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468 MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews

We were all waiting a large warehouse type building up to 6 hours to acess ship!! No explanation, no apologises. Then once on the ship, we were ordered to take part in the health and safety exercise, when most of us were exhausted and ... Read More
We were all waiting a large warehouse type building up to 6 hours to acess ship!! No explanation, no apologises. Then once on the ship, we were ordered to take part in the health and safety exercise, when most of us were exhausted and hungry. Organisation in disembarking for excursions, were chaotic & disorganised. An excursion to Rio was not included as part of the itinerary. Sorry, there was an excursion, but it was on the day that we were to leave the ship. Entertainment mainly catered for the Portuguese speaking people, we were guessing what was being said or sang. Although some of the staff were friendly and helpful, some staff struggled to under any other language but their own. Positives..our cabin was comfortable, clean and maintained by the staff that attended to it. Some staff were were friendly. Sorry, I won't be travelling with MSC again based on this experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have been on eight cruises and have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Costa, and Viking River. All have been great. This MSC cruise, however, would turn anyone against cruising. I chose this cruise because it began in ... Read More
I have been on eight cruises and have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Costa, and Viking River. All have been great. This MSC cruise, however, would turn anyone against cruising. I chose this cruise because it began in Buenos Aires and featured two days in Rio de Janeiro, the two places I most wanted to see in South America. What MSC does not tell you is that this ship is operated like a hop on, hop off bus, allowing people to check in and out all along the route. This meant that the ship was in a constant state of upheaval, with passengers who were embarking and disembarking competing with cruisers trying to get on and off the ship for excursions. I don't know what went wrong on the second day in Rio, but those embarking passengers were packed into the terminal for several hours waiting to board. Other issues with this ship: It was nearly impossible to get a drink. There were not enough cocktail waitresses in the lounge areas and if you tried to get a drink at the bar the bartender ignored you in favor of filling orders for the waitresses. Also, many of the lounge bars were closed on sea days so if you wanted to relax with a book and drink in one of them you had to wander around looking for an open bar. The food in the dining room was mediocre and unvaried. Every salad sat in a bath of watery dressing because the lettuce hadn't been dried properly after rinsing. Two elevators were broken during the entire cruise. The buffet area was always crowded; my guess is the short-term passengers were determined to make the most of their brief stay by eating as much as humanly possible. There were lovely lounges on one deck -- with all the views completely blocked by lifeboats. In short, I would warn anyone off this particular cruise and, personally, I'd be afraid to trust MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Veteran cruiser this was our 5th with MSC. Sadly they seem to be going backwards with Entertainment, food and service. I gave this review 2 stars, out of the dozen or so cruises I have taken this was by far the least enjoyable. ... Read More
Veteran cruiser this was our 5th with MSC. Sadly they seem to be going backwards with Entertainment, food and service. I gave this review 2 stars, out of the dozen or so cruises I have taken this was by far the least enjoyable. This is the reason for each star I knocked off. 1. Lets start with entertainment. It was bad, the shows they put on were cheap and the crew performing were poor. The Queen night vocalists were far worse than you could hear in a karaoke bar by amateurs. The guy from Cuba (don't know his name) whom I partially blame for being one of the low points of the whole cruise destroyed the main pool area twice a day. He screams in to the microphone and has no talent to engage a crowd. It was just terrible. There were many bars and if they had live music it was often depressing and sad acoustic music, a sure way to kill atmosphere. 2. The next problem is the food. It just isn't good. As I said earlier I have travelled with MSC before and it is never the best but its been better before than this. I am fully aware its an Italian company but as I have also travelled with Costa who are also Italian and have food 10x better. The buffet whilst large offered such little variation it was not something to look forward to. The main dining room food was a huge let down. Service in the dining room was also poor, some days you would get dishes rapidly other days the waiter would be apologising as he left you for 20minutes waiting to have your plates cleared. It was disappointing to always have to ask to refill the wine or water and not have our needs attended to. 3. We booked an Aurea cabin one of the more premium choices. The cabins are meant to be in better locations. We were on deck 13 and we had a terrible view due to the above overhang. It really spoilt our enjoyment of looking out of the window. I would seriously class this as an obstructed view if you can only look down and not see above the horizon. Whilst I appreciate no cruise is ever perfect, these 3 things stood out so much it left us regretting going on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I don't normally post reviews but in the case of MSC I found other people's opinions useful so thought I'd add my brief thoughts on MSC Fantasia. We booked mainly because of an attractive itinerary that included a land ... Read More
I don't normally post reviews but in the case of MSC I found other people's opinions useful so thought I'd add my brief thoughts on MSC Fantasia. We booked mainly because of an attractive itinerary that included a land tour to Machu Picchu with a price that was too good to miss. We joined at Barcelona with the itinerary including Malaga, Madeira, Tenerife, San Salvador de Bahia, Ilehus, Ilha Grande and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Many of the reviews on this site for any MSC ship were alarming so I was worried the cruise might be a disaster. First impressions weren't good with a very slow embarkation prolonged by the fact that shore staff were more intested in chatting than giving me a boarding number. On the plus side our inside, Bella, cabin was bigger than we expected with ample storage space. The buffet was enormous (about 1/3 deck) but very badly designed and organised making it time consuming to put together a meal. Drinks stations offered tea and basic coffee only - no free soft drinks - and were often out of either hot water, toffee, tea bags, sugar or cups. We adapted to it after a few days though. We found it better to take breakfast in the dining room. At least tea and coffee was erred at the table - usually after a long wait - and you could more easily construct a meal from a breakfast buffet. Dinner was a variable affair. early sitting as 7.30 which is relatively late. Late sitting was 9.30 which would be odd for American guests. I've never seen so many meals half eaten although some were excellent and the service at our table was also consistently good with waiters happy to find alternatives if diners were dissatisfied. For those on drink packages they were generous in topping up glasses. For those, like us, on pay as you go, drinks are modestly priced but there are no free options. You pay for mineral water. Fortunately our fellow table guests were great company which made the whole cruise a very sociable affair. I enjoyed the evening entertainment although there was an element of repetition and a hint of amateurishness. They tried hard and some of the local flavour of operating singers and Brazilian salsa in bars and the atrium were good. Managed to find sunbathing spots on the days the weather as good but be prepared that the rule is that you can reserve a lounger with a towel or a book and then disappear for the day! Just embrace it. Staff don't clear away possessions like other cruise lines. Shore excursions were another matter. It was as if they were doing it for the first time. It was chaos. My tip is that if they say you should gather at 8am be there at 7.30 and be Cole to the front. It might help but be ready to get seriously annoyed. The only unacceptable things I saw were the lack of attention to hand hygiene. They don't care if you sanitise your hands before meals. Also some of the deck maintenance included scraping paint which was then left on the deck overnight with quantities of the plasticised paint being blown overboard. Probably illegal. Finally there was a tender boat at Ilha Grande spilling fuel into the sea. They didn't seem too bothered. Overall I'd say there are good things about MSC. price, room size, reasonable costs onboard and on shore excursions. The ships are reasonably comfortable. On the downside, food and buffet are below par. There's no deck or theatre cinema, in room TVs are from the Ark and there's very little English language programming. We had a few English language channels as we left Europe but when the TV signals ended they dint seem bothered with running English movie channels. A lot of the bad things would be easy to fix but it looks like there's an absence of any proper management of the hotel side. In a nutshell, if you're looking for a cruise and need your experience to be just so, I don't think it's a good choice. If you're mainly travelling and are more interested in the itinerary and used to adapting it might be a good and cost effective choice. I've already booked MSC again next year for that reason. It's really not as bad as a lot of the hysterical reviews suggest. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
the destination in combination with the price. Our travel agent organised connecting flightswith KLM so everything looks good. The ship is very nice, the crew friendly and the food is good The main problem is: TOO MANY PEOPLE it cost ... Read More
the destination in combination with the price. Our travel agent organised connecting flightswith KLM so everything looks good. The ship is very nice, the crew friendly and the food is good The main problem is: TOO MANY PEOPLE it cost appr. 3 hours for embarkation waiting and stand in a line. Waiting and stand in a line for almost everything as: breakfast, shore excursionslunch in the cafetaria, collecting passports. No berths available on deck etc. etc. Entertainment, except some athletic artists who gives good shows, was the entertainment very poor, 2 singers and a lady singer 1 night a performance, next night same with different costumes 3 night same and more nights the same. Do we plan a next cruise with MSC Fantasia or her sister ships: NO if a next cruise ? yes with a smaller ship Appr. 4000 people on board is to many, we had a cabin with a balcony and that was a mustto have some moments of rest Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Subject: Our experience on board the MSC Fantasia cruise ship.   Embarkation in Genoa (Italy) on November 2, 2019, disembarkation November 20   2019 in Santos (Brazil). On November 2, 2019 we flew with the KLM to Milan. That ... Read More
Subject: Our experience on board the MSC Fantasia cruise ship.   Embarkation in Genoa (Italy) on November 2, 2019, disembarkation November 20   2019 in Santos (Brazil). On November 2, 2019 we flew with the KLM to Milan. That went well. Then we drove a shuttle bus to Genoa, a journey of more than 2 hours. We had a cup of coffee on the plane around 10 a.m. and then nothing more. We did not know that the bus ride took so long. There was not a drop of water on the bus to buy or to buy. We arrived at the MSC terminal at 2 p.m. A huge hall where several thousand people were already standing. The whole mass of people stood close together and moved at a speed that can be compared to sliding a mass of glacier ice. But in this hall there was a different temperature through those thousands of people and we started to get thirsty. Furthermore, the noise, the cackling of thousands of people, was of a level where my wife and I could barely understand each other. Because we did not know what to do, there were no indications or announcements, we managed to get through the hustle and bustle at a counter where an MSC employee was standing. We asked him, naturally in English, what we should do. He gave us a map with a number on it and pointed in the direction of the crowd where we were standing before. That was it. The hustle and bustle continued and after about an hour we saw an x ​​number of seats in the back of that hall. They were all occupied, so sitting was not among them. The mass of people steadily moved towards an escalator and about 3 hours later we were also able to take the escalator to the 1st floor. A new surprise awaited us there. Again waiting and waiting. In the meantime it was 5 pm and we could not find or buy water anywhere in that terminal. That enormous hall had absolutely no facilities for the inner person. After the security check we finally arrived at the walkway at 6 p.m. So we had been on our feet for four (4) hours in the middle of a huge crowd without being able to drink anything. The first deception was a fact. When we entered the ship we had to hand over our passport to a female employee of MSC. Issue passport? We never do that. That woman informed us that it was mandatory. Subsequently, a discussion arose in which we made it clear to her several times that we needed our passport as soon as we were to disembark in another country. For us it is the only official document that allows us to identify ourselves abroad. That woman kept hammering at the fact that our on-board pass (the plastic ticket that you can use to buy on the ship and which you use to get into the cabin) was sufficient to identify yourself on land! The mood rose high, we were tired and dehydrated, and behind us stood a long line of people who became cramped because they were being stopped by us. That woman then promised us that we would get our passport back the day before we visited the first port in Brazil. That turned out to be a lie. We handed over our passport because we were more than fed up with that entire circus. On the day before we arrived in Salvador we went to the reception to request our passports. We were told that we could pick up the passports on the day we would arrive in Salvador at 1 pm because the port authorities (customs) first had to check the passports. The other day at 1 p.m. we were back at the reception and asked for our passport. Then an employee said that the port authorities were still working on the passports. Again a lie because we had already seen in the room next to the reception that those formalities had already been completed. Then it was announced at the reception that the police still had to look at it! The police? He never does passport control on board and, moreover, we had not yet seen a police officer. The next announcement from the reception staff was that we only had to come back in an hour. Because we wanted to disembark to visit Salvador, the blood gradually started to boil with us. Another employee at the reception, a man named *****, informed us that we did not get our passport back. That would only happen if we left the ship to go home. We asked him to call the captain because we wanted to talk to the captain, or another officer, to solve this problem. He told us he would not do that. The reception staff looked surly and there was no question of friendliness. They came across us as power-hunters earlier because we were standing there at that counter and after that discussion we were completely ignored by them. As if we didn't exist. A little later we saw two officers in white suits walk by. We asked one of them why we did not get our passport back and briefly explained the whole story to them. That officer informed us that it is MSC's policy to take passports and keep them until you get off the ship to go home. A reason why he did not give. The time passed and we decided to contact Zeetours. We were assisted by a Zeetours employee named ******. We told her the whole story about the passport affair and she too thought it was a strange course of events. She found it very annoying for us but she informed us that there are indeed cruise companies that take the passports. While we were on the line, she contacted MSC Netherlands. From that side she was informed that it was MSC's policy to take passports. MSC Netherlands would send an E-mail to the Fantasia cruise ship to pass on that complaint. We asked ****** if she could also provide us with the telephone number of the embassy in the Netherlands. She did that and we also contacted the embassy by telephone. The employee also told the whole story and there it was confirmed that MSC was not entitled to take the passports. But she could mean nothing to us in the form of any help. We have left it at that. On November 17, 1919, during our last day at sea, all passengers got their passports back. Those were our experiences regarding our passports. We will also discuss a number of experiences that have left a special impression on us. That was certainly not a pleasant impression. When we were on board on November 2, we went straight to our cabin. We immediately drank some glasses of water because we were dehydrated. We packed our life jackets to participate in the evacuation exercise. The ship then left with a delay of more than an hour. The other morning a letter was pushed under our door saying that we had to report to the reception. There, an employee informed us that one of us was not present at the evacuation exercise. Strange, our passes were scanned and I also took a picture of it. That employee informed us that it often happens that things go wrong with scanning. Because there was only 1 chair in our cabin, we asked at the reception if we could get a second chair or a two-seater. One of us had to sit on the bed because sitting on the floor was not an option. We were told by that employee that it would be considered whether it was possible to bring a second seat. We never received that 2nd seat. In the shower of our cabin there was a corner where normally a box of tissues would stand. That corner was empty. The man who would clean our cabin informed us in very poor English that those tissues were scrapped due to spending cuts. The carpeting in our cabin was full of stains that apparently could not be removed. On the second evening aboard the ship, a number of important crew members were introduced to the passengers. That took place in the theater. We also went to have a look. The spokesperson, an Italian, spoke a few sentences in English and then switched to Italian. A number of crew members were then introduced one by one and the captain finally came on stage. His name was Raffaele Laccarino, an Italian. He addressed the audience and he spoke one (1) sentence in English. Then he switched to Italian and it stayed that way. We did not understand a word of it. The official language at sea is English, but this captain clearly preferred to speak to his countrymen in Italian. The other nationalities apparently didn't matter. We wanted to go for a drink that evening in the so-called Crow’s Nest. This is a wonderful and peaceful place with a beautiful view of around 180 degrees. But it was only accessible to yacht club members. We have never heard or read that a distinction is made between yacht club members and non-members. We find that embarrassing and misleading. In Barcelona we wanted to use the MSC shuttle bus to get into the city from the ship. That cost 9 euros per person. Fine. But that bus drove only a very short distance to a square at the end of the harbor head and we had to get out again. We could as well have walked that. Upon inquiry, it turned out that it was still an hour and a half walk to the center of the stand. Then we just took a taxi. The TV in our cabin is also a separate story. We like to follow the daily news in the world. We have made a cruise six times with the Holland America Line (HAL) to many corners of the world and during those cruises we could continue to watch the world new on TV day and night. CNN, BBC, German channels etc. It was all there. We noticed that after passing the Strait of Gibraltar out of the 36 channels, 24 had fallen away. It could be read that the satellite connection was lost. The only thing that was still broadcast were 6 channels with advertising for MSC, the same video film on 4 channels and the other channels were provided with information about an evacuation and other info. We were therefore devoid of news broadcasts. Upon inquiring at the reception we were informed that there were problems with the satellite connection. We found that highly curious. We were unable to follow any news during the rest of the cruise. When we came to Brazil, there was a (1) Brazilian news channel, but we obviously didn't understand that. We have the impression that MSC had no problems with the satellite connection but that it is a cutback in terms of the costs for a signal connection. People who wanted to follow the news (or something else) via the internet had to buy an expensive internet package for an x ​​number of MBs. The buffet restaurant was a restaurant situated at the rear on deck 14, both on the starboard and port side. All food items were displayed in showcases and at first glance there seemed to be sufficient choice. It was strange that plates, cutlery, the fillings, the sandwiches, the butter etc. were far apart. You already had a nice walk before you gathered a meal. The first time we were there we immediately noticed that at the opening of the afternoon buffet at 1 pm (with hot meals) many hundreds of people came in. We estimate that around 80% of the passengers were Italians. Those people threw themselves like hungry hyenas on the food they offered, scooped up their plates as if they hadn't eaten for a week, sat down at the table, and broke out a cacophony in which the decibels increased so much that my wife and I could barely understand each other. We cannot speak sign language. We witnessed that for three days, but we thought it was so embarrassing that we didn't show ourselves in the buffet restaurant between 1 and 5 p.m. We didn't eat hot once in that restaurant. Yes we took part in the evening meal for a few days but everything that was offered was lukewarm. The quality of the food was moderate to poor. It all tasted bland and to name just a few examples: the vegetables were scarce and almost cold, the pizzas were thin, very weak and very thin and not tasty. We call that stomach filling. The hamburgers were already laid out well in advance of opening, and they too were lukewarm and tasteless. The meat products were usually scarce and of a moderate quality. The lettuce didn't always look fresh. I took a picture of it and then you can clearly see that the expiry date of that salad had already expired. Three types of pasta were offered. All three pasta were equally chewy and the taste was the same because all pasta had the same tomato sauce. The sliced ​​fruit such as melon, pineapple etc. looked nice but it was not. It was often hard and not yet ripe. What we noticed during the cruise was that the same thing was offered in that restaurant every day. There was virtually no variation. And that for 18 days. Bar service employees walked around during the opening of the buffet restaurant. Their job was to bring paid drinks on request. There was no question of a friendly look. Rather tingy. We saw that those ladies were dressed in shorts and they were wearing hats. A few of them were very corpulent. When one of these ladies sauntered past our table and she turned a quarter of a turn, I immediately had no appetite anymore. We give all women in the world a job, but this was certainly not representative of MSC. Many dirty dishes remained on the tables for too long. Those ladies walked right past it because apparently it wasn't their job to clean it up. One morning we had breakfast there. We had found a table and when I went to a coffee machine I saw that all the mugs were gone. I walked to another coffee machine, about 40 meters away, but all the mugs were finished too. I walked back again and saw two employees from that restaurant at that machine. One of them filled a thermos with coffee. I spoke to him and told him that the mugs were finished here (and he saw that himself) and at the other vending machine. He pointed he direction of the other side of the ship (port side) and told me that there might still be mugs there. Steam slowly came out of my ears but I could control myself and walked back to our table. The coffee machines there were not adjusted in the same way. One machine poured lukewarm coffee, the other bitter, another poured half a mug and another poured way too much coffee, the coffee flowing well over the edge of the mug. And that for 18 days. So there was no supervision of this. Furthermore, many coffee mugs were not clean and there was still a dirty brown border inside. The cutlery that was wrapped in a napkin was sometimes still left with food scraps. Men in white suits were apparently the "chefs" in that restaurant. We regularly noticed that the bosses visited each other for a friendly chat. Fine, but in our opinion it was far too often lacking supervision of the ups and downs in the buffet restaurant. We also regularly eat in the so-called Dining Room. When booking this cruise, we had indicated that we would like a double table for the session of 7 p.m. because it turned out to be possible. But in that restaurant there were no double tables at all. We sat at a six-person table and that table was reserved for us during the cruise. The food in this restaurant was very variable in quality. What surprised us every day was the fact that you got little or no vegetables at the main menu. To name just a few examples: I ordered souvlaki and it consisted of 2 satay sticks with 3 pieces of meat on each stick. There was no more on the plate. That meat was so chewy that it was impossible to cut and certainly not to eat. Five of the six table companions gave it back to the waiter. Another time I ordered a steak. On my plate lay a steak of 4 mm thin with 5 pieces of fries fries underneath. That was it. That steak was tasteless and as tough as a leather cloth and that is no exaggeration. That too went back to the kitchen. To make it clear, we would like to mention that the portions were very sparse and not very tasty. Water was not served there, you could buy a bottle of water there (of course other drinks). So it certainly wasn't a party to eat in the Dining Room. That was different at HAL. We are happy to use the swimming pools and whirlpools on board a cruise ship. During the first 7 days on board we noticed that the water from the three pools was and remained cold. There was no human in the water. The water from the whirlpools was lukewarm. We noticed that every day, the entire day, a so-called security officer sat by the pool. So an employee at every swimming pool. Those people had to supervise if people were swimming, but there was no one in the water. Strange. After that first week we reported to the reception that the temperature of the pool water was suitable for penguins but not for people and that the water in the whirlpools was very lukewarm. That employee passed the complaint on to the relevant department. Two days later the pools were suddenly busy with people. The temperature of the water was pleasant, including the whirlpools. In our opinion, the temperature of the swimming pool water can still be read in the central control room near the engine room. Where is the initiative to check that out? There were hundreds of sun loungers on the uncovered outside decks. The number of normal seats was limited to around 25. These were with tables near an outdoor bar and that was the smoking corner. We like to sit on a chair in the sun to enjoy the sun, the view and with a good book. That was only possible if two smokers released their seats. We do not smoke and we did not need a smoke smell instead of sea air. You cannot sit on a sun lounger and reading while lying down is not an option. There are two libraries on the ship. We have found one (1) and it was small with only 6 seats. A library with a small selection of books and old newspapers for 3000 passengers. Music came from the speakers in the ceiling. Upon inquiry, the other library appeared to be located in the part of yacht club members, so we could not reach that. During the cruise 4 times the time was changed because we were in a different time zone. On the cruise ship we went looking for a clock with the right ship time. Nowhere could we find a clock and near the reception there was also no clock or a TV screen with ship info and the ship time. There were TV screens here and there but only advertisements from MSC were shown. We inquired at a receptionist where we could find a clock with the correct ship time. She did not know and asked a colleague. He answered that there was a clock on deck 7 near the tenders, so outside.! Doesn't anyone at MSC come up with the idea of ​​hanging a clock at the reception, where many people pass by every day? Every day, at set times, there was the necessary entertainment at the central swimming pool, where a stage was situated with huge speaker boxes. When that party started, the pool water almost became a wave pool due to the huge number of decibels that came out of those speaker boxes. Around that time we went looking for one of the, by the way, very scarce, quiet spots. Halfway through the cruise we again checked our expenses (the bill) on board. We could see that on the TV in our cabin. Well arranged. We then saw that 2x an amount of 180 euros had been credited, being the service charge. In addition, 2x1 euro was credited that would be donated to Unicef. Our surprise was great. Halfway through the cruise, the full amount of the service charge has already been credited. When you enjoy a three-course dinner ashore in any restaurant halfway through your dinner you will not immediately get the bill. We were familiar with the concept of service charge and we normally do not object to that. But now we went to the reception to inquire when we could change the service charge. The employee handed us a blank A4 sheet. We then had to state why we wanted to change the service charge and what we did want to pay. Yes you fall on that ship from one surprise to the other. We informed her that we would send an E-mail to MSC as soon as we were home again. She then changed the service charge on her computer screen to 0 euros. Then we informed her that we think Unicef ​​is an excellent organization but that MSC is not authorized to withhold 2 euros from us without our permission. We donate to many charities, including Unicef, but we do that whenever we want and determine the amount of this donation ourselves. Now MSC donates roughly 3000 x 1 euro (from this cruise) to Unicef, but in fact that money comes from the passengers. We asked that employee to cancel the amount, which she also did. In Iilha Grande (Brazil) we would go ashore with a tender. We had to gather in a very large room and received a card with a number on it. After a while our number and two other numbers were called and we were able to head for the tender. Well that was a complete chaos again. We were immediately stuck in traffic in the corridors and still had a long way to go towards the tender. It took almost half an hour before we could enter the tender. No, on that ship, almost nothing was structured and apparently it also appears to be difficult. We boarded an excursion in Rio de Janeiro. We had to walk a very long way along the quay. The guide preceded us but never looked around to see if anyone could keep up. We arrived in a very large hall where we could finally board the bus. The distance traveled on my GPS was just over 1 km. People who were a little incapacitated were rightly complaining because those buses could easily have picked us up near the ship. After that excursion we had to walk the same way back but then in the rain.   When we wanted to disembark in Santos on November 20 to return home, I was stopped at security. Not my wife. I was summoned by the security guard to report me at the reception, but to the question why he could not answer. My wife was already on the quay then but came back on board. We struggled through the corridors and against the flow of people towards the reception. There, an employee informed us that we still had to pay the board bill. Pay for a board account? We informed her that a long time ago we had provided MSC via the internet with all the information that MSC requested, including the details of our credit card. MSC was therefore able to collect the bill without any problems. But that employee informed us that MSC worked with two separate systems. The credit card details that MSC had asked us for were not meant to collect the bill. We had to do that at a column near the reception. At the pillar stood a staff member who helped many other passengers to make the payment. We thought this was a strange procedure and paid with our debit card because it didn't work with the credit card. When we finally got back on the shore, we were happy and pleased that we were off the ship and returned home. We want to summarize our impression of the MSC Fantasia and its crew as follows. The ship is one big sailing bar, hung with mirrors and lots of bling bling. Everything is based on selling drinks as much as possible and that drink is very expensive. The crew is not friendly, not helpful and sometimes arrogant. You are not a guest for them but a burden. We will NEVER join MSC anymore, not even for free. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cruised for the first time with MSC aboard Fantasia in November 2019, we embarked in Genoa, doing a few places in Europe then went across to Brazil. We have cruised with other companies many times and have never experienced anything as ... Read More
Cruised for the first time with MSC aboard Fantasia in November 2019, we embarked in Genoa, doing a few places in Europe then went across to Brazil. We have cruised with other companies many times and have never experienced anything as bad. At the airport - MSC representative was waiting at the airport for us - but there was no transport for us and had to wait 45 minutes for it arrive. Embarkation - what a total unorganised fiasco. From arriving at the cruise terminal, to actually getting onto the ship took 4 hours! No communication at all, very poor customer service and no where to sit. Not just a handful of people but thousands were in that hall, with nothing to drink. There was no reason, the ship was ready and people were getting on, one at a time - just poor organisation and no one from MSC to help. We found this wasn’t the only time they expect you to queue with no communication. Actually I’ll class this as appalling. Cabin - this was good. Lots of storage space and comfy bed. TV didn’t work, but we weren’t bothered about that. Our cabin boy was lovely and looked after us and the cabin well. Clean towels twice a day and clean bed linen. 5* for him, but he’d be better if with a different company. However, on other ships, a chocolate, and shaped towels appear on the pillow but not with MSC. Dining - evening meal was fixed dining times, with fixed table so you sat with the same people every evening. The restaurant closes the doors 15 minutes after your time! It is classed as fine dining, but let me assure you ( as I love food, cook food and love fine dining restaurants where I am prepared to pay for good fine dining) it was one step up from McDonalds. We only gave it one chance and the food was awful, very very small quantities of poor quality food. I had crumble with cream for desert which was the size of a mince pie. Pastry was dry and hard but the cream was not cream. It was a slither, an inch long, piped onto the plate in a chunk, and it was ‘cream’ from a spray can of cream - absolutely appealing. Oh and the salmon came without vegetables - apparently you have to ask for those. Word of warning also. We had a drinks package but if you haven’t you won’t even get water to drink - not even tap water! We looked at the menu daily but decided we didn’t like the offerings and chose to eat in the buffet restaurants of which there were 2, but they were joined together for some reason! The food in these were equalling disgusting, but at least you could see first what you got. The meat in the stews, dishes was cheap and fatty - even chicken was fatty and not sure how they managed that. Each night they had a roast dish but always beef, veal or pork. Again few vegetables and food was cold. Not much variety for the size of the buffet, and actually very unorganised. Eg bread/rolls was at a few stations, but no butter, you had to walk round this huge buffet to find some. We were told the food served in the buffet was the same as in the restaurant. That shouldn’t matter anyway as the food where ever should have been edible no matter where we chose to eat. No WOW though in the restaurants. On it here ships they have ice sculptures and vegetable sculptures amongst the food - nothing like this here. The was another steak restaurant where you had to pay. Staff walked around all day trying to sell it to you but, alas we NEVER saw anyone eating in it. But why pay at least €30 for food when you’ve already paid once and prolly no one thought to pay extra for poor quality. Hygiene was definitely lacking. The hand sanitizers going into the restaurant and buffet rarely worked. They didn’t seem too bothered either. On other ships it is the norm for a member of staff to be at the door to squirt you or ask you to sanitise - not of his ship. Same in the toilets - no sanitiser! Drinks - we had a package which included, wine, spirits, cocktails, water, soft drinks and ice cream. We didn’t pay for the premium package as it isn’t worth it. The drinks were fine and we certainly made up for the poor service with what we drank. Lounges - there are several lounges and bars so you can choose what you want. The ones we used were fine and the staff were all very friendly and pleasant and looked after us. No problems with them. Entertainment - the theatre is large and there was 2 sittings of a show each night. Very poor though. Most nights it was the same singer who would have been a good karaoke in the local pub, with dancers who were not choreographed well so were all over the place. There were also some acrobats in each show who were actually very good and should have done their own show. Now all these were on most nights, different music, but same routine, same dance and even same costumes on a few nights. Goodness it got boring. On another evening they had a ventriloquist - but doing that for so many languages was a challenge and we walked out. Two comperes came on before the show, who were good at languages but were not funny although they thought they were. They took over the first 10 minutes of each show. Several bar lounges had singers on and these were quite good - initially. But by the end of the cruise you knew their routine and which songs were going to be sung. So very little variety. Activities on the pool decks was very loud, keep fit, dance lessons, run around games and very loud music and shouting. The pool deck and bar at the back of the ship was much better and much quieter. Itinerary - places visited were ok. Only one needed a tender and guess what, we waited over an hour and a half! The theatre was packed with people waiting for tender boats. There were almost riots as again no communication, no reason. People were demanding to see the manager, there was shouting, hand clapping etc. The staff looked terrified. All it needed was an explanation for the delay. As it happened there were only 2 tenders and one broke down they should have lowered more. This is after all our holiday and we want to get off to see these places. Excursions - expensive and the 2 we went on were very poor and definitely not value for money. Much better doing your own thing and getting a tour outside the terminal. Disembarkation - no delay, everything went smoothly but then again all we did was walk off. If you read to the end then well done. Now, we did meet people who had travelled with MSC before and on that occasion had all got together to demand better food! This is a holiday they had paid for by the way - they shouldn’t have needed to do that. Also people who had travelled with them before said that embarkation was always lengthy and unorganised so be aware. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
It was our 12th cruise and the 6th with MSC. We arrived to Genova by train and walked to the cruise terminal (around 10 minutes walk). 15 minutes later, we were in our Cabin. Even though the ship was full and most of the passengers ... Read More
It was our 12th cruise and the 6th with MSC. We arrived to Genova by train and walked to the cruise terminal (around 10 minutes walk). 15 minutes later, we were in our Cabin. Even though the ship was full and most of the passengers embarked in Genova, later afternoon the terminal was almost empty - so everything was smooth and fast. Our cabin was clean and nice, well maintained and cleaned 2 times daily. MSC gets a huge amount of complaints by American and Canadian cruisers. The facts (in my personal perspective) : Food can be more than hamburgers, fries and other fried things. If you cannot recognize anything else as food, stay with carnival cruises. If you interested of the European and Italian cuisine, you will love MSC's kitchen. Onboard expenses : The best option is to book and pay everything in advance on the MSC's website. The best example is the photography. If you buy photos onboard ,the small photo is $20, the large photo is $30 each. If you prepay online, you pay $177 for 100 photos - so it's $1.77 for both sizes. All other expenses, like gratuity, SPA and beauty, excursions - all of them 20-30% cheaper in advance. Our itinerary was changed once. There was a storm in Ibiza, so the ship skipped this port, we were at sea on that day and docked at Palermo, Sicily next day. About other cruisers on board... When Moses wrote about the Tower of Babel, I think he was thinking of the future cruises onboard with MSC. Hundreds of nations speaks hundred different languages. Sooo many Italian cruisers onboard. You should love their vibrant attitude or you will suffer every day on the cruise sip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on MSC Fantasia in Oct 2019 for a 7-nights western Mediterranean cruise. This was our 5th cruise overall and 2nd on MSC. MSC Fantasia, by today's standards, is not a big ship. But make no mistake, it's still about ... Read More
We were on MSC Fantasia in Oct 2019 for a 7-nights western Mediterranean cruise. This was our 5th cruise overall and 2nd on MSC. MSC Fantasia, by today's standards, is not a big ship. But make no mistake, it's still about 130,000 tons. I believe she's about 10 years-old now, but incredibly maintained. You have to be deliberately looking for rust to spot rust. The only 2 rust spots I saw: lower balcony railing on the OUTSIDE of balcony glass. As I said, you have to be actively looking for them. Crews were always doing preventative maintenance when passengers weren't around (late nights & port days). They even re-tiled a hot tub in 2 days during our cruise. I have new found respect for MSC after this cruise, especially after two cruises on older ships on NCL and RCCL. The only way you can tell it's an older ship is the design and decor of public spaces. Fantasia's decor seemed to be stuck in between the late 90's and early 00's, with a mesh up of traditional colors (gold, chocolate/brown, mahogany) and modern (glasses, mirrors & chrome). I'm glad MSC ditched the color scheme on its newer ships. As it stands, it could be off putting to some. Public spaces are pretty scarce if you are not booked in Yacht Club. Pool decks are disjointed and requires traversing different decks to go from bow to stern. Atrium is small for a 130,000-tons ship. Regal Princess has about the same displacement and a much larger atrium. We were booked in a Yacht Club deluxe balcony (YC1). It's slightly larger than most balcony staterooms, but not as large as the same category room we had on MSC Seaside. That said, our stateroom still had a nicely sized bathroom and a full-size shower & tub. Closet space is enough for a 7-nights cruise. For longer cruises it may not be sufficient, especially without utilizing their laundry service. Balcony had 2 regular chair (not large enough for lounge chairs) and a small table. Mattresses were OK. Typical cruise beds with a trench in the middle. Minibar is included with Yacht Club staterooms, and refilled everyday without asking. Talking about Yacht Club (YC), this is also our 2nd time in YC. Yes, both of our MSC cruises were in YC. While we had never been on a true luxury cruise, YC's service has always been several notches above mass-market and "premium" lines' (NCL, RCCL, Princess & Celebrity). Attendants were always around, but not intrusive. They would come by to take your orders then disappear, then they somehow would magically reappears when you need something. I'd say that both DW and I were spoiled by YC and can't imagine what cruising would be like without YC-level of service. Another perk of YC: exclusive spaces. As mentioned earlier, public spaces are pretty scarce on MSC Fantasia. If you are booked in Yacht Club, you have access to exclusive pool deck, lounge, and restaurant. Value for buck, YC right now is in a pretty sweet spot. We only booked one excursion with MSC: a bus from Livorno to Florence. For $45pp I think it was worth the convenience and lower stress compared to finding our own way to Florence, and we had a wonderful time in Florence. At other ports we utilized MSC's port shuttles around $12pp to $14pp, depending on the port. The highlight of this cruise was its itinerary. It was round-trip out of Genoa, stopping at Marseille, Palma de Majorca, Ibiza, Naples, & Livorno. It was our first time in Europe and needless to say all ports were new to us. So much to see, so little time. The only misstep on this cruise was the restaurant. It wasn't bad. It was inconsistent. We had great dinners on 4 out of 7 nights, and the other 3 it was just meh. On the formal night, we both ordered lobsters and DW's was overcooked. On the other hand, they had the most impeccable filet mignon available, on their always available menu! I regretted not having it more often. In summary, an excellent first-time Mediterranean cruise. Book MSC for the total immersion experience (vast majority cruisers don't speak English as primary language) and its itinerary. MSC is becoming our favorite cruise line and we are looking to book more with them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Previously used MSC about 7 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Treated with respect and pleasant dining all through the day. This cruise eas so different, majority of staff unsmiling and grudgingly helpful when unable to avoid ... Read More
Previously used MSC about 7 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Treated with respect and pleasant dining all through the day. This cruise eas so different, majority of staff unsmiling and grudgingly helpful when unable to avoid assistance. Started badly with us (70 yrs of age) having to lug our luggage from the port entrance to our cabin, plenty of staff just watching pretending that they could not understand the language (English) Promises of some free laundry services never materialised and cabin attendant was just a cleaner who tidied and replaced towels twice daily. Breakfast was a chaotic scramble, as was lunch, the evening meal was OK at best with small 3 courses which was never hot and rather small, often just meat with a couple of small pieces of vegetable. Despite selecting not to have a service charge on my bill (I like to tip for good service to deserving individuals who were few) it took 3 visits to customer services to get a €140 service charge added to my bill without my consent to be removed. The vast majority of staff had little if any English. Almost all clients were Italian with a lot of small children, the Italians are very nice but mainly noisy and excitable. Entertainment about 40 mins of which 15 mins was a compère introducing the show in about 6 languages.The 25 min show however was good Newpver sgain Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband and I sailed on the MSC ship, Fantasia, for a one-week cruise to the Mediterranean September 7-14, 2019. Here are our experiences: Our experience with the Food/Buffet/Dining Room: Our initial reaction to the buffet was ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the MSC ship, Fantasia, for a one-week cruise to the Mediterranean September 7-14, 2019. Here are our experiences: Our experience with the Food/Buffet/Dining Room: Our initial reaction to the buffet was that it lacked the WOW factor we had come to expect with other cruise lines in terms of food quality, quantity, and presentation. No ice sculptures, no food carvings, no beautifully decorated cakes or other food items, no sumptuous variety each day, no helpful, friendly, smiling wait staff, etc. Later, we realized that our initial experience with the buffet was “the norm.” The buffet the entire week lacked variety, not to mention a lack of cleanliness and good customer service. The food was ok, but not delicious. My husband actually lost 4 pounds on the cruise and I stayed the exact same. When does that happen?! Meat at the buffet was consistently overcooked and there was not much variety in the food items, regardless of the meal. The meat at the special carving station was often very fatty. And one of the carvers cleaned his knife on the food counter each time he was at the carving station! The food staff didn’t bother draining the grease from the bacon and sausage links at breakfast - instead, they just sat in 1/2 inch of grease each morning. The food offerings at the buffet were much the same for every meal, both lunch and dinner. The bread, fruit, pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries, and salad were IDENTICAL every day. Only about 8 new dishes arrived each day throughout the entire buffet, but even then, several dishes were the same as the prior day with one minor exception. For instance, one night a pasta dish had a tomato sauce and the next night the same pasta dish had a white cream sauce. The buffet was late in opening several nights while people streamed in and were greeted with cellophane still covering the food racks and no food in sight. One night I asked a staff member about the opening time and he said it opened at 7:00. I showed him on the cruise planner where it said 6:45 and that was why people were showing frustration that it wasn’t already open. He replied that it opened at different times every night. I asked him if the cruise planner was wrong. He replied, “OK, maybe it’s 6:45 then” but just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. A few minutes later, one of the dining room supervisors came through, noticed that nothing was open, and started shouting loudly at the staff behind the food counter - “Where’s the food? You’re late!” The buffet opened at 7:05 instead of 6:45 that night. Incidentally, the buffet dinner was NOT scheduled to open at different times each day - it was ALWAYS scheduled to open at 6:45. The desserts were very dry and lacking in variety. They tasted like they were purchased and then brought on the ship rather than made-from-scratch on site like the previous cruise lines do that we’ve used. I didn’t eat dessert the entire cruise as a result of the dryness and pre-fab taste. MSC’s site said they offered complimentary tea during lunch and dinner in the dining room, but they didn’t. It wasn’t even available for purchase. You either drank water in both the buffet and dining room or you had to purchase alcohol or a soft drink. Drinking glasses were extremely short and small. They were the same height as a coffee cup/mug. Thus, it took more trips to refill them, OR you had to fill multiple glasses in the beginning so you didn’t have to return for refills. One ice machine in the buffet was broken the entire week. We had to walk around to the other side each time to get ice. On other cruise lines we’ve been on, an ice cream station was available all day to ALL passengers. On MSC, the ice cream station was only for customers who paid a premium to become Yacht Club members. “Regular” passengers had to purchase ice cream if they wanted it. The pizza bar offered a small variety of very thin, rubbery, meatless pizza. Only one version had meat, and it contained about 8 total slices of pepperoni. So, each slice of pizza had ONE slice of pepperoni on it. The SAME pizza was offered ALL week with no variety. Each time we selected a plate or coffee cup in the buffet, we had to go through several items to find a clean one. Even the “clean” plates had a smudgy film on them indicating hot water had not been used to clean them. This smudgy film could also be felt, not just seen. Many mugs were not only dirty, but they actually had substantial food particles in them as though they hadn’t been through the dishwasher at all or it wasn’t working properly. One morning, I went through 4 extremely dirty mugs before finding a 5th one that was clean. I showed a wait staff the 4 dirty ones. No explanation and no apology. Another time, we sat next to a table in which multiple glasses of wine were purchased. The passengers were aghast at the cloudiness of the wine glasses and talked about how unclean they looked. My husband saw the head food officer one day and spoke with him about the dirtiness of the dishes. The next day the plates looked/felt very clean for the first time! We still had to go through several mugs before finding a clean one, but at least the plates seemed clean after 3 days of dirty ones. One buffet wait staff who was carrying a tray of silverware wrapped in cloth napkins, accidentally dropped a set on the floor. He bent down, picked it up, placed it back on the pile on the tray, and delivered it to the food station for people to use! I unwrapped my silverware napkin at one meal to find fresh food stains all over it. It was completely dirty and unsightly. They had wrapped up silverware in a USED napkin. Picture attached. One hand sanitizing machine at one buffet entrance was out of order the entire week. Both machines were positioned touching the wall (and therefore easy to overlook), rather than out in the open where people could see and use them. Obviously, no one could use the broken one all week. And hardly anyone used the working one that was next to the wall because it was out of the way. Not a good idea for cleanliness standards when you sometimes hear about hundreds of passengers on some cruise ships getting sick because of unsanitary standards. At the buffet, salt and pepper shakers weren’t available on each table. In fact, salt AND pepper were only on about 25% of the tables in the room. We consistently had to borrow them from other tables. We met one wait staff in the buffet who was friendly. When we commented on the lack of cleanliness and hygiene we had experienced, he told us that he was Marriott-trained and that the lack of standards on this ship bothered him immensely. This was his first tour with MSC and he said he wasn’t returning to this cruise line once his current tour was up with this ship. He just couldn’t handle the lower standards he was forced to accept. He said the non-British Europeans rarely complained because they were used to those standards, but the British and other native English speaking passengers DID complain because they were used to much higher food/service/cleanliness standards. But he said not much is done if/when there are complaints because there aren’t enough native English speakers to make a difference. He stated that many English speakers preferred the dining room to the buffet because of cleanliness issues. However, in the dining room, we saw a waiter take unused silverware from 2 tables (after the passengers had left their tables) and load them back into the silverware receptacle for another use! One morning at breakfast in the dining room, I watched a waitress bite and chew her fingernails the ENTIRE time I ate! She wasn’t very busy because apparently her main job was busing the tables. Occasionally however, she took drink orders and brought people their drinks. I don’t know if she washed her hands in the back before filling those drink orders each time, but I know she did NOT wash them before pouring coffee and hot water for several people - because the coffee and hot water pots were at her station which was within my view. She went directly from gnawing her nails to pouring coffee and handling the coffee cups! I finally told a man in a white staff jacket about it (who said he was a manager) and he asked for my room number. We never heard anything about the complaint. This is merely a personal preference rather than a complaint: Coke products were not available for sale on board - only Pepsi products. Our experience with the Excursions: We were EXTREMELY disappointed that the two complimentary city tour excursions that were offered with our cruise did not materialize once we boarded. They were listed on the website as “included excursions” but the excursion staff on board said they had never heard of free excursions. For some reason, they couldn’t pull up their own website for our particular cruise dates in order for us to show them where it said they were complimentary. We initially chose not to pay for internet access because the customer service desk on the ship said texting was NOT included with the $90 price. We thought that was strange but believed the staff person who told us that. Since we didn’t pay for internet access, we couldn’t pull up the site ourselves to prove our case. We didn’t find out until 4 days into the cruise (halfway point) that texting WAS included in the price! We ended up paying FULL PRICE for internet access for only 4 days so we could text. (No discount or pro-rated amount!) We were then able to pull up MSC’s website, but since our cruise was already underway, the site didn’t even list our cruise. Therefore, we had absolutely no proof that the site stated clearly that those two particular excursions were free. We were VERY upset by this bait and switch tactic and ended up PAYING for one of the excursions that was supposed to be free. EXTREMELY frustrating and disappointing. But how do you prove it once that part of the site is taken down? We were verbally told by the excursion staff TWICE that one of the excursions we paid for was canceled because of “weather,” but then the cancellation letter we received in our room the night prior said it was cancelled because of lack of participation. Which reason was true? Some of the staff in the Excursions Department were quite rude. One lady told my husband that they were closed when he arrived to ask a quick question. He said he just had a quick question that couldn’t wait until they reopened. She repeated insistently, rudely, and loudly that they were closed. Another time, we heard the same Excursion lady tell a passenger, “Can’t you see I’m talking?” when the passenger asked her a question. My husband later spoke to some British ladies who had a similar experience. They had asked the same lady in Excursions for a pen to fill out a form and were told they were closed and to come back at 5:00. One of the excursions we paid for was a trip into Marseille, France. The air conditioning on the bus either wasn’t working or the driver just didn’t turn it on. It was MUCH too hot to ride on a bus with 50 people without air conditioning and windows that didn’t open. It was stifling until we reached our destination. Same experience on the return trip. Two excursion buses we were on had signs prominently posted on them that they had WiFi. We were looking forward to free texting on the bus (that was before we paid $90 for the last 4 days!). However, one bus did NOT have it at all. The other one did, but because their certificate had expired, they officially didn’t have it either. Our experience with Customer Service/WOW Factor: A luggage handler on the dock prior to boarding asked for a tip to put our luggage on the ship. There was no WOW factor when we entered the ship or walked into the main atrium. The stairs were glittery and the back wall of the elevator facing the atrium was glass, but that was all. The furniture looked tired, bland, and uninviting. Nothing like the WOW experiences we’ve had before with other cruise lines/ships. The staff were very functional, but not friendly. Many of the ship staff seemed bothered to help guests. They were happy to ask if you wanted to buy any drinks. And they were good about quickly cleaning the tables. But they never smiled, chatted, or seemed welcoming or engaging like they are on other cruise lines. On a scale of 1 to 10, we have rated “hospitality/friendliness” on previous cruise lines as a 10. It was a 3 or 4 on MSC. We met a couple from Istanbul on the ship and chatted with them at length. They were also quite disappointed with this cruise line, having sailed on others. They commented on the poor customer service, the lack of WOW factor, the worn pool towels, the carpet in their room that needed to be replaced, and the unfriendliness of the staff. They agreed that this ship would rate about a 4 overall on a scale of 1 to 10. We met a couple from Canada who had sailed on about 25 cruises. They also agreed with our assessment and commented that the standards on this ship were extremely relaxed. We were all happy with the price we paid, but agreed that the standards were not what other cruise lines offered for a similar price. Another couple we met had paid a premium price to be Yacht Club members. They were very happy with their food, service, amenities, etc. (which were different than what “regular” passengers experienced). When we compared prices though, they realized they had paid OVER DOUBLE what we did for that better experience. We told them we had experienced great food, service, amenities, etc on other cruise lines WITHOUT having to pay OVER DOUBLE for it! The cruise planner mentioned a 4-D cinema. Since we thought we’d like to watch a movie, we asked where the cinema was. No one knew. And they didn’t know which movie was playing, or when. We asked a total of 6 staff members at/around the Customer Service desk. We finally went to Deck 16 to find out ourselves, and it turned out that the “cinema” was a motorcycle arcade game in the children’s play area! There was NO cinema and NO movie. Even the large screen on the pool deck didn’t offer movies each night as other cruise lines often do. It just offered endless commercials to purchase things on the ship and showed food staff cooking. The ship itinerary was confusing. It didn’t have everything listed on one page like we’ve had in the past. Instead, they used multiple pages to tell what was going on all day on the ship. Not only was it confusing to read and sort out, but I prefer to carry just one piece of paper with me rather than multiple sheets. There weren’t as many opportunities for entertainment on board as we’ve enjoyed on previous ships. They used military time for everything, so you had to convert each activity/meal to know what time it was actually scheduled. The suit jackets on many of the staff were ill-fitting and looked like they hadn’t seen a cleaners in a very long time. Therefore, many of them didn’t look professional. There was an inordinate amount of advertising for the Butcher Cut (an onboard steak restaurant at extra cost). It was advertised GALORE - via intercom, room TV, theater screens at the show each night, theater verbal announcements, waiters coming to your table and standing outside the dining room with placards, etc. Too much! We were surprised that we were charged $70 per person ($140 total) mid-cruise for tips. Our entire table in the dining room, consisting of 8 people, talked about this and were all frustrated about it. None of us had noticed any mention of automatic pre-tipping in our paperwork or on the website. None of us minded tipping when we experienced good service, but to automatically include it WITHOUT telling us and BEFORE the service was rendered and when we mainly experienced BAD service was unacceptable. We all chose to have them remove this expense and told them we would rather tip individually instead. My husband was told on two separate occasions by different Customer Service staff that both tip amounts would be removed from our bill AFTER we disembarked. That sounded strange, but we accepted it as truth. Unfortunately, that expense is STILL on our credit card bill 2 weeks later and we’re contesting it. See above as it pertains to the Excursion staff. Our experience with our Room: When we first arrived in our room, we noticed there was a slot in the bathroom counter for facial tissue but none was present. When we mentioned this to our steward, he said the stewards were told to stop putting facial tissue in the bathrooms. We looked at him incredulously. He finally told us he’d find a way to get us some. He did, but that excuse sounded very strange. Just as an example of the missing WOW factor, the stewards didn’t put chocolates on your pillow or create cute animals out of towels and washcloths every night like other cruise lines do. (Petty in comparison, but this is a detailed list.) When we positioned the handle for the shower water on the coldest temperature possible, the water went from scalding hot so bad that we couldn’t stand it . . . to freezing cold. And back again. Over and over. Shower temperature on other cruise lines has fluctuated as well, but not to this extreme. The carpet was very tired looking. So were the pool towels. On about 5 occasions, our room key did not work. We tried both of them over and over and over again before one would finally open the door. The balcony was wonderful and made up for some of our negative experiences! Thank you to our travel agent for accomplishing this! Bottom line, if you’ve NEVER been on a cruise before, this was a halfway decent cruise for the money if you can handle the lower standards for cleanliness and customer service. If you HAVE been on a cruise though, you will probably NOT enjoy this one because you’ve undoubtedly experienced HIGH standards of excellence with cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Princess. Stick with them! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite ... Read More
After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite on MSC - the space was really important as we were travelling with our 16 year old daughter). We flew to Majorca with Ryanair getting into Palma for lunch on the ship by 1.30pm. Embarkation was easy and even though we were supposed to have priority this didn’t appear to be available - although there was only two families in front of us so it wasn’t a big issue. This is where the loss of the star lies too, passing on information is not a priority of MSC, we only knew that our cruise cards would be in our rooms as we overheard somebody else’s conversation with a member of staff, we weren’t told that we had to authorise our card (however I had found this out before hand after researching on here), we had AnyTime dinning but this really isn’t anytime you still need to decide wether you will use the early or later time slot - it’s anytime within your chosen time slot, not anytime the restaurant is open. There was also a lack of information about the spa and the included massage. It would also have been nice to have a map of the ship in the room. I honestly think a welcome pack is in order - it wouldn’t take much. Our room was just about ready when we got onboard - our room attendant was just finishing it off so we had a walk round and found a quiet little area at the back of the ship that became our go to place for port photos. Once in the room it was clear that it was immaculate, with a lot of storage space (including a hidden cupboard behind the mirror on the dressing table), the room had everything we needed including a walk-in wardrobe, hairdryer, robes and slippers. The bed was enormous and the sofa bed was very comfortable. The only complaint about the room and it will be the same for all the rooms in the vicinity is that it is very noisy when docking - sometimes this is as early as 6am so these no need for an early alarm! The food served onboard is lovely both in the Red Velvet restaurant and the buffet, the latter can get really busy but it is always possible to find a table if you do a bit of looking. There is a good variety of food in the buffet. Service in the Red Velvet was lovely just about right not over the top but attentive enough to notice if you didn’t like something they would offer alternatives. There were a lot of activities onboard but we are much more of a keeping ourselves to ourselves type of family and having access to Top 18 was great. We always found a sunbed and the waiter running the bar was lovely remembering our room number and the drinks we enjoyed. We did three MSC excursions, two were really great value the other not so much (aquarium visit with ferry transfer in Genoa). NAPLES: we did a walking tour of vasuvios organised by MSC. The guide was very good and kept a good pace with information in three languages. In the description it did say that it was a moderately hard excursion but I would say anybody with walking difficulties wouldn’t manage it the path is quite steep and even though we were before 9am it was still very warm. The views from the top were amazing and worth the walk. MARSEILLE: another MSC tour with was really well organised and interesting, the guide again did the whole thing in three languages. Following the tour we were able to make use of any of the shuttles returning to the ship. This made it really great value as the shuttle on its own was around €15 each. GENOA: we bought, on board, the excursion to the aquarium on a ferry. In my opinion it really wasn’t worth the price paid. The aquarium is lovely and worth visiting but the tickets for the aquarium can be purchased for €18 and MSC charged around €40 each for the use of the ferry. This literally takes five minuets and is packed full, there were two MSC ships docked and the ferry had a mixture of passengers off both ships. We actually walked back to the ship it was that close. Overall the cruise was lovely but had a very European feel, English speakers are defiantly in the minority but we never felt left out. The staff are great and the ship is beautiful. Having the Premium drinks package meant we could virtually drink what we liked, it was very good value. We would sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
On the boat they are constantly trying to sell you addition services. For example, when we were dining someone came up to use trying to sell a steak plate for an additional 25 euro. This was insulting as we were dining in the restaurant. ... Read More
On the boat they are constantly trying to sell you addition services. For example, when we were dining someone came up to use trying to sell a steak plate for an additional 25 euro. This was insulting as we were dining in the restaurant. On check-out we had to contribute 70 Euro per person as a service charge (for what we do not know) and they automatically put in our contribution to Unicef. I do not need a third party to force me to contribute to charity. The staff were friendly but at one point they said we had ordered too many drinks on our package. We had the unlimited drinks package and this is what you get. This company is very tricky and once on the boat expect to be a victim to their attempts to extract money from you. For example, the photographer will come up to your group take photos and later you may purchase these for 35 Euro each. We were so tired of being asked all the time. We will not travel with MSC ever again Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon ... Read More
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon afterwards. Took ages to find cabin though. Unpacked, spent the afternoon exploring and missed dinner so we ate in the buffet. It was OK, heaving, and found a nice chicken curry. Went there for breakfast every day but wouldn't eat main meals there. We were booked into the C.D'Oro, and shared with 2 very nice couples, one couple were Gold card members. The other couple had only cruised once before, so nice not to have to talk about cruising all the time. The food was superb, and all cooked to perfection, and our drinks package included a nice bottle (not glass!!) of wine every night, and water. Pool a bit small and because of the time we travelled, full of children but heyho. We always got a sunbed, lazed about, enjoyed the ship, and took no excursions at all. It was too hot to trawl around dusty cities plus we had visited some on previous land-holidays. The full day at sea was manic and the pool entertainment really juvenile - but at least the shops were open. They are not allowed to open in ports. However, said shops were very disappointing. Mainly over-priced but out of date designer gear. Nowhere to buy say, a tube of toothpaste if you forgot to pack it!! so much for shops where you could get all your holiday essentials. also the shops at sea when open had constant sales, outside, on tables, making everything very cheap and nasty. If you smoke and run out of fags, you can only buy them, one pack per card, behind a bar and ONLY when at sea. The spa, well, my fault. I booked a Bali massage, it was an offer haha, same offered every day, but was lied to as the very miserable chap said the offer was just for the day I'd booked it. Anyway, it was nice, so agreed to pay another 15€ for a facial. Then I was "sold" a jar of face cream (sucker me). 90€ and back in the cabin I opened the 6 inch square box to find a 3 inch square jar of cream, inside which was a hole for about 2 teaspoons!! My fault....haven't used it yet, probably come out in a rash!! The 2 men at the spa reception were without doubt, the most miserable condescending people I have ever encountered. Need sacking. We didn't bother going to a show, went to the Casino one night for fun, but got into a nice routine of pre and after dinner drinks in the Cigar Lounge (as we smoke)...then up to the buffett to fill up the flask I had taken, with boiling hot water. This stayed hot enough to make a cuppa every morning. I also managed to get a half litre of milk on board bought in Palma...and, my travel hairdryer. Huge relief!! We normally like a good quality hotel, with pool maybe beach, as our idea is to relax on holiday, and do cities as short breaks. Well we did manage to do that every day mostly, and loved sitting on our balcony while we were at sea. The boat was SO smooth, and always on-time. I would have liked to get off at Marseilles but that was the hottest day, so glad we didn't. The Gold card members had done every excursion, but always on their own, which they recommended rather than pay the high prices and be herded around like cattle. Or miss the boat as someone did in Livorno!! Since we booked the trip, which was a long time ago, we did read a lot of reviews. Every one to their own but some are quite misleading, and some quite wrong! Think it's best next time we do a cruise, not to read anything, and just make the most of it. We wouldn't do it again in the high season though. We knew there would be a lot of children, but there were also a lot of groups of student ages teenagers, mostly Italians. We did like that though....not too many Brits....made it all a bit more continental. All in all, a very enjoyable holiday, as I said we will cruise again, liked MSC, thought the organisation was great considering we booked independently and through the Spanish site. Oh....one thing, had several photos taken but could only find one taken on the Gala night whilst in the photo shop. Talk about photo-shopped, cost 40€ for one large and one small copy! Wifi worked not too bad on laptop but the smartphone wasn't brilliant considering we paid for the wifi package. Apart from that and the drinks package (well worth it) we also paid up front for service, so no need to tip anyone. Customer service desk always busy bout plenty of staff, we used to get our account updated and everything was always correct. We also found that the whole ship had more than enough staff, always helpful, except those 2 in the Aurora spa!! On our first night we had to go to the theatre for the drill with our lifejackets. Took about half an hour, glad we didn't need them as I couldn't get mine on! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and ... Read More
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and as they have no set start port for the Cruise there are people embarking at every port of the Cruise meaning there is far fewer at each port in the queue. Crew/Staff- were top notch, despite the fact that there were very few English speaking passengers on board we never met a crew member that could not speak English, they were super helpful and always courteous. Facilities- there were so many things to do onboard for both adults and kids that there was never a danger of boredom, everything from multiple pools and jacuzzis to a State of the Art gym, video games, football pitch, table tennis, and a squash court. There is also a Hair salon, Spa and other pampering available at an extra cost. There is a Casino, a Sports Bar along with plenty of Cafes, Bars, Restaurants and Ice Cream Counters. Excursions- are available at an extra cost, these can be quite expensive especially if you are booking for four but having done both official and self-organised excursions there is not a huge cost saving in the difference but the self-organised tours allows for flexibility such as choosing the time slot for climbing the Tower of Pisa. NB* please note that tickets to go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa are NOT included in that tour and you NEED to book in advance to ensure you get to go up as it is super busy and limited in numbers allowed. Dining- This was one worry we had but we could not have been more impressed, there was a different and varied dinner menu each night in the Red Velvet Restaurant, you could also go there for breakfast and lunch or you could go to the Zanzibar Buffet on deck 14 which opened 18-20 hours per day. The buffet however didn't have food between 17.00 & 18.30 due to the crew partaking in the daily Emergency Evacuation Exercise for new passengers which we found was a strange time to close the food part? The food was always top quality in the A La Carte Red Velvet and while there was a huge choice in the Zanzibar some of the food was tepid if it had been out for more than a couple of minutes. Passengers- Mainly Italian, French, Spanish & German but with a good sprinkling of other nationalities. One drawback that I must mention as it can colour the judgement / enjoyment of some people is that we found that passengers of certain nationalities appear incredibly rude in terms of an inability to queue in an orderly fashion, an unwillingness to give way while passing in tight spaces and even common courtesy of thanking you for holding a door open for them. I had to ask passengers at one of the shows to be quiet as they insisted on talking their way through the show so loudly that everyone within 30m could hear their conversation and none of the show. The ship despite being 11 years old was in great condition and huge efforts were made to keep it looking well so overall we could not fault MSC in any way, indeed we were so impressed we have booked with MSC on their new ship the MSC Grandiosa for next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our daughter sailed for free). Overall Review: Our cruise on MSC Fantasia was a great vacation but mainly due to the itinerary. The ship is fine, seemingly heavy on bars and lounges with (as expected) a heavily-European crowd, mainly French and Italian with some from the UK and a limited few from the US. The cabin was in great condition and looked identical to those we've had on Celebrity and other lines (minus the TV which as other reviewers have noted was comically small but we only turned it on once). Should be noted that Fantasia is due to have a refit sometime in 2019-20. The crew as good overall... top-tier managers and supervisors really get customer service and there are some at the rank-and-file level that do as well but generally service is average at best and can have issues. Our dining room service experience, though, was exceptional and one of the absolute best we've had on any line in a main dining room. Food, as noted in other reviews, was average at best and could be below average in areas. Pastas and pizzas were good as expected but cost-control methods elsewhere take their toll on the overall quality. The upside was really the itinerary which was amazing but the downside was the constant feeling of being upsold, even more so than on other lines. From the drink package being pushed at the beginning to the specialty dining to - and this was a surprise to me - a €24 upgrade to add a lobster tail to your entree on Gala Night. The increases, in my mind, were extreme on some notes (such as the lobster or a €68 per person Chef's-Table tasting menu in the specialty) but some things were surprisingly low. While a can of soda (Pepsi by the way) was €3.50, a glass of wine was only €5 and bottles of wine were from €25 to €50 with a strong list of decent Italian wines. In short it was a great value and itinerary. We would consider sailing MSC again on an itinerary that gave us in-port dining options but would avoid the line for itineraries like the Caribbean where in-port dining is more difficult and/or expensive. Dining: Putting this first because, frankly, this is the one with the most ups and downs and as a self-confessed "foodie" it's an important part of my vacation experience. Food in the dining room for dinner was good to very good - the pastas were the natural highlight for an italian cruise line. Cooked to perfection with delicious sauces... if you see a pasta dish you might like, order. Portions could be small (one dish had three medium-sized ravioli) but waiters understand and are ready with backups. Meat dishes are hit-and-miss... all are sliced, mostly very thinly, with good to very good sauces. Give up the concept of ordering your steak to temp (unless you opt for the €24 T-bone upsell) - you're getting a slice. If you skip the sauce be prepared for dry meat... not the best. Seafood is good but they're obviously cost-conscious with their portion sizes - a seafood risotto featured one langostine, two shrimp and about 5 small bay scallops. Desserts were OK - but there are always free pastries next to the gelato bar (delicious and priced the same you'll see in port). In an odd twist though – there was a stunning lack of chicken dishes on any menu. Not a downside, just an interesting note. Now... beyond the dining room.... essentially, you're going to have the buffet. This is an insane zoo of a place with a feel that’s straight out of Lord of the Flies. The crowds are everywhere even at non-peak times and the flow is poorly laid out. Essentially there are 6-7 areas (pizza, hot items, bakery, salad, desserts, vegetarian/healthy) that are repeated throughout the expanse of the space. The food there is average to below-average with the exception of the pizza which is quite good (skip the charcoal though - bad attempt IMO). Breakfast is repeated daily so if you don't like it on day one you're gonna be in for a long week. Juice is offered at breakfast… should be “juice” as the orange juice tasted suspiciously like Tang. But the big fun was to happen on the at-sea day – which was chaos from about 7am until 3pm. The food was average as noted but what was insane was the pushing, shoving, shouting and lack of order of the other guests. All three of us – including my daughter – were shoved or pushed or had people cut in front of us in buffet lines as we waited patiently for our turn in a station. There was neither a right-to-left nor a left-to-right flow of the pax in each section but rather an olly-olly-oxenfree cacophonous scrum. Beverages at lunch were limited to water or the bar – unless there was some leftover “juice” from breakfast. However, service in the buffet though is good - lots of waiters around ready to take your money for a beverage. We attempted lunch in the dining room on the at-sea day (our 2nd day) but based on the choices and quality we opted to eat in port on the rest of the days and that - not shockingly - turned out to be the absolute highlight of the food on our trip. We did not attempt dinner in the buffet but a walk thru there showed some of the entrees in the dining room available with some other regular choices - and the aforementioned pizza available from 11am until Midnight so if you're in a pinch grab a slice. Lastly, one of our group needs a gluten-free diet. We had selected MSC in part knowing that they dedicated themselves to a quality GF diet and options. While generally true in the dining room there were elements that were phoned in… for example the same exact “dessert of the day” was served three days in a row. It was a simple sponge cake with chocolate cream (days 2-4 after the first day being the same cake with a strawberry cream) which was fine but by the third day it was redundant. It wouldn’t have been hard for the staff to swap chocolate for other flavors daily at a minimum. GF options were present but limited in the buffet and we didn’t note any GF pizza options. GF bread was always available in the dining room and some wasn’t bad. Cabin: Shortest section... it's a fine cabin. We had a balcony on deck 11 and found it to be just like any other standard balcony. No complaints on the cabin. However, our service in the cabin was a low point. Staff on the cruise, much like many of the guests, rotate on and off at each port meaning sometimes your waiter or room steward will leave mid-cruise which happened to us. Our attendant got off mid-cruise and was replaced with someone who actually smiled and was accessible. However before that we had a request for an extra blanket for the pull-out bed my daughter was in... which took four calls and over an hour to happen when we were initially promised 15 minutes. In typical fashion on the 4th call we were told a supervisor was notified and we had the blanket within 2 minutes (see below). Embarkation/Disembarkation: Really one of the hidden highlights of the cruise. Since the ship has a rolling embarkation/disembarkation as it sails there wasn’t a huge crush. We arrived in the terminal in Mallorca about 11:30am and were on the ship by about 12:30pm. One nice touch – you just turn in your paperwork and have your ID checked and then walk on the ship. Keys are waiting in your room and you simply visit a self-service kiosk to activate payment on your cruise card. Very efficient. One note – when you get to the terminal make SURE to get a check-in number. Find an MSC rep and get one – some people snuck past only to get to the embarkation area and find themselves without a number and pushed to the back of the queue. Disembarkation was by deck and was equally fast…. At least we think it was. We had an issue with formal photos not being ready (see below) that held us up. But we walked off the ship, found our luggage in the terminal and went on our way in about 5 mins from the time the photos were sorted. Ports/Itinerary: This is why we loved the cruise. The itinerary was amazing. We left from Mallorca then to Ibiza, at sea, Naples, Livorno, Genoa and finally to Marseille. We flew into Mallorca the night before and overnighted there before checking into the ship on Monday. After Embarkation we decided to go into town. In a silly move we opted for the MSC shuttle to the town – WOW, what a ripoff. We paid nearly €50 for the three of us to ride in and out – that’s more than a round-trip to the AIRPORT would have been in a taxi. Lesson learned. Palma was amazing, great to walk thru the city and shops and stopped at a little café for some great tapas. The next day was Ibiza… we planned on doing very little and decided to go into town. This time we skipped the shuttle and instead of spending €48 for the three of us we spent €12 on a local bus that was a 2-minute walk past the MSC shuttle. This was a pattern we saw in every port – a VERY expensive MSC option that should be avoided at all cost. We expected very little and had a great visit to the cathedral/fort on the top of the hill and lunched at a café in the old section of town. If you have kids there’s a nice little playground right along the main street by the bus drop off – great to let them burn off some energy! Then we had our at-sea day. This is where the other passengers really “shined.” The day started in the gym which opens at 6am. There’s a limited number of cardio (6 treadmills, 4 bikes, 2 elliptical and 2 arm bikes) and a decent set of weight machines and dumbbells. I never saw a wait for devices but each has a computer-enforced 20 minute time limit. Once that was over at 6:45 the crew was setting out chairs for the day and just about as fast as they were being sat down people were reserving with towels. We were ready for this but it was a near feeding frenzy. It should note that the starboard side of the pool deck is smoker-friendly so if you’re bothered by smoke it can be troublesome. The bigger problem on the deck was the music. Starting about 7:30 with “stretching” and then going well into the morning the crew was BLASTING music at concert-level volumes. If you’re looking for a quiet day poolside look elsewhere. We actually moved from the outdoor pool to the quieter indoor pool to avoid the deafening roar. Formal night was this night and there was a wide variety of attire. A few men were in black tie and some women were in gowns but they were the exception. I wore a black suit and tie, my wife was in a lovely dress and our daughter had a very cute semi-formal gown and we were at- or slightly over-dressed. Despite the “no shorts” rule in the dining room we even saw people in shorts in the dining room on formal night. Most guests were wearing jackets or dresses but there outliers on all ends of the spectrum. Photographers were set up around the ship and were very available. The photos they took were good to very good and prices were reasonable for cruise photos – they have a €30 option to add on to any package that gives you digital copies of any photos you buy which is a nice option. In Naples we had opted for a Family tour of Pompeii. When we got back from the pool on the at-sea day a note in our room informed us that our tour had been cancelled. A visit to the shore excursion desk later it was determined that there weren’t enough people who were interested in that tour so it was cancelled. We were “offered” to join the more expensive standard Pompeii tour without any discount or apology. So we took the larger tour. Note on tours on MSC – they are LARGE. Typically 45-60 people per group with a single leader. Guests are given headsets so they can hear the guides (par for the course really) and the guides are informative. However. We quickly learned the difference in the “regular” and “family” tour when 1/3 of the 2 hour tour in Pompeii focused on the brothels and prostitution in the city. Fun explaining that one to a 9-year-old. More on that later. After the Pompeii visit we had time to wander into Naples and visit the oldest pizza restaurant – dating back to 1738 – for a delicious lunch, opting to skip past the more tourist-oriented places in the city square. We did wander past the beautiful castle in the city center through the square for an amazing Italian coffee and gelato before returning to the ship. Next was Livorno and we had opted for a Florence & Pisa combination tour. Again, 50 of us were loaded on a coach and herded into Florence. Given that both the tower and the museums in Florence have timed tickets and the tour couldn’t tell us if we were going to Pisa and then Florence or the reverse we were unable to visit the museums or walk up in the tower on this tour. Not the end of the world but if I had known that right in the cruise terminal there were several car rental companies I would have rented a car and done a self-tour. The tour was informative but S L O W. Once we did get to Florence it took 5 minutes to get the group to cross the street given the number of people, their lack of speed and the shortness of traffic lights. Sensing this we left the group opting to meet back at the meeting spot later in the day… which was a wonderful choice. Our daughter wanted to see some specific sites (she’s a science fan so seeing Galileo’s grave and other sites were a must) including the Duomo exterior and the copy of David in the city square. After Florence it was back into the bus for the ride to Pisa – after we lost 30 mins waiting on several couples to get to the bus. Our guide simply extended the overall time of the tour which gave us more time in Pisa but necessitated us going from the bus directly to dinner. After Livorno it was on to Genoa. We opted to take the train to Portofino on our own which was wonderful. A quick walk to the train station about 5 mins from the ship and we hopped a train to Santa Margharita where you take a bus to Portofino. The train was about €12 per person round trip and the bus was another €4 per person each way. Portofino was insanely crowded and expensive but having checked that off our bucket list we came back to Santa Margharita and had a fantastic seaside lunch before taking the train back. One note – if you do take the train you MUST validate your ticket on wall-mounted time punch machines BEFORE boarding the train. They are not well marked and you need to seek them out or face a €50 per ticket fine on board. The last stop was Marseilles. Another booked tour, another cancelled tour, this time the Avignon/Aix-en-Provence duo tour. This was cancelled for a lack of English-language participation. So, again, we went on our own to Avignon which was WELL worth the visit. The tour at the Palais du Papes was the best self-guided tour we’ve ever done anywhere with an amazing virtual-reality-type tablet experience that gave the history and perspective of the amazing palace. The second formal night was on the Marseille night – slightly inconvenient as we were disembarking in Mallorca the next morning but still nice. Service: As noted we had an issue with the shore excursions with two cancelled and the non-family tour of Pompeii not preparing us nor noting the content. I discussed this with the Shore Excursions staff and was initially told that nothing could be done. When I escalated this to a manager my issue was quickly and efficiently handled and a reasonable credit was posted to our account. This was a trend we saw throughout the ship. One night at dinner we were approached by a photographer who instructed us to cluster for a photo – which we politely declined saying “No thank you” to which he audibly scoffed and uttered a curse word under his breath as he turned and left. When I raised this to the photo manager as a point of information he was appalled and pledged to make sure the employee was instructed differently. Lastly, we had photos made on the 2nd formal night and ended up picking a package of photos from both nights. Since we were early seating they had proofs done by 10pm and promised to have final prints ready in the morning at reception. In the morning we found that one of the three pictures we needed to get was of us but the other two most clearly were not of our family. When I raised this with the agent at the reception desk it was met with a “I’m sorry” and nothing much else. However, when I raised this to a manager she worked diligently to find someone from the photo team to finally answer the phone (took 30 minutes just to find someone with the keys) who then re-printed the photos including a couple of “extras” slipped in for goodwill. It seems clear that MSC is working hard to establish a culture of service at the top levels and has trained senior staff to embody this culture. However, it’s not made it all the way down to the full crew. Some are amazing (like our dining room staff) while others are uncaring. As a passenger know that when you escalate politely and professionally things will be handled quickly and effectively. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Firs the positive, the embarkation was smooth. But the company lacks in communications with the guests. It has no processes to keep the guests engaged after they book the cruise. They live in an old world where communications with your ... Read More
Firs the positive, the embarkation was smooth. But the company lacks in communications with the guests. It has no processes to keep the guests engaged after they book the cruise. They live in an old world where communications with your customers was nil. But the most important point is they bring in your luggage in batches. So you will get some pieces first and for the rest you will have to wait till the ship sets sailing. My bag which contained toiletries and shoes etc did not arrive even after we checked in at 12.30 am, the earliest time one could check in. I complained, but the cruise officials were not helpful. They said it would take time and they cant help. Second, if you have purchased internet, good luck to you. The speed sucks. They cant do anything about the speed. Third, there is iron for basic pressing in the room. If your clothes have wrinkles, there is nothing you can do but give them to the laundry for ironing. It will cost your a princely 4.90 euros for a dress. Overall, not so good experience on day one. I will do a full review after the cruise. This is just the initial impressions. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, so I'd say we have a broad range of cruising experience. We chose this cheap and cheerful cruise for our annual family holiday because, well, it was cheap. We travelled by train from London and sailed from Marseille, via Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Naples, Livorno and Genoa. We were concerned, to say the least, after reading so many poor reviews but overall, the experience was acceptable. Embarkation was surprisingly all right. I think it is because for this particular cruise, people are boarding and leaving from every port so you don't experience the usual huge lines and long waits for your baggage. A couple of things to note, however, is that firstly you need to validate your cruise card and link it with your credit card *on the ship* rather than at embarkation, and at checkout you need to physically go to reception to receive any refund due on your credit card. This isn't something we knew about before boarding and not something that was made clear to us on board. In fact a lot of the things we knew about the ship were down to reading Cruise Critic boards, and because a few of us had sailed with MSC before. Generally, information is not particularly forthcoming. You are either expected to know, or find out for yourself. In addition, the answers you get from the crew depend entirely on who you ask. At times it felt like a crew training cruise, when just about every query was received with puzzlement and a long discussion with someone else. A major point which I think others have also made is regarding smoking. If you cannot tolerate smoking, do not cruise with MSC. Smoking is officially banned on balconies and only permitted outdoors on Deck 7, one side of the pool deck and in the cigar bar and casino. However, despite numerous complaints, nothing was done to stop our cabin neighbours puffing away on their balcony, constantly, and indeed taunting us about it. There are plenty of hidden corners where people can and do smoke, and little is done too prevent it. Tacitly, it seems that this is a smokers' cruise line in spite of the obvious fire risk this poses. The Atlantico bar is directly above the casino and connected with a grand staircase, so that too is quite a smoky area. Another point of concern was the random way in which rules were applied. I left the ship every day with my daughter and niece (who was travelling with her parents) – some of us went for a run, and we walked to meet up with them in each port - with no problems except on the last day when I was informed that I could not take her off the ship as we had different cabin numbers. This sort of thing should not come as a surprise! We had no idea this was a rule of the ship and it was embarrassing, to say the least. Ship environment and layout Perhaps uniquely among ships I've travelled in, the Fantasia has almost no internal clues as to where you happen to be. For example, on NCL, the design of the carpets and art in the stairwells indicates whether you're fore, aft or midships, and little fish point to the front of the ship. There are no such design elements on Fantasia – there are few maps on the wall and paper maps of the ship are only available at reception. This led to a great deal of getting lost. This is a ship of dead ends and going round in circles. I would advise anyone travelling to get a deck plan in advance and study it carefully. This is an older ship and there were stained carpets and leaky air conditioning, flickering lights and broken toilets. Most of the water park was closed for refurbishment. Overall it was clean but it has seen better days. The room stewards were highly overworked – they never get a period of time when there are no passengers on board on a schedule like this one and the ship is permanently full. Our cabin was cleaned daily but sometimes it wasn't turned down until quite late in the evening. Facilities/entertainment We used the Kids' Club – this was fine but if there aren't many kids there, the staff put on a movie and this may be in a different language to the one your kids happen to speak. This may not bother your kids – it didn't bother mine, but it bothered her cousin. Registration, drop off and collection all happen in the same queue, rather than having registration take place at a set time every day. This led to very long lines at busy times. Children get either a red or green wristband. Red means they are not allowed to roam the ship alone, green means they can check themselves out of the kids' club whenever they like. If your child is sensible and can navigate the highly confusing ship, that is.. The pools are fine – they do the job! There is a large indoor pool, an outdoor pool complex, a water slide (with random opening hours), a pool and hot tubs at the back, and a water park which was under refurbishment and therefore closed. The theatre shows were pretty good, if at times incomprehensible. At the poolside, there are often dance classes and other fun activities. There's a tiny library and cyber café, hidden by the reception area. The bars are OK, with little to distinguish one from another. There's a constant pressure to buy drinks packages but these can only be applied to everyone in the cabin – there's no way that between the three of us we could get through €90 worth of drinks a day for the most basic package. Our travel agent negotiated a deal where we could have sparkling water at the buffet or dining room, which was all we really wanted anyway. The photo gallery was incredibly crowded and finding your photos was haphazard – people seemed to be moving photos around. However, the photographers were really good and we actually bought quite a few, which we don't usually. We had a small balcony cabin which was fine, it had enough room for us and our stuff. It got quite noisy at night with stuff going on in the corridors and neighbouring cabins but nothing too bad (apart from a big fight next door one night for which we had to call security…). Staff The staff are nice, they all speak basic English and do their jobs well, but I refer to my earlier remark about how it seemed that this was a training cruise. Food We ate in the dining room and the buffet. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants so I can't say anything about those. The food was a bit hit and miss – nothing horrible, but few things were amazing. The prime rib was great. I really missed the sort of hot puddings you get on NCL or Princess. The dessert section of the buffet was mostly little cakes and jellies, but there was plenty of fruit available. The buffet had a good selection most of the time, the pizzas were excellent. There's little enforcement of the hand gel and often the dispensers were broken, which probably explains why most of us now have colds. In the dining room the portions were very small – my nine year old had room for two main courses from the adult menu one night. Ports of call We did like all the ports we visited. Most of the time we walked off the ship and did not use the shuttle buses. It's worth noting that in Livorno, there is a €5 bus that takes you to the centre of town, or a slightly secret free bus that gets you to the entrance to the port, and then it's a 10 minute walk to the town centre. If you're able to walk for 20 minutes, you don't really need the shuttle buses, but they are heavily promoted. Additionally in Livorno, the town centre itself is OK but a bit boring – however the area around the aquarium (worth visiting, much cheaper than the large one in Genoa) is a newish development with some interesting shops and cafes, a lovely park, lido and playgrounds. It's only a 15 minute walk from the port to here and it's where we wish we'd spent most of the day. We didn't book any excursions. What we tended to do was find a central point of interest and wander towards it – this paid off well in these dense, rambling towns. We hired bikes in Palma de Mallorca (but note that the cycle lane along the seafront can get busy and isn't great for novice riders). The beaches at Palma and Ibiza were really nice, clean and with decent facilities. In summary If you're looking for cheap and cheerful, you don't mind smoking and you're OK with haphazard customer service, then MSC is fine. However, if you have high expectations then you're going to be disappointed. Do your research first and go in with your eyes open. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We had a week to spare while on holiday in Europe so picked a 7 day cruise to suit our dates. The MSC Fantasia leaving from Palma de Mallorca was chosen and we flew to the island. On arrival at the cruise terminal at 4pm it was chaos, ... Read More
We had a week to spare while on holiday in Europe so picked a 7 day cruise to suit our dates. The MSC Fantasia leaving from Palma de Mallorca was chosen and we flew to the island. On arrival at the cruise terminal at 4pm it was chaos, passengers waiting to board jamming the main reception area. We were told by the local cruise services operator that he did not know why there was a delay, there when questioned again, Pedro told us there was no check in as there was no Spanish immigration official. As tensions between the waiting passengers and MSC representatives increased there was a general announcement advising that once immigration had finished with the disembarking passengers they would start with embarking passengers. After standing around for an hour a fellow irate passenger told us we should have been given a number by Pedro ( he had forgotten) so that once check in started we would be called in groups. After standing around for 2 hours the numbers started to be called and you had to fight to get through. At 6pm some of the MSC check in staff left for the day. After the MSC staff checked your passport and ticket in the main cruise terminal building you then had a walk of about 800m to the cruise ship where you went through the actual check in process (photo id etc). Once through the security process and into the lower lobby the Drinks Package and Speciality Dining staff were onto you. It was now 6.45pm and after nearly 3 hours of stuffing around they were told where to go. At dinner we found out the truth of the chaos, the ship could not berth at Marseilles the day before due to bad weather so went to Cannes. The passengers due to join in Marseilles were bussed to Cannes causing a delayed departure. The ship arrived late into Mallorca but MSC would not tell the truth. The ship was modern and clean. The food average, the alcohol expensive. MSC like to grab your money whenever possible, shuttle buses at ports are a good example. Walk an extra 150 metres and catch a local cruise terminal bus or local service for free or at about 25% of the MSC cost. Generally, the guest service staff need to be re-educated in customer service. They obviously need to speak many different languages but in speaking English their wording came out as rude/arrogant/offensive. The wait and cabin staff were excellent. Entertainment during the day was minimal and poor. Evening shows were not that good, we only went to see Tin Tin but was confused as it seemed like Pirates of the Caribbean with no story. The disembarkation process was badly organised. Meet in a bar at the back of the ship (nearest the cruise terminal - 800m) then walk through to the front of the ship to get off and be as far away from the cruise terminal as possible- an extra 200+ metres then the 800? So, if you like lots of shoving and pushing by fellow passengers this is the cruise for you. I will not be sailing with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The ship itself is very nice, with lovely public spaces but rather cramped cabins. The entertainment shows, every night, were really first rate. Some of the service is very poor, those crew members who were very good probably came from ... Read More
The ship itself is very nice, with lovely public spaces but rather cramped cabins. The entertainment shows, every night, were really first rate. Some of the service is very poor, those crew members who were very good probably came from better cruise lines. Food was OK, can't really rate it any higher than that. Excursions were poor value, one in particular we paid around 70 euros for, took over half a day with only 70 minutes spent at the destination, the rest hanging around waiting for things to happen. Despite complaining about it five times on return to the ship no recompense at all was offered, just buck passing and blaming 'external operators'. MSC are happy enough to make money from excursions though. The drinks packages (7 of them!) are very confusing and lead to much embarrassment when you constantly get told you can't have certain drinks in certain bars. Disembarcation was an absolute disgrace, I would even say dangerous, with thousands of people including elderly, disabled and young children were caught up in a chaotic scrum after being ignored at the 'meeting point' by crew for an hour. Unfortunately, many of our fellow cruisers were rough types who appear to have paid very little and don't know how to behave, so don't expect good manners or civilised queues. Of other cruise lines we have used Princess most often. I would rate them 4 star and MSC would be lucky to scrape a 3. We will not be using MSC again, at any price. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That ... Read More
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That is also why there is a constant line at customer service. The first night there was a huge toilet problem for about 40% of the ship. From 23.00 to 07.00 all toilets at the back of the ship (cabins, staff and public) did not flush! That night we also had a bumpy sea, so you can imagine the poor cleaning party that morning..... This flushing problem was never completely gone, but it lasted never over an hour.... The new drink packages were just okay. Luckily we still had some drink coupons from previous cruises, and the bar staff did not know what to do about it...so we could drink almost anything with the combination of the Easy package and the drink coupons. Although they are fased out, on this ship they had still value. The ports were all so so...but that was because of the weather. Normally in this period of the year (April/May) the weather is much better (Where is Global Warming when you need it?) but that did not spoil our cruise. This Spring the whole of Europe has a very bad climate...so it is better to stay at a cruiseship (with a covered pool) than in a hotel..... We had a great cruise fare. We never payed less for a cruise than this one, and for this price I am not going to get very critical...you just have to be happy with what you get...and we were.... It was not our best cruise, but we still loved it...in comparison with the camping in Tuscany the week after the cruise, it was heaven! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Working in the Hospitality Industry for over 20 years and also been an officer at the Hotel Department for many other cruise lines, been a Travel Agent well traveled and used to from budget to luxury experiences, having an Experience on ... Read More
Working in the Hospitality Industry for over 20 years and also been an officer at the Hotel Department for many other cruise lines, been a Travel Agent well traveled and used to from budget to luxury experiences, having an Experience on the MSC Fantasia in one of their great Yacht Club Suites was something amazing. A part for those who are always trying to get advantage of the Greatest Hospitality that the Cruise Line Industry try to strive giving their best, having the experience at the Yacht Club on the MSC Seaview was superb. Besides the Hostess Concierge Anna and the Future Cruise Consultant Flavia have made the cruise even more special. Even the theater was not one of those gigantic ones, the artists and performances caught all our attention and we were thrilled. The only disappointing item that, coming from RCCL, PCL, DCL is the food quality that really left us behind the expectation. we rarely say steaks and shrimps. The risotto had regular jasmine rice on it and not arborio as Italians are used to. This thing does not bring down all excitement we have had onboard. Congratulations. TfT Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
As a very experienced cruise, thought we would try MSC. Never again, worst cruise line ever, nothing good to say about it. Service not existant in all areas Food served warm, never hot Cabin staff very rude Staff just walk ... Read More
As a very experienced cruise, thought we would try MSC. Never again, worst cruise line ever, nothing good to say about it. Service not existant in all areas Food served warm, never hot Cabin staff very rude Staff just walk into your cabin without knocking No point in complaining as you just get fobbed off with false promises and actions Muster drills at nearly every port, where all bars are closed for over an hour They feel a woman singing Queen songs is entertaining. Bad enough it was a woman, but she could not even sing. Elvis impressionist walking around was a joke There is not one thing i enjoyed on this cruise. Complained again to MSC when home, but they just give excuses. Took my money, but delivered nothing! They should not be allowed to get away with it Steer well clear of MSC if you want an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The embarkation process was catastrophic, it took me 6 hours to get onboard. Unacceptable. The cruise was fine, with some good points during the trip, such as the animation team, and bad ones, such as the pool water color (green) during ... Read More
The embarkation process was catastrophic, it took me 6 hours to get onboard. Unacceptable. The cruise was fine, with some good points during the trip, such as the animation team, and bad ones, such as the pool water color (green) during some days. The cabin was very good. The restaurants handled well all the people onboard, and the food variety was very good. However, the Red Velvet restaurant does not match the intent to have a more intimate and full service restaurant. Very crowded, the opposite of the idea. The schedule was not met in any destination. As a result, one of the planned stops, at Ilhabela, could not be done, resulting in a $100 credit for all cabins. I found it unfair, as one passenger could be alone in a cabin while others, such as myself, could have a family of three, for which $100 is almost nothing (3 drinks and 3 hot chocolates during the day and that's it!). The shows inside the ship were OK, with some better than others. In summary, the trip was fine but nothing beyond average. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The bars and restaurants structure are beautiful, lots of yellow marble and Svarowski crystals. The maintence of several areas are very bad, roof gutters in some places, the pool area always dirty and the swimming pool very dirt all the ... Read More
The bars and restaurants structure are beautiful, lots of yellow marble and Svarowski crystals. The maintence of several areas are very bad, roof gutters in some places, the pool area always dirty and the swimming pool very dirt all the time. The service is mostly bad, unfrendlly attendants, exception the attendent of the sollarium bar, I Putu and Ana, an watress from the pool restaurant, they are very kind and funny. The aurea experience not worth, the price is very high and the exsclusive package have very little things. The food on board is good, the service os drinks is very bad, Few waiters. Very few sea food, lots of chicken and pork, cheap meats only. All the public bathrooms are very dirty and have maintence problems. The activities are very poor, The itinerary is the same as every ship that come to Brazil Is a ship to go once and never go back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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