MSC Bellisima - Beauty at Sea

Lisa Brady on 27 March 2019
MSC’s brand new flagship, Bellissima (the largest ship to have been launched in the UK to date), docked in Southampton for the weekend and I was lucky to be part of the festivities before her inaugural sailing.

There were a host of celebrities and celebrations over the weekend, which was incredible but lets focus on the ship and the experience for you.

Bellissima is the sister ship to Meraviglia, she is huge with a capacity of 5714 passengers. With size comes lots of options – 12 international dining venues, 20 bars including a British style pub, a Cirque du Soleil show, desert themed water park, full size bowling alley, kids’ clubs (for all ages), amusement park, F1 Simulators…the list goes on!

The hub of the ship is the 96m long promenade filled with boutiques, restaurants and areas for relaxing, eating and socializing. The rooftop to the promenade is the ever-changing LED rooftop and leading to this the very Instagrammable (is that a real word yet?) Swarovski crystal staircase, absolute staircase goals but at $10k per step I’ll save my pennies for a cruise.

I took a whistle stop tour of the cabins, to me these were even more impressive than the staircase – that’s a tall order. With 10 different cabin types - from studio cabins for the solo traveller to interconnecting family cabins sleeping up to 10 people – perfect for multi-generation or a group celebration (also perfect for my family of 5 to fit in 1 cabin with some privacy). I was impressed by the accessible bathrooms, spacious and perfectly planned but thought the actual accessible cabin was small and access around the bed in a wheelchair could be tight – it would have been great to see an auto door opening system here too, plus a distinct lack of pool hoists on the decks- slight redemption with some of the equipment in the state of the art gym being wheelchair friendly – the rest of the ship is fully accessible, such a shame about those pool hoists!

I also got to spend some time in the Yacht club, for those who could be put off by the vastness of Bellissima then Yacht Club is perfect. The exclusivity of the area enables a small ship within a mega ship feel, with only 80 suites, 15 inside cabins, a 24-hour butler, private restaurant and lounge, plus a private pool and solarium on the top deck – this really does give a feel of an exclusive yacht club – aptly named then! Plus, you get the rest of the ship to explore at leisure, so this really is the best of both world and in my opinion well worth the extra spend if it’s affordable for you.

All in all, a great experience on a beautiful ship which truly has something for everyone. Bellissima will spend her inaugural season sailing the Mediterranean, before heading off to the Emirates and India for the winter, then sailing onwards to Asia – the itineraries are beautiful, prices for introductory offers are fantastic and the ship is awesome.

Let’s talk cruise!