My husband and I have taken many cruises with one other being on a MSC ship so we were not surprised at the differences on this Italian ship versus other American geared ships. We live in Florida so it was a drive down to the port. We parked in the port parking but I think next time we will go the night before and spend the night in a hotel and leave our car there. From other passengers it seems this is less expensive and convenient. We boarded the ship quickly and were escorted to our room by a friendly crew member. Our room was 11040 with balcony and was spotless. Our room steward greeted us with a smile. Up to the buffet for the first meal of many. I am not a huge fan on buffets in general for it seems the people that complain the most about food and selection are the same ones that pile their plates a mile high, go back for seconds and whine the whole time. I found the food to be varied, plentiful and good in the buffet the first day and the other few times we ate there. I also found the waiters to be very friendly and courteous.
The ship is very pretty and laid out well. I also found the ship to be spotless as well. It seems someone is always shining something. Our whole cruise I didn't find one crew member that didn't smile and have something nice to say. We had a table for 2 in late seating and once again our table steward and his assistant were efficient and friendly. We enjoy the Italian cuisine and although not every selection was my favorite, we enjoyed our meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. MSC is different than most cruise lines in that the dining room is open for all meals whether at port or at sea which I like. I try to avoid the feeding frenzy buffet as much as possible even though the food is good. My favorites on the menu are appetizers and desserts. My husband loves soups and this ship did not disappoint. The wine selection this cruise seemed to be better than the last.
We went to a few shows which are great on this cruise line. It doesn't seem that the shows are cheesy like many other lines in general. We loved the Italian based shows and the music and singing was wonderful. Most evening after dinner or before we went down to the main area and enjoyed the piano and violin which was fantastic. The zebra lounge seemed to be hopping at night and the place to be if you wanted action and dancing. We took this cruise to relax and that we did.
The spa area is really nice. They have 3 free spas in the spa area with chairs overlooking the water which I loved and took advantage of quite a bit. I also got great deals on 2 massages that I loved!
We had been to most of the ports of call so we only took one tour on our own which we enjoyed. I was disappointed that our horse riding tour in the rain forest in PR was cancelled for lack of enough people but we went to the rain forest on a tour we found on our own and loved it. It was very reasonable even though it is a 50 minute drive to get there. Shopped in St Martin and got a pretty ring. The ship seem to have good prices on liquor so just bought it there. Grenada downtown was a rat race but I am sure the tours were much better.
So many people complain about the announcements in 5 languages. Too that I say "get a life". I actually find it interesting and amazing that so many people speak so many languages. We Americans lag way behind in this area in general. I love the fact that you are not hounded continually for drinks when laying out on the deck. I also like that the make up of the ship is largely European for I like the diversity. I get American and Spanish at the local mall. It is nice to meet Italian, French, Dutch etc.
To sum it up.......the ship is beautiful, our room was spotless at all times, the food was good and I never walked away from the table hungry, the entertainment was classy, the staff friendly and helpful, and the price for our balcony was great. My husband loves to sit and relax on the balcony and the weather cooperated for his pleasure. An added unexpected plus was it was an old timer baseball cruise. He got to see and go to question and answer times with 5 great retired baseball players and free autographs. He remembered all of them from his childhood and loved this time during our cruise. I do wish that this cruise line would offer pizza continually like other ships especially since it is an Italian line. Some times it is nice just to grab pizza and enjoy on the balcony at different times of day.
I would say that if you are looking for a cruise ship with a party atmosphere and lots of action this cruise line would not fit that bill. But our lives are hectic and we wanted time together relaxing and catching up and this fit perfect.