I had been critical of the potential of a cruise, so to be fair I decided, with my wife, to prove my point that a cruise was just an opportunity to do what you do at home (eat, drink, read), except pay for the privilege. We were fortunate to find a special for 8 nights, so took it up, as it visited 2 places we had wanted to go - Lisbon and Casablanca.
As an overall rating I would say the cruise was average. The food was average and certainly not the gourmet delights we had been led to believe we would enjoy - in fact some of it was downright bland. Again, I was glad I had taken up a somewhat pricey 24 hour drinks package, as all drinks (even water) had to be paid for at inflated prices. We got our money's worth, even if the Italian wine on offer was very ordinary, we made up for it in cocktails. The cabin was quite comfortable and cosy, but more about that later.
We looked forward to our ports of call. However, the time generally available in each is limited, and the More
tour packages, although quite well organised and informative, do not allow enough time for your own explorations. It's really - do your own thing or the package. We visited the theatre one night for a show, which was particularly amateurish, off key singing and jugglers who dropped skittles. The waiting staff in the restaurant at dinner was very friendly and mostly Indonesian. The lunch staff was quite slow, and the administration and reception staff very aloof. The breakfast buffet was a bit of a circus and the food there was of a wide variety but very plain.
The main complaint, and in my view a major one, was that the cabins were supposed to be smoke free, and a sign on the balcony door clearly stated that there should be no smoking on the balconies, as it was a fire danger. There were areas set aside for smokers. People in the next cabin were smoking in the cabin and on the balcony, and I saw others doing the same. We complained as our comfort and ability to sit on our balcony was restricted. The answer given was to ring when I noticed it again and they would address the issue - in other words, they did nothing. We frequently had to escape from our cabin. A final insult was that when we had to leave the boat, we had to gather in one of the lounges - the one that was set aside for smokers, so that in the morning when we all gathered, there was the overpowering odour of stale smoke.
If that is what a cruise is all about, those who enjoy it can have it. My wife and I decided we could have spent our cruise and drinks money elsewhere. I'm glad we didn't pay full price.
We took a full day tour to Casablanca and Rabat, and while it was interesting and informative with mainly historical visits (mosques) it did not allow time for your own explorations.
We also visited Malaga - a city with charm, and it was quite easy to spend the time allowed checking out much of the city. Less
MSC Magnifica Cruises to the Western Mediterranean