My husband and I enjoy cruises. We went on our first for our honeymoon and now we try to do one every year. This was our 5th cruise but our first on MSC cruiselines. All of our previous cruises had been on Carnival Cruiselines.
The MSC Magnifica was a beautiful ship. The decor was very nice. We were able to board fairly quickly and go directly to our stateroom rather than have to wait on the Lido deck or roaming around until our room was ready. Our room was nice and clean. We had a balcony and the size of the room and balcony were comparable to all of our previous cruises. Our bed was a bit too hard for me but my husband did not have a problem with it. The pillows on the bed were the worst pillows I have ever encountered in my life. They were so bad I took the throw pillows off the sofa and put my pillow case on them and used that for most of the cruise. Our steward seemed nice. We did not encounter him much at all. He kept our cabin clean when we were out. My one complaint about my cabin/steward was that I had a dress I brought on the cruise and it somehow disappeared from our closet and I never saw it again. I asked the steward if maybe it had fallen out of the closet and was taken by mistake - he said that did not happen. i emailed our house sitter to search my house on the slim chance I forgot the dress at home - I did not. I asked the people at the reception to try to find out what happened to my cocktail dress and the woman I spoke to paid half attention to me as I explained the situation and she did not take my name. she took my cabin number and wrote it on a post it with 5 other cabin numbers on it. I never heard from her or the steward again regarding my missing clothes. I was very upset that my dress came up missing and then no one was able to tell me what happened to it.
We really enjoyed that the evening show for the 2nd dinner seating took place during 1st dinner service. The show was at 7:15 each night and after the show we could just go to dinner and after dinner either go out on the ship for the night or just go back to our cabin. This is much better for us than having to wait until 10:15 for the show to begin. We enjoyed the shows. There is a certain amount of cheesiness one should expect from a cruise mainstage but there were some very cool things as well. Plus, the opera singers were a great experience for us.
Our server at dinner was great. His name was Latif Abdul and he was from Indonesia. He had a good sense of humor and was very nice throughout the entire cruise. We sat with another couple on the ship and they were from Puerto Rico. It was great to meet them and we could talk about our days out and we exchanged addresses. It was wonderful to be able to get to know people from around the world.
One of the best things about this cruise (for Americans) in my opinion, was the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. We met people from China, Italy, Germany, Bali, Puerto Rico, Croatia, Cyprus, and so on. It was wonderful.
We knew when planning our cruise that it would be very expensive. First the conversion of $ to euro and then the cost of everything in euros. We were not prepared, i think, for how expensive it ended up being. Thankfully the ship does offer Americans one free liter bottle of water per day per cabin, all other drinks need to be purchased. There was a 15% service fee on all purchases on the boat. That really adds up! Plus, the ship charges you 6 euros a day per person for gratuity. Plus, you make a donation for St Jude of one euro per person (just once). I am not against making donations to things but to not have a choice kind of makes it NOT a donation. So everything just keeps adding up. Plus, due to the protests in Egypt our trip to Alexandria was canceled. The ship/MSC save a great deal of money on fuel that was not used to get to Alexandria yet they offered no discount to the people on the ship. We were still charged for the fuel they did not use. Also, Due to skipping Alexandria we got to Limassol a day early (Sunday) and they were not expecting us until the following day and it was difficult to find a taxi or a tour plus most places were closed as it was Sunday. Also this put us in Haifa on a Saturday, the Sabbath, and it too was closed up and a ghost town. So the ship got all their money but they did not seem to care about the effect these changes would have on their cruise patrons. I guess they think if we'd have booked excursions through them we would not have been effected that much. While the ports were very cool, it was very disappointing to miss out on so much because the ship did not have a good contingency plan.
Due to the protests in Egypt, my husband, who is currently stationed there, was told to find a way to get back without going through Cairo. This required either the Internet or a phone and the cost on the ship was insane. internet was the lesser of two evils and we had to pay 10 euro for 30 minutes. The phone was 5 euro A MINUTE! They did not work with anyone having to deal with things like this. They just said pay the money and you can have the service. It was very disappointing.
We kept a log of the things we enjoyed on the cruise and the things we did not care for at all. In the end the list was fairly equal in length. This is not good enough to make us want to cruise with this cruiseline in the future. We might inform others about the cruiseline but I doubt we would recommend it.
The food on this ship was very disappointing. One thing you should look forward to on a cruise is the food. If nothing else it should be awesome. It wasn't. The buffet, which was offered for breakfast and for lunch, was not good. occasionally you might find something above average but overall it was quite poor. I wanted to go into the galley and teach the line cook, or whoever it was down there, how to cook certain things. Food would be over cooked, undercooked, served cold, be totally bland, and so on. Formal dinner each nice was not an option. There was no buffet offered for dinner service. This was ok for us because we prefer formal dinner but many people did not bring formal attire for gala nights and they skipped dinner because they did not have the proper attire. their only other dinner option was to buy dinner at the pizza place or one of the other restaurants. We did not eat there but were told that the food at the pizza place and the Chinese place and the other paid restaurant was quite good. So it seems that if you wanted a decent meal you had to pay extra for it and that is unacceptable.
Another thing that was upsetting about this cruise was that the ship took us into ports where we were near nothing so we would have to take a bus to the town. Well, the cruise ship charged you for the shuttle to get to the town. If they were going to do this they should have mentioned it long before the night before we arrived somewhere. It seemed like such a scam to get even more money out of us. Plus, getting to Limassol a day early, the taxi's did not know to get to the port so there was no other option - you had to pay for the shuttle or walk for 90 minutes. This happened at a few ports. It did not seem ethical to me.
One more thing - there were a couple days where the toilet in our stateroom stopped working. I guess they were having some trouble in sections of the ship, and the toilets would not flush. This was somewhat disturbing.
Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise, but would have enjoyed it more on Carnival or Royal Caribbean.