My husband and I are American, 30 years old, without children, and world travelers (just for a little background).
First, I'd like to start with the ship. The ship was very large, spacious, clean, and had several bars/restaurants. Our room was spacious with a balcony, and I slept like a rock every night. The air conditioning was superb (surprising for Europe), and the gentle rocking of the ship and crashing waves was ideal for sleep. With that being said, I have very little left to say that was positive.
The staff was terrible. The only ones who even made an effort to be polite or friendly was the cabin crew. The bar tenders, wait staff, and casino staff clearly hated their jobs and their customers. I was shocked, however, to discover how incredibly nice they were to children! The children...where do I begin? If you do not have children, this cruise is not for you. Beware of "children travel free" promotions. They were everywhere. Running, screaming, crying, coughing, More
sneezing, spitting, throwing, you name it-they did it. And they did it all without consequence. The staff had a deaf ear and a blind eye to all children. The children alone was enough to ruin it for me. There was no where for adults to go. One early evening we finally found a quiet bar to have a cocktail in when a family of 4 came running through the door after 2 minutes. We found a semi-quiet table to sit at when the 2 children came running over yelling to each other in Italian, literally having a scavenger hunt right in front of our table, in a bar!... so much for a relaxing drink.
We only went to the pool once because it was way too crowded. They had 1 outdoor pool, and one indoor pool. They clearly need 2 outdoor pools. It was extremely loud and chaotic. Oh, and lets not forget the constant overhead announcements in 5 different languages to be heard all over the ship, so loud you couldn't hear yourself think!
The excursions were, for the most part, fun and pretty well organized. However, the Istanbul excursion was way too long (8 hours) to be in that heat, and almost nowhere had air conditioning. Even though some of the excursions were exhausting and long, I wouldn't recommend staying on the boat or trying to plan something yourself unless you've already been there. Also, due to the length of the excursions, we missed the included lunch buffet twice, and they do not provide you with a complimentary meal. The first time we waited for the tea sandwiches, and the second time we paid for sushi in the Asian restaurant (very good, btw) after searching the ship for about 20 minutes looking for a restaurant that was open.
The times for "free" food are limited. The buffets weren't very good, and they had the same exact food every day. Nothing special. The dinner was okay. Actually, there were 2 nights that I couldn't even eat the dinner, it was such poor quality. The nights of the Galas the quality of the food was much better. I strongly discourage getting any of the wine packages and the espresso package. We liked 2 out of 6 bottles of wine. And unless you drink at least 3 espressos per day in addition to your FREE morning coffee-Don't do it! I wasn't even allowed to have milk with my espresso because "it wasn't included." Very little was included. Not one bottle of water was included. A breakfast buffet, lunch buffet, and dinner in the same restaurant with the same group of strangers every night was included. Yes, there are several different restaurants, but if you don't eat in the one assigned to you, it will cost you. We were really upset at first that we had to share a table with 3 random couples, but it actually turned out quite well. We were the last table to leave every night, and we exchanged gifts, pictures, and emails! We had a really good time with them. What I learned from this experience: Never take a vacation with 3000 people, especially not children, read the fine print, and know the value for the money. I would never take this cruise again. However, if MSC offered an adult-only cruise, I might consider it. Less
MSC Magnifica Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean