A Cruise on the MSC Cruise Ship Splendida

We Try a New Cruise Line

June 7, 2011

Last fall, November 2010, my wife and I took a seven day Mediterranean cruise aboard the Italian MSC Lines cruise ship Splendida.

Previously we had taken an Alaskan cruise and a Caribbean cruise on ships of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and had a fantastic experience both times. The November cruise was to be both our first with MSC Cruise Line and first Mediterranean cruise.

On our previous Alaskan and Caribbean cruises everyone boarded at the same port and departed when the ship returned to that port. On this cruise the ship took on and discharged passengers at different ports.

MSC Cruise Ship Splendida docked in Marseille, France
MSC Cruise Ship Splendida docked in Marseille, France | Source

Everyone enjoyed the same seven day trip and visited the same ports.

However, there was no mass boarding and exiting as when the ship returned to each port, those who had embarked from that port exited while the rest of us remained on board.

We could have begun our cruise from Rome, Genoa, Marseille or Barcelona.

While the departure and return dates for each were different the prices were the same.

We choose Barcelona, Spain as our starting point because airline fares at that time between the U.S. and Barcelona were considerably less expensive than for the other cities.

Majority of Passengers were From Europe

The Splendida has capacity for 3,900 passengers plus a crew of 1,313.

Like our previous cruises, our fellow passengers were from all parts of the world.  

However, while the majority of the passengers on our previous Alaskan cruise (which departed from Vancouver, British Columbia) and Caribbean cruise (which departed from Miami, Florida) were American and Canadian, the majority on this cruise were from Europe.

This particular cruise route is very popular with Europeans, especially families from Germany and southern Europe.  

The result is that public address announcements are made in 4 or 5 languages  with English being one of them but not necessarily the first.  

While we didn’t encounter any other Americans on the trip we did meet and get to know some great people from the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Splendida at dock in Marseille, France
The Splendida at dock in Marseille, France | Source

The Ship Visited a Different Mediterranean Port Each Day

We departed Barcelona on Monday November first and returned the following Monday November 8th.  

In between, the ship made stops at Tunis in Tunisia; Valletta on the island republic of Malta; Mesina in Sicily; Rome and Genoa in Italy and Marseille in France.

Each day we were in a different port and we took advantage of the opportunity to visit each of these different places.  

However,  we still had time to enjoy the ship which, like other cruise ships is basically a floating luxury resort.

Bed on our cabin on the Splendida
Bed on our cabin on the Splendida | Source
Our cabin on the MSC Cruise Lines ship Splendida
Our cabin on the MSC Cruise Lines ship Splendida | Source
Bathroom in our stateroom on the MSC Cruise ship Splendida.
Bathroom in our stateroom on the MSC Cruise ship Splendida. | Source

Staterooms are Compact but Comfortable

Our stateroom was like a room in any quality motel, just more compact.

Given limited space aboard ships, rooms tend to be smaller and more compact.

However, like all cruise ships, the Splendida offered a range of rooms sizes from which to choose. This included everything from staterooms like ours, or possibly even smaller, to full suites.

The smaller staterooms are found on the lower decks and the staterooms tend to increase in size as one moves to higher decks. Higher decks also have rooms with outside balconies.

Like any place else, the larger staterooms are more expensive than smaller ones. Those with balconies are more expensive than those without.

Room prices increase by deck so the higher the deck the higher the price. Outside rooms, which have a window and view of the ocean, are more expensive than interior rooms which have no window or view.

While the fare per person varies by stateroom size and location, that fee is basically the total cost of the cruise and includes most of the same on board amenities that are available to everyone else regardless of they type of stateroom they have.

Since my wife and I tend to use the stateroom mainly for sleeping and changing clothes, I usually pick an interior room on the fifth or sixth deck. Since the other amenities are the same, I can't see spending extra money for a room that we spend very little time in.

For this trip I reserved an interior room on the fifth deck. However, because it was the last cruise of the season on this route, the ship was not booked to capacity.

As a result we ended up with an outside room on the sixth deck when the cruise line decided to consolidate everyone on the fifth and sixth decks on the sixth deck to make it more efficient for the housekeeping staff.

Shower stall in bathroom in our stateroom on the cruise ship Splendida.
Shower stall in bathroom in our stateroom on the cruise ship Splendida. | Source
Dinner in the Villa Verde dining room on the cruise ship Splendida
Dinner in the Villa Verde dining room on the cruise ship Splendida | Source
L'Enoteca, the cozy little wine bar on the cruise ship Splendida.
L'Enoteca, the cozy little wine bar on the cruise ship Splendida. | Source
L'Olivio, the Mediterranean style restaurant on the cruise ship Splendida
L'Olivio, the Mediterranean style restaurant on the cruise ship Splendida | Source

Dining Aboard the Splendida

Like other cruise ships, meals were included in the price of our stateroom. Also, like other ships we were assigned a table in one of the ship's formal dining rooms which, in our case was the very elegant Villa Verde dining room. For dinner we were also assigned one of the two dinner time slots.

Breakfast and lunch are generally a little more informal in that seating is open and guests are free to come whenever they please during the two or three hour time slot for the meal.

Since we preferred the more informal Bora Bora cafeteria for breakfast and lunch (and we were frequently visiting ashore during lunch) I cannot comment on the breakfasts and lunches in the Villa Verde dining room. The all you could eat fare in the Bora Bora cafeteria, like the meals in the Villa Verde dining room was included as part of the cruise price as well.

While we usually entered the cafeteria via the entrance with the sign indicating it was the Bora Bora cafeteria, it is actually two cafeterias with one part known as the Pago Pago cafeteria. During breakfast and lunch they are basically one large dining area.

However, in the evening, in which we dined in the Villa Verde dining room and never visited the Bora Bora, I understand that the Pago Pago was closed and the Bora Bora becomes a pizza and kebab restaurant that charges for the food.

There are four other smaller restaurants in which meals can be purchased as well some other areas selling snacks and beverages including some small bars in lounges. The first, L'Olivio is a Mediterranean restaurant beautifully decorated with ceramic tiles. Lunch and dinner can be purchased and eaten in this restaurant.

L'Enoteca is cozy wine bar that also serves light dinners, while the Sports Bar is more casual offering beer and fast food lunches. Finally, there is the Santa Fe with its southwestern décor and Mexican style food currently popular in the North America.

While we never ate in any of these other restaurants we did enjoy occasionally sitting and enjoying the ambiance in the L'Olivio and L'Enoteca in the afternoon or late evening.

Finally there is a second main dining room, La Reggia, which was similar to Villa Verde in that it is these two in which most of the passengers eat dinner unless they care to purchase dinner in one of the other restaurants.

The food in these two dining rooms was excellent which was the main reason why we didn't bother to have dinner in any of the other restaurants.

Desert served in the Villa Verde dining room of the cruise ship Splendida
Desert served in the Villa Verde dining room of the cruise ship Splendida | Source
Computers in the library/business center of the cruise ship Splendida
Computers in the library/business center of the cruise ship Splendida | Source
Working on a new Hub for HubPages while cruising the Mediterranean on the MSC cruise ship Splendida
Working on a new Hub for HubPages while cruising the Mediterranean on the MSC cruise ship Splendida | Source
Relaxing in the Library of the cruise ship Splendida
Relaxing in the Library of the cruise ship Splendida | Source

Teaching an Online Class and Writing For HubPages While at Sea

While heading out to sea on a cruise ship is a great way to relax and get away from it all, passengers can still stay connected via the Internet and cell phones.

While both tend to be expensive, they are available on most cruise ships including the Splendida.

Like most other cruise ships I have sailed on, the Splendida had a nice little library/business center on board.

This is a nice quiet place where one can relax and read (or borrow a book to read elsewhere) or log into one of the computers in the library.

In order to access the computers or connect your own computer to the Internet you purchase access time.

Internet access can be purchased from the ship's customer service desk. It is sold in blocks with the smallest amount being five hours and the longest 60 hours.

When you purchase you are given a log in name and password to use to access the Internet from a computer in the library or your laptop.

The larger the block you buy the lower the price per hour. Of course, once you have purchased a block of time there are no refunds for unused time so, when purchasing you have to estimate how much time you need/want as well as consider the fact that Internet speeds at sea are very slow.

I normally consider a vacation to not only be a vacation from my regular job but other daily work as well and that includes the Internet which I use mainly for outside work which includes outside teaching and writing for HubPages as well as other personal business.

However, special projects at my main job prevented us from vacationing during the summer and we ended up delaying our vacation until November.

In addition to my regular job I also teach an online class on the side and this class was in session during my vacation.

As a result, I had to check in with the class each day. Since work had already been assigned and no tests or assignments due during the time I was away, all I basically had to do was check and respond to emails from the students.

Since I had the Internet access I also tried publishing a Hub while at sea one night. I was able to log into HubPages and type the content without any problem but the speed was so slow that I was unable to load any pictures and ended up having to wait until the end of the cruise when I was able to access the Internet from our hotel before I was able to upload the photos and publish the Hub.

People enjoying the indoor swimming pool area on the cruise ship Splendida
People enjoying the indoor swimming pool area on the cruise ship Splendida | Source

The Splendida's Other Amenities

Being a floating resort, the Splendida, like other modern cruise ships, has many other amenities, many of which can be enjoyed and used without extra charge.

These include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, play areas for children, sports facilities for adults and more.

The ship also has a large theater with live shows every evening.

One can easily spend an entire vacation without leaving the ship, by simply engaging in and enjoying the all of the on board amenities and activities.

Of course there are also the opportunities to visit new places by going ashore in the ports the ship visits on the cruise.

But that is a subject for another Hub.

One of the play areas for children on board the cruise ship Splendida
One of the play areas for children on board the cruise ship Splendida | Source
Stairway from fifth deck piano bar to the sixth deck on the Splendida.
Stairway from fifth deck piano bar to the sixth deck on the Splendida. | Source
Piano bar on deck 5 of the cruise ship Splendida
Piano bar on deck 5 of the cruise ship Splendida | Source
Relaxing on the deck of the MSC Splendida
Relaxing on the deck of the MSC Splendida | Source
Outdoor pool area on cruise ship Splendida.
Outdoor pool area on cruise ship Splendida. | Source
Shopping on board the Splendida
Shopping on board the Splendida | Source
Gaming machines in Casino aboard the MSC  cruise ship Splendida
Gaming machines in Casino aboard the MSC cruise ship Splendida | Source
Theater on board the cruise ship Splendida
Theater on board the cruise ship Splendida | Source
Safety is important - a life jacket drill on board the Splendida
Safety is important - a life jacket drill on board the Splendida | Source

More by this Author


Comments 23 comments

Chuck profile image

Chuck 18 months ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Taranwanderer - thanks for you nice comments. I hope you are able to find and take a cruise. It is a great way to travel.


Taranwanderer profile image

Taranwanderer 19 months ago

Wow! This is really neat - it strengthens my resolve to plan a cruise ship trip sometime in the near future. The Mediterranean looks to be the perfect spot, too - you did a great job taking pictures for everyone to see. Perhaps you can check out my own little hub assessing cruise ship cabins when (if) time permits - thanks in advance. http://hubpages.com/travel/7-Amazing-Cruise-Ship-C...


sam 4 years ago

i cant wait to get on the ship this zear it looks so fun


Trevor 4 years ago

Many, many thanks Chuck I am going on the Splendida in 2 weeks time and I'm now really looking forward to it. The information you have passed on is really useful so thanks for your time in putting it down for us. I'm an internet junky too so was hoping to use Skype onboard but given the slow speeds I guess I shall forget that idea until I can get to a Cyber Cafe ashore.

P.S. Your wife looks charming you are a very lucky man ;)


shantyjoshan profile image

shantyjoshan 5 years ago from Singapore

i really love this hub.. thanks for sharing chuck.. I am really looking forward to have this amazing experience one day..


Sailor 5 years ago

You have some fantastic pictures! We are planning our next cruise with Norwegian Dawn.


primpo profile image

primpo 5 years ago from Ocean County New Jersey

wow!! perfect.. that ship is awesome!! someday I will go on one just like it.. that gives me a great idea.. thanks.. lol


Contractor Accountants 5 years ago

wow beautyfull image


Exlunlimit 5 years ago

Your hub was fantastic, so thorough. I was a travel agent for over 25 years and I would love to be a travel writer. You already are.


Web World Watcher profile image

Web World Watcher 5 years ago

Sounds like a great time. i took a cruise to the Galapagos islands once...was quite an experience.


Cathy I profile image

Cathy I 5 years ago from New York

Thanks for some really useful information, as I have been thinking of doing a European cruise. I loved the photos.


Pam Pounds profile image

Pam Pounds 5 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

I love cruising, and yours sounds wonderful. As I always do, I will research and decide accordingly. Very favorably, tho' I might add. Thank you so much.


SUSANJK profile image

SUSANJK 5 years ago from Florida

What a great idea. Cruising is my favorite kind of vacation. I am goingto look into this. Thanks for the info.


perfectperception profile image

perfectperception 5 years ago from USA

Inspiring. I'm looking for the perfect cruise and this may just be it!


A C Witschorik 5 years ago

Great Hub, I'm going to have to take a cruise


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

Looks fabulous. Now we all want to write our hubs from there.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 5 years ago

Dearest Chuck,

What a lovely Hub! Yes, I immediately thought while reading, "Chuck and his wife should get into travel writing!" Your wife is a stunning model! She looked gorgeous in each and every photo ~ even the safety drill! Together you both look like models!

I found your travel writing style to be clear, concise, factual and not too frilly! Other than a couple of blurry photos at the end (that still showed enough detail for this Hub) your photos were wonderful!

I look forward to more Hubs on the ports of call you made on this trip!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!


hubbcapp profile image

hubbcapp 5 years ago

Thanks for the great hub. I have never been on a cruise ship, but have seen many pictures and heard lots of stories. It never interested me before, but you may have changed my mind. Someday I may take a trip on the splenda thanks to your hub and pictures you shared. Glad you had a great time and enjoyed your vacation dispite having to work some, checking emails and class ongoing.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Good morning Chuck. I see you had a great trip. I actually like the idea of embarking and disembarking at different port rather than everyone at the same time. The ship is beautiful and I like the photos too. The last two are a bit fuzzy though.

Great job Chuck.


rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

Neat write up, loved the pictures. I have always wanted to go on a cruise. I love riding on boats its so much fun.

rorshak sobchak


Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

PiaC - thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub. As to the classes, I was the the teacher, not the student. As it was an online class I was able to teach the class from the ship.

I did, however, take an excellent, 6 week, non-credit course online last December between the Fall and Spring class that I teach. The course was through an outfit called ed2go.com and it was on travel writing for magazines and newspapers.

I had plans to branch into this area of writing but, shortly after the class ended Google unleashed their massive algorithm change and I have been using every spare moment since fixing previously published Hubs and trying to figure out how to get both my old and new Hubs picked up by their search engine again. I am making progress but even with the help of HubPages new ad program my total monthly income from online writing is still down by over 50%.

Thanks again for commenting and nice to hear from you again.

Also- your Podcast earlier this week on "The Importance of Quality Writing" http://blog.hubpages.com/2011/06/quality-writing/ was great. I learned some good tips. Thanks.


PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

Thanks so much Chuck, for this great Hub! I wonder if you might have taken any sorts of classes or courses that you would otherwise not have taken on land? I've heard of cruise ships offering extra services and courses and I've always wondered if anyone is interested in taking these sorts of courses/services while they are on a cruise?


Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 5 years ago from Illinois

Excellent and you did a wonderful job during your cruise last year. I don't know how you made time to write. I think I might get on a cruise ship again, I hope that they are safe.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working