After freshening up from our days walking we headed back out to walk La Rambla and find somewhere to eat. We walked the full length and back and eventually stopped close to our accommodation along the Rambla de Catalunya for our second lot of Tapas of the day, both sittings being absolutely delicious. It worked really well for Nicole because she was able to pick and choose items that worked with her diet.
The lower and more commercial end of La Rambla was extremely busy and being a Friday night it was packed with tourists. We felt much more at ease along Rambla de Catalunya where the crowds had thinned out and the people around seemed to be predominantly locals. We made it back to the hotel just after 10:00 and crashed out more or less straight away.
After a good night’s sleep we both came to at around 8:00 and lazed for a while in another comfortable bed, our fourth different one this week.
Breakfast was included so we made use of that before heading off to find Barcelona Cathedral. First though we headed away from the centre to the top of Rambla de Catalunya so we could experience the full length of it.
The cathedral was every bit as impressive as we had read and for €3 we were able to take the elevator up to the rooftop for a panoramic view of Barcelona.
After all that excitement it was Tapas time again, we again found a great little place on the Rambla de Catalunya not far from our digs. With time starting to fly we made our way back to Anakena House to collect our luggage and pick up a taxi to the airport. A fabulous ending to an even more fabulous week.
We had a good last night onboard MSC Seaview, after doing 90% of packing we ventured out for something to eat and finished off with drinks in the Atrium and then on to the Seaside Lounge. We chatted with two lots of forum friends but not at the same time and with Nicole starting to feel the after effects of her challenge we retired to the cabin to close up the cases and leave them outside for collection.
On arrival at Barcelona Captain Scala kept up his usual orientation routine by turning the ship to face out for tonight’s departure. From the cabin it looked to be quite a tight space but the whole manoeuvre was done with complete ease and we were alongside and docked by 7:00.
All that remained was to finish packing our remaining belongings and go grab a coffee before making our way off the ship.
Today we walked straight off with no hold ups whatsoever and the only wait we had was for a taxi which was just under 15 minutes. Within a similar time frame we were at our accommodation for the one night. We are stopping at a place called Anakena House which I chose for its central location and the TripAdvisor reviews.
After checking in as early at 10:45 and luckily with our room ready we dropped our bags and headed off to explore. On our hit list this afternoon were a few of the Gaudi sites. The only one we went into was La Pedrera while with the others it was just a fly by for photos. La Pedrera is a very interesting experience and you first visit the roof terrace before going down to the loft and then the apartment.
I found the displays in the loft absolutely fascinating and once detailing is explained you start to see all the influences in Gaudi’s designs.
We are in Barcelona again in October and have plans to visit Sagrada Familia then so today was an opportunity to see some of the outside.
We also walked to Park Güell but missed out on going into the monument core itself due to number restrictions. I had no idea you had to pay to go in and that there were allocated time slots. On the plus side we managed to get a great view of the ship from up there before heading back for a shower and to get changed to go out again in the evening. I think the plan is to walk La Rambla and feast on some tapas.
I was sat in the Sports Bar posting the blog as we sailed out of Valletta and never felt any movement at all. It wasn’t until I looked up that I realized we were on our way to Barcelona. No sooner had we left port the winds picked up and any hope of eating outside evaporated.
My food in the buffet was excellent last night but for Nicole not so and she is now beginning to look forward to getting off so that she can get a bit more of a variation. On the plus side, we gave the buzzer another go and surprise, surprise it was a success. Order taken within 10 minutes and drinks following soon after.
The rest of the evening was spent in the Atrium on Deck 7 where we listened to the live band, had a few drinks and generally people watched.
The winds remained over night and we wondered how it would affect today which was a sea day. The answer was quite a bit, sitting outside was virtually impossible and inside was extremely busy with so many people all wandering around.
With Nicole needing to graze we grabbed seats early in the buffet which worked out spot on. I had a really nice pasta lunch which is the third day on the trot I have really enjoyed the pasta on this cruise. What with all prime public areas already taken we decided to go and make use of our balcony. It was sheltered from the winds and there was just enough sunshine to make it feel really nice.
Later in the afternoon Nicole made use of the sea day and went to the gym to do the next part of her challenge which was a 10km run. Rather her than me!!!!! I on the other hand headed for the Sports Bar and made use of the drinks package. They have over 10 different draught beers there including Guinness and Newcastle Brown Ale.
With little out of the ordinary to share today I am going to do a quick gallery of different areas of the ship that we have enjoyed over the cruise.
Tonight is our last night onboard and case’s have to be out by 1:00am and we have to be out of the cabin by 7:00 in morning. We still have one more night away which we will be spending in Barcelona flying back on Saturday evening. I will cover that and disembarkation in tomorrow’s post.
Make what you will of this sign in the bathroom of our cabin……..
On the food front, Nicole had a good day yesterday with plenty of protein options available. I’m not sure why they are not always available but it was great that she was again able to eat well. After food we ended up meeting with some fellow forum friends in the Seaside Lounge and were very close to seeing midnight in. Lots of chat with plenty of laughter made it a fun few hours. I even sampled a couple of cocktails during the evening, both of which were nice but I do have to say they are not really my thing
We arrived back at our cabin to find our steward had been busy while we were out as he had left us a couple of towel Swans on the bed.
This morning nether of us woke to see us come into Valletta so when we eventually came to we had a lovely view outside our balcony. We have noticed that Captain Scala likes to always turn the ship on arrival so he can head straight out when we leave.
Nicole wanted to do a workout in the gym first thing so she went off early while I laid in for a bit. There were no great plans today other to get off and walk locally which has been the theme on this cruise.
We were off by 10:00 and did a circuit before coming back aboard just after 12:00 for a spot of lunch. Valletta didn’t seem to hold the same charm we experienced from our last visit, it seemed much busier for one thing and the streets were much more crowded. Having seen much of it previously it was an easy decision to go back to the ship and enjoy that some more.
The buffet was practically deserted and the days selection was good too. From there it was simply a case of picking which sunbed we wanted to lie on next to the Sunset Beach Pool. What a great way to spend an afternoon.
We followed the same routine as the previous night by eating in the buffet which again worked well for Nicole. I still had no success with the button to summon bar staff but did manage to flag one down so took the opportunity to ask if I was doing it correctly. I was told a light should come on as I’m pressing the button but in all my previous attempts there hasn’t been one. Surprisingly when the waiter had a go a light appeared so I came to the conclusion the staff must have their own power supply in order to make it look as if they work perfectly.
According to the booking confirmation, we weren’t due into Messina until 8:00 so were surprised to see we were already there when I came round at 6:30 so I took another look at the daily program and spotted it was down as 7:00. You have to hand it to MSC because they are consistent with their flexible allotted arrival times.
Palermo and Catania have been our previous ports of call in Sicily and we never got off at Catania and wished we hadn’t at Palermo.
So for today we had originally planned to go along the coast to Taormina but over the last couple of days made the decision to once again get off and walk locally
Our day started once again with coffee in the Seaview Lounge and then onto the buffet so Nicole could get what she needed. It was a nice leisurely morning before we got off just after 10:00.
Messina is what I classify as a pester port in as much as you are constantly being propositioned by people trying to sell tours, taxis, fridge magnets & tea towels. It does become very tiresome but the further you get away from the port the lesser they become in numbers. We didn’t stay off the ship too long, only opting to visit the Santuario della Madonna di Montalto and the Sacrario Di Christo Re which were in close proximity and both giving great views over Messina.
We hung around until midday to watch the clockwork figures on the Duomo Cathedral Tower which we came away wondering why we had actually bothered. It seemed to turn the peddlers into overdrive because of the gathering crowds.
By 12:30 we were back onboard and decided to go and find a pool and some R&R. Deck 7 and the Sunset Beach Pool was the ideal spot for us. It became very popular as the afternoon went on and the excursions returned.
I found the heat a little too much eventually so retired to the Sports Bar to do some blog writing.
After the muster yesterday we found ourselves a great spot at the back of the ship for the sail out of Genoa. I was surprised about how many locals had turned out to see us off.
When we eventually got back to the cabin our cases were outside waiting for us. Nicole made short work of unpacking which she seems to have perfected over the years. We have made the decision to take things nice and easy this cruise and eat our evening meal in the buffet. Two things have contributed to this, one is Nicole’s Veganism and also because she is currently a third of the way through a 90 day fitness challenge which means she can only eat specific items. So being able to pick your food without having a limited selection will work much better for her. On day one it was a great success so hopefully it will continue to work for her throughout the cruise. It won’t make a great deal of different to me as we have never been big fans of the MSC dining room experience and we have a drink package to sort of compensate so I’m not grumbling.
Talking of food, the buffet on this ship has a little buzzer mechanism on each table where you can call a bar steward when you need serving. A great idea if it actually works!!!! Despite pressing several times during our 1½ hour visit nobody materialised to take our order. It was quicker to go to the bar and get it yourself. I will try again tomorrow.
Earlier in the evening we also met our steward who goes by the name of Gilbert. He seems friendly enough and had turned down the room on our return later in the evening but there was no sign of a daily program when we retired for the night.
Today we arrived at Naples at 12:00 which was actually the third different arrival time we have seen. When we booked it was due to be 1:00pm then yesterday we read it had changed to 11:00am and this morning it became midday.
At 6:30 Nicole went off to the gym while I slept in for a bit, when she came back we made our way down to deck 8 and the Seaside Lounge for coffee and for me a few pastries. In the evening it is the piano bar but in the morning it’s nice and quiet and an ideal venue to grab a early morning Americano using the drink package. From there we went just along the deck to the buffet so Nicole could get a vegetable based breakfast. We found seats outside on side of the ship and enjoyed the sunshine. What MSC have designed here is a fantastic addition to what we are already finding is a amazing ship. No speciality restaurants like NCL and available for everyone to use. This ship is fantastic for those who embrace being outdoors.
With a couple of hours to spare before we arrived at Naples we found a couple of beds and relaxed in the sun. Bliss!!!!
After a very brief snack we set off to explore Naples, on our fourth visit we decided it was time to see what we could find on foot. First stop was up past the Castel Nuovo enroute to the see the exterior of Palazzo Reale.
Next stop was the very impressive Galleria Umberto to see this spectacular shopping arcade from the 1880’s.
Then we followed the Via Toledo as far as Piazza Dante before heading right to Duomo which is Naples Cathedral.
With legs feeling it and also the heat we then retraced our tracks back to the ship. Total time spent walking was 3½ hours and a cool beer back onboard was most welcome. We have had another great day today and it’s reminded us how much we enjoy Italy.
Last night we wandered back into the city centre for another circuit before coming back to the hotel for a couple of drinks. The roof top terrace bar wasn’t open and there was a wedding reception on in the function room up there so we ended up in the ground floor in the Royal Bar. No sign of fireworks by 10:30 so we retired for the evening only to be awoken at 11:30 by loads of explosions coming from outside.
You guessed it, the fireworks had begun. They were very loud and echoed round the whole bay. Lasting around 5 minutes or so and sadly we could only just make out the top of them over the buildings in front of our balcony. Had we known then perhaps we might have stopped up on the terrace.
This morning was a much more relaxed affair with no real need to be anywhere early. What with it being a Sunday everything outside seemed much quieter. We didn’t need to be out of the room until midday which was also our allocated arrival time at the cruise terminal so after a quick repack we set off in search of breakfast at a local cafe.
We returned back at the hotel at 11:30 and finished repacking our luggage, checked out at 11:50 and organised a taxi which was there before we even stepped outside the hotel. From there it was a five minute journey to the terminal and due to our loyalty status we were onboard in 20 minutes. As we had done cruises before with MSC we were fully prepared for a glitzy ship but I have to say Seaview is an absolute cracker. It’s a very big ship but our first impressions it is extremely well laid out. The colours are bright and airy and there are chrome furnishings everywhere.
We spent two hours or so just wandering around and trying to get familiar with the layout. After a spot of lunch in one of the two buffet’s we did yet more exploring until we thought we had covered all the areas. We then went back to the cabin to see if our cases had arrived.
They hadn’t showed up before 4:30 which was the muster time so we headed down to deck 7 in the casino which is our station. That seemed to go without any problems and was over with much quicker than the Celebrity equivalent and done in several languages.
I’ve lots of photos today so will post as many as possible before we sail so as to preserve my internet package.
The flights for this cruise were booked back in June 2017, the object being to get us to Genoa and then back from Barcelona from the same UK airport. Gatwick and British Airways came up trumps for both flights. Our first flight was at 8:30am in the morning so we concluded that it would be a good idea to drive down the night before to eliminate a very early start from home. So with that in mind, it made sense to book a hotel at the airport and combine it with a parking package. After a search on the Holiday Extras website, we selected The Sofitel. It’s within the airport and is a 3-minute walk to the North Terminal through an indoor walkway. Being as our flight was from the South Terminal it was just a case of hopping on the free monorail to then get us to the appropriate terminal where we were able to check in and drop off our luggage.
At 7:30 we noticed that our flight had been delayed until 9:15 which was a bit annoying as an extra hour in bed would have been nice. Aparently it was all down to the late arrival of crew which were inbound on another plane. That’s a new one on me.
We both liked the idea of spending a little time in Genoa before we embarked so by going out a day early it enabled us to do this. It also provided a nice little buffer just in case anything should go wrong. Today’s delay was the first time we have experienced one while flying within Europe and although it wasn’t a major delay it does happen from time to time.
After departing at our revised time we eventually landed just under 2 hours later at Chistoforo Colombo Airport in Genoa. From there a 15 minute taxi ride (€18) to our overnight accommodation, The Grand Hotel Savoia. We heard about this place thanks to a couple of fellow cruisers and have to say it didn’t disappoint.
We have a room on the first floor but there is a terrace on the seventh where you can look out over the port and see what ships are in, today it’s Preziosa and Seaview.
After dropping cases off and having a brief look around the hotel we set off to explore. We walked around for about 4 hours wandering up and down little streets and passages before hunger got the better of us. Genoa is actually a lot more interesting and prettier than I had originally thought.
It’s certainly a very busy place and all the more so today because of a 5km Colour Run being held. We weren’t sure if it was anything to do with it but there were several areas of the city decorated with lots of coloured umbrellas. Simple but very effective.
After going back to the hotel for an hour to freshen up a take a rest before we set off again to see how different it felt in the evening.
We are also keeping an eye out for rumoured fireworks to celebrate the christening of MSC Seaview.
I will update you tomorrow of how our evening went
In 2016 we won a free cruise on MSC Splendida through a cruising forum owned and run by a cruise agent, during that cruise we attended a talk on MSC’s plans for the future and I remember them showcasing the new Seaside class of ship. The external renderings of these new ships gave us the impression that they were very similar in appearance to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class and at 154.000 tonnes were much larger than the majority of the MSC fleet. I remember thinking at the time these weren’t really our sort of thing, however after reading on one of the forums that there was an offer on for the inaugural cruise on MSC Seaview which is the second ship in this class, our weakness for new ships kicked in and we ended up booking a 5 night cruise at what I would consider an absolute bargain price (£64 per person per night). We booked cruise only and directly through the MSC website which was a first for us. Everything went very smoothly and I was surprised how simple the process was.
Over the next twelve months the price crept up to almost double what we had paid which is always very pleasing when it happens to you. However, in December 2017 MSC announced that the ship was going to be finished early so a couple of cruises were added before ours, this unfortunately resulted in our cruise losing its inaugural tag. We were offered the option to rebook but with flights already paid for we decided to sit tight with what we had already booked (the price we got it for originally contributed heavily to this decision).
Our itinerary is as follows and there will be two new ports for us, Genoa & Messina. We do have plans for each stop and because it will be June there is a fair chance the weather will be nice too.
Sunday, Jun 10, 2018
Monday, Jun 11, 2018
Tuesday, Jun 12, 2018
Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018
Thursday, Jun 14, 2018
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
My cabin selection was made very quickly and I selected a cabin close to one of the stair lobby’s for ease of ship navigation, one of my pet hates is walking along lengthy corridors just to reach your cabin. We have a port side cabin near the front of the elongated hump which should allow us to see both forwards and backwards.
On 8 May, just 33 days before our sailing we received news that the ship is going to require a few more days to allow completion at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard. Because of this delay the short cruise originally planned for June 7-10 was cancelled. Seaview’s first cruise is once again our sailing on June 10 which is a day after the christening in Genoa on the 9th.