The ship was clean and the staff very friendly althoguh not always efficient. The decor of the ship was elegant, but the ship design was "old-fashioned" since we had to walk through the dining room to get to the venues beyond it. There were no quiet outdoor places for adults only. I am not speaking of the "Yacht Club" which is an expensive upgrade. I am speaking of
spaces available at no extra cost. Other cruise lines provide a Solarium for adults only. There was a "kiddie pool" and a children's pool which were under-used except by the DoReMi program (children's camp). There were kids cannon-balling into the two pools on deck 13. This mae the pools unusable to us. The hot tubs were kept at 99 degrees instead of the recommended temperature of 103 degrees.
We had a 12th floor aft balcony cabin. It was good except for the very small balcony and the noise from the scratching chairs in the Villa Pompeiiana Cafeteria directly above us. The television shows were awful with no guide as to what you were watching or a time schedule. Don't expect to get any free movies like on other cruise lines ($8.99 per rental). The ITV in the room was difficult to use and it took 6 days to be able to access onboard account information. The beds were not very comfortable and the pillows and blankets are in need of updating. Those of you who like to have lotion in your cabin because the air aboard is very drying to the skin had better bring your own. The "couch" consisted of two modular foam chairs pushed together. T desk chair was a foam cube meaning that the cabin furniture was not very comfortable.
The food was mostly inedible. It never arrived hot when delivered to the table. The dining room was too crowded so that it was impossible to walk between tables. The meat dishes were often too tough to chew. The lobster that was served on the last Gala evening was mushy and unappetizing. They did hand out food questionaires to us one evening in the dining room. We answered it very honestly. For the final guest questionaire, we even invitied them to call us at home to discuss our concerns. We do this on every cruise and we have usually gotten a phone call. The food in the buffet area was luke warm at best. The oatmeal was hot and the omelet station delived hot food. Luke warm food can cause food-borne illnesses and we were concerned. As a positive note, the pizza, soft serve ice cream and the hot coffee were excellent. The two dinner seatings were at 5:30 PM and 8:00 PM. We found the 5:30time to be a bit early since we like to have a cocktail before dinner.
The shows in the theater were mostly goood, although most were very similar. Except for the one night that they featured opera, the shows consisted of the singers and dancers and various acrobats. There were no "headliners" to break up the monotony. Each show was approzimately 35 minutes long and was preceeded by a 5-7 minute period of announcements is 5 languages. The singing and music was good in the lounges. The "Animation Team" did a great job making us laugh in the halls, the lounges and the theater (prior to the show). The tours were very well-organized, but there were no port maps or shopping recommendations to help us. They scheduled a call at Fort de France, Martinique on a Sunday. This is a Catholic country and everything was closed. They scheduled a call in Freeport, Bahamas at 3:00PM. We booked a 4 hour tour of the island with "lunch", shopping and the beach. It got dark at 5:30PM and we never made it to the beach. Our tour was less than 2 hours long and we missed our dinner seating. So, in conclusion, we cannot recommend ths MSC ship to our fellow cruisers. Beware!