On board the MSC Grandiosa: my return to normality
The diary from my trip on board the MSC Grandiosa for a Mediterranean cruise in May 2021. Advice and information on the cruise experience aboard the beautiful MSC Grandiosa, a ship in the MSC Cruises fleet.
Don’t miss out on the→ Complete Review of MSC Grandiosa on Cruising Journal.
DAY 1: EMBARKING IN NAPLES
After having planned this cruise for months and having to modify the itinerary and dates three times, on May 18 in Naples I was finally able to embark for the fifth time aboard a ship in the MSC fleet, this time on the MSC Grandiosa. The steps to follow before the trip was to have an antigenic swab within 96 hours of departure, fill in the Covid-19 forms and carry out a second swab at the maritime station on the morning of boarding. The procedures were impeccable, and we were pampered from the first minute with chocolates, water and so on, everything was up to MSC standards.
Coming on board always feels magical to me, smelling the “Med” scent while walking through the corridors in search of my cabin gives me a wonderful feeling and makes me feel at home. My room was a fantastic balcony cabin located on deck 11 forward on the starboard side of the ship, which I was given through a nice upgrade. An excellent location to easily reach all the main attractions on the ship.
Once I got settled in my cabin, I immediately went to try the buffet which was perfectly organized to ensure high safety standards and always with a wide choice of dishes. Later I attended the safety meeting at the theater and I enjoyed myself during games with the onboard entertainment team, swimming in the pool and having an aperitif at sunset. The first day ended with an excellent dinner at the Purple Crub restaurant and a fun evening of karaoke and a tarantella lesson at the Grandiosa Lounge on the bow of deck 6, inside the beautiful Galleria Grandiosa illuminated by the LED ceiling with interactive light shows.
DAY 2: NAVIGATION
The second day began with a breakfast in my room and many little prizes to win at the games at the pool, and continued with the exploration of the beautiful indoor panoramic Jacuzzis located a deck above that of the indoor pool. Elegant clothing was recommended for the evening, the Gala evening which is my favorite, during which the numerous photographers on board took thousands of photos. There was a beautiful show at the theater entitled “Grande Amore” with fantastic artists from all over the world which honored the Italian culture as well as the presentation of the ship’s captain, Raffaele Pontecorvo, who wished all guests a pleasant trip.
DAY 3: MALTA
The docking, which I viewed from the balcony, is practically inside the city of Valletta which is priceless, and for me it was worth opening my eyes at 6 am to not miss the show. As soon as I boarded in Naples, I immediately booked a land excursion on Malta, in that week it was only available by bus at a cost of € 35 per person. The excursion included a tour of the entire island by bus without the possibility of getting off due to local lockdown regulations. It was still better than nothing and the city is really nice. Perhaps 3 hours was a bit too long to never be able to get off, and so I don’t know if I would recommend doing it under these circumstances.
However, the bus trip did certainly leave me small taste of the island of Malta, which I will look forward to visiting more fully in the future. The departure from Malta was brought forward by 3 hours due to bad weather, and in fact from the moment of departure there was rough seas for 24 hours. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from seasickness! That evening after an impeccable dinner we were entertained by Latin dancers with tropical themed clothing and met many new friends, ended with a night stop at the buffet for a sweet snack at 2 am.
DAY 4: PALERMO
Also in this case I had booked the excursion on the day of boarding to avoid finding everything fully booked and had paid € 32 per person. This time, however, it was beautiful experience as we were able to visit Palermo far and wide with a very nice guide, and we even enjoyed (included in the cost of the excursion) a delicious aperitif of razor clams, arancini Sicilian rice balls and lemon granita. Upon returning, I relaxed in one of the semicircular Jacuzzis on the outside of deck 16 and from there I was able to admire the departure from the port of this beautiful Sicilian city.
My evening was spent at the Carousel Lounge, one of the most particular places on the ship in my opinion, located aft of deck 7 just after the casino, and with a fantastic view of the ship’s wake. The entertainment staff had organized the “MSC Factor”, a talent show aimed at letting all aspiring singers among the guests perform, but without a competition.
DAY 5: NAVIGATION
This day was one of complete relaxation, and, as there was bad weather, it was spent between dance lessons, relaxing in the indoor pool, bowling (cost is € 30 for half an hour – up to 6 players) and games in the arcade area. In the evening I was enthralled by another exciting Adams Family-themed theatrical show, for which there was a well-deserved standing ovation. And after an excellent dinner including mussel soup and seafood risotto, I indulged in a cocktail in the company of new friends at the bar at the Horizon Pool, the beautiful swimming pool located on the stern of the ship on deck 16.
DAY 6: GENOA
Having already been to Genoa several times before, I decided not to go on an excursion, but my sister did and she chose to visit the aquarium for € 39 and said it was well organized.
There was not much to do on the ship on Saturday, since all recreational activities when docked in Genoa were suspended due to the large number of guests embarking and therefore practically all the staff are engaged in boarding procedures. So I had time to make a short visit to the gym, organized very well following all the safety measures with continuous disinfection of each piece of equipment after use.
In the evening after dinner and after another show at the theater, we chatted and had cocktails in the company of new friends.
DAY 7: CIVITAVECCHIA
Being a destination that itself is not very rich in attractions and having visited Rome many times, I decided to stay on board once again. This time, however, all the usual daily activities were available. Being the last day for me, I focused on enjoying everything for the last time, relaxed all afternoon by the pool, did a lot of shopping in the gallery and tried the fantastic chocolate personalization service at Jean Philippe Chocolate Shop (which turned out to be delicious). In the evening, with some sadness, I had to prepare the suitcases that had to be put outside the cabin door by one in the morning. That last evening was a whirlwind of emotions and I dedicated it to “saying goodbye” to every corner of the ship and all the new friends I’d met.
DAY 8: NAPLES
The sad day had unfortunately arrived, but even the disembarkation was organized in a super-efficient way and took place by dividing passengers into several groups to avoid crowds forming. A serological test for Covid was done at the request of local authorities and carried out at the maritime station directly.
To conclude my travel diary, I would like to recommend to everyone this fantastic experience which, although a little different from the cruises we were used to before Covid, is a beautiful breath of fresh air to escape even for just a few days from the difficult situation which we have been living for a year now. Everything is perfectly organized and you feel 100% safe and protected thanks to all the security measures. Thanks to MSC for this umpteenth unforgettable experience, and I will surely be back on a ship from their fleet as soon as possible.