I was really looking forward to going on board MSC Magnifica as I understood that the decor and design on MSC cruise ships were ‘art deco’ themed. I was not disappointed! In fact I could have happily stayed in the aptly named ‘Tiger Bar’ lounge for the duration of our visit especially with my love of animal print.
Although I have not visited that many cruise ships I can honestly say that MSC Magnifica is the only one so far that ‘floated my boat’ (‘scuse the pun!). I immediately felt at home with the styling and decor and would have happily booked a cruise there and then!
Everywhere was exceptionally clean and well maintained with a feeling of space especially around the swimming pool on the main deck. One of my pet hates is how crowded the swimming pool area appears on other cruise liners I have visited with so many sunbeds jammed next to each other which makes me feel claustrophobic. I much preferred the spacious look and feel of the sun deck of Magnifica. Less is definitely more in this case!
Another major positive was the appearance of the self-serve buffet restaurant. On some ships I have noticed a ‘canteen’ feel with a marked difference from the main waiter service dining areas. I felt that MSC has got the balance right – it appeared less formal than the waiter service restaurants but still had nice tables and chairs with stylish decor.
The Theatre was stunning, another area I would happily have stayed in for awhile indulging in my love of all things ‘art deco’. It was spacious with the most beautiful decor and the seating looked comfortable too.
Midway through our visit we were asked if we would like to experience the 4D cinema. We had heard some screams emerging from behind the curtains but still did not need asking twice! Donning our special glasses we strapped ourselves into the bright yellow seats for our ‘trip’. What brilliant scary fun, not sure who screamed the most but I was informed I was definitely the loudest!
The nightclub disco had a 60s retro feel with a large bar area and tables that light up. I could definitely see myself strutting my stuff on the dance floor whilst looking out to sea! It was spacious with plenty of low level seating and some bar stool areas too. There was also a small 2 lane bowling alley near the entrance.
The gym appeared well-equipped and looked out to sea. There was an adjacent spa which won an award for ‘Best spa at sea’ voted by clients. The prices for treatments seemed quite reasonable too.
I would imagine that the Sports Bar would have a great atmosphere for major sporting events. The Cigar Bar was a perfect haven for smokers. The Casino also allowed you to light up whilst placing your bets!
As the ship was full during our visit we were unable to view a variety of cabins, however we did manage to have a quick peek at one which was an outside standard room.
Our lunch was served in the main dining room area which also had an art deco themed decor with mirrored ceilings in places. It was very spacious and comfortable with lots of round tables (as well as tables for 2), ideal for group conversation! The choices on the menu ranged from tuna Nicoise salad or cod for starters followed by lamb or fish the main course with a vegetarian option too. Both my choices were enjoyable although I wish I had chosen a different starter as the gnocchi looked gorgeous! For dessert we chose ice cream although there were other more exciting choices!
There were ‘Speciality Dining’ options for an extra charge e.g. Rib eye steak for 8 euros. A ‘pay as you go’ system, perfect for special occasions for when you wanted to ‘push the boat out’, sorry for another pun!
Weddings can also be undertaken onboard, obviously by prior arrangement.
MSC Magnifica is a mid-range cruise ship catering for 2500 passengers. The clientele is more of an ‘International passenger’ and there is a Loyalty Programme for repeat travellers. The ratio is 1 member of staff for every 3 passengers and gratuities are 7 euros per day for adults (50% for children). There are also a variety of ‘all inclusive’ packages which include drinks, coffees, ice creams and service charge which may appeal to specific passengers.
Given a choice I would much prefer MSC Magnifica to the recently visited Queen Mary 2. Although I understand everyone looks for something different. For me the art deco decor and styling made all the difference and I would love a repeat visit to the 4D cinema!