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  5. MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: May 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 was even ... 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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: March 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
7 Helpful Votes
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 as we had ... 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
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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