My wife and Love cruising and always willing to try new ships and cruise lines. The other couple that we sail with were looking for something that was in our price range with as few days at sea as possible. We booked though his travel agent. Then we started reading the reviews. We were still expecting the best and were open minded about the reviews. Let me say now most of them are right on the money.
Trip to the dock: My wife due to medical problems has a scooter. Due to old age and medical problems for both of us, we decided to use The Cruise Connection bus which could handle the scooter. It is a great way to go. Someone else is driving, you can sit back and enjoy the ride and you are dropped off right in front of check in.
They are supposed to have you fill out the tags at the dock. Before they were sent by the cruise lines we dealt with and could print them off my computer. I made up my own to make sure the luggage did not get mixed up on the ride to the terminal. The porters looked at the tags and said they were fine and we did not fill out theirs. We were sent into the building and went through the security scan. It is at this point that it started going down hill. The guard sent us to the elevator to go to the second floor, and were directed to board the ship. The person asked to scan our cards that we had not gotten. They were re boarding guest that were on a back to back cruise and since we got to the dock early (11AM)I guess they thought we were re boarding. We were taken to The Reception desk and checked in. Our room was ready and we went right to it.
The welcome buffet was as good as other ships we have been on. From there it was hit or miss. We and the other couple requested early dinner and we wanted to be at the same table. We got our request and were seated at a table for four. The first night at dinner the two ladies ordered lasagna. It was badly over cooked mush. Spaghetti is a family recipe passed on from generation to generation. The spaghetti was at least edible and the night they had it with clam sauce was very good. The only other dinner was was very good was the night they had prime rib. Breakfast was better in most cases then lunch. This was true at either the buffet or restaurant. The buffet is closed on the formal nights. Juice is put in glasses by the staff at the buffet as is ice tea at lunch that you pick up at the beginning of the line. It is served at the table in the restaurants with slow refills. Our dinner waiter and his assistant were excellent. After dinner you can only get coffee or water. Room service after 10:30 PM is just about non existent.
They are always cleaning and polishing so it always looks nice. The ship is pretty, not elegant. Everything seems to be run on a tight budget. From the food to the fixtures (plastic light shades) it seems they are very concerned about the bottom line. The price of the cruise is inexpensive and for a novice cruiser is a very good deal. The outside big screen is nice unless the wind is blowing. The room TV's are flat screen that could be stereo but the programing is monaural. The shows are excellent as others have reported. My biggest complaint as with others is crowd control. Getting off the ship at Grand Cayman took over two hours before everyone who wanted to go, got there. At the grand buffet people broke into line to get to the food. Little or no control was exerted by the staff on the whole cruise unles it was due to money. Also men there are no urinals on this ship. Also both sexes the emblems on the doors are similar, saw men going into the ladies room and ladies going into the men's rooms.
Was smooth and easy. The bus company representative met us and told us the bus would be threr shortly. We loaded and the ride home was nice. I can say we will use the bus service again, can not say that about MSC.