First let me say that the cabins are well appointed with storage galore! 12 drawers (6 in nightstands and 6 in desk), shelves in closet and plenty of hanging space along with sufficient amount of hangers. Flat screen TV with remote (though got rather tired of CNN and Shipboard hype) - movie of the day was free, but if you wanted another one it cost almost 11.00. Did have one cartoon channel (though not my thing). Good supply of water and cabin service staff kept everything immaculate. Food was very good and waiter had good command of English language. The dining manager came around daily to check on how they were doing as opposed to other lines we've been on when the only time you see them is the day of tipping. Nice merchandise from ships stores and at fairly reasonable prices. Staff in on-board jewelry store helpful with hints on silver shopping in Cozumel.
What would I change on this ship? First, make a designated "adult only" pool and enforce it like Princess does. Couldn't get in the pool except for days in port when almost everyone was off ship. Second, when you have rules (no one under 18 in casino and no one under 18 drinking) enforce them!!! Casino was not smoke free and would really have hesitated to park strollers while Mom's gambled - overlooked by casino staff. 6 Penny machines which were a challenge to get to - machines paid the first 2 nights - then someone turned the switch and little to nothing coming out until the last night.
Midnight buffets were excellent (although it appeared that no one had eaten on the ship for days the way the passengers acted.-almost a feeding frenzy). They did offer Kids go Free and Kids programs, but I question at 1130 at night why the 6 year olds were at the passenger talent show (along with their counselors). Met one woman travelling with her teenager and she was even taken aback by things she observed as well. She was a frequent passenger on Carnival, but the "price on MSC was right". We had sailed on the Melody back in 2002 and had incorrectly assumed that this would be a newer version but with the same high standards - I personally question if I would have brought twins 7 weeks old on a cruise. but that's me. Had to dodge strollers and children everywhere one went - deck 15 (solarium) offered about the only quiet place other than the cabin to sit in and sun oneself or to read.
Shore excursions pricey, but no more so than on any other ship - usually do it on our own depending on port. The menu and shows remained the same for the entire two weeks (a plus for a traditional 14 day sailing versus the back to back, but thought there could have been some variety). Confusion when asking staff questions - could ask the same question of three people and get three different answers. Be aware that everything is done in multi-languages - all announcements etc. English, Dutch, French, Spanish and from the appearance of the second weeks cruisers - perhaps will be also in Japanese. Would I sail again on MSC? Seriously doubt it as will return to Celebrity, Holland America and the likes. Hope this helps folks in what to expect - always try to mix the good with the not so good.