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109 MSC Cruises MSC Bellissima Cruise Reviews

-For my parents´ wedding anniversary we decided to sail on the Bellisima. After a night spent in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal, which was quite far away from the city center (and the Sants ... Read More
-For my parents´ wedding anniversary we decided to sail on the Bellisima. After a night spent in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal, which was quite far away from the city center (and the Sants Train Station). Embarkation was quite smooth and easy. Check-in was really fast, and doing it in the phone App is not really necessary. After 10 minutes of waiting, we could enter our cabin, guided by one of the butlers. -The ship itself is stunning. The Bellisima Promenade is absolutley fantastic. The stores are quite expensive, but worth looking at them, especially the Chocolaterie, with stunning chocolate sulpture. Eventhough a couple of days are needed to adapt yourself to your new home, the MSC for me App and the many screens displayed throughout the ship help a lot. -The Marketplace buffet was quite good. For breakfast there is a huge variety of Continental, English, Mediterranean, or even Oriental breakfast. There is free coffee, infusions and water at all times and free juice at breakfast. Our courtesy restaurant was Posidonia. The waiter was quite slow, and most days we took from 19:45 to 21:30, and we could not go to the 21:15 show. On one hand, the entries and main courses were Ok, not very tasty in most cases. But on the other hand, the desserts were extremely tasty and well made. -The animation crew, especially Borja Vila and Sebastiano Avola, did a fantastic job to organise the thematic parties every night and the rest of activities onboard. Everything was very well organised you could definitly feel a special ambient thanks to them. Live music was excellent too, not just for dancing but to listen to while looking at other things. The band `` Nearly a Band ´´, who plays every night before and after the thematic party, had two singers worth listening to. -The shows were the most special part of the cruise. Everyday, a diferent show performed for three times. All of the singers were spectacualr, especially Lindiwe Bugane, who had an amazing voice, pretty much like Jeniffer Hudson. The generes of the spectacles were very variated, anywhere from Opera, or Rock, to Shadow Puppets. -The WiFi service was quite expensive, so I took it as a chance to disconnect. Be sure to put your phone on airplane mode unless you want exra fees charged from your mobile company. The SPA and Massage services were also very expensive and not worth it. Room service was quite efficient and useful. Cirque de Soleil was totalyy worth the price and It´s a must for those who want to experience such a priviledged way of art. The pools and jacuzzis were climatised and confortable, but a bit overcrowded. Dance classes were very easy and the dance teachers were very nice. Gym was free, very good and equiped, and not very crowded. -The shuttle buses are very expensive, and you can get a shuttle bus and a tour for the same price, if booked with another company. Same with excursions. - Our children made friends in the Teen Club. Attention for them is provided throughout the day; but I must say they charge for many things such as the F1 simulator or the arcade. They also had a Kids menu in the Courtesy Restaurant which was quite an advantage for ``difficult´´ kids when it comes to eating. -I would go again and again. Everything was really special. When put together, everything made a truly unique experience, and I have no doubt that this has been one of the best experiences in my life. Thanks to all the crew for making it so special. MSC stands for its name and without doubt I can affirm that after sailing in the Bellisima. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My husband and I have cruised before on Carnival and Costa. I wanted to take my two sons and daughters in law as well as our 4 grandchildren to Europe and a cruise was an option to visit more than one destination. This was to be a trip of ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised before on Carnival and Costa. I wanted to take my two sons and daughters in law as well as our 4 grandchildren to Europe and a cruise was an option to visit more than one destination. This was to be a trip of a lifetime. We were 10 people in 3 cabins and had the Aurea package. After booking, I started reading some of the reviews and was worried that our cruise would not be up to our expectations. Well I need not have worried. We got on in Barcelona on Easter weekend and the ship was sold out. Embarkation only took minutes and was flawless. We immediately went to the front desk to ask questions and get the locator bracelets for the little ones. We could not have had a more patient person to answer all our questions. The ship itself is stunning. There are lots of spaces to either be alone and quiet or be with people. This is a cruise line that caters a lot to families. If you don't like kids, then this is probably not for you. it was perfect for us. The MSC app was fantastic for knowing everything that is going on, for booking shows and specialty dining. We did not use Zoe so I can't comment on it. We all loved the spa and having the Aurea package allowed us to use the spa every day. it was wonderful after walking for hours. It was very relaxing and beautiful. There was some confusion over the drink package every so often because there had been changes since we booked but we were usually able to get something we wanted. I see some reviewers complaining about having to pay for water. We had to pay for water on Carnival. Our water was included in our drink package and we had no issues. The food was not extraordinary but it was not awful either. i would not say it was much different than what we had elsewhere. We were always able to get something we liked. I fully expect to pay for things like bowling and the F1 simulators. One would never get access to those activities on a ship with this many people unless you pay. Once you are on the ship, there are packages that you can buy for any of those activities that reduce the cost. The Cirque show is excellent but I would agree to not get the dinner package. Just do the show. The other entertainment on stage is varied to appeal to the mixed population on the ship. The other activities like the white night, or tropical night are fun but you don't have to go if it is not your cup of tea. Comments about the staff being rude totally boggles the mind. Being in the hospitality industry, I know these people work hard. A smile and a kind look usually gets you great service and I would have to say that we never had a rude staff person. Some even called us by name. The cabin is small but still 20 square feet larger than the same grade on some other ships. The bathroom is lovely with lots of storage space and shelves. If you tuck your suitcases under the bed, you have enough space. In any case, most people don't spend a whole lot of time in a cabin. I cannot comment on the tours as we booked private tours for our group. Our group was big enough that we did not want to get in with bigger groups and we wanted some flexibility to shorten tours if need be because of the children. All in all a great experience. I would use MSC again if it was going to destinations I wanted. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My family of 25 decided to celebrate my mother birthday on a cruise to Europe. What a disappointment. We flew from New Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia for this joyous occasion. This ship seems to be only concerned about packing ... Read More
My family of 25 decided to celebrate my mother birthday on a cruise to Europe. What a disappointment. We flew from New Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia for this joyous occasion. This ship seems to be only concerned about packing people on a ship and dropping off to different stops without having space to have any entertainment. 1. They nickel and dime you for everything (soda, ice cream, tea, lemonade) previous ship we sailed all was included 2. The nightly dinners were tasteless and not a great variety. After a couple of nights we stop going to dinner and went to the market place 3. The Marketplace wasn't must better but we had no other choice. The do not have a variety of foods and most of the time you had to wait for them to replenish 4. Nothing to do at night except take in a 20-30 minute show (different every night), Karaoke 3-4 nights and different dance training every night. We are use to having a selection of entertainment every night be it comedy, games etc 5. The Casino is very small and roped off for smoking/non smoking If you have issues with breathing do not go in because the smoke comes over the rope. 6. The reception desk can only answer questions but not take payments. You have to go to a kiosk to make payment and if you need a receipt for the credit card payment you must go back to the reception desk for printout. 7. We attend the Cirque du Soleil show, very disappointing This experience has changed my mind about cruising and I will never cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then ... Read More
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then involved a lot of emails, form-filling and calls to the Consulate in Malta. It was finally resolved by leaving the ship at Malta, a night at a hotel there, a visit to the consulate, a flight to Barcelona, a night in a hotel in Barcelona and rejoining the ship there. Although the loss of the passport was due to the chaotic security system at Marseille, MSC did not seem to make any efforts to locate the passport. Lesson 1 - Don't let anything out of your sight at the security/x-ray area. Coming aboard was fine, the cabin suited the two of us and having a balcony was great. In the cabin there is the MSC version of Alexa/Google/Siri/etc called Zoe. We found it to be useful in telling us the weather, but nothing else. It was laughably bad, just responding with 'ask a member of crew' to the most obvious of questions. Surprisingly, for a ship just a few weeks old, the pillows smelt a bit of smoke at the beginning of the week. Not enough to make you discard them, but definitely noticeable. On the penultimate night we found that the air-conditioning was blowing smokey air into the cabin. Not nice at all. I told reception the following day but was instructed to report it when it happened. When you are half asleep in bed you don't want to be ringing reception to report issues. Lesson 2 - report issues immediately if you can. In advance of the cruise MSC try very hard to get you to spend money on one of their drinks packages. So much so that they do not show the price of drinks on their website. Any search on the website like 'what is the price of a drink?', or 'what are the bar prices?' return you to the drinks packages page. So if you want to compare having a drinks package with buying individual drinks, you can't do it. I contacted MSC to ask the price of drinks and they refused to let me have any information for quite a while with excuses like, 'Because our stocks are subject to availability, prices might change', and 'We don't have a bar list, so I can't give you the prices'. It is a shame that they were dishonest here because the real reason for not telling me was that MSC wants everyone to buy their drinks package (they make more money out of you that way). After quite a few emails dancing around the question MSC were able to tell me the 'approximate' price of some drinks, which enabled me to see that a drinks package was not good value for us. The basic package does not cover a gin & tonic, or most of the cocktails, so if you want anything like that you need to be buying the higher priced packages. We spent a lot of money on drinks, but it was still cheaper than the drinks package. Bear in mind that most days we were ashore so not buying day-time drinks from the ship. To help out others in this respect I have taken photos of the bar prices and will attach them below. Remember they add 15% to these prices to cover the cost of putting the drink into a glass (!). Lesson 3 - MSC want you to buy their drinks packages because it makes them more money Having spoken to various people before setting off I was expecting something a bit classier than what we encountered. The ship itself is very new & shiny, but we found that lots of people are happy to wander around in wet swimming trunks carrying plates of pizza from the buffet. Often we shared a lift with people wearing pyjamas taking a plateful of sausages or similar to their room. The gala night was a lot more formal and many people dressed up for that, which made it much more special, but on the whole I was surprised at the casualness of it all. There was a 'white night' where we were encouraged to wear all-white, but perhaps 10% of passengers bought into this. Given the amount of clothes space available in the suitcase and cabin; I guess a one-off white outfit was not going to be a priority. Lesson 4 - This is more of a party ship than a classy cruise, pack accordingly. I was also expecting there to be informative/educational presentations (I guess I had heard this from people who had been on other cruises). There were none on this cruise. In the evening there were basic dance classes which were good fun and the crew did a great job of encouraging and helping people along. Aside from that it's Karaoke or a band or a 35 minute theatre show. The cirque-de-soliel show was excellent and worth the price. The other (free of charge) shows were also good and worth booking in to. You can book into these things on the interactive screens around the ship or you can use the Msc-4-Me App on your phone. Both systems worked well for us. Lesson 5 - It's all showbiz, nothing cerebral. But do go to the shows. We didn't use the MSC shore excursions at all - they seemed to be crazily expensive and we are not afraid of negotiating for a taxi. For example: before arriving at Barcelona you find a shuttle-bus ticket in your cabin for 9.99 Euros. This is for the bus that saves you a 40 minute walk into the city. As soon as you get off the ship you can see the shuttle buses lined up with the 4 Euro fare shown on the front. A few prices we found: Naples to Pompeii return taxi 17 Euros per person Messina to Taorina return taxi 15 Euros per person Marseille to Airport taxi 10 Euros per person Lesson 6 - Don't use the MSC excursions unless you really can't be bothered to do anything by yourself. Food on the ship was good. Our children enjoyed the all-day availability of the buffet and the range of options there was very broad. Our evening meal was in the standard deck 6 restaurant and the food was varied, plentiful and well presented buy the attentive staff. Really enjoyed having the same servers each evening and they very quickly got to know us and our drinks choices - excellent. They were happy to hold half-used bottles of wine over from day to day. Lesson 7 - Food is plentiful and good quality Finally, just before you join the ship they get you to stand in front of a picture of the ship and hold a pretend wooden ships wheel. Part way through the cruise an envelope containing 6 of these comical pictures arrived in our cabin. The idea is that you tick a box and leave the photos for your cleaner to take away. All of our party returned the photos in this way, but nevertheless 3 of the 5 cabins had 35 Euros added to the bill for the pictures. That seems to be more than just a coincidence to me! Just 10% of people overlooking this on their bill brings nearly 16,000 Euros a week to MSC. Lesson 8 - Watch out for the hidden costs Would I go on this cruise again? No Would I go on another cruise? Possibly, if there were more grown-up activities going on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Bellissima is truly a wonderful ship. Awe inspiring. It has every available resource that you could wish for. It truly is magnificent. The cabin (inside) was so much nicer than portrayed in photos and pre cruise videos. It ... Read More
Bellissima is truly a wonderful ship. Awe inspiring. It has every available resource that you could wish for. It truly is magnificent. The cabin (inside) was so much nicer than portrayed in photos and pre cruise videos. It was stylish spacious comfortable and a great space to enjoy. As a new ship the whole ship is immaculate as would be expected. The restaurants included in your cruise offered a great choice and quality of food. However restaurants felt busy and somewhat manic, speedy food was kind of thrown at you as a chore to be gotten through. In no way is it a reflection on the staff who are run of their feet. Rather a issue of numbers. The individual restaurants you may pay to dine in are unhurried relaxed and offer good service. Particularly impressive was the butchers cut food and staff. Circus solei at sea what a amazing not to be missed experience. Can’t recommend it enough truly great. Downside of this cruise was the sense of hard sell everything has its price. All the facilities on offer that attract you to the ship are expensive extras. You feel that you really add a significant spend to your initial outlay. People are forever in your face trying to sell you additional experiences. I bought a full drinks package, weekly spa package, full WiFi package, 3 restaurants speciality meals and circus solei show with dinner and show with cocktail all before the cruise. I spent the first day and a half of my cruise having to run about from one service to another to finalise packages meals etc. My advice is bar the spa package wait till you get on board. Any package bought pre cruise can not be recompensed when on ship. One real gripe is the WiFi it’s truly atrocious and best forgotten. Certainly not worth paying for the full internet unlimited download. The service hardly works and fully unavailable a serious amount of the time. So exhausting trying to keep resolving problems until I finally gave up and realised it’s a rubbish service and no amount of trying to make it work would. The much vaunted Zoe online assistant is rubbish no use nor ornament. The cruise felt like a cattle market 5000 people. Little space to relax in but really liked the adult only bar. All in all a fanstastic ship with every amenity but to busy to full on not relaxing enough and hard sell really off putting. Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cruise critic, notes from the brand new MSC Bellisima... The newest of the MSC fleet, Bellisima is massive, wide, and very, very crowded. Ship. There are advantages to its size, but many disadvantages too! The price for its size, ... Read More
Cruise critic, notes from the brand new MSC Bellisima... The newest of the MSC fleet, Bellisima is massive, wide, and very, very crowded. Ship. There are advantages to its size, but many disadvantages too! The price for its size, comes as opposite to your logic, the balcony suites!! Shoe boxes, (better) have been reduced in width to accommodate more rooms (boxes)! The design has changed the interior to putting the bed near to the window and the sofa next to the heads. On that front, there has been no shortage of hot water, at night the sound of those rooms above, having a shower or running water, can be loud. Everything is bright and new, yet only weeks old, signs of blistering rust, fester in awkward places. The crew as always, are Great! really helpful and accommodating. Some we have known from previous MSC cruises, don’t like the larger ship. It has lost its personality. For the the girls, women and wives, there are plenty of shops! If your in the market for watches, some extremely expensive(€53k)!! Down to tacky 2x €40! This ship was designed specifically for the Med. and less dangerous seas, not for open seas, ask those who travelled out from Southampton! Not good. The shopping plaza will blow your mind! It’s roof is an LED, picture scope, changing scene every few minutes, similar to that seen on the Dancing on Ice back drops. A wonderfull sight to see! Truly beautiful. From previous cruises, the traditional leaving port to Andrea Botchelli and Sarah Brightman singing ‘time to say goodbye’ has been deleted, no longer to thrill the passengers as this Cruise Director ( probably the worst we have ever witnessed), refused to play it!? Andrew Botchelli was in Southampton for the christening ceremony with Sophia Loren, he will be less than enamerored, when he finds out! He was so pleased to learn of the accolade. Shame really, out loud on the tannoy, it fits well with the MSC image, as the ship leaves the port, the recording blasting away! Other cruise lines now do the same, but MSC was first! The food is Good, really good for bulk cooking. The most picky eater would not go hungry. I have no intention of being rude, but how some of the foreigners stack up their plates,only to ditch it 10 mins later. With such a very large passenger number, queueing for food is a nightmare. This very much is the same for getting on and off the ship! Long waits! Double the passengers, but not the staff or exits and it’s a disaster waiting to happen! As above, there are quite a few other matters that can apply too! The theatre, emergency practice, let alone forbid it should ever happen for real! Hey? Perhaps the captain will get off first! Costa on the rocks sir? With ice? One of the other nigly small items is the changing of the drinks packages. One thing other lines should have followed(Cunard)! Obviously MSC found they could screw you out of more money this new way! and the new fantastica package goes far less further than it did! The once formal evening has gone. Not one evening suit to be seen. Shame! Yes shame, we forget the ladies love to dress up! On the Gala night, shorts and tee shirts were seen on many! Bad news is, the staff did little or nothing to stop it. The ship! Yes too big! Too crowded, too many queues, oh yes! There was enough deck chairs, but no staff to organise how far they could go! Main areas were jammed in 2 cases. The ship? An absolute joy to sail in. Even the most sea sick person could manage! Very little roll or pitch! Well done the designer or ship architect. NOW YOU CAN TAKE YOUR MOTHER! There is some good entertainment on board. The nightly shows are well put together as are specialty shows like ‘Circ Du Soliel’, but the ad says, specify! Gourmet food. It is not! Wet, over cooked veg, hard over-baked specialty Potatoes are part of this act! Now in the bin. I did have cause to complain that one time, as my plate went back with no other replacement in sight. But those artists Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Booked this cruise nearly 2 years ago. I have sailed with MSC a couple of times beforehand so I had an idea what to expect. We embarked at Genoa, as we had stayed overnight in a local hotel we boarded early so that part was very ... Read More
Booked this cruise nearly 2 years ago. I have sailed with MSC a couple of times beforehand so I had an idea what to expect. We embarked at Genoa, as we had stayed overnight in a local hotel we boarded early so that part was very easy. What we did not like was we were hassled to have our photo taken prior to passport control. We told the photographer the we did not want these as we would not buy them as we were in our travelling clothes (not a good memory) in order to get past them we eventually let them take our photos (more on this later in review) On boarding the ship we were impressed with the interior all nice and sparkling, we took our hand luggage to the cabin. First impressions very fairly positive. We got changed and quickly headed for a hot tub as we thought ship was going to get very busy later on. We headed for the buffet, seemed to be a good selection to choose from. Later on we looked at the daily program, this advised as that our 8.00pm dining time had been put back to 8.30pm, so we decided to watch the show. when the show had finished we made our way to the lighthouse restaurant on Deck 6, we met the lady at the front door and she said that we were late and the restaurant was closed. We told her that the program said dinner was at 830 but she did not know this. She called over the restaurant manager and explained the situation. he eventually let us in together with about 50 of us that had also read the program. Food was OK but portions small, as most days the food was warm but not hot. The menu makes food sound spectacular but it is as most places nice patterns on a plate with a bit of sauce applied with an upside down spoon, We went back to cabin to unpack, by this time the bed located in ceiling void was down, only problem was poor design that the ladder stopped the wardrobe door from opening (if wardrobe had been located 1 foot nearer to door the would not have been this problem) Bathroom is small but adequate, nice shower but not enough room to dry yourself. We could not find the bin at first but we eventually found it under sink by giving a panel quite a tug. As the cruise progressed we wanted to try out some of the things on offer on top deck, I wants to do the Himalayan ropes course so I got up there quite early. when it was my turn the chap said where is my blue wristband (I had no idea what he was talking about) he told me to go to reception on deck 5 to get this. (I was not happy) Later in the day I went to reception to get this wristband, reception did not know what I was talking about. I went back up top and saw a different person and he said I had to go to a little table the was hidden by the top of the slides to sign some for of waiver. (I did a ropes course of the Carnival Horizon and there was no such hassle, they even had little lockers to but your pocket stuff in as you were not allowed it on the course). I said can I leave some stuff here but was told this was at my own risk. It was soon noticed that there is a lot of charging for the extra activities. this annoyed me as I had been on the Splendida a couple of years ago and to do the bowling, racing car and 4d cinema was a fixed price of 35 euros for everyone in cabin for the whole cruise (7 days) no such luck on this, MSC operate a thing called fun pass which I think is the wrong choice of phrase. it is not a pass in any way. It is a scheme where you but so much credit a you are given a little extra for free, only trouble is that the racing car is 10 euros a go and only lasts 5 minutes so entertainment will not last long unless you have very deep pockets. the 4D cinema was excellent but again very expensive as was the 10 pin bowling. Only on the last day did I do any of the activities (my son 1 go on the racing car and each of us 1 go on the 4D cinema and boom 15 minutes later you are 25 euros worse off. A few days into the cruise there was a photo package on our bed, we had a very quick look and realised that these were the photos they had taken when we boarded, they looked awful. We put them in the pocket shelf under the TV. A couple of days later. I noticed there was a charge on our account of 35 euros from the photoshop, we went to reception to complain as we found there was also a little slip of paper in this folder that said I had to tick a box to say If I wanted them or not. The reception said that I should fill this in. I pointed out that this practice is unfair, I told them that if I want something I will go to the place, pick it up myself and go and pay for it in the standard tradition. I did say to them that if a were to leave a dirty sock in my cabin with a note inside asking for 10 euros with a tick box yes/no (same difference). Zoe (the in cabin assistant is a total waste of space, less said the better on this so called technology) Plenty of storage space in a relatively small cabin, 2 large wardrobes and a very small safe. Buffet food during the day times could be a bit hit and miss Breakfast was plentiful but the 2 downsides of the buffet are 1/ People wandering aimlessly about, not realizing that a queue is forming 2/ The button to press when you want a drink you might have to press it at least 6 times. We had the Cirque du Soleil including in our booking. It was Ok but nothing to write home about. The Galleria Bellisima is quite spectacular looking but that is about it, the tiny area where entertainment takes place is too small With such a large ship I think they need to have 3 decks of entertainment as the galleria is a huge void of space covering two floors where on smaller ships the are more bars and areas to watch something a little different. This does not exist on the Bellissima so that is a big no from me. The theatre is Ok, thankfully the shows are only 35 minutes long and too samey too much dancing. When shows finish the galleria gets packed very quickly, I found it easier to go up to deck 7 and walkalong With a ship of this I was surprised that we were bobbing up and down from Malta to Barcelona via a sea day. on board Activities via games and quizzes were virtual non existent We had the Easy package which you are limited to Heineken if you wanted a beer, Bar list state 40cl but when you get your drink you find the glass is only just over 3/4 full. We did order a smoothie but when we saw the banana they put in it, there is no way we were going to drink that. Be careful if you have allergies in the MDR as the waiters seem to be a little vague on what this means. 2 on our table had a nut allergy. so the head waiter had to really look after them as some of the items bought out DID contain nuts. My wife booked a hair appointment, she attended on time but was told she was an hour late. they did realize that they were wrong but did not apologize, to a woman getting your hair done is supposed to be a pleasurable thing, but my wife was not happy with this experience. Disembarkation was very easy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise as it was stopping at ports we wanted to visit on dates when we wished to be away. The Bellissima is a stunning looking ship and has something for everyone. Our cabin was on deck 10 midship and was lovely with a ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was stopping at ports we wanted to visit on dates when we wished to be away. The Bellissima is a stunning looking ship and has something for everyone. Our cabin was on deck 10 midship and was lovely with a balcony, reasonable space and being a new ship did not show any signs of wear and tear. Our cabin steward Genesis was attentive, friendly and always happy to see us. He maintained our cabin beautifully and recognised a particularly special date that we celebrated whilst on board ship. At this location on the ship it was difficult to know whether the ship was moving it was so quiet with no noise from adjoining cabins or fromthe engines. Our allocated restaurant was The Lighthouse on deck 6 excellent choice for us as we had a table for 2. The menu was varied and offered something different every day to suit most requirements. Meals were well presented and of good quality. Service was excellent and the staff who served us each day at table 479 were Carissa and Abdul and are worth a special mention for their professionalism and attention nothing was too much trouble and again went out of their way to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Breakfast and lunch served in the Marketplace was a challenge. There was plenty of choice and something for everyone but the shear numbers of diners at any one time made the experience quite stressful. The staff were as efficient and patient as they could be given the logistics of numbers and seats available at any one time. There were good shows on board and plenty of entertainment for all ages. The musicians who played in all of the areas were first class with music choices to suit all tastes we particularly liked the Jazz trio who played each evening on Deck 16. We purchased the Cirque Soleil show and dinner at 40 euros each which was very good value for money . The show was excellent, food very good and Alwyn and his team served everything beautifully so that dinner was served before the show commenced. We have scored food at 3 because of the breakfast and lunch experience. Weather whilst on board ship was not particularly good so consequently much of the outdoors facilities were not in use. They were however very clean and well presented with water facilities to suit all tastes the water park on deck 18 would be great fun for families. We enjoyed our holiday we would cruise again but not for cruising sake but to see particular places that are included in the itinerary. We did not book MSC excursions but instead booked with local providers in Naples we did a tour if Naples and went to Pompei in a small group of 6 with a very knowledgeable guide. In Messina we did the same and rode the cable car to the top of Etna and visited Tourmina. Again an excellent excursion with small numbers and a local guide. Every other port we did our own thing and really enjoyed. This cruise met our expectations and we would consider MSC in the future provided the itinerary met our requirements. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We embarked on at Genoa. The cabin was a good size, the bed and pillows are very comfortable. Everything we needed was at hand. The bathroom although small, served our purpose. Unfortunately Zoe was unresponsive. The ship is ... Read More
We embarked on at Genoa. The cabin was a good size, the bed and pillows are very comfortable. Everything we needed was at hand. The bathroom although small, served our purpose. Unfortunately Zoe was unresponsive. The ship is beautiful and lived up to the hype. The personnel were friendly and courteous at all times. I know the waitrons and entertainment personnel work exceptionally hard in ensuring the client enjoys the experience. Our dining experience was good. We had interactive personnel which we appreciated and engaged with every evening. Food was excellent as well. We unfortunately missed out on the captain’s dinner since we attended the Circ du Solei performance which was entertaining. The buffet areas were a bit noisy, but then that is expected. We only did one excursion and that was to Pompeii, which was well organized. The downside was we were not able to enter certain sections since the operators had not informed the tour operators in their new times. We will most definitely plan our next MSC cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these ... Read More
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these VENUES serve exactly the same food, but just that the name of the restaurants are different. Some are even right next to each other, but use different names. Now we know why they use the word VENUE, clever! Specialty restaurants: As soon as we boarded we bought a package to dine in 4 different specialty restaurants, it was 115 Euros total. We soon found out that the package means eating the set menus at each restaurants and that we could just walk into any specialty restaurant without a package and pay the price of set menu. A set menu usually means 3 course with very limited options to choose from. At the end of the four days we were very disappointed to find out that the values of all four set menu added together was only about 7 euros more than 115 euros that we had purchased our package for. Specialty restaurant 1 (Bistrot): The waiter obviously had no training as he spilled wine everywhere on the table while pouring. Every single glass he poured he spilled. The decor looked cheap. Set menu options very limited as compared to a la carte. Specialty restaurant 2 (Butcher's Cut): Everything was great. Specialty restaurant 3 (Japanese): The set menu comprised of around 9 items. First came the miso soup and the appetizer. Then the food stopped, and we had to wait 40 minutes for the next dish. Items 2~8 came together in one platter. We almost missed our Cirque du Soleil show. The food was mediocre, it was just a western version of Japanese food using disposable chopsticks. The waiter asked for our room numbers and he entered it into the machine, but it didn't work so he asked again our numbers. This process repeated 3 times. Had he asked one more time I should've probably write it big and clear on my forehead. Specialty restaurant 4 (Tapas): We were given an a la carte menu as usual, but this time it got 10 times more complicated for ordering a set menu. There were around 30 items total on the menu, but only around half can be ordered if you are on the set menu. The tricky part was that the menu didn't indicate which ones can be ordered and which ones not. So the waiter had to point them out again and again. On Board activities Perhaps it was our own lack of experience, but after seeing the promotional video on Belissima with the water slides, bowlings, F1 sitimulators, and all the cool activities, we somehow thought that all these were supposed to be free. - The jacuzzis were always packed, even on a non-sea day. - The gyms had no yoga classes that we wanted to go. Service & Staff Waiters are generally not friendly. Room stewards are much more friendly. Ship design and cleaniness It is a very nice new ship and well designed with high techs. Would have been 5 stars but on the main public deck (Promenade deck), the walkaway is quite narrow for a ship with 4000 passengers. On top of that they place photo shoot stands, tables selling perfumes, etc. to block the way and make the main walkaway even narrower. This especially affected the speed people disperse after a show finish. I guess making money out of photo shoot and perfume is much more important to MSC. Cabin Our cabin was right under the buffet area and the sound of people moving chairs was very very loud. The sound could have been much reduced had they put softer rubber paddings on all chairs. At night when the buffet chairs were silent, things were even worse... The cabin had this constant high pitch plastic or wood crackling sound everywhere. It was even worse in our relative's room. Review summary We were excited and overjoyed the moment we got on this stunning new ship as we saw the glamorous high tech interior. This was our second time cruising, with the first being in Alaska with HAL line 'Noordam', but the ship was very old and even had CRT TV in each cabin. However, we had a very enjoyable time on it and so we decided to cruise again, this time choosing a newer ship the MSC Bellissima, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, over the course of 7 days on the Bellissima we felt that MSC puts a higher priority on making more money out of guests in every way rather than making guests happy so they would come back again. For example: - Staffs would hard sell packages, souvenirs, lemon cello, photo shoots, etc. every chance they see you. - Basically apart from buffet, main dining rooms, shows, otherwise nothing is free. Even water is 3 euros/liter and guests are technically not allowed to take water with our own bottles in the water dispensers in the buffet area. - It is written by MSC that tipping to individual staffs is 'discouraged', and that tips are encouraged to be tipped to the company as a whole. After getting to know MSC's mentality we suspect that this was so that they could keep those tips and never pay it down to the staffs. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting ... Read More
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting in Arrivals for us and we shared a mini bus with another family on our flight, so we were on our way straightaway.  The port was only 20 minutes away.  On arrival at the cruise terminal our cases were tagged and taken from us and we went through to the check in area.  We still had an hour and a half until check in opened, but there were plenty of seats and a café if you wanted to buy a snack or drink.  An announcement was made when check in opened, Aurea experience guests were asked to come up first, but nearly the whole waiting area of people stood up.  We made our way through the crowd of people and soon got checked in and were given our cruise cards and wrist bands.  There was a table with fruit juice and then you had to stand for a family photo.  After the photo, you went through security screening and then on the ship you presented your cruise card and had your photo taken for ID purposes.  There were a lot of staff standing around with posters advertising the drinks packages, but we tried to avoid these, as we already had the premium package which was offered as a promotion when booking our holiday.  We made our way to our cabin (12005) a duplex suite at the front of the ship. The cabin was great; upstairs there was a double bed which we had asked to be twin beds, but Mellissa our friendly cabin steward came to introduce herself straightaway and told me that she would change the bed arrangement while we were at dinner.  The bathroom upstairs was bigger than I thought with a full-size bath with shower over, also upstairs was a TV, a small safe and a large walk in wardrobe with vanity unit and hairdryer.  Downstairs there was a shower room, a walk-in wardrobe, dining area, large TV and a sofa bed which quickly turned into a very comfy double bed.  There was also a vanity unit with hairdryer, coffee table, mini bar and more storage.  There is room for cases under the beds upstairs or under the staircase.  The cabin also came with two Zoes, like Amazon’s Alexa, but we only used them as a Bluetooth speakers, as we couldn’t get them to work when asking questions.  The TV’s in the cabin show your account details and give information on what is happening on board plus you get a paper daily planner every night to look through.  You can also download the MSC for Me app to use on your mobile, you don’t need the internet package for this to work on-board.  There are also screens around the ship if you want to book shows, etc.  The balcony was a good size with two sun beds, two chairs and a foot rest.  The hot tub was always warm enough to relax in and had a hot/cold tap to fill it up.  Two bathrobes and slippers were provided and 4 pool towels. We also got a free diffuser to take home. The buffet area was busy, but at all the times we visited we always found a table and there was a good selection of food which we found was good quality.  You could press a button at your table and request drinks from the bar which was a great idea.  The other areas of the ship never seemed over busy, you could usually find a table to sit at.  We also had access to the Top 19 Solarium which was reserved for Aurea and Yacht Club guests.  There were towels there to use and comfy sunbeds with thickly padded cushions and a large hot tub.  There wasn’t a bar at Top 19, but someone did come around serving drinks, although he was on his own, so it sometimes took a while to get a drink. He also came around with fruit skewers which was a nice touch.  The outdoor pool was heated so could be used even if it wasn’t a very warm day and there were plenty of beds and a snack bar, drinks bar and ice cream bar.  There was a huge screen above the outdoor pool, but as the temperature at night was very cool no films were shown on this during our cruise.  We had My Choice Dining in the Lighthouse restaurant so we could turn up and get a table straightaway.  Our waiter, Julio, was very friendly and soon got to know the drinks we liked and was very efficient, we were never kept waiting too long for our food, the menu had a good choice and it was different every night of our 7-night cruise.  The food was not al a carte but was a good standard, we enjoyed all our meals.  One night my husband got a steak that was very fatty, but Julio noticed this and brought him another one.  We had to ask for butter a on a couple of occasions, but this was soon brought. On our first night at the restaurant we were told that we were on the Easy drinks package although we knew we had the Premium, so we were told to go to Guest Services after our meal to check.  We soon got it rectified and were assured we hadn’t been charged for anything.  The dome in the Galleria was very impressive and showed a different show on it every night of our 7-night cruise, it was on three times during the evening.  We had purchased the Fun Pass at £90 beforehand which meant that we could spend 180 euros on bowling, (30 euros for 30 minutes), F1 simulator (10 euros each), VR Maze (15 euros each), Interactive Cinema (10 euros each) and games in the arcade were between 1.50 euros and 3.50 euros. We soon got through our Fun Pass, I thought the bowling and F1 simulator and arcade games were priced OK, but the Maze and Cinema seemed a bit pricey for the amount of time you spent in them.  I would recommend getting a Fun Pass before you travel to save money. During our bowling session people kept coming onto our lane to have a nosy which we thought was very dangerous when we’re throwing a heavy bowling ball.  They had a blue strip of material at the bottom of the stair up to the bowling lane, but people just moved around it and small children went underneath it.  We had to ask people to move on a couple of occasions, I think a proper screen is needed to prevent this happening before there is an accident. We didn’t bother with an Internet package as we were hugging the coastline most of the time, so had a phone signal, it was only the at sea day that we struggled. We didn’t bother with the speciality restaurants, the sushi, teppanyaki and Butchers Cut seemed popular, but the French bistro and Spanish tapas bar were empty whenever we passed.  We were happy with the quality of the restaurant and buffet food so didn’t want to spend 120+ euros for a meal for four.   We did get charged 34.99 euros for photos that we hadn’t ordered. Some photos were left in our cabin which were taken when we embarked, you had a form to complete saying whether you wanted them or not.  I signed to say that I didn’t want them and the cabin steward removed them from our room.  This may have been a genuine mistake, but keep an eye on your bill while on board.  We had a free photo with the Aurea package, but when we went to the Photo shop we were told it had to be the photo taken in the restaurant on our first night and not the one from the gala night, so we ended up spending 39.99 euros for 3 photos from the gala night.  You do get pestered quite a bit by all the photographers to have photos, but we just said no thanks and carried on walking. Our drinks package was good, we got a good selection of wines, including sparkling, bottled beers, and cocktails and other spirits up to 10 euros.  We could also have water and tea/coffee in the restaurants.  The kids could get soft drinks, water and smoothies.  Just be careful because we got charged 6.33 euros for a child’s milkshake from the bar next to the waterpark, my daughter also got a shake from the indoor pool bar and it was included in our package, so beware.  Also, you get charged for using the minibar, which seemed nonsense because everything in it we could get from the bars and it was included in our package, so we never used the mini bar. We only went to one of the free shows in the London Theatre which was a Rock show.  It was 35 minutes long which was perfect for my husband who doesn’t do shows, but he enjoyed it.  It flowed well and the costumes were great.  My daughter and I went to the Syma, Cirque du Soleil show which was 14 euros each, it was a very good show and you got one cocktail at the start.  The seats were very comfy and swivelled and you had a small table in-between. It was quite an intimate theatre, which was nice, we were on the third row, but could see perfectly and were only a couple of metres from the round stage.  My children didn’t use the clubs, there was a young club for 12-14 years and a teen club for 15-17 years. A lot of the children in their age group were Spanish/French/Italian so they stayed with us and would occasionally have a wander to the buffet on their own or wander around the shops.  We only did one excursion to Pompeii which was £209 for the four of us.  It was a 4-hour excursion, but we were disappointed that we didn’t get more time at Pompeii.  It was about 50 minutes on the coach to Pompeii and then we stood around for the first 15 minutes waiting for the guide to purchase tickets and count us all in. Pompeii was very crowded and we were soon heading for the exit.  My son wanted to see the visitors centre, but we bypassed this and headed for the exit.  On exiting we were told we had 20 minutes to get a drink or visit a Lemoncello factory near the entrance with the guide.  I would rather have spent the time at the visitor’s centre or exploring more of Pompeii.  We then headed back to the bus that wasn’t there so we stood in the car park for at least 5 minutes or maybe longer and then on the way back to the ship we stopped off at a coral factory for 10 minutes.  The majority of people stayed on the bus.  It just seemed as if we had spent £209 to stand around and be sold Lemoncello and coral gifts.  We spent less than an hour and a half inside Pompeii. When we docked in Genoa, Messina and Valetta it was an easy walk to the centre, but for Barcelona it was a 2km walk, so we hopped on the shuttle bus it was 8.99 euros each for adults return and 5.99 euros for 13 years and younger.  We got charged 8.99 euros for our 13-year-old but we didn’t bother going to Guest Services over 3 euros.  All the staff we encountered were good, we just had one member of staff who was rude, she was in the Masters of the Sea pub, which we used every night, but she was only in there on one of the nights, so maybe she had been put there and wasn’t happy about it, although that is no excuse.   We had a phone call at 1am on one of the nights to say could we turn our balcony light off as it was effecting navigation.  Our cabin was located directly under the bridge. We found this funny that a balcony light was effecting the ships navigation.  We turned it off straightaway and had a chuckle about it. You use the hot tub at your own risk, my daughter sustained a very large bruise and a cut at the top of her thigh.  She was sat sideways on the ledge to gain access to the hot tub and was just about to get out of it when the filter kicked in, which is located at the entry/exit point, and it sucked her skin into the square cut out and she panicked.  I manged to prize her away and couldn’t believe what it had done to her thigh.  We have a hot tub at home but the filter is nowhere near the entry/exit point. My daughter enjoyed the waterpark and Himalayan bridge, she used them on our last evening while docked in Barcelona and there wasn’t much of a queue.  I needed to sign a waiver for her and she was issued with a wrist band otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to use the equipment. On the package we were on you could get a free breakfast in your cabin so we tried this one morning.  The order form for breakfast wasn’t in the cabin so I had to request this from Mellissa.  We filled out our order and left it on the door handle the night before.  It arrived on time, but we had ordered 3 bowls of cereal and only had enough milk for one bowl, so ended up going to the buffet anyway. I did use the spa to go for my free massage, it also said I would get a welcome cocktail and consultation, but this was never mentioned.  It was my first massage so they recommended the 50 minute Bali Massage.  I asked for the day at sea but they said they were busy that day so I went for 6pm on the Wednesday.  I enjoyed the massage but afterwards she recommended the hot stone massage and wanted to book me in the next day which was the sea day at 130 euros minus a 20% discount.  I had been told they were busy that day so I think they must get told not to offer free massages on the sea days.  I declined the second massage as I didn’t want another one the next day after just having one, it just felt a bit hard sell.  I did have a look around the rest of the spa which looked nice with lots of different areas. We did have a bit of rough weather one night and we did find it hard to sleep, not due to the rocking, but the creaking of the cabin.  I know this is probably normal for all cruise ships but thought I would mention it.  The sofa bed in our suite was very comfortable, it was big enough for my husband and myself, although my husband’s feet did hang over the end a bit, it was a firm mattress which we like. There were no announcements from the captain or anyone else about sea conditions during the 7 days.  I know they must relay in multiple languages but it would have been nice to know.  The only time you saw the captain was on the gala night when he made two appearances to stand for photos.   We didn’t bother to queue to see him though. The cruise had a very relaxed vibe, they had a couple of formal evenings and a lot of people had made an effort but there were others who were very casual.  I don’t mind it being more relaxed but it would have been nice if people had made more of an effort. It made the cruise feel more like a ferry trip. On our last night, we received our disembarkation details, we had to disembark the ship at 9.40am even though our flight was not until 4.55pm.  I was expecting to at least have the chance to stay on the ship until lunchtime.  My husband went to guest services to see if we could stay on the ship longer and book our own taxi back to the airport, even though we had paid for a transfer when booking the holiday.  We were told that we would still have to disembark the ship at 9.40am and we would have to take it up with MSC cruises when we got home.  We had to leave our cases outside the cabin before 1am and then we got to stay in the cabin until 8.30am.  I do understand that they need you out of the cabin early but didn’t see the issue with staying on the ship for the full morning. When we got back after dinner on our last night the hot tub had already been drained although they didn’t tell us that, so if you want to use the hot tub on your last day make sure you do it before going for dinner.  At 8.30am we went for breakfast at the buffet and by the time we had finished it was time to go down to disembark.  The airport is not far from the port in Marseille so we ended up spending 6.5 hours at Marseille airport.  The family who we had shared a minibus with on arrival were not happy about spending 6.5 hours at the airport either.  Considering Marseille is a large city the airport is very minimalist and there were no shops to even look around.  The seating was hard plastic and not very comfortable, my husband ended up laying on the marble floor.  We have done package holidays before and have never been dumped at the airport like this, it ruined the end of a good holiday.  We were talking about booking another MSC cruise on our last day of the holiday but on receiving the disembarkation details and feeling as if they couldn’t wait to get rid of us off the ship it has put us off booking with them again.     Why couldn’t they let us stay on the ship until lunchtime even after we had offered to pay for a taxi ourselves? Or they could have offered to hold onto our luggage while we paid for the shuttle bus into Marseille for a few hours? After complaining to MSC about disembarkation it seems as if this is normal practise. They told me that my travel agent would of told me this, but I can assure you that this was not the case. This is something I will also bring up with my travel agent. If we had of known the procedure before the last night of our holiday we could have made better arrangements. There were customers staying on the ship until after lunch who had evening flights, we could see this from the disembarkation details they gave us. We felt as though they wanted to dump everyone at the airport as soon as possible and not have to pay for another bus/taxi. Overall we enjoyed our cruise, but it did feel a bit hard sell at times. We would like to cruise the Caribbean or Asia next and will maybe look at Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises to get a comparison. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Check-in was quick and easy; less than 15 minutes as there were many staff available. There is a specific area at the Buffet for "children and family" which minimizes the amount of chaos during meal time. We also enjoyed the ... Read More
Check-in was quick and easy; less than 15 minutes as there were many staff available. There is a specific area at the Buffet for "children and family" which minimizes the amount of chaos during meal time. We also enjoyed the Adult's Only Lounge and Bar on the 18th floor where you will find a beautiful view and some relaxing time while overlooking the outdoors. Entertainment each evening was excellent. We never missed a show! Much to do on board; F-1 Simulator, bowling, Virtual Reality games, Cirque Soleil, just to name a few. Heated indoor pool and hot tubs along with outdoor pool/tubs. Spa Thermal area was small but also enjoyable. We found the staff to be friendly and always just a few steps away. Meals at the buffet and dining room were varied and enjoyable. We were given a table for two each evening. As far as the speciality restaurants, we tried both the Sushi restaurant and the UK Pub and found both to be good and reasonably priced. We enjoyed the meals on the ship so had we not had a chance to try any of the speciality restaurants, we wouldn't have been disappointed. We would have prefered more English speaking channels on the television for when we were relaxing in our room. Disembarking was easy and the most enjoyable of any cruises we've been on. The Bellissima has an area set aside where you can drop your luggage and they will hold it for you up until 1:00pm so that you may simply leave your room and enjoy the ship until you disembark... without pushing any suitcases around! WELL DONE MSC!! We'll definitely be back! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have just returned from a 7 day cruise in the med (Barcelona Marseilles Genova Naples Messina and Valletta) and we were quite disappointed with the MSC Bellissima. It is not as beautiful as the MSC Seaside and there is no ... Read More
We have just returned from a 7 day cruise in the med (Barcelona Marseilles Genova Naples Messina and Valletta) and we were quite disappointed with the MSC Bellissima. It is not as beautiful as the MSC Seaside and there is no 'vibe' . The main attraction is supposed to be the 80-metre-long LED dome which turns out to be an overcrowded shopping mall. The Cirque du Soleil at Sea is supposed to be the other big attraction but there is an extra charge for that. The captain is barely visible or audible (we only saw him at the photo opportunity with captain event). The music is quite dull and depressing and there are very few daytime activities and most are chargeable. I have attended a Zumba session on a previous cruise which was held in one of the big theatres. It was free and great fun. Not on the Belissima! The Zumba started 15 minutes late as the teacher had to collect the fee and it was held in a tiny room that doubled up as the spinning studio in the gym area. Luckily there were only 5 (!) people attending. The gym is far too small for a ship this size and there is no area for floor work or stretching. I ended up stretching on the floor (no mats) in a little corridor outside the toilets with people stepping over me. The other thing that bugs me is that on formal nights people are allowed to attend formal dinner in t shirts. Very few people wear dinner jackets and that is sort of fine. However can people not make a tiny effort and wear a shirt with maybe a tie, instead of a scruffy red tshirt? MSC should enforce a minimum clothing standard in the formal dining rooms on formal nights. The food was fine with plenty of choice at the buffet. I would have liked longer opening hours which would have helped us avoid the 'scrum' that regularly occurs in the buffet area. Also, it would be nice if MSC stopped people from filling bottles from the water machines as this is not hygienic. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Where to start? Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly smooth. No wow factor when boarding. Our cabin was fairly comfortable, but there was a lack of storage. Zoe, which was touted as the new best personal assistant was a waste of ... Read More
Where to start? Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly smooth. No wow factor when boarding. Our cabin was fairly comfortable, but there was a lack of storage. Zoe, which was touted as the new best personal assistant was a waste of time. Didn't work once. We wasted far more time than necessary trying, unsuccessfuly, to get the system to change to English. Bed was comfortable. Food was average but avoid the buffet. Too many people fighting to get in first. There was very little entertainment, and what there was proved to be very poor. Activities were very poor unless you were willing to pay extra for them. MSC could learn from other cruise companies. Not what you expect from a cruise when you book it. Everything except for specialty dining should be included for the cost. We have now cruised with MSC twice. The first cruise was extremely bad, but we decided to give it another go as we had spoken to other people who said that our first experience was not up to the usual standard. That, coupled with the allure of a brand new ship, persuaded us to give this cruise a go. We will not be going for "third time lucky". Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
6 months ago, my wife and I just cruised wth MCS Sinfonia; cruising Italy, Greece and Croatia and had the best time! When we heard that their brand new ship MSC Bellissima was making its first splash...we wanted to be a part of it! ... Read More
6 months ago, my wife and I just cruised wth MCS Sinfonia; cruising Italy, Greece and Croatia and had the best time! When we heard that their brand new ship MSC Bellissima was making its first splash...we wanted to be a part of it! Celebrating my 60th bday, I asked my brother and sis in law to join us and they happily obliged. First of all, we all believed that pricing was fair. Check in was easy and quick... the only thing I felt uncomfortable was there was not a separate gangway for YC passengers so we had to follow our butler as he squeezed through the line of others boarding. Other than that, our butler, Edwin Garcia from Honduras, was just so charming and accommodating! The Sky Lounge bartenders Gerry and Jason and servers Irina and Ramses were just the friendliest and the most hard working crew members! We bought a package of 4 dining experiences and over all they was great. Our least favorite was the Tapas bar as we just had best ones in Barcelona. But the Japanese and the steakhouse were terrific. I do have to say that I am a bit miffed to find out that there were extra charges when I checked out... when every time we dined at all specialty restaurants, we specifically mentioned that we were on the special package. I didn't bother complaining at that point as I was ready to disembark and it was probably less than 100 Euros in difference. The suite was fantastic and the bed was comfortable and the towel were white as white can be. The concept of free minibar is something new to me and I swear I did not use anything at all from the fridge! Don't ask me why! Entertainment with CDS's Syma was fantastic, and we've seen major CDS shows here in the US. The regular entertainment and live bands were not as good as our first cruise with Sinfonia I'm afraid. The bands and singers were better at the Sinfonia. But being pampered at the Yacht Club is truly a great experience and I am sure we will be cruising MSC again. We've cruised Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and others but we feel that MSC offers great things for the money you pay. It was a brand new ship and of course there are growing pains as the crew becomes familiar with their territories and their duties. But overall... a wonderful experience I look forward to doing over again and again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The ship and room overall are very nice but the interactive computer Zoe was a complete joke and never gave info. Let's start with the staff everyone we met was nice but that is expected the problem was not one person was exceptional ... Read More
The ship and room overall are very nice but the interactive computer Zoe was a complete joke and never gave info. Let's start with the staff everyone we met was nice but that is expected the problem was not one person was exceptional or memorable they were all marginal at best with their service skills. The food and menus were also marginal with a very limited menu in the main dining room it seemed like they were trying to drive you into their pay restaurants it was very disappointing. The best food of the ship was probably breakfast and that was decent as for lunch we passed because besides the pizza which was good there was nothing worth going for and what they consider a salad bar is a complete disgrace and good luck finding salad dressing. I will give them props for the pizza, mozzarella and some breads other than that eat off the boat for lunch. The entertainment was strange with the exception of the Rock n roll show which was very good other than that we walked out on everything. They had a 70s show in the promenade the first night and had entertainers dressed like the Village people, while playing YMCA the guys were simulating sexual moves with other men with families around so we left. The destinations were all good except Merseille which is and odd choice given all the great places in southern France. We had two tours through the ship which were very nice Pompii and Mount Etna/Taormina which I recommend. The Front desk and Photography staffs are not well informed so plan on extra time dealing with these people. Our room was very nice but we were not aware that our Balcony room had a partially obstructed view till we boarded which did not make us happy but the size of our deck was twice that of everyone else's so we dealt with it. Also be advised that MSC charges for everything onboard, what you take for granted on other cruise ship is charged for on MSC whcih my daughter says stands for Mucho service charges. We still had a good time on the cruise but be advised this is not RCCl which is our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We joined the cruise after 4 nights in Naples. Embarkation and disembarkation procedures were fine and pretty quick. The cruise had embarkation and disembarkation at each port so it was quite easy with staggered numbers. Cabins are ... Read More
We joined the cruise after 4 nights in Naples. Embarkation and disembarkation procedures were fine and pretty quick. The cruise had embarkation and disembarkation at each port so it was quite easy with staggered numbers. Cabins are lovely and fresh and quite spacious, even for an interior. The MSC Zoe assistant is useless though. Selection of TV channels is mostly news with very no English speaking entertainment channels. Movies are on a paid basis only. The restaurant is usually a highlight of ours, but this time we were left very much wanting. Until we requested a table transfer, the service was a disaster, our waiter didn’t bother introducing himself and service was very slow. After we changed tables, Ardana gave great service and was lovely, however meals were very slow coming out of the kitchen, we had to change our theatre reservation to accomodate. The quality of the meals was very hit and miss. As a vegetarian it was extremely disappointing to frequently only be offered a single choice, or a very sub-par risotto that looked like it came out of a boxed instant meal. Portions were tiny and not made up for in quality, only 2 pieces of tofu or 3 pieces of ravioli does not a dinner make. Over salted and very average. Desserts that were frozen often came out half melted. We were also very frustrated to have to pay for water with our dinner in a restaurant when one can access water on demand dining in the buffet, this was especially egregious given how salty the meals were. Buffet food was really good surprisingly, however the clientele made it a very unpleasant experience. The amount of times I nearly ended up with my breakfast down my front because I was bumped was ridiculous. In addition to the restaurant it was very frustrating that most activities on board were at cost or non existent- while the itinerary was port heavy, even on a sea day no activities were available between 9:30am and 3pm, and even then both were additional costs. I understand that language here presents a challenge for trivia and other cruising classics, but it was missed. The itinerary was the standout, and ultimately the ship faded into simply a mode of transport for us. When in Genoa, make an effort to get into the back streets for some of the best food of your life! While the crew were great and the ship is beautiful it’s unlikely we’d come back to MSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We where so excited to join this ship with it being advertised as beauty at sea, looking at it certainly was !! The interiors where so beautiful, but our cruise was let down so much by the quality of the food, the buffet food was always ... Read More
We where so excited to join this ship with it being advertised as beauty at sea, looking at it certainly was !! The interiors where so beautiful, but our cruise was let down so much by the quality of the food, the buffet food was always warm and the meats where always full of fat, we complained a few times about this but nothing was ever done , I even spoke to the head Chef and asked for a food temperature prod to test the food , this was declined. MSC is like a hop on hop off taxi service so people are getting on and off at every port, with this happening the speakers are going off all the time welcoming new guests so if you ever want a afternoon / early evening rest / nap forget it. MSC have a Alexa type system In the rooms and it didn’t understand anything we asked it just telling is to ask a member of the crew, this was a big fail. MSC ME app for the phone is great it allows you to book and cancel things live from your phone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
They say you shouldn’t ignore history and it’s advice I should have heeded myself. I had my first MSC experience last year and came away vowing I would never cruise with them again, then I saw the opportunity to join Bellissima’s ... Read More
They say you shouldn’t ignore history and it’s advice I should have heeded myself. I had my first MSC experience last year and came away vowing I would never cruise with them again, then I saw the opportunity to join Bellissima’s inaugural voyage. Maybe last year was a one off and I was unlucky, I thought. An inaugural voyage will be something special, I thought. It started well as the check-in process in Southampton was far smoother than in Genoa 13 months ago but that’s probably down to the better organisation of the port than MSC’s doing. We boarded a brand spanking new ship, it smelt new and was clean and gleaming. Arguably too gleaming as the Swarovski encrusted staircases in the main atrium certainly glistened but were they too chavvy and tacky. Much fanfare has been made of the 260’ long LED Skydome and, yes, it looks impressive but 95% of the time it has a static display, changing occasionally it is visually impressive. However more use could be made of it – it only comes to life three times a day when a much vaunted video display is shown – don’t stop doing anything else to watch one as it is distinctively underwhelming. Rather than using the video ceiling to its full potential it looks as though the mini-shows, rarely lasting longer than three minutes, have been produced by A-level students as part of a media project. If you’ve ever seen the LED show in Freemont Street in Las Vegas you will be bitterly disappointed with this effort …… it may be an idea for MSC to send someone to Vegas to see how the screen can be used to its full potential. Anyway, I digress, we made our way to the cabin which was easy to find but challenging to get into. Controlled by an NFC card, which doubled as a cruise card, the door seemingly unlocked but resolutely would not open. We tried both our cards several times but were still stuck outside our cabin. Luckily a passing cabin steward appeared and we explained the predicament and he showed us how to open the door. You present the key, press the handle and basically shoulder charge the door to gain entry ….. yes the door was so tight it was the only way to open it, although it did ease after a few days. The opposite of this was you had to give the door a hard push or slam to ensure it closed properly. The cabin itself was very narrow, there was only just room between the foot of the bed and the opposite wall to pass by comfortably. The wardrobe was small. The redeeming feature of the cabin was the bathroom, which was clean and, for a cruise ship, relatively spacious. We had to share the cabin with Zoe, who advertised as being your intelligent assistant, I would describe her as Alexa’s dumb, inbred cousin, with learning difficulties. Unless you were enquiring about something that could be sold to you her stock answer was to speak to a member of the crew or the information desk. Intelligent she wasn’t, annoying she very much was. Interestingly she was screwed to the desk, presumably to stop passengers throwing her overboard. The cabin creaked terribly, so much so I woke up more than once thinking someone was walking across the cabin. I have never known a ship roll so much, I can only assume the vessel has not been fitted with stabilisers or if it has, they were not working. One night the roll was so bad our beds actually slid across the cabin and all the toiletries in the bathroom fell off the shelves. Yet despite the obvious bad rolling, despite the first stop in La Coruna being cancelled due to the bad weather we heard nothing at all from the Captain or the bridge, he may as well not been there. Indeed, the only time the Captain deigned to mix with the passengers was for the photo opportunity. I have to say this custom of being photographed with the Captain strikes me as being odd …… why do it. If I catch a train I don’t want a photo with the driver, if I catch a bus I don’t want a photo with the driver, so why would I want a photograph of me with the driver of a ship? Speaking of photography, MSC seem to have a breeding colony of photographers as you cannot walk more than a few yards without one of the official photographers trying to get you to pose for yet another photograph, which you can buy at an extortionate price. The only place you seemed to be free of the photographers was in the toilets, although they’ll probably set up there next. Now, a subject dear to my heart, food. Quality tended to be hit and miss with food ranging from sublime (interestingly in the speciality restaurants) to poor with average being the general standard. Portion sizes in the main restaurant can be best described as frugal and, even on special nights, the meals were only three courses ….. some nights we came away from the restaurant feeling hungry. The individual waiting staff could not be faulted and they worked hard. Dinner on the first night was absolutely chaotic with massive gaps between courses and wrong orders being delivered. However, it was the first night and such problems were to be expected. In fairness by the third night service was slick and the correct meals appeared. For me the biggest “rip off” are their speciality restaurants. Yes, all cruise lines have speciality restaurants, which carry a premium price tag. Having already paid for meals in the main restaurant proper cruise lines like P&O and Cunard will charge a nominal cover charge, usually in the £20 - £30 range to eat in a speciality restaurant, something most passengers wouldn’t quibble at. MSC, on the other hand, are crafty. They describe their main restaurant meals as “complementary” – that was a surprise when I saw it in blue and white on the TV screen in my cabin. That means if you eat in a speciality restaurant on am MSC ship you aren’t upgrading your dining experience and paying a supplement, you are being charged full price and more. We paid €125 for a three course meal in in their Butchers Cut steakhouse restaurant and that was basically going for the “cheapest” filet steak. Yes the quality was good and the service excellent but still a lot of money for basically a steak, especially when you have supposedly already paid for a main meal. Of course there is also the buffet, the ruck and maul of dining. MSC is an Italian based cruise line and a large number of passengers on board are, therefore, Italian. Whilst it is generally wrong to begin stereotyping ,this does have an adverse impact on the enjoyment of the cruise …… especially if eating in the buffet. Dress codes seem to be optional, at best. One aspect of cruising I like are the formal nights where you dress up for dinner. With, again what I call traditional cruise lines, the code is strictly enforced. With MSC there is no enforcement whatsoever. On this cruise there were three “formal” or as they call them “elegant” nights. On the first one I would say 70% made the effort, the second about 30% and by the third one only about 10% made the effort. On one of the nights I was wearing my dinner jacket and the chap sitting next to me was wearing jeans and an open neck shirt ……. It makes you wonder why bother? Turning to entertainment and I use the term loosely. The London Theatre is small for the number of passengers, so much so you have to book if you want to guarantee a place, otherwise take part in a scrum for any remaining seats five minutes before the show starts. The shows from the in house team were OK, they were reasonably good singers, although the choreography was limited. What did spoil some of the shows was appalling lighting. There were some horrendous strobe effects, without any prior warning and spotlights, more often than not missed the intended performer. The other shows were a very clever and funny mime artist and the worlds worse ventriloquist – I’m not sure if he was deliberately bad or was just untalented, suffice to say many walked out and he was almost booed off stage. WE didn’t waste any money on excursions and we didn’t fall for any of the usual MSC cons. For example in Lisbon they were selling open bus tour tickets for the special price of €27, whereas you could buy the very same ticket on the bus for €22. They also still operate their big con job in Marseille where they charge €15.99 for a shuttle bus to the city centre and back, whereas if you’re prepared to take a 10 minute walk to the edge of the security area, the city of Marseille provide a free shuttle bus ……. of course MSC forget to tell you this. So, in summary, a new glittering ship, although it has to be said even after only a week the carpets in the corridors were beginning to look tatty. It is, however grossly overhyped and is very chavvy in places. It is the typical MSC experience where they set out to screw you for as much money as possible and you come away with a feeling of being ripped off. Read Less
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
Sail Date March 2019
Firstly ours was a last minute booking approx 10 days before sailing, We have cruised on 20 plus cruises on most cruise lines and have never been loyal to any one line. We had never been on a maiden voyage before and when we saw this much ... Read More
Firstly ours was a last minute booking approx 10 days before sailing, We have cruised on 20 plus cruises on most cruise lines and have never been loyal to any one line. We had never been on a maiden voyage before and when we saw this much publicised launch advertised on MSC website at £249 pp for a 10 night maiden voyage in a balcony cabin, we felt we couldn't go far wrong for an extra £220 pp we upgraded to fantastica which gave us an excellent cabin location and also premium drinks package too. So that said for the price paid the cruise was ok, but compared to all others we have been on it was quite poor. The ship itself being brand new was sparkly and very light and airy, Dining was ok, quite good if you like seafood, with Squid, octopus and cuttlefish often appearing on the menu, the food was certainly more Mediterranean than other lines we have sailed previously, The entertainment was diabolical, really really poor, i know it must be difficult to cater for passengers from so many countries and languages, but the very short 35 minute shows were really poor. Maiden voyage!!! there was NOTHING at all was done to acknowledge the fact, no sail away parties, no fireworks, no glass of sparking wine on embarkation just nothing at all different than any other cruise. So all in all it was not a cruise i would repeat but at the price i guess we had no complaints and got what we paid for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Inaugural cruise of MSC Bellissima from Southampton to Lisbon. Boarding was easy and quick, although there was no special welcome onboard for the inaugural cruise. The cabin was small, storage space was very limited and toiletries ... Read More
Inaugural cruise of MSC Bellissima from Southampton to Lisbon. Boarding was easy and quick, although there was no special welcome onboard for the inaugural cruise. The cabin was small, storage space was very limited and toiletries were minimal MSC-branded shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in the shower). The wardrobe was very small, dresses and jackets had to be hung at an angle as the depth would not accommodate them hanging sideways. The most annoying aspect of the cabin was "Zoe", an Alexa-style voice-operated assistant. Zoe's sole response to any question was to recommend caling customer services. About as useful as a chocolate teapot (not that there was a teapot in the cabin!). There were no tea or coffee making facilities in the cabin. Signage to the muster stations was poor and confusing - not a good idea for emegency equipment and procedures. One marshall had his identification vest on inside out. When I pointed it out to him he shrugged. Not an acceptable attitude from someone who may be involved in evacuating passengers in an emergency! Food was average. We had a very good and attentive waiter at our table in the evenings and I couldn't fault him. However, there was not a sufficient variety of menu choices. Three choices of red meat and one of fish is not really the sort of balance that should be offered. The Market Street buffet was interesting. Why have signs above the serving stations indicating what is being served if the food at each station is different from the sign?( I wouldn't normally go to the "grill" station if I was looking for desert). Was the captain on board? We heard nothing from him throughout the five days of the voyage. The ship Dutch-rolled for the whole time we were on board. Admittedly, we were skirting round a storm in the Bay of Biscay and the weather precluded docking in La Coruna, but as an airline captain I wouldn't leave my passengers in the dark over the weather conditions and how long we expected them continue. The only announcement on the PA was to inform us that the port call in La Coruna would be cancelled - and that was from Guest Services. I don't know if the stabilisers were not deployed or were out of sequence, but they were not capable of dealing with moderate seas in the Bay of Biscay. It didn't roll as much as the recent Viking incident off Norway, but that ship had suffered a total power failure. MSC BEllissima didn't have that excuse. It just wasn't capable of dealing with the conditions, which weren't extreme by any measure. Not a ship for those prone to sea-sickness. The entertainment on offer was poor. Cirque de Solei was billed as the main attraction but did not perform or were not available. The only show we went to see was a mime artist. 35 minutes of my life that I won't get back! The final insult was on the morning after we arrived in Lisbon. We were due to disembark the following morning, so it was a lazy day, without the ship's rocking and rolling. At 8 A.M. we were woken by noise on our balcony. When we opened the curtains we discovered was cleaning staff hosing the balcony down and cleaning the deck furniture!!! One of them even asked if he could come through our cabin to go to the next one! (We told him where he could go with that idea!). Fortunately, we were sleeping with the curtains closed, otherwise the cleaners would have been able to look straight into our cabin. All of this at 8 A.M. I complained to the Guest Services staff and was told that someone would get back to me. Almost a month later and I am still waiting. Overall, this was a terrible cruise. I would not sail with MSC again. However, I am sure that, in time, we will look back and laugh at the whole dreadful experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first MSC cruise and we chose it as it was an inaugural cruise and we wanted to experience the best of MSC. We have taken many inaugural cruises from Southampton with NCL and RCI and have thoroughly enjoyed them especially ... Read More
This was our first MSC cruise and we chose it as it was an inaugural cruise and we wanted to experience the best of MSC. We have taken many inaugural cruises from Southampton with NCL and RCI and have thoroughly enjoyed them especially the extra effort the cruise lines make for inaugural sailings. However with this cruise it had all of the special feeling of a North Sea ferry trip, no effort was made by MSC to make this memorable, not even a glass of bubbly when you arrived on the ship. The ship is generally OK, the hype MSC made about how beautiful it is is way over the top, some parts are very good, others distinctly average. We had a balcony cabin which was OK for space but the storage facilities consisted of a single small wardrobe, OK for 2 people for a week but anything longer and you would be struggling. The cabin did not have any tea or coffee making facilities and strangely for a new ship only 1 USB point next to the power sockets. The new MSC toy “ZOE” an Amazon Echo type device did not work throughout the cruise and seemed a pointless gimmick. The cabin creaked and groaned continually with any movement of the ship, speaking to other guests most of the cabins had the same problem, no sleep one night due to the noise. We had an “All Inclusive” drinks package included in the fare when we booked with the travel agent, this “All Inclusive” package turned out to be extremely limited in that the only beer was Heineken and the wine selection was the cheap Italian rubbish. You could have spirits excluding the premium brands, however what constituted a premium brand was unclear and even the staff gave contradictory advice when asked. We had booked 6 months before the cruise and they had changed the packages after we booked, instead of moving everyone to the new packages they wanted people to pay to upgrade, very cheap and money grabbing. This change in packages brought much confusion with cruisers and bar staff not knowing what was in or excluded from the packages, we had 4 visits to the service desk to remove extra charges to our account. The weather in the first 4 days was not good and the visit to La Coruna was cancelled as the ship slowly sailed directly to Lisbon, the weather was poor but the sea conditions did not look particularly bad as we were on the edge of the storm. The ship however rolled continually and appeared to have no stabilisers or if they did they were completely ineffective. We have done many transatlantic cruises with much rougher sea condition and never experienced this amount of movement. During the rough weather the Captain made no announcements in fact he never bothered to make any during any part of the cruise. Similarly the cruise director was missing except to make an appearance in the theatre to introduce the acts. Overall the entertainment was poor compared to other cruise lines, all of the main theatre shows only lasted 35 minutes. Food in the complimentary restaurants and buffet was of a generally poor quality and the choice limited, we heard good reports from the speciality restaurants. A typical restaurant dinner service took around 2 hours for 3 courses, given the size of the portions it was hardly worth the time and effort. We found the staff to be pleasant and helpful, what let down the service was the poor organisation and systems in place. After this cruise we have decided not to use MSC again, we will be sticking to NCL, RCI and Celebrity for most of our cruising. MSC do some things well but overall they need to up their standards of organisation and customer care before we would cruise with them again. Read Less
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
Sail Date March 2019
MSC Bellissima Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 3.7
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.5 3.5
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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