I had the pleasure of boarding the MSC Splendida while it was docked in Dublin. So did it live up to the hype and what is it like inside? Read my MSC Splendida review and find out!
There is no doubt it was fantastic for Ireland attracting a ship of this magnitude to our shores, in fact it made history as the largest ship ever to enter Dublin Port. For most of us we imagined enjoying a weeks holiday on board but it was also great for Dublin and Cobh with over 3000 passengers disembarking and spending money in our cities. There is more good news because the MSC Splendida is one of eighty three other ships who are due to dock in Dublin Port this year.
So what’s it really like?
I have sold Splendida to clients many times and it’s always so reasonably priced. I really thought it would be like a ‘mainstream’ cruise ship. Boy, was I wrong! The first thing that struck me was that there was eighteen floors or decks – how massive is that! She can carry over 5000 passengers and crew, weighs 140,000 tonnes, her max speed is 21 knots and she cost almost €500 million to build. It is really hard to grasp the enormity of such a massive ship unless you are on board, it literally is a floating hotel.
Like most cruise ships the MSC Splendida has fantastic facilities on board. What I did notice is that there was a great sense of space. Despite the fact that it can accommodate five thousand people I got the impression that it wouldn’t feel crowded, there is so much space and so many different parts to the ship, you could even get lost! It is also very lavishly designed, with plenty of ‘bling’. There are Swarovski crystal staircases with each step valued at a whopping €30,000 as well as very high quality fabrics and furnishings throughout. There are numerous bars, restaurants, lounges and relaxing areas. The Aurea Spa is fantastic and could rival any of the top spas you would find in any luxury hotel worldwide. They have excellent facilities for children with a Formula 1 simulator, games rooms not to mention the four different swimming pools. There is a sports bar, disco, a casino and an enormous theatre which features top ‘west end’ style shows. There really is something to suit all tastes so that cliche that you may get bored on a cruise ship – eh I don’t think so.
The cabins were a welcome surprise and quite spacious. MSC’s prices overall are very competitive and because 80% of their cabins have balconies, these are particularly good value compared to their competitors. There is an excellent choice of dining options and both the buffet and main restaurant served excellent food. As Splendida is an Italian ship, the atmosphere is very Mediterranean and this is also reflected in their dining. Unlike UK or US based cruise ships the clientele is more mixed, in fact you will hear several languages on board with English not necessarily being the predominant one.
If you are looking for a more luxurious option try the MSC Yacht Club, complete with a separate pool, bar and dining area. It has a completely different feel to the rest of the ship. You have a private butler and have access to unlimited snacks and drinks throughout the day, you would think you were on a different cruise ship.
I always knew the Splendida was excellent value for money, with free child places and an a fantastic all inclusive drinks package available, but I was really impressed with the ship overall. It is modern, spacious and has excellent facilities on board – go see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed!