Embarkation: Smooth, cheap orange juice offered on boarding along with a cheesy photo from the resident thief/photographer
Cabin: very small and quite dated. There was a souvenir left behind in the toilet from the previous passenger. Our bathroom wasn't cleaned once for the 8 nights, and the floor wasn't washed and became pretty dirty. The lampshades had stains on them and the bed throw was ripped.
Food: appalling food choice and quality. The buffet consisted of the came choices every night.. pizza, pasta, chicken and soup with the occasional cauliflower curry or stew. Same cheap desserts every night and a very small selection. MSC have bought in the cheapest of food and I have had better meals in McDonald's. There was no taste and quality whatsoever. The food was always cold and the restaurant was simply the buffet food served to you on a plate in smaller portions. You had to eat when they told you to eat, and there was a charge for sandwiches delivered to your room. I was shocked at the food quality and price and cannot believe that they get away with this. You were charged 3 euros for ice cream which I found to be very greedy.
Service: we received good service, especially good with our daughter paying her lots of attention. The staff were the only positive of our holiday.
Activities: we were completely bored throughout the whole cruise, other than eat the canteen food, have a coffee or play a board game there was nothing to do. This ship should not have been sailing on this itinerary so late in the year. We experienced extremely choppy weather for 5 of our 8 nights, so bad the ship seemed like it was lifting off the sea and slamming back down again. No communication from the captain even although it did get pretty scary at times. On our way back, because the times tables are all messed up and we would have arrived in Southampton too early, he decided to stop in the middle of the English Channel that night for hours in the middle of really bad weather. Rather thank just dock safely in Southampton which was only 70 miles away we were tossed up and down most of the night with the ship being battered but the waves. The captain had no thought for passenger comfort or safety in my opinion. We did not feel safe of this ship.
Ports: apart from La Rochelle and Amsterdam the ports were uninteresting and not somewhere you would ever travel to. I suspect it was cheap to dock here, again saving MSC money.
Selling: It felt that all MSC wanted to do was sell things to you, photos taken of you while on he ship, products in the spa. They take 7 euros per person for tips (you can have this taken off) and then have the cheek to take 15% on top of drinks.
Nationalities: we also found some of the other nationalities rude, mainly the french. Many times we would be waiting on the lift with our daughter in her pushchair and they would push past you to get in first. Also sometimes we would be approaching the lift and the doors would start to close and they would just go off without opening then for us. Also no-one would hold a door open for the pushchair and it was slammed in our faces many times.
Kids: There was absolutely nothing for our 10month old to do. We took her to the kids club so we could supervise her playing, and we were looked at like we had 2 heads. The girl told us there was nothing for her to do there. It would cost msc a small amount of money to invest in some soft play for children under 2. Our daughter caught a bug on the 2nd day and we had to get her seen by the dr (40 euros just to look at her) He prescribed antibiotics and said she shouldn't have been on the cruise because she is under 1.
Overall: This is my first cruise and I unfortunately chose the wrong company to experience it with. It felt like a 2-3 star floating hotel and a complete waste of money. We will go with royal Caribbean if we ever decide to cruise again. We feel completely drained and now need a holiday.