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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I had read the previous bad reviews before we left and was hoping that they were wrong but unfortunatley they were all correct. We had previously sailed with Celebrity and MSC is like compariing Butlins with The Ritz with Celebrity being ... Read More
I had read the previous bad reviews before we left and was hoping that they were wrong but unfortunatley they were all correct. We had previously sailed with Celebrity and MSC is like compariing Butlins with The Ritz with Celebrity being the Ritz.. The main problem with MSC is it is not a cruise, It was a ferry picking up different people at each port who apparently get a cheap deal for a few days. When the new passengers embark you then had to endear the safety drill in about 6 languages every time. 3 nights in a row does wear a bit thin. We also had an issue with the security on the ship. We had noticed that when you return onboard the security guards checking the bags being scanned are not actually looking at the screens and just letting the bags through. This happened on quite a few occassion and when we complained to the reception desk we were just told that they were understaffed and that there were only 20 reception staff for over 4000 passengers. The overall impression you get from the ship is that the whole staff are unhappy. Not once did the Captain come on the tanoy to do any annoucements and the only time we saw him was on the gala night if you wanted your picture taken with him, The ship itself seems very dated and tired and in need of a update. The cabin itself was ok but the shower curtain in the bathroom seemed very old fashioned. The food was ok but very small portions in the restuarant. The meat seemed very tough and low quality. The whole ship did not feel very clean and especially the general toilets and buffett restaurant could do with a good clean. The entertainment was also very poor. We were on the ship for 14 days and one show was on 3 times during that time. There only seemed to be 7 shows all of which were low quality and they need to spend some money on the backdrops. The only backdrops they had were some stairs. We had made a formal compaint on board and asked to speak to the customer service manager but were told we could not speak to him, The excrursions were not too bad but we had booked a cataraman trip but the boat was not a cataraman, when we questioned this at the excursion desk we were told tha the manager was not there at the time and they would get in touch with us, which they did not. Overall this was a very disappointing cruise and we would definatley not go with MSC again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our second cruise they were both with MSC This was a special holiday as we were going to be celebrating our Golden wedding anniversary, but things were made very frustrating from the beginning because even though I booked 8 ... Read More
This was our second cruise they were both with MSC This was a special holiday as we were going to be celebrating our Golden wedding anniversary, but things were made very frustrating from the beginning because even though I booked 8 months ahead I was told I couldn't book our seats on the flight Apparently they block book their clients on the aircraft but only release the names a few days prior to the holiday I did have a specific reason which was my husband is coelic and needs a gluten free meal this needs to be requested a least 48hrs prior to the flight , MSC told me I had to wait until the flight day to book my seat I even wrote to the CEO with no joy. I rung virgin daily prior to our departure and 5 days before we flew I managed to book our seats but only for the outward journey We were quite lucky on the outward journey so many couples and families were separated a great way to start a holiday and most had done exactly what I had done by calling MSC only be told the same thing If you choose one of their cruises BOOK YOUR OWN FLIGHT unless you are not bothered were you sit. Our greeting at Barbados airport could have been better but we were one of the last as our suitcases took ages to come through The service in the Yacht club was really 5 star but on the occasions we went on other decks it was so crowded, personally I could not have spent two weeks there. We also had a huge problem which strangely was connected to my husband being coelic He was not allowed to eat anywhere but our designated restaurant which would have been fine if we had wanted to go there 3 plus times a day but we didn't How fantastic would it have been to sit in a restaurant mostly on our own during the day? My husband couldn't eat any snacks no room service which we had paid for in our package, I can understand they didn't want us to sue them if my husband ate something that he was allergic to ,but we have eaten all around the world and there never has been a designated kitchen (he does not have that at home) At breakfast and lunch he had cold meat and cheese which was ok but not what we were expecting, MSC had been informed about his condition 8 months ago but didn't inform me there would be a problem, I have written twice to them since we returned but they have ignored my emails. Apart from the food everything else was great and I would highly recommend yacht club Deck 18 was were we had a pool and their were loads of loungers, service there was second to none, you certainly do get what you pay for, it would have been nice to have more sun shade on the top deck and the beds would have been better with mattresses but apart from that it was lovely as were the staff Our designated restaurant was fantastic as was the staff but for three days they had no gluten free bread The cruise itself was lovely our cabin was great and the service of our butler couldn't have been better. Tips we paid the daily rate to MSC but it appeared that lots of people we met didn't they just tipped the staff that served them and I have to say I wished I had also Because at the end of the cruise I also tipped our butler the girl that did our room and some waiters but obviously not as much as some because they hadn't paid into the MSC daily rate and I really felt bad I spoke to the concierge quite a few times about our return journey and about my husbands meal, she told me that it had all been arranged and I wan't to worry but unfortunately a last disappointment no meal at all Thanks MSC Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We choose this ship as it had a great itinary, however due to the hurricane they had to change it. ( not the ships fault) Having been on approx 30 cruises, covering a wide range of cruise ships both large and small I have to say this ... Read More
We choose this ship as it had a great itinary, however due to the hurricane they had to change it. ( not the ships fault) Having been on approx 30 cruises, covering a wide range of cruise ships both large and small I have to say this is the worst ship I have been on and certainly wouldn’t go on an MSC cruise again. Embarkation was poor, you were left to do everything on your own eg register your cards etc, this is the first time on a ship that we have had to do this and it felt very inpersonal. As soon as we got to our cabin it was time to attend the lifeboat duty, this was poor and unorganised. We then hadn’t the time to go to the dining room so we had to eat in the buffet, I’m not a huge fan of buffets but this was awful, the area was large and most of it was well presented, however the food was poor quality and only just warm. The Cabin was a nice size but I was quite surprised to see that the balcony rail was sticky and full of fingerprints and also splashes of paint. The shower we had to tie with a piece of string to stop it spinning around and when you looked really closley it was a bit rough and grubby around the edges. The dining room in the evening was quite nice and the food again was well presented, however the food was poor! Service was slow and at times I didn’t really want to go down to eat. I was quite annoyed and upset that I had to witness waiters coming round with laminated A4 sheets pushing steak and lobster which was to be added to your account should you wish to order.NEVER have I witnessed anything so humiliating on a cruise ship! The breakfast dining room was scruffy, when guests had finished their breakfast the crumbs were just swept from the table with their hands onto the floor. Again the food was poor and the orange juice was more like squash, if you wanted a good fresh orange you had to pay for it. We came back actually lighter than when we went. We met a few lovely staff who went out of their way, but on the whole they were miserable and could be quite rude. The cruise was more like a glorified holiday camp and I would suggest anyone looking for a cruise not to use this company. Also any first time cruisers on this ship, please don’t be put off, this is not cruising! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this cruise as we wanted to re visit the Caribbean and visit different islands. Ship is quite beautiful cannot fault the cleanliness of either our cabin or the public places. We found the staff by and large to be friendly and ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we wanted to re visit the Caribbean and visit different islands. Ship is quite beautiful cannot fault the cleanliness of either our cabin or the public places. We found the staff by and large to be friendly and helpful. I paid an extra 1500 each to up grade to Aurea not worth it. My Choice dining fine but we found we wanted to eat at the same time anyway so we could have done away with that. The Aurea sundeck yes I know it is a solarium, but there wasn’t a scrap of shade, the pods were charged at 30 euros daily, really when we’ve already paid to upgrade. The service on this deck on the first day excellent, cold flannels frequently asked if we required a drink. After that I don’t know what happened had to fetch our own drinks and no cold flannels. Now for the food , given that the cruise cost around 3500 pounds each, it was so disappointing, badly cooked mish mash didn’t have a clue. I never met one person that enjoyed their dining experience. The itinerary changed largely because of the hurricanes, but why did nobody tell us that our luxury cruise was in fact a glorified ferry, picking up hundreds of cheap fare paying passengers whose children travelled free. By and large they were rude and arrogant, getting in a lift became a battle of nerves as they dared you with hostile looks to step over the threshold. Entertainment don’t bother! Disembarkation a nightmare supposed to be priority we were last but one group of the ship. Consequently back of a very long queue at the airport with no hope of sitting together during the long flight. To top it all the computers had gone down at checkout and we queued for nearly two hours, to sum up upgrading to Aurea not one single advantage, would I travel on an Msc ship again....never Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
IMO this cruise was incorrectly marketed by Cruise Club UK as 15 Nights – “Jewels of the Caribbean – Cruise” from Barbados & see a different Island everyday, with whom we booked As already reported, by others, this cruise is ... Read More
IMO this cruise was incorrectly marketed by Cruise Club UK as 15 Nights – “Jewels of the Caribbean – Cruise” from Barbados & see a different Island everyday, with whom we booked As already reported, by others, this cruise is basically 2x7 Nights cruises “back to back” with slight variations bought about by the damage done to certain islands by last year’s hurricanes. This also enables MSC to fill the ship with what appears to be families from Martinique & Guadeloupe, on a 7 day basis and at bargain basement prices & free child places, which completely changes the complexion of the ship from luxury cruising to car ferry or worse status. Our worst experience being the breakfast buffet, which was just as if it had been attacked by a plague of locusts. The difference being that huge amounts of food was wasted and left piled uneaten on plates or on the floor and literally every fruit juice dispenser being drained completely dry. We also found that we were regularly and involuntarily taking part in a competition to see if we could get the elevator overload alarms ringing each time we used them. Additionally, from those we talked to, we seemed the only couple to have paid anything like the full price for the cruise, with even most British couples paying almost 50% of what we paid. As someone else reported, the last thing MSC really seem interested in is keeping their loyal customers happy and satisfied. This was our 5th cruise with MSC, our last being a repositioning cruise from Brazil back to the UK in 2012, where MSC did a similar trick of filling the ship with Brazilian families at much reduced prices, however it was not half as bad as this recent experience, but at the time we did say “never again”. Just a quick note on the ports of call, several of which are quite grim places to explore on foot (Kingstown, St Vincent & The Grenadines immediately comes to mind). Therefore, your only options are to stay on board; take a taxi from the port or pay MSC even more money and take one of their exorbitantly priced excursions. Disappointingly, there was also insufficient time to see any thing of Barbados (except from the transfer bus), as MSC dock in the harbour at the absolute furthest point possible from Bridgetown town centre. A critism we also heard from other guests, possibly less able than ourselves, but related to other ports such as Castries (St Lucia), where we could clearly see a TUI cruise ship, on both our visits, docked adjacent to the town centre. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise was incorrectly marketed as 15 Nights – “Jewels of the Caribbean – Cruise” from Barbados & see a different Island everyday, with whom we booked As already reported, by others, this cruise is basically 2x7 Nights ... Read More
This cruise was incorrectly marketed as 15 Nights – “Jewels of the Caribbean – Cruise” from Barbados & see a different Island everyday, with whom we booked As already reported, by others, this cruise is basically 2x7 Nights cruises “back to back” with slight variations bought about by the damage done to certain islands by last year’s hurricanes. This also enables MSC to fill the ship with what appears to be extended families from Martinique & Guadeloupe, on a 7 day turnaround basis, and at what we heard were bargain basement prices, which completely changes the complexion of the ship from luxury cruising to car ferry or worse status. Our worst experience being the breakfast buffet, which was left just as if it had been attacked by a plague of locusts. The difference being that huge amounts of food was wasted and left piled uneaten on plates, food all over the floor, and literally every fruit juice dispenser being drained completely dry. We also found that we were regularly and involuntarily taking part in a competition to see if we could get the elevator overload alarms ringing each time we used them. Additionally, from those we talked to, we seemed the only couple to have paid anything like the full price for the cruise, with most British couples paying almost 50% of what we had paid. As someone else reported, the last thing MSC really seem interested in is keeping their loyal customers happy and satisfied. This was our 5th cruise with MSC, our last being a repositioning cruise from Brazil back to the UK in 2012, where MSC did a similar trick of filling the ship with Brazilian extended families at much reduced prices, however it was not half as bad as this recent experience, but at the time, we recall we did say “never again”. Just a quick note on the ports of call, several of which are quite grim places to explore on foot (St Vincent & The Grenadines immediately comes to mind), Therefore your only options are to stay on board; take a taxi from the port or pay MSC even more money and take one of their exorbitantly priced & poor VFM excursions. Disappointingly, there is also insufficient time to see any thing of Barbados (except from the transfer bus), as MSC dock in the harbour at the absolute furthest point possible from Bridgetown town centre. A critism we also heard from other guests, possibly less able than ourselves, but related to other ports such as Castries (St Lucia), where we could clearly see a TUI cruise ship, on both our visits, docked across the harbour, adjacent to the town centre. We somehow don't think that we'll be giving them yet another chance!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Initially chose the cruise after seeing it advertised. The itinerary as advertised suited us well as it included islands we had seen before and wanted to revisit as well as places we had yet to see. The cost of the cruise was attractive ... Read More
Initially chose the cruise after seeing it advertised. The itinerary as advertised suited us well as it included islands we had seen before and wanted to revisit as well as places we had yet to see. The cost of the cruise was attractive when the level of services was taken into account. Although we enjoyed most aspects of the cruise there were definite drawbacks mainly with the excursions department. Nowhere is there any information given regarding the actual time of any excursion. We are told how many hours the excursion will last but not the actual departure time. When we booked excursions from the MSC website online prior to the cruise it did not give departure times, nor was this information given on the excursion booking forms on board the ship and not even on the excursion tickets that are supplied to the cabin the day before the excursion. The only details regarding timing of the excursions appears on the Daily Program which is put into cabins the evening prior to the excursion departure. The Daily Program only gives the time and place of the meeting (usually the theatre on deck 6) from where the group will be led to the waiting buses etc. On every other cruise line we have travelled with it is normal for pre-booked excursion tickets to be printed for all excursions and left in your cabin on day 1 of the cruise. Our very first excursion (to Maracas Beach in Trinidad) we met in the Theatre and we waited and waited long after the allotted time for the meeting, with no information given out as to why we were not leaving the ship for the waiting buses. Eventually we set off but it was a long, long wait, with no information. Also when you enter the theatre there is a screen above the stage displaying the various excursions and arrows pointing to the left or the right. We saw many people enter the theatre and just sit down on the left or right as indicated by the arrows. They did not know that they were supposed to meet the MSC excursion people standing at foot of stage to register and receive their numbered bus stickers. It would have been helpful to have instructions to see the reps displayed on the screen, or to have announcements made to that effect. A second excursion (this time to the all inclusive beach break at Bayahibe Beach in Dominican Republic) was delayed when we got to the bus. There were three or four buses due to depart at the same time. The other three left but ours did not. The reason was that a group of 15 German speaking guests had not turned up. It seems that they didn’t get the instruction to follow the guide at the same time as we did. This caused at least a 15 minute delay. Those of us seated on the bus queried the reps and driver as to the cause of the delay but none could, or would, give us a reason. Again a lack of information causing stress and inconvenience. On the same excursion we had not been informed that the resort would supply us with beach towels and so we took our own – extra inconvenience. Also I found it strange that once on the beach I had to pay for two bottles of water from the bar on the jetty – not included in our package seemingly. It would have been better to be told this in advance. We did find a beachside bar later on that did supply free drinks. On the bus from the ship to the resort there was no air conditioning switched on. Many passengers were pleading with the driver to switch it on. He said it was on but it obviously was not as could be clearly seen by the slider temperature control which was at its lowest setting. Even when this was pointed out he still did not change it. On the return journey my wife pointed this out to an MSC rep and he managed to make sure the a/c worked on the way back to the ship.Another excursion had major problems too. This time it was the one to Gosier Island by catamaran. (Guadaloupe). The night before the excursion we returned to our cabin (13122) just before 9.00pm. We expected to find the letter in our cabin with details about the excursion. The evenings Daily Program had said that instead of the usual meeting in the theatre at a stated time that we would get a letter in our cabin. As there was no letter I telephoned the excursion desk to be told by a lady there that she had no record of our booking. I was shocked as we had pre-booked and prepaid and had written confirmation of this booking. She said to come down to the desk which we did. When we got there the desk was unmanned due to a lifeboat emergency drill just having started. We waited from 9pm until 9.45pm until the excursions team staff returned This time on checking the computer system we were told that our booking was there in the system. I was also told that I could not have been told by the lady who answered the telephone earlier that the booking could not be found. When I insisted that was what we had been told she again said that this could not have happened. The implication being that I had made this up I assume.I was not at all pleased to be accused in effect of lying. When I asked for a copy of the letter I was told it was already up in our cabin – the cabin attendant had, we were told, delivered it. On returning to the cabin there was no letter. My wife went out into the cabin to try to find our cabin attendant (who we have nothing but praise for) but could not see her. On returning to the cabin she found a member of the excursion team slipping a letter under our cabin door. When my wife queried what she was doing her first response was to walk away but then she thought better of it and came back to the cabin to say that this was the letter we were waiting on. The letter contained just the following information – time and meeting place. 1,00pm in the Theatre on deck six. Why this could not have been in the daily Program we do not know. However, next morning we discovered that there were two trips on the catamaran to Gosier Islet. One meeting was at 9.00am and the other at 1.00pm We had not been asked which excursion we would have preferred to go on. In fact the earlier one would have suited us better. The information we had about the excursion was that Gosier was an uninhabited islet with no facilities and no sun loungers, umbrellas etc. Given the lack of shade the earlier departure away from the heat of the afternoon would have suited us better, especially as we were early dining. But with MSC you take what you are given. We were never officially informed of the change in itinerary by MSC. We only learned of this while pre-booking excursions a few weeks before departure. It was then that we realised that the original itinerary including visits to St Maarten and Tortola had been replaced. At times the ship felt more like a ferry than a cruise liner. There were so many ports where passengers embarked and disembarked. We have never had to listen to so many emergency drill instructions in a two week cruise – and all given in 5 or even 6 languages. When we got our cruise ship cards in our cabin on day 1 of the cruise we noticed that we only had the code for the mealtime plan shown on the card (code 704). However we had bought the all inclusive plan and so we should have had code 431 on the card as well, and it was not shown. I went to reception to rectify the situation. The agent on reception confirmed that we should have had code 432 as well as 704 but he had to contact a member of the dining team to verify this and to authorise changing the card. This was eventually done but this was not the start to the cruise that we had expected. On the sea day when we were travelling to the Dominican Republic we went out onto deck 14 and got two sun loungers under cover near the Aqua Pool. Further down the deck an area had been cordoned off and there were a couple of empty tables behind the cordon. These tables we assumed were for the sale of goods that was to take place on the deck later in the morning. However, it soon became apparent that the area cordoned off was not big enough for all the table of goods and the cordon began approaching us. Then we were told we would ‘Have to Move’ as more tables were needed in the space we occupied. We pointed out that we had not placed our sun loungers in the cordoned off section when we arrived earlier and that they should have known the extent of the deck space required by the tables and cordoned off a suitable area from early morning. Advance planning is not a strong point of MSC. Eventually an officer came and we agreed to move if another shaded area could be found. Eventually it was and we along with others were moved. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
MSC Fantasia 2 week cruise from Feb 27th embarking and disembarking at Bridgetown We count flights as part of the cruise package as they count for a significant portion of the total cost. With this in mind I was trying for months to ... Read More
MSC Fantasia 2 week cruise from Feb 27th embarking and disembarking at Bridgetown We count flights as part of the cruise package as they count for a significant portion of the total cost. With this in mind I was trying for months to get a flight booking ref / PNR out of MSC, without which you cannot make any seat requests or check in online. I was given several reasons why the ref could not be given, one of which was that with it I would be able to see the names of other passengers. Obviously this not true unless I had access to the Virgin Atlantic (VA) booking system! So two days before departure VA gave me a booking ref but it was only for the outbound leg! Why would MSC make two separate bookings? Crazy. To the cruise itself and I should stress that if MSC sorted the problems caused by multiple pick ups of shore based passengers at a bargain basement price then I would prob have given a very good rating without much hesitation. The crew worked really, really hard with 7 day a week shifts with no days off - at least not for the bar staff etc. The pick ups I referred to above were behind the bizarre reason why we went back to the same place twice on 3 occasions. Apparantely MSC were selling tickets for a 1 week cruise for $200 with children free. That accounted for the masses of extended families that boarded at Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica and who seemed to think that a lift was a TARDIS! Someone at our table summed the situation up very well with the words that those that paid the most are valued the least. And I did get permission to use them! The Dominican Republic is over 600 miles from the rest of the Islands that the MSC Fantasia visited and meant a day at Sea and only half a day at St Kitts & Nevis. If Dominica was dropped from the itinerary and the repeat visits to Martinique & Guadeloupe done away with, the Ship could have visited St Lucia, St Maarten & the British Virgin Islands that were on the original itinerary. The excuse that St Maarten was too badly damaged to dock is blown away by the fact that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship at least as big as ours visited St Maarten during our time in the Caribbean. Finally excursions - a very good selection at most destinations, however the people who sold the excursions seemed to have little or no knowledge of their details, apart from what was in the brochures that each cabin was given. One couple on our Dinner table had booked and paid for some excursions months in advance. However the night before they were told that the scenic train on St Kitts had a technical problem and was not running, as we were told when we tried to book. However it was running as we saw it from our open air coach that made an Island tour. Story was that Royal Caribbean had gazumped our passengers with a huge block booking. Having said all of the above it is still a cost effective way of visiting eight countries, in some style. Balcony cabin 12095 has a significantly larger balcony than the others and so I assume does the corresponding cabin on the starboard side. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
After looking forward to this trip for some time, and having the itinerary changed due to the hurricane we decided to go ahead with the trip as to put it off until things had recovered would have been too costly (having to pay the air fare ... Read More
After looking forward to this trip for some time, and having the itinerary changed due to the hurricane we decided to go ahead with the trip as to put it off until things had recovered would have been too costly (having to pay the air fare again). Our flights with Virgin were good apart from not having seats together with my husband. Embarking ok, but as we were late arriving the safety drill was already happening so we went straight to the restaurant for our 6.30pm meal, not very good at all, not much choice the food not really hot, plates cold, we hoped this would improve, in fact it got no better at all. Quite often the meat was tough and undercooked, sent back several meals as they were inedible. When at one point we complained we were told "there are always chips" not what you expect to be told when you are on a cruise ship. Hand sanitisation should be compulsory not just letting people go into the restaurants ignoring the dispensers and walking past the crew who were trying to spray hands. We paid for a 16 night cruise when in fact what we had was a 7 day cruise and a 7 day ferry trip. The passengers embarking at several different ports were very noisy people and came in groups of fourteen and sixteen at times not a lot of fun if you were trying to get out of a lift when they were all piling in. The port at St Vincent was awful, why we stopped there I do not know. The one day at sea seemed a bit of a waste of time to go to Dominican Republic arriving at 7.30am and leaving at 2.30pm. The entertainment team were very talented and put on some good shows but on the second week it was all repeated. Bars Service always good and the staff friendly and polite. The service in the restaurant was fine, but the food was not. Cabins roomy and comfortable. Cabin crew did a brilliant job, always clean towels, they worked really hard. The ship in itself was beautiful, clean and comfortable, but the trip was spoilt by the awful food and the constant safety drills, embarking and disembarking passengers I do think MSC should stop selling this trip as a 16 day cruise for UK passengers as it really was not good. If MSC want to target the British market with ships sailing from Southampton they should really get things sorted, I for one will never go with them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Just returned from a Caribbean cruise on the MSC Fantasia. Where to start, let's go with the good points:- Nice ship, very smart. Room (we had a balcony), pretty good, clean. Bars, pretty good too, with reasonable entertainment, ... Read More
Just returned from a Caribbean cruise on the MSC Fantasia. Where to start, let's go with the good points:- Nice ship, very smart. Room (we had a balcony), pretty good, clean. Bars, pretty good too, with reasonable entertainment, not fantastic but OK. Ports of call OK, but scruffy, not exactly paradise. Bad points:- THE FOOD (apologies for shouting), but it really was terrible. We cruise for 'fine dining' and this was a million miles from it. Like school dinners, only worse. We expected better from an Italian cruise, you always think Italy is synonymous with good food, apparently not. We had at least 5 lifeboat drills during our 14 day cruise which does not lend itself to a relaxing atmosphere. The crowds in the help yourself buffet were like a Saturday afternoon scrum in an amateur rugby league game, with more pushing and shoving than a January sale. In summary, if you go on the MSC Fantasia, take your own food, a gum shield and hope that the time fly's. Home sweet home. You have been warned. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My wife and I initially chose this cruise because of the original itinerary. Due to the hurricane damage last year the cruise destinations had to be altered which resulted in a number of islands being visited twice. This was not the fault ... Read More
My wife and I initially chose this cruise because of the original itinerary. Due to the hurricane damage last year the cruise destinations had to be altered which resulted in a number of islands being visited twice. This was not the fault of MSC but if we had cancelled the cruise we would still have had to pay the cost of the return flights from London Gatwick to Barbados. It has to be said straight away that this cruise line places itself in the budget end of the market and from that viewpoint it represents reasonable value for money.However if you are looking for a decent cruise experience avoid this cruise like the plague.Right from the start there were issues with transport from Barbados Airport to the cruise ship and the buses provided were old and small with no external space for hand luggage which resulted in hand luggage being carried on your knees for a 40 minute journey. Not comfortable at all! Cabins are of reasonable size and quality, but provide very little space for clothes and TVs are small and only have two news channels in English. Dinner in the main restaurant is not like other cruise lines.There is little choice with repetitive meals and small portions which vary greatly in quality.Neither is any coffee served with meals. There is one single buffet for a cruise ship with some 4500 passengers and 1500 crew. Table space was a struggle at the best of times but for the single all day at sea there were still long queues to get in,even at 3pm in the afternoon.Observance of hygiene standards was very hit and miss with hygiene point of entry dispensers more often than not,not working at all. Having travelled on ships with other cruise lines it was questionable whether this ship was fully using its stabilisers because at times the rise and fall of the ship was quire noticeable even though the sea was comparitively calm. Evenig shows were timed so for example the early dinner sitting of 6.30pm the show did not start until 9.30pm or later. The shows were repetetive and all in Italian and the majority were different variants of Opera.Don't get me wrong my wife and I enjoy Opera but there was simply too much of it, and virtually nothing of anything else. It should also be commented that drinks cannot be purchased or taken into the theatre. One of the worst aspects of this cruises was that the ship was classified as a Ferry ship and for example berthed in the Ferry terminal of Martinique and not in Simon Pier which is where regular cruise ships dock. As a result the ship was full of Caribbean locals who are able to purchase cheap tickets. Martinique was not alone in this, as this also for example applied to Guardeluope.Why was this so bad? Well, because at every port where passengers embarked time was taken for their safety drill/life jackets etc. This was not carried out in a specific part of the ship or out on deck,as you would normally expect but was carried out through the entire ship in multi languages. For those passengers who were on their cruise and not embarking all social activity was stopped on each occasion and this included all the bars etc.For example, my wife and I together with some friends waited in a bar which was crowded with new people who had embarked where the bar was closed from 8.35pm until 10.15pm.This is a regular occurrence and is not what you expect when you pay a lot of money for a cruise to the Caribbean Islands! My wife and I purchased a number of shore excursions with MSC before we started the cruise and chose to do our own thing at other ports as is the norm. However, there was one port where we had not purchased an excursion so we decided to view the available excursions that were shown on the cabin TV. Imagine our surprise when the TV indicated that excursions were not available or were only available for passengers who were disembarking the ship en route to their airport. It was only a few days later when we encountered an excursion rep were we told that the information on the TV was incorrect and that all excursions were available to purchase! However nothing was changed in this respect by MSC so obviously they were not interested in correcting this misleading information. As a final point it should be noted that on four consecutive nights we received a leaflet in our cabin which said that our balcony was going to be cleaned and to ensure that the balcony doors and curtains were closed for privacy. Fair enough, but it did not happen for three days and then the balcony was drenched in the morning with high power hoses on the fourth day. Well in the afternoon after returning from an excursion whilst we were sitting on the balcony the same thing happened. Balcony cleaning comprised of two high power jets of water being fired across the balcony into the glass balcony doors. As a result the floor of the balcony was like a swimming pool and the balcony furniture was soaked but there was no follow up service to either clean the balcony or remove any of the water. What an experience but never again will be booking a cruise with MSC because of what has been mentioned above in this review. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because thought we'd be going to 10 different islands in fact we went to 8 islands, a day and 2 nights at sea, three of the islands we visited twice the two French islands we visited was to pick up locals on 7day ... Read More
We chose this cruise because thought we'd be going to 10 different islands in fact we went to 8 islands, a day and 2 nights at sea, three of the islands we visited twice the two French islands we visited was to pick up locals on 7day cruises who were only paying €200-300 and kids went free, so not only was we acting like a ferry service, it felt like we were subsidising their cruise and being used by MSC for their own convenience, so after the first week we just did the same one the second week hence " one cruise for two weeks" Other problems was the food in the restaurant, a lot of which was inedible and was sent back the alternative offered was French fries! yet it was supposed to be "Gourmet Food" that was an insult to fine dining, when we spoke to a member of the management she said " they had no control over the kitchen as to the menu as it was a catering company" All the staff were brilliant and overall the ship was nice but MSC need to get their act together This was our first cruise with MSC and I won't be going with them again Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We choose there Fantasia because of the schedule, 9 islands in 14 days sailing from Barbados. First impressions of the ship were good, huge,glitzy, and full of things to keep us amused. That soon changed. What we didn't know was ... Read More
We choose there Fantasia because of the schedule, 9 islands in 14 days sailing from Barbados. First impressions of the ship were good, huge,glitzy, and full of things to keep us amused. That soon changed. What we didn't know was that the ship would be picking up passengers on route at 5 of the 9 islands we visited which resulted in pandamoniium on those change over days. Firstly we found that new arrivals were held in certain areas of the ship waiting for their cabins, and we were excluded from those areas while they waited. And all new passengers had to do lifeboat drill, OK, but when it's done 5 times and mostly about 6pm when you want to sit and relax with a drink, oh no, sorry we were told can't serve drinks while lifeboat drill was ongoing, not even a tea or coffee!!!!!! If felt more like we were on a huge ferry, food times were manic, if you sit at the 9pm late sitting as we did, we were stil eating at 10.30pm!!!! Also the portions given were meagre. We decided to eat at the Buffet, always plenty of choice, but noisy and crowded. More like eating in a Weatherspoons but you have to get it yourself. We had a cabin with balcony on deck 10, we were happy with our accommodation and the service we received from our cabin boy. But all common areas on the upper decks especially the pool area were far to crowded most days, when there is 4000 people on a boat, you have to be lucky to get the seat or sun lounger you want unless you are the first one up early in the day. Ullimatley, we got to see the islands and that was our main aim, but the whole experience on board the ship was a disapointment. If you want to go to the Carribean, choose a smaller ship not a Ferry. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
My wife, I & two friends recently returned from a cruise on the MSC Fantasia which sailed from Bridgetown, Barbados on the 27th February 2018 The Fantasia is a beautiful well kept ship but it is seriously lacking in certain areas, ... Read More
My wife, I & two friends recently returned from a cruise on the MSC Fantasia which sailed from Bridgetown, Barbados on the 27th February 2018 The Fantasia is a beautiful well kept ship but it is seriously lacking in certain areas, there was repeatedly no hand sanitizing gel in the machines when coming on board and when entering the restaurant. Despite mentioning this to numerous members of staff, nobody was interested and nothing was done to remedy the situation. I take it they are concerned about Nora Virus. They say a well run ship starts from the top and that is definitely were the problem seems to begin. There was not one announcement from the Captain on a 14 night cruise, he was only ever seen about the ship when he was at the cocktail party or socializing with his entourage, no time to talk to customers. This attitude seemed to carry down to all other departments with an extremely unhappy crew. On speaking to some crew members they all confirmed that if you were part of the Captains clan, some staff got to stand around while others had to run around and pick up the slack, making for very poor service especially in the restaurant. The service in the main restaurant was abysmal,not the fault of the waiters ,there just wasn't enough of them, we waited 35 minutes on one occasion from ordering to getting a starter and only then after complaining. Moving on to the food in the main restaurant, it is the worst food I have ever been served on over 30 cruises(six of them with MSC). The food was never hot, just luke warm,( the maitre d' hotel blamed the air conditioning ) and the meats were the poorest quality I have ever been served on a cruise ship,even veal that was impossible to cut. The food in the buffet was far superior, WHY? We took the all inclusive drinks package and found it very strange that one of the drinks you couldn't have was a $5 cider in this day and age yet you could have much more expensive drinks costing more than double the cost of a cider. All in all a very disappointing cruise and I have two more cruises booked with MSC this year. If MSC are trying to break into the British market they are going to have to up there game and start catering for the British tastes. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Seemed a good deal now I know why ,couldn't prebook flight seats,late arriving on board had to do safety drill the next day,food in the main dining room was terrible,on a good note crew were excellent ,cabin was always made up well ... Read More
Seemed a good deal now I know why ,couldn't prebook flight seats,late arriving on board had to do safety drill the next day,food in the main dining room was terrible,on a good note crew were excellent ,cabin was always made up well .The reason why we revisited some islands was for more passengers to board then to return them back the following week.To finish off my cruise of a life time I came down with a terrible cough 3 days before leaving the ship to return home 16 days later I'm still suffering not a good experience .The buffet was very good also good service from the crew all over the ship,I think passengers should not get a option in sanitising their hands it should be done every time when entering the restaurants.The shows in the evening were good but were repeated the second week so didn't attend the second week. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I have just read a review of someone's cruise on the Fantasia and I think that they may have been on a different cruise so felt that I needed to put the record straight. The flight out with Virgin Atlantic was delayed because the ... Read More
I have just read a review of someone's cruise on the Fantasia and I think that they may have been on a different cruise so felt that I needed to put the record straight. The flight out with Virgin Atlantic was delayed because the aircraft neeeded de-icing, however we still arrived only about 40 minutes late but were met at the airport by the MSC rep and were pointed to the bus to take us to the ship. Our hold luggage was taken from us and we were quickly boarded onto the typical 40 seat Barbados minibus for the 40 minute transfer to the ship. Once there we were embarked within 10 minutes, probably the quickest that we have experienced, and were in our cabin a few minutes later. It was a Fantastical balcony, spotless and well appointed and our steward, Iwan, made himself known and provided extra hangers, etc. Our luggage was delivered within two hours of us boarding. The lifeboat drill is lengthy because of the different nationalities on board and is repeated, of necessity, each time a new group embark so you have at least two a week, but a few minutes out of a 14 day cruise is not the end of the world! We were on early seating for dining but found it a little early so changed to late seating after a week and this suited us better. The service was excellent and the choices were good and varied. Beef, veal, steak, chicken, lamb, turkey and numerous different fish were all available during the two weeks and there were also Caribbean dishes available every day and there was no restriction on the number of courses you chose. There were several bars on board, each with different music each evening and, contrary to what I have just read, most music, as ever, was popular English songs! The theatre catered for all of the nationalities on board and was very visual, with singing and dancing. The best shows were a Queen tribute but there were French, International and a great operatic show with the usual popular songs. We never had a problem getting service in the bars, restaurant or buffet, and the staff were great and the usual mix of nationalities but all spoke English and were keen to please and provided a great service. The drinks package is one of the best at sea, but I am not a fan of the wines in the package. We have been on 30+ cruises and always do our research so we know how big the ship is and what to expect in terms of the passengers and service and we're amazed to hear a minority of Brits being surprised and disappointed that the ship was big, there was pasta available with all meals and lots of foreigners on board! However, we are pleased to have booked another cruise with MSC, our fifth, and look forward to it. The flight home, with Virgin again, was poorly serviced and they ran out of food choices and wine, but that was not the fault of MSC, but at least we landed early at Gatwick. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose the cruise around the Caribbean due to the itinerary and as we had cruised with MSC before, albeit around the Mediterranean about 5 years ago, and had a good cruise. Unfortunately things didn’t start well as we were not given ... Read More
We chose the cruise around the Caribbean due to the itinerary and as we had cruised with MSC before, albeit around the Mediterranean about 5 years ago, and had a good cruise. Unfortunately things didn’t start well as we were not given a booking reference for the Virgin site and couldn’t check in online and were unable to sit together. I can only reiterate what other reviewers have put about this cruise and whilst we don’t try to look for negatives, there was a lot wrong. Having paid full price for the cruise, it was ruined by the large influx of locals who joined for €200-300 for a week with children going free. Unfortunately the majority were rude, pushy, noisy, inconsiderate and at times obnoxious with little supervision of unruly children. On one occasion someone pushing an elderly person in a wheelchair was waiting for a lift to arrive. On the arrival of the lift, we waited for the wheelchair to go in first but a number of locals just marched in front. This typified their behaviour.The situation was exacerbated by a number of drills whenever new arrivals came on board. I realise that a safety drill is a requirement, but our table group was trying to have a peaceful drink in a bar before dinner surrounded by new arrivals in life jackets. This was made worse as the bars then ceased serving for the duration of the drill and our late dining slot became even later. It needs to be sorted out. The food is not fine dining. At dinner quality was hit and miss and some main portions were minuscule. Vegetarian options that my wife occasionally ordered were terrible. Lunch and breakfast in the free for all areas was always a scrum and an increasing number of diners appeared to be moving into the waiter service dining room for a better experience. Sanitisation was poor due to a combination of poor policy and to a certain extent by a number of the passengers. Overall we felt we were on a ferry rather than a top cruise ship and to a certain extent feel the cruise had been missold to us. Cabins and staff were fine, although cabins badly numbered to find initially. On the first night whilst having a drink the waiter got my wife’s order wrong. When advised he told us “you will have to wait” in a rude manner. I then had to chase up the bar supervisor a few minutes later to get her drink. Afterwards, my cruise card was returned to someone else, and I didn’t notice until we were going to dinner. This was sorted nicely by a new card being delivered to our dining table. In fairness, this was a one off, and serving staff were usually excellent in bars and restaurant. However, given the other issues we will not cruise with MSC again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We booked this cruise over a year ago because of the attractive price but what was a bargain turned out to be the cruise from hell. It all started from the embarkation process on arrival at Bridgetown after a long flight from London and ... Read More
We booked this cruise over a year ago because of the attractive price but what was a bargain turned out to be the cruise from hell. It all started from the embarkation process on arrival at Bridgetown after a long flight from London and having to collect our cases And lug them to a van for delivery to the ship then the awful wait queueing up for outdated buses to take us to the ship was a farce as their was no facility to store hand luggage everything had to be placed on our knee the customer service rep was not sympathetic to this and herded us on like cattle we then left for a 40 minute run to Bridgetown not so we were held up at the jetty in a convoy as only 1 coach could go on the jetty at a time time from landing at 2.45 pm till eventually getting on the ship at 5.45pm was poor we then left the ship was itself was clean as was the cabin however the ship moved around a lot for such a large ship I would question if the full use of the stabilisers were being used as with some cruise companies they are not as it is a cost or fuel saving exercise, I was not impressed with the food It was very repetitive okay if you liked turkey or pork and didn’t cater for the British palette, entertainment what can I say we were not able to see anything in the theatre as with the food it was always in French or Italian, the Manhattan Bar which we liked was the same show every evening and got pretty repetitive we didn’t sit in any of the other lounges as nothing was sung in English the British were not catered for at all and when we spoke to other British passengers they felt the same. Each island the ship visited ther was a disembarkation and a embarkation of passengers from those islands who seemed to be on cheap deals to fill the ship and when this happened we had to listen to the emergency drill through the tannoy system each day also the crew had to go through their own drills these occasions this meant that we were on an oversized ferry rather than a cruise ship most of the British people we spoke with felt the same and had never experienced this on any other cruises they had been on also at each Island the departure was quite early which seemed to be the ship was in a rush to get the people on and off had we known in advance all this information we would never ever booked this cruise and after 1 week all we wanted to do was get back home for our part this was a wast of money and we will never use MSC again if we had never been on an other cruise company we would be put off cruising altogether. We believe we should have been forewarned of all these points before committing to a booking Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked this cruise with MSC Fantastia because we had a wonderful cruise on the sister ship 2 years ago, and thought that this would be the same, how very wrong was we. The embarkation went very smooth, transport was waiting for us they ... Read More
We booked this cruise with MSC Fantastia because we had a wonderful cruise on the sister ship 2 years ago, and thought that this would be the same, how very wrong was we. The embarkation went very smooth, transport was waiting for us they took our luggage and we didn’t see it until we got to our cabin, we were on board ship very quickly. The ship itself was very impressive with crystal stairs and glass lifts as the main feature and was very clean everywhere, plenty of bars, two main restaurants a Mexican steak house which you had to pay extra and the cafeteria, 3 pools, 1 outdoor on deck, 1 indoor and 1 at the back of the ship for smokers, so far so good. THE CABIN.... We had an inside cabin on deck 11, this was the first time we have had a inside cabin as it’s all we could get, never again it was very small, although very clean and our steward was great but I didn’t like not knowing what the weather was like and not knowing what to wear, the bed was a king size and very comfortable, shower very small with a curtain which was ripped at the top. THE DINING.... we were in Cerchio D Oro restaurant on deck 6 at the back of the ship, Restaurant was laid out nicely we were on a table for 6 but only one other couple was on there, now this is a very bad complaint I am a Diabetic and there was not one sugar free desert on the menu, and when I asked they said we have ice cream or fruit, well ice cream has sugar so fruit every evening got boring for me, the only sugar free soft drink on ship was Coke Zero which I do not like the taste so I had only water to drink the whole 2 weeks. The meals were very small ok if you are a child but not an adult so my husband who is a big man had to ask for two mains meals or chips, but most meals were tasty. ENTERTAINMENT..... Not very good the shows were repeated the second week so we had seen them all the first week so only went to the bars the second week as we didn’t want to see them twice, there was no live band and all done by backing cds, dancer were quite good. BARS.... service in bars on average was 10 minutes wait for waiters to get to you to take the order, as I couldn’t get a diet mixer I only had coffee so can’t comment on the alcohol, but my husband said the Red Wine was quite good, waiters not that friendly. POOL and DECKS... plenty of sun loungers when in port and passengers were on shore but you have to be up early when at sea as like anywhere they go quick, decks clean even though we didn’t see any rubbish bins I say clean that’s when children didn’t trough drink cans etc when finished with them and there was a lot of children which I will comment on later who keep running around and jumping in the pool and was very loud. SHORE EXCURSIONS..... not worth the money and very expensive, we went on a trip to a beach in Trinidad what a rip off, when we got there it was a construction site as they were building holiday bungalows on the beach, with heavy machinery going up and down and where it had rained the track marks were nothing but mud which we had to walk on so after half an hour we went back to the mini bus ( we were not the only ones ) and had to wait 2 hours until everybody got back and it cost 85 euros for the 2 of us. FRENCH PASSENGERS.... Now the ship holds over 4,000 passengers on the second day in Port of France 2,000 French people embarked large family’s all with children which they didn’t keep under control were very loud in the cafeteria at breakfast and on deck in fact everywhere, we later found out that they paid very little Money for a week under 250 euro and the children went free, they could only eat in the cafeteria not the Restaurants, now this made me see red as we paid over 3,000 for the 2 weeks and they really took over the whole ship. We also felt that the ship was more like a ferry in the fact that on about 4 islands people got on and off and we had to listen the safety drill each time which was said in 4 different languages which was very annoying. DISEMBARKATION.... Was very good and well organised I’m pleased to say, luggage was collected from cabin and we collected it at the airport TIME TO GO HOME at last, this will be our last MSC cruise never again . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
MSC Fantasia currently has an itinerary visiting smaller and less visited West Indian islands such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Kitts and St Vincent. For British guests there are fortnightly cruises starting and ending in Bridgetown, ... Read More
MSC Fantasia currently has an itinerary visiting smaller and less visited West Indian islands such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Kitts and St Vincent. For British guests there are fortnightly cruises starting and ending in Bridgetown, Barbados. French speaking guests from Europe or the local islands and other European guests mainly undertake weekly cruises starting and ending in Guadeloupe or Martinique. These 2 islands are visited twice each during a fortnightly cruise from Barbados so you can expect 4 disrupted evenings while obtrusive safety drills take place (service in every bar can be suspended) as well as having your own first evening disrupted (my drill took place when I should have been dining). Food is very poor and often tasteless and restaurant service, with a few notable exceptions, is appalling. I gave up and joined many other guests who abandoned the evening meal served in the restaurant, which is normally a cruise highlight, for the buffet offering on the 14th deck. The ship is very badly designed with kitchens between restaurants at the back of the boat and those further forward. You can not walk through the boat at 5th or 6th deck level to reach your restaurant at the rear. Although there are 4 sets of elevators one set serves the atrium area with entertainment, guest relations, excursion desk, etc. as well as embarkation and disembarkation. This set of 4 elevators is hopelessly overloaded. Elevators frequently go past floors for no apparent reason. As a result guests often press up and down buttons just to get an elevator. This results in needless journeys, overcrowding and elevators stopping at floors unnecessarily. I walked up 6 decks with hand luggage on arrival because the situation was so hopeless and it was noticeable how many others gave up on elevators throughout the cruise. The entertainment show on board in the main theatre (and menu) repeats on a weekly cycle so anyone taking a 2 week cruise has seen each show by the end of the first week. There is a classical show in the theatre between the 2 performances of the main show and the pretence is that this offers a new alternative for the 2nd week. The main shows fit with dinner sittings. The classical show does not. The theatre shows are poor. There is no band. With the exception of vocals everything is done to backing tracks. Better dancing can be seen on Strictly Come Dancing. People vote with their feet and the theatre is sparsely attended. There are a number of bars with entertainment, often a singer accompanying themselves on a keyboard or with accompaniment by one musician. Backing tracks are again in evidence. Where does karaoke end and proper musicianship begin? The singers are the same every night and the songs sung often the same as well! The Sports Bar is hopeless. You basically get what is on Eurosport. There were no English football matches and no effort was made for Superbowl. The only advantage of watching in the bar was (a) drinks and (b) a sensibly sized screen. The toilet in my cabin overflowed on 3 separate occasions, once in the middle of the night and took far too long to 'repair'. On the last gala night of the cruise I had to remain in my daytime clothes as showering was not practical. This was my first cruise on MSC. It will be my last. It is by far the worst cruise I have ever been on. There will doubtless be other reviews in a similar vein. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Booked this cruise on an all inclusive package from uk. initial impressions were extremely good, however faded very quickly. transportation and embarkation were well organised and pretty fast. largest ship we have sailed to date and ... Read More
Booked this cruise on an all inclusive package from uk. initial impressions were extremely good, however faded very quickly. transportation and embarkation were well organised and pretty fast. largest ship we have sailed to date and impressively stylish. Cabin was ready by the time we eventually found it. Immaculately clean, spacious and well appointed. My only moan would be the shower curtain, really in this day and age?! helena, kept our cabin spotlessly clean throughout our 2 weeks, was friendly and helpful, could not be faulted! Our 1st visit to guest services was met with a sour faced young women who just rudely pointed at the credit cards machine, when we asked about registering credit card to cabin account. Our 2nd was 24 hours later to remove the daily gratuities, which was met with no opposition or even questions what so ever. Obviously they are aware that they don't provide the level of service that warrants this charge! This is the 1st time i've ever done this and 100% happy i did by the time i disembarked. Within a very short amount of time it became obvious how unfriendly, unhelpful, miserable and blatantly lazy a majority of the bar staff were! its was a whole 3 days before any bar staff asked me if i wanted a or another drink or even passed the time of day. This included the times when they actually cleared my empty glass away! Not sure if this had anything to do with them constantly dealing with ignorantly rude and demanding guests (of which, sadly, made up about 80% of the ship!) over the busy xmas and new year period. morale appeared to be at rock bottom, and a friendly smile in any of the bars was few and far between! actually felt awkward bothering them for a drink!! Our sanctuary was the sports bar, with an always beaming ryan from philippines and andrea swort from south africa, a credit to the hospitality service. Brits beware....all inclusive premium drinks package consisted of only 1 draught beer, 1 bottle beer(heineken) , no cider included. Very limited wine choice and charge for red bull. Plenty of cocktails but all spirits measured! we believe this is sold in good faith (no problems with variety on ncl previously) by cruise agents in uk and exclusions made on board. Food was average at best. The carved meats served on buffets were pretty tasty, although also appeared to be the same served at the il cerchio d'oro restaurant, would expect more from seated fine dining option. the pizza was excellent but that's all you'll find after 10pm!! the 2 advertised buffet restaurants turned out to be one merged into the other, same food repeated. By the time you'd actually got your meal together and back to table it was practically cold! All lacking in variety and imagination, was expecting better from the italian, food loving msc! the seating times in cerchio d'oro restricted us and found uncomfortable, sitting with 4 complete strangers. luckily we all spoke english, unfortunately i was the only one that could make small talk! once was enough and thankfully, we managed to get a few nights with some cruise buddies(who also had the same experience) at the later sitting. Tex mex had great steaks but awful service. My biggest problem with our experience was the lack of general hygiene. the hand sanitizers at the restaurants and buffet perhaps worked 50% of the time, be it broken or run out. i reported to guest services, when the one at the main entrance to the buffet was obviously broken(back hanging off) at 4pm and still out of order at 9pm!!! there were entrances into buffet from outside desks that had no sanitizer machines! i had and officer actually shrug his shoulders at me when i pointed this out to him! On a handful of occasions staff were seen spray passengers from bottles. The more shocking thing was that passengers (about 80%) completed ignored machines and staff and just pushed past those that stopped to disinfect. being a medical professional, i am overly aware of the prevention of cross infection in this sort of environment. however what made me so concerned with the lack of staff interest in hand sanitization, was the amount of times i witnessed passengers leaving the toilets without washing their hands and on more than one occasion straight into restaurant!!! You don't have to have a medical back ground to know that that is just disgusting / repugnant / disgustoso / widerlich !!! Entertainment was poor and repetitive. Only saw one show, freddy mercury tribute, uncomfortably performed in english. Couldn't face any more, all opera themed. Rock / Roll night was my thing, but oh my, never heard such wailings! Band could only play one tempo. pianist i thought was literally dying one night. The same set was performed the last 3 nights on the trot, by the same shrieking duo in manhatten bar, hits i hadn't heard since 1977! seen better acts down local club! We had to endure the muster drill 6 times, in 5 languages during our 2 weeks on board. explain why it is piped into cabins when, if you are doing the drill and following instructions, you should be at the muster points?? waste of time for most passengers, as they took no notice, didn't put on lifebelts, some of those that had, had on wrong way, and staff never corrected! Loved all the islands, apart from martinique. I went to the "caribbean" and the only time i felt i was there was being on shore. Never heard caribbean music on board and sailed away from island to the italian national anthem? sadly a parisian experience rather than a caribbean one. won't be sailing msc again too many dirty and rude passengers, with mostly unwelcoming staff on board . Going back to a cruise line that wont let you pass without a "washy washy" hand practise and a cheeky smile! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We were travelling with parents to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chosen for the location and itinerary which was excellent with a few new places to discover. The cruise price wasn't cheap but overall not stupid for a two ... Read More
We were travelling with parents to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chosen for the location and itinerary which was excellent with a few new places to discover. The cruise price wasn't cheap but overall not stupid for a two week cruise. We also had the advantage of being able to have balcony rooms next to each other. Embarkation was the best I have ever experienced. The main foyer was beautiful with crystal staircases and lots of marble. The special holiday was one big regret from our first meal. My parents are 80 years young and this could be their last special holiday. My heart sank at the overall disappointment. 1st meal was up in the buffet lounge of which afterwards we avoided at all costs having to suffer the appalling food twice more throughout our stay. They had a hotdog/burger bar which didn't look appealing. If you take children food could be an issue from poor choices. The food was really poor quality, the place scruffy looking not worth the trek up. We usually enjoy going to the buffet for breakfast and lunch or afternoon snack but not on the Fantasia. Dining room experience was average. not enough staff so lacked personality. The exception was Antonio from El Salvador. Great fun and good at his work. Sadly he went home after week 1. The food was good but not typically English for those wishing for a more bland palate. You did have to buy water which you could incorporate with the expensive wine package. No after dinner coffee. I have never been on a ship where you had to buy water at meal times we were pretty much annoyed by that. Not forgetting that 15% We requested a large table a booking and was told we were on a table of 8 before departure. It was just the 4 of us on a table for 4. We requested a change but it didn't occur. Bar experience was lacking. Took ages to get served by some waiter without personality. I don't think they were really trained properly as getting a smile out of some was awkward. We put the slow service down to people buying expensive drinks packages and MSC policy of slowing down the drinking but that is our theory. A shame really as the singers in the main atrium were really good and worth a listen to. It tended to be the same two singers every night which did become tedious. The downside of this ship really was the fact that several times a week people from all over the world were departing and arriving. I believe this had an affect on the atmosphere of the ship as you never got to know anyone unlike others I have been on. You were constantly moved from one area to another as barriers were in place to accommodate the changes and you did have to listen on those days to the loud speaker giving the new boarder drill in several languages. A bit annoying but didn't really ruin the day. 15% on everything did have an effect on our on board spends and on our tips. We always tip but did hardly any this time. Taking it out on the staff but you know. Most didn't work that hard. The only ship I will hopefully avoid in the future. Excursions not used We did use the doctor. He was excellent. No complaints in that department. pros - clean - great itinerary - good drinks once served - nice food in dining room - good breakfast in dining room - good singers in atrium - beautifully decorated - con - expensive packages - no personality - shortage of staff issues - lack of staff training - 15% on everything bought - no water at the dining table - lack of finishing touches in the cabin by cabin staff - lack of customer service overall. Terrible buffet lounge. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
DO NOT BOOK A CRUISE WITH MSC Our experience with MSC on a Caribbean cruise in Jan 2018 was the worst experience we have ever had. Most of the 14 days was spent having to complain. Not a holiday.Just full of stress. We have enjoyed ... Read More
DO NOT BOOK A CRUISE WITH MSC Our experience with MSC on a Caribbean cruise in Jan 2018 was the worst experience we have ever had. Most of the 14 days was spent having to complain. Not a holiday.Just full of stress. We have enjoyed cruises with most of the other major companies, so have plenty of experience to do this comparison Listed below are the reasons why: It is an Italian company and they do not really cater for the English The staff are not very friendly and can be very rude to you at times You cannot reserve your flight seats together prior to departure There is no guarantee you will be seated together on the flight Beware of being upgraded as it is not always a better cabin The cabin steward: • is not very welcoming or respectful • never remembers your name • no frills like animals made from towels or chocolates on the bed at night The drinks package included is very basic, with only one type of draught lager and local spirits. They try to get you to spend more upgrading to the branded drinks No captain announcements throughout the cruise Only one leaving party from 7 days when leaving port Entertainment • Main theatre shows can be repeated after 7 days. • Very poor entertainment. We had a woman singing Queens songs! • No pub quizzes • Bingo very expensive and in many languages • Opera if you like it Restaurants: • When asked for milk in coffee, he poured in drinking choc • When asked for milk in tea, he poured coffee into it • Not much English choice • Food is not always hot, but luke warm • Only wine and water served at your table Drinks service • There can be a number of ports where passengers embark and disembark. This means there will be a muster drill that night where all the bars are closed for 45 mins, so no drinks available • The bar staff do not like serving you directly and tell you to see the waitress • The waitress takes your order, which can take up to 30 mins to be delivered • Only certain drinks available at certain bars. You have to search as they will not get it for you. One night we had to go searching to get Sprite! • On deck the waitress service is only available in certain areas. They never walk around the ship to get your order. Pool • You are only allowed one pool towel a day. You have to go to reception to beg for a replacement Sanitation • When entering the restaurant, only on occasions do you see a crew member offering you sanitation for your hands • Sometimes the dispensers are empty Excursions • We were sent out in the pouring rain and got soaked. No refund given Complaints • They seem to feel by giving a free limited food voucher, all will be forgiven • If you complain to MSC directly, they will give you all sorts of excuses. Just got back from a Royal Caribbean cruise and our faith in cruising has been fully restored MSC NEVER AGAIN!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise as it was originally a no nights at sea cruise, but because of the hurricanes in itinery changed that was ok but when we boarded the ship in Barbados we knew we had made a big mistake, even though the ship was nice ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was originally a no nights at sea cruise, but because of the hurricanes in itinery changed that was ok but when we boarded the ship in Barbados we knew we had made a big mistake, even though the ship was nice the staff were rude and unhelpful the food was extremely bad in both the buffet and main restaurant I can eat anything but I struggled to find even there coffee palatable let alone what they were serving, the service was also dire and we were kept waiting for drinks and on occasions we were completely ignored plus there was some sort of virus that affected someone in our circle plus other passengers and we had to get medicines from Guadalupe which helped but even after being back 6 weeks she is still receiving medical treatment and the cruises ended as a back to back cruise which was rubbish some of the islands we visited were dreadful and on one island we docked in the worst slum area I'd ever seen in my life and I've seen a few on my travels MSC should be thoroughly ashamed of the treatment of all its British passengers on the worst cruise in history Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were ... Read More
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were impressive and kept immaculate with seemingly never ending use of vacuums! The smaller pool area at the back was popular but the pool itself never seemed to be particularly busy. There were plenty of sun loungers or tables and chairs everywhere. We favoured this smaller area to the large and noisy pool. This was also a good bar and meeting area in the evenings. Most of the staff were very nice and helpful - however the ship's officers seemed to think they were not allowed to look at passengers, let alone speak to them - perhaps they should be reminded no passengers, no jobs. This was a Christmas and New Year back to back cruise which meant at times, when the same islands were visited, passengers were continually changing. No problem there - however this did necessitate yet another fire drill mid-evening for the new passengers with announcements in about six different languages and the noise of suitcases being collected from cabin corridors in the early hours. We were with our son and daughter in law and had arranged to be on second sitting but this was at 9 pm and desserts were being served after 11 pm with no coffee or tea offered as this was available in the buffet. We changed to early sitting which suited us better but in fact we started using the buffet more, except for 'suggested' formal nights, as there was more choice although the standard was still average but it was much quicker than the restaurant. The restaurant left a lot to be desired. Choices were limited and portions were small although some people ordered more than one dish for each course. Certainly not the gourmet standard offered on other cruise lines and Christmas Day was the same as any other. Nothing special food wise and no crackers or poppers and the only hats were worn by some of the waiters who kept them on until the New Year! Formal nights were a joke. There were many people who wanted to participate with these but also many who were in the restaurants in casual clothes. Such a shame, but the people who did dress up showed up those who hadn't bothered! The four of us visited the T-Rex Steak Speciality restaurant twice. We all agreed the meals were great and couldn't be faulted although the service was slow, but the staff was very friendly - and busy. It was certainly worth the extra cost. The Atrium was about the only place for Christmas decorations and looked very pretty with garlands and a ginger bread house but that was it! One real negative was the hygiene, particularly in the buffet . There were very few hand sanitizer machines anywhere and one I did find was empty. There was certainly no one checking they were full or offering a hand held alternative as on other ships. This meant all the buffet serving utensils, drink dispensers for hot and cold water, ice, juices, coffee and milk touched by so many passengers were an obvious magnet for germs. Towards the end of the two week cruise, some people were complaining of chest infections and had harsh dry coughs, initially thought to be from the air conditioning which couldn't be altered or turned off in the cabin, except by leaving the balcony door open at night!. Although I had been extremely careful, I contracted this cough - luckily right at the end of the holiday - and spent three weeks in bed from my first day home with a virus and pneumonia. We were disappointed with the theatre,( which on other ships we go to most nights) as the entertainment seemed to be the same cast alternating shows. The standard was good and the costumes amazing but it would have been nice to see visiting entertainers. Singers and pianists dotted around the ship were very good and most enjoyable. Gratuities were automatically added to bills but a word with the 'front desk' had these removed, with us deciding who and what to pay. We had chosen the itinerary carefully and one place we had not visited before was the Dominican Republic. We took a taxi with other people to a recommended tourist spot but friends who liked to hike miles each day were escorted back to the ship by two police motor cyclists who happened to see them. This was for their safety and it would have been an idea for Fantasia to warn passengers about the area. However it was certainly worth visiting. We rarely book excursions so cannot comment, but there are always plenty of taxis and minibuses at the ports offering a wide range of varied tours. If carefully chosen, we have always found these to be excellent and good value - certainly compared to the ships' excursions - and usually take a minibus with other passengers. We had a great cruise and did enjoy it although any criticism above may make it sound otherwise, but a review needs to be fair and that is what I trust this has been. I suppose we got what we paid for, but in future it is going to have to be back to Princess, Celebrity, Oceania and so on! Read Less
MSC Fantasia Ratings
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Rates 3.0 3.5

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