1,773 Barcelona Family Cruise Reviews

When I think of Costa Smeralda I’m drawn to Longfellow’s Poem, “The Little Girl” There was a little girl, And she had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead, When she was good she was very, very good, And ... Read More
When I think of Costa Smeralda I’m drawn to Longfellow’s Poem, “The Little Girl” There was a little girl, And she had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead, When she was good she was very, very good, And when she was bad she was horrid. Those last two lines perfectly sum up Smeralda, making this an incredibly difficult review to write. The cruise was a one week, circular cruise from Barcelona, indeed that’s all the ship is scheduled to do in 2020. The day we were due to sail storm Gloria was approaching Barcelona and waves crashing over the sea wall meant the ship had to berth in the container port, resulting in passengers having to check in in central Barcelona – despite this, check-in was very quick and efficient. In the end Gloria meant the ship was 30 hours late leaving Barcelona leading to Palma being omitted from the itinerary. In fairness Costa gave all passengers a €70 onboard credit as compensation and you could hear the frustration in the Captain’s voice when he announced the delay. Speaking of the Captain, it is interesting to note the ship doesn’t have a “meet the Captain” evening – a major plus in my book. The ship is, at the time of writing, the 5th largest cruise ship in the world and the largest outside the Royal Caribbean fleet, with a maximum capacity of some 6,500 passengers. If you are a regular cruiser and are a bit blasé about safety drills beware on this ship, the life jackets onboard are not the same as on other ships. The layout of the ship does differ from other super cruise ships in that it has no internal promenade deck and it is more a mish-mash of different areas. Instead of a traditional atrium, Costa Smeralda has the Colosseo, loosely based on Rome’s Colosseum, it spans three decks and serves as a theatre and entertainment centre which is good in theory but in practice viewing from the upper levels is, at best, limited – thankfully there are plenty of TV screens broadcasting the shows. Speaking of which the shows are broadcast on the ships TV system so you can watch them from the comfort of your own cabin. There is also a theatre, the Sanremo, over two decks at the front of the ship, although it is more like a cabaret bar than a traditional theatre. Whilst talking about these two venues it’s probably worth mentioning the “entertainment” on board – notice the use of quotes there, as entertainment was very limited and done on the cheap. Even on the sea day there was limited entertainment available, especially when compared with other cruise lines, indeed even in comparison with other Costa ships. To save money they even have “virtual” concerts – basically videos of some house band played on a big screen with one member of the entertainment team attempting to encourage guests to dance. On the rare occasion there is some live activity it came close to crossing the line in terms of taste and decency – PC it wasn’t. There are very few quiet areas on the ship either with background noise, I think it’s officially called music, everywhere – even in the lifts. The cabin was a good size and the balcony was very big, almost as big as the cabin, however despite the size it only had two chairs, whereas it could have easily accommodated two sun loungers as well – perhaps they will appear in the summer, when the weather improves. Our cabin steward was conspicuous by his absence, we only saw him once the entire week and that was by accident as we happened to be in the cabin when he came to clean it. This maybe an official policy as other passengers also commented about not seeing their steward. In truth this is no bad thing as, too often in the past, the stewards have been the other extreme and in your face all the time. A subject dear to my heart is food and this is a very iffy area on this ship. There are two buffets onboard, which sounds good in theory – however they are far too small for the number of passengers on board and finding a seat was often a challenge – not helped by some guests taking up permanent residency after they have finished eating. Choices in the buffets are limited and don’t change day to day – breakfast was always the same choice. Bacon was always cooked to within an inch of its life, whilst sausages looked pale and insipid. Steak was available for breakfast but contained more gristle than mead and some days was so highly seasoned it was inedible. It’s worth noting the buffet isn’t a traditional buffet in the majority of the food is served to you by staff and you cannot help yourself. Theoretically this is to reduce waste but in reality food is still wasted. There are several main restaurants, we were allocated a table in the Arlecchino Restaurant, luckily a table for two. The restaurants are odd though as they don’t use table cloths, presumably to reduce the need for cleaning and saving the environment. Dining was an “experience” and not always in a good way. As it quite common we had a waiter and an assistant waiter. Although a pleasant young man the assistant waiter was worse than useless, actually creating more work for the main waiter, this meant he was rushed off his feet and mistakes happened. Food quality varied from the sublime to being so bad I wouldn’t feed it to a dog. One night there was a lamb dish as a main course- it was inedible, what little meat there was on the bones was so tough it got stuck between your teeth – assuming you could find anything edible in the first place. It wasn’t a case of me just being unlucky either, diners on other tables had the same issues. In fairness the waiter did offer an alternate meal but that’s not the point – the food should never have been presented in the first place. Service was incredibly rushed – most days as soon as you put your cutlery down for a course the plate was taken away and the next course appeared immediately. There were even occasions where two courses were served at the same time. To add further intrigue to dinner there was the randomisation factor when dishes you had not even ordered appeared. There were some paid for, premium restaurants, although the only one we used was the pizzeria and, in fairness, it has to be said the pizza was excellent – the charge is €8.50 or €10, including a dessert, although being a Costa club member it was half price – very good value. However it is interesting to note that, despite being an Italian ship, this is the only place on board you can get pizza – it never appears in the dining room or buffet, so if you want pizza you pay for it!! It’s the same with ice cream, they have an excellent Gelateria on board, which you have to pay for, but if you want ice cream as a dessert in the dining room there is a charge. So anything popular, available for a charge, cannot be obtained free elsewhere. Even the Gelateria had its issues though – on day one we fancied an ice cream sundae but after placing the order the waitress came back to tell us they only had ice cream available in one of the three flavours in the sundae – when we returned a couple of days later they had the full set and it was lovely. Similarly, they have a menu of flavoured hot chocolates, from memory there were about ten different options, yet when we went to order only two were available. There is a similar problem if you like tea, it appears each outlet has a limited number of tea bags each day and cannot restock, so if you want Earl Grey tea and they’ve finished their quota it’s tough luck, you have to go round a ship to find an outlet that still has some. When entering the eating areas they have automatic hand washing machines, often instead of a hand sanitiser. That’s all well and good but the soap is so strong it’s no good for people with sensitive skin and where there is no sanitiser option passengers are going in without cleaning their hands. Being only a few months old the ship has a clean fresh appeal, there are some quirky seating areas, however there are also some terribly badly designed carpets with patterns which make your eyes go funny. Each deck is themed on an Italian town or city, with a different coloured theme ranging from subtle blues through to garish orange. There are a few swimming pools but certainly not enough for the number of passengers on board - luck it wasn’t hot and sunny. What was noticeable is how quiet the ship is – on most cruise ships the sound of the engine is an incessant accompaniment to trying to get to sleep – on this ship you were barely aware of the engine noise and vibrations were non existent. For a modern block shaped ship she was also incredibly very stable, leaving Barcelona in the tail end of storm Gloria rolling was slight and rare and even pitching was minimal. There is a museum of Italian design on the ship, which is frankly a complete waste of space. However there are some massive negatives, both of which would be showstoppers in terms of sailing on this vessel again. Firstly this is a new and expensive ship, which clearly has to be paid for and filling the ship every week is going to be a challenge. The cost cutting in terms of entertainment and food quality is already self-evident. They are also filling the ship by charging rock bottom prices which, without wishing to sound snobbish, doesn’t attract your more traditional cruiser. As a fellow passenger succinctly put it “they are clearly aiming for the Blackpool rather than Bournemouth crowd.” It has to be said the approach to life onboard is different to the British approach. Too many passengers were fiery, incredibly rude to waiting and bar staff and have little or no concept of good manners or queuing, which does make for an unpleasant onboard experience. An even bigger negative is they allow smoking on balconies – we were lucky it didn’t cause any problems for most of the voyage, however we acquired new neighbours after Marseille the ship picks up and drops off passengers at every port – and the pair if them were chain smoking Gaulouises type cigarettes on their balcony, effectively making our balcony unusable. I was really looking forward to this cruise as having previously had a really good experience on Costa Victoria I was sure this would be even better – sadly it wasn’t. It has certainly put me off the larger super ships and I would seriously think twice before sailing with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
In comparison to previous cruises I’ve taken I have never seen people board/disembark at every port. This created lots of confusion throughout the cruise and during this period you were not allowed to purchase food or snacks during the ... Read More
In comparison to previous cruises I’ve taken I have never seen people board/disembark at every port. This created lots of confusion throughout the cruise and during this period you were not allowed to purchase food or snacks during the safety drill that occurred everyday with the exception of one sea day. I was in a party of 12 with 4 of them being first time cruisers. I respect all cultures but this was the worst experience ever. The Europeans are VERY RUDE cut in front of you in lines and while waiting for the elevators. Very few crew members spoke English. We were promised certain packages that were never given to us and showed on our bill. When we tried.to discuss the issues no one understood us. The food was terrible from the lobster being soggy to the steak being tuff and limited salad dressing or the creamy salad dressing was like milk/water consistency. You will not get anything related to American food on this ship. You ask for a slice of cake you will get pudding. Other than the room attendant and the bartender and a few guys cooking in the Japanese restaurant the overall service was terrible. We had one tour guide lady that had terrible English and the English speaking people in our group had to keep asking for clarification on the information being shared. My group was so offended by one show they had with white/Europeans with huge Afro wigs, pampers and black Charcoal on their backs. We were unable to get the story of the show but it was very disappointed to see something like this on stage. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose the MSC Grandiosa since we wanted to experience the new ship feel. Getting on the ship in Barcelona was a breeze. It took no more than 20 minutes from arrival in the port to boarding the ship. First impression was a big ... Read More
We choose the MSC Grandiosa since we wanted to experience the new ship feel. Getting on the ship in Barcelona was a breeze. It took no more than 20 minutes from arrival in the port to boarding the ship. First impression was a big WOW. we entered on deck 6 ( the promenade) From that moment one was surrounded by cruise staff trying to sell you pretty much everything. We pre booked the non alcoholic drink package and the 2-1 dining package. Made reservations for the specialty restaurant online and had those confirmed but apparently none of those came through so we had to make new ones once we arrived on the ship Be aware with the drink packages, specialty restaurants are NOT included except for the most expensive drink package. Kind of confusing. we had coffee in the bistro where we had to pay for it, whilst if we were at the table next to us it would be free??? So, when in one of the specialty restaurants all the drinks are extra charge including water. With the easy drink package all beverages up to 6 euro are included anything over will be charged at full price. Overall we had a good cruise, Food was above our expectations. Been on other MSC ships where the food quality was far below this cruise. Main dining in general good with enough choices to please everyone, Service as to be expected. We booked le bistro en butchers cut. Le Bistro was less than we expected, but Butchers cut was far more than we expected and well worth the extra charge. The ship itself, Well laid out. Big minus, no waste bins to be found anywhere, except on the outdoor decks. There is now way to get to the front of the ship unless you book a yacht club cabin. Taking the size of the ship in mind, not enough seating available.Very limited seating in the several bars. The ship itself is more focused on shopping space. Overall entertainment was good. Reservations are needed for all shows since the theatre only had abt 650 seats. Big minus. doors remain open throughout the show causing people to keep on coming in which can be disturbing. MSC does a lot to sell you things. For instance, they place pictures in your cabin as if it is free for you to take. No it is not, there is a small not in the envelope stating that if you keep the pictures, they will be charged to your account. Same goes for excursions, We found a hop on hop off ticket with the daily program with a note, that sais, to make it easy for you, just hop on and give the ticket to our cruise staff on boarding the bus, and again, the small letters saying 20 euros pp will be charged to your account. We had a balcony cabin which was well laid out. Comfortable bed, Very good shower:-) Disembarkation in Barcelona, again , a breeze. We were off the ship and in the taxi in less than 30 minutes, Overall a nice cruise where you get what you pay for. anything possible if you are willing to pay more. That is basically the bottom line if you ask me, but this goes with many cruise lines these days. All in all worth what we paid for it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on a MSC cruise on Grandiosa which left from Barcelona January 9 2020. We are Australians with teenage children 15 and 17 and have previously been on a Norwegian cruise out of Venice in 2018 and a Carnival cruise in Australia in ... Read More
We were on a MSC cruise on Grandiosa which left from Barcelona January 9 2020. We are Australians with teenage children 15 and 17 and have previously been on a Norwegian cruise out of Venice in 2018 and a Carnival cruise in Australia in 2017. We booked a Bella balcony cabin very close to front of boat on the left hand side on deck 11. For us, this cruise was intended as one week not-too-expensive, relaxing and ‘warmish for winter’ break within a 6 week busy holiday to Europe which otherwise had us on the move a lot and jumping on and off trains plus this was a chance to visit Sicily and Malta. We already knew the other ports pretty well. Given the time of year and that we needed to leave from Barcelona there were hardly any cruises operating so we had no choice re company or boat but I subsequently read loads of reviews of MSC which set expectations low and I anticipated a few issues. How wrong this turned out to be. Zero issues of any sort and an amazing, luxurious cruise which was totally enjoyable in every way. Only regret: we didn’t bring our swimmers on the holiday and so missed out on using the indoor pool (retractable roof) and spas. Even the outdoor pool saw quite a few swimmers on the warmer days down south and on the one day at sea as it got fairly warm and the pool area was very sheltered. Actually, temperatures were not too bad all week for anyone contemplating winter cruising: good puffer jackets were all we needed for sitting out on the balcony and the cooler ports and in Palermo it was 18 the day we were there. Re criticisms of upselling: we declined the photos on boarding: no problem. Same in the restaurant and same re the offers to upgrade drinks and meals. There was no problem at all with this. We did not feel any pressure and we were not asked again ever. I would rate the upselling efforts of MSC as way less than Norwegian. Re the entertainment: we are not big ones for shows and basically are fairly boring this way and would generally prefer to read on the balcony or cabin or watch BBC news or Earth before an early night. But we went to one musical show with shows from 80’s onwards and thought it was quite good. Other entertainment: ropes course: great. (and free). But other than that, sorry, none of us is interested particularly so didn’t try anything else. Kids not interested in the programmes for them although we saw plenty of other teenagers having fun playing soccer and basketball. Judging from the daily programme, there did seem to be a fair bit on for everyone including late night shows, theme things needing you to bring dress-up clothes (white night, elegant night, tropical night etc) and music so it looks as though people who want to throw themselves into these things should be able to find things. The middle of the boat with the big projection roof and the speciality restaurants btw gets very crowded and noisy (in a good way) in the evenings but is easy to avoid by crossing this area on higher or lower decks. Did not even look at any shops/sales/promotional events so easy to avoid as well. CABIN: as above, Bella balcony at the front. This was amazing: bigger than our mini-suite on Norwegian with plenty of storage for a suitcase and two cabin bags and our day packs and shelves on which to keep all our packing pods. Lots of hangers for jackets. Very tasteful light greys and muted purple and many mirrors. Extremely comfortable queen bed plus good-sized sturdy bunks for the boys. Big balcony and generous functional bathroom. Big tv with English channels including bbc earth, bbc news, Euronews, Bloomberg and CNN. Wonderful, hard-working and unobtrusive cabin steward with twice daily immaculate cleaning. Our balcony had a metal balustrade which we really liked as felt more private. We spent hours out there every day watching the world go by and reading etc. I liked being able to watch distant lights on shore most nights as still scarred by seeing Poseidon Adventure as a kid and prone, on cruises, to frequent waking and fears of icebergs and (after Costa) running onto rocks etc. but probably the other side would be better for port views as I think really only in Genoa did we have the best view. Virtually no movements felt at all even though I thought the front of the boat might be bad for this so however this boat is stabilised: it works and none of us experienced any sea sickness for a change. (Note: very calm seas all voyage). DRINKS: We had an easy drinks package for the adults included as a special in our original bookings and pre-purchased non-alcoholic packages for the kids who especially enjoyed the unlimited soft-serve included from the bar at the outdoor pool. if you are a beer drinker we could only have Heinekens despite searching everywhere including the pub but there were nice wines (liked the rose, shiraz and cab sav) and plenty of cocktails on the package and some good mocktails; the mock pina colada even comes with the pineapple slice and cherry and was good. Soft drinks were available by the glass or can. Bottles of mineral water were freely available at all the bars any time. FOOD: we started the week attending our assigned dining room for meals but then reverted to the buffet towards the end as the dining room timing didn’t suit us after a busy day in port but food was fantastic and plentiful: some portions in the dining room were small and some were large (spanokopita was huge even as a first course) depending on what we ordered. You could order more than one helping of any menu item if you wanted and we were routinely offered double dessert. The staff worked very hard all the time. In contrast to Norwegian and Carnival, the dining room menus changed completely every day. We found everything delicious. It would have been good to be see the menus in advance but no big deal. The buffet was loads better than it looks in the videos on you tube and, as everyone knows: excellent huge slices of pizza (charcoal ones were new to us and fantastic) and also as a recent reviewer has noted: all bread was amazing! Whatever bread or roll we chose was full of favour and perfect texture: I totally got hooked on making sandwiches and rolls just with butter and tomato or cheese practically every meal over the last few days. No dancing or singing food staff in the main dining room (which we loved on Carnival) but truly excellent, friendly, understated and completely professional service from waiters at all times. Also, service for us was really fast: clearly they could tell we were there to eat and not interested in sitting around talking to each other! We were pretty much in and out of the restaurant within 60-75 mins having eaten our 3 courses each. Zero waiting around in contrast to other reports. Did not feel any need to try any specialist restaurants given that the main dining room and the buffet were so good. EXCURSIONS: we did none. Not because of price because MSC was priced reasonably most of the time, I thought, but because mostly we knew the ports and preferred to do our own thing. Marseille was switched to Toulon on our cruise due to the interprofessional strike in France which we already knew about from train travelling there prior to the cruise. Toulon was great: kids enjoyed seeing the French naval vessels and MSC provided free shuttle buses and boats into town and we just explored by foot. Genoa: all in walking distance. Loved wondering this place and followed a few tourist-office suggested walking routes. Some seriously fantastic boats moored here in the opposite part of the harbour and Kids enjoyed admiring them researching online which billionaires/oligarchs/war lords had owned them etc. Rome: we took the free shuttlebus to the smaller city port then walked to the train station but was a fair detour so might have been quicker to just walk to the train station from the start. The city also offered a 2 Eu shuttle from the small port to the station which we caught back on returning to the ship. We caught a train into Rome Termini (36 eu for the four of us return) and then a metro to the Coloseum (we bought individual tickets from machines at the metro station) and then strolled back alongside the forum (not enough time to go in really due to long ticket queues but pre-booking these might help), then meandered back to the Trevi fountain and had some gelato, wondered around a bit then grabbed a taxi back as running short on time to Termini for the train back. If you are interested in the Vatican, the train stopped at St Peter’s on the way in so would have been easy to hop off there. If planning a day in Rome you would be able to do more by getting off the ship earlier as we were a bit slow that morning which cut our time short. Palermo: again close enough to meander into the port. Lots to see including street market with lots of gourmet products including saffron and excellent pistachio cream to bring home. Valletta: lifts up to the high part of the city cost 1 Eu – just walk further around the port until you reach them. Gorgeous town. We also visited Mdina on the public bus – you can take 51, 52 and 53 and probably some others. Tickets available from the bus driver. Malta uses Euros. Summary: honestly: can’t imagine how forking out for Yacht Club could possibly have made us any happier than our Bella balcony and Easy drinks package. Our experience was seriously fantastic. But for us this cruise was not the be-all and end-all of our holiday: it was part of a much longer holiday so we are less concerned about entertainment etc. This was a seriously gorgeous boat. We would not hesitate to book MSC again. This week has turned out to be an absolute highlight of our trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Having sailed previously on MSC Divina in Carebbean on two ocasion, thaught a mediterranean cruise with MSC would be a good idea. Wrong. Mediterranean cruises are not like in the caribbean. Not even the water on the dining room is free! ... Read More
Having sailed previously on MSC Divina in Carebbean on two ocasion, thaught a mediterranean cruise with MSC would be a good idea. Wrong. Mediterranean cruises are not like in the caribbean. Not even the water on the dining room is free! Yes you will pay to have your meal with water. Also service is terrible, european restaurant service expecting a service charge? Embarkation: was really well organized and very fast. Shows are average, a couple of strange performers, don't get it. The Circ du Soleil at sea is a ripoff "DONT GO" at the end everybody stays still on their seats thinking; is it over or about to begin. Service at main dining is terrible, the servers don't treat you with respect and is if they don't care your still going to give them the service charge. "CAUTION" not even the water is free. They will not serve you tap water, only plastic bottled. Note: the last day of the cruise they will include in your account a charge for MSC Foundation; yeah right protect the environment as everybody in the main dining room sips from a plastic bottle for MSC' s financial gain. Night activities are always packed lots of party going on. This is a good point in their favor. Cabins and cleaning service are great. Good reviews on this area. Ports and shore excursions: Great itinerary included Marcelles, Genoa, Civitaveccia, Palermo, Malta. Used a shore excursion to tranfer from Port of Civitaveccia to Rome. They did not comply with the stated hours. Shuttle left later and required to return before. Few time to explore city. Notice that some ports are very far from the cities of interest an MSC will upsell you their shuttles. Don't do it. In Marceilles they were charging €13 per adults for shuttle. If you walk 10 minutes from the ship the city provides it free of charge with trips every 30 minutes. Some in my party felt scamed by MSC. In Barcelona a Taxi will cost you €10 for 4 and MSC will charge 12€ per adult. The buffet area in strange. Not the best selection or quality. During thier stated lunch and dinner hours they will start closing section of the buffet restaurant ending in a reduced crowded space where no one will find a table. Don't expect juice, iced tea or lemonade as in caribbean sailings. Only juice available is a watered down during breakfast. If you are a european used to bad service and paying for the basics, this is your cruise. I believe americans will have a hard time with the basics here, not for somebody used to travelling on other cruise lines with american style service you will be disapointed as i am. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
the embarkation and disembarkation where terrible... the staff is rude ando don't help you in any way. The ship is beautiful, the cabins are very confortable. you have to make a line to enter the restaurant every night. The food is ... Read More
the embarkation and disembarkation where terrible... the staff is rude ando don't help you in any way. The ship is beautiful, the cabins are very confortable. you have to make a line to enter the restaurant every night. The food is Ok... small portions and always cold. our waitress was very nice. The shows were bad except for the cirque du Soleil with I truly recommend. The staff has no preparation, the staff doesnt help you in anyway. everything is a problem. the children had fun, but there is no way to know where they are or anyway to have comunication with them, since the app doesn't apply to them for being under age.i had to return twice a bracelet they sell you to know where you children are, the bracelets never worked. you have to pay for everything on orboard, even on New Years eve there was NO hats or anything unless you 70 euros. No I would NOT go again Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Decided to enjoy Christmas on a cruise around Italy Spain and france . This is a new ship . It had been delayed in leaving for its maiden voyage a few weeks earlier as it wasn’t quite ready . We had hoped it would be ready for our cruise ... Read More
Decided to enjoy Christmas on a cruise around Italy Spain and france . This is a new ship . It had been delayed in leaving for its maiden voyage a few weeks earlier as it wasn’t quite ready . We had hoped it would be ready for our cruise on the 23rd of December 2019. Reassuringly we were told our cruise hadn’t been cancelled and our cruise dates were to be the maiden voyage. Arriving to board in the port of Barcelona we found the check in process at the terminal straightforward. The terminal in Barcelona is huge and spacious but no where to have a coffee or drink as the only cafe was closed. Not too big a problem because we boarded fairly quickly. Once boarding the ship there appears to be zero information of any kind whatsoever. In fact we had to ask a member of the animation team (who was dancing around) what we had to do . Do we have to check in to reception? and how to get to the rooms ? and even if the rooms were ready ? Nobody knows . Just hedge your bets and make a trek to your room. We had a balcony room on deck 12. Room 12267 . My mother-in-law and our son shared a separate internal Cabin on deck 9, room 9145. Of course the ship is brand new so all the furnishings are very clean and tidy . The faults I found with the room is firstly you cannot switch off the air con facility.either cold or warm air constantly. Secondly all the balconies are joined together with locked partitions . Great idea but not so great if the cleaner decides to unlock every balcony door so that all rooms in the corridor are then accessible without a key . There is no mini fridge in the room . I’m on the best drinks package but I don’t even get a daily bottle of water in my room. There’s a ridiculous curtain which hides a full lengthwise Dow looking into the shower cubicle. Don’t get the point of this at all. The nicest part of the cabin is that you don’t need to pay extra for the locked safe and the bed is relatively comfortable. Being English speaking it’s nice to have some English tv . You would think that’s possible on such a big ship especially as it’s such a popular language . Over 40 plus tv channels and only have one bbc news channel . You can’t even change language settings on the tv remote to watch programs in their original recording . Some points I’ve listed 1. RECEPTION. Being a ship of almost 4000 passengers the designer of the ship felt a reception desk with only 5 computer terminals was enough . The actual size of the receptiion area will be space enough only for two parked cars and then not even all of these desks are open at all times . During one visit to make another complaint at reception I was in a que of almost 61 people waiting to be served . You guessed it, I didn’t wait . A special thank you to the receptionist called Mstyslav. He was a truly useless receptionist . I was Trying to make a complaint to him but it got me nowhere. He then refuses to offer any help, refuses even to give me a pen to write down his name .This was exceptional service from an ignorant reception member . I can’t imagine he will last long with this attitude . Perhaps I caught him on his period. 2. SPA. Just beautiful to look at . Again being brand new everything was furnished nicely . Brought two 7day passes to use the spa. Had a rubbish 190euro massage . After the massage I was given a lecture on what I needed to buy to maintain my Colon and Intestines in order to prevent my neck pains . Can’t see the connection between the two myself. Lovey large sauna area and small Hammam . There is a snow room also which is a novelty but after a couple of minutes it’s just way too cold. The annoying parts are that none of the locker wristbands in the spa ever worked correctly so you are forever changing them over to get one to actually lock . Of course this is frustrating to the clients as well as the spa team who are constantly huffing and puffing when you are changing wristbands maybe 4 or 5 times . By day two of the cruise every one of the 26-27 sun beds in the spa were occupied . There appears to be no crowd management control , and it filled up very quickly. Whilst you are in the sauna the staff are giving tours around the spa to other guests that they want to entice to visit them . This includes children (who are not even allowed in the spa). The tours are given around the wet areas of the spa while passengers are wearing their own clothes and shoes . The people being shown around are peering I tot he sauna as you sit there in your pants. Perhaps they should consider using shoe covers if they want to have passengers visiting for a tour of the spa as that would be more hygienic then allowing them to walk through these areas in their own footwear and fully clothed 3. SWIMMING POOL . We were told there are four pools . In reality there is a jacuzzi pool in the spa ( of course you pay extra for this ) There is one Centre pool on deck 16. It’s a tiny pool to cater for this many passengers. My son was desperate to try the lovely slide. Of course it was shut the first few days because they were still testing it (don’t take our money if you can’t provide a service). Once it did open it was only open for two hours per day. It was useless timing when trying to entertain a young child. It’s the only novelty of the ship that the children can enjoy if it’s open long enough 4. KIDS CLUB. Used this on two occasions . My son is 8. He didn’t enjoy the club. He got bored and refused to go by the third day. If you don’t book lunch for your child with the kids club then when lunchtime arrives then you will have to collect your child because they actually close the kids club to take the prebooked children for their lunch . How crazy is that . Perhaps consider keeping the club open and having more staff to take the other children to lunch . You have to book lunch for them before 10:30. It was 10:45 and I had to argue with the rep at the door to get a meal for my son . Cannot comment further on the club as adults are not allowed inside and rightly so . 5. THE GYM. Don’t worry about this because there is so much walking to do from your room in order to go to the reception desk to lodge a complaint that you won’t need any additional exercise. Your trips to reception to lodge your complaints will help you shed pounds and inches . 6. PIZZA RESTAURANT. Ordered two takeaway pizzas here. We were given the wrong pizza once we arrived into our room to eat them . Complained the next day . My drinks package was the highest drinks package but the pizza restaurant (where you pay additionally for food ) is only able to provide the basic red and white wine of the basic package . What’s the point of a drinks package that you can’t actually use ???? 7. PANORAMA RESTAURANT. Lovely warm food. And nice service by Aimee and Dino . Had a fillet steak here ( paid extra to eat here) was a pleasant experience. Again having the more expensive drinks package was a waste of time 8. TEPANYAKI RESTAURANT. This was the nicest restaurant to eat in ( again you pay extra here ). Being much like a show it was a more pleasant experience. Again us having a higher drinks package meant they have to go to another bar to bring you your better quality wines. They can only bring it by the glass because if I ask for a bottle then I’m charged full price . 9. BUFFET RESTAURANT. Do you like wrestling and begging ?? Then this is the place for you . Ate here a couple of times . Every thing is spread so far apart that it’s just too big to negotiate. There is a coffee machine located in an area the size of an aeroplane toilet. The queue for the coffee go for miles. When you get to the front they have no cups left . Sometimes you are given coffee cups. Most of the time your are begging a waiter to provide more cups. It’s a buffet restaurant but everything is placed behind glass so you cannot help yourself . In principle a great idea as people are not touching the food needlessly . If you visit the dessert section you will see a member of staff trying to serve 20 people at a time with no order of service . People shouting at him to give them puddings 10. Rigatoni II restaurant. This was our allocated dining room . Although some of the food is ok it is never hot. I like my food to be very hot when it arrives. They won’t give you a bottle of water . You are served cups of water . Seems a rubbish way to serve water. All in all it was disappointing in the quality of the food . 11. Some of the toilets on different decks only serve women or only serve men ! So if yours is a mixed party then be prepared to walk around looking for the correct gender toilet or do what I do and use any ! 12. There is an open air cinema screen on deck 16/17. It appears only to show adverts for costa cruises . What a waste . They genuinely should consider having movies shown here. I understand you are a new ship but if you are not fully ready then do not open for boarding or pay back the money you took off the passengers. 13. Painting . They hadn’t finished painting the ship so some of the deck areas were cordened off whilst they paint. A lovely aroma of fresh paint . Perhaps the passengers should have helped as they had nothing else to do on this ship . 14. Was it Christmas . ??? You wouldn’t have guessed it was actually Christmas on this ship . The lack of any Christmas decorations or any acknowledgement of the Christmas festivities except my free panatone delivered to my room . Maybe Costa Cruises don’t believe In Christmas or Santa Claus ? 15. Shows. A couple of the shows were ok. But repeated on consecutive days . They should have booked a special act for Christmas Day but they just did a repeat show . The dancers and show teams were good. Not so difficult when you are young and have a perfect physique. 16. Bars . Some bars have menus of drinks that they don’t actually serve . Don’t ask for any novelty drinks . They seriously will only serve you what’s on the bar menu . The mixologists are not capable of making anything else. You are better off requesting the individual drink ingredients and mixing it yourself if it’s an unusual drink . Unusual your asking, what could I mean ??? I only asked for an expresso martini !!! 17. Disembarkation. You will be counting the days to your disembarkation. If you cannot wait then of course you could try the excursions . There is no information of procedure. Our two cabins were booked on a joint booking but given different luggage tags for disembarkation. I was advised the night before not to worry . The incorrect details for disembarkation (actually no details) were left at my door. Hence the morning of disembarkation another trip to dreaded reception . 18. Excursions . We got off at Palma and made our own way in a taxi to sightsee . We got the small train excursion in Rome also and then did our own thing again . Half our party were given pre printed transfer tickets for the Rome transfer then the other half given nothing . Another trip to complain to reception was needed where I’m advised no ticket is needed. Very chaotic. I really cannot recommend this boat . It’s such a disappointment and such a waste of money . I would call it a ferry at best . It’s gets to you each port but there is actually nothing to do on this boat. Please consider a trip with a different cruise company as you will truly regret the visit into this monumental disaster from costa cruises . The lack of any sort of organization and lack of any activities on this ship is truly mind blowing . I can truly confirm never to use costa cruises again . We met not even one happy customer on this trip . Some of the passengers complaining are expert cruise users . I heard they are building another ship to match the smeralda. A waste of money Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
It's my first time Mediterranean cruise and I choose MSC Grandiosa because the length of its itinerary fits my availability. The ship is new and spacious to house so many passengers. You may need some time to wait for elevators or ... Read More
It's my first time Mediterranean cruise and I choose MSC Grandiosa because the length of its itinerary fits my availability. The ship is new and spacious to house so many passengers. You may need some time to wait for elevators or seat for buffet, but still it's okay with me and my mom. Staff are nice, especially I am very satisfied with the service of my cabin steward, always keep our cabin clean and comfortable. Fine dining with good food quality and our servers treated us very well. The best part is the no sugar dessert and ice-cream which mom loves that very much. Food at buffet is ok although I saw review about quality of MSC food but I think it's not that bad and still a choice if you don't want to fine dining. The gym has a nice view and have adequate equipments so I enjoyed my time of workout on the ship. The theatre show is ok to suit people from different culture but with more variety will make it better. A little bit disappointed with the shows Cirque de Sea. Still a good show but kind of short. Embarkation and disembarkation is very smooth, no need to wait for getting onboard, leaving or my luggage. Overall it's a good experience for me and mom. Probably we will go for another cruise trip not very long later. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are just back from our Xmas Cruise with our two teenagers boys. We all had an absolute blast! The staff and service were excellent. Cleanliness .... excellent Service..... courteous, polite and efficient Exceptional customer ... Read More
We are just back from our Xmas Cruise with our two teenagers boys. We all had an absolute blast! The staff and service were excellent. Cleanliness .... excellent Service..... courteous, polite and efficient Exceptional customer service Great organisation especially at stop over ports. Fantastic evening shows .... with lots of variety. We also went to Cirque du Soleil which was incredible! Plenty of areas to sit especially if you wanted to escape the crowds. Even with the amount of people on board the cruise never felt crowded. Like most we had our favourite areas to sit and soon got to know the staff by first names. Sagar in the coffee bar always remembered our drinks order and prepared it as soon as we walked in the door! Our cabin hsnd Gilbert who did a fantastic job everyday keeping our room. spic and span! I will definitely book another holiday on The Grandiosa it was truly memorable! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As the name basically gives it away, this is a GRAND ship. Super big. Huge. If this is something that you'd like to try then read on. If you're used to ships of a smaller class and prefer them, then this review may make you ... Read More
As the name basically gives it away, this is a GRAND ship. Super big. Huge. If this is something that you'd like to try then read on. If you're used to ships of a smaller class and prefer them, then this review may make you realize what you're *not* missing. First of all, it's only been in the water for a short while so everything is clean and sparkly. It's like a mini Vegas on the water, glitz and glam, but having passengers wearing shorts and t shirts mingling with those in suits and dresses. No real dress code, so everyone is happy and comfy in their sandals or their heels. As other reviewers mentioned there is a seriously obvious and slightly annoying push to up sell for beverages and other items that you would think would be included when you bought your ticket. You'd like wifi, of course not free. Things like water and juice? Sure you can come up to the buffet and fill your bottles. Of course juice is only available in the mornings. Sorry. Note: bring your refillable water bottles so you can at least take the water back to your cabin, as you'll be charged if you swipe it from the minibar. At least 3 euro, plus service charge. You get the picture. Then of course remember you are traveling with 6000 other guests all vying for the same deck space, theater shows, dining times...it's really a small city that you will be sleeping in for the next week. Dining was generally good, although portions small in the main dining rooms. Figured the calibre of food would be a little better than at the buffet but just marginally. The staff though were amazing and were there to assist and fulfill your requests at any time. Thankfully we were on a USA purchased cruise where the water was included at dinner. Not sure how else you'd drink anything if you didn't buy a beverage package. The optional Cirque du Soleil show was OK. Don't expect a Vegas style show here, and really it should've been free. Even paying for a watered down drink was a bit too much. The other nightly shows in the main theater were pretty good and they were free. Just try to book ahead on the MSC app to avoid having to wait until all the booked passengers walk by and get the better seats. Then they open the doors to the masses and everyone floods in for the free for all. The downside here is when the show is over 975 guests are let out at the same time onto the main deck, all vying for the same elevators. Some planner even decided that would be a good time to do a crew parade so it was basically a crowd at a Boxing Day sale trying to get to the other end of the store. Still want to take a big ship? ;) Despite all these items mostly related to just having a lot of people on a ship, the crew were all happy and it was evident that were trying to ensure that everybody was having a good time. Still want to get a big ship cruise out of your system? Sure this one will satisfy that desire. But when you are queuing at the buffet for that piece of beef and four people run right in front of you and snatch it before your hungry eyes you may have a think about sailing on a smaller ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
MSC has some grand ships and wonderful dining. And this one was amazing. The weather was colder and rainier so we had a lot more time inside the ship. For the most part, it seems consistently reported that the customer service and ability ... Read More
MSC has some grand ships and wonderful dining. And this one was amazing. The weather was colder and rainier so we had a lot more time inside the ship. For the most part, it seems consistently reported that the customer service and ability to resolve issues seems solidly lacking with regard to the staff. Our group had lots of technical issues before the cruise online etc. On the Grandiosa, the ship had only been in service less than 30 days. Maybe it 2nd or 3rd cruise. I witnessed a few shortcomings but the ship, food, and the service outweighed any problems I had encountered. I have sailed twice on MSC cruises and was blown away by the Grandiosa. I could still smell the new paint and carpeting! She was only in service less than a month. I had never sailed on such a new cruise ship and I have been on plenty of megaships and this one so far is my favorite. The public rooms, promenades, and outdoor deck spaces are "easy on the eyes." The colors decor and placement of walls and seating allows for easy flow for crowds. I encountered lots of huge windows in some common areas with lots of natural light and amazing views of the ocean which is why I was there. Elevators were cutting edge. You select floor where you want to go, and the screen assigns you an elevator! The shipboard App had some great features but locked up often. But it pushed notifications of pertinent info to us like security warnings and changes to itinerary. Main dining room was wonderful. Food and service was European fare and portions, perfect for me! Marketplace Buffet was solid. The variety of global food was amazing. I loved an outdoor open air seating verandah outside Marketplace situated on the stern. A very nice shipboard feature. One experience I discovered was with the fitness center. The windows were facing the jumbotron video above the outdoor central pool area. At dawn the jumbotron aired a slow steady sunrise video which was fully viewable from fitness gurus and anyone else getting outdoor laps in on the track or watching the real sunrise! The deck music was spa-like and relaxing. It seemed that the video sunrise was purposely timed with the actual surnrise! Amazing. The stern Horizon Pool and bar was multi-tierd and was very nice place to gather to watch sunsets and sunrises and a favorite to watch our departure from port, etc. It was well designed, spacious and appealing. Horizon Pool was very well thoughtfully done. Another area we enjoyed was outside deck areas on deck 16 and 17. Perfect place to stroll, watch the ship enter or leave port and catch a glimpse of changing scenery. It provides unobstructed long views from the shipboard side and easy to get too and less visited by others. I noticed these promenades were where a lot of photo buffs set up their tri pods there to film the views. Overall, the public spaces were nicely organized and finished. The use of LED lighting throughout the interior and exterior made the ship look more like the luxurious smaller series of cruise ships. It was easy on the eyes and was adjusted with outdoor lighting creating a wonderful ambience on outdoor decks and inside public spaces. Bravo with that concept. It was well received. The perception of passengers moving from one section or event on the ship to another flowed well it seemed. There were fewer choke points for the masses. The entertainment was very good. The food while European fare, was not as well received by many Americans in my group. But for me it was perfect. For US customers specifically, we had a certain allotment of bottled water at dinner seatings for free. And we were pleased to see it and used it. The staff. Hmm. Maybe because the ship was so new, they were more junior on the job perhaps. Many seemed not certain how to resolve seemingly simple requests outside the norm. One example was that all four of our cabins needed vaccumming when we first arrived. It was a buzz kill to see this on a brand new ship. Maybe the vaccums didnt work? There were no nose tissues on the entire ship either. Maybe the ship was never stocked right. Who knows. Little things, Not a big deal. The Grandiosa is amazing and I cannot wait to sail on her again soon. Thanks to Delpeshe for taking such great care of our group with every need in the dining room. And Rajan for anticipating our needs on the Bistro deck 6. Most employees were amazing and we enjoyed their service on a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have been on previous repositioning Epic cruises. My cousin traveled with me and she has been on 9 repositioning Epic cruises at this same time of year. It seemed like a sure thing....BUT surprise! This cruise was a nightmare from ... Read More
I have been on previous repositioning Epic cruises. My cousin traveled with me and she has been on 9 repositioning Epic cruises at this same time of year. It seemed like a sure thing....BUT surprise! This cruise was a nightmare from start to finish! Embarkation was a nightmare. We are both disabled and the embarkation staff didn't know what to do with us. Then my cousin was asking for a wheelchair and she waited 3 hours for one. People were still boarding the ship during the lifeboat drill. Epic tried to blame this mess on the immigration staff, but they were the ones responsible for getting wheelchairs and helping disabled passengers through the line and they were non existent! The cruise only went downhill from there. As a disabled cruiser, I have always found NCL accommodating and helpful. Not this time! Hallways were exceptionally cluttered and impossible to navigate. Elevators were packed (with only 8 total elevators and 4000 passengers). Staff from those in the theater to excursions knew nothing and treated us rudely. There are many examples of this...while waiting for our excursion in the theater, one poor lady was begging for a chair and in pain. A crew member herded us in the corner and no one helped her, despite my efforts on her behalf! They never gave us instructions and we all finally left the ship on our own, found our way through the terminal and to the buses, no help from NCL at all! Our first excursion was a bus to the "city" for sightseeing and shopping. It ended on a 4 lane highway, a mile from the cathedral and no shops in sight. I returned to the ship via a different bus and had to retrieve my own walker from under the bus! Second excursion was no better. No one at all to help disabled people at entrance to theater, and we went on our own to find bus again. This is after battling elevators for 20 minutes. The tour was labeled activity level 1, minimal activity. Actually it involved a brisk 45 min.walking tour over a mile and included steps. With other passengers helping on steps, I managed, but my cousin had to sit and wait for us. The one good part was the shore excursion manager, Catalina...she refunded the first trip and half of the second, then personally looked out for us at the buses for the remainder of the trip. She was having quite the time training her new staff! Shows in the theater on deck 6 had a roped off seating area marked disabled for us. But no staff to move the rope and heavy stand. Our first show in the theater a crew member berated an elderly couple and said they couldn't sit there because they weren't in a wheelchair...they were very clearly unable to navigate steps! The rest of the trip crew stayed away, and healthy young people (not part of a disabled person's party) took over the area! Finally, I booked an excursion and asked the crew member if I was allowed to use my walker, showing him that the tour description said no wheelchairs due to space limitations. He glibly said sure that should be fine, but days later I got a call from the manager that I couldn't go on the tour. Totally disorganized, and with the exception on the wonderful manager, uncaring! The ship was filled to capacity and was as noisy as a school cafeteria in the atrium and dining areas. I couldn't attend many functions that didn't require reservations, despite early arrivals...just no space anywhere. It was like being a sardine in a can with screeching dolphins! Supposedly the ship was not filling up and since it was their first debarkation in Puerto Rico, they pushed deals there. 3200 Puerto Ricans came onboard, packing us to capacity. Most were large groups of celebrating families and friends, raising the noise level to intolerable levels. Let me tell you, I tolerate a lot of noise, as a former elementary teacher, but this was unreal!! I tried 3 times before I could squeeze into the cavern club for their Beatle group. Packed to the brim, even then. The entertainment for such a long cruise was pretty good, I will say. Different musicians, hypnotist, comedy, magic, etc. Nice variety. The standards were Priscilla and Burn the Floor. Those required tickets ahead of time. The first Priscilla was cancelled due to mechanical problems. Speaking of mechanical problems, the midship escalator was broken the first few days, which only added to the crowded elevators! Many crew were new to the ship and confused. Service was spotty everywhere, even in specialty restaurants. Food was inconsistent, not cooked to order, cold, someone else's order, you name it! Not what you'd expect for all of the extra fees. Oh, speaking of food, I had to order room service on my first night! I couldn't get in an elevator despite 45 min. of trying. They didn't charge me the service charge for the order, but it was a disappointment for my first night onboard. Communication was poor. NCL seems to only care about making money at this point. Phones flashed messages with ads for purchasing trip credits, attending functions, shopping, money, money, money! I felt it was an invasion of privacy. The ship announcements by the captain were difficult to understand due to his accent and impossible to hear from the dining room or atrium due to noise levels. On our last night we were delayed in port with police boats at our bow and stern for 6 hours! No announcements were made and passengers got quite concerned. Now for the medical situation...a letter was issued at embarkation saying that the norovirus had been present on the last cruise and they were disinfecting the ship. If anyone wanted to cancel their cruise, they would receive credit for a future cruise. OK, here is the issue...I was not told of this notice, only reading it after boarding the ship. Plus, I had traveled overnight for many hours, flying to Barcelona. Still, I might have elected to not travel if I had known before boarding. I definitely would have not gone if they had been courteous enough to notify me before I left home. With a serious heart problem and upcoming surgery it would have not been worth the risk. Naturally, they didn't tell us a day before because they would lose money! Now it gets interesting...onboard there were many sick passengers, some with norovirus, some with upper respiratory issues. Coughing was heard all over the ship. I was afraid to breathe! Norovirus patients were confined to cabins and given free medical care, not the others. My cousin was perfectly healthy upon arrival, but a week into the cruise she fell victim to the respiratory illness. Her trip to the sickbay netted her a bill of $2500, which was even more for her in Canadian dollars. Sure, she has insurance, but this bill had to be paid before disembarking and now she has to go through the insurance headache. AND the dr. visit didn't help. She was wheezing and having difficulty breathing the rest of the time. Getting a wheelchair to disembark was only available by traveling to the cavern club and began a 8 am, but her bus left at 7:45. Front desk replied, That's our policy. Sheesh! Some compassion, NCL! I hope you appreciate all the money passengers spent on medical care this trip! Debarkation in Puerto Rico was a disaster. 3 large ships in port, and no room in the terminal. After part of the first group headed for early flight departures had disembarked, they halted all disembarkation for 3 hours. It ended with free alcohol on deck 5 to compensate. Just what they needed with everyone packed on that deck, shoulder to shoulder, sprawled all over the floor, waiting to get to deck 4 to get off the ship. Drunk passengers should help that situation a lot...way to go NCL! I stayed on deck 15 with the patient, quiet few! Overall, if this is the new normal for NCL I will part ways with them gladly. Cruising has always been a joy, but I was never so glad to be back on land and at home. I did send NCL a poor review and asked for management to respond to me. We will see. My cousin had already booked the same cruise for next year, but says now she will cancel. It is such a shame. Cruising NCL at one time was a delight. Now I guess only the Haven passengers can expect a good cruise. Before you say anything, my hubby and I were in the Haven twice and loved it, but also have had many other wonderful cruises on lower decks! I am not a grumpy passenger and have never posted a poor review. Shame on you, NCL for this horrendous trip! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Where was middle management? So many issues with poor service and no one handling basic issues. It seemed like there is a complete lack of basic hospitality-service training. Here are but a few things to mention: -honey packets so ... Read More
Where was middle management? So many issues with poor service and no one handling basic issues. It seemed like there is a complete lack of basic hospitality-service training. Here are but a few things to mention: -honey packets so sticky in Garden Cafe each day, you have to wash your hands after handling. I told a woman in uniform...yet same sticky situation every day after -salt grinders that didn't work at all in Aqua. They gave me 5 different ones-just so I could have salt. I bet they still don't work. -listening to the sound of silverware being thrown toward the dishwasher while seated in Aqua. So loud. Why are the kitchen doors propped open to the dining room? -Versaille-all the cabinet doors in center seating area were left open. Messy look to a supposedly fine-dining space -waiters who ask you each time if you want more water. "Excuse me miss, do you want more water?" Just fill the water glass-it's standard service. -waiters who say "excuse me miss" when they are behind you and bringing the food. Just approach the table and put the plate down. Why should a diner have to respond to the waiter behind them bringing food? -waiters who wanted me to move aside so they could put the plate down, when they could have easily approached from my left (serve from the left) and placed the dish without disturbing the conversation -3 types of french fries served on lunch menu is Versailles, but the kind you're supposed to get with your order are not what you get -items as described on menu rarely what you receive -shrimp burger in Versaille-undercooked, Who can tolerate undercooked shrimp? Health hazard -Fish ceviche on Great Stirrup Cay also raw-but not in a ceviche way. Should look white from chemical cooking by lime juice, That fish was clear-not white. so not ceviche -loud noises everywhere. The LOUDEST experiences all the time. Art auction so loud we can't talk in Ginza. Central are bands so loud that working in internet cafe is impossible. -internet cafe-"Cafe"? There's no food there-just noise. Why is there no quiet space to work if one needs to? -internet cafe- no outlets near the tables. I actually needed to plug in my computer! -strong smell of cigarette smoke in fitness center and on back deck-clearly coming from Crew deck below -games in Library are standards from the 1970's. So antiquated. Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, Chess. ugh! Invest a few hundred dollars in updated games -invest $500 quarterly on several copies of best sellers for the library. Why not offer a "good read" as an experience? It'd be so cheap and so easy to do -Ginza-so far from anything remotely Japanese. Seaweed salad came with a creamy dressing (?). Supposedly there was a Sake Bar advertised, but when we asked for a Sake Menu the server said there were just 2 kinds(?) One was "creamy". Creamy sake(?) -Music-the worst! Heavy metal music every day by the pool. Heavy metal is not a very popular musical choice, especially for the cruising population. I had to leave the deck every day when they started. The other band that intro'd every song they sang- and they sang them poorly. They chose a Pat Boone song. The DJ had no sense of energizing the crowd. The first night I ventured to Bliss he was playing a song from the movie Grease. I never bothered to go back. On the deck-people want to hear rhythms and dance beats or tropical vacation music. He'd ruin a vibe as soon as he stumbled on one. Playing Elvis' "Why Do Fool's Rush In" is an end-the night song, not a keep-this-vibe-going song. So many missed opportunities for the slightest bit of energy and entertainment -cocktail waiters that never offer you a drink. The entire 2 weeks I was on the ship, only one time did a server approach me to suggest I order a drink. In 2 weeks-only once! This is just a short list of issues the cruise line should work on. Training, motivation, and initiative seem to be severely lacking. I came away thinking at least I didn't gain weight, because the food was pretty bad and service was so annoying. And I didn't spend money, because there was little impetus to buy anything onboard. Is that what corporate wants to read? I doubt it. It really wouldn't take much to make this a better experience. But does anybody care? Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I like NCL cruise line just was not happy with this cruise experience this has not been my first cruise with the company. I do enjoy some things like free at sea that they offer and i didn not enjoy other this like they could have done ... Read More
I like NCL cruise line just was not happy with this cruise experience this has not been my first cruise with the company. I do enjoy some things like free at sea that they offer and i didn not enjoy other this like they could have done more activities during the sea days but it was kind of monotone thru the sea days. I was really disappointed with the glow party i was expecting a little more in the party. What i was the most disappointed was the fact that the club was separated with Latin music and the regular american music. We felt a little discriminated.The overall food was very decent, We enjoy very La cucina was my favorite and Moderno restaurant.. The music selection was awesome in howl at the moon and Sabor latino was amazing.The only negative i would have to say for very long days at sea they needed more activities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Boarding rather good and smooth. First contact with on board photographers: bit agressive and pushy. First vieuw of the ship: bling/bling, modern, cold feeling, huge.... few places to take a drink, to sit down and relax (in case of winter ... Read More
Boarding rather good and smooth. First contact with on board photographers: bit agressive and pushy. First vieuw of the ship: bling/bling, modern, cold feeling, huge.... few places to take a drink, to sit down and relax (in case of winter or bad weather). Cabin (balcony) clean. Size: a little bit small and cramped. TV very good with BVN for the dutch speaking. 'ZOE' is like 'SIRI'... only standard questions you can find on the internet. Balcony nice with 2 chairs and a little stool. Bathroom small with pump showergell and shampoo. No paper tissues. Shower good with nice hot water. Market place very crowdy but with a little effort always a place to sit down. Choice for breakfast good, lunch rather poor. Little bell on the table to call a waiter. Plastic glasses and plates (!!) brrrr. Dining in Cerisier was rather good, not great. Lots of tables close to each other. Very noisy. Real plates and glasses this time. Simple dishes. Had the eays drinks package incluced in our cruise price. What a joke! You get to pick everything below 6Euro: a few cocktails with standard alcohols, alcohol free cocktails, Heineken, 2 white, 1 rosé, 2 prosecco's and 2 red wines. Everything else you must pay! A drink of 6.50Euro: pay the total amount!! So not only the 0.50Euro above your 6Euro limit. RIDICULOUS! And a lots of their drinks are priced.... 6.50Euro. MSC pushes you in the direction of an upgrade... The shopping area is nice to wander around. Lots of speciality restaurants with zero people in them... a waste of nice places to sit and enjoy the cruise. Cirque du soleil is good, not like a big production but it was OK. Drinks were awful. Area with glides and waterfun looks very nice for good weather conditions. Shall we travel with MSC again? In Yacht Club probably, in other cabins... don't think so. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Well after 73 cruises I can finally say never again on MSC. My pros were : Embarkation in Barcelona and disembarkation in Barcelona Our wait staff in main dining room (I use the term dining room loosely) Our cabin steward was ... Read More
Well after 73 cruises I can finally say never again on MSC. My pros were : Embarkation in Barcelona and disembarkation in Barcelona Our wait staff in main dining room (I use the term dining room loosely) Our cabin steward was good. Ship was beautiful. Our cabin was ok too, although closet placement was a poor design. Cons: Generally unfriendly staff on board (language problem?) Lifts (Elevators) slow and very crowded. Daily embark and debarkation, kind of like a local bus. We booked early dining but were assigned late dining, got it changed and was put into a , for lack of better words a SUB dining room. More like a warehouse, no décor at all. Daily activities were abysmal probably due to daily ports. NOW the food, I had read in previous reviews that the food was not good to just plain bad. I found them to be true, again after 73 cruises I feel somewhat qualified to judge the food. Also this is the only cruise my wife and I lost weight on. Main dining was usually cold or luke warm at its best. The buffet was only slightly better, but there you had to survive the rudeness of most of the southern European passengers. We have traveled in Europe for years and have never been faced with the rudeness we saw on this ship. As a travel advisor I will not recommend this line to my American or Canadian clients as I know the disappointment they will have. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this Costa Magica cruise as a way to start off a visit in Sicily and Italy, which are our family heritage. I was a little leery of this cruise line (rightfully so, it turned out), as I prefer smaller and higher-rated ships. But ... Read More
I chose this Costa Magica cruise as a way to start off a visit in Sicily and Italy, which are our family heritage. I was a little leery of this cruise line (rightfully so, it turned out), as I prefer smaller and higher-rated ships. But the itinerary suited our needs, and a few of the shore excursions listed were appealing, and it seemed to be a good price listed on Vacations to Go. So we made plans, reserved mileage air tickets, and booked the cruise. Surprise! The cost had increased substantially from what was listed that very day on the internet. Oh, well, too late now to change everything... so we paid hundreds more than we originally expected. I had already chosen and booked shore excursions for each day on the ship, months ahead. This was a key reason for using this cruise line. You can imagine how disappointed we were when EVERY excursion we had booked was cancelled at the last minute, due to minimal signups. I believe that they could have run the excursions with smaller vans for transportation, but the level of profit desired was not reached, so our plans were dashed, too late to make other arrangements. ( I firmly believe that these tours would have at least broken even, but NO... apparently not enough profit for Costa!) I was surprised to receive emails before the cruise offering lobster, steaks, and even hamburgers and pizza, which could be ordered and paid for ahead of time. WHAT? If you want steak, lobster, pizza and other rather ordinary cruise food, there would be an extra charge! This was shocking to me, after experience on at least seven other cruise lines, where these items are included and readily available. The decor on the ship gave no hint of the beauty and subtlety of high-end Italian modern design, nor historical styles, but combined patterns and colors in the carpeting, and in marble, granite, gilding, and ornateness in a dizzying array of styles and colors, not to mention the paintings of nearly-nude women plastered all over the hallway walls. This was personally embarrassing to me, as I am proud of my Italian heritage and the genuine artistry which has made Italy world-famous. No sign of that here! The staff members were accommodating and pleasant, but the tour desk was closed just when it was needed most. Waitstaff in the Dining Rooms were competent, but regulations prevented their bringing us a glass of wine with dinner until we registered our credit card at a certain kiosk on another deck. They did match us up with other English-speaking passengers at table, which proved to be the only high point of the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ports of call where the reason I selected the ship. I didn't explore Barcelona as much as I would have liked due to jet lag. I didn't know that I could have selected the port to start my cruise. Had I known this, I would have ... Read More
Ports of call where the reason I selected the ship. I didn't explore Barcelona as much as I would have liked due to jet lag. I didn't know that I could have selected the port to start my cruise. Had I known this, I would have started in Rome to have extra time there. This should be advertised better. The epic ship was ok. Since it was November, it was too cold for the pool. Norwegian should make the pools heated in colder weather. I upgraded my cabin to have more space. I viewed 2 shows (Burn the Floor and Priscilla)...both were amazing! I traveled with a group of 30 people, including children. The kids thought the cruise was designed for older people instead of a younger audience. The customer service desk with the worst part of the experience. The employees gave out incorrect information on multiple occassions. This took so much time out that we could have spent doing other things. I requested an iron and never received it. I always would have liked to wash my own clothes on the ship but was unable to do so. I still haven't decided if I would book another cruise with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The ship is beautiful but foods, both in restaurant and buffet, are terrible. Food in restaurant is far from enough and I had to eat again in buffet. Food quality, both in restaurant and buffet are far from tasty. We were originally ... Read More
The ship is beautiful but foods, both in restaurant and buffet, are terrible. Food in restaurant is far from enough and I had to eat again in buffet. Food quality, both in restaurant and buffet are far from tasty. We were originally arranged sitting in Silver Dolphin restaurant same table with strangers while many tables are still not occupied. Excursions are professional organized. We were charged twice for a shore excursion and had to deal with the excursion staff in last minute before disembarkation. One of itinerary destinations cancelled due to poor weather but we didn't get any compensation. All passengers attended the shore excursion in Florence got badly wet due to pouring rain and I got cold second day. Cabin service is bad. Bed sheets and towels in our cabin never got changed for 7 nights. We couldn't have a good sleep for all nights because vibrating from beds and noise from balcony door. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were on the NCL Epic leaving from Barcelona I was in a group of 20 and we all felt the ship was lackluster. This was my first time on sailing with NCL and I will be sticking to my preferred cruise line in the future. Out of all the ... Read More
We were on the NCL Epic leaving from Barcelona I was in a group of 20 and we all felt the ship was lackluster. This was my first time on sailing with NCL and I will be sticking to my preferred cruise line in the future. Out of all the workers I encountered only 2 seemed to be happy to be working on the ship. All the other workers were miserable, the seated dining service was horrible on one occasion our server brought out the wrong dish to my boyfriend so she took away the wrong order and NEVER brought him what he asked for; thankfully the buffet was delicious because after that experience we didn't go back to the dining rooms. I'm glad that the ships were in port for long periods of time because they didn't have to many activities on ship I usually spend most of my time playing the games/trivia but those were few and far between. We also encountered an issue with our excursion to Florence of the hop on hop off bus tour, our guide warned us it was "end of season" for them so transportation and traffic were going to be bad yet they had no problem charging us as if it was still season they provided us the transportation to Florence and then highly recommended that we didn't use the hop on buses because we'd lose a lot of time waiting for the buses or sitting in traffic. My sister booked a different excursion in Florence and they also had issues with transportation and they recommended to her to take a taxi back our she'd miss the ship. When we got back on the ship they only offered us a 20% refund and didn't seem apologetic or that they even cared. I'm confident that everyone on board my ship was disappointed as well, at all times of the day there was a long line of people at the customer service desk complaining about something. We booked a balcony room 13265 for four and it fit us all well but the layout was very odd we didn't like the open concept bathroom the sliding glass door is just a light frosting so you can see a clear silhouette of whom ever is in there and no one felt comfortable using the restroom peeing alone was amplified to the room because of those stupid glass doors. And I highly ADVISE for everyone to continuously check your bill on the tv they charged me a $30 bar tab that I never made they had to go back into the paper receipts to check for the wrongfully made charge it took a day for them to confirm the accident and remove it from my account. I learned on the first day that i wasn't going to be purchasing on the ship due to the high gratuities and port charge I bought a beer that was menu priced $7 and ended up getting charged $10.50 with all their fees. Poor service and high prices just solidified to stick with the cruise line I know and trust. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on the NCL Epic which sailed out of Barcelona, Spain on October 27, 2019. The ports were Rome, Naples, Florence & Pisa, Cannes, France and Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The itinerary was great. We only booked 1 excursion with the ... Read More
We were on the NCL Epic which sailed out of Barcelona, Spain on October 27, 2019. The ports were Rome, Naples, Florence & Pisa, Cannes, France and Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The itinerary was great. We only booked 1 excursion with the ship in Cannes, France and the rest we booked private tours which were less expensive and amazing. We were a party of 4 adults (2 couples) and we all felt the same with the cruise. Our first impression was that the employees were not happy and it reflected in the service we received. For example, we had an issue with an onboard credit and the person at the guest service desk, simply said that I have to take it up with my travel agent as she did not see anything in their system about a credit. She was just plain rude and did not offer to speak with a manager or anyone above her. It was more like that's it, move out the way, next guest. I felt like they did not want to try and resolve the issue like on the many other cruises we have been on with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Those cruiselines definetely know how to treat guests and all guests are treated equally whether you are a VIP guest or a regular guest - everyone is treated equally. on NCL if you are a Haven Guest, you get the royal treatment and if you are not, then you are treated like a 3rd class passenger on the titatic. This was our 3rd cruise with NCL and we decided that we will not do NCL anymore. It's just to many little things that add up. Another thing that they did was that on the last night of the cruise, they locked the mini bar and at 10:30 at night, we did not have access to our water bottle which we had already paid for and was in the refrigerator. I called our cabin stewart and he did not answer, therefore, I had to call the operator 2 times so that they can send someone to open it. That made us feel like if they did not trust the guests as maybe they thought that we were going to empty out the mini bar into our luggage and not pay for it - Well, that makes no sense because they had our credit card on file. That was a "stupid" move on their part and alot of people on board were not happy with that "concept" they are doing now of locking the mini bar on the last night. The lines of people complaining on this particular voyage was huge and they all had the same complaints. We spoke with other guests who were not happy either with the treatment they were receiving. We all felt like a number on the last couple of nights - it felt like they just wanted to get rid of all the guests quickly to get the new guests on board. I regret having left the gratuities pre-paid, it was $210.00 down the drain as none of them deserved a tip. We went to different dining rooms and the treatment was the same, all rude and in a hurry. NCL should really do something about this, as we the guests pay a good penny for our vacations and deserved to be treated nicely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We are mid-cruise on this near brand-new ship. I hope someone from Princess is reading this. This is the Sky Princess' second sailing, I believe. In many ways it is brilliant, and, in others, it is hugely frustrating and a let ... Read More
We are mid-cruise on this near brand-new ship. I hope someone from Princess is reading this. This is the Sky Princess' second sailing, I believe. In many ways it is brilliant, and, in others, it is hugely frustrating and a let down. Let's start with the positives. The staff are brilliant without exception. The state rooms are calming and elegantly decorated in contemporary style. The public areas spacious, comfortable and beautifully designed. The entertainment in the theatre the best we have ever experienced on any cruise anywhere. So what's the problem? Largely three fold. Firstly, the lifts are awful. Everyone is moaning about them. Permanent, interminable waiting time whenever you try and call one. Simply put there are not enough lifts to cope with the passenger load. Especially with one out of service from embarkation. Second, the service in the restaurants is very, very slow. Unacceptably slow. We kind of understood this in a speciality restaurant on night 1, but in the main restaurant?? Unusual. Finally, a linked point, service is generally a bit slow, even in moments when it doesn't seem that busy. It is hard to understand why. On a final note, the medallion system, which whilst superb in many ways, is not flawless. I can see some cruise passengers feeling more at home with standard key cards. One of the downsides is you don't see what you've been billed (ie at the bar) until you've checked it on the app. Not for everyone, I think. Overall - has great potential, and would be 5* for us if these issues highlighted above were eradicated. One has to hope that these are the teething problems, of a new crew, on a brand new ship. Our sense is they are. Time will tell. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Embarkation: Easy, quick, no hassles. Luggage delivery was another story. I was upgraded at the last minute as the ship wasn't full and my luggage got lost. It took 3 phone calls for someone to finally respond to the situation. ... Read More
Embarkation: Easy, quick, no hassles. Luggage delivery was another story. I was upgraded at the last minute as the ship wasn't full and my luggage got lost. It took 3 phone calls for someone to finally respond to the situation. My luggage showed up at my cabin about 7 hours after we boarded. Drinks Package: I ordered a drink package as I'm a big coffee drinker. My tumbler from the package never arrived. It took 2 days and being sent literally all over the ship to get the stupid cup. Various crew members didn't have any idea how to resolve my problem, including front desk staff and just kept sending me to other staff members who didn't know and didn't care at all. Food: Just okay? Our dining reservations were wrong - they changed suddenly and it took almost 2 hours to fix on upon arrival. Got stuck waiting behind two very loud and entitled men who yelled at dining staff because they wanted a chef's table and the slots were full. Wouldn't take no for answer, escalated with threats and raised voices. Dining staff didn't seem to know how to handle the situation and it made the 12 people behind these two loudmouths wait for hours instead of dealing with them firmly. The buffet food started out okay but got progressively poorer as the week went on due to norovirus being on the ship. Few selections by the end and often cold. More formal dining options were generally kind of bland. Everything was way under seasoned. Dining Staff: Our seated meal staff did a great job. The buffet staff were operating at stall speed. The average wait for a drink was 10 minutes, if you could flag someone down in the first place. Dirty dishes sat uncleared. Lots of buffet staffers standing about waiting for instructions. There seemed to be something wrong with how it was being managed because the buffet staff often seemed confused about what they were supposed to be doing. Coffee Bar: Good service, good coffee. Snacks were pretty good, small portions. Gelato Bar: Overpriced, mostly ice. Bland. Don't bother. Alfredo's Pizza: Very good, better meals there than some of the buffet offerings. Entertainment: Cruise director and staff were lovely-- friendly and excellent at handling pax who had too much to drink and would heckle and get rude with them. Kristoff from South Africa is savage, loved him. Rock Opera was just okay. I wanted the Jim Henson Puppet Show to be good but it was just wasn't. It was kind of boring and the writing was poor. They were debuting it and I don't think it ran again next week, so I'm not sure if it's being reworked or shelved or what. It was staged in the Take Five lounge, which was the wrong venue for it. Day time rehearsals for the puppet show closed off parts of the ship for most of the week, which annoyed a lot of cruises. Spa: Took my mother for a spa service. My mother had a good experience with her facial. I got a pedicure. The staffer assigned to me was nearly 15 minutes late to the appointment, who knows why as she wasn't helping anyone before me. She was rude and shamed me repeatedly for the shape of one of my toes (I was professional dancer in another life and two of my toes aren't straight on because of repeated stress fractures). Tried to upsell me into $150 of spa products I repeatedly declined. Each time I declined, she only got more aggressive and rude and asked me why I was wasting her time if I wasn't going to buy anything. I should have demanded the manager but left almost in tears. I will never, ever visit another Princess Spa again. Adults Only Area: Most Princess ships have a pool area that's meant to keep children out which is often great when you are on a cruise with a lot of screaming kids at the pool. These new ships have ditched this for a private area of the ship that is an additional $40 a day. What does $40 get you? Nothing, from what I can tell? Just some lounge chairs, no pool, no spa. We took a tour just to see what it was like and it was absolutely empty. A total money grab. Ports: Most were great. Poorly organized re-entry from Florence that left 200+ pax standing in the pouring rain for an hour, while cruise staff let 2 people on at a time. Angry pax shouting at cruise staff while be forced to stand in a downpour. Security people couldn't figure out what to do and instead just got defensive and rude. Inside, long line at the front desk of soaking wet pax met with blank stares and indifference about what was going on outside. One woman from the front desk just shrugged and said: well, that's not my issue. The rudest front desk staff I've yet encountered on a cruise. Norovirus: Extremely lax standards for handwashing and public area cleanliness. Norovirus hit the ship it's second week into service, which is pretty embarrassing and not a good reflection on the crew. We found out later that the Captain had misled passengers about the number of cases that were actually on the ship vs. the number of cases he claimed (it was a much lower number). Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship is a wonderful modern ship with fantastic features, but the staff let it down with their priorities being maintaining the areas where they work forgetting the customers. The food quality is not what I expect from a ship of this ... Read More
The ship is a wonderful modern ship with fantastic features, but the staff let it down with their priorities being maintaining the areas where they work forgetting the customers. The food quality is not what I expect from a ship of this size and quality/cost of cruise. The speciality restaurants are extremely expensive. We have been cruising for over 16 years with various cruise lines (some budget ones) and this was the worst we have experienced. The ship is extremely noisy everywhere in the entertainment bars and on deck during the day. If you have an issue and go to Guest Services your concerns will not be addressed or an apology give, or it was not in my or my sons cases. The shows on an evening lasts only 35 minutes and no drinks are served. Beware of the compulsory tips! they are extortionate! but you can ask for them not to be added, I think that because the tips are added the staff don’t really care if they give good service, sorry MSC but we will not be cruising with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We went 2 adults, 1 child 12yrs, perfect! From stepping on board, the whole experience was brilliant, all staff so helpful, spotless ship, so much going on. We had a cabin on deck 5, so did not got no motion when at sea, the cabin was a ... Read More
We went 2 adults, 1 child 12yrs, perfect! From stepping on board, the whole experience was brilliant, all staff so helpful, spotless ship, so much going on. We had a cabin on deck 5, so did not got no motion when at sea, the cabin was a good size, & kept extremly clean by Romin. We had the drinks package which is well worth doing, so any drink upto 10€ was included, worth it, as most drinks are 7-8€ + 15% service charge. The entertainment was very good, day & night, if you don't like the party atmosphere then there is the sky lounge, or piano bar on deck 5. The restuarant we had 1st sitting btwn 6.30-6.45, but we never went In till 7-7 15, and was never a problem . Food here was excellent, we never paid to go in other restuarants, as our food so nice, the only 1 we did go to was cirque de soliel, which was 35€ p head, we wasn't impressed, choice of 2 starters, raw tuna or tomato & mozerella, and 2 or 3 main choices, 1 dessert, the theatre hardly had anyone in that ate, so very quite, 1 hour later the people that paid 15€ for show & cocktail came in , the show lasts abt 30mins, we felt better off eating in the inclusive restaurants very disappointed with experience of cirque de soliel, only get bottles of wine, no other choice, and not part of package, so really not worth a 30min show! We done all our own excursions, as found the ship ones expensive, but we chose our own things before we went. We went to a beach in malta on a bus 1.50€ e w, had a lovely day! In Genoa we went to the aquarium which was a 10min walk from ship, they charged 54€, which included a ferry to aquarium, which you did not really need! Trips are personal choice. Disembarking we was given 08.50, but we changed our time to 10 20, no problem in changing. The whole holiday on bellissima was fantastic, we shall be cruising with msc agn. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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