Full speed ahead

I had always imagined cruising would be a lovely, relaxing way to travel, so when we saw a great deal for a week-long western Mediterranean cruise on the MSC Splendida…

departing from Barcelona on a convenient date (fitting in with a week’s accommodation further down the Spanish coast in Peñíscola), with exciting destinations such as Tunisia, Malta and Italy, we grabbed it!

If you, like us, manage to find a cruise for under $100 per person per day, cruising is great value (isn’t the internet a wonderful thing!) After all, it’s your major transport, all meals on board, decent accommodation…

and plenty of daytime activities and evening entertainment taken care of.

Drinks are extra, as are on-shore excursions, but we were fairly conservative with those, and a 300 euro win at the on-board casino helped balance the budget!

In reality, with 6 ports in 7 nights, this cruise was pretty full on, especially since we wanted to make the most of it – both on and off the ship: up early each morning to watch us pull into a new port, the days spent exploring on land, and the evenings were filled with wonderful multi-course meals and great company – usually followed by a flutter at the casino, a live show, a dancing lesson, and even a little karaoke some nights.

A hectic, fun-filled pace, and by the end of the week we felt like we need a holiday after our holiday!

It was far from the laid-back cruise of my imagination, especially with a surprising amount of children on board, adding to the busy and bustling atmosphere, especially around the pool areas and in the cafeteria where we generally had breakfast (though we were usually early enough to beat the crowds).

Mind you, all meals could be taken in the quieter formal dining rooms…

but only at certain times, so after a morning off-ship the buffet style cafeteria became a bit of a madhouse, with a throng converging to grab a late lunch.

One of our well-travelled dinner companions told us this was not representative of cruises in general and shouldn’t put us off cruising again, and I must say it hasn’t. When you try something new it’s natural to have some pre-conceived ideas, and to compare your experience based on those expectations.

But that said, we loved the way cruising gave us a little taste of all the places we stopped at, and just like trying all sorts of new foods at a buffet, whetted our appetite to go back for more. In fact, 2 of the destinations are already on our itinerary for next year’s European adventure!

Maybe next time we will pace ourselves a little better, and of course have more realistic expectations.


About frenchfry36

South African by birth, British by right, Australian by oath, French by choice.
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3 Responses to Full speed ahead

  1. denisedhall says:

    We took our 1st and only cruise 15 years ago to Caribbean ports of call. We did enjoy it, however the ship we were on was on a much smaller scale than the floating cities of today. 800 passengers. Daryl and I also commented that it gave us a taste of what Islands we might like to venture back. We have been on many trips, and cruising again, Especially the Caribbean has never been high on the list. Except, the Mediterranean, and cruising the Greek Isles intrigues me. But the European River cruises are now high on my list. Looks like you had a great time. Hey? I always say when on vacation, especially when you find a great deal…what can be better than that.

    • frenchfry36 says:

      We did have a great (but exhausting) time… and I would love to do a western Mediterranean cruise (maybe Turkey, through the Greek Isles and down to Egypt!). Also looking at canal boats in the UK. So much to do, so little time! (and only so much money)

      • Denise says:

        Ah, yes the monetary issue. Yes, that can get in the way. With me being retired, and Daryl? who knows? He only now is starting to talk about the “R” word. Perhaps in 5 years. Unlike, with the exception of the U.S. we do not reap the fantastic vacation time the rest of the free world receives. That is why I am now looking into other economical ways to travel for when we are fully retired. But, for now… we look forward to our 2, maybe 3 trips a year, if I am lucky. And, also love living life vicariously through the way others travel. That is why I really enjoy your blog. Our daughter and son in law just returned from their whirlwind vacay in Europe. They had a fantastic time. Waiting for your next post.

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