If English is your first language avoid, avoid, avoid MSC
I am going to try and keep this as concise as possible, at times it will seem like a sketch from the sitcom Faulty Towers, with a the customer services manager playing the role of Basil Faulty.
The ship: Fantastic, well maintained and pristine throughout. The bars music and decor were relaxing and well stocked, apart from the day at sea never felt crowded
The room: We had an inside cabin, was comfortable and well equipped with a good hot shower. Though we could not get ours cleaned properly, or our mini-bar filled. But I will come to that later.
Breakfast: A very large selection of choices, sadly as they are cooking for so many nationalities they didn't always get it right. The breakfast area is very well staffed, but don't expect a food half eaten, on a plate to still be on the table if you go for a coffee.
Daytime Food: available during the day was limited, and the drinks from the coolers where not good and often turned off, I guess this was done to encourage you to spend money at the Bars.
Evening Meal: If you like Italian food you will love it, a different choice every night, though fairly bland. The kids choice is very very basic, I tried to get my Daughter just pasta and cheese, after a long discussion four visits from 3 different waiters, none of who spoke sufficient English to interpret our request we ended up with a red hot dish of tagliatellele . We gave up, she had chips.
Drinks: Very Expensive: Get the Drinks package; we did. We are not big drinkers, however a few drinks round the pool, one before dinner, wine with dinner, and a couple of cocktails in the bar we would have spent Â£100 per day.
Entertainment: Some good some bad, again they are trying to cater for all nationality's it just doesn't work very well. The Bingo caller took 60 seconds per number due to having to read it in every language.
Staff: Poor you always got a smile from the cabin crew, after that good luck, the bar staff and waitresses were miserable, and security was just rude and ignorant. Only two or three of the staff that we met could speak English well enough to understand our order first time. The only way I can describe it; imagine having to talk to really bad Indian call centre for everything you need. It drove us nuts. Even something as simple as a can of coke became a major negotiation.
Ok the funny bit: Well it is now; the problems we had on board were on the whole minor, however it was the inability of MSC to sort them out that has caused me to put pen to paper in this manner.
We could not get our room cleaned properly; dirty cups and plates with food on them were left for 4 days. They kept charging us for the mini-bar that was included in our package,
I was robbed in Tunisia whilst standing next to the coach that MSC had arranged for the excursion, the tickets for the excursion never arrived when they should have, and they always missed out our Daughter. We had room keys cancelled, staff that would blatantly lie when you caught them out. And to top it off a can of RED COKE!!! I could not have this served at my table for dinner, because they said it was not in my package, even though we had the most expensive drinks package available.
After my starter every night I had to get up from my table walk to one of the bars on the ship get two cans of coke using my drinks package and then take them back to the table.
THE COMPLAINT: As I had already been to reception 3 times finance twice, and still not managed to get any of the issues sorted. I asked to see the customer service Manager, A man who went by the name of Marcello. I was ushered into his office, He was dressed like a Captain and he started by calling MR John (which is not my name) and telling me whilst slapping his epaulets, that he was the captain of the people on this ship and whatever he said goes, After explaining the above issues he got on the phone and spoke to the various departments with lots of Pronto, Pronto and finished by telling me it was all sorted. He also said I would have no further problem as his staff shook when they saw him or heard his voice. He also said that he would meet me at the restaurant to make sure that for the rest of the week I would have a can of coke on my table.
Theft/ Robbery: I also told him that I had been robbed in Tunisia, whilst on one of MSCs tours, he threw his head back laughed, and said "Mr John, I cannot be expected to look after you money whilst you are on holiday, do you know how much theft and robbery goes on, on this ship with all these staff and passengers" I pointed out that that was not mentioned in the brochure when we booked.
The Restaurant: When Marcello arrived at the restaurant that night, he told the waiters to make sure I had the Coke (nobody seemed to be shaking). After a lot of conversation in Italian he came across and said that he could not arrange this as it was impossible to give me a can on my package though he did say I could continue to go to the Bar. The Americans sat opposite us on our table where having no problems being served with cans as apparently they were on the soft drinks only package which had only cost Â£40 for the week, as a pose to our Â£75 per day.
Disappearing Receptionist: We still had not had our cabin cleaned, got our tickets without fighting for them, we were still being charged for our Mini-Bar and still no Coke. I went back down to reception and explained it to the girl there that I just wanted my room cleaned, during our conversation, she went off to get something and then disappeared after 5 min I asked the other staff were she had gone they looked at me like I was mad, and told me she had gone on a break.
Marcello Again: I asked to see Marcello again they told me that he could not see me until the Tuesday, I was due to leave the ship on the Sunday. Eventually another appointment was made for that afternoon at 5 O'clock, I duly arrived after waiting for twenty minutes I was informed that he would not see me, as all of my issues I had raised had been dealt with.
After a lot of argument with the reception I was finally shown in to Marcello's office where again I was greeted as "MR John" after explaining again that not one thing that he said he would sort out had been done he explained that he was very important on his ship stressing the word Important three times, I suggested you mean impotent, yes that's it he said standing up straight and announcing proudly "I am impotent on this ship" and that really sums up the communication problems. He did ask me to give MSC another chance but we are not so sure.
Conclusion: I had a great holiday; this was despite MSC not because of them. Though the problems that I encountered where minor in the scale of things, because of the inability of MSC to sort them out it caused a great deal of stress between myself and my partner, we rarely argue but had three with MSC.
Everything from the check in to the departure is shambolic, comical even. This starts when they can't find your name on the airport transfer you are left sitting on a bus for over an hour waiting to go to the ship with blazing hot sun no air-con and no information ; We made friends with Americans, Australians Greeks and some Belgians, all had similar feelings. And all stated that they would not travel with MSC again.
I hope they do get their act together in the future as the ships are fantastic but for now if you have read this and are English speaking avoid MSC. Or you will be sorry
If the captain of the people Marcello is not listened to by his own staff, and is not authorised to override ridiculous rules, then what chance does the customer have.