Shopping in Rome and boarding my first cruise

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.

Rome, Rome, Rome!

Rome, Rome, Rome!

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.


A bit of personal shopping in Rome

A bit of personal shopping in Rome

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for – the video! Just click here to be redirected to You Tube. It is worth it, promise!


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.

Civitavecchia as seen from our suite

Civitavecchia as seen from our suite

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.

Enjoying my prosecco and the sunset

Enjoying my prosecco and the sunset

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!

Couldn't get enough of these views

Couldn’t get enough of these views

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


Mrs. O


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.



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View Comments (57)


  1. A Fork in London

    May 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Wow, so jealous of your shopping frenzy in Rome! I lived in the city for a year and it is still my absolute favourite place to shop in!
    Looking forward to more videos, this one was so cool. And, btw, that hat looked lovely on you!

  2. Simon O'Reilly

    August 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Mrs O. Wow a great video of your shopping in Rome. Not yet seen the green shoes in action, now is the time – be brave! And you are a natural in front of the camera, one would never guess it was your first time – brilliant! And a for Rome, what a fabulous city. Great to people watch, explore lovely little avenues of shops and not all the typical high street stuff, more individual and very stylish. Of course we had an excellent lunch there to round of the mornings shop, it would be rude not to as it is Italy after all. And the first impressions of the cruise ship and yacht club were better than expected! Loved the prosecco. Can’t wait to see the next video!

  3. Audrey

    August 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Shoes! I find it hard to restrain myself when it comes to that. But when in Rome… 😉

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      I know.. it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? 😉 Thank you for stopping by!

  4. lola

    July 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    if i didn’t love you so much, i think i’d hate you right now from my jealousy. video shoot, personal shopping with insider secrets, shoes, shoes, shoes & then a champagne-induced cruise. seriously…i want to be you right now.
    lola recently posted..Cambodia Countdown – week 4My Profile

  5. jenny@atasteoftravel

    July 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Oh no, it sounds as though the non cruising club has lost a member! Love your shopping style!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

      well well well.. you did notice the small detail, right?

  6. Craig Zabransky

    July 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Hey, I thought the green ballerinas worked well with your dress…but the highlight is the prosecco and the sunset

    stay adventurous, Craig
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..Tips on the Four Ways to Tour AmsterdamMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      LOL, I haven’t worn them yet 🙂

  7. Kieu

    July 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    When in Rome.. So proud (and jealous) of your shopping trip in Rome. I LOVE SHOES!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      I know, would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? 😉 and they are so comfortable!

  8. the lazy travelers

    July 27, 2012 at 4:46 am

    you’re so cute AND we’re jealous of this entire experience.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

      ohhhhhhhhhhh 🙂

  9. Marian Krueger

    July 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    My oh my — looks like someone enjoyed their cruise! I am so glad you did and your video was fantastic!
    Marian Krueger recently posted..Melodies and Travel MemoriesMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

      Thank you, Marian 🙂

  10. Pola (@jettingaround)

    July 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    It’s harder to not enjoy a cruise if it leaves you plenty of time to shop in Rome… There are cruises and cruises. The ones that many of us (including you and me) are not too keen on are not like the ones you’re on. 🙂 We’re not talking cheap continental breakfast and “Hot, hot, hot” blasting from the speakers. Still, I’d take a day or two on the boat, then I’d like to be free to explore the cities. 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..5 winery picks in Lake Michigan Shore Wine CountryMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 27, 2012 at 10:00 am

      seriously.. do they shout “hot hot hot” from the speakers?

  11. Wrabbit007

    July 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I have at least three cruises on my bucket list – there’s no shame in trying luxury travel now and then! I will be following your journey with excitement – be sure to give all the juicy details! 😉 As for shopping in Rome, nothing beats the shoe retail store “Sore” just outside the Trevi fountain… I go there every time I visit Rome, and I’ve never been disappointed!
    Wrabbit007 recently posted..City I Love Contest Entry – "Finding Florence"My Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Hi! Thank you for stopping by. I think I will *need* to investigate such shoe shop 😉

  12. anapiccola

    July 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I looooove the green ones! 😉

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      Haven’t worn them yet!

  13. D.J. - The World of Deej

    July 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Great video Mrs O, and so glad you enjoyed the start of your cruise. I have cruised many times, and the first few hours are always the best part for me. Nothing like standing on deck watching as you pull away from the world!
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Pier 39 & Fisherman’s Wharf – San FranciscoMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      You were always very supportive, especially when I was really doubting it.. those views were indeed amazing!

  14. Michael Jentsch

    July 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Nice post, very good first video, but you are still in denial that you secretly love cruises 🙂

    Having said that, I fear, if my wife sees prosecco on tap and buying shoes, she may force me to go on a cruise.
    Michael Jentsch recently posted..Kirana Spa, Ubud, BaliMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      It is not a bad combination, is it, Michael? Thank you so much for stopping by. I liked that part of the ship, it is very different – not mingling with 4000 of my closest friends 😉

      • Nathan

        July 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

        One question for you. Did you actually leave the Yacht Club to check out the rest of the ship or is that to come in a later post?

        • mrsoaroundtheworld

          July 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

          That is post #2 🙂 where I even went behind the bar 😉

  15. Lynsey

    July 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    This does mean I will not need to jump on an MSC Cruise and go shopping in Rome, love the film it’s fab. Where was Mr O?

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      He was there.. check the film on 00.17!

      • Nikos

        July 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

        in the background yes? wearing a white shirt? talking to someone??

        • mrsoaroundtheworld

          July 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

          Yes 😉

  16. BrowsingRome

    July 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Love your video and I am headed there tomorrow to get my pair of ballerinas. And I promise myself I will stop a just one. Have a wonderful cruise!
    BrowsingRome recently posted..More than a city stroll of FlorenceMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      I will need photographic evidence of the one pair, I am afraid 😉

      • BrowsingRome

        July 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        I will send you a photo!

        • mrsoaroundtheworld

          July 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

          show them all! 😉 no hiding

  17. Leah Travels

    July 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Wonderful and fabulous, Mrs. O! I so miss the sound of your voice. I’m shocked at your restraint. ONLY four pairs of shoes? The horror! This totally looks like something I need to do when I visit Rome in November. Of course, I’ll need my own camera crew as well. I also like the sound of all this private stuff on the cruise. You think BBC would want to do a follow-up interview with this cruise-hating traveler after a few nights on that boat?

    • Nathan

      July 26, 2012 at 1:38 am

      Leah you would love the MSC Yacht club. When you wrote your post about cruises, MSC was one in the back of my mind that would fit you and the Yacht Club just ratchets up the pampering. I don’t want to spoil Ana’s future post so I won’t go into the details but the way they pay attention they pay to what you like is amazing.

      • mrsoaroundtheworld

        July 26, 2012 at 7:52 am

        Hi Nathan, thank you for stopping by and for your comments. I can’t thank you enough for all the information you gave me pre-cruise and how patiently you dealed with all my questions – it wasn’t just 2 or 3!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 11:52 am

      I was very good! Actually the stop in Rome was too quick, I really wanted to help the Italian economy a little more. Have some addresses to give you!

  18. Karla

    July 25, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    What a fun video to watch & great story to read!

    Shopping in Rome is an quite an experience. Looks like you had a blast & great shoes btw!

    Look forward to next adventure.

    Kay 😉

    P.S: I agree with David above. You look great in front of the camera!
    Karla recently posted..Melodies and Travel MemoriesMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Karla, is was great fun 🙂 the shoes are lovely indeed! haven’t worn the green ones yet!

  19. Nikos

    July 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Ana! I totally loved this post, I can’t wait to read more because I am not so sure about cruises either. The video was brilliant! So did the credit cards get a battering? I loved the personal shopper around Rome, is that something that they offer as a day tour as such? Looking forward to the next installment!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 26, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Hi Nick! This was arranged for Mrs. O exclusively, but I can give you Anna’s details!

      • Nikos

        July 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        ahhh ok, thought it was part of the ships excursions!

  20. Nathan

    July 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I can’t wait to hear more about the cruise. I know I would enjoy being pampered like that!

  21. Teressa Vendeirinho

    July 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    You’re amazing!!!!
    Enjoy your trip!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      You are too sweet 🙂 thank you!

  22. CruiseMiss

    July 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Great read!! however, FOUR pairs of shoes!!!! Tut Tut…..although when in Rome, a girl must express herself! Looking forward to your next piece :o)

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      Ha ha ha, the lady went to so much trouble to find me ballerinas under €50! Would be SO rude not to 😉 Tell me you didn’t buy ANYTHING on your last trip? 🙂

  23. David Abbott

    July 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    What a life you lead! And a natural in front of the camera.
    David Abbott recently posted..Re: Fires – GeneralMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Was a very good experience, very different! But was SO nervous!

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