Wonderful First Time Cruise: MSC Fantasia Cruise Review by Buckeye90

MSC Fantasia 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Wonderful First Time Cruise

Sail Date: July 2012
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
This was our first cruise. Overall we were extremely impressed with the ship, with the staff, with the food, and with the service. We had a kids cruise free deal, which made this a very affordable way to see more of Europe.

The overall service was very good. I'm frankly impressed by the staff. There were at least 7 languages that I heard on a regular basis. The staff handled all situations very calmly, even when they were getting blasted by passengers that I felt were overbearing, rude, demanding. We had a minor dental issue on the boat, the medical staff was outstanding, arranging for an orthodontist at the next port for no charge.

Dining was excellent. Every night we ate in the main dining room, during the 7:00 seating. We had the same wait staff. MSC planning was excellent, they paired us with a family from Scotland with kids the same age as ours. This made dinners, and the cruise, very enjoyable. Each dinner menu was different, you were able to select More multiple courses. We always had plenty of good food to eat. The buffets however, were madness, chaos with all the people. We tried to get sit down meals whenever possible. Although breakfast and lunch service varied.

Communication was hit or miss. The introductory life on board meeting was just a sales pitch for the excursions, a waste of time. The first excursion meeting was hectic, there were no signs indicating what to do. It took 15 minutes to find an employee to figure out what to do. When disembarking we asked an employee where to claim some items kept by security, they sent us to a port employee, who sent us right back to the ship. Our items were right next to the first employee. They should pay more attention to these type of details.

We bought a couple of drink packages. The wine package was excellent, we saved about 15 Euros. The water package was OK, saving about 6 Euros. The pop package was not worth the hassle of paper tickets. Why paper tickets when you have an electronic room key??

Our only complaints are minor. You can't take a cup of coffee back to your room, they expect you to drink it at the coffee bar. Very inconvenient. MSC should provide some type of shuttle service at all ports to the towns.

We would take MSC again. Less

Published 08/04/12
2 Helpful Votes

Cabin review: 1010095

This was our first cruise.The room was larger than I expected. We had a king size bed, and a couch that pulled out to a double bed for the kids. There was adequate space to put away 4 suitcases, and to unpack clothes for four people. Good size balcony, which made the room seem larger. Location was quiet. No noise from elevators. Sailing was very smooth. Did not feel any rocking, or vibrations from the engines. The room did has 110 Volt plugs, which was very convenient for US appliances.

Port and Shore Excursions

MSC did not provide shuttle service to Genoa. The local taxi was inexpensive, 17 Euro into city and 11 Euro back. Some people on the boat did walk, but it is through a rather industrial like area. Overall city was great, wonderful buildings and architecture. Visited the Museo di Palazzo Reale, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo Campanile, Christopher Columbus's house, and Porto Antico. Had a lovely lunch at a local pizzeria.
Read 277 Genoa Reviews


This tour was very good but far too short. Tour of buildings and the market were rushed. We only had about 1 hour of free time which is insufficient. The actual length of tour was 4 hours from the time we assembled in the ship to leave. The guide was knowledgeable although gave misinformation about being able to use excursion ticket to use Marseilles old port shuttle. Msc wanted to charge another fee, we took local taxis for 20 euro each way which was cheaper than msc shuttle bus price for our group of 4.

Pompeii Walking Tour

This was nearly 4 1/2 hours from the time we assembled on the ship. Had sufficient time to view the ruins. Guide was knowledgeable and kept us in the shade when possible. I would highly recommend seeing Pompeii. It was very hot in Naples. The bus air conditioning was not functioning, the ride back to the ship was very uncomfortable. There seemed to be lack of communication for Naples port security. They had us go through security twice, once in port and once on the boat. Made for slow boarding.

We did not like Palermo as much as Geneo, would give it 2 1/2 stars. The city seemed more hectic, lots of traffic, and lots of walking. We did walk to Palazzo dei Normanni, much of it was closed. The Capella Palatina inside was gorgeous. Overall it was not worth the money or walk. Restaurants seemed more difficult to find, we couldn't even find a Gelato shop on the walk back to the ship. We did have to take our daughter to an orthodontist there to repair her braces. The ship helped us with arrangements. MSC's service in this situation was outstanding, as was the Doctors.
Read 216 Palermo Reviews

City Tour

This tour was in English and German, so everything had to he repeated. This confused the kids, we had trouble following along at times. The Carthage ruins are ok. They are not as well preserved as at Pompeii. The market interesting, rugs were gorgeous however too much time was spent in the single rug shop, I would have preferred to see other areas of the market. Salespeople here are obnoxious, following you and showing different things to buy, even placing them in bags when you are saying no. The kids were completely freaked out by their aggression. We visited a museum specializing in ancient roman mosaics. They were gorgeous, very interesting. Lunch was a buffet, gave a taste of local dishes. We went to second market, this one was disappointing, mostly tourist junk. The haggling is ridiculous, after 15 minutes of this we were ready to leave. I would recommend the excursion again, I would not feel comfortable on my own in Tunis- too different from Europe, but it is fine with a guide.

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