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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
Nope not good at all. Seriously disappointed. When we booked it showed arrival at approx 8.30 in most ports, travelling overnight to the next port. This didn't happen & in reality we travelled overnight, stopped, then arrived ... Read More
Nope not good at all. Seriously disappointed. When we booked it showed arrival at approx 8.30 in most ports, travelling overnight to the next port. This didn't happen & in reality we travelled overnight, stopped, then arrived in port at approx 12.30pm. back on board for about 17.30. It took ages to get off due to 3 & 1/2 thousand passengers all wanting to get off, much pushing & most of the Germans refusing to queue thought it was their right to walk to the front of the queue. We bought a "Cheers" package but it turned out that you can only drink during your "sitting" and are not allowed to remove bottles from the restaurant. You are removed from the restaurant after approx 2 hours in which time you could not consume the £40 per day drinks charge. Trips were extortionate & if you chose not to go one you are left in a port (an industrial one) in the middle of nowhere by which time when you get to somewhere, you need to think about getting back. Staff were not too friendly & sometimes downright unpleasant, with the exception of the restaurant staff (not including La Piazetta in this, they were downright rude, the manager even had a go at them in front of passengers, shouting loudly about how they were going to lose their jobs!). Also the 15% service charge per person per day was added along with the 4g we paid upfront. All in all not good & I for one am never going on a cruise again & would certainly NOT recommend MSC. NEVER AGAIN!!!! Embarcation was a nightmare, it took hours of queueing (several times over) & we didn't receive our luggage until after midnight. (we were on board @ 4.30). Not sure I understand what the attraction of cruising is, it escapes me. Port was Livorno. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
I read many reviews before boarding the MSC Orchestra for an 18 day Transatlantic cruise, many comments were negative but I boarded the ship with an open mind. My First impression on boarding the ship she was beautiful and clean, however ... Read More
I read many reviews before boarding the MSC Orchestra for an 18 day Transatlantic cruise, many comments were negative but I boarded the ship with an open mind. My First impression on boarding the ship she was beautiful and clean, however I felt the reception and shop area's very claustrophobic, The ship left from Santos but our group boarded in Rio,the cocktail of the day was a Mohito...by 6pm the ship had run out of MINT, this was not replenished for the rest of the cruise so no Mohito's, I have cruised many times and never have I experienced a ship running out of supplies, not only mint but Tonic water (so no Gin and tonics),milk (went to the powdered stuff), red wine (Chianti for heavens sake, on an Italian ship) nearer the end of the cruise. I felt sorry for the bar and wait staff as they had to field the angst of passengers. Breakfasts were always the same no variety, The dinners always cold except for the soup at the buffet. The buffet area was always crowded and people pushed and shoved to get to the food,I had a pair of tongs litterally snatched from my hand as I reached for the bread rolls. The ship was excessively crowded and you could not get near the pool or find a table on the pool deck as the Brazilian and Italians had scooped up everything by 7am. This line is not geared to English speaking passengers and frankly I feel they don't want us. As for double dipping on the gratuities well it has all been said before.On the positive side the cabin and bar staff were fantastic and very friendly, I enjoyed the ports of call and the shore excursions. I have done many cruises before and this was by far my least enjoyable. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We chose our trip based on 2 back-to back 7 day cruises; travelling from Australia is not cheap and is arduous. The web sites gave MSC a pretty good rating and the extra charges were obvious in all the blurb. Everything was in English and ... Read More
We chose our trip based on 2 back-to back 7 day cruises; travelling from Australia is not cheap and is arduous. The web sites gave MSC a pretty good rating and the extra charges were obvious in all the blurb. Everything was in English and the itinerary was our dream, the price was good so 5 months ahead we planned and paid for our trip. The good things; #The ship was well equipped but not perfect. # The ship sailed safely and comfortably and met times prescribed. Then the pain of 1+ days hit us when trying to embark. We are 63+ and looking for comfort and smooth sailing. The economic, english speaking, caring service , non-smoking , fine dining cruise turned into; penny-pinching, multi-lingual, non-caring, smoke as you like and reasonable-food-but-served-cold. ECONOMICS; No complaint over the cabin price, but when everything is hit with a 15% "service cahrge" and then the daily "service charge". Double dipping? Cruises were sold Copenhagen - baltic/Norway - retuen but were multiple pick-up cruises - much like a hop=hop=off. ENGLISH: This was the minority language use don board and the announcements(which did not get to cabins) began in english bit bu the time our door was opened they had switched to Italian/German etc.. In 14 days we met only 20 'english speaking cruisers" - fortunately the cabin attendants and wait-staff had a reasonable grasp of english. Manners were definitely sub-european. CARING: I cared about safety - no response. I cared about comfort on in-port dining - no response, not billed as an ITALIAN cruise but an Italian night on both legs? See attach. SMOKE & FOOD> Both were opposite to expectation from internet advertising. The poll forms are far too limiting and give MSC very limited feedback + client is cheated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
We were totally disapointed by the food! All ads we read said that it was a "Typical Italian food", but that was a complete lie: Most of it was made out of powder and water. Breakfast: The coffee was instant coffee. When ... Read More
We were totally disapointed by the food! All ads we read said that it was a "Typical Italian food", but that was a complete lie: Most of it was made out of powder and water. Breakfast: The coffee was instant coffee. When we asked for som kind of expresso, we got a small bag with powder coffee. The omelete did not taste like eggs, and it was also made out of powder. Yes, the bread was fresh, but I am sure it was also powder and water, but it did not matter. Lunch and dinner: Soup, sauces, desserts and some other things were powder and water. I complained on board, and the waiters told me that thir food was even worst, they had to run to the nearest restaurant whenever the could, in order to eat any thin decent (I forgot to tell you that I speak 9 langages and it was not a problem to talk with the Brasilian, Italian or Spanish crew). In the ads, MSC Cruise brag about som kind of partnership with 2-star chef Mauro Uliassi. When we came bach home, I asked him if he really knows what is going on on board, and if he really had any kind of involvement in the food on the ship. He denied totally, the only thing he did was to cook for 100 VIP´s when the MS Orchestra was finished. He got very angry with MAS Cruises using his name this way, and he would follow up my story. I complained about the food quality to the CIO of MSC Cruises in Stockholm, mr Clas Tamm, and he did not deny anything about the food being made out of powder. MSC Cruises also tell people about their help to UNICEF. When I asked mr Clas Tamm if it is possible to see the figures, how much money they give to UNICEF, he answered that it was not possible, because those were regarded as "sale figures". MSC Cruises also charges 7 euros per person and day, in our situation that made over 100 euros, about 150 dollars, in service fees, that go to the crew. I cannot understand why passengers should pay for the crews sallary, it should come out from the ticket price. And do not forget the 15% service fee (VAT?) for every thing you bye on board. Nope, no more MSC for us. Never ever again, not even for free. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
The ship was very nice, big of course, and a bit crowded, and the stateroom I had surprisingly large with the balcony giving it an open feeling. The normal staff contacts out side of dining were good, but dining staff to me was very ... Read More
The ship was very nice, big of course, and a bit crowded, and the stateroom I had surprisingly large with the balcony giving it an open feeling. The normal staff contacts out side of dining were good, but dining staff to me was very professional and excellent. Unfortunately the food was atrocious. Some where between bad school cafeteria and frozen diner bad. Nearly every sauce was so salty by the third meal we tried to remember to request there be no sauce. Vegetables were cooked to the point of losing a texture or shape as well as taste. Risotto on the other hand was undercooked such that the rice still had crunchy white centers. Fish and meat were badly overdone. The only dessert worth eating was the chocolate ice cream. The backed Alaska was awful. Breakfast was satisfactory to good. The wine bar and wine selection was actually very good, although I felt kind of sorry for the people working there. The rest of the passengers only used the wine bar for sitting and rarely bought bottles of wine. Dealing with the management on board was not as good an experience, I had a problem they said the would deal with, and I should not worry, just enjoy my vacation. Well that is a good start, but until I pushed them very hard, they seemed to hope the problems would resolve themselves. After it was obvious that I would not go away, they did make sure I knew they were actively working the issue. MSC does not seem to attract a stylish hip crowd, more like older European blue collar workers. Few spoke any English, they are sooo loud when talking right next to each other, but I guess that is just a cultural thing. I cannot recommend MSC. The food was just inexcusable. If they fix that major gap, the ship and line may be acceptable. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We have never met such bad manners and ignorance in any service sector in the world.  The staff would bump into you and certainly not stand aside, where appropriate (except cabin staff).  Any queries or requests for assistance were met ... Read More
We have never met such bad manners and ignorance in any service sector in the world.  The staff would bump into you and certainly not stand aside, where appropriate (except cabin staff).  Any queries or requests for assistance were met with discontent and dissent.  Their attitude was appaling and argumentative. They were dismissive to us and fellow passengers, who were equally dismayed with their totally unprofessional approach.  Entertainment staff were friendly and well mannered.  Our waiters (2) were nice, but very inefficient and untrained.The food was varied and tasty, but invariable pre-plated and overheated or overcooked.  In the buffet, the staff were snappy and short tempered.  Drinks dispensers and issue of plates/cutlery were sometimes manned and the staff were snapping at everyone.There was no outside entertainmet provided, except for deck games.Cleaning left a lot to be desired.I dropped sunglasses (Ray Bans) going through security boarding at Tallin.  A fellow passenger told us she saw a passenger hand them to security at the check-in.  They denied it and gave us abuse calling the informant a liar.  This involved senior staff.We were some of many who went to the cashier asking for deletion of the standard service charge.  They refused to do so until you signed a form and were quite ignorant with my wife until she did so.  We prefer to tip separately for good service.  Our water and cabin crew were so tipped. There is no excuse for passengers being abused by staff.  Their approach is that the customer is always wrong and certainly not of any importance.  We would never sail with this line again. Verco Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
I planned this cruise to celebrate my husbands 65th birthday. We have been on several cruises over the years and were looking forward to this cruise. We have never been so completely and totally disappointed before.  The food was ... Read More
I planned this cruise to celebrate my husbands 65th birthday. We have been on several cruises over the years and were looking forward to this cruise. We have never been so completely and totally disappointed before.  The food was bad, there is no other way to explain it.  The staff was rude.  The waiter brought something I hadn't ordered.  When I told him, I had ordered what he served, he looked at me and said "yes, you did" and walked away.  One morning I asked for a cup of coffee and was offered instant because the coffee pot had already been cleaned and put away!  The menu said lobster, but I was served crawfish.  The desserts seemed to be left over and not at all fresh.  The food was usually very bland. We were told that my husband's birthday would be acknowledged in some way.  I had no idea what they had planned, but whatever it was, we never got it. The staff in general was very rude and difficult to deal with.  The made very little effort to help you or answer your questions.  We tried to book an excursion and the girl at the desk seemed very annoyed.  The excursion was supposed to be a cruise tour of the island.  The girl just gave us stickers for our shirts and basically threw two towels at me.  I didn't want to bother her anymore, so I didn't ask about the towels, even though we should not have needed them.  It turns out she booked us on the wrong excursion.  She booked us on some snorkel tour.  Hence the towel. Unfortunately, we hadn't planned to go swimming, and didn't have suits with us.  So we spent the afternoon, sweltering on this little boat.  The entertainment was bad.  The only good part was the night when they had a talent contest.  Some of the passengers and very talented and others, not so much. The only positive thing I have to mention is our room steward.  He said he was Indonesian.  He was very helpful and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
We had 19 people aboard the MSC Orchestra on april 4th. We have all sailed many times before.We have never seen anything like this before, nor will any of us ever sail on MSC again. I guess the best way to sum this up is they made us feel ... Read More
We had 19 people aboard the MSC Orchestra on april 4th. We have all sailed many times before.We have never seen anything like this before, nor will any of us ever sail on MSC again. I guess the best way to sum this up is they made us feel like we were an inconvenience to be on their ship.The answer to every question was no and its not possible.I am well aware that the crew is european, but they must have training classes to be this rude. First of all if you are going to the Caribbean to get some sun and enjoy the pools and hot tubs on board, This IS NOT THE SHIP. They close the entire pool decks, hot tubs, everything at 6 Pm. period. No exceptions. Their excuse was they have to clean them but they didn't do that until 4am. they also have a big screen TV on the pool deck and the ONLY thing that they play on it was commercials for shore excursions. NO cartoons, music videos, shows, movies, sportsetc... At night around 10 pm they would put on a movie.. but thats it. We asked to get the NCAA Championship and the Masters Golf put on it and was told we could watch it in our room. At first they told us that they could not even get the feed for either,while 15 feet away from the pursers desk was a tv with the shows on.Once again a total disregard for passenger enjoyment. The pursers desk was full of assistants who enjoyed telling passengers NO. My niece left her hat up at the day care. I asked the lady at the desk if anyone had turned it in. She checked and said no(their favorite word) then I asked if she could call up to the daycare and see if was still there, Her reply was I don't have that number.I told her that i didn't have it and could she look it up. her reply was again NO. My mattress in our balcony cabin was so bad that wherever you sat on it you sat on springs and rolled into the low spot. I asked for 5 days straight if they could do something about it and again was told NO its not possible!! On the 2 days that we were at sea with 2600 passengers on deck, they had 2 of the deck bars closed and you had to chase down a bar server if you wanted a drink.And once again they closed the pool decks at 6 pm. If you got up out of your deck chair they would put your stuff on the ground and take your chair. not another passenger but the crew. If you left a drink sitting with your stuff or on your dinner table with drink still in it and turned your back your drink would be gone. this happened more times than i can tell you. I had to put my glasses case over the top of my glass to keep them from taking it.when you brought this to someones attention they just did not care.I watched the wait staff run over a toddler with a service cart and never even stop to say they were sorry. And while you are walking through the dining hall or on deck be prepared to get out of the crews way because they will not hesitate to run you over witha tray full of glasses.One actually stopped and pointed that he wanted me to move out of his way when there was an entire deck for him to avoid our group.needlesss to say i finally was fed up with their rude behavior and gave that particular waiter a piece of my mind. That prompted the maitre 'd to ask what was wrong and when I told him his reply was that they are very busy and we should not interfere with they. I politely informed him that the next time one of his wait staff expected me to move out of his way and was as rude as this guy was that he would have trouble removing a tray from a rather unpleasant place. After 3 days i had had enough.I finally told the guest services manager that enough was enough and I was sorry that we have inconvenienced them by being on their ship. The ship and their web site prompts that this is a ship for families and kids. Well there is nothing for the kids to do on this ship. many of the kids were calling the MSC line the MOST SUCKIEST CRUISE but were using a little more crass word. The teen disco is in the adult disco only from 11 pm til 12 pm. after that there was nothing for them to do. which resulted in many teens unsupervised in many different areas of the ship. and from what i saw if they weren't having sex they should of been because their actions were just as blatant.this was in stairways, lounges,on deck and bathrooms. In the arcade only a few games worked. The smaller childrens area was only opened during brief intervals during the day and while they advertise for after hours babysitting it was non exsistant.The whole trip the kiddie pool was empty of water. The play set area was out in direct sunlight so the tubes and slides were to hot for the kids to play on. And once again with the pool deck closed after 6 pm there was nothing for the kids to do. While the ship itself is a nice ship I would only give this crew very little time before the turn it into a nasty place to be. They would walk by dirty dishes,etc.. if someone left their room service plates out in the hall they would sit there for days. We left a empty bottle on our bathroom sink and it stayed there for 3 days.never seen this before on any cruise line. We were up on the pool deck our day at grand cayman, when a older lady feel at the ping pong table and broke her wrist. she had an open compound fracture of her wrist and was bleeding profusely. As an EMT I assisted in securing her wrist and aiding her to the elevators to get her to the infirmary. We dialed the emergency number and the Doctor told us to bring her to them. I informed the doctor of the situation and finally was told that they were on their way. As the older lady went into shock, the doctor came in to the infirmary and again told us to "bring her to me". I asked her to get a wheelchair and she looks at me and asked" Are you a doctor?" finally after raising my voice they brought a wheel chair and rolled her back to take care of her. Then they told the ladys husband and me to get out of the room. I am still covered with blood from this lady and asked if they didn't mind if i washed up first. I also informed them that they were not going to throw the husband out of the room and to get someone there who spoke english. Their entire method of care was just unbelievable. When I returned to the pool deck no one had bothered to clean up the blood from around the ping pong table. there were kids running around it barefoot. I finally convinced a deck attendant to clean it up. What a nightmare. OKAY, I don't think that I have to tell you that i will never sail on this line ever again, even if they offered me a free cruise for my entire family I would turn them down. While I also under stand that cruising is what you make of it and believe me when i tell you that i always make it a good time, this cruise line made it very difficult for anyone to have a good time. The line to remove the gratuities was around 300 people long when i went to settle my account. So when you read these reviews please take them to heart. When I read about the rudeness and lack of caring I kinda ignored them and wrote them off as some people don't know how to have fun... boy was i wrong. If MSC is going to cruise in the Caribbean they will have to learn that they are here for their paying customers and not the other way around. As always I offer to discuss anything here with anyone at any time. Do yourself and your family a favor book with a different line. you'll thank me later. Ports Key west: again arrived early and sailed too early. While I realize that the ports do not want the cruise ships in there late at night there just wasn't enough time to do all that could be done there. Cozumel: always love cozumel great time there at playa mia beach resort. only complaint was the ship started off having two gangways opened and when they realized that too many were using the forward gangway where they were not taking pictures they closed it and funneled everyone into one gangway.this caused a huge back up getting off the ship. Grand Cayman: when we first arrived at this port the ship informed use that the port wanted us out of there by 3 pm cutting short a day that was already going to be a short one. Also there were 4 ships in anchor and when you try to tender in 10000 plus people it causes problems. If you have ever been to cayman you know what i mean they have one tender pier and thats it. Cayo Levantado. Great little island with a fantastic beach... just as cayman 2 ships in anchor and one tiny little beach.. oh well Dining: Food was just okay. not great and not terrible either. service was at best slow and time consuming. About the best thing I can say about this cruise was that they were great at getting you off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
The food was okay, at best. The port stays were abysmal, and not as long as noted in the itinerary...in Nassau we only had about 3 1/2 hours. The staff were often rude, with some bright exceptions. Lack of concern or support in receiving ... Read More
The food was okay, at best. The port stays were abysmal, and not as long as noted in the itinerary...in Nassau we only had about 3 1/2 hours. The staff were often rude, with some bright exceptions. Lack of concern or support in receiving and solving issues. This is true both on the ship and at the MSC Cruises head office. Lots of rules that never actually did anything...like the disembarkation number for the shuttle boat, they never actually checked it and when our group got inadvertently split up we were told the number didn't matter, we could get on any boat to port we wanted. The shows were pretty good, except for the sound system that ruined the Opera night. The ship is very, very clean. We travelled with some great friends who made it easy to laugh at all the crazy things we were subjected to. Our trip was booked in a fairly large group, although we only knew 3 other families in the group. Several members of our group purchased a "forfeit" drink deal that our agent had worked out when booking the cruise. We arrived at the port around 3:00, were on the ship quickly and settled in to have a cocktail while we were waiting to leave port. We noticed that the bartender was rude...but our excitement over came that. The bartender noted the sticker indicating our drink deal on our card, but asked us to sign a room charge slip any way. When questioned he said that it would all be taken care of later. Several drinks later we started to hear rumors that there was a problem with the drink package. We resolved to go to the information desk the next morning to find out what the issue was. At the desk, we were told that there was a problem with some people paying for the package. We had the credit slip to confirm our payment and were told not to worry. But all day we kept hearing more and more rumbling. As it turns out, the department that deals with drinks on the boat determined that a bad deal had been made and they were not going to honor the original agreement. After several visits to the desk, we were told that they would honor the deal on a limited basis and that we would be expected to pay for day one's drinks. The deal cost $398CAD, fairly substantial, so we were not very happy with this. We asked several times to speak to the head purser and were told at first no, but when they figured we would not go away we were told they would call with an appointment. That call never came. The food was mediocre at best. I have read comments that rave about the food, suggesting that those who don't like it are too used to Olive Garden Italian food. I can tell you that is not the case. The food is mediocre, generally not hot, definitely not Italian cuisine. Often, the pizza was the best option, though it was frequently burnt. Also, many of the "salad" dishes on the lunch buffet looked like they were actually made up of left overs from previous meals. Our dinner waiter was lovely and very attentive. Several times he went to herculean efforts to provide us with food that was actually cooked properly, but to no avail. Steaks were never delivered as ordered. Vegetables were often cooked to mush. Desserts...well, lets just say that the only bright spot is the gelato served on deck that you have to pay for. On the 2nd gala night he attempted to bring us a lobster that was not overcooked and tasteless...brought 3 plates of lobster over in an attempt to get the least overcooked. His attempt failed and I ended up eating the last one because I felt sorry for him. The port stays were very frustrating. None were long enough to truly enjoy where you were or do any exploring. Best bet: Antigua, pay one of the taxi drivers to take you to a secluded beach. They will take you to a beautiful beach where they have an arrangement with a friend and it will likely have a drink/meal hut with very friendly service and a clean stretch of Caribbean post card beach. Many staff members were cold bordering on rude, and some where outright rude. And, if they think that they can make jokes and disparaging remarks about guests on the ship without being understood, they should think twice...many of us speak more than just English! Some of the staff did get real attentive about 2 days before the cruise was finished. One staff member actually said to my husband "don't pay for a Chevette and expect a Ferrari" ! Now really, what does that say about how (at least some) of the staff feels about the ship and the guests on it? We did not pay for a Chevette, we paid for what we thought was a reasonable deal for a new ship trying to gain a reputation. Some reputation. In the library, we asked what the hours were. The response: it changes...okay, but what hours can we come back...the response: when it is open. Doh! The kids programs, while well talked about and frequently noted in the daily events paper, seemed non-existent. Every time we took the kids (11-14) to partake in any of the events noted, there was no one to be found running any thing. The teen get together turned out to be a bunch of teens sitting around some tables in a brightly lit disco. Also, it was near impossible to get onto any of the sports areas, primarily due to lack of equipment. A couple of the kids went down to get pingpong balls for the two tables and they were told it was too late in the day and that there was only one ball any way. I thought our cabin person was outstanding. Until, that is, I found out that other cabins in our group received fresh fruit every day, cotton house coats and a complimentary bottle of wine. We received none of this. Additionally, we were in such a hurry to leave the ship, my husband left his suit in the closet. We would have expected the cabin staff to have turned it in. Over 3 weeks later, having tried for the first two just to get a response from MSC Cruises head office, we were finally advised that they had no suit in their lost and found. In case you think the suit issue is limited to our experience, another in our group whose cabin was at the other end of the ship with a different cabin crew also left their suit on board and they have run into the same issues. The line up at the accounting desk started the day before the ship returned to Fort Lauderdale (actually, the complaint line started way before that!). There were a lot of frustrated and angry people in that line. It was taking about and hour to an hour and a half to review receipts etcetera. Even so, we were glad we spent that time the night before. Some members of our group were doing it the morning of and the scene was even uglier. The icing on the cake was the shuttle bus back to our parking. We were talking about the "adventure" and having a general relieved giggle at what we had just experienced. After about 10 minutes of this, the shuttle driver hollered out "Just got off the Orchestra did you?" We asked how he knew that and he said that he has done that drive for a long time, and for the past 3 months or so, every person he picks up at the end of a cruise who is complaining is coming from the Orchestra. He said he feels bad when he is taking people to the ship because it was too late for him to give the advice to choose another line...in his words..."any other line". I can honestly say, in over 25 years of travelling, sometimes in luxury sometimes not, I have never had a bad vacation. Until now. Luckily the company and some bright spots made up for this ships clear shortcomings. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We looked forward to trying an Italian cruise line without any preconceptions. We have cruised for many years and have been on most of the cruise lines during our more than 25 trips. We found a company who didn't care what happened to ... Read More
We looked forward to trying an Italian cruise line without any preconceptions. We have cruised for many years and have been on most of the cruise lines during our more than 25 trips. We found a company who didn't care what happened to us while on a vacation. We booked a cabin with a balcony at the very back of the ship. Never did that before. We loved the quiet and the need to walk to our cabin. Gave us some exercise. The cabin was nice with lots of places to store our stuff. The ship is beautiful but it is hard to find the bathrooms which are tucked into corners. There is so much brass that there are several people who only shine the brass all day long. When walking down the staircases you get the polish onto your hands. Not a big deal. Our itinerary was flawed. We were in Nassau for just a couple of hours. We pulled into Antigua at 5 pm supposedly because there was another MSC cruise ship in that port and we had to wait for them to leave. We were supposed to get into that port at 2 PM also very late, but 5 PM is ridiculous. The cruise line wouldn't cancel the tours, so our friends had to go, in the night, to tour the rain forest. They returned to the ship to no food unless they wanted to pay for a drink or ice cream. They close the kitchen at 9:00 PM. You cannot even get room service unless you want some chocolate covered strawberries or drinks. (which you have to pay for) They have some midnight buffets, but not all of us stay up that late. We had first seating so after looking for food the first night and being told we couldn't get anything except coffee or tea we started hoarding food in our cabin. Food on board was OK. Very small portions in the dining room but mostly OK. Several meals I had the steak because I didn't like what they had on the menu, which was done properly. I have to say that the two shining lights of the crew were our room steward Ida, and the assistant Maitre D Mario. Both went out of their way to make us happy. We went to their "private island" where we had to pay for everything we ate or drank. It turns out that the island is not private, such as NCLs, but is rented from Dominican Republic and the natives want to make money by charging us for food and drinks. We went back to the ship for lunch. The shows and music were shaded toward a European audience not an American one. There was one night of Opera, another of concerto and one very good magician. Not usually my taste but he was good. There were lots of places to sit and drink but the lounges had 1940's music with very little to dance to. Also, lots of smoke in the lounges and casino. We were with a group of about 350 people with our own shows and entertainment, thank goodness. The casino rules are European not American which can be very confusing. There were not enough 1 cent and 5 cent machines so people had to line up to use them. The crew was surly, rude and never smiled. Everyone agreed that they were cold and aloof. When you complained about, even something small, they did not help but gave you a hard time. Nothing was easy everything was your fault. When I had a question about my internet account they never got back to me and eventually I found that the rude, nasty person at reception was ill prepared and gave me a very hard time. The instructions that were given to me about how to use the internet were not complete and they insisted that it was my fault. OK, the $50 won't hurt me but it is just one more reason I would not use this line again. Finally, when we disembarked no one told us that we were in a different part of the port and couldn't find where our car was located. We finally had to call emergency and they told us we had to take a bus to our car. There is such a lack of communication. Obviously, our expectations were not met and we came away with a very bad taste from the indifference and callousness of this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
We cruise twice a year, and have been on almost every cruiseline out there. When our travel agent called and told us about a short, 2 night cruise on a European line attempting to break into the the American market, we jumped on the chance ... Read More
We cruise twice a year, and have been on almost every cruiseline out there. When our travel agent called and told us about a short, 2 night cruise on a European line attempting to break into the the American market, we jumped on the chance (as did about 30 of our friends) to take a quick getaway before Christmas break ended and the kids went back to school (our son is a junior in high school). We did some research on the MSC Orchestra and it looked like a beautiful ship, in the same class as Holland America or Celebrity. The only good thing that I will say about this cruise is that the ship was elegant and beautiful. It goes downhill from there. We arrived at the port at about 12:15. We had no luggage to check, so we parked in the parking garage ($15 per day) and proceeded down the stairs to the terminal. We encountered a huge line, which was a bit surprising because the paperwork said that check in would begin at 11am. Looking into the open parking lot, we realized that people were just LEAVING the ship from the previous trip (a 21 day trip we later found out.) The terminal was completely filled with people waiting to check in, and the line began to grow outside waiting to get in the terminal. Employees of MSC were no where to be found, leaving the port security to attempt to answer questions. Over an hour later, check in had still not started. Once the check-in started, the computers were going down every 15 minutes or so, and it took some people over 30 minutes to check in. We finally checked in after over 3 hours in line. The ship was just not ready for American passengers. Many of the crew was new and spoke little English. By 4:00 less than 500 people were on the ship, and looking down into the parking lot revealed an angry mob of over 1000 people trying to get into the terminal to check in. Little to no information was available to anyone. Crew members were unfamiliar with the ship and could answer almost no questions regarding where things were, or what time things were scheduled. They cancelled the lifeboat drill, and finally everyone was on board by 7pm. We had the late dinner seating, and again waited in a huge line to get into the dining room. Waiters had no idea where tables were, and groups of people were following waiters in circles around the dining room trying to find their tables. Once we were seated, it was 15 minutes before anyone came to the table. We were not offered water, and could not order drinks. To make a long story short, we walked out of the dining room 2 hours later with only half our table getting their meal. We had to go buy bottled water to have something to drink. It was just completely disastrous. The next morning we got off in Nassau, which was a relief after waiting 50 minutes in the breakfast buffet line to eat raw bacon, undercooked sausage and "breakfast potatoes", which were left-over french fries from the night before. That is the absolute truth. We spent the day in Nassau and returned to the ship. We ordered room service, which never arrived at all. We avoided the dining room and went to the dinner buffet. The only thing edible was the pizza. Everyone commented that the food looked like leftovers. It tasted that way also. When the ship docked the next morning, we were told we would be called by floor to exit the ship. We noticed from our balcony that people were leaving, and finally heard the announcement that our floor was able to go. We walked down 6 flights of stairs with our luggage into absolute chaos. The stairs, halls and lobby area were jammed with people who just wanted off the ship. We stood for almost 1 hour without any movement, and the PA system continued to announce floors to exit. There were no employees with any information, and people started just piling up in every space. It was the most disorganized thing I have ever seen. When we finally got to the exit to scan our sign and sail cards, we found one young frazzled girl running a scanner. It was the perfect ending to our trip. One member of our party asked to see the hotel manager on the ship the night before we left to voice his concerns. He was told to see his travel agent and that was it. I have never been on a ship with employees so clueless, officers so indifferent, and so disorganized. If this line thinks it is going to make it in the American market, it needs to think again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
The food was inedible most nights.The small lobster tails came out looking like lobster jerky, The "steak" was cut thin and full of grizzle. The first night I chose from the menu the "vegetarian option" and these ... Read More
The food was inedible most nights.The small lobster tails came out looking like lobster jerky, The "steak" was cut thin and full of grizzle. The first night I chose from the menu the "vegetarian option" and these things that looked like green hockey pucks came out on my plate. They tasted about as good as they looked, actually I think real hockey pucks would have tasted better. Unfortunately,that was not a fluke, it was a harbinger of things to come. The pasta was a gummy glob of goo (aren't these guys Italians?) and the buffet lines were really unclean. At the dining room breakfast the tables where not properly cleaned between seatings. The breakfast food was the best of the meals but was almost like IHOP ,nothing memorable.Towards the end of the cruise we ate off the boat any chance we got so we wouldn't be subjected to the dining on board. The specialty "Chinese " Restaurant that you paid extra for was a joke. Hey, at least they were consistent. The cabin and spa staff where very nice but the lack of decent service in the dinning room and other public areas made this cruise unpleasant at best. Also,they were too busy working you for money at their Art Auctions, souvenir tables( they had a table of Bijoux Turner, yes,the $10 shops at airports for $20, yikes!) , shipboard photos and ship shops to bother giving you any real service for the pool area or where things were ,etc. I felt like we were in Tijuana in a open air bazaar.The booking staff for shore excursions where inexperienced and really have an attitude like you were bothering them. Finding a staff member except when they were trying to sell you something was next to impossible. The night theater entertainment was OK but again the rest of the entertainment activities fell short of other cruises I've taken. Don't be sucked in by the pictures of the ship because they don't truly reflect the things you can't take pictures of, service. If you don't get up in the middle of the night you can forget about a lounge chair by the pool and there was no staff to assist anyone. The hot tub was filthy. Some of the people they employ have a real disdain for Americans. I saw it over and over again. The shore excursions were a nightmare.We waited for hours to get off the ship for awhile.The disorganization was obvious. I have had many nice cruise experiences and I am not a "high maintenance" traveller. These people don't know how to treat their customers. Lastly , disembarking was an ordeal. I will never cruise with this line again, even if they paid me to do it. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Our one week family cruise (there were 12 of us) was a very nice family holiday. The time spent with family was terrific, but I would not take another MSC cruise. Embarking - this was a breeze and actually much easier than any previous ... Read More
Our one week family cruise (there were 12 of us) was a very nice family holiday. The time spent with family was terrific, but I would not take another MSC cruise. Embarking - this was a breeze and actually much easier than any previous cruises I have been on. Cabin - we were in cabin 9048. It was a great location. The nearest elevator was perfect for getting to and from the dining room and various lounges. Elevator service is very slow, and we chose to take the stairs in many instances. Balcony cabin was much smaller than on Celebrity. Food - This is an area where MSC must try to improve on. There was no consistency in quality. Our meals were more than edible, but the food wasn't as good as we have experienced on Celebrity. The presentation of meals is very poor (they just dump it on the plate), so if this is a deal breaker for you, you will be disappointed. Some of the soups were wonderful, while others were terrible. The steak in the dining room was not good. Pasta is very nice. It should be remembered that you get what you pay for and the price point on this ship is lower than most. One of the gals in our group summed it up well when she said, "I didn't think you were supposed to go to bed hungry on a cruise". The grand buffet was the poorest we have seen on a cruise. A huge line up (like there normally is), only to get to the front to see some fruit and cheese. There were no hot dishes on the grand buffet, so if you are looking for your standard beef wellington fix, you will not get it here. The main buffet, while plentiful, was far too busy. When we met as a group at the buffet we referred to it as the "free for all". Note that the bread on this ship is very good. Service - Most of the crew was pleasant. There are always a few bad apples. The service in the dining room was poor and painfully slow. We had a table for 8 and a table for 4. There were several occasions when someone at our table (8 people) did not receive their main meal until the rest of our table had finished theirs. It's my opinion that they are understaffed in the dining room and that a lot of coaching is needed. Wine service in the dining room was inconsistent. One night very good; the next night very poor. Bar service in the lounges is very slow. Spa services - I had a 1 hour massage and it was good. A manicure and pedicure was far too expensive, so I passed. Photo shop - without a doubt this was the most disorganized system I have seen on any cruise ship. Drinks are very affordable. The wine package ($105 for 7 bottles) was fantastic. They need to make a more concerted effort to advise what services are available. 3/4 into the cruise I found out about the cocktail package, but this was from another passenger. There was nothing printed to advise of such a package or I would have purchased it. Ports of call - You know when you book a cruise what the timing is at your port of call. MSC does not, in my opinion, have the pick of the litter when it comes to port times. Disembarking - this was a very smooth process. Overall opinion - we got what we paid for and would never travel MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
This was our first cruise on MSC and it will be quite a long time before I consider another one. The Orchestra faced several challenges on the Transatlantic Crossing and has quite a few improvements to make if it is to find a place with ... Read More
This was our first cruise on MSC and it will be quite a long time before I consider another one. The Orchestra faced several challenges on the Transatlantic Crossing and has quite a few improvements to make if it is to find a place with the North American Cruise Market. I hope that Ex Celebrity Veteran the new President of MSC Cruises USA will work hard to bring MSC up to the standards that all cruise consumers expect. I will review this cruise in an objective and fair manner. EMBARKATION The ship normally docks at a different terminal building in Genoa but was told at the last minute it was being switched so they had to scramble to move staff and machinery to their new location. The Pre-Check in process was useless as it was not used in Genoa. When you entered the Boarding Area a number was given to you that you attached to your cruise documents and you proceeded to show your Passports, photographed, and gave your credit card for onboard expenses this went relatively fast. Then you went to a waiting room and waited until the number was called that was on your boarding documents. MSC had one staff member checking the numbers on the documents at the end of the line to board the ship; however several people whose numbers had not been called then got into the line once it progressed beyond the one MSC Staff member who was checking documents. Then at 12:30 Italian Customs decided to take their one hour lunch break so the boarding totally stopped for one hour. It took us almost 2 hours to board the ship. MSC did provide beverages to make us more comfortable and had shore excursion information for us to read about while we waited. Upon boarding the actual ship we had surrender our passports because one of the countries we were visiting was requesting that all Passports be available for inspection. I asked when we would get them back and was totally ignored by the staff members who were taking them so I gave up my Passport it was returned two days later in my Cabin. Cabins We had a Balcony Cabin and the Balcony was a pleasant surprise as it was larger than most of the ones I have seen I used it quite a bit during the cruise. Our Cabin Steward was simply fantastic and promptly replied to anything I asked him to do. We used the laundry quite a bit on the cruise as I pack light and found the service to be very good a pair of socks were not spotted but other than that no problems. Several passengers reported there were problems with the safes in their cabins I had no problems other than one time I was entering the wrong PIN number but somebody was sent promptly that had a master code to open it. Room Service was good in the fact that whatever you ordered was brought within a reasonable amount of time. The quality of offerings in Room Service was pathetic. We did not order Continental Breakfast in the Cabin. Shore Excursions We did not take any MSC Tours as I normally use Private Cars for my tours. Dining Room The first two nights in the Dining Room the service was awful we had to wait 20 minutes to get menus and another 20 minutes to get our first course so I went to the Head Waiter and nothing improved so I spoke to the Assistant Hotel Manager and we were moved to another table then the service was perfect. The food on this cruise was awful, dishes were flavorless, overcooked, and the quality of food was awful. Believe it or not Italian Night was among one of the worse nights as far as food quality. The Pasta was mushy and the sauces had no seasoning. The Salad Bar in the Buffet consisted of sour lettuce daily, tomatoes, and minced carrots finally after numerous complaints more items were added. However we had to constantly complain as one day they would have multiple offering and then the next they would be down to three or four. Sugar Free Deserts were by request in the Buffet Restaurant and sometimes they would never change them. The Daily 4PM Tea was a joke and the offerings were never changed for 17 days. Lox was not offered in the Buffet and required you to go the Dining Room for breakfast to get it. Well into the cruise I found a head waiter who understood exactly how I like my lox and just had the waiter who served me consult him and then there were no problems from then on. Food quality as I said earlier was awful, one Gala Dinner I ordered Lobster they cut it in half and no butter was offered despite being on the menu, no finger dishes offered, and the small lobster fork was not to be found. On another Gala night I ordered Prime Rib it was tough and flavorless, and then I switched to shrimp which was over cooked and stuck to the shell as I pealed it they were about an inch and half in length and were tasteless. In summary, I didn't know it was humanly possible to do this to food, when I said this at my table everybody agreed. When we were in Guadeloupe the local Port Authority was hosted in the Dining Room and a Special Menu was offered to them that included Filet Mignon which appeared to be nice. Prime Rib was offered one night to passengers but you had to ask for Horse Radish. I asked for the Menu that the Port Authority was given and was told that those menus weren't available to passengers. Alternative Dining Venues They charged for Pizza except during Dining hours; however the Pizza was basically cheese and tomato sauce and had a rubber like texture. A Chinese Restaurant offered an Ala Carte Menu we did not visit as I believe the only thing worse than bad food is paying for it. A fixed price restaurant ($25) called Four Seasons was hosted in one of the buffet areas several passengers reported their steaks were good others didn't like it. Disembarkation Despite being held forever in Port Everglades once they started the disembarkation it went smooth. They used the color luggage tag system and Customs and Immigration went smooth. Luggage was well organized and there were lots of staff there to assist you with it, there were sufficient Skycaps, the taxi line was very poorly run as nobody respected the line. MSC Confusion When we stopped at St. Thomas I got a letter in the Cabin saying I did not have to go thru Immigration but had two numbered tickets with it. However from past experiences I knew this was not correct so I went and sure enough I had to clear customs. Passengers also did not respect the numbering system and just showed up when they wanted to. When I go on vacation I hate to have to ask for things but I am not afraid to speak out. I quickly found out that if you saw the Assistant Hotel Manager things got solved quickly. There was an $18.00 charge to use the steam baths, hot tubs, and saunas and I pointed out to the Assistant Hotel Manager that I had called the head office in Florence and was told that those spa services were included in the Cruise Fare. About five hours later these services were free and I got a note in my cabin notifying me of that, and a gentleman at our table had the $18.00 charge reversed on his bill. I had a very candid discussion with the Chief Purser one day who seemed nice enough and he admitted the product delivered by MSC was not what he thought it should be because they have grown too quickly. He did give me his email and asked me to stay in contact and he would tell me when he thought MSC was where it needed to be. I am a reasonable person and I will as I welcome the competition as Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean thru their subsidiaries control almost 90% of the Cruise Market. Several passengers joked that there was not a Future Cruise Consultant on board, but we all suspected that had there been one they would not have been all that busy. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
We did try to find something good to write about this dreadful experience but apart from looking out over the lovely seas that was it! It was 17 days cooped up in a tin can. Toward the end it felt like prison and one person actually ... Read More
We did try to find something good to write about this dreadful experience but apart from looking out over the lovely seas that was it! It was 17 days cooped up in a tin can. Toward the end it felt like prison and one person actually kissed the ground when we reached Fort Lauderdale. I stood and breathed a sigh of relief as I was halfway across the elevated walkway. I was back in America where things work and people are good mannered. Embarkation in Genoa Very poor with little organization. The small door where you can deposit your luggage was was obscured so I struggled with the cases right down to check in. Mind you that could be because we had two cabin numbers instead of the one we had booked months ago. OK we went back out in the pouring rain and sorted it out. Passengers could not get on board as they were pretending to board by numbers. Walking to the front of the queue we found the real problem. The photographers were stopping everyone to take their photos. This was the not wanted by many but it held the line up for ages. When we bypassed the photographer we found the security line completely empty. On board nobody showed us where our cabins were. Just told we couldn't go to them until 1.00 p.m. We just ignored that and found our cabins. Lifeboat drill Basically this was a farce for something so potentially important. The passengers arrived on time and in good order. Not so the staff. They arrived after us. The muster station was on deck 7 and it was awash with rainwater. We stood there while the staff were sweeping an inch of water away. We could not hear a single word from the Public Address system so we politely stood in line for about 30 minutes and then wandered off. It was that casual. (dangerous in an emergency). Restaurant Our table was suitable for two people but set for four and placed in a throughway for all the waiters. My head and chair was hit everytime they walked past. The noise was overwhelming as the deck height was very low. So many people were crammed in and so close together it was a miserable experience. People were complaining on the first night. We managed two nights only and then gave up eating bad cold food. Without asking the waiters started to pour bottled water. Fortunately we are experienced cruisers and we had already checked the price list and knew it was $4.50 a bottle. (Do the math for 17 days of bottled water!) We asked for a jug of iced water, which is normal. This was reluctantly brought to the table. Other passengers went four or five days before realizing there was iced water available at no extra charge. Coffee was not available without an extra charge. This was changed after the first round of complaints. The Maitre 'D told us that this was going to be the first cruise that MSC would give FREE coffee and water. Those asking for iced tea had to pay for a small tin of sweetened ice tea. There was no option. Those of us who actually had the cheek to ask for a decaffeinated coffee were provided with a cup of hot water and a sachet of instant nescafe. Should you want cream or milk you would have to wait. However to be fair the nescafe was the smart option because the regular coffee was dreadful. Having given up our evening meals, we had to review our options. At first the 13th floor cafeteria was not open in the evening. This did open after considerable complaints to the staff. We decided to eat our main meal at lunchtimes in the restaurant. As we had 17 days of complete boredom it did not really matter that it took one and a half hours for three small courses which included one or two cold starters. The food was rarely up to standard, rarely hot and not always completely cooked. For instance, we understand al dente but we do not understand three quarters cooked pasta. I did ask the waiter why the food was cold. He said it was cooked hours previously and left to keep warm. We felt that the staff resented our presence in the dining room. Not a smile until the last day when they were looking for tips. 13th floor cafeteria Had to open in the evening because so many people refused to eat in the restaurant. By the end of the 17 days it was packed. The food was mediocre and the same day after day. There might be one new item each day. We lined up for hot french fries which were about the only hot thing to eat. (in the dining room they were half cooked and warm, at best) The flow in the cafeteria was dreadful. We have no idea how electric wheelchairs are supposed to use the circular food stations which were surrounded by pillars. Half of the evenings we collected small rolls at 4.00 p.m. and ate them in our cabin. What a cruise! One passenger asked for a donut which was under the counter. She was told that they would all go if he put them out! Noise levels - We did not need an alarm clock. At 5.30 a.m. every morning the sunchairs and other equipment was thrown across the deck above our cabins and we were awake for another long day. MSC made sure were enjoyed the maximum number of hours we needed to be awake. Twice a week they scrubbed the deck at 1.12 a.m. to give us more time awake. Our written formal complaint was responded to well by the Guest Relations Officer. He said that it was not the way we told them to do it, if they don't stop we will put them off the ship. What a thing to say to the customers. How unprofessional and the noise never stoppped. The walls between the cabins were paper thin and everytime the person in the adjoining cabin shut their door our wall bounced. It was a very thin ship. Sanitization - Dispensers - often not there, often empty. Arrived one lunchtime at the restaurant to find no dispenser, asked Maitre 'D where one was and he told me rudely to use the toilets. I was also told by the same person that I should not speak in German to some ladies as I was English. Yep, we are still working that one out. Billing and Interactive TV - Not working three or four days. Reception comment it is a general problem - attitude - go away. Our billing was correct on screen on the last evening. The paper bill at 6.08 a.m. and every item had been entered twice. Spent 45 minutes in line to have a correct account issued. No apology, just a joke to them. During this time we should have left the cabin by 7.00 a.m. Cruise details prior to boarding said all transactions would be in euros. Confirmed by check in so we provided a euro credit card. Ship changed to dollars without advising people. Sports - All sports equipment could only be obtained by going to the 5th floor reception and signing for one tennis ball and the minigolf clubs and ball. Then go back to deck 15 to play before going back to deck 5 to return them and sign for the one ball and equipment. What a joke. New Year's Eve - Health and safety - Many of the passengers were on the outside deck. Not enough chairs were set out for a New Year's Eve buffet so passengers were obliged to remove every single chair in the cafeteria and take them outside. Good job that most people were sitting as the lights went out and the deck was in complete darkness. There was no safety secondary lighting. It was very dangerous. Premium Restaurant - Friends of ours had a meal costing $25 each. At the end of the meal they received the bill and found they had to pay extra for bread and coffee. Unbelievable. Attitude of staff - If they could understand or speak English we didn't find out. Just told it was the Italian way, take or leave it. They need to be advised that the Italian Way would be great but only if it is superior, or at least equal, to the competition. We asked to see the Hotel Manager but he hid in his office the whole cruise. Disembarkation - Words cannot describe the chaos that ensued. We docked at 7.45 a.m. and finally got off the ship at 11.30. We did not wait for our correct color tag to be called as our transfer bus would have been long gone. We finally got away from the port at 1.03 and could see the lines and lines of people trying to get on. How we felt for them not knowing what they were about to experience. In conclusion, I could go on and on with our complaints but what is the use? MSC were not interested in anything to do with passengers and our only way to express our disgust with the staff and management was not withhold payment of tips. The lines of people holding pink no-tips slips was a sight to behold. On other boats we have occasionally withheld a few of the tips but it was always done discretely. On this ship you could see people walking round with the pink slips and discussing it with others. Do not go on this ship, it was nickel and dime and they could not arrange a party in brewery. A complete waste of time and money. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
My wife and I have taken four cruises before the one on MSC Orchestra. We disagree on many things, but on this we agree: Our cruise on the Orchestra was our worst. Here are the reasons. From our first night we had a clogged shower drain. ... Read More
My wife and I have taken four cruises before the one on MSC Orchestra. We disagree on many things, but on this we agree: Our cruise on the Orchestra was our worst. Here are the reasons. From our first night we had a clogged shower drain. We were told we had to be present in our room for someone to fix it and someone would come within five minutes of our call and it shouldn't take very long to fix. The next day after lunch we had some time so we called for a plumber to fix the shower drain. Fifteen minutes after our call the room steward showed up with a standard vacuum cleaner to fix it! He did some vacuuming of the dry shower stall and declared the problem was fixed! He then promptly left so we turned on the shower and the water did not drain. We called the information desk again for a plumber. They said one would be right up. Fifteen minutes later someone showed up at our room with a wheelchair they said that we had ordered. We explained that we ordered a plumber and not a wheelchair! Twenty minutes later a plumber finally showed up and in fifteen minutes fixed the problem. Not correcting this problem for us in a timely manner cost us the opportunity to catch the last shuttle into the city for a visit. Our experience with the tour desk also was problematic. First, we were told that the excursion we had most wanted to take from Marseilles, France, the eight and one-half hour Avignon & Marseilles, was canceled. The reason they gave was a lack of participants, but the real reason we think is that the ships time in port would not allow the longer excursions! They should not show these excursions as being offered (on the internet or at the tour desk) if they cannot or will not let you take them. We purchased three other excursions at the tour desk for different ports and were told that the excursions tickets would be delivered to our room the night before the excursion at the same time the steward deliveries the next days ships pamphlet of activities, which was usually by 9 P.M. It happened this way for the first excursion, but on the night before our other two excursions our tickets were not delivered to our room. We went to the information desk and inquired. We were told the tickets were being delivered to our room. We went back to our room. No tickets! We went back to the information desk and they sent us to the tour desk. The tour desk said the tickets would be delivered to our room. When we went back to our room later, there were no tickets. We went back to the tour desk. They told us they would personally deliver the tickets. The tickets never came! The next morning we went to the excursion meeting lounge and with great difficulty were able to get a tour leaders attention about our problem. They checked their list and verified we had paid for the tour and issued us hand written tickets for that days excursion. That night was the same thing all over again with our tickets for the next days excursion. We called the tour desk and complained. Mariam from the tour desk promised to personally hand deliver the tickets to our room. She never did! We went to the excursion meeting lounge the next morning and again after some difficulty were able to extract hand written tickets for the excursion. So, it seems neither the information desk nor the tour desk knows what customer service is. Nor do they know how to apologize. They do know how to tell you what they think you want to hear to get rid of you, but their promises are worthless! They try to pass it off as "you misunderstood me", but my wife and I were both present and we both heard the same thing. They lie! The life jacket demonstration was a joke. The person demonstrating how to put on the life jacket did not speak very good English and she was not familiar with how to explain the process. She had to keep reading and it made for a disjointed demonstration. Also, the music and talking in the adjacent lounge was so loud it was difficult to hear and concentrate on what she was attempting to explain. Thank goodness that putting on a life jacket is much easier than she made it look! The tour desk requested many passengers passports, ours included, two days before we were to disembark with the reason being the Spanish authorities needed to examine them prior to our disembarkation. After the ship left the Spanish island, Palma De Mallorca, we went to the information desk and requested our passports. They said we had to pick them up in the morning prior to disembarking. The next morning we went to get our passports and the information desk said we had to disembark first and the authorities would give them to us once we had left the ship! Fortunately, we saw one our dinner group with his passport which he said he had just picked up from the information desk. We went back to the information desk and demanded our passports and they were finally given to us. What a disservice to us to "misinform" us about when and where we would get our passports back. I hate to think of the problems we would have had if we had left the ship without our passports and went to customs. We would have missed our flight home to the U.S.A. Also, at the end of the cruise, when we went to the information desk to verify and authorize the charges we had made while on board, we discovered many charges that were not ours. We disputed those charges but the person at the information desk insisted that the charges were ours and demanded that we sign for them. We refused and upon further examination of the bill discovered that the disputed charges, which amounted to more that 400 Euros, belonged to passengers staying in the room next door. The person at the information desk then corrected our bill, but did not offer any sort of an apology. We also wish to make it known that the internet information we were given about what dinner attire would be was not entirely accurate. There was supposed to be three classifications: Formal, Semi-casual (no jeans), and casual. It turned out that there was never any dinner occasion that called for semi formal attire so we had packed far more clothes than needed. So the dinner attire is either formal or casual. No in between! Another issue is that on the Tunis, Africa early morning excursion, that leaves at 7:15A.M., they do not serve breakfast any earlier than normal. Breakfast, as usual, 7:00 A.M. so there is no time to eat prior to the excursion! And be careful of the lunch hamburgers from the cafeteria. They are cooked on the outside but are raw inside! Be careful at dinner if you order a glass of wine. You may get a carafe instead! The entertainment was repetitious. Each night's so called "different " entertainment had many elements of the same type in them. And if was laborious to listen to the pre entertainment introduction in four languages. Just start the show! Forget the introduction. The name tags the employees wear have the names in such small print you must ask for their names. So, in summary, we would not recommend this cruise ship to anyone. We all make mistakes, but according to them, they never did. The prevailing arrogant attitude and unapologetic nature of the information and tour desks made for much unnecessary unpleasantness. This vacation cruise was not the fun get away we had hoped it would be. I hate to be so negative but this cruise line deserves it. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
The trip was a TOTAL 100% disappointment to everyone. Following are the troubles we encountered: 1. arrived at port 1:45 P.....got checked in and onboard ship at 545P. No organization /crowd control . No-one from MSC came out to ... Read More
The trip was a TOTAL 100% disappointment to everyone. Following are the troubles we encountered: 1. arrived at port 1:45 P.....got checked in and onboard ship at 545P. No organization /crowd control . No-one from MSC came out to explain what was going on until 5P. MSC never offered a drink or restroom to the crowd. Forklift drivers threatened to run over guests. Broward County Sheriff Dept officers were rude and pushy. 2. went to pool bar at 6P for a cocktail....bartenders ignored everyone....we had to beg to get a drink. The bar was not busy....maybe 7 people were there.....we were 5 of them. 3. went to buffet on pool deck at 615P for a snack....food was over cooked and very little of it. Decided to drink instead. 4. went back to table by pool...was approached by a waitress for drink orders. She did not understand a word of english...and didn't really try. She took our drink orders and came back with drinks. When one of the party tasted her drink it was not what she ordered. She ordered a crown and 7....it came to her as a crown and sour. When she told the waitress it was wrong ...she told the guest that if she didn't like...she needed to go to the bar herself and have it fixed. 5. same waitress came back later and I ordered a glass of water....she brought it back and proceeded to sit it on the other side of the table...out of my reach. Another waitress came over and picked up the glass and gave it to me. She was the ONLY wait staff that was nice the entire 3 days. 6. we went to late dinner....our table ordered iced tea and got it....our other party of 6 had another waiter ...when they asked for tea...they were told he was to busy...couldn't get any tea. Food was delivered and was not good...noone at our table was satisfied with anything except for the bread and butter. One guest sent her food back and asked for the "every night" steak and was told by the waiter they didn't have a steak....another guest at the table was just served one. She left the table with NO dinner served to her. 7. After dinner we visited many of the bars onboard. Never received the same type of glass 1 time for a margarita. Many times we were told that they did not have the beer we ordered...when the guest beside us got one. No of the bars had any limes. Never once was a wait staff happy and smiling. Never did the wait staff ask us if we would like something....we always had to beg for a drink. 8. Went to try and find a snack at midnight....no such thing . No restaurants open. Found a bar offering sandwiches...which were not good at all....mostly bread and a think slice of meat. 9. Have yet to see our room steward. 10. ordered room service at 2am...we were starving. 1 1/2hrs later they delivered ...once again....a bad sandwich. 11. ordered breakfast room service....nothing hot available. Bread again....man can not live on bread alone. People at receptionist desk that answered phone were not pleasant either. 12. Agent at receptionist desk told a guest to "Shut up". 13. disembarked at Nassau and asked the MSC agent that let us off what we needed to board and she replied "I Don't Know" we asked did we only need boarding pass from MSC...or did we also need ID...she replied" I Don't know" we asked if she could find out and she replied" NO"....and to ask someone that was outside the ship !!! Unbelievable ....she was not interested finding out for us. At breakfast before disembarkment one of our group had to drink her orange juice from a bowl because there were no cups. 14. NASSAU WAS WONDERFUL....WENT TO BREEZES AND GOT THE TREATMENT WE EXPECTED FROM THE CRUISE STAFF.....STAFF AT BREEZES WERE SO FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL...AND ALWAYS MADE US FEEL LIKE WE WERE THE GUESTS !!!! 15. AARRGGHH...had to reboard the Orchestra for the remainder of the trip from hell. Yes we needed an ID besides the MSC boarding pass to get to the cruise ships off the island. Good thing we had them. 16. Went to cabin to change clothes....still haven't seen a room steward. Finally figured out how to turn on lights...since there was never a room steward to explain....after trying to call 99 for 1 hour for service we finally decided to use the light from the bathroom for the 1st day. 17. back to the dining room for the last nights dinner. No better than the 1st. Could not get coffee served because our waiter was too busy. Food once again over cooked....never offered a second serving of bread...which was the best thing to eat. Forget dessert....we didn't have all night to wait....and besides heard from others it was not worth it. This if the 1st cruise every that everyone actually lost weight. We looked for food later...but never found any. Called room service but was told it was too late ...we would have to wait for breakfast. 18. My roommate and me both had our c/c scanned at the port in FLL and signed for them. On the first night we both had our charges show up on the TV correct...then next night everything had been transferred to one credit card....when I called for help...they told me that I did not have my credit card scanned at that I would have to go to the Shaker lounge at 6a to have it fixed. I still have a copy of the receipt from check in where I signed to have everything charged to. 19. Disembarkment was just like the trying to board. Unorganized Chaos....2000 people just trying to get off this miserable ship. They turned to air either off or up to 80....people were butting in front of others just to try and leave. 19. Finally make it to the door ...my roommate gives the MSC staff his boarding pass for disembarkment and was told he had to go to the shaker lounge and have his c/c scanned.....we had both done this in FLL and signed a receipt ...(see #18)...seriously can anything else go WRONG !!! He goes to the shaker lounge as instructed to have his c/c scanned AGAIN....waits in line for 30 min...they charge him 2 times...so yes I guess something can go wrong again. Another 10 minutes to figure out how to reverse a charge he waits. Finally has to make his way through the crowd to the exit again. 20. Customs agents and FLL pier employees were very friendly and could not believe that "everyone" that got off the Orchestra had the same complaints. One pier employee said he had worked there for 11 years and had never heard of such a bad experience. The ship itself was beautiful....too bad the staff made the cruise such a terrible experience. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
I have never felt so mistreated and confined in my entire life. First off, the computers malfunctioned. I arrived at the port at 11:00 AM and did not board the ship until 5:30 PM. The ship did not leave the port until 8:00 PM. I had ... Read More
I have never felt so mistreated and confined in my entire life. First off, the computers malfunctioned. I arrived at the port at 11:00 AM and did not board the ship until 5:30 PM. The ship did not leave the port until 8:00 PM. I had not eaten since 7:00 AM. So I head straight for the buffet. The food was terrible quality, I consider Chef Boyardee top notch compared to this mess. Complaining was all I heard such as "I can already tell I'm going to lose weight on this cruise!". After wards I tried to move my dinner from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM. One problem. NO ONE SPOKE ENGLISH. All they could say is "Upstairs" and "Downstairs". I ran in circles for 30 minutes. The few people who could speak some English (very broken) were horrid and full of attitude. Hospitality does not exist on this cruise. The Staff are all the same. No one is distinguished from one another. So I had no one to go to for any guidance. When I tried to ask for a supervisor all I got were blank faces. All I wanted to do was change my dinner time. Later that night (10:00 PM) I was starving. As everyone else was. There is no food after 9:00 PM on the cruise. Nor water. I tried calling room service but it was busy for hours. At 12:00 AM I got through and put in a order. It should have arrived an hour later. It never arrived. I stood up until 6:00 AM waiting. To try and kill time I went to the arcade. The machines do not take American money. The toilet in my room broke twice. The sheets were dirty. The bed was two twins put together so it was very uncomfortable. There was dust everywhere so my allergies were acting up which is unusual for me. The sit down dinner the following night was unpleasant. The waiter could not speak English. He did not ask how my should be steak was cooked. He gave me the wrong order. The food I got... I wouldn't feed it to my dogs. Undercooked meat, clear soup which could be mistaken for water and some rice... Later on he gave water with no ice and when I asked for more water and ice, guess what I got, nothing. I walked out early. The entertainment? Non-existent. There was one show which my high school theater class could have out shined with little effort. I walked out early. I don't mind spending the extra money but on every other cruise ice cream, juice, and soda was included. In all honesty I found this extra effort to be the only enjoyable aspects of the cruise. My boyfriend took a bite of undercooked pizza that night and was throwing up all night. It was a horrible experience... Isn't this supposed to be an Italian cruise? I'd at least expect the pizza to be cooked properly! Is there any pride on this cruise? Culture? Friendliness? It's absolutely unheard of! Shame on the staff! The worst part was trying to leave the cruise. There was no organization. It was a free for all for everyone. The air was turned off and every one of us was packed like sardines for hours. The sweating, the BO, the RUDE UNACCOMMODATING STAFF, was atrocious! People began fighting one another. At one point all I heard was swearing and screaming. The handicapped were not given first priority, so they were being stepped all over and I was being run over! I was being pushed and shoved for three hours, just to get off of the ship. It began to feel as if we were all forgotten about. No one tried to help and organize us. They allowed all of us to panic. It was a nightmare. No food, no water, no cleanliness, no help, no English, no service, no entertainment... Please, do not ever cruise this line. I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy. This is out of the kindness of my heart, please avoid yourself this monstrosity. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
There was no proper assistance to the boat, all passengers had to haul their cases a long way to board. No information or welcome was given, nor were the general staff helpful - some were downright rude when asked simple questions.The ... Read More
There was no proper assistance to the boat, all passengers had to haul their cases a long way to board. No information or welcome was given, nor were the general staff helpful - some were downright rude when asked simple questions.The cabin was fine, cabin staff and restaurant waiter really pleasant and helpful. However the ship smelt of sewage during the whole voyage, many passengers had blocked basins and loos. The company caters mainly for German passengers, who made up about 70%.A shore excursion paid for at time of booking was not honoured or provided,as they stated they had no English speaking guide.It took weeks for the travel agent to get reimbursement.All the food was bland,and often very badly cooked - we at least expected some decent pasta on an Italian ship! Orange juice machine was permanently out of order at breakfast time and you were forced to pay for juice from the bar. All drinks both in the restaurants and bars were overpriced, as were coffees. Very limited amount or choice of food in any of the buffets half an hour after breakfast or lunch started.Entertainment was half an hour each evening, very substandard - comics repeating each joke in 3 languages, out of tune quartet etc. The best entertainment was the passengers carol service.There was nothing to do on board, even the library had no more than 6 books in English.The spa was a joke, £90 for a brief massage by a Thai girl with a dreadful cold, who passed it on.The coach from Genoa to Nice refused to stop for a toilet break despite several passengers needing one, some were reduced nearly to tears.Rooms on one deck were soaked when the sprinkler system went off in error, the occupants were not happy, and no apology was forthcoming. Italian passengers were embarrassed for the other nationalities on board, and made their feelings clearly known.Complaints from many passengers were refuted by the company on the basis that no one else had complained! No refund was offered in respect of the many valid complaints. Eventually we were offered a 10% discount on the next cruise with them, which we declined.I suggest you avoid MSC. This review is late because 1) I was not aware of this website, and 2) acquaintances travelling recently with similar bad experiences asked why we did not warn them off! Had I known they were going with MSC I would have done. The ship visited Malaga, Civitavecchia, Barcelona, Madeira, Tenerife, and Casablanca. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
MSC Cruise from Hell Well what can I say other than DON’T GO ON AN MSC CRUISE. Kids running everywhere all day and most of the night, shouting, yelling and totally out of control. Running around the restaurant whilst the waiters were ... Read More
MSC Cruise from Hell Well what can I say other than DON’T GO ON AN MSC CRUISE. Kids running everywhere all day and most of the night, shouting, yelling and totally out of control. Running around the restaurant whilst the waiters were trying to serve food. Buggies and prams cluttering up the aisles when trying to get food in the buffet. One child even rode his bike into a crowded lift!!! We were woken up at 4am one morning with children running and shouting in the corridor outside our cabin. The passengers were extremely rude and pushed and shoved the whole time and whilst waiting for the lifts which were erratic to say the least, the passengers (mostly Italian) barged to the front and would not let people get out of the lift before they got in. The lifts – the kids pressed every button on every floor so it took us half an hour to get from Deck 5 (Restaurant for dinner) to Deck 12 ( our cabin) every evening. These lifts dominated our cruise experience because this was not a small boat and you had to use them. In most situations you would say that this was a major design fault in this boat but this (perhaps) may not be the case if they were not constantly abused. This was the most stressful holiday my husband and I have ever had. The food was not good either, there was far too much salt used in the cooking and the food was very poorly presented, it reminded us both of school dinners. The food was also nearly always cold by the time it was served. My husband bent his metal fork whilst trying to cut a piece of stale bread when eating Eggs Benedict for breakfast. There was no toast supplied at breakfast and the rolls and bread were stale by the end of the week. The juice drinks machines more often that not where out of order or not switched on. Not good when you want a cold drink. Also the juice when you could get it was watered down and had sugar added to it. Also there were no glasses at the juice machines and we had to use warm teacups to get a drink when the machines were working. There was no fruit that was fresh in the buffet either and mmost of the fruit supplied at breakfast was tinned. The departure from the boat at Majorca and Villefranche was totally disorganised to say the least with the usual pushing and shoving from the Italian families. But the worst situation by far was on the Wednesday 10th July. My husband and I went to the pool on the 13th deck, got our towels and found two sun beds. This was at 9.20, we sat down for a while and put on sun cream, at 9.40 my husband said “I think I’ll go for a swim now” so I said “OK I’ll join you”. We went down to the pool and were only gone for 20 minutes, when we decided to go back I went up the steps first whilst my husband had a shower near the pool, when I got to our sun beds there were other people there arranging their towels and belongings and all our belongings had gone. We went down to the attendants who had given the towels out to find all our property including phones, watches, cameras, shoes and our towels had been thrown into a plastic sack. The attendant started being very rude and aggressive and shouting at us and quoting that in the contract you are only allowed to leave the sun bed for 30 minutes, we had been gone for 20 minutes. I spoke to a Security Guard who was standing nearby but he could not help me, the attendant who I originally spoke to stood there watching me and smirking at the fact that I could not get anywhere with any of them. There were other people leaving their beds for 2 hours and more, also children who had beds who were never on them. We could not get anywhere with this rude and aggressive man so we had to go inside down seven decks to the desk, barefoot and dripping water, me in my bikini and my husband in his trunks because everthing had been taken, we did not even have a towel to dry ourselves with. We spoke to someone at the desk who again, was not very helpful but we demanded a meeting with the manager and this was eventually arranged after two “put offs” for the evening. We finally met Shameem (sp) who I must say, did handle the situation very well as we were both furious at this unfriendly and discourtesious way of being treated. Shemeem said she would report it back to the management, as they did not want passengers to be unhappy. The trouble was the damage had been done and we had to spend the rest of the day in our cabin as there was nothing else to do and all the sun beds had gone by this time. I am sure that we were targeted because we were English, it would not have been done to an Italian family. There were very few English people on this trip – Im not surprised!! We did however go to some lovely places such as Rome, Majorca, Monaco and Palermo and we also met some very nice Australian people who sat on our table at dinner each evening and who incidentally did not like the cruise either and had said they would never travel with MSC again. They were horrified when they heard what had happened to us at the pool on Wednesday and thought it was a disgusting way to treat people. If they are going to take one set of people’s belongings because they have been away from their bed for a short while then they must treat everyone else the same and not target individuals. We will never go on another MSC cruise again and shall make sure that everyone we know hears about this.   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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