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MSC Grandiosa


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MSC Grandiosa -- the first of the line's new Meraviglia Plus class -- was christened in Hamburg on November 9, 2019, by Godmother to all the line's ships, Sophia Loren.

The new flagship is 331 meters long -- 16 metres longer than MSC's Meraviglia Class vessels -- and is the largest in the 17-strong fleet with capacity for more than 6,300 passengers. It will be followed by a sister, MSC Virtuosa, in September 2020.

MSC Grandiosa has 200 more cabins; 2,421 in total including 60 for passengers with reduced mobility.

MSC Grandiosa showcases a number of firsts for the line including the 160-cover Il Campo restaurant for "Aurea Experience" passengers and the largest shopping area on a cruise ship. New outlets include the MSC Foundation shop where profits from items sold go towards the marine protection organisation.

The extended 111-metre-long indoor promenade is covered by a 93-metre "digital sky" LED screen; again the largest anywhere at sea. Images are projected onto the ceiling 24 hours a day, along with special shows of changing pictures screened three times a day.

The 10 restaurants and 21 bars, snack areas and lounges include an expanded L'Atelier Bistrot speciality restaurant, with seating for 66. First debuted on MSC Bellissima, and designed to reflect the atmosphere of a traditional Parisian eatery, it has a large lounge bar area with live music and -- in another first -- the "Degas Danse Dessin" exhibition of 26 original works by French Impressionist Edgar Degas. The installation also gives passengers the opportunity to discover the history, techniques and subjects of the artist's work through interactive video commentaries.

Elsewhere, MSC Grandiosa features enhanced technology with ship-wide touch screens programmed with more information and increased capability for Zoe, the voice-enabled assistant is in every cabin. Lifts are operated by an exterior screen where passengers select a floor and immediately see which lift will arrive first.

The MSC Aurea Spa has introduced a range of new beauty brands and treatments such as the Nail Salon by OPI, making its first appearance on MSC Grandiosa. Le Grand Casino features the latest in gaming technology including 164 slot machines and live gaming tables.

Features on existing Meraviglia vessels have been given a new look, including the jungle-themed Wild Forest Aqua Park with four twisting water slides, an 82-metre-long Himalayan suspension bridge, pools and family activities.

Other features carried over from the Meraviglia Class ships include:

• Family group cluster cabins where up to three rooms can be joined so larger groups can stay together.

• Indoor VR games area including bowling and a 4D cinema.

• Large kids club featuring LEGO, a science lab and a small performance area.

• High-tech including RFID wristband technology to open cabin doors and pay for drinks; in-cabin AI digital personal assistant, Zoe; MSC for Me app.

• Exclusive key-card access only MSC Yacht Club with lounge, restaurant and sundeck.

Described by the line as one of the most environmentally advanced ships at sea, the vessel features Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) systems to minimise its environmental impact. It is also fitted with shore-to-ship power which connects to a port's local power grid to further reduce air emissions while docked.


Enjoy exclusive world-class shows performed in innovative venues like the Carousel Lounge and the multi-purpose karaoke bar, comedy club, TV studio & Bar. Younger guests can take advantage of the super-amusement park and sports centre to play sports and games during the daytime and party and dance in the evening. And the whole family can enjoy hours of fun in one of the most intricate and exciting water parks at sea.

Twice every night, six nights a week, guests on MSC Grandiosa have the unique opportunity to see two original shows by Cirque du Soleil, the world leader in live artistic entertainment, and savour a superb culinary experience in the same glamorous venue. The Carousel Lounge is a technology-packed, entertainment and dining venue designed especially to meet the needs of Cirque du Soleil. This custom-built lounge can accommodate up to 450 guests, including more than 100 enjoying the full show-and-dining experience.

The top deck features the Polar Aquapark, one of the most intricate and exciting water parks at sea, with three twisting slides, a ‘Himalayan Bridge’ and a range of pools, features and activities for all ages.

The TV Studio and Bar is a high-tech, multi-purpose space that houses a radio broadcast suite and a TV studio broadcasting live games, quizzes, talent contests and other fun content across the ship. It also serves as an atmospheric comedy club, karaoke bar and live music venue.

MSC Grandiosa also offers two teenagers’ clubs, one for 12-14 year olds and another for 15-17 year olds. In addition, a teens-only area serves as cinema, gaming room and disco, depending on the time of day, ensuring teenagers are always entertained.

The quality of dining onboard MSC's ships has been steadily improving since the launch of Meraviglia in 2017, and sister Grandiosa is no exception. While there are just five speciality restaurants onboard, what Grandiosa might lack in quantity, it makes up for in quality, offering high food and service standards across the board. It also helps that all the bread, pasta, pastries and mozzarella are freshly made daily.

Food items are marked for allergies, and all waiters we encountered, without exception, asked unprompted at the start of every meal about any food intolerances. There is a kids' club menu available in all the main dining rooms.

Following the current trend of cruise ships not having a single main dining room (MDR), Grandiosa has four, all serving exactly the same meals, differing only in location and decor.

For breakfast and lunch, you are limited to the buffet or one of the four MDRs (Posidonia), unless you are a Yacht Club passenger and can eat in the Yacht Club Dining Room.

You need reservations for all of the speciality restaurants.

Free Dining

Purple Crab(Deck 5), La Loggia (Deck 6), La Perla Grigia / La Perle Grise (Deck 6) and Il Campo (Deck 7)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

For breakfast, you can opt for the "MSC Express" which consists of scrambled or fried eggs, sausages, bacon and hash browns. Or you have the usual choice of breakfast items -- eggs, omelettes, bacon and sausages, yoghurts and cereals -- as well as more European-style items, such as cold cuts, cheeses and even grilled kippers, herrings and smoked salmon.

At lunch expect three starter choices, including a salad, soup and fish dish. Mains will include a fish and a meat dish, as well as simpler options such as a burger or a club sandwich. There will always be a vegetarian dish, usually pasta, but sometimes noodles. There is a wide selection of desserts, including ice cream, cheeses and fruit.

At all four main dining rooms, dinner is a three- or four-course affair, depending on if you opt for cheese and dessert. All starters and mains include a soup and a vegetarian option. Mains err on the heavy side with duck, beef, veal and lamb all on offer, though you will always find a freshly made pasta dish and a fish dish. Always-available dishes are steamed fish fillet and grilled chicken breast. There is also a suggested Healthy Option menu, complete with calories, fat, carbs and protein.

Twice a cruise there is a gala dinner, prepared by one of the line's celebrity chefs -- Carlo Cracco or Harald Wolfhart. Overall, the food is of a high quality -- the Gala Night herb-crusted tenderloin was exceptional -- with service to match.

The wine list is extensive, with an emphasis on Italian wines, and at a reasonable price. If you have opted for a beverage package, you are not limited to a handful of wines, unlike on many cruise ships. We found the service exemplary, friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.

Marketplace Buffet (Deck 15)
Meals: B, L, D

The vast buffet, which takes up most of the back of Deck 15, is well-designed and easy to navigate. You can enter via the main entrance, or at various side entrances or from the main pool deck, thus avoiding bottlenecks. There are hand-washing stations at every entrance, and a diligent crew member squirting you at the main entrance. The centrepiece is the glass-fronted mozzarella-making area, where you can watch the cheese being made fresh.

Food is available at each side of the mozzarella-making area and all the way to the back of the buffet on twin lines, punctuated by tea, coffee and water stations. At breakfast, you'll find omelette stations as well as an English Breakfast Corner serving British staples, such as English bacon and baked beans (though sadly no Marmite), and also a small Chinese section serving congee, rice and noodles.

There is plenty of seating, including sit-up tables at the main entrance. (Our tip: Head toward the back where it is less crowded).

Room Service (24 hours a day): Dependent on the experience you have booked (Bella, Fantastica, Aurea or Yacht Club), room service availability and charges vary

Fee Dining

Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.

Jean-Philippe Chocolate & Cafe (Deck 6); a la carte speciality coffees and hot chocolate from 2.40 euros
Meals: All-day snacks

French master chocolatier Jean-Philippe Maury gets some prime real estate on the Galleria Grandiosa-- the main promenade -- with this showcase to his extraordinary talents. The cafe features an open kitchen where you can watch the creations being made, as well as a cafe and a chocolate shop.

Take some time to admire some of his creations on display in a glass cabinet just as you enter -- you really will marvel at his skill. You can't buy these, but you can buy a model of the ship in milk, dark or white chocolate for 18 euros. The hot chocolate's not too bad, either.

Jean-Philippe Crepes & Gelato (Deck 6); a la carte, 2.90 euros and up
Meals: Snacks

More of an ice cream parlour than a restaurant, it's located in a prime spot along the main promenade and serves crepes, gelato, smoothies and various ice cream sundaes from 5.50 euros.

HOLA! Tapas (Deck 6); 26 euros or a la carte
Meals: D

Michelin-starred chef Ramon Freixa's second outing on an MSC ship (the first is Ocean Cay on MSC Seaview) is a hit-and-miss affair. Some of the absolute basics -- tortilla, for example -- are botched, with Freixa's weird almondy signature flakes coating one side, and pink mayo on the other, rendering them largely inedible. The gambas al ajillo (prawns in garlic) come in a bao bun, which would outrage purists of this sublime dish and the less said about the pulpo a la Gallega (octopus Galician style), the better. There are some hits, such as the solomillo (steak), an unadorned plate of jamon and perfectly toasted bread with a side of tomato spreading paste, which we devoured, and a selection of burgers, which we weren't quite sure what were doing on the menu, but were delicious -- as were the fries. The desserts -- popping candy, chocolate and churros -- are fun.

L'Atelier Bistrot (Deck 6); 23 euros or a la carte, 6 to 22 euros
Meals: D

This French-style bistro is on the main promenade, Galleria Grandiosa, and should, in theory, attract a lot of passing traffic; however, the concept of speciality dining is still relatively new for MSC so it may take some time for this to bed in. Dishes include French classics, such as pate, vichyssoise and, of course, escargots to start; and moules mariniere, bouef bourginon and steak frites for mains. The Dining Experience is reasonably priced, but it limits you to just four starters and four mains, so you may wish to go a la carte. However, note that with mains averaging more than 20 euros, if you're adding cheese and a dessert (not to mention wine), you are heading well north of 50 euros per person.

Kaito Teppanyaki (Deck 7); 24 euros to 59 euros; 12 euros for kids
Meals: D

Definitely the most fun of all the restaurants onboard in that this is just as much a show as a meal. For anyone familiar with a traditional hibachi experience, you know the drill: knife juggling, egg throwing, cheesy jokes -- and a lot of laughs. But of course, it's not just about the performance -- the food is outstanding -- beautifully seasoned, prepared and cooked. The set menu prices reflect the dishes served, with certain meats and seafood costing more. All the menus start with miso soup, sushi and sashimi, seasonal greens and include a lot of egg fried rice.

Kaito Sushi (Deck 7); 28 euros or a la carte
Meals: L, D

Situated just outside the Teppanyaki restaurant, so it's not so much a restaurant but a collection of tables on the landing overlooking the main promenade, as well as a sit-up sushi bar. Overseen by Japanese sushi master Chef Saimiya, the food here is outstanding. You could go for the Dining Experience, but our suggestion is to have a sashimi or nigiri dish each (from 3 euros), followed by one of the best noodle soups we have ever had on a ship -- Tori Soba, chicken, leeks and wakame (5 euros) -- with maybe a matcha tea ice cream (3 euros). Overall, superb value and attentive service.

Butcher's Cut (Deck 7); 39 euros or a la carte
Meals: D

This American-style steakhouse, all leather chairs and black and white prints on the walls, is situated on the upper floor of the Galleria, with a main restaurant and open kitchen, as well as tables outside overlooking the promenade. The steaks are superb: thick, juicy and tender. If steak is not your thing, chicken, scallops, halibut and salmon are also available. If you have any space left, there is a delicious selection of desserts, including New York cheesecake and a signature lava cake (made in the chocolate shop just below).

Carousel Lounge (Deck 7); 35 euros
Meals: D

This is the venue for the Cirque du Soleil shows. If you're going for the dinner, too (6 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.), the three-course set meal starts with a salad or a light fish dish and then a choice of three entrees -- fish, meat and vegetarian options. Dessert might be cheesecake or a mousse.

MSC Grandiosa features a wide variety of elegant accommodations, including family options, duplex suites with a private whirlpool bath, and the highest ratio of sea-view balcony cabins of any cruise ship.

The MSC Yacht Club offers a real "ship within a ship" experience; a place where you can savour exclusivity and privacy in a world of choice. Where you can indulge in the luxury of a private club, while enjoying access to the myriad recreation and entertainment possibilities that the rest of the ship affords.

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