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5 Barcelona to South America Cruise Reviews

Having sailed with various other cruiselines we liked the itinerary (never been to Rio) free drinks package, cabin upgrade and had seen recent reviews. Embarking in Barcelona.............a long process. Difficult to know what was ... Read More
Having sailed with various other cruiselines we liked the itinerary (never been to Rio) free drinks package, cabin upgrade and had seen recent reviews. Embarking in Barcelona.............a long process. Difficult to know what was happening. We all had our numbers for processing. Needed to keep asking what was happening. Not a lot!!! Eventually spotted movement. Need to pay attention as no repeated info over tanoy system. (When ship came in cold drinks trolley came into cruise terminal).You could also buy snacks and beer etc from cafe. ON BOARD SHIP ....................well impressed. Yes new ship, lovely and clean, looks big from outside but didn't feel any bigger than some we have sailed on. Probably deeper with all cabins but easy to navigate your way around. Lots of grays, silver, mirrors (bit disconcerting at first), swarovski stair case (crystals and lights) in Atrium, easy to see stage from three decks, 3 large screens with varying scenes, bars etc on different levels. A busy spot between theatre and eating. CABIN.......... greens and greys, good size, compact storage, with balcony (small but fine), shower OK size, beds comfy, air conditioning easy to use. Hand wash at sink, in shower dispensers of shampoo and shower gel. hairdrier in drawer, under "desk" in cabin. We always bring our own soaps, shampoo and conditioner. No kettle for us.... but accessible most of time from buffet on Deck 8. If drinks package ask for bottled water from bars. DINING.................. headed for MARKETPLACE (buffet on deck 8 /always very noisy) on boarding ship. Long boarding delays, must have caused problems for caterers. Pizza and chps tepid, place mobbed, lucky to find seat. This would be our breakfast, lunch, or mid aft or late snack, post theartre place to munch. If weather good can sit out on deck. Usual salad, fruit,bar, Pizza/pasta, Grilled food, Asian food etc Lots of choices. SILVER DOLPHIN for dinner was allocated to us. Not compelled to dress up but smart!! You can mix n match your menu ie have starter with a main. Always option of steamed fish, veg poatoes/chips you can have instead/with your main. Otherwise might be teeny porttions/strange mains ie hummous and other dip with pitta bread. Waiting staff efficient and helpful. SPECIALITY DINING French/Asian/Steak........we didn't pay extra and dine there. Used GOLDEN SANDS once as friends booked this retaurant but little difference to ours. OCEAN POINT other buffet/just as busy as Marketplace. Maybe not as noisy. Maybe not enough staff :sometimes lack of mugs, food always needing topped up. HAND CLEANING NO PROMPTING IN BUFFET/DINING ROOM .........automatic wash, soap, driers and hand gels available (sometimes empty!!) ENTERTAINMENT.............for kids looks great Forest adventure Park etc For adults Amusement arcade bit Cinema 4D/F! simulator/Bowling. Zipline pay extra. Behind Haven Lounge, towards back of ship, pool table, board games and library. Limited but good books in library but noisy spot to sit. Quiz really good fun but happens near end of cruise. Probably busy entertainment folk. If sunny more activities line dancing music on deck. Can grab an ice cream (on drinks package) or pay for ice lolly delic. WOULD have been good if we had known there were times when we should wear WHITE, MASKS and even FLORAL. Member of entertainment sidled up to us and said you are expected to participate in Beach party, mean't to be in Hawaian gear. We wandered off for a drink. Well all the Brazilian folk new what they were doing!! ODEON THEATRE ..........book from your cabin or on screens around ship/by lifts or queue up just before show then rush in and check for spare seats. Shows overall really good. Lots of usual singing, dancing, lovely costumes, acrobatics, (amazing), magic. Good mix. BRAZILIAN SINGER on stage in Atrium.....................she had an amazing voice/her group played for long spells every night. Guests singing along. She had a good rapport with audience. Another singer Rudy lovely husky voice and smile. Another young man who played guitar did a mix, nice voice but might be better to do songs that people can engage with. Current .and 60's, 70's etc to get them singing. SERVICE is really good overall but probably not enough staff, to cope with everyone/everything. Delays when embarking, delays when disembarking. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Better doing your homework and seeing what u must visit. We just did our own thing, walked into town most times had shuttle once and one excursion "RIO and shopping" saw main sights. Communication at these times seems to be, "you find out what is going on" not really using mic to communicate. Maybe too many people to stick in the Theatre and put into different groups and advise them over mic what is happening and when to move. Especially as they are already in groups of English or Portuguese or Italian etc speaking groups. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
i chose this cruise based on it being a short break around the Med and because I wanted to try MSCs new ship. The embarking process was a bit long but relatively well organised and didnt take too long. as they were directing everyone ... Read More
i chose this cruise based on it being a short break around the Med and because I wanted to try MSCs new ship. The embarking process was a bit long but relatively well organised and didnt take too long. as they were directing everyone into the buffet at lunch as you can imagine it was rammed and it took a hile to find a table. The cabin was spotlessly clean but we didnt get the beds separated into 2 individuals until after I had called a few times to guest services ( I was travelling with a friends ). Being an avid traveller of Norwegian and Royal Caribbean I expected to meet the cabin steward on the first day but it took a few days ( of a 4 day cruise ) to figure out who our steward was. We ordered choc covered strawberries which were mushy and not very appetizing. If it is out of season dont offer them. I guess that was my fault though. The ship itself felt like the layout was confusing but every area was spotless and very impressive. The shows in the theatre could have been better and more entertainment could have been offered as I felt like we were only being offered half of what could have been. The food was ok but I was left with an upset stomach after the second night in the MDR so stuck to the buffet. You have to try and avoid peak times at the buffet as otherwise finding a seat is quite some feat. I have had better food on other cruises but it was ok in general. Not impressed that they charge you for everything. Even 7 euros for a film to watch as otherwise you are stuck with news channels and there was a huge queue at Guest services on the last day as they automatically charged 34.99 euros per person to your bill for the welcome photo whether you want it or not so be warned. Disembarkation was an absolute shambles. No organisation whatsoever and there were at least 200 people queuing up in the staff areas of the ship waiting to disembark and people pushing in and arguing etc. Having said all this I would travel with MSC again but be better prepared for what to expect though after my experience on Seaview I think there is a lot to say for smaller ships Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I was offered onboard credit for being a veteran. The security was not handled properly and my wife's bag was lifted. It was not returned until we had occured over a thousand dollars is bills from the ship medical staff and 16 day ... Read More
I was offered onboard credit for being a veteran. The security was not handled properly and my wife's bag was lifted. It was not returned until we had occured over a thousand dollars is bills from the ship medical staff and 16 day from departure. Several request were made to look for the bag at customer service, but after being told the bag was aboard I signed for it. The ship's officer said it had been on board since embarkcation. When I asked that they recind the charges I met the rude Mr Steven. When I contacted Princess after the cruise, I got the 'WE DON'T CARE ATTITUDE!'' Embarkation was held up for hours in Valpariso. Going ashore was held up for three hours in Rio. Food on board had the frozen portion control taste, not at all what I have previously experinced on other cruises. This lenthly cruise was definatly marketed for older people , due to the fact that only retired persons could be away for a longer time. to matters even worse I was server tainted food and had symptoms of food posioning for a week. THen the ships medical service charged me 365 dollars for a single visit. When I told the doctor that the fumes from the midship elevator shaft made my eyes water and my throat to constrict, that was nothing and I had a cold. They chargred me 26 dollars for a flu test that I did not have any flu like symptoms for. I will not be traveling with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I have just read reviews of Splendida in November 2015 - very similar reviews. I do agree, however, that the embarkation in Barcelona left a lot to be desired. It was not organised at all and, unfortunately, no one person appeared to ... Read More
I have just read reviews of Splendida in November 2015 - very similar reviews. I do agree, however, that the embarkation in Barcelona left a lot to be desired. It was not organised at all and, unfortunately, no one person appeared to be in control and knew what was happening. I understand there was a problem with check-in computers and shortage of staff - no excuse MSC MUST get this sorted out. However, our embark time was stated as 3 pm and we were in our cabin at 2.30 pm and the luggage arrived at approx 4pm. Re disembarkation in Rio - everyone was off the ship according to their allotted time - if not before. It is not MSC's fault that Rio are holding the Games this year and have decided to build a railway where the dual-carriageway was once sited. It was hot (Rio does tend to be hot in December!) there were more than enough Porters to assist with baggage handling and the baggage-hall was well organised. Unfortunately, it was chaotic with 2 ships but this is the Port Authorities responsibility and not MSC's fault. We were at our hotel on Copacabana beach at 10.20 am which I think was pretty good! Lack of hygiene - what! The ship was spotless everywhere! Colds - you cannot blame MSC! Babies in nappies - I only saw about 5 children (2 babies) out of 3,500 passengers and I certainly did not see any sitting on tables in 'diapers' in the self service restaurant. Staff rude and arrogant, argumentative - we found them all to be extremely helpful, pleasant, courteous, efficient - as good as any other 4* cruise line. Service - our cabin steward and waiters in the MDR were excellent - nothing was too much trouble - they even arranged a curry meal for us! Bar staff were, again, excellent, efficient, friendly with, perhaps, one exception! Buffet (Bora Bora) did get busy, particularly when we had picked up an additional 600 pax in Salvador. However, we NEVER had a problem finding a table at breakfast or lunch (we headed for the aft and it was never 'crowded or chaotic') and the bar service was not a problem - ever! 1 o'clock for lunch could be busy, however, and occasionally there was a wait of, oh, at least 2/3 minutes when trays of food were replenished. Hot piazza's were flowing all the time however. They certainly did not run out of food! The one side of the buffet did close about 2.45 pm to get ready for tea but certainly not before. Plastic cups and plates - have you been on P&O or Cunard lately? Aggressimo drinks package expensive - GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY! I don't know where you normally drink and what price you pay at home but you cannot say this is expensive. Perhaps you only have 1 or 2 drinks a day in which case don't buy the drinks package. I'm afraid MSC didn't make a profit out of us! Entertainment team worked tirelessly and very hard - not always to everyone's taste but if you don't like, don't go to that event. The entertainment in the bars was excellent, particularly, the 2 Brazilian female singers in the Atrium - brilliant! Did get a bit loud around the pool, but this is typical Italian entertainment - so move to the other quiet pool or another deck. King Neptune's party was brilliant - think that might have put a bit of smile on your face maybe? Theatre shows were not 'London shows' but were still varied and suited most tastes. The dancers were excellent - the one male singer not so good! Flamengo, Paris, Tribute, Italian Shows and the Opera singers were all very enjoyable as was the White Deck Party. By the way, you weren't dragged to the Aft Lounge or Disco if you didn't want to go! Shop stalls - yes outside the shopping arcade - again if you don't want to shop don't go there. As for the dangerous ports - you are visiting Brazil this is a 3rd World country which has many well publicised problems - murders, drugs cartels, theft, muggings - have you read about the Favelas in Brazil - did you do any research before you booked? I don't think so. Have you read about the problems in Europe lately - Paris, Athens, Barcelona, London and anywhere else for that matter. We had a fantastic cruise and this is our third from Europe to South America with MSC and would certainly go again. If you are going on a Mediterranean cruise line you are, strangely enough, going to get 'foreign' food, different culture and sense of humour and entertainment and they are going to talk in a funny language. However, all the crew speak English as their second (if not first language) and English is second on all announcements. The Theatre (or emergencies) are the only occasions when 5 languages are used for announcements. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
It took 8 hours for my luggage to arrive at our room. embarkation was slow and disorganised. The disembarkation was dis-organized embarkation with people hanging around lost and confused. There was no information in place at ... Read More
It took 8 hours for my luggage to arrive at our room. embarkation was slow and disorganised. The disembarkation was dis-organized embarkation with people hanging around lost and confused. There was no information in place at embarkation. My husband who is disabled had to walk a very long way in the heat to the taxi, as the roads were closed for redesigning and 2 MSC ships were disembarking at once, it was chaotic and dangerous with one single pavement and porters who were squeezing through the throng with huge trolleys! The most outstanding issue, I think, was the lack of hygiene aboard this ship. It was terrible; almost non-existent. Dozens of people were sick with colds, coughing, sneezing, around the food. When entering the buffet or dining room, no staff member was present to oversee that people used the hand sanitizer, so most did not. Other cruise lines enforce this. Babies in nappies were sat on the tables in the buffet.  When I asked the staff for a decaf coffee sachet they looked at me as if I had asked them to stick pins in their eyes, the staff were rude, arrogant, argumentative, and appeared to think that “the customer is always wrong”.  service wasn't good (room attendant being the exception).  I would NOT recommend this cruise line to anyone. Both of us came back home with an illness, from colds to sore throats, and I believe the lack of cleanliness on this ship played a big part in that. I feel we should get a refund for this awful experience. Definitely NOT a luxury cruise The buffet was very crowded and chaotic, it was hard to find a free table, and I was shocked to be using plastic cups and plates ! The drink packages were expensive, it was low quality food. Poor service and attitude. Hard to relax in this environment! Half the buffet was closed and the other half was over crowded. They served the same food the whole cruise recycling everything. The food was plentiful but the quality was very poor, everyone was saying that it was very poor quality. The coffee was really undrinkable they must be using the cheapest kind of coffee beans.  The theatre was stunning but wasted as the entertainment on board was terrible we are used to west end style shows like the ones P and O put on.  Frequently there was no internet and I got shouted at in reception for trying to get it 3 days in a row. In The Gym - there are 10 running machines with people queuing to use them - 8 are taken up with people taking a slow walk ! The 25 minute rule on the running machines in the gym doesn't work as young men just come off of one machine and go onto another machine.  There was a passenger strutting around with a speaker blasting music out and sticking his finger up at anyone who asked him to go away. The staff didn't bother to say anything to him. There were stalls set up everywhere to try to get passengers to spend more, selling everything from handbags to not pads, it looked like a jumble sale. We will never go on a MSC Cruise again, it was so disappointing after going on a P&O Cruise. The ship was beautiful and kept very clean. The places we visited were lovely, although some areas were clearly very dangerous, no warnings or advise was given to us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015

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