My wife and I have just completed the 14 day cruise from Rio to Genoa. Having cruised with MSC before our expectations were reasonable and they were met. The staff on the ship range from speaking English but not understanding English through to a good comprehension of English. If you are expecting a cruise with normal English standards you will probably be disappointed. if you want a cruise that will enable you to mix with people from a range of nationalities, you are prepared to accept the quirks and behaviour of those nationalities, you accept the pushing and shoving that is normal for them and are prepared to accept what you consider rudeness and bad manners but to them is normal behaviour then you will have a good time. If you are not prepared to accept the above then do not cruise with MSC as you will be disappointed.
If you have not travelled with MSC before then research them well so that you will not be disillusioned.
Their meaning of customer service is different to ours. Our interactive TV did not work in our cabin for the first 10 days. Finally after 3 requests and a written notice it worked. However at no time were we informed what was happening or advised that it was fixed. You need to persevere and keep checking every day until something happens.
Their tours are are usually overpriced by our standards and what is written in English is not exactly what happens on occasion. You need to understand that to us what appears to be organised chaos to them is normal. They make very few if any allowances for people with disabilities.
One very big negative is the embarkation procedures in Rio. My wife requires assistance and despite 3 hours of waiting and several requests no assistance was forthcoming. My wife finally had to hobble through and literally be carried by myself to the ship. The girls in their white uniforms were pathetic as well as being rude, arrogant and ignorant. Believing that corporate behaviour stems from the top I can only say that the girls in Rio need to be reprimanded and then retrained. Their superior needs to be either reprimanded and retrained or sacked and replaced by a person who understands what customer service actually means.
In all, if you wish to experience a very interesting experience with lots of diversity you will enjoy MSC. My wife and I certainly did.
One big note to MSC. MSC Orchestra is cruising to Australia next year. I tell you now that you need to vastly improve your definition of customer standards, initiate feedback procedures to your passengers and revise your handling procedures of clients with special needs. If you do not then your foray into the Australian market will be disappointing.