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45 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews

My wife and I, and another couple booked 2 MSC European cruises about a year in advance. The first, on the MSC Orchestra, sailed from Hamburg on June 5th and visited ports in Scotland and Ireland. This was our first experience with MSC. ... Read More
My wife and I, and another couple booked 2 MSC European cruises about a year in advance. The first, on the MSC Orchestra, sailed from Hamburg on June 5th and visited ports in Scotland and Ireland. This was our first experience with MSC. Overall, this was a lower priced cruise, and the lesson learned is you get what you pay for (unless it's on the drink package, then you may not even get that). When we bought the cruise, we also purchased the Deluxe drink package that was supposedly the best and it included the most expensive drinks. Since then, MSC has redefined their drink packages and our Deluxe had been renamed Premium which covers drinks costing up to 10 Euros. They also changed the prices of some of the best spirits to be 11 Euros or more effectively moving the best quality drinks out of our package into the new Premium Plus category - hence my 'Bait & Switch' title. We tried to explain the situation to the bar staff and also complained to customer service, but to no avail. On rum drinks, the best we could get was 8 yr old Bicardi's rather than the Zacappa 23 that we'd paid for. I cannot fault the bar staff, this was a recent corporate/management decision. The honest course of action would have been to honor the original package parameters. My only recourse is to warn other cruisers that if you buy an MSC package ahead of time, don't be surprised if it's downgraded by the time you sail. One of the highlights of the cruise was the excellent staff members who do the actual work on the ships. The bartender in the wine bar, Louis from Peru, was an absolute professional. He is personable, extremely knowledgeable, multilingual, a natural leader for the rest of the staff, and an awesome singer & magician. The rest of the staff Sri, Pascky, Akash and Ace all provided excellent customer service and are valuable assets to MSC. I am unimpressed with the leadership and management on MSC. The officers, while being polite to customers, were aloof and sometimes rude to the workers. In one instance, I watched a group of 4 officers hold an impromptu business discussion that went on for more than 5 minutes about 4 feet in front of the singer who was trying to entertain the people in the wine bar. The dining room staff worked hard to make it a good experience. Olvin, our principal table waiter was great. The food variety and quality was fine, but not up the standards we've seen on other cruise lines. There was no problem getting enough to eat, but the budget aspect of the cruise was evident in the very thin cuts of meat and limited wine selection available in the dining room. There was no sommelier or wine steward. Self disembarkation in Hamburg was a good experience and strongly recommended if available. Some ports don't allow it. We got off before the rush and caught a cab out front to the airport - easy. We would never book another MSC cruise. The price was lower, but the way they cut corners and redefine services erodes the experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. ... Read More
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. The menu at buffet and restaurants did not have many options, specially if you do not want to eat meat. They take a lot of time to refill food and coffee, when they do. Napkins at the buffet were dark blue fabric, dirty and smelly as well as the plastic glasses to drink water. Dining tables at the buffet were usually dirty, they did not remove the dirty dishes and stuff very fast. No enough tables at the buffet, it takes some time to find a place to seat. No shows at the theater for several days, even at sea days. However, one night there was the best show we ever enjoyed at cruises, with an Argentinian singer, Guillermo Guido. Great show. Instructions to connect to the Internet were not given to the rooms. After some time, we finally found the instructions on a blackboard near the Reception office. We wasted a lot of time with long lines everywhere because there were just a few officers to help you. It seems that they did not have bilingual crew. The library was very limited, not only the quantity of books available but also its schedule. The person in charge of the library did not speak or understand basic Spanish, in spite of most of the passengers were Argentinian. The crew looked very tense and did not smile at any moment, they just did the minimum required with a tired face. Finally, they charged for water and everything, even for the only scale they had at the gym, $9!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise for the wonderful itinerary and the fact that MSC doesn't charge for infants like other cruise lines do. The itinerary was the Baltic/Northern Europe. The embarkation was amazing - walked right on board and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the wonderful itinerary and the fact that MSC doesn't charge for infants like other cruise lines do. The itinerary was the Baltic/Northern Europe. The embarkation was amazing - walked right on board and we had showed up early for the embarkation. We did not take any of the ships excursions - booked a Shore Trip excursion for Russia and either did the shuttle or walk offs for the rest of the ports. The ship was lovely however the food was just ok. Much prefer Princess and Royal Carribean - especially the desserts. The announcements were very long as they were done in 6 languages each time - went to only 2 shows at night and the same issue there with announcements etc. I understand that they cater to a large range of nationalities so it is understanding. Missed having comedy shows etc. because of the language issue. The staff were generally very helpful - would do an MSC again if travelling with children only. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I read horrible reviews prior to my trip, but I still signed on because the ports were enticing and the price was right. To begin, getting any sort of help online prior to travel was impossible. No one responded to emails or chat ... Read More
I read horrible reviews prior to my trip, but I still signed on because the ports were enticing and the price was right. To begin, getting any sort of help online prior to travel was impossible. No one responded to emails or chat requests. Luckily some members of our group were able to take the time to call the MSC help desk. I prefer to do everything online and MSC is not set up to handle that type of business. The transfer from Milan was excellent. Great staff, no issues there! Embarkation was a bit messier. There were multiple stations to hit, but there was no welcome feeling and we didn't really know what was happening from desk to desk. As someone else mentioned, the lifeboat drill was not on time and not organized. I honestly wish I had just signed in and walked away, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to do that. It was a waste of a good hour of ship time. The first night of dinner, in the myChoiceDining area, our server was so horrible, half our group didn't come back to dinner. When our friends inquired about their drink order, he said, "give me a minute!" He handed us our plates instead of setting them down. He told us to "Make Room" for additional plates on the table. He gave us grief for wanting to order additional entrees to share with the table and then delivered them all at once when we clearly didn’t have the space for them. And finally, he wanted us to order our dessert with our entrees, which was very unusual. The second night we requested a new server and told the hostess that our previous waiter was terrible and she just said ok. Our new server was wonderful and we went back to him every night! As someone else mentioned, breakfast in the dining room was buffet or a la carte. Our server didn’t seem to want to take our order or serve anything. As it turns out, we shouldn’t have ordered. The waffles looked to be frozen waffles and the fruit was definitely thawed out. We never went back to breakfast in the dining room. The buffet breakfast wasn’t very enticing either, so we stuck to yogurts, fruit and breads. Others in our party complained about the lines and chaos in the buffet, but I’ve seen that on other large ships as well. Our dinner server would actually help us find our family or find a table if the others hadn’t arrived yet. To me, that’s good service! The ports were all amazing, but I will say, there should be more organization as there was a tremendous line in Barcelona to re-board the ship. With such short port times, it should be assumed everyone will come back at once and staffing should be there to cover the busy times. On Saturday, upon arrival in Cherbourg, there was a line of people waiting to get off the ship, an hour after we were entitled to disembark... when suddenly the staff started moving props to another deck. Had I not asked, I would not have been told that there was a problem with the gangway and we needed to go to another deck. The lack of communication for that was disappointing, along with the loss of an hour in port, with no apology that I’m aware of. On approximately deck 10 rear, we ran into worker smoking in a very small area that isn't a smoking area. Completely inappropriate. Speaking of smoking, half of the pool deck as well as another half of the walking track are smoking areas. I had to do laps on only one side of deck 7 (the walking track). The casino is also a smoking area and completely infected the entrance to the theater. We were told there were 50 nationalities onboard, so yes, the announcements were made in 6 languages, which can be long, but who’s to decide which ones to cut? Not me. In the reception line, one poor employee was unable to help so many guests, so it’s clear not all guests speak English and multiple announcements are needed. I do feel investing in translators for staff would be helpful, at least at the reception desk. In general the service was inconsistent. Some days, you got the nicest bartenders. Other days, they were downright nasty. The cruise staff was awesome! Great group of people in that crew! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I chose this ship because of the amazing itinerary. The ports were wonderful.. had and a great time visiting Greece, Italy, France, Malta and Barcelona. However let me start off by saying, my entrance into the ship felt like I was at a ... Read More
I chose this ship because of the amazing itinerary. The ports were wonderful.. had and a great time visiting Greece, Italy, France, Malta and Barcelona. However let me start off by saying, my entrance into the ship felt like I was at a timeshare meetjng. They ushered us into the bar/reception area and proceeded to try to sell us a drink package. They were very persistent even when told NO!! The food was another issue, it was plentiful, but boring, the same food every day. It appears they used the leftovers from the night before to make up breakfast and lunch. Then your dinner waiter tried to sell you a prime rib or lobster dinner. There was one specialty Asian restaurant on board. The food was ok.. the room steward barely spoke English, but was very accommodating. The reception/excursion staff was not very friendly. The staff definitely needs customer service training. I'm not sure if it was due to the ship being s older one, but I can't say that I would travel on the MSC orchestra again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were looking forward to the cruise, however as passengers on this ship we rarely existed to the crew, for example, we had to always go to deck 5 to find someone to find answers regarding anything. The problem was that so did all the ... Read More
We were looking forward to the cruise, however as passengers on this ship we rarely existed to the crew, for example, we had to always go to deck 5 to find someone to find answers regarding anything. The problem was that so did all the other passengers, so, you had to waste time in the que,on 4 occasions the person I spoke to was not very polite, and when I requested to see her superior I was told they were to busy. on other cruises we have been on the staff were available around the ship and you just had to ask your question. The most annoying part of this cruise was that it was very difficult to find HOT food, even in the restaurant we had to send food back to be re-heated or cooked better. The cabin was fine however you had no contact with the young man looking after your cabin, you had to contact deck 5. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This ship was clean and tidy, the food was average and never hot, just warm if you were lucky. If you had a question regarding anything on the ship, YOU had to go to deck 5 and stand in a queue to speak to one of the 5 persons behind ... Read More
This ship was clean and tidy, the food was average and never hot, just warm if you were lucky. If you had a question regarding anything on the ship, YOU had to go to deck 5 and stand in a queue to speak to one of the 5 persons behind the desk, it was very hard to find any other member of the crew. The personnel behind the bars were very efficient and polite. I had an all inclusive drinks package, HOWEVER I was not told that this only includes the cheapest drinks, IE; Metaxa brandy and 2 other cheap ones, not even a middle class one, the same with all other alcohol beverages and wines. The entertainment was the same approximately 10 persons doing the very similar show with a slightly different theme every night for 30 to 45 minuets. I would not recommend a M S C cruise based on this one. One more complaint, when I tried to speak to a member of M S C I was told I can not, I have to email them and wait up to 28 days for a reply, to me , this means, they have my money and that is the end of any other service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I have got a very good information about MSC trips from Italian friends as we are leaving in Slovenia, we, my friends and us, decided to join this cruise for celebrating the 60th anniversary for my husband and our friend . We were ... Read More
I have got a very good information about MSC trips from Italian friends as we are leaving in Slovenia, we, my friends and us, decided to join this cruise for celebrating the 60th anniversary for my husband and our friend . We were enjoying our trip together and we were all exited. Unfortunately, our friends found their theft on 3rd day from inside the cabin and could not find their money. For us we found the theft of our camera and wallet upon arriving home taking into consideration that our home keys and cupboards were inside the wallet (Belle red wallet) - This happened when we put our bags and handbags (myself and husband) outside the cabin the night before we left, following cruise instructions . I have already sent my complain to my travel agency in Cairo and didn't get any feedback. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth , Dining service staff were very friendly, accurate and perfect. Overall comment, I am warning everyone about their money and their stuff during any trip on MSC cruises . Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Choose it on locations to visit Ship was very good cabins excellent hard working staff were very good in all dept except management who had an air of superiority and indifference to any issues on board particularly non Italians ... Read More
Choose it on locations to visit Ship was very good cabins excellent hard working staff were very good in all dept except management who had an air of superiority and indifference to any issues on board particularly non Italians as the ship had over 2000 on board the large majority were Italian and all they seemed to do was eat and argue with each other no concept of queuing or manners at the buffet which we avoided from day one overloaded plates of food half eaten people jostling for food,we ate all meals in the restaurant breakfast ,lunch and dinner which in general was fine, The trips and shuttle arrangements were expensive and of poor value for example in Corsica we waited two hours on board to get bus to beach 39 euros each once on beach we good see our ship from across the bay and found a boat going back and forward all day 16 euros return,also a local bus to beach for 2 euros each way. Shuttle bus were overpriced ie in Palma 6 euros to go a few yards to dock entrance were a hop on of bus was available to do city tour no one informed of this,Barcelona 15 euros shuttle to get out off dock area again local port bus 3 euros to ship location. Guided tours not great geared for Italians better to do your own homework and not to be scared to go off piste as a lot of time is wasted on board organizing the groups in to various trips again down to late arrivals Italians no concept off time or organization. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
It was part of a tour package with Trip A Deal. Embarkation went smoothly.Considering how many people there were and our luggage came to our room within the hour. Our first cruise in years we were looking forward to it. The cabin was ... Read More
It was part of a tour package with Trip A Deal. Embarkation went smoothly.Considering how many people there were and our luggage came to our room within the hour. Our first cruise in years we were looking forward to it. The cabin was pleasant with a small balcony. It was clean and regularly tidied with fresh towels daily. The ship itself was slightly dated . The buffet areas a bit of a cattle market and tables could have been cleared more effectively.Most time the warm food was cold by the time you ate it but there was variation although most of it was fast foods The salad bar was very good plenty of choice. We had a book of tokens for wines which made it less expensive. The evening meals were a great disappointment. They were small and very uninteresting.The menus made them sound so much more appetising. The option of a cheese plate for dessert was two very small pieces of cheese and a couple of crackers ! Entertainment was where it fell down. The first show was good but then each night they varied the theme but not the routines.It was repetative throughout the cruise. The yoga sessions in the gym you had to pay for.Water you had to pay for! The music while on deck was really loud when entertaining the children. We went ashore every day and enjoyed wandering around. I would not do another cruise with MSC but would cruise again with a different company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this ship on recommendation of travel agent.It all kicked off at Barcelona Airport where the MSC rep could not be found. We looked everywhere and eventually spied him behind a pillar. The embarkation was a pain as there was only ... Read More
We chose this ship on recommendation of travel agent.It all kicked off at Barcelona Airport where the MSC rep could not be found. We looked everywhere and eventually spied him behind a pillar. The embarkation was a pain as there was only one scanner at security check in we were in the queue to board ship for ages. The cabin was very clean and of a good size. The TV had two English channels BBC World and CNN. The cabin was serviced twice daily no problems here. The food was plentiful in the buffet area but in keeping with dining throughout the ship the temperature was tepid to cold totally unacceptable. The fine dining was just that, the portions were very very small. I ordered a cheese platter and there would just about be enough to put on a mousetrap. The waiters and staff were excellent very friendly and obliging. My other gripe were the two Gala nights suggested dress code dress suits. It was totally ignored by many of the other passengers. They came in in leans tee shirts and other rags. They were admitted to the so called Gala night. This should be policed and if not cancel the Gala nights altogether. The entertainment in the lounges was very repetitive so much so you might hear the same songs twice or three times every night. It was all karaoke backing tracks even for the four piece bands. The theater productions were not too bad the worst performance was the opera night were the male singer was totally out of time with the backing tracks and his tuning was suspect as was the female singer. The security people need to smile a bit they were the most sullen I have come across. There is a ten euro service charge per passenger per day. I asked some of the staff if they received this and the response was no. So with a capacity of 3200 passengers MSC are pocketing a further €32000 per day this is €224000 per week and €11,648,000 per year from passengers . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose the cruise mainly the length and the itinerary. Whilst we booked Aurea class our cabin 12071 was just below the pool area and the noise at times was intolerable especially at night when they were cleaning the deck. I was woken up ... Read More
We chose the cruise mainly the length and the itinerary. Whilst we booked Aurea class our cabin 12071 was just below the pool area and the noise at times was intolerable especially at night when they were cleaning the deck. I was woken up several times and phoned guest services to complain, they promised to send someone to sort it out, straight away, however it was more like half an hour. Nevertheless we did not expect that we would be the on two English passengers on board with 99% being Spanish speaking and as a result all of the entertainment was in Spanish including the TV. Had I known this in advance I would not have booked and would advise anybody booking a similar cruise to ask the question. The food on board reminded me of school dinners, poor quality and unimaginative, basically on the cheap. Guest relations was poor and they just smiled a lot without addressing the problems, the other staff were however friendly an efficient. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Sailed with MSC...gold card holders...so very disappointed. Venice embarkation shambles to say the least. After flight from Dublin and long track across Venice airport coach park with luggage in the rain we had to stand 2+ hrs to ... Read More
Sailed with MSC...gold card holders...so very disappointed. Venice embarkation shambles to say the least. After flight from Dublin and long track across Venice airport coach park with luggage in the rain we had to stand 2+ hrs to hand over luggage in PRIORITY BOARDING lane at cruise terminal. Fellow passengers the noisiest, hardly any English announcements/entertainment etc clear enough to hear. We so fed up with tango demos, entertainment after THREE WEEKS we cancelled show here in Buenos Aires. LITINERARY was awful.......half days in Recefi, Sansalvedor and Rio (tour guide there useless and slept or smoked so v disappointing) destinations we went for. No TV available... almost all of cruise....all retuned after Med. They kept promising us "after Sansalvedor" or "after Rio" so unprofessional when they knew it wasn't going on again. Disembark in Buenos Aires another nightmare in tropical temps. It was not the Bucket List cruise I had envisioned or hoped for yet I love usually love and recommend MSC? If you not Spanish or Italian speaker would suggest give Grand Voyages with MSC a wide berth. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Very average cruise ship in all regards.. with the exception being the shows at night, and the excellent employees. The MSC Orchestra has the feeling of being back in the 80's, with no "wow!" factor at all. There's a ... Read More
Very average cruise ship in all regards.. with the exception being the shows at night, and the excellent employees. The MSC Orchestra has the feeling of being back in the 80's, with no "wow!" factor at all. There's a reason we got 3 persons for the price of 2 in high season out of Venice (Eastern Med cruise). The dancers and performers were amazing and could have easily been in Vegas. The shows were very good. My teenager loved every single one of them! The food is good enough, but not nothing special. The kids liked the pizza and smoothies a LOT. At formal dinners, the portions were ridiculously small. The prime rib was 1cm thick, for example. The pools are quite small and cold. Chairs are occupied by orange towels all day while people leave for hours. Get your chairs blocked early. Drink packages added $400 to our bill. Lots of teens onboard! The disco is at the rear and is outstanding... One major disappointment with MSC is discovering that the 15% gratuities you pay DO NOT go to the workers! That's right, MSC charges you 15% extra everywhere, yet they pocket this themselves. The hairdresser from Serbia cuts hair 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and she receives nothing extra than her base salary. Shame on you, MSC. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My friends and I chose this cruise for A) Itinerary B) to try a new cruise line - bad mistake. Embarkation absolute chaos - staff too busy trying to sell packages, i.e. photo's/dvd's/drinks/excursions/spa etc the list goes on. ... Read More
My friends and I chose this cruise for A) Itinerary B) to try a new cruise line - bad mistake. Embarkation absolute chaos - staff too busy trying to sell packages, i.e. photo's/dvd's/drinks/excursions/spa etc the list goes on. No one to actually help with smooth boarding. The 'Hawkers' always managed to chose the narrow point of passage way, where it was impossible to pass without being collared. If you said politely not interested for now, let me board first - they would not take no for an answer and carried on with the hard sell. Ship amazing, very clean and well furnished. Public toilets need to be attended more often, us ladies had to carry tissues as never any loo paper. Everyone used hand paper towels, not good for the systems. Balcony cabin very good, but requested twin beds arrived to find large double. Cabin steward introduced himself and we requested beds be split (two mature ladies) as did our friends next door. Oh dear not helpful at all bad start. He tried to convince us that there was no room for beds to be parted. In the end we had to insist or move us to another cabin. I suffer with Psoriasis and have to slap coal tar creams etc therefore reluctant to share a bed/sheets with anyone, just not fair. Anyway, came back after meal and beds had been reconfigured to our satisfaction. Dining room, oh dear where to start - staff warm and welcoming, actually by the end of the week we all felt extremely sorry for them, apologising every meal. Meat tough and fatty, veg raw, with strange combinations. Rib-eye served on evening so tough could not cut let alone chew, with one boiled potato the size of a grape, stick of raw carrot and what I thought was stick of courgette turned out to be cucumber?? Waiters did suggest another meal, but to be honest only one meal of the week was acceptable. We were really looking forward to good Italian food - very disappointed. Buffet fared slightly better, but as we love the aspect of relaxed dining we avoid the scramble for food and only went there if desperate. Ports of call were amazing, loved all of them. We have learned over the years you can see more if you do your own thing. The four of us hired a private taxi in Athens and had the best ever day for the cost of a one person organised trip. At the end of the week we considered removing our gratuities from our onboard account, to just give to our waiters. However, on reflection the staff worked very hard to please and they have to put up with quite a few grumpy guests through no fault of their own.. Unfortunately we will never cruise with MSC again, beautiful ship, lovely staff but that's not enough for a great holiday experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We only choose to travel with MSC and this is the first time that we would rate it lower than "very good or excellent". The entertainment quality was nowhere near as good as usual this included the nightly show and also at the ... Read More
We only choose to travel with MSC and this is the first time that we would rate it lower than "very good or excellent". The entertainment quality was nowhere near as good as usual this included the nightly show and also at the different venues on the ship. Quality of food was also not up to the usual standard. The other issue was the noise around our cabin, which took them until day 3 to rectify as best they could. I would recommend NOT to stay in cabin 10080 as the plumbing and staff services access were directly behind the cabin. Ports of most interest were Montenegro Kotor and Santorini, Oui - just beautiful! We did not take the tours and explored ourselves. It is always best to research the ports before you travel as it is easy to create your own itinerary at each port. Remember that it is extremely hot during June/July. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose the MSC Orchestra (sailing 05 June 2016 from Venice) primarily for the itinerary - Venice, Bari, Olympia, Santorini, Athens, Corfu and Kotor. The price was a bonus as well, with a balcony stateroom and round trip air for less ... Read More
We chose the MSC Orchestra (sailing 05 June 2016 from Venice) primarily for the itinerary - Venice, Bari, Olympia, Santorini, Athens, Corfu and Kotor. The price was a bonus as well, with a balcony stateroom and round trip air for less than £2,000 for the two of us. I will try to make this review as honest as possible, and please remember that these are my own observations. It seemed other passengers had slightly different experiences. Itinerary: In a word - incredible. There was a port every day, and 4 of the 6 days, we arrived late enough to be able to have continental breakfast on our balcony, so we did not need to fight through the buffet. Tendering was done twice (Santorini and Kotor) and seemed fairly straight-forward. Embarkation: Pretty smooth overall; the one thing we did not like was the massive push to buy the top end drinks package before we were even on board. The sellers simply would not take no or we will talk about it for an answer. It felt like we were being forced into buying something that did not work for us. In the end, we didn't buy it anyway - just had to be almost rude to a point to get them to understand that. Stateroom: It served its purpose. The cabin attendant was available for any assistance and was helpful. The room was always clean when we returned, but don't expect towel animals (we actually heard other passengers complaining that they didn't get any...). Service: Overall, mediocre at best, at times almost non-existent. There never seemed to be enough poolside staff - only 2 bartenders and 2 or 3 servers during the afternoon out of Kotor when there were so many people on deck. We waited almost 20 minutes for 2 really easy drinks. Our main waiter at dinner was not friendly and service was spotty at best (we were seated at an 8 top, but there were only 4 of us the entire time). The assistant waiter was better, but it seemed like he was covering for the main waiter's shortcomings. Plates were cleared when other diners were not finished eating, dishes were served by reaching across the table, and bread was only served once. Each time, my partner had to ask for more wine and there was no coffee service at the end of the meal. We went into a lounge after dinner one night, and I ordered a zero alcohol cocktail with my drinks package (I don't drink due to health reasons). The waitress then spent several minutes pressuring as to why I didn't want the full alcohol drink - that I would have a more enjoyable night and I really should jut get it. In spite of being told several times that I did not drink, she kept pressuring (our dinner table mates made the same comment). We immediately left the lounge and I went to Guest Relations to complain, as this had happened (a bit more subtly) other time). The GR rep did state that she would speak to the Beverage Manager, but I don't know if she did. Overall, the staff almost seemed like the were not enjoying their jobs - very few said anything when you passed them somewhere on board, and just weren't friendly. Excursions: All excellent (Alberobello, Olympia and Museum, Best of Santorini, A Voyage to Ancient Greece, Paleokastriska, Kotor and Perast). The guide for Alberobello was not very good, as she talked for the entire hour to the site, and provided very little useful information. All of the other guides were exceptional. Food: Again mediocre. There were a few dishes every now and then that did well, but overall, not what should be expected from an allegedly high-end Italian line. The buffet was standard buffet fare. What more can you do when offering 20 hours daily food service??! Entertainment: In a word - horrible. All of the accompanying music in the lounges was through a laptop, and if the performer didn't like the way a number was going - just hit pause and try something else. One lounge had what I call true "lounge-lizards", where they were forgetting words, not singing clearly (or at times not at all) and just making for a painful evening. There were several times that we were laughing hysterically because it was so bad!!!! The evening shows involved lots of lip-syncing and random acts that had nothing to do with the show theme to cover for costume changes. The dance instructors and poolside activities guys looked like they were really trying, and at times, I felt sorry that they did not have more participants. Smoking: It is allowed in the casino and at various areas throughout the decks. There is a smoking lounge on one of the decks, but it could use a stronger ventilation system, as you could smell it when walking by. The cabin attendants were very quickly to stop smokers in cabins and on balconies. Fellow passengers: A huge eclectic mix. We have several very large Japanese groups (probably 350 or 400 all told), lots of Spanish-speaking, a large number of eastern Europeans and a fair number of Americans. Even though it was not school term period, there were a very large number of youngsters, but it looked like the staff kept them pretty well occupied most of the time. Overall an average cruise. Again, we picked this primarily because of the itinerary and cost. Would we do another MSC? Probably not before looking at other lines, but as I said at the top - it appeared that there were a large number of passengers that were having a great time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
When boarding/checking-in we arrived to the ship on time, and had to wait for an hour outside in the rain before being able to board the ship. From that point it was still another two hours waiting in various lines until we received our ... Read More
When boarding/checking-in we arrived to the ship on time, and had to wait for an hour outside in the rain before being able to board the ship. From that point it was still another two hours waiting in various lines until we received our cabin. When we arrived to the cabin it was open/unlocked, still being cleaned, and the key did not work. Regarding cleanliness the windows of the dining room were very dirty throughout the entire trip, which also interfered with seeing the view. The cabin had a lot of dust under the bed, which wasn't cleaned throughout the entire trip. We accidentally stained a bedsheet with coffee in a very visible place, but it was not replaced for several days. On the last day when we got back from the dining room we saw that the room was left open for cleaning, but was unattended with an open door, even though we still had bags in the room. The on-ship shows were very good. But while they shows were claimed to be 45 minutes they were actually about 30 minutes and 15 minutes were just various speeches and explanations from the entertainment manager which weren't a part of the show or any sort of entertainment themselves. We were invited to a gala evening with the captain at the ship's bar. Soft drinks and some sparkling wine were served, but even after waiting for over an hour the captain did not arrive. In the dining room the food quality was poor (including over-cooking of fish and Calamari, hard small pieces of meat, etc...), and the amount of food served was small. The service was also pretty bad, not enough waiters for diners so there were long wait time for service. And often the waiters forgot orders. In the buffet the food quality was also merely average. We will not cruise again with this ship, or company. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 2nd cruise with MSC, having previously sailed on the Divina from Miami around the Caribbean in early 2014. We were attracted to the port intensive itinerary with no full sea days throughout the whole 14 day cruise. Embarkation ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with MSC, having previously sailed on the Divina from Miami around the Caribbean in early 2014. We were attracted to the port intensive itinerary with no full sea days throughout the whole 14 day cruise. Embarkation in Barbados was rather unusual in that there was no one from MSC to greet us upon arrival at the Port building and none of the usual queues of people expected when embarking a cruise ship. Port officials simply pointed to the ship and told us to take our cases up to the ship to embark. Upon reaching the ship our cases were taken for screening and we had to battle with passengers trying to get on and off for excursions whilst we handed over our passports and paperwork to security. After a few minutes we were welcomed aboard and 10 minutes later we had our cruise cards and were ready to find our cabin. A good start. The reason for the rather unusual embarkation procedures was explained to us by a waitress as we ordered our first drink on board. Only around 100 passengers were embarking in Barbados, the remaining 3,000 would embark at the weekend in either Guadeloupe or Martinique. More on that later. The ship, its outside decks and the public lounges are all in good condition and there are a good variety of bars on board. Due to the itinerary there were plenty of loungers available and the pools were relatively quiet until mid-afternoon. We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet most days and the food was pretty good. Dinner in the main restaurant was a bit hit and miss. Our balcony cabin (11169) was a reasonable size and well maintained by our steward, although I had to request a change of bed linen after 7 days which is poor. The majority of passengers on board were French speaking and included a large number of natives from both Guadeloupe & Martinique. I think it is fair to say that some of these passengers had little understanding of cruise ship etiquette and this did spoil our enjoyment overall. Large groups spent hours in the buffet piling up their plates with food, and putting food into bags to take ashore on trips. If you sat at a table in the bar area on the outside decks you would likely be surrounded by a large group who would move chairs so that you were blocked in, or they would talk over you to people on neighbouring tables. This behaviour could be quite intimidating. Young children were taken in the swimming pool naked – and older children were unsupervised and spent all their time running and jumping in the pool annoying the other guests. The pool attendants seemed at a loss at how to deal with this behaviour and simply seemed to give up and move away from the pool area. Entertainment was certainly not geared towards English speaking passengers and most of the live music was terrible. Service was variable, we had a great waiter in the dining room and a few of the waiters and waitresses in the bars were friendly and efficient, but it was almost impossible to get a drink on the sun deck unless you went to the bar. Disembarkation should have been simple as there were so few people disembarking in Barbados, but we had a really bad experience. We went to the disembarkation meeting where the lady holding the meeting had the wrong information. The following morning our key card stopped working at 7.30am when we weren’t due to disembark until 11.00am. Two trips to reception and they couldn’t resolve this! There were only 2 groups leaving the ship, 11.00am for those making their own arrangements and 13.45pm for those with MSC transfers. We left the ship at 11.00am only to find my suitcase which was left outside our cabin alongside my husbands, was nowhere to be found. We had to wait another ½ hour for them to locate my suitcase (they didn’t seem too bothered about helping us as we had disembarked) and we didn’t even get an apology. All in all a good cruise due to a great itinerary and fabulous weather, but I wouldn’t cruise MSC again, service poor overall and English speakers were treated like 2nd class citizens. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
The ship is nice and the balcony cabines are looking good also. The food was low cost quality. The strongest point of this cruise was the staff, with special remarks for Miguel, the waiter in cigar bar. Ship and entertainment ... Read More
The ship is nice and the balcony cabines are looking good also. The food was low cost quality. The strongest point of this cruise was the staff, with special remarks for Miguel, the waiter in cigar bar. Ship and entertainment information are delived on board daily. Trips organized are expensive and is better to do your own programm on each stop, according to your preferences. Dinning in a la carte restaurants is for people having patience to be served with medium quality dishes. Overall it wasn't bed, but didn't meet our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We chose a cruise on the MSC Orchestra after Norwegian Cruise Lines decided to change the dates of the cruise on which we had made a confirmed deposit (without notifying us, I might add). Since we already had flights to Barcelona paid ... Read More
We chose a cruise on the MSC Orchestra after Norwegian Cruise Lines decided to change the dates of the cruise on which we had made a confirmed deposit (without notifying us, I might add). Since we already had flights to Barcelona paid for, we looked for alternatives and found an MSC cruise, out of Barcelona with interesting destinations ( Marseille, Genoa, Malaga, Casablanca and Lisbon) on the MSC Orchestra. Not knowing anything about MSC we researched it on line and found that half the people liked it, and the other half were extremely disappointed with it. The complaints ranged from the lack of adequate pillows on the bed, poor attitude of the crew, and the quality of the food. Since my wife and I are the adventurous types, we decided to take a chance and reserved the trip. As it happens, the cruise actually “starts” in Genoa, but they allow people to embark and disembark at the other ports, at least the European stops. Our initial reaction was that either someone at the home office had been reading the online posts, or we were on the wrong ship . The boarding process in Barcelona was quick and efficient. Our room was ready for us and our luggage was delivered quickly ( probably due to the fact that there were not too many people boarding in Barcelona). Having packed a pillow for each of us, thanks to the online reports, we were surprised to find 4 large pillows on the bed for us. Our cabin attendant, Mark, made a point of meeting us and welcoming us on board. He, as well as all of the other crew members we had contact with were extremely pleasant and helpful. Then there’s the food. My daughter, who cruised on MSC in the Caribbean described the food as “beige”, and I have to agree with her. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t really good. The ship only has one specialty restaurant, serving Asian food, which was really good, but a 2nd specialty restaurant would be an improvement. We had a couple of problems on the trip. One was finding a dinner table at the first seating. Out of about 2500 guests on board, there were on 89 people who listed English as their main language. The head waiter, Alphonso, couldn’t find an English speaking table with room for us and went out of his way to accommodate us, arranging for a table for 2, for my wife and I. Like most cruisers, we reserved excursions for the ports we visited, but 2 of them were canceled for lack of participation. We went on alternative excursions, but these were not the ones we wanted. The excursion from Casablanca to Marrakesh was long, with a 3 ½ hour bus trip each way, and a lot of walking through the Souk, but disappointing as we only had a 30 minute window to go shopping in the main square, which was not nearly enough time. All in all, I would have to give the cruise a 3 out of 5. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
It was our first cruise with MSC. We've worked on cruises for quire a few years as entertainers and have also done over 30 cruises in a passenger/tourist capacity, with lots of different cruise companies, from luxury and impressive ... Read More
It was our first cruise with MSC. We've worked on cruises for quire a few years as entertainers and have also done over 30 cruises in a passenger/tourist capacity, with lots of different cruise companies, from luxury and impressive Azamara to basic, but very enjoyable Pullman Tours. THE GOOD: I have to admit that the ship is gorgeous and spotless, our Balcony Cabin on Deck 11 (Flauto) was luxury with loads of storage space and was kept very clean, with towels being constantly changed. Majority of passengers were Italian, but there were lots of different nationalities on board also (English, American, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, French, Greek, German, Lebanese), and every effort was made to provide services, information, excursions and entertainment in every possible language, so there were absolutely no issues with any kind of language barrier, also helped by the fact that the crew were from all over the world (50-60 different countries at least). The atmosphere was terrific, Cruise Director Sonya - wonderful! Even though the ship was full (over 2,500 passengers), everything worked like clockwork - Embarkation, Disembarkation, Excursions, Shuttles, Account Queries - no problems whatsoever, nice and smooth. We really enjoyed the shows - sound quality and production, spectacular costumes, young, but truly amazing singers, dancers, gymnasts - compensated for complete lack of props on stage (apart from 3 backlit staircases) and absence of live orchestra/band at the theatre, all backing music was pre-recorded. Very disappointing :((, so maybe I should've mentioned it in THE BAD column below... The string trio, pianist and classical singers were superb!! Most performances drew standing ovations and screaming from adoring fans :)) We took only one Ship's Excursion in Marseille (in English) and were quite happy with it. The pools were lovely, with plenty of sunbeds and towels, so no problems there either. The waiters attentive and friendly. Captain and the officers very friendly and engaged with passengers on numerous occasions. THE BAD: Apart from food and coffee/tea stations provided, you have to pay for EVERYTHING! And the selling of the ridiculously priced drink packages started on Check-In. There was an army of smiling crew members, waiving brochures and flyers in the air, and trying really hard to sell-sell-sell whatever they could to the unsuspecting passengers, some of who have just flown from the other side of ther world, and looked quite weary and confused. No complimentary water was provided even on the first day. You had to pay for everything - soft drinks, juices, ice cream, water, coffee and tea (except hot drinks station at the La Piazzetta Cafeteria). We were lucky enough to have a bonus of 12 cocktails each with our cabin, so it wasn't too bad. If we were to buy this package, the cost would've been 75EU for 1 cocktail package, so we were happy. But, to tell you the truth, we couldn't taste or smell any trace of alcohol in any of them at all, doesn't matter which bar or restaurant we ordered them at. As a joke we have even asked some barmen to make sure they go easy on ice and heavy on other ingredients, so it got a bit better then. They also charged exhorbitant prices for shuttles in every port. In some cases there was public transport available to the town centres, but the passengers weren't informed and wer encouraged to pay for transportation. On most other cruise lines, the shuttles are usually provided free of charge, at leat to the port exit, but not with MSC. The food was quite awful! The smell, the taste, the presentation was very poor at the main restaurant, so we went there only twice. The lunch and dinner buffet at La Piazzetta were the same food every day/night, boring and tasteless. By far the worst food we have ever had on any cruise. A week into our 11 night cruise they ran out of lemons!! Not a single lemon in site - limes everywhere. Explanation was - we get our supplies in Barcelona. But wait, Barcelona is almost at the end?! Never mind, bought my own lemons in Lisbon and carried them with me everywhere lol! There were 3 bands in different venues on the ship at night. The Italian band was 'so-so', a bit more professional than the rest of them, who were absolutely hopeless. The Dominican band had a guitarist/vocalist, who had a pleasant voice, but could hardly play the guitar. The bass player couldn't play his 6 string bass. I'm sure the traditional 4 string bass would've been enough! The keyboard player and the drummer - embarassingly inept and unprofessional. The Duo in another lounge were even worse, just used backing tracks for everything, could hardly even hear the singer's voice at all. Another guitar/singer duo was more professional, but the repertoir very boring and outdated. I understand MSC is cutting corners and trying to save money wherever they can, but c'mon! Food & entertainment shouldn't be so hopeless! Because of all of the above we opted out of paying compulsory gratuities and instead tipped in cash only the people, who really deserved it & provided great professional service to us personally. Will we be going on another MSC cruise? We don't think so. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Round trip cruise Kiel/Baltic/Kiel/Norway/Kiel. Booked the Aurea package which included priority boarding which was a slow process as rude and impolite fellow passengers wouldn't give the staff a moments peace interrupting them ... Read More
Round trip cruise Kiel/Baltic/Kiel/Norway/Kiel. Booked the Aurea package which included priority boarding which was a slow process as rude and impolite fellow passengers wouldn't give the staff a moments peace interrupting them consistently asking questions and not having the good manners to wait, in line, to be attended to next. Shore excursions lacked co ordination in leaving the ship, as there were few fellow English speaking people, several tours were with guides who would speak in German and then English which made it difficult for them, more difficult for us as others would talk loudly amongst themselves when English was being spoken and remained quiet when their language was being spoken! Our excursions were pre paid (in Australia) and were considerable more expensive than if they were purchased onboard. Cabin on Deck 15 was great, excellent service from the housekeeping staff, no request was too much of an effort, always smiling and obliging. Dining in main restaurant was excellent, good menus but only on a seven day turnaround so there was no changes in the menu for the second week. Breakfast and lunch fare never changed and it is nigh on impossible to keep food hot for 2600 guests which was not often enjoyable. Entertainment had it's difficulties for those who didn't speak another language and the shows we saw really only filled in time prior to dinner. Disembarkation was an absolute shambles! 150 plus people, all arriving at the meeting place (theatre) at the one time, sitting around for over an hour waiting, so they screened a Mr.Bean show, I suppose to try and amuse us, that didn't happen. When given the word to disembark, it became a stampede as everyone, many with their baggage in tow (having chosen not to place their luggage outside the cabin evening prior as recommended,(imagine looking for a fast getaway) all tried to get off the ship at the one time. Finding your luggage in the terminal was a bonus, then you had to stow it yourself onto one of three Hamburg airport transfer coaches and then try and find a seat on the coach. Some people who had stowed their luggage and couldn't find a seat, then had to locate their luggage and try another coach. Plenty of staff standing around smiling and wishing you a safe onward journey but no one available to help the elderly with their luggage. Having cruised several times with other companies, the only way I would chose MSC again would be for the itinerary alone and very little else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Firstly the positives - the restaurant, bar and entertainment staff were fantastic, always smiling and wanting to help. We were a family of 4 with 2 teenage chlldren. We booked 2 years before cruising when the children were smaller (due ... Read More
Firstly the positives - the restaurant, bar and entertainment staff were fantastic, always smiling and wanting to help. We were a family of 4 with 2 teenage chlldren. We booked 2 years before cruising when the children were smaller (due to special nature of the Gallipoli Cruise that we went on). In that 2 years my 2 boys grew into adult sized pubescent smelly 'little adults'. Despite several emails to the organiser of the cruise mentioning the cabin suitability for what is essentially 4 adults - I was reassured that all would be fine. So in the end we paid A LOT of money to have 4 adult sized people crammed into a tiny cabin (with no doors or windows or ventilation) that stank of smelly teenage boys after the second day, so the next 34 days were very uncomfortable. I went to speak to the organisers after 2 days to request to upgrade to a cabin that would actually accommodate us in more humane conditions - to be told they were very busy and would get back to me within 24hours. Despite offering to pay the difference in price to a larger cabin, I never heard from them again. We had 2 other lots of friends who complained on the ship about their cabins (noise from decks above and and odour) and they were upgraded (at no cost), but they didn't even bother to answer our plea for a more humane trip. Needless to say only 10 days into a 36 day trip I got sick with flu like symptoms, fever and cough, and then for the rest of our cabin - all 4 of us were infected and at varying stages of illness and recovery for the rest of the cruise. The medical facilities were seriously inadequate with English language issues (medical staff were Croatian???), the "pharmacy" ran out of Paracetamol in the first week and never restocked??? The medical centre charged a fee of $90 just to see the Doctor to get paracetamol (without even an examination). I am a nurse and my husband is a doctor and we were stunned at the lack of English and poor medical treatment. Combine this with the total lack of supervision of passengers at crucial places like the buffet - where we witnessed sniffling children with their hands in parmesan cheese, adults putting their hands all over the spouts of water dispensers etc etc. with no supervision or guidance by staff. It is NO WONDER over half the ship was sick by halfway through the cruise. So disappointed with the performance of this company and this cruise. The kids activities for children aged 12-14 were much younger than was appropriate for their age, and mine were (understandably) not interested in attending after a couple of sessions. Nothing like previous cruise experiences we have had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
As this was a charter cruise we paid above market price for this cruise and knew it. But even so we were expecting a 5 star ship and cruise because of the way MSC Orchestra had been sold to us. Also because of Orchestras own advertising - ... Read More
As this was a charter cruise we paid above market price for this cruise and knew it. But even so we were expecting a 5 star ship and cruise because of the way MSC Orchestra had been sold to us. Also because of Orchestras own advertising - the ship looks much prettier in photos, boasts wonderful food and friendly staff. First - the ship itself was immaculate, it was so clean at times it actually inconvenienced passengers. There were days we couldn't use our balconies when they were being cleaned. This is this first ship we have been on that has no chairs on the promenade deck which was really odd and they were constantly washing it!! This was were the smokers also could linger, not a bad thing as they couldn't congregate, no chairs. Inside was as clean, but most ships are now maintained at this level. First time we were made to feel like we as passengers interfered with the schedules though. Embarkation - was quite fast and fairly smooth considering the fact that MSC had never docked at Fremantle before. It took some time to get our luggage to our rooms but I think most passengers had theirs before midnight. Service - well .... made the mistake (we think) of buying the Alegrissmo package. Service is slow to non existent. This wasn't helped by the fact that the ship was full of Aussies who insisted on fronting up to the bars themselves and insisted on face to face service from the bar staff. Then they remained at the bars!! This ship went through a lot of firsts I think, we drank them out of quite a few beers, wines, spirits etc. But aside from the bad behaviour of some of the passengers ( in the opinions of the staff ) service was the worst we have experienced!! If you got one coffee you were lucky, don't expect two! Though we had the package that included unlimited, silly us!! The staff were there they just ambled around, looked busy, served one of two, disappeared???? Dining - food was adequate. Again had been led to expect 5 star, it was just 3 star. Though there seemed to be plenty, there was no flavour in the meals, desserts were very ordinary, the breads were quite good. Our staff in the main dining room were excellent however as were our dining companions, every evening was a joy. Made the cruise!! The buffet served up a very ordinary, sufficient fare but nothing exciting or over the top. Entertainment - we actually provided a lot of our own Aussie entertainers on this cruise, who were great, but the MSC entertainers also had a night here and there. So, a couple of lovely female singers, a particularly strange Italian male singer who started off the cruise trying to sing like Frank Sinatra - downhill for him from there! They had some great acrobatic performers and dancers, though I found the dancing couple who do the daytime classes rather over rated! No band was also a bit disappointing. Activities - they ran a sort of bingo, but honestly the American cruise lines are so much better at this! I'm sure there were lots of other activities but again because it was a charter cruise, there were so many things that were done by our organisers and some by MSC it is a little hard to comment here. Disembarkation - was very fast and efficient in Rome. They have done this many times. Summary: At Istanbul we noticed a change in staff from predominately Asian to a lot more European. I would say Italian as this was an Italian line but not sure, they were rude, surly, not at all friendly or ready to smile and communicate like the previous staff members had been. Perhaps they didn't like Australians; but how would they know, I didn't see any new staff members in the bars, buffet or around the ship trying? Do I say something about everyone getting sick? This was not MSC's fault, this will happen in any environment were people group together for extended periods of time. We were our own worst enemies when it came to the floating flu!! So, this ship looks like a beautiful ship, acts like a beautiful ship but inside behaves and is a 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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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