The service in the dining room was very slow at all meals, and the buffet lines were very long. When the buffet ended at 10:30 am, NO FOOD WAS AVAILABLE UNTIL 12:30, closing again at 2:30. Some excursion schedules meant that you got no lunch at all. And juice was available only at breakfast - don't ask me why? Makes no sense. The overall menu was barely acceptable, and I don't consider myself to be finicky. Some nights I actually could find nothing appealing on the menu at all, unless I wanted to OD on salmon or chicken. My dining companion and I ordered the same entree one evening, and we both commented that it had "absolutely no taste", and that if we closed our eyes, we couldn't tell what we were eating. And the "chocolate-looking cookies" at the buffet one day had "absolutely no chocolate taste" - I kid you not. I thought Italians were the experts in pizza-making, but we felt that the pizza was mostly crust, and skimpy on the toppings. We like to "eat healthy", and found no whole grain bread or rolls available at lunch or dinner. The answer to my request for these items was "it is not available", or merely a shrug of the shoulders. I actually voiced this request to the head waiter one day; he made a note of our table number, and actually delivered whole grain bread to our table that evening. After that, I never saw it again at lunch or dinner. Water glasses were seldom refilled unless you could get the attention of the waiter, and our shrimp cocktail, one evening, was served with no ice in the glass beneath the shrimp.
We did a back-to back for a total of 14 days. The second week's entertainment was a duplicate of the first week, so we chose not to attend, and feel that we got short-changed in that department. The cruise director was "strictly business" in direct contrast to our previous cruise where the cruise director was very visible and approachable, participated in daytime and evening activities, and was - herself - part of the entertainment one evening. She was a lot of fun. MSC policy of children under 17 sailing free is good for families, but for older couples, it is a downright nuisance; children were running, shouting and playing in the corridors at all hours, with no apparent parental supervision, or ship restrictions. The noise level was unacceptable, and the slamming of cabin doors literally reverberated down the entire row, thus waking me up three times in one night alone. A simple sign inside the cabin could have asked passengers (and staff) to respect others, and CLOSE DOORS GENTLY - not too much to ask in my opinion.
Yes, the ship is beautiful, and clean. The decor is very tasteful and elegant, but deficiencies in other areas overshadowed this. I actually questioned myself as to whether or not I was being too critical and demanding. However, when I heard these same complaints expressed by many fellow passengers, I knew we couldn't all be wrong.
Sorry, MSC, but unless I find out that your other ships are different, you have lost me as a customer, and believe me, word does get around.