The Med Way of Life aboard MSC Magnifica
Not A Great Start
After a hellish flight with a wriggly, impatient toddler, an absent A2B transfers driver and a journey to 2 wrong destinations, we FINALLY arrived at the cruise terminal.
It All Changed
As we stepped onto the pavement with our cases, pushchair and bags, we were approached by a lovely Italian lady who kindly checked our cases were labelled correctly and showed us where to leave them.
We connected with my friends’ friend and her 5-year-old daughter and joined the rather long queue for check-in. We were given priority boarding having the pushchair with us and checked in. A handsome young man in a blue blazer greeted us and said “see you onboard”. I was already impressed.
As we boarded the ship, wristbands were put on the children. After the journey we were hungry so we headed straight to the restaurant. The buffet-style restaurant on the MSC Magnifica was by far the largest I have EVER seen. Spread into 2 rooms with fruit and salad stations at each end. By the time I’d seen everything, I’d forgotten what was at the start. Having said that, once I knew how good the freshly made pizza was……….. nothing else mattered. The plates are huge as well so you end up putting a lot more than intended on your plate.
I must admit to looking for the ‘catch’. I was expecting to find something that would explain the low cost of this cruise. We went to our rooms to see what they were like. They were lovely, spacious, nicely decorated, nothing wrong with that at all, in fact on a par with the other mainstream cruise lines and better than some. The bed was comfy, pillows lovely and plump, a good amount of hanging space and drawers for your clothes.
I familiarised myself with the baby club and made sure I checked Joshua in for the drop off times. For under 3’s they offer baby drop off onboard MSC Magnifica which is one hour at 1 pm and one hour at 6 pm. Perfect for parents to indulge in some time in the jacuzzi in the afternoon or a spa treatment, and an hour to get ready for dinner in the evening. There is no charge for this and you can access the baby club all day if you want to let your little one run wild.
This was Joshua’s 3rd cruise and I had taken my daughter 4 times prior to that. As a single parent, you can often feel like you are on the outside watching everyone else have fun. I do believe that the best holiday you can have as a single parent is a cruise, but there are still some activities you feel you cannot be part of.
As I was walking through the main lounge known on MSC Magnifica as the Tiger Bar, a member of the entertainment team invited me to join them for the sailaway party. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I needed to be, so I pulled up the pushchair put my bag down, ordered a drink from the waitress standing nearby, took off my jumper and sat down. Joshua took great delight in walking around the lounge, so with Prosecco in hand (mine), I followed him.
People were really friendly and by their friendly reaction, you would have thought they’d never seen a baby before. One thing I will say about Mediterranean cultures is that they embrace the presence of children which is refreshing.
The entertainment team got up on stage and the music started. People of all ages took to the dance floor, so I picked up Joshua and joined them. He loved it, I loved it. I couldn’t believe it was 6 pm and the party was in full swing, what a great bunch of people. My friends came along and we all danced together. My friend and I both looked at each other and agreed that this was fantastic.
So now I was in the holiday frame of mind, and I’d danced off the stresses of the day, it was time to get ready for dinner. We didn’t have long so I figured we would just freshen up, grab dinner and an early night.
We met in the main dining room and did our best to get through 7 courses including steamed mussels, salad, soup, an extensive choice of delicious entrees, cheese and biscuits, dessert and coffee. Joshua was grumpy as it had been a long day and I was exhausted, so we ate what we could and we went back to our room.
One of the many benefits of cruising is that you end the evening when you are ready rather than have to do everything as a group.
The next two days were spent enjoying quality time with Joshua, eating whatever I wanted, meeting new people and chilling out.
My three favourite areas of the ship were the pool with its retractable roof, the Tiger Bar and the nightclub, which didn’t start until 11 pm but Josh and I went in during the day and had a good look around. There are plenty of lounges on board and they all have great and varied entertainment to offer.
Tips For Cruising With A Baby
I found it worked best to give Joshua breakfast in the buffet first. Then I would go to the coffee and chocolate bar for a speciality coffee where Joshua could run around safely. After that I would push him around in his pushchair until he fell asleep. Once he was off I could go into the main dining room for my favourite dish of eggs benedict.
Lunch was in the buffet. After the first two nights, I decided it was better for us and other guests if we also had dinner in the buffet. The problem with eating at the buffet is that you can go back for more. But afterwards, I would let Joshua fall asleep in his pushchair and sit in the evening by the undercover pool and read and relax with another glass of prosecco. My friends always seemed to find me and would join me for a while and then they would go off and do their thing.
To sum up, my short cruise on MSC Magnifica far exceeded my expectations.
You really get the feeling of the Mediterranean way of life. The people are friendly, positive and ready to enjoy themselves. It’s a place where age means nothing, old people don’t act old, in fact they act younger then the youngsters. They are living life to the full with the people they love and it shows through. For more information go to MSC Cruises