Hello all: My girlfriend and I did our 1st ever cruise on the MSC Orchestra from Sept 8-15. Boarded from Genoa and service was bad nealy everywhere, we are from Quebec/Canda I do speak English well but my girl friend speaks only French.
We had booked transportation with MSC from airport to port dock, We arrived in Genoa at Noon after a 12 hours flight/plane switching. A girl from MSC welcomed us and had us go to a private waiting room on the 2nd floor of the airport saying we would have to wait about an hour for a flight from Britain to arrive. After 1:15 I ask her if the UK flight had been delayed, she sais no, they are arriving soon and lead us outside to a bus, the driver took our bagages and we were seated in the bus. The girls and the driver went back in the airport and we waited over 1 hour in a overheated bus (motor and A/C were off only door was open!! Finally at 2:30 the Brit passenger came in the bus and we were taken to the dock. We thought our waiting was over but the check-in line-up was so long probably 1000-1500 people (Most Italians, noisy and some try to jump into the line) we finally boarded the ship at 5 PM and sailed at 6PM. So our first impression was bad.
The ship was gorgeous and the cabin clean, we had chosen Stateroom with balcony, the balcony was ok but the room was rather small (Had look on the internet and on the picture the rooms were larger?
We went for our first dinner, we were assigned a table of 4, and a young couple from Toronto were our dinner partner and they were very nice and friendly, the waiter was also courteous and was always smiling but he spoke only a few words of English (Most of the waiters came from Indonesia?), the food was fairly good with 7 servings, but not much in each plate, the meat was always overcooked, same with the fish. I had received at checkout a booklet of 7 coupons for bottles of water, so a liter of mineral water was free for dinner, our dining partner did not have those coupons so they were charged 2,14 Euros every dinner for a bottle of water which angered them. We had to pay water at lunch you cannot get tea/coffee at the restaurant for lunch or dinner, you have to take it at a bar/lounger and pay 4 Euros for 2 cups, we like to have a hot drink with our dessert, is that a European custom?
Most of the staff did not speak much English and even less French, the language on board is Italian and smiles on most onboard personnel is inexistant. We felt we did not belong there. For luch you could go to one of the 2 restaurants, and some shoed you to available place. One day the head waiter seats us at a table of 8 with already 6 Italians seated, I don`t understand the language but a lady was arguying with the head waiter and he politely ask us to move to another table, we were rejected...And we were not the only Canadians to which this hapenned.
After a few days sailing except for meals, we stayed on our balcony or cabin, we did not go see any shows entertainment (all was Italian) No American Brodway musicals or French CanCan type shows.
The places we visited were nice but on the first stop in Malaga we had chosen to visit the cavern of Nerja (wow!) when I booked at the front desk the day befre was told only Italian or English tours so chose the English. It turned out that excursion was composed of about 75% Italian and it became more a Italian guided tour, the guide spoke 80% of the time in Italian, to pay 44 Euro per person and hear Italian most of the time, I nearly got an Italian lesson ! I could go on and on and my girl friend and I who were thinking of taking a Carribean or Alaska cruise next year are now asking ourselves if cruises are the kind of travel for us.
I would not recommend Mediterranan Cruises with MSC at all