First Time Cruise, booked 9 months beforehand..MSC themselves have no valid cust service dept for individuals in the UK,even the agents slate the lack of response & MSCs constantly engaged phone line had me worried for a bit, but all concerns were allayed when we arrived at S'oton docks. Everything at the port was well organised, coordinated, informed & relaxed.
Check in was a pleasure, not a bit like an airport, cabins were a bit bigger than they looked on the internet, cases arrived within an hour..happy days.
Off to the bar with our (optional extra) all inclusive card (best £20 per day I ever spent.. and we're NOT serious drinkers !) Bar prices, whilst not too costly, would soon exceed that value if you're not careful. Basic all inclusive only allowed for draught Heiniken..not my favorite, although brown ale was available in the smokers bar, or bottled bitter in all bars for a small price!
Evening shows ranged from 'average' singing by the resident crew, to 3 absolutely outstanding performances during our 10days.. The flamenco show, the mime acts & particularly the gymnastic & body balancing & sand art show was well deserving of the standing ovation that it got !
Good choice of good quality food at all the eateries, our restaurant waiter (Supadme) was a diamond entertainer, and well deserving of his tip. Breakfast was a bit manic at peak times, you can't win 'em all.
Bad points - not too many, but I do wish they would enforce the wearing of shirts with sleeves in all dining areas.Some people think it is acceptable to reveal their armpits whilst in a dining area ..I personally don't , but then we knew this was a budget value cruise, aimed at all walks of life, so were prepared for these little issues. There were also designated smoking areas, but this included the gaming/casino area.. although we're not gamblers, this could be an issue to asthmatic gamers !
I'm assuming here that port rating 1 is poor and 5 is excellent.. I give Southampton 5 as very good considering its size/complexity/number of cruise liners & passenger that arrive every day