7 Marseille Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

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 choose this because it featured a seminar I wanted to participate in and because of its ports of call (especially Gibraltar). When we started planning our excursions about 3 months prior to departure, the expansive Gibraltar tour was ... Read More
I choose this because it featured a seminar I wanted to participate in and because of its ports of call (especially Gibraltar). When we started planning our excursions about 3 months prior to departure, the expansive Gibraltar tour was waitlisted and never re-opened. I find that to be unforgiveable and unforgettable. But we booked a private tour through Viator and it was the best tour of our trip, and less than half the cost of a lesser quality ship excursion. While many will like the food and dinner requirements (specific time reservations, more formal dressing and very formal on all sea days), we take cruises to experience the ports of call, not to have formal dining experience. So, for us, this is not a positive. Further, we thought the "Tastes" specialty restaurant was way over-rated: marginal food and served in a pool cabana setting which was not a very good atmosphere. Getting on and off were very good experiences. Same for access to excursions; and the free water bottles on the tour buses was very welcome and not standard with our cruises. So pick carefully....if you want to focus on dining, go for it; if you want to focus on ports of call, I would choose another, less expensive alternative. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Well firstly the on board entertainment/activities was very poor from the last cruise I was on...the entertainment does not last long for people who don't do excursions...I got very bored on the ship...there is it enough music and ... Read More
Well firstly the on board entertainment/activities was very poor from the last cruise I was on...the entertainment does not last long for people who don't do excursions...I got very bored on the ship...there is it enough music and dancing at the pool area....some scheduledscheduled activities didnt even take place...the entertainmet staff is not engaging enough... The casino system is very bad with the ticket system ...one would think that money would be loaded onto your card..and like myself who was could unaware lost 60 euros cause i didnt print a ticket....and the casino couldn't even tell me who then took the ticket out of the machine ...I'm sure the casino staff are very aware of this over site and has collected many unclaimed tickets for them selfs...this ship is just about marketing on board to make me money off passsagers and less worried about the passengers enjoyment....the rule that all passangers sharing the all inclusive drinks package is a total indecation of this...my cabin partner was not a drinker so why do both need to make the purchase, I find that totaly unaceptable and gready of MSC to make more money... .other than that the ship itself is very good and the food is great.....and the lack of staff understandings English is not a good thing Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
A Cruise trip is a dream come true for many of us, especially those from the Asian countries since they are not, exactly, economy. Apart from the cost of Cruise Trip, which can amount to $280 a day for a couple, you have to reach the ... Read More
A Cruise trip is a dream come true for many of us, especially those from the Asian countries since they are not, exactly, economy. Apart from the cost of Cruise Trip, which can amount to $280 a day for a couple, you have to reach the embarkation point of the Cruise on your own. Other costs include daily trips to shore for sightseeing as the ship docks on a new location every day. The total cost on a Mediterranean Cruise, for a couple, works out to: Cruise cost = $2000 (seven day trip) Cost of reaching the port of embarkation(France)= $ 1850 Daily trips to shore for sightseeing= $700 Taxi + last day shore stay = $ 150 Wifi + drinks on ship = $100 Tips on ship(compulsory) = $140 TOTAL about $ 5000 Cruise ships are floating cities offering you every kind of facility in the form of Drinks, Casinos, Stage Shows, Pools, Jacuzzis, Shopping and every other form of temptation imaginable. There is a bar at every corner with irresistible cocktails beckoning you to try them out. Our ship was huge, with a crew of 800, management claimed to be preparing almost 20,000 meals a day. The worst part is the food. The buffet halls are open 20 hours a day and every kind of fruits, salads, pizzas, breads, hundreds of type of dishes, sea food, puddings, cakes and anything else you can think of is on offer from around the globe. It is impossible not to give in to the temptation, however hard you may try. It is no brainer, therefore, that despite all precautions, all of us put on 2-3 Kg of weight within the first two days. All the food at buffet counters is on the house. Despite all these temptations, by day two we had realized that we needed the skills of a fox to survive in this jungle full of traps at every step and if I did not watch out I would be disembarking with none of my clothes fitting me. Obviously, some strategy was required to ensure one does not pay for unnecessary things and at the same time make full use of a host of facilities being offered in the package. So we worked out a routine to do all of above, and more, as follows: We got up at 6 AM, there being no arrangement for tea in the cabin, one was expected to go up to 14th floor buffet hall to get it, a prospect hard to follow early in the morning. So we brought two satchels of tea+ milk from the dining hall in the night, heated two cups of water in our room with a tiny rod that we always carry with us, and had a nice cuppa ready in a few minutes. (tea served in the entire western hemisphere is always lukewarm, perhaps they like it that way). Water bottles are available at €3, (even the first bottle in your room is charged), but you can always fill up the empty ones in the buffet hall. We got ready and headed for the gym located on top floor of the ship by 6.30 AM. Gym is located in the forward most portion of the ship and it gives a heady feeling watching the ship sail right from the front. Completed our cycling and treadmill routine by 7 AM and then we headed for the Jacuzzi hall located right outside, which opened at 7. At this time there are few people and these huge Jacuzzi pools, which can take up to 10 people each, at a wonderful temperature of 370C, were just what the doctor ordered. After half a hour in the Jacuzzi pools, we came out, fully charged, and headed for the Buffet Hall for a fresh fruit feast (Phalahar). Despite all temptations, refrain from eating anything else. Go back to your room for a bath and getting ready for the day’s excursion. Then head for the buffet hall again by 8.30 AM or thereabouts, depending on what time will your ship dock. Now is the time to enjoy your breakfast. Best take a round of the entire buffet hall before you choose, as there are 10-15 stations to choose from, and if you fill up from the first few ones, you will invariably regret it later on. Sadly, you will notice many of the travelers wasting a lot of food, but we don’t want to emulate that, do we? You would want to go for local sightseeing in whichever town the ship has docked. One way is to book an excursion organized by the ship. These have to be pre booked. These trips are expansive at around € 60 per person. They take you in buses and halt at one or two predetermined places only. The other way is to come out of the dock and look for a 4-6 seater taxi. This is a much better and cheaper option, if you are in a group. Sometimes you can’t walk out as the dock gate is far away or you are not allowed to walk. In such cases, the ship organizes ferry services to a convenient point (on payment, of course, at € 10-12 a pop). Then you can make use of Hop on-off buses available locally or again hire taxis to go around. Since you have to be back by around 4 PM, you will never get enough time for local sightseeing. The best option is to choose a couple of places to spend time on and take a drive through the rest (better to do your homework before starting on your cruise trip). After return to the ship, take a cup of tea at the buffet hall, take a shower and get ready by 7 PM and come over to the lobby bar for a drink(not cheap by our standards, a glass of beer costs around € 5+). Some of us, lucky ones, were provided with a coupon booklet which gave us a limited choice of free drinks. Do try some of the cocktails offered, they look enticing. The evening shows commence at 7.30 PM. They are performed by professionals and are a treat to watch. These shows finish by 8.15 PM and then you can come back to the Bar or go for Dinner. All the lobbies are full of stalls selling perfumes, watches and other knick knack imaginable. There is also a huge Casino on board, many times offering you free coupons to nudge you to get going. With nowhere else to go, it is not difficult to give in. All this can get pretty heady as all the décor around the lobbies is five star and beyond. This is especially true for those who have been exposed to such environment and luxury for the first time. For dinner you either go to the buffet hall or head for one of the fancy restaurants where you are pre allotted a seat for a sit down dinner at 9 PM. If you choose the fancy restaurant route, it will take more than an hour and a half before you can finish your dinner. Also, wine or water etc., will have to be paid for at these tables. Too bad if you don’t like the dish served to you. It is no brainer, therefore, that after the first day none of us went back to that table. I suspect that, except for some stuck up guys coming to dinner in formal clothes, striking business deals, no body went back there. Some days Captain of the ship, or his Deputy, must have been the only guy having his dinner there. Speaking of the Captain, we were invited to have our photograph taken with the captain, so we all decked up in formal clothes and landed up at the appointed place. I perceived that the Captain should feel honored to have his photograph taken with a person of my rank and standing, but that guy was even more stuck up than me and he hardly glanced at the guests and stood around looking at the sky with his female secretaries fussing over him. This looked somewhat akin to a coop full of hen, with a single bossy Cock. Imagine the temerity of these guys, they wanted me to pay for this photo! I rather thought it should have been the other way around. While on the ship, avoid the temptation to shop even if watches, perfumes etc. are available at a fake discount of 30%. Best time to socialize and make friends is over a drink around the pool after you return from the sightseeing or just before and after the stage shows. Be warned that there are huge queues everywhere, especially when you enter the ship or are leaving the ship in the morning. What is surprising is that there was always a big queue at the reception. You have to wait a long time to resolve a query or get to get a question answered. If it is deliberate, I couldn’t fathom the reason. They ask you to deposit € 250 at the beginning of the cruise on your card issued by them. This card is also used for exit or entry to the ship, our passports having been retained by them on arrival. All your expenses are done through this card and deducted from your deposit. Tips are also deducted every day at the rate of € 10 per person. Parting is always a painful process but the cruise organizers seem to have undergone special training to make it more so. We were to dock at 1 PM on the final day. They asked us to deposit our luggage by 11PM the previous night. This caused us immense discomfort. It is difficult to fathom the reasons for such a wise step. To top it all we were asked to assemble at 2.10 PM for disembarkation, we all reached the assembly point, waited till 3 PM and when nobody turned up, we all just walked out of the ship. It looked kind of weird. All in all you can have a fairly good time despite these minor hiccups. Language is a barrier on European tours, all announcements are made in, at least, four languages. Preferably, best to travel in a group, you don’t feel lost and it is cheaper as well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My husband and I booked our first river cruise with Viking because of the fabulous stories we heard from many friends and acquaintances. The Rhone trip to Provence and Lyon really appealed to us and a September sailing date promised fine ... Read More
My husband and I booked our first river cruise with Viking because of the fabulous stories we heard from many friends and acquaintances. The Rhone trip to Provence and Lyon really appealed to us and a September sailing date promised fine weather. Our trip was a perfect experience! Our Viking crew was certainly dedicated to making every detail seamless and enjoyable - from travel assistance to dining experiences, shore excursions to personal comforts aboard ship. Dining on board was so wonderful that we rarely stayed ashore for meals. The ports we visited were great choices for cultural and educational experiences and the local guides added personal stories and a sense of pride in describing the histories of their towns and cities. After eight days, we could say that there was never a single glitch. Upon our return home, we joined the chorus of those who sing the praises of Viking River Cruises. We're looking forward to our next cruise...the Rhine? Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I was part of the group Croisière Chantante (7 cruises with other cruise-lines) who chose Costa because they proposed a cruise from Marseille to Tanger, Casablanca (2 days), Cadiz, Lisbonne, Valencia, Savona, Marseille. ... Read More
I was part of the group Croisière Chantante (7 cruises with other cruise-lines) who chose Costa because they proposed a cruise from Marseille to Tanger, Casablanca (2 days), Cadiz, Lisbonne, Valencia, Savona, Marseille. Dissatisfaction:- 1:- Ports of call changed:- Casablanca (only1 day); add Civitavecchia instead ! :- Valencia to Alicante :- Alicante to Valencia (last minute change on the way to Alicante due to bad weather at Alicante !!! (no wind, clear blue sky, sea as calm as a mill-pond). Quite a number of passengers did embark at Valencia however!! 2:- Ship; Decoration- kitsch more towards hideous! 3:- Dining; 'Hot' food never more than tepid whether in the dining room or the self service. Why should a notice announcing that meats should be well cooked in order to avoid bacteria and infection mean that they finish up tough enough to sole shoes? Breakfast mediocre to say the least. When there was some bacon (soggy and cold), the accompanying fried egg had to be ordered from a waiter (arriving 8 to 10 minutes later!!) The short afternoon tea break became non-existant in the port of Savona. When asked why, the reply was because this is Savona!!! That they had run out of tea, water, or whatever is a reason (though a badly managed one) but because this is Savona is not a reason! Only on insisting, and to the pleasure of many - tea suddenly became available on deck 9. It seems that embarking new unsuspecting passengers is more important than satisfying those who have already paid the excessive prices for water and drinks and are nearing the end of their cruise. 4:- Entertainment; Music inside or out, even in the theatre played at a deafening, resonating volume. The ship boasts of having 4 swimming pools. More honesty would be to call them water baths! On the only 'quiet' deck of the ship, the lounger-chairs were stacked and tied together ready for the night by early afternoon, too bad if a passenger fancied a quiet time in the sun! 5:- Shore excursions; Civitavecchia- Rome et ses trésors. With the guide's badly placed microphone not very effectif every time she turned her head, and especially in the crowds when it was difficult to keep within a short distance of her, the audio set was more of a nuisance than informative. The guide would also have been more appreciated had she collected our entrance tickets to the Vatican during our lunch break, rather than us having to waste visiting time standing around in the entrance room. I WOULD MOST DEFINITELY NEVER RECOMMEND A COSTA CRUISE TO ANYONE. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Full disclosure - The sailing was a charter for a club run out of Brussels called La Demence. This is a gay club and so (obviously) it was a gay cruise. My parter and I have been together 12 years and have never been on such a cruise but ... Read More
Full disclosure - The sailing was a charter for a club run out of Brussels called La Demence. This is a gay club and so (obviously) it was a gay cruise. My parter and I have been together 12 years and have never been on such a cruise but thought if we don't try it now we never will. The trip was themed around the club with a host of DJs and an impressive pool deck lighting and sound system - it was a party ship! Boarding in Marseille should have been the first sign that this was not to be the best cruise experience. Firstly signage on what to do and when was very poor. In the event you had to leave your luggage on the ground floor (queue up rather than be greeted and have it taken as has been the case on previous trips), then queue up to check in. We queued around 40 mins and we were near the front! There were only 7 check in desks with no pre-check in facility so EVERYONE was filling in credit card authorisations etc. After this we had another 90 mins to wait until we could board. In this time there were no refreshments - just a stuffy room. Once on board we could go straight to our rooms. We had an inside on deck 6 near the back (near the engines - more later). The room was a good size with TONS of cupboard space and a good shower. It looked dated but then the ship is 22 years old. There was no room service menu and the in room safe was locked. We reported the safe and left for lunch in the buffet on deck 11. Food as a whole was very disappointing. The buffet had a small selection every day (lunch and dinner) 3 salads, 3 hot dishes, 3 veg and a roast. There was also pizza and pasta. There was an outside grill but this closed during evening dinner time. The food generally tasted better then it looked but I never went back for more (unlike all other cruises I have been on when I have been an absolute pig as there are just too many good things to eat!). The main dining room had open seating in the evening. The meal was efficient and FAST. In and out in under an hour (they gave NCL a run for their money). Portions were small but again nothing was ever good enough for me to order more. Every day there were 2 main parties around the pool. 6pm - 9pm was a T-Dance and Midnight - 4:30am was the main party. The lighting and DJs were first class. My fellow passengers came from around 60 countries! Most announcements were in French, Spanish and English - but English was probably the most commonly used. Sorry gay clubbing community but the people on board were my biggest problem. Fairly rude and behaving like children. Dress codes were "liberal" with just a top needed to dine in the main dining room in the evening - but even this was too much effort for some. If I am going to a full service restaurant, with light ambient music and an attempt at a refined atmosphere then I would hope the diners would respect this and at least wear a smart T Shirt and Smart shorts / jeans. People coming in to eat in bathing suits and laughing loudly, ordering the waiting staff around and "wearing" napkins on their heads as hats is not what I expected. During the rest of the day my partner and I hardly spoke to a soul - so different to conventional cruising where we have made some lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Public rooms were nice enough but again very dated. I am not sure where the re-fit money went. No room had any wow factor. However, the layout of the ship was very good and I imagine on a conventional cruise it works very well. As CDF offer an all inclusive cruise experience, alcohol selections were very limited and bottom end brands. We visited 3 ports - Naples, Sicily and Ibiza. Ibiza was an overnight from 2pm to 9am the following day. Any chance to get of the ship was welcomed and I enjoyed all 3 ports. Entertainment apart from the parties was provided by bought in "talent". La Diva was a singer (actually a surprisingly good singer) that had a good rapport with the crowd and did 3 shows over the week. Koka was one of the worst drag acts I have EVER seen. Put me in a dress and I would be more convincing. Add in that he mimed to songs and I have no idea why the other passengers seemed to like him! Nicky Nicole was a further drag act - I have no idea what he did though apart from manage to walk in high heels. Finally there was the ship dances (who seemed capable) and a ventriloquist (v. funny). In addition to the nightly show there was a gay film festival. Not sure why just because I am gay I have to be subjected to worthy but badly acted and directed films, but there you go. Personally I would have been happier watching The Avengers or a good comedy. Finally the cabin. We were in 6169 and in terms of comfort no issues. Bed was good, sheets were clean, shower good. BUT - we did not meet our steward for 2 days, there was no room service menu, the safe was locked (2 days to unlock it despite repeated requests) and the engine noise was deafening! In summary then the ship was average, the food was average, the service was average, the fellow passengers were a huge pain (I would go into some of the things they did but this has gone on too long already) the parties were excellent and the additional entertainment was largely poor. When I tell you that the list price for an inside cabin was €1500 per person (based on 2 sharing) I think you will agree that this was horrifically over priced. Compared to other companies I have cruised with (overall rating): 1) Disney 2) Royal Caribbean 3) Celebrity 4) NCL 5) CDF (with reservations as this was a charter and the normal offer may be better). Read Less
Sail Date July 2012

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click