photos of La Coruna brought back a few memories - we did that tour in 2013, but in pouring rain. So, will you be adding F1 racing to your many talents, I wonder?
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MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby adogap » 22 Oct 2016 10:41

Interesting review and great photos, thank you Pete. I had decided after reading a review from jimmytheone that we would visit the other side of River Tagus next June. Statue of Christ the King looks even more impressive close up.
Tiramisu is one of my favourite puds. I am happy that there is a parade in honour of it :clap:

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Re: MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby tomvet » 22 Oct 2016 11:13

Thanks for interesting review
Last edited by tomvet on 22 Oct 2016 22:36, edited 1 time in total.
October 19 - A-ROSA Luna - Lyon- Viviers - Arles - Avignon - Vienne - Lyon
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MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby bobbyoscar » 22 Oct 2016 11:54

Thanks for posting such a comprehensive review and love the photos, too.
Cruises booked:
June 2020 Celebrity Silhouette
- Bergen - Geiranger - Flam - Stavanger CANX
Sept 2020 Celebrity Silhouette - Madeira - Tenerife - Las Palmas - Lisbon- Vigo CANX
May 2021 Celebrity Silhouette - ST. PETER PORT - CORK (COBH) - WATERFORD(DUNMORE E) - DUBLIN - GLASGOW (GREENOCK) - AKUREYRI - REYKJAVIK - BELFAST
Aug 2021 Celebrity Silhouette GIBRALTAR – CARTAGENA – BARCELONA – VALENCIA – CADIZ - LISBON
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MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby Mungo » 22 Oct 2016 12:25

Thanks for sharing! :thumbup:
Iona July 2020
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MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby Dave » 22 Oct 2016 14:34

Many thanks for taking the time and making the effort to post a great review Pete. :thumbup:

I found the bit about La Coruña particularly useful because we'll be calling there very soon and we hadn't planned anything other than a stroll. Now we'll definitely make a point of visiting the lighthouse. :D
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Re: MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby Skier Pete » 22 Oct 2016 18:35

tomvet wrote:24535853

QUE?
Skiing comes 1st; Cruising a close 2nd

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MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby Skier Pete » 22 Oct 2016 20:38

Dave wrote:Many thanks for taking the time and making the effort to post a great review Pete. :thumbup:

I found the bit about La Coruña particularly useful because we'll be calling there very soon and we hadn't planned anything other than a stroll. Now we'll definitely make a point of visiting the lighthouse. :D

It is not too far to walk
The lighthouse is in the red circle at the top

see map




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Re: MSC Splendida Southampton to Genoa Oct 2016

Postby tomvet » 22 Oct 2016 22:37

Skier Pete wrote:
tomvet wrote:24535853

QUE?


Needed to take down a ref number and no access to pen and paper. I had this open at the time so wrote it here! Forgot to edit! :oops: :oops: :oops:
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