Join John Onboard MSC Fantasia
Wednesday 18th May 2016, 12:00am
John is back onboard with MSC Cruises, sampling MSC Fantasia this time! With his Join John bookers, he seemed to have a fantastic time! Have a read below and see what he got up to onboard…
“This was my first ‘Join John’ cruise onboard the MSC Fantasia, and as the coach arrived from the airport into the cruise terminal at Barcelona, the ship looked truly magnificent. Considering the size of the ship, check-in was quite quick, and they have a system where you register your credit card at an ATM style machine onboard in reception, which really speeded up the check-in process.
As soon I was onboard, I checked out my cabin, which was a balcony on deck 12. I must say I was impressed with the size of the cabin and the balcony, there was so much wardrobe space, and even a fridge/mini bar all stocked up. I dropped my hand-luggage off, and wandered up 2 decks to the Buffet…
The buffet was well stocked, and well attended. Top Tip: go right to the back of the buffet. It’s less crowded and seems to have a better choice of food as well, plus it was a lot easier to get a table, especially at breakfast (I will come back to breakfast a little later). I ‘d been on the Fantasia a few years ago, staying in the ‘Yacht Club’ which is like a luxury small ship within a ship, and she was just as good as I remembered.
When I got back to my cabin, the luggage had arrived. I unpacked and headed up to the ‘Liquid Disco’ for my ‘Sail-a-way Cocktail Party’ for all our guests onboard. The ships entertainment team had really pulled out all the stops; snacks and cocktails where soon flowing as we slipped away from Barcelona with panoramic views of the port in the lovely sunshine.
Dinner was next with me dining in the Red Restaurant on 1st Sitting, which was at 6.30pm on a table for 8. I must say, we laughed our way around the Mediterranean each evening. With a great crowd of people from all over the UK, the whole table became great friends. The food was quite impressive with 8 – yes 8 courses! I slimmed it down to 3 or 4 most nights; I must say the risotto and the sea food dishes were particularly good. Most nights we were the last table out, just before 2nd sitting at 9.30pm.
There are so many bars around the ship, it’s hard to have a favourite. We were onboard when Leicester won the premiership, and the sports bar was buzzing. We also watched the shows on a couple of nights. Firstly, the theatre is impressive just to walk into, but then they put on these spectacular shows, which are very cleverly done. They create a way to perform without language, as there are usually a few different nationalities onboard- usually a mixture of British, Italian, Spanish, French & German – giving the whole cruise a continental holiday feel.
We all had the Allegrissimo drinks package, which included virtually every drink on the ship, including speciality coffees and teas – which I did like at breakfast. Now, when it comes to breakfast, for some reason, most people head up to the buffet. Heaven knows why, as in the main restaurant it is all very swift and efficient. As you sit down coffee or tea is served, then the fruit juices are brought out, then a selection of Danish pastries, as you are handed the menu. They had what they called the ‘Express Breakfast’ which was 2 eggs (how you like them) bacon (American), sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes that appeared in no time. In my opinion, it was quicker to go to the main restaurant than the buffet!
Considering the size of the ship, the disembarkation at each port of call was swift and impressive. I must say, something that MSC do well, that I don’t know any other cruise line to do is get you today’s paper, even whilst at sea! Yes, it does cost 3.50 Euros, but you get the whole paper. I chose the Mail, but there were 5 national newspapers to choose from, delivered to your cabin at 8am as they print it, full size onboard the ship.
Whilst there are some ‘Elegant’ nights on the cruise, there is no formal night as such, which many passengers did enjoy – the more relaxed atmosphere was welcomed across the ship. I must also say the staff onboard were first class, always with a smile, and the dining room staff went above and beyond to make sure we had the best holiday ever.
Even on our last day, they had the luggage sorted. We were off the ship in no time and sadly on our way back to the airport. I will miss the wonderful food; I will miss sitting on my balcony reading that days newspaper and I will miss the relaxed fun atmosphere onboard. I think the thing I will miss most is ordering drinks, and handing in a card knowing I was not being charged!
The MSC Fantasia delivered in bucket loads, and everyone who joined me on the cruise had a great time. I’m sure you will enjoy the experience too – but treat yourself to the Allegrissimo drinks package, it’s well worth it!”