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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have Been on about 6 cruises, worldwide and Mediterranean using RCL, NCL, Princess, and Celebrity. We opted for this 3 night MSC cruise really to test the water and if we liked it go further on a longer voyage another time. ... Read More
We have Been on about 6 cruises, worldwide and Mediterranean using RCL, NCL, Princess, and Celebrity. We opted for this 3 night MSC cruise really to test the water and if we liked it go further on a longer voyage another time. Embarkation was a breeze just walked on , we think this was because not all passengers embark the same day as this cruise has passengers get on at most ports it stops at . Cabin was best we have had very fresh and a good size for an inside . We were offered an all inclusive drink package when we boarded and at 26E each per day we decided to partake ! We were given early dinner sitting which was 7 pm , the meals were nicely presented but not large portions but adequate for our needs. To wrap up best points on ship Clean fresh Ship Fab Entertainment / Deck dancing Easy to find your way around Service fine although not outstanding Value for money Enjoyed Cruising with all Europeans nice crowd Minus points Only that dinner was probably not quite as good as other ships but for the price we paid very good All in all we will definitely try the MSC Cruise line again and are pleased we gave them a try as some reviews are awful on here Give them a go Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
MSC Orchestra November 27 to December 9 2017, Mediterranean Cruise Included Morocco and Funchal Stateroom 12102 Aurea Balcony This was our first cruise with MSC Cruise Lines, we have previously sailed with Holland America ... Read More
MSC Orchestra November 27 to December 9 2017, Mediterranean Cruise Included Morocco and Funchal Stateroom 12102 Aurea Balcony This was our first cruise with MSC Cruise Lines, we have previously sailed with Holland America Line seven times. We didn’t have a good last cruise with HAL so decided to take a break from cruising until we saw this deal from MSC. Firstly they offered a loyalty points matching program so we were able to have our HAL three star mariner level gives us Gold level on MSC, so we are comparing our HAL experience with MSC. We took the Aurea level of cruise experience in a balcony stateroom, mainly because it included a drinks package and some massage treatments all for substantially less than Holland America. Bottom line if you don’t want to read a long review we really enjoyed this cruise, the ports of call were great and we didn’t feel that we were on an inferior ship. The value we received was far beyond our HAL experience. We boarded in Barcelona and the ship was late, we arrived at the cruise terminal in time for an early boarding but there was no sign of the Orchestra. There were no MSC staff to tell us what was happening and no emails from MSC. The ship did arrive and we did get priority boarding because of the Aurea level of tickets we bought. Boarding was quicker and easier than HAL way more casual and enjoyable. Our gold room key cards were on our bed in the stateroom which was unlocked the door on the latch. Everything was laid out on the bed all information we needed. The room decor is modern and stylish better than what we were used to, our bathroom was shower only no tub. The balcony was cleaner and freshly painted, no visible rust, handrails were clean, something HAL is not always doing. Our first visit to the buffet was good and what we expected, nice to flash your key card for free drinks. The buffet food for lunch is good but for dinner is terrible in fact nothing like HAL, you could not have a pleasurable dinner by using the dinner buffet all through your cruise. Lunchtime was good and had ethnic choices as well as everything else you would expect. North Americans get free bottled water at lunch and dinner even without a drinks package. Aurea package also includes My Style Dining, this gives a reserved area in the main dining room just for Aurea passengers. This means you can show up at anytime during dinner service. Our experience was that the person assigning tables for Aurea turned our My Style into assigned seating, which after a few nights led to us being rushed out of the restaurant because another couple wanted our table. They brought our first and main course together, dining on a cruise ship in the evening is our entertainment and the restaurant manager ruined this for us. Instead of telling the other couple that My Style is a different concept he caved to their pressure and we suffered because of that. I will admit to having a meltdown and getting angry and making my point. This did sour our main dining room experience. Food choices are not as good as HAL, the main dining room sells the lobsters or T-Bone steaks for 22 euros each, gala nights do not get surf and turf. The food choices they do have is good cooked well and enjoyable. We are vegetarians and MSC went out of their way to please us and cook items that were not on the menu. This was far better than HAL who did not seem to have the special cooks who were skillful and able to cook the vegetarian menu, this led us to stop sailing with HAL. The MSC Orchestra has only one speciality restaurant an Asian restaurant, offering sushi and some Thai options. If you buy a dining package before boarding you get a discount and are tied to a set menu. They did make all our options vegetarian instead of chicken and fish. The Pad Thai is not Pad Thai, they do what Holland America does use vermicelli noodles and no peanut sauce. Do yourself a favour and save your money by not using this restaurant. Our fellow passengers were Italians, Spanish, French and Germans. The Italian neighbours to our balcony were smokers and ignored the do not smoke on balconies signs. We did complain as the cigarette smoke was overwhelming, the first complaint I believe MSC did nothing because of customer relations, so I complained a second time which was three days into our cruise and this time it worked, having said that there were balcony smokers in three or four other cabins around us that didn’t impact us as much. Rules didn’t seem respected as on HAL. For the money we paid and the services we received MSC delivered well beyond what we were used to from Holland America and I could see us sailing with MSC more in the future. If you are a native English speaker you will be in the minority on MSC European cruises, if you can cope with this then we would recommend MSC as an option to consider, especially if you have loyalty points from another cruise line. Stateroom 12102 is under the outdoor bar in the mid ships area, it’s balcony and a very spacious room having an inter connecting door we worried about noise from the adjoining cabin but heard nothing, the room is very quite apart from 3.00 to 3.30 am the staff line up the table and chairs dragging them on the deck which is very noisy, but there must be a different shift at 6.00 am as they start rearranging the furniture again. Seems a shame they do this as these are premium cabins. We didn’t get our spa in room scented diffuser as they were out of them, these are part of the Aurea experience, after asking where it was we were given an MSC branded backpack and two insulated coffee travel mugs. We had the choice of two rooms as we booked late, both were mid ships ours had the adjoining door but the other had a drop down extra bed mounted above the sofa and the while being a head bashing hazard when getting up from sitting on the sofa, it also makes the room seem smaller. On this itinerary leaving Barcelona and doing a circuit of the Mediterranean this 12102 on the right hand side of the ship was great as you get the sunrise and sun most of the day which makes the room warmer and brighter. Most ports we entered we had great views, so recommend this side of the ship. We read negative reviews of this ship and cruise line and to be honest they are not warranted, yes the difference between nationalities and culture can seem unfriendly but why do you travel abroad if not to encounter different peoples. Lastly buying the Aurea package gives you the standard drinks package but because you bought it before boarding as part of your ticket there are no service fees added to you bar bills, so you save 15% service fee on every order. I would do another MSC cruise I think they are giving greater value for your dollar than Holland America Line and seem keen to serve North American passengers. Four out of five stars from us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The ports of call appealed to me and I have always wanted to see Barcelona which was the embark/disembarkation port. I flew from Australia and it was a simple transit. I decided on the spur of the moment after receiving an email from the ... Read More
The ports of call appealed to me and I have always wanted to see Barcelona which was the embark/disembarkation port. I flew from Australia and it was a simple transit. I decided on the spur of the moment after receiving an email from the company and sailed with in 4 months. Everything went smoothly and the staff were very attentive and friendly, remembered my name and inquired after my well-being when I had not been around for a day or so due to a sore throat. The ship itself is quite opulent and my cabin spacious and kept beautifully clean by my very amiable and good humored cabin steward, I travel solo and he always inquired as to my comfort. The passengers were predominately European and took great delight in my attempts to converse with them using hand signals and smiles. Would I travel again with MSC ? it depends on the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Please read all of the reviews about MSC Orchestra very carefully because for the most part they are true as far as: *Great value for an international cruise *Most patrons on the ship do not speak English as a first language ... Read More
Please read all of the reviews about MSC Orchestra very carefully because for the most part they are true as far as: *Great value for an international cruise *Most patrons on the ship do not speak English as a first language (never found it to be a problem) *You do have to pay for water in the dining room and coffee is not included except in the buffet *Dining options are few-buffet and dining room but we did not find the meals bad-always great pasta options and appetizers. *Entertainment is pretty non-existent *The pool area is very crowded and small I would suggest to go on this cruise if you: *Would like to see beautiful ports that no other cruise line seemed to go to (Malaga, Alicante, Gibraltar, Genoa) *Are not expecting/wanting to spend too much time on the ship *Do not mind being one of the only English speakers (although ALL of the staff spoke very well) *Would like a very budget friendly international cruise (our 8night balcony room cruise cost only $899/person) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Background Information: We have cruised once prior to this, a 12 day NCL Baltic Capitols Cruise. We chose MSC for the dates (fit kids spring break) and that we got two kids "free" (taxes/port fees only) in our cabin. Travel To ... Read More
Background Information: We have cruised once prior to this, a 12 day NCL Baltic Capitols Cruise. We chose MSC for the dates (fit kids spring break) and that we got two kids "free" (taxes/port fees only) in our cabin. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We flew from Belgium to the Barcelona airport, landing near 11AM. Taxi to the cruise terminal was smooth and easy. The cab driver did add a port supplement (I have no idea if it is valid) and the tab was about 28 Euro. Embarkation: This ran quick and smooth. We had pre-registered through the internet, so they shot web-cam photos of us, got a credit card signature, and presented our cards. (Oops... first pass they handed me someone else's credit card and receipt to sign!) We were at our cabin within 15 minutes, and our luggage arrived by the time we finished a buffet lunch. Ship Info: The ship was beautiful and very well maintained. The reception area is quite large and open. The theater was very good. The ship was quiet and smooth. One fact I didn't like is the lack of a real promenade deck. While it had the area for life-boat loading, the deck did not continue around the bow and stern, so was not used for walking or running. On the Norwegian Dream this was heavily used. The pools were cold salt-water. The hot-tubs were only luke warm. The recessed nature of the pool deck one deck below the upper sun deck made the pool area much warmer and less windy which was nice for an April cruise. They had a good supply of towels, but only 1 distribution and collection point... for the ship size four should have been provided. They called the upper sun deck the jogging track... no way. The sun chairs blocked the path too much to run on it. They have a big screen TV outside above one pool. It was neat, but several portions of the screen stayed black all the time. Stateroom: I expected a little more room for the second highest category. The balcony was also much less than I expected. We were quite crowded having 4 people in the room, but since two were cheap it is hard to complain. There was a queen bed (two twins combined), a pullout love seat, and one fold down bed. The bathroom was small but nice. The shower curtain was well planned, with the curtain attaching down the whole length on one side, and then having about a 4 inch overlap with a glass edge, so leakage past it was not a problem. Storage space was at a premium. In a couple places corner shelves could have been placed above items like the TV and a corner night stand, without taking space away. The light were not well planned. First, you need to insert the room key into a slot near the door to turn on the lights (common in European hotels). Then, you could not turn on and off most lights individually.... and two were high power spots directly over the fold out bed, shining right on the face of the person in that bed. This plan did not allow me to stay up late and read, as everyone would be subject to the light. Also, I had a run-in between my head and the fold down bed when getting up one morning.... it is right where you sit up on the side of the bed. Activities: With port calls everyday, we did not use many ship activities. The gym was good, with a nice view out the bow. Equipment included 6 treadmills, elliptical, bikes, a few weight machines, etc. Dining: This was the weakest area. Here's the by-meal breakout: - Breakfast. There is the buffet or in the restaurant. We used the restaurant day 1. The scrambled eggs were runny (yuck!), the bacon was to an American way under cooked (yuck!), the sausage and breads were good. The other days we used the buffet on Deck 13... at least we could see it before taking it. The menu sign said omelets to order. I tried to order one and was pointed to the pre-cooked ones with nothing in them. The bacon again was under-cooked, although the menu sign boasted of crispy bacon. There was a good selection of fruits, yogurt, meats, sausage, sunny side up, hard-boiled and scrambled eggs, plus breads. The only drinks included were tea, coffee, milks, water and so-called fruit juice (tastes like Tang). The buffet was crowded, and sometimes hard to find a seat, specially if the port call schedule drove people to eat at a certain time. - Lunch. Although they advertise the buffet, pizzeria, grill, and Villa as all available for lunch, the first three are all the same place....I went looking for them, and finally called to ask where they are! The food was OK, and only OK. No drink except water is included. - Dinner. The selection was decent. Most nights had 3 appetizer choices, a salad, 2 soups, 2 pasta/risotto dishes, 3 main choices, and dessert choices. They also had always available a beef, chicken, fish, and spaghetti meal plus a mixed salad. The quality was generally good, but not excellent.... clearly below our experience on NCL last summer. Beef was often overcooked. A real shortfall was NO DRINKS ARE INCLUDED. Not even water. A 75cc bottle of water was 2.60 euro. The service was not well organized. I expect everyone to receive the same course at the same time. This did not happen. Half the table might get a course, while the others sat with nothing for 5-10 minutes. We had the early 7PM) seating, and it normally lasted 90 - 110 minutes. We always were out in time for the evening show. Children's Clubs: Not used with a port every day. Service: OK. No ice in room first 36 hours until I asked (although the in-room material said it would automatically be provided). The room steward did a good job. The waiters/waitresses were not pushy. Entertainment: Decent, at least most of it. We watched the show every night. Four African acrobats were the stars many nights. Not only did they have incredible strength/coordination, they put on a good show with their talents. There was an alright magician, who stared one night and was a short act two others. One guy threw knives into the floor.... could have done without that. Another spun balls on strings and hit them on the floor to make a tap dance type noise.... much of the audience loved it when he swung them so they brushed his long hair, but we found it dull. They had two excellent singers (male tenor and female soprano) who were very talented. The Cossack dancers could not compare to the real ones we saw in Russia! The introduction in 5 languages was painful! Shore Excursions: We used the ship transfer to Marseilles, a fair deal at 7 euro each. We also used the cultural and historic Tunis tour. We were mostly pleased with the tour. It went to Sidi Bou Said (this is pushy sales people starting negotiation on a cheap dress at 160 euro, being insulted when we offer 10, then counter 80, 60, 40, 20 then being mad we didn't go for 20), and could be skipped. Also in this city they gave a carpet sales pitch.... I paid for a tour not a sales pitch. Positives were Carthage & the museum, plus unscheduled Roman amphitheater ruin and swing by the American Military Cemetery. The guide was knowledgeable, but really wanted everyone in a group and paying attention to him.... sometime we want to look around! The tour ran 5 hours vs. the 4 advertised (a positive). This itinerary goes to some of the dirtiest large cities in Europe. Marseilles, Genoa, Naples and Palermo just are not that nice, and do not provide a safe feeling. Also, the ship sold port maps for 50 euro cents, and provided a top ten list for each port. Helpful for those who do not research/plan in advance. Disembarkation: Our bags had to be out by midnight the night before, which is fine. I didn't like that we had to clear the room by 0730, 2 hours before our meeting time for disembarkation, and had to haul our small bags until then. They did not offer a place to hold your bags at the Barcelona port if you had time to explore the city. We took a taxi to Estacio Saints Barcelona Central and put our bags into storage lockers. We fit 4 medium to large suitcases, and two carry-ons into two large lockers @ 4.50 euro each. Summary: Good but not great. The food was the biggest let-down. The ship was super. Read Less
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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