MSC Cruises Splendida – Mediterranean Voyage – Day 2

Splendida in Naples I awake at about 7am with the sun streaming in through the windows as it rises over a smooth blue sea. Refreshed after a good night’s sleep it’s time to wake up under the powerful shower. Finally dressed I’m ready for breakfast but her who shall be obeyed is still deciding what to wear. Men never seem to have this problem. Finally we make our way to the Villa Verde restaurant.

This is a big ship and the walk from our cabin at the front to the restaurant at the rear is certainly a good excuse for me not using the gym. Yes I will visit it as always but do not promise to use it unless there is a Yoga Class. We are welcomed by the maitre d’ who shows us to our assigned table, 973 with the lovely view. Still at sea we head towards Naples at a speed where everything just drifts by, the huge windows again afford fabulous views of the blue sea and our wake. The breakfast menu is excellent with something for everyone. Our waiters are those from the previous evening and it’s commendable they remember our names. For me, pineapple juice, fresh fruit and then my favourite, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, all washed down by a very acceptable coffee.

Naples - Castel Sant'Elmo on hilltop Breakfast over we head for the sunshine and two comfortable sun loungers on deck 15. Towels are available at the towel station on presentation of your card. Soon all the loungers are taken and it is noticeable how many different nationalities are on board. My pre conceived idea that we would be two of the few non Italian speakers aboard proved to be so wrong. English, Australian, German, American, Japanese, Chinese to name but a few.

Soon we are passing the islands that tell me we are nearing Naples and within the next hour I see the port approaching on our port side. This, as already said, is a big ship, nearly 1,100 feet long and over 124 feet wide yet the captain turns the ship round in the harbour entrance with the ease of a rowing boat  before going backwards, or should that be astern, onto our berth. Without the breeze created by the ships movement the temperature appears to rise but in reality is a very pleasant 28c. Naples or Napoli as Dean Martin would say is a very busy port with ferries constantly arriving and departing from and to various Mediterranean ports. Mount Vesuvius from our dinner table Another cruise ship, Rhapsody is also in port with us. Changed into more suitable attire we eventually join the queue of people waiting to leave the ship. Really we should have waited until all those on tours had departed but as we were only in port for a few hours we wanted to make the most of it and decided that we would take the Ho-Ho bus (hop on-hop off) to tour the south of the city as last time we did the north. As we leave the terminal taxi drivers are doing their best to sell trips to Pompeii, Sorrento and drives along the Amalfi Coast which offer spectacular views out to sea. Arriving at the bus stop we discover that the cost had now risen to 22 Euro per person which we think is unacceptable. We were in Madeira a few months ago where it was far less and represented good value for money. Naples is a bustling city and certainly the port area is undergoing a lot of building work so it is not long before we are heading back to the comfort of the ship and to the spa for Pat to book some treatments. Facial, pedicure, manicure and body massage arranged. Filleted trout with almonds It’s time for a spot of lunch in the Bora Bora Buffet. A range of grills, pastas and salads are on display and it’s difficult not over indulge. Lunch over, it’s a further opportunity to explore the ship whilst the majority of passengers are still ashore. Top deck is a mini football pitch with tiered seating, a further swimming pool with Jacuzzi’s, children’s play area with small pool built around a snow scene area complete with igloo. This ship doesn’t cease to amaze. This evening we sail at 7pm for Messina so now time for some sun before dinner. The view from our dinner table this evening should be awesome as we sail and Naples disappears into the sunset.

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Alan Fairfax

Travel writer & cruise journalist

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