Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 416 out of 500
Accommodation: 162 out of 200
Food: 271 out of 400
Service: 306 out of 400
Entertainment: 77 out of 100
Cruise: 306 out of 400
Overall Score: 1538 out of 2000
MSC Fantasia Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: MSC Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 5515738
Builder: STX Europe (France)
Original Cost: $550 million
Entered Service: Dec 2008
Length (ft/m): 1,093.5/333.3
Beam (ft/m): 124.3/37.9
Draft (ft/m): 27.72/8.4
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (40,000kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 13
Total Crew: 1,325
Passengers (lower beds): 3,274
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 442.1
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.5
Cabins (total): 1,637
Size Range (sq ft/m): 161.4-699.6/15-65
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 1,260
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 43
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3 (1 w/sliding glass dome)
Hot Tubs (on deck): 13
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Euros
Comfort, space and a Mediterranean lifestyle for families
Overview. This ship appeals to young adult couples, singles, and families with children and teens that enjoy big ships and a big-city lifestyle with a mix of nationalities, mostly European. You can drive an F1 Ferrari racing car in a simulator, and experience hair-raising, seat-of-your pants rides in a 4D theater. Note that only Yacht Club-grade occupants are escorted to their cabins by their butlers. Housekeeping staff point passengers in the right direction, but no longer escort them to their cabins.
The Ship. Built in 67 blocks, some more than 600 tons, MSC Fantasia is one of the largest ships built for a European cruise company. It is 33ft (10m) longer than the Eiffel Tower is high, and the propulsion power is the equivalent of 120 Ferraris. There are four swimming pools, one of which can be covered by a glass dome.
The interior design is an enlargement and extension of MSC’s smaller Musica- and Orchestra-class ships, but with the addition of an exclusive area called the MSC Yacht Club for occupants of the 99 suites. This ‘club’ includes a Top-Sail Lounge, private sunbathing with integral dip pool, two hot tubs, and concierge services such as making dining reservations, and booking excursions and spa treatments.
It’s worth paying extra to stay in one of the ‘suites’ in the Yacht Club accommodation. You’ll get silver-tray room service by a team of well-trained butlers, a reserved (quieter) section of the Il Cerchio d’Oro restaurant, plus keycard access to a members-only sundeck sanctuary area that includes its own bar and food counters, a small dip pool, two hot tubs, and expansive open but sheltered lounging deck. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the main pool decks and solarium on the decks below.
The interior decor is quite stunning. There are basically two decks full of public lounges, bars, and eateries, including a large two-deck-high theater-style showlounge, a nightclub/discotheque, library, card room, an Internet center, virtual reality center, shopping gallery, and large casino (inhabited by many people who can smoke at the bar). Shopping becomes a city-like environment. The Monte Carlo Casino features blackjack, poker, and roulette games, plus an array of slot machines.
Drinking places include a pub-like venue and several comfortable lounges with live music. Note that 15 percent is added to all drinks/beverage orders. A neat mini-golf course is on the port side of the funnel, and a walking and jogging track encircles the two swimming pools.
Niggles include the fact that all the lounges ‘flow’ into each other, and so the music from each one bleeds into any adjacent room.
Families. The ship is designed to accommodate families with children, who have their own play centers (a children’s club and jungle adventure playground), a teens arcade, youth counselors, and activity programs.
Accommodation. Eighty percent of cabins have an outside view, and 95 percent of these have a balcony - a standard balcony cabin will measure almost 172 sq ft (16 sq m), plus bathroom and balcony. There are 72 suites in a MSC Yacht Club VIP section; each measures 312 sq ft (29 sq m) and comes with full butler service. The price you pay depends on the grade, size, and location you choose.
In a 2011 refit, 28 Aurea Suites were created with direct access to the Aurea Spa. The spa suites come with amenities and ‘extras,’ including a non-alcoholic cocktail at the Aurea Spa Bar, unlimited access to the Thermal Suite (sauna and steam room) and a private consultation with the spa doctor. Also part of the price are a Balinese massage, a facial relax treatment using skin-firming cream, and a solarium session for full-body tanning.
A black marble floor leads to a magnificent Swarovski glass staircase that connects the concierge facilities between Decks 15 and 16 under a glass-domed ceiling.
Dining. There are four dining venues. The two-deck-high Red Velvet, the main restaurant, is in the aft section. It has a ship-wide balcony level, with a stairway to connect its two levels. The focus of the cuisine is on Mediterranean fare, with regional and seasonal fare when available. Light ‘always available’ choices are also provided. The ship makes all its pasta on board, and prides itself on its Italian flair.
Il Cerchio d’Oro is a single-level specialty restaurant, with a different menu each evening devoted to a different region of Italy. The Murano chandeliers are quite lovely, and definitely really worth noticing.
Other dining options. L’Etoile is a classic French restaurant, with decor reminiscent of the Belle Epoque era. Menus focus on one of three themes: the sea, the countryside, and the kitchen garden, and change seasonally. There’s also an extra-charge Tex-Mex restaurant, El Sombrero, serving large portions of burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, tortillas, and more, together with a choice of several Mexican beers.
Casual breakfasts, lunches, and sit-down, served, but casual, dinners can be taken in the large self-serve L’Africana Café, a self-serve buffet-style eatery that is open 20 hours daily - so you can always find something to eat.
Another casual spot for people-watching is the Il Cappuccino coffee bar. Located two decks above the main reception area, it serves all types of coffees and teas, as well as fine chocolate delicacies.
La Cantina Toscana is a neat wine bar that pairs wines with food from several regions of Italy, in a setting that includes alcove seating, and L’Africana, which has a decor of dark African hardwoods.
A Sports and Bowling Diner features a classic American food experience (including sandwiches and burgers).
Entertainment. L’Avanguardia, the main showlounge, has 1,603 seats, and facilities that rival almost any to be found on land. Additionally, live music is provided in most lounges by small musical groups and solo musicians.
Spa/Fitness. The Aurea Spa has a beauty salon, several treatment rooms, and a gymnasium with great ocean views. A thermal suite contains different kinds of steam rooms combined with herbal aromatherapy infusions, in a calming Asia-themed environment. The spa is operated by OceanView, a specialist spa provider. Gratuities are not included, but left to your discretion.
Sports facilities include deck quoits, shuffleboard courts, large tennis/basketball court, mini-golf, and a jogging track.