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8 Marseille MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews

Previously used MSC about 7 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Treated with respect and pleasant dining all through the day. This cruise eas so different, majority of staff unsmiling and grudgingly helpful when unable to avoid ... Read More
Previously used MSC about 7 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Treated with respect and pleasant dining all through the day. This cruise eas so different, majority of staff unsmiling and grudgingly helpful when unable to avoid assistance. Started badly with us (70 yrs of age) having to lug our luggage from the port entrance to our cabin, plenty of staff just watching pretending that they could not understand the language (English) Promises of some free laundry services never materialised and cabin attendant was just a cleaner who tidied and replaced towels twice daily. Breakfast was a chaotic scramble, as was lunch, the evening meal was OK at best with small 3 courses which was never hot and rather small, often just meat with a couple of small pieces of vegetable. Despite selecting not to have a service charge on my bill (I like to tip for good service to deserving individuals who were few) it took 3 visits to customer services to get a €140 service charge added to my bill without my consent to be removed. The vast majority of staff had little if any English. Almost all clients were Italian with a lot of small children, the Italians are very nice but mainly noisy and excitable. Entertainment about 40 mins of which 15 mins was a compère introducing the show in about 6 languages.The 25 min show however was good Newpver sgain 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
The food is terrible. Little choice and cheap quality ingredients used and cooked badly - often overcooked. Food left over is rehashed into different dishes next day, for example leftover roast beef becomes sliced beef in gravy next day. ... Read More
The food is terrible. Little choice and cheap quality ingredients used and cooked badly - often overcooked. Food left over is rehashed into different dishes next day, for example leftover roast beef becomes sliced beef in gravy next day. I noticed food and drink is rationed in a subtle way for example in the breakfast cereals there are (cheap quality) corn flakes, rice crispies etc and muesli and when (little bowl) of muesli runs out during service it is not replenished forcing remaining diners to have corn flakes or rice crispies. Same with drinks first glass decent measure, second smaller. Ship claims to run out of certain wines, then has them again next day. Some things like bananas are only offered once a week. Meal in Tex Mex awful, ordered sirloin steak on second day of cruise - told they were sold out! Had fillet steak - terrible unseasoned overcooked and served with iceberg lettuce Not Tex Mex! Meal in etoile, where Yacht Club members dine (70 eur) also bad, 3 tiny pieces of meat. More like a ferry than a cruise with the ship picking up and dropping passengers and ports and safety drill in Seven languages interrupting evenings social life take ages. Shop and reception staff are rude and unhelpful. A million miles away from any other cruise experience we’ve had on P&O, Cunard and Celebrity. MSC have started sailing from Southampton and I suggest any UK person to avoid and not be taken in by advertising hype. This cruise line has a lot to learn. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
If you want to go away and lose weight then this is the cruise for you. The food is literally no better than 1 star. Staff service is ok but ignore the staff to customer ratio half of them obviously missed the ship, takes ages to get ... Read More
If you want to go away and lose weight then this is the cruise for you. The food is literally no better than 1 star. Staff service is ok but ignore the staff to customer ratio half of them obviously missed the ship, takes ages to get served, a lot quicker getting yourself. We've both had upset stomachs . Ok the cabin not bad, ship tidy, what they don't tell you in the luxury cruise brochure is they let 3rd class citizens on at various ports for a stay at next to nothing to make up the numbers. When you work hard all year and book a luxury cruise one expects to eat well, get top service and relax with like minded people. That not going to happen with this cruise liner company. The worst part is constantly being sniped at with hidden charges, maybe we should have read the small print but when you pay for all inclusive including food and drinks package one doesn't expect to pay for bottled water, orange juice and the like. They also force a daily service charge per person on you. VERY VERY dissapointed. 1 star rating I'm afraid. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
msc Fantasia is a beautiful ship ,very classy and modern, my cabin was an inside but well cleaned ,and the staff was vey kind we had a wonderful vacation I also did many excursions but very rushy I would like to have more times like 2 days ... Read More
msc Fantasia is a beautiful ship ,very classy and modern, my cabin was an inside but well cleaned ,and the staff was vey kind we had a wonderful vacation I also did many excursions but very rushy I would like to have more times like 2 days in at least one main port! The food was good I like the variety of food of the buffet and the tex mex is a good option for having an different dinner in a special place! The cruise I would like to choose a yacht club suite! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
As first-time cruisers, we did not know what to expect, so we read teh reviews on this site. From our perspective, I can only say that soem people just want to find some fault-so sad.We have travelled the world and stayed in mnay classes ... Read More
As first-time cruisers, we did not know what to expect, so we read teh reviews on this site. From our perspective, I can only say that soem people just want to find some fault-so sad.We have travelled the world and stayed in mnay classes of hotels and met many people.Our experience with the Fantasia was 100% positive. I like to travel to meet people. The staff on the Fantasia were wonderful, many from Bali, and so friendly and helpful.Our balcony suite was perfect and kept spotlessly clean.The food was very European, but that's what one goes to Europe for. There were lot of choices. The majority of passengers were European, so get used to European customs. When in Rome... They do not line up...just bundle into elevators/stairways etc.Yes, there is smoking permitted, but it was never a problem and there was no odour.Yes, there were children. If you are annoyed by children, go on an adults only cruise. The majority of the children were well-behaved. If you didn't want to encounter one, there are ways around it like having breakfast in your room or going to the adults-only pool. The entertainment was fabulous-as good as any in any resort at which we've stayed. If you want Vegas, go to Vegas.Yes, you might have to buy water. We didn't mind. Other drinks were reasonably priced. We didn't feel gouged in any way. The service in the formal dining rooms was impeccable. Captain Mazzi runs a very tight ship. We would go again. Embarkation/disembarkation was quick. Passports returned quickly. Enjoyed our excursions. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
MSC Fantasia Western Med. week cruise review. Relax and enjoy this wonderful cruise . After reading so many negatives we were a bit nervous about our choice of MSC since we are first time , American English speaking only, cruisers in our ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Western Med. week cruise review. Relax and enjoy this wonderful cruise . After reading so many negatives we were a bit nervous about our choice of MSC since we are first time , American English speaking only, cruisers in our mid sixties. We had a great time. The ship is lovely, the rooms are excellent, large, immaculate, as is the entire ship. The food was abundant, varied, and something for everyone. If you have a special request, such as blue cheese for your cheese platter , it is taken care of quickly and amiably. The crew the room stewards, the waiters, towel guys, deck hands, maitre d, reception , etc. were all very polite, well groomed, and eager to help. When language was a barrier , ( happened very seldom) they were most patient muddling through until we all were clear on the question and the answer. The nightly entertainment in the wonderful theater varied each evening and lasted about 45 minutes , we went to all but one. Go, do not expect Broadway Stars, but very talented , multi cultural , enthusiastic performers. Each presentation was a delight to the eye, extravagant costumes, brilliant lighting, and great musical numbers. All can be enjoyed by any language or age. We changed our dinner seating after two nights , we were assigned a table with French speaking only couples. They were very nice, but we felt sort of awkward doing charades etc. People change every evening for a variety of reasons, often as we did , they meet people they want to eat with . The procedure is easy, just go to the dining room you are assigned between four and six. Speak to the maitre d and they will switch you . We found, that a smile or a laugh , and common courtesy is the best way to get anything , just as anywhere else in the world. We did not encounter any rude Italians, French, stodgy, whiny British, that have been alluded to in other reviews . Everyone was friendly, and in a vacation mood. I wonder, after reading so many negatives reviews , if these people are unpleasant when seeking help etc. , then are met with the same attitude . Just a thought. Coming on board was easy in Marseille, a que of about twenty minutes , baggage checked , and off we went. Our luggage was at our door by the time we had walked around the public spaces . ( There is an orientation meeting held in your native language and you are met by a liaison who speaks your language , but we were not aware of that . It is listed in the daily paper that you will find in your room when you arrive. We just didn't read it right away. So check that as soon as you get to your room . Would have saved us some confusion . ) Disembarkation was easy, there is a meeting the night before ( also listed in your daily paper) and you also get papers on what to do with passports etc. It was fairly simple, only thing I would say is you do not need to be in the lounge at 8 am, but you do need to pick up you passport at reception AFTER 8 am. We didn't leave until around 9:45. We hurried to get there, didn't have time for breakfast , and sat until 9:45. A hint : The ship sells good walking tour maps of each town at Reception for .50. Well worth it so you can plan ahead. You can get free ones in town or of course use the internet. We basically did our own thing in each port except Naples and Barcelona. Naples we did the Pompeii tour, it was good, but would suggest you do the Museum in town instead since most of the artifacts from Pompeii are housed there. Barcelona: we caught a BLUE bus to town, meets at the terminal, 3 Euros round trip compared to the MSC shuttle at 6 euros. Then caught the Hop on and Off bus right at the drop off spot. There are people at the terminal with information and pamphlets, just ask. This was a more reasonably priced way to go than a tour. Some places we loved . Marseille: The Old Port. You need to take a taxi or walk out of the terminal ( about a mile and a half ) to the bus stop at the entrance the terminal or take a Hop on and Off bus which was there at the dock, too far from town to walk . ( We flew out of Marseille the taxi was about 18 Euros. ) Genoa: the port and the back streets. We just walked to town, you can walk to the Aquarium too. There are inexpensive harbor tours , like 10 euros. Palermo: we walked to town , head for the old town and the main shopping streets. We found an old market street that was absolutely glorious in colors and foods along with some old, incredibly beautiful 1600s churches tucked in among the food vendors. Tunis , get a cab right at the dock for about 40 euros for about three hours , the driver will wait for you when you want to get out and walk, shop or eat etc. and tell you about the area . Palma, again we walked to town. The harbor is vibrant, some fun seafood spots, the Cathedral is at the far end of the harbor, a couple of miles. Worth the leisurely walk .The grounds are interesting as are the back streets . Wonderful little shops tucked in the side streets with pastries, and other goodies. Barcelona: ( done on Hop on and Off ) the HUGE food market was immaculate in the old town area, a good place to have paella for lunch. The Olympic Games grounds offers a good view of the city. We were impressed at how clean the city is. We ran out of time, but the tram to the fort was hit with others in our dinner group. The itinerary of cities was excellent. A couple of suggestions. Take some wire hangars and a few clothes pins for use on the clothes line in the shower, ask for a room on the left side of the boat since that is the side that faces the coastline. We took two insulated/covered coffee mugs and instant ice tea and lemonade . Used the ship water and had ice delivered every day ( no charge). The ship's water is fine to drink. We chose the soft drink package for 29 euros. You need to buy the drink, ice cream packages at check in and they don't push it. If you don't you pay more later. Same with tours. If you want to go on an excursion you need to book them within the first day or so to save 5%. They do their darndest to book you on a tour in your language, but sometimes it may be two languages. Big Deal. You are in Europe where many languages are spoken. We thought it was fun hearing all the languages and trying to communicate. Meals: The waiters bend over backwards to make you happy. Get to know them. We had breakfast and lunch ( when on board) in the dining rooms. The Zanzabar Cafeteria on deck 14 is a bit of a mad house. But, the view is wonderful. There are hundreds of choices and a super place for kids with huge appetites. All you can eat.) The dining rooms have a more limited menu , but much quieter and civilized. Breakfast and lunch in there are casual attire, but no short shorts , swim wear etc. Some reviews complain about not having twenty four hour food etc. Well breakfast starts in the cafeteria at 6:30 am and is open until 10. The lunch opens at 12 and closes at 4. Tea is at 4 to 5 at the Zanzabar , first dinner starts at 6:45 , there is a midnight buffet . So there is ample time to eat. PLUS you can buy gelato, pastries, etc. through the day. No one starves. Actually some passengers seemed downright gluttonous.( A reason we chose to skip the cafeteria.) Dress: Again posted in the daily news letter what the dress of the evening is. Sadly, there were some who chose to ignore the dress code and came across as crass . Tuxedos are too formal , but a dark jacket, slacks, shirt and tie for the men works for Formal and Informal evenings. The Causal night is shirt with no tie and jacket. Ladies usually wore cocktail dresses, but basically a snazzy black, wrinkle free dress with a couple of dressy jackets or wraps and you are set. I took one dress and a pair of dressy pants and interchangeable tops. I did see a few people turned away from dinner because of their extremely casual attire. ( flip flops and bermuda shorts ). I felt people were allowed to flaunt the dress code because the crew were too polite to embarrass them. On Deck: We spent quite a bit of time on deck when it was hot. Upper deck in the BACK is the ZEN area , no children allowed. There are deck chairs all over the ship, no need to worry about getting one. The pools were a bit chilly for us, they are emptied each night and didn't seem to warm up much. On deck 15 and 16 there are areas with hot tubs, we were often the only ones there. The main pool areas were busy with families , games, dance classes, and a GIANT screen showing a variety of things going on . The exercise area is in the front of the ship , you have to go through the spa. A wonderful panoramic view, lots of exercise equipment . The Room:Shampoo and soap are included, some reviews have said they aren't. Plug ins are various types , I took a dual curling iron. Blow dryer is in the drawer. Towels are changed almost every time you step out of the room by the wonderful room elves. Pool towels are provided by the pools and hot tubs. Beds are turned down each night , and the steward ( Patricia) made us feel spoiled. We would recommend this line , the price was about $3500 less than friends who are going on a similar cruise on another line with a balcony room. That's another two trips! There were few children , but this time of year that was to be expected. We were in minority as Americans, but we weren't going on the trip to be with Americans. The service was excellent, we were comfortable, the ship is huge and lovely, and we didn't feel like we were being hustled at all. We spent a total of 129 Euros on board for a tour and pop. Plus our tipping fee at the end. So we felt we certainly got our money's worth and had no surprise charges. Bon Voyage ,,, Arrivederci... Ciao... Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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