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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected a long cruise taking us through the Mediterranean, around the English Channel and through the Baltic sea to St Petersburg. The itinerary was good and because we selected an outside balcony cabin, we were quite comfortable ... Read More
We selected a long cruise taking us through the Mediterranean, around the English Channel and through the Baltic sea to St Petersburg. The itinerary was good and because we selected an outside balcony cabin, we were quite comfortable throughout the journey. The ship itself is a large liner and pretty much to the standard you'd expect. Entertainment is, well, entertaining and our cabin staff were friendly and helpful as you'd expect. However it kind of goes down hill from there! From day 1 the embarkation, on-board organisation and meal experience was disastrous. (1) Embarkation was 3 hours standing in queues despite some elderly people we noticed having a lot of difficulty. There were no crew members checking on the health and happiness of guests and a bit of care and HR in this regard (maybe some water thrown in) would have done heaps toward the initial experience. Perhaps Costa should realise that the first experience is critical. (2) Many waiters, bar staff and service centre staff are rude and should be made to walk the plank. We understand that working 11 hrs per day for 6 months on end, whilst (apparently) on minimal wages will toll heavily on most people. However, they're pretty much a surly unhelpful lot. It's hard to put this into words as no particular incidents stand out from the rest. Basically it's an attitude problem. With the exception of some, you get the feeling they just don't like you. Maybe they should go somewhere else? Maybe management should take a good look at this problem? (3) Tours and Cost-a-lot. The magic show isn't restricted to the theatre. In-fact, there's lots of "slight of hand" when it comes to this part of the cruise. Cost-a-lot arranged shuttle buses in every port to take people to and from town centres for about Euros 15 each person. In most cases town was quite close and could be walked or public transport was available for 1/10th of that price. When querying this prior to docking, Cost-a-lot excursions desk referred you to the help desk and vice versa with no-one apparently knowledgeable of where they were heading or willing to give advice. The on-board shops were a rip off to which we fell victim. We purchased 2 Invicta watches, which were said to be discounted by 75%. During the purchase i asked if the discount was genuine or not. We were assured it was. It wasn't at all! When researched we found that we could have purchased these same watches from various retailers cheaper than what we did and without any discount. We also noticed that the alleged 75% off was offered to guests coming on board throughout different parts of the trip as a "once day flash sale". This is a good trick Cost-a-lot! In Australia, we call it lying. (4) Food and Restaurants. OMG! The Bellagio Buffet (the zoo) is something to write about. The food from cruise start to finish is lacklustre and cold. Don't be late, though! If you don't covet a table and defend it with your life a good 45 minutes before it opens, you'll wait 20 minutes in line before you get something to eat. Pushing and queue jumping is normal. Piling food on plates is normal - then because it's too much to eat, discarded. One tip i have for "the zoo" is to have the salads in a different place to that of being before the hot food containers. This will alleviate people standing at the front of the line picking and choosing a bit of this and that cheese and lettuce whilst there's 200 people behind them waiting to get some hot food. The Bellagio needs a total revamp. Sit down restaurants were more civilised and the food was okay for the most part. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was extensive and awesome! We went in calling this a Motel 6 on water, having very low expectations. We were so wrong, it exceeded in almost every way. Pro's: The ship is very very ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was extensive and awesome! We went in calling this a Motel 6 on water, having very low expectations. We were so wrong, it exceeded in almost every way. Pro's: The ship is very very clean. The staff is very friendly, and helpful. The food was so good, we never had a bad meal! The food is extremely fresh and presented in a beautiful manner. Even the buffet was good. You do not need a water package, but if you are going ask for a free Water USA package, you will receive a large glass bottle of water with lunch and dinner. There is plenty of ice at the buffet a huge concern of ours, no worries. Ask for ice during sit down meals, had no problem. Our waiter Vipul was wonderful anticipating anything we needed. The entertainment is very good in a beautiful show room, we were sometimes lost with the Italian. Definetley pay for the 19.00 laundry deal. Getting on and off the ship was easy. Con's: The only bad thing was the isolation having nobody to talk to, other cruisers were not friendly at all. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I read horrible reviews prior to my trip, but I still signed on because the ports were enticing and the price was right. To begin, getting any sort of help online prior to travel was impossible. No one responded to emails or chat ... Read More
I read horrible reviews prior to my trip, but I still signed on because the ports were enticing and the price was right. To begin, getting any sort of help online prior to travel was impossible. No one responded to emails or chat requests. Luckily some members of our group were able to take the time to call the MSC help desk. I prefer to do everything online and MSC is not set up to handle that type of business. The transfer from Milan was excellent. Great staff, no issues there! Embarkation was a bit messier. There were multiple stations to hit, but there was no welcome feeling and we didn't really know what was happening from desk to desk. As someone else mentioned, the lifeboat drill was not on time and not organized. I honestly wish I had just signed in and walked away, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to do that. It was a waste of a good hour of ship time. The first night of dinner, in the myChoiceDining area, our server was so horrible, half our group didn't come back to dinner. When our friends inquired about their drink order, he said, "give me a minute!" He handed us our plates instead of setting them down. He told us to "Make Room" for additional plates on the table. He gave us grief for wanting to order additional entrees to share with the table and then delivered them all at once when we clearly didn’t have the space for them. And finally, he wanted us to order our dessert with our entrees, which was very unusual. The second night we requested a new server and told the hostess that our previous waiter was terrible and she just said ok. Our new server was wonderful and we went back to him every night! As someone else mentioned, breakfast in the dining room was buffet or a la carte. Our server didn’t seem to want to take our order or serve anything. As it turns out, we shouldn’t have ordered. The waffles looked to be frozen waffles and the fruit was definitely thawed out. We never went back to breakfast in the dining room. The buffet breakfast wasn’t very enticing either, so we stuck to yogurts, fruit and breads. Others in our party complained about the lines and chaos in the buffet, but I’ve seen that on other large ships as well. Our dinner server would actually help us find our family or find a table if the others hadn’t arrived yet. To me, that’s good service! The ports were all amazing, but I will say, there should be more organization as there was a tremendous line in Barcelona to re-board the ship. With such short port times, it should be assumed everyone will come back at once and staffing should be there to cover the busy times. On Saturday, upon arrival in Cherbourg, there was a line of people waiting to get off the ship, an hour after we were entitled to disembark... when suddenly the staff started moving props to another deck. Had I not asked, I would not have been told that there was a problem with the gangway and we needed to go to another deck. The lack of communication for that was disappointing, along with the loss of an hour in port, with no apology that I’m aware of. On approximately deck 10 rear, we ran into worker smoking in a very small area that isn't a smoking area. Completely inappropriate. Speaking of smoking, half of the pool deck as well as another half of the walking track are smoking areas. I had to do laps on only one side of deck 7 (the walking track). The casino is also a smoking area and completely infected the entrance to the theater. We were told there were 50 nationalities onboard, so yes, the announcements were made in 6 languages, which can be long, but who’s to decide which ones to cut? Not me. In the reception line, one poor employee was unable to help so many guests, so it’s clear not all guests speak English and multiple announcements are needed. I do feel investing in translators for staff would be helpful, at least at the reception desk. In general the service was inconsistent. Some days, you got the nicest bartenders. Other days, they were downright nasty. The cruise staff was awesome! Great group of people in that crew! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We have travelled with most cruise lines and expected a mid-range experience with rather good food given that MSC is an Italian company. It turned out that the most disappointing aspect was food and beverage. BREAKFAST Breakfast can ... Read More
We have travelled with most cruise lines and expected a mid-range experience with rather good food given that MSC is an Italian company. It turned out that the most disappointing aspect was food and beverage. BREAKFAST Breakfast can be taken i their cafeteria or in the restaurant Villa Borghese. We visited the cafeteria numerous times but never managed to get a table. In Villa Borghese you can select between a la carte and buffet. All dishes sampled were of poor quality and presentation. I.e. Eggs Benedicts were almost inedible. Room Service breakfast is yoghurt, bread and coffee/tea. Thats it. LUNCH Lunch could be taken in the cafeteria as well as in Villa Borghese. The latter offered a la carte as well as buffet. We only ate when we were at sea and escaped the ship for meals as often as we could. DINNER You are assigned dinners in either Villa Borghese or L'Ibiscus. We were in the latter and the food was mediocre and rather bland. Food was okay but never an experience you would like to remember. ALL-INCLUSIVE CONCEPT We opted for the all-inclusive concept which was promoted to include all beverages at all times. It proved to be far from it. In the restaurants you could only choose wines from a very limited selection and only by the glass (2 whites, 1 rosé and 2 reds) - all La Zolla an almost undrinkable quality. Most cocktails are not included. Water is included but not if you take the water in the mini bar, then it is extra. Beverages from room service are always extra and you pay for the food here too but delivery is included. Rather strange concept and very confusing which seemed deliberate. Although the all-inclusive packages are rather cheap, they are not worth buying. BOARDING Getting onboard took 2,5 hours and we waited in four different queues for different aspects of the registration process. We never understood why it had been made so complicated and everybody complained throughout. SERVICE In general there seems to be an attitude amongst staff of wishing they were somewhere else. They made numerous errors during our cruise and not once were we offered an apology. All (and I mean ALL) announcements are made in six languages (English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian) so everything takes forever. Would much rather prefer to have announcements in English and perhaps one other language and them have all written information in as many languages as they wish. We were forced to watch the MSC commercial videos several times in the theatre and people started commenting on the completely different experience they were having compared to the commercials. For example, in the commercials there are flowers everywhere but we didn't see one flower throughout our stay. The meals are served with cloches. We never saw them onboard, and so on, and so on. SAFETY The safety drill was an Italian farce. They started the drill 20 minutes late and then in a way that only a limited number of passengers could see what happened (and again in six languages). Passengers soon started to leave the stations is frustration. Italian organized chaos. ITALIAN ATTITUDE Most senior officers are Italian and they clearly feel superior to the other members of staff. Several times we observed officers go into bars to prepare their own coffees and two times I saw officers take cakes out of the cake displays with their fingers and straight into their mouths. So much for food hygiene. ALL IN ALL All in all it was a very disappointed experience and we will not return to MSC. If you travel on a limited budget there are so many other cruise lines to choose from and we cannot come up with even one, why you should choose MSC. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was the worst cruise we have been on! 4hrs to board ship! no tea or coffee in dining room! compulsory gratuities 10euro pp per night!pay for shuttles to town! Never been compulsory on other cruises. No sweet wine with lunch/tea ... Read More
This was the worst cruise we have been on! 4hrs to board ship! no tea or coffee in dining room! compulsory gratuities 10euro pp per night!pay for shuttles to town! Never been compulsory on other cruises. No sweet wine with lunch/tea included in package.After 5days English Breakfast Teabags were like gold couldn't find them anywhere. The pushing,shoving yelling by the Italians was unbearable. Music on the back pool area was the same everyday with only 4 English songs played. Our tea seating was 8.45 with 3 lovely couples on our table served by wonderful waiters. The bistro areas were a challenge with people pushing in but the food was ok. The tour organisation was a shambles both waiting to leave and getting back with sometimes 5 buses arriving at the same time to board the ship. Didn't get on till after sailing time. One of our tours has a couple with mobility problems, we had to cut short our walking experience due to their incapability to keep up. They should not have been allowed to do the tour as it was all walking and we believe this person was air lifted for heart problems 4 days prior. Spent unbelievable amount of time in queues at the service desk, given wrong information, wrong name on replacement cabin card couldn't get off ship had to go back and replace it. Had to change cabins for re-positioning cruise, first room was deck above the dance floor absolute hell! music, yelling till 2pm. next room took 3 replacement cards for cabin card to work-had to go to service desk for each card.Cabin staff fantastic. Service desk is position near the piano area which made it almost impossible to hear and communicate with almost non English speaking staff. Our shore experiences made up for the ship experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I just got off a Costa Pacifica cruise for a 11 days from Genoa Italy. First only had two English channels on TV. Second The entertainment was mostly cater to Germans with only ball room dancing. The few other bands where below mediocre to ... Read More
I just got off a Costa Pacifica cruise for a 11 days from Genoa Italy. First only had two English channels on TV. Second The entertainment was mostly cater to Germans with only ball room dancing. The few other bands where below mediocre to put you to sleep!. The cruise director spoke at the main shows in German catering to her own. The food was mostly for breakfast sweets and rolls. No oat meal, a bad tasting orange juice. Not a great selection of food. Lunch was no coffee. Main entrée was mostly Fish and Pork Chicken was to a minimal. When they announced Latin night music event they literally only played three Latin songs. On the whole cruise and this special event. In my opinion and other I spoke to this Costa cruise caters to Germans and is a racist cruise line. I felt trapped in a room with only two English channels on TV. And when you left the room the entertainment was mostly cater to Germans. I been on 18 cruises. And this was by far the worst ever. Remember English is the dominant language in the world. Your fellow guest where very rude and not nice at all. Shore excursion pamphlet where not in English. They didn't have them when I approached the desk. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this trip based on ports selected by YMT. Ports were great---cruise---worst ever. Everything you get on Costa costs you---even water!! Had to buy water pkg for $37. Glass of water at bar costs. Food was horrible---attractive ... Read More
We chose this trip based on ports selected by YMT. Ports were great---cruise---worst ever. Everything you get on Costa costs you---even water!! Had to buy water pkg for $37. Glass of water at bar costs. Food was horrible---attractive looking in dining room but almost same selections nightly. If you're a pasta lover you might survive. Almost same offerings daily in buffett. No lobster or prime rib meals without additional cost. Had to make special arrangements to have coffee served during dinner. (I guess that's not a Italian thing) You even have to pay for room service. Additional charge of $2.50. That's a first. Nothing is free. Entertainment is very amateur. One show had to leave because it was so dull. Not much to offer during day if onboard. Small casino and poker tables but that is normal for cruise ships. Didn't even offer ice cream. Food not available unless it was meal hours. We traveled with 2 other couples. Had a great time at ports being with friends but will never use Costa again. Restrooms seemed to be closed often. usually after dinner---not available! Really!! Can't this be addressed sooner. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have read bad reviews about COSTA, but the destinations looked very appealing so I took my chances. Well, I should have listened to those reviews because other than the great port of calls, reasonable price of the cruise and the very ... Read More
I have read bad reviews about COSTA, but the destinations looked very appealing so I took my chances. Well, I should have listened to those reviews because other than the great port of calls, reasonable price of the cruise and the very entertaining shows by their in house singers and dancers, everything else was bad. There were 14 of us in 7 cabins, and most of us have the same sentiments-never will we take COSTA again! Let me list some of the reasons : 1.Embarkation procedure disorganized, took us 3 hours from arrival at terminal to boarding. And we arrived early ( 11 a.m.). 2.Food low quality & lacked variety , even the specialty restaurant Lobster & Grill ( extra charge of E25 per cover) had bad food - lobster clearly frozen & meat sticking to the shell, Key Lime Pie looked & tasted like the store bought variety. Total waste of money ! 3. Buffet opens only at 7 p.m., frustrating for those who want a quick meal before watching first show at 7:15 p.m. And after 9:30 p.m., there's nowhere to find food . 4. Shore excursions cancelled if not enough people ( this happened twice that I know of with the English ones, could have happened more). 5. Delayed arrival in port, threw a wrench on our tours with private operators. 6.Front desk personnel not very knowledgeable, speak to different people and you get different answers. We wanted to buy their airport transfer upon disembarkation in Amsterdam but no more space- so I asked how much is taxi and the answer was 25E. We took 3 taxis and paid between 70-85 E per taxi, what a nice surprise! 7. Never seen such an unhappy lot of ship personnel, I suspect they are overworked and very underpaid. Confirmed when we spoke with a number of people working there. 8. Cabins were clean, but very warm despite adjusting in the thermostat. 9.Bought a shuttle bus ride with them, trip scheduled for 9:15 a.m. but bus was delayed so we left port at 10 a.m.. And last shuttle back to port was at 12:30 instead of 12:45 so we had very little time for sightseeing. Felt short changed. 10. Pet peeve: shower curtain one inch shorter than it should me resulting in water spraying around. Why can't spend a little money to replace those and save passenger aggravation as well as a lot of work on the cabin cleaners? I usually write a review only when I'm happy with my experience, but this one is to warn others. Unless you're a first time cruiser or you don't mind being stressed, don't take COSTA ! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our first cruise and unfortunately very disappointing. Fortunately, we traveled with good friends so we could laugh at the countless things that did not work. I will start with the biggest lack and annoyance on the cruise: The ... Read More
This was our first cruise and unfortunately very disappointing. Fortunately, we traveled with good friends so we could laugh at the countless things that did not work. I will start with the biggest lack and annoyance on the cruise: The information desk. Alone the name is a joke - information could not be obtained. Most of the staff spoke very badly and incomprehensibly English and knew absolutely nothing about anything. It reminded most about John Cleese in Fawlty Towers. On board: The service in bars and restaurants were ok and the entertainment in the theater and piano bar were also ok. The photographers were placed around the ship and they were very pushy and persistent. The price was staggering 20 euro for a small photo. On our excursion to Santiago de Compostela they recorded a video film - very annoying - are they allowed to do that without our permission? Dining in L'Edera restaurant: After we the first day discovered how little food we got on our plates we always asked for extra bread, ordered the cheese plate and then dessert otherwise we had to go hungry from the table. The quality of the food was poor. Several times we had to send awful meat back to the kitchen. The only difference between gala evenings and the other evenings was that we had taken our best clothes on. MSC delivered nothing but tried to sell lobster for 21 euros and wrongly got us to buy lemon liqueur. On these gala evenings our dinner was disturbed by annoying photographers, shouting waiters running around with big plastic cakes (????) and on the last evening a long presentation of the staff. On gala evenings the food was the same as other days and these evenings we were unable to order an extra cheese plate as it was one of the desserts. On the website they talk about gourmet restaurants. They must be mistaken. They are not found on this ship. Dining in Sahara Buffet restaurant There is not enough sanitisers and no enforcement to actually use them which many people didn't. Food and selection are very good but eating on worn plastic plates and drinking of disgusting plastic glass is unacceptable. Embarkation: In Marseille we stood for nearly an hour in rain and wind to board after returning from a city tour. We vere many that complained about this at the information desk but they just said that we schould write MSC - No apology or explanation was given. The evening before Copenhagen, we asked where we would dock. Nobody at the information desk knew. Shore excursions: We booked three very expensive tours with english guide in advance and two of them was awful and a waste of money and time. First city tour in Marseille was totaly spoiled because the english guide (he was ok) was poorly tried to be simultaneous interpretered into german by a lady that knew nothing about Marseille and who also spoke very poorly german. We immediately complained to the travel agency as we wanted to make sure that the next tours did not get as bad but without help from here. They could not say anything about coming tours. Next tour to Santiago de Compostela was ok. Third tour to Gouda again problems.Even though we had booked a tour in english the guide only spoke german. At the first stop we emediately contacted the guide and what a surprise he spoke very good english. He was extremely arrogant and very rude but we were given the rest of the tour guided in english. Conclusion: Maybe we were unfortunate, but almost nobody on the ship spoke English. The dominant languages were Russian, German and Italian, which were spoken and sung very loudly. Our friends have traveled with another cruise company who provided far better service and food so maybe we will try that. We will never cruise with MSC again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The pick-up from the airport and boarding the ship, went very well. The facilities at the ship is very good, but that is probably all at the positive list. The service in the 2 receptions, were non existing. There were a huge lack of ... Read More
The pick-up from the airport and boarding the ship, went very well. The facilities at the ship is very good, but that is probably all at the positive list. The service in the 2 receptions, were non existing. There were a huge lack of general knowledge and understanding of English language. If we asked about general information about the arriving ports, the answer was pretty much, take a taxi or book an excursion. As an overall opinion, this cruise is focusing on Germans and Italians. The service people in restaurants, bars etc. were helpful and service minded. The theater entertainment was about average, due to too little variation in performance. Dining area at our main restaurant was very nice, but the food was way below our expectations. The amount of food were not sufficient and poor quality. At our table for four persons, we had to let the food go back about 10 times. Steaks were impossible to cut and the same for the duck we got. At most meals the staff was trying to sell extras. MSC Galla nights means that the guest is dressing up, but the food at dinner is below average. But you can buy special food and drinks to extra prices that fits to your galla dress. Upsellin all over all the time. Dinner was a horrible experience. The port information were missing and no help in reception. Easy questions like how to get to city center, prices for taxi and busses, a city map was not possible to get. We had to buy extremely expensive wifi to google the information we needed. We had booked some English tours from home, but the guides did most in German language.Getting back from one excursions, we had to wait outside in heavy rain to get trough security check and back on the ship. Very poor organized, in this case in Marseilles. In overall a very disappointing cruise. The first and last time on MSC operated cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was the WORST most HORRIBLE cruise I ever taken ever .Nasty Salty food. . One of the Gala nights the food looked like it was from a culinary school dropout that you would feed to a pig. Poor service My family and I were ignored ... Read More
This was the WORST most HORRIBLE cruise I ever taken ever .Nasty Salty food. . One of the Gala nights the food looked like it was from a culinary school dropout that you would feed to a pig. Poor service My family and I were ignored many times in the bar as we watched others being served even though we were there before the others. Class of passengers were rude ,nasty and obnoxious .On several occassions they almost knocked my 80 yrs old Mom down trying to get to the bus. Amazing how "they" do NOT want to sit in the back of the bus. See how the shoe fits.I had read many reviews on Facebook ,Tripadvisor NOT to choose this cruiseline. There were NO POSITIVE reviews but I said let me be my own judge, well over 200+ people can not all be wrong. SO AVOID COSTA CRUISES !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
MSC Poesia We are on the MSC Poesia, 4 back to back cruises 1 -10 day, 2-11 day and one 3 day. This review will be on the ship, more later on each cruise. I chose MSC because it had the itinerary I wanted. It was also about ... Read More
MSC Poesia We are on the MSC Poesia, 4 back to back cruises 1 -10 day, 2-11 day and one 3 day. This review will be on the ship, more later on each cruise. I chose MSC because it had the itinerary I wanted. It was also about $80-$100. a day cheaper per person than other cruise lines. When some complain that they are nickel and dimed to death I thought it would take a lot of nickels and dimes to make up for $160-$200. Per day. Embarkation was smooth, over all process took about 45 minutes, we pre-registered. We embarked from Genoa. Disembarkation was equally as smooth in Kiel, Germany. We had a deluxe balcony, slightly larger than a regular balcony. Room had a small couch, pull out for bed. Plenty of space for storage. Bathroom was larger than most ships we have be on, shower about average. We have had larger and smaller. Balcony chairs were plastic woven. They were comfortable. We were in room 12047. The pool deck was above this floor. Some noise during the day from chairs and heavy feet. The ship widens at this area so we had a very large angled balcony. Little forward view as we were in the front of the ship. Similar cabins aft with little backward view. There are eight of these on each floor. No extra cost. Room steward did a great job. Whatever we asked for we received. There were a couple of English channels , all news, CNN, MSNBC, movies if you wanted were for purchase and could be ordered in various languages. I found the food to be on a par with most ships we have cruised, my wife would rate it below par as she likes good beef, lobster and shrimp, though some entres left a little to be desired. Being Italian there was pasta dish every night, very good pasta and risotto. Entre normally had a choice of 4 different each night. Servings were not the largest but with pasta course we had more than enough. Examples of dinners: a fish selection, Guinea fowl, lamb chops, roast beef, a vegetarian choice. Beef as expected not great but fish, lamb, chicken and veal were good. There was one choice for a salad and 2 choices for soup. There were 2 options for appetizers. Desert offered a cheese plate, very good cheese with the selection changing daily. Typically 2-3 other deserts: carrot cake, tart etc. and then ice cream, sorbet and a fruit plate. Being American we received a water voucher for each dinner. Coffee breakfast and lunch, you could order for dinner at a cost but few did. Breakfast buffet - rolls, pickled fish or salmon, a couple of types of eggs, fried, soft boiled, scrambled, premade omelets. Nice selection of fresh and canned fruit. Lunch meat and cheese-European. Yogurt cereal pancakes etc. There were no omelet or waffle stations. Breakfast - dining room- we ate here most days when we didn't have an early excursion. Each day there was a special, other than that most everything one would want was available. Service was very good. Rolls pastries were served as on most ships. Lunch buffet - very good selection. You really need to walk around the buffet before choosing. There are 4 areas with similar items but also some that had other choices, like Indian one day or Mexican the next. 4 salad stations. Offerings changed daily. Also available were hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries. On the Poesia they have stations but they are in a straight line with dishes in between which offers some confusion. There are 2 stations as you enter that have cereal, fruit, yogurt in the morning and salads in the afternoon. We had little problems with flow through the buffet line and no problem with seating except at peak times when everyone wanted to eat and many were just sitting waiting for the ship to dock. There were few children on our cruises. The grill, in the buffet, was open from 7:00-8:30 pm for those who did not want to attend formal dinner. Also available were the Japanese restaurant, not well attended and the ala carte- one section of the buffet. It was 20 Euros. We did not visit either offering. Entertainment was very good, lasted about 45 minutes. On our cruises we had late seating 8:15 pm . We felt the shows were very creative as compared to other cruises we have been on. The performers, singers were very good. As stated in other reviews, because of language there were no comedians. Pool areas were large plenty of chairs, not always right around the pool but close. The large TV had just information about the ship. No movies, as what language could they show? The pools were heated salt water. Some were swimming when we were above the Arctic Circle. Bars - a lot of bars and large bars more than I have ever seen on a cruise ship. No drinks allowed in the theater. Policy on bringing alcohol on board was adhered to. We were able to bring on soda and a couple of cans of beer with no problem. Service was good. Dinner was a bit hurried. We had a great cabin steward. Some employees could smile a bit more. Some had an attitude that I thought could be improved. It goes a long way to improving a cruise. Announcements were at a minimum. Language was not a major problem but many stewards and waiters had a very basic English vocabulary, words OK but sentences became a problem. Though you may think they understand they may not. It was best to point at what you wanted on the menu. There were at most 6-12 Americans on each cruise, though many English speaking cruises predominately from Australia. Our table mates were Australians and a couple from New Zealand, all great table mates. I would definitely cruise with MSC again. It is a different experience but not a bad experience. I will make a post in Boards under Rudy is anyone has any questions or comments. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
Just arrived home from our sail on the official Shakedown Cruise on the Carnival Splendor, 7/2-7/10. The ship is beautiful and very pink! This was an interesting surprise for me as I absolutely love the color pink. Not so sure how others ... Read More
Just arrived home from our sail on the official Shakedown Cruise on the Carnival Splendor, 7/2-7/10. The ship is beautiful and very pink! This was an interesting surprise for me as I absolutely love the color pink. Not so sure how others feel...My family of 4 stayed in a suite on the Empress level. It was lovely with a large balcony and big bathroom complete with whirlpool bath. Our steward was wonderful and quite helpful. The dinners were top notch, service and food in the Blackpearl were excellent. The staff was wonderful they really worked hard to insure a great experience! Breakfast and lunch Buffets were pretty typical fare. The outdoor pizza stand and deli were good. Long lines at these alternative venues. Entertainment was good. A lot of song and dance shows. Choreography and talent were good, not great. The classical music played in the Atrium Bar was outstanding, the talent tremendous. Also, the troubadour style musician outside of the casino was outstanding playing 1960s and 70s folk songs. The comedian was quite good and John's (Cruise Director) old routines sound and look new all over again. The workout facilities were state of the art, very nice. We worked out daily and it was a pleasure to have such great equipment and to overlook the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. The only complaint I have is that there are too few laundry rooms. We tried to use the one on 7(our floor) and there was typically a line down the hall with people reading books waiting for a washing machine. There was a broken machine that had a sign on it but was never attended to. Someone removed this sign and people were quite frustrated when it filled with water and nothing more happened. Thank goodness for our large whirlpool as we actually washed 3 loads of laundry in it. My husband fashioned a drying line and tied it across our double balcony and yes, we dried our clothing out there. It was during our 2 seadays and yes, we did look like the Beverly Hillbillies but we had clean laundry! Also, the sneak smokers made a walk down our hall pretty disgusting. I think this is why there was a plumbing issue during the entire cruise. Trying to flush butts disrupts the entire system. The itinerary of ports of call was fantastic. We toured each port and really enjoyed our time. Monaco, Barcelona, Lisbon and LeHavre all had sights to see and history to learn about. Debarkation was simple as we were able to stay in our room until called to leave. Then began the next leg of our journey to London! Read Less

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