March 2009 Destination:
Southern Caribbean Embarkation:
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Excellent cruise value especially considering kids under 17yrs sail free. Ship was immaculate although considerable ship movement/vibrations felt regardless of deck level or location. Superior embarkation/disembarkation process. Picked up kids life jackets and yellow identity bracelets upon boarding the ship. Maitre D" was available upon boarding (12:30-3:30pm) in the orchestra meeting room (Deck 6) for any special requests. Room cards are inserted inside room for operation of lights and also acts to notify room stewards of room occupancy/do not disturb. Easy operating safe without the need of swiping credit card etc. Some passengers including myself experienced dark blackish water while showering and after flushing toilet. Apparently this occurs occasionally and was told to run water for 5 minutes to flush out the system. Inquiry at information desk seemed to suggest this problem was a well known fact. There are two identical pool areas except one is without a kid wading pool and More
stage which provides for quieter ambiance if desired. Amazing deck chairs, each with an attached shade canopy. Smoking areas well adhered to. Large washrooms throughout the ship. Fitness area small but adequate to achieved basic workout. 25 minute limit for cardio machines. No water in fitness area. Need to bring your own water bottle. Mini putt is only 5 holes and very unremarkable. Found that the supply of tennis balls and ping pong balls becomes depleted during the later part of the cruise. There is a large jungle gym for kids. Advertised age groups (3-8yrs and 8-13yrs) were actually 3-6yrs (Minis), 7-12yrs (Juniors), and 13-18 (Teens) although there were times where Minis and Juniors combined for common activities. No pager available for kids programs. Passengers must pay for soft serve ice cream which is located behind poolside bars. Draft beer ($59 for 14x14oz) and tropical/mixed drink ($69 for 12) packages available from the bar. Purchased as a coupon booklet which equals two free drinks compared to buying separately. Dinning room only wine packages available (7-10 bottles of house white and/or red for $70-$100 or choose from select wine list for $105-$150). Best to pre-purchase these wine packages as all package options do not seem to be offered when onboard. Wine bottles (corked or uncorked) can be taken from the dinning room for later use. Bring your own corkscrew for opening corked bottles. There is no activity sheets/crayons handed out to children in the dinning room. No Spa (low calorie) menu items offered. MSC Orchestra is a peanut free ship. Four Season's restaurant located at the back of the ship opens as part of the buffet during breakfast and lunch offering almost identical choices (except fast food options and pizza) and is significantly less chaotic with no lines. There is no trays to use for buffet although they do offer extra large oval plates. Soya milk is available for those with dairy allergies. Port times sometimes differed from those advertised causing some problems if private shore excursions booked. Tender coupons to Cayo Levantado unnecessary as far as needing to present them for tendering. Quality of shows were excellent and very refined. Less
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