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Sail Date: February 2015
The cruise went from Dubai to Perth Australia. It left on February 21, 2015, and was 33 days long. My husband and I will not be using this cruise line again. The Pros • The ship was well decorated. • The room steward was ... Read More
The cruise went from Dubai to Perth Australia. It left on February 21, 2015, and was 33 days long. My husband and I will not be using this cruise line again. The Pros • The ship was well decorated. • The room steward was good. • The dining room server was good. The Cons • We could not book excursions on line. If you called up, they asked if you book through them or through an agent. If it was through an agent, they said you had to book through the agent. • We pulled down a list of excursions early on and then the list disappeared and you could no longer view it. When we called for some of the excursions, their agents did not have the same excursions as what was on the previous list and they did not have a new list of excursions to view. • We could not get information on needed Visa’s. Most ships we have sailed on in the past have blanket visa’s for many of the ports. This ship did also; however, you could not get this information ahead of time. Finally, about 1 week before the cruise we were told we only needed an Indian Visa. When we got to the port, we were told that we also needed an Australian visa. It was a good thing that we had done this on our own. • The MSC Orchestra has the capacity to carry 3,223 passengers. There were only 6 tread mills, 4 exercise bike (2 recumbent and 2 upright). The one recumbent bike was broken most of the trip. They had some other equipment; however, most people like the tread mills and the bikes. This meant that it was nearly impossible to use the equipment due to the amount of people waiting in line. • There is no potable water available in the dining room. If you want water, you must pay for bottled water. Otherwise you must go to the cafeteria. • If you want coffee or tea after your meal in the dining room, you must pay for it. Otherwise you must go to the cafeteria. • If you wanted hot chocolate, you must pay for it. • Ice cream is only available without charge in the dining room; otherwise you must pay for it. • If you want chocolate, you must pay for it. They never even put chocolate on your bed at night. • The pizza was tough. It was hard to cut it even with a knife. • The chicken cubes on the salad bar were so tough that it was very hard to cut let alone chew it. • There is not iced tea or lemonade in the cafeteria. You only have coffee, tea and water. • In the cafeteria, no one went around filling up your coffee and/or tea. If you wanted more, you had to get up and get it yourself. • Approximately the first 1/3 of the trip, deck 7 (under the life boats) was closed off for safety reasons. Then it was opened for a few days; but, only ½ of it. They were painting. Finally the deck was opened. However, after a few days ½ the deck was closed off again for safety reasons. However, the side for smokers was open. Was that deck safer for you if you were a smoker? At no time were there ever any lounge chairs allowed on this deck. Everyone was crowded onto decks 13 and 14 by the pools. Almost everything is out in the sun. If you want to get away from the sun, you must go inside. Most ships allow people to walk and to relax on lounge chairs on deck 7 under the life boats. On deck 14 there were so many lounge chairs that there were places where the walking distance between the lounge chairs was about 18” to 2’. Deck 14 is supposed to be a “Power Walking Deck”. With the “Power Walking Deck” not available for walkers and deck 7 closed off most of the time, there was really no place to walk. We ended up walking the hallways in order to get some exercise. • You do not have a free robe in your room. Sometimes the rooms were freezing. We ended up using our beach towels. • Half the time, in the cafeteria, the help only took away the dirty dishes. They did not clean the tables. Often the help were just talking with each other and did not even remove the dirty dishes. People would push the dirty dishes to the end of the table and sit down to eat because there were no clean tables. Many, many people were sick on this trip. You could hear coughing everywhere. The situation in the cafeteria was a health hazard. • We were half way through the tip and still have the messages on our TV that said “Internet & TV reception. Please mind that while crossing, TV reception may be slow and subject to interruption, due to limited satellite coverage” However, we have been on other ships in this area and never had a problem. • The only TV English station for most of the trip was Euronews if you could get it. • The entire one side of the ship by the pool is for smoking. This meant that while you were in the pool, you could really smell the smoke and could not get away from it. • The entire one side of the ship on deck 7 is for smoking. • On other ships, you get a condensed newspaper in all languages for free. Here, you must pay 3 to 5 Euros per day for a newspaper and you have to order it a day in advance. • Our room steward was good; however, most of the help was unfriendly. • Approximately once a week you got a free movie. There was a choice of about 6 movies to choose from. The rest of the time you had to pay for it. The cost for a movie was 7.00 Euros and there were only 34 movies listed. • The large movie by the pool only played propaganda for things to buy on the ship. They never played movies there. • If you like opera, the entertainment was okay. If you don’t you are out of luck. We only had 4 days of entertainment that was not opera out of 33 days. • When you come back from excursions, they do not give you a wet towel or a cold drink as other cruise ships do. • You never get any US or Canadian news, only news that you get is from a European point of view. • There is very little hand sanitizers. On this ship colds and cough were spreading rapidly. • One pool was supposed to be heated; however, both pools were the same temperature. The only heat came from the sun. • There is no cover to place on the bed to keep the bed and bed spread clean when you load and unload your suitcases. • On the last morning you had to be out of the room by 7:00 a.m. That meant that everyone had to use public restrooms. After the existing toilet tissue and hand towels were depleted, they were not restocked. Needless to say this created quite a problem. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Well what a joke!! we got on at Dubai, First thing we did was get a drinks package, went to our room it was nothing like on the pictures there was no throw bed was not clean the cabin was not that clean. The cabin steward did not introduce ... Read More
Well what a joke!! we got on at Dubai, First thing we did was get a drinks package, went to our room it was nothing like on the pictures there was no throw bed was not clean the cabin was not that clean. The cabin steward did not introduce himself. One case did not get to the room so we went and asked were it was it contained a bottle of vodka and 4 small bottles off the plane we were un a wear of there drinks policy ( but why when we had brought a drinks package it mattered) don't make sense, the case had the handle bent badly and would not go into it socket so can not use it again and all 5 cases matched we can not get the same to replace the one they damaged they offered us £28.00 from customer service this is why this review is late going on here, we are still having trouble with them they are unhelpful and rude . Any way back to the cruise, went to dinner the first night got dressed up the table was not big enough for the four of us I asked for soup to start, came out I asked for a soup spoon and they gave me a desert one well then the steak came it was braising steak or shoe leather I call it tomato two quarters and a few peas and chips just all thrown on the plate the desert was ok. So at that time we had not sailed if we had been on our own I would have got off the ship but when we had told friends that it is better cruising than doing hotel. What a fool I was made to look. I went to customer service after dinner and spoke to them they did not understand at all what I was talking about I was told they don't have soup spoons on the ship yet we have paid 5 star prices the next night the head waiter was serving us so I said to him why we did not complain about the staff in dinning room they were very good it was the food and this carried on though out the cruise. Entertainment was brill the second night but then it seemed that it was the same show each night but changed there costumes. The Bar staff was hit and miss and the food in the cafeteria was cold (I CALL IT PIG SWILL) In Dubai we stayed in a hotel before the cruise and after I wish we had stayed all the time as it was fantastic there and I would go back but NEVER US MSC AGAIN worst company going I thought the jade was bad with NCL the best company so far I have found are Royal Caribbean or P&O, still to try the rest before I do the world Cruise we are still having problems with them 5 months after the cruise finished One word of warning don't board 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
My wife and I have just returned from our first cruise with MSC,please do not listen to all the complaints that are listed.Go with an open mind you will be pleasantly surprised. We arrived early morning in Dubai 7-30 ,usual queues taking ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from our first cruise with MSC,please do not listen to all the complaints that are listed.Go with an open mind you will be pleasantly surprised. We arrived early morning in Dubai 7-30 ,usual queues taking you through.once you get past this its plain sailing,until you get to the port the queue again.Boarded ship about 10 -45 thought we would check to see if our cabin was ready ,it was we changed, went to Buffett for lunch ,returned to cabin and luggage sitting at the door no problems.Some people complain no one shows you to your cabin it's not rocket science we were in room 10011 deck 10 room 011. We used Buffett for breakfast and lunch Borghese for evening meal table service could not complain about food .four starters ,five main.four sweet,if you can't find anything what do you eat at home.Some people like to complain. Staff can not do enough for you,I always find if you are pleasant to people they are pleasant to you Entertainment was excellent bit different to what we are used to but give it a go. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
As this was my first cruise I was anticipating many of the good qualities and values which I had heard from others who had cruised. Fortunately for them they had, presumably, not ventured on an MSC ship, especially 'The ... Read More
As this was my first cruise I was anticipating many of the good qualities and values which I had heard from others who had cruised. Fortunately for them they had, presumably, not ventured on an MSC ship, especially 'The Orchestra' The ship was very splendid and well appointed, the crew, especially those who were seen in public, the servers general staff were excellent in carrying out their tasks. Beyond that it was very far from what I had been lead to expect. The food, in the resturants and the cafeteria was of poor quality, variety, display, attractiveness or any other values which can make a meal more than just a basic necessity. What was put out in the cafeteria at mid-day was 'slopped' onto large metal trays and refilled as it was/or not consumed. Finding what was available often took a long circular journey around the layout. All which was collected was put onto a meat tray sized plastic plate, including the main course, drinks and additional courses, then a table was need to be searched for. The whole process meaning that by the time one had gathered the food and seated it was often cold. No attempt appeared to have been taken to give any variety to different days' selections, or any attempt to make it look interesting or attractive. The resturant meals looked better in their presentation but were very small in portion, often overcooked or tough. The whole week in both eating places I seldom saw a real portion of meat or fish, or a meaningful selection of vegetables (are peas so exclusive!) Sweets were very basic in type and selection, cheeses difficult to find on the serving plate. In short very poor and very, very uninspired and not what 'cruising cuisine' is generally accepted as being in any way. Any 'extra' was charged for, water, other soft drinks and basic requirements, and when charges were made they were, I consider, ridiculously high (a jukuzzi - £25) Most of these comments, and I could make many more of the inadequacies on the provisions on the ship, were backed up by fellow travellers with no prompting necessary This was my first cruise and its poor quality has certainly made it, to play safe, that it will be my last!! 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I travelled with my family of four adults and to say the cruise was a disappointment is an understatement. We've been on other cruise lines before which are far more superior in every way. To start with the staff: getting on to the ... Read More
I travelled with my family of four adults and to say the cruise was a disappointment is an understatement. We've been on other cruise lines before which are far more superior in every way. To start with the staff: getting on to the cruise, no one showed us where we should be going, when I asked for help I was merely shunned into the lift with no directions. Once getting to the room we realised the cards had been assigned to the wrong rooms, we went to reception for help but the woman was unbelievably rude to us all. We found the staff (mainly bar staff and reception) the WHOLE weekend to be rude and not helpful in anyway. Although I must give credit to the cabin staff who were always pleasant and kept the cabins remarkably clean. The Food: we were pleased with the pizza on the first day but unless you're willing to eat pizza (which somehow managed to vary in taste, with little toppings) every day then you're going to be disappointed and I don't agree with them using plastic plates. The buffet was always rammed with people pushing and shoving, running to find tables, no one knew how to que. All the food, especially the meat, was very poor quality and bland especially in the restaurants. We had the later sitting at 9pm, even though we ordered two courses we were leaving the restaurant at 11:30pm still hungry. The food was absolutely terrible! worse than school dinners. One night we waited an hour for four bowls of soup whilst the tables around us had all had 4 courses, this seemed to be the norm every night we went so we didn't bother going the last 3 nights. We didn't have one good meal and ended up living on bread and fruit. Drinks Package: very reasonably priced, however every cocktail changed as there was a lack of care when making the drinks and incredibly sweet by putting far too much syrup in every drink, I honestly don't know how they managed to make me a mojito 6 times and it tasted different every time! I had a few cocktails where they didn't even put alcohol in! Entertainment is very poor. One OK show out of 6 with nothing to do during the day time on the days the cruise is at sea. However, the saxophone and singer in the wine bar were the best entertainment by far yet were shoved in a corner whilst crap Blackpool karaoke type singers had the main stage. Make sure whatever you do you don't ever book a trip on board as the prices are triple what they are off! It just didn't make sense. We booked a trip online for around £40 per adult where as on the boat the exact same trip was around £100. The passengers on the cruise especially ruined the holiday for us all (mostly the italians). We all were in disbelief how little manners they all have! Letting their kids run riot, pushing and shoving, never even heard of the words "please" or "thank you". Whilst waiting for lifts they'd barge in and not move to let anyone else in or out. They seem to shout every single word they say. It was utterly disgraceful. We even saw a woman push 6 plates full of food onto the floor just so she could sit down!!! This has put me off cruise lines for life, there is absolutely no way I would ever go with MSC or recommend MSC to ANYONE   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
We had a balcony cabin 12120 which was kept spotless by the unobtrusive cabin steward , enough storage space and pleasant bathroom area . Food and drinks all ok , we ate most of the time in the dining room as it is waiter service and ... Read More
We had a balcony cabin 12120 which was kept spotless by the unobtrusive cabin steward , enough storage space and pleasant bathroom area . Food and drinks all ok , we ate most of the time in the dining room as it is waiter service and always guaranteed a table whereas the buffet is a cafeteria and you take your chances with the five thousand (seems like ) other guests . The ship is kept spotlessly clean and decor is pleasant . Entertainment ok and as other reviews stated no much going on at day time if you decide not to explore ashore . If you like being literally cheek to cheek when sunbathing then this cruise is for you .The sunbeds are crushed together with not an inch to spare . We Brits get slated when abroad for various things but we really DO have manners compared to some nationalities , you won't find anyone saying please , thankyou , holding doors open , smiling . What you will get is rude , very loud , everyone for himself attitude . I don't think we would holiday again on a cruise with this many passengers , far too many to be enjoyable . Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Just returned from hols we flew to Dubai stayed 2 nites in a nice hotel had a chance to look around pick up from hotel fine we got onto ship ok beautifull ship full of Italians few Germans French and English food was very cold in all ... Read More
Just returned from hols we flew to Dubai stayed 2 nites in a nice hotel had a chance to look around pick up from hotel fine we got onto ship ok beautifull ship full of Italians few Germans French and English food was very cold in all restaurants I watched passengers walk past the hand gels no staff on them telling passengers to use them so I went to reception to my amazement they answer was we can't make them use them wrong answer I told them I said have u heard of novovirus she shook her head they were so rude and every time we went no smiles just rude then the following day it was in news letter then people were using them but then they were empty I stayed in cabin Al day Very Bad entertainment was just ok we had booked burg Arab from home it said it was sold out so we were looking forward to have high tea but they cancelled because they said they was only 20 going so cancelled it I was fuming we cruised round Dubai then flew to Mauritius for 5 days it was fab hotel was gorgeous food great staff lovely we had a long flight back but we will never book 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I’ve given this cruise an average of 4 stars, but it’s really 3 stars for MSC and 5 stars for the ports/itinerary. We are very glad we did it just to get to experience the ports, but MSC is a poor choice for English speaking families. ... Read More
I’ve given this cruise an average of 4 stars, but it’s really 3 stars for MSC and 5 stars for the ports/itinerary. We are very glad we did it just to get to experience the ports, but MSC is a poor choice for English speaking families. We have sailed with several other lines, including Costa before and they had English speaking activities (cards/games/trivia) almost every day, so you could at least connect with other English speakers, there was none of this with MSC, and the Italians/Germans/Russians didn’t seem keen to chat outside their native tongue. We travelled with our 3 children (aged 19, 17 and 14 years), and the younger 2 tried the kids club a few times, but again it was full of kids who didn’t want to practice any English. The flip side to that is we got to have plenty of quality family time together, but I did miss the social side of cruising - just having the chance to chat with others re where they’re from, what excursions they’ve done etc. Anyway, onto the cruise itself. I’ve written a detailed day by day report and will load in the review section as well as in the forum if there are any questions. There are not many reports around for this cruise, so hope it’s of help for planning. Embarkation – Saturday 3 January 2015 We spent 5 days in Dubai pre-cruise, so arrived at the terminal at noon and were onboard within 40mins. They grab you before boarding to buy drinks packages, our saleswoman’s leading line was to point to the bar list and say “look at these prices….but you can save 20% with our drinks package”. Hubby was very tempted to say ‘so you’re acknowledging that the onboard prices are that inflated’, but stayed mute. We bought a drinks booklet (30 Euros each) for the kids which gave them 10 tickets each for soft drinks/juices/mocktails. If you only used it on soft drinks you’d lose money, but they had mocktails which was better value. The wine packages seemed too pricey for us, so we didn’t get one, but were staggered to be told that we needed a water package. There is no such thing as table water in the restaurants, if you want a glass you have to buy a bottle. The water package was 27 Euros for 10 bottles of either still or sparkling water. The only free water was from the dispensers at the buffet on level 13, even the gym had no bubbler available. I loved how the buffet dispensers had signs advising not to fill bottles of water there “due to hygiene reasons”. Our rooms were ready when we boarded, so we dropped off our hand luggage and headed to the buffet for lunch. Our checked suitcases were delivered by 3pm. Hubby and I had a balcony room on level 9, and the kids were directly across the corridor in an interior. There was no confiscating of anything in our luggage, I had a travel iron with me for earlier in the trip and was expecting it to be taken, but it, along with power boards, hair straightener and 2 bottles of wine arrived in our luggage with no issue. The show tonight was a performance of all the songs from Grease. Singing & dancing was good, although the accent variation from Olivia Newton John & John Travolta sounded quite obvious to our ears. Sailing time wasn’t til 11pm, which meant the compulsory drill was 11.15pm. The kids were exhausted so we told them to stay in bed, while hubby & I went. It was such a debacle, we were all clustered into bars – we didn’t even go to our actual muster station on deck. It started at 11.15pm, we stood there for 30mins, eventually at 11.45pm they announced ‘we will now show you how to put on your life vest’ (given that 90% of people already had these on, this was pretty funny). Instructions consisted of – ‘put life vest over your head, wrap the belt around your waist’ and then pointing out the whistle, light and reflective strips. We waited 5 more minutes and the all clear sounded, back to bed by midnight…what a waste. In the morning there was a letter under the kids door, thanking them for choosing MSC and noting that “due to the impossibility of their attendance” at the drill, they would need to attend a 2nd drill at the theatre at 5pm. This wasn’t announced onboard, they went and said there were plenty of people there (mainly families with kids and older people), but it was much quicker and they were actually then taken to their muster station as well. Sunday 4 January – Abu Dhabi We were off the ship by 8am and nabbed a family taxi (7 seater) for a 6 hour city tour for 800 dirham. I had read that prices should be less than that, but our driver would not budge. Omar turned out to be a great guy who did give us an excellent tour, well worth the money (particularly compared to what MSC charged). First stop the public beach, then the Heritage Village with plenty of cultural and historical displays, and on to the Sky Tower for fairly smoggy views across Abu Dhabi. Next stop was the over the top Emirates Palace Hotel with its lush grounds, sparkling fountains and gold embossed everything inside. We ooh’d and aah’d through the foyer, loved seeing the world’s first gold bar dispensing ATM machine and were still admiring the views when our 19yo discovered they had free wifi and everyone stopped to pull out their devices for a fix. After disconnecting we made our way to the highlight of an Abu Dhabi visit – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Girls have to be covered from neck to wrist to ankle + have a headscarf to visit (you can just rent an abaya/gown if you don’t have them), but we were prepared. We joined an 11am English tour given by the entertaining Abdullah and spent a great hour seeing this stunning place. It is the 3rd largest mosque in terms of area in the world, and can accommodate 40,000 in prayer. The mosaics, carpet and chandeliers inside were all larger than life and it was interesting to hear more details of the 5 times a day requirement for prayer. We did manage to get pinged a few times along the way. 14yo slipped her headscarf down to put her tour headphones on, only to have a guard come up and tell her ‘cover head’. Towards the end of the tour, 17yo’s scarf had slipped just a little off the top of her head, and a guard also told her to cover up (I’m the sole respectable female). We were posing for a family photo in the courtyard and did our usual arms around each other position but were told “no touching” quick smart by a guard. We continued to a modern souk/marketplace where we nabbed a quick snack from Starbucks. The final stops for the day were the Formule 1 track, which has to be the best one we’ve seen (not that we’ve seen that many), as it has a massive permanent grandstand in a circle around the end of the main track, you would certainly get some great views for your no doubt expensive ticket. Just behind the track is Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park. Due to cost and time we didn’t go in, I’m sure it really deserves a day of its own to visit but was good to get a glimpse before Omar dropped us back to the ship at 2.30pm. We’d picked up some cans of coke zero during the day (as they’re 2.80 Euro each onboard) and water bottles and were hoping to smuggle them in. At the scanner to get into the port they pulled up 19yo (who had half the stash in his backpack) and went through it all, but made no comment. Also survived unscathed through the scanner as we boarded the ship, so were very happy with our success. There is free wifi at the port, and as our balcony is right across from it we are able to pick up some signal so have spent a fair bit of the afternoon enjoying the balcony view (among other things). Monday 5 January – Sea day We had a lovely lazy sea day and got more good use of our balcony. The girls tried the kids club again (with no success), we played cards and then spent the rest of the day eating, napping and getting ready for the first formal night. In a very un-MSC move, they actually offered free champagne, cocktails and mocktails (but not water!) in the bars for an hour before dinner. We thought it might be one glass each, but they were practically throwing them at us. We sat down and every few minutes they were coming up asking if we wanted more. 19yo tried his first martini (he couldn’t cope with the olive at the bottom of the glass) and a red rum drink. We posed for some family photos and had a lovely meal. The show was “Gotham”, ie dancers dressed as Batman characters dancing, singing and doing amazing aerobatics and gymnastics. Tuesday 6 January – Khor al Fakkan, UAE Another gorgeous sunrise this morning, it’s so nice walking the top decks as they come to life. The port of Khor al Fakkan is one of the quietest of the trip. The best activity I could find (aside from 4WD dune bashing which we’d already done out of Dubai) was to buy a day pass to the only big hotel here, the Oceanic Resort. They are meant to provide a free shuttle from the port, but it wasn’t waiting when we got off. A taxi wanted to charge us 20Euro to drive there, but another driver told us it was only 1km away, so we decided to walk. Turns out it was more like 3k, but that was fine and we got a closer view of the town along the way. The resort was very nice, set on the beach front (a very tame, waveless beach) with a massive pool with delicious buffet lunch provided, all for 90 dirham each (you could also buy a day pass with no lunch for 60dirham). We grabbed 5 deck chairs and spent the next 7 hours lazing, reading, swimming, napping and eating – it was a gorgeous relaxing day. The other bonus was that there was free wifi available, so we all got to reconnect. We were debating what shuttle to return on when 19yo says “let’s stay til the last one at 4pm, it’s nicer here and there’s less old people” (I’m sure the wifi didn’t influence his decision at all). Hubby and the girls hit the gym on our return, while I lapped the walking deck. We poured a glass of wine and watched our 6pm sail out from the balcony. There are about 4 mosques in the town and the call to prayer had sounded just beforehand, so the sound from all was echoing across the water to us, with mountains behind and town lights flickering made for a most picturesque scene. Wednesday 7 January 2015 – Muscat, Oman Oman was our first new country of the cruise and we had yet another beautiful sunrise vista as we sailed into the port of its capital city, Muscat. I was a bit nervous about this tour as the guide who gets rave reviews on trip advisor was not available, so had offered me her “associate” Mohammed. We’ve had a bad experience with an “associate” in Morocco, but they assured me he’d be good so we took the risk. Mohammed was waiting at the port entrance with my name on a sign, always a welcome sight. On the 1.5 hour drive to our destination of Wadi Shab (wadi means waterhole) we learnt plenty about Oman and our concern was needless. When we arrived at the start of the walk another guide (Hussein) took over to take us on the 1hr walk to Wadi Shab through a long rocky gorge with several other wadi’s on the way. There were a few large red ‘strictly no jumping or diving in the deep wadi’ signs along the path. Hussein however was keen for the kids to have a go, so if the guide says jump apparently it’s fine to ignore those signs, and they did really enjoy launching themselves from the 7.5m ledge into the deep wadi below. After about 45mins you strip off your shoes and clothes down to swimmers only. We went on from there alone (much to the girls concern) while Hussein stayed with our gear. He lent us brilliant waterproof pouches for our iphones which you hang round your neck and can still take photos through. He also very kindly offered me his swimming shoes which made the rocky sections so much easier than for the others hobbling through on bare feet. Most of the time we could swim though, the water was beautiful and the colours of the rocky gorge just breathtaking. After swimming/clambering along through several wadis we reached the entrance to Wadi Shab, which is semi enclosed with a very narrow opening. We tried to get a photo at the opening, but as that involved me treading water in very deep water, trying to hold the iphone/case up to get a shot while not laughing too much, the results are pretty dodgy. Inside the opening the wadi was fairly round, with about a 10m diameter and a waterfall at one end. There were narrow ledges around that you could clamber up to for a break from treading water (well actually the kids pulled me up, my clambering abilities are pretty weak). The kids all took the challenge of pulling themselves up on a rope dangling down one side of the waterfall and then circled round up higher to a very slippery slope from which they launched themselves back into the wadi. It was very nerve-wracking to watch and my photos of those jumps reflect that as I was shaking so much just watching they are all completely blurred. I should mention there were quite a few other people in there with us, so we’d all had time to watch them and gauge what was possible. We eventually made our way back the way we’d come in down the gorge and were on such a high at having seen this beautiful place. There are many wadi’s scattered through Oman, we agreed it would be fun to return and go through them all. There’s also lots of hiking to be done in an area known as Oman’s Grand Canyon…always so many reasons to return to places you get just a taste of on a cruise. Mohammed had said that if we weren’t late leaving the wadi we should have time to go into the old centre of Muscat and see the palace (which is for show only, the Sultan doesn’t live there), fort and souk (market) so that gave us the incentive to keep moving. There was no food whatsoever available at the wadi, but luckily we’d done our usual foraging at the breakfast buffet and had brought 2 tupperware containers full of muffins and pastries. These are usually our snacks on tours, but today it was lunch as well. We were back in Muscat by 3pm, had a wander there and saw the sights before a final stop at the souk. Mohammed showed us frankincense in the souk that was smoking in an incense burner and we bought our usual souvenir magnet and Christmas ornament. At 4pm we were about to keel over from lack of food, so asked to be dropped back to the ship. We had to be onboard by 4.30pm and Mohammed was keen to wring every minute out, wanting to pop by something else to use up the 30mins, but we were done. I have to say that’s the first time a guide has wanted to give us every minute of the time booked, they’re usually very keen to drop you back early. We went straight to the buffet and devoured some food, before starting an activity the kids had been looking forward to for days now. Yes, we’d told them that this was the trip they were all going to learn to hand wash their own socks and undies. 19yo had been in denial that it would happen all week, but we were clear that we have 6 more nights to go and as they don’t have near that many undies, something would have to give. Pleased to say lessons were passed and we’re now surrounded by a sea of drying undies. Tonight was Italian night, so all the food at dinner had an Italian theme and they did the special dance that we’d also seen done on our Costa cruise where all the waiters come out in a long line carrying tiramisu cakes and waving red/white/green hankies above their heads and then the rest of the diners join in with the napkin wave as well. The show tonight was favourite tunes of Italy, but we were feeling rather Italian-ed out, so elected to have an English night and watch the Downton Abbey Christmas special. We only managed half of it as the girls were exhausted and demanded we pause the rest for a second sitting so they could get to sleep. Thursday 8 January 2015 – Khasab, Oman The walking decks were closed this morning as it was quite windy, so I actually ventured to the treadmill in the gym which I usually find too boring. Luckily it’s much more entertaining to walk in the same spot while sailing into a new port. Very pleased to have a later 9am arrival into Khasab, our second Omani port (rather than the usual 8am arrival). We had booked a 6hr tour with Khourshem Tours, a local company that does snorkelling and dolphin watching dhow cruises through the fjords for 200 dirham each including lunch. The MSC cruise equivalent tour was only 4 hrs, no lunch and cost 76 Euro. The tour company were waiting for us at the port entrance and also offered walk up tours for the same 200 dirham for passengers who weren’t already booked – the walk up tours though were only 3 hours, with no lunch so it pays to book direct in advance. The dhow boats are motor powered, but an old fashioned style boat. You remove your shoes when boarding, the floors are covered in rugs and around the sides are many cushions for general lounging about…it’s a very pleasant way to travel. It takes around an hour to sail to the entrance of the fjord, the rock formations all around actually reminded me of the gorge cruise we did in the Kimberley north of Broome. The multiple types of rock strata layered diagonally up the cliffs were similar, what was missing was the deep red/brown/orange colours of the Kimberley, these were mainly sandy or grey in colour, but still lovely to see. We passed by a few tiny fishing villages at the base of the steep cliffs and saw a pod of dolphins doing their usual trick of diving up and disappearing as your camera shutter clicks. We anchored to snorkel at Telegraph Island where the British laid the first underwater cable to connect India to Iraq for onward communication to London back in 1864. Unfortunately they didn’t have any goggles for the sight challenged, so I kept my sunnies on and enjoyed a swim while the others snorkelled. We swam over to Telegraph Island and clambered very gingerly around its surface covered in sharp stones. I was really missing Hussein’s waterproof iphone case and his water shoes, as we had lovely views from there but no camera to capture them, and each step was painful. On our swim back to the boat 17yo got up close and personal with a friendly jellyfish, who wrapped its tentacle around her arm leaving a nasty red mark. She rinsed it with fresh water when back onboard and felt brave enough to refuse any offers to wee on it. We had a wonderful lunch onboard, make your own pita breads + some deliciously marinated chicken. We cruised to another island but the wind had picked up so no one on our boat was keen to get back in, but we were all right into the lounging on cushions while watching the scenery glide by. We were back at the dock by 4pm and driven the short distance back to our ship. We rinsed out our swimmers on our return and while I was sitting on the balcony the wind suddenly picked up and hubby’s flew off the deck…..eeeek! I looked over expecting to not see them, but they had incredibly stuck to this narrow grill 1.5 decks below us and a couple of cabins across I went to reception and they called someone from housekeeping who took ages (well 10mins) to come. He looked out our balcony and agreed it looked hopeless (and pretty funny), but said he’d see what he could do. We kept watch and finally see staff appear on the balcony just above the grill, but they could not get anywhere near it with their arm. Eventually they got a long stick with a claw on the end reached out and down and actually snagged them, we couldn’t believe they’d salvaged them. The rescue operation had attracted quite a following, with a few people standing on their balconies to watch. Tonight was the final formal night and final show. We posed for heaps of family photos, really hoping we get one we’re all happy with from this batch. Friday 9 January 2015 – Dubai, UAE Incredibly, 19yo woke early this morning of his own accord (obviously he could sense that we had pulled up beside free wifi after over 48hours without it) so the kids were breakfasted and off the ship before us. By the time we joined them the Dubai port free wifi that had been so good when we arrived was grossly overloaded with 4 other ships in port and most passengers seeking to connect. We gave up on the wifi and re-boarded to check out our photos. We ended up selecting 13 in total, a combination of family, individual and 3 kid shots. If you buy 5 photos of the same size, you get another 5 for free at a cost of 99 Euros, an extra 2 adds 10 Euros (including a digital copy on disk). You could also pay 300 Euro for every photo taken of you, but this was beyond our budget. The whole process took almost an hour as we must have had about 150 shots in total (they really go beserk for photos, as do all cruise lines). We wanted to lunch onboard as it was free, but we also had drink vouchers to use up. After lunch we taxi’d into the Dubai Mall for a final look. The boys found a spot and made use of higher quality internet, and then we girls spent a couple of hours browsing the shops. 17yo made a few purchases but on the whole everything was either way out of our price range, or very tacky looking….so much for the supposedly amazing January Dubai sales. The running joke of the whole trip has been a pair of denim shorts 14yo saw in Australia at ‘Cotton On’. They were $35 full price, so I said she’d have to wait for a sale. There has been a Cotton On in Singapore, KL airport and Dubai, they have had the same shorts as at home, but still no sale. One of the 4 ships on the pier at Dubai is the Costa Serena and by an incredible coincidence, the waiter from our Costa Mediterranean cruise 4 years ago is actually on that ship. We’re friends on facebook and when he saw we were in Dubai, he got in touch and we actually met up tonight. Unfortunately he didn’t finish work till 10.30pm, but we all wanted to see him so we went down on the pier to his ship. It was so wonderful to see him, we had a good catchup and saw lots of photos of his 3 month old son. He won’t be home again til August, such a long time away from the family. As it’s final night, our luggage had to be left in the hallway by to be taken off the ship ready for us to disembark tomorrow. Saturday 10 January – departing Dubai We were told to be out of our rooms by 7.30am so had breakfast at the buffet and were leaving the ship at 8.30am. I have never been on a cruise where disembarking passengers overlap onboard with new arrivals. As we were trailing off at 8.30am we were crossing over with the new arrivals – that is a crazy turnaround schedule for the poor room stewards. Our flight didn’t leave til 2.30pm so we sat in the port terminal for a while using the now functioning free wifi. Around 9am we realised we’d left a power adaptor in the room, so my daughter and I were able to pop back onboard using our MSC id cards with no issue, re-enter our room and get the adaptor. There are plenty of family (7 seater) taxi’s available at the port, and actually all round Dubai – taxi is often cheaper than metro for 5 of us. We were able to fit all our luggage in, it’s less than a 30min drive to the airport from the port at a cost of 60 dirham. The temperature in their “winter” is also perfect, Dubai was around 26 degrees every day, it got up to 29 in Muscat. I am very glad we did the cruise, we loved the ports and had a great time….but I wouldn’t chose MSC again. Even though both Costa and MSC are Italian lines with a mainly European clientele, we found Costa catered better to English speakers, at least organising opportunities for them to meet. It’s funny that it’s only the Italian lines that are doing the 7N cruises out of Dubai as it’s such a great place for families to visit.   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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Well.......where do I start? Let me start with the positives..... The chamber maid was a delight, my room was always immaculate and I was greeted with a smile and a hello... always. The gym, good equipment and I enjoyed my daily ... Read More
Well.......where do I start? Let me start with the positives..... The chamber maid was a delight, my room was always immaculate and I was greeted with a smile and a hello... always. The gym, good equipment and I enjoyed my daily workouts. The food.... simple but a good choice and healthy options were available most of the time, but I was sick of the majority if tasty looking food containing pork. If you are muslim and only eat halal this is not the cruise for you and the drinks were very over priced! Service.... the waiters were miserable, in fact on one occasion we were made to feel soo unwelcome that we almost left the restaurant. the people working in the shops were lovely and very friendly. The waiters and head waiter mostly the italians need customer service skill training and desperately!!!! One of the ports we visited was a waste of time such as Khor Fakkan and at one of the others you need to book an excursion otherwise there is nothing to do. Muscat, dubai, and abu dabi... brilliant! I always recommend cruises but unfortunately I can not recommend this one, I was very disappointed and to date can only recommend P&O princess cruises. Do NOT waste your money just pay a little more and go with a more reputable company. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We travelled from the UK and joined the ship in Dubai. The flights on Emirates were excellent. There is good service, good entertainment and good legroom on the aircraft. The transfer to the cruise ship was OK on arrival but chaotic on ... Read More
We travelled from the UK and joined the ship in Dubai. The flights on Emirates were excellent. There is good service, good entertainment and good legroom on the aircraft. The transfer to the cruise ship was OK on arrival but chaotic on return. There seemed to be insufficient buses to take us from ship to airport and I could see no system of accounting for which passengers have been transferred. The ship itself was comfortable and clean. The standard of catering is reasonable but nothing special and there is much higher quality food to be found on other cruise lines. Having said that, there were plenty of dishes to choose from. Be prepared to share a table in the self-service area, this is unapologetically café-style and often very busy. The waiters in the dinner restaurant were very good and the cabin steward was brilliant, always there to answer questions and very, very helpful. Unfortunately, the safe in our cabin was not working. We reported this and a flickering light bulb on the first day. The light bulb was changed on the day but we never got to use the safe! The cabin steward was not allowed to touch it, so we were let down by the maintenance team which failed to act when notified of the problem. The evening entertainment was acceptable, but not special, and there was some repetition even within one week. Given that there is an audience of mixed nationalities and much translating work for the compere, the entertainment works best when focused more on visual than audio. The entertainers are quite capable but there is just not enough variety. Overall my experience has been that you tend to get what you pay for when cruising. MSC is at the cheaper end. I would travel with them again but I would not pay a premium price for the privilege. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My parents have been on many cruises and based on their advice myself and husband booked the all inclusive package for 1 week for Christmas. I cant even begin to describe what a waste of time and money this cruise was. Firstly the food ... Read More
My parents have been on many cruises and based on their advice myself and husband booked the all inclusive package for 1 week for Christmas. I cant even begin to describe what a waste of time and money this cruise was. Firstly the food was very disappointing, lack of choice, very poor quality (especially meat) we ate 1 nice meal on Christmas eve in the dining restaurant, outside of that we lived on bread and pizza. Breakfast had a good continental selection. Drinks package (approx 26 per day) is worthwhile as many drinks are included in this list (soft / alcoholic/ water etc all included) The Good: Process for disembarking when docked was easy (apart from when checking out). The rest: Completely over booked, deck 13 (with the pool and sun loungers) was mobbed like a cattle market, not enough beds or all beds squashed beside each other with no room to even put a water bottle next to you, the noise on the deck was incredible, not relaxing at all. Jacuzzi area lovely - but not when its full , I counted 16 people in one 8 seater Jacuzzi. Kids screaming everywhere dive bombing into jacuzzi's, absolutely no where on this ship to relax or read a book. We are in our 30's and ended up going to the library just for a few minutes peace!! Areas are not segregated so its basically a free for all on the deck. Entertainment is poor. One good show out of 6. No entertainment during the day. Cabins small but very clean, en suite very clean and good shower area. Staff - mixed, mostly good service but some very rude staff at front desk and the casino. Overall this was one of the worst holidays I have been on, I would compare it to a 2-3 star Lanzarote hotel costing around €250 for the week. The people on the ship bashing into you, running at the buffet pushing and shoving like they had never seen food before - most of the passengers on the ship acted poorly with little manners or respect for others around them. Check out - our bill was incorrect which was fine mistakes happen, we spoke to reception on the morning before disembarking who noted the errors and would send a new bill. On arrival to the cabin that night the bill had not been amended, back to reception for a 45 minute queue to have the bill corrected. at 11.45pm we disembarked for our flight at 3.15 am, on leaving the ship security would not allow us to leave because our bill was "unpaid" after 10 minutes of waiting with other passengers reception finally confirmed our bill had been paid and we could leave the ship. We paid €2900 for this trip - biggest waste of money, if you are looking for a special or relaxing holiday avoid this ship at all costs. . Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Didnt get off to a great start at Dubai Airport. Total lack of organisation. Had to wait for ages for coaches to arrive and then mad panic. People ramming each other with cases . No allocated coaches just a mad dash. Worst thing about MSC ... Read More
Didnt get off to a great start at Dubai Airport. Total lack of organisation. Had to wait for ages for coaches to arrive and then mad panic. People ramming each other with cases . No allocated coaches just a mad dash. Worst thing about MSC Orchestra is the food. I have been on several cruise lines and I can say that most of the time you wouldnt feed it to your dog. Odd occasion we had a reasonable meal but mostly sub-standard Best thing : Embarkation and disembarkation. Probably the best Ive been on. So easy and hassle free Cabins ok but a bit small Staff: Mostly friendly apart from the Italian women who works as a Cashier in the Casino. It was if I was doing her a favour. Entertainment. Pretty much non existent. Decor - Quite nice and clean. Summary: For me to go on MSC again there would have to be an exceptional cheap deal and I would take some bag of crisps / chips with me.   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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