We embarked at Southampton. We had not cruised with MSC before and in spite of recent press reports we set off with optimism. The embarkation was chaotic. The cabins were good, clean and sufficient for our needs. The efficient cabin steward did look after us well and kept us amply supplied with clean towels and necessities! The ship itself was lovely. The service on reception and in the restaurant was poor. We had a problem with a faulty cabin safe which took three telephone calls and a visit to reception and two hours before it was attended to.
One of our main concerns was that the policy of MSC is to add a 15% service charge to all on board purchases in the bars and drinks purchased in the restaurants. plus they debit all on-board accounts with a charge of 7 euro per person per day in each cabin over the age of 14yrs each day of the cruise. This is done "for your convenience"!! This is apparently in lieu of tipping for all staff on the ship. We approached the reception to ask that this be removed from our account as we preferred to tip those who had provided good service to us. We were informed that the staff were not permitted to accept individual tips. We said that would be our personal decision. The food in the restaurant was good but the service was very, very slow and although we were told that all staff have to be able to speak and understand English this was not the case!!
The shows were for the main part good were very short in duration and the warm up acts consisted of slap-stick comedy which would have embarassed many youngsters! There was sparse entertainment provided during the day. We were, as non-smokers concerned that smoking was allowed in some of the lounges and as they were all open-planned and led into the theatre the smoke was evident throughout the ship.
The drinks were very expensive with a "round" of a can each of coke diet coke sprite and tonic water (four cans in all) 330 mls each with the added 15% service charge was £12.70!! We were not suprised the find the disembarkation just as chaotic as the embarkation. We would certainly NOT take another cruise with MSC,