MSC Musica Cruise Review by Teresa Roffey: Italian fun at sea
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Italian fun at sea
We took a seven day cruise on MSC Musica. We liked the itinerary which went to ports of call in Greece plus Bari and Dubrovnik.
We have read a lot of mixed reviews of MSC and we were pleasantly surprised by the overall cruise experience on MSC. I felt it was good value overall. The ship was beautiful and in good condition. The style is Italian and there were a lot of Italians on board. International English speakers soon made friends however. Entertainment was pitched at the Italian humor and sense of fun and there was plenty which could be appreciated even if you didn't speak Italian - shows consisted of dance, acrobatics, magicians etc and some were really good. There were games and dancing activities that crossed the language barrier too.
The food was adequate and plentiful but not of the highest style or quality. This cruise would not suit someone who took their dining experience very seriously. There was a very good Japanese restaurant on board where we More enjoyed a delicious meal (cost extra but worth it)
There were various drinks packages on offer - we bought little books of tickets which prepaid for soft drinks and ice creams and were very useful for our daughter as she could present a ticket at the bars for a soft drink or an ice cream. Prepaid drinks allowed for budgeting. There was a free water machine in the buffet area.
Our 11 year old daughter went to the children's club and enjoyed all the children's activities. There were lots of children on board (and it was not even during the school holidays) There was an excellent atmosphere for families on this ship, children were welcome - you might want to avoid it if you absolutely can't tolerate other peoples children, but it was good if you were travelling with kids or like a family atmosphere.
All the staff on the ship were polite and service was very good throughout. Everything was well organised and efficient - embarkation, excursions etc. Disembarkation was fine until you tried to leave the actual port of Venice, however MSC said the delays at the port were due to the port authorities rather than MSC themselves but it was a very slow process. Less
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Cabin review: MSC Musica Oceanview Grazioso Deck 8132
Our cabin 8132 had an obstructed view due to the lifeboats. We were informed about this in advance. Actually it was better than I expected - you could see past it from a certain angle! Obviously it wouldn't suit someone who wanted a good view but sometimes I take an inside cabin anyway so it didn't bother me. Everything else in the cabin was fine, it was a good size, plenty of storage and convenient for the lifts / stairs, good shower, double bed and 2 bunks would suit a family. Everything was in good condition. There were no problems with noise.
Port and Shore Excursions
MSC provided a shuttle bus in to the old town which cost 7 Euros and was probably worth taking given the distance. The bus stopped beside one of the old fortresses in the heart of the old town and left plenty of free time to explore the town, the fortress, the views and pretty gardens if you wanted to. We found a small rocky beach with a swimming pier below the fortress. There was a very small charge to get in but there was a beach bar, changing facilities, showers and lifeguards / first aid.
The shuttle bus dropped me right in the centre of the old town and it was very easy to walk around the medieval city centre and the city walls to admire the gorgeous views of the town, the old churches and palace, the city gates, the old harbour and the sea. This busy tourist destination was very crowded in the centre and had endless shops and cafes many priced in both the local currency and euros. There were cash machines in the town if you wanted local currency.
We spent the day in the small port village of Katakolon. It was an easy stroll. There were plenty of shops selling souvenirs and arts and crafts and a good variety of tavernas, including some facing the sea front. It was a short walk to the beach where it was possible to swim, beach towels were provided by the ship on disembarkation.
There was a small but quite interesting museum of working models of ancient Greek inventions.
We didn't go in to town, we had a drink in a pleasant taverna a short walk from the dock (5 minutes across a busy road)
We visited Athens independently. We walked from the port to the train station in Pireaus which took at least 30 minutes but was a bit difficult to find. We had to ask directions more than once and it was very hot and tiresome! It would be worth getting a taxi to the Pireaus train station . The train from Pireaus into Athens was cheap and efficient and took us to the acropolis and main sights.
There were also plenty of taxis at the port offering taxi tours of Athens which might be worth considering for a large family or group.
Tenders land at the foot of the cliffs where there is a tiny harbour, a few shops and cafes and a pretty little church and fishing boats to look at. To get to the main town you can ascend the cliffs by donkey or funicular. There can be quite long queues so allow time to catch tender back to ship!
We took the MSC excursion to the Caldera. This was a boat trip to a nearby island where there was a walking trip to the top of a volcano (the whole of the archipelago of Santorini is the result of past volcanic activity) The island was very barren and rocky - wear sturdy shoes or trainers, not flip flops etc and take a bottle of water. There were small puffs of steam at the top of the volcano and good views throughout. The Greek guide was informative of the geology of the region. The excursion boat then anchored off another small island and we were able to swim in the sea from the boat. In a little bay near the shore there were hot springs which you could swim to (confident swimmers) and enjoy the experience of warm springs in the sea water and volcanic mud. The excursion boat had simple refreshments for sale and toilets. This was an enjoyable excursion worth considering if you have visited the towns on the main island previously and / or want to do something different. Cost 48 Euro.