Our five person party consisted of ages 4 to 75, so we had several points of view to discuss when we filled out our assessment forms at the end of our trip. . The four adults all agreed that the experience was mediocre at best. The biggest disappointment was in the food and service. We were not surprisingly in agreement about all of the following. We got a first time waiter who was not prepared to serve more than one of the many items listed on the menu for each course. If we all wanted the same thing, it was fine, but if we all wanted to try something different, it was a problem. Food arrived cold mostly, whether it was supposed to be or not. But the quality of the food in the restaurant was simply bad for all of one of our meals. The food on the buffet during the day was better, but then you had to force your way through the line to get any. And I use the word force intentionally. Simply waiting patiently in a queue would get you nowhere, because those who didn't want to stand in line would simply work their way into the front of the line and help themselves, leaving the rest of us lemmings in their dust. We would never have eaten on board had we not already paid for our food, which is sad because I was led to believe that the food on cruises is one of the main reason one travels on cruises in the first place.
The entertainment was equal to a community theatre at best and worse than that when they actually picked up a community theatre troop along the way and had them provide that evening's entertainment. Only one of the decks was open to enjoy the sun, so it was too crowded and unpleasant with smokers and too many people to get comfortable. All drinking water outside of the cafeteria had to be paid for, as well as juices. Any beverages purchased outside of the restaurant cost extra, of course, but then they added a gratuity onto the bill as well. This would be fine except that we were then charged a compulsory service charge at the end of our trip as well, for all services rendered.
Service at the customer service counter was fine if there was not a line of people waiting to get serviced. If there was, it was the loud Italians who simply inserted themselves ahead of the line at the counter demanding attention. Surprisingly, the agents dropped what they were doing to help them, leaving the rest of us unattended. This happened at every visit to the counter. The rooms were clean and our attendant was very helpful and able. The only problem was that one of our rooms was located directly under the coffee urn station in the cafeteria, so our loo continuously smelled like the inside of a dirty coffee urn. We were told there was nothing that could be done about it.
Of the five of us, the four adults have traveled extensively worldwide, so we are aware of cultural differences when we travel. I am not prepared to say it was an Italian thing, although certain behaviours are very familiar to me when I travel in Italy; but I will say that I will not go on another MSC cruise. Too bad this was the first cruise for all but one of us. It has soured our taste for future adventures of this kind.