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2,246 Europe - Western Mediterranean Family Cruise Reviews

The MSC Grandiosa is a very mixed experience, and whether it makes sense for you depends a lot on what you value and what gets under your skin. I will first describe the things on MSC Grandiosa that are first-rate. Then I will describe ... Read More
The MSC Grandiosa is a very mixed experience, and whether it makes sense for you depends a lot on what you value and what gets under your skin. I will first describe the things on MSC Grandiosa that are first-rate. Then I will describe what I think is poorly done, and will represent deal-breakers for many. After that I will describe the ship's overall philosophy, and the type of person for whom that might work well, and what you'll want to be looking out for. We boarded in Genoa on Saturday January 11. They told us to show up at 3pm, but when we did we were the only ones there; we could have boarded much earlier, and I wish we had. Here's what the MSC Grandiosa is really GOOD at: 1. Beautiful Ship. The only thing about which everyone agrees is that the ship is beautiful. What people are reacting to is largely the lighting, which is carefully attended to everywhere. Also, there are a lot of mirrors, so you frequently find yourself in an infinity tunnel. 2. Solid Shows in the Main Theater. The stage shows were SO much better than on Princess or even Celebrity. The cast gets 35 minutes to perform as many songs as they can within that night's genre (Rock, Swing, Italian Love Songs, ABBA, etc.), so you get about 10-12 great songs well-performed, with no filler. I wish I had seen all six shows. 3. Amazing Bread. Nobody is talking about the bread, which is the same everywhere on the ship. I am expecting stale buns at the buffet, and instead every single type of bread is soft, delicate, fresh, and perfectly created. I can't stop eating those little date rolls. 4. Good Dining Hall Experience. The food is very good, the menu varies, the service is professional, and they have two no-sugar-added desserts every night. Everything we had was good. Our seating was at 6:30pm and we walked in and sat down at the same table-for-three each night without delay. 5. Many Affordable Add-Ons. The Gelato Bar, the Chocolate Shop, the Crepe Stand, the Fish-and-Chips Pub, and the Steak House Brunch are all very high quality, with no crowds, and priced like Starbucks, which is very affordable if you aren't angry about nothing being included. Here is what MSC Grandiosa is really BAD at: 1. Crowds at the Buffet. The buffet area isn't much larger than on the 2,500-passenger Celebrity Summit, but there are twice as many people on board. That means a risk of severe crowding unless MSC does a LOT to spread out the crowds. Instead, MSC does the opposite, forcing people into unnecessarily small time windows. The inevitable result is enough pushing and table panic to really diminish the enjoyment of otherwise perfectly acceptable food (and great bread). 2. Nothing is included. Food stands? extra fee. Beverage package? Doesn't work at specialty restaurants. Juice at the buffet? Only at breakfast. Non-alcoholic beverage package including "hot chocolate concoctions"? The only hot chocolate concoctions on the ship are at the Chocolate Shop, and the Chocolate Shop isn't included. That's just fraud. We missed Princess's International Cafe. 3. Specialty Experiences Prohibitively Expensive. Bowling, Virtual Reality, Steak House Dinner, it's all too expensive, and you're not going to do it unless you're rich. We ate at the steak house. It was great. Brunch there is $5 for blueberry pancakes, $6 for strawberry french toast, and $7 for chicken and biscuit. But come back for dinner, and each entree is $30-$40, $55 for a T-Bone steak. The pre-fixe menu at $39 is better, but four people are going to pay $150+ and beverages when you could just eat for free in the Dining Hall. 4. Little Outdoor Space. If you want some fresh air, you have to go up to Deck 16. There's nothing like a promenade deck. You can't leave the big atrium or the galleria and get a whiff of sea air, or even a glimpse. This ship is largely an indoor experience, unless you go to the top decks. Peculiarities On Board 1. Permanent Culture Clash. Unlike lines that cater more toward a particular nationality (Princess to Americans, P&O to Brits, AIDA to Germans), MSC caters to everyone, so there is a delightful international mix on board. Announcements from the Captain or before stage shows are rendered in English, then Italian, then French, then German, then Spanish, and sometimes Chinese. At first it's impressive, then it gets old. Your excursion will be in multiple languages, too, and you end up spending a lot of time waiting for another language to finish. The biggest downside, though, is that all these cultures have different norms for things like when to eat and how to navigate lines. MSC brings to bear its Italian aesthetic of utter disconcern -- confused signage, for example, and rigid European meal times -- and pretty soon tempers fray. I'm used to Americans being really rude, but on this ship EVERY nationality took a turn demonstrating rudeness. By disconcern, I mean that dinner at the buffet is from 7pm-10pm. The buffet is OPEN from 5pm-7pm, if that's your thing, but they only serve hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and salads. The full buffet menu is for people who eat late. Meanwhile, you probably have a stage show reservation at 7:15pm , or Cirque de Soleil at 8pm, or an excursion starting early the next morning, so you REALLY NEED to the flexibility of the buffet. Hamburgers and pizza for you. And because thousands of starved people have just gotten back from their excursions, there is a huge rush at 5pm for those few burgers and pizzas. MSC is capable of handling peak crowds, but they choose not to, and that makes everything unnecessarily difficult and unpleasant on board. Tempers flare, and pretty soon your party is not having a fun time on the ship. 2. Inverted Demand Curves On most ships, people buy a cheap room, but you get quite a bit of value from upgrading to a drink package or a specialty dining package or an entertainment package. So the value shoppers go to the middle of the offering, and the poor values are the high-end experience (which is overpriced) and the bare-bones experience, which could be inexpensively embellished. It's not like that on MSC Grandiosa; it's the opposite. Yacht Club is a great value because they rescue you from the crowds and give you all the best real estate on the ship. The cheap rooms with dining hall food and water-purchased-a-la-carte are also a great value. But in the middle, if you try to buy up to a beverage package, nothing is included. If you try to purchase a specialty dining package it's expensive and inflexible. The other upsell experiences are prohibitive. As a result, the specialty dining venues are mostly empty most of the time. That puts additional pressure on the dining halls and the buffet. The end-result is that the ship has huge amounts of space that are underutilized (e.g., specialty experiences), or off-limits (e.g., Yacht Club), and that means all 6,000 passengers are crammed into what's left. That's a worse experience than you'll find on almost any other ship in the sea. 3. Contagion Incubation Factory I didn't hear much coughing when we boarded in Genoa on January 11, but by the end of the trip the whole ship was a cough chorus. On a normal ship, they flush everybody and chlorox the ship once per week. But on MSC new people join every day. That is SUPER-convenient for planning your trip, but if the ship gets sick then the contagion just keeps getting passed forward week after week as healthy passengers join and sick passengers depart. People have faulted the MSC Grandiosa for not being serious about hand sanitzer, and that is correct. There are a few sanitizer stations, but not enough for 6,000 passengers, and they run out of sanitizer, or they break, and people get frustrated, and illness happens. So Who is MSC Grandiosa For? I would recommend Grandiosa for rich people who can hide in the Yacht Club, and for poor people who can get a really good room rate and just want transport between cities and are content with buffet and dining hall food. Everybody else can probably find a ship that's better imagined than this one. Final Points For the shows on the main stage, make a reservation a couple days in advance, then line up at LEAST a half-hour before the show starts. You'll get to sit in the middle section. Everyone without a reservation will flood in after you, and they sit on the sides. There are multi-language touch-screens throughout the ship which are well-designed and make it easy to reserve shows for your party. You will need your cruise card for everything, so bring your lanyards. Cirque de Soleil gets mixed reviews. That's partly because the two shows are very different. Exentricks is disastrous and offensive -- a surreal freak show, complete with pole dancers. The audience does not clap. Cosmos is merely stupid. Both of them a "spectacle" in the circus sense. You get to see a juggler, acrobat, contortionist, and aerialist, but Cirque surrounds that basic experience with a bunch of gee-whiz-but-meaningless semiotics that will only impress the easily impressed. For example, Cosmos is not a show about "coming of age," and saying it doesn't make it so. If you go to Cirque anyway, you don't get to choose your show time until you are on board. And the seats are assigned automatically. That means when you go on board, all the best seats and even show times are taken for the first few nights. But if you choose shows near the end of your cruise, you will get the best seats and your choice of show times because passengers who would compete with you haven't boarded the ship yet. If you choose a cocktail show, those are at a different time from the dinner show. You get to grab a cocktail from the counter on the way in -- there are a couple to choose from. They are watered down. The cabins are a little tighter than on the Crown Princess or Celebrity Summit, but well-designed, well-appointed, well-lit, and highly functional. Be careful not to accidentally leave the Do Not Disturb light on -- I think that's why people are complaining that their cabin doesn't get made up. The three lights over each door mean [RED] People are in the room; [BLUE] Do not disturb; [WHITE] Please make up the room. The service levels on the ship are high. Electronic buttons on the buffet tables summon staff effectively. The cabin staff do first-rate work, as do the restaurant servers. However, whereas the Celebrity Summit assigns a permanent team of three to each dining room table, and the Crown Princess has a mixed staff, on the MSC Grandiosa it's just one guy handling all aspects of every table in his section, from serving wine to changing utensils, to scraping crumbs. That experience is a little harried, and makes the Dining Hall seem like a place to get into and out of fast. The nice thing about MSC, unlike Princess of Celebrity, is that off-duty crew are allowed anywhere on the ship, they are not confined to the bottom decks, so you get to see them. However, the staff contracts are months-longer, and the ship staff may not have been home recently; they may not have seen their family. Some of this sadness seeps into their work. On the other hand, this is not an American ship, and super-cheerful American service is not what anybody is attempting. Just something to watch for. We used Zoe quite a bit, just for laughs. I even made video of Zoe being stupid. It knows one answer to every question: "Go look it up." The purpose of Zoe, obviously, is to take the pressure off MSC's overburdened customer service personnel. But MSC will have to learn the hard way that it's easier to make the ship less confusing than to try to answer everybody's questions. For example, what are the buffet hours? You might need a few days to figure out what is available when at the buffet. The schedule is inscrutable; the signage is unclear. After a week you've got most of the ship figured out, but mostly what you've got figured out is to get on a different ship without so much unnecessary confusion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose the MSC Grandiosa since we wanted to experience the new ship feel. Getting on the ship in Barcelona was a breeze. It took no more than 20 minutes from arrival in the port to boarding the ship. First impression was a big ... Read More
We choose the MSC Grandiosa since we wanted to experience the new ship feel. Getting on the ship in Barcelona was a breeze. It took no more than 20 minutes from arrival in the port to boarding the ship. First impression was a big WOW. we entered on deck 6 ( the promenade) From that moment one was surrounded by cruise staff trying to sell you pretty much everything. We pre booked the non alcoholic drink package and the 2-1 dining package. Made reservations for the specialty restaurant online and had those confirmed but apparently none of those came through so we had to make new ones once we arrived on the ship Be aware with the drink packages, specialty restaurants are NOT included except for the most expensive drink package. Kind of confusing. we had coffee in the bistro where we had to pay for it, whilst if we were at the table next to us it would be free??? So, when in one of the specialty restaurants all the drinks are extra charge including water. With the easy drink package all beverages up to 6 euro are included anything over will be charged at full price. Overall we had a good cruise, Food was above our expectations. Been on other MSC ships where the food quality was far below this cruise. Main dining in general good with enough choices to please everyone, Service as to be expected. We booked le bistro en butchers cut. Le Bistro was less than we expected, but Butchers cut was far more than we expected and well worth the extra charge. The ship itself, Well laid out. Big minus, no waste bins to be found anywhere, except on the outdoor decks. There is now way to get to the front of the ship unless you book a yacht club cabin. Taking the size of the ship in mind, not enough seating available.Very limited seating in the several bars. The ship itself is more focused on shopping space. Overall entertainment was good. Reservations are needed for all shows since the theatre only had abt 650 seats. Big minus. doors remain open throughout the show causing people to keep on coming in which can be disturbing. MSC does a lot to sell you things. For instance, they place pictures in your cabin as if it is free for you to take. No it is not, there is a small not in the envelope stating that if you keep the pictures, they will be charged to your account. Same goes for excursions, We found a hop on hop off ticket with the daily program with a note, that sais, to make it easy for you, just hop on and give the ticket to our cruise staff on boarding the bus, and again, the small letters saying 20 euros pp will be charged to your account. We had a balcony cabin which was well laid out. Comfortable bed, Very good shower:-) Disembarkation in Barcelona, again , a breeze. We were off the ship and in the taxi in less than 30 minutes, Overall a nice cruise where you get what you pay for. anything possible if you are willing to pay more. That is basically the bottom line if you ask me, but this goes with many cruise lines these days. All in all worth what we paid for it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on a MSC cruise on Grandiosa which left from Barcelona January 9 2020. We are Australians with teenage children 15 and 17 and have previously been on a Norwegian cruise out of Venice in 2018 and a Carnival cruise in Australia in ... Read More
We were on a MSC cruise on Grandiosa which left from Barcelona January 9 2020. We are Australians with teenage children 15 and 17 and have previously been on a Norwegian cruise out of Venice in 2018 and a Carnival cruise in Australia in 2017. We booked a Bella balcony cabin very close to front of boat on the left hand side on deck 11. For us, this cruise was intended as one week not-too-expensive, relaxing and ‘warmish for winter’ break within a 6 week busy holiday to Europe which otherwise had us on the move a lot and jumping on and off trains plus this was a chance to visit Sicily and Malta. We already knew the other ports pretty well. Given the time of year and that we needed to leave from Barcelona there were hardly any cruises operating so we had no choice re company or boat but I subsequently read loads of reviews of MSC which set expectations low and I anticipated a few issues. How wrong this turned out to be. Zero issues of any sort and an amazing, luxurious cruise which was totally enjoyable in every way. Only regret: we didn’t bring our swimmers on the holiday and so missed out on using the indoor pool (retractable roof) and spas. Even the outdoor pool saw quite a few swimmers on the warmer days down south and on the one day at sea as it got fairly warm and the pool area was very sheltered. Actually, temperatures were not too bad all week for anyone contemplating winter cruising: good puffer jackets were all we needed for sitting out on the balcony and the cooler ports and in Palermo it was 18 the day we were there. Re criticisms of upselling: we declined the photos on boarding: no problem. Same in the restaurant and same re the offers to upgrade drinks and meals. There was no problem at all with this. We did not feel any pressure and we were not asked again ever. I would rate the upselling efforts of MSC as way less than Norwegian. Re the entertainment: we are not big ones for shows and basically are fairly boring this way and would generally prefer to read on the balcony or cabin or watch BBC news or Earth before an early night. But we went to one musical show with shows from 80’s onwards and thought it was quite good. Other entertainment: ropes course: great. (and free). But other than that, sorry, none of us is interested particularly so didn’t try anything else. Kids not interested in the programmes for them although we saw plenty of other teenagers having fun playing soccer and basketball. Judging from the daily programme, there did seem to be a fair bit on for everyone including late night shows, theme things needing you to bring dress-up clothes (white night, elegant night, tropical night etc) and music so it looks as though people who want to throw themselves into these things should be able to find things. The middle of the boat with the big projection roof and the speciality restaurants btw gets very crowded and noisy (in a good way) in the evenings but is easy to avoid by crossing this area on higher or lower decks. Did not even look at any shops/sales/promotional events so easy to avoid as well. CABIN: as above, Bella balcony at the front. This was amazing: bigger than our mini-suite on Norwegian with plenty of storage for a suitcase and two cabin bags and our day packs and shelves on which to keep all our packing pods. Lots of hangers for jackets. Very tasteful light greys and muted purple and many mirrors. Extremely comfortable queen bed plus good-sized sturdy bunks for the boys. Big balcony and generous functional bathroom. Big tv with English channels including bbc earth, bbc news, Euronews, Bloomberg and CNN. Wonderful, hard-working and unobtrusive cabin steward with twice daily immaculate cleaning. Our balcony had a metal balustrade which we really liked as felt more private. We spent hours out there every day watching the world go by and reading etc. I liked being able to watch distant lights on shore most nights as still scarred by seeing Poseidon Adventure as a kid and prone, on cruises, to frequent waking and fears of icebergs and (after Costa) running onto rocks etc. but probably the other side would be better for port views as I think really only in Genoa did we have the best view. Virtually no movements felt at all even though I thought the front of the boat might be bad for this so however this boat is stabilised: it works and none of us experienced any sea sickness for a change. (Note: very calm seas all voyage). DRINKS: We had an easy drinks package for the adults included as a special in our original bookings and pre-purchased non-alcoholic packages for the kids who especially enjoyed the unlimited soft-serve included from the bar at the outdoor pool. if you are a beer drinker we could only have Heinekens despite searching everywhere including the pub but there were nice wines (liked the rose, shiraz and cab sav) and plenty of cocktails on the package and some good mocktails; the mock pina colada even comes with the pineapple slice and cherry and was good. Soft drinks were available by the glass or can. Bottles of mineral water were freely available at all the bars any time. FOOD: we started the week attending our assigned dining room for meals but then reverted to the buffet towards the end as the dining room timing didn’t suit us after a busy day in port but food was fantastic and plentiful: some portions in the dining room were small and some were large (spanokopita was huge even as a first course) depending on what we ordered. You could order more than one helping of any menu item if you wanted and we were routinely offered double dessert. The staff worked very hard all the time. In contrast to Norwegian and Carnival, the dining room menus changed completely every day. We found everything delicious. It would have been good to be see the menus in advance but no big deal. The buffet was loads better than it looks in the videos on you tube and, as everyone knows: excellent huge slices of pizza (charcoal ones were new to us and fantastic) and also as a recent reviewer has noted: all bread was amazing! Whatever bread or roll we chose was full of favour and perfect texture: I totally got hooked on making sandwiches and rolls just with butter and tomato or cheese practically every meal over the last few days. No dancing or singing food staff in the main dining room (which we loved on Carnival) but truly excellent, friendly, understated and completely professional service from waiters at all times. Also, service for us was really fast: clearly they could tell we were there to eat and not interested in sitting around talking to each other! We were pretty much in and out of the restaurant within 60-75 mins having eaten our 3 courses each. Zero waiting around in contrast to other reports. Did not feel any need to try any specialist restaurants given that the main dining room and the buffet were so good. EXCURSIONS: we did none. Not because of price because MSC was priced reasonably most of the time, I thought, but because mostly we knew the ports and preferred to do our own thing. Marseille was switched to Toulon on our cruise due to the interprofessional strike in France which we already knew about from train travelling there prior to the cruise. Toulon was great: kids enjoyed seeing the French naval vessels and MSC provided free shuttle buses and boats into town and we just explored by foot. Genoa: all in walking distance. Loved wondering this place and followed a few tourist-office suggested walking routes. Some seriously fantastic boats moored here in the opposite part of the harbour and Kids enjoyed admiring them researching online which billionaires/oligarchs/war lords had owned them etc. Rome: we took the free shuttlebus to the smaller city port then walked to the train station but was a fair detour so might have been quicker to just walk to the train station from the start. The city also offered a 2 Eu shuttle from the small port to the station which we caught back on returning to the ship. We caught a train into Rome Termini (36 eu for the four of us return) and then a metro to the Coloseum (we bought individual tickets from machines at the metro station) and then strolled back alongside the forum (not enough time to go in really due to long ticket queues but pre-booking these might help), then meandered back to the Trevi fountain and had some gelato, wondered around a bit then grabbed a taxi back as running short on time to Termini for the train back. If you are interested in the Vatican, the train stopped at St Peter’s on the way in so would have been easy to hop off there. If planning a day in Rome you would be able to do more by getting off the ship earlier as we were a bit slow that morning which cut our time short. Palermo: again close enough to meander into the port. Lots to see including street market with lots of gourmet products including saffron and excellent pistachio cream to bring home. Valletta: lifts up to the high part of the city cost 1 Eu – just walk further around the port until you reach them. Gorgeous town. We also visited Mdina on the public bus – you can take 51, 52 and 53 and probably some others. Tickets available from the bus driver. Malta uses Euros. Summary: honestly: can’t imagine how forking out for Yacht Club could possibly have made us any happier than our Bella balcony and Easy drinks package. Our experience was seriously fantastic. But for us this cruise was not the be-all and end-all of our holiday: it was part of a much longer holiday so we are less concerned about entertainment etc. This was a seriously gorgeous boat. We would not hesitate to book MSC again. This week has turned out to be an absolute highlight of our trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first cruise and we chosed Grandiosa because we wanted to have first cruise experience on a brend new ship. Before I went reading other reviews and saw rather bed ones giving us thoughts OMG where are we going, why not ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we chosed Grandiosa because we wanted to have first cruise experience on a brend new ship. Before I went reading other reviews and saw rather bed ones giving us thoughts OMG where are we going, why not some other ship, other company but one thing I've learned that mostly people which are always complaining for something are writing reviews, and that's why I wanted to write this one to tell point of view from normal, not egocentric people. We embarked in Genova. Came to port on 13.00, on 13.20 were on ship, no problems at all, very smooth and easy. Getting on board we needed to photo again even though we had picture through MSC for me app. But ok, few minutes extra. Coming to main promenade and seing it all in full glory was spectacular especially that 90m LCD dome. Knowing the ship was easy since there are lcd screend everywhere showing all mandatory info. Smart lifts are doing splendid job handling over 7000 people on board and never have problem coming where you want in minutes. We had 2 interior rooms and if you are not some some guy who likes to be with himself and look all day to the harbour from your bed having room with window or balcony is absolute waste of money. There are many beautiful places to watch the see. Rooms are rather spacious, even our with 3 beds (2 from the ceiling). Bathroom is just enough in size and have everything needed. Stewards (especially Fillipines) are fantastic, whenever you leave room they tidy up and leave something new for you. ZOE, oh Zoe, I've read lot's of bed stuff on reviews but now I know that that there is no problems with ZOE but with the people using her hehehe. If you want to chat with someone chat with you wife, or Fillipines crew, ask ZOE what is she designed to do, show you around the cabin, tell you where to eat, where is everything you need, weather, time, to power tv on and off and lots of things which she does great. FOOD - there is much to tell about food too but some say that it's not good to comment tastes so I won't, I will just tell that we were almost always on Marketplace buffet restaurant with enormous choices for everyone. Place is huge (almost all 15th floor) so we could always find place to sit with no problems. We were very satisfied wih variety, quality and taste. There are breakfast, lunch, dinner times but you can always come and find something to eat. Watter, tea and coffee available free whole day, juice just for breakfast. You can fill bottles, no one makes it a problem. Didn't used much other restaurants so cannot comment it. ENTERTAINMENT - there is always something to do on ship, daily program is rather big, if you are with kids there are also whole floor for them. My kid loved adrenaline park and walked on rope for hours around the ship. Also there is watter park working so even January there were kids going through the slides. There are few pools (watter 28 celsius) and jacuzzi's (35 celsius)... Indoor pool is rather small. Arcade games are 1,5-2€ but everything else is extreme expensive (VR, formula, bowling etc). There is Circus and we watched paid show Excentrix. It started awful and was thinking OMG what is this and I why I paid for this but then in 10mins real show started and is something worth seing. On other side of the ship there is Theatre for little under 1000 people, every night other show in 3 times. I suggest everyone to book all shows in front and to go see them all. They are fantastic. We were trilled with all of them. All staff is very friendly and helpful. There is always some stuff that tried to ruin your cruise but the way you handle them counts. First when we came to ship and got lagguage I saw that my bag was completely broken, went to reception to report it and got refunded with no problem. Second is that we all got sick with high fever and used all out tablets and went to medical center, waited for 2 hours to get info that there is no more paracetamol pill on board (which I thing is unacceptable) so take with you everything you might need since that is closed ecosytem and viruses can spread fast. Third is we couldn't go to Marceilles due to strikes so we went to Toulous, MSC organized whole day free ships and buses to center so it was great. Ship is gigantic and the only place where is rather crowded it buffet restaurant and promenade after theater shows. If you don't like crowd take yacht club experience and go to late night theater shows. Every day there are some sales on promenade so maybe you will find some great deals. MSC for me is app with some great potencial but with some major problem. It's great to have free on app chat through the app without having to buy internet packet but it doesn't always work. Also in port you cannot use your mobile data and been connected to ship wifi so you need to shuffle. Yes, remember to turn off mobile data when setting sail. Diembarkation was a charm. Evening before got stickers for lagguage, got time and meeting point and went out in mather of minutes. Having it all summed up it was fantastic experience for all 6 of us with nothing more to wish for. 5/5 stars from us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Ship is very much understaffed and absolutely not able to offer good cruise for such big number of passengers onboard. Obviously company is trying to save money on all aspects, including food, number of their employees, entertainment ... Read More
Ship is very much understaffed and absolutely not able to offer good cruise for such big number of passengers onboard. Obviously company is trying to save money on all aspects, including food, number of their employees, entertainment variety, and so on. Dining area on deck 11 is crowded without place to sit, so only way to eat is to take plate outside or in a room. Automatic hand disinfect dispensers do not work in 90% of time which leads to people not being able to clean their hands and stop spreading bacterias inside buffets. This later led to many people getting sick onboard including myself and members of my family. Tables are dirty and sticky, poorly cleaned or not cleaned at which is absolutely unacceptable. Destinations vere quite nice including the weather during our winter cruise. Pizza and coffe in bars was very tasty (italian style) and that's something I would personally recommend on this ship. Generally, even though this cruise was quite cheap I would not recommend it to anyone because they are way better ships on the market. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Having sailed previously on MSC Divina in Carebbean on two ocasion, thaught a mediterranean cruise with MSC would be a good idea. Wrong. Mediterranean cruises are not like in the caribbean. Not even the water on the dining room is free! ... Read More
Having sailed previously on MSC Divina in Carebbean on two ocasion, thaught a mediterranean cruise with MSC would be a good idea. Wrong. Mediterranean cruises are not like in the caribbean. Not even the water on the dining room is free! Yes you will pay to have your meal with water. Also service is terrible, european restaurant service expecting a service charge? Embarkation: was really well organized and very fast. Shows are average, a couple of strange performers, don't get it. The Circ du Soleil at sea is a ripoff "DONT GO" at the end everybody stays still on their seats thinking; is it over or about to begin. Service at main dining is terrible, the servers don't treat you with respect and is if they don't care your still going to give them the service charge. "CAUTION" not even the water is free. They will not serve you tap water, only plastic bottled. Note: the last day of the cruise they will include in your account a charge for MSC Foundation; yeah right protect the environment as everybody in the main dining room sips from a plastic bottle for MSC' s financial gain. Night activities are always packed lots of party going on. This is a good point in their favor. Cabins and cleaning service are great. Good reviews on this area. Ports and shore excursions: Great itinerary included Marcelles, Genoa, Civitaveccia, Palermo, Malta. Used a shore excursion to tranfer from Port of Civitaveccia to Rome. They did not comply with the stated hours. Shuttle left later and required to return before. Few time to explore city. Notice that some ports are very far from the cities of interest an MSC will upsell you their shuttles. Don't do it. In Marceilles they were charging €13 per adults for shuttle. If you walk 10 minutes from the ship the city provides it free of charge with trips every 30 minutes. Some in my party felt scamed by MSC. In Barcelona a Taxi will cost you €10 for 4 and MSC will charge 12€ per adult. The buffet area in strange. Not the best selection or quality. During thier stated lunch and dinner hours they will start closing section of the buffet restaurant ending in a reduced crowded space where no one will find a table. Don't expect juice, iced tea or lemonade as in caribbean sailings. Only juice available is a watered down during breakfast. If you are a european used to bad service and paying for the basics, this is your cruise. I believe americans will have a hard time with the basics here, not for somebody used to travelling on other cruise lines with american style service you will be disapointed as i am. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
the embarkation and disembarkation where terrible... the staff is rude ando don't help you in any way. The ship is beautiful, the cabins are very confortable. you have to make a line to enter the restaurant every night. The food is ... Read More
the embarkation and disembarkation where terrible... the staff is rude ando don't help you in any way. The ship is beautiful, the cabins are very confortable. you have to make a line to enter the restaurant every night. The food is Ok... small portions and always cold. our waitress was very nice. The shows were bad except for the cirque du Soleil with I truly recommend. The staff has no preparation, the staff doesnt help you in anyway. everything is a problem. the children had fun, but there is no way to know where they are or anyway to have comunication with them, since the app doesn't apply to them for being under age.i had to return twice a bracelet they sell you to know where you children are, the bracelets never worked. you have to pay for everything on orboard, even on New Years eve there was NO hats or anything unless you 70 euros. No I would NOT go again Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Looking for something fun and stress-free as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, my wife and I booked a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit over the holidays. The itinerary had us leaving Civitavecchia (port near Rome) on the 22nd, spending ... Read More
Looking for something fun and stress-free as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, my wife and I booked a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit over the holidays. The itinerary had us leaving Civitavecchia (port near Rome) on the 22nd, spending Christmas Eve - Christmas Day in Venice, seeing Croatia, Montenegro, Florence/Pisa, and Monte Carlo before stopping in Barcelona for New Year's Eve, then returning to Civitavecchia on January 2nd. Because it was a good deal, we purchased the reduced airfare through the cruise line. BIG MISTAKE. Travel to / Embarkation: Delta / Al Italia Departure Flights December 21: - Arrive at LAX, was able to check into Delta flight and check luggage through to Rome, but NOT able to check in for Al Italia flight - Flight from LAX was in Terminal 2, had to check in at Terminal 3, then go back to Terminal 2 - Arrive in New York (JFK) with 1.5 hours to connect - but had to CHECK IN with Al Italia in Terminal 2 - Take shuttle from arrival terminal (4) to Terminal 1, EXIT THE AIRPORT, run to Terminal 2, find Al Italia counter, try to check in - Two of the four of us were checked in for flight to Rome, originally told the other two would not be able to get on the flight (even though our luggage was checked through to Rome?) - After pleading, attendant takes back tickets she’d given to a standby customer and puts us on flight, all separated from each other (not ideal, but ok) - Second attendant rushes us through security, but stopped at screening due to water in daughter’s Hydroflask (She hadn’t realized we’d be going through security a second time, we had to surrender the $40 Hydroflask - enjoy TSA) - Finally get on flight, ten minutes later 13 year old daughter escorted off plane WITHOUT TALKING TO EITHER PARENT. Daughter in tears, afraid she’ll be left in New York by herself. Dad (me) irate. Eventually my daughter was given a seat and the flight departed. December 22: -Arrive in Rome: (Of course) one bag wasn’t transferred, 16 year old daughter left without clothes for what was thought would be two days (bag would catch up to us in Venice, scheduled to arrive there on December 24th) - Arrive at Cruise Terminal, ask to have rooms adjusted (when booked, given two staterooms with one adult in each, even though NCL POLICY stated kids could be by themselves if in ADJOINING stateroom, which we booked) - staff was unable to do so, we were told it had to be done on the ship. - Board ship, go straight to Guest Services. HUGE line of people, apparently a lot of people with issues. - Go to get a couple of beers to enjoy while waiting in line (much needed after the horrible flight/luggage experience). Get a bill (Premium Beverage Package was one of the Perks included in our package). - After 30+ minutes, get to the counter. Representative can’t change rooms, either. Offers to give extra door keys (this was the best they could do). - Representative can’t find any evidence of our perks. - NCL App had LITERALLY showed the perks two days prior, but changed for some reason after we boarded. - Had to fill out multiple forms too have our daughter’s luggage allowed onboard in Venice, including one form twice (?). *Keep in mind we’re dealing with this after 24 hours of travel.* - Representative said she would email their corporate office to see about our perks, but was unable to offer anything else. - Go to room and pay international charges so I can call NCL Customer Service in the U.S. directly. Do so, they assist promptly. December 23: - Go downstairs to verify perks are now showing on my account. At 8 a.m. the line is already forming at Guest Services. Woman behind me is talking to her husband about how she found the email that shows their perks. Must be a common issue. - Get to the counter, finally perks are reflected in our accounts, new cards issued (still in separate rooms). - Decided to get a cup of coffee, found out the $99/day Premium Drink Package doesn’t include coffee from the coffee bar. - Also found out bottled water was NOT included in our Drink Packages either. (Purchase 6 liters for $19.99) - Then found out weather delayed our arrival in Venice until the 25th. (Not the ship’s fault, but daughter would be without her clothes for a third day. (A third day of borrowing clothes from her sister)) Onboard experiences: - Balcony stateroom was very small. Two twin cot-like beds pushed together, a small table as a vanity, a tiny cushioned chair. Balcony was barely deep enough for the chairs. - Specialty dining was OK, certainly not worth any extra $, especially not the Italian restaurant. - Buffet was mediocre at BEST, though the made to order omelets at breakfast were pretty good. I swear they were serving frozen pizza. - Buffet during off-hours was hit or miss at best. - Coffee at buffet was the basic large vat of cafeteria coffee. - Specialty Dining fills up quickly, but we tried three: La Trattoria: Not worth it. Didn't care for the Somelier, either. Cagney's: decent, good steak. Teppanyaki's: Great. Lots of fun, great chef, good food. - Children were EVERYWHERE. - Quiet places to enjoy a drink were non-existent. The main bar/lounge was used for family fun (bingo, dancing lessons, kids vs. adults challenges, etc.). Never less than a half dozen strollers in the bar. - Other bar (Champagne Charlies) was ok, pretty good three person musical group, but small. - Henry’s Pub (mostly beer) was a great hangout spot, but very small. - Shanghai Bar was even smaller, and being situated next to the equally tiny Blue Lagoon 24 hour eatery, seating in the bar was typically in use by people eating. - Only real option for enjoying a quiet glass of wine was in your room - as long as you don’t mind the sound of children running up and down the hallways. Service: Average. Stateroom attendant was very nice and very professional. Also encountered a nice waitress in the main lounge. Service in main dining rooms (Windows or Garden) was very good. Most of the other service attendants were a toss up: some nice, some indifferent, some treating you like you're an inconvenience. Guest services....average at best. First night experience was enough to make me wish we'd chosen differently. Also a bit off-putting when you're competing for seating with the staff. The buffet area was already crowded. Add in workers eating their meals and it gets even more frustrating. Imagine seeing some of the best seating in the main lounge being occupied by ship's staff. Entertainment was good. Enjoyed the Elements and World Beat show. Juggler was probably my favorite (sounds crazy, but he was hilarious). The quartet of singers was also very good. Ports/Shore excursions: The ports saved the cruise. Best, most enjoyable time was when we were off the ship. Venice (Christmas Day) - great city, but still flooded. Very surreal. Very walkable, and since I'd been there previously, we didn't take a shore excursion. Did a gondola ride, a bit expensive but memorable, just COLD. Dubrovnik, Croatia - took the ship-arranged ($15pp) shuttle into town, walked the city walls. Amazing. Inside the city walls was magical, though the wind seems to gain intensity traveling through the small alleyways and blasts you with cold air. Spiced wine helped. Kotor, Montenegro - Ferry drops you off near the small town. Walked through town (on our own) to entrance to steps (1300+) that lead to the fort at the top of the mountain. Guy at the top sells soda, water, and, more importantly, beer. Amazing views from the top. Small town inside the walls was very cool. Cats are EVERYWHERE and very friendly. Livorno (Port City) - we took the Florence/Pisa shore excursion. Pisa was a fun, quick stop, the highlight being, of course, the Tower. Florence was amazing. So much history, so much significance. We will definitely return, preferably when its warmer. Monaco - we took the Nice and Little Train tour, it was okay. Parts of what the tour guide covered were also covered during the Little Train tour, would be good to remove the duplicity in the interest of time. Upon return to Monte Carlo, we had time to see the Christmas village area near the port. Really, really cool. Had Nutella crepes, then the adults enjoyed spiced wine while the kids had hot chocolate. **Return Ferry boarding process was a cluster**** Arriving one hour before the last ferry was scheduled to depart, we spent that hour on the pier waiting. Pretty sure the ship departed about an hour and a half late. Barcelona (New Year's Eve) - Our second time there, so we ventured out on our own. Went to Barcelona Cathedral, very impressive. Spent lots of time on La Rambla. Definitely feels like the center of the city in a good way. La Boqueria Market (Mercado de Boqueria) is a must-visit. So much good food, it'd be easy to pig out, walk around, then pig out again. We determined the New Year's Eve celebration was at Placa Espanaya. Party there was INCREDIBLE. Finished up and ended up walking about two miles back to the ship (catching a cab in the middle of crowd that size was both difficult and impractical), made it back with about twenty minutes to spare. Disembarkation / Return Travel: January 2nd: - Because a port was removed from the itinerary AFTER the flights had been booked, we were given a night’s stay at a hotel in Rome (pretty decent trade off, but Mallorca would have been fun). - We would be transported to the hotel instead of the airport, like our vouchers said. - Asked if transportation to airport was included, was told it was not - 25 buses deliver hundreds of people to the hotel and dump us there. Inside is pandemonium. A few NCL employees were trying to answer the questions of hundreds of people. - Finally found out we’d have to check in sometime after 3, so we stashed our luggage and headed out for sightseeing. - Came back about five, got our room keys. Find out NCL actually DID set up transportation to the airport. - Go to get luggage. NOT THERE. - Hotel attendant tells me they took it to our room. Go to the room. Not there. - Go back down, find out they may have taken it to another person’s room with the same last name…. - Follow the worker to the other room, there’s our luggage. - In the morning, driver was there early and with a van, ready to go. Ride to the airport was the easiest part of travel to that point. (Finally something was easy!) - No issues with return flight. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wanted to go away for a family Christmas and get some sun. The flight from Gatwick was delayed by one day so missed first day of cruising. Tui conspicuous by their absence, no explanation to passengers for the delay. Relayed to local ... Read More
Wanted to go away for a family Christmas and get some sun. The flight from Gatwick was delayed by one day so missed first day of cruising. Tui conspicuous by their absence, no explanation to passengers for the delay. Relayed to local hotels and bussed back next day only to have to check in again and only one lady on check in desk for 200 people. Food in main dining room was very mediocre, rushed xmas dinner, couldn't wait to clear plates to get ready for the next sitting. Some of us hadn't finished eating. Show every night from same cast, no variety. One night had comedian who wasn't in the least bit funny. Same old cruise jokes. Booked buggy riding trip for daughter and hubby and no where on the confirmation did it say needed driving licence or under21s couldn't drive. so couldn't go on excursion and staff extremely unhelpful, they weren't the only people who couldn't go. Food in buffet very repetative, same puddings each day although boxing day was spectactular. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
It's my first time Mediterranean cruise and I choose MSC Grandiosa because the length of its itinerary fits my availability. The ship is new and spacious to house so many passengers. You may need some time to wait for elevators or ... Read More
It's my first time Mediterranean cruise and I choose MSC Grandiosa because the length of its itinerary fits my availability. The ship is new and spacious to house so many passengers. You may need some time to wait for elevators or seat for buffet, but still it's okay with me and my mom. Staff are nice, especially I am very satisfied with the service of my cabin steward, always keep our cabin clean and comfortable. Fine dining with good food quality and our servers treated us very well. The best part is the no sugar dessert and ice-cream which mom loves that very much. Food at buffet is ok although I saw review about quality of MSC food but I think it's not that bad and still a choice if you don't want to fine dining. The gym has a nice view and have adequate equipments so I enjoyed my time of workout on the ship. The theatre show is ok to suit people from different culture but with more variety will make it better. A little bit disappointed with the shows Cirque de Sea. Still a good show but kind of short. Embarkation and disembarkation is very smooth, no need to wait for getting onboard, leaving or my luggage. Overall it's a good experience for me and mom. Probably we will go for another cruise trip not very long later. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are just back from our Xmas Cruise with our two teenagers boys. We all had an absolute blast! The staff and service were excellent. Cleanliness .... excellent Service..... courteous, polite and efficient Exceptional customer ... Read More
We are just back from our Xmas Cruise with our two teenagers boys. We all had an absolute blast! The staff and service were excellent. Cleanliness .... excellent Service..... courteous, polite and efficient Exceptional customer service Great organisation especially at stop over ports. Fantastic evening shows .... with lots of variety. We also went to Cirque du Soleil which was incredible! Plenty of areas to sit especially if you wanted to escape the crowds. Even with the amount of people on board the cruise never felt crowded. Like most we had our favourite areas to sit and soon got to know the staff by first names. Sagar in the coffee bar always remembered our drinks order and prepared it as soon as we walked in the door! Our cabin hsnd Gilbert who did a fantastic job everyday keeping our room. spic and span! I will definitely book another holiday on The Grandiosa it was truly memorable! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As the name basically gives it away, this is a GRAND ship. Super big. Huge. If this is something that you'd like to try then read on. If you're used to ships of a smaller class and prefer them, then this review may make you ... Read More
As the name basically gives it away, this is a GRAND ship. Super big. Huge. If this is something that you'd like to try then read on. If you're used to ships of a smaller class and prefer them, then this review may make you realize what you're *not* missing. First of all, it's only been in the water for a short while so everything is clean and sparkly. It's like a mini Vegas on the water, glitz and glam, but having passengers wearing shorts and t shirts mingling with those in suits and dresses. No real dress code, so everyone is happy and comfy in their sandals or their heels. As other reviewers mentioned there is a seriously obvious and slightly annoying push to up sell for beverages and other items that you would think would be included when you bought your ticket. You'd like wifi, of course not free. Things like water and juice? Sure you can come up to the buffet and fill your bottles. Of course juice is only available in the mornings. Sorry. Note: bring your refillable water bottles so you can at least take the water back to your cabin, as you'll be charged if you swipe it from the minibar. At least 3 euro, plus service charge. You get the picture. Then of course remember you are traveling with 6000 other guests all vying for the same deck space, theater shows, dining times...it's really a small city that you will be sleeping in for the next week. Dining was generally good, although portions small in the main dining rooms. Figured the calibre of food would be a little better than at the buffet but just marginally. The staff though were amazing and were there to assist and fulfill your requests at any time. Thankfully we were on a USA purchased cruise where the water was included at dinner. Not sure how else you'd drink anything if you didn't buy a beverage package. The optional Cirque du Soleil show was OK. Don't expect a Vegas style show here, and really it should've been free. Even paying for a watered down drink was a bit too much. The other nightly shows in the main theater were pretty good and they were free. Just try to book ahead on the MSC app to avoid having to wait until all the booked passengers walk by and get the better seats. Then they open the doors to the masses and everyone floods in for the free for all. The downside here is when the show is over 975 guests are let out at the same time onto the main deck, all vying for the same elevators. Some planner even decided that would be a good time to do a crew parade so it was basically a crowd at a Boxing Day sale trying to get to the other end of the store. Still want to take a big ship? ;) Despite all these items mostly related to just having a lot of people on a ship, the crew were all happy and it was evident that were trying to ensure that everybody was having a good time. Still want to get a big ship cruise out of your system? Sure this one will satisfy that desire. But when you are queuing at the buffet for that piece of beef and four people run right in front of you and snatch it before your hungry eyes you may have a think about sailing on a smaller ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my first cruise, I was with 3 other people who had been on cruises before but not with tui. I found the whole experience amazing and very worth the money! There were special staff members who’s names are below; - Ian ... Read More
This was my first cruise, I was with 3 other people who had been on cruises before but not with tui. I found the whole experience amazing and very worth the money! There were special staff members who’s names are below; - Ian (Indigo) - George - Dindin (Rooms) - Jamie (DJ) - Paul (Latitude 53) - Dmitri x2 (Indigo) These staff members made sure we had the best experience by always being polite; saying hi every time we saw them and always keeping our drinks topped up once they noticed they were empty. Ian gave me and my partner handshakes and high-fives once he knew it was time for us to go home and he knew which alcoholic drinks would suit us best and recommended drinks for us which were good! Jamie always spoke to us when he saw us and was a good dj. Played songs we requested and it was my mother in law’s 50th birthday and he shouted her out and sung happy birthday to her which made it very special for her. Dindin was always smiling and polite when he needed to clean the room and there were times when we forgot things from the cabin and had to go back when he was cleaning and he didn’t mind us going back to get what we needed. Paul was very talented and very funny to watch during the rendition of a classic spanish song in Vista restaurant when he did a funny dance for us all. The 2 Dmitri’s also made us feel good when they spoke to us in detail about their experiences on the ship and how happy it made them! The shows were fantastic and unique to the cruise and the comedian we had, had us in stitches! (Lee Evans tribute) We will definitely come back for another tui cruise and yes i would 100% recommend the canary island cruise to anyone that is skeptical or wondering whether or not to go, do it! You won’t regret it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Well after 73 cruises I can finally say never again on MSC. My pros were : Embarkation in Barcelona and disembarkation in Barcelona Our wait staff in main dining room (I use the term dining room loosely) Our cabin steward was ... Read More
Well after 73 cruises I can finally say never again on MSC. My pros were : Embarkation in Barcelona and disembarkation in Barcelona Our wait staff in main dining room (I use the term dining room loosely) Our cabin steward was good. Ship was beautiful. Our cabin was ok too, although closet placement was a poor design. Cons: Generally unfriendly staff on board (language problem?) Lifts (Elevators) slow and very crowded. Daily embark and debarkation, kind of like a local bus. We booked early dining but were assigned late dining, got it changed and was put into a , for lack of better words a SUB dining room. More like a warehouse, no décor at all. Daily activities were abysmal probably due to daily ports. NOW the food, I had read in previous reviews that the food was not good to just plain bad. I found them to be true, again after 73 cruises I feel somewhat qualified to judge the food. Also this is the only cruise my wife and I lost weight on. Main dining was usually cold or luke warm at its best. The buffet was only slightly better, but there you had to survive the rudeness of most of the southern European passengers. We have traveled in Europe for years and have never been faced with the rudeness we saw on this ship. As a travel advisor I will not recommend this line to my American or Canadian clients as I know the disappointment they will have. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ports of call where the reason I selected the ship. I didn't explore Barcelona as much as I would have liked due to jet lag. I didn't know that I could have selected the port to start my cruise. Had I known this, I would have ... Read More
Ports of call where the reason I selected the ship. I didn't explore Barcelona as much as I would have liked due to jet lag. I didn't know that I could have selected the port to start my cruise. Had I known this, I would have started in Rome to have extra time there. This should be advertised better. The epic ship was ok. Since it was November, it was too cold for the pool. Norwegian should make the pools heated in colder weather. I upgraded my cabin to have more space. I viewed 2 shows (Burn the Floor and Priscilla)...both were amazing! I traveled with a group of 30 people, including children. The kids thought the cruise was designed for older people instead of a younger audience. The customer service desk with the worst part of the experience. The employees gave out incorrect information on multiple occassions. This took so much time out that we could have spent doing other things. I requested an iron and never received it. I always would have liked to wash my own clothes on the ship but was unable to do so. I still haven't decided if I would book another cruise with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The ship is beautiful but foods, both in restaurant and buffet, are terrible. Food in restaurant is far from enough and I had to eat again in buffet. Food quality, both in restaurant and buffet are far from tasty. We were originally ... Read More
The ship is beautiful but foods, both in restaurant and buffet, are terrible. Food in restaurant is far from enough and I had to eat again in buffet. Food quality, both in restaurant and buffet are far from tasty. We were originally arranged sitting in Silver Dolphin restaurant same table with strangers while many tables are still not occupied. Excursions are professional organized. We were charged twice for a shore excursion and had to deal with the excursion staff in last minute before disembarkation. One of itinerary destinations cancelled due to poor weather but we didn't get any compensation. All passengers attended the shore excursion in Florence got badly wet due to pouring rain and I got cold second day. Cabin service is bad. Bed sheets and towels in our cabin never got changed for 7 nights. We couldn't have a good sleep for all nights because vibrating from beds and noise from balcony door. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. We began in Genoa. Cruise was western Mediterranean. My first cruise ever. Super clean ship, nice staff. Food was never hot, and as a buffet goes had the buffet fixings. Nothing dazzling ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. We began in Genoa. Cruise was western Mediterranean. My first cruise ever. Super clean ship, nice staff. Food was never hot, and as a buffet goes had the buffet fixings. Nothing dazzling about the food. All tasted good, but was average. Ran out of English breakfast tea 3 days before cruise ended. That surprised me, as I really only drink tea in the morning and after dinner. Tons of pressure to purchase drink package, we did not purchase but paid as we went, and did not spend nearly what the package would have cost. Room was large ( we had 3 people), and clean. Shower flooded the bathroom and part of the cabin. Fans put in the room to dry it up. Also received prosecco and caviar for the inconvenience. We did tours on our own. Used MSC for the Rome on your own tour...worked out fine but know it is 2 hours to Rome from the port. I would definately choose MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Epic has great food and bartenders, entertainment was good and many music venues to choose from. There is always something going on on board and plenty of lounge chairs to just relax if that’s what you are looking to do. The ... Read More
The Epic has great food and bartenders, entertainment was good and many music venues to choose from. There is always something going on on board and plenty of lounge chairs to just relax if that’s what you are looking to do. The specialty dinners were terrific and worth the money. The only downside is the size of the cabins are good for two passengers we had were three in a rear facing balcony cabin and the room is limited. The ships engine noise level in the rear of the ship at the H2O bar and next to the water slides is a bit too much and it gets way too loud for our liking. The breakfast choices at the buffets do seem to repeat a bit too much. We didn’t try the restaurants for breakfast but maybe that would be a choice to vary the food choices. Overall we had a great time and did like the free style dining and more relaxed dress code for the dinner venues. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
After reading so many negative reviews of the MSC Preziosa, our entire family felt that we have to share our great onboard experience. We boarded the ship in Genova, a quick and effective process which was started even earlier than ... Read More
After reading so many negative reviews of the MSC Preziosa, our entire family felt that we have to share our great onboard experience. We boarded the ship in Genova, a quick and effective process which was started even earlier than announced. The rooms were also ready early and our cruise cards perfectly prepared in the cabins. The Preziosa is a big ship but well designed and the signage is well done so it's fairly easy to get around. Food is absolutely plentiful on the cruise, it is quite impossible to stay hungry. Meals are offered pretty much all day, 20 hours a day. The sit-down meals may offer only three courses, as some people complained, but if one wishes, you can order several starters, main dishes or desserts, so basically you are almost having a buffet type of meal, only it is served to the table. The waiting staff has been a particular delight on the cruise, both at our designated table and in the bars we visited during the cruise. The gym is well equipped in the front of the ship and although you are asked to spend no more than twenty minutes on a machine, the wait is never too long. The pools and jacuzzis can be busy on beautiful, sunny sea days but there is many of them so no long waits there either. The evening entertainment is varied and especially the gala night performances are quite spectacular. We were a group of adults but children onboard seemed to be enjoying all the animation and entertainment on offer, they were even made part of one of the evening shows in the theater. Yes, the shore excursions and port transfers are quite pricey and we didn't take any of those but that's true of every cruise and every cruise line. The disembarkation was well explained both personally if someone attended the information session but also in the daily programme. The process itself flowed really smoothly. The billing was also transparent and without any issues. All in all, we had a wonderful cruise with MSC Preziosa and would recommend the ship wholeheartedly. Our cruise took us from Genova to Malaga, Casablanca, Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille and back to Genova with three in-between days on the sea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on the NCL Epic leaving from Barcelona I was in a group of 20 and we all felt the ship was lackluster. This was my first time on sailing with NCL and I will be sticking to my preferred cruise line in the future. Out of all the ... Read More
We were on the NCL Epic leaving from Barcelona I was in a group of 20 and we all felt the ship was lackluster. This was my first time on sailing with NCL and I will be sticking to my preferred cruise line in the future. Out of all the workers I encountered only 2 seemed to be happy to be working on the ship. All the other workers were miserable, the seated dining service was horrible on one occasion our server brought out the wrong dish to my boyfriend so she took away the wrong order and NEVER brought him what he asked for; thankfully the buffet was delicious because after that experience we didn't go back to the dining rooms. I'm glad that the ships were in port for long periods of time because they didn't have to many activities on ship I usually spend most of my time playing the games/trivia but those were few and far between. We also encountered an issue with our excursion to Florence of the hop on hop off bus tour, our guide warned us it was "end of season" for them so transportation and traffic were going to be bad yet they had no problem charging us as if it was still season they provided us the transportation to Florence and then highly recommended that we didn't use the hop on buses because we'd lose a lot of time waiting for the buses or sitting in traffic. My sister booked a different excursion in Florence and they also had issues with transportation and they recommended to her to take a taxi back our she'd miss the ship. When we got back on the ship they only offered us a 20% refund and didn't seem apologetic or that they even cared. I'm confident that everyone on board my ship was disappointed as well, at all times of the day there was a long line of people at the customer service desk complaining about something. We booked a balcony room 13265 for four and it fit us all well but the layout was very odd we didn't like the open concept bathroom the sliding glass door is just a light frosting so you can see a clear silhouette of whom ever is in there and no one felt comfortable using the restroom peeing alone was amplified to the room because of those stupid glass doors. And I highly ADVISE for everyone to continuously check your bill on the tv they charged me a $30 bar tab that I never made they had to go back into the paper receipts to check for the wrongfully made charge it took a day for them to confirm the accident and remove it from my account. I learned on the first day that i wasn't going to be purchasing on the ship due to the high gratuities and port charge I bought a beer that was menu priced $7 and ended up getting charged $10.50 with all their fees. Poor service and high prices just solidified to stick with the cruise line I know and trust. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Bit of background. Used to cruise quite a bit pre-kids but this is our 1st in 10 years and our first taking the children. The cruise was very well priced considering it was the half term holidays in the UK. Hesitant after reading the ... Read More
Bit of background. Used to cruise quite a bit pre-kids but this is our 1st in 10 years and our first taking the children. The cruise was very well priced considering it was the half term holidays in the UK. Hesitant after reading the reviews of the ship so maybe that lessened my expectations but everything was very good. Embarkation - Bit confusing. On previous cruises, we got our cruise cards when we checked in. Here, we got told they are left in the cabin though our cabin was locked so had to go down to Reception and wait in the long queue before getting new cards. Yes - there was a bit of a scrum at breakfast time but always managed to find a seat or table. Food was always being constantly being checked and stocked up. This is despite people packing their plates as high as they could and filling tupperware with items for their lunch. How much food waste there is I don't want to know! I don't know why people can't put on their plate want they can eat and then go back for more if they still need more to eat? We ate in the Black Crab restaurant where our waiter Gerardo was helpful and good with the kids. Food was of good quality, not a great quantity on the plates but enough. Good selection of wines available. Theatre - As people have said, it's singing, singing, singing but when you have the quality of the singers they have then why not. Very entertaining and enjoyed each night. Ship was clean. Bar service was slow at times - you could be sitting down for 20 minutes before anybody came and asked if you wanted a drink. Bar service was non-existent on the pool decks. You have to go to the bar yourself. Ports: Palermo - Didn't spend any time in Palermo really. Got a bus to Mondello Beach and spent the day there. Cagliari - Nice place. Short walk to the centre so walked around. Palma De Mallorca - Good shops. Very clean. Again, we just walked around. Valencia - I thought Valencia was a really nice city considering it's one of the biggest in Spain. Plenty of parks. Good central market selling lots of local food. Marseille - Went on Le Petit Train which took us on a trip of the city. Disembarkation - Got no instructions left in the cabin so again had to go to Reception and wait in the long queue to find out what we had to do. All in all - would we cruise again? with Kids? Yes - they absolutely loved it with MSC? Yes - not a premium line so wouldn't pay premium prices but it caters for the mass market and does very well at that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on the NCL Epic which sailed out of Barcelona, Spain on October 27, 2019. The ports were Rome, Naples, Florence & Pisa, Cannes, France and Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The itinerary was great. We only booked 1 excursion with the ... Read More
We were on the NCL Epic which sailed out of Barcelona, Spain on October 27, 2019. The ports were Rome, Naples, Florence & Pisa, Cannes, France and Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The itinerary was great. We only booked 1 excursion with the ship in Cannes, France and the rest we booked private tours which were less expensive and amazing. We were a party of 4 adults (2 couples) and we all felt the same with the cruise. Our first impression was that the employees were not happy and it reflected in the service we received. For example, we had an issue with an onboard credit and the person at the guest service desk, simply said that I have to take it up with my travel agent as she did not see anything in their system about a credit. She was just plain rude and did not offer to speak with a manager or anyone above her. It was more like that's it, move out the way, next guest. I felt like they did not want to try and resolve the issue like on the many other cruises we have been on with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Those cruiselines definetely know how to treat guests and all guests are treated equally whether you are a VIP guest or a regular guest - everyone is treated equally. on NCL if you are a Haven Guest, you get the royal treatment and if you are not, then you are treated like a 3rd class passenger on the titatic. This was our 3rd cruise with NCL and we decided that we will not do NCL anymore. It's just to many little things that add up. Another thing that they did was that on the last night of the cruise, they locked the mini bar and at 10:30 at night, we did not have access to our water bottle which we had already paid for and was in the refrigerator. I called our cabin stewart and he did not answer, therefore, I had to call the operator 2 times so that they can send someone to open it. That made us feel like if they did not trust the guests as maybe they thought that we were going to empty out the mini bar into our luggage and not pay for it - Well, that makes no sense because they had our credit card on file. That was a "stupid" move on their part and alot of people on board were not happy with that "concept" they are doing now of locking the mini bar on the last night. The lines of people complaining on this particular voyage was huge and they all had the same complaints. We spoke with other guests who were not happy either with the treatment they were receiving. We all felt like a number on the last couple of nights - it felt like they just wanted to get rid of all the guests quickly to get the new guests on board. I regret having left the gratuities pre-paid, it was $210.00 down the drain as none of them deserved a tip. We went to different dining rooms and the treatment was the same, all rude and in a hurry. NCL should really do something about this, as we the guests pay a good penny for our vacations and deserved to be treated nicely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship is a wonderful modern ship with fantastic features, but the staff let it down with their priorities being maintaining the areas where they work forgetting the customers. The food quality is not what I expect from a ship of this ... Read More
The ship is a wonderful modern ship with fantastic features, but the staff let it down with their priorities being maintaining the areas where they work forgetting the customers. The food quality is not what I expect from a ship of this size and quality/cost of cruise. The speciality restaurants are extremely expensive. We have been cruising for over 16 years with various cruise lines (some budget ones) and this was the worst we have experienced. The ship is extremely noisy everywhere in the entertainment bars and on deck during the day. If you have an issue and go to Guest Services your concerns will not be addressed or an apology give, or it was not in my or my sons cases. The shows on an evening lasts only 35 minutes and no drinks are served. Beware of the compulsory tips! they are extortionate! but you can ask for them not to be added, I think that because the tips are added the staff don’t really care if they give good service, sorry MSC but we will not be cruising with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we like the itinerary, the dates were perfect and the price was good. In the past we have cruised with P&O, Cunard, Royal Caribbean & Princess and have always had a good experience -They all seem to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we like the itinerary, the dates were perfect and the price was good. In the past we have cruised with P&O, Cunard, Royal Caribbean & Princess and have always had a good experience -They all seem to offer something different and we are looking for an enjoyable holiday and good value for money. The ship is well maintained and very clean, the public areas are well designed and the decor is lovely, with lots of indoor and outdoor sitting areas. We had an outside cabin and it was clean fairly spacious and pleasant, Bathroom was basic but more than adequate. It would be hard to criticize the ship if it had no passengers or crew onboard !! Perhaps you are wondering why my score is so low? Before we went onboard I read some reviews saying how ignorant so of the passengers were, how they didn't know how to queue and would actually push you whilst in the self service Buffet. So we thought we were prepared.. WE WERE NOT!! I have 2 dogs with more manners... I think the large quantity of rude, brusque, miserable looking guests has had a huge impact on the majority of staff who rarely make eye contact and really seem almost frightened of the guests. We witnessed a couple of temper tantrums and some shouting all in the buffet area ...but the main problem during breakfast especially is you can easily be knocked off your feet by these rude people, they seem to come at you and push there way through, women and men alike... We were a group of 2 families ( 4 adults, 2 teens and 1 child) I made a huge effort to smile and make eye contact with the staff and they would do a double take you could see they were so used to being treated like a servant by the guests. The menu choice in the black crab was fairly limited , the quality of food and amounts weren't great. (I must say we did have 2 lovely waiters Jacksy and Prubu from Indonesia ) We had 3 nice meals out of 5... the other 2 nights the choices were not to our taste so we chose to eat in the Buffet which was much calmer in the evening. I also chatted to a waitress called Tasha from Grenada, she was so lovely and really helpful. We went to the entertainment 3 nights and only the one show was really worth watching the other 2 we were just wishing it would end so we could escape. The staff on top deck that served ice cream seemed to be the most grumpy- especially the shorter man who seemed to do his best to ignore us when we were waiting and was very abrupt when he served us. The children didn't want to swim in the outdoor pools because they were too cold and the indoor pool was too cold in the morning and when it warmed up in the afternoon it was too full to swim in.As with the jacuzzi's they were constantly full and you had to queue for a place - to squeeze in with 10 or 12 others. If the pools had been warmer I am sure there would have been less people in the jacuzzi's. The water chute was empty most of the time as it was too cold to use. Pre-cruise both my husband and I we had e-mails to say that based on all the other cruises we had done with other cruise lines we had been upgraded from a welcome member to Gold Member and they look forward to rewarding us with our privileges.. ( we got quite excited and looked up on line what we would be getting - We were led to believe we would be getting a welcome cocktail with the captain, a basket of fruit in our room and 50 euros each onboard spend.) We arrived to a small dish of fruit - a letter to the welcome party and had a glass of sour prosecco or super sweet mixed fruit juice- but the final straw was when I popped to reception to ask about our onboard spend I was told that was only on Voyages Selection departures and this cruise wasn't one of them .... Well please Captain Veniero don't sent us emails telling us we are very special gold members and suggesting we are going to get something that we aren't going to get!!) We were lucky that the weather was sunny and warm it did mean we could sit up on top deck and sunbathe when we returned to the ship in the afternoon. Ports of call were lovely - shuttle buses were a total rip off! Charging for a shuttle bus when just 400 yards away there is a a free shuttle into the city centre in Marseille isn't quite how you would expect to be treated when you've been welcomed into the MSC Family! The cruise might have been reasonably priced to start with but they pile the charges on to the extra's at every opportunity. In the email the captain talks welcoming you to the MSC family , well I have unsubscribed and want a divorce please... Even in the lifts and public areas , hardly anyone smiled or tried to speak. Most other ships we have been on people chat in the lift and talk about their day or at least acknowledge each other with a nod or try and hold the lift for you to get on - but no there was a lot of tight lipped poker faces. For the first time ever we have come home feeling almost pleased that our holiday is over. We are looking forward to a short break on the Cunard Queen Victoria in January at least we know it will be a friendly and civilised experience with laughter, good food and pleasant company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We selected the Epic for our Mediterranean tour, starting in Rome (Civitavecchia). Experience on the ship was very satisfying. Many bars with singers/activities all day and night. Food on the Epic was very good with 2 separate but equal ... Read More
We selected the Epic for our Mediterranean tour, starting in Rome (Civitavecchia). Experience on the ship was very satisfying. Many bars with singers/activities all day and night. Food on the Epic was very good with 2 separate but equal dining rooms or the Garden Buffet, and many specialty restaurants (I did not try). I was glad that they opened the buffet until 11:30 PM for late snacks. The cruise director, Mandy, is charming and seemed to be everywhere. Entertainment, we saw the Epic Beatles (cover band), and Soul Satisfaction (Motown cover singers) for 3 performances each in a week (enough!). But they were very good and got folks up out of their seats dancing. Even old folks like me. There was a comedian/musician for 2 shows, and a Diva singer, but not really enough for the week. A Broadway scale production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert was delightful, and Burn The Floor dance show (just OK maybe overhyped?) and there was a Cirque show ($$$) that I didn't attend. The itinerary and ports of call were great. First day it rained but we were on our own in Livorno. We took the ship's bus to the Livorno train station, bought $22pp r/t tickets to Florence (1h 20m) but needed more time to enjoy it all. Rain didn't help. Next day was Cannes, which we did on our own with miles of local shopping, a mall, and the site of the Cannes film festival. Lovely hotels line the street. the next day was Mallorca and our port call was 3pm-7:30. So we arranged a ship excursion 'Magical Majorca and train to Soller. It was great, and my only beef was that merchants in Soller were on siesta when we arrived and the few that were open did all the business. The 50 min. ride back on the 100 y/o wooden train is super, with 12 tunnels and breathtaking views of the countryside from alongside the mountains. The next day we were in Barcelona and thought we had it all planned. But it was Sunday and La Ramble (shopping) had many stores closed. We bought tickets online for the hop-on hop-off bus (there are 2 online companies-different bus-similar routes) but there were citywide demonstrations for unity government and the buses stopped, as did most traffic. Boo! It happens. After a day at sea next was Naples (Pompeii). We chose the ship's tour Pompeii and enchanting Sorrento. It was wonderful. Great tour guide! We returned to Rome and disembarked flawlessly. We then spent 3 days on our own in Rome seeing everything. Must sees: The Vatican Museum-you can spend days or just hours and hours - it's only 3000 years of history and antiquities. Miles long. (If on your own, buy your tickets online!). #2 Must see - The Coliseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum. (Buy your tickets & Coliseum tour guide online!). My wife and I had a wonderful trip and only lamented the cabin setup somewhat on the Epic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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