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Old July 3rd, 2009, 04:14 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Default Day - we arrive at Splendida

Hello everyone. I am onboard the MSC Splendida. This is a 133,000-ton ship, 10% larger than anything Carnival has, and we are staying on it tonight in the shipyard. Now, here is the weird part, there are only about 40 of us staying onboard tonight. We were brought to stay here because we had to fly in a day early and it makes more sense to bring us here than to stay in a hotel with transportation, etc.

Tonight at 7:00 I went to the dining room which was supposed to open at 7:00 for dinner. At 7:05 I had to knock on the door to get them to come and open it. Inside there were almost as many waiters working as there were diners. That is the strange part, although there are only a very small number of people onboard much of the crew is on duty, at least in certain areas.

My press associate and I each have a special “MSC Yacht Club” cabin. These are beautiful suites with commanding views over the bow of the ship. Just outside my balcony, almost close enough that I can reach it, is the champagne bottle they will be using tomorrow for the official “hand over” ceremony. This is where the cruise line takes control of the ship from the shipyard.

In the distance less than a mile away is Norwegian Epic, still not as far along as I thought she might be (don’t worry, I am not saying she will be late, I am just saying I am not an expert in shipbuilding). She has a full superstructure, but much of her still appears to be steel. Not much skin on her yet.

This suite has the most beautiful colors I have ever seen in a suite – rich dark wormwood for all the woodwork, and the carpet and drapes in a royal blue. There are two flat screen televisions and great lighting effects. One new trend you will definitely see in future ship cabins is dramatic lighting, it is amazing how much classier the right lighting makes a room feel.

These Yacht Club suites come with a fully stocked mini-bar, no charge for drinks, and access to a very special concierge lounge with breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties you won’t get anywhere else on the ship. So far, all of the help has been extremely friendly and competent. OK, maybe they don’t always speak the best English (most of them do), but they try and most importantly they make sure they understand what you need. The worst thing is when a staff person pretends to understand you when they really don’t. So far that has not happened here.

I am exhausted, but I am really glad I came to see an MSC ship. This is my first one and so far it appears I am really going to enjoy this.
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