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102 MSC Cruises Hamburg Cruise Reviews

As this is a brand new ship i wanted to try this ship out and see if msc is for me? I booked it through an american agent so got free bottled water in dining room. Tap water is free on every other ships except costa and msc. Pre ... Read More
As this is a brand new ship i wanted to try this ship out and see if msc is for me? I booked it through an american agent so got free bottled water in dining room. Tap water is free on every other ships except costa and msc. Pre cruise. As i was just off another cruise i only had a short time to get home and leave to catch flight from stansted airport. There was a suicide at liverpool street and was lucky the trains were running. Security at the airport was the worse have ever seen! Rushed through to just make the flight as they were closing the doors. Not impressed with ryanair saying no luggage with wheels! This is incorrect i ended up paying £12 for nothing! Got to hamburg and train to city and found the hotel or hostel. Very impressed with a room to my self with heating and a tv. Next day i got breakfast and went to the maritime museum shop where i bought a lovely big 2020 calendar picked up mycase and got bus to the ship. Embarkation. Very quick check in almost left the calendar at the check in. Then had a picture taken and boarded the ship. I found my upgraded balcony cabin. Lifeboat drill. In the casino not the best place to have it no lifejacket needed and with many languages it took a while. Departure. It took a while to leave so decided to watch us leave from myn balcony then go to dinner. Restaurant. Lovely restaurant despite not even having a restaurant to dine in. Had lunch alone and service was so qwuick. Dinner with 2 people at my table but i guess they were not happy with seas and had to sit on my own which i am not happy with. Entertainment. No show on the 1st night apart from lights in the promenade. The 2nd was so good. Photography. Too confusing as pics were up plus digital on the panels this was not explained to me properly. Paying the bill. I like the idea of putting your debit card in machine but not if you have ant=y money left getting the money in euros.plus i was charged for mini bar which i never used and took ages to sort out! Disembarkation. No announcements for leaving the ship did not see my cabin steward much either i had some fruit ;left but took the knife away. When i got off the ship no sign to say the main entrance was closed i had to come all the way back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have previously sailed exclusively with NCL and 1 time with Royal Caribbean. This was our first experience with MSC Cruises and we were pleasantly surprised with our experience onboard. We chose this itinerary because it was the ... Read More
We have previously sailed exclusively with NCL and 1 time with Royal Caribbean. This was our first experience with MSC Cruises and we were pleasantly surprised with our experience onboard. We chose this itinerary because it was the ship's inaugural cruise and the stops were all new locations for us - Hamburg, Southampton, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseille. After reading many reviews here on Cruise Critic we were very concerned about choosing MSC. Everything from the service, the different languages during announcements, food portions, taste, etc. But from our experience, it was absolutely fantastic. Mind you we did have a very unique experience on a few fronts. Because it was the inaugural cruise, the ship was not full and we were well looked after from the staff onboard. Embarkation was very smooth. Easily the fastest we have ever embarked on any other cruise (that's even sailing in the Haven with it's own private check in desk). Also, unlike in US embarkation ports, the handlers in Europe do not have their hand out asking for tips for taking your luggage onto a trolley. The staff who takes your luggage are MSC staff and take it away for you. The one small little thing was that we downloaded the MSC for Me app so that we can do all the pre-check in ahead of time. Taking our own photos, setting up our credit card information and doing the check in. But when we got to the port they still had to do the photos and check in. Anyone who has sailed with MSC knows that your credit card payment is done at the small kiosks throughout the ship. I was unsure of this idea but it actually works very well. Disembarkation was a breeze. We had some help with guest services because we have two small children a ton of luggage. They were able to assist us getting off the ship. Excellent. The ship because we were the first paying customers was in perfect condition. No complaints whatsoever. And the staff did an amazing job taking care of it while in its infancy. The gym though was quite small. Considering that our ship, from what we were told was only at half capacity was full most days and using the equipment was difficult. I cannot imagine that a full cruise you would be even able to use any equipment. Oh well, use of stairs and walking everywhere became our work out. Because of large swells, our 1 day in Southampton ended up becoming a multi-day stay. You can't control the weather right? So even though we were disappointed to miss our Lisbon stop and lose our full day in Marseille it didn't stop our family from enjoying more time on the ship. Our family doesn't do the shows in the theater on any cruise. We have dinner a bit later so we miss them. So I cannot comment on the quality of the shows. But we were invited to watch 1 show of our choosing since it was the inaugural sailing, EXENTRICKS with dinner and it was amazing! Our children loved it and so did we. But near the end of our cruise, we were invited to watch Cosmos as well. We loved it just as must as the previous show. This time we didn't have dinner, just drinks. I have read that the drinks given aren't very good. But there were 3 choices, a tropical drink, gin and tonic and a non-alcoholic. We had the gin and tonic and we enjoyed them. Our cabin was 10281. Aft facing balcony considered a "suite". We didn't have any extra perks but our room was huge! We have a regular balcony but it was wider by about half. So we had our queen bed, a sofa bed, and a bunk bed built in its wall. We have read that storage is a problem in most rooms, which we have seen with the demo rooms onboard. But our room had 2 large size closets, and the bunk bed area had 2 extra drawers, 2 smaller closets, and a head area in the bunk that could store more items. We had plenty of storage and we needed it since we were on the cruise for 12 days. Our balcony was huge since it was aft facing. Wish it was warmer out so we could use it more frequently, but still amazing. Our cabin attendant kept our in fantastic shape the whole cruise. When passengers mention that they never see their cabin attendant, I never believe it. We would see him multiple times during the day as we were in and out of our room. Zoe in the room unfortunately is not very good. We are very optimistic people, but we tried using it to get some answers and it couldn't answer any of them. Not even basic questions. We just used it as blu tooth speaker which was fine for us. But it needs lots of work still. Dining, what can we say. Probably the best food we have ever had in all honesty. Food portions were totally normal, not small like some people have posted about. And if it was small, just order more! The variety was great and the desserts were fantastic. We dined in Il Campo which is reserved for Suite guests so we had anytime dining. We just showed up and we were seated immediately. We never waited once. Not for 1 second. it was fantastic. Service was impeccable every single night. We did not dine in the specialty restaurants since we felt that the food and service was perfect for us. The buffet was incredible as well. Easily the best pizza we have ever had. Mozzarella made fresh everyday. Choices were plentiful and good variety. Breakfast was pretty much the same, which it is on every ship. Again, because our ship was at half capacity, finding service or a seat was never a problem for us. The children & family buffet seating area was always available for us. We liked it there. Our only comment is that like others have wrote about, MSC does not enforce hand washing or sanitation. We would like for them to be more strict on it to help prevent contamination. Because of the cool weather, we were not able to use the outdoor facilities. Except for 1 day when the weather was warm. Our son and I used the slides, amazing fun! We just wish it was warmer. It will be a great area if the ship is in better temperatures. Our children had never used any kids clubs on any other ship before but absolutely loved and enjoyed the kids club onboard the Grandiosa. The staff there did a wonderful job with the children and they had such a great time. Highly recommended. Service was great! We didn't have the feeling that staff were trying to sell us on everything. They were polite and very nice everywhere we went. High marks to all. Guests services manager and hotel director were fantastic as well. The captain (master) was also incredibly nice. We were able to meet him on 3 occasions and it was an amazing experience. The photography team took excellent photos. We love taking photos on cruises so we don't shy away from taking pictures. But from what we could see, passengers who didn't want them taken were not pestered or bothered further. I know passengers complain about aggressive photographers, but they were not like that at all. Our children can be a handful taking photos and every person worked with them patiently and the photos turned out awesome. For the ports, we didn't use MSC. We roamed around on our own and I had set up tours prior to us boarding. We wish there was comment cards so that we could recognize great service to the staff who deserve it. Again, we don't know what it would be like if the ship was at full capacity. I'm sure there might have been some line ups, waiting for tables in the buffet area, etc. But we cannot comment on that since our ship was half capacity. Our cruise was wonderful and based on our experience we would 100% sail with MSC again. Some people go on cruises just to complain about everything. Others enjoy it to the fullest. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Pros = 1) Service at the dinner - Waiter always friendly 2) Service and cleanliness on our Room 3) Pre paid internet was 4gb for 4 devices and it was cheap comparing with other cruises that I´ve made 4) Pre paid digital ... Read More
Pros = 1) Service at the dinner - Waiter always friendly 2) Service and cleanliness on our Room 3) Pre paid internet was 4gb for 4 devices and it was cheap comparing with other cruises that I´ve made 4) Pre paid digital pictures was very cheap. I got in the end a pen drive with 120 pictures taken during the cruise and it costed 90 euros. During the cruise, they were charging 30 euros for EACH picture 5) Pizza was very good Cons = 1) Overall the bar staff was not trained at all. First night at the Cruise, I ordered a bottle of Champagne, the lady came after 10 minutes with the Bottle saying that it was the first time that she opened a Champagne bottle and tried to close it with the Cork again. 2) The food at the buffet was terrible and always crowded. It was always stressfull getting food, find a table 3) The cruise only offers free Water (when other lines offer Iced Tea, etc). The places to get drinks were dirty and some of them had only Coffe and not hot milk 4) The portion size of the dinner was terrible ... everyone at our table asked always 2-3 main courses because it was impossible to have food enough with only 1 main dish. 5) The shows during the evening at the theater were very poor. Comparing with other cruises that I´ve been, it was by far the worse. I even slept because if was boring. 6) The overall entertainment during the cruise was very bad... other cruises that I´ve been, have a Cruise Director that cheers up the entire ship with lot of enterntainment and parties. At the Preziosa, and I dont even know if we have similar role during the ship. 7) Basic stuff like NUTELLA... it was not offered during the breakfast for my Daugther, but it was available if asked.. so every time i needed to go to the bar and ask for Nutella and the waiter passed me a few nutella hidden like he was giving me drugs. 8) The overall service was so bad that I went to the guest services and asked to remove the service charge. I then paid good service at the dinner and room directly to the waiters. 9) I´ve been in many different Cruise companies before and this was the first that THEY DONT OFFER FREE ICE CREAM. All other have free 24h ice cream. They charge at Preziosa for everything. Worst cruise experience I ever had, and i will never get on a MSC ship again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We took a 3 night mini cruise which sailed from Hamburg, stooping in Le Havre, France and ending in Southampton. I have cruised with MSC previously so pretty much knew what to expect, whilst I would sail with MSC again, the things I ... Read More
We took a 3 night mini cruise which sailed from Hamburg, stooping in Le Havre, France and ending in Southampton. I have cruised with MSC previously so pretty much knew what to expect, whilst I would sail with MSC again, the things I don’t like about MSC were far more apparent this time. Embarkation with pretty easy, they have changed the process slightly; in the main terminal building they know just issue your cruise card and programmes, once you board they now use a hand held device to scan your cruise card and take your photograph. Passports are also checked on the way onto the ship. Dining I’m not a fan of the traditional cruise dining experience i.e. shared tables and two set dining times hence why I prefer other cruise lines such as Norwegian so you can turn up when you want although MSC do match the demographics up pretty well. What was most notable was the appalling dining service and quality of the food. The waiting staff were very busy, probably because everyone hits the dining room at the same time. The timing of service and food was very random with some courses taking what seemed forever and on other occasions they were rushing to take your order. Drinks took forever and they didn’t offer any more drinks or top up the glasses so we ended up helping ourselves to the bottle to pour the drinks. The food proportions were small, and the main meals came without vegetables, the couple we shared the table with ordered vegetables separately on the second night but were provided with a plate full of roast potatoes. If you asked for anything different such as a different salad dressing the waiter often made an excuse that there would be a longer waiting time because they had to go to another deck to get it. It felt like they were trying to say it’s too much trouble and will take ages. On the second night the waiter serving the bread came round and offered bread just before the desert was served. One evening we ate in the speciality sushi restaurant and again, the service took a very long time and the quality wasn’t great. The buffet was probably the best thing about the cruise, the pizza is amazing and its there only area you can get a coffee or drink quite quickly. There was always a good selection of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bar Service If you were a drinker then I think you would struggle to get drunk on this cruise. In the Galaxy night club the bar wasn’t overly busy and there were 4 or 5 staff on but it too almost 30 minutes to get a drink. In the casino despite the staff calling for drinks service at the roulette table, nobody came so we left the table to go and get a drink and the bar staff were really slow. One evening I decided to grab a drink from the bar whilst we were getting ready and the barman was stood chatting to a colleagues with the bottle in his hand for 10 minutes, in the end another member of staff grabbed the bottle off him to pour our drinks. Disembarkation This was easy, the paperwork stated that disembarkation would start at 9.15am, however we left the ship at 8am, there was no rush to leave the ship and there was nothing stating you had to leave the cabin early which would be good if you had a later flight or didn’t need to leave early. Overall I would do another short cruise with MSC if the price was right and there wasn’t another cruise line offering the same cruise for a similar price. For a longer cruise break or if your looking for something with more tentative service I would probably choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
To start at the beginning embarkation took over 3 hours, 2 sat in the waiting area and an over an hour queuing, the luggage got to the room before us! Muster drill was chaotic, people stood chatting and not everybody attended so it had ... Read More
To start at the beginning embarkation took over 3 hours, 2 sat in the waiting area and an over an hour queuing, the luggage got to the room before us! Muster drill was chaotic, people stood chatting and not everybody attended so it had to be repeated for them. Main dining room menus were very mixed and not appetising, presentation was very lacking (fruit platter was 4 chunks of fruit with no slicing or arrangement) and the food was at best okay and some foods unpleasant. Staff were distant and didn’t interact with you. There wasn’t any tea or coffee after dinner but strangely you were given bottled water for free. Lack of vegetables and oddly - Italian dishes. Inca / Maya buffet - Pizza was very good as were the breads and pasta and generally the small dessert dishes. Yorkshire tea available too. However the food was at best luke warm, the salads were limited and overall there were few choices so that you ended up thinking what shall I eat rather than what shall I not eat as I can’t eat it all. The staff were slow to clear away and most were not very friendly or interested in you. There were not enough serving implements so there was cross contamination between foods. With regard to sanitisation this seems to be low key, no encouragement to disinfect hands near eating areas and rarely noticed public areas being checked. Entertainment team worked hard and interacted well with guests. But there was a lack of organised activities and on the sea day unless you wanted to go to a dance lesson there wasn’t much going on. voyager club offered very little as it was only a three night cruise. The pool areas were nice and plenty of loungers. Not many sports facilities. Lots of extra charges for things such as TV films, using sauna, bowling alley. Overall the ship lacks atmosphere, the hotel staff are generally not friendly and many don’t even acknowledge you. The continual embarkation and disembarkation process leaves it lacking a community feel. The food is a huge disappointment especially when Italy has such a wonderful range of cuisines. I don’t know whether this is indicative of all MSC voyages or whether we were unlucky. But it felt more like a budget cruise than a luxury one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The ship was beautiful but not many windows in bars and coffee shops. The staff were hit and miss many of them could not speak English , some were just plain rude. The food was mediocre no where near as much choice as other cruise lines ... Read More
The ship was beautiful but not many windows in bars and coffee shops. The staff were hit and miss many of them could not speak English , some were just plain rude. The food was mediocre no where near as much choice as other cruise lines . Ice cream was chargeable so was cinema bowling etc. the daily activities were sparse . We travelled with a five and a six year old who only went to the children's club once as they found it confusing as they cannot speak Italian or German . The pools were a joke as they were all at least five foot deep, the aquapark is only open when the conditions are right so be mindful of this. We were promised a status match as we are Diamond+ on RCI it sounded amazing before boarding . We did not receive all that was promised due to the fact it was a 3 day cruise. We did get priority boarding (thank god) as some passengers took hours to board the ship. The bottle of Prosecco arrived eventually after a lot of badgering a complimentary meal in Butchers Cut , so glad we did not pay for it as it was average to say the least. We ate once in MDR that was enough. The Inca Restaurant ( Buffet) was very nice it was a shame the food did not match the surroundings. The photos were of high standard. The theatre was lovely the shows were good . The one positive we did not have to stand in line on the ship for the face to face passport checking procedure we went straight to the front . The price we paid was good for the four of us we had a great deal with Criuse Nation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 teens. We have cruised many times with Royal Carribean and had Junior suites and up, so for this cruise we booked inter connecting balcony cabins on Deck 9. I had read many reviews about MSC and The ... Read More
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 teens. We have cruised many times with Royal Carribean and had Junior suites and up, so for this cruise we booked inter connecting balcony cabins on Deck 9. I had read many reviews about MSC and The Preziosa, and have to say was a little bit concerned about all the negative reviews about service and food. We had booked the Fantastica package that came with drinks up to a value of €10 per drink for the adults and soda and soft serve ice cream for the teens. We flew from Dublin to Hamburg with Ryanair and arrived on time. We took a taxi from outside the airport to the Renaissance Hotel. Hamburg is a beautiful city with lots to see and do. A couple of things we did was eat ice cream by the lake, visit Minatur wunderland and the Hamburg Dungeon (English speaking guide on Saturday & Sunday @ 10am). We took a taxi from the hotel to the Steinwerder terminal. We arrived at about 12.30 and after giving our luggage to the porters we entered the terminal and were given a number 4 ticket and told to wait till it was called. 4 was called after about 20 minutes, so we joined the que to check in. At the desk they verify your passport and documents and give you your sea pass card. We then went through security and proceeded onto the ship. When we got on the ship our photos were taken. In total from arriving to ship took about 45 minutes. Now on the ship in the atrium, staff were welcoming you on board and saying if you want food the restaurant on deck 5 or the buffet on 14. Up to 14 we go, come out of the lift and are greeted at the entrance to the buffet by 2 staff, 1 with anti bacterial spray and the other guy saying 4 of you, let me find you a table (Wow). We are sat at a window and the girls went and explored the buffet, while I kept the table. On the table is a button for bar service, so I had to press it and along came a waiter who got me some drinks. (I’m impressed with this so called bad service and rude staff) I must say the buffet restaurant is big and plenty of choice. I had read that the pizza was good, It is delicious and fresh. So after we eat, it was time to explore the ship, and then find our cabin. We had Cabin’s 9126 & 9124, interconnecting balconies. I noticed that we had early (6pm) seating in the Golden lobster restaurant, so I went to see if we could change to the later @ 8.30pm. No problem, but it is a shared table with other English speaking guests. Now the last time we did a shared table did not work out well, my kids were age 6 & 8 and the others were 3 generations of the same family aged from 87 to 43. Well I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed our table mates, The service was fine, nothing special, or nothing bad. The choice & quality of food was not great in my opinion, but to be honest it didn’t really matter as we were having great conversation at the table. We went to 1 show called the Mask, which was ok. We eat Breakfast and lunch in the buffet, food was perfect, however coffee was weak, but just press that button or go to the bar and get a fresh cappuccino included in the drinks package. The weather was not great so the indoor pool was packed. There is a pool and bar at the back of the ship that would be nice on a warm sunny day. We were only on board for 3 days but we all really enjoyed our first MSC experience. I did miss the not been able to walk around the ship on a lower deck close to the water. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose this cruise for a quick getaway and was extremely impressed overall with this ship. The ship is beautiful in all areas and extremely well maintained (take note other cruise lines!) The atrium, bars, the whole interior mare ... Read More
I chose this cruise for a quick getaway and was extremely impressed overall with this ship. The ship is beautiful in all areas and extremely well maintained (take note other cruise lines!) The atrium, bars, the whole interior mare beautifully decorated. I struggled to find an area that wasn’t adorned with Swarovski crystals or bling of some kind. The most elegant ship I’ve been on. My balcony cabin seemed more spacious compared to other cruise lines and the balcony itself was a generous size too. The furniture is starting to look a little tired but nothing major. My cabin steward was very efficient and greeted me on arrival and brought me extra pillows when I asked. Dining is where MSC lose a point. While the food was perfectly edible it wasn’t particularly interesting. Pizza every day in the buffet (the best pizza at sea by the way) but the other hot options were often bland and lacked variety. As a solo cruiser I shared a large table with a few other people which was a nice way to make friends. However the food itself was disappointing - tiny portions and often very bland and the dessert menu was very small, only two or three options. entertainment was mixed. bingo was appreciated but the other shows were average. I enjoy classical music but it does get repetitive after hearing it every single day of the cruise. Twee singers and dancers were very talented but it would be nice to have had some more variety entertainment-wise. The service overall was excellent. Even as a solo traveller I didn’t feel left out and the barman even knew my favourite drink after a couple of days - that’s excellent service. The customer service staff were abrupt but dealt with my enquiry and got it resolved so I can’t complain really. Overall this was a very good cruise. I had heard mixed things about MSC especially regarding the food but overall I had a great time and look forward to cruising with them again next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We flew to Hamburg to join this cruise and were very impressed with the price. Boarding in Hamburg took forever.. we queued for at least 2 hours and we arrived early. The ship itself is beautiful and balcony cabin was lovely. There's ... Read More
We flew to Hamburg to join this cruise and were very impressed with the price. Boarding in Hamburg took forever.. we queued for at least 2 hours and we arrived early. The ship itself is beautiful and balcony cabin was lovely. There's plenty of bars and we always found someone to sit. Food was disappointing in the main restaurant. We had no rapport with our waiter who wasn't really interested..meal sizes were tiny and not very uniform. Greek salad had 1 tiny piece of feta. Tables are also shared which is difficult if you don't all speak the same language. Buffet food was good if you could find a table to eat at. Staff generally were very lacklustre and didn't seem particularly happy. Entertainment was poor with not great singers or any sort of direction. I probably would do MSC again as their prices are good but maybe set my expectations a bit lower. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise after browsing the MSC Cruises website for a itinerary that was a little out of the ordinary. We found this itinerary very interesting because of the stops in Iceland and Greenland. We are former non-adventurous ... Read More
We chose this cruise after browsing the MSC Cruises website for a itinerary that was a little out of the ordinary. We found this itinerary very interesting because of the stops in Iceland and Greenland. We are former non-adventurous travelers/backpackers (enjoying street food and restaurants, friends' places or motels and hostels, and public transportation or rental cars and, of course, planes for longer distances) converting to the convenience of cruise travel. CHECK IN: We had the Aurea experience and we were assigned a time when to arrive for the check in around 4pm which gave us time to buy things in town, later i'll explain why. The embarkation was very easy, we arrived to the terminal by taxi, dropped the luggage at a designated place and walked to the main entrance where the security and check in was. We were offered a cup of fruit juice. The process was very quick. We did not know the luggage had to be dropped at a separate entrance from the main one, but our taxi driver knew, so that helped. We were given a time when to check in. After the check in they took our souvenirs pictures that were later available at the photography point. As soon as we boarded they took our pictures for the passengers database and they told us that the cruise cards would be in our cabin which they were. Our friendly cabin steward Leonel came to introduce himself to us after 30 minutes. Our hand luggage arrived one at the time in the next couple of hours. We boarded without our big suitcases because they were lost at the airport and we took this three weeks cruise without them. We waited for all our hand luggage to arrive to count what exactly we had with us. We had a baby with us so all the baby stuff was in our hand luggage, leaving not much space for our clothes. We shopped briefly at a couple of stores for basic clothes and toiletries before boarding. We had travel insurance and after we came back we placed a refund request to get reimbursed. This seems a common issue occurring at the Hamburg airport. THE EMBARKATION TERMINAL: The terminal in Altona itself is quite a big space, but everything was marked and easy to follow. The luggage drop point was not intuitively placed, but, as I mentioned, our taxi driver knew where to go. Employees spoke multiple languages. All seemed done quite efficiently to us. THE CABIN: We got the balcony cabin with the Aurea experience which included alcohol and non-alcohol drinks under 6 Euro, a couple of massages per cabin that my wife enjoyed very much, a few cabin amenities, and the choice of dinner time. Cabin space was good and we could move comfortably around. We had a travel crib with us that we moved on the bed so my wife could sleep next to our baby and attend her by night in case, while I slept on the extended sofa bed. The bathroom was on the small side and the shower curtain would occasionally stick to parts of my body during the shower if the hooks were not properly set apart. 3 or 4 inches wide on each side would have been better, but i understans space is at premium on a ship. There was shampoo and shower gel as detergents in the shower cabin and hand soap similar to the shampoo in the sink. We washed several clothing items and baby bottles in the small bathroom sink (especially baby items) and hang them to drip and partially dry on the clothes line inside the shower and then to dry either on top of the mirror frame or on the AC vent in the middle of the room. The Aurea experience included a bathrobe each, slippers, a room scent diffuser and 2 complimentary bottles of water. The small cabin fridge had several snacks and drinks that we did not use because the aurea package included them at the bar upstairs. On top of the fridge there was a TV set which was quite small and offered some channels in several languages probably based on the most common nationalities of the passengers including English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese and a few channels about ship safety, excursions, and destinations plus finally a general welcome channel with time and date. We did not find movies in demand included in the offering, but we did not really watch much TV. There were 2 mirrors, one small in front of the sofa over the desk, and one big in front of the bed. The desk had 3 drawers on each side and one central which we used to keep baby stuff. Over the desk there were 2x110V and 2x220 electric outlets. I suggest to bring a cord extender if you need to charge multiple devices, use a CPAP or just need extra outlets on the other side of the bed. There was one small square ottoman and a small table which we moved under the desk. On each nightstand there was a lamp. The main light switch would turn on all the lights in the cabin. The card slot was on the right near the front door. The main closet provided enough storage for us especially since we did not have many clothes anyways and no big luggage , which could have been stored under the bed. The two door wardrobe offered space for clothes to hang and the third had 6 drawers and 2 shelves including one for a combination safe. The life jackets were on top of the wardrobe. The bed was a double twin bed that could be separated on request. We kept it together and we used to for our travel crib. Beds were quite hard for my taste as I prefer softer beds. There were 2 pillows each. The sofa was a sleeper one with room for 2 children or one adult. It also had 3 sofa pillows. Overall the decor was very simple and well made. All seemed very easy to clean and maintain by the crew. Room was quiet and we could hear the sound of waves through the window doors, occasionally people walking outside, but on strong wind days the wind would pass under the main cabin door making some noise which was annoying. Maybe the door seal needed to be replaced. Our cabin was on deck 12 under the spa so there were not many people walking because the nearest elevator was used to reach the spa, the gym and partially the pool, while to access other public areas one had to get to the the elevator on the opposite side, as the middle one would not reach the upper floor because of the pool area (or else they would have had to create an elevator exit in the middle of the pool!) It was also near the curved shape of the ship so we were a little more sheltered from wind and weather than those who had the cabin mid-ship. Our cabin steward Leonel was very friendly and always greeted us with a smile. We liked the balance between days at sea and days at ports and we actually spent some time in our cabin to relax during sea days. FOOD: We are not picky passengers, at least, I think. We found the cruise food quite good and varied. Quality was not gourmet/fine dining, but was very enjoyable. Some items were always available like pizza and french fries and some others appeared on rotation and some once including some ethnic ones like Indian tikka masala or Sardinian malloreddus pasta. I could not often find beef dishes in the buffet, but there were other choices of meats like chicken and pork and some unusual wild board (cooked in red sauce) or others more ordinary like hot docs and burgers. Some dishes featured cuts of meats that I feel not all passengers will like, or bacon cooked British style, not crispy American style, or pasta too overcooked to please Italians. My breakfast was very protein-rich with eggs and bacon and potatoes and roasted tomatoes which I loved. We are not vegans or vegetarians, but there were many options if we were. My wife got "food bored" a couple of times, but I was always able to find something just walking a little further. The buffet area is big and tables are sometimes full at peal times, but we always found a table for us. Sometimes restaurant employees would take us to a free table, which was a nice personal touch. Near each entrance there are tables reserved for people on wheelchairs. When we ordered drinks, or more often mineral water at the table, service was quite quick. One of our favorite waitress was Elizabeth Jirwa who would also stop a bit to entertain our baby. We tried the Shanghai restaurant on board (not included in the cruise fare) which offered a sampler dinner composed of salad, dumplings, sushi combo, sashimi, pad thai and fried banana dessert. The sashimi and the dumplings were really good. The other restaurants seemed to serve similar food that was served at the buffet, but with table service. A few times waiters would go around the tables serving risotto from a half Parmesan wheel of cheese which was really fun. THE AUREA EXPERIENCE: We were pleased with the level of comfort of our cabin. I wished the beds were softer, but the rest was of a very good value. We liked that we could conveniently order many things without surcharge because they were included in the cruise fare. We are not big drinkers and a glass of wine a day, not even every day, was just fine with us. We drank 2 or 3 bottles of water a day per person depending on the daily activities and gym use and prepared our baby food with it. We also like the fruit juices and a few energy drinks at the bar, and tea/herbal teas that were available in the buffet. The cabin was on desk 12 which offered nice views and the position was on a quiet area of the ship directly under the Aurea spa. I brought earplugs with me but I did not have to use them. My wife enjoyed the two free massages included and purchased a third one and a facial treatment. We purchased a couple of products at the Aurea shop which seemed discounted compared to normal prices. The had very good brands like Occitaine, Aveda and a few luxury brands as well. ITINERARY AND EXCURSIONS: As I said, we liked the combination of days at sea and days at port which offered a good balance between relax in cabin and a few sleep-in and days ashore visiting new places. The stops in Invergordon (fun visit to the Loch Ness and the castle nearby, but not much else), Seydisfjordur (nothing to see there, we spent time at a local bar under the sun like most of other passengers) were those we liked less. We liked the other ones more. Greenland is not like the polished Alaska with all the buildings freshly painted, but something more rustic and authentic with many chances of taking great pictures and meeting friendly locals, really a frontier country. Iceland was beautiful, modern and wild at the same time with all the old geothermal fields and recently built cities. While I was writing this review, I just found out that next year this cruise will be repeated without Invergordon (we did not see the monster of Loch Ness anyways, haha) and with an extra day in Reykjavik which we would have loved, because one day was not enough in our opinion. The excursions were well organized, but were expensive and we heard the same comments from other passengers. We did some on our own just using public transportation to reach a single place, and did others that involved several spots or a day tour by booking them on board. By the time we made up our mind, some were sold out, so my suggestion is to check and book a bit in advance, or while you decide, ask how many spots are left. We simply found out that in the smaller ports like Ilulissat, they don't have the capacity to accommodate many tourists at the same time for the same excursions, so availability was really limited not just by booking through the cruise line, but also through local tour operators. The geothermal tour in Akureyri and Reykjavik, the Ilulissat tour of the icebergs, the Italian Chapel in the Orkneys were our favorites. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: The main theater shows were fine, they were entertaining, based mostly on singing and dancing and made for an international crowd. We liked more the live bands in the bars and in particular the blues rock guitar player was amazing, but I can't remember or find his name in my notes. We liked both passengers and crew members talents nights which showcased some fun acts. Many evenings we were too tired to go out with our baby and we stayed in the cabin. My wife really enjoyed doing Origami classes held by Angela and I took a few dance classes which were fun. We never felt bored on board. I also went a few times to the gym to do steady bike and lift weights. The gym in deck 13 and faces the front of the ship which offers great views, so it's also a good photography spot. SUMMARY AND SOME PERSONAL NOTES: Before booking this cruise, I spend quite a lot of time reading review of this ship MSC Orchestra, about the cruise like, the Aurea experience, ports and experience on board in general. I encountered several one star reviews which almost made me not book this cruise with MSC. Most of them described rude crew members or handling of problems and described issues with food, shows, lack of English language on board and bad customer service in general. We eventually booked it because of the interesting itinerary in Iceland and Greenland where we have never been, and probably we won't have the chance to visit again. We did not have previous cruise experience with MSC and we did only one other cruise together with HAL. This said, during our 21 days on board, we were pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the crew and staff on board. Our cabin steward Leonel was great and it was fun to practice some of my rusty Spanish with him, but he definitely spoke good English. He fixed an issue with the sink that would not hold the water when we pulled the stopper. We spent some time in the cabin, sometimes getting up late after 10 am, or waiting for our baby to wake up in the afternoon and we did not experience particular noises from other passengers or rude behaviors, running kids and noise from activities on board. A few times we heard the wind blow under the cabin door, which was annoying because it went on for quite some time. We wished the TV set was bigger and entertainment system was faster with a wider choice of channels and free movies, but we did not watch TV that much. We saw a couple of movies which were just fine. As announced by the daily program, we lost satellite coverage at the upper latitudes and no channels were available after a point during navigation. We spent quite some time going around the ship in the public areas and everything seemed well kept and in good order, including public bathrooms and light fixtures, clean floors and surfaces. We never saw long lines of people at the customer service desk, but only a few times in the buffet restaurant. We had to walk a bit to find a table at peak lunch and dinner times, like everyone got hungry at the same time including us, but we were always able to find one for the three of us. On several occasions one of the waiters personally helped us to find a table and a baby chair. We found a couple of times high chairs had problems with straps (maybe it was the same chair twice?), but when we asked the waiters they brought us another one. Announcements were in five languages, but done once or twice a day, and if done more, that was for exceptional things like bad weather forecast when they announced they closed the outdoor deck doors or to advertise a special event somewhere on the ship (themed parties, or crossing the polar circle), but never at inconvenient times. The urgent ones were played to all the speakers including those in the cabins, and one unfortunately woke up our baby, while the "fun" ones only to those in the public areas. We never encountered hordes of hungry passengers emptying the food trays or running children in the cafeteria. We saw and heard a few times children running in the long cabin corridor. We purchased a few items on board, but we did not experience the pushy or salesy attitude of anyone on board. We saw a few shows and they were enjoyable, not memorable, but, again, enjoyable. I know that the newer ships have the Cirque du Soleil on board, but this one is not one of the last generation and did not. Nonetheless we found them worth our time, especially the live music acts in the bars, the guitar player in one of the bars and the classical music trio. We like the white attire themed party where passengers and crew are invited to dress all in white. My wife loved the origami lessons. I went several times to the gym and except for one of the 6 or 7 treadmill that had problems and was switched off, the rest of the equipment was in good working condition. My wife went several times to the spa since basic access was included in our cruise ticket and enjoyed the steam room and the Jacuzzi pool. She went once to the hairdresser and had one facial treatment done and she was happy with the results in both cases. We booked a few land tours with the MSC excursions desk which we found quite pricey compared to an equivalent self organized tour with local transportation or a tour purchased on land through local tour operators or at a local tourist welcome center, but nonetheless well done. The buses picked up and dropped us back on time and we had enough time to visit at each stop. I understand that there is a lot of competition in this cruise market and that reviews play a big role when making a choice and putting one's money towards a holiday, that every experience is different and each trip is different and each one of us has different expectation, but will all what we experienced on board my wife and I can hardly agree with some of the one star reviews.except those experienced theft and few others who complained about bad service or communications issues in English. We found this cruise experience between life on board and excursions, food entertainment, itinerary and ports visited of very good value. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First time on an MSC cruise having previously had a number of cruises with Celebrity and Princess. Embarkation was smooth. Luggage was taken from us a few steps from our taxi and we proceeded to check-in hall where we were given a ... Read More
First time on an MSC cruise having previously had a number of cruises with Celebrity and Princess. Embarkation was smooth. Luggage was taken from us a few steps from our taxi and we proceeded to check-in hall where we were given a group number and asked to sit until called. Ten minutes later our number was called and we checked in and proceeded to ship. One of the smoothest check-in procedures of any cruise we have ever had. Our cabin was 12100 with a balcony and was midship. It was opposite an entrance to the hallway where two lifts are located but we heard little in the way of noise. The cabin was large with a 3 seater couch, flat screen TV and a small balcony. Only BBC World service channel in English but plenty of films to hire at 7 euro each if that is what you wanted to do. Tea and coffee making facilities replenished daily. Plenty of storage space and the bathroom had glass shower screen that could be folded back when not in use. Easily on a par with Celebrity and better than Princess cruise cabins. Food was the biggest let down. For breakfast we found the Inca & Maya buffet restaurant chaotic. There was a reasonable range of food both hot and cold but the hot food was seldom hot. Eggs were especially a problem as even new trays of fried eggs taken from the "hot" cupboard under servery were cold - no temperature probes ever seemed to be used to check how warm the food was and it was the same situation with omlettes, etc. In addition nobody checked whether coffee, juice or milk dispensers were topped up and on a number of cases I had to ask one of the white coats (head waiters?) to ask for this to be done. Lunchtime was better and the fresh pizza was great and varied with the cheeseburgers worth a mention as well. The midnight buffet we only visited once and the fish & chips were really good and tasty. The highlight for us was dinner each evening in the L'Arabesque restaurant where we had great service from an attentive waiter and hot food if sometimes the portion size was small. However, our waiter had no problem in bringing an extra portion or on at few occasions telling his assistant to double the portion without us asking. Speciality restaurant - Butchers Cut has recently replaced the previous Italian restaurant. The cost was an additional 62 euros plus 15% service charge for the two of us and the food was good. However at the beginning of the evening the staff looked after us but unfortunately we were sitting next to the table where the Captain and senior officers were to be seated with two VIP guests. When they arrived things changed as staff either ensured they were not in the same area as them or waited attentively next to their table. We sat for over 15 minutes with our main course plates waiting to be removed and had finished our wine but no one came near us. Eventually some one did and apologised for "forgetting" about us! What should have been a special evening was spoiled as we had to listen to senior officers in loud voices talk about the virtues of the newest ships! The total cost including drinks for what promised to be a wonderful experience was 135 euros for the two of us! Entertainment in the bars was fine although a bit repetitive and we did not fancy many of the shows in the theatre although the one we did attend "Songo Italiano" was excellent. One thing though there are kids and teen clubs but no adult only spaces! Tried to have a quiet beer in the sports bar to no avail as two different Italian groups of kids aged between 4 and 8 tried their hardest to destroy the ten pin bowling machine by throwing the balls in the air or climbing into the machine underneath where the pin mechanism operated watched on by parents and staff who did nothing. Eventally the ship mechanic had to be called as one lane ended up with all the pin cables twisted. Drinks package - We chose not to have a drinks package as we felt that they were not value for money. We had a bottle of decent wine each night with 3 or 4 drinks afterwards in the bars and we still saved money on the Premium package at 39 euros per person per day and I was drinking either beer and/or malt whisky with the better half on prosecco. Excursions were expensive and we found that with a bit of research precruise we could visit the same places for around 50% cheaper than MSC was charging but that is the same for all cruise lines. Downside on returning to ship for everyone (except Royal Yacht passengers) was that they seldom had more than one gangway open and this led to queues which was a problem in really cold port of calls. Other cruise lines provide hot coffee or tea in instances like this but with MSC it was only available for Yacht Club passengers. Shopping like most cruise ships there are a range of shops - duty free, clothes, gifts, jewellery, etc. Unfortunately every day and night they put out stalls to try and to sell mostly the same stuff as the shops to passengers. It detracts from the Italian styling of the ship and makes it feel down market. I know most ships do it but every day on MSC!!! The Phoenicians Plaza is an area where you can have a light breakfast and during the rest of the days complimentary snacks. It is surrounded by shops but they then set up stalls on the walkway to sell items forcing the tables into a smaller area. What should be a pleasant area to sit and have a coffee becomes a tight squeeze to make room for these stalls Disembarkation was the best of any cruise. Left cabin at 8am, met at theatre at ten past, off ship 8.15 in a taxi with luggage by 8.25am. We'll organised, quick and efficient. To conclude I would certainly consider MSC again but the food offering needs to improve in the buffet especially at breakfast. Plus give us an adult only space during the day to get away from unruly kids. In addition they should introduce feedback cards on the ships so that passengers can highlight good or bad practice from the staff or about the service they are receiving which would give the management the opportunity to start to address any issues. Also we had a card on our dinner table telling us who our waiter was but nothing in the cabin naming our steward. Why? As he was just as important in ensuring we had a good holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Poor food. Very poor service in restaurant Golden Lobster Low.. Very slow service, wrongly deposited bottles of wine, bread service only by request and slow. Shore excursions extremally expensive. Some of them absolutely not interesting ... Read More
Poor food. Very poor service in restaurant Golden Lobster Low.. Very slow service, wrongly deposited bottles of wine, bread service only by request and slow. Shore excursions extremally expensive. Some of them absolutely not interesting for example in Seydisfjordur. Transfer to the city in Reykiavki terrible expensive (should be free of charge). Some cruise crew are quite arogant. Towel service at pool not available. Maya and Inca restaurant terrible overcrowded with poor drink services and a very slow cleaning tables. Quite frequently cards were mixed up during bar service causing further problems. Cabin no. is on key card wich is quite rare on board. Wrong charges are quite common. For example for mini bar. All my excursions booked on line disappeared and I have to book them again on board. Pluses: quiet cabin. Interesting itenerary. Smooth check in and check out. Very good theatre performances. Good musicians and comfortable lounges along the ship however music was sometimes too loud.b Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I always wanted to visit Norway and the fjords as I am intrigued by the history of Vikings and of the scenery. This was our first cruise , it was our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband 's 50th birthday .There were a couple of ... Read More
I always wanted to visit Norway and the fjords as I am intrigued by the history of Vikings and of the scenery. This was our first cruise , it was our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband 's 50th birthday .There were a couple of things that bothered us like the wait to get on board the ship on the departure date we got there at 13.00 PM and had to wait 3 hours in the queue , we were tired and hungry and thirsty and that was not the greatest way to start our holiday. Secondly a fault that we found on the ship the only one I would say is that there is no, do it yourself laundrett , a must on a ship that carries 4500 passengers and 1200 crew members.On a 11 day cruise one needs to wash his clothes, I did manually but the rules on the boat say that no clothes are allowed to be hanged in the balcony, so that was a problem and last but not least as we are still suffering from a severe backache, the mattress in our room was very uncomfortable it needs changing, I should have mentioned this to my room attended, but never got round to it. As for the rest everything was great from the food to the service and the crew were excellent starting from our room attendant John Lerry Cuyos, who cleaned and took so good care of us always making sure we had clean towels and sheets and making up our bed even twice a day , so friendly and kind he always started my day with a smile bless him, and than our two favorite waitress Elena Gonzalez Gonzalez and Italjani, and last but not least our personal waiter Maskurin from Indonesia, they were all even others exceptionally kind, good at their job and friendly, I recommend this Holiday and MSC Preziosa but please anyone of the administration that reads this please take note of my request, as I am sure that in future alot of people will comment on this. Thanks again for our fantastic holiday, Anthony and Fiona Borg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We originally were looking into taking a Hurtigruten cruise (on one of their smaller boats) up the Norwegian coast. I had seen an amazing video on Netflix documenting the beautiful scenery. My son and I started planning our trip, and were ... Read More
We originally were looking into taking a Hurtigruten cruise (on one of their smaller boats) up the Norwegian coast. I had seen an amazing video on Netflix documenting the beautiful scenery. My son and I started planning our trip, and were dissappointed that Huritgruten was so expensive! My son then suggested that we check out an MSC cruise up the Norwegian coast instead. I was hesitant at first because their ships are so big. We then decided to book our family in Yacht Club, the most exclusive level of the MSC Preziosa. We are so glad we did. Our room was very comfortable, near the top of the ship and in the front. We were only steps away from the Yacht Club private lounge, which was hardly ever crowded, and superbly staffed. We had unlimited alcohol and were surprised at the high quality and variety of the wines. For meals we headed to the Yacht Club private restaurant in the back. This was perhaps the highlight of the cruise. The staff were so welcoming, and got to know us and our preferences. The food was incredible, offering many excellent choices, as well as the option to order more if you were still hungry. My complaints: the musical entertainment, overall... in the Yacht Club Lounge (in the front) it was too sleepy. I believe that the musicians were instructed to keep it very mellow at all times. As a musician myself, I thrive on contrasts. One pianist obviously had talent and a great harmonic understating, but never played with a beat or performed anything medium or up-tempo. Elsewhere on the boat, many of the musicians relied on tacky rhythm accompaniment from their computer. We enjoyed the excursions, especially the bike rides. We arranged for our own excursions with third party companies on two occasions, and enjoyed kayaking in beautiful fjords and rivers. Recommendation can be found on TripAdvisor. We found that the areas outside of Yacht Club were chaotic and mostly unappealing. Overall, we were able to afford a Yacht Club experience for our family for a longer cruise than Hirtigruten. What I regret is the the MSC boat did not hug the Norwegian coast, so I feel that I missed a lot of the scenery as we were often at open sea or far from the shore. MSC, as a European line, was also catering to a largely European crowd. Every announcement had to be repeated in five languages. Got tiresome. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I choose MSC without going through the reviews and that was a big mistake. The only high standard other than the ship is the amazing staff which I believe that they are the most valuable asset. And if they they don’t take care of ... Read More
I choose MSC without going through the reviews and that was a big mistake. The only high standard other than the ship is the amazing staff which I believe that they are the most valuable asset. And if they they don’t take care of them they will loose them all. The food is not to the standard as in other cruises I’ve been to. The same food offered in the buffet as for n the dinner seating dining. Other cruises offer water, lemonade or ice tea without any charge during the dining seating. All other drinks are charged. But with MSC you have to buy your drinks. The food in general is not very tasty. From the 11 nights. Only few nights the dinner was tasty. The pasta and risotto was under cooked. The seafood, scallops risotto with one small piece which might be a starter but not main dish. They offered butter chicken which was tasty also. The ice cream and desserts was tasty. Which you can only get for free in the dining seating. In other places you should buy them. No soft ice cream machine. One small snack bar which offers complementary cakes and sandwiches. The buffet area is the only place you can get snacks from till 2am. In the buffet during lunch and dinner only water, tea and coffee is available without charge. The pizza is very nice. All the food offered is labelled. They offered roast turkey which was tasty. But most of the food offered needs to be improved in standard and quality. Salads and dressing was nice too. The daily show was boring. One or two nights were ok. The last show was a disaster and it was what was best as they say from what was presented during the previous nights. The animation team were very good and exciting. Again all the staff were so good. They worked so hard. Some did look tired but didn’t stop smiling to the guests. The excursion were over priced. I’d like to thank all the staff if it wasn’t for them it would have been a hell of a long journey. Definitely won’t cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the balcony stateroom. They allow open smoking in several areas inside the ship which permeayes the showroom and other bars! There are over 21 points for improvement with this cruise company. The entertainment us cheap, appears unrehearsed and karaoke like most nights. Embarkmemt required showing proof you were a real person I've 3 times and queuING each time. If you are a first timer cruiser this cruise may be good for you as you would not know how low a standard MSC is. Of course you may like to pay to have open dining but other crise companies have all the above plus more included in their offer Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise to circumnavigate the British Isles and found nothing but dissapointment. We have recently returned from a cruise around the British Isles on MSC Orchestra (5th June Hamburg). If MSC gave us free tickets to cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise to circumnavigate the British Isles and found nothing but dissapointment. We have recently returned from a cruise around the British Isles on MSC Orchestra (5th June Hamburg). If MSC gave us free tickets to cruise again we wouldn't accept them. Our first encounter was at embarkation with queue after queue checking the same thing over and over followed by sit-down lunch (deck5 ) where we were refused 2 glasses of water and both the waiter and maitre de argued with us over our need to pay around EUR1 per glass to get tap water! This continued at the dinner table also. Secondly, our anticipation of having a great time was greatly diminished when the cabin staff told us we would not be provided with a box of tissues and we had to use toilet paper in their place! Thirdly, we booked a Fantastica Balcony Stateroom at the rear of the ship (smaller than most others) and expected a 5 star room - the bathroom shower has plastic curtains! No facial tissues and one roll of toilet paper - enough said. On review there are more than 21 items (including the cheap rate shows) that are far less quality, service and level of acceptability in comparison to other cruise ships of the same standard. MSC = more sur charges. All up you would be better advised to choose another cruise company and experience a level of professionality you deserve on a cruise. FYI - we have cruised over 15 times with other companies - all balcony suites, no complaints - all inclusive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My wife and I, and another couple booked 2 MSC European cruises about a year in advance. The first, on the MSC Orchestra, sailed from Hamburg on June 5th and visited ports in Scotland and Ireland. This was our first experience with MSC. ... Read More
My wife and I, and another couple booked 2 MSC European cruises about a year in advance. The first, on the MSC Orchestra, sailed from Hamburg on June 5th and visited ports in Scotland and Ireland. This was our first experience with MSC. Overall, this was a lower priced cruise, and the lesson learned is you get what you pay for (unless it's on the drink package, then you may not even get that). When we bought the cruise, we also purchased the Deluxe drink package that was supposedly the best and it included the most expensive drinks. Since then, MSC has redefined their drink packages and our Deluxe had been renamed Premium which covers drinks costing up to 10 Euros. They also changed the prices of some of the best spirits to be 11 Euros or more effectively moving the best quality drinks out of our package into the new Premium Plus category - hence my 'Bait & Switch' title. We tried to explain the situation to the bar staff and also complained to customer service, but to no avail. On rum drinks, the best we could get was 8 yr old Bicardi's rather than the Zacappa 23 that we'd paid for. I cannot fault the bar staff, this was a recent corporate/management decision. The honest course of action would have been to honor the original package parameters. My only recourse is to warn other cruisers that if you buy an MSC package ahead of time, don't be surprised if it's downgraded by the time you sail. One of the highlights of the cruise was the excellent staff members who do the actual work on the ships. The bartender in the wine bar, Louis from Peru, was an absolute professional. He is personable, extremely knowledgeable, multilingual, a natural leader for the rest of the staff, and an awesome singer & magician. The rest of the staff Sri, Pascky, Akash and Ace all provided excellent customer service and are valuable assets to MSC. I am unimpressed with the leadership and management on MSC. The officers, while being polite to customers, were aloof and sometimes rude to the workers. In one instance, I watched a group of 4 officers hold an impromptu business discussion that went on for more than 5 minutes about 4 feet in front of the singer who was trying to entertain the people in the wine bar. The dining room staff worked hard to make it a good experience. Olvin, our principal table waiter was great. The food variety and quality was fine, but not up the standards we've seen on other cruise lines. There was no problem getting enough to eat, but the budget aspect of the cruise was evident in the very thin cuts of meat and limited wine selection available in the dining room. There was no sommelier or wine steward. Self disembarkation in Hamburg was a good experience and strongly recommended if available. Some ports don't allow it. We got off before the rush and caught a cab out front to the airport - easy. We would never book another MSC cruise. The price was lower, but the way they cut corners and redefine services erodes the experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband I were on MSC Preziosa for the 11-night Northern Europe cruise (May 26 - June 6). We picked this cruise because of the itinerary which included Hamburg, cities in Scotland and Iceland. The ship interior was beautiful and the ... Read More
My husband I were on MSC Preziosa for the 11-night Northern Europe cruise (May 26 - June 6). We picked this cruise because of the itinerary which included Hamburg, cities in Scotland and Iceland. The ship interior was beautiful and the public area was clean. This was our first cruise with MSC. We have cruised over 10 times with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian. We were disappointed by MSC food quality and overall service. It is unlikely I will book another MSC cruise again. FOOD Breakfast -- The breakfast selection was pretty much the same everyday. Coffee is too weak everyday. Pastry quality and selection were good. Plenty of fruit Dinner -- We picked the 1st seating option in the dining room. I would rate the entree quality from poor to just OK. The food presented often did not match the descriptions on the menu. Occasionally, there would be a good entree and/or desserts. I was most surprised by the poor pasta entrees since MSC is an Italian cruise line! SERVICE The ship appeared to have the most confusing beverage policy. For example, we had the non-alcoholic beverage package. We could get free bottled water in dinning rooms but not at the buffet or different bars. I could get a free cup of tea but not coffee after dinner. We were charged Euro 3 to 5 each time. Different staff members had different explanations. Many passengers were confused and argued with servers about this. Our cabin service was below par. It took several days to get face cloths and a missing mug. The room to room phone message system does not work. We were traveling with another couple and there was no way to leave them a phone message. We called the guest service and was told that the message system on the phone does not work. ENTERTAINMENT The in-house group of singers and dancers was quite good. However, it could get repetitive night after night. On the last full day of cruise, it had a piano concerto performance by Maestro Mauro Bertolino in the afternoon. It was great!!!! TV and COMMUNICATION The in-house TV offered little useful information except I could review my room charges online. It does not even show the temperature of the port of call. There was only one English speaking station (BBC). I bought the standard Internet package. It was working fine until the last week. EXCURSIONS We booked our own private tours. The ships offered many excursion options but appeared to be overpriced Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise for the destinations. Those did not disappoint. However our experience with the staff was unpleasant at best. For example, 1. In the wine bar, we asked our server for a napkin to wipe our table from a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations. Those did not disappoint. However our experience with the staff was unpleasant at best. For example, 1. In the wine bar, we asked our server for a napkin to wipe our table from a previous occupants spill and we were told we had to go to another bar to get one. When we did, it was closed. 2. We bought an expensive drink package and were allowed to have any drink up to 10 euros. We ordered a wine tasting for 9.50 and were told that we had to pay for it because it wasn’t included in our package. As a matter of fact, that seemed to be the phrase of our Cruise “it’s not in your package” 3. At one of our sit down dinners, we asked our server for a mixed drink. His reply was, “well I’m gonna have to go all the way to the bar to get it because we only serve wine and beer”. Hence we only sat down twice for dinner and ate at the buffet the rest of the time. 4. Our adult friends wanted an ice cream (the dessert options were very minimal) and they were told that it was for the children. 5. We wanted to buy some photos, and began inquiring about the various packages. I’m not sure if that upset the man behind the counter, but he was rude so we left without any photos. 6. Food was nothing spectacular. No ice carvings, or dessert sculptures or chocolate fountains like you see on most other cruise lines. Very plain. This is the kind of attitudes we dealt with the staff for the entire cruise. Very short, curt answers to our questions. Just not accommodating or friendly at all. The one positive dining experience was at the butchers cut restaurant. Everyone was simply amazing, especially Muliada. Has We will never sail on an MSC Cruise Ship again. They just can’t compare to Norwegian, or Royal Caribbean, or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my first cruise on MSC and I should have paid better attention to the reviews. There were so many things wrong, the list is long: 1. Food. I was on the ship for 15 days and the same cold breakfast buffet was offered everyday. ... Read More
This was my first cruise on MSC and I should have paid better attention to the reviews. There were so many things wrong, the list is long: 1. Food. I was on the ship for 15 days and the same cold breakfast buffet was offered everyday. There is no service in the buffet unless you pay for items from the buffet bar. 2. Be prepared to add the cost of water, tea or coffee in the main dining rooms. They will not bring you a glass of water, but offer a bottle of water for Euro 3,44. That is per meal. Also don't bother to go to the dining room to get away from breakfast or lunch in the buffet. The same buffet is is set up both places. You can order from the menu, as I did one morning but they just put buffet food on the plate. 3. You have an assigned dining time and a seat and DON'T ever move to another table with empty seats or they rush over to make you feel like a criminal. It happened to me. I sat at a table for 8 the first night and no one else came. I am a solo traveler, but that is no excuse. Three nights later, I was seated again at my proper seat and table. No one came, I put the napkin on the table and walked over to a table speaking English-table for 6 with only 2 diners. Immediately the waiter approached, arms flailing stating "You can't change tables!" My response was "I just did. I refuse to eat another meal by myself.". "You have to check with the boss and he has to OK the move." Have they never heard of "my time dining" or "pick your own dining time" as many other lines have? 4. Four ports we visited, we were notified the night before that we would be docked outside of town, but they would offer a "shuttle" to get us into town. Of course, there was a price, averaging euros 10 per person. When you are told you are 30 min. away from the town via bus and don't have a clue where you are docked, what other option do you have? My theory is the cruise line has to pay to dock the ship and areas out of the center of town are cheaper, so it is another way to make money. This wasn't busy tour season, and when we got to towns, there were places for more ships and none of our rides took near as long as they stated they would take. 5. I got off 1 day early, and on that day we were told we were 30 min. away from city center. I have my luggage so what else do I do but pay for the shuttle? When I went to the excursion desk to sign up, I was told I could not use the shuttle because I was disembarking. "What, you are just going to drop me God knows where and I have to find my way?" After a phone call, he permitted me to buy a ticket. 6.On disembarkment day, I was not the only one leaving. We were told to have luggage out in the hall before 8am but would not be able to leave until 4pm or after and were instructed to meet in one of the bars and someone would come and give instructions. Our luggage could be picked up in the terminal. I, along with others, obeyed and sat there, Well, no one came. We decided to get off on our own and find our luggage, and as were were exiting, we met people coming back onto the ship and said there is no luggage in the terminal. They had to come back, then get off another deck and look for their luggage on the dock. Luggage was found, but what a mess! 7. If you enjoy the shows, don't go on this ship. They were almost non-existent. The ones they did have were nice, only ever lasted less then 1/2 hour. 8.I did not use all my pre-deposited money I added to my ship account before sailing, so I ask customer service desk how to get it back. The response was, "Come back on disembarkment day and we give you euros." I returned as told, talked to the same girl and she said, "We don't give you cash back". Wait a minute, "You were the one that told me how this works and only yesterday. I came for my money." She went to the back room and when she returned, she said, " I will give you the money in euros." 9. I attended a CruiseCritic reception, and the officers in white uniforms were to come around and talk to the passengers. I sat there 50 minutes, making direct eye contact with the men and NO ONE approached me. The cruise director, Darren was there and I asked to speak to him. I told him about the "criminal" way I was treated in the dining room and also had some real issues with a laundry package I had pre-purchased. He said he would check into the laundry issue and get back to me the next day. I'm still waiting. Four days later, I went to the service desk, and told them I had not heard from him. They called his office and said the office would call me and set up an appointment. I expressed my disappointment in Darren and said he must not be a man of his word. I am still waiting for that call also! There were a few good things that were appreciated.: 1.The cabin was neat and tidy, and clean daily. 2. I enjoyed the 9 ports we visited and the excursions I did go on were orderly and well run. 3. The ship was beautiful and always clean. The cruise director stated at the CruiseCritic meeting that MSC was putting 14 new ships in the water in the next 12 months. If they are are going to be a big player in the American cruise industry, they will need to make some changes and have some organizational skills with much better communication between staff and toward passengers. It seems there is only chaos and no one knows how or why things are to work or run. I have been on Avalon, Viking, Holland, Princess, Celebrity, and NCL over the years and they were all better than this. I will not be booking another cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Myself , My Partner & My Parents Done a Back to Back 8 day cruise on 22nd April 2018. We arrived at Southampton and joined the ship very easily our rooms where ready and all our details where checked very well. We had a easy ... Read More
Myself , My Partner & My Parents Done a Back to Back 8 day cruise on 22nd April 2018. We arrived at Southampton and joined the ship very easily our rooms where ready and all our details where checked very well. We had a easy Drinks package and was surprised of the lack of choice on this package included however I did include the drink my partner mainly drank that was until half way through the cruise and they changed what we where allowed so our drinks package was a waste of time after this Food was always cold in the buffet restaurant no matter where time we actually went to eat, we changed our eating time over the cruise but this didn’t matter , at the al la carte restaurant the menu was limited and portions very small Entertainment was not the Best compared to other cruises it was very amateur and some of the show themes just didn’t make any sense. The only think that made this cruise enjoyable was the staff , they are one of the best we have experienced and they can’t do enough for you, always smiling and asking are we ok and telling us to enjoy our day, Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I Wanted to try MSC and see what i thought,I had done 5 cruises on them but not for 7 years. sadly you cannot carry over your points so from BLACK i was NOW SILVER. PRE CRUISE. I Flew on RYANAIR from STANSTED AIRPORT to HAMBURG got ... Read More
I Wanted to try MSC and see what i thought,I had done 5 cruises on them but not for 7 years. sadly you cannot carry over your points so from BLACK i was NOW SILVER. PRE CRUISE. I Flew on RYANAIR from STANSTED AIRPORT to HAMBURG got train to HAMBURG and found my hotel very close the station. I had to walk up stairs to get to the RECEPTION to check in and get KEYS then a lift to the 4th floor anmd walk up to 5th floor. A good size room with heat working i shared a toilet. After retired as it had been a long day. FRIDAY 26th APRIL. After BREAKFAST with was good but hard to find a free table as there was lot of people there. I found JUICE,CEREALS,MEATS AND CHEESES and FRIED EGG. A ROLL AND CHOCOLATE SPREAD. Then left the KEYS and went to LANDSBRUCKEN and walked along the PROM found some ship models and walked to the CRUISE and MARITIME MUSEUM. I always love going there even though i had done it before. Saw lots of models to buy and went in lift to 9th floor and saw thousands of models. Then got train back and had a GERMAN SAUSAGE. Then got ferry to see "BALMORAL" CRUISESHIP THERE and walked yup the many steps to get a great view of the ship. Eventually she left and then went back to get something to eat. EMBARKATION DAY. After BREAKFAST much quieter today i left HOTEL to get a ticket for the SHUTTLE to the SHIP they charged it to my onboard account. After a super fast check in i boarded the SHIP and as CABINS were not ready till 2pm i went to have a BUFFET LUNCH. Then the CABINS WERE READY and was happy ton find a large inside cabin with COFFEE MAKING FACILITIES. I put my small case in so had to wait for it to arrive. Lifeboat drill was 1715Hrs So had cakes in the buffet for afternoon tea. I picked up my LIFEJACKET and went down to the CASINO. I showed my CRUISE CARD and managed to find somewhere to sit. They showed up how to put the LIFEJACKET on then it was over it was hard work walking up 5 flights to get back to my cabin. Then dinner was at the LOBSTER RESTAURANT 1st sitting which i like and sat with TIM AND ANDY another couple and another couple later. THE Food was good a lot of choice i had free bottled water as i had booked through an american agent. Then i went to the SHOW at 2115 After going up on deck to see the ship leave. It was called 70's FEVEWR SHOW 2 ladies singing 70's songs i like some of their songs but a lot of people walked out. I saw them on the bus and they were so nervous doing this new show. I now went to the LOGO SHOP with the PREZIOSA models which were gone! they said they had sold out but managed to the one in the window. Next day they were there why would he lie to me? I like a cigar butb even though she is a big ship she had no CIGAR ROOM I went on deck it wad very cold and noticed it said NO CIGARS? where are we supposed to smoke them then? NO coffee in cabin despite asking for it but had ice in bucket. AT SEA. I went tom the LOBSTER RESTAURANT and asked to sit with other but the other 4 people spoke german and very little english! We wait for 30 mins to take out order and had to waive out menu's atb the waiters! Got JUICE and asked for SWISS MUESLI it was ordinary muesli with milk and yoghart (NOT THE SAME) and EGGS BENEDICT WHICH WAS GOOD and hard toast. LE HAVRE. I got up at 0545Hrs to see the ship arrive in LE HAVRE,Then had BREAKFAST in the BUFFET plenty of room and found a much better SWISS MUESLI,FRIED EGG,BACON,SAUSAGE,BEANS and BLACK PUDDING. Then the ship was cleared so i could leave. As i had not booked and excursion and the shuttle bus was 6 EURO and last one was 1800 i Walked to the STATION it took 40 mins the queue at ticket office was so slow in missed the train to PARIS and had to wait 2 hours for the next one. The toilets were out of order too. I Had a CREDIT CARD but as the ship wanted to charge 250 euro i had only a 200£ limit i could not use it on the ship so i had to get 220 euro out of the ATM. It took 2 hours to get to PARIS got a ticket for the METRO went to the EIFFEL TOWER and MONTMARTRE a lot of walking there and it had changed a lot.I missed the 1723 Train but mins and gor 1749 instead it was rush hour but got a seat ok. When i got to LE HAVRE i walked to far and had to go back ended up at cross channel port had to go back and only got on the ship with 10 mins before i gangway went up! All the food wasc finished apart from slices of pizza i wanted cake but said not till 2200 lady got me 2 plates of cakes and watched the ship sail. Saw a much better show with singers and dancers. DISEMBARKATION. I woke up at 0445Hrs to make sure i saw us arrive in SOUTHAMPTON I got MY PARMA FLAG OUT and hope STEVEN SAW ME and the flag as we passed by. Had another nice BUFFET BREAKFAST but no BLACK PUDDING. As i had only a case i could leave the ship at 0730Hrs i also could not find my t shirt and asked my CABIN STEWARD where it was he found it under my pillow he never even said sorry i never gave him a tip. I walked off the ship and got the 0900 train to LONDON. WHAT I THOUGHT of CRUISE. I liked the food Service was poor in parts show were pretty good. But did'nt like credit card charge,logo shop,cabin n steward not the best and smoking was a bit strange. So not asure if i would go on MSC AGAIN. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We joined the MSC Preziosa in Hamburg for the west European cruise visiting Le Havre, Southampton, St. Peter Port, Brest, Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga, Vigo, Rotterdam and back to Hamburg. This was our first time with MSC and we booked the ... Read More
We joined the MSC Preziosa in Hamburg for the west European cruise visiting Le Havre, Southampton, St. Peter Port, Brest, Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga, Vigo, Rotterdam and back to Hamburg. This was our first time with MSC and we booked the Yacht Club (YC). The embarkation experience with the separate YC welcome lounge and being accompanied through security and through to the YC concierge was a pleasant start to the cruise. Out butler Nandan Priolker and junior butler Muhammad Moelyadi did an excellent job and were very friendly. We explained to them that we didn’t want to be waited on hand and foot and they respected this wish. But they did treat us very well and were always there to give us advice and to help us with any problems we had. Overall the staff in the YC were very friendly and helpful. They know when the guest would like to chat or if the guest wants to be left alone. Nayara, Priscilla, Natish, Pradeep, Mungroo, the barman “Odd-Job” just to name a few, work hard to make a pleasant cruise experience. The Top Sail Lounge offers continental breakfast, afternoon tea and various small snacks according to the time of day. It would be nice to see a change in the selection of bread rolls and Danish pastries on the breakfast buffet but otherwise it was sufficient for us. For a light breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon etc. it’s possible to go to the outdoor One Bar on deck 18 – even during bad weather. The lift to deck 18 is in the YC area. The One Bar also offers light lunches with salads and cooked food which vary from day to day. The cooked food is on warming trays but is not covered. So, if the weather is cool (as it was in northern Europe), the food gets cold. Added to the plastic plates also being cold doesn’t make the food very appetising. On our first day we asked if there is any soup as the weather is cold. We were informed that they could get us some but why didn’t they just have a tureen on the buffet. The next day there was a card to say that soup and a daily menu could be ordered. If you order eggs (e.g. poached, omelette etc.) at breakfast or if you order the soup or daily menu these are cooked in another part of the ship. Therefore, when you get them they are not hot anymore. We didn’t use the YC Palmerie restaurant; it’s at the other end of the ship. If the weather is nice and NOT windy you can stroll along deck 15, otherwise you have to go down in the lift (preferably to deck 7), swim though the crowds to the back of the ship then go up in the lift to the restaurant. This was the only part of the YC which was not actually in the YC area and was a big disappointment. We visited the Inca/Maya buffet twice. We didn’t eat there but it seems there is a good selection of food but we can’t comment on the quality. The food stations are spread around to avoid queues. The front of the restaurant was crowded but there was plenty of free seats at the back. We liked the idea of the take-away burgers, hotdogs and French fries which we tried and found to be very tasty. We had roomservice pizza twice. This was delivered quickly by our butler. It was warm and we found the quality very good. But then again, we wouldn’t expect anything different on an Italian ship. When visiting the ports, we didn’t do any MSC excursions but used the shuttle buses. The service was good and the prices reasonable. If you have time do not go on shore first thing, wait a while until the rush is over. The queues are very long at the 2 gangways. When we went ashore in Guernsey by tender, we waited in the YC concierge lounge and where then escorted as a group by a YC butler. For the other guests this may seem that we were pushing in front but, Hey! we paid for this service. Disembarkation was a pleasure! We had to leave the cabin by 8:00 to 8:30. We could have breakfast in the Top Sail Lounge and could wait there. When we wanted to leave we were again escorted by a butler who helped us with our cases which were waiting in the Cruise Terminal. We were the escorted outside to the Taxis. On the whole we enjoyed our cruise in the MSC Yacht Club. We were just dissapointed at not having the restaurant actually in the Yacht Club Area and that the only other choice was to go to the One Bar on the 18th deck. As mentioned above there wasn't much choice on the buffet and the food wasn't hot. Also, it's not the place to be in cold weather. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our families 8th cruise and I don't typically leave reviews but I had seen such poor reviews for this particular ship I felt that I should leave my feedback. We chose the Magnifica mostly because of the itinerary (embark ... Read More
This was our families 8th cruise and I don't typically leave reviews but I had seen such poor reviews for this particular ship I felt that I should leave my feedback. We chose the Magnifica mostly because of the itinerary (embark Southampton, Le Havre, Brugges, Amsterdam, Hamburg) and the long amount of time it stays in port. We are Americans so we flew from NY into London a few days early so we could do all of the typical touristy things before our cruise. On cruise day we had booked in advance a national express bus ride (much cheaper than the train) and arrived at the cruise terminal around 4:00. Embarkation was the smoothest I had ever encountered, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. Everything moved very smoothly. Once on board our cabin was ready (hooray!) and our bags were delivered rather quickly after that. We decided to hit the buffet for dinner that evening and was very pleasantly surprised with all of the selection. Was is crowded and somewhat chaotic? Yes, but I've never been to a cruise ship buffet that wasn't. I felt that food was replenished quickly and the dining room staff even helped us to find a table. The remainder of the evenings on board we ate dinner in the more formal dining room. I felt that our server was a little frosty at first but by the end of the trip he really grew on us and he even began to smile and kid around a bit. I did feel that some of the bartenders and other wait staff were a little bit less than enthusiastic about doing their jobs but the majority were very pleasant. Im certainly not going to let a few bad apples ruin my vacation. My ten year old son really enjoyed the kids club, the ladies there did a great job of engaging him and made it fun for the kids. Our stateroom was a nice nice and the pull out couch was very comfortable for our son. The room steward did a good job of keeping up with the room and the balcony. Overall for the money and really good cruise. We didn't see many of the shows but we did enjoy the pools, hot tubs and game room. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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