this is my first review and my forth cruise, my husband and i go each year usually with my parents, we are a young couple with no children.
we stayed at a small hotel in fort lauderdale called Ramada cruise port and airport... nothing to write home about needs ALOT of repairs but the price was right and they had free transportation to and from cruise and airport and also a small shopping mall. food was OK but there was a pizza place that delivered that was fantastic!!! we stayed on both ends of the cruise.
getting to the ship was great, fast friendly porters took our luggage from the shuttle and we made our way to the terminal(if you want a faster embarkation get into a wheelchair LOL) we got to the terminal at about 1:00 pm and were on the ship at about 2:00 pm not to bad... we went to have a bite to eat and then went to explore, found all of the majors...and then settled down to talk and watch the confusion of lost people. i cant say enough how surprised i was that it was like the staff were scared to ask you if you wanted a drink, on most other lines your butt is barley in the seat before there is someone asking what you would like.
we had an inside cabin on the 12000 deck, it was small but offered lots of storage. there was always a cart in the hall with a man cleaning the rooms whenever he saw us he would ask if we needed anything. room service was almost non existent some sandwiches and drinks. television was poor quality, two English channels that came in clear, one french, one German and one italian most of the other channels were the ships adds.
i did go to the spa kinda confusing...you have no signage to tell you where to make an appointment you just walk around looking for someone to tell you go all the way to the back to book. i went to the salon also booked by the spa i just had an updo for the first formal night it looked ok but there was a catch if you bought two products your service was free humm who doesn't love "free" so i bought hairspray and an eyeshadow for $55 usd my hair would have only came to $28 usd.. silly me make sure you check on prices.
now lets talk about food if that's what they call it. i have severe allergies that i am fully aware of so i am always careful as to what i eat(more about that in a moment)the buffet was a complete bust food was bland or too spicy when it had signs telling you what is was it was always cold and taken away too early. on a sea day who wants to wake up at 9am shower and have a bite to eat on vacation..oh oh pick me, not the case breakfast was always gone by 915am juice also all day you have tea hot or cold, water or coffee to drink for free. supper was also taken away quickly by 830 pm it was being packed up. the restaurant was OK only slow service on one night because of a special show they were putting on. service always seemed rushed food was mediocre.now back to the allergies, the buffet was never marked properly and the employees had a hard time understanding what you were asking, "does that have cream cheese in it?" and a funny look... "does that have any orange in it?" funny look and a shoulder shrug. i am allergic to shellfish and citrus so i am usually careful to what i consume and if i am completely not sure i ask my husband to give in a try fist. well you can pretty well assume that potato and leek soup would be safe right.....NO i took a small amount to see if i liked it and what was swimming in the bottom of the bowl a SHRIMP!!! i asked to see the manager of the buffet, he seemed concerned and wet to look for the chef, the went looking for the sous chef and on and on almost a half hour later the manager came back saying he also had to report this to the food and alcohol commission who were closed..so in turn he just smiled and walked away ... HELLO that would have killed me not mentioning shellfish so from then on it was cheese and cold meats for me.
ports were OK we always opt for our own excursions with outside cab drivers. there were a few dirty tricks tho, in st.maarten we were only there for 5 hours and there were also 5 other ships and 2 smaller vessels..no time to get a tour and 15000 plus people made it too crowded. in Martinique everything was closed and we were there for 13 hours with nothing to do. we took an amazing private tour and had a great time for 5 hours where Olivier our driver entertained us. and for free port... i missed this one but it was just as well it was an MSC container pier/ refinery with only 3 hours in port.
now for the fun part of the whole write up .... on day number 4 out of 10 my mother contracted some sort of illness we chalked it up to something she ate vomiting and diarrhea. then on day 6 my mother had recovered and my father had fallen ill same symptoms. my husband and i just thought it would be best if we did our own thing and stayed away from them. then on night of day 8 i was the next lucky one!! sitting on the toilet with a bucket all day and night, our room attendant suggested i see the doctor but by this time it was the night of day 9 and we were heading back to fort lauderdale. while staying out of our room my husband ond parents overheard other people talking about illnesses and that's when we knew home was looking better and better..even factoring in the 7 hour plane ride back to Canada!
the nightly shows were amazing except for the two that were pre recorded and they just lip synced away to, the casino staff were great and one waitress in the "red bar" was amazing always knew what we wanted. all announcements in 5 languages gets tiresome. all in all we will never cruise with msc again but it is definitely a vacation to remember! bon voyage to the next cruisers.....better you than me now that's enough about my problems i would love to hear yours.