WE WANT TO WARN EVERYONE ABOUT CRUISING ON THE MUSICA!
My husband and I just took the 7 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Venice in June 2012. I did a very similar cruise on the Costa Victoria with a gal friend in 2006, so I have a good basis of comparison.
The new cruise terminal in Venice has a monorail that unfortunately ends at least 1/3 mile from the Musica. There were signs for a free shuttle, but no personnel to be found at the exit of the monorail. During our 20 minute "dry run, without luggage" walk in the hot sun, there was no shuttle to be found. . . no covered walk way either. We ended up having to pay 20 Euros to a taxi to haul us and our luggage from Pe Roma= a BAD way to start!
Baggage check in required us to stand in an outside (covered) line about 30 minutes. . . also HOT. Then there was another 30 minute line inside the air conditioned entry hall to get ourselves checked in. In addition to our cruise packet, I was asked to sign a form saying that I asked for water to be served at meals. Then there was the gauntlet of "independent contractors" who ran the spa and retails shops. . . handing us separate pieces of paper for their "deals". . . very unorganized.
Our cabin had a nice sized balcony with 2 chairs and a small table, but the upholstery inside was worn and needed a good clean. Our mini bar had 2 bottles of water that were opened and half empty. We had to ask the cabin steward 3 times to take them away, so we would not be charged.
When we went to the buffet on the 13th floor for a bite of lunch, it was nothing short of chaos! There was no attempt at "line" organization of any kind. People were literally pushing and shoving to get to food that was luke warm and bland, at best. Tables were almost impossible to find. Waiters were already stressed and rushing around attempting to keep the food stocked and tables cleaned off. Everything was served on badly scratched plastic. . . not appetizing at all. Children were crying or shouting and running around, completely out of control.
When we recovered enough to go to the nicely appointed Maxim restaurant for dinner, we were thankfully seated at a 4 top with a lovely Australian couple. There were very few English speaking guests on board (average 50% Italian and 30% Spanish). We had a nicely prepared dinner with good service in a relatively peaceful environment. UNFORTUNATELY, when it came time to settle the account, we were asked for our water voucher. When I explained that we did not receive any water voucher, our waiter went for the dining room manager. That fellow was rude and insisted that we must have vouchers because I signed the form at check in. We were embarrassed at the scene he was making, all over a bottle of water that we often bought at the supermarkets in Italy for 19 cents (they charged 2.30 Euros). He finally said we could bring an extra voucher the next evening.
When I went to the reception desk the next morning to sort out the water crisis, the clerk was also rude, saying "why would you sign for vouchers you did not receive?" When I tried to explain that no one mentioned vouchers, she continued to blame me for not being organized. I even went all the way back to my cabin and brought every piece of paper from check in, even the ones from the trash. She still did not believe me and said I needed to take it up with the customer relations manager. She said he was busy and I should wait or come back. Since the fellow in line next to me was protesting loudly that he had already waited 20 minutes for the manager, I stated that the manager should call me in my cabin when he became available.
To make a long story very short. . . the rest of the cruise went much the same way. Although, after meetings with the managers of customer relations and food and beverage, we were immediately given precious water vouchers (free only for Americans and Canadians), and moved to a dining table by the window, etc. . . the lack of organization and professional management meant pushing and shoving for every excursion as well.
Yes, this cruise line has good entry prices, but they have additional (excessive) charges for everything. . . those â‚¬ here and there really add up. . . especially at the US dollar exchange rate making everything 30% higher. You are not allowed to bring on board even non-alcoholic beverages because they want you to buy every bit of liquid you put in your body from them, at their marked up rates. Plus they add service charges for drinks, in addition to the 7â‚¬ per person daily service charge. Their entry prices, along with free children in the room, means they end up with chaos that they don't/can't control.
I found that Costa Cruise lines has better food and a much more peaceful experience in a similiar price range. I would not recommend an MSC Musica cruise to anyone!