Jennifer Waddell, our Copywriter here at Hays Travel, was recently given the opportunity to experience a night on board the fabulous new MSC Grandiosa launched this year…
"I’ll start by saying this - I’d never been on a cruise ship before. The furthest I’d ever got was a ferry trip to Amsterdam, which let’s be honest is far from glamorous! However, thanks to my amazing job I was offered the chance of this ship visit.
Introduced as “a ship that truly deserves its name”, this floating resort boasts 12 jam-packed passenger decks that can accommodate 6,334 guests in 2,440 cabins, as well as an endless variety of ways to stay amused during those days at sea… But I’ll get to that.
On my visit to the ship, it was docked in Southampton for the night, which meant there was free rein to explore at full potential without the rocky motion of any sea passings. Alongside three of my colleagues, we managed to board MSC Grandiosa together with a plain-sailing (no pun intended) embarkation."
"By this time it was roughly 12pm which meant only one thing… lunch time! We headed straight for the 20-hour service Marketplace Buffet to enjoy a feast of international favourites. If you were to imagine every kind of food in your head, that’s exactly what they had – EVERYTHING. There was a choice of salad, pizza, burgers, Asian specialities, vegetarian dishes, fruit, desserts, and so much more. As well as the great selection, the food was delicious and hot, and the drinks service was attentive with constantly-smiling staff.
After we’d filled ourselves up at the buffet we dropped our luggage off at our Balcony Room to save carrying it around on the ship tour. Straight away I noticed the size of the guest cabin was impressive yet still compact and equipped with all the amenities you could need. The bed was a good size, there was a dressing table with a hairdryer, wardrobe, minibar, tea/coffee essentials, pull-out sofa, and the bathroom was really spacious too."
"Straight away after unpacking we made our way to attend the ship tour for a chance to really experience what makes MSC Grandiosa so… grandiose!
We wandered Galleria Grandiosa on the Leonardo da Vinci deck, the longest retail and dining area at sea, to discover a variety of tempting options along the way. Among them were the sweet treat stop Jean-Philippe Crepes & Gelato, Grandiosa Boutique, Shopping Gallery, and L’Atelier Bistrot. The dining and drinking options extended upstairs on Michelangelo deck, boasting Japanese specialities, juicy steaks, and an English-style pub."
"Our helpful tour guide told us all about the fabulous restaurant packages on board, which included the chance to dine at three speciality restaurants for a three-course menu priced at just £78. I really do think this is a worthwhile option if you’re cruising on MSC Grandiosa.
As we approached the end of Galleria Grandiosa we came to notice a breathtaking Swarovski crystal staircase, once again the largest at sea, which is said to be worth over £1.5 million. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen!"
"There was also a host of other amazing things we saw on our tour, including Sportsplex, Aurea Spa, F1 simulators, Atmosphere Pool, All Stars of the Sea, bowling alley, miniclub, and well, see for yourself…"
"You would have never, for a second, thought you were walking around on a cruise ship. With so much to do and see, it completely settled my hesitation that I could ever be bored at sea. It’s impossible – especially on MSC Grandiosa.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get full access to MSC Yacht Club on the prestigious foredecks of the ship but were told all about the luxurious additions you can experience if you were to enjoy a stay here. Live the life in royal suites that feature two bedrooms, lounge areas, and Jacuzzis, as well as butler service, a la carte dining, afternoon tea served every day at 3pm, and canopies available all day. That’s just scratching the surface…
Later in the day we enjoyed a few cocktails in Sky Lounge, admiring the lit-up Atmosphere Pool, before we had to start getting ready to attend the Awards Ceremony."
"We dined in Purple Crab Restaurant afterwards and with a menu of specialities prepared by Michelin-star chef Raymond Blanc, we were spoilt for choice. I opted for the signature dish salmon tartare for my starter, which was a combination of smoked salmon, cucumber ribbons, horseradish crème fraiche, and caviar. For main I tucked into a leg of lamb decorated with aromatic herbs, and then rounded off my meal with a cheese plate of fresh goat cheese, Brie, Grana Padano, and fruit."
"It was definitely a menu for the more adventurous, but one I really enjoyed as I love trying new food. Once again, the staff couldn’t do enough for you in this venue. We were constantly having our bread replaced, as well as our water and wine replenished.
The evening just got better and better. We spent most of it relaxing in the social hub of the ship, Grandiosa Bar & Lounge, sipping cocktails, champagne, wine, and everything in between while the dancers grabbed us up onto the floor for salsa lessons. Then DJ Scott Mills made an appearance for a set that helped everybody into even better spirits. We all danced the night away with drinks in-hand as the LED dome ceiling changed its colours and patterns to suit the mood of the party.
After a helping of late-night pizza from Marketplace Buffet and a good night’s sleep in our comfy bed, we made our way off the ship the next morning.
MSC Grandiosa has completely changed my mind about the idea of cruising and what it actually entails. Now all I need to work out is when I’m going!"