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The MSC Fantasia: A Huffington Post Travel Cruise Ship Guide

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MSC FANTASIA
Courtesy of MSC Cruises

The MSC Fantasia Cruise is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about the MSC Fantasia Cruise.

Destinations

The MSC Fantasia embarks on voyages around the Mediterranean all year long. It sails to destinations such as Italy, France, Tunisia, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Gibraltar. The journeys generally range from four to 11 nights, and ports of call include Genoa, Casablanca, Cevitavecchia, Lisbon, Barcelona and Malaga.

Grand Ship

Billed as the largest cruise ship ever built for a European ship owner, the MSC Fantasia is the first of MSC Cruises' latest glitzy Italian-inspired vessels. The ship has 1,637 staterooms -- 80 percent of which have a view of the ocean -- and an opulent Swarovski crystal staircase.

Special Features

The MSC Fantasia has five restaurants, four swimming pools, 12 hydro-massage pools and an aqua park with 150 illuminated musical fountains. According to Cruise Critic, the 4-D cinema is also meant to provide a motion-ride experience by propelling viewers into a roller coaster-like film complete with jolts, wind and deafening sound. For a more relaxing day, guests can find respite in the Aurea Spa's thermal cave, which offers treatments such as therapeutic mud packs, perfumed vapors and Balinese massages.

Accommodations

Standard interior staterooms on the MSC Fantasia start at 172 square feet, but square footage for luxury Yacht Club suites can reach 571 square feet. Televisions and Wi-Fi are in all rooms, and a digital television system allows passengers to watch movies, purchase shore excursions, order room service and preview ports of call. Guests staying in a Yacht Club suite receive butler and concierge services, access to a private restaurant, access to a private pool and lounge, as well as complimentary plane fare in some promotions.

Cost

Four-night trips on the MSC Fantasia to Italy, Spain and France start at $399, with Yacht Club prices beginning at $1,279. Seven nights at sea to Spain, Tunisia, Italy, Malta and France start at $1,099. Eleven-night trips to Italy, Morocco, Spain and Portugal start at $899, with intermediate staterooms costing $2,349 and Yacht Club suites reaching prices of $4,959.

Excursion

According to Cruise Critic editors and reviewers, the shore excursions aren't the most appealing part of the MSC Fantasia's sojourns. In fact, multiple reviewers said they chose to go the DIY route, simply because the shore excursions were lackluster and not worth the price. Cruise Critic's editor in chief Carolyn Spencer Brown did say that the Barcelona tapas and bike ride outings seemed appealing but she still didn't book any excursions through the cruise line.

Dining Experience

There are traditional dining rooms on the MSC Fantasia, with set tables and times for dinners, as well as buffet restaurants for breakfast and lunch. The ship also includes the intimate French restaurant L'Etoile, Tex-Mex fare at Sombrero, a tapas and wine bar and a pizzeria. Yacht Club members can take advantage of the private restaurant designated especially for them.

Maiden Voyage

The MSC Fantasia's maiden voyage took place in December 2008, embarking from Genoa, Italy. The cruise line was created "with the environment in mind," meaning it's structure prevents harm to the ocean through recycling waste water and optimizing its air conditioning.

In The News

In 2009, the ship had a gangway collapse after high winds in Mallorca, causing a man to be injured, according to news outlets such as Sky News and BBC News. Forunately, a rescue team was able to get him out of the water.

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