1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Fantasia Review
  5. MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this particular cruise as it was the one that best suited our time frame. Not too short but just long enough to get what was needed. We planned a two day hotel stay beforehand in Barcelona (this turned out to be one day due to ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise as it was the one that best suited our time frame. Not too short but just long enough to get what was needed. We planned a two day hotel stay beforehand in Barcelona (this turned out to be one day due to flight cancellation). That being said we found a little gem of a hotel (Wilson's boutique hotel). The hotel was great, shaped like the Flatiron building in NYC. We had a family room at the tip of the building and it was really excellent and very comfortable. I have read reviews about embarkation being like cattle at the sales ring, but we kept to our allotted check in time and everything was perfect. We had the Aurea package booked so we had priority boarding and luggage was priority as well. Even though we had this it didn't really matter as there was so few people around when we arrived, the staff gave us super attention. I'd say from the taxi to the cabin took twenty minutes. That's impressive no matter what you a trying to achieve as a company. The ship came into service in 2008 and I've read reviews about the ship being tired looking and so on. I'm biased as this was our first time but we found the ship to be excellent. The ship was being painted when we boarded and on the inside there were people replacing carpets and soft furnishings, so maybe it is a little tired around the edges but that doesn't stop the ship presenting itself to an impeccable standard. The ship is SPOTLESS from the public areas, cabins, food areas, shops, bars, outside decks, spa, everywhere is spotless and I've had this confirmed by my wife who is a fully certified clean freak. The ship is very well laid out and has the right mixture of old and new charms to cater for all tastes and styles of all the different cultures that were onboard. Our cabin was excellent and more spacious that we would have thought before hand. The cabin attendant serviced the room twice a day and if we needed extra towels etc. there was no problems with anything we needed. Our cabin was slightly bigger than most of the balcony cabins onboard this was due to the Aurea package that I mentioned earlier. The cabin was on deck 12 an toward the bow of the ship. We had excellent views from our balcony and the balcony was washed down at least twice during the cruise. There was more than enough wardrobe space and the bathroom was very good, clean and spacious. Dining overall was very good. We spent most of our dining time in the buffet. The variety there better suited our tastes. We did however get all dressed up one evening and went to the main restaurant. The food was very good but there was not a lot of it which isn't a bad thing in our book. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed and we enjoyed the experience. Like I said the buffet more that met our requirements. A golf buddy of mine had been on an MSC cruise a couple of months before us and commented that he didn't enjoy the cruise because the food was always the same. I found this to be both true and a little misleading. To be fair how many way can you present potatoes differently. Four to five different ways I would have said. Our cruise lasted 13 days so yes you would see the same items coming up with a couple of days of a gap before their reappearance. The funny thing about that was that when this stuff came up again it seemed to be the most popular items that day. Is it the same yes is it the same every day, certinaly not and like I said when it reappears it's popular. Again spotless is an understatement for the buffet area, and the consistent cleaning was unbelievable by the staff. The entertainment was very good. A good variety of bars both inside and outside. The shows in the theatre were good but not great. That's probably a bit biased as we don't really go for shows of that kind but the couple we did see were quite good. The main bar areas all had singers, djs, pianist, harp and so on. There was no shortage of entertainers all over the ship. We would like to mention the Aurea Spa as we spent some time in there. The place again is spotless. The staff are excellent and the variety of what available is out of this world. The thermal area had 3 different saunas with different aromas as did the 3 Turkish baths. The relaxation area has floor to ceiling widows out to sea and is an amazing place to chill out. We had a couples massage and jacuzzi which again was in a dedicated room with sea views through the floor to ceiling windows. The spa as a whole is a really nice place to be but the one caviate is the prices are well up there on the expenses that are not included in the cruise fare. The service on board was brilliant, we couldn't fault the staff at all. Again I read before we cruised that some staff were abrupt and rude etc. We did see staff being treated poorly by guests so who knows maybe that is why some of the staff get abrupt or rude. There was absolutely nothing that I can remember that would make us think anything other than how good the staff were. The ports and shore excursions for us were very good. Barcelona, day at sea, Casablanca, day at sea, Tenerife, Madeira, day at sea, Rome, Genoa, Marseille and back to Barcelona. The excursions are expensive but you get what you pay for. The guides spoke clear English and were detailed in the guidance. I'm not sure how going it alone would be any better from an expierence point of view but it would probably be cheaper. That being said if you go it alone how many sites would you get to see and how would you deal with the "interpretive" aspect of going it alone. I spoke to some people who booked their own guided tours, but by my reckoning this didn't end up any cheaper. Overall this was an excellent holiday. We intend on cruising again in 2020. It was a great experience for us including my seven year old daughter. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I have been a loyal customer of MSC and I have always held them in high regard and after our RCL cruise last year could not wait to get back to 7 course dinners , free in cabin movies, room made up quickly, leisurely breakfasts. Boy was I ... Read More
I have been a loyal customer of MSC and I have always held them in high regard and after our RCL cruise last year could not wait to get back to 7 course dinners , free in cabin movies, room made up quickly, leisurely breakfasts. Boy was I in for a shock in the two years since being on the MSC Opera things had changed . No 7 course evening meal but a quick 3 course meal, luke warm food in the buffet, room sometimes not made up until after lunch, no more free movies. So it was a disappointment not to have the same level of service. This is not down to poor staff but poorly managed staff, I don't think the steward ever went to bed or ate as at any time during the day or evening he was either in a cabin or in the corridor cleaning, Its not all bad a luxurious cabin, plenty of bars to sit in unlike the Navigator of the seas, staff in the Red Velvet restaurant were very attentive and quick. We were on the allegisimo package which worked for us, for instance two double baileys would set you back 21.60 euros plus 15% service charge. It maybe down to a large ship as we are going on the MSC Musica next year and will see how it goes but word is cutbacks are happening on all shipping lines so its all about finding the best deal. Just to add one other thing I have embarked at Copenhagen and Barcelona and Southampton (by far the best embarkation process). But Rome was about the worst I have experienced. Only two people working on Embarkation. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Just back off our first MSC Cruise on the Fantasia. We cruised many times before with Princess and wanted to try something different. Apart from the great deal we got we had heard MSC was very child friendly and with a nearly 3 year old ... Read More
Just back off our first MSC Cruise on the Fantasia. We cruised many times before with Princess and wanted to try something different. Apart from the great deal we got we had heard MSC was very child friendly and with a nearly 3 year old which would be her first cruise we thought we would give it a go. We had read many mixed reviews on here before we went so we were going with an open mind. The holiday didn’t start well as we had planned to fly into Barcelona the night before we were to join the ship but Ryanair had different ideas so ended up flying very early morning the day we joined. We arrived at the terminal about 1015 they took our bags and we had to wait until 1130 until the boarding started. We had been status matched to Black so where the first to board after the Yacht Club. The Ship was beautiful and immaculately clean. We were told our cruise cards would be in the cabin but not until after 2pm. We decided to go to the cabin and see if we could leave our hand luggage there until the room was ready. When we got there the room was ready and our cards on the bed for us. We had a Balcony cabin on deck 9 which was a great size with a sofa bed which our daughter loved and very clean. We went down and registered our CC on one of the machines which was so easy and then went for lunch in the buffet. We read on here a lot about the food being bad, not enough or cold. All I can say is that people who complain about the food on MSC must be really fussy. I enjoy my food and never went hungry. Portion size can be small but if you have an appetiser, main course and dessert you will be more than satisfied. We were on first sitting at 18:15 and had a lovely table for the 3 of us. It was an 11 night cruise and there was never any repetition of the menu. We never experienced any cold food and overall couldn’t complain about the food at all. There was always something we could choose. Our daughter is only 2 months shy of being 3 but unfortunately this meant she couldn’t go to the kids club without one of us being present. We didn’t mind that as we were on a family holiday. She still could partake in the activities like children’s disco and the pizza making and when the mini club was open could go in there as long as one of us accompanied her. Otherwise she loved the pool and dancing to the music on deck and in the lounges. What we found great was that we could still enjoy a drink in the evening and she could dance in the lounges close to where we were sitting and it didn’t seem to bother anyone a really big plus for us. We even took her to a few of the shows in the evening which we all really enjoyed. We hired a stroller on board which was free and saved us having to bring one with us. Overall the entertainment was very good aboard, the shows where really good and there was always live music in the bars and lounges every evening. We had the All Inclusive drinks package which was fantastic and had everything included we wanted. The wine by the glass was a beautiful Sicilian red which we really enjoyed. The only thing I found a bit frustrating was the lack of bar servers in the lounges it took ages sometimes to get someone to take our order. It wasn’t the servers fault as an extra 1 or 2 servers per lounge would of solved that especially during busy times. Overall we couldn’t fault any of the staff as on the most part they were very friendly. The only time I was disappointed with the customer service was at the reception desk. We had bought the internet package and I went to ask how to log on. I got a very rude and abrupt gentleman who basically looked and spoke to me as if I was stupid, I watched him with others as well and he was just so unprofessional and obviously did not want to be there. On the internet package it was awful. The only time we could get any kind of service on it was at about 0600 in the morning after that forget about it. We used 3G most of the time as we were nearly always close to land. There were a lot of different nationalities on board the majority being French, German, Italian and British. We found this great it made a change from mainly US and our daughter can now say hello in quite a few languages. Because of this the announcements where in 5 or 6 different languages this didn’t bother us at all there were not that many. It did seem to bother a few of the English speakers who in the future should stick to P&O or Cunard if they are that bothered. The biggest disappointment we had was for the last 2 days of our cruise when new occupants came into the cabin next door. They were continually smoking on the balcony and my wife even witnessed one of them throwing a cigarette overboard. We complained to the desk and I have to say the girl I spoke to was very efficient and sent security straight away but by this time they had stopped and there was nothing security could do without catching them in the act .She told me if they smoked again to call the desk straight away, I did but could never get through and when I did they had finished. They knew it was us who complained and we felt very intimidated when we saw them. It continued for the next 2 days and we couldn’t use our balcony for the rest of the cruise because of the smell. I really feel strongly about smoking on balconies as we were on the Star Princess in 2006 when she had a massive fire on the balcony caused by someone throwing a cigarette overboard which blew back on board and caused a fire. Check out youtube Star Princess fire. It was terrifying. I don’t understand why the cabin stewards don’t report people when they obviously find evidence on the balconies. I know this might be a bit petty of me but when you have experienced first hand a fire of that magnitude it just makes me mad why people can’t use the designated smoking areas on board without potentially putting the lives of everyone on board at risk. Ok rant over We also bought the photo package the one with 100 photos. At the end of the cruise when we were choosing the photos we only had 86, we asked one of the photo staff if we could have a few extra prints of the ones we especially liked she said no problem just tell them at the desk. Went to the desk and showed them the ones I wanted copied. Was told would be an extra charge for extra prints. Explained wasn’t extra just copies to bring total up to 100. No give or take so we left with 86. All in all it is a great package even with the 86 it worked out at just over £1 per photo. I will get it again on the next one I just think the staff should all be on the one page when it comes to explaining the packages. Apart from that we thoroughly enjoyed our time on board the MSC Fantasia. We will definitely cruise with MSC again we are currently looking at booking our next. We think we will book the Aurea package next time as we really want to have the anytime dining as the 18:15 seating was a little rushed for us and the late seating will be too late for our little one. Plus with the drinks package and the massages included it works well for us going by what we spent on this cruise. I hope this review helps any first time MSC cruiser. We had read so many mixed reviews on here but can happily say we were definitely not disappointed. It was a little disorganised at times and there were a few lines at peak times but this it to be expected. We were on holidays to have a good time and relax if we had to wait we had to wait we had nowhere to be in a hurry. If you want something that is well organised and runs like clockwork join the army. This is a holiday go with the flow and you will have a brilliant time. It is what you make it and we had a fantastic time. I would 100% recommend MSC Cruises to anyone. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Embarkation: A brief summary, the most chaotic, disorganised shambles of an embarkation process we’ve ever encountered. After much queuing, observing lots of gesticulation, lots of shouting and tempers getting frayed we eventually made ... Read More
Embarkation: A brief summary, the most chaotic, disorganised shambles of an embarkation process we’ve ever encountered. After much queuing, observing lots of gesticulation, lots of shouting and tempers getting frayed we eventually made it on board. The Ship: The ship is very impressive from the outside and that impression continues inside. We had a balcony cabin which was spacious, very clean and comfortable. There are loads of bars and the ship has the most swimming pools we’ve seen on a cruise ship. All of the public areas are beautifully presented. All of the staff we encountered were very friendly, helpful and efficient. The Food: Having read the Boards regarding food on MSC cruises this appears to be a very divisive subject with some people expressing strong opinions for and against. In our opinion the food on board was very disappointing. The food in the Buffet was never warmer than lukewarm, morning, noon and night. The Buffet also has a serious issue in that it’s not big enough. Everyday people were doing laps of the area looking for somewhere to sit. Part of the problem appears to be people sitting having a drink from the bar in the buffet, playing cards, etc and not leaving to free up tables for people trying to eat. At night time only half of the buffet area is open for those who don’t want to go to one of the restaurants. The quality and variety of the food isn’t great either and that includes the Red Velvet restaurant. We have become more accustomed to flexible dining times so it was a bit different to be on a ship with two fixed dinner sittings. The time between sittings is 2.5 hours, why? Each time we were in the Red Velvet all three courses were served in about 45 minutes. Another surprise is they charge for water in the dining room…well that’s a first for us. Another first was charging for ice-cream, all other ships we’ve been on supply it free and leave it as self-serve…what is this, the Ryanair of cruising? There is only one additional fee restaurant on board and it’s rubbish. An additional fee restaurant should feel special and provide a special meal. The one on board Fantasia is a Tex Mex and it doesn’t feel special or provide a decent meal. Tex Mex is food you eat without utensils from a taco or fajita, absolutely rubbish idea for a fee restaurant. The night we went there was only one other table occupied, the chairs are uncomfortable, the decoration is a plastic cactus on each table and a couple painted on the walls, there was no atmosphere and as there are doors at either end people are using it as a corridor. The food was poor quality and we left feeling it was a total waste of money. Worst fee restaurant we’ve ever been in. We ordered food one night in the Sports Bar and that was another mess. Table of four we ordered a sharing platter to start and then four main meals. 50 minutes later the first two meals arrived, not as described on the menu. A couple of minutes later the starters arrived and the fries for the third main. Ten minutes later we had to ask for the rest of the third main and all of the fourth. When it did arrive it was wrong and burnt to a crisp. Shambles!! Now to be fair to MSC when we complained how they dealt with it was exemplary. Entertainment: The entertainment troupe in the theatre are the most talented group we’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. The shows were great, we especially enjoyed a show called Wonderland, based on Alice in Wonderland, which was brilliantly bonkers. However the entertainers are worthy of much better staging for the shows. It never changed, the backdrop was a red velvet curtain, the lighting was basic and they kept three sets of stairs on stage for every show. We’ve seen much better and more effort put in by the local AmDram company. As to the rest of the entertainment on board it was poor. The two couples performing in a couple of the bars were atrocious, we initially thought it was very bad karaoke, but no they were ship entertainers. There were also a couple of piano players every night in some of the bars. It’s not exactly a lively vibe at night, we would describe it as sedate. Conclusion: Beautiful ship but just too many flaws. There are other cruise lines who’s product suits our tastes better, we won’t be booking MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We choose this cruise due itinerary and price. I little hesitant in booking with MSC due to mostly bad reviews and decided to try anyway. My rating is based on comparable cruise lines we have been on: Carnival, Norwegian and Royal ... Read More
We choose this cruise due itinerary and price. I little hesitant in booking with MSC due to mostly bad reviews and decided to try anyway. My rating is based on comparable cruise lines we have been on: Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. Ship is well kept and clean. Most passengers were Europeans with majority from France and Germany. We met people from Canada, Australia, Spain and Norway. Food is comparable with other cruise. Sometime tasty and other time bland. Good variety of food service. Veal and fish seem popular. Meat tends to be tough. Serving are small. A complementary 1 Liter bottle of water was given to us for lunches and dinners at the restaurants. Breakfast has free coffee, tea, water and juice. Buffet lunch and pizza and pasta is service every day in the buffet. Water, coffee and tea are free at the buffet, They will try to match passenger with same language. When we reserve the cruise, we were supposed to have been booked for early dinner and table for 2. That information was not forwarded to the ship by the agent at MSC/USA and were were assigned 2nd seating. We are able to change to 1st seating but share table. Embarkation too a long time, almost 2 hrs. Our information was checked 5 times before getting on board. We then go straight to our room where we picked up our key card. The card can be activated for charging on the ship with credit card in the machines at the reception area. They did try to sell drink packages but was not high pressure. We just told them we already booked drink packages and went on our way. Entertainment are all musical: Famous songs, opera, piano, Alice in wonderland theme and mixed with a little acrobatic. Stage is always the same. Low budget presentation. Shore excursions were well organized. Got our tickets the night before and the daily activity told us were to meet. We are give an assigned number (corresponding to the bus number) and escorted to the bus. There is an indoor pool and outdoor pool and are not crowded. There seemed to have plenty empty lounge chairs. Hot tubs tends to be crowded. There is an attendant who will ask people to leave if they stay too long and there are other people waiting. Water temp is not very hot. Overall, we enjoyed and would book again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
The cruise was an RACQ promo, the ports were fine and most of the stall helpfull, Boarding the high pressure selling package began- water , coffee, wine, meal upgrades. This was a combined cruise - 28 days, but dishing up the same menu and ... Read More
The cruise was an RACQ promo, the ports were fine and most of the stall helpfull, Boarding the high pressure selling package began- water , coffee, wine, meal upgrades. This was a combined cruise - 28 days, but dishing up the same menu and show(which , was not high class, only lasted about an hour) every week -NOT GOOD. (my wife is gluten free, but getting chicken every meal gets boreing)The little things where missing- a drink when waiting for tenders(another company had them), crew knowing where towels are, announce when you can retrive passports, and what deck to leave ship.Dinning with same couple(we got on well) for the whole cruise.Mixups with bookings for excursions, desimbarking, connecting transfers.Selling old movies for $7, Sometimes you like a quite space, this was hard to find, Catching a lift, you give up and walk most tmes. MSC is good at moveing containers, BUT has a lot to learn about moveing people.... Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We just came back from 7 night Baltic Sea cruise on MSC Fantasia. It was our 4th cruise. MSC Fantasia has a low score on this site. This is really unfair. MSC is a little different from other cruise line, mostly is the drinking package. ... Read More
We just came back from 7 night Baltic Sea cruise on MSC Fantasia. It was our 4th cruise. MSC Fantasia has a low score on this site. This is really unfair. MSC is a little different from other cruise line, mostly is the drinking package. Other than that, it is a great ship and great cruise. Our group has 11 people, 3 families. 7 adults, 4 kids age are 5, 11, 12, and 15. We all had balcony rooms. Embarkation: It took us longer than other passages. But it was not all cruise line's fault. We did not print out the boarding document. Therefore, the cruise agents needed to print them out for us. There was only one computer. We have 4 different types of passports in our group, took them a while checked all the visas. Ship experiences Food and drink: Food was excellent, especially for people who love Italian food. They have different types of pasta everyday. Pizza was great too. They also has daily specially, all in good quality, very tasty. However, gelato bar was not free. We did not bother, because there were so many other dessert to choose from. Drinking, this is the biggest complaint. It is a problem for passages who has room with BELLA package, and without purchasing any drinking package. The main dinning room has no drinking water, you have to pay for water. Buffer always has water, tea, and coffee. Only during breakfast, there is juice and milk. Fresh juice needs to pay too. Our room was with Fantastica package, came with 12 drinking vouchers each person, We have 48 in total, more than enough for 7 days. We used it for water, soda, wine, beer, and other cocktail too. Pools and other actives: We had only 2 sea days. Not much time wondering around the ship. However, I saw 3 pools at least. One indoor pool, many hot tubs. There are kids slide, very long one. There were so many actives for the kids on the ship, I think this cruise line treats kids better than adults. We also enjoy bars and live music. There were so many pianos, violin, singing, and dancing. With drinking vouchers, we enjoyed listen to the music drinking cocktails. Everything was great, everyone was having a great time. Entertainment & shows: We enjoyed the shows. The opera, ballet, modern dancing, especially the piano. Some nights, we had to decide go to the show or the bar. Either way, it was always a great time. Service & Staff: As all the other cruise line, there were lots of smile, greeting. Love our room stewards and waiters. Ship Design & Cleanliness: Beautiful ship ! Spotless! We totally loved it. Our Cabin: room 11057. The bed and sofa bed both in good size and very comfortable. The room was always clean. Disembarkation: Organized well. We were the last 2 groups getting off the ship. All of us relaxed around the pool area, drink and eat, until it was the time for us to go. There were shuttle took us to the Kiel train station, no charge. Overall, we loved this cruise. Many negative reviews on this site were not true. At least, those bad things did not happen to us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Sometimes we waited a lot in the bars to be catered for by lack of waiters It was difficult to eat at the buffet for the amount of passengers and many days, after a long day of excursion, we had to eat outside the restaurant, sitting on ... Read More
Sometimes we waited a lot in the bars to be catered for by lack of waiters It was difficult to eat at the buffet for the amount of passengers and many days, after a long day of excursion, we had to eat outside the restaurant, sitting on a sunbed because it was impossible to find a free table. The gym was small for the amount of people we were going to. The stateroom service, very good, always pending of us Being a cold zone cruise, you should have more indoor swimming pools Prices and tips are too expensive. Already paid enough to hire a cruise ship As customers, we have already done several cruises with the company, we hoped to find in the room some detail when arriving, but nothing. Gym classes, too expensive. Should be included in the price All very clean and in perfect order. We miss, at night, some bar with Latin rhythms as we have seen in other cruises. Very good restaurants for dinner and the Red Velvet to eat. Exquisite and very varied food. We would have liked more crew to speak Spanish Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Fjords are a great place for vacation and doing it with a cruise is an excellent solution instead of a car or bus trip. This was our first experience of an MSC ship.The MSC FANTASIA is not a new ship but it is in an excellent condition and ... Read More
Fjords are a great place for vacation and doing it with a cruise is an excellent solution instead of a car or bus trip. This was our first experience of an MSC ship.The MSC FANTASIA is not a new ship but it is in an excellent condition and very beautiful decorated Great food, great service, nice balcony cabin, a lot of attractions and activities. The main issue because of I gave 4 instead 5 is the dining in the restaurant - it was poor. And they put us together with other family in spite of our particular request for table for 4. The variety of food was poor and waiters were not so nice. Please pay attention that MSC charging you for a contribution to UNESCO without rally letting you know about it, if you do not agree you must go to the front desk to cancel it. The embarkation and dis embarkation in Kiel was very smooth. Shore excursions in all ports were extremely overpriced. Copenhagen has a shuttle bus to city center which is reasonable; it is a long way into town. In Geiranger you dock in town and can walk to the large water fall and a long of water or take a map in tourist information and have some walking trails. In Flam you dock downtown, can walk the whole village or take a map in tourist information and have some walking trails. In Stavanger the ship docks downtown, you can walk everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
MSC is one of the best cruise companies in the world. The staff very kindly. Balcony cabin with all the details you need. The entertainment and activities inside the cruise are very good, Northern cities are gorgeous! Our first cruise ... Read More
MSC is one of the best cruise companies in the world. The staff very kindly. Balcony cabin with all the details you need. The entertainment and activities inside the cruise are very good, Northern cities are gorgeous! Our first cruise with MSC has been spectacular, we did it with our friends in two balcony cabins and it has been impossible to get bored, the ship is a city in the sea, if you want to be relax you got it, if you want to dance for hours you got it. My favorite moment was every day in the evening at the jacuzzi or the pool. Something I did not like too much were the photo shoots before the dinning, I know it is the staff job, but the insist too much even if you decline. But I insist: I know is a part of their job, and I understand it If you have any doubt about which company cruise to choose, this is a guarantee of success. Proof of it: in November we will repeat! I already have the cruise! this time Mediterranean cruise in MSC SPLENDIDA. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our seven day Norwegian Fjord cruise aboard the MSC Fantasia was “extremely disappointing”! We upgraded to Yacht Club class which has some advantages compared to the standard package but it is not what they advertise and claim it to ... Read More
Our seven day Norwegian Fjord cruise aboard the MSC Fantasia was “extremely disappointing”! We upgraded to Yacht Club class which has some advantages compared to the standard package but it is not what they advertise and claim it to be. We give the highest compliments, praise and thanks to our butlers, the staff in the private lounge and restaurant, [L’Etoile]. They were always happy, friendly and provide great service catering to our needs. They were the best part of the cruise. Private lounge is quiet and spacious; the staff and bar tenders are wonderful plus it is a great place to escape from the 3500 other people on board. However you cannot order any food; your only choice is a minimal selection of appetizers, nothing more. After paying extra to upgrade to all-inclusive you still pay extra for certain items/drinks/booze. Private top deck, bar and restaurant was poor. When at sea it is windy and cold thus you cannot stay up top, the bar and restaurant close; the pool is cold and not usable, the hot tubs are cold and way over chlorinated. The restaurant has a set menu, limited selection of foods which no one seems to eat, poorly prepared, stays in the bins and gets cold. You cannot order anything extra or special; you must go to the buffet which is not what we payed extra for. Private restaurant, [L’Etoile], is at the back of the boat while all other Yacht Club amenities are at the front of the boat, an inconvenience as you must navigate through the throngs of people on your way to the private restaurant. All of the staff in L’Etoile was friendly, helpful and provide exceptional service but the menu has a limited selection for lunch/dinner. Breakfast menu was good; overall the food we enjoyed was good but not fantastic. Boarding with butler service was good. We were greeted, checked in and escorted on board past the long line up to the private lounge. When you go ashore the butler escorts you down and past the crowds to the gangplank, this service is excellent and well worth some extra costs. Getting back on board after a day in port, you are on your own, long line ups, crowds, hurry up and wait. MSC should provide a separate private entrance for Yacht Club members. Long line ups and wait times for the elevators especially getting off or back onboard and at all meal times, it is faster to take the stairs. Room service was good, fast, a nice selection of foods and snacks on the menu and for Yacht Club there was no extra charge. Internet is a satellite system which provides poor and slow internet, not worth purchasing. Our phone/sim card provided us with fair connections in all ports and sometimes at sea. There are free Wi-Fi places in all ports although very busy seem to work well. There are no self-serve laundry services on board; the butler can have your laundry done for $30 euro’s, you need 24 hours to have it done and returned to you.  No items are provided free, such as a carry bag or lanyard for your boarding card; there is nothing for free. The main buffet is divided into stations which have minimal amounts of food and poor selection. Food is European based; pasta, pizza, fish, sliced meats, cheese, breads, fruits, salads and some specialties such as turkey or roast pig. Overall the buffet is mediocre to poor; the bins were mostly empty and are not replenished quickly. Service was almost non-existent as the servers are busy cleaning tables. Sometimes one side of the buffet is closed forcing large numbers of people onto the other side making it even more crowded and less enjoyable. Yacht Club restaurants are limited as mentioned above; you are forced to eat in the buffet, which is not pleasant. You must deal with crowds and noise, not an enjoyable dining experience. We paid for Yacht Club dining and service but in many cases you are forced to the buffet or public restaurants which also have limited menus, not worth the extra money we paid and not what we expected nor were led to believe. Overall we are very disappointed with the Yacht Club amenities. For Yacht Club class in the buffet, other bars or ice cream parlor the servers do not know or understand your purchase/drinks are all included. They try charging you and you must explain and/or argue to have it at no charge, sometimes the supervisor must get involved. If you do not watch this carefully you will be charged extra. There were two specialty restaurants on board, but again at an additional cost even though you are Yacht Club. Shore excursions in all ports were limited. MSC sells tour packages which you can purchase for half the cost once you get off the ship. We suggest getting off the ship early, get your excursion tickets and get on the train, bus or boat before the crowds arrive. Most port side vendors and shops are extremely overpriced. Copenhagen has a hop on-off bus which is reasonable; it is a long way into town. You can tour the city and see the sights; we did the bus and canal cruise which was a fair value but you are with large groups and crowds so you stand in line for everything. There are various options for the hop on bus so check before you agree to purchase or else you will end up buying a larger package than you may need. In Geiranger you dock in town and can walk to the large water fall. There is not much in this small village to see or do. The bus tour to both sides of the valley was reasonably priced with adequate time to get off and take pictures as well as fantastic views. Other than a boat tour there is nothing else to see or do. In Flam you dock downtown, can walk the whole village in ten minutes, there is not much to see and the vendor prices are ridiculous. There was a train/bus tour which is expensive if you purchase it from MSC, the bus part being nothing more than a drive back. We did the train tour up and down the valley; it was spectacular, we purchased our ticket at the train station. If you want to do the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour you needed to have pre-booked it online as the tourist information bureau does not sell it and were not helpful. In Stavanger the ship docks downtown, you can walk everywhere but there is nothing to see. The three hour fjord tour/cruise was nice and reasonably priced. Some shops and vendors but prices are high and unreasonable. Sailing from Kiel to Copenhagen is overnight, [12 hours]. Sailing north from Copenhagen to Geiranger, [38 hours] and returning south from Stavanger to Kiel, [36 hours] is a long time at sea on board the ship with not much to do, very boring. We experienced fair weather but if it was stormy I suspect this would not be pleasant. During this time activities on board are mainly designed to get more money from you with purchases of jewelry, colognes or perfumes, souvenirs, trinkets, in the casino or arcade games and of course photography people constantly taking your picture. Smoking is allowed in the casino and on the lido deck next to the ice cream salon, not a wonderful experience enjoying smoke with your ice cream. Not an environmentally friendly or responsible company/ship. As you go in and out of the fjords with their fragile eco systems the ship pollutes the atmosphere with exhaust fumes which hang in the air / fjords long after the ship has past, truly not environmentally correct. In port there is a constant exhaust from the ship which hangs in the air. Entertainment is fair, the stage shows are good. Individual entertainment at the various bars should be rotated through the various venues giving guests different entertainers rather than the same thing day after day. Public swim pools are very crowded, people have their toddlers in the pools / hot tubs in diapers and you know what’s in a diaper, most unpleasant for sure. There is an extra service charge of $10.00 euro’s per day per person which you do not notice in the fine print. As yacht club class this should not be charged, it is just another money grab. There is a UNICEF donation automatically charged to your account, which you can refuse to pay. Our experience with MSC, the Norwegian ports of call plus the extra costs upgrading to Yacht Club is disappointing; it was surprising how little we actually received. The cruise line has reduced services and amenities to a bare minimum but charge top dollar; you do not get much for what you pay. Thank goodness we upgraded to Yacht Club; at least we got something for our money although it was not much, it did make the cruise experience tolerable compared to being with the masses. We will never do another large cruise ship adventure and certainly not with MSC lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Despite upgrading to Yacht Club it was simply not worth the money spent. The cabin and staff were fine, but it was being on board a large ship with so many people that one felt crowded no matter where in the public spaces you were. ... Read More
Despite upgrading to Yacht Club it was simply not worth the money spent. The cabin and staff were fine, but it was being on board a large ship with so many people that one felt crowded no matter where in the public spaces you were. Trying to find a seat in the buffet or to sit and listen to music in the evening was difficult. And the noise levels, one could barely have a conversation amidst the din. I think that if the Yacht Club had provided a better selection of meals in their restaurants and entertainment in their lounge we would never have left that area of the ship. And been happier for the experience. The ports of call were okay, but in Geiranger and Flam there was limited things to do on shore unless you were on a trip. We would not recommend this ship until it undergoes a major refit. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We are regular cruisers but this was our first experience of an MSC ship. We chose the cruise for the Itinerary - the Baltic and the Fjords of Norway. The Fantasia is an impressive and magnificent ship The cabin was excellent and the ... Read More
We are regular cruisers but this was our first experience of an MSC ship. We chose the cruise for the Itinerary - the Baltic and the Fjords of Norway. The Fantasia is an impressive and magnificent ship The cabin was excellent and the bed was the most comfortable we have experienced on a cruise, There was plenty of storage space and the balcony was not cramped. The main Dining room has fixed seating for most of those on board. We had opted for a table of 6/8 at the early sitting because part of the fun is meeting new people. This didn't happen and we were given a table for 2. The quality of food was varied from very good to some very tough meat dishes. Service in the Dining Room was quick and efficient. However, the choice of food was very ordinary and we were surprised to be asked to pay 19 euros extra for a steak or 21 euros for a lobster, which are part of the normal menu on every other cruise line we have enjoyed. This resulted in large numbers of guests opting for the Buffet restaurant. This occupies a very large area, but is just not large enough. Finding a seat, any seat, was a constant problem at every meal time. The choice of food there was good without being exceptional. The entertainment was very good, but had a 7 day cycle. This meant that the second week was a repeat of the first, which was disappointing. There are numerous Bars on the ship and it was never a problem to find a seat. Obviously the more popular venues were very busy. Things that irritated were being bombarded by staff pushing the drinks packages during the first days of the cruise, the surcharge for a steak of lobster in the Dining Room, battling for a seat in the Buffet and little things like having to pay for water and 3.50 Euros for the ships newspaper. As usual, the waiters and other staff were delightful, with many coming from Bali - gentle cheerful people. As you tend to do, we compared our MSC cruise with those we have enjoyed on RCI, Norwegian, Holland America and others. We had originally planned to join the Fantasia on the Caribbean cruise that is being currently heavily promoted for this winter, but have decided to look elsewhere. MSC is not for us. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Good value for money for a 7day cruise to the Baltic with excellant itinerary. The Fantasia was a lovely ship , with lovely decor with the Italian touch. Due to the low temperatures on deck, most passengers we're inside and it ... Read More
Good value for money for a 7day cruise to the Baltic with excellant itinerary. The Fantasia was a lovely ship , with lovely decor with the Italian touch. Due to the low temperatures on deck, most passengers we're inside and it appeared very crowded on sea days. The theatre was large to accommodate nearly 4000 passengers . The shows were very average with most acts being mimed . There were only two proper singers who took the main roles on every show each night.The scenes were never changed. Food was very nice and tasty and plenty. However, the hard sell of special food for gala nights , was very annoying. In fact the hard sell on drinks packages was never ending. No water was offered at the dining table. Water had to be purchased every night. The embarkation was a nightmare. Thousands of passengers gathered outside the embarkation door which was very small. When the small door was opened. all hell broke loose with a mass rush with pushing and shoving. The biggest MSC let down was from their customer services, pre cruise. Tried to find out if they knew of any methods of transport from Hamburg airport to Kiel. Was abruptly informed that MSC had no information and it was up to passengers to sort that out, even though all I required was their opinion. Then e-mailed with a complaint to be informed that MSC would transfer for £25 pp each way , £50 return. They would not give any alternatives. Then asked how to get to the port from Kiel station, whether their were shuttle busses. No was the answer. So took a chance and got to Hamburg and found alternative transport by coach or train for fraction of MSC charge. Then discovered the free shuttle bus from Kiel station to the port after walking the 2 kilometres pulling the cases.SHAME ON YOU MSC. At least the dis embarkation was very smoothe and now knowing about the free shuttle to the station, made it painless. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Had a fantastic time - we were upgraded to a balcony in the back of the ship and we absolutely loved it. Beautiful ship - huge. The floors were a little confusing, but we had it down by the end of the cruise. Most all of the service ... Read More
Had a fantastic time - we were upgraded to a balcony in the back of the ship and we absolutely loved it. Beautiful ship - huge. The floors were a little confusing, but we had it down by the end of the cruise. Most all of the service people on the ship were fantastic. We loved our dining waiters & our steward. We had a perfectly located dining table that looked out onto the ocean-- great waiters, food, & wine every night with dinner. The entertainment was outstanding. We liked the shore excursions in Tallon and St. PETERSBURG - The Hermitage was àmazing & unbelievably beautiful. Would reccomomend going to see that. Excursions to Stockholm & Denmark were too quick. The bus drove right by beautiful areas which I would have loved to get out & explore, but he didn't even slow down for pictures. I would highly recommend this cruise line & cruise ship. I'm traveling again with MSC in October; can't wait. I do have to say embarking was so onorganized. They should of had us check in while we were in the first area-- then we would have been all ready to go except the security checkout. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We booked this mini cruise as an alternative to a break in Barcelona over Easter. AT the time of booking we had to fly from Dublin (Aer Lingus) as flights from Northern Ireland were not available on the websites and as there were 6 adults ... Read More
We booked this mini cruise as an alternative to a break in Barcelona over Easter. AT the time of booking we had to fly from Dublin (Aer Lingus) as flights from Northern Ireland were not available on the websites and as there were 6 adults and 2 children it was best to secure our seats. We pre-booked parking at Clayton Hotel near Dublin Airport who have a shuttle bus which runs every 20 minutes. this was very efficient on departure and return.On arrival a Barcelona we made our way to the port by 2 Taxis 39euro each. The ship was not docking until 1300hrs so we left our luggage with the porters and went into Barcelona for some lunch. We returned after 1500 hoping to embark however we had to wait until 1600 before this commenced. Embarkation was speedy and before long we were at our cabins, luggage was already there. We had 3 inside cabins which were roomier than RCI rooms. The ship is a nice size and has the same wow as RCI, in my opinion MSC ships are much more ornate. We tended to eat in the buffet mainly because of the 2 under 3's in our group, the choice was plentiful and the food warm and being replenished frequently, you just had to gauge the timing as it could fill up rapidly. The shows were excellent and enthralled the children keeping them quiet, and open mouthed for 40 minutes or so, every bit as good as anything I have seen on any other cruise line. The music in the lounges as you passed through the ship was of a great variety to suit all tastes, we preferred la Insolito lounge which had a good dance floor and a great band. Staff onboard were very friendly and particularly good with the children. Staterooms were very comfy and as already stated slightly larger than RCI insides. Stops at Marseilles and Genoa were on this trip, we stayed aboard at Marseilles and got off in Genoa, Chlidren and parents went to the Aquarium by themselves, while we did the hop on / off bus and shopping. I found the signage through Genoa terminal poor for passengers going sightseeing and worse when returning to the ship. I would have no hesitation in returning to MSC for another cruise in the future. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our 1st cruise experience, so im writing this without a comparison to other cruises. I was a tad worried about the MSC Fantasia, based on some reviews - they were unfounded! We were on a Genovo - Barcelona - Marseilles - ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise experience, so im writing this without a comparison to other cruises. I was a tad worried about the MSC Fantasia, based on some reviews - they were unfounded! We were on a Genovo - Barcelona - Marseilles - Genova cruise, and arrived at the ship about 4pm on the day of sailing. We wizzed through the 1st part of embarkation without fuss and no queues. Perfect. Getting onboard and being issued with your Cruise card was slightly slower and a tad confusing at times with the number of passengers milling about (many with lifevests!) this confused us slightly, but it turned out this was the safety drill for which you must get your lifevest from your cabin and return to your designated area......all a bit manic and confusing for 1st timers! Our cabin was a at the back of the ship (10251) was perfect. I was surprised at the size and style of it. We had Prosecco booked and waiting in our cabin whilst our luggage was delivered a few hrs later. Over the course of the cruise we dined in the table service restaurant, buffet and tex mex and have no complaints on the quality or service offered. The buffet does get manic some times but the food is plentiful and was always hot and fresh. The service was always good. The credit system worked well although bar service was sometimes quite slow. The show we saw in the theatre (Micheal Jackson) was professional and worth our visit, and the casino helped empty our pockets although was good fun. The ship was very clean and staff were always wiping surfaces etc. The outside pool area was the same, clean and welcoming. We took ourselves off in Barcelona using the MSC shuttle and a taxi in Marseilles, easy to get on and off the ship. Our only gripe was our disembarkation in Genvoa, where we needed to have our cases outside the door by 1am the night before and a 0930 disembarkation (some have to be off earlier). Maybe thats the norm, im not sure but just seemed a little early, although I appreciate the logistics of getting so many guests off a ship in a few hrs! Overall, I'd certaily travel with MSC again and i'd choose the Fantasia. The mix of passenger ages, inc children, nationalities and the overall ship and staff made it a very enjoyable trip indeed. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I made this cruise with MSC and never had such a bad experience. I reported my complaints at MSC and the even refused a compensation!!!!!! The transfer was a mess, the embarkation was very bad. I booked an Aurea Suite(!) no window to ... Read More
I made this cruise with MSC and never had such a bad experience. I reported my complaints at MSC and the even refused a compensation!!!!!! The transfer was a mess, the embarkation was very bad. I booked an Aurea Suite(!) no window to open nor a balcony. I asked for a swap but was told off by the receptionist. In the bars (from an Italian ship) there was no Martini available nor Aperol. Sometimes there was no Prosecco at stock. The restaurant was understaffed, waiter did not have enough time to take the order, tablecloth was dirty, glasses unpolished. The food was bad, the meat was not tender we were not able to consume the rack of lamb, the duck breast or the veal. It could not be chewed! The touring office told me off while taking my ticket, I did not know about the voucher that I was obliged to take the English coach. Very unkind staff....... Eating from the buffet was the alternative but there was no variation, each day the same and sometimes there was no food at all at the opening hours. The entertaiment was very poor, at all pool activities always the same tape with music. There were 8 entertainers for 20 participators. The rest from the guests was complaining because it was to loud. MSC did not understand my complaint but: never again!!!! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Hi. I thought I'd write a review of our recent voyage as it would appear at times that only negative reviews seem to to be posted. So here goes: My Wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. Neither of us had ... Read More
Hi. I thought I'd write a review of our recent voyage as it would appear at times that only negative reviews seem to to be posted. So here goes: My Wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. Neither of us had sailed with MSC before, although for comparison we have sailed with Princess, P&O, NCL and Celebrity Nor had we visited the Middle-East. All reviews are subjective I know: One persons ying is someone elses yang. But I thought I'd offer a few observations about our trip which may perhaps answer some questions which I know I had before our trip. I hope it's useful :) First all the good stuff: MSC Fantasia is undeniably a beautiful ship. It is stylish and immaculately clean. Sometimes the style comes at the cost of function (watch your head on the funky light fixtures in the Manhattan bar for example!) but overall impressive. The atrium truly has the wow factor as it soars upwards and the theatre is better appointed than many commercial theatres on land. CREW: Contrary to many reviews I read before sailing we found all of the crew friendly, polite and professional, be they Officers, barstaff, servers, stewards. Really, with very few exceptions. After a couple of days many would greet you by name (no idea how they manage that!). Impressive. FOOD: A big bone of contention amongst many (no pun intended). We thought that the food, in most cases, was good. Both in terms of quality and in temperature. There were a couple of times in the buffet where we selected an item which was not 'piping hot' (whatever that is) but generally no issues with temperature. Do wander around the buffet as there are differing 'stations': mediterranean, vegetarian or ethnic for example. Selection of pizzas wonderful, as was the salad and fruit bars. The buffet does get busy at times (mainly in the central area) but we always found somewhere to sit relatively easily. At times it is noisy: let's just say some passengers are louder than others ;) Drinks are available either from the beverage stations or order drinks from any of the roaming servers who will bring to your table (charge) Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available in the Red Velvet Restaurant if that is your preference under waiter service. Our evening meal was early seating: On this cruise that meant 18.00. If I am honest that's a bit early for us, but then again the 2nd sitting at 21.00 would probably be too late. I think an 'Anytime' dining option would be our preference. Our two servers were always polite and friendly. As each of us on our 7 seater was on a drinks package (more on that next) we were poured bottled water upon sitting and our wine glasses were kept topped throughout (if required of course!). The food choices were good if not exceptional. Portions were good (you do need to order from about 4 of the menu sections. Soup and a main will not do it) and no issues with temperature. I only received 1 meal which I was unhappy with: duck á l'orange. Tough as old boots and overcooked. It was whisked away and a very nice roast beef dish appeared (my choice) in about 2 minutes. Never offered tea/coffee after dinner but heard that should occur (at charge) and talking of charges: DRINKS PACKAGE: Realistically, if you will drink more than 2 coffees, 2 beers, 2 bottles of water and 2 glasses of wine a day then the Allegrisimmo is very good value and I would recommend pre-ordering before joining the ship. Unless you must have xxxx brand and nothing else then I don't see the value in the premium package. The wines in allegrisimmo were not outstanding, but quaffable (and you can always have prosecco instead should you so wish). The package includes many cocktails, beer (heineken only for some strange reason), unlimited water and also some very nice Lavazza coffees at any bar on board, oh and some terrific gellato! 3 pools available to Joe Public and all were pleasant. Two that I used were salt water. Cabin was a balcony on deck 10 Sogno. Roomy, clean, stylish. Balcony sufficient but not massive (2 chairs 1 footstool). Shower powerful. Soap and shampoo provided (environmentally friendly) interactive tv, minibar (chargeable), safe. No tea/coffee (TIP: if on fantastica package, order room service on breakfast card even if just two teas, etc. it's free). One other thing about the balcony cabins: there is a large overhang from deck 14, so if you are up high and not on one of the 2 'bumps' you may be in shade. and the not so good: PHOTOS:There are photographers everywhere. The are pleasant and friendly and quite good at what they do. But a little intrusive: I don't really want my photo taken whilst eating my dinner. That said the quality of the shots was often good and we would probably have purchased a selection if they had been priced more sensibly (sml/lrg EUR20/30 each). SUNBEDS: There are many, many sunbeds, but on a sunny day the towel brigade does arise early. the pool attendants do try to adhere to the no bed-hogs policy but it's an almost impossible task for them. I always found a bed. But it may not be where you wanted it. DAYTIME ACTIVITIES: Ties in a bit with the above really. We had a lot of sea days (5 in a row at one time) and there seemed minimal daytime activity to absorb the passengers. Most were based around the pool area and involved the usual pool-party stuff: learning some strange cruise dance, playing bingo, throwing sponges at the animation team??? Not my bag really so disappointed with the daytime activity. Bring a good book. HAND SANITIZERS: they are around but nobody enforces. Worse still we found a couple out of action for at least 2 days in buffet area. I'm not a cleanliness freak but it's a Noro outbreak waiting to happen. STALLS: you know, where they set up somewhere selling tat that nobody wants but everyone buys. They had an area for this each evening. Worse still it was the same stuff each night! At least rotate your tat offerings! TOILET SIGNS: made me laugh, but thought I'd mention. The signs for the gents and ladies are the little stick-people signs. Problem is to a less-than-focused eye they look about the same! You have been warned lol I won't go into ports generally as there's plenty on them available elsewhere, plus I've wittered on too much anyway and even I'm bored by now! But a couple of things to finish: Khor al Fhakkan is a fuel stop for the ship and a supermarket. That's it. Don't bother. (terrible fuel stench in cabin whilst in KAF) Terrible fumes on approach to Oman which woke us (cabin 10189) at 06.45. Complained but it did not recur. Heraklion is lovely: queuing with 1,000+ other passengers to re-board for 1 hour 20 minutes without any port or MSC personnel to assist or supervise was ugly, dangerous and totally unacceptable. That's it! If you made it this far well done. Did we enjoy the cruise? Yes we did Was it perfect? No it wasn't Was it as bad as we had read on CC before sailing? Nowhere near as bad Is it our new 1st choice? No, still Celebrity Would we sail MSC again? Quite possibly. I find it difficult to get negative enough to count out, plus it was good value. Cheers Kernel x Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I'm sorry I don't have time to write a lengthy detailed review of our cruise in the Fantasia's Yacht Club. Actually we were on board for a total of 25 days in that we had a one week Persian Gulf cruise Dubai-Dubai before ... Read More
I'm sorry I don't have time to write a lengthy detailed review of our cruise in the Fantasia's Yacht Club. Actually we were on board for a total of 25 days in that we had a one week Persian Gulf cruise Dubai-Dubai before embarking on the Dubai-Civitavecchia repositioning cruise. Yacht club is a fantastic experience and I'd be hard pressed to find anything negative to report. Our cabin (15002) was wonderful as was our butler Zakia and cabin steward Gusti. Meals were divine whether in the L'Etoile restaurant where our waiter Giuseppe and Maitre Giovanni treated us like royalty. The daily lunch buffet up at the One Pool was great as were the snacks served throughout the day in the Top Sail Lounge. The management by the Chief Butler Vinod and his staff assured pure excellence. The weather did not cooperate for several days during the first part of the cruise, causing us to miss Sir Bani Yas island. Weather and rough seas can upset any cruise so there's no sense complaining about something that the captain and ship have no control over. In this short review I'll say that the Fantasia is a wonderful ship which I've sailed on several times now and am looking forward to a two week Caribbean cruise on it in November. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
As my partner and I have always wanted to see Petra and enjoy cruising with MSC, we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to take an extended holiday that would cover both, and also spend my partner’s birthday onboard. We’ve ... Read More
As my partner and I have always wanted to see Petra and enjoy cruising with MSC, we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to take an extended holiday that would cover both, and also spend my partner’s birthday onboard. We’ve written several reviews of MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida in the past, so I’ll try not to repeat the same information again, as already written about the sparkly stairs, the size of the ship etc in the past. Our flight from Manchester airport with Etihad departed on 24th March and was an overnight flight to Abu Dhabi. Whilst there were no issues with the flight, it wasn’t the most comfortable we have had, so would probably avoid flying Etihad in the future. As we came in to land, the pilot informed us there may be a delay or we may not be able to land due to a terrible storm. This had me a little worried - nevertheless we landed and followed the immigration rules etc and collected our cases before finding our private transfer to the port. On arriving at the port, there was no sign of Fantasia, only of Norwegian Star. We asked the driver if there was potentially another terminal as we’d not been to Abu Dhabi before - he didn’t understand what we were asking. He flagged someone from the port staff who told us that Fantasia was cancelled. Our hearts sank and then panic set in. What were we to do? We were in a foreign country and due to the storm Fantasia was still in Dubai! Waiting in the cruise terminal, thinking about contacting our agent but then realising it would be the very early hours we decided to try and find someone else with more information. We were informed that a bus would be sent for us from Dubai. What a relief! It soon arrived and we were on our way - it was obvious what bad weather there had been as a lot of the roads were flooded. The journey to Dubai was quite interesting and on the way to the cruise port we got to see all of the famous buildings, effectively a free tour; always look on the bright side of these things. I do think MSC could have potentially handled this better, there were quite a few passengers expecting to join at Abu Dhabi and as it was a fairly short coach journey, a car could have got a receptionist or similar to the cruise terminal to assist with these queries. Embarkation was extremely quick and we were soon in our balcony cabin and got showered and changed in to some of the clothes we’d packed in our hand luggage. To our surprise and utter delight there were chocolate strawberries waiting, courtesy of MSC and as a surprise for my partner some canapés and a bottle of fizz. The main cases were delivered shortly after. Following that we were off to explore the ship and have a ritual glass of champagne to get the holiday started. Throughout the day we met with a number of crew we have met on previous cruises and they all seemed very pleased to see us again, remembering our names and the ships we had been on. On to dinner time, we had requested a table for two and had been put on a larger table; we didn’t have a problem with this but as it was such a long holiday we would have preferred to be alone. On our way out of the restaurant the Maitre D asked if our table was ok and if we would prefer a different one. We said the table was fine but if there was a table for two available we would really appreciate it. Not a problem and we were soon changed to table 961 in Cerchio D’Oro - overlooking the wake - one of the best tables in the house. I think the Maitre D had remembered us from a cruise we took on the Armonia last year. The following day, our call to Sir Bani Yas was cancelled due to high winds which would make tendering dangerous. I was disappointed at this as I was looking forward to a snorkelling experience. In hindsight it is probably a good job we didn’t go as it was quite cool weather with some rain showers! We took a taxi and went to see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi - I’m glad we did. What a beautiful place! It’s huge and reminded me of the Taj Mahal in style. We went to our new table for dinner and were greeted by our new waiter, Erazo and his assistant Reksi and the wine waiter Erik. All offered wonderful service throughout the cruise, remembering our preferences for wine, recommending particular dishes and having time for a bit of a chat every night. The food on this cruise was different to usual, with a daily menu which was never repeated, rather than the usual rotating menu. We had several themed nights, such as French night, Arabian nights, Greek night, Italian night and Spanish night. Every night we ate 5 or 6 courses, yet as the portions are relatively small we didn’t put on too much weight or feel uncomfortable. Some of the highlights food wise in my opinion would be the Opera Gateau, duck a l’orange, Greek salad, spumante risotto. At all of the ports of call we sorted ourselves out, we’re not big on ships excursions and prefer to do our own thing. At Aqqaba we had arranged a private tour to Petra through a company we have used in Egypt for similar tours off Nile cruises. Petra was quite simply amazing. It’s a tough day out which would be impossible for people with reduced mobility. Ensure you take plenty of water with you, and even some snacks might be advisable. We entered the Suez Canal late at night which meant we spent a good portion of the next day transiting the canal - it really is a marvel of modern engineering. We experienced some delays on the cruise due to medical emergencies, three in total, this delayed our arrival in some ports and shortened the time we had there, but this is not MSC’s fault; as passengers we were kept informed and you can’t ask for more than that. The entertainment onboard was varied, we felt there would be something for everything. There were a multitude of quizzes including a progressive trivia as well as normal ‘fun’ quizzes, dance lessons, arts and crafts, lectures - one particular lady giving lectures was Hilda who we had met on the cruises we took to and from Hamburg last year. At night time there were the usual production shows the highlights being Wonderland based on Alice and a Michael Jackson show as well as opera, dance and acrobatics. In the various bars around the ship there were different bands and musicians playing - something to suit everyone. We tended to stay more in the Manhattan or Transatlantico bars on deck 7. The Inoteca wine bar was also a favourite hang out of ours for a quiet glass of wine after dinner to allow the food to settle. The night we stopped in Civitavecchia there was a changeover of some of the crew, with a few bands changing from MSC Splendida which was also in port. We were sat in the Inoteca wine bar enjoying a glass of wine when I had a tap on the shoulder - “I think I know you” - it was Irena, part of a duo “Smile” from Splendida who remembered us - we were so happy to see her it really made our day. We went to the Transatlantico later and she was playing in there and then sang one of our favourite songs! We’ve got some wonderful photographs from the cruise - we booked a 100 photo package for £64 - was quite surprised how many photos of us there were by the end of the trip we had to sit in the wine bar and put them in to piles of yes, no, maybe! This cruise really was more than just a holiday, the ship was more than a hotel - it felt like our home for 16 nights, we then changed cabins to back to back a short cruise to Barcelona and Marseille, another 3 nights! On the night of 11th April I planned to go and get some champagne from the bar at midnight (just by the glass as included in package, to toast my partner’s birthday) when suddenly, Irena started singing happy birthday one of the bar supervisors, Ruth, and some of the wonderfull bar staff we’d met - Eriska, Katerina, Nannette came in with a birthday cake and a bottle of champagne for him! What a wow moment!! Our next cruise with MSC is booked for November onboard Meraviglia, although we may well find something for the summer as it seems too long to be away from such a wonderful experience. An MSC cruise really is a holiday like no other. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
First dinner night was stunned to find that you had to pay for water and tea or coffee. It is impossible to get a place around the pools. People were getting up at 04:30 to put their stuff on chairs. Continuous selling on board of drink ... Read More
First dinner night was stunned to find that you had to pay for water and tea or coffee. It is impossible to get a place around the pools. People were getting up at 04:30 to put their stuff on chairs. Continuous selling on board of drink packages etc. Unable to cancel an excursion without going to ships doctor (we were told that it would cost 70 to 80 Euros) this when we were not feeling well. tour costs 110 Euros for both of us thus we would have to spend 150 Euros to recoup 110 Euros. Dining was about a 3 out of 10. with 2 meals totally unedible. 4300 passengers just not confortable, The dining at the buffet on the 14 floor was always a pushy disaster. Saw an Italian man finger every piece of bread in the row when there were tongs for picking bread up with right there. We were absolutely stunned by how pushy some of the Europeans were (Italian mainly but others too). WILL WE EVER TAKE AN MSC CRUISE AGAIN -NO-NO-NO- P.S. They now have a ship with 5700 passengers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
OVERALL - Very good value, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would consider MSC in future. We heard some comments from more experienced MSC cruisers suggesting that the ship was not as good as others in their fleet, but from our ... Read More
OVERALL - Very good value, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would consider MSC in future. We heard some comments from more experienced MSC cruisers suggesting that the ship was not as good as others in their fleet, but from our viewpoint (with experience of numerous other lines) we found little to be unhappy about. MAIN DINING ROOM – meals were mostly good, sometimes excellent and sometimes less so. Food was plentiful, with up to 6 courses plus extra vegetables available. Overall not as good as more expensive lines, which is only to be expected. Very pleasant tablemates added to the enjoyment. BUFFET – Much like other ships; peak times were a bit of a scrum, otherwise no problem getting or sharing a table. Some of the hot lunchtime dishes were the best we have had on any ship. STAFF – Mostly very pleasant and attentive. They responded well to being treated in a friendly way; it seemed that was not their most frequent experience. A very small number were grumpy and would rather have been anywhere else. They all seemed to work very long hours, even by cruise ship standards. Public announcements were handled well in six languages, usually English first. ENTERTAINMENT – The Cruise Director (Jimmy) was excellent. Shows varied from very good (Michael Jackson tribute, and the crew show) to not so good. On several nights there were no theatre shows. STATEROOM – We had an aft balcony room, which was excellent in the Suez Canal, but shuddered and rattled when the ship was at full speed. The balcony itself (deck 10) was enormous. PUBLIC AREAS – Very elegant, generally uncrowded except when the sun deck was unusable in bad weather. There is very little forward viewing space, unless you are in Yacht Club – that could be a disappointment for anyone without a balcony. Sun deck was usually crowded, and the only way to be sure of a sunbed was to bring your own. DRINKS PACKAGE – very convenient and well worthwhile, though as moderate drinkers the cost was not much less than buying drinks individually. OTHER PASSENGERS – a wide mix of mostly European nationals, plus a few Australian and Canadian. Individually, all were pleasant, though in groups some could be loud and volatile. If that is not tolerable, then a British line may be a better choice (though our worst experience of inconsiderate passengers was on Reading railway station on the way home). A FEW GLITCHES – The ship was unable to sail to Abu Dhabi on the first night, which caused problems for some passengers who were due to embark there. Boarding at Iraklion was chaos for passengers not on ship’s tours, because of inadequate staffing at the port entrance; frayed tempers resulted. These issues did not affect us but coloured the views of those involved. The stop at Sir Bani Yas island was missed due to bad weather, which was a disappointment. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our first cruise with MSC after 6 with Thomson’s. We cruised from Abu Dhabi on the 19/03/2017 for 7 nights. On arrival at ship we were informed that itinerary had been changed. We had a Balcony cabin and up-graded to a Premium ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC after 6 with Thomson’s. We cruised from Abu Dhabi on the 19/03/2017 for 7 nights. On arrival at ship we were informed that itinerary had been changed. We had a Balcony cabin and up-graded to a Premium drinks package. The ship was full with the majority of the clients not English. Notes are as follows: - 1 - Embarkation = OK. Arrived at Ship at 08:30 and got into cabin at 12:30. 2 - Cabin = OK. On first getting cabin it was adequate and clean. There was an adjoining door to next doors cabin Steward attended every day but carpet was never vacuumed for full week. We did have two occasions where drinking glasses (not ours) appeared in our bathroom and balcony door left open. 3 - Day at sea = Like a zoo. Too many people and too few sunbeds led to physical confrontation that we saw on two occasions. Trying to get served at a bar or obtain a waiter was impossible. Best service we got was when it rained and there was only a few sitting at the outside bar. 4 - Restaurant = Very poor. On late sitting. Only got offered water on first night. Never managed more than two drinks. No topping up of glasses. Took 2 hours from start to finish. Got a bread bun on 3 of the 7 nights. Food when arrived was adequate at best. 5 - Excursion desk = Very poor. Tried to get a bus transfer ticket at Bahrain. Queued for over half an hour before giving up, as hundreds of people (No exaggeration) in queue. 6 - Panoramic Doha - What a waste of 5 hours of our lives. Guide was very poor with no explanation of where we went. Dumped off the coach at three separate occasions and spent over half the time sitting in traffic jams. l has loads of other examples including not getting to sir bani yas island due to adverse weather leading to another zoo-like day at sea, and poor all round service but the main two issues we had were: - 1 - Amount of money went missing from inside safe. Dirhams and Pounds totalling around £290 were discovered to be missing from safe. We reported this confidentiality to reception which resulted in a security guard checking our room to see if we or someone had hidden the money. Eventually after prompting the reception staff on numerous occasions all we got out of them was it has never happened before and that we must have been mistaken on how much we put into the safe. I can assure anyone reading this review that we are careful and honest people and can 100% say that the money was taken from the safe. Please see comments on cabin on door left open etc. 2 - At around 23:00 on the last night there was an announcement that the Ship would not be sailing from Dubai for Abu Dhabi meaning that passengers disembarking would have to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by coach which resulted in having to get off ship earlier than originally required. When we left the Ship, we were put us on a coach that we thought was taking us to Abu Dhabi. No, it took us to the next cruise terminal where we got off. There were no MSC reps there and no-one could speak English. Eventually after around 30 mins and a lot of irate passengers a rickety old bus arrived and took us on a 2-hour drive to Abu Dhabi airport where we were dropped off at the wrong terminal - A total shambles. We are taking forward our complaints with MSC but not expecting much response. It is such a shame as the facilities were superb but let down by customer service from 95% of staff. Give me the Thomson Sprit any time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I chose this cruise after a short 'taster' cruise last year on Splendida. We were so impressed with the service after years with RCI that we decided to give MSC another try. We were not dissapointed. Boarding in Abhu Dhabi was ... Read More
I chose this cruise after a short 'taster' cruise last year on Splendida. We were so impressed with the service after years with RCI that we decided to give MSC another try. We were not dissapointed. Boarding in Abhu Dhabi was Quick and effortless. The ship was immaculate, easily on a par to RCI. Staff were without exception friendly and helpful. Trip was a little spoilt by unseasonable poor weather in the Gulf, but life onboard was good. Food choices were maybe a little boring, and sometimes not as hot as it could have been, but this is nittpicking, as good as most moderate priced cruise lines, and better than some I have been on. Breakfast in the main Restaurant was very slowly served, but also very tasty. The TexMex restaurant seemed universally unpopular with all the people I spoke to onboard, I think MSC should have a hard look at this as it was always underused. Shows were very good, and the theatre very comfortable, without the obstructive pillars I have seen on other ships. We will travel with MSC again, as we think they give good value for money and excellent service. Read Less
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

Find a MSC Fantasia Cruise

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