I was hesitant to write a review after reading some of the comments in these threads- but since I think I have a unique perspective, here it goes:
This is my 6th cruise, 1st on MSC. I traveled with my spouse, our 2 children (3 and 10 yrs old) and my in-laws. Overall I liked this cruise. The entertainment was good, the food was mostly very good (especially if you like seafood, but don't order the steak) cabin was pretty much as I expected and the kids' clubs were excellent. I blame my TA (or MSC for not educating the major TAs?) for not informing me of/ allowing me to take advantage pre booking restaurants/drink packages (now I know better). I am disappointed that our stop to Stirrup Cay was cancelled - 5 days at sea out of a 7 day cruise are one or two too many.
a number of things I'd like to see improvement on:
consistency of schedules/procedure between what is on line/in print/ on the interactive TV's/ in the announcements (when to have your bags out/ when to be out of your cabin/ etc)
getting on/off the ship at ports could be a little faster (the barcode scanners seem to take longer than on other ships)
4 ports of call on a 7 day cruise seems to me about optimal
why not load the drink packages on the cards vs. paper coupons? just one more thing to carry around/get lost
more flat rate (and less expensive) options in the specialty restaurants - they always seemed empty which is nice that no reservations were needed but I can't help but think that if was $20/per person vs. a la carte they'd be more popular
electronic check in/out of kids to the kids' clubs
Please Please don't mess with:
The Gelato/sweets - excellent and for between 75 cents and $2.00 for a nice portion is PERFECT
The coffee - excellent espresso, espresso drinks. Again a small charge -
Bartenders that know how to pull a beer, make café coretto
I found MSC to be very nice. Celebrity was better for dining experiences, Disney wrote the book on logistics and Kids' Clubs - overall I'd say nicer than Carnival and RCI- definitely worth a try.
A piece of advice for Americans who have never traveled abroad (independently/ not on a cruise) MSC's culture feels European, like being at a resort in Sorrento or the Amalfi coast - neither good or bad - but different - read the first couple of chapters of one of Rick Steves' guide books to get in a temporary European frame of mind.
Special kudo's to the staff at the Kid's Club for getting our deck phone reprogramed - makes much more sense that can dial to/from cabin. (When a concern was raised - they FIXED it- an accommodating attitude I found all over the ship- all one needed to do was ask for assistance and things got done)