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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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was the third time that we have sailed with MSC, each time on a different ship and each time with the same verdict. Great. Quite why British reviewers generally slate MSC is beyond me. This is not Royal Caribbean, it is not Cunard, it ... Read More
This was the third time that we have sailed with MSC, each time on a different ship and each time with the same verdict. Great. Quite why British reviewers generally slate MSC is beyond me. This is not Royal Caribbean, it is not Cunard, it is not P and O, it is MSC, it is an Italian Line, it has Italians on it. They are not British, they are Italian, they do not eat a full English. They do not queue. They are loud. They do not drink to excess. They push and shove a bit. BUT they do not wear football strips to dinner or breakfast or in fact at any time unless they are under 10. The Brits manage it though, grown men in football strips and shorts for dinner, classy. They eat good food and they like a few glasses of nice wine and they know how to behave. Enough of the slagging off. To the nitty gritty. After an overnight flight to Dubai on Emirates we were met a DBX by an MSC rep and taken straight to the ship. Arriving at around 1030 we were on board by 1115. People are right when they say you are not shown to your cabin but what is difficult about finding your cabin. First two numbers are the deck and last three are the cabin so 11187 is on deck 11 between 11185 and 11189 simple. Luggage is as per every other line delivered to your cabin, in our case within an hour of boarding. The cabins are perhaps on the small side but are absolutely immaculate and perfectly adequate for two people. Straight to the buffet for some lunch and no real pushing and shoving. It is a line system so is not really ideal when large numbers are there but it works OK. The food is good quality, piping hot and plentiful. If you cannot find something to your taste then you must be the fussiest eater alive. There are even chips all the time at the kids section if you need chips with everything, oh and beans and HP Sauce at breakfast if you can't live without them either. The buffet is now available for all meals and is open from 0630 until 0200, a change brought about by people moaning that you had to use the main restaurants in the evening. That meant you had to be sociable and talk to fellow cruisers and didn't suit some people. We always went to the main dining room for our evening meal. We were allocated first sitting which was at 1830, some days it was a bit of a rush but the other option is 2100 and with meals generally taking a leisurely 2 hours it would mean some bad dreams if you had cheese. We were at a table for 6 and shared with more English speakers, a couple from Scotland, like us, and two ladies from South Africa, although one originally from Scotland as well. We mixed well and had some good laughs and good chat. The food was generally good to better than good. Two gala dinners where they went the extra mile. The Tiramisu gets a better welcome than the Baked Alaska but it's an Italian line so to be expected. There are loads of bars on the ship but as usual we gravitated to the same one every night where we were well looked after by Andrii from The Ukraine. We never had to wait long for a drink and he quickly learnt our favourites. We had paid in the UK for the premium drinks package, about £200 each, but this included everything in the mini bar, everything from room service and everything from the fantastic ice cream parlour. We got our money's worth. We only went on two excursions. One to Yas Marina F1 circuit and one to the Fjords in Oman. I had been to Yas before when the F1 was in town but this trip promised "behind the scenes" and true to their word we got in to race control and on the podium, to an F1 buff like me that was worth the 70 euro cost on its own. The Omani Fjords were simply stunning, we got a 20 euro voucher left in the cabin one night, so the trip cost 55 euros each and was well worth it. We were late in booking and the English speaking trip was full so we went with the Italians and it was good fun, especially watching them freeze in the 80 degree heat and put on jumpers and wooly hats. All in all this was once again a great trip to foreign countries with a foreign ship with predominantly foreign people with foreign food. Just what I want from a foreign holiday. Well Done MSC. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My family and I (son, his wife and my twin grandsons, aged 11) sailed on MSC Orchestra from Dubai around the United Arab Emirates on 14th February. I have travelled many times before with MSC but this was the first ever cruise for my son ... Read More
My family and I (son, his wife and my twin grandsons, aged 11) sailed on MSC Orchestra from Dubai around the United Arab Emirates on 14th February. I have travelled many times before with MSC but this was the first ever cruise for my son and his family, who are based in Dubai. I had joined a Roll Call for this cruise and the group met up on the afternoon we boarded and it was so nice to put faces to the names on the Roll Call. Many at the gathering were staying on the ship and then sailing on to Australia reaching Freemantle 33 days later! We all got on so well and met up several times around the ship during the week. We did not sail until 11 pm (although it was stated in all paperwork that it would be 10 pm). The compulsory lifeboat drill was held at 11.30 pm. As you can imagine those who had had long haul flights or even overnight flights arriving early in Dubai that day were very tired. A lot of the children were half asleep anyway at that time but ours managed to get through it and thought it great fun! We had two balcony cabins on Deck 11 and these were very spacious, even with the family's cabin having a drop down bunk bed and single sofa bed. There was plenty of wardrobe space and lots of drawers, the bathroom was fine although as on a lot of ships the shower was quite tiny. Our cabin steward, Jean-Patrice was very efficient, friendly and most helpful. He kept the cabins spotless throughout the cruise. Orchestra is a lovely ship and it was kept very clean. There was always something to do in the many bars and lounges. All the staff were friendly and helpful and would always acknowledge you if you met them around the ship. The entertainment staff worked tirelessly throughout the week to ensure everyone had a good time. The nightly shows were excellent and the cruise director was very talented with his command of so many languages. It did not bother us having to listen to all announcements in so many different languages. We purchased the All Inclusive 24hrs Drinks Package and the packages for the boys. These were excellent value for money. We certainly enjoyed sampling the various cocktails of the day and the twins thought it great to have their own cocktails along with unlimited milkshakes and ice creams! We opted for first sitting for dinner and our waiters were very efficient and certainly made a fuss of the boys. The food was varied and every meal well presented, nicely cooked and very tasty. The gala nights were very good and the family enjoyed the traditional parade of the Baked Alaska and the staff being introduced to the diners. We tended to alternate between the main dining room and the buffet for breakfasts. It was nice to have a leisurely start to the day in the main dining room as the buffet could be hectic at times. Lunchtime in the buffet was very busy with so many people queuing up and it was difficult sometimes to find a seat easily. We did not go to the speciality restaurant (extra charge there) but heard good reports from some people who did. The pool areas were kept clean and spotless but the sunbeds were packed so close together and on the day at sea, especially, it was difficult to find somewhere with space to move about. The pools were, in my opinion, not very suitable for someone like myself with mobility problems. There was only one step ladder in and out of the pools which were all one depth (6ft) - steps gradually leading into the pools at one end would have been helpful. A lot of people were complaining about the pool water and several were experiencing sore eye problems even though some did wear goggles in the water. The shops on board had some interesting items - some very expensive but there were bargains to be had. The Pandora stand was certainly excellent value with a lot of the items almost half price - needless to say I took advantage of that, as did daughter in law!! The ports of call were interesting. As I had already done the same itinerary on Lirica last year and because living in Dubai the family had already toured ABU DHABI, we spent a relaxing day on board at this port. We were able to enjoy the pool area, played putting and shuffleboard and were able to explore the ship whilst it was quiet. I would recommend that anyone visiting Abu Dhabi for the first time should visit the mosque and the Emirates Palace Hotel - sights not to be missed. Members of the Roll Call who visited these places agreed with my recommendation. KHOR AL FAKKAN - There was not a lot of choice for ship's excursions at this port so we opted to take the ship's shuttle bus to the port gate and there we boarded the free shuttle bus provided by the Oceanic Hotel We were able to enjoy all the hotel facilities - the pool area, where towels and sunbeds were provided, the lovely sandy beach and a fantastic buffet lunch in the hotel's restaurant. This worked out at 120 Dirhams per adult (about £20) and half price for the children. Excellent value when you consider that one of the ship's excursions to a beach resort for just about 5hours cost more than twice the price and did not include lunch. MUSCAT - We decided to take the Hop On Hop Off Bus tour. The ship's excursions were overpriced and we did not fancy being herded on and off coaches with lots of other people. On my previous visit to Muscat I did the Mystical Muscat tour which was enjoyable but it was much more relaxing on the tour bus. The commentary was excellent and we were able to see all the various sights at our leisure, getting off and on the bus at places of particular interest to us. We visited the Duty Free Shop at this port and got some real bargains. However, our drinks purchases were swiftly taken away from us as we re-boarded the ship but we did get them back on the last night of the cruise! KHASAB - I had pre-booked with Dolphin Khasab Tours for their half day Dhow Cruise. At Euros 30 each it was excellent value for money (the ship's own tour was Euros 75). By booking independently we were only a small group of 15 as opposed to the ship's tour where there must have been around 40 people crowded on to the dhow. Once out of the port area the dhow gathered speed and within minutes we saw lots of dolphins and they followed the dhow, jumping in and out of the water, as if they were trying to beat us along. It was magical. The dhow anchored at Telegraph Bay where we were able to swim and snorkel (all equipment and towels provided by the tour operator). The sights beneath the water were break-taking - so many fish and lovely coral reefs. Back on board the boatmen provided refreshments for everyone - various choices of fruit, canned drinks and tea and coffee. The scenery during the cruise was spectacular - a bit like cruising along the Norwegian fjords, I thought, but much warmer! It was a most relaxing excursion and seeing so many dolphins was the icing on the cake. When we docked back in Dubai we remained on the ship whilst most passengers went out sightseeing. I took the opportunity to visit the Spa - tempted by the 50% off promotion. I had a wonderful massage for one hour and felt so relaxed afterwards. There was no hard sell of the products afterwards for which I was very grateful. However I feel I must complain about services in the Hair Salon situated within the Spa area. My daughter in law wanted her hair cut and on the day we boarded they were advertising a " special offer, not to be repeated. Hair Cut for Euros 25". She made an appointment for that afternoon. When she got the bill she saw she was being charged Euros 64 and when she queried it was told the extra charges were for the special shampoo, the conditioner and the wash and blow dry. None of these extras were mentioned to her in advance so make sure just what the special offer gives you beforehand. The annoying thing was that throughout the week the daily programme sheet was advertising haircuts at 25% off! I must say that we were somewhat disappointed with the lack of some of the Children's Club Activities. Having booked the Fantastica package the boys were keen to attend the Chef's Cookery Course (and get a certificate to say they had attended) and the language classes. Although advertised in the Kids Programme these did not materialise and the boys were most disappointed. We complained to Guest Services but they tried to tell us that not enough children had registered on the days in question. We know full well that quite a few children had turned up only to find the room locked and the sessions not taking place. If one is paying for the package to include such activities then they should be provided for the children regardless. The sessions the boys did attend were great fun and it was nice for them to mix with children of all nationalities. On the morning we disembarked there was the most dreadful sandstorm (my son said it was one of the worst he had seen in the 3 years he has been in Dubai). I felt so sorry for those people hoping to do sightseeing in Dubai as the city was covered in a blanket of sand and the wind was so strong. In fact, when we arrived back at my son's villa the wind had blown over the patio chairs which ended up at the far end of the garden (the furniture is very heavy too). Overall we had a wonderful time on Orchestra and we have in fact pre-registered for a future cruise - the voucher has to be used within 18 months. My son and his family really enjoyed their first cruise and it will certainly not be their last. Thank you to all the staff for such a memorable family holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Just returned from a great cruise. Having cruised previously with P&O, Royal Caribbean and Princess, I had heard mixed reviews about MSC, so was a little worried, but found the ship and the staff excellent. Food was very good too. I ... Read More
Just returned from a great cruise. Having cruised previously with P&O, Royal Caribbean and Princess, I had heard mixed reviews about MSC, so was a little worried, but found the ship and the staff excellent. Food was very good too. I had enquired prior to our cruise whether we could purchase the drinks package on board as it was cheaper and was told this was not possible I was not too happy to find the opportunity to purchase the drinks package as we got to the cruise terminal in Dubai. One other small niggle was that we had a whole day in Dubai on the Friday before leaving the ship in the early hours of Saturday morning. Unfortunately, nowhere in the literature was the information that the main shopping mall did not open until 1pm and also the Gold Souk was closed until 4pm. I feel this important detail should have been highlighted. On a plus point, our cabin was great (10236 at the aft) and we enjoyed the shows in the evening. Travelling in a group of 6, we all agreed the standard was excellent. I would definitely travel with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
8 Night fly cruise balcony 8046 MSC Orchestra To start with we had faultless flight with Emirates from Gatwick. On arrival the free transfer to the port fast and faultless Embarkation was quick and faultless. The cabin was acceptable ... Read More
8 Night fly cruise balcony 8046 MSC Orchestra To start with we had faultless flight with Emirates from Gatwick. On arrival the free transfer to the port fast and faultless Embarkation was quick and faultless. The cabin was acceptable (clean) storage was again adequate for two passengers over eight nights, the bathroom about the same as others but no soap and all the touches you would get from Cunard/P&O but you get what you pay for + I was warned about this before the cruise, however there was two weird full soap dispensers in the shower cubical. The balcony a little small but adequate two chairs and a table. There was lots of public space on board that was clean and fresh, There is the opportunity to opt out of the gratuities, which I did saving €119.00 for two passengers. Food was of a good standard and plenty of choice, at the buffet could not fault it However the food was a little sparse at Dinner in the evening but of good quality, Service a little slow but when you look at the two waiters (no wine waiter) they had to serve 28 covers so what do you expect its not there fault (I did speak to the matire-d about this.) Other lines I have cruised with have no more than 15 covers max. At no time did I encounter any language barriers; all crew was very well conversed in English. Beware of the service charge of 15% think about paying for the all inclusive £22.00 a day PP if you like a drink, as a bottle of not very good wine costs €25.00 including the 15%. We made one bottle last two nights in the restaurant as you do not get free water or coffee after or during the meal, however free tea and coffee is available in the buffet. If you like good English breakfast tea take your own tea bags. Beware of the excursions they are pricey as is the hop on hop off bus at 45 euro each. Think about a taxi if you’re up to bartering. From the port to the mall then to Atlantis hotel, back to the mall (more shopping.) then back to the port £52.60 (290 Dirham) for 2 passengers. The Mall has to be worth it as its right next to the tallest building in the world Buri khalifa @ 828 mt. Would I cruise with MSC again? Yes   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Just arrived back from a wonderful cruise with MSC on board the Orchestra. I really cannot understand the bad reviews which have been written. Firstly the flights were good with Emirates, transfers and booking in at the port, very quick ... Read More
Just arrived back from a wonderful cruise with MSC on board the Orchestra. I really cannot understand the bad reviews which have been written. Firstly the flights were good with Emirates, transfers and booking in at the port, very quick and organized Everybody friendly and helpful. First impressions were good, beautiful ship and very clean.Cabins ready by 12 mid day ( arrived on board 11am ) we had booked a inside but was upgraded to a outside.This was nice . but did have a lifeboat in front! First meal was in the buffet which I must say was not good, very overcrowded and nowhere to sit. From that day onwards we eat all meals in the main dinning room which was fine and very good service. Atmosphere around the pool area, very liveily and lots of music.Evening entertainment was very varied, lots of bars, fabulous shows and a disco. Drinks package was well worth the money, we opted for the premium one, I drank champagne most of the time and also some lovely vitamin drinks and coffees. Also all the mini bar is free, so well worth the money. Food in the dinning room was fine, its not fantastic, but adequate and waiters are willing to change dishes and do their best with a smile.I found all staff to be polite and helpful and received excellent customer service. On my birthday i received a card at 7am and the a cake in the dinning room, with no prompts. The excursions were expensive, but we enjoyed them all and would recommend them . Dudia half day, Emirates Palace, and a boat trip to Kassab. The other ports are interesting as well and Muscat great for shopping..I enjoyed the cruise so much, have already booked a Caribbean 14nts next January, which is great value for money. Alsi would love to repeat the Emirate cruise again, hopefully. for 2 weeks. I really could not complain about a thing. 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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