I have only once felt the need to sign up for a " blog " but I feel so strongly about my experience that I would like to add my voice to previous reviews.
My daughter a Columbia U. student on winter break and myself chose MSC thru a local travel agency. Our choice was primarily due to our restrictions on travel dates and our choice on a European cruise.
I thought I did my research on the cruise line thru various sites , this one , trip advisor etc. We felt that despite the negative reviews many people described , we would try not to prejudge and make our own opinion.
Our cruise was out of Venice, Italy 1/5/12 9 days expected itinerary was Bari, Haifa, Rhodes, Athens .
The weather ( not fault of MSC) was very bad and we were unable to make port at Bari and instead docked at Ravenna Italy to pick up passengers that were supposed to have boarded in Bari .
First it was not made known to me nor thru the travel agent that this was a scheduled stop to board additional passengers and the expectation was " sightseeing" We instead ended up in Ravena ( only 3 hours to see) then headed off to Haifa ( this was to be a 2-day port stop) allowing the many sights be seen and appreciated ( as many could not be seen in 1 day given the distance between cities ) . Our next stop was Rhodes and we had only 3 hours there also, MSC sighting : Israel authorities for the delay in departure) . We then went to Athens and were unable to dock for a full 2 hours again MSC sighting " maritime traffic " being heavy for the delay .
I could go on but space does not allow .
The passengers were not assured during the " extreme weather conditions" that the ship experienced the 1 st 2 days that we were " OK" or that the weather would improve or that the mandatory " safety drill" would be scheduled when the conditions improved or in the event that the ship was in danger how to view the TV interactive program on the life vest application, lifeboat location and expectations that were .
We were fortunate as we do not suffer from sea sickness but many passengers were very ill and little assurance to alleviate some anxiety would have benefited them
The food as described in many reviews was completely inadequate in quality the same dishes were served at dinner both at the buffet and the sit down dinner on many occasions .
The alcoholic drinks were poorly made ( I doubt there was a actual person who had bar tending training ) in any of the many bars on board. The variety was also non-existent .
The staff housekeeping and wait staff were very tired but very polite and helpful, I have no complaints about them.
My complaint does involve the 6.00 euro /person /day that is taken from your bill for " tips" it does not allow nor insure that the hard-working staff are given any tips and my feeling that it goes to the company.
I have been on cruises RCCL line in the past and know what expectation for service there is .
MSC simply does not meet American standards for service, quality or comfort,
We met several British passengers who felt the same and gave very poor reviews at the end of the voyage
I will never sail MSC again and advise others to give serious consideration to other cruise lines if you want a vactaion that is stress free
I will be wtiting a letter to MSC and my travel agent as well
Sorry for the lengthy review but I kept it as brief as I could given my horrible " vacation " experience .