EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING? – a luxury cruise with a lot of ??BUTs???
Leonard Miron | August 8, 2016 | MSC Cruises | MSC Splendida
The arrival and the embarkation had indeed a WOW factor. When the transfer bus stopped a butler was waiting for us already, he took care of our luggage and escort us to the special Yacht Club check-in area. A welcome buffet with some nibbles and Prosecco was waiting for us, the check-in formalities were quick and after that another butler escorted us straight to the ship passing all the lines and queues. We spend around 10 minutes in the Concierge area to have our credit card registered and we were escorted to the room. Our luggage was already there. From our arrival at the airport to entering the room we needed only 1h30minutes. Impressive and well done MSC!
What I liked about the public areas is that using an inspired deco and lighting, each space has a completely different personality complimented with the right type of music. I was quite surprised to see that the acts performing in the lounges were better than the ones in the theatre.
Most of the public rooms are on Decks 6 and 7, connected by pillared and invariably ornate walkways dotted with sculptures and works of art. On Deck 6, there’s a shopping plaza that includes a duty-free mini-mall, perfumery, sweet shop, accessories store and an outlet selling upmarket sunglasses. Deck 7 has a jewelry and logowear shop, an art gallery and a photo shop.
There are 20 bars, including the new Diamond Bar that’s one of the quieter venues and two outside pool bars. Others include the Green Sax jazz bar, chic El Dorado piano bar and the large Safari Lounge that hosts smaller shows with a very annoying animation team and has a dance floor. Our favourite place was with no doubts Green Sax with nice deco and good music (especially the mix duo Romanian-Ukrainian); and of course an amazing Romanian bartender, Vlad, who??s cocktails very close to perfection in mixology.
BUT ?? MSC having a very cosmopolitan crowd on board all the announcements are done in 6 languages??even the safety ones (can you imagine if you speak Japanese you will be the last one to find that the ship is sinking??oops??sounds like Costa Concordia story). The annoying thing is that while you enjoy a lovely cocktail with some good music in the lounge the charm is destroyed by a Chinese man screaming on PA system something that??s sound like a menu in a Chinese Takeaway. Priceless moment(s)!
This is not a ship where the majority of passengers are running to bed before midnight. The main entertainment venue is the 1,600-seat two-story Platinum Theatre on Decks 6 and 7. The emphasis is on visual shows which supposed to appeal to an international audience. The theatre is, once again, like the entire ship impressive and has all the ads on to host amazing shows.
BUT?? MSC definitely cut costs in the entertainment department because I never saw such a poor offer in my entire ??cruiser career?. The cast, sets and costume are repetitive and the production are just a line-up of well-known songs with no concept or imagination. The dancer were quite good but looking at their performance you can realise the different background and training: ballroom, cabaret, street dance. It was a repetitive performance of how they couldn??t manage to synchronize their movements every night and lift their hands or legs in a random order, for sure not created by the choreographer. As I said the dancing was not so bad. What really made me leave the theatre before the end of the show were the two leading voices??Painful most of the time, far from being a duo when was a need for that, more interested in their stage pose than their vocal performance and managing to kill every song in a very personal and powerful way. Worse than the first pre-pre-pre-pre selection for XFactor in Margate! I wonder if MSC found that Italians invented big lavish TV entertainment on Canale5 or they host every year the high quality Festival San Remo ?
Preziosa has nine dining venues, including a buffet that’s open nonstop for 20 hours a day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. The main restaurants are the two-deck Golden Lobster on Decks 5 and 6, with seating for 1,155, and the panoramic 766-seat L’Arabesque, aft on Deck 6. Both operate two dinner seating and offer identical menus. Breakfast and lunch are served in the ship’s main restaurants and self-serve buffet restaurants, the adjoining Inca and Maya on Deck 14, which offer all-day dining and the option of a more casual setting for dinner.
BUT??again cutting the costs showing the results. The dining experience is far from a Mediterranean experience and you wonder where the famous fresh, spontaneous, inspirational Italian cuisine disappeared. While adequate, the food was not particularly fancy in terms of presentation. Courses seemed rushed, and the wine service was rather haphazard, with wait staff acknowledging empty glasses but not returning to replenish for some time, if at all. Similarly, in the buffet restaurant, there was a feeling the team hadn’t really gelled. Some staff couldn’t have been more helpful, while others barely made eye contact, let alone smiled.
More&Photos at leonardmiron.com
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