Embarkation was relatively swift and as MSC hadn't finished setting up the photographer, we didn't have a photo taken which was a bit if a shame. Later on in the cruise, when we were herded through the gallery (other routes were deliberately blocked off to ensure you went through!!), there were no prices displayed and 5 members of staff supervising. We think this was to stop you photographing in the area!
The 'welcome' lunch was burgers, hot dogs, pizza or salad. Not great if you were a vegetarian (we are) so a salad roll was all we had until dinner. We've cruised 5 times previously and this was the worst lunch offering we have ever seen. At dinner, instead of being shown to our allocated table, we we sat at a table with 4 others, two Turkish who spoke a little German and a German couple. No effort was made to ensure guests could actually speak to each other. We asked for a glass of water and were astonished to be given a bill for bottle of water (â‚¬2.60). It took them 20 minutes to process this bill, quite astonishing and the first time ever that a cruise line flatly refused to give us a glass of water.
The cabin was small, but clean and adequate. The shower, however was tiny with a cheap plastic curtain. we are quite small but it was impossible to shower without the disgusting curtain sticking to you!!
The food throughout the cruise was not impressive and at times was only lukewarm, which was a shame as part of the pleasure of cruising is getting the chance to try new dishes. We were on the first sitting and were not encouraged to linger. First time ever, coffee not even offered. Not on this ship! We did buy one 'latte' in the Cafe which was dire and we didn't bother again.
We found the crew (especially the reception and excursion staff) rude, dismissive and generally disinterested. A couple we met, were treated so rudely by reception staff that they wrote to the Captain - he did not bother to reply!
The cruise itinerary was very good and was the main reason we chose the cruise. The excursions, however were the most expensive of any cruise we have been on. All our excursions were over 10 hours and one was 14 hours. On two of these, no water was provided - luckily we had taken our own. On two excursions, despite us stating (in advance) we were vegetarians, lunch turned out to be mainly meat and on one excursion, we ended up with fried 'alpha bite potatoes'!! This lunch was advertised by MSC as 5 star!
All our excursions were very good and saved the holiday. The guides were very knowledgeable and worked hard for their money.
The entertainment was not great and one evenings 'entertainment' was staff dragging unsuspecting female passengers onto the dance floor, then making them do humiliating tasks, whilst encouraging the audience to join in the 'fun'. This was so awful, we went somewhere else for a drink. This was then advertised throughout the day on the ship's tv's in various public lounges, to encourage you to buy the holiday DVD!! There was even worse ...... Couples encouraged to act in a 'sexy way' to win the prize, one couple rolling on the floor!! Again shown to all and sundry....if I had children with me, I would have been horrified.
One lounge was for smokers, this resulted in the smell of smoke going through this deck. It was also allowed on all open decks and the casino. Not great if you are a non-smoker.
At the end of the cruise, MSC obviously have had your money and want you off the ship. We had to vacate our cabin at 8am and be off the ship by 10am. Our flight wasn't until 17.10 so we had to ask if we could stay on board. We were extended to 12 and to be honest, it was good to get off. We had sailed before with MSC on the Sinfonia and didn't have a single complaint. This was 7 years ago and maybe things have gone downhill since the credit crunch......would we sail with them again?...... Not even if it was free!!!!