1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Western Mediterranean Cruises
  4. Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

605 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

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
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
The Grandiosa is certainly an impressive ship - the LED roof is amazing - but, but, but.. The tall silver bar stools on Deck 6 are terribly uncomfortable and I kept sliding off. The first time I sat on the normal size silver chair it ... Read More
The Grandiosa is certainly an impressive ship - the LED roof is amazing - but, but, but.. The tall silver bar stools on Deck 6 are terribly uncomfortable and I kept sliding off. The first time I sat on the normal size silver chair it nearly fell over. The same goes for the chairs in the French buffet - they're terribly uncomfortable. The 'easy' drinks package is essentially useless. We quickly upgraded to the Premium. Our meals in the speciality restaurants were disappointing, except for the Japanese. When we ate at the French buffet my husband's roast chicken was raw in the middle and had to be replaced. When we went to Butcher's Cut, my steak was rare bordering on blue instead of medium rare. We used the buffet for breakfast. We had no trouble getting a table except for disembarkation day. But why do they make it so hard to avoid carbs and sugar? If you have to avoid the fruit, the breads, the pastries, pasta, potato and rice, then there's little left to choose from. And breakfast hardly changed. By the time I got home I was craving vegetables. The disinfectant gel dispensers at the entry to the buffet and occasionally seen elsewhere were not working properly - the sensor was not detecting that people were putting their hands in to get the gel. And hygiene was NOT being enforced. What's the point of having gel, or all those washing stations, if nobody has to actually use them? And when they were used the staff did not tidy them up - whether it be by wiping up water spills or getting rid of carelessly discarded paper. Il Campo Restaurant was nice enough. I just wish it was open for breakfast and/or lunch as well. Cirque de Soleil was a bit meh. Dinner selection was limited, and wasn't all that good, to be honest. The show itself was less than an hour, and you couldn't have wine from your drinks package, not even premium. You had to choose from a limited selection of wines - bottle only, not by the glass. The LED ceiling is certainly impressive... but... every so often it displayed a montage of guest photographs taken from their Instagram accounts. On our last night during our dinner at the Japanese restaurant we noticed that one of the photos chosen, when featured, was cropped and blown up to show just the ladies' breast area. Giant boobies on the ceiling would have been great for the gentlemen, I'm sure, but as an older lady trying to eat her dinner it really wasn't appreciated. Somebody please talk to whoever manages that montage about more appropriate picture selection. When you leave, you walk through the arcade to the sound of "Time to Say Goodbye" (the song used for the Olympics years ago, and the LED roof displays videos of lots of the ship staff waving goodbye. It was quite touching, in a way. Our luggage group was "pink" but that color was nowhere to be found on the TV screens at all the carousels. We had to find a staff member - a challenge on its own - to find out where our luggage was. It turned out pink had been lumped in with "fuchsia". We had quite a wait for our taxi. 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 Haven is now Heaven falling to Earth. The attention to detail is just not there, this was our 4th Haven experience. Yes Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful, but one of our party has a severe seafood allergy and snacks were ... Read More
The Haven is now Heaven falling to Earth. The attention to detail is just not there, this was our 4th Haven experience. Yes Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful, but one of our party has a severe seafood allergy and snacks were delivered to our stateroom daily with some sort of seafood on the plate. Staff were advised and no changes occurred. On our embarkation day a Massage was scheduled for the Haven massage room and though it was confirmed we had to go searching for the masseuse who was found hawking spa packages to other Haven guests. When advised she was 15 minutes late for her appointment she smiled and said she would be there. On 3 of our 7 day cruise their was sewer gas odors in the 2nd bathroom of our suite. Each occurrence was handled by our cabin staff along with the broken light switch. Overall the entertainment on board was less than stellar. Pricilla Queen of the Desert was fun but the Beatles were terrible. The person playing Paul could not sing or play the guitar. The Beatles had a show every night which after the first we avoided. We did find an excellent singer doing a show by Malting's, he was so popular you needed to show up 20 minutes early to get a seat or just stand. My husband and I have Cruised Norwegian numerous times and always scheduled our Excursions thru them with positive outcomes. All I can say is that was not the case here. We anticipated the beautiful sights and history at each of the 6 stop's and were treated like numbered cattle being brought to numerous markets to further separate ourselves from our Euro's. Yes we saw the sights in passing, but it was not what we anticipated. 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
My husband and I wanted to visit Italy so Cannes and Mallorca were a wonderful bonus. I can’t help comparing Norwegian to Royal Caribbean and I have to say Royal is still my favourite line. Some of the staff on Norwegian seemed ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to visit Italy so Cannes and Mallorca were a wonderful bonus. I can’t help comparing Norwegian to Royal Caribbean and I have to say Royal is still my favourite line. Some of the staff on Norwegian seemed overworked and unhappy. Some were not versed in the ship layout at all. For instance the man in the gift shop had never heard of the cigar lounge behind the bar right across from his store. We bought the premium beverage pkg but it depended on who you talked to as to what that included. It said that we got coffee and water but only some of the staff would actually give us that. Overall some attention to their training is in order. Most of the limited number of pools were for kids. The adult pool at the front of the shop was tiny and overcrowded with 10 adults. My least favourite thing was this: the way the Haven guests were handled. Haven is the luxury part of the boat. Each of those guests gets priority and skip the lines. However, imagine standing in line to tender to the mainland and it is finally your turn when 25 Haven guests suddenly cut straight in front of you. Awkward as we all stood waiting for the next launch! Royal NEVER did that to their guests. Priority folks were given priority but never in our faces like that. I never ever felt second-class or unimportant on Royal. I have always been treated like gold so this was really a slap in the face to have such an obvious hierarchy pushed in front of you. Literally. Royal finds a way to make their priority guest still receive that Royal treatment but not at the expense of their other customers. Surely another doorway could have been used so we were none the wiser and not made to feel that suddenly we didn’t matter. Shore excursions were good. Enjoyed them very much. I will say though that for the Hop On Hop Off bus Norwegian wanted $44 Euro each. By waiting til we got onshore and buying at the kiosk, we got the same ticket for $15 Euro each. Yikes guys. Glad someone tipped us off on that one. Overall it just felt like everything was an extra charge and service based on what amount you spent. We paid a lot for this trip and while we had a wonderful time, some of those special touches we were used to were definitely missing. Our next trip will be back with Royal Caribbean as we love that line and they love us back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our experience was disappointing from the beginning. We booked through a Norwegian agent, flights included. We were told If we book the flights with Norwegian they won’t leave you but if for some reason something goes wrong and you are ... Read More
Our experience was disappointing from the beginning. We booked through a Norwegian agent, flights included. We were told If we book the flights with Norwegian they won’t leave you but if for some reason something goes wrong and you are really late they will pay to get you to the next port. So it seemed reasonable to book it all through them. Early on we saw that we had a connecting flight in London so I called our agent and asked if we could stay a few days in London. Her response was that flights are subject to change up until 50 days out. At 50 days out I called back and told her it still says we are connecting in London can we arrange for a few days there? Then she tells me no, we can only book extra days in your port of call. Ok, well let’s book a few extra days in Barcelona. Oh, sorry you waited too late and your flights are already booked so we can no longer change them, you would have needed to make changes before 50 days out. ??!! Very disappointing. So finally our cruise of a lifetime arrives and we get to the airport and our first flight is late, which makes us get to our next connecting flight late, which made us miss our connecting flight. We called Norwegian to let them know and they were no help and not reassuring at all. They told us that they are unable to help with flights. We had four in our group and we were put on standby for the next flight out. Only two of us got on that flight, which was also late. Our friends were put on the next flight out, which put them landing in Barcelona at about 5:00PM an hour past the time they want you to be checked in. When we landed in Barcelona we took the Norwegian transport directly to the port and had no time to see Barcelona. Our friends did not make it to the ship until about 6:00pm. At no point did any Norwegian employee try to reassure us that everything would work out, no customer service at all. We made it though, finally on our cruise! The Epic. Our state room was nice we had a balcony, view was amazing. We had the drink package, which I highly recommend. We also had three nights of specialty dinning. Truthfully those were the only nights that I was impressed with the food. We loved Cagney’s and Moderno, which we ate at twice. The main dining rooms were ok. O’Sheehans was pretty good. The wings were great. The Beatles were amazing! Motown was also very good. Clarissa, our assistant cruise director was very sweet and informative. Freddie, the bar tender at Maltings Whiskey bar was great! Best place to go for drinks! As far as cleanliness goes the ship was clean. We all had an amazing time at all the ports. We did our own excursions and had a blast. Our favorite was the Amalfi coast. The views were breathtaking and the food was incredible. If I could change anything about the ports I would not have done tours. They were too long and there is not enough time in the day to see it all if you take guided tours. Our disembarkation time was at 6:15AM and our flights were scheduled to leave at 10:15AM so again we didn’t get to see Barcelona. Flights home were much smoother and timely. As a side note British Airways was much cleaner than Lufthansa. We had a great time on our cruise but I don’t know if I will sail with Norwegian again. The lack of customer service will have me looking at other cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise because of the ports it was visiting. The ship itself was lovely, but they lacked in a few areas. Not enough staff. I was ordering 2 drinks at a time because there was not enough staff. They did not offer coffee cards ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the ports it was visiting. The ship itself was lovely, but they lacked in a few areas. Not enough staff. I was ordering 2 drinks at a time because there was not enough staff. They did not offer coffee cards like other lines. Instead they try to get you to but a drink package. No water with dinner, you have to buy this in the restaurant. No soft serve, have to purchase gellato. No tissues in bathrooms. You have to purchase a different level to get any. The entertainment was appaling. The staff appeared to be a new team, as no one had answers to basic questions about the ship areas etc. The tours were generally good, except for our Portofino tour. The boat showed up an hour late which ment we only had an hour and a half there, just time for a coffee and super quick shop! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We met the ship in Barcelona, and the embarkation was fast. We had dinner at the Manhattan Restaurant on our first night, and the food was mediocre at best. Also portions were small. In fact we found this to be the case in all the free ... Read More
We met the ship in Barcelona, and the embarkation was fast. We had dinner at the Manhattan Restaurant on our first night, and the food was mediocre at best. Also portions were small. In fact we found this to be the case in all the free restaurants on board. Sometimes we found it necessary to order two entrees. We had a cabin with a large balcony which was fine, but the bed was very uncomfortable. Because of high winds we were unable to dock in Livorno, so the shore excursion to Florence was cancelled. When we reached Cannes, we went on an excursion called Scenic Golden Corniche & St. Raphael. This involved a long boring bus ride to St. Raphael where we were allowed to stay for just 45 minutes. No time to do or see anything worthwhile. The best excursion we had was from Palma to a lovely small town called Valldemosa. The entertainment on board was excellent, especially the Beatles Tribute, and Burn the Floor. I doubt if we would book with Norwegian cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this ship specifically for the Itinerary (Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Palma De Majorca, Rome, Naples). I had read about the weird bathroom configuration, but figured it wouldn't be too much of a big deal. I booked an Aft ... Read More
I chose this ship specifically for the Itinerary (Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Palma De Majorca, Rome, Naples). I had read about the weird bathroom configuration, but figured it wouldn't be too much of a big deal. I booked an Aft Balcony on the 13th floor. I had major issues with booking dining reservations prior to the cruise. I used a travel agent, who booked our dining reservations the DAY it was available to do so. She had a confirmation of these reservations of ours as well as the other couple we traveled with. I happened to notice on our e-documents (the week we sailed) that there were NO dining reservations. I called the cruise line, and they told me I had to go through my travel agent-she spend a long time trying to sort this out and somehow her confirmation didn't save on the cruise line server and we scrambled having to rebook all dining. I have been on over 12 cruises on other lines and this was my first Norwegian cruise. It had exactly the itinerary I wanted so I ended up booking this ship and was told the "bathrooms were weird". I wish that was all I had to say about the ship. After checking out my balcony aft stateroom I began to notice rust on all the railings and very large areas of blue paint missing on the upper decks on the back of the ship. The carpets were dirty with large stains going down the hall and the weird bathroom had vinyl plank flooring that was buckling from the water that comes out the shower. The shower drained very slowly to point it almost overflowed into the cabin. We had the upgraded dining package and all of the specialty restaurants were very good with good service. The Manhattan Room was terrible. No one ever came to take our drink orders or even serve us water. We sat for a very long time and finally the waiter came over and we told him we had been sitting a very long time and he could have cared less. The head waiter came over and we told him how long we had waited for anyone to come over and he joked and said that just gave us more "time to look at the restaurant and spend with him"...This turned out to be a almost 2.75 hour ordeal to just get served food in one of the main dining rooms. Compared to some of the other ships I have been on I found the ship to appear very dated with very unattractive main areas with the feeling that the ceilings are very low. My husband is 6'6 and he had to duck everywhere we went on the ship so that he did not hit the exit signs at at times the ceilings. With the exception of one great bartender, I have to say this was the worse, rudest bartending staff I have ever encountered. I ordered a cocktail by the pool on the very back of the ship while sunbathing and saw this waiter proceed to go and take orders for a very long time before even going to the bar. I flagged down another waiter to ask him to please find the waiter so that I could get my drink and go as I had to get ready for a dinner reservation and finally about 10 minutes later the original waiter showed up with a watered down drink and pretty handed it to me and muttered something under his breath and left. This was very typical of the bar staff I encountered. The speciality dining room waiters were very good and the service was good and responsive and the food very good. You must know that Florence and Rome are at least 1.5 hours away from the ports we visited so you must make some sort of excursion prior to visiting as you can't take a taxi to the city. We picked "Rome and the Colosseum" that was a very long 10 hours tour that was described as seeing some sights of Rome and focusing on the Colosseum. Out of the whole day we spent exactly 22 minutes in the Colosseum where most of our group was in the very long line for the restrooms as they failed to really allot time during the trip for restroom breaks etc. I like the Trevi Fountain, lunch, the Vatican, and the Roman Forum...but if you pay hundreds of dollars to actually spend time in the Colosseum you want to spend more than 22 minutes there total. It was a huge disappointment. Additionally, they offer a "Florence Hop on Hop Off bus tour" but fail to tell you at all that buses really aren't allowed at all in the city. Why would anyone do this tour? We had it booked originally but I happened to notice one review on that tour the week we were cruising and noticed that it didn't even go into the city at all. When I called the customer service line they were not helpful and pretty much were verging on rude as far as communication. I was undecided about which cruise ling to take on this itinerary and really wish I would have gone on this site prior to making my decision and done my research. I have been told by my friends who cruise Norwegian often (after I took this cruise and discussed it with them) that Norwegian completely redid the ship layouts after they launched the Epic. I may cruise with them again, but only on a much newer ship after much research. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have sailed on Celebrity Cruises before and as Captain Club members, we were not given any extra consideration, dining table were in hidden corners behind walls, we requested a move but, no one was interested. We enjoyed our ... Read More
We have sailed on Celebrity Cruises before and as Captain Club members, we were not given any extra consideration, dining table were in hidden corners behind walls, we requested a move but, no one was interested. We enjoyed our Silhouette cruise and couldn't wait for this one,however, this cruise was a disappointment. Some food items and beverage types ran out days before the end of the cruise, this should never happen. If you pay for top packages the food and drinks should not run out. Our Spa treatments were all rushed and shortened in time with ongoing apologies regarding being overbooked. We were in formal dining areas with people wearing shorts and T-Shirts- this is not a high standard of quality, we respected the Dress Code but, staff did not follow them through with other passengers. This should not be the style of clothing. We look forward to sailing again, but enjoy high quality services. This was a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is my review of the varies dinning areas: No fee restaurants: 1- The main dinning restaurants (Manhattan for dinner and Taste for breakfast) ... were really hit and miss for. Meaning a lot more mediocre meals, with more lengthy ... Read More
This is my review of the varies dinning areas: No fee restaurants: 1- The main dinning restaurants (Manhattan for dinner and Taste for breakfast) ... were really hit and miss for. Meaning a lot more mediocre meals, with more lengthy waits the I am accustomed to. This seems to be a growing trend on all cruise lines, not just Norwegian. Perhaps intended so more customers will pony up for a specialty meal? 2- O'Sheehans ... This is a much better 24 hour restaurant than most cruises offer. Most cruise ships only offer coffee pastries and a very limited amount of microwavable food during the early morning hours. O'Sheehan's offer hot meals until 4AM. And open for breakfast at 5AM. With the typical pastries and coffee served as they are gearing up for breakfast, between 4 and 5AM. I ate here most every morning I woke up early and/or had an early excursion scheduled. 3- Garden Buffet ... Typical eat at your own risk buffet food, that all cruise lines seem to offer these days. Though a few buffet meals were surprising good for a buffet. There were many more meals that were left on my plate. This is true with all cruise line buffet meals, in my viewpoint. So take my viewpoint, with that in mind 4- The main dinning rooms (Manhattan and Taste) ... Kind of hit and miss. Gone are the day when main dinning rooms served up amazing meals, each and every meal. In my viewpoint, this is true on all cruise lines (not just Norwegian). And the servers seemed rushed and uncommunicative. 5- Shanghai Noodle Bar ... This is far more than a noodle bar. They serve a full line of Asian food, with very friendly service. This was by far, my favorite no fee restaurant. Specialty dinning: Mondero (a Brazilian Steakhouse... Truly a great concept which should have excelled. Where you first start with a self serve salad bar (which a great). you are then brought varies cuts of meat that are sliced right there at your table. The problem is, it was just meat samples sliced off a huge portion and placed on your plate with no seasoning or dipping sauce to give it the flavor meat needs. Meat without seasoning is hardly ever good. Very disappointed. Cagney's (an American Steakhouse) - First time there I was served the most flavorful rib-eye steak, cooked and seasoned to perfection I think I ever tasted in my life. Literally melted in my mouth and packed with flavor. I went there on my last night of cruise and each meal ordered, the meat was very overcooked. My medium rare Rib-Eye was served medium at best. My wife's medium surf and turf order was served well done. Same meals ordered on different nights, with shockingly different results. Entertainment shows: This is were I think the Norwegian Epic excelled. Here are my reviews of the shows that I saw in epic theater: 1- Cirque Dreams dinner show ... You have to pay extra for this show. But, it is so worth it. And not actually in the Epic Theater, but next to it. The dinner itself was not much of a menu. As you selected from two main entrees, an appointed appetizer and a desert. But, it was surprisingly good. And the show itself was WITHOUT QUESTION, the best entertainment show I ever seen on a cruise and it is virtually seen ... right in your lap. Pay a little more and see the show without dinner. Pay quite a bit more and see the show with a dinner. Either way, you will not be disappointed. I guarantee. 2- Burn the Dance Floor ... Started off a bit slow. But quickly became a highly energized singing and dancing extravaganza. I highly recommend. 3- Princess Priscilla ... As someone who never even remotely heard of the book or movie that this show was based on ... I came in, not knowing what to expect. All I can say is this show offers some wildly entertaining and flamboyant costume changes and great lip sinking. But, the story line itself kind of weird and just hard to follow. And definitely not for those who are homophobic in any way. I really liked the gym. Mostly because they were well stocked and had the same brand of fitness equipment my gym at home has. And the included drink package made this cruise more fun than it would have been without. I would have given 5 stars for service ... But, the rushed and rather unfriendly servers at the Manhattan restaurant, brought it down one star for me. Honestly, all other servers and staff were a solid 5 stars in my viewpoint. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
It was always our favorite, NCL. They treated us like royalty. They have made so many cuts recently, I thought I was on a Carnival cruise. No longer the cute towel animals to welcome us daily, no longer the menu daily for breakfast in the ... Read More
It was always our favorite, NCL. They treated us like royalty. They have made so many cuts recently, I thought I was on a Carnival cruise. No longer the cute towel animals to welcome us daily, no longer the menu daily for breakfast in the room...Cagneys has gone downhill. The side dishes were tiny, not tasty, beef was a low cut, and tough. We ate there twice and were disappointed. The baked potato was small, warm not hot and just not good. The sides used to be great, instead of creamed spinach they just had sautéed spinach which had little taste. Tepanyakis was excellent, nice large shrimp and great entertainment, the food has not changed and remained great. We had an issue in La Cuchina, I brought the wrong coupon, it was the Cagneys coupon so the hostess did not want to seat us. Seriously? We had to bring in the manager. I went and retrieved the correct coupon right before dessert. We just were not treated well all around. NCL Has changed and not for the better. It is time to try another cruise line. After 10 trips I’m sorry to see them cut so many corners. I would not recommend them at this point. I’m sure they are saving money at the guests expense. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first ever cruise. We read many reviews and had super high expectations. Get ready, the first 2 days you will be a bit disappointed with the service, everyone is stressed and every restaurant is packed and has long queues. ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. We read many reviews and had super high expectations. Get ready, the first 2 days you will be a bit disappointed with the service, everyone is stressed and every restaurant is packed and has long queues. 3rd day onwards is when you start enjoying your cruise. Everywhere is more organized and calmer. We also opted to do this cruise due to the many activities in the ship. So we did not go down from the ship often. To our surprise on port days all most all activities were closed and opened up at 15:00 :/. So we did not go down in order to enjoy these activities but in reality they opened up when everyone is coming back form their excursion. Anyways, once we got the hang of opening hours we started enjoying the cruise even more :) Food on the ship was super good. Main dining rooms were our favorite. Drinks were also yummy and had many types too! Unfortunately after an awesome week, the last day just literally ruined our experience. We try to order savignon blanc and they tell you sorry we don’t have any left just chardonay. Ok, Lets go for a Pina Colada.... sorry just finished... same for peroni and corona. I thought royal caribean are the best of the best when it comes to food and drinks and making sure guests are happy. To top it all up , we love love the hot tubs. Some were open 24hours (solarium) so after our dinner and some dancing we used to go up to the tubs and enjoy some relaxing time. It was the highlight of our day. On the last day of our cruise, during the day we were at the hot tubs (adults only) but it was left unattended so kids and teens just kept coming in and we obviously ruining the peace. We decided to head out and come back later on after midnight. So excited after a good night at dazzles we headed to our room, changed to our bathing suits and off we went to deck 15. The last drop of the day.... all hot tubes were drained and closed Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise as wanted the 12 days round the med and also Croatia and Montenegro. Frankly I was disappointed reasons being... had my time dining in the main dining room, which suited but found the food was far better in the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as wanted the 12 days round the med and also Croatia and Montenegro. Frankly I was disappointed reasons being... had my time dining in the main dining room, which suited but found the food was far better in the windjammer, we ate there at lunchtime sometimes and were tempted to go back In the evening but did not want to have to serve ourselves as to me part of the cruise is getting dressed up in the evening. There was also a noticeable absence of a wine waiter, a ship with no wine waiter??? The ship, for me was far to casual, there were 2 formal nights where not many people bothered to dress up, there choice I know,, but on the other nights which were smart casual people turned up in shorts! Which I dont think is acceptable, that is not the ships fault. On the days we were in port, for me, there was not enough going on to keep us entertained, we didn’t get off the ship because had been to most places before. Not even a film, there was a small quiz which lasted max of 10 minutes. Upon reading this back it seems I have been a bit negative but I really think the ship has been cutting too many corners. Cabin was fine and most of the crew were very attentive they did there best. I am not ruling out another cruise with them but this time will choose a larger ship with hopefully more going on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise to have the large ship experience and visit the ports on our itinerary. What I liked: freestyle dining and the specialty restaurants. Not having an assigned dining time was nice and the steakhouse was especially good. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to have the large ship experience and visit the ports on our itinerary. What I liked: freestyle dining and the specialty restaurants. Not having an assigned dining time was nice and the steakhouse was especially good. The entertainment was also good, although the Burn The Floor show was a bit disjointed. The ports were all good. Our cabin steward (Michael) was very good and responsive. The ports were all good and there was plenty to do everywhere we went. What I didn’t like: being nickel and dimed to death for the entire cruise. Do not buy the water package which is bottled water delivered to your room. Not only is it unnecessary and expensive, the environmental impact is huge. They should sell reusable metal water bottles with special filling stations at various locations through out the ship. The elevators were frustratingly slow. Oftentimes 1, 2 or even 3 (out of 4) of the elevators were out of service. The excursions were also VERY expensive. For a ship of 4100 passengers, the front desk was severely understaffed - lines were very long. WiFi is expensive, slow and connection is weak. Lastly, I didn’t like the bathroom sink out in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
MSC Seaview 31st August - 7th September 2019, return trip from Barcelona with stops at Cannes, Genoa, La Spezia, Rome, Ajaccio and Palma This was our 23rd cruise, having cruised, as a couple and as a family, with most of the mainstream ... Read More
MSC Seaview 31st August - 7th September 2019, return trip from Barcelona with stops at Cannes, Genoa, La Spezia, Rome, Ajaccio and Palma This was our 23rd cruise, having cruised, as a couple and as a family, with most of the mainstream cruise lines. Our trip with Seaview was our 3rd MSC cruise experience having sailed both Magnifica and Splendida previously. As before, the decision to choose MSC was driven mainly by the itinerary and the perceived value. Our experience of MSC in the past had been mixed at best, however, the draw of a port intensive cruise along the French and Italian rivieras was sufficient to overcome any concerns we may have had. Sailing MSC from a Med port is a different experience to other lines. The ship acts more like a bus, where passengers from across Europe and beyond can start and end their cruise at any of the main ports. For us, provided you arrive early in the day, embarkation was relatively straightforward (we were on within 30 mins). This is possible as only a proportion of the passenger complement is embarking/ disembarking at any given port. Once on Seaview, our initial impressions were that this ship is large, very large and slightly disorientating. You are sharing your cruise holiday with thousands of fellow guests speaking multiple languages from across Europe and Latin America. The ship is ‘busy’ - this is not a ship to choose for peace and tranquility! The design theme of the ship is ‘modern’ - plenty of glass, steel, mirrors, chrome and vinyl in a muted pallette of purples, greys and greens. Whilst we would not describe the ship as dirty, it was the least ‘kept’ ship we have ever been on. This could be to do with the thousands of people in constant movement on the ship, but one of the biggest differences we noticed is the total lack of staffing. We rarely saw anyone cleaning the public areas, and it was common-place to see unvacuumed carpets or handprints across mirrored surfaces. Hygiene did not seem to be enforced on the ship with no one being asked to wash or sanitise their hands before entering the restaurants. Whilst embarkation was straight forward and quick, the rest of our ‘cruise prep’ was nothing short of a mess. We had pre-purchased our drinks package and had paid extra for the ‘Fantastica’ experience to ensure we had our choice of dining time as we enjoy eating later in the evening. This was all confirmed with MSC by our TA and our tickets issued by MSC confirmed the same. Once on board we celebrated the start of our cruise with a sail-away cocktail only to be told by the barman that no drinks package was loaded to our account - at this point we noticed we had been allocated the first sitting (6.15pm) for dinner. A trip to Guest Relations was required. We felt sorry for the staff in the end. There are just too few of them employed by MSC. This means they are overworked and tired and begin to see guests as a problem. We queued for 20 mins to see the agent at Guest Relations. He could not help as his computer just said ‘no’ to finding our drinks package. His colleague was better equipped to help but never once looked us in the eye and continued to tap furiously at the computer trying to find our drinks package. After calling over a third colleague and then reissuing our whole party’s cruise cards we were all set to go. This episode had taken 1 hour. We mentioned the dining time error and were dismissed with the wave of the hand and told to report to the restaurant to request the change. We duly reported to the head waiter at the restaurant and after a further queue we were summoned forward to plead our request to change our dining time. Our request was met with a snort and we were asked if we knew how many children were on board (1500 apparently). We were informed that children like to eat late so we would have to eat early - no ifs or buts. We protested that we had paid the extra to eat at a time of our choosing. His response was, with a wry smile, to read the small print (there is no guarantee that MSC will honour the time of your choice). We continued to protest - clearly the head waiter had heard all of our arguments before - and only gave us the blank stare look. Eventually we must have hit the correct word pattern for him to take out a notepad and write down our request for a table for 5 at a later time with a promise to see why he could do ‘tomorrow’. Unfortunately this start to the cruise was an all too familiar MSC experience for us. We don’t understand why they make such hard work of such basic elements of their service. Clearly the deficiencies are all too evident to their staff but they seem so indifferent to their employers incompetence. Our inside room was well appointed, the beds comfortable and the IT (interactive tv and USB charging ports) were excellent. Whilst most continental channels were provided, English speaking guests have a diet of three news channels or PPV movies at 7 Euros a go. Our room steward made himself known. He was efficient if somewhat aggressive. MSC only allow you one pool towel that you must return to your cabin. Failure to comply will result in a 20 Euros fee. Our towel was taken by ‘persons unknown’ whilst we made use of a jacuzzi. The cabin steward took some convincing that we had not sequestrated an MSC branded towel. Whilst familiarising ourselves with MSC app we discovered the head waiter had managed to change our table reservation for a later evening slot as originally confirmed by MSC. Hooray! Not that this was communicated directly to us, we just noticed the table number had changed on the MSC app. A call to Guest Relations did indeed confirm the change. Dining with MSC can never be described as a culinary experience. There are three set dining times, with just a 15 minute window for you to enter the restaurant at your set time. With up to a third of the ship eating at any one time, it is a miracle what they do achieve. It was staggering sight to see so many people crowed outside the restaurant waiting for the ‘rope drop’ moment when the hoarding mass is let into the room to feast. We ate in the Silver Dolphin restaurant. A dull grey affair with seating that resembles 1970s office furniture. Our ‘new’ table for five was in fact a table for four with the fifth person stuck on the end. This person being just inches away from the adjoining table; they could easily join in with that party. The waiters did well, but they were clearly overworked covering a wide section of tables. We would arrive around 8.15pm and would be asked to select all courses. We would not receive our first course until well after 9pm. The rest of meal being served in quick succession to ensure we were out by 10pm for the next sitting. The food itself is fairly bland and uninspired and was served to us ‘warm’. Most dishes appeared to be a variation of fish and pork. The din in the room was so much it was very difficult for us to conduct a conversation. In a first for us, we ate more frequently in the casual dining option (Deck 16 buffet was a good option) to escape the confines, noise and mediocrity of the main restaurant. It has to be repeated - this ship is large. This wouldn’t normally have fazed us, but this time we travelled with an older family member with limited mobility. We were somewhat reliant to travel by lift when we wished to move between decks. The ships deploys an ‘intelligent’ lift system where you select the floor you wish to travel to prior to entering the designated car. Whilst this may result in a fair distribution of available lift space it can mean lengthy waits in the lobby area. This can become tedious especially at peak times as you can’t just jump in the next available passing lift. Based on our previous MSC cruise experience we knew that a drinks package of some description would be required - the only free options are water, tea and coffee in the buffet areas and ‘juice’ at breakfast. To find someone to order your drinks from is a challenge. Again MSC don’t employ sufficient staff. In the buffet a call bell system is deployed where you press a button on your table that buzzes a nearby waiter’s watch to notify him to coma and take your request. That’s the theory but it rarely worked without prompting. We noticed that several bar staff were manning at least three of these watches. Where were the staff? On the outside deck we never saw a bar service waiter. One of our party needed to make a trip to a bar to get the order. On one occasion the bar man asked a colleague to help take out our drinks to where we were sitting - this was met with a ‘do I have to’ protest. To sum up, we were aware of MSC’s deficiencies before we booked and they did nothing to change our view. The ports of call were excellent and were the focus of the holiday, and therefore we enjoyed our time. MSC seriously understaff their ships and whilst there were a couple of exceptions most staff appeared disinterested in the customer experience. The food remains average. The consequence of a large ship is lots of people, noise and queues at peak times. For us, this will be the last MSC cruise. We will focus on the quality of the experience and steer clear of the larger mega-ships. If MSC spent as much money on their staffing and food offering as they have on their latest ships the overall product would stand better scrutiny. We would rate our overall experience as 3 out of 5. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Not sure if 'niggles' translates well and this is my first cruise so it might be just NFC (normal for cruising). First impressions of the ship was great. Speedy embarkation and friendly reception. However when we wanted to ... Read More
Not sure if 'niggles' translates well and this is my first cruise so it might be just NFC (normal for cruising). First impressions of the ship was great. Speedy embarkation and friendly reception. However when we wanted to get a drink 15 minutes before muster we were refused and we were parched! Didn't know about that. Muster took ages but there were plenty of seats. We went to Taste for lunch but was so rushed! Server's constantly around us to take plates and my son's main came out when he was still eating starters. We should have gone to the garden café. Next morning we were refused entry to the garden cafe at 11.15 but it was supposed to close at 11.30 - disappointing. Kids club was hit and miss. My 11 year old found "free style play" in Splash boring. I took her to the "Entourage take over" for 8 pm as advertised to be told it was open at 8.30 pm - so we went to Splash, to be told it was at 8 pm at Entourage and they had "just called down to tell them" (yeah right!) so we had to walk the full length of the ship back to Entourage! Entourage was closed until around 6 pm each day except sea days. This meant my 13 year old was a bit bored on the days we didn't go ashore but I played table tennis with him and we joined a quiz in the Atrium. There was a coffee shop there but the seats there all face the stage area and the ceiling is low so you can't see the whole screen unless you are at the front. Bad design. Another bad design is the casino being in the middle where to get to all the bars and entertainment you have to go through it. I got sick of seeing the place but luckily it wasn't too smokey. The drinks package included sake which I wanted to try. We were told we had to purchase food at the Sake Bar so we went to Shakers. The bar tender said we had to go to the Sake Bar and we didn't have to buy food. He walked over with us and this time we were served! Overall the food was not impressive. I liked Manhatten for the ambience. Garden Cafe was too busy and often couldn't get a seat so we took our plates down to La Cucina which was calm and lovely. We did this every time thereafter. Food was very average, the experience reminded me of a self service motorway services, similar standard. Apple pie in O'Sheehans also disappointing after hearing good reviews of it. We didn't eat there again. Even in the main dining rooms no one said "this food is amazing". Some reviewer suggested it might be to encourage people to buy the dining package which could be the case! On the plus side the furnishings were comfortable, well maintained, looked high end and clean. The entertainment such as The Beatles, Precilla Queen of the Desert, and Burn the Floor were fantastic. The Theatre was one of my favourite places along with Maltings. However we didn't allow niggles to spoil our holiday or put us off cruising. We just thought "let's try a different line next time". Overall we had a really good holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Extended family holiday - found a lot of staff rude and unhelpful - probably to do with pre paid gratuities. The only real exception was the cabin staff. Due to large number in group we were never able to sit together and found that ... Read More
Extended family holiday - found a lot of staff rude and unhelpful - probably to do with pre paid gratuities. The only real exception was the cabin staff. Due to large number in group we were never able to sit together and found that meals were brought up at different times - understandable in the main restaurants but not acceptable in the extra dining venues. In Le Bistro some were on dessert while we were still waiting for starters. Cabin was awful - think more suited to 2 people - not suitable for children also. Good points - food was lovely - drinks had a large selection - never had a problem with sunbeds. This ship is quite old and should probably have a refit its lets NCL down as this was our second cruise with them and we were very disappointed. Will try another cruise line next time. Customer service terrible so far since home sadly also. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my wife's and I first Norwegian Cruise and we picked this one because of the European ports of call and the fact Carnival does not offer the European cruises unless they have a new ship launch..The European ports we stopped ... Read More
This was my wife's and I first Norwegian Cruise and we picked this one because of the European ports of call and the fact Carnival does not offer the European cruises unless they have a new ship launch..The European ports we stopped at were fantastic and we visited places we had only dreamed of in the past. We have been on 13 previous Carnival cruises with 11 of them being balcony cabins with them all being on the Conquest class ships or the Dream class ships..This is what we found...Freestyle cruising and that's what Norwegian calls it is not for us .They want you to book ahead of your cruise any specialty restaurants or shows you want to go to..We had the Liquor package thrown in with our cruise along with 3 specialty dining restaurants..We picked Le Bistro(french),Madurno's a Brazillian steakhouse and Le Cuchinos a Italian restaurant...If we had to pay for these restaurants the bill would of been just under $300.00..The meals were excellent in the 3 specialty dining restaurants but were subpar in the main dining restaurants Manhattan and Taste.We found the main dining restaurants to be very noisy and several food items to be subpar with what you get on Carnival in their main dining rooms.With the free style concept you go to eat when you want or better said when you can get the reservation..My wife and I like the early dining option on Carnival thus we were not to pleased with the setup on Norwegian except for the superior quality food in the specialty restaurants and like I said before you pay for it....Also on Carnival your waiters get to know you and build up a bond with you night after night thus the service is better on Carnival. Another thing you do not get this on Norwegian and we found the service to be very impersonal. What we missed on Norweigen is that with Carnival your waiters put on a song and dance show during your meal. Your not going to get this on Norwegian. Another item we found sub par on the Epic was that the elevators were very slow compared to the 13 other cruises we have been on. It seems like they do not have enough elevators for the 4100 passengers on board. Entertainment we found not as plentiful on the Epic compared to the carnival ships...They had one Broadway style show which was very good however the Circus du Solei show was a pay show only so we decided not to attend.For the most part EPIC had less live music than you would find on a Carnival ship and most of the singers were sub par with the exception of the Epic Beatles and a Filipino singer named Allan who sang solo near the Whiskey Tasters bar. The balcony cabin that we had looks nice but was badly laid out and not as functional as on Carnival. Our room steward was good but did not have the same friendliness we have experienced on previous Carnival cruises. When you disembark you feel you are just a number not the feeling that you are leaving family on Carnival.Do not get us wrong this is a beautiful ship with a lot of polished wood but for our liking we would of been more than happy on Carnival Breeze or Dream.Yes we would take another Norwegian cruise but not on the Epic...Long story short my wife and I feel that Carnival has the best value for our vacation dollar. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I’ve cruised with lots of companies before but this is the first time with MSC. We were a large family celebrating a 70th so the price of the cruise was the main attraction - I honestly cannot fault MSC on their child prices as it really ... Read More
I’ve cruised with lots of companies before but this is the first time with MSC. We were a large family celebrating a 70th so the price of the cruise was the main attraction - I honestly cannot fault MSC on their child prices as it really brings the cost down especially when booked early. Also, the ship was new and other members of my family have cruised with MSC before and rated them highly. In the run up to the holiday, perhaps because it was a complicated booking, I had many administration issues with MSC - they kept getting details of our booking wrong - but in all fairness with some persistence from my end MSC did sort everything out and we did get everything we had booked once on board. The systems MSC use for pre-booking activities, etc. just aren’t as slick as other companies but again for the price I could handle this. Check-in was slower than other companies but it was well organised and for the price we paid I certainly wouldn’t moan about it. The ship itself was lovely and I really couldn’t fault it. If I had any gripe it was that there seemed to be a lot of wasted space but really that was such a minor thing compared to how beautiful the ship actually was. I’ve sailed with Cunard, P&O, RCI regularly including Symphony and MSC definitely compete on the standard of their ships. We had pre-booked the all inclusive package and this was also great. Not as good as RCI’s package but then again it was nowhere near the price. The Venchi ice-cream and milkshakes included in our package were out of this world good. Word of warning, we booked early and so still received the old Classic package, which was truly wonderful. If I was to book again with the new drinks packages I honestly wouldn’t bother with the Easy package - looking at the menu it seemed a total and utter waste of money. Pre-booking seemed to be the way to go with MSC, despite the admin. hiccups, and we saved a lot of money. We pre-booked the thermal experience pass for the week and this was well worth it. The spa was lovely and with a quiet area dedicated to spa guests it was a nice place to get away from it all when the kids were off having fun. It was missing a bar if I’m honest but again a minor gripe. We also pre-booked the Trio dining experience and were glad we did. I read a lot of reviews in advance that slated the food so I hedged my bets and booked the speciality dining package, again saving a lot versus on board price. The food in the main dining room was not awful at all - neither was it the best but again for the price we paid I honestly wouldn’t grumble. The meals though did feel either rushed or took far too long - it never seemed quite right in terms of length - but the quality was OK. The buffet restaurants were some of the best I’ve had - a little repetitive but to be honest I think the quality on all of the main cruise lines is dipping now so MSC buffets were not only comparable but better. What I felt was seriously lacking was the range of free dining venues on offer. You could get everything that other lines offer in the buffet or in the MDR but I never thought about how nice it is to have a large choice of where to dine until I was left with pretty much no choice - MDR or buffet. That was why the Trio package was worth it - to add a bit of variety. We couldn’t use our all inclusive package in the speciality dining though because everything was out of the Classic price bracket. I thought this was off-side but again I could handle not drinking for a couple of hours whilst I ate and there was nothing stopping me taking a glass of wine in with me and savouring it during the meal. The cabin was nice too. We booked a Fantastica inside and what I really liked was that we could have a double bed and two bunks - I’ve never been offered that on an inside before, just 4 singles. We used the room service on Fantastica as a wake up call and just got coffee and juice delivered at the time we wanted to wake up. To be honest though, if Bella was significantly cheaper I’d just book that in future. Word of warning, if you are booking an inside for a family of 4 then pack lightly or be prepared to wedge your clothes in to any hole going as storage is limited - adequate for 2 people but not 4. Check-out was a delight. We asked for a late check-out and were able to stay in our cabins til 9am and even after that no-one was herding you off the ship. We had a night in Barcelona booked before our flight home and at 2.30pm we were still on the ship, enjoying our all inclusive and the facilities, with no-one being anything other than nice. We could have stayed on til sail away but wanted to get settled in our hotel. Last year we were literally forced off Symphony and that was at 9.30am - this was far more relaxed. The only thing I found truly shocking and can’t forgive even despite the price is the entertainment. It’s woeful and repetitive and dull and needs a thorough shake-up. There literally was nothing to do - and believe me we did give the meagre offerings a good go. I actually caught myself regretting not bringing some travel games with me, which is appalling. My family assure me that on every other MSC cruise they’ve been on the entertainment was spot on but without having experienced it myself I remain wary. In fact, had we not have pre-bought the Fun Pass I honestly am not sure what as a family we would have done for entertainment. So all in all, would I cruise with MSC again? If the price was right, maybe. If I couldn’t afford the other cruise lines then definitely. In all honesty though, I’d save up a little longer and book RCI because I just couldn’t get over how bored I was. I do feel I’m being unfair here though as, I’ll repeat, my family are adamant that the entertainment on other MSC ships is far superior. Overall, at the right price point MSC are a lovely way to experience cruising without breaking the bank but if they up their prices then I’m not sure what they offer that would tempt me away from the other companies. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Myself and my friend had a week stay in Salou then jumped on board the Epic at Barcelona for a week. My first thoughts on day one was of excitement and thought the ship looked amazing. I couldn’t wait to sample all the ship had to offer. ... Read More
Myself and my friend had a week stay in Salou then jumped on board the Epic at Barcelona for a week. My first thoughts on day one was of excitement and thought the ship looked amazing. I couldn’t wait to sample all the ship had to offer. So here the story begins. We had paid for all inclusive. Including tips and “ultimate food and beverages package inc coffee” - Epic’s wording. Well this didn’t include every brand of alcohol (not that I’m a huge drinker). It only included coffee from the machine at the snack bar (which one cup could have tarred the whole M25) If you wanted a cappuccino or latte etc you had to pay extra. Also not all the restaurants were included in this all inclusive package either. Quite a few you had to pay extra for and pay an extremely handsome price too! We were told it was our travel agent that should have told us that all inclusive wasn’t actually all inclusive. And our ultimate drinks package wasn’t actually very ultimate. As for the food on board, what we did have we couldn’t fault at all. Next complaint......TOO MANY PEOPLE ON BOARD. Now I know what a can of sardines feels like. It just had far too many people on it. This just made it all feel like a huge cattle market. People had no manners and just barged there way in to anything. I have never seen so many rude and ill mannered adults and children in one place. I don’t think they realised that there was enough food to go round everyone about 10 times over. Next complaint- I had items stolen from my cabin. Nothing if any great value, just small gifts I had bought for my son and some friends. Maybe 40 euros in total so not a financial loss. Never got to the bottom of it. And lastly, if you did have anything to sort out (or complain about), you were never alone......the queue at guest services was never quiet or short. I wonder why!! The great thing about the cruise was getting off the ship and seeing some beautiful places. So folks....word of warning....double check and triple check what you are actually getting in your package before you board. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This itinerary through Italy, Spain, and Cannes was really appealing to us. Checked off a lot of boxes for us. Cruising allowed us to visit many sites (Pompeii, Vatican, Florence, and more) conveniently. I am a teacher and I have a ... Read More
This itinerary through Italy, Spain, and Cannes was really appealing to us. Checked off a lot of boxes for us. Cruising allowed us to visit many sites (Pompeii, Vatican, Florence, and more) conveniently. I am a teacher and I have a very defined time that I can travel each summer. This specific schedule fit our calendar perfectly. Our cabin was clean, the food was excellent, the ship set sail and docked efficiently and on time. The security of having record of us boarding and disembarking at each port gave us peace of mind. The cons for us was that the ship was crowded. And every time we had a question, no one could answer or resolve anything except going and standing in line at Guest Services. I must have done that once a day! They are most competent, but less than friendly. It was usually a demeaning experience! The other aspect of this trip that really got us started off in a less than relaxing manner was having us wait for nearly four hours on the ship, just milling around with our carry on luggage, without being able to go to our rooms. We were led to believe from all of the info sent to us that we would be separated from our luggage for a time period and to have things with us that we would need, but we were never alerted to the time lag for getting into our room and being able to chill a little. I'm sure there's some reason for it, but it was not a great start to our trip. We grew so weary of being nickel and dimed throughout the week. Internet should be included. $30/day for Internet access is ridiculous. So is the mini-bar charges for beer, wine, and other drinks that are available at no extra charge at the bar. There are so many ways you can streamline general operations to make things a little more convenient and relaxing for guests and still make your money. For the most part, I felt like cattle being herded around - on the boat, off the boat, into a bus, waiting for dinner (although I will say meals were handled quite efficiently and the dining staff really had wonderful, welcoming customer service skills!). I felt tolerated, not warmly welcomed. Others we spoke with along the way had the same general feeling. I can say that this cruise served its purpose for us. We might do another when we have some ground we want to cover. But the experience itself was not the quiet, relaxing vacation we anticipated. This was, by far, the most expensive vacation we have ever had and, frankly, expected a tad more welcoming and pampering, but really I was the most average overall experience we have had in our travels, except for the sites we got to see. Those we will remember! The staff works so very hard and I appreciate their effort so much. But one of the crew told me that they are signed on for one-year contracts and work with only two half-days off each week, for 10 months straight. I think they need some time off occasionally to recharge their batteries a little more for themselves and for the guests. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click