this was our first ever cruise, after reading the previous reviews we were just a bit apprehensive , but we decided we would decide for ourselves so we went with an open mind.
the embarkation was very quick and efficient and all the staff were helpful, we had a query about cabin numbers on our tickets and were told to go to the reception on the ship once we had boarded, we did this and were advised that we would need to change cabins when we docked in Amsterdam, we weren't too perplexed as we had surmised this ourselves, we later found quite a few passengers had to change rooms the same day. It as a inconvenience but didn't spoil the start of our holiday as the cabin staff took all our baggage to our new cabin.
the opera is a beautiful ship, not too big with enough bars and cafes to keep you occupied. you could take part in all the mad poolside activities with the entertainment team or you could do your own thing, everything is laid back and your left to decide for yourself what and when you want to do things.
we eat sometimes in the buffet restaurant or poolside bar, but you could eat in the restaurants inside, we found the food in the restaurants to be excellent but i love Italian food, the buffet food was good, however the hot breakfast buffet was lukewarm at best but we stuck to the fresh fruit and lovely bread and rolls.
the theatre shows at night were good, the acrobats especially, and the flamenco dancers. they did an operatic night, not my husbands favourite but he sat through it
all in all i would say i had a great holiday, we did our own thing saw lots of different places. if you wants 5 star luxury you need to pay for it. MSC is not 5 star. some of their service charges need to be looked and when you ask for any thing other than is in the package you get the hard sell is beauty room try to sell you other products which you don't really need or want.
we took the all inclusive package which we because we don't drink much didn't fully use up all the monies, however if you don't they add a 15% surcharge on all drinks including soft drinks teas and coffees, so if you going on a msc cruise try and work out if you will spend £33 each on all drinks!
on the subject of service charge their is a 7 euro per person per day you can easily opt out of this and offer a less or more contribution, because we didn't fully use up our all inclusive offer we reduced this offer not because of bad service, just because we felt we had already paid enough up front!
the staff were all very young, lots of different nationalities, some spoke very good English others very limited but all were very polite and smiling even though they worked very long hours
if you are booked on this cruise don't worry you'll have a lovely time despite all the negative reviews, go with an open mind and see for yourself