64 Marseille Family Cruise Reviews

Like many people have mentioned about MSC ships - BEAUTIFUL SHIP, POOR EXPERIENCE. Let's start with the Pro: - very clean - excellent gym equipment - great stage/entertainment, top notch. - great design now the ... Read More
Like many people have mentioned about MSC ships - BEAUTIFUL SHIP, POOR EXPERIENCE. Let's start with the Pro: - very clean - excellent gym equipment - great stage/entertainment, top notch. - great design now the Cons: - no one knows the true answer to your questions. Wondering how your meal package works? Well you'll learn it through trial and error, just make sure you ask before they charge you for something without asking. - Daily promotions appearing on the App? Well when you ask the people at the respective department they haven't even heard about it, despite it being printed on all the daily itinerary provided by the ship. -What? Water is not free you say??? Well depending on your package water is free at SOME restaurants, but not others. Again does anyone really know the real answers? no - Review your bill before settling. I have talked to a couple of travelers who found extra charge on their bill to things they did not order. On our bill there were 2 Euros charged for MSC foundation. I donate generously every year to many causes, but applying any amount to my bill without prior consent is theft which I am not happy about at all. - Ironic how Customer Help desk has the WORST customer service. Our housekeeping crew = GREAT. Entertainment staff = funny and helpful!. Reception...cant say the same. Most of the time they seem uninterested and are at times condescending towards your questions. - Info preparing you for embarkment & disembarkment is simply non-existent. So how do I get to the port to board the ship? No info. So what are the disembarking procedures like? You'll find out when it happens. There was a shuttle? well if you're lucky you'll find it. Basically you're left in the dark, so if like me this is your first cruise, I hope you're good at dealing with stress. - onboard services are all pretty expensive. A single picture sets you back 20 euro...pretty steep in my opinion. Drink package...I'll just stick with water. -cirque du soleil at sea, subpar. If you've seen ANY other cirque shows at all...this would not match your expectation. But at 22 euro, it won't piss you off. I can go on, but overall I would expect more from a company that has been providing cruise services for a few decades. Sure it's a new ship, but training should not be new. My impression was, after a 7 day cruise, I am more knowledgeable about the cruise than most of the staff there and helped a couple of travelers answering their questions which they did not get an answer for from the cruise. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the cruise's many amenities and some part were truly enjoyable. BUT would I sail with MSC again? Probably not...IF MSC choose to address those communication issues then I'll give it another chance. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I chose the cruise not because of the ship but mainly due to the dates 22/12 from Barcelona suited my work break and family commitments. Living on the island of Lanzarote my plan was to take an internal flight to BCN and catch the cruise ... Read More
I chose the cruise not because of the ship but mainly due to the dates 22/12 from Barcelona suited my work break and family commitments. Living on the island of Lanzarote my plan was to take an internal flight to BCN and catch the cruise ship for our 7 day festive trip. Boarding the ship at Barcelona was fast and efficient although be aware in the departure lounge there is no cafe/bar in fact no place selling cold drinks or food however as the boarding was extremely fast it wasn’t an issue. Once onboard we weren’t greeted by anyone nor we we offered any kind of instructions as what or where we should go. I sought advice from a a member fo the crew who gave me some directions of where to find my mothers cabin. We had booked 2 cabins an internal on the 9th floor ( room 9145 ) this room was super small and at this point i decided to ask for an upgrade. My own room was 12267 an external with a balcony. The room itself was more than adequate with nice new furnishings and fixtures. The reception staff were not able to offer me any kind of upgrade as the ship was full. At first they thought i wanted the upgrade for free, i explained that i was more than happy to pay for it but the response was no upgrade available. Not to worry “or so i thought”. Each restaurant we very well furnished and clean I can not express how clean and new everything was so much so that the crew were mostly clueless as to where things are or what entitlement was for drinks. I had upgraded to the Intendore Package This is a big mistake as you don’t really get anything extra for this. Absolute waste of money. The wine list is set out so any bottle of wine you have to buy but i could have a glass of certain wines but if i wanted a bottle it was to pay for. All very very confusing. All the bars onboard display the same drinks menu but be warned as not all the bars serve the drinks on the menu. Example .... in the sports bar i asked for a cocktail from the menu but was told no, then in the pizza bar i asked for a red wine i was told no and so on. The guys in the Campari Bar really are a great bunch and were the saving grace for the night time crew. The Spa Solomeio Spa what can I say. I paid 110e x 2 for the week pass but be warned as it has a small spa pool and 24 sun beds and they fill up extremely quick and you find yourself pacing the rounds looking for a bed. The sauna and steam room are new and well kept and there in a novelty snow room. None of the key fobs for lockers were working and consequently the staff were getting very frustrated with passengers who were complaining either too full or locker fobs etc. I did complain to the Spa staff about the size of the Spa and pool for 6000plus passengers. There needs to be some form of passenger traffic flow applied especially when people like us paid upfront to use this facility. The WiFi packages are all a joke. Again i paid up front 110e for the 3gb package it didn’t work and after 4 days of complaints i received a refund. The Buffet restaurant is like Piccadilly Circus in rush hour, that was quite unpleasant and the food items are scattered across such a vast area it becomes impossible to sit and have a timely meal without entering back into the scrum for you next course. Again no wines available other than the basic white. I did ask if there was any other selection as i do like my wines and enjoy trying different varieties but once again I was told no. Reception area on this ship was like a war zone from mornin until night throngs of people hanging about waiting in line to lodge their complaint. All nationalities all angry people. I myself became one of many to take my ticket and join the line waiting to lodge one of many complaints. It’s an open area with 4 or 5 counters that afford no privacy so we can all hear each other. The crew are human and would snap under the pressure and often became quite rude to passengers, myself included. This design is quite stupid and should be scrapped. I appreciate that staffing a ship like this is a mammoth task however it was evident that many of the crew had no desire to be there on that ship and perhaps felt that they had little or no option. Recruited from the Philippines or India with little to no interest of passenger hospitality. This i found had a massive impact on the feel of the ship, the ignorant leading the ignorant springs to mind. The upper deck swimming pools are 3 the main pool in under cover on deck 17 and is way too small for the passenger flow. The two extras pools are equally smaller and do not equip a ship of this size it turns the area into a municipality swimming pool from the 1980’s England not the Italian Lido that it aims to convey. The water park was a massive disappointment it remained closed for the first 3 days excuse as it hadn’t been tested when it did open it was only for two hours. My 8 year old was disappointed but perhaps the weather didn’t allow for it to be opened for longer periods. It was obvious that this ship wasn’t ready not only were the crew ill prepared but they had painting crews everywhere on upper deck painting during the day two of the bars on upper deck permanently closed. It was all very disorganized. My overall opinion is that this ship is not s cruise ship but a ferry boat that is only suitable for 2-3 night trips (any longer is simply too long). It’s not really a holiday feeling its more of a means to get to a holiday. Very disappointed and after paying 7300e it hasn’t been an economic lesson to learn. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First and foremost, MSC Grandiosa is absolutely gorgeous and the elevator designed to move people efficiently. The Aurea duplex suite is very unique with 2 full bathrooms, spacious closets, living room, dining room and a private hot tub. ... Read More
First and foremost, MSC Grandiosa is absolutely gorgeous and the elevator designed to move people efficiently. The Aurea duplex suite is very unique with 2 full bathrooms, spacious closets, living room, dining room and a private hot tub. We have been on many cruises in past and since MSC Grandiosa is so new, we expected errors, inexperienced staff, and broken processes. Never did we expect such rude, unprofessional, hostile staff at the reception, excursion desk and cirque du soleil. The incompetent staff all has one thing in common,they all refused to own their own mistakes and blames us. They obviously lacked "Customer Experience" training and basic human decency. This cruise was miserable from day one, the inner glass door (Exclusive to only duplex) had no locking mechanism and it was sliding and banging on the wall all night during rough seas. We did not know where the loud "Banging" sound was coming from the first night needless to say we did not sleep well. In addition, I set the wake up alarm via phone for am but the system called us at midnight. Due to lack of sleep and the bug in the wake up call system, we missed the "Rome" excursion that we pre-paid. When we talked to the guest service about the alarm waking us up at midnight instead of 7AM, she said "Why didn't you set up your cell phone for wake up call." Not only was she rude, she stated that I also should of called the guess service for a "Wake up" call. When we asked for our excursion refund due to this wake up call snafu, the excursion staff was hostile and said "You should of set up wake up call from your cell phone" He claimed we need to use the pre-paid excursion for another excursion because MSC do not refund. It took three days of escalation to get the excursion refunded. To make matters worse, cirque du soleil staff bumped our 7PM show that we pre-paid online and tried to move it at 10 PM. When we explained that we have a seven year old child and we can't attend 10 PM show, staff was very rude. He took no ownership that MSC made a mistake on overbooking 7 PM show. We were forced to change our dates at the last minute. We finally discovered the glass sliding door was the culprit of nightly banging on the wall sound on the second night. We had to place the chair against the door every night to stop the slamming of the door all night. That glass door literally damaged wall. We escalated this issue every night to to the guest service but they were hostile and ignored the issue. The temp fix was not done until the fourth night after the supervisor was escalated. The hot tub broke during third night of the cruise and MSC finally fixed it on the last night of the cruise after daily calls to the guest service. We could not use the hot tub that we paid for 4 nights. On the positive note, our cabin steward the only staff that treated us with respect with outstanding customer service. The wait staff were consistently friendly at IL Campo restaurant. Atelier Bistrot french restaurant was exceptional and as expected the quality of food was much better than the complimentary restaurants. The MSC buffet pizza was very good and always fresh. The overall food quality at the buffet and the complementary restaurants were subpar to poor. MSC Grandiosa is no doubt a beautiful ship but the guest desk staff lack basic hospitality skills. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Family friendly and to try a new cruise line . What we got was the rudest most unhelpful staff I have ever seen in the 15+ years of cruising. The dinning was average and again “couldn’t care less type of attitude “ Nobody ... Read More
Family friendly and to try a new cruise line . What we got was the rudest most unhelpful staff I have ever seen in the 15+ years of cruising. The dinning was average and again “couldn’t care less type of attitude “ Nobody seemed to know what was going on and never got the same answer twice. We had a tight connection and wanted to know how long roughly it would take to leave the ship with our own bags and was told the immigration could be slow and on leaving the ship there was no immigration! The cabin was average but what tipped my wife over the edge was no tissues in the bathroom. She was told it was because we didn’t have a higher enough grade balcony!!!! Staff had a poor command of English and didn’t know what was going on . Overall very disappointing and will never travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, some good quality service, friendly staff, great entertainment and decent value for money, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. The entertainment is a bunch of people singing, changing outfits and dancing, ... Read More
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, some good quality service, friendly staff, great entertainment and decent value for money, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. The entertainment is a bunch of people singing, changing outfits and dancing, EVERY NIGHT. The Market Place cafe is chaos 20 hours per day. Absolute mayhem. The staff and cruisers have very little to non existent manors. Pushing, ignorance, shouting and being generally rude is commonplace. MSC over charge on everything. 8euros for a beer.... PLUS 15% service charge on top. Buses at ports are all 4x the price they are when you actually leave the ship. One thing we didn’t think of was the fact people leave and start their holidays at almost every port. Imagine all of those safety drills, suitcases and so on all over the place, every day! If you’re in you’re room you have a ten minute lecture in every language about the safety procedure, almost every day. The food.... is ok. That’s it. Lack of imagination and small portion sizes but in the lighthouse during the evening it’s pretty good. They will try and get you to pay for speciality restaurants and drinks packages at every opportunity. The room we had, 12261 with a balcony was great however. Very large and much better than other ships we had been on. Our cabin steward was nice. Room always tidy. The boat is pretty nice. The layout isn’t great though and means you’re up and down stairs a lot, the lifts are always full. It’s designed and fit out a bit cheesy rather than luxury but I guess people like that. The best area of the ship by far is the Masters of The Sea. The staff are funny, friendly and personal. They remember your name, your drink and are super efficient. The live music is good and the pub has the best vibe of anywhere on the ship. One thing we should say is we are British. We’ve sailed from Southampton a number of times with different companies but this cruise fell far short and we certainly wouldn’t be booking with MSC again. Today is the last day of our cruise, looking forward to getting home. MSC if you’re reading | Areas to improve Adult only areas - quiet areas (no party music blasting) Some manors. Some organisation to the Marketplace. Restocking of minibar as standard. Entertainment - A new manager. The entertainment is simply awful. The same thing every night and every day. Very poor and a very basic standard. Try a different cruise liner and see what they do. Food leftovers left down the hallways on the floor. Pretty disgusting and often left for hours. The safety procedure. He has been talking for ten minutes In every language whilst we are trying to relax in our room. We’ve heard it 5 times. Make him stop, please. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and ... Read More
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and as they have no set start port for the Cruise there are people embarking at every port of the Cruise meaning there is far fewer at each port in the queue. Crew/Staff- were top notch, despite the fact that there were very few English speaking passengers on board we never met a crew member that could not speak English, they were super helpful and always courteous. Facilities- there were so many things to do onboard for both adults and kids that there was never a danger of boredom, everything from multiple pools and jacuzzis to a State of the Art gym, video games, football pitch, table tennis, and a squash court. There is also a Hair salon, Spa and other pampering available at an extra cost. There is a Casino, a Sports Bar along with plenty of Cafes, Bars, Restaurants and Ice Cream Counters. Excursions- are available at an extra cost, these can be quite expensive especially if you are booking for four but having done both official and self-organised excursions there is not a huge cost saving in the difference but the self-organised tours allows for flexibility such as choosing the time slot for climbing the Tower of Pisa. NB* please note that tickets to go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa are NOT included in that tour and you NEED to book in advance to ensure you get to go up as it is super busy and limited in numbers allowed. Dining- This was one worry we had but we could not have been more impressed, there was a different and varied dinner menu each night in the Red Velvet Restaurant, you could also go there for breakfast and lunch or you could go to the Zanzibar Buffet on deck 14 which opened 18-20 hours per day. The buffet however didn't have food between 17.00 & 18.30 due to the crew partaking in the daily Emergency Evacuation Exercise for new passengers which we found was a strange time to close the food part? The food was always top quality in the A La Carte Red Velvet and while there was a huge choice in the Zanzibar some of the food was tepid if it had been out for more than a couple of minutes. Passengers- Mainly Italian, French, Spanish & German but with a good sprinkling of other nationalities. One drawback that I must mention as it can colour the judgement / enjoyment of some people is that we found that passengers of certain nationalities appear incredibly rude in terms of an inability to queue in an orderly fashion, an unwillingness to give way while passing in tight spaces and even common courtesy of thanking you for holding a door open for them. I had to ask passengers at one of the shows to be quiet as they insisted on talking their way through the show so loudly that everyone within 30m could hear their conversation and none of the show. The ship despite being 11 years old was in great condition and huge efforts were made to keep it looking well so overall we could not fault MSC in any way, indeed we were so impressed we have booked with MSC on their new ship the MSC Grandiosa for next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, so I'd say we have a broad range of cruising experience. We chose this cheap and cheerful cruise for our annual family holiday because, well, it was cheap. We travelled by train from London and sailed from Marseille, via Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Naples, Livorno and Genoa. We were concerned, to say the least, after reading so many poor reviews but overall, the experience was acceptable. Embarkation was surprisingly all right. I think it is because for this particular cruise, people are boarding and leaving from every port so you don't experience the usual huge lines and long waits for your baggage. A couple of things to note, however, is that firstly you need to validate your cruise card and link it with your credit card *on the ship* rather than at embarkation, and at checkout you need to physically go to reception to receive any refund due on your credit card. This isn't something we knew about before boarding and not something that was made clear to us on board. In fact a lot of the things we knew about the ship were down to reading Cruise Critic boards, and because a few of us had sailed with MSC before. Generally, information is not particularly forthcoming. You are either expected to know, or find out for yourself. In addition, the answers you get from the crew depend entirely on who you ask. At times it felt like a crew training cruise, when just about every query was received with puzzlement and a long discussion with someone else. A major point which I think others have also made is regarding smoking. If you cannot tolerate smoking, do not cruise with MSC. Smoking is officially banned on balconies and only permitted outdoors on Deck 7, one side of the pool deck and in the cigar bar and casino. However, despite numerous complaints, nothing was done to stop our cabin neighbours puffing away on their balcony, constantly, and indeed taunting us about it. There are plenty of hidden corners where people can and do smoke, and little is done too prevent it. Tacitly, it seems that this is a smokers' cruise line in spite of the obvious fire risk this poses. The Atlantico bar is directly above the casino and connected with a grand staircase, so that too is quite a smoky area. Another point of concern was the random way in which rules were applied. I left the ship every day with my daughter and niece (who was travelling with her parents) – some of us went for a run, and we walked to meet up with them in each port - with no problems except on the last day when I was informed that I could not take her off the ship as we had different cabin numbers. This sort of thing should not come as a surprise! We had no idea this was a rule of the ship and it was embarrassing, to say the least. Ship environment and layout Perhaps uniquely among ships I've travelled in, the Fantasia has almost no internal clues as to where you happen to be. For example, on NCL, the design of the carpets and art in the stairwells indicates whether you're fore, aft or midships, and little fish point to the front of the ship. There are no such design elements on Fantasia – there are few maps on the wall and paper maps of the ship are only available at reception. This led to a great deal of getting lost. This is a ship of dead ends and going round in circles. I would advise anyone travelling to get a deck plan in advance and study it carefully. This is an older ship and there were stained carpets and leaky air conditioning, flickering lights and broken toilets. Most of the water park was closed for refurbishment. Overall it was clean but it has seen better days. The room stewards were highly overworked – they never get a period of time when there are no passengers on board on a schedule like this one and the ship is permanently full. Our cabin was cleaned daily but sometimes it wasn't turned down until quite late in the evening. Facilities/entertainment We used the Kids' Club – this was fine but if there aren't many kids there, the staff put on a movie and this may be in a different language to the one your kids happen to speak. This may not bother your kids – it didn't bother mine, but it bothered her cousin. Registration, drop off and collection all happen in the same queue, rather than having registration take place at a set time every day. This led to very long lines at busy times. Children get either a red or green wristband. Red means they are not allowed to roam the ship alone, green means they can check themselves out of the kids' club whenever they like. If your child is sensible and can navigate the highly confusing ship, that is.. The pools are fine – they do the job! There is a large indoor pool, an outdoor pool complex, a water slide (with random opening hours), a pool and hot tubs at the back, and a water park which was under refurbishment and therefore closed. The theatre shows were pretty good, if at times incomprehensible. At the poolside, there are often dance classes and other fun activities. There's a tiny library and cyber café, hidden by the reception area. The bars are OK, with little to distinguish one from another. There's a constant pressure to buy drinks packages but these can only be applied to everyone in the cabin – there's no way that between the three of us we could get through €90 worth of drinks a day for the most basic package. Our travel agent negotiated a deal where we could have sparkling water at the buffet or dining room, which was all we really wanted anyway. The photo gallery was incredibly crowded and finding your photos was haphazard – people seemed to be moving photos around. However, the photographers were really good and we actually bought quite a few, which we don't usually. We had a small balcony cabin which was fine, it had enough room for us and our stuff. It got quite noisy at night with stuff going on in the corridors and neighbouring cabins but nothing too bad (apart from a big fight next door one night for which we had to call security…). Staff The staff are nice, they all speak basic English and do their jobs well, but I refer to my earlier remark about how it seemed that this was a training cruise. Food We ate in the dining room and the buffet. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants so I can't say anything about those. The food was a bit hit and miss – nothing horrible, but few things were amazing. The prime rib was great. I really missed the sort of hot puddings you get on NCL or Princess. The dessert section of the buffet was mostly little cakes and jellies, but there was plenty of fruit available. The buffet had a good selection most of the time, the pizzas were excellent. There's little enforcement of the hand gel and often the dispensers were broken, which probably explains why most of us now have colds. In the dining room the portions were very small – my nine year old had room for two main courses from the adult menu one night. Ports of call We did like all the ports we visited. Most of the time we walked off the ship and did not use the shuttle buses. It's worth noting that in Livorno, there is a €5 bus that takes you to the centre of town, or a slightly secret free bus that gets you to the entrance to the port, and then it's a 10 minute walk to the town centre. If you're able to walk for 20 minutes, you don't really need the shuttle buses, but they are heavily promoted. Additionally in Livorno, the town centre itself is OK but a bit boring – however the area around the aquarium (worth visiting, much cheaper than the large one in Genoa) is a newish development with some interesting shops and cafes, a lovely park, lido and playgrounds. It's only a 15 minute walk from the port to here and it's where we wish we'd spent most of the day. We didn't book any excursions. What we tended to do was find a central point of interest and wander towards it – this paid off well in these dense, rambling towns. We hired bikes in Palma de Mallorca (but note that the cycle lane along the seafront can get busy and isn't great for novice riders). The beaches at Palma and Ibiza were really nice, clean and with decent facilities. In summary If you're looking for cheap and cheerful, you don't mind smoking and you're OK with haphazard customer service, then MSC is fine. However, if you have high expectations then you're going to be disappointed. Do your research first and go in with your eyes open. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
MSC is not a customer centric company and this is evident already from the stage of reservation when a complaint that we filled was never addressed and it relates to one of their customer service employees having hang up on our call ... Read More
MSC is not a customer centric company and this is evident already from the stage of reservation when a complaint that we filled was never addressed and it relates to one of their customer service employees having hang up on our call impolitely with the excuse that our french accent was not good and he could not understand us but at the same time he did not speak English to serve us. On board such lack on customer satisfaction continued and we had the feeling that we were constantly being ripped off even for basic stuff, like having tissues in the cabine. What was very annoying during the whole cruise was that we were not valued as a customer and what was offered on the price you paid is just the minimum (like your right to be on the boat) and then you need to top it up significantly to get what you normally get with the cruise fare in other cruise companies. A testament to what we have experienced is the fact that we were not provided with a customer satisfaction survey during the cruise or even at the end. Service quality is not measured hence it is very low compared to other cruise companies where the client is at the center of their service. The embarkation and disembarkation was smooth for us but in every port there people getting on and off the cruise which gave the impression of a hop on hop off type of cruise than anything else, as a result there was no real chance to get any bonding with your fellow travelers or even with staff as they treated you as walk in passager rather than a passenger that will spend a week on board. At the embarkation we were not taken to our cabine and not even shown wheyre the lifts were located to go to our cabine (a ship of 20 floors with 5500 passenger can be a little intimidating when you first set foot on so a little guidance would be much appreciated). Entertainment (shows) in the night was average but the timing was not well planned as the different time shows were conflicting with dinner options and we needed to rush to be on time and get a place. There was no library to get a newspaper or a book. Excursions were expensive for what they offered and on the first day we were 10min in advance to our meeting time, checked in for the excursion and informed the guide that we are passing to the toilet. Surprisingly the guide left us all alone at the meeting point on board because his procedure said that he had to go and he did not wait for us (it was still 5min before the meeting time, they were people who missed the excursion!). His behavior and attitude was unacceptable and rude to some extent but remember as above nobody is measured for their behavior and service. Last but not least we had to ask for everything as information provided was not sufficient and that was exhausting. Activities on board were limited and only around shopping and photos, which all resulted in passengers spending more money. Please note that free water was only available through water fountains (bottle water cost 3.5 euros 500ml) and free juice only available during breakfast. Unlimited pizza and pasta and fruits almost 24/24. Drinks packages were extra and cost from 20euros per person per day (for non alcoholic, eg water, juice, coffee) and from 30euros per day per person for beers and wine. That was the definition of rip off. Kids were happy as they spent most of their day at the kids club but excursions on shore were not adapted to kids. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise ... Read More
We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise line's offerings and paid it off. Also, since we were flying from Los Angeles to Europe, we wanted to see as much as we could each day, so no days at sea was exactly what I was looking for. We chose to board in Marseille since my husband wanted to spend a couple days in Paris prior to the cruise. As for the cabin, we paid for an inside guarantee with the "Fantastica" experience and were very surprised to be upgraded to a mid-ship balcony. Although the ship is a bit dated, it was very clean, the service was excellent across the board and the balcony cabin was very roomy. Our cabin attendant - I Putu Kertajaya, was excellent, and honored our requests. The itinerary included Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, and Valencia. We were fortunate weather-wise with only two days of rain and good weather for the rest of the ports at the end of May, and to have calm seas. Previously having sailed many times with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney, and Carnival, I was curious about what differences would exist with MSC, so I read many Cruise Critic reviews. I learned that there would be differences from the above mentioned cruise-lines in the food and entertainment offerings so I was not surprised to find this to be the case. Both the buffet and the dining room menus have less entree options. Also, our "Fantastica" level of service included water bottles at meals in the dining room, (we found out late into the cruise) all who had not paid for this had to purchase water at lunch and dinner in the dining room just to get a glass of water with the meal. We were accustomed to being served free water at lunch and dinner in the dining rooms prior to this experience, so this was an unusual difference for us. Also, the entertainment in the theatre was not innovative or inspired and had the nightly repetition of the same talent, unlike others we have sailed with, but I was aware this would be the case from the reviews I had read. A variety of styles of music and dancing could be found in the lounges for those who enjoy that. The ports were all very pleasing and we explored most of them on our own taking trains and buses with the exception of two ship's excursions. Since people were embarking and debarking each day on this itinerary, it was hard to get a Cruise Critic meeting or Meet & Mingle party together. Also, with no days at sea, time was limited. We received a note in our cabin that the meeting date was cancelled, but then rescheduled for dinner in the Asian Fusion (new) Galaxy lounge/restaurant. This was a delightful sushi dinner with two ship's officers and just four of us Cruise Critic members. It was a very special evening for us on the ship and the two officers were extremely friendly and personable. This was one of the highlights. We had a really good week with the knowledge that this experience would be different in terms of food and entertainment. If you are accustomed to the cruise-lines mentioned above or the luxury lines, you will have a good time IF you are aware of differences and change your expectations...it's all in the expectations and this was a great daily itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then ... Read More
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then involved a lot of emails, form-filling and calls to the Consulate in Malta. It was finally resolved by leaving the ship at Malta, a night at a hotel there, a visit to the consulate, a flight to Barcelona, a night in a hotel in Barcelona and rejoining the ship there. Although the loss of the passport was due to the chaotic security system at Marseille, MSC did not seem to make any efforts to locate the passport. Lesson 1 - Don't let anything out of your sight at the security/x-ray area. Coming aboard was fine, the cabin suited the two of us and having a balcony was great. In the cabin there is the MSC version of Alexa/Google/Siri/etc called Zoe. We found it to be useful in telling us the weather, but nothing else. It was laughably bad, just responding with 'ask a member of crew' to the most obvious of questions. Surprisingly, for a ship just a few weeks old, the pillows smelt a bit of smoke at the beginning of the week. Not enough to make you discard them, but definitely noticeable. On the penultimate night we found that the air-conditioning was blowing smokey air into the cabin. Not nice at all. I told reception the following day but was instructed to report it when it happened. When you are half asleep in bed you don't want to be ringing reception to report issues. Lesson 2 - report issues immediately if you can. In advance of the cruise MSC try very hard to get you to spend money on one of their drinks packages. So much so that they do not show the price of drinks on their website. Any search on the website like 'what is the price of a drink?', or 'what are the bar prices?' return you to the drinks packages page. So if you want to compare having a drinks package with buying individual drinks, you can't do it. I contacted MSC to ask the price of drinks and they refused to let me have any information for quite a while with excuses like, 'Because our stocks are subject to availability, prices might change', and 'We don't have a bar list, so I can't give you the prices'. It is a shame that they were dishonest here because the real reason for not telling me was that MSC wants everyone to buy their drinks package (they make more money out of you that way). After quite a few emails dancing around the question MSC were able to tell me the 'approximate' price of some drinks, which enabled me to see that a drinks package was not good value for us. The basic package does not cover a gin & tonic, or most of the cocktails, so if you want anything like that you need to be buying the higher priced packages. We spent a lot of money on drinks, but it was still cheaper than the drinks package. Bear in mind that most days we were ashore so not buying day-time drinks from the ship. To help out others in this respect I have taken photos of the bar prices and will attach them below. Remember they add 15% to these prices to cover the cost of putting the drink into a glass (!). Lesson 3 - MSC want you to buy their drinks packages because it makes them more money Having spoken to various people before setting off I was expecting something a bit classier than what we encountered. The ship itself is very new & shiny, but we found that lots of people are happy to wander around in wet swimming trunks carrying plates of pizza from the buffet. Often we shared a lift with people wearing pyjamas taking a plateful of sausages or similar to their room. The gala night was a lot more formal and many people dressed up for that, which made it much more special, but on the whole I was surprised at the casualness of it all. There was a 'white night' where we were encouraged to wear all-white, but perhaps 10% of passengers bought into this. Given the amount of clothes space available in the suitcase and cabin; I guess a one-off white outfit was not going to be a priority. Lesson 4 - This is more of a party ship than a classy cruise, pack accordingly. I was also expecting there to be informative/educational presentations (I guess I had heard this from people who had been on other cruises). There were none on this cruise. In the evening there were basic dance classes which were good fun and the crew did a great job of encouraging and helping people along. Aside from that it's Karaoke or a band or a 35 minute theatre show. The cirque-de-soliel show was excellent and worth the price. The other (free of charge) shows were also good and worth booking in to. You can book into these things on the interactive screens around the ship or you can use the Msc-4-Me App on your phone. Both systems worked well for us. Lesson 5 - It's all showbiz, nothing cerebral. But do go to the shows. We didn't use the MSC shore excursions at all - they seemed to be crazily expensive and we are not afraid of negotiating for a taxi. For example: before arriving at Barcelona you find a shuttle-bus ticket in your cabin for 9.99 Euros. This is for the bus that saves you a 40 minute walk into the city. As soon as you get off the ship you can see the shuttle buses lined up with the 4 Euro fare shown on the front. A few prices we found: Naples to Pompeii return taxi 17 Euros per person Messina to Taorina return taxi 15 Euros per person Marseille to Airport taxi 10 Euros per person Lesson 6 - Don't use the MSC excursions unless you really can't be bothered to do anything by yourself. Food on the ship was good. Our children enjoyed the all-day availability of the buffet and the range of options there was very broad. Our evening meal was in the standard deck 6 restaurant and the food was varied, plentiful and well presented buy the attentive staff. Really enjoyed having the same servers each evening and they very quickly got to know us and our drinks choices - excellent. They were happy to hold half-used bottles of wine over from day to day. Lesson 7 - Food is plentiful and good quality Finally, just before you join the ship they get you to stand in front of a picture of the ship and hold a pretend wooden ships wheel. Part way through the cruise an envelope containing 6 of these comical pictures arrived in our cabin. The idea is that you tick a box and leave the photos for your cleaner to take away. All of our party returned the photos in this way, but nevertheless 3 of the 5 cabins had 35 Euros added to the bill for the pictures. That seems to be more than just a coincidence to me! Just 10% of people overlooking this on their bill brings nearly 16,000 Euros a week to MSC. Lesson 8 - Watch out for the hidden costs Would I go on this cruise again? No Would I go on another cruise? Possibly, if there were more grown-up activities going on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these ... Read More
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these VENUES serve exactly the same food, but just that the name of the restaurants are different. Some are even right next to each other, but use different names. Now we know why they use the word VENUE, clever! Specialty restaurants: As soon as we boarded we bought a package to dine in 4 different specialty restaurants, it was 115 Euros total. We soon found out that the package means eating the set menus at each restaurants and that we could just walk into any specialty restaurant without a package and pay the price of set menu. A set menu usually means 3 course with very limited options to choose from. At the end of the four days we were very disappointed to find out that the values of all four set menu added together was only about 7 euros more than 115 euros that we had purchased our package for. Specialty restaurant 1 (Bistrot): The waiter obviously had no training as he spilled wine everywhere on the table while pouring. Every single glass he poured he spilled. The decor looked cheap. Set menu options very limited as compared to a la carte. Specialty restaurant 2 (Butcher's Cut): Everything was great. Specialty restaurant 3 (Japanese): The set menu comprised of around 9 items. First came the miso soup and the appetizer. Then the food stopped, and we had to wait 40 minutes for the next dish. Items 2~8 came together in one platter. We almost missed our Cirque du Soleil show. The food was mediocre, it was just a western version of Japanese food using disposable chopsticks. The waiter asked for our room numbers and he entered it into the machine, but it didn't work so he asked again our numbers. This process repeated 3 times. Had he asked one more time I should've probably write it big and clear on my forehead. Specialty restaurant 4 (Tapas): We were given an a la carte menu as usual, but this time it got 10 times more complicated for ordering a set menu. There were around 30 items total on the menu, but only around half can be ordered if you are on the set menu. The tricky part was that the menu didn't indicate which ones can be ordered and which ones not. So the waiter had to point them out again and again. On Board activities Perhaps it was our own lack of experience, but after seeing the promotional video on Belissima with the water slides, bowlings, F1 sitimulators, and all the cool activities, we somehow thought that all these were supposed to be free. - The jacuzzis were always packed, even on a non-sea day. - The gyms had no yoga classes that we wanted to go. Service & Staff Waiters are generally not friendly. Room stewards are much more friendly. Ship design and cleaniness It is a very nice new ship and well designed with high techs. Would have been 5 stars but on the main public deck (Promenade deck), the walkaway is quite narrow for a ship with 4000 passengers. On top of that they place photo shoot stands, tables selling perfumes, etc. to block the way and make the main walkaway even narrower. This especially affected the speed people disperse after a show finish. I guess making money out of photo shoot and perfume is much more important to MSC. Cabin Our cabin was right under the buffet area and the sound of people moving chairs was very very loud. The sound could have been much reduced had they put softer rubber paddings on all chairs. At night when the buffet chairs were silent, things were even worse... The cabin had this constant high pitch plastic or wood crackling sound everywhere. It was even worse in our relative's room. Review summary We were excited and overjoyed the moment we got on this stunning new ship as we saw the glamorous high tech interior. This was our second time cruising, with the first being in Alaska with HAL line 'Noordam', but the ship was very old and even had CRT TV in each cabin. However, we had a very enjoyable time on it and so we decided to cruise again, this time choosing a newer ship the MSC Bellissima, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, over the course of 7 days on the Bellissima we felt that MSC puts a higher priority on making more money out of guests in every way rather than making guests happy so they would come back again. For example: - Staffs would hard sell packages, souvenirs, lemon cello, photo shoots, etc. every chance they see you. - Basically apart from buffet, main dining rooms, shows, otherwise nothing is free. Even water is 3 euros/liter and guests are technically not allowed to take water with our own bottles in the water dispensers in the buffet area. - It is written by MSC that tipping to individual staffs is 'discouraged', and that tips are encouraged to be tipped to the company as a whole. After getting to know MSC's mentality we suspect that this was so that they could keep those tips and never pay it down to the staffs. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting ... Read More
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting in Arrivals for us and we shared a mini bus with another family on our flight, so we were on our way straightaway.  The port was only 20 minutes away.  On arrival at the cruise terminal our cases were tagged and taken from us and we went through to the check in area.  We still had an hour and a half until check in opened, but there were plenty of seats and a café if you wanted to buy a snack or drink.  An announcement was made when check in opened, Aurea experience guests were asked to come up first, but nearly the whole waiting area of people stood up.  We made our way through the crowd of people and soon got checked in and were given our cruise cards and wrist bands.  There was a table with fruit juice and then you had to stand for a family photo.  After the photo, you went through security screening and then on the ship you presented your cruise card and had your photo taken for ID purposes.  There were a lot of staff standing around with posters advertising the drinks packages, but we tried to avoid these, as we already had the premium package which was offered as a promotion when booking our holiday.  We made our way to our cabin (12005) a duplex suite at the front of the ship. The cabin was great; upstairs there was a double bed which we had asked to be twin beds, but Mellissa our friendly cabin steward came to introduce herself straightaway and told me that she would change the bed arrangement while we were at dinner.  The bathroom upstairs was bigger than I thought with a full-size bath with shower over, also upstairs was a TV, a small safe and a large walk in wardrobe with vanity unit and hairdryer.  Downstairs there was a shower room, a walk-in wardrobe, dining area, large TV and a sofa bed which quickly turned into a very comfy double bed.  There was also a vanity unit with hairdryer, coffee table, mini bar and more storage.  There is room for cases under the beds upstairs or under the staircase.  The cabin also came with two Zoes, like Amazon’s Alexa, but we only used them as a Bluetooth speakers, as we couldn’t get them to work when asking questions.  The TV’s in the cabin show your account details and give information on what is happening on board plus you get a paper daily planner every night to look through.  You can also download the MSC for Me app to use on your mobile, you don’t need the internet package for this to work on-board.  There are also screens around the ship if you want to book shows, etc.  The balcony was a good size with two sun beds, two chairs and a foot rest.  The hot tub was always warm enough to relax in and had a hot/cold tap to fill it up.  Two bathrobes and slippers were provided and 4 pool towels. We also got a free diffuser to take home. The buffet area was busy, but at all the times we visited we always found a table and there was a good selection of food which we found was good quality.  You could press a button at your table and request drinks from the bar which was a great idea.  The other areas of the ship never seemed over busy, you could usually find a table to sit at.  We also had access to the Top 19 Solarium which was reserved for Aurea and Yacht Club guests.  There were towels there to use and comfy sunbeds with thickly padded cushions and a large hot tub.  There wasn’t a bar at Top 19, but someone did come around serving drinks, although he was on his own, so it sometimes took a while to get a drink. He also came around with fruit skewers which was a nice touch.  The outdoor pool was heated so could be used even if it wasn’t a very warm day and there were plenty of beds and a snack bar, drinks bar and ice cream bar.  There was a huge screen above the outdoor pool, but as the temperature at night was very cool no films were shown on this during our cruise.  We had My Choice Dining in the Lighthouse restaurant so we could turn up and get a table straightaway.  Our waiter, Julio, was very friendly and soon got to know the drinks we liked and was very efficient, we were never kept waiting too long for our food, the menu had a good choice and it was different every night of our 7-night cruise.  The food was not al a carte but was a good standard, we enjoyed all our meals.  One night my husband got a steak that was very fatty, but Julio noticed this and brought him another one.  We had to ask for butter a on a couple of occasions, but this was soon brought. On our first night at the restaurant we were told that we were on the Easy drinks package although we knew we had the Premium, so we were told to go to Guest Services after our meal to check.  We soon got it rectified and were assured we hadn’t been charged for anything.  The dome in the Galleria was very impressive and showed a different show on it every night of our 7-night cruise, it was on three times during the evening.  We had purchased the Fun Pass at £90 beforehand which meant that we could spend 180 euros on bowling, (30 euros for 30 minutes), F1 simulator (10 euros each), VR Maze (15 euros each), Interactive Cinema (10 euros each) and games in the arcade were between 1.50 euros and 3.50 euros. We soon got through our Fun Pass, I thought the bowling and F1 simulator and arcade games were priced OK, but the Maze and Cinema seemed a bit pricey for the amount of time you spent in them.  I would recommend getting a Fun Pass before you travel to save money. During our bowling session people kept coming onto our lane to have a nosy which we thought was very dangerous when we’re throwing a heavy bowling ball.  They had a blue strip of material at the bottom of the stair up to the bowling lane, but people just moved around it and small children went underneath it.  We had to ask people to move on a couple of occasions, I think a proper screen is needed to prevent this happening before there is an accident. We didn’t bother with an Internet package as we were hugging the coastline most of the time, so had a phone signal, it was only the at sea day that we struggled. We didn’t bother with the speciality restaurants, the sushi, teppanyaki and Butchers Cut seemed popular, but the French bistro and Spanish tapas bar were empty whenever we passed.  We were happy with the quality of the restaurant and buffet food so didn’t want to spend 120+ euros for a meal for four.   We did get charged 34.99 euros for photos that we hadn’t ordered. Some photos were left in our cabin which were taken when we embarked, you had a form to complete saying whether you wanted them or not.  I signed to say that I didn’t want them and the cabin steward removed them from our room.  This may have been a genuine mistake, but keep an eye on your bill while on board.  We had a free photo with the Aurea package, but when we went to the Photo shop we were told it had to be the photo taken in the restaurant on our first night and not the one from the gala night, so we ended up spending 39.99 euros for 3 photos from the gala night.  You do get pestered quite a bit by all the photographers to have photos, but we just said no thanks and carried on walking. Our drinks package was good, we got a good selection of wines, including sparkling, bottled beers, and cocktails and other spirits up to 10 euros.  We could also have water and tea/coffee in the restaurants.  The kids could get soft drinks, water and smoothies.  Just be careful because we got charged 6.33 euros for a child’s milkshake from the bar next to the waterpark, my daughter also got a shake from the indoor pool bar and it was included in our package, so beware.  Also, you get charged for using the minibar, which seemed nonsense because everything in it we could get from the bars and it was included in our package, so we never used the mini bar. We only went to one of the free shows in the London Theatre which was a Rock show.  It was 35 minutes long which was perfect for my husband who doesn’t do shows, but he enjoyed it.  It flowed well and the costumes were great.  My daughter and I went to the Syma, Cirque du Soleil show which was 14 euros each, it was a very good show and you got one cocktail at the start.  The seats were very comfy and swivelled and you had a small table in-between. It was quite an intimate theatre, which was nice, we were on the third row, but could see perfectly and were only a couple of metres from the round stage.  My children didn’t use the clubs, there was a young club for 12-14 years and a teen club for 15-17 years. A lot of the children in their age group were Spanish/French/Italian so they stayed with us and would occasionally have a wander to the buffet on their own or wander around the shops.  We only did one excursion to Pompeii which was £209 for the four of us.  It was a 4-hour excursion, but we were disappointed that we didn’t get more time at Pompeii.  It was about 50 minutes on the coach to Pompeii and then we stood around for the first 15 minutes waiting for the guide to purchase tickets and count us all in. Pompeii was very crowded and we were soon heading for the exit.  My son wanted to see the visitors centre, but we bypassed this and headed for the exit.  On exiting we were told we had 20 minutes to get a drink or visit a Lemoncello factory near the entrance with the guide.  I would rather have spent the time at the visitor’s centre or exploring more of Pompeii.  We then headed back to the bus that wasn’t there so we stood in the car park for at least 5 minutes or maybe longer and then on the way back to the ship we stopped off at a coral factory for 10 minutes.  The majority of people stayed on the bus.  It just seemed as if we had spent £209 to stand around and be sold Lemoncello and coral gifts.  We spent less than an hour and a half inside Pompeii. When we docked in Genoa, Messina and Valetta it was an easy walk to the centre, but for Barcelona it was a 2km walk, so we hopped on the shuttle bus it was 8.99 euros each for adults return and 5.99 euros for 13 years and younger.  We got charged 8.99 euros for our 13-year-old but we didn’t bother going to Guest Services over 3 euros.  All the staff we encountered were good, we just had one member of staff who was rude, she was in the Masters of the Sea pub, which we used every night, but she was only in there on one of the nights, so maybe she had been put there and wasn’t happy about it, although that is no excuse.   We had a phone call at 1am on one of the nights to say could we turn our balcony light off as it was effecting navigation.  Our cabin was located directly under the bridge. We found this funny that a balcony light was effecting the ships navigation.  We turned it off straightaway and had a chuckle about it. You use the hot tub at your own risk, my daughter sustained a very large bruise and a cut at the top of her thigh.  She was sat sideways on the ledge to gain access to the hot tub and was just about to get out of it when the filter kicked in, which is located at the entry/exit point, and it sucked her skin into the square cut out and she panicked.  I manged to prize her away and couldn’t believe what it had done to her thigh.  We have a hot tub at home but the filter is nowhere near the entry/exit point. My daughter enjoyed the waterpark and Himalayan bridge, she used them on our last evening while docked in Barcelona and there wasn’t much of a queue.  I needed to sign a waiver for her and she was issued with a wrist band otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to use the equipment. On the package we were on you could get a free breakfast in your cabin so we tried this one morning.  The order form for breakfast wasn’t in the cabin so I had to request this from Mellissa.  We filled out our order and left it on the door handle the night before.  It arrived on time, but we had ordered 3 bowls of cereal and only had enough milk for one bowl, so ended up going to the buffet anyway. I did use the spa to go for my free massage, it also said I would get a welcome cocktail and consultation, but this was never mentioned.  It was my first massage so they recommended the 50 minute Bali Massage.  I asked for the day at sea but they said they were busy that day so I went for 6pm on the Wednesday.  I enjoyed the massage but afterwards she recommended the hot stone massage and wanted to book me in the next day which was the sea day at 130 euros minus a 20% discount.  I had been told they were busy that day so I think they must get told not to offer free massages on the sea days.  I declined the second massage as I didn’t want another one the next day after just having one, it just felt a bit hard sell.  I did have a look around the rest of the spa which looked nice with lots of different areas. We did have a bit of rough weather one night and we did find it hard to sleep, not due to the rocking, but the creaking of the cabin.  I know this is probably normal for all cruise ships but thought I would mention it.  The sofa bed in our suite was very comfortable, it was big enough for my husband and myself, although my husband’s feet did hang over the end a bit, it was a firm mattress which we like. There were no announcements from the captain or anyone else about sea conditions during the 7 days.  I know they must relay in multiple languages but it would have been nice to know.  The only time you saw the captain was on the gala night when he made two appearances to stand for photos.   We didn’t bother to queue to see him though. The cruise had a very relaxed vibe, they had a couple of formal evenings and a lot of people had made an effort but there were others who were very casual.  I don’t mind it being more relaxed but it would have been nice if people had made more of an effort. It made the cruise feel more like a ferry trip. On our last night, we received our disembarkation details, we had to disembark the ship at 9.40am even though our flight was not until 4.55pm.  I was expecting to at least have the chance to stay on the ship until lunchtime.  My husband went to guest services to see if we could stay on the ship longer and book our own taxi back to the airport, even though we had paid for a transfer when booking the holiday.  We were told that we would still have to disembark the ship at 9.40am and we would have to take it up with MSC cruises when we got home.  We had to leave our cases outside the cabin before 1am and then we got to stay in the cabin until 8.30am.  I do understand that they need you out of the cabin early but didn’t see the issue with staying on the ship for the full morning. When we got back after dinner on our last night the hot tub had already been drained although they didn’t tell us that, so if you want to use the hot tub on your last day make sure you do it before going for dinner.  At 8.30am we went for breakfast at the buffet and by the time we had finished it was time to go down to disembark.  The airport is not far from the port in Marseille so we ended up spending 6.5 hours at Marseille airport.  The family who we had shared a minibus with on arrival were not happy about spending 6.5 hours at the airport either.  Considering Marseille is a large city the airport is very minimalist and there were no shops to even look around.  The seating was hard plastic and not very comfortable, my husband ended up laying on the marble floor.  We have done package holidays before and have never been dumped at the airport like this, it ruined the end of a good holiday.  We were talking about booking another MSC cruise on our last day of the holiday but on receiving the disembarkation details and feeling as if they couldn’t wait to get rid of us off the ship it has put us off booking with them again.     Why couldn’t they let us stay on the ship until lunchtime even after we had offered to pay for a taxi ourselves? Or they could have offered to hold onto our luggage while we paid for the shuttle bus into Marseille for a few hours? After complaining to MSC about disembarkation it seems as if this is normal practise. They told me that my travel agent would of told me this, but I can assure you that this was not the case. This is something I will also bring up with my travel agent. If we had of known the procedure before the last night of our holiday we could have made better arrangements. There were customers staying on the ship until after lunch who had evening flights, we could see this from the disembarkation details they gave us. We felt as though they wanted to dump everyone at the airport as soon as possible and not have to pay for another bus/taxi. Overall we enjoyed our cruise, but it did feel a bit hard sell at times. We would like to cruise the Caribbean or Asia next and will maybe look at Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises to get a comparison. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC ... Read More
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC MERIVIGLIA, my partner who is a first time cruiser was taken back by the size of the ship, as she puts it “wow” and indeed, the ship is massive, and magnificent, and that’s where the thumbs up stop. Embarkation was actually smooth and quick, so once all paperwork was done, we entered the ship, no welcome aboard, no warm greetings, just on and that was it. The first appearance of the ships interior is quite good, and the arched LED roof in the main deck area is also impressive, but that soon fades. The cabin, clean, standard, I could bang on and on about everything, so here is a pros and cons list Pros Great itinerary - some beautiful cities. Embarkation quite quick. The food and service in the Main dining hall is great. Beds are comfy. Cons Only three swimming pools - all sea water. (Very salty) All deck chairs cleared away after about 19:00 making the decks empty. Large TV over main pool - never used for movies. No smoking rules very lax, some even smoked in the hot tubs. Lack of things to do of an evening, unless you like music, eating, and Italian humour. Large gangs of moody and loud teens roaming boat being bored. Lack of lifts for size of ship The artwork, and colours used are bland. Super cons The main buffet hall (the market place) Luke warm food, bland and the same food EVERY DAY. Main buffet hall over crowded, which didn’t help with people using tables to play board games due to being bored. Lack of drinks choice in main buffet hall, Morning you get juices, and water and coffee and tea, but after about 11:00am all you will get is water and coffee and tea, (unless you pay) Drinks are expensive (most cruises are) At around 21:00, the kids club decides to march the kids through the main promenade to kids music loudly. The cabin to balcony doors slam loudly by inconsiderate neighbours. No night lights in or around the toilet, so sometimes you have to put the lights on to see where your going. The showers are ok, but could be more powerful. We found out they only change the bedding once in 7 days. Lost use of balcony twice due to “maintainace” Serious lack of things to do of an evening. All shows were based on music. Mainly Italian or Spanish The magic show and hand silhouette show was very 1980’s and most humour Italian orintated Everything costs, even certain shows that are based on the boat. The layout of the foods in the market place buffet is a mess, so by the time you finally sit down your food is pretty cold. The staff in the market place will only attend your table if you are buying a drink. Staff will tend to either walk straight at you, or refuse to move if you need to get past. If you have special dietary needs, good luck, mum was celiac, The tv in the cabin had only two English speaking channels BBC news and National geographic. The layout of such a large ship was a mess. The entertainment area will bankrupt you, for example 30 mins bowling €30.00 €55.00 for an hour. 4D cinema adults €10.00 or €8.00 for kids So to sum up, what you thought was a good priced cruise will actually cost you more than with other cruise lines, Would I recommend or travel with MSC again, NO. even my partner who had never Sailed before claimed that she found the evenings boring and would not sail with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We booked this cruise as a short break over Christmas mainly as it was a 5 nighter out of Marseille that suited our dates. Having travelled mostly with celebrity, Rci and princess we were not sure what to expect WE WERE VERY ... Read More
We booked this cruise as a short break over Christmas mainly as it was a 5 nighter out of Marseille that suited our dates. Having travelled mostly with celebrity, Rci and princess we were not sure what to expect WE WERE VERY IMPRESSED Embarkation in Marseilles v swift Luggage arrived quickly. Cabins (Bella class balcony) beautifully decorated- nice balcony with wicker effect furniture. Good air con that didn’t dry your throat out.(no tea coffee but chargeable mini bar) hairdryer good, free safe deposit box in room In shower shampoo and body was dispenser. Very clean and good size bathroom Ship was beautifully decorated all over for Christmas. Even a gingerbread house the size of a garden she’d made of real gingerbread in the atrium- the smell was beautiful. Constant live music in atrium - loads of space to sit.many large lounges- the amethyst lounge was beautiful purple and silver. Theatre was beautiful with some excellent shows. Christmas Eve had a special kids afternoon show with Santa giving out presents. There was lots of atmosphere all over the ship-carol singing with the passengers, crew choir, waiters doing dancing at end of the meal. I had soft drinks package which includes non alcoholic cocktails as well as hot chocolate- lovely to be served English breakfast tea in pot in the atrium listening to opera Christmas Eve there was a surprise midnight buffet- It was incredible the work that had gone into the artistic creations- - th esugar work, ice sculpture, chocolate work , bread in shape of Christmas characters, most appetising plattters of smoked salmon, mousses, cheeses, desserts, Christmas themed cakes, fruit cultures, - massive congratulations to all the chefs . Staff helpful and friendly Smooth disembarkation Trhorougly recommend this ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The ... Read More
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The Meraviglia is huge, well planned out and therefore should provide any passenger with a pleasant experience, over the duration of the holiday not once did I see an unclean part of the ship nor did I have reason to complain about the facilities. Travelling with my wife it is fair to say that we know what we want from a holiday and can easily compare the Meraviglia to past MSC holidays! DO NOT DO THIS ! this is where we learned very quickly that this trip is going to be different in many ways. If you are willing to sail away and embrace the new you will have an excellent time..... If you natter on to your newly found friends at dinner about your last cruise and think that that the waiters will have time for you then you will probably have a terrible time... > forget that honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean or that time that you took the kids away on a cruise where you found all the fun to be had at sea! It is very hard to repeat the same experiences, my thoughts below are reasons why I state this....... 1. Technology, your granny will hate it but get used to it as the MSC is top class with scrolling information boards at every lift point (much like scrolling on a mobile phone), scan your card or wristband at the terminal to get a map, book dinner of to simply check on tonight's shows. In room TV info is just amazing with on demand movies, news, safety info and future cruising info 2. Cleanliness - Its clean and tidy, almost OCD level so don't mess up the ship or your room for that matter as your cabin man/woman will notice. 3. Entertainment - Excellent but you'll need deep wallets to get rid of the kids for an hr, 100 euros will get a arcade pass to the flight simulator and F1 car simulator and similar, the water park and high ropes are FREE though so just make sure you use this facility. 4. Adult entertainment - Cirque du soleil, I didn't know what this was at the time but just book and see the show before you board to avoid disappointment, most easily the best show that you will witness on water. SONAR was so so cool. 5. Dining, Expect busy waiters and long wait times at the bar the STAFF versus PASSENGERS ration is miss managed, the only way to have a nice little chat to staff would be the Anchor pub, and that'll be because they know that mainly English passengers go there. Strongbow will be part of your drinks package if you have it. 6. Meeting friends - Not likely, If you are really lucky to keep in touch with your allocated dinner guests and make a point of meeting up or suggesting paring up on land to do some shore excursions then maybe you will> my experiences when even trying to strike up a conversation with others are that the ship is so so big why bother as I wont see you again for the rest of the cruise, even at the voyagers exclusive party and meet the captain it was like being in the middle of a busy shopping mall surrounded by (yes like minded) strangers. Summary - I had an excellent time with my wife and can say that the ship itself is amazing and takes all week to discover each and every facility, MSC have some nice touches, ill try not to spoil all of the quirky tricks that make you feel good about being on holiday but here are two (x2) must have experiences.... A. Get up before six (6am) and walk under the dome (dome show) to see the sky and hear the morning birdsong. B. Be up on deck (poolside) when sailing away from ports to experience Andrea Bocelli's TIME TO SAY GOODBYE song (the younger cruisers will be more familiar with the film step brothers - either way its a nice touch) .......If this is your first cruise I would consider starting with other smaller ships within MSC's fleet before you go big time. Whatever you decide or if you have already booked you will have a nice trip so make the most of it and put in a little effort with others- you'll be grateful when staff remember you for the right reasons and not just because you were complaining at reception- have fun guys. Mr Lee Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The ship itself is beautifully designed, with amazing detail in the furnishings. Everything was clean and shiny. The staff that we encountered was helpful, in particular our cabin steward, Jason. The pool areas were never crowded, and it ... Read More
The ship itself is beautifully designed, with amazing detail in the furnishings. Everything was clean and shiny. The staff that we encountered was helpful, in particular our cabin steward, Jason. The pool areas were never crowded, and it never felt as if there were 5000+ passengers sharing the ship with us. We traveled with my 10 year old daughter who loved the pools and the slides. The shows were great entertainment for all ages, with a very talented cast. The food in the buffet was good, although it got very crowded at times. We ate dinner in the Silver Dolphin about 4 times and the service and food was excellent. Embarkation at Marseille was very smooth - we didn't have a very long wait at all. All cities were fairly accessible from the port, except for Barcelona and Marseille, where you have to get a bus/taxi/Uber into the city if you don't feel like walking for miles and miles! We did not do any MSC excursions, but rather chose to walk around and get the feel of each city, or do a hop on/hop off bus tour. Our major complaint about the cruise was the lack of personality. I still have no idea what the Cruise Director's name is, as no-one was ever formally introduced (except for the Captain). They spent so much time on rattling off announcements in 6 or 7 different languages that they didn't actually have time to interact personally with the passengers. We were also disappointed by the lack of a more formal dance floor/area, and the dance teachers were not up to standard. There was also very little onboard entertainment, like fun games, quizzes, etc, even on the sea day. Overall it was a fantastic adventure. We got to see places we have only ever dreamed of, and had a very comfortable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose this cruise/ship solely down to availability and price. Overall experience was poor,infact its the worst cruise ive been on and worst is a word one doesnt expect to use for a cruise. Staff were generally poor, activities onboard were ... Read More
Chose this cruise/ship solely down to availability and price. Overall experience was poor,infact its the worst cruise ive been on and worst is a word one doesnt expect to use for a cruise. Staff were generally poor, activities onboard were poor as were facilities. Ship was very unstable, daughter and partner were ill even though it wasnt really rough. If you suffer from any sort of motion sickness this is NOT the ship for you. I am a good traveller so didn't feel sea sick, but after five days of rocking backwards and forwards I was ready to get off ! Deck staff for bar service were few and far between so either had to go to them or the bar yourself which was very slow. Only two jacuzzis which simply isn't enough for the amount of passengers, although there were two attendants with whistles! Anyone doing anything slightly outside the pool rules got the whistle, how childish ! Pool attendants had no sense of humour to the point of being rude. Theatre performances were very amateur. Disembarkation was dreadful, had to be out of room by 0800 which was far too early when your flight isn't until late afternoon, MSC just wanted you out of the way asap. Certainly will not use this ship again, and will think hard about using MSC again. Feels like 4 grand wasted, need a relaxing holiday to get over it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We whose this cruse because of the price...we wanted to se St. Martin, sainjuan and Bahamas...8 days cruse is perfect. Loved MSCSeaside, friendly staff, great food, deep pools specialty like the pool for adults only. The enbarkation was ... Read More
We whose this cruse because of the price...we wanted to se St. Martin, sainjuan and Bahamas...8 days cruse is perfect. Loved MSCSeaside, friendly staff, great food, deep pools specialty like the pool for adults only. The enbarkation was a smooth process I was surprised. Entertainment was excellant, Steve was so friendly and funny he should have his own comedy show. Love my experience in dining, the food was good and just the right amount. Buffett in my opinion was good because it was a lot to choose from. I sow opera first time in my life I was surprised how good it was it touch me I cried , so did my daughter . Every night was something going on in different places of entertainment so much to chose from. One night we even had a dance. This cruse was excelent, specially value for the money. We are planning to go again for sure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Just finishing our first cruise on Msc opera around the med. The ship is spotless, they were always cleaning and our cabin was beautiful they changed our towels three times a day and turned drown the bed every night. The staff throughout ... Read More
Just finishing our first cruise on Msc opera around the med. The ship is spotless, they were always cleaning and our cabin was beautiful they changed our towels three times a day and turned drown the bed every night. The staff throughout the ship are very helpful and always smiling we never experienced anyone miserable. The food was excellent and plentiful. A bit of a free for all in the buffet but staff in the restaurants are very nice. The entertainment in the theatre wasn’t as good as I expected. But a wonderful experience for a first cruise. The only niggle is they don’t enforce the dress code for restaurants on gala night so you can feel overdressed that said it is a very relaxed dress code and atmosphere every night so would have been nice to have one night when everyone made an effort. Overall I would recommend MSC Opera for couples and family’s old and young. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our first time on MSC but we've been on multiple cruises with other cruise companies. We chose this ship and itinerary because there was a really good sale on their website. Booking was a little complicated because we were a ... Read More
This was our first time on MSC but we've been on multiple cruises with other cruise companies. We chose this ship and itinerary because there was a really good sale on their website. Booking was a little complicated because we were a large party so we had to email back and forth with the booking agent. We were a party of 9 adults and we booked 5 rooms, all inside cabins. We had read other reviews stating that the food was catered more towards a European crowd and that there wasn't a lot of variety. We are Canadian and we went in knowing that the food might not be like the other cruise ships. Compared to RC, Norwegian, Celebrity and Carnival, there is indeed less variety but we aren't picky so it didn't really bother us. I was satisfied with the food on this cruise. I didn't like that we were restricted to certain times for dining and they literally close the doors after a certain time. We were scheduled to eat at 7:15 and they close the doors at 7:35. If you're not there, then you can't eat in the restaurant. I prefer freestyle dining. Our cabins were clean and tidy. The cabin stewards did not do any towel folding during our stay like the other cruise companies. There is only shampoo and body wash in the shower. The shower is also tiny, but this to be expected for inside cabins. The beds are comfortable and I had a good sleep throughout the cruise. The entertainment was fine and MSC is probably the only company that has opera at sea. They did a condensed version on Madama Butterfly during one of the days at sea. There were three shows most nights and you have to book them through the MSC app (more on that later). The entertainers were talented and it was interesting the first few nights but the shows got very repetitive and by the end of the week, you're thinking "I saw this last night" because they use the same performers but put them in different costumes. Compared to the other cruise lines, I felt the hospitality on the MSC Seaside was terrible. More than once, we were dumbfounded by the responses from the crew. We had someone in our party who just had leg surgery and was not very mobile. We asked for a wheelchair while in Nassau because it was a long walk out of the pier. The crew member told us she could not go get the wheelchair for us even though it was right up the ramp near the exit. Another time, we didn't know where to go and we actually got reprimanded by one of the crew members for not being able to locate the correct line. She was quite rude. Unlike the other cruise lines, none of the crew greeted us when they saw us and in general they did not seem to be happy working there. Sometimes they would simply tell us "no" when we were asking for something instead of offering an alternative solution to the problem. There is an app that you can download to use while onboard. It has the menus for the restaurants, the list of shows in the evening and the schedule of activities for the day. You can use it to add activities to your day. It wasn't exactly user-friendly but it was handy to have the information with us instead of having to refer to the paper schedule. It was lacking a chat feature on the app and it would be nice if it had that. I didn't book any of the excursions through the cruise line. The prices were on par with all the other cruise lines, which is to say: overpriced so I usually book excursions on my own. I found there was enough variety if you were to book with the cruise so if you didn't want to do any planning, you'd find a nice selection offered by MSC. If you are a diver, note that there were no scuba diving excursions offered by MSC. You have to book outside of the cruise line. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and very easy. It was the fastest I've ever embarked or disembarked a vessel and I give MSC kudos for that. Overall, we got a really good price for the cruise so we weren't expecting something amazing. You get what you pay for, after all. What I was disappointed with was the lack of hospitality and warmth from the crew. I would only book with MSC again if the price was right. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I took the 7/7/18 Eastern Caribbean Cruise Pros: The ship is very cool and mondern looking. -Butchers Cut was a great experience -The mobile app is handy but could use a little tweaking. -Rooms were neat and very clean. ... Read More
I took the 7/7/18 Eastern Caribbean Cruise Pros: The ship is very cool and mondern looking. -Butchers Cut was a great experience -The mobile app is handy but could use a little tweaking. -Rooms were neat and very clean. Cons: Pull up a chair -RUDE people work onboard this ship and they are everywhere. This is my 6th cruise and I’ve never seen anything like it. This was probably the biggest turnoff of the entire experience. -Excursions desk is just a plain hot mess. We didn’t receive our excursion tickets which they blamed on house keeping. Refused to reprint so on excursion days we had to get there extra early so they could “look us up”. If you see Anna(Ukraine) at the excursion desk, get ready for some serious attitude. -Food choices are predictable after day 2. Nothing changes day to day...at all! We looked forward to excursions to get food off the ship. -GERMS!!! The sanitizer machines are almost always out of sanitizer. When you go into the common eating areas there are machines and places to wash your hands but most people walk right by without washing or sanitizing. On RC, there is a person standing guard...no wash no eat! -The Gym, if you like to work out, bring a Zumba video on your smart phone. The gym is tiny and 1/3 of the machines(yes I did the math) are broken. -The beds aren’t comfortable but that is subjective, but for me they were just too hard. -NOISE: This ship is loud...not the engines but every noise can be heard from several deck up or several cabins beside you. There can’t be any sound deadening in the walls whatsoever. So you basically go to sleep when the people within 40 feet of you are quiet and you wake up when they do. -Elevevators take a while to get to you, but you can always walk since the gym is crap! -Their is an automatic gratuity for everything. Maybe I missed this on RC, but they charge you a gratuity as if they were actually delivering great service. I do recommend the Jeep tour in St. Maarten...it was a blast and the tour guides were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Had originally planned to do a Baltic cruise on NCL for a family of 4 in 2 cabins, but prices were high and no deals to be had. Not sure if the fact that the dates coincided with the World Cup in Russia were to blame, but the overall price ... Read More
Had originally planned to do a Baltic cruise on NCL for a family of 4 in 2 cabins, but prices were high and no deals to be had. Not sure if the fact that the dates coincided with the World Cup in Russia were to blame, but the overall price was out of our budget. I find that NCL are very expensive now they only do the Premium all inclusive package, particularly if you are very moderate drinkers. Having a browse around one evening, ended up on the USA Expedia website, although we are UK based. This site has an excellent search facility, and found the MSC Seaview, which at the time was several months away from being finished. This was a western med cruise and is unique in the fact that you can get on at most of the ports of call, getting off a week later at the same port. Prices vary dramatically between embarkation ports, getting on a day earlier or later can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds for a family of 4. Genoa and Barcelona are expensive, we chose Marseille and saved a fortune, although we had to fly from Stanstead rather than Manchester to get decent flight prices. Marseille port is quite a distance from the airport.Taxi was close to 50 Euro. MSC seem to be trying hard to get American cruisers on their European ships at the moment, USA prices are considerably less than the prices on the MSC UK website. Extra benefits were $500 on-board credit if you paid by Mastercard, 14 drinks vouchers per person for the Fantastica package, and free bottled water for all cabin types.We were unsure if Expedia USA would take bookings from the UK, but when we phoned them they said it was not a problem, although that turned out to be not entirely true. We booked 2 cabins, a Fantastica cabin for myself and my wife and a Bella cabin for the 2 girls (15 & 21) paying the 2 deposits in dollars, by a fee free Halifax Mastercard. Within an hour we had had an email saying one of the deposit payments had not gone through and could we contact our cruise consultant again, (Expedia agents do not have international dialing rights as I think many of them are home based). We eventually managed to contact her and she dealt with MSC directly while we waited on the line, although it took her 30 minutes to get through to them. Next day my wife noticed that there were 3 deposit amounts on the credit card statement. we spoke to Expedia and were advised to contact MSC directly as it transpired that Expedia hadn't actually taken the payments at all, but had passed the card details to MSC to take payment directly, this was mirrored on the statement that showed MSC as the merchant. Contacting MSC call centre was a nightmare. Waits on hold of up to an hour before speaking to an agent and finding someone who could resolve it was frustrating. I spent around 3 hours on the phone over a period of a week or so before speaking to someone who resolved it. To be fair to MSC it was a few days after a major hurricane and they were busy trying to recover from the disruption. I had reason to speak the them just prior to the cruise and the call was answered in under 5 minutes. As we had booked via USA, we were associated with the USA MSC website. You cannot put your booking number in the UK website and see your booking. Unlike the Expedia website, the MSC site is a dog. We had constant problems from start to finish. It doesn't always behave as you might expect and things reset to default or just disappear. Online Check In was a nightmare, The UK address not helping, but it mainly just doesn't work. ( Tip: If you can't get your UK address in, complete the field for the second person in the cabin first, then tick the box that says "same address for all passengers"). We uploaded images for our identification picture multiple times, but they disappear if you make any changes to any other fields. When we boarded, they took new pictures any way, which over wrote the ones we had already uploaded. I wouldn't bother with the pictures before boarding again. We'd been watching the GBP USD exchange rates, and decided to pay the final balance a few weeks before we actually needed to, but we hit problems again, Our plan was to pay for one cabin in USD, pay the card off in GBP, then pay the second cabin the week after. Unfortunately the payment was processed twice again by MSC, pushing the card to its limit. It took a further 3 weeks of phone calls and emails to Expedia and MSC to get this resolved. When we eventually came to pay for the 2nd cabin, neither Expedia and MSC were able to process the payment. More phone calls and emails, we were given various reasons including a policy change and technical difficulties. I tried again a week later ready for a bun fight, but it went through in 2 minutes with no issues. we subsequently booked excursions and other add-ons via the website with no issues I probably would book through the USA again, but I'd be more prepared for the problems. I've booked through NCL via their USA call centre in the past and had no issues at all. To the cruise, eventually! Boarding at Marseille was extremely quick. Less than 30 minutes after arriving at the port we were on the ship. We were given our drinks vouchers as we checked in. Both rooms were ready. The fact that people get on and off every day means the numbers at any particular port are much smaller. There is no last night depression either when every one is getting off the next day. I think less than 500 got on that day. Most seem to board at Genoa and Barcelona. The ship is absolutely stunning. Lots of chrome and mirrors, although at times it's a bit difficult to tell where you are. Some parts of some decks can only be reached by certain lifts. Didn't have much trouble getting a lift, although we used the 2 panoramic elevators at the back most of the time as we were towards that end. There is loads of outside space, for eating, drinking and sunbathing. You cannot get to the front of any deck as its reserved for Yacht Club guests. They tend to walk around behind a butler holding a big Yacht Club paddle. Quite funny really, although a bit annoying at times. We were 8PM dining in the Silver Dolphin Restaurant had a table of 4 just for us which is how we like it. I was a bit disappointed in the dining experience overall. Limited choices some nights, Way too many veggie and vegan options unless you're into that sort of thing. We always felt a bit rushed and were out by 9:15 most nights. Portion sizes were very small with hardly any vegetables etc. The food wasn't warm enough for me, although I do like my food very hot. If you had anything other than wine it was impossible to get a 2nd drink as the staff were too busy. We did the Butchers Cut steakhouse one night, That was excellent. The steak was hot and one of the best I've ever had. There are 2 buffets, the largest on deck 8 and a smaller one on deck 16. we never had issues getting a seat at either. We actually ate outside most of the time. Always managed to find plenty to eat. Food temperature was the usual buffet lottery. Lots of sunbeds to be had, but bear in mind they are spread all over the ship on various decks. If you want a prime spot by one of the pools you will need to be up early. Lots of hot tubs around, never had a problem getting into one. There are bars all over the ship, both inside and outside, something for all tastes. Some are smoking bars, so avoid these if you are not a smoker. Seating was never really an issue, if one was full, just head off to another. Service was good, and drinks prices pretty reasonable for a cruise ship. We had paper drinks coupons, some that came as part of the Fantastica package, others we bought online before boarding (Beer, Wine & Water Easy, Soda, coffee) Not really a fan of the paper vouchers, would much rather see them electronically on your account. Had 3 issues using these, where the staff didn't correctly zero them off the hand held terminals they use to take orders. Had to go to Guest Services to get resolved, although they were dealt with quickly and efficiently. Had some great coffees and chocolates in the Venchi Chocolate and coffee bar on deck 5 Was not impressed by the entertainment on the ship at all. The main shows were very short and pretty much the same every night. A random selection of songs and dance routines, with no speech that made no sense whatsoever. Every night there were 2 bendy girls, a rope artist and a roller skating duo who appeared at random points during the show, while the dancers changed into the next costume. Compared against what NCL are doing, it was dire. We gave up after 3 nights and went to the bars instead. Other singers around the ship were very average. The DJ who deafened every one on the Deck 16 outdoor stage had a repertoire consisting of "Oh Yeah" and "One, Two, Three, Four" Did one tour to a village on Sicily by coach, reasonably priced. Otherwise did our own thing. Conclusion: Great value cruise on an awesome ship. It's a bit different to the American companies with a more European feel. Needs some work on the main dining to appeal to the American market. Entertainment needs a total rethink. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
First off, we are tough critics so keep that in mind while reading our review. We chose MSC Seaside for a few reasons. The biggest is that last year we cruised the MSC Divina for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Our ... Read More
First off, we are tough critics so keep that in mind while reading our review. We chose MSC Seaside for a few reasons. The biggest is that last year we cruised the MSC Divina for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Our party has 3 generations (teenagers, middle-aged/50, and in-laws in their 80s) traveling and without fail all thought the Divina, and its staff, were the best we ever had. This lead us to try the Seaside. This was somewhat of a last-minute trip so we did not have many options room wise. We ended up booking the lowest option (guaranteed cabin x3) at the Bella experience. The Unlimited Drinks special was going on. We ended up getting assigned balconies (woohooo) for staterooms on the 12th floor. Great way to start. Our thoughts are as follows: Cons: – MSC Website is the worst I have ever used. It baffles me as to why they have not fixed it. We struggled with it last year and this year. They almost lost the sale due to it. If you can’t get a website right, how can we trust you to sail a ship? -Timing/logistics seem to need a review or overhaul. For instance, the cruise critic party was at 10:00 AM. We got notice on our door at 9:00 AM. The White Night Party was on an evening before a port, however Italian night was the night before at sea. We were all dragging in port wondering why the 10:30 PM party was held the night before an 8:00 AM port. The Black Party was held at 5:00. Our dinner was 5:15. Just odd timing on things. -Quiet space on the ship is hard to come by. The ship is amazingly beautiful but the thump thump thump music coming from the main lobby permeates most areas that are meant for congregation. This made it tough for us to find space with all three generations to relax and talk. I was somewhat surprised by the music choices on elegant nights as well. I expected something a little more elegant but that did not happen. -Drink package is odd. No real place to find out what is included and most wait staff tell you something different each time. The drinks you are entitled to are free however there is a service charge (tip) for each drink. No one could explain to us what it was (we were told it was tax). HOT TIP – go to the self-service drink station on deck 8 buffet. You card will dispense beer and wine that are included in your package. It is completely at your leisure and no tip is added, -The gym is too small -I only saw the zip line operate once. Not sure why it was closed most of the trip -It can get pretty crowded in the food areas -The “library” is odd. I have never seen a library that has a pool table, checker boards and is a main walkway. I think it was more of an afterthought. -Got zinged by the minibar again. We were charged for something we did not take. HOT TIP-when you check in have the steward inventory the minibar in front of you then ask them to lock it for the duration of the cruise (we forgot this go around) -You can keep Nassua Pros: -Staff was great. Still love Rom (waiter in the for-fee dining area) -Lots to do. There was always something going on. We took many dance lessons and the instructors were fun and patient -Little kiddos seemed to LOVE that water park which was fun to see -Food was good and plentiful. Not “amazing” but good and reasonable. -Rooms were nice. Love the couch. Storage is tight as is the toilet area but something must give. -Getting on and off the ship was the best we have ever experienced. -The ship truly is amazing. You must ride the elevator at the back of the ship while at sea. The views are amazing -The bridge of sighs and infinity bridges were super cool -I was easily able to find deck chairs on the sides of the ship when I wanted a little sun nap. I am not a big at sea pool guy so this option was perfect for me - I thought the MSC for Me app was helpful. If they would add person to person “texting” or adult tracking it would be amazing. The onboard touchscreens throughout the ship are super handy too -The evening shows were really good. We don’t usually go to many shows but found ourselves going to most and were not disappointed. HOT TIP – If you are going to a show use the MSC app or a touch screen to reserve a seat. We were in the 5:15 dining rotation and could make the 6:45 show if we were there promptly at 5:15. The 8:00 show is usually booked solid so book early if you want that time. -I rode the slides with the kids and made the Mrs. try it once too. Lots of fun (I got dizzier on the brown kids slide than the adult blue slides) -Elegant night and Voyagers party served drinks and snacks. The elegant night “Happy Hour” started at about 4:45 but was not very well advertised but is a great way to start out the night -The way they do pictures is great. There are viewing stations where you scan your card and can bring up digitals of all your pix. Much easier than playing where’s waldo and looking at a wall full of other people while looking for yours Overall, we enjoyed the trip and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our third cruise but first (and last) time with Costa. They first stuck us in a cabin over the propellers and docking machinery. We did get our room changed. All the food tasted ike it was fast food micowaved for the masses. This ... Read More
This was our third cruise but first (and last) time with Costa. They first stuck us in a cabin over the propellers and docking machinery. We did get our room changed. All the food tasted ike it was fast food micowaved for the masses. This was probably to motivate you to try the higher end paying restaurants. Crew looked tired due to working 9 months straight without breaks. Cancelled 3 of our tours and dont even think of taking this ship if you are american or english speaking. Very Italian which implies Patience is not in their DNA nor being soft spoken. Get a good set of earplugs if you take thus cruise. Between the screaming children, rude gestures and poor entertainment we were anxious to leave the ship. Highlights were the wonderful tenor they had only perform one night and after the 50th rendition of 'Volare' heard throughout the ship it finally grew on me :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2018

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