Our embarkation at Livorno (which isn't available in the drop-down menu above!) was perfect. We arrived at 2 pm for a 7 pm departure and were on the ship in 10 minutes. Then a white gloved attendant took us to our upgraded cabin, 10164.
Everyone we dealt with that day and every day on the ship spoke very good English and I never had a problem communicating.
Our balcony cabin was lovely, every bit of nice as our Celebrity Equinox cabin two years before. Our steward was a young woman who took exquisite care of us. When we were getting our 30 pieces for 25 euros laundry ready mid-cruise, we mentioned it to her and she patiently waited for us, helped us fill out the form, and then took it right to the laundry. It was waiting for us in our cabin the next day, in great condition.
Although our waiter and our dinner were always good to very good, the buffet food was almost always cold, and only the salads and pastas were good. Even if we arrived at the buffet line the second it opened, the other things were cold. However, the attendants at the huffet were helpful and dirty tables were cleaned immediately. I especially enjoyed breakfast on the aft part of the buffet.
Breakfast in the dining room was much better but we also enjoyed going to L'Incontro Bar on deck 5, ordering capuccino (about 2 euros each) and helping ourselves to the fresh pastry there.
My only other complaint was the port call schedule. You can't do much with a five-hour port call, and you can't do much in Valencia, Spain at 1 pm when everything closes for the afternoon siesta! This was by far the biggest problem of the cruise. Although I will say we never arrived to a port later than scheduled, nor left later than scheduled. All schedules were met. They were just terrible times!
We could not have enjoyed Taormina and Castelmolo out of Catania if we hadn't pre-arranged a private tour. I highly recommend Sicily with Mario!
There were some problems with Italians who didn't know the meaning of a line. However, since we have spent plenty of time in Italy, including 18 days before this cruise, we were used to this. We either relaxed and let it go or did ot allow anyone in front of us, whichever mood we were in.
We became friends with the diners at the tables on either side of us (we were at a table for four that we shared with family) and were very comfortable among the other passengers. There was some language difficulty with other passengers, but for the most part, everyone spoke some English, and my daughter speaks Italian.
The entertainment was very good and the lounges were very pleasant. Drinks were priced reasonably and our first formal night, they were all free. Our Cheers beverage package kept us overflowing in water, beer and wine at dinner and in the buffet.
In summary, I would judge the port times carefully before choosing an MSC cruise again, but I would gladly cruise on MSC Orchestra again!