We were a group of 58 people, friends and families, all gathered mostly by my in-laws for a week of good times.
The ship was scheduled for 2 days at sea, one day in St-Marteen, another in San Juan and the last day in Stirrup Cay, a Bahamian island. Both stops in San Juan and St-Martin were great but unfortunately the stop at Stirrup Cay had to be cancelled because of bad weather. They could not tender us to the island without risk. Such is life...if there's one thing we have no control of, it is the weather!
We had a cabin with balcony for my husband, myself and our daughter. The room was nice and spacious but there was not enough closet room or drawers to put away clothes for 3 people. The luggage fit snugly under the bed and we were able to easily access them there. There is a box to insert a card when you enter the room which serves as the main switch for all lights in the room. We used a Tim Horton`s card to leave it active. It took us a few days to understand that the room would only be cleaned when the card was pulled out as it would shut off an indicator outside the door. Nevertheless, even after we figured that out, the room was not cleaned twice a day, every day.
The food at the buffet was good. There was sufficient selection to satisfy all taste buds and pizza was available fresh most of the day or night. The service in the restaurant was good. Most waiters are from Indonesia and are genuinely friendly. As for the Maître D, he was arrogant and showed no empathy whatsoever.
My in-laws had bought a booklet of 7 coupons for wine bottles which they paid for in full with their MSC card, tied to their Visa card, the first day we came on board. All the coupons in the booklet are numbered with the same number. They used their first coupon during the first dinner in the main dining room. On the second evening, they accidentally lost the tickets during the show in the Pantheon Theater. Upon realizing it, they immediately advised MSC and were told that the booklet had been cancelled. Logically, you would think that if they cancelled it, they could give you a new booklet, no? Well, apparently not!
My brother in law wasted 2 days of discussions with employees, like that Maître D, who were unwilling to make a decision to replace the booklet, which cost 150$ approximately. He should have been on the sun deck, enjoying his vacation but instead he had to confront bureaucratic employees with no good sense of what customer service is all about. What a terrible business decision! What kind of system is that anyways? They provide numbered tickets to be used with your personal MSC card and they can’t link one to the other? They should load the number of bottles purchased on the card and deduct them from there! Forget the coupons! What a stupid system that doesn't protect the customer!
Needless to say that no one in our group was impressed by the non-resolution of the situation. My in-laws were never served the six bottles of wine that they had paid for. But, as the week went on, the arrogance of the Maître D was to be found in other employees across the ship. It became clear to me that if employees were not treating guests fairly and respectfully, perhaps it’s because they themselves are not being treated fairly and respectfully by MSC’s executives and management team.
In conclusion, even though the ship is beautiful and the destinations are interesting, the whole customer experience is not worth what you spend for an MSC cruise. For that reason, I will not repeat a cruise with MSC in the future nor will I recommend it to friend and family.