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First time Mediterranean Cruise 4/14 - MSC Bellissima - need help

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Hello all,

 

3 of us, Me, my husband and son. We booked a cruise with MSC Bellissima for 4/14 - 4/21. 

Overnight in Milan

Genoa (Departure)

Naples (book excursion for Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii)

Messina (book excursion for Mount Etna and Taormina)

Valletta, Malta ?????

Sea day

Barcelona, Spain ?????

Marseille, France ?????

Genoa

Malpensa Airport

 

We were cruises many times with Royal Caribbean but never with other cruises line. It also will be the first time cruising in Europe. So not sure what to do. We fly from the US to Milan. We will be in Milan 4/13. I booked a hotel for 1 night near central Milan. Possibly take a train to Genoa from Milan the next day to Cruise Port in Genoa. Please help. Welcome any suggestions. We are a Newbie for MSC and Traveling in Europe. LOL, We not even know where to exchange our $ to Euro. Please help it is only 21 days to go. Excite but worry. Thank you in advance to everyone for your help.

 

 

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2 hours ago, CruiseLand said:

Hello all,

 

3 of us, Me, my husband and son. We booked a cruise with MSC Bellissima for 4/14 - 4/21. 

Overnight in Milan

Genoa (Departure)

Naples (book excursion for Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii)

Messina (book excursion for Mount Etna and Taormina)

Valletta, Malta ?????

Sea day

Barcelona, Spain ?????

Marseille, France ?????

Genoa

Malpensa Airport

 

We were cruises many times with Royal Caribbean but never with other cruises line. It also will be the first time cruising in Europe. So not sure what to do. We fly from the US to Milan. We will be in Milan 4/13. I booked a hotel for 1 night near central Milan. Possibly take a train to Genoa from Milan the next day to Cruise Port in Genoa. Please help. Welcome any suggestions. We are a Newbie for MSC and Traveling in Europe. LOL, We not even know where to exchange our $ to Euro. Please help it is only 21 days to go. Excite but worry. Thank you in advance to everyone for your help.

 

 

 

There are some great facebook groups for Belissima  and MSC in general full of very helpful people , I suggest you join those for some useful tips

Valletta is a very nice place you can wander around walkable from the ship

Barcelona you can get the local shuttle bus from the port 4 euro I think it was, its stops at the columbus monument and then you can walk around or get the metro lots to see 

Marseille you dock too far from town so either walk to catch the port bus or buy the MSC shuttle ticket. I recommend getting the little road train up to the Notre Dame Cathedral  (not to be confused with Paris) 

Europe is great as is MSC embrace any differences and just go with the flow and enjoy every moment

What  status are you with RCI? have you status matched that with MSC? 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, glittergal1 said:

What  status are you with RCI? have you status matched that with MSC? 

Thank you so much for your reply. I did the status match from RCI Diamond to MSC Black. Should I exchange $ to Euro in US before I go or should do at the Airport? Where is the best place to do that? Bank?  

Edited by CruiseLand

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Don't exchange any currency at airports as you will get a terrible rate, 10% under market sometimes.

get euros from your bank before departure and use ATMS for more if needed and credit cards are widely accepted in Europe.

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3 hours ago, cruiser man 60 said:

Don't exchange any currency at airports as you will get a terrible rate, 10% under market sometimes.

get euros from your bank before departure and use ATMS for more if needed and credit cards are widely accepted in Europe.

Thank you. We possible use Credit card most of the time but cash for the taxi ride.

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We are cruising out of Genoa in May and also are flying to Milan.  Last night I booked our train from Milan Central to Genoa Piazza Principe on the FrecciaBianca high speed train.  I'm excited.  If you are interested in the train, I would suggest reading info from Seat61 (just google trains from Milan to Genoa and it will be among the list).  Anyway, he recommended going through Italiarail.com, if you have several people.  I did this and found the prices better than booking direct thru Trenitalia (there are 4 of us).  While it said no seat selections were available, when I booked, it gave me seats and the option to change, so that was a little confusing.  I thought we might only have the option of e-tickets, but I was able to print them out when I booked (I'm tactile and want it in my hand!)  While Italiarail.com does charge a 3.5 euro fee, you can email them and they will refund it to you (instructions are in the seat61article).  I wasn't sure about it, but it was amazingly easy.  The train option works really well in advance if you know what train you want, but there are also some provisions for changing trains.  Tickets cheaper the further in advance you are and luggage does not seem to be an issue on the European trains.

From what I can tell, it is best to wait until you are in the airport to get train tickets from Malpensa to Milan Centrale.  They run very frequently and if you purchase in advance, you have to pick the time.  I'm not confident in our flight arrival and baggage pickup, so I will pay a little more and purchase when I get there.

As for shore excursions....Naples, we are doing Sorrento & Pompei---Pompei was really the only MUST on our list.  We also have Messina--- Taormina & Messina; Valletta--- Rabat, Mosta, & Mdina; Barcelona---Gaudis Experience (we saw La Sagrada Familia many years ago and want to see again); have not picked anything for Marseille yet---if you hear of something wonderful, let us know!

This is our first MSC cruise.  We did the status match to Black (from NCL).  We are trying out the Yacht Club to compare with the Haven.

We lived in Europe 20 + years ago.  Not sure how much has changed, but I would recommend always carrying toilet paper or kleenex with you, as it might not be available or for a fee in public restrooms.  You can buy travel sizes (like for camping).  Not sure its still needed, but better safe than sorry!  Maybe someone else can chime in....

 

Have a wonderful time and a great new experience!  There are both similarities and differences between our cultures and you will have a greater appreciation for where you live and a broader perspective on what others face.  There are wonderful people all over this planet!  Get out and meet them!

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@Hearthosesteeldrumsplayin Thank you for taking the time to reply. We also plan to take a train from Milano Centrale to Genoa Piazza Principe but not book the tickets yet. Possible book it tomorrow. From the US to Milan we will land at Lin Airport but the way back home will need to go to Malpensa. I have a lot of concern about my 6 years old will be tired with this trip. Will take long excursions 2 days at Naples and Messina so I know we will be tired. Valletta, we will just walk around town and might take it easy that day. Barcelona we not sure yet what to do but we might do as @glittergal1 suggest by taking the local shuttle bus to Columbus Monument. 

We want to book YC too but all book up so quickly. We normally not stay in our cabin much except time to sleep and changing clothes so so I think we should be fine. Thank you for the warning about the toilet paper.

I read someone posted about in MDR did not include any drinking water and have to purchase them. Is it true?

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Stick with taking monies out via ATM. I'm boarding in Barcelona so you'll be on board a few days after my wife and I. We have private excursion booked for four off us re Pompeii and Etna. This works out around 500 Euro each trio which considering its totally private and has. guide is not terrible. MSC excursions are always reasonably priced compared to some other lines. We are not doing anything in Genoa or Marseilles as staying in Yacht Club and want to take advantage of the facilities. The ship docks very close to the town in Valetta. You take the lift up the cliff/battlements and that leads you right into the town and gardens. Re Barcelona the main place to visit is the Sagrada Familia. Also like any big city watch for pickpockets. 

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Posted (edited)

Second the recommendation of staying onboard for one port when in YC. We spent Marseille port day enjoying the thermal spa, which YC have free access. It was cold outside so, we enjoyed it. If warmer, lounging on top sail pool deck is nice also.

also, Ship is nice to wander when not so populated . Great pictures of ships features.

Edited by phissy

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On 3/24/2019 at 7:05 AM, philsuarez said:

Stick with taking monies out via ATM. I'm boarding in Barcelona so you'll be on board a few days after my wife and I. We have private excursion booked for four off us re Pompeii and Etna. This works out around 500 Euro each trio which considering its totally private and has. guide is not terrible. MSC excursions are always reasonably priced compared to some other lines. We are not doing anything in Genoa or Marseilles as staying in Yacht Club and want to take advantage of the facilities. The ship docks very close to the town in Valetta. You take the lift up the cliff/battlements and that leads you right into the town and gardens. Re Barcelona the main place to visit is the Sagrada Familia. Also like any big city watch for pickpockets. 

We kind of debated about where should we start our cruise too. I would like to start in Barcelona but my son who is 6 yrs old has to take off school one more days and the flight to Barcelona cost more for us to fly than Milan. Lucky you can book the Yacht Club. I try to book the Yacht Club and it is all sold out when we booked this cruise. From I see MSC Yacht Club sold out really quickly. We are not planning anything for Genoa either might just walk around after we can drop off our luggage after we board. However, we need to come back in time for Muster station. 

We definitely will be tired from the 2 days x 8 hrs trips in Naples and Messina so we might just do like you guys take a lift up to the Cliff/Battlement. Barcelona might just take HOHO bus or Local shutter. Glad to know someone else on the same trip.

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On 3/21/2019 at 7:22 PM, cruiser man 60 said:

Don't exchange any currency at airports as you will get a terrible rate, 10% under market sometimes.

get euros from your bank before departure and use ATMS for more if needed and credit cards are widely accepted in Europe.

 

Be sure to let your bank know you're travelling to Europe if you intend to use your card for ATMs or payments.  If you don't do this they may think the use of the card is fraudulent and block the card!

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