1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Western Mediterranean Cruises
  4. Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

69 Marseille to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

If you want to be treated like a criminal, discriminated against and be at risk of burning to death on the open seas, MSC is the cruise line for you! My issues started even before the cruise. As a solo traveller, and a gay man, I ... Read More
If you want to be treated like a criminal, discriminated against and be at risk of burning to death on the open seas, MSC is the cruise line for you! My issues started even before the cruise. As a solo traveller, and a gay man, I emailed MSC asking if they would hold an LGBT drinks event on the cruise, as nearly every other cruise line does. The email response did not address my question, so I rang MSC here in Australia and spoke with someone who promised to inquire and to email me back before leaving for my trip to Europe. She never did reply, and once on the cruise I realised she was likely ordered not to or simply too embarrassed by what the response would be. But this was not the only issue I had. There are so many that I'll separate them: 1) Luggage misplaced. After several hours, neither of my two bags had been delivered to my cabin. I went to the buffet and just happened to come down by the aft staircase and saw one of my bags outside of someone else's cabin (other end of my floor). 2) Being treated like a criminal. The second bag, containing my best clothes/suits/shoes and such had still not appeared so I stood in line at guest services to be told it can take some time and I should call back at 4:30 if still not received. I was obviously anxious about it given that my other bag had been left elsewhere and worried about the fact it contained very expensive clothes, not to mention I'd left my housekeys in there. At about 6 p.m. still no bag so I stood in line again. Good news! My bag had been located. But they marched me down to security, where I was interrogated by two large security guards who accused me of having smuggled a knife on board in my bag and demanded I open it. I told them that was ridiculous. That very morning I'd actually thrown out some scissors I use to trim my beard when I travel when I read in the boarding documents that even scissors aren't allowed to be brought on board. I opened my bag and took out all of my clothes. They had mistaken my housekeys for a knife, but duly searched the bag and of course there was no knife. I didn't receive an apology and they tried to blame the French port authority staff who had (supposedly) placed a sticker on the bag indicating the presence of a knife. I think this was likely a lie since there was no such sticker on the bag. I complained to guest services about my treatment and had a meeting with the manager (more on that below). Another passenger (an American) I met on board had also had a similar experience. 3) At the meeting with the guest services manager, she was very nice and apologetic. She asked me what they could do to resolve the situation. I told her I did not want anything, apart from a letter signed by a senior officer of the ship apologising for this incident so I would know that it had been taken seriously and I suggested that rather than dragging innocent passengers down to security in such a case they simply look in suspect bags to make sure that what is supposedly inside is indeed inside. She claimed she'd send that feedback on to head office. I asked if it was a legal issue they couldn't simply examine the bags themselves and she confirmed that it was instead simply MSC's policy, but she'd see if that could be changed given my experience. I then mentioned that they had also not replied to my inquiries about organising LGBT drinks and asked if they could do that and she said she'd speak to the Cruise Director and let me know. I explained that nearly every cruise line offers such a service and that as a solo traveller it's a nice way to have a chance to make friends on the ship. They did send me a bottle of Italian sparkling wine and a plate of six unappetising-looking pastries along with a generic printed card thanking me for my feedback; however, I had specifically told her I didn't want any free stuff and that I wanted an apology, so I sent them back. 4) No surprise, they refused to hold any LGBT drinks. The guest services manager I had dealt with previously even claimed it would be discriminatory against non-LGBT people to have 'special' drinks for LGBT people (despite the fact there were other private events onboard including some religious group) and, bizarrely, she also claimed that it could not be discrimination because MSC (supposedly) hosts LGBT drinks on sailings from the US. Which is it then? Their concession was to host a 'single cruise' drink event open to everyone, LGBT or not, but not identified as LGBT so other LGBT people would think to go to them. I of course did not attend as I was not looking to meet single travellers; I was looking to meet other LGBT people simply to socialise. You can't just walk up to people and ask if they're gay, even if you suspect they might be, and ask if they want to hang out. Talk about clueless! 5) The morning after leaving Morocco,, I went to the cafeteria on Deck 13 for breakfast. No sooner had I sat down than I smelled a very strong odour of burning toast. But I was not having a stroke! No, instead I noticed smoke billowing out of a toaster mere feet away. There was a table with an old couple between me and the aisle in front of the counter with the toaster. The attendant looked unconcerned and walked away. I sat there is shock and disbelief. Over the next two minutes at least four, possibly five, other ship's staff walked past this toaster (which was full on smoking by now), including a guy in engineer's overalls. After a very short time, a French-speaking lady nearby got up and ran to the counter to try to get someone's attention. The attendant had come back and then, being told the toaster was nearly on fire, she sauntered away again. The old couple got up and left and I pulled out my phone to take a video of the smoking toaster. That's when a dining room manager finally ran over to the toaster and the attendant returned with someone else. This could easily have been a fire. The next day, there was an announcement in the daily program asking passengers to pull the fire alarm or make staff aware if there was a fire (which, of course, the French lady did before I even could). Apparently, their staff can't be bothered to do so themselves; it's up to the passengers. I noted, while sitting in shock at the table, that the smoke was only a few feet from the nearest smoke detector, which did not go off -- leading me to wonder if it actually even worked. 6) The food was generally of poor quality relative to other ships. It was like cafeteria food, even in the dining room (with a couple of exceptions). The portions are also tiny, which at least makes it less likely you'll gain weight on the cruise. But you have to wonder how an Italian cruise line can't even make decent pizza or pasta. And all of the food from the buffet is cold, even the food that's supposed to be hot. 7) I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary and one of the things I was most looking forward to was taking an excursion to Granada from Malaga as I've always wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace and it seemed a convenient way to go there. But, despite MSC's website taking my booking for Granada, I found out the day before arriving in Malaga that we were not in port for long enough to complete that excursion and therefore my trip was cancelled. Of course, no one proactively told me this. I had to inquire at the excursion desk about why I hadn't received a voucher for the excursion to be told this. 8) The casino allows smoking so if, like me, you are bothered by smoke then it is a no-go zone. 9) Although they apparently think that LGBT events are somehow inappropriate, it seems that sexist entertainment is perfectly fine. The second-last show included a 'Can Can' dance at the end of which the women's near-bare bottoms are smacked by the male performers. This might be troubling enough, but what was really shocking was that the entire front row of the theatre was occupied by the children's group who were brought along to the show. The kids, ranging from I'd say 3 to about 11, were often seen about the ship together with a couple of kids' counsellors. Apparently for MSC, showing adult-themed, sexualised performances to kids is okay as long as it's heterosexual, but printing the phrase LGBT Drinks in their daily program is inappropriate/offensive (or if the guest services manager is to be believed, it's offensive in Europe, but not in the U.S.). 10) Bring your own hand sanitiser as the dispensers are routinely empty. I'd say that I managed to sanitise my hands about 25 percent of the time on entering the restaurants/buffet. The rest of the time, the dispensers were empty. I'm sure I'm still missing something, but that's probably enough to give you the idea. If I can say one nice thing about the cruise, apart from the destinations themselves, it would be that there are a few nice staff on board and especially the staff at the Il Grappolo d'Oro wine bar, which also offers appetisers from 6 p.m. on that are, frankly, the best food you'll find on the ship. If you are unlucky enough to travel on the Poesia, then make sure to go there each day as there's not much else worth eating on board and the staff there were lovely. Also, the shore excursions were excellent (even if the staff at the shore excursion desk on the ship were not), but as MSC is at pains to point out the shore excursions are not affiliated with MSC Cruises! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
A friend of mine said that MSC offers good trips through Europa. So we booked a expensive cruise with almoust all the packages needed. We were surprised, that a lot of drinks are not included in our package. We consumed a nice bottle of ... Read More
A friend of mine said that MSC offers good trips through Europa. So we booked a expensive cruise with almoust all the packages needed. We were surprised, that a lot of drinks are not included in our package. We consumed a nice bottle of wine every night for dinner - of course not included in the price. Every day the made a advertisment about percentages for shoping, best offers for massage, excursions etc. - you can not sleep… you can not take a nap - than an advertising over the speaker in about 6 languages which is very disturbing. Poor educated and not motivated employees serves you during your stay on board. The cabin is nice, the room service is good. But all the employees have to make business by selling cigarettes, jewellery, clothes, purses, cosmetic articles etc. all over. And of course the allways offer you 30 to 40 % discount.... for example: a massage for the regular price for over 120 Euro is too expensive for the quality. The therapists are working without motivation, are tyred because of too much work and stop a 50 minutes massage after 40 minutes.... But in the end they try to sell you a cosmetic product or a next massage with a 30 % offer.... Make business - go to MSC - you can learn a lot...... not a very nice feeling, when you should spend more and more money. For sure we will not recomend a cruise with this company!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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 chose the Divina because it fit our schedule, and also because of the price. We did have some concerns about our first MSC cruise, and were advised by our travel agent to “keep an open mind” – something that we soon came to ... Read More
We chose the Divina because it fit our schedule, and also because of the price. We did have some concerns about our first MSC cruise, and were advised by our travel agent to “keep an open mind” – something that we soon came to understand. But despite some minor irritants, the overall cruise experience was nevertheless enjoyable. Embarkation in Marseilles: We chose to take the city bus to the port gate, and then rolled our suitcases to the dock. Although the route is straightforward, it might not be the best choice for the mobility-challenged, as it is a bit of a hike. Because MSC allows passengers to begin their cruise at a number of different Mediterranean ports, there are fewer people to process at each stop. The two-step check-in was painless – we were able to hand over our bags directly to be loaded onto a conveyor belt, then sat in the waiting area for a brief time before our number was called. Once we boarded, though, we had to run a gauntlet of staff members eager to “up sell” passengers with the usual drink, restaurant and spa offers – a practice that continued for the first few days of the cruise. Meals: I realize that food is subjective, and having taken almost a dozen cruises so far, we are usually quite satisfied with the on-board offerings. In terms of variety, quality, and presentation, we felt that the Divina fell short of expectations – although the meals in the main dining room did improve as the week progressed. For example, where other cruise lines offer “made-to-order” egg stations at breakfast, the choice on MSC seems to be from a tray of cooked eggs that looked less than appealing. And after witnessing the chaos in the buffet, we retreated to the Black Crab dining room where both buffet and à la carte breakfast is available during limited hours. We discovered – too late for us, alas – that hamburgers and similar fare are available in the sports bar at lunch. Stateroom: Our 11th deck stateroom (11084) was the highlight of the cruise, mainly because of the deep balcony complete with a lounger. The storage is adequate and the bed is comfortable; about the only quibble would be the small TV; however, we were delighted to discover that CNN was one of the available channels. Service: This is another area where MSC does not seem quite up to par. We did not meet our cabin attendant until the one and only time, half-way through the cruise, when he came to turn down the bed. There was no means to contact him with specific requests. When our toilet tissue supply ran dangerously low and our repeated calls to room service were met with a busy signal, we finally had to take matters into our own hands and proceed to raid a service cart near the other end of the hallway! I am not faulting the housekeeping staff as it appears to be a management issue. And as one other reviewer has mentioned, MSC seems to have done away with facial tissues in the bathroom – not a biggie, but an indication of either cost-cutting or lack of attention to detail. Front desk: I won’t go into detail here, other than to say that the folks at the front desk resolved to our satisfaction an issue relating to a group of young passengers who were the subject of a number of complaints. Itinerary: This cruise was port-intensive, with no sea days, which was just as well considering the number of passengers and their often loutish behavior. The ship was forced to skip Valencia because of an impending storm; when the captain announced - at dinner time – that the closing of the port meant a detour to Barcelona, a loud cheer resounded through the dining room (at least among the English speaking passengers – leaving others with puzzled looks until the announcement was read in one of the three or four remaining languages). Debarkation: This is an area where MSC really shines and a first for us. Passengers were provided with a briefing on the entire process, including how to fill out and attach luggage tags. Upon arrival at the port of Marseilles, passengers were divided into groups according to colors that corresponded to the luggage tags, then escorted to the exit by a crew member at the appropriate time. All things being equal, the cruise was a success. Would we sail MSC again? It will depend on a number of factors, but I think we might consider a different ship and itinerary, as the cruise line does provide good value – as long as one keeps an “open Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The service on board is ok as long as you are not requesting anything. If you are not in the yatch club or apeeding a lot of $$$$ on extra you will not recieve anything. Here are some example: - my daughter found a metal tack in ... Read More
The service on board is ok as long as you are not requesting anything. If you are not in the yatch club or apeeding a lot of $$$$ on extra you will not recieve anything. Here are some example: - my daughter found a metal tack in her chicken, their only reaction was to replace the chicken lno other excuse, letter of excuse - the bar by the pool is often out of cold draft beer, if you want a beer you need to buy bottle more expensive - the buffer is only offering water and coffee, juice is only available during the breakfast - restaurant and bar often out of sodas - have to wait to get out of the ship (docked) because only one exit is open or because the decide to put everyone on hold the exist excursion using the same exit at the same time This cruise was my u in e yeard and 3 rd with msc.... MSC never again Karl Read Less
Sail Date June 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
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
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and because we wanted to try a European line after having cruised over 25 times on the mainstream American lines. Here goes: First: this itinerary allows passengers to start and end the cruise in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and because we wanted to try a European line after having cruised over 25 times on the mainstream American lines. Here goes: First: this itinerary allows passengers to start and end the cruise in any of the 7 ports. So the embarkation process was quick since we didn't have to deal with all 4200 people getting on at the same time. Second: the ship is absolutely gorgeous! Real marble, beautiful lighting, every nook and cranny was more attractive than the next! Stateroom: we had a rear-facing balcony . The room had so much storage space and was very well appointed. But, no robes unless you asked for it and, they wanted to charge us for them. As for the balcony, it was huge and contained both chairs and lounges. Problem was, we hardly sat outside because the fellow passengers were smoking on their balconies and the smoke wafted into ours. That was horrible . We made several calls to the concierge but they were evidently powerless to do anything. Food: very good in the main dining room. Beautifully prepared and very tasty. The portions were small which was fine with us, and you could always ask for more. By the way, they do not have iced tea so we resorted to ordering a bucket of ice and hot tea and made our own. Entertainment: the production shows were the best we have ever seen on any cruise line. The performers were unbelievably talented . The choreography, lighting and costumes were better than first rate. The orchestra was also fabulous! There was always music in the public areas and lounges so anywhere you went, you were entertained. Staff: everyone we encountered was well-trained, accommodating and eager to help. We are not demanding passengers but we witnessed several rude, demanding passengers who were handled with patience and finesse by the staff. Now, for the bad: this cruise line allows children to travel free. We have nothing against children. But, the parents left the children unattended to run around, pushed them in strollers into passengers who were trying to walk in public areas, and it was absolute chaos to get from one place to the next. There was an absolute disregard for fellow passengers. I even witnessed a baby crawling on the floor in the buffet, who was about to be trampled by people with full plates of food. I swooped him up and handed him to his mother to avert what could have been a tragedy. . . The mother didn't seem to care! Yes, not MSC's fault but, if the "children travel free" policy remains, we will never travel with MSC again. In addition, they definitely need to make sure that passengers don't smoke on the balconies. At least, put up " no smoking signs" ON each balcony .. and then enforce it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
As most of you know I can no longer go ashore but stay on the ship, Costa's team in Genoa & on board, made this cruise special for me, and a great big thanks to all involved in helping me cruise again. Firstly I had a loan of a ... Read More
As most of you know I can no longer go ashore but stay on the ship, Costa's team in Genoa & on board, made this cruise special for me, and a great big thanks to all involved in helping me cruise again. Firstly I had a loan of a wheelchair for the whole cruise, which proved wonderful as I could push myself round ship & to Club Dining room. The cabin (Suite) on deck seven was just the same as most other ships of the fleet, spacious, clean & really nice although we do prefer those aft we did like all the service provided by our Butler, who turned up three nights during the cruise & took me in the chair up to the dining room, certainly a call above their duty. The ship itself was kept beautifully clean as were the cabins, even though we are late risers & often only left the cabin just before lunch. Of our time on board we of course could tour the facilities without crowds, & I must say all seemed excellent and well supported on sea days. There really is plenty to keep you entertained by reading the Diario di Bordo daily you can plan ahead, although to be fair it does take some understanding at first. One down side on this particular cruise the English host was not as friendly as most, we always make a point of contacting them whenever we get the chance, but it seemed she was not willing to chat. The only time we really got to know her was at the Wine Tasting where she talked about herself while the host described the wine. On to the restaurant we ate in the Club Dining Room on deck Eleven lovely surroundings but very limited choices, although I do agree that food waste must be reduced on all cruise lines to stop un-necessary wastage, this went beyond that Taste & Flavour had given way to presentation Lots of plates were returned particularly the beef which seemed to be on the menus nightly, either under or over cooked. But don't be put off with these comments although I am a fussy eater I manage to find some nice every meal, if a plate was returned they always offered you either a better replacement or different dish, Costa now serve the same choices in every restaurant which does reduce waste. Would we cruise on the Favolosa again one of the nicest friendliest ship we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just returned from 10 nights on the MSC Sinfonia. I've been reading reviews for the last several months and had been very concerned for our sailing. Well I can honestly say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had traveled in the ... Read More
Just returned from 10 nights on the MSC Sinfonia. I've been reading reviews for the last several months and had been very concerned for our sailing. Well I can honestly say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had traveled in the past on RCL, NOR., CELEBRITY, HA ,CARNIVAL so this is not our first rodeo. We spent 6 nights prior to the cruise in Marseille and stayed at the AC Marriott. Lovely hotel with good service and friendly efficient employees Loved La Panier, Chateau D If, and of course the port. Boarded around 2pm with no problems whatsoever. Our cabin was ready, luggage arrived, and Marco our cabin steward was fabulous--always there to help. Probably our only real peeve is the cabin. We were on the 9th deck balcony. SMALL! No sofa to sit on (bed only and a makeup stool) but we got used to it. The bed and pillows were great. You really don't need a balcony this time of year as it is really too cold to sit there. Save your money and get a oceanview. Now for the bathroom--so tiny, probably the smallest we have ever had. The shower is impossible--we are tall but not fat--even to turn around is almost impossible--forget washing your feet and shaving your legs is not even an option Food--we ate in the Covi and enjoyed the food. A decent variety offered every night and proportions were good. We learned to eat all our breakfasts in the main dininng room-. Easy to get a seat, a menu if you want to order off of and even a buffet you could select. A special shout out to Alberto, Waylands, and Keo and Alchilles. No lunches as we were on land every day. Entertainment: We loved the entertainment and thought it was well done, and quite a variety. Good singers and dancers. Most of the shows you need to reserve in advance (the night before) and it's really no big deal to do. We loved the Manhatten Bar, great servers and good pourers. Hors de ourves were served every night with our pre dinner drinks. We had transfers from MSC for 3 cities and had no problems whatsoever. So as you can tell, we enjoyed our cruise and was sorry to see it end. If I can help or answer any questions, let me know. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our first cruise and we had no idea what to expect or what kinds of things were abnormal or normal for a cruise. Our travel agent, a good friend of mine, had never booked through MSC and could only give us expectations based on ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had no idea what to expect or what kinds of things were abnormal or normal for a cruise. Our travel agent, a good friend of mine, had never booked through MSC and could only give us expectations based on other cruises he had been on. He left me with the assurance that we would be well taken care of and guided through the whole process so we could relax and not stress for 10 days. This did not prove to be true. Embarkation was a nightmare. We flew from Chicago to London, then from London to Marseille on the day of the cruise arriving at around 10, with boarding presumably going from 1400 to 1800. We called an Uber from the airport to take us to the port, thinking we would hang out there for a few hours until boarding started. When we arrived there were no ships in port and our Uber driver, who only spoke French, looked over the paperwork to make sure we had the right date and location. God bless that driver who went and talked to the French security for us and nailed down the details, then translated for us with his google translate app because nobody there, not the MSC staff or security or even any other passengers, spoke English. Turns out our ship was in Nice, 200km(120mi) away. It was too windy in Marseille for them to dock there. They put us on a bus to Nice for two hours to get to the ship. It would have been nice to get some kind of heads up that this was the case. They must have known even a few hours or a day ahead of time that they wouldn’t be docking in Marseille. We are thankful we decided to show up early because otherwise we wouldn’t have made it. Once we got to Nice, there were a bunch of cruises there with different luggage vans and security spots to get through. All of the MSC staff we could find were smoking or on their phones not paying attention or giving good direction so even if we did understand French who knows if we would have been less confused. We prayed we put our luggage in the right spot because none of the vans were marked with our boat name. We followed some people we thought looked familiar from our bus to check in. Nobody at MSC spoke English, so, again, we stayed confused. We followed the line to a small boat which took us to our cruise boat which was sitting in the middle of the ocean. Once we got through yet another security line, we had no idea where to go. Where was our room? Was there another security point? There is some kind of cruise card we need, right? How do we get food, we’re starving and jet lagged! For some reason they took all of our paperwork at check in so we had nothing to reference anymore. We were immediately bombarded with people trying to sell us things...in French. Scrambling, we again couldn’t find a single person who spoke English or Spanish(which we also speak fluently). After kind of wandering for a few minutes, we found someone who would help us at the guest services area. They asked for our room number which we had no idea because they took everything we had printed. With a sour face, the woman gave us the number but could not answer our questions further. We found our room with some semi-helpful documents on the bed and no luggage. We had a carry-on with us with extra underwear so luckily we were able to shower then locate our restaurant. On our way to dinner, we found my luggage chilling on a totally different floor in the walkway which was a huge relief because at least we knew it got on the right van. It wasn’t until after dinner that we went exploring other cabins and found my husband’s luggage also chilling in the middle of nowhere. At dinner, we found that our waiter did not speak English. We communicated by pointing to what we wanted on the menu and he wrote it down. The wait times for food were terrible, we waited at least 30-40 minutes every night for our first course. The portion sizes were very small. Theoretically we could have ordered more, however we were so tired of waiting for our first helping of food that we just left hungry most nights. The first night we arrived to water in our glasses and a 4 Euro charge we had to sign for at the end of the night. It sounds small, but after the long day we had, I just broke down that I couldn’t go without a charge for my dehydration. We planned to go through the cruise without any charges. We did end of resolving our water charges a full week later when we finally received our drink vouchers included in our booking. We took the number of vouchers needed to the restaurant to refund our money, which we found out they did not do at the end of our cruise right before we were about to disembark. They fought us for a few days saying we did not have drink vouchers and had to contact the American booking representative on land who took a while to respond. It didn’t get much better after the first night. We booked 5 excursions which were all cancelled. We rebooked different ones in their place which weren’t as good and were disappointing. The staff at the excursions desk were not helpful and again, didn’t speak English well at all. For one excursion, she booked the wrong one for us which we only found out when we showed up for the excursion. We ended up just rolling with it because they were similar. We were booked for another excursion that didn’t even exist. The girl put an excursion number in our tickets that was only offered on another cruise line so when we showed up the morning for our excursion we weren’t able to go. We tried to turn in the tickets for these excursions as soon as we could, which was around 4 or 5 most days because that is when the desk opened. By that time, it was hard to convince them to give us a refund because the excursion was over and somehow they thought we had gone on the excursion with invalid tickets. Speaking of operating times, almost everything opened after 5, sometimes not even until later. Almost all of the bars and the gelato and vitamin bar areas were never open at all. We weren’t able to get good food when we wanted because the main buffet always seemed to be closed and our seating time for dinner was at 9pm which is honestly when we usually go to bed. The pizza area was open longer, but they only served two kinds of bread with sauce and maybe cheese and usually there was a long kind of people waiting for more because what they took out of the oven was grabbed really quickly. In general, the food was below average. There wasn’t much variety in the buffets and the main buffet food was never fresh. The restaurant food was better, but the portions were too small and the food was tasteless. I personally have an allergy to cheese and almost every dish had cheese in it. I asked if it could be removed from any of the dishes and was told no. I’m not talking about from lasagna or something that was probably cut from a large dish in the back. I’m talking meals where cheese was obviously sprinkled on the top or included individually on the plate. That was too much to ask for someone to deviate a little from their preparation of the plate. This left for little choice for me. There were a few times that we ordered room service which took forever. They always quoted us twenty minutes, but it took over an hour every time. Twice they got the order wrong. I ordered a soup (#1 on the menu) at around 4pm when other food places were closed, and I got a veggie wrap instead(#12 on the menu.) I went down to guest services to get a refund(room service is not free which is ok, but in the American booking site it says it is so whatever) and was told they don’t start serving soup until 6:30pm. The second time they got it wrong, I ordered a BBQ chicken wrap which I had ordered before that didn’t have BBQ chicken. When I went down, they told me it was actually correct because they said their recipe changes every day. Finally, there wasn’t much to do outside of the shows in the evening. After talking to others, it has been confirmed that this is unusual. On days when we returned early from an excursion or on sea days, all we were left to do was sit in our room (which was a wonderful, clean safe haven!) and watch the same three movies that cycled through. We were stuck with more free time than we had hoped between our cancelled and ever changing excursions and the extra time given by the ever changing itinerary. We spent most days sitting on our bed bored. We purchased a day of WiFi to combat boredom which was not worth it because it wouldn’t go on any of the American websites that I wanted to visit like my work intranet or the county library to check out more ebooks to read. It was slow on the few that we could connect to. I’m sitting in a hotel in France writing this and their WiFi connects fine to the US websites so I know it isn’t a Europe IP address thing or something. We were supposed to dock in Barcelona first, but there was a storm which pushed our arrival into Barcelona a day late. They canceled our trip into Valencia, then rerouted at that last second so we did arrive in Valencia, then shortened our day in Palma, then cancelled our day in Malta which we were really looking forward to. Our arrivals into Italy went as planned. We looked forward to the shows as they were the only entertainment on board. It was hit or miss. The opera shows and the Flamenco dancer show were great, but the shows or bits of shows revolving around other singers or the MSC Sinfonia dancers were terrible. These were supposed to be family shows and the costumes on these girls showed almost everything. Maybe it is a European thing, I don’t know. The stereotype is that Europeans are big on nudity. There were a lot of tacky strip teases. The singers mostly sang in English and it was terrible. They should have sang in their native tongues. They did a few shows trying to showcase British and American culture that were cringey and almost disrespectful. The only good thing I have to say is that our room was wonderful, the view was amazing and the guy that cleaned our room was very kind and attentive. The excursions and places we visited we also great. We were disappointed that all that was offered were city tours and all of the fun activities(the ones we booked before) involving biking, swimming with dolphins, trying food, visiting caves and a volcano were cancelled. However, our tour guides we very well versed in the places we visited and made the tours come to life. It was worth the crappy onboard experience to see these wonderful places. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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
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 am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as ... Read More
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as the now defunct Transocean Tours' MS Marco Polo and Voyages of Discovery's much missed MV Discovery. I have sailed multiple times in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, South America, Asia, Alaska, Norway and the Baltics. Whenever I do a review, I review the ship against what it A) is pertaining to be, and B) value versus the price paid. In this sense, a Crystal cruise may not receive five stars if the voyage did not meet my high expectations, whilst a 3 night Norwegian Cruise Line voyage may rate higher if my substantially lower expectations were exceeded. In my opinion, the MSC Yacht Club product is the best value in luxury cruising. My wife and I are in our mid 20s, and we appreciated the fact that we had our own enclave aboard, where the crew quickly learnt our names and favourite drinks, but could at will descend into the melee of a mega-ship filled with energy, music, song and dance. The Yacht Club was in essence a haven (pun unintended), a quite, relaxing area, approximately the size of one the older Seabourn triplets, where it was easy to meet passengers and make friends, in a fashion that is usually impossible aboard a ship carrying several thousand passengers. One could then go and enjoy the entertainment and options available on the ship with said friends. The entertainment was of high quality, especially the Cirque de Soleil show. Every night a production show was presented, of which one can get tired of quite quickly, but they were of similar quality to shows I have seen on other mass-market lines. The overall ambiance of the vessel was international, which is something we really enjoyed about MSC, and the Meravilliga's interiors where nothing short of stunning. We did not try any eateries besides the Yacht Club restaurant and the buffet, so cannot comment on the quality of food in the rest of the ship. In the Yacht Club, the pantry always had food available, the drinks where of reasonable quality and weather permitting there was a barbecue or buffet available on the open private decks. The MSC Yacht Club restaurant offered food of a reasonable to high quality, with service that was great if not perfect, missing the finesse of service found on dedicated luxury lines. The butler aboard the Yacht Club was more of a room attendant, although you could always count on the ones serving in the Yacht Club lounge, for all intents a private observation lounge at the forward-most point of the vessel's superstructure. Lines where never a problem as we had dedicated lifts which we could override to give Yacht Club passengers express service, and the butlers where always at hand to walk you out or back on to the ship, skipping the sometimes substantial ques. In a similar fashion, after a very hectic day trying to get to the ship (trains on strike, taking a bus, taxis on strike, having to take several busses, etc.) the glasses of sparkling wine and welcome of the YC crew made our embarkation perfect. I can happily recommend the Meraviglia if you are a guest seeking a large cruise-ship experience in an international environment, with a value-driven luxury product, and for this value are willing to give up the extra refinements and finesse found on 'true' luxury lines. I am sure we will be sailing aboard an MSC vessel in the Yacht Club in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
UK Booking Office, Website and Tech Support should all be closed - the "service" provided and poor systems just aren't good enough. As MSC is starting to focus on the American market, just move it all there so we can deal ... Read More
UK Booking Office, Website and Tech Support should all be closed - the "service" provided and poor systems just aren't good enough. As MSC is starting to focus on the American market, just move it all there so we can deal with people accustomed to customer service. We booked Yacht Club - the prices are getting too steep for us now, so we had an inside cabin (14005). This is by far the worst cabin we have had in 40 cruises. I will review that separately. Boarding the ship is usually an enjoyable experience for those in Yacht Club. Luggage taken at the roadside and within your cabin in under 30 minutes. A separate check-in area, complete with drinks and snacks and a private butler-led escort to the YC area. Well, the butler obviously had a day off because the pleasant young lad given the job of escorting us to YC was clueless. He couldnt use his YC card to summon the express lifts because he didnt have one. The lifts were extremely crowded so we were led from one side of the deck to the other and back again in search of a lift. When we did get one, he took us to the wrong floor, led us out and had to quickly usher us back in before the lift went - he did that twice. He remained cheery even if the rest of us were a tad fed-up. Everything (well nearly everything) about YC was perfect. Dinner was excellent every night, the private top deck was great and the small food area was great to escape the chaos in the main buffet. Service within the YC lounge was sporadic and not a patch on our previous YC cruise aboard Splendida. The ship itself, once you figured it out, was great. The Italians were Italian, doing Italian things - sometimes annoying but they are Italian after all lol The shows were actually really good - now they have the gimmicky cirque de soleil (extra charge) they have moved the "bendy wendy girls" and other circus style acts into there - leaving the theatre to present theatre style musical shows. OK they may still be short at 45 minutes but they are worth seeing (3 shows a night and need to book as soon as you get aboard). Sadly, the main buffet was a complete shambles. Splendida had an amazing salad bar area; on here it is terrible. Food kept running out, was spread weirdly around the buffet area and never seemed to change from one day to the next. Even the famous Italian pizza was poor. Trying to get a drink in the buffet (using the excellent "bar call" button system) took forever or just didnt happen. Im sure the system is fine but Im not sure any staff actually bother to look at it. Now, Ive read several reviews regarding poor staff service levels and attitude. IF you go looking for those staff, Im sure you will find them. We never did because we greeted every single one of them with a cheery hello, please and thank you and they were just brilliant. It always amazes me how they recognise you from one cruise to the next, often a year apart - give them 20 seconds and most will even remember your name. They are all stars. We are looking forward to our next MSC cruise on Seaside and then the inaugural sailing of Bellissima next March - BUT we are keeping our fingers crossed on the cabin Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My family had wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise for years, and after completing six domestic cruises in the U.S., we decided to finally take a giant leap over the pond for a European cruise. Simply put, when booking with Costa, shame ... Read More
My family had wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise for years, and after completing six domestic cruises in the U.S., we decided to finally take a giant leap over the pond for a European cruise. Simply put, when booking with Costa, shame on me for not doing research; I was unaware I was booking with the European version of Celebrity Cruises! Upon onboard it, our first impression was that the Costa Mediterranea ship was beautifully ornate and visually impressive. Making our way to our state room began the awful experience. As written in previous reviews, there’s an extra charge for everything. The deck hallways leading to staterooms smell like stale arm pit, the carpet look water damaged as though previously flooded, and you choose whether you want to see your service person in the morning or evening. There is no in between service should a need arise. The buffet has limited up offerings, and even more limited hours of availability. The food was terrible and low quality. The formal dining menu basically offers up the same foods rotated or moved to different portions of the menu. By day two, I had an extreme case of food poisoning. The infirmary was closed more than half the day, and then it was over €100 just to walk in the door. Passengers are on boarding and off boarding at every stop, so there is a constant passenger rotation and confusion. The staff do not warm up to you, are unfriendly, and not customer service minded, but who could blame them when they are constantly dealing new faces every day. We had the opportunity of befriending a member of the staff, I will not mention where they worked, who shared the very low morale and dissatisfaction of many employees. Most cannot wait for their contracts to end. Two of our three excursions were canceled, the paid wine tasting activity we signed up for was canceled, the Internet service is extremely poor, and while we were away physically off board on our one excursion all of our remaining megabytes had somehow been used up! It took elevating to management to get resolution. I could go on, but in the essence of time, please seriously consider other cruise options. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Only take notice of negative reviews on here if you are looking for an English or US style cruise. If you are cosmopolitan, love a lively atmosphere, enjoy European food and are nice to staff then you will not find fault. The ship is ... Read More
Only take notice of negative reviews on here if you are looking for an English or US style cruise. If you are cosmopolitan, love a lively atmosphere, enjoy European food and are nice to staff then you will not find fault. The ship is magnificent, the staff were fantastic, the food was good. We took advantage of the all-Inc drinks and enjoyed a 3 dinner package ... Butchers Cut, Eataly and Cirque du Soleil. .. everything was perfect. Our balcony cabin was fantastic ... and yes the bathroom is smaller than on other MSC ships. .. but the shower was actually larger. Disembarkation for ports and day of departure extremely well organised. Much bigger ship than we have been on before and weren't sure if we would like it, we didn't ... We LOVED it. Fabulous entertainment from shows in the theatre to acts in the various bars and especially the animation team staff on the bridge in the Promenade. Only downside is we now need another holiday as we didn't get back to our cabin until the early hours every night! Thanks MSC! See you again soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I had been on this cruise before and had a nice time. This time it was a different experience because our fellow travellers were rude and unfriendly. I have no idea whether this has anything to do with Brexit, but despite my trying with ... Read More
I had been on this cruise before and had a nice time. This time it was a different experience because our fellow travellers were rude and unfriendly. I have no idea whether this has anything to do with Brexit, but despite my trying with my Italian and French, they didn't want to know. We had a personal problem on board that meant we had to go home early, so a smile or a greeting would have been nice, but no chance The staff were really nice. Kim, our room steward, and Barbara, in reception, who restored my faith in human nature. Top marks to the crew, big thumbs down to ambiance (if you're a Brit). The first night entertainment was good, didn't get to see any more after that as too upset at unfriendly manner of other passengers, plus we had problems at home. Selection of food very good and staff helpful. Emergency drill was confusing. 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
MSC Meraviglia Westen Mediterranean cruise. Feb.2018. This ship is like a game changer of Italian cruise lines. It's a fabulous vessel, and we really enjoyed it. Venues and shows are spectacular, entertainment is in the ... Read More
MSC Meraviglia Westen Mediterranean cruise. Feb.2018. This ship is like a game changer of Italian cruise lines. It's a fabulous vessel, and we really enjoyed it. Venues and shows are spectacular, entertainment is in the air in a way that we haven't experienced with MSC before. I really enjoyed the opera, but there was something for everyone. It's a great ship for the cold with marvellous indoor pool areas and a fantastic spa. I did however question if it would work in the summer time since there is a lack of outdoor space. I asked someone and got it confirmed that the past summer was a disaster since there wasn't space enough on the pool decks. It's been pointed out before : it's like travelling on a bus, with people coming and the whole time. This makes the reception constantly crowded. Unlike many non - Italian ships there isn't much of a choice for dinner unless you are willing to pay up. You can however visit the buffet, which is at least one alternative. We were happy with what we got regarding quality and service, but we miss the delight of being able to choose where to go for dinner like we would normally do. General service was a mixed bag, but house keeping was top notch. With people leaving just about every day, disembarkation was great. Embarkation could have been good too, but it was unnecessarily messy. Even if it was too cold to be outside our kids had their best cruise ever. All the theatures and the kid's clubs kept them happy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The itinerary. We wanted to visit Rome and Florance. We found the cabin staff to be very pleasant polite and very good at their job. But in many of the other areas such as bars and restaurants they seemed disinterested. The waiting times ... Read More
The itinerary. We wanted to visit Rome and Florance. We found the cabin staff to be very pleasant polite and very good at their job. But in many of the other areas such as bars and restaurants they seemed disinterested. The waiting times at the bar could be up to ten minutes,staffing levels seemed to be an issue. On one occasion I asked for a slice of lemon in my drink and was told by the bar man the reason why he didn't give me one was that the waitress had not brought them up yet, even though there was a basket on the bar full of lemons and limes. We also had an issue with our cabin. We booked two trips, one to Rome and the Vatican 10 hours in total take away the 3 hours return journey 1 hour for lunch which left 6 hours of sight seeing it all felt really rushed. On the Florance trip also 10 hours we had a stop at a leather factory, in my few time wasted.The guide was very good but sometimes we had trouble hearing her as we did not have head sets and we were a party of 46,unlike the Rome trip. The trips in my view are a rip off and over priced. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We booked an aft cabin and the view and experience added greatly to the our enjoyment of the ship. Most importantly, take some time to plan you port excursions and learn about the vessel. You should know all about the Epic - before - you ... Read More
We booked an aft cabin and the view and experience added greatly to the our enjoyment of the ship. Most importantly, take some time to plan you port excursions and learn about the vessel. You should know all about the Epic - before - you get on board. There is so much to do and see you should take the time to plan. I would say I gave the planning phase about 20 hours before we boarded. It made our journey effortless. We were on the cruise rather than figuring out what we wanted to do. Best tip I can give. We ate at La Cucina, Le Bistro, and Teppenyaki. All excellent and a nice break from the buffet. I am in the habit of tipping the Maitre'd of the dining hall. It will help you get the best possible dining experience. You will have aave a great time on this vessel. It is huge, but it never felt impersonal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We are a family of 3,husband,13 year old daughter and myself.We have previously only sailed RCCL,twice on Freedom,3 times Oasis and once on Allure( all in Caribbean).We loved all or RCCL cruises but decided to try NCL for a change. We ... Read More
We are a family of 3,husband,13 year old daughter and myself.We have previously only sailed RCCL,twice on Freedom,3 times Oasis and once on Allure( all in Caribbean).We loved all or RCCL cruises but decided to try NCL for a change. We also needed a European cruise as my husband has had a knee replacement so needed a short haul flight. Embarkation at Rome was a breeze,straight from the airport and we were onboard within half an hour of embarkation...our cabin was also ready at 1pm so we were able to go and see our cabin,a mini suite,which is basically a slightly larger outside balcony cabin. We had already read about the bathroom situation with frosted glass...it didn't bother us..in fact the fact that someone can use the toilet and someone else have a shower was great.However,the water temperature of our shower throughout the cruise was just about warm... never showered so quickly as desperate to get out of it! Our lovely cabin steward,Victoria ,did get a plumber to look at it but to be honest it made little difference. The cabin itself was a decent size with tonnes of storage...much more than on RCCL ships...however the strange curved design was problematic ...our round bed meant your feet hung iver the edge...I am only 5 ft 7 so goodness knows how a tall person gets on.! Also our daughter was to sleep on the sette,which was converted into a bed each night. Due to the curved design,the bed was a half moon shape which my daughter had to curve her body around...she fell out of bed twice! The settee on RCCL converts into a double bed to give more space. We then went up onto the pool deck ....far inferior in our opinion to any other ships we have been on...just didn't have the WOW Factor..the sun beds were very cramped,definitely wasn't enough of them,the adults only part was dreadful....cramped,noisy,children supposedly banned but this was not enforced,as we saw some young girls aged around 12/13 in there...small pool..nothing like The Solarium on The Oasis of the seas..which is a haven for adults and luxurious. The service at the main pool bar was dreadful,you could wait ages...they ignored my daughter repeatedly,they are clearly understaffed and some of the of virtually treat you as an inconvenience ...when we were on the top deck I would tip a waiter a few euros and get our drinks served to us .On our only pool day we got our sun beds by 10am,,people looking for them after 11 am had no chance....not enough for people on board. The first night we went into Taste,one of the main dining rooms...what a shock,miserable waiter,no one took our drinks order ...average food....the following nights we went to Manhattan...much better experience here...service was very good,atmosphere much better with live music and dress code strictly enforced which I believe is correct in a nice dining area.The food was average,sometimes good...desserts were very average...small portions,often cold main meals...RCCL definitely has it in the main dining room. We did dine one night in the Chinese restaurant,included in complementary restaurants....this was very good,hot food,great service with a smile..slightly cramped restaurant. Entertaininment was excellent...loved The Beatles...saw them 3 times,Cavern Club was superb and waiter service from the waiters excellent...also excellent bar service in Shakers bar...drinks were of good quality,better wine choices than RCCL. The ports of call were excellent...did our own excursions and save a fortune,except for Sorrento which we did through ship as it was a distance from Naples and I was worried about missing ship! Overall we had a great holiday,mainly due to the ports of call we visited...in our opinion NCL lacks the professionalism that we have found on RCCL cruises...we missed the central buzz of the Royal Promenade on RCCL ships.everything was spread around with no focal point. The staff are mixed in their service...some excellent some are downright awful....at the end of the day this was cheaper than an RCCL cruise and you get what you pay for...perhaps we are too set in our ways as loyal to Royal cruisers,and I wouldn't say I would never sail NCL again,but definitely not on this ship... Booked Symphony of the seas with RCCL for next summer....can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I chose this cruise for the ports which were mostly good. However, there was nothing memorable about this ship! The food was of poor quality and not completely accurate in the description (fish, desserts) on the menus. I had food poisoning ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the ports which were mostly good. However, there was nothing memorable about this ship! The food was of poor quality and not completely accurate in the description (fish, desserts) on the menus. I had food poisoning after eating at one of the buffets. When I called to see a nurse/doctor, the infirmary was closed while at port. The shows and entertainment were mediocre at best with a cheesy and vulgar flair. The ship was all about making extra money at every turn-extra costs for some shows, dinners, all excursions, and much more. During sea days, the ship was so crowded that you had to carefully place your feet around the pools and decks in order to not step on anyone. We were sitting arm to arm on the adult pool deck with strangers as there was not enough room to spread out. They did an excellent job with embarkation/disembarkation. I will never sail on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click