About a week before the April 4th sailing of the MSC Orchestra, I called MSC Cruises to ask if they had an available balcony cabin foe that date. They sadi they did and I booked it. We just fely like getting away and we had never cruised the Western Carib. We are cruisers having sailed Europe and Asia numeropus times. It is always interesting to me how two (2) reviews about the same cruise can be polar opposites. That phenominan exists on reviews fro this cruise. That said, here is my take on the MSC Orchestra.
Arrival at the port and boarding was easy. We dropped our luggage curbside and when we wnet thru check-in (two hours later) the luggage was in our cabin. The cabin was OK. Not overly large but sufficient for a week cruise. We toured the ship and did not find it difficult to find our way around. By chance we came across the Maite D' who was taking dinner reservations. They had placed us at a table for 8. We had requested a table for 2. He was able to find us a table for 4 with a very nice couple from Canada. I'm not a fan of Traditional dining (more on that late), the four of us got along great and it made for pleadsant dining.
We never went to the pools (too many kids). We did not do the buffet so we're unaware of closing problems as mentioned in other reviews.
All in all, the cruise was ok. We enjoyed the ports - private excursions - cost less than the ships and are better. Cruise critic folks know that. That was the good.
The Bad - We always go on cruises with little, if any, expectations. In that way, it is difficult to be dissapointed. However, there were some annoyances on this ship. MSC must know that Caribbean Cruises have mostly English speaking customers. Why do they insist on every announcement be in 5 different languages. It was, to me, annoying. And Marco, the cruise director was annoying - like he wished he was somewhere else.. The staff was a cut below most other cruise lines. The show stopper for me was the dining. As mentioned, I do not like Traditional Dining - 5:45PM is too early and 8:15PM is too late. Also, by having half the ship early, and the other half late, dinner takes too long. We didn't finish dinner till 10:15 to 10:30PM. Most other cruise lines ahve adopted Anytime Dining along with Traditional. It works.
MSC has to adapt to an English speaking customer some of whom want English as the language on board and the ability to have dinner at 7:00PM in 1.5 hours.