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5 Buenos Aires MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise turned our to be the worst possible nightmare! - We booked the Top Grade Aurea package as this includes "My Choice" dining, where you can dine anytime between 7.30 and 10.45pm, and at a table size of 'your choice' either on a large shared table or an individual table for 2, it's all based on "My Choice" - The Aurera Class also includes the 'Inclusive Drinks Package' and provides a priority boarding procedure. After a smooth embarkation, we found our cabin on deck 15, to be superb, after the usual Safety Drill, we went to a bar for a drink so that we could settle into our new home for the next three weeks... Little did we realise the horrors that were to follow! At the bar we were told, Sorry you cant have a drink on this Cruise Card Code, this is only valid for a drink whilst eating in the restaurant or buffet during meal times, we told him that we had paid for The Aurea Class etc, he merely told us to go to reception and see what they have to say about it... We went down to Reception only to find dozens of people all queuing up with various complaints, we waited very nearly an hour before we reach a receptionist, on explaining what had happened, we got the impression that he thought we were just trying to get something extra for nothing! eventually after making some phone calls he said that he would change the cruise card and code, this worked at the bar and we got our two drinks, and we then felt more relaxed about this unsettling incident! At around 8pm we went to the Aurea Restaurant and asked for a Table for Two, only to be told that they did not have enough Tables for Two, also they were full and had no further room until after 10pm, which would be on a large shared table, we declined this and left, we did not eat anything this first night, as there were no free seats in the buffet either... The next morning we telephoned the Restaurant to make a reservation for a Table for 2, at around 8pm, the Restaurant Supervisor told us that he could not promise to do this as there are not enough small tables, he suggested that we arrive at the restaurant at 7.30pm right at the opening time and he would 'try' to get us a 2, he then said that if he did manage to do this, we would have to agree to keep this particular table and time for the whole duration of the cruise, we agreed to this, and he did get us seated on a table for 4, but for our use only, on the strict understanding that we vacated the table by 9.45, so they could get it set up for the second sitting... We carried on like this for the remaining 22 nights, which is certainly not what MSC promote in their "My Choice" dining options, another annoying thing is that the ships photographers would come around the restaurant 'whilst you are eating' and virtually insist on taking your photograph sometimes even by sitting with you or cuddling you!!! We gave up even trying to get a lunch in the dining room, as they only have 3 Tables for 2, in the entire restaurant! - In most cases we tried to eat ashore as much as we could to relieve some of the stress of dining on-board... With the Aurea Inclusive Drinks Package, we were unable to choose a wine either in the bar or restaurant, we could only request a Red or White wine, we were not looking for the Premium Brands, just basic drinks, could not select type of wine, or get an Irish Coffee or even a Bloody Mary, you were may to feel that you were trying to cheat the system! In addition to the dining saga, we found the theatre shows to be rather poor and repetitious, the Cruise Director seemed to get most enjoyment from his pre-show introductions, which he delighted in giving out at high speed in several different languages, apparently for his own amusement. Relaxing in the various Bars was often spoilt by the fact that sales staff would set up tables along side the seating, to sell Watches and Perfumes etc, it was at times like sitting in a Market Place! We appreciated most of the shore excursions that we did, particularly as they got us off the ship! - We actually tried to fly home to the UK from Brazil after just four days on board, sadly this was the Easter Holiday weekend and most of the flights were either full or very expensive, we reluctantly decided to stick it out until the bitter end! As a result of this very distressing cruise we have now decided to cancel our 2020 cruise, as there is no way we could go through this dreadful experience again, which is a great shame as we have enjoyed many cruises in the past on various shipping lines, including MSC, but NEVER AGAIN with them! In all fairness, we must mention that we found the ship itself to be clean and smart and all the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. ... Read More
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. The menu at buffet and restaurants did not have many options, specially if you do not want to eat meat. They take a lot of time to refill food and coffee, when they do. Napkins at the buffet were dark blue fabric, dirty and smelly as well as the plastic glasses to drink water. Dining tables at the buffet were usually dirty, they did not remove the dirty dishes and stuff very fast. No enough tables at the buffet, it takes some time to find a place to seat. No shows at the theater for several days, even at sea days. However, one night there was the best show we ever enjoyed at cruises, with an Argentinian singer, Guillermo Guido. Great show. Instructions to connect to the Internet were not given to the rooms. After some time, we finally found the instructions on a blackboard near the Reception office. We wasted a lot of time with long lines everywhere because there were just a few officers to help you. It seems that they did not have bilingual crew. The library was very limited, not only the quantity of books available but also its schedule. The person in charge of the library did not speak or understand basic Spanish, in spite of most of the passengers were Argentinian. The crew looked very tense and did not smile at any moment, they just did the minimum required with a tired face. Finally, they charged for water and everything, even for the only scale they had at the gym, $9!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Now don't get me wrong, we really enjoyed this cruise and for the money we paid it was a bargain. However not having cruised with MSC before there were a few unexpected omissions compared to other lines we've used. Embarkation ... Read More
Now don't get me wrong, we really enjoyed this cruise and for the money we paid it was a bargain. However not having cruised with MSC before there were a few unexpected omissions compared to other lines we've used. Embarkation was swift as we were one of the last to board due to a prior trip to the Iguazu Falls, then it was straight into the lifeboat drill, where you not only had to take your life jackets, but wear them. When we got chance to settle in the cabin, it was quite spacious with lots of drawers and wardrobe space. The shower had a plastic curtain but it wasn't as clingy as most and I had to unblock the showerhead before it would work on our first night. The cabin steward was friendly and not too intrusive. There was only fixed dining times available unless you were in a certain class and we were assigned a table for the cruise. The waiter was very efficient and friendly, though his English wasn't the best. His assistant got the drinks and the appetisers but then left him to it most nights. The food was generally very good but the portion sizes are getting smaller (not just on MSC) but there was no problem with ordering more than one item on each course. There was no free water on the table, you had to buy bottles or use your drinks package. Neither was there coffee served at the table afterwards. You couldn't even buy it as they needed people to move on ready for the second sitting. The buffet was laid out with the kitchens and food down the centre of the deck, with tables along the windows on either side. Most items were duplicated on each side, but there was the odd thing e.g. pizza that was only available in one spot. This lead at times to it being awkward to carry plates and drinks whilst weaving in and out of folk looking for what they wanted. There was also a tendency for two people to occupy a table for 6 by placing bags and coats everywhere. There were only a few seats outside at the stern but you could take the food onto the main deck though it wasn't easy to achieve. It wasn't until halfway through the cruise that empty plates got quickly removed and tables cleaned for some reason. At lunchtimes there were specials based on a country of the day (not necessarily a country from our cruise). The lounges were large but two of them were adjacent to each other, and music from one could often be heard in the other. Over half of the passengers were from Argentina with the majority of the others from Italy and Germany, consequently the music in the lounges were suited to them most of the time. There was no 'live' music anywhere on the ship until the evening and between 12.30 and 4pm all the animation ceased. Maybe this was siesta time for most. Siesta probably accounted for the fact that all the big events in the evening didn't start until after 11pm. When the animation team got going, they were very good and always had lots of participants. They even entertained the audience prior to the evening shows in the theatre. The theatre shows again had to cater for different languages, so there were plenty of musical acts. The ships dancers and singers were in the main excellent, however they are from a separate company rather than MSC itself. There was an act in the form of 'Mr Bean' and he had the audience in stiches. There were a few classical shows which we gave a miss, though from the applause we could hear in the lounge, they went down well. Service in the lounges was very good and the servers would have a chat when it wasn't busy. The drinks were not cheap, and all the good stuff was just that bit more expensive than the drinks packages allowed. I ended up buying drinks vouchers because my wife does not drink that much and a drinks package for her would have been uneconomic. The ship was very clean but there was no emphasis on hand washing or other hygiene matters. The bannisters were constantly being polished which left a metallic smell on your hands. In fact the wife's hands turned black as the polish reacted with her hand cream. This was the first ship I've been on where access to certain parts of the deck were restricted to certain classes, you couldn't even walk through them! The sunbeds were odd as they would go completely flat or be reclined, but could not be put in a position were you could sit up and read. Maybe these are peculiar to MSC, though they did have a section that could shade your head from the sun. The excursions we took were ok but due to the small numbers of English speakers they were almost all mixed with a second language. Some of the guides struggled with one language or the other and as a consequence would spend more time speaking their best one. A couple of the tours we had pre-booked were cancelled due to the lack of English speaking numbers, but that did us a favour as we spent more time exploring the ports ourselves. Finally disembarkation in Rome was a complete shambles. Once we were off the gangplank there were no MSC crew to be seen when collecting the luggage and then when trying to get on the correct buses to the port gates. The resultant chaos meant several people missed their trains to Rome itself, and being Easter Monday there was a long wait for the next train. As I said at the start overall we enjoyed the cruise, and for the duration, the ports of call and the price we paid, it was good value for money. There are certain differences on MSC than we have had before, including holding on to your passport for the whole cruise. However I've booked another Grand Voyage with them in 2018 so I'll be more prepared next time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose the cruise mainly the length and the itinerary. Whilst we booked Aurea class our cabin 12071 was just below the pool area and the noise at times was intolerable especially at night when they were cleaning the deck. I was woken up ... Read More
We chose the cruise mainly the length and the itinerary. Whilst we booked Aurea class our cabin 12071 was just below the pool area and the noise at times was intolerable especially at night when they were cleaning the deck. I was woken up several times and phoned guest services to complain, they promised to send someone to sort it out, straight away, however it was more like half an hour. Nevertheless we did not expect that we would be the on two English passengers on board with 99% being Spanish speaking and as a result all of the entertainment was in Spanish including the TV. Had I known this in advance I would not have booked and would advise anybody booking a similar cruise to ask the question. The food on board reminded me of school dinners, poor quality and unimaginative, basically on the cheap. Guest relations was poor and they just smiled a lot without addressing the problems, the other staff were however friendly an efficient. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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