MSC Splendida - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

MSC Splendida


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 414 out of 500

Accommodation: 161 out of 200

Food: 271 out of 400

Service: 306 out of 400

Entertainment: 77 out of 100

Cruise: 305 out of 400

Overall Score: 1534 out of 2000

MSC Splendida Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 137,936

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9359806

Builder: Aker Yards (France)

Original Cost: $550 million

Entered Service: Jul 2009

Registry: Panama

Length (ft/m): 1,093.5/333.3

Beam (ft/m): 124.6/38.0

Draft (ft/m): 27.2/8.4

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (40,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 13

Total Crew: 1,313

Passengers (lower beds): 3,274

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 42.1

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.4

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: Good

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 14

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

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: Euros


A large, family-friendly ship with tasteful, elegant decor

Overview. MSC Splendida will appeal to young adult couples, singles, and families with children and teens that enjoy big ships with a mix of nationalities, mostly European. Children appreciate Virtual World’s five white-knuckle 4D rides in a 10-seat thrill room. It all feels rather like a European city center, and is full of large and small rooms, nooks and crannies, and places to play in.

The Ship. A sister ship to MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida is a stunning ship, and 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 includes an exclusive area called the MSC Yacht Club for occupants of some 99 ‘suites.’ This ‘club’ includes a Top-Sail Lounge (with butler service, canapés and little bite-sized food items), private sunbathing with an 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 butlers, a reserved (quieter) section of the Villa Verde Restaurant, and 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 who can smoke at the bar). Shopping becomes a city-like environment. The Royal Palm Casino features blackjack, poker, and roulette games, plus an array of slot machines.

Public rooms include a large showlounge (The Strand), a nightclub/disco (The Aft Lounge), many lounges and bars (most with live music), library, card room, an Internet center, and an extensive shopping gallery. The ship is well designed to accommodate families with children. A 15 percent gratuity is added to all drinks/beverage orders.

Niggles include the fact that all the lounges ‘flow’ into each other, and so the music from each one bleeds into the adjacent room. 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.

Accommodation. Eighty percent of the cabins are outsides, and 95 percent of these have a balcony - the standard balcony cabin is almost 172 sq ft (16 sq m), plus bathroom and balcony. It’s worth paying extra to stay in one of the 72 ‘suites’ (each 312 sq ft/29 sq m) in the Yacht Club area at the top, front end of the ship. Here, you’ll get silver-tray room service, a reserved section of the Villa Verde restaurant, plus access to a ‘members only’ sundeck sanctuary area that includes its own bar and food counters, small ‘dip’ pool, two hot tubs, and open lounging deck. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the main pool decks.

In a 2011 refit, 28 Aurea Suites (from former Yacht Club accommodation) were created, with direct access to the Aurea Spa. The spa suites include unlimited access to the sauna and steam room, a private consultation with the spa doctor, a Balinese massage, a facial relax treatment, and a solarium session.

The Yacht Club has its own serene concierge lounge, small library, and reception desk. A Svarovski glass stairway leads to the Yacht Club suites, and a private elevator accesses the Aurea Spa, located one deck below. The lounge has its own galley and dedicated chef.

Dining. La Reggia is the ship’s main restaurant. It spans two decks, and has two seatings for dinner, and an open seating for both breakfast and lunch. Tables are for two, four, six, or eight, and there’s some alcove banquette seating on both main and balcony levels. A second restaurant, the single-level Villa Verde, is for occupants of suite-grade accommodation and has panoramic windows at the stern of the ship.

Other dining options. L’Olivo is an Italian/Mediterranean extra-cost à-la-carte venue that is located in a smaller, more intimate setting aft, overlooking a small pool and relaxation area. The food is cooked to order, and dining here is a pleasant, unhurried experience. Reservations are required.

Santa Fe is an extra-cost, L-shaped Tex-Mex restaurant with food items cooked to order.

Bora Bora Cafeteria is a large casual self-serve lido buffet-style eatery. It is open 20 hours a day, for breakfast, and lunch and for sit-down, casual, waiter-served dinners each evening.

Entertainment. The Strand Theater has plush seating in tiers for as many as 1,700, and good sight lines. Because of the multi-national background of passengers, the shows concentrate on more visual entertainment such as mime, magic, dancing, and acrobatics, and are performed with recorded music - because there is no orchestra pit. Live music for dancing and listening is provided by a number of bands and soloists throughout the ship.

Spa/Fitness. The Aurea Spa (16,000 sq ft/1,485 sq m) has a beauty salon, well-equipped treatment rooms, and a large gymnasium with ocean views. Included is a large thermal suite, and saunas. The decor is welcoming and restful. The spa is run by OceanView. Gratuities to spa staff are at your own discretion. Sports facilities include deck quoits, large tennis/basketball court, mini-golf, and a jogging track