So, our final full day onboard was spent in the French port of Marseille. We’ve visited numerous times before, and spent two nights there prior to my 30th birthday cruise on the MSC Armonia which gave us a great opportunity to see the city and get to know it.
On previous occasions we have walked to the city or taken the bus, and also visited Aix-en-Provence, which is most famous for the post-impressionist Paul Cézanne and also Picasso.
Last year when onboard MSC Meraviglia we took a taxi to the city for about €20 and visited a great Christmas market which had “snowy” trees and sold traditional items such as the Provence region’s famous soaps made with olive oil, lavender products and stylish Christmas gifts.
Unfortunately, owing to the threat of strikes, road blockades and possible civil unrest in France on the day we were there. This meant all excursions were cancelled for the safety of the passengers and crew. MSC did go above and beyond and offered a free shuttle to the city for any guests who wished to do this – usually the cost would be around €16 return, and passengers were advised of the potential issues and cancellations well in advance with a page explaining what was happening being left on the bed on the night we left Malta.
We decided to have a fake sea day, just repeating what we had done on previous days with eating and drinking!!
Our suitcases to go home were packed in the early afternoon, and it then dawned on us that it would be soon time to go home 😦
I’ll be writing another blog post about the food we enjoyed, but we decided to go to the Yacht Club pool deck for the buffet lunch. There was a huge selection, notably freshly grilled king prawns, steak and a roast turkey available!
Relaxation was then the order of the day, unfortunately the weather wasn’t too great with some rain and a cold wind, so we spent most of the time indoors.
After dinner we partied the night away after attending the ‘Fantasia’ show in the theatre. At the end of the show there were representatives from each department paraded on to the stage, waving the MSC flag and the production company did a rendition of ‘We are the World’ – magically I resisted crying, however I’d usually have a moment blubbering when they do that!
A bit of a bar crawl ensued and we said our goodbyes to so many of the wonderful crew who we consider friends. Particular shout-outs to Simon, Anna-Maria, George, Tomasso, Dany, Francisco, Wiwik and Andrew.
Of course there were countless others who made our cruise so special – I’ve read some reviews where people have commented on rude staff – we have NEVER encountered rude crew on MSC. The key is to treat people as you wish to be treated and believe me, it will come back to you.
The rest of the night was quite stormy with strong winds and the sea presenting us with some large swells. Thanks to Sea Bands I coped quite well and didn’t suffer sea sickness. We went to bed at about 2am after a few drinks in the Top Sail Lounge.
The following morning we were able to keep our cabin longer than stated due to our Black Card status. A light breakfast and a cup of coffee before leaving the ship at about 9:30 ready for our flight back to Gatwick. We took a taxi for the fixed price of €35 – as there was quite a queue at the cruise terminal we walked over to the station.
We are so glad we decided to do this as we were able to say a last goodbye to Dany, the Head Butler. He really is a shining jewel in the crown of the MSC Yacht Club and we hope we’ll meet him again on our next Yacht Club cruise on the MSC Grandiosa.
Thanks for reading, there will be more to follow including pictures of the menus and food and how we found the Yacht Club compared to Fantastica, and more general information about life onboard such as Daily Programmes.