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25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
All in all it was a great cruise. The travel to and from Cuba was horrific. The trip down: Sunwing well organized at Montreal airport - speedy check-in. Flight about 30 minutes late leaving - seats so close together one feels like a ... Read More
All in all it was a great cruise. The travel to and from Cuba was horrific. The trip down: Sunwing well organized at Montreal airport - speedy check-in. Flight about 30 minutes late leaving - seats so close together one feels like a sardine - cannot cross legs and when the passenger in the seat puts his seat back ........ Small glass of sparking wine (Champagne Service!) and purchased food - mine was great (Classic box with crackers, cheese, salami, etc. ) David ordered the noodles which turned out to be Campbell's cup a soup .... without fully boiled water :-(. Movie on a drop screen 4 rows ahead - very hard to see. Arrived in Cuba at around 10 p.m. Went through Cuban immigration (arriving), got our luggage and was on the bus by 10:45. There was confusion as to who should be on the bus and after 45 minutes of discussion between the bus driver and tour reps we finally left the airport at 11:30. Smooth ride to cruise terminal where we arrived at 1:20 a.m. Driver unloaded the bus and we pulled our luggage to the luggage drop around 100 ft away. Check in with MSC very speedy then once again through Cuba Immigration ( departing ) and x-ray before actually boarding the ship.The ship kept the buffet open until 2 am so we were able to grab a glass of wine and something to eat. Luggage was delivered around 2:30 am. The cruise: Ship was lovely - clean and well kept. Our cabin (Oceanview 10022) was the smallest I have ever had - but there was ample storage - the one thing that was definitely very small was the shower- luckily David and I are not big people :-). The location was great - just one deck below the pools and 2 of the coffee bars - only one flight to get our morning cappuccinos. The drinks package was excellent and did include cappuccinos and espressos as well as mixed cocktails and select wine by the glass. Bar service was a little slow but they were very busy. We went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch - selection was good and tables were easy to find. Their breads and pizza were outstanding - delicious! Had the early seating for dinner at 7 pm and found everything but the main courses to be tasty. We had issues with the main couses ( swordfish overlooked, ribeye steak that was not even a half inch thick, etc) but there were enough courses offered that we had fine meals without the main course. We did not see any shows but their piped in music on the pool deck was fabulous - from Beach Boys to Bare Naked Ladies :-) On a side note, European cruises are certainly different when it comes to pool attire - I was in the distinct minority in my one piece bathing suit ( there were maybe 6 of us total) all of the other women, regardless of age or size wore two piece bathing suits .... and most of the men were in Speedos or tight fitting briefs :-) We booked one excursion in Montego Bay - a hop-on hop-off bus which was fine as the ship does not dock right downtown ..... a little slow at getting organized once we left the ship but hey, it's Jamaica mon! In Cuba, Cozumel and Grand Cayman we did not book anything with the ship. The return trip: Luggage out by 1 a.m. And ship docks at 1:30 p.m. We can stay in our cabins until 1 p.m. and are to meet in the theatre for disembarkation at 2 p.m. Our colour gets called at 2:45 and off we go. First we have to go through Cuba Immigration ( arriving) and security scanners in the terminal. Head downstairs to grab our luggage and find the Sunwing / Nexus rep who tells us our bus number and points vaguely out the front door of the terminal. Upon exiting, there are around 15 buses parked 2 deep on the Main Street in front of the terminal. Get on the bus at 3:45. The guide who was supposed to take us back had called in sick so they had a replacement guide who spoke only English and Spanish on our bus, the Montreal bus. It took them a while to figure out that there were two people missing and when they finally found them ( they had forgotten to put their watches forward an hour :-() we left the port at 4:30. When we arrived at the airport there was no one there to check in the Montreal flight but someone showed up around 15 minutes later. Once we were checked in we had to line up to go through Cuban Immigration (departing) again. then lined up once more o go through security scanners ( a zoo!). Got to the departure gate 3 around 7:40 for our 8:20 flight. We heard a garbled announcement around 8:00 that our flight was delayed but could not get any info from anyone - Information desk said that there was a delay with the plane in Canada but had no further details. David and other passengers searched all 6 gates but there was no Sunwing / Nexus rep to be found in the airport. We could not clearly hear any of the announcements - finally around 9:45 we heard that our flight was boarding from gate 6. once more confusion reigned supreme :-)) Finally everyone was on board and we took off around 10:20 - we were offered a free sandwich or pizza for our inconvenience.... and we were not offered Champagne Service on our return flight :-) Arrived in Montreal at 1:40 am only to find the Montreal Immigration line went well beyond the Immigration area and I am sure that the other passengers on our plane had at least an additional hour wait. Luckily we have Nexus cards and were able to get through immigration, pick up our luggage, grab a taxi and get home by 2:45 am. All in all, we really enjoyed the cruise but will pass in future flying to and from Varadaro for a cruise in Havana. I did however notice that the ship boarded passengers in Cozumel and if I were to take this cruise again I wound fly in and out of Cozumel. it was great value for our money but the travel to and from element proved very stressful. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We went with this ship for the price and the ports of call .... however... not all cracked up to be what it is ... if you are a ship cruiser and like good music this is not for you ... PAY the extra and get what you want ... the ship is ... Read More
We went with this ship for the price and the ports of call .... however... not all cracked up to be what it is ... if you are a ship cruiser and like good music this is not for you ... PAY the extra and get what you want ... the ship is clean the staff is good but the on board entertainment dose not compare to the other cruise lines .... the food is good but far form the other lines ... you wont go hungry ... the ports are nice but has nothing to do with the cruise line... but what u will fine is a few hidden charges on your bill like second visas to get out of Cuba... tips even though you may have already paid them with your agent.... European pushing and shoving there way threw like they own the boat and very very little English or French spoken on the boat....this includes the shows and music and let not for get men speedo's and topless women ... I know it may temp you but some things and people should be covered up lol ....not well organized in getting on or off the boat and it seems like you have to fend for yourself when you do get off as there is no signs to find your bus so be prepare to wing it....This cruise line is not even close to the Carnival or Royal Caribbean Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
At Boarding we sat in the terminal for hours with no information or what was going on or when we could get on. Once we were on we didn't know if we needed a new visa to get off while in port so we stayed on the boat and missed out on ... Read More
At Boarding we sat in the terminal for hours with no information or what was going on or when we could get on. Once we were on we didn't know if we needed a new visa to get off while in port so we stayed on the boat and missed out on Havana in fear of getting stuck ashore. Our rooms where not ready until 8pm. Once on the boat the music was not up beat enough, just made you sad and sleepy. I even asked the cruise director to put music on one night around the pool there was no music at all. The shows where of low quality and mostly not in English making it hard to understand. Microphone volume was way too high for the volume of the music. Nothing to do on the boat, we were bored every day. Food was the same all the time with only one or 2 different things. Restaurant seating was terrible, we booked 3 couples together and couldn't sit together and when we asked to switch they said no so we didn't go back. No information sessions where given for ports (such as where to go and not to go, what to do). Port disappointing experience Example: Georgetown Cayman Islands was a Tender port was 9 to 6. Because he booked an excursion and had to all go at once we didn’t get off the boat till 11 then had to get on the bus for our excursion, went on a 2 1/2 hour excursion by the time we got back to port we only had 1 hour left and we didn't want to rest missing the last tender at 6 so ended up getting back on the tender at 530 and didn’t get to do any exploring of the port. Very disappointing Montego Bay, Jamaica was a 12h ours but with nothing to do at the port meant having to pay for a shuttle. Our driver took us to a small street with a few shop and then back to the boat. Would have been nice to see more. I would subject going on a week that the boat goes to Ocho Rio instead of Montego Bay. Cozumel Mexico, The Port was great, lots of shopping at the port itself. One thing I didn’t like is the venders on the street where very pushy and trying to get you to buy. Norwegian cruise lines what parked beside us at the port and they were greeting there customer back on board with red carpet treatment with water/Juice, damp face cloths ad towels, Party music and staff saying welcome back on board. We had nothing. They didn’t even take our picture getting off at the port like carnival does. At debarkation, you’re assigned a time to be out of your room and then a different time to be let off the boat. Was time consuming and with nothing to do while we waited made for a long day. We collected our luggage to find them all broken. Then we had no one to guide us to the bus. We stood outside with no guidance as to where our bus was. Then we got to the airport and waited in line for Hours to get through customs, I know this isn't the boats fault but it didn't help our not so good experience for the week. The staff on the boat was very friendly but some time language barrier was an issue and service at the bar was most of the time very slow. Long story short I wouldn’t book another cruise with MSC knowing how much more fun we had with Carnival. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Cruise with mediocre quality, in which almost everything is focused on getting money from passengers. You have to pay for everything. Since the first night, the staff is chasing you in order to sail water packages (around 30 euros), ... Read More
Cruise with mediocre quality, in which almost everything is focused on getting money from passengers. You have to pay for everything. Since the first night, the staff is chasing you in order to sail water packages (around 30 euros), beer packages (60 euros), or all inclusive drink packages. The photographer is forced by MSC Administration to run after the passengers, pushing them to get pictures that MSC will try to sell them later. Each time you order something (a simple water or a elaborated cocktail), MSC will add 15% as a service tax. But that is not enough: even if you do not consume anything, the cruise will charge you a minimum of 9 euros per person and per night, as a service tax. In a 7 nights cruise, a couple must pay at least 126 euros (9€ x 7 nights x 2 persons). The cruise must charge you with this tax to compensate the difficult conditions to which the workers are submitted: 12 or 13 daily labour hours, without weekly rest (just a few hours off), during 8 months (non-stop). The excursions are one of the finest examples of the MSC strategy to make money: awful quality, with a price of 80, 90 or 120 euros / person, the triple of the price that any local agency (trustful agencies, some of them are public or recommended by the local public office) will charge you. After some days, when passengers already understood this scheme and stopped buying MSC excursions, every day we saw passengers running out of the boat looking anywhere for good excursions, since they would not trust in MSC prices. In the Cayman Islands, the bus with MSC excursion (a worse bus than ours) came always together with ours, taking us to the same places. The difference: MSC charged 65 euros for the excursion. We bought to a local agency (indicated by the public tourist office) the same excursion for 20 euros. The excursion to a resort that MSC pompously advertised, but that was in fact a small and rocky beach, was bought for 90 euros / person. With any taxi, you could pay the displacement to a public beach, with much higher quality (we really loved that beach), with only 4 euros... The cruise had very limited entertainment activities (small bars with music and a nightly show), with 2 tiny pools, with 5 or 7 persons capacity. You can imagine what could happen with 2000 people on board... You had to go to your bedroom to take a nap (or go to the Spa with unthinkable prices...). With strong wind, you haven’t any indoor pool. Ridiculous TV channel package, around 10 channels, only those authorized by the Cuban regime. You had to watch public channels of Venezuela or Russia with daily propaganda against the “American imperialism”.... In short, mediocre quality that does not justify the price. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We choose this cruise, to see Havana, as it was docked for two night followed by several islands. Good : We had a all inclusive, so the unlimited drinks were great. The food variety at dinner was ample. Embarkation was good. ... Read More
We choose this cruise, to see Havana, as it was docked for two night followed by several islands. Good : We had a all inclusive, so the unlimited drinks were great. The food variety at dinner was ample. Embarkation was good. Cabins were fine, mattress was fine, storage space was fine. Staff were nice. Bad: Saltiest food I have ever tasted, blech ! We were rushed at dinner; lights were turned on bright to rush us out for the next seating. There was never coffee served after dinner. Breakfast was monotonous. The entertainment was not the greatest, this is likely due to so many non-English speaking guests, that all entertainment was non-dialogue. Announcements were in 5 languages, and this got a bit tiring by the end of the trip. For my daughter, the choices of Gluten Free food was dismal, no pasta, no pizza.. My other daughter complained that the teen club (the younger age group) never had any activities, she never saw any staff there doing activities. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Service was good but was not told that the tip of the restaurants in the hotel and paid separately. The ship had a lot of activities, games, dances, shows. Got to eat a lot and well, drinking well as the allegrissimo drinks package. ... Read More
Service was good but was not told that the tip of the restaurants in the hotel and paid separately. The ship had a lot of activities, games, dances, shows. Got to eat a lot and well, drinking well as the allegrissimo drinks package. The ship is very clean. And the sun deck was great! Also concerts and performances were great! Since Christmas was, it was also a corresponding mood board. Tours were incredible and well organized. Internet connection was good. Very proud of the crew of presentation, as well as the presentation of chefs, which was also my honor to be present. Cooks and waiters are there really level, as well as kajuteenijad. Festive clothes are worth to take, because there are a lot of style evenings. Every evening the cabin the next day's program, which is also written dress code. I do not regret that I was in a cruise, I recommend it to all! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The ship is kept spotlessly clean, but the italians smoked everywhere . Even under the no smoking here signs.The sotto vento pub was always in a haze of smoke and impossible to inhabit if you dont smoke.The guest relations area always ... Read More
The ship is kept spotlessly clean, but the italians smoked everywhere . Even under the no smoking here signs.The sotto vento pub was always in a haze of smoke and impossible to inhabit if you dont smoke.The guest relations area always smelled of smoke. The restaurant was nice but if you werent Italian you received second class service . We were next to a table of italians who were out of the restaurant before wehad the main course. We complained to the restaurant manager and the service improved tremendously ,but it shouldnt be necessary. The cabins are kept very clean which was good and the entertainment was good. For English speakers you had to listen to Italian,french,german Spanish then English so every announcement was long winded,but this is to be expected on a multinational ship. Some of the entertainment staff couldnt pronounce English very well ,so when they switched from Spanish it was very difficult to understand them but they were speaking five languages so hats off to them. The food was OK but geared to the Italian palate but maybe 70 % of the cliente were Italian so once again its understandable. I would not use MSC again on a Mediterranean cruise but would consider a Caribbean as they will cater for the american market and would suit me better. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Great shows...I am starting off positive but there were some things that were not so good. The buffet has too many tables and people cannot walk through the room; this is probably because the ship has too many cabins! Breakfast and ... Read More
Great shows...I am starting off positive but there were some things that were not so good. The buffet has too many tables and people cannot walk through the room; this is probably because the ship has too many cabins! Breakfast and lunch are chaotic! Many tours are cancelled. I had 5 cancel on us! The gym had not enough cardio equipment; this means you could do the restricted limit but there were always lines! The food was inconsistent. The Italian food was very good! The staff was friendly but just couldn't get it all done. So many of the staff would say things like, "Everyone says that." when we might complain about a policy or way they did something. They are supposed to give Americans water and charged us every time and just said that all Americans complain about this policy but it is what it is. Got home and found out we should not have ben forced to buy water. The ship was clean which was very important! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise for its extensive itnerary (and affordable cost). Out of 11 days we had only one day at sea. From Australia we flew into Berlin to experience this fascinating city for a few days and then we took the train from there ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its extensive itnerary (and affordable cost). Out of 11 days we had only one day at sea. From Australia we flew into Berlin to experience this fascinating city for a few days and then we took the train from there to Warnemuende. We were keen to explore the Baltic, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. We were extremely lucky with the weather. Europe enjoyed an exceptionally warm, even hot, sunny, early autumn (I know, this cannot be guaranteed). We compared this MSC cruise with our mediterranean Costa cruise in 2013. The Costa ship had double the number of passengers and that made for really long waits on embarkation and disembarkation, including getting on and off the ship at various ports. MSC was generally far better organised. This includes the breakfast buffet and even the safety drill which was totally shambolic with Costa, where we also had to contend with the very undisciplined Italian smokers. Since the Italians were outnumbered on this cruise that was not a problem. The buffet had lots of choices, the (clean up) service was exellent, the food was plenty and good (except for the coffee). Dinner was a little disappointing. Food was of somewhat mixed quality. Service was excellent and enthusiastic. We were lucky to share a table with two very friendly Australian couples and had such a good time that one night we had to be 'gently' reminded that they needed the table for the next sitting. We were badly stung on the Costa cruise concerning a wine package. In Australia they only offered an ''all-inclusive" package, which turned out to be far from inclusive...We were given the dregs of the house wine at dinner, which was somewhat improved after we complained and the bar service was restricted to the cheaper cocktails. With this experience in mind we bought a wine only package (supposedly reduced) at embarkation this time, only to find that the quality was not much better. At least we paid a bit less. Entertainment. The only entertainment we chose to attend was in the grand Opera Theatre. With few exceptions it was brilliant and very popular. They had some wonderful performances by trained opera singers, the costumes very amazing and so was the stage set-up. On one night we had some fascinating Flamenco dancers as well. The Costa cruise had offered nothing that came even close and most was in Italian anyway. We knew that shore excursions bought from the cruise line are notoriously expensive, so we researched the ports extensivly and walked the distance when feasible. The only shore excursion we booked in advance was in our first port of call: Gdansk. Because Gdynia, the actual port is about 30 km distant. The no-frills bus trip was not expensive and we actually had a very enthusiastic Polish guide who insisted he walk us through town as well and tell us all about it. Naturally it ended up in an amber shop that he happened to know. But there we even got a free amber cutting and polishing demo. There was one other tour we had to book in advance, the two-day St Petersburg tour. This was because of the Russian visa, which is free for cruise line passengers and only available with a booked tour. You were not allowed to explore on your own. We booked this with TJ Tours, a Russian outfit (see Trip Advisor) which was recommended to us and we were very happy with them. What cruise companies don't emphasise is that they tend to provide no-frills shuttle services to the respective city centres. We found them quite adequate to visit Riga, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen. However, the price went up considerably for the latter two. About Euro 15 each. Still cheaper than even Hop-on Hop-off. Talk to the local driver when you get off the bus...(after everybody else is off) about the must-see stuff and how to get there. In some ports you can get a free map, usually in the tent with the duty free and "last minute" bargains on the quay. The locals don't want you to miss out on the tourist traps of course. We enjoyed and were fascinated by all the ports we visited: Gdynia/Gdansk, Kleipeda (see the market there), Riga, Tallinn, St Petersburg (the Catherine Palace and the Hermitage are a must!) Helsinki, Stockholm (Vasa museum) and Copenhagen. The latter two are very expensive places...even if you only want to try the local hot dog version for Euro 4.50. Take sturdy shoes, there are a lot of cobble stone walks. We can definitely recommend this cruise. Just for this amazing mix of countries and cultures we experienced and of course, everything steeped in centuries of history. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
As we were going to be in Copenhagen we thought we should do something from there. 3 days in Copenhagen was great and the HOHO(Hop on hop off Bus) was great to get around. The 3 day pass seemed a bit dear but when you consider we got 2 ... Read More
As we were going to be in Copenhagen we thought we should do something from there. 3 days in Copenhagen was great and the HOHO(Hop on hop off Bus) was great to get around. The 3 day pass seemed a bit dear but when you consider we got 2 free beers at Carlsberg Brewery and on our last day you could take your bags on the HOHO and when you got off at the mermaid(forget her name) they transported you to your ship for free. As to the MSC Opera we had a good time on board.The ship was clean and tidy and so was our internal cabin. Mudaffar our cabin attendant was polite, funny and cleaned our cabin well.There was enough room in the cabin because we we always on deck somewhere.Dining was good and our waiter/wine steward Jean-Paul made sure everything was alright.Entertainment was good generally but sometimes did not suit us. Regarding port and shore excursions you needed to deal with Kathy as she was informative , polite and very knowledgeable. Really the only problem we had was with a German Tour Guide who obviously had some 40 people with her. We were in the the stern of the ship on deck 12 and been there for some time enjoying the scenery from the lounge. This woman came in and said anybody who doesnt speak German, out as this is a private function. There was no sign outside to tell anyone this when we went in and as the lounge held about 200 and she only needed one corner.We thought ,and told her, she was very arrogant and rude Read Less
MSC Opera Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 3.0 3.2
Entertainment 5.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 4.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.0
Enrichment 1.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.2
Rates 3.0 3.5

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