This is the first time we have cruised with MSC. The reason we chosen it was that it fitted with our holiday availability and more importantly the itinerary. We went with friends and had a really great time! With the winter we have had it was good to get some sun.
Embarkation was a bit on the slow side and the passengers on our flight were amongst the last to board, however despite this we eventually got on board after about 90 minutes. Could have been slicker.
We were escorted to our cabin which was an inside one, the cabin was very pleasant, clean and well presented. A few people have mentioned that the shower space was quite small and whilst we agree that it was it was perfectly acceptable and clean. The cabin staff worked hard and did a great job!
The public rooms throughout the ship were very elegant and stylish and exceptionally clean reflecting the Italian style. The staff overall were very friendly and helpful. The reception staff however, were quite arrogant and would benefit from training in customer relations!
The food in the restaurant was first class and there was plenty of choice. My wife is a chef and if there had been any issues with the food she would certainly have said so. A special mention must go to our waiter Dian who was very professional and helpful, nothing was too much for him. The food in the buffet dining area was also of a good standard and very healthy, again reflecting a Mediterranean cuisine. We did hear some people moan but this was more to do with the food "not being very English" If people want roast beef and Yorkshire pudding they not go with a foreign cruise line!
Drinks on board could have turned out quite expensive, however MSC had a drinks package for 23 euro per person per day which included soft drinks and ice cream as well as alcoholic drinks, we opted for this on embarkation. It was excellent value for money and I would recommend this package.
The downside was the entertainment. We felt the shows were very amateur and poorly presented. The pianists etc in the bars were fine. The bars were however very quiet in the evening.
We went on 2 trips to Masada and the Dead Sea in Israel and Petra in Jordan (One of the main reasons for booking) Both trips were very well run and organised with not problems. The buffet lunch at the Dead Sea was first class.
Overall the cruise was fine and we thoroughly enjoyed it. From a value for money perspective it was excellent. The ship was very well run and standard overall were high. We would certainly cruise with MSC again.