Saturday, 20 April 2013

No Heligoland - More Time On MSC Magnifica

Danielle Fear, aka Cruise Miss, continues her voyage aboard MSC Magnifica of MSC Cruises with an abortive attempt to visit a rare part of Germany...

Today we should have been ashore in Heligoland but, sadly, our call had to be cancelled. It is a tender port and, by the time we reached our position, Captain Antonio Siviero had to cancel due to the Force 7 winds and a wave height of 2-3 metres. It was decided the conditions simply were not safe enough to carry out the tender from ship to shore process. As I type this now, the wind strength has increased and the ship is moving a little bit.
With an unexpected day at sea, I was quite happy to enjoy a day on board but disappointed to miss the port I was most looking forward to. It is a small island situated 70km from the German mainland and is visited by just a handful of tourists each year. At first glance, it reminded me a bit of Gibraltar but with the top of the Rock shaved off and much smaller. In fact, it was far smaller than I had imagined, but a glimpse was as much as we got.

With all this sudden free time, I decided to take myself back round the ship to find things I had missed over the last few days. They have quite a large shopping section on board, across both the port and starboard sides. One shop is just full of bags and purses (every woman's dream!) and you could easily spend a good hour - and a small fortune - here. I managed to resist the temptation - just! Instead, I had to laugh at a comment made by another passenger, that all the branded items in the MSC Logo Shop had no prices on them. "That meant they were free, right?"

I have to say I like this ship very much, although, at this point, I am convinced I am the only English passenger on board. It has been different because I have never cruised with such a mix of nationalities, or where English is the second (or third, or fourth) language. It’s not been a bad thing, and I have enjoyed listening to people's conversations, although I have no clue what they are saying most of the time.

The ship is also very ‘smooth’. That’s the only way I can describe it. You rarely feel any vibration when the thrusters kick in, unlike other ships where everything not nailed down vibrates and jumps off the table. She is also extremely quiet. During our sail-away from Hamburg last night, we passed a beautiful waterfront residential area and all I could hear were the whistles and shouts of those ashore as they acknowledged our presence. Some of the houses were fantastic, built up right to the top of the hill. In fact, the houses met the shore so gracefully it almost felt as if we were sailing down their front street.

The onboard bars are beautiful, especially the Tiger Bar. I’m not usually one for animal prints but even the carpet in here looks fabulous against the black and beige d├ęcor. The Sports Bar, too, is a nice social space. Again, not usually my idea of a good time but I can quite happily sit here and enjoy the atmosphere.

Before my voyage, I had heard mixed reviews about MSC Cruises, but, from my experience I would certainly say give them a try. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on board Magnifica and would definitely do it again. I am sad I must disembark tomorrow in Dover.