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357 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews

Family friendly and to try a new cruise line . What we got was the rudest most unhelpful staff I have ever seen in the 15+ years of cruising. The dinning was average and again “couldn’t care less type of attitude “ Nobody ... Read More
Family friendly and to try a new cruise line . What we got was the rudest most unhelpful staff I have ever seen in the 15+ years of cruising. The dinning was average and again “couldn’t care less type of attitude “ Nobody seemed to know what was going on and never got the same answer twice. We had a tight connection and wanted to know how long roughly it would take to leave the ship with our own bags and was told the immigration could be slow and on leaving the ship there was no immigration! The cabin was average but what tipped my wife over the edge was no tissues in the bathroom. She was told it was because we didn’t have a higher enough grade balcony!!!! Staff had a poor command of English and didn’t know what was going on . Overall very disappointing and will never travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise because my best friend wanted to do the European tour and I was in a position to make it happen so why not. I hate when people do a review and it sounds like they are just being petty about every little thing so I will ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my best friend wanted to do the European tour and I was in a position to make it happen so why not. I hate when people do a review and it sounds like they are just being petty about every little thing so I will try not to come off like that even though my experience overall was not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. My passion is cruising and I can honestly say I have never had a really bad cruise because I believe it really is what you make it. However, I felt MSC was very misleading and they tacked on to many extra charges by not even offering coffee in the dining room at dinner unless you paid for it and we got bottle water only because of our silver status. They offered paid for shuttle service from the ports to the city center of each of the ports but there was considerable walking from where the buses left you off to where most of the things to do actually where except for Mallorca and on at least one of the programs they suggested you get he shuttle because it was a 20 minute bus ride to the city center when in fact it was only a 10 minute ride. The food was the worse menu I have ever had and could only chalk this up to maybe it is how the Europeans prefer their food. On captain's night there was no fancy meal and definitely no lobster. I felt the entertainment was exclusive to the latin guest only so I felt really left out as a US passenger of non-latin descent. Getting on and off the ship was really a great experience even considering it was a looped cruise (I believe that is how they termed it) in Genoa and Marseille we had people getting off and people getting on but other than the buffet, this was not an inconvenience as we used different ways of getting on and off the ship so that no one was impacted. Dinner time was 6:30 or 9:30 unless you were Aura status but the Maitre D was so nice and accommodate us by giving us an 8:00 seating each night. I could only find bacon if I set my alarm for 7 and made it to the dining room (yes bacon is important to me so I made the sacrifice - lol), This was my first MSC experience and I will try MSC again but from the US side so that I can get an honest opinion. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise to circumnavigate the British Isles and found nothing but dissapointment. We have recently returned from a cruise around the British Isles on MSC Orchestra (5th June Hamburg). If MSC gave us free tickets to cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise to circumnavigate the British Isles and found nothing but dissapointment. We have recently returned from a cruise around the British Isles on MSC Orchestra (5th June Hamburg). If MSC gave us free tickets to cruise again we wouldn't accept them. Our first encounter was at embarkation with queue after queue checking the same thing over and over followed by sit-down lunch (deck5 ) where we were refused 2 glasses of water and both the waiter and maitre de argued with us over our need to pay around EUR1 per glass to get tap water! This continued at the dinner table also. Secondly, our anticipation of having a great time was greatly diminished when the cabin staff told us we would not be provided with a box of tissues and we had to use toilet paper in their place! Thirdly, we booked a Fantastica Balcony Stateroom at the rear of the ship (smaller than most others) and expected a 5 star room - the bathroom shower has plastic curtains! No facial tissues and one roll of toilet paper - enough said. On review there are more than 21 items (including the cheap rate shows) that are far less quality, service and level of acceptability in comparison to other cruise ships of the same standard. MSC = more sur charges. All up you would be better advised to choose another cruise company and experience a level of professionality you deserve on a cruise. FYI - we have cruised over 15 times with other companies - all balcony suites, no complaints - all inclusive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the balcony stateroom. They allow open smoking in several areas inside the ship which permeayes the showroom and other bars! There are over 21 points for improvement with this cruise company. The entertainment us cheap, appears unrehearsed and karaoke like most nights. Embarkmemt required showing proof you were a real person I've 3 times and queuING each time. If you are a first timer cruiser this cruise may be good for you as you would not know how low a standard MSC is. Of course you may like to pay to have open dining but other crise companies have all the above plus more included in their offer Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My wife and I, and another couple booked 2 MSC European cruises about a year in advance. The first, on the MSC Orchestra, sailed from Hamburg on June 5th and visited ports in Scotland and Ireland. This was our first experience with MSC. ... Read More
My wife and I, and another couple booked 2 MSC European cruises about a year in advance. The first, on the MSC Orchestra, sailed from Hamburg on June 5th and visited ports in Scotland and Ireland. This was our first experience with MSC. Overall, this was a lower priced cruise, and the lesson learned is you get what you pay for (unless it's on the drink package, then you may not even get that). When we bought the cruise, we also purchased the Deluxe drink package that was supposedly the best and it included the most expensive drinks. Since then, MSC has redefined their drink packages and our Deluxe had been renamed Premium which covers drinks costing up to 10 Euros. They also changed the prices of some of the best spirits to be 11 Euros or more effectively moving the best quality drinks out of our package into the new Premium Plus category - hence my 'Bait & Switch' title. We tried to explain the situation to the bar staff and also complained to customer service, but to no avail. On rum drinks, the best we could get was 8 yr old Bicardi's rather than the Zacappa 23 that we'd paid for. I cannot fault the bar staff, this was a recent corporate/management decision. The honest course of action would have been to honor the original package parameters. My only recourse is to warn other cruisers that if you buy an MSC package ahead of time, don't be surprised if it's downgraded by the time you sail. One of the highlights of the cruise was the excellent staff members who do the actual work on the ships. The bartender in the wine bar, Louis from Peru, was an absolute professional. He is personable, extremely knowledgeable, multilingual, a natural leader for the rest of the staff, and an awesome singer & magician. The rest of the staff Sri, Pascky, Akash and Ace all provided excellent customer service and are valuable assets to MSC. I am unimpressed with the leadership and management on MSC. The officers, while being polite to customers, were aloof and sometimes rude to the workers. In one instance, I watched a group of 4 officers hold an impromptu business discussion that went on for more than 5 minutes about 4 feet in front of the singer who was trying to entertain the people in the wine bar. The dining room staff worked hard to make it a good experience. Olvin, our principal table waiter was great. The food variety and quality was fine, but not up the standards we've seen on other cruise lines. There was no problem getting enough to eat, but the budget aspect of the cruise was evident in the very thin cuts of meat and limited wine selection available in the dining room. There was no sommelier or wine steward. Self disembarkation in Hamburg was a good experience and strongly recommended if available. Some ports don't allow it. We got off before the rush and caught a cab out front to the airport - easy. We would never book another MSC cruise. The price was lower, but the way they cut corners and redefine services erodes the experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
“The ship that will not be named” — that is how my wife and I have agreed to deal with this atrocious memory. Embarkation was sadistic. Pouring rain in Venice, through which you MUST walk for the final 100 m to the shuttle and ... Read More
“The ship that will not be named” — that is how my wife and I have agreed to deal with this atrocious memory. Embarkation was sadistic. Pouring rain in Venice, through which you MUST walk for the final 100 m to the shuttle and check-in location. Then MSC has you wait outside their MSC 5 million square foot terminal (with room for tens of thousands of people inside), in the wind and cold, for an hour just to review our visas. The rest of our boarding process was similarly dysfunctional. Our room was not set up as we requested, Our dining time request not permitted and not changable (though we paid extra for the Fantastica Experience to so choose). We waited at breakfast for 20 minutes for service. After 10 minutes, we started waving our arms. At 15 min, we went to the maitre’d, and at 20 minutes, finally someone showed up to take our order. So we thought. Instead, they said we should go to the buffet. That was our last meal in the “restaurant”. With so few dining options, we were left with no choice but the rugby scrum in the buffet. (We cruise often and have learned to despise cruise buffets.) There were many other problems, too annoying and plentiful to list here. When we took our complaints to the Guest Services desk, we were met with A) “What do you want?”, then B) An impressive list of reasons everything was our fault and nothing was their fault. We have no theory at all how this cruise line survives with such incredibly poor service. We did give them one star because our room was nice, and because there is no zero-star option. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise turned our to be the worst possible nightmare! - We booked the Top Grade Aurea package as this includes "My Choice" dining, where you can dine anytime between 7.30 and 10.45pm, and at a table size of 'your choice' either on a large shared table or an individual table for 2, it's all based on "My Choice" - The Aurera Class also includes the 'Inclusive Drinks Package' and provides a priority boarding procedure. After a smooth embarkation, we found our cabin on deck 15, to be superb, after the usual Safety Drill, we went to a bar for a drink so that we could settle into our new home for the next three weeks... Little did we realise the horrors that were to follow! At the bar we were told, Sorry you cant have a drink on this Cruise Card Code, this is only valid for a drink whilst eating in the restaurant or buffet during meal times, we told him that we had paid for The Aurea Class etc, he merely told us to go to reception and see what they have to say about it... We went down to Reception only to find dozens of people all queuing up with various complaints, we waited very nearly an hour before we reach a receptionist, on explaining what had happened, we got the impression that he thought we were just trying to get something extra for nothing! eventually after making some phone calls he said that he would change the cruise card and code, this worked at the bar and we got our two drinks, and we then felt more relaxed about this unsettling incident! At around 8pm we went to the Aurea Restaurant and asked for a Table for Two, only to be told that they did not have enough Tables for Two, also they were full and had no further room until after 10pm, which would be on a large shared table, we declined this and left, we did not eat anything this first night, as there were no free seats in the buffet either... The next morning we telephoned the Restaurant to make a reservation for a Table for 2, at around 8pm, the Restaurant Supervisor told us that he could not promise to do this as there are not enough small tables, he suggested that we arrive at the restaurant at 7.30pm right at the opening time and he would 'try' to get us a 2, he then said that if he did manage to do this, we would have to agree to keep this particular table and time for the whole duration of the cruise, we agreed to this, and he did get us seated on a table for 4, but for our use only, on the strict understanding that we vacated the table by 9.45, so they could get it set up for the second sitting... We carried on like this for the remaining 22 nights, which is certainly not what MSC promote in their "My Choice" dining options, another annoying thing is that the ships photographers would come around the restaurant 'whilst you are eating' and virtually insist on taking your photograph sometimes even by sitting with you or cuddling you!!! We gave up even trying to get a lunch in the dining room, as they only have 3 Tables for 2, in the entire restaurant! - In most cases we tried to eat ashore as much as we could to relieve some of the stress of dining on-board... With the Aurea Inclusive Drinks Package, we were unable to choose a wine either in the bar or restaurant, we could only request a Red or White wine, we were not looking for the Premium Brands, just basic drinks, could not select type of wine, or get an Irish Coffee or even a Bloody Mary, you were may to feel that you were trying to cheat the system! In addition to the dining saga, we found the theatre shows to be rather poor and repetitious, the Cruise Director seemed to get most enjoyment from his pre-show introductions, which he delighted in giving out at high speed in several different languages, apparently for his own amusement. Relaxing in the various Bars was often spoilt by the fact that sales staff would set up tables along side the seating, to sell Watches and Perfumes etc, it was at times like sitting in a Market Place! We appreciated most of the shore excursions that we did, particularly as they got us off the ship! - We actually tried to fly home to the UK from Brazil after just four days on board, sadly this was the Easter Holiday weekend and most of the flights were either full or very expensive, we reluctantly decided to stick it out until the bitter end! As a result of this very distressing cruise we have now decided to cancel our 2020 cruise, as there is no way we could go through this dreadful experience again, which is a great shame as we have enjoyed many cruises in the past on various shipping lines, including MSC, but NEVER AGAIN with them! In all fairness, we must mention that we found the ship itself to be clean and smart and all the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. ... Read More
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. The menu at buffet and restaurants did not have many options, specially if you do not want to eat meat. They take a lot of time to refill food and coffee, when they do. Napkins at the buffet were dark blue fabric, dirty and smelly as well as the plastic glasses to drink water. Dining tables at the buffet were usually dirty, they did not remove the dirty dishes and stuff very fast. No enough tables at the buffet, it takes some time to find a place to seat. No shows at the theater for several days, even at sea days. However, one night there was the best show we ever enjoyed at cruises, with an Argentinian singer, Guillermo Guido. Great show. Instructions to connect to the Internet were not given to the rooms. After some time, we finally found the instructions on a blackboard near the Reception office. We wasted a lot of time with long lines everywhere because there were just a few officers to help you. It seems that they did not have bilingual crew. The library was very limited, not only the quantity of books available but also its schedule. The person in charge of the library did not speak or understand basic Spanish, in spite of most of the passengers were Argentinian. The crew looked very tense and did not smile at any moment, they just did the minimum required with a tired face. Finally, they charged for water and everything, even for the only scale they had at the gym, $9!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have Been on about 6 cruises, worldwide and Mediterranean using RCL, NCL, Princess, and Celebrity. We opted for this 3 night MSC cruise really to test the water and if we liked it go further on a longer voyage another time. ... Read More
We have Been on about 6 cruises, worldwide and Mediterranean using RCL, NCL, Princess, and Celebrity. We opted for this 3 night MSC cruise really to test the water and if we liked it go further on a longer voyage another time. Embarkation was a breeze just walked on , we think this was because not all passengers embark the same day as this cruise has passengers get on at most ports it stops at . Cabin was best we have had very fresh and a good size for an inside . We were offered an all inclusive drink package when we boarded and at 26E each per day we decided to partake ! We were given early dinner sitting which was 7 pm , the meals were nicely presented but not large portions but adequate for our needs. To wrap up best points on ship Clean fresh Ship Fab Entertainment / Deck dancing Easy to find your way around Service fine although not outstanding Value for money Enjoyed Cruising with all Europeans nice crowd Minus points Only that dinner was probably not quite as good as other ships but for the price we paid very good All in all we will definitely try the MSC Cruise line again and are pleased we gave them a try as some reviews are awful on here Give them a go Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise for its Baltic itinerary and decided to indulge in the Aurea experience. MSC ships (as seen on AWE Dream Cruises) are beautifully decorated and quite well maintained. Cabins were clean and well attended to. Most of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its Baltic itinerary and decided to indulge in the Aurea experience. MSC ships (as seen on AWE Dream Cruises) are beautifully decorated and quite well maintained. Cabins were clean and well attended to. Most of the nightly shows were entertaining but there are few other interesting activities offered and the handful of movies available in your cabin cost 7e each. If you don't buy a drinking package, your only option is tap water after breakfast. We have been on MANY cruises with Holland America, Princess and NCL and we enjoyed the food offered at the buffets or restaurants until this MSC cruise. The chef should be shot or, better yet, forced to eat the low quality concoctions he prepared 3 meals a day for 11 days. How many folks eat pork necks, ox tails or venison stew? Pasta and pizza on this Italian line were disgraceful. Also, the ship had a very annoying mechanical vibration that traveled all the up to our cabin on deck 15 that we've never before experienced. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have just returned from an 11 night port intensive Baltic cruise on Orchestra and I have to admit we went with limited expectations after reading previous reviews. A little background and context first which I think is important when ... Read More
We have just returned from an 11 night port intensive Baltic cruise on Orchestra and I have to admit we went with limited expectations after reading previous reviews. A little background and context first which I think is important when reading these reviews: We are in our early 50’s and have mainly sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Oceania. Our Diamond status on R.C. allowed us to get matching Black status prior to booking. We flew from Edinburgh to Berlin and caught the train to Warnemunde in Northern Germany where we spent an overnight before boarding. Warnemunde is a pleasant seaside resort with upmarket shops and restaurants and a fine sandy beach next to a wide promenade area. The weather was so good we got to paddle in the sea! The hotel we booked was a convenient 10 minute walk to the ship, although they need to do something about the underpass at the train station which has no lift facility for heavy cases. We went to the terminal around 1pm where the embarkation process consisted of leaving your cases with MSC staff at one end of the terminal and proceeding inside for registration and security. The whole process took 15 minutes until we were on the ship. Probably the quickest anywhere so far. We got into our cabin about 1.30pm and our luggage arrived about 3pm. Your cruise card is within your unlocked cabin on arrival which was unusual for us and you then register a credit card at a terminal for all onboard spend. We booked one of the Aurea Suites onboard and were happy with the space provided. They are similar in size to a Junior suite on R.C. or mini suite on Princess with a bath/shower combination and a decent sized balcony on deck 15. There is a large walk in cupboard and a separate unit with shelves. A large safe is provided behind the mirror and a decent sized fridge is located in further cupboard space below the T.V. The décor was bright and colourful and well maintained. The main benefit was that it came with a decent drinks package included and access to the thermal area on deck 13 for the full duration of the cruise which included 2 x steam rooms, 2 x sauna’s and 3 jacuzzi hot tubs. We also each got a 50 minute massage of our choice during the cruise although finding available booking space proved difficult as many had got on the day before in Copenhagen and got there first! Everything was clean and in working order and when we had a problem with a sewage smell in the toilet one day it was fixed by the time we came back onboard and a bottle of wine and chocolate strawberries were waiting with an apology. They also did a follow up visit to ensure all was well. The ship, now 11 years old, looked in great condition. No signs of rust anywhere including the front of the ship near the anchor. The lounges, bars and restaurants were also well maintained. We had anytime dining which allowed us to move the time around depending on the port days and was of benefit. The food, in my opinion, was of a similar standard to R.C. but my wife thought it better as it had a more European flair with lots of fish dishes, and a couple of theme nights. The Lasagne and the Moussaka get special mention! The buffet restaurant was always crowded and again the food was on a par with other mainstream cruise lines. We had a free dinner at the only speciality restaurant onboard, which had a Chinese/Japanese style of food. It was interesting trying new foods but we both agreed we would rather have had a Steakhouse on board! With having so many nationalities onboard the entertainment was mainly variety style shows {songs from the musicals, some cabaret and a Brit night} with a mixture of Opera singing and acrobatics also. The cruise director made announcements in 5 languages each time but kept things brief. On that subject whilst there were a few issues with queue jumping from certain nationalities everyone seemed to get along and have a good time and this was the most varied cruise we have been on for age as there were a good number of children, young families, couples, family groups and seniors all mixed in. The itinerary meant lots of early rises and a few late returns as well as the overnight in St. Petersburg. Our first stop was the town of Visby on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic sea, owned by Sweden. We walked about 20 minutes into town and explored the medieval streets for a few hours. We also found a great coffee shop with excellent cake! The weather threatened rain most of the time and then delivered as we were walking back but nice to have seen the place for a few hours. On to Gdynia in Poland for a full day. We booked in advance with a local guide who picked us up at the port {which was actually a coal terminal!} and drove us to the main sights in Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk. We enjoyed this trip very much and were surprised by how much effort had gone into rebuilding Gdansk and transforming it into the medieval town once again. Lithuania was next and proved to be a disappointment. The town of Klaipeda held little interest and we wish we had booked an excursion and done something else. Thankfully it was only a half day and the weather was good so we made use of the top 16 sun deck in the afternoon and sampled some of the drinks and cocktails on the drinks package! Next day was one of the highlights- Tallinn in Estonia. Great weather and walked the 15 minutes to the city walls and spent a day exploring the streets within. Amazing architecture and colours along with nice street café’s and quaint little shops in people’s houses. Would go back anytime and recommend doing this on your own if no walking issues as no need for an excursion or guide. Save your money for the next two days! Two days in St. Petersburg. The cherry on the cake for most Baltic cruises. We booked with a private tour, as did many of our fellow cruisers, for 2 full days of covering the main sights. Picked up 830am first day and didn’t get back onto the ship until 8pm. Dinner and bed before 745am start next day and tour finished about 6pm. Highlights for me were Peterhof Palace and Church on spilled blood. My wife loves art so this had been a dream for her to see all the insides of the churches, palaces etc. The city was not as picturesque as I thought it would be but we certainly saw plenty. A half day in Helsinki was a good way of unwinding after some busy days. It was a beautiful day so we walked along the coast through the parks into the main city and spent a few hours exploring before retracing our steps to the ship. Stockholm was next, and we took the shuttle bus into the city and again explored on our own for most of the day. Had been here before many years ago and loved the old part and the parks to enjoy the good weather. Finally a day at sea to rest. Weather not great so no sunbathing but caught up on some spa time! Last stop Copenhagen. Lots of people disembarking but we took the shuttle bus into the city and went to Tivoli Gardens as we had been to Copenhagen a few years ago on a city break in early spring and it had been closed. Nice place but not really impressed at the high cost of entry just to see some gardens. Walked around the main sights after that and returned on the shuttle bus. One of our few complaints about M.S.C. is that they seem to dock the ship in out of the way ports, some distance from the centre of places when there are other alternatives available. They then try and charge you for a shuttle into the centre that should not have been required or should be free. We tried to avoid this but at Stockholm and Copenhagen the walk in was too far with no other alternative. Returned to a wet Warnemunde and disembarked around 9am. We were allowed to stay in the cabin until 2 hours after docking as per black card benefit so could have been there until 10am if required. Taxi to Rostock station and train to Berlin for a couple of days before flying home. M.S.C. proved to be a well run main stream cruise line. The ship was beautiful to look at both inside and outside with the Savannah lounge being a particular highlight. Food was decent to good and when we felt the portions were a bit on the small side we just asked and got more. Aurea package well worth the money and all crew we dealt with were polite and helpful. With so many new ships on order and M.S.C. looking to expand their destinations I will be adding them to the list to look out for in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
MSC Orchestra – Baltic Cruise Review August 2018 11 Nights – Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark We arrived at the terminal in Copenhagen at approximately 12:45pm, we were the only people ... Read More
MSC Orchestra – Baltic Cruise Review August 2018 11 Nights – Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark We arrived at the terminal in Copenhagen at approximately 12:45pm, we were the only people in the priority embarkation queue and were on board within a couple of minutes. I had completed the on-line check in, complete with pictures but we still had new ones taken. We were advised that our cabin was ready, Aurea Suite 15013, we headed straight to our cabin. Very impressed with the cabin, very spacious and a lot of storage space. We did experience some early morning noise from the Top 16 above, normally we would sleep through but were always up early for excursions. If you are a light sleeper this may impact on you. After dropping off our cabin bags we set off to explore the ship. We had not previously sailed on this class of ship and liked the more intimate feel of some of the areas. All of the ship was very well presented and immaculately clean, as we have found MSC ships to be. We headed to explore the buffet for lunch, a great selection of food, a good variety and delicious pizza as always. It was quite quiet, and we had no issues with seating, later in the cruise we did experience the usual crowds and difficulty obtaining a table a couple of times during the peak lunchtime rush. The weather was warm and pleasant, so we headed to the Top 16 solarium. A very nice space which felt larger than others we’ve used. Although there are no whirlpools on this one. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to use the area as much as we’d hoped due to experiencing some quite windy conditions. Prior to our cruise I’d read a few reviews which were not very positive about the food on board so we headed off to dinner with a degree of trepidation. We had MyChoice dining in L’Ibiscus. I’m pleased to say we were delighted with the food for the duration of the cruise. All of our dishes were well cooked, well presented and most importantly hot. One of the main complaints previously experienced. Food isn’t ever, just out of the oven piping hot but it wasn’t luke warm, and I do personally have an issue with food not being hot enough. The staff were wonderful, very attentive and the service we received was excellent. It did feel the busiest MyChoice dining area we’ve experienced as on 2 evenings we did have to wait outside in the bar (not a great hardship) but there was at least a 15 minute wait, which we’ve never experienced previously. We had the classic drinks package and only had the 2 red wines offered, a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Palatable but not exceptional. We went to the MDR for lunch on only one occasion, we found it odd sharing a table with another group and all ordering at different times. My least favourite meal and the slowest service of the cruise. We always had breakfast in the cabin, the earliest time for delivery is 7.30am but as we had many early starts on this cruise we added a note to ask for an earlier delivery and were very happy to find that our requested was met. I’ll caveat my views on the On- Board entertainment, we aren’t people who need to be entertained and anything interactive and we run for the hills. We know from experience the Aft lounge, the Shaker Lounge on Orchestra, is a livelier more interactive experience and we therefore didn’t venture in. The other lounges had a combination of singers and an instrumental group in the lobby. All of which were pretty good, we decided we liked Pepe in the La Cantinella wine bar best and usually headed there post dinner. The bar staff in there were delightful and added to our experience greatly. We didn’t make it to any of the shows on this trip, we either weren’t ready for the early show or were still at dinner for the late show. From speaking to fellow passengers they sounded pretty standard MSC shows. We had booked our included massages for our last but one day, we were in Stockholm, we’ve visited on land based holiday and decided not to visit on this trip but have a relaxation day. It was a port intensive cruise and thought we’d need time to relax. We had a couples Bali massage, which was nice but not as enjoyable as others I’ve had. Immediately after it was complete the masseuse did try to sell us another massage. Now, I expect this but they do usually wait until after you leave the treatment room and this did detract slightly from the experience. We spent the next few hours in the spa using the steam room, whirlpools and relaxation area. It’s probably the most we’ve used the Spa area, we were the only people in there and it was a very nice environment. We had the misfortune of needing to use the Medical Centre, DH was bitten by something on our first day in St Petersburg, on the second day his hands and arms started to swell badly, turn a very funny colour and were unbearably itchy. It was very unpleasant and quite scary. You could see the poison spreading I’ll spare you the photo’s but it was very bad. In Russia you can’t go anywhere alone so we waited until after our excursion ended and visited the ship Dr. Obviously you’d rather avoid needing the Medical Centre but they were excellent. Sadly, the time came we had to disembark, we were assigned the first disembarkation time of 8.30am, we were a few minutes late arriving and everyone had already left. We just proceeded to the exit, our luggage was waiting and unfortunately our cruise had ended. The itinerary was fantastic, we packed a lot in with excursions and trips so it was a very intensive experience but one we enjoyed. The ship and all of the staff were fabulous, we are looking forward to sailing on her again next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Before I start my review, I’d like to share a little background about myself. I was born in Germany and lived there until I was 21, so I am well familiar with European customs etc. My husband and I enjoy cruising. We have sailed on ... Read More
Before I start my review, I’d like to share a little background about myself. I was born in Germany and lived there until I was 21, so I am well familiar with European customs etc. My husband and I enjoy cruising. We have sailed on Royal, Disney, Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian. We chose the 7-Day Northern European Cruise on MSC Opera because of itinerary and price. Embarkation and Disembarkation Easy, fast and comfortable. We enjoyed having beverages available when getting on the ship. The MSC tents and flags were a cute touch. Cabin Compact and very clean. Our interior cabin was located on the 14th floor. Very convenient to the pool and bar area. Cabin service was done in the mornings and evenings. Our steward did a wonderful job. Storage space was just enough. Luggage could be stored under the bed. The shower is very compact and might not be comfortable for larger guests. Shower gel and Shampoo are available in the shower. In-Room-Dining We opted for the Fantastica Experience, which includes complimentary In-Room-Dining. We ordered coffee, croissants and juice every morning. All was delivered on time and fresh & delicious. Breakfast We truly enjoyed breakfast in the Main Dining Room every day. In addition to a menu, which features the same items daily (eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles etc.) there is also a buffet. The buffet features the best bread selection we have encountered at sea, European breakfast meats and cheeses, fresh fruit etc. On the hot side there is a omelet station, a daily selection of potatoes, sausages and scrambled eggs. Coffee is being served at the table. At times coffee service can be a little slow. In addition to the Main Dining Room, breakfast is also offered at the buffet, plus there is a gluten free option in one of the coffee bars. Nice touch. Lunch For lunch we stuck with the buffet. There was always a wide selection of dishes available catering to the multicultural guests on this sailing. A variety of burgers and pizzas were offered as well. The salad bar was just wonderful and we also enjoyed the pre-made delicious little sandwiches. We found the food to be tasty and fresh. Beverage service was once again a little slow. Dinner We loved our daily dinner experience, which was truly European. Our service team was very friendly and efficient. By dinner night #2 they already had our drinks waiting for us. Water service is included if you booked your cruise through the US. Otherwise you will have to purchase drinks, including water, coffee or tea. The food selection changed daily and was always interesting and delicious. Definitely not what you would find on American lines. Dishes included lamb, veal and of course pasta and risotto. Bread was once again outstanding, so were the desserts. Dinner is a very relaxed affair, so expect to dine for 2+ hours. Families and friends gathered over food, wine and cocktails and truly seemed to enjoy themselves. So did we. Note that beer and wine are available in the dining room. If you prefer a cocktail, make sure to bring it with you. Bar Service Here things get a little interesting. Bar orders need to be placed with the cocktail waiters, not the bartenders. We wish we would have known this from the beginning. The moment we figured this out it was easy. Cocktails were well presented, tasty and appropriately strong. All coffees were wonderful. The wine and beer selection was nice and of great quality and value. We loved the little nibbles, like chips, nuts or olives, which were served alongside our beverages. Very nice, high end touch. Entertainment We were thrilled not to be bombarded with the Electric Slide, Hip Hop etc. on a daily basis. Pool music was more chill. There were daily games in the morning hours. For the rest of the day guests were able to entertain themselves. No hairy chest contests etc. What a relief! Daily shows were Vegas style and consisted of dancers, acrobats and singers. They were very enjoyable and always had one or two breathtaking moments. Think upscale variety show. Live music was offered in all lounges. Genres definitely catered to music popular in the 80s in Europe. It would have been nice if one of the lounges would have offered a little fresher take on music. The disco is a beautiful space, but was visited very little. Spa Only disappointment of the trip. Appointments cannot be made pre-cruise, so we made one the moment we got on the ship. The spa doctor seemed a little flighty and actual made our appointment for the wrong date. When we showed for the appointment we thought we had, we were told it was not available. The staff tried to help and was able to get us in for an hour later. When we showed back up our couples massage room was given away by accident. Again, the staff tried to help and was able to create a make shift space for us. The massages were good and the staff was nice, but after the initial experience it was hard to relax. We will not use MSC Spa services again. Overall We would go back on a MSC Cruise in a heartbeat. (we are actually already booked for one to go to Cuba this December.) If you enjoy a true European experience, with people from all over the world, this might be the right fit for you. If you are expecting to find the same as on Carnival, Royal etc. you will probably be disappointed and frustrated, as food, beverages, entertainment and service are different and you will not be surrounded by English speakers at all times. We found the MSC Orchestra to be in top shape. It was very clean and well maintained. The pool deck, including pools, was deep cleaned almost every night. Hopefully this review is helpful to some. We are looking forward to our next adventure on MSC. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Overall... we were quite happy with the cruise. Our expectations were low based on the bad reviews. But although u can't compare food wise to other cruises like Carnival (no lobster night!)... it wasn't that bad. Some nights it ... Read More
Overall... we were quite happy with the cruise. Our expectations were low based on the bad reviews. But although u can't compare food wise to other cruises like Carnival (no lobster night!)... it wasn't that bad. Some nights it was even excellent. Cabin and steward quality is about the same. Waiter was good as well... allowed us to order what we wanted... short of lobsters of course. Didn't like that the "always available" back up menu was grill fish of the day (which we had doubts of the freshness) and chicken breast. Boring. Medium steaks came out almost raw on the 2nd night. Other than that... it was fine in the main dining room. Don't get why people feedback that MDR food was bland. It was ok. The whipped potatoes had little taste...but was easily enhanced when we added a small cube of butter. Other than that... salt and pepper is always available. Overall, 9 out of our 11 nights... the food is good to excellent. Buffet was a let down... especially for dinner. I don't mind breakfast serving same items every day... we ate what we liked anyway. Lunch had good indian food selection which added decent variety but dinner was outright pathetic with less than half of what is available for lunch... truly unexpected. Guess they expected everyone to go to MDR for dinner. Pizza and burgers available were not remotely comparable to Carnival's... and nearly inedible for me. There was also much limited variety and quantity of activities available on board... which we did not mind cause it was a port intensive cruise. The main shows in the evenings... when there were the standard singers, all stars dancers and acrobats were very good. However... we hated that 4 of the shows were opera singing based. Gosh... perhaps its just not for us. The older European folks seems to enjoy them though. The ship in general wasn't as well maintained.... in my view. Lifts had flickering lights for days, which was unacceptable, and they had problems with maintaining the temperature in the showers and the Jacuzzi. But overall... if the itinerary and price is right... we won't mind cruising with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for the wonderful itinerary and the fact that MSC doesn't charge for infants like other cruise lines do. The itinerary was the Baltic/Northern Europe. The embarkation was amazing - walked right on board and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the wonderful itinerary and the fact that MSC doesn't charge for infants like other cruise lines do. The itinerary was the Baltic/Northern Europe. The embarkation was amazing - walked right on board and we had showed up early for the embarkation. We did not take any of the ships excursions - booked a Shore Trip excursion for Russia and either did the shuttle or walk offs for the rest of the ports. The ship was lovely however the food was just ok. Much prefer Princess and Royal Carribean - especially the desserts. The announcements were very long as they were done in 6 languages each time - went to only 2 shows at night and the same issue there with announcements etc. I understand that they cater to a large range of nationalities so it is understanding. Missed having comedy shows etc. because of the language issue. The staff were generally very helpful - would do an MSC again if travelling with children only. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise based strictly on itinerary and price. It was our first (and last) cruise with MSC. With many cruises under our belts, this was one of the worst, ranking it slightly below NCL. A few positives: This is a very port ... Read More
We chose this cruise based strictly on itinerary and price. It was our first (and last) cruise with MSC. With many cruises under our belts, this was one of the worst, ranking it slightly below NCL. A few positives: This is a very port intensive cruise, with only 1 sea day and 8 ports (2 days in St. Petersburg) on an 11 day itinerary. Best ports were St. Petersburg, Tallin, and Stockholm, in our opinion, so we were not disappointed with the itinerary. The other thing you could view as positive is that there was horrible noise in the walls from the a/c system that occurred every 60-90 seconds that made it difficult to sleep in the inside cabin we booked (#9088) and when we brought it to the attention of reception, they did relocate us to a balcony cabin. Passengers from North America accustomed to U.S. cruise lines may find the overall experience is much different on MSC, as most of the passengers are European (70% on our cruise were German) so don't expect announcements or lectures in English. Lots of smokers on board, one side of pool deck dedicated to smoking area. People were smoking in their cabins, although this is forbidden. It may have been worth it to them to pay the 70 euro cleaning fee. Most passengers were retirees, typical of European cruises. The negatives: Food: Buffet food - same breakfast every day, very limited desserts offered at lunch and dinner, poor quality meat (stews had meat with bones). The layout of the buffet is inefficient, with narrow spaces and large, useless columns to navigate around. Extra charge for fresh orange juice. Only drinks offered free were water, coffee and tea. At Breakfast, there was juice from the drink machine. The buffet area seemed to be kept pretty clean. Dining Room: Service extremely slow, food mediocre, noisiest dining room on a ship we ever experienced, so much so that it was difficult to carry on a conversation with your table mates. Servers were constantly dropping silverware, and sometimes plates. We went to the dining room once for breakfast, and sat there 10 minutes before we had to go find a waiter to take our order. Port docking: though we have seen it occasionally before, at EVER PORT we went to, you had to pay MSC for a shuttle bus into town at a cost of 9-15 euros pp. We saw other ships in port that had much better docking locations, so perhaps MSC doesn't want to pay for a closer dock and make money on shuttles. The buses provided had no a/c (it was unseasonably warm the entire trip) with temps inside reaching 90 degrees. Guess MSC didn't want to pay for a nicer bus with a/c. Entertainment: Typical production shows at night. Nothing to do during the day onboard except dance lessons. With only 1 sea day, this wasn't much of an issue. Tiny TV's in cabins with no in room movies, which most US cruise lines offer. Embarkation: We got on and off in Warnemunde, pretty painless procedure, however there were long lines getting back on the ship at each port, many times they only had 1 gangway. When we first embarked the ship, our cabin steward was nowhere to be found (usually they are around to great you when you get on) and didn't show up until around 8pm. Reception desk did not answer the phone for the most part. Excursions: we did not book any excursions through MSC, people we spoke to that did had mixed reviews. The glass around the pool deck was FILTHY and not cleaned the entire time. Tiny elevators compared to other ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The cruise was excellent. I must admit I was a little uneasy about the cruise line given some other reviews I had seen, but decided to go ahead as the price was very affordable. We certainly had a great experience. The ship was ... Read More
The cruise was excellent. I must admit I was a little uneasy about the cruise line given some other reviews I had seen, but decided to go ahead as the price was very affordable. We certainly had a great experience. The ship was beautiful; our cabin (ocean view) was spacious compared to some cruise lines and taken care of very well. The shows/ entertainment were also very good; this was unexpected given our prior experience on a different cruise line. Drinks/ bars also very nice. Food good-some meals better than others, but no significant difference in quality from other cruise lines. The main issue prior reviewers raised was regarding drink prices/packages. I was concerned as we were given 1drink coupon a day per person and had read that water and juice needed a coupon ( or else pay for). The fine print however was that for non Caribbean cruises booked via US included bottled water at no charge. Juice at breakfast also was included/free. Given this, we actually had drink coupons left over! Overall everyone was very pleased with the cruise and I would certainly use this line again Can’t comment on shore excursions as we went out on our own, but did use shuttle service which worked out well Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I read horrible reviews prior to my trip, but I still signed on because the ports were enticing and the price was right. To begin, getting any sort of help online prior to travel was impossible. No one responded to emails or chat ... Read More
I read horrible reviews prior to my trip, but I still signed on because the ports were enticing and the price was right. To begin, getting any sort of help online prior to travel was impossible. No one responded to emails or chat requests. Luckily some members of our group were able to take the time to call the MSC help desk. I prefer to do everything online and MSC is not set up to handle that type of business. The transfer from Milan was excellent. Great staff, no issues there! Embarkation was a bit messier. There were multiple stations to hit, but there was no welcome feeling and we didn't really know what was happening from desk to desk. As someone else mentioned, the lifeboat drill was not on time and not organized. I honestly wish I had just signed in and walked away, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to do that. It was a waste of a good hour of ship time. The first night of dinner, in the myChoiceDining area, our server was so horrible, half our group didn't come back to dinner. When our friends inquired about their drink order, he said, "give me a minute!" He handed us our plates instead of setting them down. He told us to "Make Room" for additional plates on the table. He gave us grief for wanting to order additional entrees to share with the table and then delivered them all at once when we clearly didn’t have the space for them. And finally, he wanted us to order our dessert with our entrees, which was very unusual. The second night we requested a new server and told the hostess that our previous waiter was terrible and she just said ok. Our new server was wonderful and we went back to him every night! As someone else mentioned, breakfast in the dining room was buffet or a la carte. Our server didn’t seem to want to take our order or serve anything. As it turns out, we shouldn’t have ordered. The waffles looked to be frozen waffles and the fruit was definitely thawed out. We never went back to breakfast in the dining room. The buffet breakfast wasn’t very enticing either, so we stuck to yogurts, fruit and breads. Others in our party complained about the lines and chaos in the buffet, but I’ve seen that on other large ships as well. Our dinner server would actually help us find our family or find a table if the others hadn’t arrived yet. To me, that’s good service! The ports were all amazing, but I will say, there should be more organization as there was a tremendous line in Barcelona to re-board the ship. With such short port times, it should be assumed everyone will come back at once and staffing should be there to cover the busy times. On Saturday, upon arrival in Cherbourg, there was a line of people waiting to get off the ship, an hour after we were entitled to disembark... when suddenly the staff started moving props to another deck. Had I not asked, I would not have been told that there was a problem with the gangway and we needed to go to another deck. The lack of communication for that was disappointing, along with the loss of an hour in port, with no apology that I’m aware of. On approximately deck 10 rear, we ran into worker smoking in a very small area that isn't a smoking area. Completely inappropriate. Speaking of smoking, half of the pool deck as well as another half of the walking track are smoking areas. I had to do laps on only one side of deck 7 (the walking track). The casino is also a smoking area and completely infected the entrance to the theater. We were told there were 50 nationalities onboard, so yes, the announcements were made in 6 languages, which can be long, but who’s to decide which ones to cut? Not me. In the reception line, one poor employee was unable to help so many guests, so it’s clear not all guests speak English and multiple announcements are needed. I do feel investing in translators for staff would be helpful, at least at the reception desk. In general the service was inconsistent. Some days, you got the nicest bartenders. Other days, they were downright nasty. The cruise staff was awesome! Great group of people in that crew! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have travelled with most cruise lines and expected a mid-range experience with rather good food given that MSC is an Italian company. It turned out that the most disappointing aspect was food and beverage. BREAKFAST Breakfast can ... Read More
We have travelled with most cruise lines and expected a mid-range experience with rather good food given that MSC is an Italian company. It turned out that the most disappointing aspect was food and beverage. BREAKFAST Breakfast can be taken i their cafeteria or in the restaurant Villa Borghese. We visited the cafeteria numerous times but never managed to get a table. In Villa Borghese you can select between a la carte and buffet. All dishes sampled were of poor quality and presentation. I.e. Eggs Benedicts were almost inedible. Room Service breakfast is yoghurt, bread and coffee/tea. Thats it. LUNCH Lunch could be taken in the cafeteria as well as in Villa Borghese. The latter offered a la carte as well as buffet. We only ate when we were at sea and escaped the ship for meals as often as we could. DINNER You are assigned dinners in either Villa Borghese or L'Ibiscus. We were in the latter and the food was mediocre and rather bland. Food was okay but never an experience you would like to remember. ALL-INCLUSIVE CONCEPT We opted for the all-inclusive concept which was promoted to include all beverages at all times. It proved to be far from it. In the restaurants you could only choose wines from a very limited selection and only by the glass (2 whites, 1 rosé and 2 reds) - all La Zolla an almost undrinkable quality. Most cocktails are not included. Water is included but not if you take the water in the mini bar, then it is extra. Beverages from room service are always extra and you pay for the food here too but delivery is included. Rather strange concept and very confusing which seemed deliberate. Although the all-inclusive packages are rather cheap, they are not worth buying. BOARDING Getting onboard took 2,5 hours and we waited in four different queues for different aspects of the registration process. We never understood why it had been made so complicated and everybody complained throughout. SERVICE In general there seems to be an attitude amongst staff of wishing they were somewhere else. They made numerous errors during our cruise and not once were we offered an apology. All (and I mean ALL) announcements are made in six languages (English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian) so everything takes forever. Would much rather prefer to have announcements in English and perhaps one other language and them have all written information in as many languages as they wish. We were forced to watch the MSC commercial videos several times in the theatre and people started commenting on the completely different experience they were having compared to the commercials. For example, in the commercials there are flowers everywhere but we didn't see one flower throughout our stay. The meals are served with cloches. We never saw them onboard, and so on, and so on. SAFETY The safety drill was an Italian farce. They started the drill 20 minutes late and then in a way that only a limited number of passengers could see what happened (and again in six languages). Passengers soon started to leave the stations is frustration. Italian organized chaos. ITALIAN ATTITUDE Most senior officers are Italian and they clearly feel superior to the other members of staff. Several times we observed officers go into bars to prepare their own coffees and two times I saw officers take cakes out of the cake displays with their fingers and straight into their mouths. So much for food hygiene. ALL IN ALL All in all it was a very disappointed experience and we will not return to MSC. If you travel on a limited budget there are so many other cruise lines to choose from and we cannot come up with even one, why you should choose MSC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
There were 8 of us going on the Mediterranean cruise, so we were looking for something that was more budget friendly and we chose MSC as it was slightly cheaper than the other cruise lines we have taken in the past. This was our first ... Read More
There were 8 of us going on the Mediterranean cruise, so we were looking for something that was more budget friendly and we chose MSC as it was slightly cheaper than the other cruise lines we have taken in the past. This was our first time going with MSC and I was a bit apprehensive after reading some of the reviews given here on how MSC sucked and how it was the worst cruise they've taken - and I thought perhaps we should've taken Princess or Norwegian or Holland America instead. However, besides a couple of issues I had, we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't bad as others have described. Perhaps we were just lucky and that we had very low expectations going in, but MSC are better at some things and not as good as other cruise lines, which is probably true with all cruise lines anyway. First of all, most of the critique about MSC Orchestra is about the food. Someone said they were not picky eaters and would eat just about anything and yet still found the food terrible. Well, whoever said the food was terrible in MSC Orchestra are actually picky eaters, or just not into a variety of cuisine. Perhaps they just ate the pasta and the pizza all the time and found them terrible - which I do agree, to my surprise, is really not MSC's best offering especially for an Italian ship. The pizza were average, even pizza I've had from the USA are better, which is probably blasphemous for me to say. But it's the same 3 types of pizza every single day so it got boring. The pastas were also okay, they offer a variety with different sauces but again, it's always the same ones every time. They also had a grill section which offered hamburgers, hotdogs and french fries but the real issue with their buffet is that they have the same food every day - EXCEPT for the Daily Specials and Ethnic Cuisine which is located at the back section of the buffet dining room - which many people miss or by the time they get there, their plates are already full of pizza and pastas. The daily specials/ethnic cuisine section offered dishes from Asia or Eastern Europe or South American and it's different each day. My only comment is that they should hire a real Asian chef if they want to serve Asian dishes - they're not bad, but you can tell the difference if an Asian dish was prepared by a Westerner. What I don't like in their buffet dining is that they don't offer lemonade or ice tea for lunch or dinner, unlike other cruise lines, you have a choice of drink besides water. You have to pay for other beverage which isn't right. The one difference in Main Dining with MSC from other cruise ships I've been on is that you get a table reserved for you and your party for the entire duration of the cruise. Which is great because you can just go directly to the same table every night without waiting for the maître d' to seat you and you don't have to wait for the rest of your group to get started. We got a nice 8-seat table next to a port hole so it was a nice location but I can imagine if you got a bad table next to the galley or something, however you can request to be moved if possible. Again, what surprised me with their main dining is that you have to pay for the water. I suppose being an American, I'm not used to this. In the USA, water is free and expected to be served at any restaurant. At €2.75 per liter, we consumed 5 or more bottles each time and it would have gotten quite expensive if we didn't have the complimentary mineral water package that came with our reservation, so while we didn't pay a single cent for our water, I would've been quite pissed off if I had to shell out an extra €100+ just for water in the dining room. That said, the variety of dishes offered was better than average and as I've said, they should hire an Asian chef if they want to serve oriental fare, and also should stay away from pork dishes, every time they serve pork - it was overcooked and bland, but other than that, I enjoyed majority of the dishes I had. They could also offer a lot more choices for dessert but it's not that big of a deal having only 3-4 choices every night, at least it's different. I was a bit disappointed they only had either vanilla or cookies & cream gelato, I had hoped to have a different flavor of gelato every night. The biggest thing we enjoyed in our cruise was their Entertainment live shows each night. The performers were phenomenal and the variety of shows they put out was awesome - they had jugglers, acrobats, aerial silk artists, opera singers, flamenco and salsa dancers in addition to the usual singers and house dancers every cruise line have, and they include almost everyone on each show so it never got boring. In other cruises we had in the past, they would have something like a 70's disco show and it's a whole hour of singing and dancing 70s disco songs which got boring halfway through the show. Not on this cruise, even if they had the Tribute to 80s Musicals night, they still have performances from the non-singing/dancing artists which made the show more exciting and entertaining. As for the Ports and shore excursions - we had a great time in all of them. They were on time and organized with the separate meeting places and the tour stickers - unlike other cruises where everyone gets off the ship and it's chaos at the port looking for your tour guide. However, I have one huge issue with them - our Marseille excursion in France was cancelled due to a strike. So I had to rebook another excursion and go somewhere else. What annoyed me greatly is that I pre-paid for all our excursions and go the 20% discount, and I thought re-booking another excursion, which is not my fault, we would simply get a replacement. But no... what happened was they refunded my excursion at €44pp and I had to pay full price of €55pp for the replacement tour, and the excursions office would not honor the 20% discount I had in my previous tour. Also, some tour buses are multi-lingual and while I can understand why they had to do that, it did make the tours much longer (and a bit boring) because the tour guides had to say everything twice in different languages. The cabins were ok, it's not the best since it's an old ship, but they were clean. The bathroom was slightly larger than those we've had at Princess and Royal Caribbean but smaller than Norwegian, at least my knees weren't bumping the sink when I sat down. The service was good, especially those from Asia which were always polite and smiling and couple of times they gave us free drinks which was very much appreciated. As mentioned earlier, MSC Orchestra is one of the older ships in the fleet so obviously they' don't have the modern amenities as the newer ones. I did get 4 cruise passes to their Thermal Area which was a couple of steam rooms, a couple of sauna rooms, 3 whirlpool baths but only 6 lounge chairs, which wasn't enough on a busy day, but at least it got us away from the crowds at the pool in Deck 13, and at certain times of the day, we were the only ones there. The gym was also average but it didn't bother us that much because there was only one of us who went there lol. Anyway, for those who read some of the negative reviews about MSC Orchestra, I can only say maybe they did have a terrible time cruising with MSC, and although we've had our issues with some of the way MSC handled things, I would still say we had a fun and memorable experience cruising the Mediterranean with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise again ,first went to try out and found everything so good booked another few weeks later,now going again on the 18th may ,the staff are so friendly and helpful everything was spotlessly clean,food was good catering ... Read More
We chose this cruise again ,first went to try out and found everything so good booked another few weeks later,now going again on the 18th may ,the staff are so friendly and helpful everything was spotlessly clean,food was good catering staff very helpful,all the staff could not do enough to p!ease,the cleaning of our cabin was excellent every day,entertainment was good and varied the entertainment team were excellent trying to make sure everyone had a good time and got involved,pool and hot tubs were glorious .excursions are bit expensive but you can go on your own,embarking and disembarking explained well,good safety procedures,the people pushing you to have your photo done are a bit annoying and expensive but we still got one just as a memory but the photos are excellent,,get a drinks package that way you can experiment with the cocktails,bar staff and waiters waitresses are lovely and very helpful, Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Before our very first cruise I checked out the reviews on this site and became quite apprehensive on what our experience of our first cruise would be. I would like to say we were enthralled, our cruise could not have been any better. From ... Read More
Before our very first cruise I checked out the reviews on this site and became quite apprehensive on what our experience of our first cruise would be. I would like to say we were enthralled, our cruise could not have been any better. From the size of our cabin, size and facilities on the ship to the vast range of food ( the 4 seasons restaurant was a daily treat), we were impressed. The staff were all courteous and helpful, and all worked extremely hard to ensure a quality customer service and experience. The excursions were vast and varied although a bit pricey at times, we often used the local hop on hop off bus or boat trip, which we found cost effective and enjoyable. Sunny afternoons the decks and pool areas could become busy but there is enough space around the decks to find a secluded and relaxing spot. I would book this again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
First the toilet was not flushing right , then the bathroom was not clean , it had a bad smell all the time , we had to use air freshener all the time. The carpet in the room had spots on it. Also we had a very rude cabin steward , who ... Read More
First the toilet was not flushing right , then the bathroom was not clean , it had a bad smell all the time , we had to use air freshener all the time. The carpet in the room had spots on it. Also we had a very rude cabin steward , who called us by the phone and told us to leave the room because he need to clean it. We couldn't eat dinner in the restaurant because they alway make us to wait for a long time So we finished up eating in the same place all our meals on the back of the ship. The food was not great and also they needed 2 hours to change from breakfast to lunch and then another 2 hour to put up the dinner. When we got back on the ship after our shore excursion at 5pm everything was closed , no food until 6.30 pm. Also you pay for everything , if you want a better coffee you pay for it and you wait at least 30 minutes to get it and if you try to get a drink from the bar they send you to the table and you wait again 30 minute for someone to get your order.....and other 30 minutes to get your drink..... The room was not clean, the food was not great and the service is awful Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
this was our first cruise.My wife's ambition to cruise the Med. Visions of good food, good service and interesting places to visit, the main reason for chosen this particular cruise was its ports of call. Unfortunately it wasn't ... Read More
this was our first cruise.My wife's ambition to cruise the Med. Visions of good food, good service and interesting places to visit, the main reason for chosen this particular cruise was its ports of call. Unfortunately it wasn't as we had hoped. Dumped at the harbour side with our luggage, ignored by some attendants wearing high vis jackets and expected to fathom out the boarding procedures. when we were acknowledged it was a curt' go over there. ' .having left home at 2.30 am arriving at Barcelona port at 10 and not expected to board ship until 3 it was not a god first impression. Obtaining the cabin key was another farce. it would have made more sense to have explained that the key, along with the luggage would be in the allocated cabin which would be unlocked.The cabin was clean and adequate but the wind noise when at sea and the drone of the engines was nearly un-acceptable. the ship was clean and tidy, well furnished if perhaps a little dated. The staff were friendly and some very helpful. The items to purchase on board, drinks,water and excursions ( if you hadn't purchased in advance) were very expensive. The self service cafeteria was like feeding time on the farm with everyone pushing and shoving and devouring as much as they could get there hands on. not like the vision of civilised dining we had anticipated. the food was bland and tasteless and a bit monotonousness. the allocated evening restaurant served minute portions of similar quality. Not to be recommended is the Chinese, Japanese restaurant that was available for an extra charge, i can say it must rate as one of the worst i have ever eaten in and is an embarrassment to the nations it is meant to represent. avoid at all costs. now the good points. The salad bar and fruit bar were both excellent. the evening entertainment was superb, a pleasure to watch and the fact we had pre-purchased a drinks package allowed us to sample different cocktails.. sorry but that's it . The daily itinerary, along with suggested evening dress code was a good idea, telling us times of various activities and also which musician was in which bar. its a pity that most people chose to ignore it, unless jeans, trainers and open neck shirts are classified as evening dress for men . ! ! ! we were charged a charitable donation to our on-board account, another payment they think there gusts should make . this seems to be an automatic, not notified charge that the inexperienced guest need to be aware of. our overall opinion of this cruise line is, that it wants to extract as much money as possible from its guests and give as little in return as possible. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this ship because of the amazing itinerary. The ports were wonderful.. had and a great time visiting Greece, Italy, France, Malta and Barcelona. However let me start off by saying, my entrance into the ship felt like I was at a ... Read More
I chose this ship because of the amazing itinerary. The ports were wonderful.. had and a great time visiting Greece, Italy, France, Malta and Barcelona. However let me start off by saying, my entrance into the ship felt like I was at a timeshare meetjng. They ushered us into the bar/reception area and proceeded to try to sell us a drink package. They were very persistent even when told NO!! The food was another issue, it was plentiful, but boring, the same food every day. It appears they used the leftovers from the night before to make up breakfast and lunch. Then your dinner waiter tried to sell you a prime rib or lobster dinner. There was one specialty Asian restaurant on board. The food was ok.. the room steward barely spoke English, but was very accommodating. The reception/excursion staff was not very friendly. The staff definitely needs customer service training. I'm not sure if it was due to the ship being s older one, but I can't say that I would travel on the MSC orchestra again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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