SQUADRA GRANDIOSA – 7 days on the newest MSC ship

A cruise is always exciting…

A last-minute booking is always thrilling…

A week with MSC is (almost) exhilarating…

But a last minute booked cruise on the newest MSC ship is for sure more than that.

Episode 3

MSC Grandiosa showcases 21 bars and lounges to match any mood. If you ignore the deco or the atmosphere, all the bars have one common theme: impeccable service at very high standards. And once again the accolade goes to the ship Bar Manager Alin Tocu who, using his experience, passion and dedication, created a phenomenal team of bartenders and assistant bartenders always ready to take you in a memorable voyage between cocktails and fine wines. Knowing how much MSC values dedication and professionalism I will not be surprised to see him leading the Yacht Club team in the near future. In a week I didn’t have time to try all the 21 bars and lounges but, for sure, I have time to make my Top 3.

No.3: Grandiosa Bar & Lounge

Is an excellent cocktail bar which offers a wide choice of meticulously selected aperitifs, cocktails, spirits and more! Was nice after a day on shore to take a moment to relax in this elegant lounge and let the artful bartenders prepare something special for you! Most of the time I felt spoilt for choice with the impressive list of handpicked and carefully sourced drinks and fresh ingredients. And how you can not be impressed when the Sutember one of Grandiosa Lounge bartenders was always smiling getting my drink ready before even ordering! The reason was this bar is on the bottom of my favourites list is just because every evening this lovely space with great live musical performances was taken over – LITERALLY – by the animation team and their childish and quite annoying games and “activities”

 

No.2: Sky Lounge

With its luxurious surroundings and great view overlooking the ship and sea, this lounge is a fantastic place where I tried innovative alchemist cocktails (you know, for those moments when only the extraordinary can meet your mood) while listen to live piano music. And by the way during the day I found a selection of complimentary hot and cold snacks which keep hunger at bay. Was here where Marius Voicu another knowledgeable and passionate bartender gave me a virtual tour of the incredible world of molecular and alchemist cocktails

AND THE WINNER IS: Champagne Bar

Elegant, stylish, classy and trendy at the same time with an array of first-rate champagne, bubbles, fresh oysters, caviar and fish, the chic Champagne Bar was my place to indulge in the finer things in life onboard MSC Grandiossa. And I am sure that my every night comeback was 99.99% due the excellent team of this bar Daniela, Nadia, Natalia and last but not least the incredible Ana Maria with a personality as bubble as the champagne balanced by incredible interpersonal skills.

In the first day of my voyage on MSC Grandiosa I meet another “MSC family” friend Elena Ozkan, who now was the Speciality Restaurant Manager on board of MSC flag ship. During a short conversation I was once again impressed with her energy and dedication for creating a perfect holiday even from a gastronomic experience point of view. And despite the fact that I was in love with the YC Restaurant I decided to explore other dining option. Is difficult to make a top of my favourites just because, lead with extreme professionalism and passion for excellence by Elena the speciality restaurants on Grandiosa are each a special culinary experience, above all my expectations at an incredible high level of standards.

 

HOLA! Tapas bar OLA! Took me into an amazing culinary experience created by the renowned Spanish chef Ramón Freixa, two Michelin stars and three Repsol soles. Designed as a social, dining experience I found the restaurant to be a place where the senses are awakened by the discovery that nothing is what it appears and where the taste buds decipher what the eyes are incapable of seeing. Pimientos de Padrón, the gazpacho, patatas bravas they were all known to me traditional tapas but here tradition and the avant-garde merge and the culinary compositions never distract from the flavours. If you add the excellence service and the fact that  guests can enjoy shared plates you can imagine how much I enjoyed a cuisine that excites, communicates and provokes while sailing on MSC Grandiosa.

L’Atelier Bistrot is a warm, friendly bistro which guarantee a  high-quality French cuisine. In the night when I was dining there was hard to choose between to delicious escargots and luxurious foie gras. Moving one the incredible ribeye steak with fries & blue cheese sauce or a elegant dover sole a la Meunière followed by a one of the best tarte Tatin I ever had. The service was elegant and the live music added a very Parisian touch to the night.

If you are onboard please don’t  miss the hidden gem of this restaurant: an interactive art exhibition “Degas Danse Dessin”: 26 original works by Edgar Degas on the study of dance. Set up on the left side at the L’Atelier Bistro, “Degas Danse Dessin” series consists of 26 sketches on the movement and dance studio previously exhibited in the majors’ international museums and galleries. The exhibition will also offer an engaging experience for guests with five videos that run alongside the artworks to tell about Degas’ work and life in detail.

Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Tradition and modernity go hand in hand in this stylish and charming venue. I chose one night the Teppanyaki option just to discover a deliciously authentic Asian cuisine prepared on the spot. Normally in this type of the restaurant the spotlight is stolen by the chef and his amazing tricks. On MSC Grandiosa the magic and impressive skills of Chef Orlando were perfect complemented by the quality of ingredients and the attentive elegant service (Nicu, my waiter for the night was sublime and Sanjeev the manager on duty was keeping everything under a discreet observation)

Butcher’s Cut

I saved the best for last, being already in love from Bellissima with this American-style steak house which serves select Linz heritage angus beef, gold standard in high-end angus beef thanks to the best genetics in breed, custom cut by master butchers and aged to perfection. My favourites: the bone marrow as a starter, a perfect rare cooked filet mignon accompanied by creamy spinach and chimichurri sauce and to end “the night when my diet was assassinated” a decadent lava cake. And to made my mission more … impossible I had to choose from an impressive and generous list of bold New World wines. No worries the next day I forgot to find my way to the gym

Back in 2013 Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, had the vision to take the entertainment offered on board to the next level. Since MSC Cruises always seeks to work with innovative, world-class leaders, it was only natural to approach Cirque du Soleil.

On MSC Grandiosa the shows take place in the ship’s Carousel Lounge, a purpose-built entertainment venue holding just over 400 guests each show. This venue was specially designed to meet the needs of the artists as well as bringing guests closer to a spectacular display of acrobatic flair and artistic finesse. The addition of 80 kinetic LED spheres offer a change to the atmosphere of the Carousel Lounge at specific moments during the shows and to create a large array of visual effects. The moving LED lights are spread across the space to provide depth and a visual background for the audience sitting across the room. Six nights per week guests were able to enjoy dinner or cocktails and then a Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance. For both shows I chose the 7.00PM cocktail performance as I didn’t want to mess up my gastronomic experience in YC Restaurant. The venue is amazing with a 360° stage rotating like a carousel with special rigging for impressive aerial acrobatics and a new 6.5 ft. lift in the centre of the existing turn table to raise the performance above the stage floor. The professionalism of the Carousel Lounge Manager, Onur Mandenoglu, add a touch of efficient, elegant and non-intrusive service to the entire experience.

EXENTRICKS – Expect the Unexpected is inspired by the essence of the circus arts with big colourful characters brimming with style, personality and amazing abilities. The strength of the characters and the energy of the show are inspired in part by high-voltage, pop-culture fashion. When the star performer is suddenly unable to continue, scrambling to find a replacement, the Master of Ceremonies holds auditions. So expect the unexpected to be part of the show if you are in the right seat. EXENTRICKS put guests in the centre of the show with audience participation playing a vital role in the story, bringing MSC Cruises guests closer to the artists than ever before.

COSMOS – Journey to the unbelievable: is the story of a young explorer as he connects with his spirit of adventure, travelling through the stars and his childhood memories before landing on the realisation that sometimes you need to travel far to come home. The co-pilots on this fantastic voyage are a galaxy of illuminating characters who are every bit spaced-out and other-worldly as they are kind and friendly. Superb metaphor recreating at individual levels of the audience the feeling of travelling at night on the high seas on a majestic cruise ship: the vastness of the sky is as fathomless as the deep blue ocean underneath.

Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand-new ship?  The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered can create a perfect vacation. But MSC Grandiosa, at least with me brought something else.

After the disappointed experience sailing MSC Divina in springtime now I regain trust in MSC, Yacht Club and theirs ships. As a result already booked a back to back 2019-2020 on Bellissima sailing from Dubai and another 4 cruises in the first 5 months of 2020.

And all of this because of SQUADRA GRANDIOSA on board MSC Grandiosa.

Thank you for helping me to find my way back!

Read tomorrow Episode 4 of my experience on board MSC Grandiosa

~ by leonard69 on December 19, 2019.

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