Cruising? Me? Never!.. Or can I be persuaded?
I have very publicly said, many times, that I would never be seen dead on a cruise. When my fellow tweep and friend Leah wrote a post “I hate cruising”, I felt as if she was thinking of me when she was writing it – although, at that stage, we never had a conversation about the topic.
I do have some pre-conceptions about cruising, and I am not ashamed of it. I associate cruising with hordes of badly dressed people, wearing socks and sandals, piling up their plates with food and just the *thought* of that pool with hundreds of people makes me cringe.
Mr. O and I actually had a conversation about it a while ago and we even asked ourselves – are we missing out on something? We have to be. More and more people “our age” have tried and seemed to like it.. are we weird? We decided to put it to rest there and then. To be revisited in 20+ years.
Little did I know that, a couple of weeks later, these comments would come back to bite me. Oh yes! You can imagine how surprised I was when MSC Cruises got in touch, inviting me to join them on a special trip. Sadly, we wouldn’t be christening the brand spanking new MSC Divina, but would be spending a weekend in its sister ship, MSC Splendida. Was I excited? Not quite yet.
Then they raised the game – I heard the words suite, private yacht club, 24-hour butler service and a pool for just a few people. And private dining, and spa treatments. In PR speak, the exact words were “a ship-within-a-ship complex includes cabins and suites, 24-hour butler service, a private lounge, restaurant and pool. The Spa will have Balinese massages, saunas, Turkish baths, and more”. I then started to think – can I survive 2 days of this?
I called Mr. O and he said point-blank no. Us on a cruise? Never! I then read him the details and reassured him – it is like a hotel, a 5* hotel, we get to go to 3 quite cool places (give me a second, and I will fill you in on those!), and it is just a weekend. If we hate it, it is OK, not long.. if we like it, then we will have tried something new and may be back for more.
As Sophia Loren herself once said, “Style must be adapted to the woman and not vice versa.” It was with this in mind that MSC Cruises set about designing a special Sophia Loren themed cabin in the MSC Yacht Club. I really want to stay in suite number 16007 on deck 16, so I can “revel” in the glamour and style of a suite designed for and with the help of Ms Loren. I am expecting rich reds, fancy lamps and stunning photographs. I have even heard that a replica of the dressing table Ms Loren uses in her room has been fitted, allowing guests, i.e. “moi”, to get ready like a film star.
Ms. Loren is so involved, she was even at the launch of the MSC Divina, which took place a couple of weeks ago in Marseille http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXY4llatPVk&feature=youtu.be
Have a look at this video - it doesn’t look shabby, does it? Mrs. O is keen to have a look and shall report back!
If it is good for Sophia (also my middle name, ha ha, spelled differently), it is good enough for me, even if for two days. So, in less than 20 days, we will be flying to Rome and spend a day shopping (me thinks would be rude not to!). We will then board the ship with 2,000 of our closest friends and embark on this adventure.
On the second day, we will stop in Genoa and I am SOOO going back to Portofino. Only a stone throw away and so cool. I am looking forward to an over-priced espresso (I think the last time it was around €8!) and less wind than last time I visited on my way to Barolo. And finally, guess where I am going? To Barcelona! A place I hadn’t been for 5 years, which meant so much to me, and I get to go twice in a couple of months. It will be a short stopover, but surely there will be time for some paella and cava. Good thing shops are closed on Sundays.
I am actually quite excited about this and there are lots more in store, which I shall share when the time is right.
In the meantime, if you had a day in these 3 cities, what would you do? Tell me about restaurants, shops and must-see sights I can’t miss. I will try to get to as many as possible and share these moments with those who help me out! Also, have you been on a cruise? Did you love? Hate it? What should I expect?
I need to start brushing up on my Italian! Ciao!