MSC was easily the worst cruise line I've been on and the first time after sixteen cruises that I've actively wished the trip would end early. MSC should be ashamed of how poor the quality of service they provide is, but whereas a consumer-oriented company would see complaints as an opportunity to do better I get the sense that MSC would just shrug and not care. It's not service with a smile - it's service with a glare and the sense that the crew just doing their jobs is like they're doing you some kind of favor. I've had less than stellar service before but it's always been due to inattention or accident. This is the first time I honestly felt like it was by intent. Nobody on board cares one whit if any of the guests are enjoying their vacation.
The only positive was that they sold great cappuccinos on board. Other than that the food ranged between inedible and mediocre and almost always required additional seasoning at the table it was so bland. Their specialty pay restaurant was a sushi bar that served only cooked items (didn't even have something as basic as tuna) and I had to specifically request salt for the tempura because it was not seasoned at all. They did not even have water to drink - when my aunt asked them for ice water so she could take her medicine and they asked if she meant that she wanted hot water with ice put into it; the water they used with the green tea bags (for pay of course) was all they had in the place.
Our waiter at dinner did a horrible job and constantly had to be reminded about simple things. My father-in-law is diabetic and drinks a lot of water, and despite asking for water night after night we'd regularly go 5-10 minutes with dry glasses all around and no one nearby to even ask. Twice when my wife and I order hot tea we were served dirty water that smelled like they hadn't bothered to clean the coffee carafe before using it to serve hot water. I joked with my wife that it was "poo-sia" water, being a nasty off-brown color, but it really wasn't that funny the first time, and not at all the second. He came to our table the second-to-last night and showed us where on the review sheet we needed to say his service was excellent and told us that otherwise he'd be fired.
The bartenders ignored you as often as not, and made you feel like you were wasting their precious time by ordering a drink. God forbid if you asked them for something that was complimentary and wouldn't result in them getting the forced gratuity on all the purchased items - my wife asked for some juice during breakfast service and the guy grumpily filled a glass and then put it down on the far side of the bar and then just looked at her, didn't say a word, and just pointed at it for her to come and get.
The safety drill was a joke compared to what I've seen on other lines. They make you put on your life vest in your room and wear it to the muster station (something other lines have stopped doing because it's actually more dangerous to have thousands of people trying to mob their way up and down stairs with bulky life vests and dangling straps all around). All they do at the drill is then show you how to put the life vest on, which everybody already did because you had to put it on to come to the drill. Very little useful information was conveyed, and in case of an actual emergency I'd be surprised if we came out much better than the Costa Concordia did.
It's a beautiful ship with spacious rooms, but as much as I might enjoy going to one of those insult theme restaurants for a fun dinner, spending a week's vacation in such a place where it's not being done tongue-in-cheek got old really fast. If this had been on land I would have left early and stayed somewhere else.
MSC. Marginal Service Cruises. I would honestly not cruise with them again if they comped the vacation, because I value my vacation time more than dealing with that level of inept apathy when I'm supposed to be having a carefree relaxing time. I read some of the negative reviews here before we left and thought, "It couldn't have been THAT bad." No, it was worse.