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5 Italy First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

I will cover the good point first. The ship MSC Orchestra was a clean, well maintained ship. That's where the plusses end. The food was appalling, mostly overcooked in the dining rooms. The buffet on the thirteenth deck even ... Read More
I will cover the good point first. The ship MSC Orchestra was a clean, well maintained ship. That's where the plusses end. The food was appalling, mostly overcooked in the dining rooms. The buffet on the thirteenth deck even worse. Breakfast was routinely cold or lukewarm. Lunch was no better. Sandwiches and rolls were left in the self service areas until the bread was curling up and stale. The pre prepared salads served in bowls were terrible, they appeared to be frozen vegetables scattered over lettuce leaves. Staff - Some staff were very good, some arrogant and rude. Health - The ship was ridden with a flu like upper respiratory disease. At least 80 percent of passengers were struck down with this illness and were incapacitated for the entire cruise. The medical staff were inadequate and medicine was virtually non existent with hundreds of passengers having to seek assistance on shore excursions at considerable expense. I am still recovering 5 weeks after leaving the ship. Internet - The internet provided was abysmal and expensive 8 hours cost 69 Euro and rarely worked, you would be lucky to get 15 minutes use out of the 8 hours. The answer to a complaint about the internet re emails, was that it wasn't meant for emails. Service - The service was very disappointing. It did improve in the final few days. Smoking on deck 13 was also a disappointment especially for young children playing and swimming nearby. Deck 7 the deck which was wide and used for walking by many passengers was closed for maintenance for most of the cruise. Summary - I would not recommend this cruise line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We left the ship in Rome after 36 days on a ship riddled with respiratory illness. The ship itself was well maintained and comfortable. That's where the good news ends. Health - A high percentage of the passengers, like ... Read More
We left the ship in Rome after 36 days on a ship riddled with respiratory illness. The ship itself was well maintained and comfortable. That's where the good news ends. Health - A high percentage of the passengers, like ourselves, succumbed to a highly infectious respiratory illness which lasted for the entire cruise. The medical staff were tantamount to useless. The supply of medicine was virtually non existent, to the extent that hundreds of passengers were forced to obtain appropriate medicines at various ports of call. Passengers were charged 80 Euros per visit to the ship's Doctor plus the cost of inadequate medicine by the ship's medical staff. It appeared no attempt had been made to minimise the risk of continuous infection. Food - The food on board was appalling. The meat, poultry and fish all overcooked. The food in the buffet on deck 13 was almost inedible, I have eaten better food from an army field kitchen. Service - The service in the restaurants was average. There were far too many passengers onboard which resulted in tables being that close together you could not move without disturbing someone. Some of the wait staff, who were mostly Indonesian, were polite and capable, others were rude and arrogant. The service in the bar areas was however generally good, although it was obvious there was insufficient staff to cope with the number of people requiring their services. Internet - The internet service was an extremely expensive disgrace. 69 Euros for 8 hours of which perhaps 30 minutes was usable time. A complaint about the internet being so poor emails could not be sent resulted in the response "It's not for emails" from a member of the ship's Italian staff. Drinks packages - These packages were pre purchased. The packages detailed what types of drinks alcoholic and non alcoholic that formed part of the package. A number of different types of spirits and liqueurs that were part of the package ran out half way through the cruise and were not replaced. An enquiry to a crew member relating to when this would be rectified resulted in a shrug of the shoulders. Needless to say they were not replaced. Smoking - Smoking was permitted on deck 13 despite the presence of young children and people eating food. Summary - The 2015 Gallipoli cruise was a major disappointment. It was a very expensive exercise that did not deliver the promises made. The tours of Gallipoli and the dawn service were however very good. The cruise overall was not value for money, it was advertised as a luxury cruise, it was far from luxury. I would not recommend the MSC cruise line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
OK, 35 nights cruising for one's first cruise could be problematic! NOT loved the cruising, despised the European cruise staff. Best bits: Our dinner table companions (overwhelmingly the best thing about the cruise) ... Read More
OK, 35 nights cruising for one's first cruise could be problematic! NOT loved the cruising, despised the European cruise staff. Best bits: Our dinner table companions (overwhelmingly the best thing about the cruise) Visiting Gallipoli Nice cabin (balcony on deck 12) - clean, adequate storage, comfy bed, good maid. Tour out of Naples to Sorrento & Amalfi Coast Dinner waiters Days at sea (lots) - peaceful etc. History lecture series - unparalleled I'm told by many (I didn't attend) OK bits: Entertainment. Good variety of Australian artists. Impressive cruise staff performances. Theatre was usually full. Coffee (paid for) once you sorted out how you liked your coffee (inevitable differences between countries). Visiting the various countries/sights. Although, be warned - one day stops make it a brief & stressful race to get off, get somewhere & get back on the ship. NOT leisurely, you don't get to see much or experience the ambience. The rest of it: Food was appalling - not even one-star. All tasted pretty much the same & was out of bain-maries - warm & re-heated tasting. Apart from ordering poached eggs etc or smoked salmon in the dining room at breakfast. Of course you could live off the adequate muesli & fruit selection. But that was not the way the ship was advertised. However I did lose weight (7kg) - not a bad thing but unexpected. Italian staff would smile but were inanimate, disinterested & only helpful if really really pushed (politely). Drinks packages were a joke. They saw us coming - premium allegrissimo alcoholic & non-alcoholic. No way we could come close to getting value for money ($4500). Other reviewers have said it all. Running out of drinks, no service etc etc. We even had the bar staff refuse to serve us an icecream in a cone (at the icecream bar with cones in sight). The wretched respiratory bug - nightmare. Duty of care non-existent. One wonders, was the ship working to a budget? The food was so so bad. Where did all our money go? About $50,000. Yes. Plus the pre-paid gratuities. We worked out every staff member could have received approx. 600 Euro - bet they didn't. I don't regret the cruise - Gallipoli etc - but feel a bit foolish & cheated - captive for 5 weeks with crap food on a beautiful looking, clean & glamorous floating hotel. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband and I were very excited to take our first cruise. We were told the Windstar Star Pride was a new ship and that idea was only furthered by Windstar’s promotions. We did not expect to walk onto the Star Pride and ... Read More
My husband and I were very excited to take our first cruise. We were told the Windstar Star Pride was a new ship and that idea was only furthered by Windstar’s promotions. We did not expect to walk onto the Star Pride and immediately notice from the furnishings and smell that it was NOT new in any way. I remember saying to my husband, “ I think this is a huge mistake.” Apparently the ship was new in 1988 and in dry dock for about 18 days where carpets were replaced and common areas were "refreshed". Our Classic Suite, which we paid an additional 4,000.00 to upgrade to, was in extremely poor shape and run down. We had been told there were floor to ceiling windows yet there were regular sized portholes looking out onto a public deck. Our bathroom consisted of yellow rust stains, tape peeling off from the mirror as well as large ugly patches of caulking. I didn’t ever dare to look at the state of our mattress. Our satellite phone, which was always on the charger, wouldn’t hold a charge and would beep whenever we attempted to use it. When we called for a late night snack we were told that after 10pm only cold food was available. The bath towels were something you would find at a car wash. Above our bed the ceiling panels were not put together correctly and had dark handprints on them from maintenance workers. The furnishings were old and outdated. I put our valuables into the safe and when I went to retrieve them the safe would not open because the batteries had died. We had to call maintenance and wait for them to unlock the safe. Flat screen televisions are advertised and the TV we had in our bedroom was from the 90s. The deck of the ship was extremely weathered and grey. The pool was closed for the first 2 days – and only days- we were on the ship. I had emailed with someone from Windstar before we boarding letting them know I had a gluten intolerance and although she said Windstar caters to all dietary needs and that she put a note in with my name to the ship, I was never offered any gluten free options. We missed lunch one day and what was available for us was a selection of airport lounge style cold dry premade sandwiches. At dinner we were told there were not enough tables to accommodate the guests yet we could be seated at an empty table set for 4 and would likely have another random couple seated with us at some point during our meal or we could wait. We waited only to have them try to seat people at our table and we outright refused. Having to be confrontational when trying to be on a romantic cruise was the last thing we wanted to deal with every night. After speaking with Kristy on the Star Pride we packed our bags and disembarked at our first stop in Sicily. Kristy sincerely apologized for all the issues and gave me contact information for Dustin at Windstar whom she said would be able to come to a solution that would make us happy. We were not allowed to disembark however before paying another $84.00 in bar bills yet our package included all premium drinks. Frustrated, we simply paid the bill so we could get off the ship and try to begin to enjoy our vacation. At this point we had to find last minute - meaning extreme rates - hotels for the remainder of our trip and transportation to each location. All in all, this was a absolute disaster! We will never find ourselves on a cruise again. For over 17,000.00 dollars I had envisioned a floating Four Seasons and this was not the case. I have stayed in rooms at a Holiday Inn that were cleaner and nicer. I expected the food to be better than average and to have a suite that felt clean. The only positive comment I have is for the staff who were very kind and apologetic, letting us know how understaffed the ship was. After speaking with Dustin at Windstar I let him know which suite we were in and was told the CEO of Windstar had stayed in the same suite the week before and had no complaints – shame on him! Dustin honestly felt that Windstar did not promote their ship as being new and said the best he could do was to refund me the amount we paid for the upgrade as well as the bar bill. Feeling that I was not getting any further with Windstar I told them to send me the refund. This is NOT a luxury cruise in any way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Well what can I say other than DON'T GO ON AN MSC CRUISE. Kids running everywhere all day and most of the night, shouting, yelling and totally out of control. Running around the restaurant whilst the waiters were trying to serve ... Read More
Well what can I say other than DON'T GO ON AN MSC CRUISE. Kids running everywhere all day and most of the night, shouting, yelling and totally out of control. Running around the restaurant whilst the waiters were trying to serve food. Buggies and prams cluttering up the aisles when trying to get food in the buffet. One child even rode his bike into a crowded lift!!! We were woken up at 4am one morning with children running and shouting in the corridor outside our cabin. The passengers were extremely rude and pushed and shoved the whole time and whilst waiting for the lifts which were erratic to say the least, the passengers (mostly Italian) barged to the front and would not let people get out of the lift before they got in. The lifts, the kids pressed every button on every floor so it took us half an hour to get from Deck 5 (Restaurant for dinner) to Deck 12 ( our cabin) every evening. These lifts dominated our cruise experience because this was not a small boat and you had to use them. In most situations you would say that this was a major design fault in this boat but this (perhaps) may not be the case if they were not constantly abused. This was the most stressful holiday my husband and I have ever had. The food was not good either, there was far too much salt used in the cooking and the food was very poorly presented, it reminded us both of school dinners. The food was also nearly always cold by the time it was served. My husband bent his metal fork whilst trying to cut a piece of stale bread when eating Eggs Benedict for breakfast. There was no toast supplied at breakfast and the rolls and bread were stale by the end of the week. The juice drinks machines more often that not where out of order or not switched on. Not good when you want a cold drink. Also the juice when you could get it was watered down and had sugar added to it. Also there were no glasses at the juice machines and we had to use warm teacups to get a drink when the machines were working. There was no fruit that was fresh in the buffet either and mmost of the fruit supplied at breakfast was tinned. The departure from the boat at Majorca and Villefranche was totally disorganised to say the least with the usual pushing and shoving from the Italian families. But the worst situation by far was on the Wednesday 10th July. My husband and I went to the pool on the 13th deck, got our towels and found two sun beds. This was at 9.20, we sat down for a while and put on sun cream, at 9.40 my husband said "I think I'll go for a swim now" so I said "OK I'll join you". We went down to the pool and were only gone for 20 minutes, when we decided to go back I went up the steps first whilst my husband had a shower near the pool, when I got to our sun beds there were other people there arranging their towels and belongings and all our belongings had gone. We went down to the attendants who had given the towels out to find all our property including phones, watches, cameras, shoes and our towels had been thrown into a plastic sack. The attendant started being very rude and aggressive and shouting at us and quoting that in the contract you are only allowed to leave the sun bed for 30 minutes, we had been gone for 20 minutes. I spoke to a Security Guard who was standing nearby but he could not help me, the attendant who I originally spoke to stood there watching me and smirking at the fact that I could not get anywhere with any of them. There were other people leaving their beds for 2 hours and more, also children who had beds who were never on them. We could not get anywhere with this rude and aggressive man so we had to go inside down seven decks to the desk, barefoot and dripping water, me in my bikini and my husband in his trunks because everthing had been taken, we did not even have a towel to dry ourselves with. We spoke to someone at the desk who again, was not very helpful but we demanded a meeting with the manager and this was eventually arranged after two put offs for the evening. We finally met Shameem (sp) who I must say, did handle the situation very well as we were both furious at this unfriendly and discourtesious way of being treated. Shemeem said she would report it back to the management, as they did not want passengers to be unhappy. The trouble was the damage had been done and we had to spend the rest of the day in our cabin as there was nothing else to do and all the sun beds had gone by this time. I am sure that we were targeted because we were English, it would not have been done to an Italian family. There were very few English people on this trip, Im not surprised!! We did however go to some lovely places such as Rome, Majorca, Monaco and Palermo and we also met some very nice Australian people who sat on our table at dinner each evening and who incidentally did not like the cruise either and had said they would never travel with MSC again. They were horrified when they heard what had happened to us at the pool on Wednesday and thought it was a disgusting way to treat people. If they are going to take one set of people's belongings because they have been away from their bed for a short while then they must treat everyone else the same and not target individuals. We will never go on another MSC cruise again and shall make sure that everyone we know hears about this.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013

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