Hi! Sorry we’re a little delayed, but yesterday was our sea day and our internet package only covers social media (I’ll post about the different packages available when we get home).
Day 3 of our cruise was docked in La Valletta, Malta. Andy got some lovely shots of the scenery as we sailed in to the Grand Harbour – we’ll share these when we get home. This beautiful fortress city is, in our opinion, one of the jewels of the Med and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We again enjoyed breakfast on deck and a relaxing morning. Mid-morning we met with our friend Mary at the Seaside Lounge and enjoyed one or two (read that five or six!) cocktails before patiently waiting for the gun salute at 12 noon. We’ll make sure we get off the ship on our Christmas cruise rather than watching from the ship.
Lunch was taken in the Yacht Club dining room – spring rolls and a salmon fillet for me and veal leg for Andy.
After lunch had settled we went to the Aurea spa for a massage that we had pre-booked. A 30 minute massage was available on our cruise-planner and having not had a massage before this was an ideal way to try something different at a decent price. I can honestly say I have never felt so relaxed in my life as at the end of those 30 minutes, and will definitely consider massages in the future!
The thermal area of the spa is also something quite special, with a variety of rooms from a snow room, the usual steam rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and more. Unlike some other lines, access to the spa is generally not included on MSC Cruises unless you have booked either an Aurea or Yacht Club experience. You can of course pay for access if you are in a Bella or Fantastica cabin. Personally, we feel this is advantageous to us as despite this being our 18th MSC cruise we had never used the facilities. NB Black Card holders receive a complimentary one hour pass to the thermal area.
Our evening meal was in the Asian Market Kitchen. As a loyalty perk of the Black Card, you receive a complimentary meal for two in one of the speciality restaurants, from a set menu, We had tried Ramon Freixa’s Ocean Cay when we were onboard for the ship’s maiden voyage so wanted to try something different. The other option is the Butcher’s Cut steak restaurant.
Although it might seem like we are MSC’s biggest fans, we pride ourselves on being honest and constructive. So, the verdict for the meal? We didn’t enjoy it. The starters were very good, with Andy opting for the Steamed Clams and I had the Pork Bao. We felt the main courses were not to our taste, and on balance we should have tried Butcher’s Cut or returned to Ocean Cay. Andy had the Filet Mignon with green beans and kim chi potato fritter whilst I had Viatnamese Lamb Chops. Andy felt his steak was over done, and I found the lamb chops incredibly fatty – it is a shame but these things do happen.
We also thought the service was slow; it took over 1 hour 45 minutes for three courses. Of course we did mention this at the time and the host was extremely apologetic. On balance it is probably a mixture of the slow service and the food not being quite to our taste which made us feel the way we do, and of course food, as always, is subjective and that’s just our opinion.
The rest of the evening was spent chatting away and enjoying the fantastic bars and service around the ship. It must have been about 2am by the time we retired from the Top Sail Lounge – but hey, the next day was a sea day and they’re made for relaxing!
More to follow about the sea day!