Its not often you get something for nothing but occasionally you get lucky and this is just happens to be one of those occasions. Let me explain a little to put you in the picture, I have been a member of Cruise.co.uk Forum since 27th October 2009 and have been a regular visitor over the years making the odd post every now and again. I do confess to having been more active earlier in my membership and this actually resulted in being invited to the Celebrity Eclipse naming ceremony by the forum in 2010. Unfortunately I had to turn it down because of all things I was on a cruise. The forum owners have continued over the years to invite their members to various ship visits and given away free cruises in return for them giving something back to the forum such as writing blogs and reviews.
In May I noticed a forum topic entitled Competition for 14 free balcony cabins! Exclusively for our Forum members and was immediately curious to see what it was all about. In short the forum were offering the chance for 14 members to take a 3 night cruise on the MSC Splendida in return for writing a blog for the forum. Flights to Hamburg and transfers to the ship were all included and the only expenses being the cost of getting to Heathrow Airport and from Southampton back home along with any onboard spend which included gratuities, on the plus side the internet would be provided by cruise.co.uk. Yours truly saw this as a chance not to missed and I duly sent off an e-mail to see if I could be one of the lucky ones. You could almost call it a busman’s holiday for me.
Well on the 26 May I received an e-mail from Rachael at Cruise.co.uk informing me I been selected which was a great surprise and totally unexpected.
So knowing I would be sailing MSC again I decided to take up the option to upgrade us in the MSC loyalty scheme as they are currently offering a status match programme whereby if you are already in possession of a privilege card from a mainstream leisure travel programme, you will be able to join the MSC Voyagers Club, receiving a matching status card from either our Classic, Silver, Gold and Black tiers.
Because of our Elite status on Celebrity I have successfully upgraded to MSC Black Voyager Club, it was simply a case of filling an online form along with an attachment in the form of a screen shot from my Captains Club page as proof. It’s got to be worth 5 minutes to get a few little extra perks if you have a higher status elsewhere.
We were also given the option to fly out the day before to provide a little time in Hamburg before the cruise but we made the decision to go on the day due to having to make use of public transport to get us to Heathrow; I really can’t take any more days off this year!!!.
|Sunday, September 4, 2016||Hamburg, Germany||06:30 PM|
|Monday, September 5, 2016||At Sea|
|Tuesday, September 6, 2016||Le Havre, France||08:00 AM||10:00 PM|
|Wednesday, September 7, 2016||Southampton, England||08:00 AM|
When we first logged on to the MSC website with our booking number it advised us that we had a guaranteed cabin so we had to wait a few weeks to find out which cabin we had been allocated. When details were finally released we found ourselves in cabin 13024 which is an Aurea experience balcony cabin, under normal conditions it is linked to a dedicated spa package but for us we will just be getting the Fantastica experience which doesn’t include the spa perks. As you will see from the illustration below the cabin is situated directly below the spa and is at the front of the ship. Its not a location we would chosen for ourselves so we are curious to see how much difference it makes for us being at the front of the ship.
There is a whole host of things lined up for the lucky 14 and their travel companions over the 3 nights and were surprised 2 weeks out to discover we had all been treated to the Allegrissimo all inclusive drinks package. This gives us unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including a wide range of drinks and cocktails from the bar list, a dedicated selection of wines by the glass, draught beer, an extensive selection of sodas, fruit juices and classic hot beverages (coffee espresso, cappuccino…) as well as takeaway ice cream in a cone or cup. Very nice indeed and very welcome!
So now its just a case of getting to Hamburg and then onboard to make the most of this wonderful opportunity.