Review: MSC Magnifica
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
A day visit to MSC Magnifica
117 people found this review helpful
We have enjoyed a good number of cruises with eight different companies but had not yet sailed with MSC. We had read very mixed reports and views seem to be more polarised than for most other cruise lines, some guests seem to love their experience whilst others really did not like it at all. We wondered why this should be the case so when the opportunity to visit MSC Magnifica came up we jumped at it.
We had disembarked Celebrity Equinox in Barcelona the previous day so we had a very good comparitor fresh in our minds when we arrived at the Mayflower terminal in Southampton.
From outside, Magnifica is nothing special, clean white fairly traditional lines of a modern cruise ship with a deep blue funnel. As we approached the terminal we were wondering what we find when we got on board.
The arrangements for the visit were all well planned and our MSC guide did a great job of taking us throughout the ship and keeping us all together.
Our first sight of the interior of the ship was the magnificent atrium, it was not as tall as many of the newer vessels but it is none the less stunning, This was a theme that was going to be repeated in many of the public rooms throughout the vessel. We were impressed by the design, style and finish of virtually all the rooms and whilst some might not be our taste, they were none the less very well presented. For me, the theater and the Zebra bar stand out as very memorable areas of the ship.
We were really impressed with how clean the ship was in all areas, glass, hand rails and lift doors sparkled and there were staff maintaining this condition in a number of areas of the ship.
One disappointment was that there were no opportunities to see any of the accommodation.
The pool area was very well set out with a large number of loungers and one of the pools had a sliding cover that would be great for the cooler weather cruises.
We had lunch in one of the two dining rooms, but we had an opportunity to walk through the main buffet style restaurants before they opened. Whilst the servive lines were traditional, there was an extensive range of choice and everything was presented very well. Not surprisingly, the Italian elements of the offer looked very tempting with wonderful fresh pizzas, pasta and rissotto together with more traditional lunch menu items.
The dining rooms are traditional single deck rooms, they are well broken up with dividers and some different levels, however, they did not have the light and airey feel of some of the two deck high dining rooms. The menu was traditional Italian with many courses, each with 2 or 3 options. Overall, we found the menu confusing, but the quality of the food was very good. As the portion sizes were not that large, you could easily manage 3 or 4 courses. Service during our lunch was fine, but not what I would call slick and sophisticated.
Overall we came away from our visit impressed with Magnifica and convinced that we would like to try a 7 day MSC cruise in the near future, possibly on the newer and larger ships.
I was concerned about smoking, being an Italian cruise line with a lot of Southern Eurpoean guests on many cruises, but I was reassured that there are less and less areas where guests can smoke and smoking is not permitted on balconies.
I think it is all about expectations, let's look at what we have, a wonderful ship, an Italian company with good food and reasonable service which should offer a comfortable cruise experience if you are comfortable with mixed nationality guests and Italian food and service. For me it is great to see that there is another credible player in the cruise market, one that is not trying to be American or British but is trying to use its origins as a differentiator.
The other consideration is price. The base prices for MSC are very attractive, escpecially now that many of the Mediteranean cruises now include BA flights and transferes. But remember, the profit has to come from somewhere so some of the on board prices looked to be higher than on some of the competitors. That having been said, there are a number of attractive drinks and wine packages that appear to offer very good value.
There is a cruise line for everyone, but if you select the wrong one you may not be that impressed. MSC is unashamedly Italian so do not insult it by expecting it to be British or American, there are others who cater for those expectations. In my experience if you are looking for British cruising then try Fred Olsen or P&O, if you want American then select Royal Caribbean or Celebrity, if you want 5 star plus then look to Oceania or Azamara and for elegant fomality stick to Cunard.
MSC is different, it looks to be offering very good value for money so I am look forward to experiencing it in full next year.
117 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.