The boat in itself was fine - it was very clean, which we really appreciated! And the ports were lovely.
However, some things to consider before you go -
If you are allergic - the boat is for smokers. Even had a smoker put his ashes in my coffee while on the sun deck reading a book.
The boat does not have a good internet connection. It is hugely expensive and normally does not work. Same goes for cell phones. You are mostly out of reach for the time you are on the cruise.
There is a huge push to buy - drinks, jewelry, attractions etc. The prices are high. All ports are centrally located and there are taxis, rental cars and public transportation right outside the port. Do not get tricked into taking the MSC's buses into town. In Dubrovnik we paid 15 euros per person for transportation to and from the old city. A cab would have been 20 euros to and from for 4 persons!
Read up on fees and prices before you go. There is nothing like a free ride on this boat. And do not get tricked into buying coupons, unless you know you will use them. They push them first day and never ask for them again. Our very modest bill - from one coffee, one soft drink and the occational drink/glass of wine AND MSC fees (you pay both 15% gratuity and service fee) was 1000 euros!
For breakfast, I recommend the restaurant. Quiet and no lines. The menu has most of what is offered upstairs in the buffet.
BUT - We had an issue where the waiter picked the wrong wine for us at dinner. We did not realize as the name was practically the same as what we ordered. When it was discovered, we were asked to pay the extra bill. As it was not our fault, we declined and would only pay for what we ordered, as this was a good wine in our book and stretching it for our budget. This issue caused discussions three days in a row, as the bill had the added amount every day. When we brought this up with the head of the restaurant and asked to have it removed - he was very unprofessional and arrogant and would not listen to reason. So much that we had to take this to the management of the boat. Very disturbing!Som
The inside cabins are sold very cheap. A find for people with little money - but to much disturbance for those who pay extra to go on a luxury cruise. There are some, unfortunately, that have no manners, sneak in lines and smoke everywhere. It felt like we were on a charter trip. Something we try to avoid.
If you are bringing kids, please consider smoking passengers everywhere, no extra room in the suite even though you have extra paying passengers, outside pool is not heated. There are kid areas which are nice at the boat, if your kids are 7 and below.
We read up on the reviews before leaving and knew of most of the complaints, but I still have to say I was disappointed in the way this was run. It was just not professionally run. The waiters/staff was polite and nice - but not trained. We had dinner served at different times. the wine came after we were done eating. They did not make one drink correctly and they had no information about the port - except for their own trips.
My recommendation to MSC is to go to Disney and see how it is done.
I'd rather save 4 years to do a real cruise - than to pay "kind of a lot" for this and get hugely disappointed another time.