First off I want to say that a lot of the negatives I read about MSC on cruise critic I never experienced.
The crew was very friendly and I thought the food was good. Sometimes it was even great but never was it as terrible as I have read about.
I also want to say that I also didn't feel the same way as those who rave about how beautiful and clean the ship was or how great the shows were. I found the ship to be clean but no more so then the other cruise ships I have been on.And the shows were good, mostly circus like with gymnast and juggling but towards the end of the cruise they were already recycling the shows. The same acts that "wowed" me when I first saw it they were repeating , just in different outfits and different music.
Most likely because of the multicultural atmosphere , I found that there was very little organized activities compared to other cruises I have been on.I have never seen so many people playing cards on a cruise before. One of the biggest events I saw was a ping pong tournament.
My daughter and I played the mini golf one day. It was only 4 holes and they were pretty simple , practically straight lines.
It is true that they are definitely "not in your face" about selling things like drinks or bingo. And the drink prices are very reasonable. But I did feel that the merchandise they sold in the stores were very expensive.(Not the alcohol and cigarettes,but I don't really buy those things)
y suite was nice and my cabin Steward was great. Very friendly and helpful. But since I was in the most expensive category I couldn't help but notice that the cabin was no bigger or better then a mini suite on NCL. It certainly did not offer any special amenities, no priority embarkation or anything really.MSC calls it a suite but on other cruise lines it would be considered a deluxe balcony.
The worse things I can say about this cruise was that they let children in diapers in the hot tubs, even in the spa and they didn't enforce the smoking policy. I am an non smoker and I wasn't terribly bothered by the smoke but they were lighting up on both the port and starboard sides and all around the pool area. There was one lounge inside( by the zebra lounge allowed smoking and you had to go into it to get to some of the ships stores and both my self and my daughter had to hold our breath walking by. Also the elevators were almost always crowded .
Overall, I would sail with them again but only for a very good price. I would also need an itinerary that had a lot of ports. I would also advise anyone considering this cruise line to wait to book because the prices went down quite a bit. I booked last January and when the price went down MSC doesn't adjust. I should have cancelled and re booked but I wanted the cabin that I booked. (they actually switched me out of my cabin anyway but that's a different story)I met a family who booked last minute and was upgraded from an inside cabin to a balcony on the 14th floor. They actually booked 2 balcony cabins for almost $1000 less then I paid for my "suite".So believe me, there is no advantage to booking in advance with MSC and I would never do it again!
So for the right price and the right itinerary I would sail again but based on the other cruise lines I have sailed there is nothing special about this one. Absolutely no "WOW" factor. But it was comfortable and quiet .