MSC Splendida Day 7: Day at Sea

  ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA –Swimming in one of the Splendida’s five pools, I notice the only hint that we’re on a ship in the middle of the ocean. The water level at the edge of the pool goes up a bit, then down every few minutes, which means that if this ship did not have a great engine with a fine stabilizer, the water would be sloshing back and forth and those passengers with fragile stomachs …

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MSC Splendida, Day 6: Tunis

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA-To visit the most exotic country on our cruise -– Tunisia, North Africa – required that we give a “Visitors Embarking Card” and for the first time, show our passports, to the local port authorities as we left the ship this morning. Our tour choice: a historical and cultural look at the area, which began by driving through La Goulette, the fishing village where we docked. A lot of Italians and Maltese make their …

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MSC Splendida, Day 5: Messina

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA –Speaking from experience, let me tell you that sailing into the Strait of Messina on a humongous cruise ship is much more pleasant than driving down to it in a little red Volkswagen from northern Italy. As a former Navy wife stationed in Sicily years ago, my family and I made the trip down the steep narrow two-lane mountain road through Reggio Calabria, on the Italian side, many times to catch the ferry …

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MSC Splendida, Day 4: Julie finally reaches Capri

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA – I took more pictures in one afternoon on the island of Capri than I’ve taken of my grandchildren since they were born. It’s not that my grandkids are not the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen, but I’ll see them again and again, if all goes well, and Capri is sort of a one-shot deal, an afternoon excursion off the MSC Splendida cruise ship; I probably won’t pass here again. Capri, a …

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MSC Splendida, Day 2: Marseilles, the European Capital of Culture

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA –-You get the feeling that this is going to be an upscale cruise when the taxi driver taking you from the Barcelona airport to the port is playing classical trumpet concerti on his radio. Upscale is a forte of MSC  cruise ships. In fact, according to cruise director Valerio Stegleano, exclusivity and privacy and five-star service is so important to some passengers now, that pricing voyages according to cabin placement or size is …

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MSC Splendida, Day 1: Am I the only American on board?

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA – There will be no waffling or wondering where the life preservers and the lifeboats are should an unforeseen accident happen while we’re cruising on the MSC Splendida this week. The first thing we received from the crew, even before we got to our cabins, was a notice of the Compulsory Safety Briefing that we had to attend to learn about how to put on our life preservers and where to meet should …

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Coming up: My MSC Mediterranean cruise on the Splendida

It’s been a dream of mine for the many years I’ve been a travel writer – getting to the fabled isle of Capri. Next week I will embark on a cruise from Barcelona to Marseilles, Genoa, Messina, La Goulette (Tunisia) and Naples – with a side trip, at last, to Capri. The trip, on the MSC Splendida, one of 12 in the Italian family-owned fleet, third largest cruise line in the world, departs from Barcelona on May …

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Cruising the Mediterranean Sea on the MSC Splendida…a European experience

When you book a cruise beyond the fleets of ships that provide a North American experience, be prepared to accept different vacation approaches to meals, entertainment, and expenses. The rewards for such an adventurous spirit may be substantial, as the differences can be part of the fun. For seven nights in November, I cruised the Mediterranean Sea on MSC Splendida, pictured right, off Naples, Italy. It’s a grand new 3,300-passenger vessel owned by the biggest shipping company …

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