We bought this as a package that included flights. We looked forward for over a year to a beautiful new ship and watched the progress of its construction. Sadly the anticipation was the best part. Bellissima is a huge ship that crams in ... Read More
We bought this as a package that included flights. We looked forward for over a year to a beautiful new ship and watched the progress of its construction. Sadly the anticipation was the best part. Bellissima is a huge ship that crams in as many cabins and people at the sacrifice of public areas. There are never enough seats in the public areas although there are tables available, the lack of seats makes it difficult to find a spot. The deck chairs around the main pool are crammed in and always seemed to be reserved even though this is supposed to be a no no. The main pool deck 15 has the smoking area so it stinks of cigarettes. There is always entertainment there, if you call it that, and games with only a dozen or so participants at all times. It’s very loud and in your face, so a quiet time around the pool is not possible. The other very small pool at the rear is better but again lacks seating. The music here is over loud speakers and could be softer. There’s a bar here but again lack of seating and also a smoking area. Bar staff overall on the ship are rude or indifferent, and lack the necessary skills to operate a bar. The bars are also lacking in seating, with so many guests onboard and nowhere to sit. The so called adults only bar was out of order at least twice when we tried that one, and one of the bars only had drinks above our drinks package. Now regarding the drinks package. We bought the easy package a year out from the cruise. We have friends who sailed earlier this year on another MSC ship who were able to have drinks up to €6.50......so they happily had Jameson’s on their cruise with no problem at any bar. MSC are very misleading in their description of the packages and describe a selection of spirits, cocktails and wines. We were aware that the beers included were Heineken and found also Amstel light, which is ok. The selection of spirits however is bottom shelf Bells whisky, Vodka, Gin and bottom shelf Rum. No bourbon, which is my drink.
All of the decent drinks were €6.50 but our package was up to €6.00 and no exception. We can only assume that MSC have changed that between the time of our friends cruise and ours. The cocktails aren’t cocktails, they are mixers like G&T and Vodka and orange, but we did find a way around it. If you are stuck on the easy drinks buy your non alcoholic cocktails and a shot of rum etc with the mixer separate and just mix it in! When we questioned the drinks package all they were interested in is upgrading your package for an exorbitant amount of money. We would’ve been better off paying as we go. Bar manager Tafseer Said did his best to rectify our issues with the bar and whenever he saw us he always checked that things were ok. Chocolate bar a huge waste of space that could be better accommodated with, say a lounge area, as lots of chocolate on display but no one in here buying. The massive casino is just another attempt at making money and could’ve been a quarter of the size as hardly anyone using it. Obviously an indoor smoking area which was offensive. Again that would’ve given more nice public area. No library or place to have a quiet read. Cirque Du Soleil was a amateurish performance and the so called cocktails were a choice of non alcoholic mai tai, gin and tonic or rum and something. NOT COCKTAILS as described and they were awful with most people not drinking them.
Dining.....we didn’t eat in the animal farm buffet although did a walk through a couple of times. As a Coeliac I needed to eat in the main restaurants. A plus is that this is a Coeliac certified ship with a Gluten Free kitchen. I was served only by the head waiter at all times and every effort was made to accommodate this without exception. Yoseph in the the main dining and Marcelo at breakfast. I usually skipped lunch but on one occasion did use the restaurant for lunch. We found the service slow here and they charged for a bottle of wine rather than a glass on our package. My advice is to keep track of the charges as there were a few mistakes made and other guests had the same issue. The evening meals were nice but towards the latter part of the trip they became mundane. Service however by Greisy Maria in the main dining room was excellent. If you are Coeliac you will have no worries here. My only issue is that the buffet could have some dry pre packaged crackers gluten free so that a light lunch with, say cheese and lettuce could be had. On the Hurtigruten line this was accomodated. I do carry my own rice crackers however and I would recommend doing this.
The cabins are a little smaller than the MSC Poesia which we have sailed on before, but quite comfortable. It’s strange but on a new ship things like the lounge looked really old and I can’t help but wonder that it may have been fitted out with things from another ship, maybe having a refurb? Bathroom a little small esp for larger people but quite adequate. Shower was nice and hot with a good amount of pressure, . We are both small so it wasn’t any great issue for us.The cabin boy was warm friendly but needs more training. Lots of dust that wasn’t attended to both in the cabin and bathroom and on a few occasions I had to leave a note to replenish the soap. No big issue though. Beds were always well made and comfortable. We were on deck 11 in a balcony room and had a little verandah with two chairs. One major bone is that they don’t provide Kleenex tissues in the room!!!! Now this may seem mundane but when you have to waste your time in ports looking for a supermarket to buy tissues then it’s an issue. Even a lowly two star hotel motel provides tissues, so a beautiful new ship not providing them is ridiculous. Is this their way of cost cutting? The cabins are built with a slot for them and there were many complaints about it.
We had to use toilet paper when we ran out of our own......really poor!
The entertainment in the theatre was, for the most part, quite good except for Daniel mime! I’m sorry for the artist but it was terrible. A children’s matinee would’ve been more professional. Lots of people walked out, including us. We gave him a second chance another night but it was equally awful. I felt embarrassed for him. The opera was boring as the songs weren’t known songs as expected. Most of the shows we’re pretty good though. Again the lack of public areas was an issue after the show there was nowhere that you could get a seat for a drink. Very crowded and few seats. This ship is very poorly designed and this view was shared by many guests of more than one nationality. One English lady said “For a beautiful new ship how do they get it so wrong?” That sums it up.
There were long queues at guest reception at all times. Unfortunately we had occasion to complain about several issues including returning to our cabin one night to find someone’s luggage in our room. This was met flippantly with a ....it’s not your luggage question..... when my husband went to reception about it there was a very distressed Italian man gesticulating about his lost luggage and when my husband approached, the staff member gave him the hand and said he’s busy, upon which my husband said if this is about luggage, then I have it!
The public area toilets weren’t serviced well with a lack of soap and toilet paper.
Hand sanitizer wasn’t enforced esp when entering food areas. I remember on the Poesia there were staff at the entries making sure this was done.
Had occasion to speak to the Voyagers club woman. What a rude pig of a woman she is.
Excursions were disorganised with us finding ourselves on mixed language buses even thought we were at the meeting point well before time. Other English speaking were on English speaking buses so we looked like we were the leftovers. Annoying. Also the timing was ridiculous with our bus always last even though all guests were onboard. In Muscat we were half hour past the time of the Mosque being open because of this. Rome Baroque tour was good with a good guide. We didn’t see Marseille as apparently weather didn’t permit docking although the weather appeared fine and sunny. We docked at Toulon instead which is a little village. Nice enough but not Marseilles. Some people had booked independent tours in Marseilles so they forfeited. Whilst the MSC excursions are more expensive and not always fantastic, we felt that it’s a safer option as if there are any issues like this the MSC are liable. Khasab is a total waste of a day. There is nothing here except a few shops all with the same stuff, and all run by Indians. It’s a grotty little nothing. Don’t know why they even dock here. We had a long stop and yet a port like Heraklion we only had four hours. The queue to re board at Khasab was two hours standing in the sun as they only had three tenders operating for five thousand people. Tempers were frazzled to say the least.
Unfortunately for us we are booked on MSC again next year but only seven days. We traveled on MSC Poesia in 2011 and this was a good experience compared to Bellissima.
On the basis of this cruise, had we not already booked, we will never use MSC again. Read Less