The food was could be described as "diner food." The captain's cocktail party was a joke and the dinner afterwards would bring tears to the eyes of any foodie. It was pretty awful. Our table mates resorted to drinking Nescafe instant after tasting the brew the first night. My wife joined them the next day and I switched to tea. It became a joke when anyone ordered a salad. Regardless of what was on the menu - Caesar, garden, mixed etc - it was all made of iceberg lettuce.
Our waiter was a gem. He had been an assistant waiter (busboy) for two years and this was his big chance. Some people have inferred that I am hard to please but Luigi was as hard working as they come, so anxious to do everything right. He took his job to heart. Not contrived, not artificial, not looking for a tip, just a person that wanted to do a good job. It was refreshing.
His job was especially hard because we had a round table for 8 with chairs on part of the perimeter and a banquette for four people. The problem was that the radius of the table was too large to fit into the arc of the banquette. The two people in the center of the seat could not easily reach the table while the two people at the ends of the banquette were squeezed against the table. Another problem with the oversized table was insufficient room for people to negotiate the aisle behind the chairs. It was a nightmare.
The Italian food at the lunch buffet was one of the better places to eat. The pasta stations were manned by cooks making the day's special as needed. Also on the carving table and other hot stations were some serious southern Italian soul food and, for me, it was the food highlight of the day.
We did the Chinese restaurant one night. The place is beautifully appointed and you are served on Rosenthal China. The food, however, does not measure up to any good restaurant in Chinatown.
Read other people's review for the entertainment. I enjoyed the music in the central atrium - four ladies doing semi classical and also enjoyed the Hispanic men's group.
One of the biggest issues we had with the administration on the ship is their people control. Embarkation was a long drawn out process. Clearing immigration was a fiasco and debarkation was a disaster. We stayed in our room despite their 7AM curfew. Our room steward, another hard working soul, told us to stay. We kept to the balcony and watched the passengers of the Grand Princess disembark, get their luggage and leave the port. We had a wonderful view of a couple of long shore crews unloading a never ending flow of bags from the Orchestra.
It went on and on for hours. We finally got off around noon. It was curious that they never questioned whether we had a flight or travel arrangements. Every other ship I have ever been on would give priority to people with early flights. Apparently, that is not important to the administration at MSC.
I do not even want to mention the nonexistent library, a truly beautiful room If only they had some books.
I have a suggestion for the administrators at MSC Cruises and those on the Orchestra in particular. Take a few cruises anonymously on Princess, Celebrity and HAL. See how the pros do it if you want to please the American market.