It is not a secret I had a few reservations about going on a cruise. But as the time of the trip got closer, I got progressively more excited – the weather wasn’t fantastic in England in early July and the prospect of a bit of shopping in Rome, followed by a bit of eating in Genoa (and Portofino, one of my favourite places in the world) and a bit of style in Barcelona (beach and some tapas) was quite exciting.
We flew to Rome early on a Friday, and I must confess it was quite surreal to visualise what would happen next: I was to film the first of three short films (for the first time in my life!) and having decided on my three stories beforehand, what to do in Rome was pretty obvious: buy (more) shoes!
I actually needed to buy some ballet flats and a session with Anna Maria, one of Italy’s most renowned personal shoppers and stylists was organised. We met at the Via Condotti (home to some of the best Italian fashion houses – you know the drill, Bulgari, Tod’s, Gucci, Loro Piana etc etc) and decided to go totally off the beaten track, i.e. I can go back any time and buy these brands anywhere, so we here in for a bit of an adventure.
I cannot tell you how hot and humid it was – notice how much I play around with my hair! – and how strange it was to see me on camera for the first time. But Ana Garcia, my lovely director made me feel at ease and we actually had a bit of fun.
When I rejoined Mr. O and the rest of the group for some much needed prosecco and lunch, you could tell I was a happy girl. I also bought Mr. O a tie (he loves them!!) and some more goodies. Sadly, I didn’t buy the Mario Gala hat as he did not take credit cards!
By this stage, it was around 4pm and we had to make our way to the ship, which was docked at Civitavecchia, the “port” of Rome, which is over 80km away.
We were not really sure what to expect – but to say the ship wasn’t huge, would be an understatement. I tried really hard to take a photo, but it was impossible! I was a bit worried, but it all went away as we were met by our personal butlers, who quickly helped us check-in, board and make our luggage magically appear in our cabins.
We were taken to this little area, called the Yacht Club. This little detail makes a huge difference – it is a special part of MSC Splendida, with separate facilities from the rest of the ship’s 4000 passengers. This area is reserved for the 71 suites which are part of it and has its own lounge, bar, pool deck and spa. Like a small boat inside a ship – or a boutique hotel inside a big resort, if you’d like.
In this area, there is, as I said, a butler for every 5 deluxe suites – and pretty quickly all the staff in this area get to know your name, which is a really nice touch. After we checked out our accommodation (which was modern, nice but a little tiny bit small – not little little, I was just expecting a bit more space!), we met the group (which was lovely, by the way) for drinks at the Top Sail pool bar – in our private pool.
All guests in this area of the ship have meals in the Fine Dining restaurant included, as well as drinks (there is a supplement for things I like such as Tanqueray Ten), but I knew it would be OK when I realised prosecco was on tap. I like my bubbles, and over the last couple of years, have developed a special admiration for this type of Italian sparkling wine. It is so light, so easy to drink…
I couldn’t get over the views we got – and how much water we had around us. It was simply stunning!
So, if this was just the first hour, I was pretty sure I could quite enjoy the rest of our 3-day stay on MSC Splendida. Notice how guarded I am at this stage… more to come soon 🙂
Love from the Med
Disclosure: I was invited by MSC Cruises to join them on a blogger trip onboard MSC Splendida. All opinions expressed in my blog are, as usual, mine. You simply cannot buy the love.