This was our third cruise and second cruise with MSC.
Embarkation in Venice was very quick and easy, the best we have experienced. We had done online check-in which made the process faster. I don't really understand why some people don't take advantage of the option to check in online.
We were shown to our cabin by a friendly member of staff which was a nice touch and something that we hadn't come across before.The cabin was small but adequate and although the window was mostly blocked by a lifeboat, there was still reasonable natural light coming in. There was decent storage space and lots of hangers. There was a movie channel on the tv with some fairly new films being shown though many were repeated during the week. The bathroom was a bit old looking and in need of modernisation.
The ship was bigger and more modern than I had expected given its age. The coffee bar was particularly nice. The theatre had nice tables at almost every seat however this took away from the space for seating so it wasn't really big enough for the more popular shows. The shops were quite good, particularly the jewellery shop. The pool area was big enough despite what I had read about it being crowded- as far as I could see you could always get a sun lounger even at peak times. The gym was too small and got very busy when at sea. There were two bars on the pool level as well as an ice-cream bar and a pizza/ fast food grill.
The food in the main dining room was very good and there was lots of choice. I always enjoyed the risotto dishes in particular. We ate in the dining room every night and for most of our lunches. I could not find fault with any of the food.
The buffet had a reasonable selection although the salad options were not that good. I was always amazed to see how many people chose to dine at the buffet instead of the dining room- they really missed out on the best food! Although the roast of the day in the buffet was always delicious and I got into the habit of trying it out every evening before dinner in the dining room!
The service was good and we found that all of the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. I simply cannot believe the negative comments some people have made in their reviews about the staff- our experience was nothing short of excellent.
We got the "allegrissimo" drinks package which cost just â‚¬23 per person per day. We found this to be tremendously good value and there was a very good choice of drinks on it including draught beer, a few wines and lots of cocktails and spirits.
At night after dinner we often went to the casino and the nightclub. The nightclub was usually busy and good craic. It was particularly nice to go out on the nightclub balcony at the back of the ship at night.
We did not watch all of the shows but what we did see was good. The two male gymnasts were excellent as were the jugglers. The guy who did the cardboard outfits was also good. The music and singing in the lounges and bars around the ship varied from good to poor.
The entertainment team were very active in getting people to dance at the various parties with live music which was nice and helped to create a good atmosphere.
As MSC club members we were invited to a nice reception with the captain on the second formal night. There were free drinks and tasty finger food. It was very enjoyable and a nice touch.
Venice- it was really something special to cruise through Venice, I would really recommend watching this from the back or top of the ship. Venice is very beatiful but a few hours is enough which makes it a great place to visit on a cruise.
Ancona- we walked around for about an hour up a nice shopping street and to a small outdoor market. It was nice.
Corfu- really lovely old town and port. Don't pay for the bus transfer, it's only a 15 minute walk from the ship. Walk to the top of the fort for nice views. We were sorry we didn't bring swimming geat for a dip in the sea.
Santorini- we made the mistake of walking up the donkey path from the port. It was too hot and smelly and crowded. In hindsight we should have either booked an excursion or just had a coffee at the port.
Athens and Argostoli- we didn't get off the ship.
Montengero- stunning! A beautiful setting were the ship seems almost surrounded by mountains. A nice little old town.
In summary I would say this cruise was young and fun with great food and friendly service.