I once traveled with SilverSeas, where everything was included – truly it was. Also, the food was very good and interesting. So that is what I have for comparison. The MSC was a cheaper cruise; so I took the top package offered – ... Read More
I once traveled with SilverSeas, where everything was included – truly it was. Also, the food was very good and interesting. So that is what I have for comparison. The MSC was a cheaper cruise; so I took the top package offered – largest room and “Aurea” experience. As the sales person told me, you can have anything you want to eat and drink on the ship and go anywhere. Also, you can use your minibar in your room and have free room service. Turns out that isn’t true. Perhaps I did purchase the “top package,” but later I found out some food is extra and most of the drinks are extra. So if I wanted to get the “extras” package on top, that would be another $200/day. For example, I could have one “bar” vodka and one brand of beer, but the other 8 vodkas they had were extra and the other 9 beers were also extra. That is just an example. Also, the minibar was not included and room service was only for some rolls and horrible coffee in the morning – not regular meals. I did complain and was told it is unfortunate the person selling it to me didn’t understand it. There is nothing they WOULD do for me, except upsell me more, which is what everyone was constantly trying to do. I also found that annoying. SilverSeas was so much the opposite – no upselling things.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the food. The buffet was large and looked good, but the food was just edible and not delicious. There isn’t one thing I wanted to have again. They had bacon at breakfast, but it had no taste. How does one make bacon with no taste? I had read the best food is on the pool deck at the hamburger and pizza areas – they weren’t great, but were probably better. There are 2 main restaurants, but they all have the same menu - rather boring. I chose calamari. It came with veggies as in tempura, BUT was VERY greasy and cold. I didn't eat it. They wanted to bring me something else. I told them I don’t want anything - I was afraid to try anything else. So they made me a new one fresh anyway. The shrimp and calamari were now hot, but still very greasy. The veggies were still greasy and cold, so they didn't bother making them fresh. I was happy to know there was a sushi restaurant, too. But that wasn’t included. The coffee in the morning was hardly drinkable – a shocking surprise, considering it is an Italian cruise line. Luckily there is a coffee bar, where one can purchase decent coffee (although, luckily, that was included in our package). For the Aurea package there was a separate area in the regular dining room for breakfast from a menu that had fish. They never told us about it, so we missed it most of the cruise and only stumbled upon it the last 2 days. There, for example, I could get smoked salmon.
We enjoyed having the coffee in the room and sitting on the balcony to enjoy the sea air. If we used room service, we had to pay extra for it, but if we bought it back ourselves, it was okay and “included.” But so many people smoke (it is not permitted on balconies, etc., but no one stops them), that all we can smell is smoke. Obnoxious. That also ruined our plan to leave the balcony door open to feel and smell the salt air and hear the water all night.
I was rather surprised the windows everywhere were dirty. Again, my other experience was of clean windows. This includes dining rooms, our own suite, the gym, etc. It seems one of the most important things for a cruise ship to have clean windows for the guests to look out at things.
Then there was the noise. SilverSeas attracts an older crowd dress up. This wasn’t the same. There were a lot of children running, screaming, yelling in the hallway and on balconies. The music around bars and on the pool deck was almost so loud, we couldn’t talk to each other. I suppose some people like that.
Then there is the problem of getting on and off the ship. If one pays for the top tier, it seems those people should have priority for embarking and disembarking, but that wasn’t generally the case. There was some priority the first and last day, but not otherwise. Yet, families with kids and the staff were always sent to the front of the long lines. I was dreading the constant grouchy searches and pat downs required, since I have a metal knee. In each port we had to do it twice to get back on the ship. Once was in the port area after a long line and then a second time on the ship after another long line. It seems it should just be easier and more efficient.
I guess I learned this isn’t the cruise line for me. I need very small ships (hundreds instead of thousands), so things just work out better.
I left out the good, since that isn’t what stands out. Our dining room staff were efficient and friendly. Our room was kept clean (except for windows). Even the reception staff were friendly and efficient for the most part. Read Less