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Sail Date: March 2015
We have just completed o trip on MSC Orchestra from Dubai U.A.E to Fremantle. Trip was planned for 18 months with great anticipation. For the record we (my wife and I, both Australians) have traveled on a number of cruises with a variety ... Read More
We have just completed o trip on MSC Orchestra from Dubai U.A.E to Fremantle. Trip was planned for 18 months with great anticipation. For the record we (my wife and I, both Australians) have traveled on a number of cruises with a variety of cruise companies over the years, so have some basic expectations. We are very disappointed with this MSC group. The good points:- - They keep the ship in pristine condition sometimes to the customers detriment The shows are generally very good The Balinese staff are great, friendly and helpful. The not so good, (in fact bad parts) The security staff are quite rude when leaving or returning to the ship. Never a smile, grab your pass, don't assist elderly passengers unless challenged You receive scant information about port facilities as MSC obviously only want you to use their expensive tours. If you ask "is there a shuttle bus to town? Is there a map so we can understand where we will be? They don't know and don't bother to find out. They are simply not interested. For example We are arriving in Cairns (Queensland, Australia) we will apparently anchor a mile out to sea and catch a "Tender" to shore. We asked how far are we from Cairns? "About 18 kilometres and a A$40 taxi fare one way" have shuttle buses been arranged by the Ship? No, was the reply. That's it, no interest at all. Apparently our next port Brisbane is much worse, again we anchor out to sea and is about 35 kilometres from the city. The taxi will cost around A$80.00 round trip! After many requests, buses will be now provided at 29€ each = A$45 return. Water (this is no joke) available in one place for free, although you are not supposed to fill containers. You have to pay for bottled water even in the dining room and the gym! This is simply outrageous. The coffee and tea are undrinkable. We brought our own tea bags but the milk is long life and has a dreadful after taste. I am dying to get off and have a decent cuppa. Not much to ask! No coffee or tea are served at lunch or dinner, unless you pay. Food, bland at best, I've never been on a cruise where I've actually lost weight! There is one open deck (seven) you can use for walking exercises and it's the only ship I've been on where you can't sit on a deck chair because on this so called cruise ship they are not supplied on this deck. Oh you can sit by the pool if you can find space and can put up with the hideous noise they call music and the generous waft of cigarette smoke. So much for fresh sea air. No washing facilities at all, you have to use there overpriced laundry service I could keep going, but you get the idea. We had planned another trip next year with this group but have decided "there's no way" By the way it's not just us complaining a lot of other Aussies on board feel the same way. Rating One to Ten - four (possibly a bit generous) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Everything was as expected.We had a fabulous time,made new friends,enjoyed the shows etc etc. Met some negative people complaining mainly about the food. They shut up when I asked them if they had smoked salmon for breakfast which is on ... Read More
Everything was as expected.We had a fabulous time,made new friends,enjoyed the shows etc etc. Met some negative people complaining mainly about the food. They shut up when I asked them if they had smoked salmon for breakfast which is on the on the menu as much as you like. Admittedly have had only a short cruise with a Greek ship the Sea Diamond so no real basis for comparison but we will cruise again with MSC. One negative remark. One New Zealander was told the as he did not have an Aussie visa he would not be allowed to board sorted out in the end but people should know that New Zealanders do not need visas for Australia and the same for the other way around. We have cruised on a sister ship so no problem finding our way about Plenty of activities bur apart from an hour walk every morning at 7am on deck 7 we were happy to relax,read (good library) or simply talk to people.Plenty of English speakers on the boat as well we are fluent in Dutch and speak some German. We had a number of excursions in Asia well organised and conducted as well as Brisbane and Adelaide.In the other ports we met up with family and friends. We organised our own transfer from the hotel to the port and in Fremantle were met by a former work colleague of mine.Dining was enjoyable with other Kiwis on our table and the food was excellent.Many evening meals were theme or country based. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
My wife and I were extremely disappointed with this cruise. Whilst the staff were excellent in most departments the same can't be said about the Chef's in the main dining area. The food was a disgrace,raw chicken,fish full of ... Read More
My wife and I were extremely disappointed with this cruise. Whilst the staff were excellent in most departments the same can't be said about the Chef's in the main dining area. The food was a disgrace,raw chicken,fish full of bones,raw sausages,foreign body in food etc. Our complaints fell on deaf ears.There were 126 complaints at the 1st sitting one evening,our table walked out and ate at the buffet for the rest of the cruise. water was not provided at dinner and had to be purchased. hand sanitation was not policed and it was not a surprise that most of the passengers and staff were ill by the time we reached fremantle. The entertainment staff worked tirelessly but was very disappointing to hear that the gratuities paid by the passengers was NOT shared amongst the staff.The activities were varied and enjoyable,the service was good, but lack of information and highly inflated prices for shore excursions was disappointing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
We boarded this ship with great optimism after i had been given the all clear after going down with cancer on my previous cruise on Davina maiden voyage to Miami with cancer. MSC knew of my cancer and when we arrived at the ship we ... Read More
We boarded this ship with great optimism after i had been given the all clear after going down with cancer on my previous cruise on Davina maiden voyage to Miami with cancer. MSC knew of my cancer and when we arrived at the ship we were whisked away to our cabin in minutes. From there all down hill apart from the general staff who worked dammed hard for us. First dirty pillows and lumpy replacements and a smaller cabin than on previous MSC ships. Food mediocre to the point that our waiter sent one of my dishes back (would not serve it). Not much luck with the chef either he sent his underling to talk to me. Entertainment poor compared with previous ships. Reception staff efficient but unable to make the simplest of decisions, even the officers had to refer the mildest of problems to Italy. Hygiene on t enforced with the passengers on entry to a from restaurants nor did the officers or stall i watched clean their hand before handling food or utensils in the self service restaurant. Result many sick passengers (rumor had it best part of half the passengers) with a virus that was carried by hand and through the air con. Hospital on the ship only interested in money, my examination, temperature taken and listen to my lungs on the back. no pulse or blood pressure. Result miss diagnosis. When the ship reached Adelaide I took myself to hospital put into isolation as I had Adenovirus and bacterial pneumonia (highly infectious). Does not end there. Wife forced to sign my credit account and then held captive on the ship until she signed a disclaimer exonerating MSC . To add insult to injury for this we paid over £4000 per person almost double what the Australians had to pay. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Dubai to Fremantle, VIA Asia and Australia east and southern coast. Total mess up from day 1 every day came new challenge, dining rooms like local food hall, noisy crowded, no organisation or class at all, eventually settled for buffet ... Read More
Dubai to Fremantle, VIA Asia and Australia east and southern coast. Total mess up from day 1 every day came new challenge, dining rooms like local food hall, noisy crowded, no organisation or class at all, eventually settled for buffet upstairs where chef and staff were a vast improvement. Nightly shows, all intros in 6 languages, the boring all the same no variety, people standing in from filming and videoing , passengers seated all through theatre taking photos or videoing with phones and ipads held high, all after announcements the no photographs or filming allowed, just a joke. Embarking for daily outings at ports was worst seen in 7 cruises, just organised chaos with huge long lines, same deal with lining up to have passport checked for one country, some passengers lined up for 3 hours, others left and came back 4 - 5 hours later and still waited Management staff were nigh on useless and astounding to be holding these positions, desk staff not a lot more helpful. Even planned a special Australian concert on board when docked in Sydney, advertised widely throughout the ship only to find out when attending all main areas cordoned off for visitors, no passengers allowed, visitors were all travel agents, continuously served food and drinks, passengers were served nothing The ship itself was really great layout etc, just senior crew were worst ever come across. Cabin staff and waiters excellent but had no influence to make anything better. Never heard from senior staff unless performing on stage, not even sure if captain on board, only heard excuses, the most common was "we have not been to Australian waters before and are learning" This voyage was planned for several years and was connected to a return to Europe for the Australian Anzacs, my thoughts are they had several years to learn and did nothing. Think long and hard before booking MSC Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
What a disappointment. My partner and I had been looking forward to this trip with great anticipation for over a year, leaving from Dubai to Fremantle. Food was mediocre and never hot, especially in the cafeteria. The layout of the ... Read More
What a disappointment. My partner and I had been looking forward to this trip with great anticipation for over a year, leaving from Dubai to Fremantle. Food was mediocre and never hot, especially in the cafeteria. The layout of the cafeteria was not well planned. In the dining room the staff were great but the food again was mediocre. Even a simple dish like a Nasi Goreng was a disaster. Steaks were like shoe leather. Entertainment was very limited and most things were done around the pool after 10.30 at night. Nothing much to do during the day except read a book or go to a quiz which was run by youngsters and only good for teenagers. Water had to be bought at the table unless you wanted to leave the 5th deck and go to the 13th deck in the middle of your dinner to get a drink of water. The shop charged exorbitant prices for simple things like a pack of cards for around $10. A lot of passengers were sick with a flu like symptoms and the doctor charged 80 euros for a visit, plus medication. We have cruised 10 times and I have never met such rude people in the Customer Service. Never a smile. The ship is kept in pristine conditions, the staff are working day and night to clean, even vacuuming at 10 o'clock at night. Never saw the Captain once. Every announcement made in 4 languages which was very irritating. Embarkation/disembarkation was very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was to be our holiday cruise of a life time. We had previously cruised with MSC 5 times including several long ocean crossings although not as long as this one. Took the staff more than 3 days to clean the boat - we left Dubai in ... Read More
This was to be our holiday cruise of a life time. We had previously cruised with MSC 5 times including several long ocean crossings although not as long as this one. Took the staff more than 3 days to clean the boat - we left Dubai in a terrible sand storm. We noticed a lot of the little touches were missing - right down to the MSC pens and notepads!! People at our table came down with a terrible virus just a couple of days out. They said that people on their bus in Mumbai were sick and coughing. whether the virus was already on board or whether someone brought it on board is irrelevant -ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WAS DONE BY MSC TO CONTAIN THIS VIRUS. The gentleman from our table actually got hospitalised on board at an outrageous expense. On speaking to people it was the cost of the doctors that prohibited many from going to seek medical help. But what help are antibiotics against a virus - NONE!! My husband got this virus in Langkowi - only lasted 3 days. He got sick again after Singapore and was incredibly sick and remained in the cabin with me bring him fruit, juices, cups of tea and water. I used up all our medications e.g. panadol, throat lozenges etc on my husband but was lucky enough to be given extra panadol from some lovely passengers we met. By this time in excess of 50% of the passengers were sick and the dining rooms were nearly empty. At no time did MSC or their staff implement any preventative health measures. Under their rules they have the power to confine contagious people to their cabins!! Not done!! I succumbed to the virus after Bali - luckily by this time my husband was making a slight recovery and so he took on the role of looking after me while I stayed in our cabin. We went ashore in Brisbane to buy whatever we could get our hands on to make ourselves feel a little better and hopefully recover faster from the virus. Sadly all that happened is that we absolutely wore ourselves out, probably spread the virus to all and sundry in Brisbane and got back to the ship in a relapsed state!!! We had contemplated leaving the ship in Brisbane - in retrospect that would have been the best decision!! We both just got sicker - so finally made the decision to leave the ship in Sydney. I was so sick that I went to the medical centre - they took no notes, and basically told me to leave the ship if I felt I was that sick - and didn't charge me. According to their records I did not ever visit the doctor!! Were they getting concerned about the large numbers of sick people attending the medical centre and do they have to make official reports when a certain number of people on board report unwell??? From our point of view this trip was an absolute shocker. We contacted MSC on many, many occasions and are yet to receive an adequate response from them. It feels like they hope we tire of complaining and give up!! We were booked to cruise from Genoa to Durban (South Africa) in October with MSC, but have just cancelled. They refunded our money less the non-refundable deposit, but at no time have they contacted us to find out why or to offer any sort of solution. THEY JUST DONT CARE!! - that much is obvious. WOULD NEVER, EVER, EVER RECOMMEND MSC TO ANYONE!!! I could go on, but I'm sure you get the message - the cruise was an absolute shocker. We felt really concerned about the people joining this ship in Australia for the Gallipoli cruise. Reading reports it seems the majority of them got sick too!! Unless this ship is taken out of action and cleaned properly they will never get rid of this virus. SHOCKING, SHOCKING, SHOCKING Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
We have recently returned from a 40 night Grand Voyage on MSC Orchestra. Our first cruise with MSC, only the second cruise that we have ever done, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We cant wait to do another one! We found embarkation to ... Read More
We have recently returned from a 40 night Grand Voyage on MSC Orchestra. Our first cruise with MSC, only the second cruise that we have ever done, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We cant wait to do another one! We found embarkation to be easy and well organised (and I love a French or Italian accent), and directions to our cabin were given by immaculately presented staff on board. Our luggage took a little while to arrive, but we were somewhat paranoid due to a misunderstanding with where we should be and where our luggage should be when first arriving at Dubai Port. Non MSC staff onshore were not always that helpful. First impression of the ship is really pleasing. It is spotlessly clean, beautifully decorated and furnished (subjective opinion I guess) and throughout the voyage this standard was maintained. Staff were constantly, unobtrusively, keeping all areas immaculately maintained. Every washroom I used throughout the ship were the cleanest I have ever encountered. All the time, every time. Our cabin (deck 8, on the rear), was spacious and clean. A few minor signs of wear that didn't affect our pleasure , say 95/100. Some holiday basics that can make or break. The bed(s),2 king singles pushed together, was very comfortable. A good nights sleep from day one. The pillows, unusual to my taste, and mentioned by others, but didn't affect my sleeping. More than enough drawer and hanging space. Excellent water pressure in the shower, which was more roomy than my only other cruising experience. Lots of hot water Towels changed twice a day. Room made up twice a day. Food. The buffet offered a range of food that changed throughout the day. Some aspects of the menu varied day to day and others remained constant. The standard of the food available ranged from excellent to OK. Often it was not as hot as I would have liked, but this also varied from dish to dish and day to day. We still often opted to eat there. Suggestion, if there at a busy time, find your table BEFORE you collect your food. Sounds like common sense to me. The a la carte restaurant. Staff immaculately presented, permanently friendly and willing to do almost anything to make your life pleasant. Most staff on the ship speak 4 or 5 languages and English is not necessarily going to be their best. Can be entertaining or annoying depending on your attitude and approach, but can always be sorted out. Often noticed the staff enjoying themselves and having a laugh which impressed me, because they work hard and long hours. The food was always hotter here than in the buffet and, I believe tasted better. This could of course be the ambience etc. etc. This is not to say it was better. Some meat dishes were disappointing (eg a "steak" turning out to be a thin slice of overcooked roast ), but other meals were excellent. In my opinion, all the entrees and desserts were most enjoyable. The range available on each nights changing menu was varied enough to suit most tastes. An issue I don't understand, that reared its head over and over again, was water with dinner. Water and ice (and tea and coffee) is available 24hrs in the buffet), BUT, and I knew this before embarking, water is not served with dinner unless you buy bottled water. However, every drink package, in addition to whatever you have chosen, provides a supply of bottled water that was more than sufficient for our needs, that can be obtained at any bar or restaurant throughout the ship. I heard people complaining even quite late in the voyage about this aspect but it seemed mostly along the lines of "this is what we do, and just because you are Italian you should not be different". Entertainment in the theatre was outstanding in presentation and content and variety. Wait staff were constantly attentive but achieved the perfect balance of not being intrusive. On board activities were many and varied. The activities we participated in were entertaining and rewarding. We never found disembarkation a problem although Brisbane was a bit disappointing. After cruising, I find the concept of airports, airplanes, log haul flights and everything that goes with them quite unsettling. But, as a converted cruiser, I've got to face it because I'm ready to MSC again. In summary, not perfect, but I would give MSC 95/100 for value, cleanliness, general comfort, staff at all levels, entertainment and facilities but with some room for improvement in food. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
MSC – 2015 REPORT ON CRUISE ON THE ‘MSC ORCHESTRA’ 21/02/2015 – 26/03/2015 *CAPTAIN - noticeable by his absence from the passengers. He was not seen mixing with any passengers until the 32nd night. Even the noonday reports were ... Read More
MSC – 2015 REPORT ON CRUISE ON THE ‘MSC ORCHESTRA’ 21/02/2015 – 26/03/2015 *CAPTAIN - noticeable by his absence from the passengers. He was not seen mixing with any passengers until the 32nd night. Even the noonday reports were read out by the Cruise Director. *ENTERTAINMENT – whilst not doubting the quality of the artists, the amount of opera and classical music was too much. We only saw about half a dozen shows at the most, some nights there was no show on at all. There was a lack of choice of entertainment if one did not go to the show, in fact there was none at all! During the entire 33 nights of the cruise there was not one single country and western night for example, when two might have been expected. *FOOD – the main dining room was not to bad even though there seemed to be a large contingent of European styled food as well as to many dishes with rice as the side, the buffet restaurant was at best second rate. If one did not go at the beginning of the serving, the food was frequently cold or barely warm. At the height of some of the busy periods half the buffet was closed! If one arrived later in the meal period as well as it being cold much of the meat was tough and hard to cut and chew. Due to the buffet being half closed, there was often a shortage of seating and it seemed that no one thought to open the other part of the buffet when the numbers were up. Choice of food was very limited at lunch time. *SERVICE – faultless in virtually all respects, the staff were beyond fault in their efforts to please. Our cabin boy was a typical example and could not do enough for us. *CLEANLINESS – also cannot fault the ship as when there was nothing for some of the crew to do all they did was clean the ship. It was a credit to them all. *AMMENITIES – one of the public toilets was out of commission for four (4) days! Even after we had left the pirate zone, deck 7 was closed to the public to often. When it was open there was no seating to relax with. CYCLONE – We went through a cyclone (Nathan) and were unable to get into Cairns, this was a safety issue as we were going to tender there. The handling of the ship was very smooth in this period and was a credit to the Australian Pilot on board at the time. *EXTRAS – we have never had to pay for water or coffee during or after dinner before, this we found alien. *SHUT DOWN – why the ship had to shut down between the hours of 12:30 pm and 3:30 every afternoon is highly questionable. This is even more strange as the shops stayed open till 11:00 pm every night. The only exceptions to this rule were the Casino (at sea) and some of the bars. *LANGUAGES – after four days or so, the announcements in five languages started to wear a bit thin. This was especially so when the announcements took up to 15 or 20 minutes. In one example the Cruise Director said he had a short announcement to make prior to the show commencing. The English version went on for about 4 or 5 mins, the four other languages went on and on. There were cries from the audience to ‘get on with it’, but to no avail, the show started at nearly 9:20 pm! In another instance there was an Italian comedian on and he was telling his jokes (including the punch line) in five languages. As a further example there was an announcement in English during dinner and everybody quietened down to listen during the English version. As soon as it had finished the general level of conversation went up and the other languages were barely audible. *EXCURSIONS - many of the excursions were grossly overpriced, e.g. $40 each to get into Brisbane and return was too much especially as the ship had to park 25 klms from the city centre. As an ex-bus driver I am aware of cost of bus rides and this was an extremely expensive price. Many of the excursions departure times were not known until late the night before; this has never been experienced on other cruise lines. *DUTY FREE – we found this very expensive and were able to obtain alcohol at similar or cheaper prices at ‘Dan Murphy’s’. Many of the passengers waited until we reached Langkawi and paid a lot less than the prices on the ship. *MANAGEMENT – we voiced some of our concerns to the Guest Relations Manager, Miriam Richter, and she was not interested in our point of view. All she did was trot out the company policy that it was what they did in Europe and it was therefore the same here. Senior management appear to be grossly out of touch with modern day staff management skills. The staff are told to say ‘good morning/afternoon/evening, hello’ etc anymore than that and if seen by a supervisor are ‘chatted’ over the matter. *BIG SCREEN – this (on deck 13) could be used for showing movies but instead all it gives out is MSC propaganda. This is a waste of a good asset. *TV – for the early part of the cruise all that we could get was Italian programmes, none in English except for a continuous roll of MSC propaganda. *CASINO – very expensive up to 6:00 pm minimum bet was 3 Euros (about $4:50) but after 6:00 pm it went up to 5 Euros ($7:50) certainly the most expensive cruise line I have known. *OVERNIGHT STAYS – Singapore; arrived at 9:00 pm on day one and left at 6:00 pm on day 2, which was not bad. However in Sydney we arrived at 7:00 am on day one and left at 01:00 am on day 2, some 17 hrs after arrival. *GOLD CARDS – after queuing for over an hour, a passenger walked to the front displayed a gold card and was allowed on a tender straight away. When this was queried with the reception on the boat we were told this should not have been allowed. It seems someone forgot to tell the security people. *DRINKS PACKAGE – This was a good deal but we were not informed of the 15% service charge at the time of purchase. We only found out several days into the cruise. *GENERAL – MSC really needs to lift their game if they wish to operate from Australian waters in the near future. Notice of customer concerns needs to be taken onboard as there are a number of similar complaints throughout various outlets of social media. The cruise that followed ours is a charter cruise where only English is spoken and different entertainment occurs it will be interesting to see how full the theatre is instead of the half empty ones of our cruise. The mixing of the guests on this cruise was the best we have ever known but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons; we simply had nothing else to do. Even the Scrabble games were in German, but we managed until we were able to pick one up ourselves in Adelaide. Too often the management of the ship stands behind company policy almost as though they are afraid to use any initiative. What might be alright for Europe is not alright for Australia. Although passengers paid a low price for their tickets, certain standards have to be met. Other cruise lines can do it for a similar price, why can’t MSC? After all this was a relocation cruise for the later charter to Gallipoli and beyond and it was only a question of ‘bums on seats’. My wife and I would be reluctant to recommend MSC to any of our friends now or in the future.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
I'd cruised on Orchestra in 2009 and, 6 years on the ship presents itself in as new condition - a credit to the crew who love their own ship! The ship is one of the cleanest I have cruised on and I was told by staff that at the end of ... Read More
I'd cruised on Orchestra in 2009 and, 6 years on the ship presents itself in as new condition - a credit to the crew who love their own ship! The ship is one of the cleanest I have cruised on and I was told by staff that at the end of the regulatory sanitation inspection in Sydney port officials were so impressed that they gave Orchestra the highest marks of any visiting cruise ship that season. The ship is elegent and the entertainment has a wonedrful European and romantic flavour. The shows were in English accept for a few songs here and there sung in Italian which made gave you that Mediterranean atmosphere. The service onboard was very good and as one other writer has mentioned you get back what you give out... if you are pleasent, chatty and ask with a smile you will get good service back to you. I think that is same where ever you go... Food is generally OK - not 5 stars (but you are not paying for 5 star dining) and in some instances in the main restaurant dishes could have been served a bit hotter. Also some meats were a bit overcooked and chewy. A little inconsistant as some nights at the restaurant were really very good. Nice pastas and always plenty of choice. Buffett was quite busy at times but if you pick the right time to go it was fine. Buffett is 20 hours however dont expect much after midnight as its mostly only snacks etc.. MSCs drink packages are the best - only wish some of the local ines cruising from Australia offered the same value here. I did try and sneak a bottle of brandy onboard but was picked up by the scanner and confiscated until the last day. Well sometimes you can get away with it and sometimes not - if thats the policy of the line then you have to respect their rules - no problem. Shore excursions were reasonably priced for basic excursions - I think the Europeans were quite upset we didnt get into Cairns but thats just typical of our weather. Think about what you are paying compared with other lines - and dont go onboard expecting a 5 star cruise experience when you are only paying around $100-$120 per night. if you are expecting 5 star cruising for that price you shoud stay home. Here's hoping that we might see another MSC ship cruise here one day and stay a while longer for a circumnavigation of Aussie and New Zealand at the least. Read Less
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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