I have been on many cruises and most lines, but I thought it would be interesting to try an Italian cruise company. MSC seemed to have nice ships and a great Med port schedule for our November cruise, and the price was good. Now that I've tried it, I probably won't repeat the experience. Here's why:
1. The ship was too big for me. I don't like crowds, especially when I am eating. When the crowd is primarily Italians, they crowd in everywhere, and are noisy. A buffet line is not a good place to interact with the Italian psyche.
2. The ship was smoky. Our stateroom and the dining room were fine, but most of the public areas had the odor of smoke. The casino, which you pass through from the dining room to get to the shows, was so bad I had to hold my breath as I cut through it. So no dancing and hanging out in the lounges.
3. There were lots of children onboard. Even in the no-children "Zen" top deck, there were kids. Enough said.
4. Our neighbors, including their kids, were partiers and extremely noisy. The kids seemed to be launching off the bed and bouncing off the walls. After midnight I considered it okay to pound on their door and call reception asking for intervention. But the next night it would happen again.
5. Water? Tea? Coffee? Not on this ship - not unless you pay for it. If you wanted a glass of water in the dining room, they expected you to buy it. We ended up bringing a water bottle to dinner. The maitre de frowned at it but I could care less. I'm not paying for plain old water.
On the good side, the food was very good, the entertainment was engaging, and getting on and off the ship at each port was without any hassle or wait. I had a good time aboard the Splendida - but I would probably have a better time on RC or Celebrity or Cunard.