MSC Splendida, a 3,274-passenger ship owned by Italian line MSC Cruises, offers affordable, mainstream cruising — but with an onboard setting that mixes high-style contemporary and classical elegance. When she was launched in 2009, MSC Splendida was one of the largest ships ever built for a European-owned cruise line. Her most notable features are gorgeous interior common areas and the MSC Yacht Club, which is worth the extra cost for those with a larger budget.
What We Love
MSC Yacht Club: Guests staying in this private, 71-suite "ship-within-a-ship" enclave enjoy larger accommodations, the Top Sail Lounge with great views over the vessel's bow, their own sun-deck hideaway, a reserved dining section in the Villa Verde restaurant, and easy access to the Aurea Spa. This exclusive area is also a place to escape the sometimes frenetic pace of the rest of the ship.
Multiple Embarkation Ports: On Mediterranean and northern European itineraries, guests can embark in more than one city. Since the itineraries repeat, they just disembark the next time the ship docks at their embarkation port. This is perfect for those who want to extend their visit to a particular European city by a few days, or who live in Europe and want to board near their home. An added benefit: Queues are shorter since not everyone is embarking or disembarking at the same time.
Best Known For
The Swarovski Staircases: MSC Splendida has two spectacular glass stairways covered with Swarovski crystals — one in the atrium and the other in the MSC Yacht Club. These make for great photo ops, whether you're channeling a fairy tale princess or an A-lister at a Hollywood premiere.
Italian Ambiance: This ship has many Italian and Mediterranean touches that guests love. The restaurants always have pasta, prosciutto, and Italian pastries on the menu, and there are specialty bars for coffee, gelato, and prosecco.
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Who It's Best For
Families: Multigenerational family groups will appreciate the diversity of accommodations, kids and teens areas, four pools, and onboard activities — including a thrilling 4-D cinema and a Formula One racing car simulator.
Europhiles: MSC Splendida feels like a European ship — the majority of passengers are Europeans — and North Americans who enjoy practicing their Italian, French, German, or Spanish will find the international experience appealing.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Crowds, Lines, and Lots of Children: MSC Cruises is known for offering a "kids sail free" special on its ships, so MSC Splendida is often full of children during school holidays and the summer.
Linda Garrison is a Georgia-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes on cruise travel for About.com.
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MSC Splendida at a Glance
- Line: MSC Cruises
- Class: Fantasia
- Number of Passengers: 3274
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2009