436. TRAVEL GUIDE: MSC CRUISES

11:20:00 AM


Last month, in September, I had the best vacation of my life. Not in a resort somewhere all-inclusive and palmtrees or a beach, but an enormous Cruise on the Mediterranean Sea. With six different destinations, a lot of memories and an experience I will never forget it's time to share with you the trip. I will share each day separately with a lot of pictures as they speak a thousand words!

WELCOME AT THE MERAVIGLIA
Our trip with the MSC Meraviglia started the day before my birthday (yes it was a party on the boot!) in Barcelona. We arrived at the Port around noon and first things first: an amazing show from 'Cirque du Soleil' at Sea. Sounds pretty impossible right to see an acrobatic act on a boat. Well I can guarantee you that it was worth to watch! 

After the show we checked in, got into our rooms and I was surprised by the beautiful room we had. A nice big bed, a couch, desk and small terrace to sit at. It was all so clean and perfect for a one week stay. Once settled down we had a drink - Cheers to our MSC trip! - and our first dinner. It was always my favorite time of the day! Dinner with a view on the waves and the departure from the city. The bays were sometimes so beautiful that you felt like being in a movie.




1. Welcome to Marseille
The first city of the planning was Marseille, France. It was my first time ever I've been there (like any other city during this Cruise) but I really liked it. We visited the Notre Dame, spend time at the Vieux-Port, had a coffee, some good food at 'Café du Commerce', as you could see on Instagram, and walked through the tiny streets. It was a short visit of a couple of hours as we were invited afterwards for a drink with the captain.

It was such a honor to meet the crew and captain of MSC. At the same time we visited the Yacht Club or 'First Class' to give it another name with their own pool, bar, dinner and lunch area. All on top of the Cruise, level 16 and 17. Oh yes! I forgot to tell that it has around 18-19levels! It was an apartment on water. Or better said: a city on water as there was also a shopping street with boutiques, a spa area, casino, water park with slides, different theater rooms, a cinema and more than 7different restaurants!




2. Welcome to Genua
From France to Italy! Genua or Genova welcomed us with a beautiful bay. It's actually so incredible to be in different cities and countries without noticing it as you're sleeping while traveling. There's no feeling like waking up in another country each day without being on the road or on a plane. One of the reasons why I loved this trip so so much! You're free to do anything you want but just make sure you're back on time for departure.

In Genova we took the taxi to Portofino for about 40€ pp. Portofino is the place to be when you're around! It's small but so romantic and if you have a nice taxi driver he will also stop at Santa Margherita just as he did with us. I bought my Birthday present there (well the one I got from my parents) and did some other shopping. Oops! We ended the day by a walk through the city of Genova itself and a drink at the bar. For more pictures you can also check out this blogpost.

At each destination you have so many choices in excursions organized by MSC Meraviglia themselves. They have a desk in the centre of the Main Street of the Cruise and help you really well to make it an unforgettable trip! We also did some excursions through MSC later during the week.




3. Welcome to Napoli
The second stop in Italy was Napoli. We also did our first excursion to Pompeii and Sorrento. Due to an accident on the road we haven't been that long in Sorrento but when I have the opportunity I will definitely go back as it looked a bit LA-ish.

Pompeii however was something I always wanted to do! We had our guide that explained and showed us some places on the site. But you actually need a whole day to see Pompeii all around. It's so so big! Glad I did it though!




4. Welcome to Messina
Beautiful Sicilia! Another day where we chose for an excursion. First the Etna was on the planning but we decided to go for Taormina. A little town with beautiful streets, art and the amazing Hotel Metropole where we had a typical Italian lunch with some good wine.

I ended the day with a relaxing full body and facial massage. The perfect way to start the cosy evening! We actually had dinner at the 'Waves' restaurant almost each evening. But each day they had another menu which avoided that you had to eat the same dishes. Thumbs up again for MSC!





5. Welcome to Valletta
This was my favorite stop ever! I already heard some great stories about Malta through my parents or friends but it seriously blew me away. It's so historical and almost unrealistic with the white/sandy buildings. Even though it was so so hot we took the time to walk around, do some shopping and to have another delicious lunch: fresh mussels at the Old Theatre.

On the boat itself we had dinner at one of the other restaurant 'The Butchers Cut'. One of the best steaks ever! Of course we ended with a nice drink in the Yacht Club and a lot of laughter. We also watched the Flamenco show in the theatre. Good to know: there was a special animation and show line up each evening. So no excuse of being bored: it's not an option!




6. Welcome to Barcelona
Before arriving back in Spain, Barcelona, we spend one day on the sea. That day I did some tanning as I didn't want to come home without a pretty brown skin. When arrived the next day in Barcelona we stayed until noon on the boat and went back to the airport for our flights around 5pm. Honestly: I didn't want to leave!! If I could I would've stayed a little longer but my biggest dream is to go on a Cruise to the Caribbean. Hopefully with MSC as well as it was more than perfect and an unforgettable experience!

Some extra things to know:
On the boat there is a limited access to WIFI, so if you're a blogger or Social Media freak: be prepared for a detox week. It's 15€ for 500MB for full access but you have other options too.  Next to that: provide hand luggage as the night before checking out you need to put your 'big' suitcase outside by 1AM! Yes, during the night. Than they place your luggage at the port of arrival. This avoids people walking around with all their luggage on board. 

We had breakfast and dinner (lunch was on location) at the Waves restaurant. For those who prefer there is a huge buffet area at the 15th floor, the other side of the pool. I like to eat in a silent and serene atmosphere so I went to the restaurant. It's each others own choice. You're really so free on the boat! It's an awesome feeling.

Last but not least: you pay by the MSC card which you can upload at different desks. This avoids that you're walking around with too many cash or have to pin with your card at each drink. At the end of your vacation you get a bill with all purchases. Also an excursion for example. 


This post has been made in collaboration with MSC Cruises.

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