My husband and I are in our 50's and this was our first, and last, MSC cruise. We have cruised with Princess, RCI, P&O, Fred Olsen and Celebrity (our favourite) but decided on MSC as we wanted to visit Petra and the date fitted in with our Easter holidays.
We flew from Belfast to Gatwick and then on to Sharm El Sheik where we boarded. Our first impression was bad as we queued for over 2 hours in a tent with no air conditioning and no toilet facilities. There were just not enough check in desks open. We were all right, but some elderly people were really struggling. There were no seats available. We eventually got on the ship and made our way to our cabin.
We had an outside cabin on deck 8 (8187). It was rather small compared to Celebrity but had adequate storage. It was the cleanliness which was the problem. The ship is, I think, about 12 years old. We had a 12 year old blanket on our bed which was covered in long black, thick hairs. The sheets, although clean, were discoloured and not ironed at all - same with the pillow cases. The shower was covered with black mould and the shower curtain was greasy with scum. The bottom of the bathroom door had thick black dirt on it. It is the worst cabin we have ever been it on any cruise.
Food in the MDR was quite good and our waiters were really friendly and looked after us well. We had the Premium Drink Package and they remembered every night that we liked a different wine with each course. MSC do not offer any water during dinner, unless you purchase it, and no tea/coffee is served after the meal either.
We struggled with food in the buffet both at breakfast and lunch. I went to lift scrambled eggs one morning, only to find a hair in them. We also found hair in the salads. We nicknamed this cruise "The Hairy Cruise". Our Package included fresh orange juice, but when we ordered it at breakfast, we were informed that there were no oranges available. There were plenty at the Vitamin Bar 10 minutes later!
The Shows were average with the same crew each night. There were no special headline acts. There was very little to do during the day, with a daily quiz and yoga at the pool.
We had travelled in Egypt twice before so did not take any trips. Petra was amazing and we took the ship tour which was really good with enough time at the site and a very good lunch in a local hotel.
This was one of the few areas where MSC got it right. Our flight was not until 7.00pm and they let us stay on the ship until 4.00pm. They let us eat a buffet lunch and stored our carry on luggage. It was painless and we could use our cruise cards and Premium Package until we left the ship.
We found the ship to be quite grubby, food and entertainment average and service fairly good. We are cruising with Celebrity in July and RCI in October and our experience with MSC has made us appreciate these cruise lines even more. We will not cruise with MSC again.