passengers 30%Italian, 30%German 10%French 10%Scandenavian 5%Russian 10% other
Recommended only for those who wish to lose weight. If you do have an interest in how your food tastes, then bring plenty of money (Danish Kroner, Norwegian Kroner, and Euros) in order to eat lunch off the ship.
Also recommended if you must take MSC:
Bring empty water bottles; you can fill in cabin from tap, then bring them to meals.
Print out maps of ports before you come.
Neutral: Primary language is Italian.
Plus: The ship itself; large soundproof cabins.
Excellent helpful cabin steward and helpful dinner waiter. Cabin steward was the one who told us when luggage had to be outside door and when we needed to vacate cabin. Information not otherwise available.
Hot milk available at breakfast, both at buffet and sit down
The Norwegian scenery.
Minuses: Everything else
1. The Food
One item on menu is usually outstanding; safest course is to order everything, taste each until you find that one item, then discard the rest.
Bad coffee is always free. But hot milk is on tap.
Better coffee is $2.50 per cup or more.
One flavor of ice cream available at sit-down lunch and dinner; strawberry ice cream lacked strawberries. Ice cream available at other times for a hefty charge.
Crepe with proscuito and cheese sauce ordered from menu actually pigs in a blanket
2. Extra cost?--virtually everything
All movies, on TV or big screen are charged for. (Bring a portable computer and DVD's. Note: Use DVD's to tip cabin steward, waiter for exceptional service)
If one wants water with dinner, then one must pay for it, $2.50 + 15% service charge.
8 ounce coke is $4.
Neither coffee nor tea was offered to our table at the end of the meal. We were told no hot tea but then produced a brochure which said hot tea was available. Iced tea is not served despite brochure's claims.
On formal night, we grabbed a sparkling wine on way to dining room, but in doorway, a cocktail waitress demanded we surrender our glasses. We ignored her and marched right on by.
3. Deliberate inefficiency:
To summon elevators placed in banks of four, two separate buttons need be pressed
Coffee/tea stations all on one deck at one end. Single-cup supplements of Nescafe located behind machines out of view
A non-European-language-speaking crew member is placed in front of each pair of side-by-side coffee dispensers to pour coffee one cup at a time dispensing hot or cold milk according to his personal whim.
Two gangways are used when in port and passengers are encouraged to either one to exit or enter thus getting in one another's way.
Plating is erratic. Some cake will have sauce on plate, some won't; slices are different sizes and shaped.
At breakfast and lunch, service in restaurant is straight out of Lewis Caroll.
4. Passengers treated like mushrooms
No use asking the crew for information; the peons that interact with the passengers know only what the Italian officers deign to tell them, so much of what a passenger is told is often simply made up on the spot.
We were told that beds in our cabin (designed for use by handicapped) were bolted down. We slept apart for two days till we discovered that beds weren't bolted and moved them together.
Info in daily programme including weather is mostly guesswork.
We were told in writing to take passports ashore at Kiel. Passports not needed.
As with any other Italian run vessel, be sure to establish whether the Captain is aboard before boarding yourself as otherwise the vessel is sinking.
A long-sleeved wetsuit is unnecessary. The pool temperature is kept at a comfortable 65 degrees and a springsuit is more than adequate.
Spoons may or may not be provided for use with cereal and yogurt.
Maps are NOT provided; not even the tiny ones that most cruise lines provide with the daily programme. Oops, occasionally maps may be made available in later afternoon.
Nightly theater includes gymnasts, poorly-trained dancers (in lavish costumes), clowns and wonderful opera singers who don't even get a full number.
music for dancing intermittent supplied by duos and trios no other cruise line will hire.
Good news. Italian Captain is still aboard so boat can't be sinking.
No frills such as a daily 4-page paper with the highlights of the day's news.
Sunday in Copenhagen, free admission to to ny Carls burg Glyptotek.
Monday in Oslo, took the tram out to statue-filled Park.
Scas was a total waste of time.
Wow they had a map of Bergen today. We tried to use it and a kind "local" told us we might have a problem with using it a it had missing information. He kindly sent us to where we wanted to go. Bergen is a lovely town and the hike to the funicular was not too strenuous. We walked back from the restaurant at the top of where the funicular went and phil threw his back out.
Haunting beauty of the mountains in . Best seen with a walk along the fijord.
In Kiel, got a map (in German) from a nearby hotel. Around 1400, stumbled on a New Orleans style Jazz band in market square.