When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before we travelled we got the tickets and were informed that we were now flying from Heathrow into Milan Malpensa airport - 2.5 hours transfer time to the port. Need less to say we were not impressed! It is important to point out that we booked through Virgin Cruises, so it is not clear who was responsible for the fact that we only discovered the change 9 days before we sailed. However, the change was still unacceptable.
Anyway, when we arived at Milan airport we were met by the MSC rep (very friendly) who informaed us that we would have an hour wait before we left as we were waiting for another 2 people on a later flight.
Finally we arrived at the port and were directed to the boat in a rather haphazard manner. We received our room cards and were informed that we would be eating in the second sitting, even though we had requested 1st sitting. We were told to sort this out with reception, which we duly did. One of the receptionist was quite rude and was very quick to point out that 'requests cannot be guaranteed'. Luckily another receptionis (Lucia) was very polite and said we should go and see the restaurant manager who would probably be able to change it for us. This we did and we were indeed changed to 1st sitting with no problems. This bodes the question why were we not given the sitting we requested to start with??? What a pointless waste of time for everyone!
On the plus side, the food and service at dinner was excellent, with them very helpfully accomadating my gluten free requirements. Also the evening entertainment (although at times resembling a trip to Butlins), was very good, especially the shows in the Broadway Theatre. Also the room was much bigger and nicer than I expected, with a comfortable, large bed and lots of storage space (including a safe and lots of hanging space). There was also a hairdryer, which was v handy.
Unfortunately the staff at breakfast were not so friendly, in fact pretty indifferent I would say an the choice was a bit limited and got very boring by the end of the week.
The 2 excursions we did were pretty good, although v expensive, and even coach transfers out of the port were very pricey.
Just as we were beginning to think it wasn't too bad though, we got our instructions for leaving the boat on the last day. Essentially we were turfed off at 9:15am and transferred to the airport...even though our flight was not until 7pm. So, 7 hours in Milan Malpensa airport - what a marvellous end to the holiday!! Needless to say the good definitely did not out weight the bad on this trup so I would not travel with them again and I would discourage others from doing so either.