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Review of the Fantasia
Cruise Date: July 2012
Booking: Internet Agency
Embarkation: 28th July, 2012 from Venice
Cabin number: 9057
Cabin category: Balcony
MSC Divina & Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Review
Hi Everyone, firstly I need to stress that I was on MSC Divina not Fantasia, but Divina was not given in the options, so I chose Fantasia as Divina is a Fantasia class ship.
I have just finished editing and uploading all of the videos that I made whilst on my recent Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on board MSC Divina, the videos (in the main) show the ports of call and what type of excursion (if any) I did. Please note I did not do any of the official MSC excursions, so I cannot comment on them or the excursion prices because I genuinely don?t know, I just like to do things my own way.
Some of the videos include ?time-lapse? special effects, which have made for some quite unusual and surreal footage, I have placed them all below in the order that I took them, with a brief narrative around each day.
Before you begin to look at destinations, if you haven?t already seen it, here is my very detailed review of the cruise ship MSC Divina and her facilities, this is a full one hour long but it should give you an excellent insight into what to expect on Divina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AKMfVJxGv8
Here is a day-by-day account of the Eastern Mediterranean Cruise.
Day 1 ? Venice, Italy
Firstly, my advice to anyone taking this cruise is to arrive in Venice the day before departure, because once on board the ship (particularly for the first time) the temptation is to stay on board in the luxurious air conditioned surroundings, rather than battle against time and heat to try and stressfully cram Venice sightseeing in to the few hours that you have on board the ship there. We arrived on board straight from the airport at 1pm, and could have gone straight out for 3 hours, but chose not to.
Here is some footage of The Port of Venice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrNeeZzIVhQ
Here is some footage leaving Venice down the Giudecca Canal (from the 9th deck port side): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc3wUZO09rs
Here is some time lapse footage filmed from a static camera of the panorama over Vencie as the ship sailed down the Giudecca canal ? this is really quite surreal footage set to the original soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nw5sHg1qt0
Day 2 ? Bari, Italy
My reaction to Bari was a bit mixed really. I wanted to experience the city, and I did so, but didn?t find it to be anything particularly special. None the less, I?m glad I?ve been there and done that. Be warned that there were insufficient MSC staff and shuttle buses in Bari to get people back to the ship, and this caused a lot of angry passengers.
This film features views around Bari, including the journey to the city centre on the port shuttle bus, the sea front promenade, city centre, and port: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6278oWGqHE
This film features time lapse footage of the departure from port (it isn?t one of my better films, I must admit): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nw5sHg1qt0
Day 3 ? Katakolon, Greece
Katakolon is a one street town (quite literally) so there isn?t a lot to see there, but this film captures most of what is there to see. On this port many people took the excursion to Olympia, but I?d already been there, so just had an hour to wander around the town and port: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22lQtJ4scaU
If you want to see what is at Olympia, then here is film I took there in 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYcbr_kBSbo (I like to think that my camera handling and video editing skills have improved since then!)
Day 4 ? Izmir, Turkey
Izmir is an industrial city, it is a real life working city with everything that comes with that, the hustle, bustle, traffic and grime. It isn?t pretty, but if you can get past that you will enjoy the cultural experience that the city can offer. We took a taxi tour around the city with several ?stop offs? en route. The tour was 15 euros per person for a two hour tour. We could have haggled but couldn?t really be bothered with penny pinching, and to be honest we very much enjoyed what we experienced, it was well worth it.
Here is video of the taxi tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gvq3ds-24Is
Here is video of the Port of Izmir, which is both passenger and freight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2H59JIXLKY
Here is time lapse footage from the MSC Divina leaving the Port of Izmir: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bslySpZeP7s
Day 5 ? Istanbul, Turkey
I was dreading the weather in Istanbul, and fully expecting it to be over 40 degrees Centigrade, however upon arrival the city was experiencing a low pressure, and with that some rain and clouds which brought the temperature down to a nice mid-twenties?.perfect!
Istnabul is hige, but has a perfectly good public transport system, with a tram stop right outside of the port. If we had done our homework we would have used that, but we hadn?t and ended up paying 20 euros each for a three hour taxi tour, which involved one hour of very dangerous driving, and us being dropped off for two hours to explore by ourselves. Whilst I loved Istanbul, the taxi tour was a waste of money, as we could have done exactly the same for a lot less, and a lot safer!
This film features footage from the drive around Istnabul?s crazy streets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-M4azZusBw
This film features footage of the Istanbul trams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2yLp7h3dvs
This film features views around Sultan Ahmet Square, which is basically the place to be in Istanbul, it has The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, German Fountain and other very nice and cultural sites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDi0PU06rdw
This film features footage taken of Istanbul Port: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spJ3laLzwgM
This film features time lapse footage from the departure of MSC Divina from the port and is quite effective / surreal against the real time audio background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG9ExS0Ou3U
Day 5 ? Day at Sea
Nothing really to report video wise, however here is a film that gives you a good idea of the entertainment on the main stage in the MSC Divina?s Pantheon Theatre. I found the quality of the theatre shows to be excellent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U006LyG8RnI
Day 6 ? Dubrovnik
We were all REALLY looking forward to seeing the ?Pearl of the Adriatic?, unfortunately due to poor management by MSC Cruises, we had only 1 hour in the city. The port was full so we were on tenders, and MSC only had three tender boats working here, each boat held 120 people and filling each boat plus the return journey was 30 minutes. Do the maths for yourself. We did not manage to get ashore until 14:30 and the last bus from Dubrovnik back to the ship was 16:00. A very poor show by MSC cruises, this needs addressing.
This is the approach to Dubrovnik Port filmed as time lapse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO1EJt7dXqU
This video features brief views around the city's ancient streets, including the clock tower, fountains, defensive walls and fishing port. This was an extremely busy day in Dubrovnik with many tourists in the city from three different cruise ships: http://youtu.be/aXRg7pPWbb8
This is time lapse footage of the bus ride from Dubrovnik old town back to the port: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyDuDSQ7HiE
Here are some views around the port of Dubrovnik: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a_L-nuNRZo
Here is some quite effective time lapse footage of the departure from the port of Dubrovnik: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPrzClbuTPE
Day 7 ? Venice
We had to be out of our cabins by an ungodly 07:30am. We entered the Giudecca canal around 7am, and I managed to film the entire journey up it to the port (where we berthed opposite Splendour of the Seas and Norwegian Jade) as time lapse, again this is set against a real time soundtrack, and makes quite an effective viewing experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMp8IXPgoek
Overall this was a great cruise on an excellent ship, there were some issues that sullied the experience, particularly at: Bari (insufficient shuttle buses and MSC staff to control the crowd who were waiting for buses); Dubrovnik where the tender boat system was completely and utterly inadequate; and disembarkation which from having to be out of cabins for 07:30 and not being able to get breakfast to the chaos that accompanied trying to reclaim our suitcases was pretty off-putting.
Having had time to reflect on all of the above, I would still recommend this cruise, but would like future passengers to be aware of the issues that MSC need to address.
If you like my videos you?ll find plenty more like them on my YouTube channel which can be found at www.mosstravel.tv .