Just returned from a week long cruise on MSC Fantasia our first and last cruise with this bunch of italian jokers.
We sailed from Barcelona and to be fair embarkation was simple and swift we waited maybe 20 minutes in the cruise terminal before being checked in we boarded were assigned a steward who showed us straight to our balcony cabin 13172 on deck 13 the cabin was lovely very modern clean plenty of wardrobe and draw space and a larger than average balcony brilliant we thought this is going to be a great cruise.
Our first impressions were very good the ship is immaculate and clean with a feeling of opulence as we wondered through the various public area's on decks 5/6/7 although we did notice a strong smell of stale smoke in some places.
Whilst sampling our first drink on the pool deck we noticed that on our charge cards said first sitting dining 7.30 even though we had pre booked second sitting dining 9.30 not a problem we thought and my wife said she would go to reception and get them to correct it, 45 minutes later she returned saying that reception said they could not change it but that she would need to speak to the matre D in the restaurant off she duly went to be told in pidgin English ea nota earer toa 4a toa 6a cloker u cuma backa ci.
Although slightly annoyed that we couldn't rectify the booking at the first attempt we were not unduly bothered and thought we would try later after the compulsory life boat drill that we attended in the theatre, this was the usual standard type presentation fine but somewhat boring as it was for obvious reasons explain in 5 or 6 languages.
So off we went to the restaurant in search of the maitre D only to be told he was very busy and couldn't see us tonight and that we would need to come again tomorrow, this left us with the choice of attending the first sitting or eating in the buffet or booking one of the chargeable speciality restaurants we opted for the buffet this was clean with a reasonable choice of dishes although there did seem to be quite a lot of queuing to get served.
The following day at 4pm the wife bless her tried again to see senor maitre D again, on arrival at the restaurant the first person she met couldnt understand english but he introduced her to a higher level pidgin speaker who told her hea a mosta importanta mana uar waite ere hea sear u whena e isa ready after a twenty minute wait she was led to the back of the main restaurant where il Duce was holding court after a further ten minute wait the great man beckoned her forward for an audience Wada youra problema, she explained that we had reserved second seat dining but had been allocated first and wished to change it to what we had booked, he said that second dining was full but that we would be put on a waiting list, far from happy my wife explained that this was not acceptable and that we wanted what we had booked, he said he would squeeze us in that night only but we would still be on the waiting list for the other nights.
She then went to reception to ask who we could speak to with regard to complaining she was told there was no onboard complaints procedure and that the maitre D had the final say.
We attended dinner that night sharing a table with a french couple who didnt speak any english so conversation was limited to my school boy french the meal was good food hot and a reasonable choice, the following day the wife tried again to see if we had advanced along the list any as we had noticed a large amount of passengers coming and going at the first two ports of call, but was told there was still no space at second sitting.
That night we dined at the tex mex chargable restaurant very nice good food good service about 30 euros extra, we were forced to dine hear twice more during our cruise totaling around a 100 euros.
The following day being my bithday the wife tried again for a late sitting and was told as it was my birthday they would arrange a table we duly arrived on time to have to explain to a pidgin speaker the whole senario again, he then led us to a table full of spanish speakers where apparently there was 2 seats availabe when we got to the table it was full as friends of theirs from another table had decided to join them, not to worry said mr pigin i will get them moved at this we said we didnt care where we sat or what nationality we sat with he then led us on tour of restaurant that incidently had quite a few empty tables apparently available looking for two spaces on occupied tables we were then told to wait in the middle while he searched further, it was at this point that i decided enough was enough of this basil faulty treatment and politely told mr pidgin where he could stick his table we did not try the restaurant again on the cruise.
Now moving on from the restaurant debacle be warned of the following although the ship itself is clean and state of the art MSC have a problem with there staff they are sullen unresponsive and sometimes dam right rude they act as if they are doing you a favour not the other way round having sailed with NCL, Royal Carribean, and Prince on past cruises we just could not believe the staff attitude on the aforementioned cruise lines we found the staff could not do enough for you always smilling and attentive NOT SO ON MSC.
Although i am a smoker myself there are far too many smoking areas inside the ship and public area's often reek of smoke however you cannot smoke on your balcony durr but you can smoke in your cabin but they say they strongly prefer you not too all too Irish for me no offence.
The pool deck was packed most days with people leaving towells on all the best positioned loungers and then dissapearing for hours and although they say towells from unused beds will be removed after 30 minutes this rarely seemed to happen, we used the rear pool deck mainly where smoking is allowed on the left hand side of the deck however they only provide one fixed ash tray every 50 feet or so meaning that crowds of smokers hang around these areas creating an on deck smog.
Entertainment is best termed poor in the main atrium area every night was a trio playing classical music ok if you like that sort thing but personally it reminded me of the band on the Titanic, Manhattan bar/Jazz bar female singer average not singing jazz? slow service,Translantico bar guitarist ok but too many songs in Italian plus every hour a crap pianist does 20 minutes or so,Insolgnito bar three/four piece band no drummer not very exciting, few game shows in italian, Casino boring staid smokey unfriendly.
The ship is completely geared for Italians only, nothing very international about it hoards of children everywhere barging past you with no apologies after a day or so you realise how little choice of food there really is its all pasta pizza and hamburgers same stuff day in day out with only the odd choice difference.
We bought the drinks package and to be fair this was a good choice and would have saved us a fortune if we had not had to use the pay restaurant's due to the dining cock up and due to this we ended up with 600 odd euros on our account when it should have been more like 300.
Very little port information given free shuttle bus only at one port and one we had to pay for one otherwise it was pretty much off you go get on with it.
Room service is extra food after 12 is limited to sandwiches only 2 choices served in buffet restaurant however continental breakfast is available free in room fine if only want juice coffee and croissants .
In short this should have been a wonderful cruise based on the ship but the lousy attitude of the staff and the lack of english spoken proved to be a complete let down never again