I will start out by saying that my partner and I go on a cruise every year. We have been on Royal, Carnival, and Norwegian prior to this MSC Cruise. We went as part of a group that took up about half of the ship. The activities that were planned for the group were wonderful and had it not been for the group we would have gotten off the ship at the first port and flew back home.
1. Embarkation - They decided it would be a smart idea to put an employee who knew nothing about computers at the check in desk and then oh yeah have someone looking over his shoulder who also knew nothing about computers. Needless to say the check in process took about 20 minutes too long. Also the ship was late in getting people off the ship so we weren't allowed to board until approximately 12:30 (always have been able to board earlier then that on other ships)
2. Getting to the cabin - Our cabin wasn't ready at 1pm like they typically are. I will give the steward some credit though because he was great the rest of the week and was one of the only good employees on the ship. Still it took until around 4pm for our cabin to be ready.
3. Food - the food in the main dining room was terrible. It was served warm and not hot most of the time, had no favor to it and the service was terrible. It was not like other ships where the waiters learn what you like and seem happy to see you. The servers dropped the food in front of you and were quite annoyed if you asked for anything. The food in the buffets was ok... same as usual. The Steakhouse on board (extra charge) was the only good meal we had. Honestly the most comical thing was that this is an Italian cruise line and the Italian food was terrible... very bland and tasteless.
4. The Bar Service - there is maybe one or two cocktail servers at each bar. Same goes for the pool. Most times you had to beg a bartender or a server to get you a drink. A lot of times we were told that they didn't make very many types of drinks at the different bars so you were out of luck. We heard sorry a lot but no one seemed to care.
5. Excursions - Please note that if you are doing an excursion it is not like on other cruise lines. The descriptions sometimes make it seem like you are on the same excursion with your friends because you are both doing the dolphin swim (one without the dolphin part) but when you get to the area for the excursion you are told they are two separate excursions. When you say you don't want to do it because you don't want to be separated... you will definitely not get your money back. you will just get told sorry.
6. Aurea Spa Suites - We booked this suite and were told that certain spa packages come with this suite. This is not the case apparently. WHY CALL IT A SPA SUITE??? We were told that they only offered that in Europe and not in America. When we asked them to make good by what we were told, we got the usual sorry but nothing was done. It is ok... they are the ones that lost out on money because we would have spent a lot of money in the spa but now they weren't going to see a dime.
7. No bar service in the theater
8. Maintenance was VERY slow to respond.
9. They apparently have no authority to make any decisions on the ship. Everything requires an email to Italy and it takes days for them to respond.
10. Saw a bartender throw a drink at a patron
11. People were stuck on an elevator for 45 minutes and when they tried to use the phone in the elevator to call they were put on hold. Finally when someone came to help the patrons were yelled at and told they were only stuck for 3 minutes (it was 45 by one guy who actually timed it). These people were given a free drink... um but they had unlimited drink packages...
12. Our bill on board was off by 2200. When we went to get it sorted out we were accused that it was somehow our fault. Ten minutes later we got our real bill printed with no apology.
13. GETTING OFF THE SHIP WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER (and we were told it was better than the week prior)
All in all had a great vacation because of the group we were with but I will never step on another MSC Cruise Ship again.
I have received a phone call from MSC customer service who took all this information from me and promised me an email immediately. It has been at least 3 days now and no email and no return call. Other friends have been told that they will be responded to without a month. PLEASE STAY AWAY.