We stayed at the Bridge at Cordova, as usual, a small overnight hotel with a wonderful atmosphere. You are met at the airport and taken to your ship by the ownwer. Our firt stop was at the mall for a visit to Ross, where we buy yet more summer clothes, great quality and great prices. It's good the see the cruise staff spending their tips on childrens clothes to send home, and is a reminder of how important these tips are to them. Embarkation was a breeze, but we arrived at 1pm instead of the advertised 4pm and simply walked on. Suprise number one-no welcome drink-in fact, no welcome. Suprise number two-find your own cabin-with a porter telling us 'this is a good time to tip'. Suprise number three-he didnt get a tip!
The cabin was lovely-inside on deck 14. We never have an outside-why have the added expense when we spend do little time in it? Everything in it was perfect, clean towels twice a day, brand new, cabin boys who couldnt do enough to please, comfortable bed, air conditioning. The English news, which is available on the other cruise lines we have been on.
The ship was spotless, the lounges beautiful with dancing everywhere you turned and entertainment staff dancing with passengers at all times. It was a really great atmosphere. The outside entertainment team was first class, always smiling and taking care of folks in an unobtrusive way.
If only the regular staff actually lkied people this would be a terrific cruise. Every question is met with a shrug of the shoulders. Everyone walks around looking at the floor. No one says 'excuse me' as they walk past or even 'hello'. It seesm they have been trained that way.
Can't comment on the excursions as we do our own in taxis and buses at half the pricre and much more fun. Disembarkation was never a problem, very swift. We looked forward to these days as we could enjoy a drink-the drinks packages have a crazy condition attached whereby each passenger in the same cabin has to have the same package, so that me, a diabetic who cant drink, must either drink so that my partner can, or he has to drink water with me! Never heard such rubbish! So MSC lost out as we drank only from the fountains on boahem cut by 50%.
The food is atrocious, and we are not fussy eaters. The rest of the table agreed and every other night we went and had pizza together. The meat was tough, the food cold, and not a vegetable in sight in the main restaurants-thank goodness for the buffet and the wonderful table companions who made it less of an endurance test and far more fun. The poor waiters were begging us to say they were Ok on our evaluation forms as there were so many food complaints.
In the end we had out tips removed altogether and gave to our wonderful room boys and waiter as they had worked hard for us.
The theatre entertainment was OK but repetitive, with the same dance steps to different music each night. It was hard not to giggle as we knew what was coming next.
No problem with the outside space for us as we went to the stern and found a small deck with 12 spaces not much known as it was out of the way.
A tip for disembarkation learned on other cruises- opt for self-disembark, which means you get to keep your cases overnight, but you must be out anf off by 7.15 am. There is still time for breakfast too. We were then first off, no line , no tempers. Then you can walk to a nearby hotel and ask to keep the luggage there for a few hours whilst you shop. My friend went to the hairdresser and had her nails done-it beats standing in line for two hours.
Although we had a great time, we loved the ports of call, and made good friends, we will NEVER cruise MSC again. They really don't like people,their passengers are a nuisance and they cant wait to get rid of you. We observed one crew member saying to a passenger asking how to disembark 'ticket,hand,GO' and we were glad to do so.