We just came back from our E. Med cruise MSC Musica, Sept 12 - 19, embarkation from Venice. Before this we had cruised twice before with American cruise lines. I don't know why there were so many negative reviews because we had a great time and everything is well organized, especially getting on and off the ship: we never had to wait for more then 15 minutes in any ports. The itinerary is great; room and boat is very clean; food is ok but not much different comparing with other cruises, with few exceptions: 1. the buffet place doesn't open 24 hours so there could be time no food is available if you are hungry. 2. We never had lobster or steak night as we had in other cruises. 3. No soft drink is provided and they are expensive; coffee and juice are only available in the morning. Entertainment: shows are pretty good, shorter than those in other cruises, probably 30-45 minutes each show.
Embarkation: Really fast once we get to Marittima Port, less than 15 minutes. But to get to Maritima Port from Piazzale Roma is not very easy because there are no signs anywhere; tax ride is around 25 euros. We didn't see any public bus or bus from MSC either. So we took some train called "People mover" which dropped us at the entrance of Marittma and then walked 20 minutes to the boat. For more information, here is a link about Marittima Port. http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/venice-cruise-terminal-marittima.htm After embarkation, they did put our luggage into the wrong room though, but we finally got it after a couple of hours delay.
Service: in general the service is good; with the exception the people at the excursion desk and accounting desk are impatient when you ask them questions. Also, we reserved for a table for two and it was confirmed but when we got there we were put together with 4 other people. They are all very nice so we end up dining with them for the whole trip.
Bari - We took the "Sassi" tour: we don't think it is worth it because it took 1 ½ -2 hours to go there and another 1 ½ - 2hours to get back; the tour itself was only 1 hour or so. Someone dining with us said they found a local guide and took a bike tour around the city and it was really nice.
Katakalon - We took the Olympia and museum excursion, we found it very interesting, especially amazed at the accomplishment by Greek people two thousand years ago.
Santorini & Mykonos - We booked an excursion at Santorini so we can get off the ship early after we read some reviews on this board: this is the only place you need to use a tender boat to get off the ship and those with excursions have a priority. When we came back there was a 45 minutes wait to use the cable car to get down at Santorini, after that there is not much wait for the tender boat. Both Santorini & Mykonos are beautiful.
Piraeus, Athens - we also took an excursion here; same as Olympia, we were pretty amazed at Greek history and sculptures.
Corfu - We didn't take any excursion here, just walked around the town. After a while, there is nothing much to do. Probably should have booked an excursion here to the beach or something.
Dubrovnik - very beautiful town. We didn't book any excursion here, just joined a local 1 hour English tour. It end up only two of us are in the tour so it became a private tour for us ?. After that we took a walk along the city wall, highly recommended.
Venice - Disembark: we waited in the theater for about a hour to have our "color tag" called. Once our color tag is called, disembarkation is really fast to get off the boat, less than 15 minutes.
Overall the experience is great, especially the itinerary - I think it is the best for East Mediterranean. Also, I didn't notice much different with the fellow passengers comparing with American cruises, with the exception that they are not speaking English. I didn't see anything like in previous reviews that it is chaotic and people don't form lines; everybody was following rules, form lines with probably just a few exceptions. People are not rude as claimed by some of the previous reviews either.