With the recent GroupOn 'offers' I felt I needed to submit my review to warn others, so they don't have a disappointing week like we - and seemingly most reviewers - experienced.
Firstly, I feel it best to point out that the 'offer' isn't an offer. It is, at best, a very small saving on the actual price - with the guide price being heavily inflated.
Having previously been on 8 cruises, 6 of them with RCI and 2 with Disney, I can only equate the experience we had on MSC as going from riches to rags.
The Interior Stateroom - previously more than adequate for us - is like a prison room. It is listed as a meager 12 metres squared, and feels much less. The bed sheets were old, worn and dirty. When we asked if these could be changed, we were told that they would be changed when everybody elses were and no guests would be given special treatment. We knew from that point we were in for a very different cruise experience - in terms of both facilities and the attitude of staff.
The sheets being old and worn were symbolic of most things on the ship. Everything is so dated compared to the other cruise lines we experienced.
The number of entertainment venues and the number of staff simply aren't equipped for the number of guests. They're trying to do things on a budget and it shows.
We queued for 35 minutes on the first night for the cinema, only to be told - along with others - that the auditorium was full.
On our second day, we were going to play basketball as a family. We had to wait 6 hours. Yes, 6 hours for a court. When we were allowed on, we had to be off again after 20 minutes.
The fitness suite was similarly overcrowded, with a staggeringly small number of machines compared to guests wanting to use them.
The food we received on our budget flight to and from Barcelona was comparable to anything we had on board. It was obviously pre-prepared, mass produced and reheated. Unlike anything you'd ever experience with RCI or Disney.
Really, I'm depressing myself by thinking about the experience again. I'll end my review there.
Needless to say, I wouldn't return, for any price, despite being an avid cruise lover. I just hope that this review and others save some families the disappointment and expense that we had.