Within my February contribution I gave a brief report of my Christmas cruise on MSC Grandiosa – brief due to myself still considering my experience having been totally different from previous cruising.
The reason for enjoying cruising so extensively is the luxurious lifestyle; being cosseted, well fed and visiting ports and taking excursions to locations I am unlikely to visit under normal circumstances. This last cruise was a totally different experience though it took me away for the Christmas period and I was well cared for by wonderful staff. The ship is one of the largest at sea with a capacity in excess of 6,000 passengers as was on board for my cruise. This did not present any problem, being designed in such a way to handle this number quite capably and at no time did it feel overcrowded.
My synopsis within the February Costa Cálida Chronicle remains the same – the ship is a floating type of resort similar to the likes of Benidorm – in fact it is advertised as a ‘Floating Water Park’.
3 twisting water slides, a Himalayan rope bridge and a range of pools plus activities for all ages.
Night club for partying with a bar and live music.
Family entertainment for children – activities for kids plus teenagers.
Teen Clubs – one for 12-14 years of age and a second for teenagers.
A Gymnasium, a Formula One simulator and a full size bowling alley.
A large amusement park undercover where guests can play sports on full sized pitches during the day and socialise with dance evenings.
Bars, lounges and cafés advertised to ‘suit any mood’.
11 dining venues with a choice of food to satisfy the many nationalities on board including a buffet with one area entitled ‘English corner’ serving a choice of breakfast items.
Within the heart of the ship is a massive covered indoor promenade with overhead dramatic LED lights constantly changing displays AND a superb range of shops on either side.
Normal excursions are offered – one taken was to Rome from Port of Civitavecchia. The Vatican and St Peters Basilica had extensive Police presence including Carabinieri (Military Police) which were present due to the Pope’s Christmas address to be given two days later.
Entertainment on board was professional and to West End standard. The cruise commenced and terminated in Barcelona – ports included Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (for Rome) and should have been Sicily and Malta, but due to weather conditions, Corsica and Palma were substituted.
The ship is the first of three that will be subsequently ‘home ported’ in South America.
In summary, I believe ‘Benidorm at sea’ describes the ship adequately, catering for all ages, with a number of items described as being charged separately, so a tip; ‘guard your cruise card’ carefully, otherwise charges are added, becoming noticed only on receiving final settlement details.
I would take this cruise again, being much wiser of ‘large vessel’ operations and with plenty of ‘readies’!