MSC Fantasia Cruise Review by PFKC: Will never sail with MSC again
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Will never sail with MSC again
In March this year  my husband and I joined a fly, stay, cruise package on the MSC Fantasia which included return flights to Italy, overnight accommodation in Genoa, transfers and a 36 night cruise. We chose MSC because the tour itinerary sounded great even though we had already visited many of the ports. We upgraded to a category B2, [balcony cabin with guaranteed unobstructed views] which in our cruise brochure appeared to be cabins in the bow of deck 9 plus all of decks 10, 11 and 12. On booking the cruise we made just 2 requests. We were told that we couldn't book a particular cabin or deck so we asked if we could have a cabin on any deck on or above 10 and anywhere mid ship to stern Being 4 back to back cruises and with hundreds of cabins to choose from we didn't see this as an unreasonable request, booked months before sailing. Our second request was for 1st dinner sitting due to a medical condition which made 9pm dining unsuitable. Three weeks before our departure date we More
received our documentation. We had been allocated a cabin in the bow of deck 9 and second dinner sitting. To cut a long story short neither our travel agent nor their supplier could get any satisfaction from MSC re a cabin change. I dealt directly with MSC in Australia to have the meal sitting changed. Just days before departure MSC went to the ridiculous length of making me complete a 'special needs' form even though I had a letter from my doctor. It wasn't until the day before departure that we received notification that we could go to first dinner sitting. On board the cabin was reasonable but we had no view at all unless standing as there was a metal balcony wall obstructing all views whilst sitting! On viewing the cabin categories in the on-board ship information all of deck 9 was graded the same category and we could get no answers as to why we paid more for our cabin with obstructed views whilst so called B1 [cheaper] cabins on deck 9 had glass balcony walls with unobstructed views! The service was terrible, it took 3 days to have a broken catch on the door to the balcony repaired whilst we endured broken nights sleep with the wind roaring through the door gap. Many of the staff were unfriendly and unhelpful. The food was, at best, average with only 2 main course choices if you didn't eat fish or vegetarian and all serves were very small. If you don't drink alcohol, water had to be paid for, with a 15% service fee in the main dining room. To call it “fine dining” was a joke, we've had better meals served at local hotels and clubs. The bistro food was either floating in gravy or sauce or was typical takeaway greasy fast food, the exception being the cold meat and cheeses, the salad bar and the very nice dessert bar. The only alternative was Tex Mex restaurant where there was an additional charge of 14 Euro, a price you had to pay if you wanted a steak. The staff take no responsibility for any discrepancies. The internet is very expensive and runs at snails pace if at all and you are charged by the minute, not data download. I purchased 100 minutes just to keep up with emails which was wiped off the screen after 30 minutes use. When I questioned the staff at the customer relations desk I was told that there was nothing they could do and would refer the matter to their IT department so I had to purchase another 60 minutes. Three day before the end of our cruise they agreed it was their error but still only credited back 30 minutes which was useless as I still had 30 minutes of the extra time I had to buy. We pre booked many of our shore excursions and when we checked our account we had been overcharged. Nothing they could do about it, we'd have to contact their head office in Italy when we got home. When you board the ship you have to surrender your passport and are given a receipt. They then managed to loose an Australian woman’s passport and refused to accept that they were at fault saying she must still have it even though she still had her receipt. They eventually accepted responsibility and just a couple of days before the end of the cruise took the passenger into the Australian Embassy in the next port of call for a temporary passport and the passport was never found! The on-board entertainment was poor, the same 40 minute show was repeated cruise after cruise, the only English speaking channel on the TV was 24hr news on CNN or the BBC. Any movie cost 17 euro to watch. There was however a great number of bars and a smoke filled casino, neither of which appealed. Children, who travel for free, could spend the entire cruise at the children’s club which stayed open until 11pm for the little ones and midnight for the older children. Then they could then run up and down the corridors calling out and banging doors.
To sum up, if you want a relaxing holiday with fine dining, first class shows and cultural activities don't cruise with MSC. However if you're not fussy about what food you're served nor what entertainment is on offer, you enjoy loud conversations and rude staff and want a care free holiday with someone else looking after the children whilst you frequent the many bars or the casino then MSC is the cruise company for you.
I did email my concerns about our cabin to the Australian branch of MSC cruises who forwarded it to the head office in Italy. I received an acknowledgement of receipt of the email from head office which stated that it “would be investigated promptly by our dedicated Customer Care Team and a reply will be sent to you shortly”. That email was dated 16/05/14 and still I have heard nothing. Typical of MSC cruises. Other people we spoke to on the cruise said they also would never sail with MSC again, even a couple who had never sailed with MSC previously but who had their ocean view cabin upgraded to a B2 cabin on deck 12 for their 2 back to back cruises. The saddest part was the number of first time cruisers who said they would never cruise again after their experience with MSC. We love cruising and did our best to assure them that MSC was not typical of all cruise lines. The many other cruises we have done, particularly Celebrity and Princess were fantastic, whilst other passengers praised Royal Caribbean and Holland America. I just wish that I had taken notice of the cruise reviews of the MSC Fantasia before we booked our trip. Of the over 200 Australian passengers who were on the cruise, many that we spoke to said they would never cruise MSC again and now I see that MSC is coming to Australia in 2015, good luck to prospective passengers. Less
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Cabin review: 9046
Cabin was fine EXCEPT that there was a metal balcony wall that obstructed all views when seated. Since we always have breakfast in the cabin when cruising the whole atmosphere was spoiled. Sitting on the balcony was useless as your face was about one metre from a solid wall. I don't know how many beautiful views we missed as we weren't prepared to stand for the 36 night cruise to find out!