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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural ... Read More
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural sailing was in YC too. Displaying the Union Jack upside down at the official launch of the ship was never going to be a vote winner but MSC managed to make what should have been an exciting, awe inspiring first cruise into the most boring, disorganised and disappointing cruise we have ever taken. People say - never go on a new ship for the first 6 months while they iron out the issues ans staff find their routines etc. What a load of rubbish. This ship boasts ZOE the first interactive AI virtual assistant at sea. Well, if you asked a question she was able to advise speaking to a staff member and she did try to turn on the TV but failed miserably. I did try to put her in the wardrobe but she is screwed to the desk (taking up extremely limited space) so we just unplugged her. Normally, the TV is the first place to pre-book all the shows for the week, make restaurant reservations, check your account, watch ship webcams, find the weather forecast, listen to the annoying safety briefings but none of that worked either - there were a handful of TV channels and that was it. Now, back to the "never cruise in first 6 months" argument. All of MSC ships have interactive TVs - they are not new to this ship - they are tried and tested and there is no reason for them not to work given they have been building the ship for 2 years. The same for Zoe, did they suddenly invent the thing a week before the cruise? None of the shows were announced until the night before the performance - why? Did the artists get on the day before their appearance? Given that the shows were so poor, I think they were too embarrassed to announce them. Our very first nights "entertainment" was a video of the launch party. That built the excitement ready for a mime artist, a couple doing a shadow show and a ventriloquist - all of which should have been condensed into one show (if at all). The whole thing was incredibly boring for the entire 9 night cruise. There were 3 "MSC shows" which at least added some sparkle and colour (they were nothing special but that is quite normal and manageable for their 30 min duration). We had some pretty rough seas for 3 days and the captain was absent from the PA system - in fact the PA system was used ONCE during the whole 9 days - no weather updates, no location updates, no amusing one-liners from any crew member at all. So, Yacht Club - billed as "an exclusive haven of refinement". I have always liked YC - it has never been as good as the hype but it is far, far better than a standard MSC cruise (or should be). My main gripe was the food - or rather the lack of food quality. YC menus are normally full of exciting exclusive dishes - not dozens of choices but better quality meals. Not on this cruise they weren't. Elegant Night choices were particularly disappointing - lobster tail was the only highlight but even that was a battle involving my wife and then the waiter in an attempt to remove it from its shell. MSC had announced a signature dish from Raymond Blanc for this ship - nope, they were probably still trying to get Zoe to find the Raymond Blanc cook book. A "complaint" the the restaurant manager was met with "well, I don't write the menu". That guy did not smile once during the entire cruise - I have never met anyone with so little personality in 44 cruises. Shocking. I watched as he approached guests and just stood there creating an uncomfortable "stand off". The YC Grill on the sun deck was limited and they were clueless - one day, a small choice of warm (never hot) dishes were suddenly removed and replaced with chips and fried food plus four tall hatted chefs trying to cope when more than 10 guests appeared at the food counter - these are professionals? Staff would not allow you to select your choice of food and insisted they serve the food from the dish to your plate - that alone resulted in long queues and was a joke when trying to select salad items. "Chefs" appeared every day to take dozens of photos of the food layout; only to re-arrange it by millimetres before taking dozens more photos. It was laughable to watch them as they worried more about presenting the food than they did the taste and quality. These were experienced crew who had vast experience on other MSC ships - but they were just clueless. RAJ at the YC Concierge desk was amazing (I hope MSC don't zap his enthusiasm as they appear to do with so many). Did we get an amazing experience in YC - definitely not. Did we feel MSC had pulled out all the stops to make this inaugural cruise something special - do I even need to answer. We have one more MSC cruise booked, but are now looking to cancel it based on how shockingly bad this March 4th sailing from Southampton was. I'm not prepared to spend my hard earned money on a cruise line with such a laid back, couldn't care less attitude toward its guests. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We looked forward to the much hyped inaugural cruise on Bellisima. MSC are not that well known here in UK, and it was a great surprise that Southampton was chosen for the christening and inaugural cruise of this enormous ship, capable of ... Read More
We looked forward to the much hyped inaugural cruise on Bellisima. MSC are not that well known here in UK, and it was a great surprise that Southampton was chosen for the christening and inaugural cruise of this enormous ship, capable of carrying well over 4000 passengers. As we approached the harbour we we were astounded at the sheer size of the ship, but were delighted by how speedily we boarded. There were no words of welcome or proffered welcome drink, and guests milled about wondering which direction to take. Armed with a ship plan, we worked out the location of our deck 12 cabin, and after a few wrong turns we arrived. Our cabin was pleasant but rather dull, with dark furnishings, grey ceiling and mustard soft furnishings. The bed proved to be comfortable, the wardrobe adequate for a shorter cruise, but the cabin was dominated by a huge convertible sofa. The bathroom was a masterpiece of compact planning, with glass shower enclosure, wedge shaped sink and narrow counter. We’d luckily packed toiletries as those provided were generic MSC dispensers. The narrow balcony had 2 mesh chairs and small table to enjoy on sunny days. We tried out the innovative Zoe interactive system but found it confusing and irritating. After a 3 hour train journey, we decided that we’d find the buffet, a well laid out, but crowded , deck 15 area, with plenty of tables and a wide selection of dishes. Busy waiters rushed to serve drinks, and guests settled to enjoy all that the ship had to offer. After lunch, like everyone else, we explored this vast ship, with its long central domed LED displays above a range of shops, cafes and bars. It was a truly amazing spectacle to have this moving image display as one strolled the area. The central atrium is a delight, furnished in silver and soft greys with beautiful swarowski crystal staircases linking decks. We liked the cosy pub but were astounded by the paucity of the library, in reality 2 shelves of paperbacks, completely inadequate for a ship of this size, as many guests like to relax with a book when at sea. The top deck has a water park with water rides and a range of interactive gaming opportunities, several of which had to be booked , attracting a charge per use. The attractive pools areas are well furnished with sun loungers, sun beds and chairs, very popular when the sun shone, unlike many ships, there were life guards. Dining is well organised with 3 main dining rooms, several speciality restaurants as well as the separate yacht club area restaurant for suite guests. When booking a choice of dining times was offered. We had chosen a 6pm set time, and the dining room had plenty of tables for 2 , closely spaced. The dining room staff were well organised and efficient, and the menus varied daily. The restaurant was well run, the waiters friendly and helpful and the restarant manager Fabio a charming host. Most guests had a drinks package of some kind, but the basic wines on offer were decidedly unimpressive. We chose from the bar menus, enjoying some very good , varied , Italian wines. Like many others, towards the end of the cruise, we checked our account, discovering several errors. As it is a paper free billing system, it was a matter of queuing at the guest service desk to remedy the problems, a complicated business as the relevant department had to be consulted for each mistake. MSC needs to address this issue and simplify the system. Evening entertainment is very European in style, and with such a polyglot audience acts had to have a wide appeal, jugglers, shadow performers and ventriloquist are the norm, with the addition of a separate Cirque de Soleil showroom , performing just 2evenings on our cruise, despite the promise of it being. ACirque de soleil at sea cruise. The popular Bellisima bar was the liveliest spot, with live music, a tiny dance floor and a busy bar. We enjoyed a couple of evenings there, but seating is limited and it is a very crowded spot. Disembarkation was as well organised as at the start. A colour coded system worked well, with no crowding and a well organised system. Collecting luggage was a bit chaotic, as the area was small, but it all seemed to go quite smoothly and we were soon on our way. Read Less
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Sail Date: March 2019
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at ... Read More
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at our Balcony Cabin it was very narrow and the bathroom was very small. There was tissues in the wall right next to the toilet which we thought was very unhygienic, the wardrobe hanging space was very small and there was no tea or coffee making facilities in the Cabin. The food in the main dining area was not enough and we had to ask for vegetables to fill the plate, what you did get was tasty but you had to wait a while for it to be served. The Market Place Buffet on deck 15 was like a Cattle Market so we did not use this very much. The entertainment was very poor and only lasted 35 minutes each night, in fact when we had at sea days we were very bored because there was nothing much to do. The main entertainment throughout the day was in the Bellissima Lounge which was too small and people were dancing in the main walkway because there was not enough space on the dance floor. We found the service in most of the bars to be poor and we actually walked out of three bars because we had difficulty getting served. Although I must say this did seem to improve on the last couple of days. We could not stop at La Coruna because of the poor weather conditions, not once did the Captain speak over the PA System to advise his passangers to expect adverse weather conditions, in fact we never heard or saw of him at all, even though it was really bad. The overall service was unorganised and the information given was very poor. The MSC App for your phone was good when they managed to supply the correct information. There was not enough seating areas in the Champayne and Cocktail bars, the Sky Lounge was ok but only if you liked Jazz music. The Liabary was a joke, it consisted of three shelves but only one shelf was full, this was next to the Champagne Bar. Overall I think MSC are relying on the beauty of the Ship and are not paying enough attention to the Fare paying Passengers. We will not be cruising with MSC again for sure. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I boarded okay. Firstly trying to get through the staff pushing their drinks packages. The ship looked amazing. But considering it was the inaugural voyage there was no pomp or ceremony. Not even a musical send off or complimentary ... Read More
I boarded okay. Firstly trying to get through the staff pushing their drinks packages. The ship looked amazing. But considering it was the inaugural voyage there was no pomp or ceremony. Not even a musical send off or complimentary Champagne toast. A few special people seemed to get invited to the naming ceremony but for the rest of us we had a paper certificate!! Most cruises give away freebies to keep you coming back and it advertises their company. Not even a pen or pad if you wanted to make any notes. Theres a new gadget called 'Zoe' (like Alexa etc). Anything I asked her she said ask a member of staff. I traveled alone in my cabin but if there was two of us I think it may have been a bit cramped and not enough space to put your belongings away. The safe was small. I couldn't put my laptop in it. Toiletries provided in the cabin.........Ive had better in Travelodge. There was shampoo and shower gel in a pump on the wall. No conditioner, hand cream etc. The shower cubical was small. Towels were nice though and plentiful. The wardrobe was very narrow. You couldn't hang anything neatly as it had to hang sideways. The draws were also very narrow and only opened a bit so difficult to get things in or out with our screwing them up. And I wasn't prepared to pay to have the iron rubbed over. You cant get use of an iron onboard. Tv was an okay size for the cabin but very poor channel selections. Apart for the regular BBC news there was BBC Eden. I think that was on a loop so repeated. We had a restaurant and a dining time allocated but the food was average. No steak or any speciallity dining. That was extra and there was a better selection for a price. I agree with the comment 'school dinners'. Even the mash was lumpy. Drinks served were limited even when included in your drinks package. You could only choose from what they offered and not necessarily what you like to drink!!! This was the case at all meal times. The buffet was a free for all much like a cheap package deal to costa packet. Food was leftovers in a different format. Bland or cinnamon used to lift it regardless of it actually suited the food it was put with. The pasta choices were all a little overdone. Soggy. The pizzas were sloppy and not tasty. At one point my friends undercooked pork was put on a fish griddle to finish cooking. Wonder what pescatarians, muslims and people with certain allergies think of that. Waitresses were slow, had attitude and often rude. Little or no interaction. Young and just there to earn money. There were good waitresses and waiters. They were charming, helpful and remembered your preferred choice of beverage. But they were few and far between. I had many a complaint and in the end I had the direct line to guest services. Not sure if that was a good thing. Entertainment was a regular dance class and a stretch class if you could get into the small lounge were it was held. There was a very small auditorium with barely any seating that had the same set of musical acts on a rota. Nothing around the pools except dance music from the clubs. Not suitable to relax or have fun to. That was also on a loop. The shows were okay at times other times like amateur dramatics. Everything was told in three languages so drawn out. As for shopping......rubbish. More like a duty free arcade. It was run to get as much extra money out of you as it could. Everything was extra. Cirque was supposedly sold out. Then they weren't going to be there then they were giving tickets away. Not as good as the time I see them at the Royal Albert Hall. Porters were not something I see. The excisions were over priced and we sourced our own outings. I didn't travel with children but I am a wheelchair user. The first problem with that was the muster station drill. hen the emergency drill went ahead I was unable get help to get to the muster station. It was the wrong muster station too. The signs were giving the wrong directions and no special needs addressed. When I complained to the Marshall she said 'don't worry the drill will be over soon. Go back to your cabin". I couldn't believe my ears. When we disembarked at Genoa we found a free bus that took us to the airport. The 'SP from the station. The crew didn't make any effort with their goodbyes. Right back to the embarkation.......nothing special. I wouldn't go back. Its not disabled friendly. Not enough seating for people to spend time together. Lack of entertainment. Very disappointing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
In the Yacht Club om this new addition to the MSC fleet... its difficult to know where to begin with our praises.. From the seamless and effortless boarding experiemce to the unrivalled attention by staff, to the excellent YC cuisine, We ... Read More
In the Yacht Club om this new addition to the MSC fleet... its difficult to know where to begin with our praises.. From the seamless and effortless boarding experiemce to the unrivalled attention by staff, to the excellent YC cuisine, We enjoyed a fantastic beef wellington on a couple of nights in the YC restaurant.. superb.. the wine list is great too.. its almost perfection and difficult to find any fault. A spacious suite provided both a comfortable nights sleep and a gtear place to sit and enjoy a prosecco or too on the large balcony and watch the sunset. The Yacht Club experiemce on MSC truly lives upto all they say amd more... If you fancy a change from Silversea, Cunard Queens grill or Oceania.. give it a go.. you will not be disappointed.. Top Sail lounge also provided a fabulous place to sit and be pampered with afternoon tea, tempting cocktails and inclusive beverages... Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Where to start with this one! A brand new ship with all the hype and excitement about it being the most beautiful ship in the world etc. Well it’s rather far fetched to say the least! Admittedly check in was very easy, and we got ... Read More
Where to start with this one! A brand new ship with all the hype and excitement about it being the most beautiful ship in the world etc. Well it’s rather far fetched to say the least! Admittedly check in was very easy, and we got straight on to the ship with total ease! But that is as far as it goes with the MSC Bellissima experience! We get to our cabins and my goodness they are narrow! The wardrobe is beyond a joke! Literally a single wardrobe! How on earth people who are on extended cruises will manage, I have no idea! And not even a cheap plastic pen left for us to be able to fill in the breakfast order form! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING special was done to make the guests feel excited about being on an inaugural voyage on a brand new ship! All the focus seems to be on how much money they can claw back out of you on board! Don’t waste your money! To save time I’m just going to list the problems! -don’t waste money on spa day pass! It’s overpriced and tiny for the size of the ship! And it gets packed by all the yacht club members who get to use it for free! -breakfast is the worst experience ever! People grabbing food! -shows are ghastly! And I mean atrocious! -all the hype of cirque du soleil and they didn’t perform once! -staff and officers taking up spaces in passenger areas, using phones etc! -captain didn’t speak to passengers once over PA system regarding the change in itinerary due to weather! -entertainment in general is terrible. There’s literally nothing going on! The hilight seems to be the cringeworthy dance classes that they do every day in the Bellissima lounge. Added to the fact there are like 20 creepy staff to try to force you to dance! -dinner in the complimentary restaurants is very slow and reminiscent of school dinners! - playing club music incredibly loudly in the pool deck at 8am! - physically inpossible to do a complete lap around the ship or go to the very front and watch sail in. The very front is reserved for yacht members only! So disappointing when I personally come on a ship in order to walk around and take in the views ! -bars on the ship seem to be just tables and chairs placed along the sides of the ship, with the millions of shops selling the same thing! However the gym is very good and the only place where I found the staff to be very friendly! Also, the dome ceiling is very cool! It does make a great impression on that side, with the ceiling shows. On the whole I really do think that MSC need to rethink this ship and how they deliver the kind of service that it should be getting. Would not recommend this ship Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
It would have been five star but as per maiden voyages in general, the start was a little rocky (in all ways) as the crew and ship got bedded in. We had to miss out onr first port call due to the wind and strong swell and the ship rolled ... Read More
It would have been five star but as per maiden voyages in general, the start was a little rocky (in all ways) as the crew and ship got bedded in. We had to miss out onr first port call due to the wind and strong swell and the ship rolled a bit, leading to much smashed crockery and glasswear but the crew smiled on. The ship is magnificent. Zoe, the much hyped in cabin cyber assistant was pretty useless except as a bluetooth speaker. We were in Yacht Club and had the biggest TV ever, but very little to watch on it in English and unlike other lines we cruise, it was hard to find anywhere showing a watchable football match at any time on a TV. Why the italian sport channel on the TV was obsessed with basketball escapes me. Celebrity shows a sports channel on TV that shows football. We loved the Pub and the galleria dome shows were jaw dropping. The Yacht Club staff were all superb and special mention to Raj of the concierge who was so helpful. The girl running the champagne bar in the main ship also deserves special mention. Read Less
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