Chose this as a short cruise for a last minute break. Was looking forward to travelling as one of the first passengers on a brand new ship. As seasoned cruisers, this was our 15th Cruise (RCI, Princess, NCL, TUI) but 1st on MSC (my 2nd but ... Read More
Chose this as a short cruise for a last minute break. Was looking forward to travelling as one of the first passengers on a brand new ship. As seasoned cruisers, this was our 15th Cruise (RCI, Princess, NCL, TUI) but 1st on MSC (my 2nd but 1st for my husband - I was looking for a vast improvement in the entertainment from last msc trip last year).
I’ve only given 2 stars ‘cos I’ve come home really disappointed with the cruise and quite glad it’s over. This is not my usual reaction after a cruise, you’ve usually to shoehorn me off and I’m planning the next one before I’ve collected my luggage. I will definitely cruise again but NOT with MSC.
First thing to say was that the weather could not have been much worse for the first 4 days of this cruise. It was so bad that we could not port for the first stop and so had Monday to Thursday at sea. It was extremely windy and boy did the ship roll! Glasses were falling, chairs rolling across the deck, stuff falling off shelves and people learning how to walk in a zig zag pattern. The outside doors were kept shut. This was actually quite worrying at times and there was no reassurance from the staff at any time. The only announcement made was to tell us we were not going to La Coruna. The staff were not very helpful either, choosing to ignore trays of tumblers falling and let passengers clear them up. The weather was not MSC’s fault, obviously, but some reassurance from the bridge that the ship was well equipped to cope wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Staff were in general fairly non engaging. Didn’t meet the cabin steward and no card in our cabin with their details. Usually had to go looking for bar staff for a drink around the pool area (inside) and always waited ages to get served in bars. This was something I also experienced on Magnifica last year. Buffet staff generally looked bored or tired and restaurant waiter was inconsistent, sometimes rushing and at other times really slow and generally didn’t speak much other than to take our food orders, We always had to ask to have a drink order taken.
No one really seemed to make an effort. Even when we went to have a look at the thermal spa area we’re were only allowed to look at the door from a distance, not allowed to look in to see if it was somewhere we might want to pay to use, needless to say we didn’t!
Onto the rest of the cruise-
THE CABIN - inside 10290. Small sized cabin, very comfy bed, nice layout BUT.....VERY small wardrobe space. Two doors about 50cm wide each, one side full length other side half length with 2 small (undies only sized) drawers and a high shelf across both sides. That was it for storage! Was just enough for 2 of us for 5 days but hopeless for much longer. No other storage in the room apart from a tiny drawer with the hairdryer and a small bedside shelf big enough for the pj’s. Fortunately room under bed for suitcases and we kept all swimwear and other not used much clothing in them. Only space for my shoes in the wardrobe, hubbies had to line up on the floor. There was also the smallest safe I’ve seen in a room yet. Big enough for phones, wallets and passports but couldn’t get in Ipad, jewellery box etc that I would have normally had locked away. Shower room was very nice, large shower with glass door. No better storage here tho. Small shelf unit for makeup bag etc but only tiny cupboard under the sink so one toilet bag always on the floor. Goodness knows what it would be like for 2 people both with makeup and the accompanying toiletry products! Good magnifying mirror on the wall.
THE FOOD - main restaurant (we had 6pm sitting in Lighthouse). When busy it will be impossible to get to the tables right at the back. Seemed really tight with no room between the tables. Had a table for 4, would normally ask for one for 2 but we were very lucky and had 2 lovely table companions. Menu was fairly limited, not to our taste as we’re not fish lovers, and didn’t really have a ‘safe’ option for each course. Hubby skipped the starter as nothing appealed which is fine, his choice, but the staff didn’t seem to understand this and despite requesting that he just wait till the rest of us were finished our starters he was served his main course at the same time as our starters and then sat with nothing while we had our main, happened 3 times and we saw it happen at other tables too.
Market place buffet - Fine for breakfast (don’t expect Kellogg’s cereals tho’) and lunch. Full buffet area used and good choice available. Opens late afternoon for snacks and late night for pizza and sandwiches. Dinner was a real disappointment tho. We usually eat at the buffet for dinner at least a couple of nights on a cruise but this was a real let down. It’s on the door plan as ‘alternative dinner’ and I think they may mean ‘last resort’. Only about 1/4 of the area is open and the choice is very limited. Would normally expect to be able to try a variety of different things but ended up with grilled chicken carrots and chips. Was very nice, can’t fault the quality, but boring!
Didn’t try speciality restaurants or outdoor eating on this cruise.
ENTERTAINMENT - was what I now assume is typical MSC entertainment and certainly one of the reasons we will NOT be taking another MSC cruise.
The Huge build up in advertising pre cruise for the 2 Cirque Du Soleil shows was one of the main reasons for booking this cruise. Had not been able to pre-book those shows on the cruise planner before we left home but wasn’t too worried, we checked the onboard booking system once on the ship and couldn’t get booked there either. Went straight to the booking desk for the show onboard only to find that there were no shows to book, they had been cancelled!! They were only doing one of the shows on the last night of our cruise and they were apparently fully booked so we were put on a reserve list.
We later found out from our dinner table companions that an email had been sent out about 4-6 weeks before (before we booked) informing them that the shows had been cancelled however MSC continued to sell the cruise after that still advertising the shows! We did however get to see one Cirque show on the last night, by luck I think due to being the second name on the waitlist. It was an excellent show (only 30 mins tho’ and costs at least €15 each).
Music played periodically in the atrium area - violin, cello type - fairly subdued never seemed to change and nothing else really happened in this are apart from the captains photos one night. Upbeat Duo sang in the tv studio most nights and were okay but didn’t really get everyone up dancing. They stopped for the karaoke about 10:30 every night. Duo in the pub sang middle of the road stuff, for what seemed like most of the time in fact still sang while football was being shown on the tv. Bellissima lounge was where ALL the entertainment staff were. Main function of this area seemed to be dance lessons, through he day and also slotted into the evening. If you weren’t interested in learning how to samba, rumba or salsa then there was not much else. 2 video trivia’s in 5 days (we like quizzes) and it’s hard going in 6 languages and several ‘games’ which mostly involved joining a huge queue up the promenade to throw corks or balls at a target. For this to be the main entertainment hub of he ship it needed to be much,much...much bigger with many more seats. Music always the same and not the party type for just getting up for a dance. White party did spill out onto the promenade one night and was a good atmosphere but again not really the usual party songs, duo from the tv studio sang and were very good but during their rest we had more let’s learn dancing in ‘5 very very eeeasy steps’.
PINK show one night in the theatre was good but only 35 mins. Singer next night and mime artist on fourth were fair but only 35 mins. A magician did one morning show on the second day and he was okay but the theatre production was shocking, not sure if that’s why he didn’t appear again. Theatre doesn’t seem to get used during the day, don’t know why, and the Bellissima band, singers and dancers have an easy ride, looks like they only do one night a week!! Production team are in need of a fair bit of practice! Also, 5 day cruise and we still don’t know who the cruise director is! I think he must have been the guy who stood up and introduced the theatre acts - in 6 languages, but he never told us who he was.
Generally we just felt there was not much to do on this cruise, we usually find ourselves planning sea days and evenings around all the different shows and planned entertainment on board and this just isn’t what happens on MSC. There just isn’t enough going on and certainly not enough variety. I think one reason is that everything has to be done in 6 languages and that just kills the atmosphere.
All in all a nice ship but not nearly enough attention to entertainment or cruise experience. Too much emphasis on having to pay extra for so many things, even the poolside ice cream. MSC are not for us. Read Less