Cruise ship review: MSC Splendida

Date Posted: 20/05/2015

The Swarovski staircases on the MSC Splendida

Pictured: The Swarovski staircases on the MSC Splendida.

In May, the MSC Splendida docked in the UK for the first time ever. Sarah Holt went on-board to take a look around.

When the MSC Splendida arrived in Dublin for the first time, it attracted a huge crowd, and the ship’s name started trending on Twitter. Not only was this the first time the vessel had entered a UK port, but it was the largest ship Dublin had ever received. A few days later, I went on-board in Southampton to see what all the fuss was about.

When you board the MSC Spendida, the first things that greet you are the ship’s Swarovski staircases. Located in the atrium, they’re encrusted with thousands of crystals, worth more than £25,000 by today’s exchange rates. It’s clear that the designers of this ship wanted first impressions to count.  

Looking round the rest of the ship, though, you get the feeling that its creators counted second and third impressions pretty highly on their priority list, too. There are several communal areas that make your eyes pop. There’s Club 33, with its bright orange colour scheme and ocean-view dance floor. There’s the Purple Jazz Bar with its psychedelic light walls that look like they could belong in an episode of Austin Powers. And there are the mirrored ceilings that top the lobby areas and some of the walkways.

The attention-grabbing factor is not merely superficial either. This ship is home to a 4D cinema, with moving seats, which could have you hooked for a couple of hours. And it’s got its own racing simulator, shaped like a real F1 car, which had the people on my visit fighting to give up their time.

For me, though, it wasn’t the MSC Splendida’s supped-up areas that set it apart. It was the areas where they had deliberately tried to calm things down that stood out for me. On Deck 14 there’s an area called L’Equatore, with a spacious swimming pool, which can be covered in bad weather. It’s skirted by Jacuzzis and a laid-back bar and it’s got the sort of mellow identity that is rare to find on a cruise ship of this size.

The L’Equatore area of MSC Splendida

Pictured: The L’Equatore area of MSC Splendida.

Then there’s the spa. The MSC Splendida really comes into its own here. It’s won awards for this offering, and it’s easy to see why. The treatment rooms and the gym are joined together by a vitamin juice bar, where every non-alcoholic cocktail and tea comes with an explanation of its health qualities. Plus, the spa offers really unique treatments, like a hydrobike, which provides what’s called an ‘e-motion’ experience to cleanse, tighten and tone the skin.

Other areas of note on-board include the 1,650-seat theatre and the outdoor pool areas that feature a water slide.

Vital statistics

Guest capacity: 4,363

Length: 1,092 feet

Class: Fantasia class

Choose your cruise

The MSC Splendida sails around the Mediterranean. From spring 2016, it will also host a number of ex-UK cruises sailing from Southampton around the UK and to Hamburg.

For more information visit

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