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Trip Report MSC's Splendida - or not?

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Back Story: Bought a packaged deal of air, 7 days on Splendida which debuted
July 2009, 3 days afterward in Rome w/3 private transfers in spanking new
Mercedes - very nicely done by my new TA.

Info background: Not much to go on as MSC's website is not user-friendly, few
English speaking folks had contributed CC reviews since her July 2009 debut.

Full Disclosure: a happy HAL passenger for some years.

Ship is pristine but personally thought the decor tends towards the tacky side.
It would also appear management is enamored w/the American Wide West
as evidenced by Photo Gallery when pix are not displayed. Cabins are fine;
rest of ship more ornate than necessary.

Entertainment: MSC at a disadvantage w/too many languages spoken on board
so must confine acts to mimes, acrobats, singers and dancers who sorely needed a
choreographer. Some acts better than others which is the norm.

Afternoon games lead by Italian speaking staff. Obviously I could not participate.

Food: Quite underwhelmed by Bora Bora & Pago Pago offerings including the
touted pizza. On 2nd try after eating a cheese/salami sandwich w/side salad, I
thought I can do this @ home. Thereafter, dined in dining room w/service,
much better offerings and a non-zoo atmosphere which the other 2 deeply portray.

Thoughts: Appetizers and soups were usually quite good as were Regional Menu
Selections. Beef inedible; lamb chops good. Vegetables surprisingly good. Pastry
offerings uniformly dry so ordered gelato. Assume they want one to spend 4-5-6E
at their pastry & gelato counters. I abstained.

Excursions: Only took 1 which had German/English guide so the 3-1/2 hr. $62 tour
should have been $30 for me; and exasperated the English-speaking folks. MSC
offers shuttles for which they charge in 2 of the ports; offers NO free maps or
anything else of value and due to her size, must dock further away from most main
port docks...they need to do more for the customer.

Bottom Line: If my French were better I would take a MSC cruise again, but their
Reception Desk needs to understand customer relations, and management needs
a shake-up along w/an upgrade of their user-unfriendly website.

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