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MSC Splendida Review

2017 Best for Value
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Find a MSC Splendida Cruise from £59

MSC Splendida
4.5 / 5.0
350 reviews

Pros
A cosmopolitan, fun-loving cruise ship for all ages
Cons
Lack of speciality dining
Bottom Line
Great onboard facilities and a good choice for budget-conscious cruisers

About

Passengers
3,959

Crew
1,332

Passenger to Crew
2.97:1

Launched
2009 (refurbished 2015)

Shore Excursions
268
Sails To
Western Mediterranean, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean
MSC Cruise Deals
Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor

MSC Splendida Overview

Until the debut of MSC Meraviglia in June 2017, the 3,959-passenger Splendida was one of the biggest in the fleet. In common with its siblings, MSC Fantasia, Divina and Preziosa, it offers fun-filled, informal cruising in dazzling surroundings that include Swarovski crystal studded staircases that cost 3,500 euros per step.

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Aside from the peaceful haven of the 71-suite Yacht Club -- a separate "ship-within-a ship" where passengers pay premium fares for an exclusive experience -- the atmosphere on Splendida is lively and exuberant, which also means pretty noisy at times. This is due to the fact that many passengers are from Italy and naturally more outgoing than Brits and North Americans. That said, Splendida has a really inclusive feel, with a very friendly atmosphere. Reflecting the typical Mediterranean lifestyle, most young children onboard stay up late and will be out and about with their parents -- attracting none of the stern glares they might get on more traditional ships.

Basic cruise prices cover the cabin and meals, although there are upgraded packages such as the Aurea Experience that includes priority boarding, anytime dining, drinks, access to the private sun deck and thermal suite and cabin perks such as a bathrobe and slippers. For those who want to cruise without piling on the pounds, Splendida recently debuted the new Wellness Package, which includes a personalised fitness programme, daily gym class, and dietary advice. Passengers can also book -- in advance or onboard -- a range of drink deals that range from water, beer and coffee packages to wine with meals or an all-inclusive package covering all drinks onboard that is priced at 26 euros per day for adults and 12 euros for children, and has to be booked for the whole cruise.

Splendida has 14 public decks connected by 25 lifts, with a wide range of bars and public areas and it never feels overly crowded (aside from in the main buffet at certain times of the day). There are some gorgeous public spaces, such as La Piazetta, which resembles a quaint Italian square, and the central hub of the soaring atrium, with its sweeping, glittering staircases, crystal-studded piano, water feature and glass-sided lift. Although passenger flow around the vessel is generally very good, some of the layout is rather confusing; particularly the entrances to the two main dining rooms where a section of the two decks on each side are closed to passenger access. Also, when you're orientating yourself with the ship the penny eventually drops that there is no Deck 17 (this is considered an unlucky number in Italy).

Splendida places an emphasis on being an "eco-ship", with various energy saving, water recycling and waste management systems in place. MSC was the first company to receive the 7 Golden Pearls environmental award for its Fantasia-class ships from the international Bureau Veritas testing and certification organisation.

Although English is the main on board language, the entertainment has to be geared to appeal to multinational audiences, which means it is mostly visual with dancers, bilingual singers and acrobats rather than comedians and specialist acts dependant on communication with the audience. For the same reason there is no cinema or movies under the stars. Information on ports of call can be found on the in-cabin TVs and daily newsletters, and there are no port talks or lectures.

MSC sails throughout the year in the Mediterranean and offers seasonal itineraries in northern Europe, the Caribbean, Cuba, South America, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.


Top MSC Splendida Itineraries

MSC Splendida
22 night europe - northern cruise

Kiel, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Visby, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Kiel, Copenhagen, Southampton, Vigo, Lisbon, Malaga, Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa

View All MSC Splendida Itineraries (38)

Fellow Passengers

Marking a change from many cruise lines, Brits and North Americans are in the minority and most Splendida passengers are from mainland Europe, particularly Italy, with others from further afield including South America, China and Japan (there were 36 nationalities on our cruise). MSC also attracts couples, families and groups of friends -- including students on their college holidays -- who are generally younger than cruisers on more traditional ships, which makes for an all-encompassing, and sometimes lively, atmosphere. There are few singles onboard and no special activities for solo travellers.

Notable differences from dedicated English-speaking ships include announcements in multiple languages -- the main five being English, Italian, Spanish, German and French -- and sometimes Russian, Chinese and Japanese, depending on the passenger mix on a particular cruise. All credit to members of the crew in all departments, the majority of whom switch seamlessly from one language to another. There are also dedicated on board hosts for the above nationalities.

It should be noted that some cultural differences can cause a few minor rubs, particularly with British and American passengers who are used to forming orderly queues and sailing on smoke-free ships. Waiting patiently is not the norm in some countries, so don't be surprised if someone pushes in front of you at the buffet. Also, cigarette smoking is more prevalent on Splendida than many ships, with a smoking lounge and dedicated smoking areas on the pool decks and in a section of the casino, where the smell tends to linger.


MSC Splendida Dress Code

Although the ship's surroundings and decor are sparkly and glamorous, Splendida is very laid-back and relaxed. Daywear is casual and the daily programme sets out the three evening dress codes which are (supposedly) applicable in the restaurants from 6 p.m. For gala nights -- usually two on every seven-night cruise -- the recommendation is a dressy outfit, such as a formal gown or cocktail dress for ladies, and black tie or a dark suit and tie for men. Informal nights mean a dress or trousers for women and jacket and trousers (no jeans) for men. For casual nights more or less anything goes, such as jeans, T-shirts and sportswear, aside from shorts, swimwear and -- rather curious that it has to be spelled out to passengers -- bare feet in restaurants. That said, many passengers seemed to do their own thing, no matter what is recommended in the evening, and there was no sign of crew members trying to enforce the code. Of the women that did dress up on formal nights, the tendency was for cocktail dresses and nobody wore long ball gowns. There is also an optional theme night on most cruises, such as a white party or 70s and 80s night, where passengers can don anything suitable they might have to hand.


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MSC Splendida Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.3
Dining4.03.2
Entertainment5.03.2
Public Rooms4.04.2
Fitness Recreation5.03.5
Family5.02.6
Enrichment2.03
Service5.03.7
Value For Money4.03.6

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Cruises on MSC Splendida start from £59 per person.

Is MSC Splendida a good ship to cruise on?

MSC Splendida won 1 award over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2017 Best for Value

MSC Splendida Member Reviews

MSC Splendida
enuf42
Sail Date: Mar 2020
We thought MSC Splendida was more tasteful in its decor than gawdy, stylish rather than in-your-face. The theatre shows were appalling to say the least and in saying that, we aren't fussy people.... Read More
MSC Splendida
tim716
Sail Date: Feb 2020
First of all, because of the virus MSC completely remade the first half of the cruise, making the itinerary much better than I initially booked.... Read More
MSC Splendida
beachboy57
Sail Date: Dec 2018
To be honest, on board the splendida situation was much better, may be because our preliminary expectations were too low due to divina and seaside experience - we were prepared to face unadequate services... Read More
MSC Splendida
Two 2 Tango
Sail Date: Jan 2019
We had only just come home from a Christmas cruise on Sinfonia and had a great time, by chance I was browsing the MSC site and found this cruise from Dubai flying out from the UK on Emirates at a price... Read More

MSC Cruises Fleet

MSC Lirica
3.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

263 reviews

MSC Lirica is one of four medium-sized Mistral-class ships dating from 2003. In 2014, an 80-foot-long section was sandwiched into the middle of the ship.

MSC Lirica Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean MSC Lirica Cruises to the Mediterranean View All MSC Lirica Cruises
MSC Musica
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Musica serves an English-speaking crowd but with a largely international mix of passengers. Expect dance lessons and a decent wine bar to keep you occupied.

MSC Orchestra
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


MSC Orchestra, which joined the fleet in 2007, is the line's eighth ship. Like MSC Musica, Orchestra represents an evolutionary new design strategy for the line.

MSC Sinfonia
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


The 1,952-passenger MSC Sinfonia is one of four Mistral-class ships that saw a new midsection during a major 2014/2015 refurb. Sinfonia debuted in 2002.

MSC Fantasia

The 3,300-passenger MSC Fantasia debuted in 2008 as the largest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by Italy-based MSC Cruises.

MSC Splendida
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Spendida is European through and through, from the food and decor to the coffee and cigarettes. The ship sails the Mediterranean and most rooms have balconies.

MSC Poesia
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Tastefully exuberant decor -- brass handrails on the staircases, marble countertops at reception, a waterfall in the atrium -- means Poesia is elegant but not boring.

MSC Armonia
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


MSC Armonia is the oldest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet. Built in 2001, Armonia began sailing under the MSC banner in 2004.

MSC Magnifica
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Part of the Musica Class of ships, 2,518-passenger MSC Magnifica has a sprawling spa, a range of dining venues and a high number of balcony cabins.

MSC Divina
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


One of the most multinational ships sailing in North America, with a decidedly Mediterranean flare, active nightlife and the suites-only Yacht Club.

MSC Preziosa
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


MSC Preziosa provides a fun, relaxed and affordable way to cruise the Med. With 1,751 cabins and a total capacity for 4,345 passengers, Preziosa offers a good choice of accommodation options.

MSC Seaside
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Designed for North America, MSC Seaside focuses on the outdoors with more alfresco space, lots of balcony cabins and open-air attractions.

MSC Meraviglia
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


The 4,475-passenger ship (5,714 at capacity) boasts a number of industry firsts, including a Cirque du Soleil venue and promenade with an LED ceiling that projects different scenes throughout the day.

MSC Seaview
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


MSC Seaview is MSC Cruises' second Seaside-class ship, launched in June 2018. The 5,179-passenger ship, along with its sister, will have the largest ratio of outdoor space of any cruise ship.

MSC Grandiosa

Due for delivery in October 2019 and September 2020, the first of two new Meraviglia Plus ships will carry nearly 6,300 passengers plus 1,700 crew.

MSC Virtuosa

MSC Virtuosa, the second ship in MSC Cruises' Meraviglia Plus Class, is slated to launch in September 2020 and will carry 6,297 passengers.

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