8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise a year in advance with an inside guarantee quad cabin. We were given a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole #5078. Room was well laid out, enough room for us and 2 teenagers. The couch lifted to form a ... Read More
We booked this cruise a year in advance with an inside guarantee quad cabin. We were given a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole #5078. Room was well laid out, enough room for us and 2 teenagers. The couch lifted to form a bunk bed. Shower was larger then other cruises. We had mid dining 730 and ate every night in the dining room. Because we are from the states, msc included free bottled water while in dining room during lunch and dinner. We did late shows every night and loved all the singers and dancers. The pools and water slides were nice. Had fun doing the bridges. The shops on board offer designer labels and prices! They really push drink packages. We opted to save money and just go with what is included. Odd- no coffee in dining room with desert during dinner time. Buffet was good selection. They automatically add a donation to UNICEF on your account everyday that will be removed if you call down and ask for it to be. We pre purchased internet package 4gb for 4 devices that worked for our family for the week. Signal was good enough for chatting with clients and checking emails - not enough to stream. Food in dining was good - no lobster (available as an upcharge.) No menu posted for dining room as with other ships but we asked each night to see the next night menu so we could decide buffet or dining room. We ended up eating every night in the dining room. For such a large ship, tons of elevators and never had to wait long. People embark and disembark at each port of call. Smooth process both times. FYI- need to be out of room the day you leave by 8am. We planned a later flight thinking it would take longer. We were off the ship with luggage in hand by 930am. All and all I would do it again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was ... Read More
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was our first time on MSC. EMBARKATION: We spent a week traveling around Italy prior to making our way to Genoa, where we embarked. We found the locals in Genoa to be the least friendly (and some even hostile) to tourists, compared to the rest of Italy. We were glad we were only spending one night there. The port itself was quite confusing. We took the metro to the stop close to the port. Once we arrived, there were very few signs. We followed what signs there were, which sent us upstairs, only to have to go back downstairs to drop our luggage off. Luggage drop off was not labeled. We ended up at a tent that looked like the right place, only to be told (after waiting a few minutes) that we were in the Yacht Club drop off. Steerage passengers needed to just leave their luggage in the road. It was a little odd. But we eventually got it to the right place and got ourselves on the ship. Our luggage arrived without issue, despite our misgivings. Once embarked, there was definitely a push for up-selling drinks and dining packages, but the staff members left us alone when we declined. We were able to immediately drop off our hand luggage in our rooms and head up to the buffet for lunch. All in all, it took us about an hour to get from the port entrance to lunch at the buffet. So despite the lack of signage and the confusion about luggage drop-off, it was a relatively quick and easy process. SHIP: The ship was stunning and always clean. There are multiple dome shows daily and it's worth catching at least one. The area that felt the most crowded was the Bamboo Pool area and the buffet (partially because they would block off parts of the buffet seating at various times). DINING: BUFFET: There was always seating at the very back of the buffet--even during peak times. The lines there seemed to be the shortest, as well. The stations repeat themselves a handful of times throughout the buffet, so there's no need to stand in a long line at the beginning of the buffet. Staff members from the pay-for-restaurants would walk around asking if we wanted to make reservations for dinner that night. Again, they left us alone when we declined. We found breakfast at the buffet to be one of the best meals of the day. There was a good variety of food, although it did not vary from day to day. There was an omelette station, a ham carving station, eggs, bacon/sausage, yogurt, fruit, cereals, muesli, Asian rice and noodles or dumplings, pancakes, waffles, sticky buns, etc. Lunch at the buffet was also pretty good. The pizza, pasta, and fresh mozzarella were always delicious. A few members of our group had pizza that had been sitting out for awhile and it wasn't as good as the fresh slices. There was also a salad station, bread, carving station, and a variety of dishes of the day, some of which were good, some not. The mass-produced desserts were similar to other cruise lines--usually not delicious, but ok. There were a few that were really enjoyable. MDR: We ate dinner in the MDR each night. Our waiters were very friendly, but hadn't been trained as well as on other cruise lines. They weren't trained to pay attention to details or anticipate needs. Some nights there would be butter for the bread, but no butter knife. Other nights there were small dishes for olive oil and vinegar, but no olive oil and vinegar. Some nights there would be a place setting for the baby, other nights there wasn't (there was always a high chair). The staff were always responsive when asked to do something, but failed to anticipate needs. Not a deal breaker, but something the training could improve upon. The food quality was inconsistent. Some nights the food was really good (ie the mushroom risotto), others it was quite bland or even not good (ie the prawns). CABIN: We had an inside cabin that was relatively spacious. Obviously smaller than ocean view or balcony rooms, but larger than the one other inside cabin we've had on another cruise line. The bathroom was small, but well designed. Our cabin steward was very attentive and always called our baby by her name when he saw her. THEATER SHOWS: There was a really great variety of shows ranging from rock to opera to flamenco. The dancers and singers were more talented than I've seen on other cruise lines. The singers did sing in English with an accent, but overall put on excellent performances. The one miss was when they had the opera tenor sing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" during a tribute show. Opera just isn't the right style for Sinatra. On the sea day, there was an opera, which was really well done in less than an hour. They had some subtitles, but they were intermittent. Unclear why they didn't provide full subtitles, which would have made it even better. GYM: The gym was small and crowded no matter when we went (early morning, mid-day, or evening). There's a waiver that has to be signed to use the gym, but they didn't ask us to sign it until our last day. ROPES COURSE/WATER SLIDES: There's also a waiver that has to be signed to participate in the ropes course and water slides. There are no signs to advertise this, so you could end up waiting in line for some time, only to find out that you had to go two decks down (to the Sportsplex) to sign the waiver and get your wristband before being allowed to participate. Once the wristband was obtained, both the ropes course and water slides were fun. The waits were never very long. POOLS: The outdoor pool didn't get much use given highs in the mid 50s to low 60s for most of the cruise. The indoor Bamboo Pool was almost always packed when we saw it. At one point on the sea day, there was a 15 person line for one of the hot tubs in the Bamboo room. This is likely less of an issue in the summer/warmer climate as passengers are more willing to use both the indoor and outdoor pools. GUEST SERVICES: I'd read several very negative reviews about Guest Services, but had no issues with their services. I went to Guest Services twice. Once was to have the UNICEF donation removed. The line was short and they were quick to comply. The second time was the last night of the cruise at 22:00. We found the embarkation pictures in our room, but left them there based on what other reviewers have said. The last night, we read the fine print that we were to return them to our cabin steward 48 hrs before the end of the cruise or we'd be charged. As we were packing up the last night, we saw this and I thought we'd have to eat the $E30 since we hadn't returned them, but thought I'd give Guest Services a try. I got in a line of about 10 people, but there was a guest services team member going through the line asking people what their issues where. He redirected me to the Photo Shop. I figured I was really out of luck at that point given the late hour, but they were still open and quick to take back my photos and refund the money. PORTS: As others have said, the published port hours are different than what actually happens--by up to an hour on both sides. For example, we were to arrive in Barcelona at 7:00 a.m. and leave at 6:00 p.m., but we arrived at 8:00 a.m. and left at 5:30 p.m. This is important to keep in mind if buying timed tickets for something in port. Civitavecchia: There's a free port shuttle from the port to the city. There are many taxistas waiting where the shuttle drops passengers off ready to take passengers to Rome and show them the sites. They were quite persistent despite declining their offers, then offended when they finally realized we weren't interested. We walked the mile or so to the train station and took the train into Rome for the day. Round trip it was Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
- I got a last minute offer from an agency (on 2nd January and the cruise started on 5th January from Savona), and it was a good value for the money paid, but if I had to pay the full price, I would be disappointed. It was not our ... Read More
- I got a last minute offer from an agency (on 2nd January and the cruise started on 5th January from Savona), and it was a good value for the money paid, but if I had to pay the full price, I would be disappointed. It was not our first time cruise with Costa, but in general the service is of lower quality than on MSC and that reflects also on prices. The embarkation went smoothly when our time arrived, but we had to wait for more than 1,30 hrs although we arrived late (approx. at 15,00 h). Usually, when we arrive this late we are immediately scheduled for embarkation. The disembarkation went more smooth, since we waited until 10,30 h to disembark, and not push to be the first to get off the boat. SHIP - the biggest in the Costa fleet - a small city on the sea - balcony cabin on the left side of the boat (8th deck); great, spatious cabin, always clean; got a bottle of sparkling wine since I am in the Costa Club - the cabin choice was good for some rough sea that we have experienced - Dining restaurant is huge, service staff was nice, but it took them a long time to get us drinks; also, since I bought a package of soft-drinks, once they get us drinks in glasses, and once we got them in cans (more hygenic) and the size is different. Food in general is of average quality, but it downgraded from our last trip (in 2017). There is no more scrambled eggs, the line for breakfast eggs is soo looong, there are no American pancakes for breakfast. The staff in Diana Restaurant (deck 10) is generally less hospitable than in other restaurants. The ship was overcrowded with families, well, basically with kids, but we are used to this. If you are looking for a high-class cruise, peaceful and with lots of attention, this is not a cruise for you. Entertainment was great, and we loved Jose Navarro, the tenor. Service in our room was good, although we were a bit surprised that we did not received 3 hand towels but only 2 although there were 3 adult persons onboard in our cabin. Service in general area and in the restaurant Adularia was good. Ports visited were great, but we have visited them already, and we enjoyed visiting them again. The tours booked on the ship are too expensive in general, so we opted for self-organised tours, mostly with taxi (cheaper, visited some other places, had enough time to visit inside the building if we wanted, get time also for shopping and return to the ship afterwards - like with our private driver and guide). I travel with my teenager doughter and she was much happier 2 yrs before, because we had more international group. Italian kids do keep for themselves and do not mix much with others. We will definitively go for another cruise, but maybe with a different fleet, different ship or different itinerery. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have been on 17 MSC cruises now and wouldn't consider any other cruise line. We tend to pick cruises based on dates rather than itinerary as we just go to relax. This time was a bit different for us as it was the first time we ... Read More
We have been on 17 MSC cruises now and wouldn't consider any other cruise line. We tend to pick cruises based on dates rather than itinerary as we just go to relax. This time was a bit different for us as it was the first time we had been away for New Year, and the first time cruising in winter. This was also the first time being on such a large ship so we were a bit apprehensive especially with all the negative reviews, but as a seasoned MSC cruiser, I know to ignore most of the bad reviews on here as they are mostly unfounded. Our overall experience was very good and I would travel on the Meraviglia again if that ship was the only one available at my chosen dates, but if given the choice I would pick a smaller ship or try to get a much bigger cabin. We travelled with our 6 year old son, another couple with a 5 year old and a childless couple. We arrived at Genova by train and walked the short distance to the port arriving around 11.30. We all had Aurea cabins so had priority boarding and had no waiting around we got straight on, however even the other queue was not very long. I think later on in the day, queues can get to be quite long when the transfer buses arrive but if you get there early enough you won’t wait very long. Our cabins weren’t supposed to be ready until 14.00 but we went straight there to drop off our bags and they were ready. One negative point was to register the credit cards, the machines on the Meraviglia are slightly different to other ships and there was a bit of confusion as it was not clear which part was to pay in cash and which was for credit cards but we got there eventually. We all had Aurea balcony cabins, but we were very disappointed with these as they were tiny. It’s amazing how the biggest cabins we’ve had were actually on the smallest ships, I get the impression that they just try to squeeze in as many cabins as they can to make more money. The wardrobe was much too small for 3 people, although we did manage to squeeze all our clothes in there and stored our empty luggage under the bed as usual. The bathroom was small but well designed with a proper glass shower door and very powerful hot shower. Disappointing that we didn’t have a bath as we usually do with Aurea cabins. Some of the Aurea/black member perks were missing at first but as soon as housekeeping/reception were informed they appeared. So make sure you know what you should expect. The ship is very beautiful and plenty to do, so much that we didn’t get to do everything. The extras were quite expensive (bowling, 4d cinema etc) – even more expensive than on other MSC ships, but you can buy Fun Passes on board which are quite good value. Little tip, don’t expect to just turn up and do bowling, especially on the day at sea as there are only 2 lanes and you need to book in advance. We did it at 14.30 on the Marseille port day and were on our own. If you have small children ask the to put the gutter barriers up, I didn’t realise this was possible at first and it was only after a few loud tantrums from my 6 year old when he kept going in the gutter, that the staff member told us about this. It was a much more enjoyable game after that and my son ended up winning! I would also not recommend the flight simulator for young children, my son was tall enough to go on, but we didn’t realise that it actually went upside down and was very scary for him and even me as we were unable to control it, I laugh about it now as we were completely safe but wouldn’t take him on again until he was much older. The promenade was a great atmosphere for parties, but not well designed for parties due to the lack of bars. There is one bar at the far end then it is all shops, so we tended to go thirsty and dance rather than wait ages to get a drink. What is missing on this ship is little bars with music to have a drink and a dance, I think they could have created more of these rather than have so many specialty restaurants. The New Year’s party was amazing and best New Years Eve I have ever had. There was also the flower power party, white party, fluo party which were all amazing, great atmosphere and great music. This was a winter cruise so we didn’t use the outside pools at all (although some crazy people did) and only used the inside pool once. They seemed to be quite spacious but I can imagine how busy they would be on a sea day. We had a massage each included in our Aurea package, and I also had an eyebrow wax at the spa. The spa therapists are all very professional and the massages are excellent. They are quite expensive though, but I think you can get some good packages, I go on a cruise for family time though so didn’t look into this. It was quite hard to get an appointment for the wax as they only have one beautician that does this, but I suppose most people do their waxing before going on holiday. The theatre shows were quite disappointing, still high quality but not as varied as on the other ships we’ve been on. I think with them having the Cirque du Soleil, they don’t want to have any acrobatics in the ‘free’ theatre any more. It was mainly singing and dancing, which was quite boring for the children. There should have been a magic/puppet show on our first night but the magician missed the boat so this show was replaced by a classical concert. Cirque du Soleil was excellent but a little short, I would’ve been prepared to pay a little extra to see a longer show. We just got the show & cocktail tickets which I would highly recommend, when you already have dinner included in your cruise I don’t see the point in reserving a dinner with the show. The dinner started an hour before the show so you didn’t get to eat while you watched the show and the drinks only seats were much better – although the Carousel lounge is so small there are no ‘bad’ seats. Be aware that these shows can be cancelled in bad weather. Foodwise I am always amazed at how people can criticise the food on MSC as for us it is always amazing and one of the main reasons we like MSC cruises. I think there is something for everyone. I am a vegetarian and I never have to eat the same dish twice – unless I want to. The food is high quality, and if you think the portions are small in the restaurant, just order double! We rarely went to breakfast as we like to take it easy in the mornings on holiday. On the days that we did get up in time we just went to the buffet, there was plenty of choice, and we especially liked the made to order omelettes that you don’t usually get on MSC. We also went to the buffet most days for lunch as we find that there is more choice for everyone here at lunchtimes and more relaxed. The buffet can get very loud and crazy, but for the whole week we always found a table easily even when we were a group of 8. The trick is to have one person reserve a table while the others get their food, to avoid your food getting cold while you search for a table. It is also easier to find a table near the back end of the buffet. On the day at sea we preferred to go to the Panorama restaurant, although there is not as much choice here and not as well organised at lunchtimes as it is in the evenings. Dinner was in the Panorama restaurant. We had My Choice but it wasn’t as flexible as usual as we were a party of 8 so not as easy to get a table with the same waiter whenever we wanted. We ate at 19.15/19.30 every night apart from new year’s eve when we were able to get a table at 21.15. Our waiter Ashveen was excellent and we were very disappointed to hear that 2 days before the end of our cruise he had to return home due to personal problems, he was very professional and gave 120% to make sure that everything was perfect for us and we were able to have a laugh with him. One thing to note during winter cruises is the risk of bad weather. We were generally very lucky with the weather apart from the sea day. During the trip from Malta to Barcelona we encountered gale force 9 winds which made it very bumpy. A few of our party felt ill during the afternoon, and 2 had to leave the restaurant early in the evening. In all my 17 cruises I’ve never experienced seas that rough before, it was so bad during the night that it felt as though we were going to tip over. I always thought that the bigger the ship the less you felt the sea, but I’ve now realised that the bigger ships get knocked around more in high winds. A note on the photos, the MSC photographers are always excellent and the photos are always perfect but I always feel I am conned on these as they are always so expensive. On the other cruises we have managed to negotiate a price on board for all the photos usually €150-200, but this just means I have hundreds of photos hanging around at home that I never look at anymore. This time I decided to book in advance a 10 photo package (any size) for €80, still pretty expensive but limited photos. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were able to book packages for all photos – digital and small printed copies for €130. I wasn’t able to change my package but I was able to add all the digital photos for €60, so not as good a deal as my friends got but I much prefer to have the digital copies than the printed ones. I am also always surprised that people on here criticise the MSC staff, I find the staff to be highly professional and pleasant. I always get a smile and a hello out of anyone I pass in the corridors and always try to have a chat with staff I see regularly. Our group was a mix of 4 nationalities – English, Italian, French and Cuban with all of us speaking at least 2 different languages and none of us had any communication issues. All staff are required to speak English so I don’t understand how any English speaking passengers have communication issues. Passengers are a mix of all nationalities and personalities which I always find really interesting. If you want to be surrounded by English-speakers then please stay away from MSC and stick to the hundreds of English speaking cruises and leave the multinational cruises to us multinationals. We never choose our cruises for the destinations and do tend to repeat ports often. My main reasons for cruising are to relax and spend time with my family, this time especially as I was recovering from a foot operation and was not planning on doing too much walking. Civitavecchia – I had planned on going to see the nativity scenes at the nearby fort, but as the weather wasn’t great when we first got up we decided to stay on the boat instead. Palermo – we took a taxi tour with our friends €120 for 6 adults and 2 children. Saw most of the sights over 2 hours and had a wander round the food market. Malta – new years day so wanted to take it easy, took a horse and carriage ride around the city for €40 (or €50 can’t remember but was negotiated €10 cheaper than the ‘official’ price) 2 adults one child, then a wander around the shops near the port. Barcelona – a city I never tire of and so easy to get around on your own. We got the port cruise (blue) bus from right outside the terminal for €4 return each which leaves you near Plaza Colombo (as does the MSC shuttle which you have to pay €8/9). We then got the Metro from Drassanes to the Sagrada Famiglia (changing at Passeig Gracia) we got a 10 trip ticket for €10.20 as we were 8. Wandered round the outside of the Sagrada Famiglia, then got the metro back to Plaza Catalunya (changing again at Passeig Gracia), and walked back down the Ramblas stopping at the food market near the middle. Marseille – stayed on ship, had a lazy morning then took advantage of the quiet ship to do bowling and 4d cinema) Overall I’ve given the Meraviglia 5/5 as I feel that MSC needs a little boost and none of the negative points I’ve mentioned ruined my holiday in any way, I am already planning 2 cruises with MSC for 2019. I would recommend to anyone taking a cruise, no matter which company, to do your research on what to expect, to avoid disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Our experience on MSC Sinfonia first departure Genoa Dec 27 2018 and stayed on for the next cruise total 21 days I have done over 7 cruises now on Holland America, Princess, and Celestial. Asia, Panama, Europe, Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico ... Read More
Our experience on MSC Sinfonia first departure Genoa Dec 27 2018 and stayed on for the next cruise total 21 days I have done over 7 cruises now on Holland America, Princess, and Celestial. Asia, Panama, Europe, Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico Riveria. The boarding process seemed to be a shamble, we had to stop at at-least 5 different locations We were told the cabin card would be awaiting us in our cabin after 2.00pm, we found the cabin card in the unlocked cabin, we then had to load credit on the card at a special re charge station. We were surprised at the lack of personal security as our cabin number was on the card, if we lost the card anyone finding it would know which cabin, they could access. Unfortunately, we boarded in Genoa Italy, while we expected a lot of Italians, we were not prepared for the culture shock associated with Italian people, their rudeness and loudness. We realised that there would be a lot of children and teenagers on board, but they seem to be out of control with no parental checks and no staff monitoring their behavior. Playing in elevators and running around in the late-night disco is common. We observed 1 group of teenagers at breakfast that appeared as if they had not been to bed and their behavior was that akin to addicts coming off a high. Smoking and non-smoking areas do not seem to matter, people were allowed to smoke where they wanted to. Possibly as much as 15% of the passengers were English speaking, most signage is in English only, but the majority of guests do not speak English, while we were prepared for every announcement to be in several languages, we found many non-critical announcements and social activities to be only in Italian, even the call for excursions were mostly in Italian, leaving us confused on where to go. This appeared to improve on the second cruise. The in cabin TV only had 3 or 4 English speaking channels BBC world news, Hong Kong TV news, an American news and a movie channel, showing the same 5 movies over and over with the words demonstration?? Going across the screen. The behind bar staff, restaurant staff and cabin staff were excellent, however as on many cruises the table waiting female staff (in bar areas) fall well short of expectation. The Cruise line wants to align itself with the TV series Masterchef, well they really need to look at this alignment, the buffet food fell well short of expectation of any cruise we have done, at breakfast the bacon was always overcooked, the fried eggs were always under cooked and the omelets were unrecognisable. At the lunch buffet asking for carved beef or ham made me feel like Oliver twist “please sir can I have some more” butter was never put out at lunch time we always had to ask for it. The general seated dining food in the evenings was only just acceptable with some ingredients (mainly the meats) were of low quality. Free cordial soft drinks from the buffet area were only available at breakfast, the all-day hamburgers and fries were disgusting, they clearly tried to unsuccessfully imitate a major leading burger chain. The ice cream booth service is very poor at 1.00 pm, 1 day I waited over 20 minutes for someone to arrive to serve, I asked a passing officer he said wait, about 15 minutes later someone finally arrived, in the mean time about 10 guests gave up waiting. A few of the shows were not of the standard we have experienced on other cruises but others were very good, the Cruise director? compare was very hard to understand. The ship itself leaves a lot to be desired, the ship has been extended by several meters in length. 1 corridor on deck 7 is split. To access part of the corridor one has to go up to deck 8 walk along to the next stairs or elevator then go back down to deck 7. The elevator in 1 place only goes from deck 5 to deck 9 so to get to deck 11 (pools and buffet) so to get to deck 11 you get out expecting to get the stairs to deck 11 but no--- the stairs only go to deck 10, then you have to go along a corridor to another stairwell. Once in a corridor there was no indication which was forward or aft, port or starboard. If you want to go to deck 5, (dancing reception etc.) 1 elevator that you take to deck 5 finishes up between 2 restaurants in order to go forward or aft (dancing, reception etc.) you have to walk through the restaurants, they may be full or closed with the doors closed. On at least 5 occasions the toilets would not flush, every time we rang reception, we were told they were aware of a general problem. Often there was a strong sewage smell in part of our corridor. I assume the ship was extended to accommodate more passengers, the issue here is the buffet and the theatre weren’t altered to handle the additional capacity. The trip was like a hop on hop off bus journey with passengers getting on and off an most ports of call, this became a huge issue when due to bad weather we had to divert to another port, luggage and people had to go ashore and board in tender boats. This caused people to need transport back to their assigned port and the ship to wait for passengers, to be bussed in from other ports. All this while shore excursions were trying to leave; the whole thing was a total disaster as the buses couldn’t turn because people waiting for transfers wouldn’t move out of the way of buses trying to turn around. Tempers became very high. We were given a 100 euro on board credit. I believe we were told a lie regarding weather issues, I checked internet for the actual weather for that day and it was not that bad, a day later we had to miss a port due to technical non-safety issues. I heard people that were checking out after the first cruise say to reception stating to reception in loud voices “the worst holiday ever”. The bar staff were the only saving grace for the whole cruise, I think if we didn’t enjoy a drink, we would have been very unhappy. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We already took a Costa cruise in the Adriatic sea and enjoyed it. So we decided to go on another Costa verses switching to another cruise line. We joined the Costa Club and had some perks for going again. We booked directly with Costa ... Read More
We already took a Costa cruise in the Adriatic sea and enjoyed it. So we decided to go on another Costa verses switching to another cruise line. We joined the Costa Club and had some perks for going again. We booked directly with Costa but used the Italian booking site. We received so many perks and extras for booking via the Italian site. We had a Balcony Premium for 2 adults and 2 children.(8 and 12) it was a great amount of space. We weren't ontop of each other during the week etc. We brought our own 220V extension cord so we could plug in all our devices. The food was great. This boat had an option of "Open Seating" for one of the evening meals. Same menu as the "Fancy" service dinner, but quicker (it seemed) and I felt better for our family. The service crew was amazing. My husband was practically a celebrity at the end of the cruise with many of them knowing his name and saying "Hi" around the boat. The crew was also helpful and wonderful to our children. The kids club had more international kids on our last cruise, this one had many Italian so my kids didn't do the club much, but it was a good size club space and activity schedule was great. It would be great for younger children. We are use to the multi language environment, so the multiple language didn't bother us, we enjoyed it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise of the Western/Central Mediterranean because it was convenient to my son’s school schedule, but we were excited about the Itinerary: Napoli, Messina, Malta, Barcelona, and Marseille. In the end, we were disappointed. ... Read More
We chose this cruise of the Western/Central Mediterranean because it was convenient to my son’s school schedule, but we were excited about the Itinerary: Napoli, Messina, Malta, Barcelona, and Marseille. In the end, we were disappointed. We had an Aires suite on deck 11 and the room was very nice. Spacious, modern, proper, BUT WE NEVER SAW A CABIN STEWARD. No one asked about ice in the room or extra towels. We were disappointed here. We were supposed to have a wellness consultant but could not even get a tour of the thermal area of the spa. We were very disappointed with the spa. Meal service started out strong as we had any time service in the Golden Sand Restaurant. Dinner on night 1 was great but the quality did not hold up over the week. Service, however, was good. The shows were terrible. The casino was Smokey. The music was average at best. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise, because we wanted to visit a bit warmer places before winter. It was really a great decision. Food was delicious and our service (waiter) was really, really kind. It is always a lot of food to eat and everyone can ... Read More
We chose this cruise, because we wanted to visit a bit warmer places before winter. It was really a great decision. Food was delicious and our service (waiter) was really, really kind. It is always a lot of food to eat and everyone can fine something for himself. We liked activities for children and other things on the ship. We enjoyed every single minute on the cruise. Ports and excursions were well organized. We had no bad experience with disembarkation and embarkation. The ship is beautiful and has everything for a comfortable holiday.The cabin was beautiful and always clean when we come back, so the employees did their job as they should. Everyone was very kind. The children also really enjoyed the holiday. Our daughter, that can speak English, met a lot of friends from different countries, and for her it was also a great experience. we would like to go again to visit other destinations as well- Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is the firsts time I’ve felt the need to review a cruise ship after almost 10 years, and 20+ cruises. Firstly, the ship is new, massive and very impressive. Well thought out, cabins are a good size (stayed in Aurea Suite 14001) ... Read More
This is the firsts time I’ve felt the need to review a cruise ship after almost 10 years, and 20+ cruises. Firstly, the ship is new, massive and very impressive. Well thought out, cabins are a good size (stayed in Aurea Suite 14001) and the onboard app leaves every other cruise lines attempt at such, sorely lacking. Unfortunately, that’s about it in terms of positives. This was our first time with MSC, and unfortunately, I think it will be our last. I understand that every line does things differently, but our experience of RCCL, NCL and Celebrity just makes them more attractive, if somewhat more expensive too. I dislike very long, wordy reviews, so I’ll just bullet point the issues we had below: - as other reviews have stated, almost to a man, the staff were surly, unfriendly and either unwilling or unable to help. A couple were really nice, but a couple were actually very rude. - the Aurea drinks package isn’t worth having. I’ve attached to this review a photo of the drinks menu available on the ship. The items with a star next to them are what is NOT included in the package. Laughable really, and was in fact the first instance of what quickly became apparent as a ‘penny pinching’ culture on the ship - children’s menus are appalling. The main menus offer pretty much the same stuff for kids every night and crazily, the buffets are all closed between 5pm and 7pm every day, which is when most kids would want to eat. The only food available at this time is burgers and pizza. - when we boarded, we had a letter in our suite saying that one of our pre-booked tours had changed and that it would now feature travel on a small boat instead of a coach. We are unable to do this as my youngest son gets really ill on small boats (we know this from bitter experience). When we went to the shore excursions on desk to sort it out, we were told that we couldn’t cancel but could swap to another tour, all of which were more expensive, and we would need to pay the difference. I couldn’t really care less about the extra €50 but I think this is bad form. I asked to speak to the Excursions Manager and was told that she was too busy to see me, so I asked for the Hotel Director and was told that he would not see me, but I could speak to the Guest Services Manager, who essentially did nothing. He sent me a bottle of sparkling wine as an apology, but didn’t correct the issue I had. - prior to sailing we pre-booked a speciality dining package. A bit of advice...don’t! The speciality restaurants are worth doing, but if you book the package in advance, you have to eat from a set menu, which I didn’t see. Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough when booking. In any event, you can eat from the a la carte options in the restaurants but they don’t credit your allowance and make you pay the extra, they just discount any a la carte dishes by 50%. This seems a crazy way to do things to me, but hey ho. - big issue for us was the TV in the suite. It has a really extensive list of films available and they are fairly reasonably priced. However, the entire menu, including some very niche titles (if you know what I mean) is available on the home screen, so your kids can navigate the entire menu. With titles including the word MILF available, I was not impressed that my kids could see the titles, and the accompanying artwork!! - the biggest issue by far however was the entertainment for us. I know this is a truly international cruise line and there were lots of Italians, Germans, Spanish and French amongst our fellow passengers, but the entertainment was very heavy in Italian music, Flamenco dancing and opera. There was one night when a Tina Turner tribute was on, but other than that, we were really let down by the entertainment across the ship. Unfortunately, an amazing ship was not the foundation for an amazing holiday on this occasion. We had actually booked 5 balcony cabins for the same week next year on this ship, to celebrate a 40th birthday in the family, but we have since contacted our travel agent to cancel it. It has cost me a fair bit in cancellation charges, but it’s better than wasting another week. I hope that the above comes across as even handed, and I am sure this ship and experience will suit some people, but as a well travelled family and veterans of the larger ‘American’ lines, it’s not for us. To finish, one of the big pluses people think of with MSC is that it’s relatively cheap compared to Royal Caribbean, NCL and Celebrity, but by the time you upgrade the drinks package, account for all of the extras you have to pay for (bowling, zip line etc) and take into account the really very poor service levels, I’d say it’s actually a lot worse value. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first cruise. And first time taking my step sons abroad (age 8 and 10) We all loved it! For me and my husband we like to relax but not sit around to long. So this was perfect. Loved waking to a different destination every ... Read More
This was our first cruise. And first time taking my step sons abroad (age 8 and 10) We all loved it! For me and my husband we like to relax but not sit around to long. So this was perfect. Loved waking to a different destination every morning. Embarking was lovely and easy. Lovely welcome buffet. Bags were at the door of our cabin which was a welcome sight and before the 2.30 time. Cabin was more spacious then I’d imagined. Our cabin assistant was Rammel. He was lovely. They all were. Every cabin assistant said hello when we walked past. We found prices of drinks very reasonable as we didn’t do a drinks package ( we did have the cans package which was handy) Loved the decor of everything. It was all clean, and sparkly! Shows were awesome! Very talented. As each day went on, we were more relaxed about letting the kids out of sight. They went to kids club a couple of times, they loved it and the swimming pools and water slides. Both we felt happy leaving them as were well manned and we felt they were very safe. Especially with the wrist bands Every night we went to the buffet where it was a different theme. Different countries. It was lush. Only complaints, we were told that some fizzy drinks were available at buffet, but it was very rarely accessible. It would of been handy to have the juices available all day not just breakfast. Excursions we did 2. Pompaii and mount etna. Brilliant apart from the headsets on the pompii tour were bad quality and lost connection a couple of times. Thank you Msc. We have literally booked for another one for next year. Can’t wait Read Less

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