My friend and I booked this cruise because of the itinerary. After reading the reviews I was very hesitant to sail on MSC. It was my friends first cruise and really wanted to sail on an Italian ship.
It took over two hours to check in. One of the harbor staff said the cruise line didn't set up the day before when the ship arrived; instead they waited until the last minute and then the computers didn't work.
Pre-registration didn't include luggage tags or payment information. This process had to be handled at the curb. Imagine 70'ish age persons trying to fill out a small paper form without a table or hard surface to write on, then slip it onto the luggage, while getting jostled by other passengers and balancing their carry ons. Baggage collection needs more work.
The announcements in five languages was cute the first couple of days, but irritating after that. If you miss something, there's no repeating the message.
The staff speak less english than I've experienced aboard any other cruise line. If you veered off their script, they were hopelessly lost and communication broke down completely.
The service in the dining rooms was ok, again, don't ask for anything unique as it will not happen. It's not as if the wait staff don't try, generally both parties give up about half way through the conversation.
For those who like cream in their coffee,there were these terribly hard to open little packages of cream; similar to what you get at fast food restaurants. In addition, there were no salt and pepper shakers on the table in the cafeteria. Only those little paper packages.
If you drink the free water, juice or tea in the cafeteria, it came in tiny (3-4oz) glasses. Asking for a larger glass was unsuccessful. There were hardly any refills from the waiters. There were plenty available to clean tables, but rarely did I see one with refills on coffee, tea, etc.
Disembarkation with tenders and customs proved to be quite lengthy. The ship arrived at 7am and we finally got off the ship at 10:30am. The queue for going through customs was by pre-assigned letter. They didn't call the letters in alphebetical order which caused much confusion.
The last day we were instructed to take our bills to the customer service area and place it in a box once it was signed. I've never encountered this before. Usually one only goes to customer service if there is a problem.
The entertainment was unique and quite good. Several nights of Italian opera. Since they couldn't perform in five languages it was mostly acrobats, music, dancing, and juggling, etc. Talented performers, great costumes and technical effects. The shows lasted about 30 minutes.
On formal/gala nights the cafeteria was not open, so for dinner there was no option other than going to the dining room.
The pool was not heated until day 4 of the 10 day cruise, after complaints from passengers.The pools and hot tubs closed at 6pm.
No doctor on board to prescribe antibiotics for a person with an absessed tooth; they were given advil.
Very little artwork in the ship, one of the wayfinding tools. No maps at the elevators, only lists of places. This was one of the most difficult ships to navigate I've ever been on. I still had trouble finding places on day 9.
I was accustomed to a certain level of service and accommodations when cruising. This cruise line does not provide it.