Ship: Pros: Beautiful, new (2008) and extremely clean, mid-large sized. Clearly the company runs a very tight ship, which often times seems to be for the convenience of the ship's crew and not the passengers (see Cons).
Cons: Ship is so tightly run that as soon as dinner hits, all decks except for the pool area are completely cleared of all lounge chairs and they are no longer accesible until the crew puts them out the next morning. After dinner, the last of the pool area chairs are quickly tied up as soon as people get out of them, and by 10 p.m. the pool area is cleared and the poolare drained.
Food: Pros: Classic, authentic Italian meals are served for every dinner. There are also the staples such as broiled Salmon, steak, vegetarian, etc if you're not in the mood for Italian. Very well prepared and presented with non-guilty European portions (We Americans are glutons for double portions, so this was a welcome relief to not be served a half pound steak, or 2 huge More
Cons: Their variety, although well prepared, is limited. Breakfast menu is exactly the same (Eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, cereals, breads, juices) and the buffet is literally exactly the same every day; not much variety if you're looking for something beyond the basics. Lunch does vary, but the buffet is, except for a dozen dishes, exactly the same every day. Don't get me wrong, it is very well prepared, just limited for a vacation. Dinner, heavy emphasis on Italian (half of the menu is Italian, the other 1/4 and 1/4 menu are staples such as steak, salmon, etc.).
Kaito Japanese Restaurant: Okay, now I have not had better Japanese food ever! My only regret is that we didn't eat there earlier! A-la-carte menu is very reasonably priced ($3.50-$12.00) and a few times they had a prix-fixe (fixed price) dinner for $18.00 which was too much to eat even with 2 people eating! The food kept coming out after we already loosened the belts a notch. Absolutely go there several times!
Rooms: We had an outside balcony up on the 12th floor. Beautiful room, plenty of closet and drawers and bathroom shelf space. REally no complaints. Only thing is that there was salt on the balcony floor which took the steward 2 days to clean after 1 point-it-out to him (didn't do it) and another to his boss (did it). The salt returned after a pretty good storm which blew spray all over the entire boat. Just the way it is. Hair dryer in room, minibar fridge has enough room to put your own stuff in it.
Service: Okay now MSC fails here. Perhaps Their staff are trained in the European 'be attentive but not seen' training here that really ticks some of us off, but MSC really does need to improve here. Of the hundreds of staff we ran into (waiters, desk clerks, etc) it was the EXCEPTION to have them engage with their passengers. Example, sit down for a morning espresso at the cafeteria bar and the waiter doesn't smile, no eye contact, and the only words out of his mouth are to repeat your order and ask for your sign-and-sail card. Espresso's done and given to you, and he's now completely disengaged from you as if you're invisible until you ask for something else. European service perhaps, but at least look me in the eye, greet me, say Thank you and be courteous. And that unfortunately is the norm here on this ship. And during that same sitting, one person walked up to him and asked him for a large glass, which was literally a foot away from his hand, and he said to ask their waiter (you're at the buffet... there are bussers here...) and turned away to keep busy doing nothing. Then, another person wanted a squirt of tabasco sauce, asked him as it was closer than the glasses, and he told her too to ask her waiter to get it for her. Again, this is the norm to do only as they are instructed to do (or so it seems)and to not break any rules (this tabasco is only for the bar use). The dining room staff were not much better, although it did take them half of the cruise to remember with only one reminder who needed what such as a plate of lemons, or who didn't drink coffee after filling up their coffee cup the 5th night in a row.
Entertainment: The everning shows were fantastic! Now they are not the American 'more more more' shows with over the top acts. They're emphasis were on singing and dancing, juggling, acobatics, and solo singing acts. There was not a live band to perform the music, and we were pleasantly suprised at how much better the overall performance was due to this! Less