1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Orchestra Review
  5. MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: March 2009
I went on a cruise with 18 other college students for spring break. The ship was modern and full of amenities. Nonetheless, I would caution college students and younger students, as the ship is geared more towards a European and elderly ... Read More
I went on a cruise with 18 other college students for spring break. The ship was modern and full of amenities. Nonetheless, I would caution college students and younger students, as the ship is geared more towards a European and elderly crowd. Food: The food was simply ok. They did beef (steak, burgers, etc.) very well, but often times missed the mark on fish, Italian, and more complicated items. Food was also not available at all hours, and there was a lull before the midnight buffet every evening. The pizzeria from 5:00 to 10:00 pm was very good. Although there was limited room service available, the items they have were tasty and arrived within 10 minutes after ordering. Ports: Unfortunately, the port times for the cruise were a bit early. We left Key West at 2:00 PM, Cozumel at 3:00 PM (Local time), Grand Cayman at 4:30 (Local Time), and Cayo Levantado at 3:30 PM. It seemed that many of the other cruise lines had better port times. Nonetheless, we were placed on close docks and at the closest tender. Cayo Levantado was the least enjoyable port we visited, as they charged for lounge chairs and there was very little beach space for the thousands of visitors (it didn't seem quite as private as they advertised). We didn't feel as though we had an opportunity to experience culture of the Dominican Republic. Service: The table service was a little slow, and we never spent less than two and a half hours at dinner. As a European cruise line, it definitely had the feel that time was not a concern. All of the staff were very accommodating and they remembered our preferences later. Many of us got the feeling that the cruise line catered more towards Europeans as the staff would often times not understand exactly what you were saying. The cabin staff was friendly and attentive. We were impressed by their work ethic and speed in cleaning our room in the morning and turning down our sheets at night. Additionally, the staff often would give priority to Italian cruisers. For example, we were playing a pool game where we tried to land rings on bottles and were next in line. The staff told us the game was ending and we could not participate in the contest. A family went up to them and spoke to them in Italian and was able to participate in the game. Although most announcements were announced in five different languages due to the diversity of passengers, occasionally some announcements were in Italian only. I was also disappointed in the helpfulness of the staff at the excursion desk. I asked them if they had any scuba trips in Cozumel and they provided little assistance beyond "There should be many of scuba shops as you leave the ship" although I did not find this to be the case. The photo staff was one of the worst parts of the cruise. During dinner they would take two and three pictures and even after saying "no thanks" told us to sit up straight and take the photo. The photographers had ambitious quotas they had to meet and were set on meeting them, even at the expense of guest satisfaction. We were disappointed to find the first night of karaoke consisted of slow, melodic Italian and French songs that were not to the liking of many Americans. Rooms: We were upgraded to balcony rooms on floor 11 (huge plus - the balconies really were a highlight of the trip). They were gorgeous and relatively spacious. The TV system (a flat LCD-screen) was convenient, as you could do almost everything from ordering shore excursions to reviewing your billing account. Another plus was the ability to connect the balconies, making it very easy to go from room to room if you had a large group with multiple rooms reserved in a row, without taking your room key. Amenities: The gym was nice albeit small (6 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 2 bikes, 2 stairmasters, and relatively few weights) and no water was provided, so be sure to bring your own. They also allow cruisers to visit the sauna, steam room, and hot tub for free. The casino was relatively small and we found ourselves consistently waiting for tables. Due to a small casino staff, they did not have all the games running all the time and would alternate nights between roulette and craps. Blackjack was European rules where the dealer pulled their second card after everyone had made bets. Statistically, this provides lower odds. Entertainment: We did not partake in much of the entertainment, as much of the entertainment catered to an older crowd (e.g. musicals, cabaret, etc.). They had no comedians because all the jokes would be lost as they translated it into the five languages spoken on the cruise. Embarkation/Disembarkation: The embarkation process was incredibly fast and we boarded in almost no time (the CEO of MSC was there that day). There alcohol policies are incredibly lax, and we were able to take on alcohol at embarkation and at all ports. Disembarkation was a bit confusing as they never gave us the proper forms to request early disembarkation. Disembarkation was slower than embarkation, but nothing unreasonable. Be sure not to book a flight early in the morning, since we found ourselves competing with cruisers both from MSC and other cruise lines to find cabs to the airport. Conclusion: Overall it was a good cruise. We had a great time and were incredibly impressed with the ship. MSC clearly has growing pains and is trying hard to improve their problems. The Italian aspect of the cruise is both a plus and a minus. I have spent much time abroad, and feel as though I am relatively accepting of other cultures. Nonetheless, sometimes you just want to hear American songs at Karaoke and see shows that aren't translated into many languages. Would I go on MSC again? With my family definitely. With my friends not until we're a bit older. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We sailed the Orchestra from March 21-28, 2009. We booked this cruise about a year out. There were 28 other people that went with us. Many of these friends had never cruised before. Here is my review based on my opinions and observations. ... Read More
We sailed the Orchestra from March 21-28, 2009. We booked this cruise about a year out. There were 28 other people that went with us. Many of these friends had never cruised before. Here is my review based on my opinions and observations. Our family flew into Miami airport rented a car and drove to Fort Lauderdale. The rental car companies have shuttles to take you to the cruise port. We waited in line for over an hour to rent the vehicle. Hotel prior to embarkation was the Courtyard Plantation. The rooms were very comfortable and I would stay here again. It was about a 15 minute drive to the cruise port from the hotel. Embarkation: Absolute breeze!!!!! We arrived about 12:30 and were on the ship by 12:45. Cabin: Inside cabin on deck 12. Loved the cabin, hated the shower curtain (ha, ha). There was fresh fruit put in the cabin the evening we arrived. Bottom beds were pushed together and 2 bunk beds were folded down at night. They did have railings on them in case anyone wondered. The bed was so comfy. I enjoyed the key card that turned on the lights because as soon as we went out of the room the room steward would be in there cleaning. I even came back to our room a couple of times to find my dirty clothes folded on my bed. Also if you need to call home from your room you can do that, it is $5.99 a minute. We were under the pool deck, so we did hear chair noise and in the evenings stomping and music. This was only when they had deck parties. We heard the chairs moving every morning, which was okay it told us we needed to get up soon. The closest stairwell from us would only go down not up. This was due to the pool being above us. Not a big deal. The safe was easy to use. Overall really like the room! Dining: Here is where our issue came in. We had requested early dining a year ago. We called our agent to confirm multiple times. They even said they had called the cruise line and we were confirmed. When we arrived everyone in our party was late seating. Our party was supposed to be close together. I expected several separate tables but not late seating with part of our party across the aisle. We had 2 tables of 7, 1 table of 8, one table of 4 and 1 table of 2 in a completely different restaurant. We went to see the Maitre' D. He told us to eat late seating the first night and he would change it later that night to first seating. Of course once we get to late seating he tries to convince us we need to stay on late seating because the party would be impossible to find enough table together on early dining. Not like we were really together anyway! My daughter is crying because she wants to go to the kids club but that starts at the same time as late seating. I'm upset because the plans we had for a year are so messed up. The Maitre'D didn't see this as a problem; he said we would enjoy late seating better. We finally gave up and stayed on late seat. This was way too late for some of our party so they ended up eating the buffet the rest of the cruise. The first night dinner ended at 10:30pm. It took 2 ½ hours. Food in the dining room was hit or miss! I usually enjoy the soups, salads, appetizers and desserts. The main course is never to exciting for me. The food I found really good was the filet mignon, broccoli soup, cream of asparagus soup, strawberry soup, Caesar salad, white chocolate mousse cake(Can you say heaven!), and the cheesecake The Baked Alaska presentation was fun. Oh I also really liked the spaghetti with butter, garlic and some spicy seasoning. My husband really enjoyed some of the Italian dishes. The lobster was disgusting, not like most lobster on other ships. It was like the lobster was literally cut in half and laid on the plate. Buffet: Breakfast was great! They had all sorts of bagels and breads, bacon, sausage, home fries, eggs, etc. .One of the stations has a toaster. I did this every morning. If you go back to the back area on the left side you will find the toaster behind the counter. We made bagel sandwiches quite a bit. You can also find sliced tomatoes if you want a BLT. The also would fry eggs or make you a ham and cheese omelet at the first stations if you ask. Pineapple and orange juice was available all day, along with tea. They had tiny juice cups, Styrofoam cups and larger plastic cups. Very satisfied with the cup sizes. Lunch was the grill on the right side of the buffet. This had hamburgers, hot dogs, sometimes brats, and chicken or pork burgers with all the fixings. The buns were so good. On the left side of the buffet is the pizza side. There is also a very nice salad bar. There was also a pasta station with the special of the day. Other items were available but we didn't eat much of them. From 3:30 to 4:30pm was tea time. They had little pastries and deli sandwiches (Yum). The grill was open I believe until 4:30pm. We did have the pizza one evening and it was pretty good. Gelato-all I can say is you have to try it! It was $2.00 for a waffle cone or $1.50 for a cup. This is featured in between the two pools at the bar. Eat fast because it melts quickly! Really liked the chocolate chip, and milk chocolate. Soft serve ice cream is available at a different pool bar for the same price. Pools: Closed at 6PM. This was a bit early for many of us stuck on late seating for dinner. Pools were very pretty. They are saltwater. Jacuzzi's not hot enough. If you go into the spa, they have a wonderful adults only Jacuzzi. There are 3 and they overlook the ocean. Perfectly relaxing. Kids Club: Very disappointing! We have been to the kids areas on RCCL and NCL. My kids loved them. This line however was not so good for the kids club. Parents are supposed to sign the kids in and out. In reality anyone could sign them out as they never check id's or cruise sign and sails. In the 3-6 a parent opened the door and one child started to wander out into the halls. The staff did catch him but he was really upset and wanted out. The 3-6 group (jungle room) seemed to be better at activities than the 7-12. The 7-12 room was babyish. They had mats on the floor, blocks and things you would see for toddlers in the doctor's waiting rooms. My older daughter and her friends said all the staff did was yell to be quiet and blow a whistle. We tried the kid's area on a couple of occasions. Many times the kids would just be watching a movie. Ports: Key West was nice. We docked at the naval base so MSC had the conch train take us to town. We walked around and shopped. Port time was 7-2, but you had to take the last train by 1:15 back to the ship. Cozumel- We love it here. We went to Mr Sancho's and did the all inclusive. This was great. Food was wonderful We booked the all inclusive with tourcozumel dot net. Some of our party went parasailing and others did the banana boat. The port times were 9-5 ship time. Cozumel time this was 7-3 due to daylight savings in Cozumel not taking effect until April 5th. Grand Cayman- We took an MSC excursion, it was the Racing Catamaran(Cockatoo) to Stingray city. We were one of the last back to the ship. This was very relaxing. I actually held a stingray. My children got in the water also. Cayo Levantado-Can't wait to go back! The island and beach was wonderful. We were one of the first tenders off. The white beach chairs are free. We played in the water. There were waves here which made it really fun for the kids. The sand is just like walking on powder. Tendering was very easy. We ate chicken kabobs on the island. Don't forget to try the pineapple drink. An islander made us one for $5. Very tasty. There were stands you could by stuff. They will bargain with you a little. Make sure you verify sizes while you were there. My husband bought an XL shirt and he got it back to the boat and it looked like a teenagers large. My 5 year old got an outfit size 8 and it was almost too small for her. She is pretty petite too. I really can't say enough good things about this island. Our port time was changed to arriving at 7:30, with last tender back at 2:30. Many people were upset with the time change. Activities around the ship-Things like Arts and Crafts (Flower making) were for adults only. If you pushed the issue your child(10) could do it with you. They had one night that was carnival games, my daughter was really excited to do these, when we got there she wasn't allowed because children's games were around the corner. Those children's games consisted of rolling a giant dice on the floor or throwing a balloon around. She didn't bother after the 1st minute because the only other person interested in those games were the 3 year olds. Everywhere we turned was adults only. Karaoke we were told our tweens could do a song, but once we went to turn it in, they were told only with an adult. Kids sail for free, so you would think they would be really into the family activities. Entertainment: Shows were great! The best at sea so far! Pro-Cabin, ship, drink packages and gelato, Con-KIDS CLUB! Port times need to be longer, some of the food, lack of unlimited soda packages Overall: MSC was a good value for the money. You need to keep reminding yourself of this when you start complaining to much about the little things. Our feelings were we would go again if the price was right. We had a lot of fun hanging out with our family and friends. If we had not had our friends to hang out with, it might have been not as much fun. My children would have been more disappointed with the lacking kids club had she not had friends to play with at the pool. They do not have near as many activities as other cruise lines. I will give them credit that they did try to have activities at the pool at certain times. The lack of activities didn't really bother us as we were busy with our family and friends. The Wild West show was really fun out by the pool. Really we would go back again! Just some kinks that need to be worked out. I could see they were trying to adjust to some of the American likes and dislikes. Give it a year and many of my complaints will hopefully be obsolete. Happy Sailing!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
I need to start out this review with the disclaimer: I organized a group of 19 college students to go on the Orchestra for Spring Break. However, I've been on 15+ cruises on all of the major lines. I wasn't looking for an ... Read More
I need to start out this review with the disclaimer: I organized a group of 19 college students to go on the Orchestra for Spring Break. However, I've been on 15+ cruises on all of the major lines. I wasn't looking for an absolutely wild Spring Break, rather, we wanted a more relaxing time. After religiously checking the boards and reviews, I am happy to report that we had a great time onboard the Orchestra. Yes, there were things that could be improved, but these minor problems did not interfere with an otherwise very enjoyable vacation. The Ship The cleanliness of this ship was unbelievable. There was always someone polishing the copious amounts of brass or vacuuming the floors. It really was spotless from head to toe. After having been on much larger (RCCL Voyager Class, Grand Princess, and Carnival), the ship did seem a little bit smaller—but not a lot. I thought the layout was very nice—I guess the one word that came to mind was "classy." Yes there was no Grand Promenade or funky coloring, but the ship was just very classy. The various bars, lounges, and shops flowed together and the theater was gorgeous. The pool deck was also very nicely done. However, there was a real problem with how it was set up in regards to the amount of seating. On all of the other ships that I've been on the deck overlooking the pools will normally have a row of chairs, jogging track, and then another row of chairs. However, the Orchestra only had one row of chairs and a tiny walkway—it really made finding a seat a struggle. However, the chairs have a section that flips up that you can use to shade your face form the sun—very nice. Food/Drinks With the exception of the first meal, I thought that the dinners were nicely done. Contrary to what I had read on CruiseCritic.com, I thought the beef was cooked very well. The pasta dishes and appetizers were good as well. The lobster was so-so as was the Cajun mahi-mahi. Desserts on the whole were good with the cheesecake being not very good and the chocolate parfait being outstanding. We ate every night at the formal dining room. Pizza was available for free from 5-10pm and was very good—they always had cheese and pepperoni with a couple of specialty pizzas and many different toppings. Breakfast and lunch buffets were decent. There was no omelette station and the scrambled eggs were no good. However, the baked breads/croissants were delicious and you could ask the cooks to make you fried eggs to order. Lunch buffet was probably the worst meal of the cruise (and it was still OK). Out of four stations, only one served burgers/hot dogs which were delicious. I would have to say the hamburgers were the best that I've had on any cruise! However, aside from this and a pasta station, there weren't a whole lot of options that appealed to me. There was a great salad bar, but there were also many pre-made salads that no one seemed to be touching. Throughout the day gelato was available for $2 for a cone that was AWESOME. At 11:30 snacks were served in the lounges and room service was available for free which was quick and easy, but very limited. Drinks were great and were very reasonably priced and included all taxes and fees. You could get a bucket of 4 beers for $12 (Corona, Heineken, Peroni, etc) and 17 oz of house wine at dinner for $8. Cocktails were normally $6.90 but the special of the day was $5.50. The drinking age for beer and wine was also 18. MSC was also extremely easy on the alcohol policy—we bought alcohol in Cozumel and simply brought it back onboad and straight to our cabins. Ports I felt like in many of the stops we spent little time. I think this was especially apparent in Key West (9-2), Grand Cayman (where you had to a lot extra time to tender), and in Cayo Levantado (around 2ish). However, we all had a great time in each port and the Orchestra always managed to have the best docking position (except Key West). Cayo Levantado was a big disappointment for me. It was advertised as their private island, which it was to some extent, but did not compare to other private islands. It seemed as if everything was extra—you had to pay for chairs and food which was disappointing. Also, the beach was incredibly small for all of the Orchestra and some passengers from a Princess ship. It was beautiful, but just not what I expected/wanted a cruise line private island to be like. Cabin 2 weeks before departure we were upgraded from a Category 1 inside guarantee to a Category 7 balcony which was great! The room was wonderful—yes it was smaller but it's a cruise ship. The room was nicely furnished with plenty of hangers and storage space. The bed was very comfortable and it was decorated beautifully. Staff After having read horror stories of poor interactions with MSC crew, I was curious. However, I found all of the staff to be incredibly friendly. Our waiter, Ruslan was fantastic. He made dinner fun every night and would joke around with us. Our room steward was also great and went out of his way to make sure that everything was taken care of. Bartenders, other wait staff, and buffet staff were great, as well. The Entertainment staff did try hard, although some of their games were quite "interesting." Also, the 2nd seating shows were showed at 7pm—too early for us and we only saw one show—the magician. However, it was a great show and one of the best that I've seen. In Sum We had a great cruise aboard the Orchestra. The other passengers were predominantly older and there were about 500 Italians (or so we were told) aboard and this was definitely not a "Spring Break" cruise but that's fine. It was a very relaxing vacation with good food, good staff, and a gorgeous ship. I would definitely recommend MSC to another cruiser as long as they understood that some things are definitely done in a more "European" way than other Americanized cruise lines. All in all, we had a great and different experience onboard the Orchestra! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Embarkation - It was such a breeze. We arrived at the airport 12:45, by the time we picked up our luggage and grabbed a cab it was approximately 1:45. When arriving at the port we had to wait on a long line to drive into the port for a ... Read More
Embarkation - It was such a breeze. We arrived at the airport 12:45, by the time we picked up our luggage and grabbed a cab it was approximately 1:45. When arriving at the port we had to wait on a long line to drive into the port for a security check point, approximately 10 minutes. After that the cab dropped us off a very friendly woman gave us tags for our bags and ushered us through an entrance. At the entrance we were ushered again through a metal detector and then to checking-in. This took no more then 15 minutes, very, very smooth. Once we got unto the ship we were greeted by a very friendly staff who pointed us to the correct direction of our cabin. When we checked in we were told our cabin wouldn't be ready until 3:00 p.m. but we checked anyway and it was ready. We were in the room when our friendly room steward, I believe his name was "Danny" asked us if we required anything and whether or not we wanted ice everyday. We were hungry so we decided to hit the Buffet. We did not find the buffet impressive, it was small and the selections were few. We did find the salad bar to be extensive. The fresh pasta dish every day was a very big plus. We made breakfast, probably 3 times, and again, the selections were few and the same, the bacon, for some reason, was always crumbled! The ship is beautiful and very clean and well maintained. The staff is very friendly and it shows how a smile goes a long way. There were, at times, when the language was a barrier, but if you tried a little harder things were understood. The pool area I found to be a little narrow, there wasn't enough room to accommodate all the people. Lounge chairs were usually taken up early in the morning so if you slept late you couldn't ever find a chair near the pool. We did find them in the upper decks. The shows were good, although we did enjoy the tumblers very much along with the acrobats. Dinner was always pleasant and it took approximately 2 hours, every night. The selections on the menu, although they sounded delicious, it was for the most part bland. Forget about the lobster, we were told it was Caribbean lobster but it looked like something from the black lagoon and it was so small it was probably two bites. We didn't do any excursions, but we did walk around each island. Cayo Levantado was simply an island, with your beach, grassy places with shade. The walkway from where the boat tenders lead you to a small shopping area with little shacks selling you from the island made (hand made) jewelry, etc. The walkway leads you to food shacks and the beach. It was nice, great place for picture taking. St. Maarten was just beautiful. From the pier you can take a water taxi $6.00 roundtrip to Phillipsburg, where the taxi drops you off at the boardwalk. Here you find a beach, small restaurants and plenty of stores. St. Maarten was beautiful and very clean. St. John's was not our favorite, along with the regular stores, the streets were dirty and it just didn't seem very safe. Nassau, we've been there before, so we just decided to take a cab to Atlantis where we spent most of the day. We returned by ferry, which was $6.00 round trip per person. I believe it left every 30 minutes. To sum up, on our first cruise on MSC, we were very disappointed with the food. You would think that this being an Italian ship, you would have more Italian themed foods like Antipasta, ravioli, canoli, biscotti, olives, cheeses, salami, etc. We did not think the pizza was up to Italian standards. They did make great hamburgers, but it wasn't Italian. The gelato was good but why would you have to pay $2.00 for it? There was even a charge for regular ice cream. They did have unsweetened iced tea, pineapple and orange juice, coffee and water available for free. If you enjoy participating in activities you have to read your daily newsletter. There was never anyone telling you what was going on. No announcements whatsoever. And when you did hear an announcement, it was given in English, French, German and Italian which became a little annoying. This is a smoking ship so if you do not enjoy the smell of smoke this cruise is not for you. I enjoyed the fact that they didn't push the liquor on you along with the embarkation and disembarkation process. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We had a great time on our B2B; much better than I anticipated after reading all the reviews. The ship, as it's been widely reported, is absolutely beautiful. Except for one incidence in the the Cantinella Wine Bar, the service ... Read More
We had a great time on our B2B; much better than I anticipated after reading all the reviews. The ship, as it's been widely reported, is absolutely beautiful. Except for one incidence in the the Cantinella Wine Bar, the service we experienced was excellent.We never experienced any attitude or MSC stare from anyone. In fact, I thought that most of the staff went above and beyond to make sure we were happy. We were in an Aft balcony cabin (#9225) and while there was definitely vibration, we slept great (although the mattress was hard IMO) and LOVED the cabin. Our cabin steward, Franck, and his assistant were fantastic. They brought our kids cookies every night and really went above and beyond to take care of us. We tipped them $20 at the beginning of each week and a little extra at the end. Room service was the fastest I have ever encountered on any ship. It always arrived within 5 minutes. With that said, the menu was extremely limited. No hot breakfasts are available and during the later part of the day or evening, you can only get a chicken club sandwich, tuna sandwich, grilled chicken caesar (yuck! way too much dressing), fruit platter or cheese platter. If you order an iced tea, they will bring you a can and you will have to pay for it. Once we asked for a pitcher of water and they said No. When the room service attendant came, we asked her and she happily brought one. Overall, we liked the food. Not all of it, but that's to be expected. We had late dining both weeks, although we requested early, and decided to try the late one night and then change it if need be. In the end, we preferred the 8PM dining as this allowed us time to relax after the beach/pool. We were at table 465 and had Wirawan as our waiter, Nyoman as our busboy, and Gaetano as our captain; all did an amazing job in accommodating our ever changing table. We were a large group that had different tables initially and each night (it seemed!) we would mix up the group and amount of people joining us. They never seemed to mind and always added or subtracted chairs as needed with a smile. We loved the Italian specialty dishes, especially the nightly pasta specials that were brought to our table by Gaetano. Each night, one of the captains would make a special pasta such as carbonara, penne ala vodka, pasta fagioli, etc and bring a few plates for us all to share. We also loved the desserts. The fish, on the other hand, was overcooked and dry. We ate all but two breakfasts and all of our lunches at the buffet as that was much more convenient for us with the kids. I can't complain about the lines, as I generally ate later so I really didn't encounter any. I thought the buffet food was far better than the NCL Dawn and I loved the salad bar at lunch as well as all the fresh fruit that was available. Also, each day at the buffet there was someone making a pasta dish and the buffet always included a specialty item such as grilled fennel sausage, pesto lasagna, cannelonni stuffed with veal. Yummy!! The eggs benedict and pain au chocolate are a must try in the dining room at breakfast. Pizza at the pizzeria (in the evening) was the best ever and free. Make sure you get it while it's hot and feel free to ask the pizza chef to make a personal pie for you. He'll be happy to do it. We had dinner one night at Shanghai and loved it. Try the moo shu pork; I'm generally not a big fan but it was superb. We also enjoyed the chicken/pork fried rice. Dinner for 4, with a bottle of wine, cost about $135 and we had quite a bit of food. We never made it to 4 Seasons but friends went the first week and said it was fantastic. It was closed the second week because the ship was crowded it was used for the overflow from the dining room, or so I was told. The shows were good although I'm generally not the type to go to every show. The first week, the shows were at 10PM or 10:30, which we all liked, as we went after dinner. The next week, the shows were at 7PM or 7:30PM. I think this was due to the fact that the group of the Irish Stars had use of the theatre during the first week. They were a fantastic group and we loved all of the Irish music at the pool each day as well as having the opportunity to spend time with Ronan Tynan. What an incredible person he is. Week 2 was entirely different than week 1. The ship was VERY crowded and the pool area was overrun with kids, including my 2! We missed the music at the pool although there was an Italian band one day. The kids LOVED the kids club the first week and refused to go the second week as there was just too many kids for them. I think they did a great job Week 1; they took the kids to dinner twice and to several shows. They had a carnival parade where they handmade the costumes and also played lots of games throughout the week, giving the kids the opportunity to win prizes. I spend alot of time at the casino the first week and didn't step foot into it the second! I love to play Texas Hold Em and they offer a 5/10 No Limit game. The house takes 5%, unlimited rake!! The dealers are nice but not very experienced. They hold a tournament each sea day at 4:30, $100 buy-in, 20% rake!!! Blackjack and traditional poker tables opened at 4:20 every day and craps and hold-em opened at 10:20 (sometimes 9:40) each night. I'm afraid I've rambled on a bit too long so I'll stop here and say once again, that we very much enjoyed our time on the Orchestra. I was pleasantly surprised and would consider sailing on MSC again. Any questions, ask away! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We are a family of four on a tight budget, looking for a good value for vacation during President's Week... well we found it. We paid $1425.00 for two adults and two children in an inside cabin, and it was worth so much more. My ... Read More
We are a family of four on a tight budget, looking for a good value for vacation during President's Week... well we found it. We paid $1425.00 for two adults and two children in an inside cabin, and it was worth so much more. My husband and I have enjoyed cruising as couple and then we went on a couple of cruises when my oldest was a baby, but this is the first time that the four of us have been on a cruise together. We had a great time. Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale has horrible traffic issues, we were stuck in a lot of traffic upon arriving to board the Orchestra. Checking in did not present any hassle, and in no time we were on board at the buffet. The ship is immaculate. We were very impressed by the cleanliness and the good hygiene. There are Purell hand sanitizer dispensers all over the ship, which we were thrilled about, as we encourage our children to wash their hands often. The Orchestra is a beautiful, elegant ship. We loved the Italian flair that the Orchestra offered us. Announcements are made first in English, followed by Italian, French, and Spanish. It was such a great experience for my children to hear the different languages, it was kind of like bringing them on a European vacation without ever leaving the US. The activities offered on board were good, ranging from aerobics, ping pong, minigolf, darts, tennis, basketball, and I'm sure a lot more that we didn't participate in. There were also dance lessons, wine lectures, bingo, Italian lessons, and ongoing activities by the pool. We went to an art auction, which was a great experience for my children. We wound up purchasing a Cinderella cell for my daughter. I never went to the Body & Mind Spa, the prices were too high for me. There is an Internet Cafe which costs 5.00 for 10 minutes, but the connection was temporarily slow when I was there. The daily program was chock full of information, sometimes it even got confusing. I like the way NCL organizes the program, by the time. MSC organizes the program to sort of resemble a newspaper with advertisements. It's easy to miss stuff. For example, we didn't realize one evening that it was a formal night, and I missed one of the port talks that I wanted to attend. After a few days, I got used to it. We booked two excursions, and one wound up being cancelled because of lack of participation. The first was Whale Watching in Cayo Levantado. This was absolutely spectacular. Humpback whales come into this bay for a few weeks in February to give birth. My son, who is 9, was thrilled and loved every minute of the experience. He counted a total of 17 whales. My daughter who is 5 got bored after an hour. But if you are prone to sea sickness, this tour night not be for you. You are out in the bay bouncing around in a small boat for about 2 1/2 hours. For me, the first hour was fine, and then I was miserable. The second excursion, which I booked for husband and son was the "Antigua Eco Hike," which consisted of a six-hour hike through the rainforest. They love doing stuff like that together, but nobody else signed up for that, and it got cancelled. By the time they were notified, it was too late to choose a different tour and were disappointed. The stateroom was tiny as expected, but impeccable. Florence and Bruce, (on deck 10) our cabin stewards, were phenomenal. Returning to a tidy, clean smelling cabin everytime was such a pleasure. As a family of four with young children, we really appreciated all their hard work. Dining was a lot of fun. Our waiter, Gede, in the Villa Borghese dining room was great. He taught our children tricks with drinking glasses and how to make funny things out of cloth napkins. On the last night our children made him a thank you card. His assistant Eko, was also so nice with the kids. The food ranged from good to excellent. All of their pasta dishes were absolutely delectable, having a real home cooked taste. There are some dishes that are always available, such as spaghetti bolognese, which was the best I've ever tasted, and the salmon, which was always very good. They even had pastina, which my kids love. The steak was okay. I ordered my steak medium, and it came out well done, and my husband ordered his rare, and he said his came out fine. My children only went to the children's club once, and it seemed fine. The point of this vacation was for us to spend family time together. Entertainment was the best that I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The magician was unbelievable, and kind of had a supernatural air about him. The dancers, singers, and musicians were all tops. Besides offering entertainment which appealed to the mainstream, I loved the way they tried to infuse Italian culture into the cruise, by also exposing passengers to opera and classical music. They gave passengers the opportunity to see some very high caliber performers. In one of the dance numbers, there was also the Venetian "Carnivale" theme. We loved that! Disembarkation was not too lengthy. The big problem was getting a taxi once you got off the ship. Port Everglades was a total zoo upon disembarking, the whole taxi situation is a disorganized nightmare. If you need to catch a flight back home and have little time to spare, you're better off arranging for some kind of shuttle. The big problem we had with this cruise was the smoking!! Smoking was very open and was not confined to areas which non smokers could avoid. There was smoking all around the pool area and in all the lounges, it really could not be avoided. My kids hated it, and this would be the only reason why I might not sail with MSC again. Other than that, it was a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
After 25 cruises, I believe I am qualified to express my opinion(Not my husband's...because he is a Negative Person)... Yes, I had a great time. Although, advertised, as Baseball Greats..I did not sign up for this ... Read More
After 25 cruises, I believe I am qualified to express my opinion(Not my husband's...because he is a Negative Person)... Yes, I had a great time. Although, advertised, as Baseball Greats..I did not sign up for this reason..however, I enjoyed every lecture and movie and discussion with all the Baseball "OldTimers"..They call me "The Philly Girl""What a pleasant surprise" The shows, not were only OUTSTANDING,but the greatest shows I have ever seen, on any of my previous 24 cruises...Every evening, we all gave a standing ovation,,,Bravo, Bravo... (Even my husband gave a standing ovation, once in a while).. These productions were worth at least $90.00 to $100.00 at any live theatre, in Ft Lauderdale Fla, or Phila Pa. As far as sanitation was concerned, OUTSTANDING..One of the cleanest ships we ever experienced. 24 hours a day, workers were cleaning and polishing all brass railings, elevators, Purell Hand Sanitizer in every station where there was food.. As far as Casino was concerned, I feel there should have been more than 5 PENNY SLOT MACHINES..There were plenty of 25 cent and $ machines, however, with 3000 people on board there should have been more PENNY SLOT MACHINES.... The food was ample, not gourmet (We did NOT go to Gourmet Chinese Restaurant and did NOT go to Four Seasons Gourmet Restaurant),,,as seniors, we did not feel it was necessary,,, however, we ate mostly all our meals in dining room, never went hungry..We hardly ate at Buffet...very crowded, difficult to move around, long lines, and narrow areas, and of course, very noisy.. Embarkation was efficient and quick. Not more than 15 minutes, and we were in our cabin. Disembarkation, was just as efficient...No problems..You had to vacate cabin at 7AM, but they did serve breakfast in dining room and buffet... My suggestions for future cruises,,,MSC take note,,,very little activity during day..Yes, they had a few childish games at pool area, but not enough,,, Yes, the price was right, for this cruise, excellent weather(except for winds of 40 miles an hour, no fault of MSC) however,,the Islands were not of the most desirable, Nassau closed on Sunday,,Antigua, St John, arrived 5PM, stores all closed, and stayed til 11PM.why would anyone walk streets in darkness,,St MARTIN only a few hours, and the most disappointing Island of Dom Rep..Maybe next time, MSC will get a better time slots. Again, THIS CRUISE WAS A PLEASANT SURPRISE, would I go again on MSC , Caribbean, maybe yes, maybe no...Tobyhilda Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
I want to say that I had a wonderful time on the Orchestra and although it may be missing some of the bells and whistles of other ships, it was an enjoyable cruising experience. The check in was simple and took only a few minutes. The ... Read More
I want to say that I had a wonderful time on the Orchestra and although it may be missing some of the bells and whistles of other ships, it was an enjoyable cruising experience. The check in was simple and took only a few minutes. The lifeboat drill was a bit of a joke because they spoke it in 5 languages and fast so we never really heard the English version. Luckily it was over quickly. The ship was classic and beautiful but no extras (like a rock wall, etc.) The cabin was ok, decent size and I have 2 kids, so four of us was a bit tight but manageable. I went with my whole family (9 of us and many of them cruise often). We all had alot of fun partly because we can have fun anywhere and partly because the staff on board was a pleasure. Even though many of them did not speak English, they were warm and friendly and they loved my kids. The cruise was very family-friendly. There was a large playground and jungle play room and the staff was so sweet (my 4-year old loved them). They make it very easy to have some time without the kids and not worry. As for the beverages, on our first port, we bought a 12-pack of soda and brought it into our room and put it into the fridge, so there was no issue with outside soda. They do have ice tea available at all meals and fruit juice, milk in the am. We did not spend a lot of money on beverages and unless you drink a lot of alcohol, there is no need to. The gelato bar was not included (but for $2, get the Grande) and it is the creamiest, most delicious thing you can ever eat. Worth every penny. The pizzeria had the buffets but you could also pay additional if you wanted to order a pie (we never did but they were cheap). There was pizza at every buffet lunch. We went to the shows each night and each show was great, the costumes were elaborate and the girls were beautiful. My 4-year old even enjoyed the opera singer! The entertainment was better than on many other ships. We went to the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant and remember it is European, so unlike the Chinese we are used to. It was good, but not great for the price. OK, now onto the not so good part of the review. The person who designed the menus each night is an artist but the chef was not nearly as artistic! One night they had Frog Legs and they came out the size of chicken legs, the frog had to be the size of a chicken for it to be possible (are you picturing that?)! I would give the food in the main dining a C+ review and the buffet lunch and breakfast a B. Since you can order as many entrees as you wish in the dining room, we did find something we liked each night but sometimes we would have to try several entrees to get to the one we liked. The funny part was that there were salads coming out at the same time as pastas and it was very disorganized (but the staff was so nice and amenable). For breakfast, you need to just know that you can order an omelette on the buffet but there is no omelette station, so you just need to know that you can tell the grill man what you want. There were a lot of choices for breakfast. The elevators were ridiculous! I had a stroller and my grandpa had a wheelchair, so we always needed the elevators (and it seemed everyone else did too since many guests were 60+). They were small and slow and one elevator was on floor 6 for the whole trip! I had one issue with the casino also as I only play craps and they only open one single craps table open at 10:20 pm and it closes at 12 midnight, so not much of a window for playing time there. I complained and they said they never open it before 10:20. The ports were nice and we did our own excursions and they were great. There was a decent time at each port (except Caya Levantado, although not much to do there except go to the beach). The pools are European style, so not very large and no shallow end. I was hoping for a more resort-like pool. The hot tubs were not that hot either. Since the pool area not that large, the days at sea had a lot of people on deck, very crowded. Disembarkation was effortless! On a whole, we had fun. We liked the staff, most of the food, the cabin and the entertainment (not just the main theatre but the bar ear also). Remember, most of us that booked got a great deal on the ship, so it may not have been the most extravagant but we can't expect filet mignon at Applebee's. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
My wife and I just returned back to Canada after a cruise on the MSC Orchestra. It was the February 21,2009 cruise to the western Caribbean. First; let me tell you the good: The ships is new, large and beautiful. It was our favorite ... Read More
My wife and I just returned back to Canada after a cruise on the MSC Orchestra. It was the February 21,2009 cruise to the western Caribbean. First; let me tell you the good: The ships is new, large and beautiful. It was our favorite cruise ship when it comes to appearance. Lots of brass, glass, and marble. The state rooms were of average size. The public areas are roomy and nicely decorated. The ship was kept very clean. No complaints there. We found the entertainment to be very good. The lounge shows were good and the shows in the main theater were very entertaining. I would give rate this part of our cruise very highly. The buffets were less than stellar. Same menu every day. It was disappointing. We found that the food and service in the dinning room for breakfast and lunch to be much better. the last 4 days of the cruise we ate our meals there. If you have not cruised, I would advise you to take in this service. It is open to all passengers and it saves a lot of aggravation. Now the bad: The service was slow and the staff, for the most part, were indifferent.Not the friendly smiles and courtesy we received on past cruises. No one offered assistance unless you asked,then it was lackluster. The only exception to this was our room attendants. The man and lady were both very pleasant and always greeted us with a friendly smile and hello. The dinning in the evening was a disappointment. Our servers were quiet but friendly. The food was below average. The portions were small and didn't seem to have the flair of other cruise lines. Keep in mind the cost of this cruise was several hundred dollars cheaper that competing cruise lines. We felt it was here that the cost was trimmed. The whiners: Here is where our cruise was the most effected. We could not help but to hear other passengers constant complaining. Sure it may not have been as good as it could have been, but not as bad a many of the passengers made it out to be. Many people were making mountains out of mole hills. To sun it up, we felt we got a good value for out money. We got a 4 star cruise for a 3.5 star price. Many of the passengers were expecting 5 star cruise and were disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
We arrived at the dock around 4pm and boarded immediately. Having already familiarized ourselves with the layout of the ship, had no trouble locating our cabin. Met our cabin steward who asked if we needed anything. We wanted extra ... Read More
We arrived at the dock around 4pm and boarded immediately. Having already familiarized ourselves with the layout of the ship, had no trouble locating our cabin. Met our cabin steward who asked if we needed anything. We wanted extra pillows and those were brought immediately. Discovered our dinner seating was early, though we had booked for later, we went to the dining room to change to late seating. No problems and were given a table for the 8:30 dinner. L'Hibiscus was too yellow and bright for our tastes and our table was near the kitchen entrance which hubby hates. He went to the Maitre'd and requested a move to Villa Borghese. He was told we would have a very nice table. A note was left in our cabin informing us of our new table (462) in Villa Borghese. Great table, fabulous waiter and assistant. We found the food to be very good, cooked well and liked the foods served according to the country we had visited that day. My family even ate items I never thought I would see them eat AND they liked it! We always order a continental breakfast for early delivery as we like our coffee when getting ready. This was delivered every morning very promptly. Once I had forgotten to order croissants and these were brought to us within minutes of our request. We ate breakfast at the buffet the first morning. Finding it very crowded, food mediocre and somewhat disorganized, we decided to eat in Villa Borghese every day which served good food. We ate 3 or 4 times in the buffet for lunch, but again, preferred the restaurant as the food and service was better. Refreshment serving carts would have been welcome at the buffet as it was crowded around the coffee service. Larger glasses would have also been appreciated for water. The fresh made pastas in the dining room were flavorful. No comparison to that at the buffet. We definitely enjoyed the quietness of the ship without the on going outdoor movies (I don't ever want to hear Shrek again!) and constant announcements for games, entertainment, art auction, etc. In fact, they don't push the sale of anything including alcohol. I found this very refreshing instead of telling a waiter every few seconds, no, thank you. The evening entertainment in the theaters was top notch and not the corny shows one finds on other ships. The only bottleneck was through the Savanah Bar where everyone has to feed into the starboard side hall to pass to to the rear of the ship. The four of us ate in Shanghai Restaurant and loved the Chinese food and good service. The only drawback that was corrected, was ordering a bottle of wine from the menu on the table. We ordered the MSC house wine and was told by the waiter the wine list was not valid, but that we had to order from the wine bar menu. I immediately said, "if that were the case, why is the menu on all the tables?". With no comment he brought the bottle of wine we initially ordered. We found our cabin very comfortable and our steward saw that we did not want for anything. We always had fresh ice and he arranged our sleeping clothes as flowers on the bed everynight. I used the spa extensively and found it refreshing to not have products pushed for sale. The staff was very nice, the services good and the jacuzzi's were a well kept secret as there were never more than 3 or 4 people using them. We did not miss the 24 hour food service as we adjusted our schedule accordingly. Saved on the waistline too. The ice cream at the pool was fantastic and affordably priced. Too tempting. The internet service was awful, but then what ship has good service? We chose the cruise for the ports and length of time in each one. This gave ample time to see sights, though some places we could have stayed for weeks! It was nice to not have to rush to get back for a 4pm sailing or only be in port 4 hours. The sea days were relaxing, the seas calm and each day dawned with a beautiful sunrise. The disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was frustrating due to the delay and missed flight, however this has occurred before with us on other cruises. We just went with the flow and made other arrangements once we got to the airport. We arrived home 8 hours later than planned, but that is not a big issue with us. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise, accommodations and food. Service could be improved, but a smile, please and thank you really went a long way with the staff. The ship is beautiful, well planned, easy to maneuver and the elevators were never a problem. Lots of quiet areas to relax and enjoy the sea. We will definitely sail with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Background Information: We have cruised once prior to this, a 12 day NCL Baltic Capitols Cruise. We chose MSC for the dates (fit kids spring break) and that we got two kids "free" (taxes/port fees only) in our cabin. Travel To ... Read More
Background Information: We have cruised once prior to this, a 12 day NCL Baltic Capitols Cruise. We chose MSC for the dates (fit kids spring break) and that we got two kids "free" (taxes/port fees only) in our cabin. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We flew from Belgium to the Barcelona airport, landing near 11AM. Taxi to the cruise terminal was smooth and easy. The cab driver did add a port supplement (I have no idea if it is valid) and the tab was about 28 Euro. Embarkation: This ran quick and smooth. We had pre-registered through the internet, so they shot web-cam photos of us, got a credit card signature, and presented our cards. (Oops... first pass they handed me someone else's credit card and receipt to sign!) We were at our cabin within 15 minutes, and our luggage arrived by the time we finished a buffet lunch. Ship Info: The ship was beautiful and very well maintained. The reception area is quite large and open. The theater was very good. The ship was quiet and smooth. One fact I didn't like is the lack of a real promenade deck. While it had the area for life-boat loading, the deck did not continue around the bow and stern, so was not used for walking or running. On the Norwegian Dream this was heavily used. The pools were cold salt-water. The hot-tubs were only luke warm. The recessed nature of the pool deck one deck below the upper sun deck made the pool area much warmer and less windy which was nice for an April cruise. They had a good supply of towels, but only 1 distribution and collection point... for the ship size four should have been provided. They called the upper sun deck the jogging track... no way. The sun chairs blocked the path too much to run on it. They have a big screen TV outside above one pool. It was neat, but several portions of the screen stayed black all the time. Stateroom: I expected a little more room for the second highest category. The balcony was also much less than I expected. We were quite crowded having 4 people in the room, but since two were cheap it is hard to complain. There was a queen bed (two twins combined), a pullout love seat, and one fold down bed. The bathroom was small but nice. The shower curtain was well planned, with the curtain attaching down the whole length on one side, and then having about a 4 inch overlap with a glass edge, so leakage past it was not a problem. Storage space was at a premium. In a couple places corner shelves could have been placed above items like the TV and a corner night stand, without taking space away. The light were not well planned. First, you need to insert the room key into a slot near the door to turn on the lights (common in European hotels). Then, you could not turn on and off most lights individually.... and two were high power spots directly over the fold out bed, shining right on the face of the person in that bed. This plan did not allow me to stay up late and read, as everyone would be subject to the light. Also, I had a run-in between my head and the fold down bed when getting up one morning.... it is right where you sit up on the side of the bed. Activities: With port calls everyday, we did not use many ship activities. The gym was good, with a nice view out the bow. Equipment included 6 treadmills, elliptical, bikes, a few weight machines, etc. Dining: This was the weakest area. Here's the by-meal breakout: - Breakfast. There is the buffet or in the restaurant. We used the restaurant day 1. The scrambled eggs were runny (yuck!), the bacon was to an American way under cooked (yuck!), the sausage and breads were good. The other days we used the buffet on Deck 13... at least we could see it before taking it. The menu sign said omelets to order. I tried to order one and was pointed to the pre-cooked ones with nothing in them. The bacon again was under-cooked, although the menu sign boasted of crispy bacon. There was a good selection of fruits, yogurt, meats, sausage, sunny side up, hard-boiled and scrambled eggs, plus breads. The only drinks included were tea, coffee, milks, water and so-called fruit juice (tastes like Tang). The buffet was crowded, and sometimes hard to find a seat, specially if the port call schedule drove people to eat at a certain time. - Lunch. Although they advertise the buffet, pizzeria, grill, and Villa as all available for lunch, the first three are all the same place....I went looking for them, and finally called to ask where they are! The food was OK, and only OK. No drink except water is included. - Dinner. The selection was decent. Most nights had 3 appetizer choices, a salad, 2 soups, 2 pasta/risotto dishes, 3 main choices, and dessert choices. They also had always available a beef, chicken, fish, and spaghetti meal plus a mixed salad. The quality was generally good, but not excellent.... clearly below our experience on NCL last summer. Beef was often overcooked. A real shortfall was NO DRINKS ARE INCLUDED. Not even water. A 75cc bottle of water was 2.60 euro. The service was not well organized. I expect everyone to receive the same course at the same time. This did not happen. Half the table might get a course, while the others sat with nothing for 5-10 minutes. We had the early 7PM) seating, and it normally lasted 90 - 110 minutes. We always were out in time for the evening show. Children's Clubs: Not used with a port every day. Service: OK. No ice in room first 36 hours until I asked (although the in-room material said it would automatically be provided). The room steward did a good job. The waiters/waitresses were not pushy. Entertainment: Decent, at least most of it. We watched the show every night. Four African acrobats were the stars many nights. Not only did they have incredible strength/coordination, they put on a good show with their talents. There was an alright magician, who stared one night and was a short act two others. One guy threw knives into the floor.... could have done without that. Another spun balls on strings and hit them on the floor to make a tap dance type noise.... much of the audience loved it when he swung them so they brushed his long hair, but we found it dull. They had two excellent singers (male tenor and female soprano) who were very talented. The Cossack dancers could not compare to the real ones we saw in Russia! The introduction in 5 languages was painful! Shore Excursions: We used the ship transfer to Marseilles, a fair deal at 7 euro each. We also used the cultural and historic Tunis tour. We were mostly pleased with the tour. It went to Sidi Bou Said (this is pushy sales people starting negotiation on a cheap dress at 160 euro, being insulted when we offer 10, then counter 80, 60, 40, 20 then being mad we didn't go for 20), and could be skipped. Also in this city they gave a carpet sales pitch.... I paid for a tour not a sales pitch. Positives were Carthage & the museum, plus unscheduled Roman amphitheater ruin and swing by the American Military Cemetery. The guide was knowledgeable, but really wanted everyone in a group and paying attention to him.... sometime we want to look around! The tour ran 5 hours vs. the 4 advertised (a positive). This itinerary goes to some of the dirtiest large cities in Europe. Marseilles, Genoa, Naples and Palermo just are not that nice, and do not provide a safe feeling. Also, the ship sold port maps for 50 euro cents, and provided a top ten list for each port. Helpful for those who do not research/plan in advance. Disembarkation: Our bags had to be out by midnight the night before, which is fine. I didn't like that we had to clear the room by 0730, 2 hours before our meeting time for disembarkation, and had to haul our small bags until then. They did not offer a place to hold your bags at the Barcelona port if you had time to explore the city. We took a taxi to Estacio Saints Barcelona Central and put our bags into storage lockers. We fit 4 medium to large suitcases, and two carry-ons into two large lockers @ 4.50 euro each. Summary: Good but not great. The food was the biggest let-down. The ship was super. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
I sailed on the January 17th - 7 days eastern Caribbean. I had a balcony stateroom 9131 on deck 9 midship. I am French Canadian so sorry for the spelling mistakes. I heard alot of people complaining during this sailing but I think ... Read More
I sailed on the January 17th - 7 days eastern Caribbean. I had a balcony stateroom 9131 on deck 9 midship. I am French Canadian so sorry for the spelling mistakes. I heard alot of people complaining during this sailing but I think maybe they were not well informed about this cruise line and expected to much of an North American Style ship and service which is not. It is truly an European ship but are making adjustments for the North American market. Ship: Absolutely clean and spotless. You never feel crowded in the public areas. It is truly a beautiful vessel from the Atrium to the pool area and the spa. Cabin: Our cabin was spotless!! Service from my room steward was great. If I needed something I would call and it would be there in minutes. Alot of space for our clothes etc. Even had cabinets in the bathroom....nice touch. Food: Here is where most of the complaints came from. Yes, they did not have the 24 hours buffet. It would close 45 minutes after breakfast, 45 minutes after lunch and would close at 7:30pm because it becomes an a la carte restaurant where you pay $25. Around 4:30 for about an hour it is tea time at the buffet and you can grab nice little sandwiches and pastries. Yes, they did not have a grill by the pool. Now depending what you are looking for...I enjoyed this because I did not have lines by the pool or the smoke from the grill with the smell of the food around us when we were at the pool. You can simply go to the buffet and get your food and take it outside with you. At the buffet they has burgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza, pasta station, salad bar, desert bar, meats, fish chicken etc.They had pineapple juice, ice tea, coffee and tea that was free. The dining room menu was not great but good. You had a section that had the same thing every night and the special menu that changes every day. They had risotto, pasta, fish, chicken, one night filet mignon and the an other night lobster tails. You have to remember that it is a European ship, therefore they cook their food differently. If you been to Europe before you will find good things to eat all the time. Breakfast and lunch were assume. The service was o.k. I had a discussion with the Maitre D and I told him that the Table Captains should at least take orders because they do not do anything just chat. There fore it leaves 1 waiter and 1 bus boy for 4 tables that are from 4 to 8. That is why the service can be a bit slow. However every night we would start at 8:15 and be out of there by 10:15 which is the average time for dinner with all cruise ships. Shanghai Restaurant: $$ Loves it! Loved it! Loved it! Sweet & Sour soup, garlic chicken & bokchoy, shanghai stirfry....Amazing. Total bill for 2, no drinks $36 with green tea. Room service for breakfast: Typical European.....breads, croissants, pain au chocolate, yogurt, coffee, tea, juices and cereal. Room service menu: Free with sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit platters, salads. Very fast most we waited was 10 minutes. Complaints about ice cream......Yes you have to pay for it $2. However, it is not the typical ice cream fountain you find at a buffet with Carnival....it is an Italian home made ice cream that is called Gelato which is awesome!! They had 10 different flavors. I pay more at home for a Gelato then I did on the ship. Entertainment: Very nice and very cultured entertainment. From opera, a renowned pianist, magic show, circus show, celtic show. One of the best I have seen. However if you want a vegas style show, stay with carnival or RCL. I was there with a group and they all enjoyed it because they were not surprised. They were well informed about the type of cruise it is. Also it is a very relax cruise line with 1 message on the speakers in the morning. Nice touch. The average age is about 60 yrs old. If you want some R&R, good food and not have anything jump at you at every corner of the ship...this could be the ship for you. Like I told my clients before leaving, do not compare it to other ships, pretend you in Europe and just enjoy. Don't let the small things stress you. It is amazing how people would get rattle about the pay for ice cream or the buffet not being 24 hours. When you travel, you must be able to adapt and make the trip your own. The other thing, you must remind yourself that with the hard economics time...we are lucky to be travelling when other people are losing their homes and savings. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Cruise Mid of November, East Mediterranean Sea Ship in general The ship is very beautiful. There were many passengers (thereof 2400 German), but one does not notice that there are so many persons. The MSC Orchestra has place enough for ... Read More
Cruise Mid of November, East Mediterranean Sea Ship in general The ship is very beautiful. There were many passengers (thereof 2400 German), but one does not notice that there are so many persons. The MSC Orchestra has place enough for all and many rooms to stay there. However, they had sometimes accumulations: for example at breakfast or at dinner when trips where planned. The cabin The room of the cabin was sufficient and appropriately equipped. We had a cabin outside with balcony on the 10th floor (Lira-Deck), on the port side, very calm. We had nearly every day new towels. Eating. They had a great choice with breakfast and lunch. Those who could find anything should blame themselves. The dinner was also okay. We got always what we ordered. Service Service of cabin and of the reception: They were kind, conscientious. Athletics, entertainment Performances in the theatre "Covent Garden" were absolutely professional. They don't need the comparison with others in the world. The spectators like the performances of the dancing ensemble, the magician, artistic group (the theatre consists of 1000 persons) very much and were enthusiastic. The "Angels Quartet (4 young ladies) played excellent classic music (5 points) "Los Paraguayos" in top form when there were many spectators (4,5 points) In the "Savannah Bar" they played every evening the same boring songs. (2 points) The same the "Shaker-Lounge", which was full of smoke (2 points). Unfortunately nowhere attractive music, we missed international disco music, for example during the pauses in life music they could have played them. The entertainers were foolish, without ideas Of all entertainers we did not like Felice Visone, disc jockey "R32 Dicso, Deck 14": This discotheque was opened about 23 o'clock. When one comes about this time or later to the rooms which were most of times without any people, he played techno music very loudly. When we wished other music, for example discofox, he answered: this is not my music. Even if one evening they announced "Evergreens", they played only stupid techno music. When we said, that they had "evergreen evening", Mr. Visone went to his cabin and played very old twist and rockn'roll. In spite of this many guest arrived and danced. Mr. Visone played the music louder and louder, but the guests remained there. Ten minutes later he played again his techno music and the guests left. It is really a pity that in this beautiful discotheque which is technically well-equipped only techno music is played, though they have all the repertoire of music between twist and techno in the computers. We asked Mr. Visone to play music from our MP3-Player, and we got it back with many viruses, also the Trojaner.  This is a very dangerous thing on a modern ship, which has many computers. Trips on land Very expensive. Many times the visits were included with advertising, sometimes already in the bus. The advertising comprised a half- or one hour. But we had only paid for visits and did not want to loose time and money for this advertising trip. 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

Find a MSC Orchestra Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise