Around the Adriatic Sea there are many beautiful and worth seeing places like Venice, Dubrovnik, Trieste, Split, Kotor, Zdar, Šibenik, Piran, Bari or Ancona. We were able to explore some of them during our Cruise with MSC Fantasia. We have taken a number of river and ocean cruises in recent years and are always thrilled with this type of travel. Cruises are predestined to combine multiple destinations in a convenient and stress-free way. You virtually always have the hotel with you, there is no daily packing and unpacking of suitcases, you don’t have to worry about food and you have a great entertainment program every day. Whether on the sea or on rivers, there is always so much to experience.
Table of contents
Booking, Flight & Transfer
We have looked at various shipping companies for cruises in the Adriatic – from AIDA, Norwegian, Costa to TUI Mein Schiff. In the end, MSC Cruises had the best route and the best price for us. Since we didn’t know MSC before and wanted to try it out, we finally decided to go with this provider.
After we had decided on the suitable route, we considered whether we book only the cruise or everything all-inclusive including arrival and departure in the package. Since individual flights would have been very expensive, we ultimately opted for a complete package, which we booked directly through the MSC Cruises website. One finds in addition, very many suitable last minute and special offers at ehoi.de.
For our 8-day Mediterranean trip, we paid a total of 2,308 EUR for 2 adults & 1 infant, including a Balcony cabin, hotel service charge, flight, transfer as well as Corona insurance.
The route of our cruise with MSC through the Adriatic Sea
We deliberately chose the 8-day cruise with MSC Cruises from Trieste because it included some places that had been on our bucket list for a long time. In total, our trip took us through four countries: Italy, Montenegro, Greece and Croatia. We were able to experience six eventful and varied days ashore: We started in Trieste, then continued to the port city of Ancona, through the breathtaking Bay of Kotor to Bari. The journey continued to the green island of Corfu and to medieval Dubrovnik with its impressive city walls, from where we returned to Trieste. Since our plane was leaving from Venice, we were even able to take a little side trip to the gondola city at the end of the trip, which was another highlight of the trip.
The cruise ship MSC Fantasia
The MSC Fantasia is a cruise ship of MSC Cruises, which was put into service in 2008. 3,274 passengers can be accommodated on the ship and in the 1,637 cabins. To our surprise, our route was only 50% booked, meaning there were just under 1,600 passengers on board. We really liked that, because it was not so crowded, there was no waiting time at the buffet, etc..
The deck plan
The MSC Fantasia is divided into 18 decks, 14 of which are accessible to passengers. What you can find where on which deck, you can see on the following deck plan. You can also download it here as a PDF version in full size.
Our balcony outside cabin
When booking the cruise, we didn’t think twice about whether to take an inside cabin or a balcony cabin. The choice fell on a balcony cabin! The reasons were many: the balcony cabin is larger and equipped with an additional double sofa bed, we can permanently enjoy the beautiful view of the sea, we can fall asleep with the sound of the sea in our ears and be awakened in the morning by daylight. Even though we were of course always on the road during the day, we did not regret the choice of our cabin.
Our balcony cabin was on the 9th floor port side. We chose the cabin ourselves when we booked because we wanted to make sure we had a glass balcony as well. Certain cabins also have a steel balcony – we definitely didn’t want that.
Our premium balcony cabin had a size of about 19-20 m² and a balcony of about 4-6 m². The cabin was equipped with a comfortable double bed, a sitting area with a double sofa bed, a desk, TV, telephone, safe, a minibar with a fee, a hairdryer and air conditioning. The bathroom with shower was quite compact, but served its purpose.
The food & buffet restaurant
On the ship, we had the opportunity to enjoy culinary delights almost around the clock. The MSC Fantasia has different inclusive restaurants, such as L’Etoile, La Cantina Toscana, Il Cerchio d’Oro or Red Velvet. In addition, there is the specialty restaurant Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse. We ate at the L’Africana/Zanzibar buffet restaurant every night, partly because of our little ones. The selection there was ok, but often there was the same thing every day: different pasta dishes, hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, pizza, fish, different side dishes, sausage & cheese and a few small ready-made salads. For dessert, there was mainly fruit and cake or small tarts. On other ships, we had a much larger and more varied selection in the buffet restaurant.
The pool area
We were especially enthusiastic about the large pool area on the ship. This consists firstly of the Aqua Park on deck 14 with a large main pool, 2 whirlpools and a surrounding shallow water area for children. This was really great for our little one to play and splash around. In addition, there is a large indoor pool with 2 more whirlpools, a smaller pool at the rear of the ship, a water slide, and a separate sundeck for suite guests from the MSC Yacht Club.
The outside deck
The outside deck of the MSC Fantasia is very spacious and we generally liked it. Due to the fact that the ship was only 50% booked, there was enough space everywhere, there were enough free loungers and chill lounge chairs. We found the animation in the Aqua Park on deck 14 a bit disturbing, as it was sometimes just too loud and the speakers reached their limit.
Facilities on board
We love exploring the different decks of a ship. And the MSC Fantasia really has a lot to offer: there is a large atrium with live music and several bars, many small boutiques, a piazza with an espresso bar, a casino, a library, an art gallery, the Panorama Liquid Disco, a gym, spa, kids club, 4D cinema, Formula 1 simulator and the large Avanguardia theater.
Our conclusion about MSC Cruises & the MSC Fantasia
After AIDA, Carnival, Celestyal Cruises and Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises was the 5th cruise line of an ocean cruise for us. If you look at the reviews of MSC Cruises on Trustpilot, the reputation is unfortunately not really good. 60% of the users only award one star, i.e. an insufficient. We didn’t think it was quite that bad – if only because of the great route – but even so, we weren’t completely satisfied either. Here is a brief summary of our positive and negative impressions.
What we liked:
– The route along the Adriatic Sea is really super.
– We liked the ship MSC Fantasia and our cabin very much.
– Especially the different pool areas were great, also for kids.
– The price was cheap compared to other shipping companies.
– The cabin service and waiters were all super friendly.
What we did not like so much:
– Venice is not in the itinerary, although it is THE highlight of the Adriatic.
– The flight went to Venice, although the trip started in Trieste. That meant another 2 hours bus transfer.
– We almost missed our flight to Venice because the MSC booking hotline gave us wrong information about the ticket!
– Our questions in advance (e.g. at what time is the return transfer, does MSC offer storage for suitcases at the airport) no one could answer.
– The food in the buffet restaurant was ok, but could be more varied.
– The departure from the ports was not celebrated as beautifully as, for example, with AIDA.
– There were no daily announcements and information from the captain “Welcome to the city…”.
– Some of the moorings were not good (e.g. in Dubrovnik). Other shipping companies were far more centrally located here. This results in extra costs for the transfer to the city.
All travelogues of our cruise through the Adriatic SeaWe deliberately chose the 8-day cruise with MSC Cruises from Trieste, as it included some places that had been on our bucket list for a long time. In total, our trip took us through four countries: Italy, Montenegro, Greece and Croatia. We were able to experience six eventful and varied days on land: We started in Trieste, then continued to the port city of Ancona, through the breathtaking Bay of Kotor to Bari. The journey continued to the green island of Corfu and to medieval Dubrovnik with its impressive city walls, from where we returned to Trieste. Since our plane left from Venice, we were even able to make a small detour to the gondola city, which was another highlight of the trip.
Cruise Day 1 » MSC Cruises – Cruise with MSC Fantasia in the Adriatic Sea
Cruise Day 1 » Trieste – Sights & the best Photo Spots in one day (Italy)
Cruise Day 2 » Ancona – The most famous sights in the old town (Italy)
Cruise Day 3 » Kotor – Bay, old town and fortification (Montenegro)
Cruise Day 4 » Bari – Top sights & photo spots in the old town (Italy)
Cruise Day 4 » Alberobello – A day trip from Bari to the Trulli houses (Italy)
Cruise Day 5 » Corfu – Discover the island in one day (Greece)
Cruise Day 6 » Dubrovnik – Top sights & photo spots in one day (Croatia)
Cruise Day 7 » Day at Sea
Cruise Day 8 » Venice - The most famous sights in just one day (Italy)