Are you looking for an MSC Fantasia Review in the Western Mediterranean? Then I got you covered!
After my first cruise exploring the Eastern Mediterranean with the MSC Magnifica (read all about it here), I was in the mood to cruise. Not long after, we decided to explore the other half of the Mediterranean Sea.
The MSC Fantasia sailed to Spain, France, and Italy with us – and I can already tell you one thing: it was amazing!
If you are still wondering if the MSC Fantasia or the Western Mediterranean is right for your vacation, then I got you covered.
Learn all about life on board the MSC Fantasia and read about my second cruise in this Western Mediterranean cruise review.
Let’s set sail!
Table of Contents
- About the MSC Fantasia – Cruise Review
- Western Mediterranean Cruise: Itinerary
- Day 2: Cannes
- Day 3: Palma de Mallorca
- Day 4: Barcelona
- Day 5: Corsica
- Day 6: Naples & Vesuvio
- Day 7: Cinque Terre
- Sea Days On a Cruise
- Conclusion: MSC Fantasia Review
- FAQ: MSC Fantasia Cruise Review
- About the Author
About the MSC Fantasia – Cruise Review
The MSC Fantasia is a cruise ship released in 2008 and is known for its stylish, yet ecological design.
Spread out over 18 decks you can find a multitude of amazing things to spend your time on. From a great selection of restaurants, to a 4D cinema, a palazzo filled with chic boutiques, and a massive range of sports facilities – there is something for everyone!
Let’s have a closer look at the amenities of the MSC Fantasia.
MSC Fantasia Review – the Amenities
- Entertainment: MSC Fantasia offers a huge array of entertainment. You can enjoy live-music, various shows in the Avanguardia Theather and even a Panorama Liquid-Disco! I definitely danced the night away on many evenings on the MSC Fantasia.
- Fitness: For sports fans, there are many different opportunities on the MSC Fantasia. You can play tennis, basketball, and minigolf. To be honest, I only made use of the elegant pool and the gym on the ship.
- Sundeck: There are many places to tan or enjoy the view on the MSC Fantasia. The 18th floor offers a designated sundeck where you can catch the best of rays everyday.
- MSC Aurea Spa: I absolutely loved relaxing in the spa on board. We booked massages and facials, and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere in the hidden away spa.
- Restaurants: There are several different restaurants on the MSC Fantasia. The bigger L’Africana Buffett is open all day and serves many delicious dishes. There is a big variety to choose from, and the quality of the food and the service is outstanding. The Red Velvet Restaurant and the LÉtoile Restaurant were used for dinner settings. There was also a Mexican restaurant, but that was exclusively for Yacht Club Members.
- Bars: There were so many fun bars on the ship, I can barely even remember. From a fun Sports Bar to the Piazza San Giorgio and relaxing Pool Bars – there was a nice spot for everyone.
MSC Yacht Club – MSC Fantasia Review
For a more luxurious experience, cruise guests of the MSC Fantasia can book membership in the MSC Yacht club.
The MSC Yacht Club offers you entrance to special, separate parts of the ship, such as a private pool and sundeck and a private restaurant.
You can also make use of the concierge and butler service 24/7.
If budget is not an issue, I suggest booking the MSC Yacht Club Membership.
MSC Fantasia Review: Pros and Cons
- Many different restaurants and bars for every taste
- Super friendly staff
- Big ship with lots of space
- Amazing fitness and spa amenities
- Delicious and high-quality food
- Chic design and modern cabins
- Great pool area
- Fly + Cruise Packages available with direct transport from airport
- High passenger numbers, can get crowded at times
- Shore excursions are pricey
Western Mediterranean Cruise: Itinerary
Day 1: Genoa
Day 2: Cannes
Day 3: Palma de Mallorca
Day 4: Barcelona
Day 5: Corsica
Day 6: Naples
Day 7: Cinque Terre
Day 8: Genoa
Day 2: Cannes
The Cruise Port
Our first port on this cruise was the famous little town at the French Cote d’ Azur, Cannes. The disembarkation process at this port was especially fun (for me at least), because we were brought to shore on small tender boats.
Getting a slot for the tender boats was a bit of a hassle. Many people wanted to go at the same time, so there was some waiting time.
Things to Do in Cannes
The small coastal town of Cannes on the French Riviera is mostly known for hosting the annual fabulous film festival. We chose to explore Cannes on foot, because it’s not too big and very nice to walk around.
We strolled around the Boulevard de la Croisette, and took a nice walk along the coast, lined with sandy beaches and cute small boutiques.
Another beautiful part of Cannes that you should definitely check out is the Old Town, which is also known as Le Sequet. The little fishing village offers old-world charm as well as exceptional views.
Below the Le Sequet you can find the charming Old Port. If you wish to take it a bit easy I can recommend trying the fabulous private beach clubs along the Croisette. I can especially recommend La Plage du Martinez and the Carlton Beach Club. Make sure to check out Le Baoli, my favorite restaurant in Cannes.
There are also many lovely villages in the South of France that you could check out on your shore day.
Day 3: Palma de Mallorca
The Cruise Port
The biggest cruise port in Palma de Mallorca is in the middle of the city, right in front of the Old Town’s streets. This was the port we docked at. You can walk from Palma de Mallorca cruise port to the old town.
Port Palma is connected from one side to the other with a seafront promenade. There are also some shoreline docks, commercial docks and recreational docks.
Things to Do in Palma
One of the most underrated stops of this cruise route is Palma de Mallorca.
While the island has a terrible reputation for being home to all the German drinking tourists, in reality, there is so much more to see. Just make sure to avoid the Ballermann area if you do not wish to encounter these people.
The rest of the island is filled with beautiful coastlines, long white sandy beaches, and a charming historical old town. This port was my favorite one of all mentioned in this Mediterranean cruise review.
The capital of the island is Palma de Mallorca. You can easily explore it on foot. Make sure to visit the beautiful Santa Maria Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic landmark overlooking the Port of Palma.
The old town of Palma is nice to explore and stroll around in, vibrant little cafes and street artists cover the cobblestoned streets. Another beautiful spot to visit is Bellver Castle, a circular 14th-century castle that offers an amazing view over the city.
For a more relaxing day at the beach make sure to visit Paseo Maritimo or the Playa c’an Pere Antoni, the closest two beaches to the port. If you wish to explore any beaches further away from the port make sure to arrange for transportation or book a guided tour with the cruise line.
For amazing half-day trips and excursions in Palma de M
Day 4: Barcelona
The Barcelona Cruise Port
There are 7 different cruise terminals in Barcelona. They are conveniently located at the end of the Las Ramblas shopping street.
It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the cruise terminal to Las Ramblas. You can book a transfer with the ship or book a private transfer in advance.
We opted for booking the transfer with MSC Cruises, although it was quite expensive for a short ride.
Barcelona Things to Do
Combining maritime charm with astonishing medieval architecture is the Spanish City of Barcelona. The city is famous for its fantastical church Sagrada Familia, as well as other modernist landmarks designed by Antonio Gaudi.
The cruise ship transfer dropped us just outside the port and we decided to walk all the way towards the Sagrada Familia, the famous unfinished cathedral of Barcelona. The surrounding quarter of the cathedral is picturesque in itself and definitely a great place for you to explore.
The walk took quite some time but gave us a nice impression of the Catalonian capital. We decided to combine our lunch break with some shopping at the famous shopping mall El Corte Ingles at the Placa de Catalunya. Make sure to visit the rooftop restaurant of the mall to have a stunning view over the city.
Our walking tour continued us down the famous pedestrian street Las Ramblas. The boulevard connects the Placa de Catalunya with the Port Vell. The street is filled with cute little restaurants, street artists and shops and is absolutely vibrant. For fresh fruit and street food make sure to stop by the Mercat de la Bouqueria.
For lovers of architecture I can recommend the Casa Batllo as well as the Park Guell.
For an amazing photo opportunity make sure to check out the Bunkers del Carmel. Beach lovers will find themselves right at home at Barceloneta Beach, the most famous of Barcelona’s beaches.
Lastly, make sure to visit the Camp Nou Stadium of the Barcelona football team, if time permits.
Day 5: Corsica
Corsica Cruise Port
The famous Ajaccio cruise port is located on the western coast of Corsica.
The port city is the largest on the island, bit it is not huge. Ajaccio cruise port is situated in the Gulf of Ajaccio, right by the city.
The city is not big, but it has lots of quirky shops and amazing restaurants. Ajaccio can easily be explored on foot from the cruise ship. The harbor itself is super beautiful.
Things to Do in Corsica
Corsica is famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte and has a great selection of beautiful beaches.
Upon arrival we booked a tour on a small train that took us across the island and showed us all the magical places and explained the great history of the island. We took it relatively easy in Corsica, but there are many other fun things to do there.
Corsica is also known as “The Island of Beauty.” Here are some of my favorite spots to check out:
- Discover Calanques de Piana: Located on the western coast of Corsica, the Calanques de Piana are magnificent red granite cliffs. You can take a boat tour or hike along the coastal paths to see them.
- Explore Bonifacio: Visit the charming town of Bonifacio is another cool thing to do. It is perched on the southernmost tip of Corsica. The cute town is famous for its beautiful citadel, pretty harbor, and narrow streets with interesting buildings.
- Relax on Corsican Beaches: Corsica has many beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters. From the famous Palombaggia and Santa Giulia beaches in the south to the secluded Saleccia and Rondinara beaches in the north, there’s a beach for every taste. Spend a day unwinding, swimming, and soaking up the Mediterranean sun.
- Visit the Citadelle de Corte: Situated in the heart of Corsica, the town of Corte is home to the Citadelle de Corte. It is an impressive historic fortress on a hilltop. You will have an amazing view if you walk all the way up there.
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Day 6: Naples & Vesuvio
The Naples Cruise Port
The port of Naples is called Porto Napoli and that is where we docked. The cruise terminal is called Stazione Maritima.
From there you can catch ferries that travel between Naples and Capri, Ischia, Sorrento, and other cities.
The Naples port is located on the southern side of the city. From the cruise terminal, you can find a passenger walkway that leads you to the Piazza del Plebiscito. It will lead you right to the city center, the centro storico.
Getting to the center of Naples on foot from the terminal will take you about 10 minutes. Walking is one of the easiest ways to get to the city.
Immediately upon arrival we boarded a bus that drove us straight to the starting point of our tour. This was about an hour away from the famous crater on the Mount Vesuvio. We hiked up to the crater on a small tour, guided by a local that shared his knowledge about the volcano with us.
The Vesuvio is one of the only two active volcanoes in Europe and is about 1281 meters high. The hike does not require any previous hiking experience and the top is not particularly difficult to reach.
The crater is quite impressive to see and also allows you to overlook the city of Naples from above. The last eruption was in 1944, authorities expect the next one in the near future. It could be devastating for all the people who live close by, in the so-called death zone.
Day 7: Cinque Terre
La Spezia Cruise Port
The ship docked in a big Cruise Terminal in La Spezia.
The Port of La Spezia is located in the Region of Liguria. La Spezia is about one hour away from the more famous city of Genoa. From there you can also easily reach Tuscany and see Pisa, Lucca or even Florence.
The cruise port Golfo dei Poeti has been there since 2015. From there you can easily catch a train or a boat for an excursion.
Things to do in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a string of five old fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera. The five towns are famous for the colorful houses and vineyards that cling onto the steep terraces. The villages are called Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Rio Maggiore.
In high season there are a lot of tourists roaming the cities and they are hard to explore. We explored the villages via a boat tour and I can definitely recommend that. We booked the tour via MSC Cruises.
We were able to get a beautiful view of the hillside villages without having to mingle with the masses of tourists. Make sure to try some famous pesto or delicious seafood if you do happen to explore the villages up close!
Sea Days On a Cruise
Many people ask me if the sea days on the ship were not boring. While I agree, that shore excursions are great fun, they can also be pretty demanding. Therefore I have also included an example of a day at sea in this MSC Fantasia review.
On a typical sea day I can finally sleep in and enjoy my breakfast in peace. On some shore days, you have to be up quite early to not miss your excursion. After breakfast is a great time to explore the sundecks and lie besides the pool until lunch comes around.
Having lunch on the ship is another great advantage of the sea day. Usually you are gone during lunch hours so I used to miss that on shore days. The lunch buffet at the MSC Fantasia is amazing.
You can choose between many different dishes from all over the world. Sea days are also nice to enjoy the cocktail package we booked. You can drink an endless amount of fabulous and fun cocktails by the pool.
Later in the day, it is time to check out the shopping street on the ship. Also, we had a look at the shows. There are infinite things to do on a cruise ship, so a sea day is perfect to explore all of them. Therefore, unless you have many sea days in a row, I find them quite enjoyable.
Conclusion: MSC Fantasia Review
If I had not already been a huge fan of cruising and especially of the MSC lines, I would have been after this cruise. I hugely loved all the stops and I have gained so many new experiences in just a small week.
In hindsight, I think I should have taken it a bit easier on some of the stops. I was very exhausted when we arrived at the Cinque Terre. This is something I definitely wanted to mention in this MSC Fantasia Review.
This time we could not reach our first port of call by car, so we booked a Fly + Cruise option via the MSC Website. I can definitely recommend booking the flight alongside the cruise.
In the case of a delayed flight, the cruise boat will actually wait for you. Otherwise the cruise line will make other arrangements in order to still catch your boat. After landing the bus picked us up at the small airport of Genoa and drove us directly to our vessel. The Fly + Cruise option is something I can recommend if you are looking for a relaxed and stress-free cruise!
Overall, the MSC Fantasia is a fantastic ship that offers every single amenity you could wish for. I can wholeheartedly recommend MSC Cruises and the MSC Fantasia in general.
If you are interested in exploring the Eastern Mediterranean with MSC, make sure to read my cruise review and my detailed shore itineraries. Lastly, many Western Mediterranean Cruises have Gibraltar on their itinerary, another great spot.
Or maybe even explore the Dutch Caribbean on boat?
FAQ: MSC Fantasia Cruise Review
No, there is no dress code on the MSC Fantasia. However, there is usually one Gala Night per cruise, as well as some themed nights. Make sure to pack some nicer clothes and perhaps some special dresses for theme nights (white, colorful).
Yes, the MSC Fantasia has been refurbished in 2019. The Ship was first launched in 2008 and has since then been given a full makeover to be even more modern and stylish.
There are four big pools and 12 jetted tubs on the MSC Fantasia. One of the pools is exclusively reserved for MSC Yacht Club passengers.
Yes, the MSC Fantasia has one skydome swimming pool. This is especially important, when embarking on a cruise to a colder destination.
Yes, the MSC Fantasia has a waterslide. The water park on the MSC Fantasia is one of the biggest attractions for families. Enjoy 4 big pools and 12 jetted tubs on the MSC Fantasia.
The MSC Fantasia has 18 decks. 14 of these decks are passenger accessible. Technically, there are only 17 decks on the MSC Fantasia. However, the Italians consider the number 17 unlucky, so they skipped it when numbering the decks.
About the Author
Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.
She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.