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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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: 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Overview: Cancelled ALL final airport excursions Had an issue receiving water each day Loud and pushy passengers Everyday passengers ON and OFF ship (Cattle run) 7th Floor walking deck (especially on sea days) was also a ... Read More
Overview: Cancelled ALL final airport excursions Had an issue receiving water each day Loud and pushy passengers Everyday passengers ON and OFF ship (Cattle run) 7th Floor walking deck (especially on sea days) was also a SMOKING deck? No Washie-Washie Happy-Happy (80% of Ship was SICK) Cabin phone stuck on German Front Desk missed confirmed wake-up call on final morning of cruise Elevator's slow, packed, and random if they stopped on your floor Pool deck microphone was WAY TOO LOUD, and disturbed everyone when they played their games Passengers waited up to 6 HOURS to EMBARK the ship at the start of the cruise Took our passports at start of cruise Docked farthest away...less expensive Evening Ship entertainment was 50/50 Bugged by staff to buy "Drink Packages" Medical Staff...FAIL Constantly bugged by some of the Photographers Breakfast - Juice ONLY AVAILABLE at breakfast...blocked-off lunch and supper Brazil's computer screen map was white and blue...they chose WHITE for the WATER when they could have chose BLUE...just about sums-up their Company Overall Ship - Good Crew - Great (especially the hands-on workers) MSC Company - FAIL - Illogical standing orders, lack of support to staff, and the staff had to always compensate or take verbal arguments Suggestions: 1. I am sure there are more fun games to be played...perhaps using the pool...and a better volume on the pool deck microphone while playing activities 2. MANDATORY - Washie-Washie Happy-Happy 3. Same language guest party at start of cruise - English, French, Portuguese, etc...get to know people who speak your language...the rest you will meet by smiles and hand signals throughout the cruise...lol Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The enticement? Interesting ports in Europe, Africa and South America. Our first cruise experience. We agree it might be the last one. Looking back it was frantic from the moment of embarkation in Genoa. Long line ups, hours of waiting. ... Read More
The enticement? Interesting ports in Europe, Africa and South America. Our first cruise experience. We agree it might be the last one. Looking back it was frantic from the moment of embarkation in Genoa. Long line ups, hours of waiting. It's true that the ship houses over 3000 passengers, but knowing that beforehand, the process should have been smother. The cabin we had , with balcony, was really nice. Crew attendant for the cabin was hard working and really personable as were the people serving in the restaurant. The rest of the staff was silent, in general not very friendly. The food in the buffet wasn't so bad, but very salty and considering that most passengers were seniors, not healthy. Menu in the buffet section was almost the same every day and this was a 20 day cruise. The quality of the water and coffee was bad. However, the most problematic circumstances of all were the contaminated air circulating in the ship, with the result that the majority of people were sick. Another really vexing situation was the total isolation we endured during the crossing of the Atlantic, almost six days. No TV, no internet, no information. Movies offered in the cabin, did not display well. The price of the internet connection offered in fliers to the cabin was misleading as they would charge more if you signed for it. We believe that the economics of scale for such a huge crowd have something to do with this situation. We probably will think twice before signing up for this kind of cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We spent a week on Fantasia and an overall experience was positive except few remarks. NO SMILE policy is something you notice in a day or two. As an ex crew member on a bigger cruise line i know how important a guest satisfaction was, ... Read More
We spent a week on Fantasia and an overall experience was positive except few remarks. NO SMILE policy is something you notice in a day or two. As an ex crew member on a bigger cruise line i know how important a guest satisfaction was, even if we only talk about greetings. English is not mandatory, so the more languages you speak, the better for you to get around. This doesnt count for crew on higher position, but does for the other 2500 crew members. The food in general could be better, thers no much variation, so after a week you kinda wanna get off and eat something good! Entertainment team is great and very professional. It still stays amazing how they have a show on 5 languages! So to summarize, id say you can have a pretty good experience on-board. If you dont compare it to the big fish like RCCL or Celebrity, you gonna be fine with some patience. The food is...nah....but its clean. Its very kitschy and not everyone is gonna understand you all the time, but hey...you came for vacation, so ....relax...... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I sailed on the MSC Fantasia with my husband and 3 children ages 7, 9, and 10. My daughter ended up breaking her foot a couple of days before our vacation and ended up using a wheelchair and crutches throughout our cruise, in order to get ... Read More
I sailed on the MSC Fantasia with my husband and 3 children ages 7, 9, and 10. My daughter ended up breaking her foot a couple of days before our vacation and ended up using a wheelchair and crutches throughout our cruise, in order to get around. Here is a list of pro and cons PROS: -Kids sail free -Food is very good - especially in dining room for dinner, lots of kids options as well, if you ask they will do it -awesome coffee and great bar service -clean and beautiful ship -staff members work very hard and are very friendly and polite CONS: -not wheelchair friendly at all - perhaps they need one elevator solely for disabled people or have signs up to encourage people to take the stairs, also when disembarking at cruise ports, its a free for all - no separate lines for wheelchairs or strollers. -very rude passengers - could not get over this -wifi is TERRIBLE - paid for a package and never actually got on the internet! Just enjoy an unplugged holiday instead -cruise port itineraries NOT WHAT THEY DESCRIBE - BEWARE! I can't even begin to write all of the info I have about this! Just do your own thing and research ahead of time! -kids club is not like a typical kids club like you would get in a Caribbean resort - its a daycare full of behaviour kids...in saying that, the girls that work there do work long, hard hours to supervise other people's out of control children Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Just got back from a cruise on MSC Fantasia which was a mixed experience. I did not have high expectations after reading a few reviews on this page, but it was not as bad as I expected. I have been on several cruises before, all with RCCL, ... Read More
Just got back from a cruise on MSC Fantasia which was a mixed experience. I did not have high expectations after reading a few reviews on this page, but it was not as bad as I expected. I have been on several cruises before, all with RCCL, but for my partner it was the first time. The ship is good enough, clean enough, exciting enough, but nothing to blow you away. Embarcation and disembarcation in Barcelona was smooth and without problem. The cabin was quite large and had a comfortable bed. It felt like it was badly isolated however as we could clearly hear everythin our neighbours said and did in their cabins. I have read other reviews here about the food and dining experience and sadly I have to agree with them. For me the portions size in the main dining room was ok, but for my partner, a tall and active guy they were too smal. The food was notthing special and could be warmer. I mentioned my alergy to nuts to our waiter several times, and still he brought me dishes containing nuts. Not good. In general I found that information regarding alergy was lacking. In the buffet restaurant a sign just said "assorted muffins" I picked up one that looked like a blueberry muffin, but that had nuts in it. We ended up not eating dinner in the main dining room due to the portion sizes and my alergy problem and favoured the buffet restaurant. The food there was ok, nothing special. The level of service was a bit confusing. Some were very serviceminded and some were just plain rude. Again I am used to RCCL service and it was nothing like that. When a waiter cleared our table in the buffet restaurant I said "thank you so much", he just looked at me like I was crazy. When we passed our cabin atendant in the hall I said "Hello, good morning" and he just looked down. Confusing and not what I am used to. An overal problem for us was noise. The other passangers were really loud and not what we are used to. It might have been a culture problem (we are both Norwegian), but we were not comfortable with that. Language was also a huge problem. Very litle information was in English. All activities were in Italien. I do beieve the activities were fun, but we didn't understand enough to join in. The dance instructors were very good however. They really made an effort and did instructions in English for us. They were the best employees on the ship if you ask us. They tried hard to include us and were very sweet. The ports were the best thing with this cruise. Amazing itinerary! I would specially recomend Genova. A beautiful city to walk around in. A true gem. I would recomend a cruise with MSC Fantasia in the mediterranean, it is not bad, it is just different than other cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We went on an MSC cruise 4 years ago and decided to try again as the first one was excellent. We embarked in Rome and check in was well organised although once on board it was fairly chaotic and not enough staff to help with initial ... Read More
We went on an MSC cruise 4 years ago and decided to try again as the first one was excellent. We embarked in Rome and check in was well organised although once on board it was fairly chaotic and not enough staff to help with initial requests. Our cabin was perfect, plenty of room and comfy bed. We were unfortunately very disappointed with our dining experience. Last time we cruised there were 5 small courses and a great variety. This time there were 3 courses and sometimes I left still hungry (I am not a big eater at all but the courses were often tiny). Others at our table were also unhappy with the food at the restaurant. (We ate at the Red Velvet). Food at the buffet was adequate but sometimes a little tasteless. The other somewhat annoying change was the removal of the "special coffees" from the inclusive drinks package. When you are paying a considerable amount for drinks per day I think you should be able to get pretty much what you want. The cocktails were also quite lacking in alcohol. We did 2 shore excursions and these were acceptable. The other disappointing thing was lack of modern music that isn't piano/cabaret style. A guy playing covers on guitar would be perfect but unfortunately there was no such thing. We are middle aged but appreciate music from today not just music from the 60's, Generally speaking the staff were lovely. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
MSC Yacht club makes the cruising much more comfortable but it is still a normal cruise with some upscale features. We did Mediterranean with Fantasia for seven days and then the brand new Seaview seven days also staying ashore in-between ... Read More
MSC Yacht club makes the cruising much more comfortable but it is still a normal cruise with some upscale features. We did Mediterranean with Fantasia for seven days and then the brand new Seaview seven days also staying ashore in-between for 2 days. The embarkation was extremely smooth. In Barcelona there was an YC tent outside the terminal. Inside the YC had a small “lounge” build in the corner of the terminal. A bit strange while everybody could see the guests sipping their sparkling wine just separated by a string line. We could hardly finish our glasses as they wanted to accompany us to the ship. The luggages were delivered extremely quickly to the cabin. The cabin is actually a normal balcony stateroom always it si called a suite. It may have a bit more space and a separate closet space. The minibar is included in the price and it should be filled everyday. We asked only for some light cola but even that seemed to be too difficult for the “butler”. Otherwise we did not notice any special service from our butler. Probably you need to ask for them. The meals are served in the YC restaurant in the back of ship. L´etoile is not situated in the YC but we had no problem with that while we are able to move around the ship on our own and do not need a butler to take us to places. The restaurant is maybe a bit better than a normal main restaurant but it certainly is no gourmet. The food is probably normal Italian restaurant level but they could at least pay a little more attention on presentation as it would make the basic food taste better. Even in the seven days cruise the food started to feel a bit boring. Doing 14 days we had the menu twice with no changes. The waiters do their job but that´s it. The attention the guests get seems to vary a lot depending if the staff consider the guests important enough. Some get an offer of black pepper or parmesan, some not. The One pool buffet is nice for a breakfast or a drink but it is certainly not worth visiting in the lunch time if you do not wish to eat a hamburger every day. Lunch is also served in l´Etoile. The public buffet restaurant is chaotic and the food quality is rather poor. You can order the drinks with a call button but the service is still very slow. The YC pool has a lot of space for the guests and it is always easy to find a chair compared to the other pool areas which seemed to be rather crowded. Top sail lounge is very calm and there is always place to sit down. At least the aperitif buffet was very nice. As YC guest you get also the drinks free in the public area. The drink lists are always the same and asking for something else confuses most of the waiters. Some of them seem even not to be able to tell white from red wine. They still try the best they can and it is not they fault if they apparently do not get the proper education before starting the job. The entertainment was typical MSC: trying to be sophisticated. Shows included Italian songs or opera. The poor cruise director was badly outdated and it was rather painful hearing him trying to go hysterical through 6 languages. MSC really makes the Pas in 6 different languages and towards the end of the cruise it starts to feel a bit boring. The entertainments in the atrium or lounges were too loud considering the level of enjoyment they could provide. Only real advantage for us from the Yacht Club is embarkation and disembarkation and One pool there were is always space and lounge chairs available. Still compared to for example to NCL Haven, YC gives you good value for the price while the prices are still affordable. We might do MSC and YC some time again but would recommend MSC to no-one if not travelling in the YC. The cruise in Fantasia felt a bit tired what it comes to crew or the experience like they have already given up when the newer and bigger ships keeps coming. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Was very impress with MSC Divina and this is how we choose this, big big mistake. Newer saw so bad service and so care less personal and so angree. They just hate all customers and this is what you can read in their faces. Food is bad and ... Read More
Was very impress with MSC Divina and this is how we choose this, big big mistake. Newer saw so bad service and so care less personal and so angree. They just hate all customers and this is what you can read in their faces. Food is bad and no taste at all, portion is small, so after dinner you must go to buffet. Quality of photo is bad, very bad quality photoshop. Show in theatre whole week with same team, they singers and dancer in the same time and nothing good you will find there, lot of noise and no show. In dining we got table for 8 , but our group was 10. Online booking wasn't working and check out was terrible, spent 1:20 and visit reception 6+ times. Every person tell you different story and this story always new, all person is lazy and not friendly at all. Cabin cleaner was good, we never saw him, but he did good job. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Based upon other reviews, I would not have selected this cruise but as it was a family affair booked from points halfway around the world, it was done. Let me first say there were many positives about this cruise - our typical social ... Read More
Based upon other reviews, I would not have selected this cruise but as it was a family affair booked from points halfway around the world, it was done. Let me first say there were many positives about this cruise - our typical social interaction with the servers at bar areas was generally most excellent, our cabin steward provided us with a tidy stateroom with fresh towels at all times, the wait staff in the Red Velvet dining area was good, though understaffed for our evening table of 13. We were very impressed with the cleanliness of the ship as a whole. That waned a bit as the cruise went on, especially after the arrival of passengers (and flies!?!) from Genoa. The main dining was generally bland. There were no excellent proclamations about any of the main courses although I will say a few of the desserts were quite tasty. I think we all expected more from the Italian meals that were served but none were outstanding. We saw one show - the dancing and choreography was very basic but the costumes were quite nice as well as two good singers with one of them being exceptional. It speaks quite a bit that nobody was interested in seeing another show. We were given the run around on a couple of occasions as the where to go, especially trying to go ashore in Cannes via the lifeboats/ferries. We stood in line to get tickets, told to be in the theater at 1140, arrived early and was then told we were late, the tickets didn't matter and it was 1st come, 1st serve to go ashore. We scurried back to the other end of the ship, saw the horrendous line waiting to go ashore and eventually didn't leave until ~1300. It appeared badly mismanaged as if it was everyone's first day on the job. Disembarking on our last day was nearly as bad, so I won't rehash it - going ashore at the other ports was relatively pain free. Several members of our group took shore excursions. All felt they were ripped off, from the exorbitant prices to not being delivered what was promised. Let me reiterate there were many positives about this ship and I would like to name every crew member that provided us with joy and service but unfortunately we did not keep a tally. There were a few crew members that were disinterested but by and large, they were positive interactions throughout. As a whole, I cannot rate this cruise/cruise line favorably with the cruises we have been on with Royal Caribbean other than they don't annoyingly push their products like RCCL seems to do. Take note, RCCL. I would do this again only if, as before, we did not have a choice. Our favorite ports were La Spezia and Palma, with the least enjoyable being Genoa by far. We also liked Barcelona (mainly because we spent a couple days there beforehand), Ajaccio and Civitavecchia. We did not go to Rome, as there is too much time pressure. Forgive my scattered approach to this review, we were up nearly 24 hours and I am feeling a bit tired since coming back to home sweet home! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We traveled to and from Genoa to the Western Mediterranean. However we flew into and out of Milan as it was cheaper, with more flights, and then we took trains to match our itinerary. The price was reasonable, and the itinerary matched our ... Read More
We traveled to and from Genoa to the Western Mediterranean. However we flew into and out of Milan as it was cheaper, with more flights, and then we took trains to match our itinerary. The price was reasonable, and the itinerary matched our needs. The itinerary is all-important to me, so we have never used the same cruise line twice. We wanted to add a day in the Cinque Terre, and this was the only line that disembarked in Genoa, near there. The shore excursions were also reasonably priced as compared to most cruise lines. They embark and disembark passengers at every port, so this offers a lot of flexibility. However their ala carte pricing means that you really have to look hard at what you want and what you are willing to pay extra for. It is very confusing, and very easy to be charged for something you didn't need. Everything is extra, including water. The heavy smokers were also a bad experience for Americans and a safety issue. The ship can hold 4,300 passengers, but personally I like a much smaller ship. However there were a lot of activities for children, including their own swim and play area. We had a wonderful balcony cabin on deck 13 with what they call the Aurea experience. This offered us the all-inclusive drinks package that normally cost $55 per person, per day. Also we had two included spa treatments that were worth about $120 each. MSC charges an extra 10 Euro per person, per day service charge. However you can modify this if you want. Except on the gala nights, the food was either overcooked or cold. The buffet meals were quite bad. However if you order off the menu in the Red Velvet Restaurant, the food was somewhat better. We found the service was very good, unlike many other reviews. MSC has a matching rewards program, so even though this was our first trip, we achieved Gold status. However you have to apply for this a couple of weeks before sailing, and the rewards were not that great. It took a lot of work on my part to document our existing rewards with other programs. To me the 5% discount was most beneficial, but that only applies on future cruises. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Cruise chosen due to destination/itinerary which was fabulous. We have cruised many many times but never with MSC and most likely won’t be choosing them again. Our balcony cabin 11148 was standard but we found it quite noisy due to ... Read More
Cruise chosen due to destination/itinerary which was fabulous. We have cruised many many times but never with MSC and most likely won’t be choosing them again. Our balcony cabin 11148 was standard but we found it quite noisy due to other passengers not being respectful when heading back after midnight. Dining this was the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise not much choice both in the buffet and the restaurant in fact the restaurant the portions are very small. The food in the buffet was only lukewarm at all times! We always opt for anytime dining but this wasn’t an option on this cruise and had the choice of 6.30pm (too early) or 9pm (too late)! Corsica lovely never been before but thoroughly enjoyed used local yellow 55min bus tour €8 which is available as soon as you disembark the ship. Rome this was our fourth visit second by ship. Shuttle bus drops you at different location to our last visit which is further from the Railway Station although we got on a public bus €2.50pp at the drop off location and it was approx 10min ride to the Railway Station. We purchased a €12pp BIRG ticket which included return tickets to Cituvecchia, metro and bus tickets whilst in Rome and more importantly only had to be validated once! La Spezia having been to Florence and Pisa in the past we decided to visit the Cinque Terre. We walked to the railway station which was approx a 25 min walk from where the ship was docked and purchased the Cinque Terre card €16pp this was recommended by the information person at the station as we wanted to do four of the five villages and this way we only had to validate once! Each journey is €4pp anyway so this ticket made sense especially if we had done all five villages! The reason we didn’t do all five villages was due to a train strike warning between 10am - 2pm therefore didn’t want to risk getting back to the ship! This however didn’t impact our day at all due to numerous other train companies running anyway! Genoa after much research we reluctantly did a ship tour to Portofino as this was one place we really wanted to visit and it seemed pretty complicated to get to being our first visit! Cannes unfortunately we couldn’t get off the ship due to weather as this is tendered! Palma we wanted to go to Soller as we have visited Palma numerous times in the past! We walked to the main road and took the number 1 bus to Plaça Espanya €1.50pp and then the L211 express €2.35pp to Soller. We wanted to take the vintage train €18pp one way, however due to us docking @ 2pm this impacted on our time as it takes 1hr to get to Soller and the timetable is quite limited and we have done it before! Barcelona as our flight wasn’t until late afternoon we left our luggage in a locker which was very very good quite close to Plaça Catalunya and strolled La Rambla before heading up to Rambla Catalunya for a lovely lazy lunch before heading back to the airport. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this cruise as we wanted to re visit the Caribbean and visit different islands. Ship is quite beautiful cannot fault the cleanliness of either our cabin or the public places. We found the staff by and large to be friendly and ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we wanted to re visit the Caribbean and visit different islands. Ship is quite beautiful cannot fault the cleanliness of either our cabin or the public places. We found the staff by and large to be friendly and helpful. I paid an extra 1500 each to up grade to Aurea not worth it. My Choice dining fine but we found we wanted to eat at the same time anyway so we could have done away with that. The Aurea sundeck yes I know it is a solarium, but there wasn’t a scrap of shade, the pods were charged at 30 euros daily, really when we’ve already paid to upgrade. The service on this deck on the first day excellent, cold flannels frequently asked if we required a drink. After that I don’t know what happened had to fetch our own drinks and no cold flannels. Now for the food , given that the cruise cost around 3500 pounds each, it was so disappointing, badly cooked mish mash didn’t have a clue. I never met one person that enjoyed their dining experience. The itinerary changed largely because of the hurricanes, but why did nobody tell us that our luxury cruise was in fact a glorified ferry, picking up hundreds of cheap fare paying passengers whose children travelled free. By and large they were rude and arrogant, getting in a lift became a battle of nerves as they dared you with hostile looks to step over the threshold. Entertainment don’t bother! Disembarkation a nightmare supposed to be priority we were last but one group of the ship. Consequently back of a very long queue at the airport with no hope of sitting together during the long flight. To top it all the computers had gone down at checkout and we queued for nearly two hours, to sum up upgrading to Aurea not one single advantage, would I travel on an Msc ship again....never Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Initially chose the cruise after seeing it advertised. The itinerary as advertised suited us well as it included islands we had seen before and wanted to revisit as well as places we had yet to see. The cost of the cruise was attractive ... Read More
Initially chose the cruise after seeing it advertised. The itinerary as advertised suited us well as it included islands we had seen before and wanted to revisit as well as places we had yet to see. The cost of the cruise was attractive when the level of services was taken into account. Although we enjoyed most aspects of the cruise there were definite drawbacks mainly with the excursions department. Nowhere is there any information given regarding the actual time of any excursion. We are told how many hours the excursion will last but not the actual departure time. When we booked excursions from the MSC website online prior to the cruise it did not give departure times, nor was this information given on the excursion booking forms on board the ship and not even on the excursion tickets that are supplied to the cabin the day before the excursion. The only details regarding timing of the excursions appears on the Daily Program which is put into cabins the evening prior to the excursion departure. The Daily Program only gives the time and place of the meeting (usually the theatre on deck 6) from where the group will be led to the waiting buses etc. On every other cruise line we have travelled with it is normal for pre-booked excursion tickets to be printed for all excursions and left in your cabin on day 1 of the cruise. Our very first excursion (to Maracas Beach in Trinidad) we met in the Theatre and we waited and waited long after the allotted time for the meeting, with no information given out as to why we were not leaving the ship for the waiting buses. Eventually we set off but it was a long, long wait, with no information. Also when you enter the theatre there is a screen above the stage displaying the various excursions and arrows pointing to the left or the right. We saw many people enter the theatre and just sit down on the left or right as indicated by the arrows. They did not know that they were supposed to meet the MSC excursion people standing at foot of stage to register and receive their numbered bus stickers. It would have been helpful to have instructions to see the reps displayed on the screen, or to have announcements made to that effect. A second excursion (this time to the all inclusive beach break at Bayahibe Beach in Dominican Republic) was delayed when we got to the bus. There were three or four buses due to depart at the same time. The other three left but ours did not. The reason was that a group of 15 German speaking guests had not turned up. It seems that they didn’t get the instruction to follow the guide at the same time as we did. This caused at least a 15 minute delay. Those of us seated on the bus queried the reps and driver as to the cause of the delay but none could, or would, give us a reason. Again a lack of information causing stress and inconvenience. On the same excursion we had not been informed that the resort would supply us with beach towels and so we took our own – extra inconvenience. Also I found it strange that once on the beach I had to pay for two bottles of water from the bar on the jetty – not included in our package seemingly. It would have been better to be told this in advance. We did find a beachside bar later on that did supply free drinks. On the bus from the ship to the resort there was no air conditioning switched on. Many passengers were pleading with the driver to switch it on. He said it was on but it obviously was not as could be clearly seen by the slider temperature control which was at its lowest setting. Even when this was pointed out he still did not change it. On the return journey my wife pointed this out to an MSC rep and he managed to make sure the a/c worked on the way back to the ship.Another excursion had major problems too. This time it was the one to Gosier Island by catamaran. (Guadaloupe). The night before the excursion we returned to our cabin (13122) just before 9.00pm. We expected to find the letter in our cabin with details about the excursion. The evenings Daily Program had said that instead of the usual meeting in the theatre at a stated time that we would get a letter in our cabin. As there was no letter I telephoned the excursion desk to be told by a lady there that she had no record of our booking. I was shocked as we had pre-booked and prepaid and had written confirmation of this booking. She said to come down to the desk which we did. When we got there the desk was unmanned due to a lifeboat emergency drill just having started. We waited from 9pm until 9.45pm until the excursions team staff returned This time on checking the computer system we were told that our booking was there in the system. I was also told that I could not have been told by the lady who answered the telephone earlier that the booking could not be found. When I insisted that was what we had been told she again said that this could not have happened. The implication being that I had made this up I assume.I was not at all pleased to be accused in effect of lying. When I asked for a copy of the letter I was told it was already up in our cabin – the cabin attendant had, we were told, delivered it. On returning to the cabin there was no letter. My wife went out into the cabin to try to find our cabin attendant (who we have nothing but praise for) but could not see her. On returning to the cabin she found a member of the excursion team slipping a letter under our cabin door. When my wife queried what she was doing her first response was to walk away but then she thought better of it and came back to the cabin to say that this was the letter we were waiting on. The letter contained just the following information – time and meeting place. 1,00pm in the Theatre on deck six. Why this could not have been in the daily Program we do not know. However, next morning we discovered that there were two trips on the catamaran to Gosier Islet. One meeting was at 9.00am and the other at 1.00pm We had not been asked which excursion we would have preferred to go on. In fact the earlier one would have suited us better. The information we had about the excursion was that Gosier was an uninhabited islet with no facilities and no sun loungers, umbrellas etc. Given the lack of shade the earlier departure away from the heat of the afternoon would have suited us better, especially as we were early dining. But with MSC you take what you are given. We were never officially informed of the change in itinerary by MSC. We only learned of this while pre-booking excursions a few weeks before departure. It was then that we realised that the original itinerary including visits to St Maarten and Tortola had been replaced. At times the ship felt more like a ferry than a cruise liner. There were so many ports where passengers embarked and disembarked. We have never had to listen to so many emergency drill instructions in a two week cruise – and all given in 5 or even 6 languages. When we got our cruise ship cards in our cabin on day 1 of the cruise we noticed that we only had the code for the mealtime plan shown on the card (code 704). However we had bought the all inclusive plan and so we should have had code 431 on the card as well, and it was not shown. I went to reception to rectify the situation. The agent on reception confirmed that we should have had code 432 as well as 704 but he had to contact a member of the dining team to verify this and to authorise changing the card. This was eventually done but this was not the start to the cruise that we had expected. On the sea day when we were travelling to the Dominican Republic we went out onto deck 14 and got two sun loungers under cover near the Aqua Pool. Further down the deck an area had been cordoned off and there were a couple of empty tables behind the cordon. These tables we assumed were for the sale of goods that was to take place on the deck later in the morning. However, it soon became apparent that the area cordoned off was not big enough for all the table of goods and the cordon began approaching us. Then we were told we would ‘Have to Move’ as more tables were needed in the space we occupied. We pointed out that we had not placed our sun loungers in the cordoned off section when we arrived earlier and that they should have known the extent of the deck space required by the tables and cordoned off a suitable area from early morning. Advance planning is not a strong point of MSC. Eventually an officer came and we agreed to move if another shaded area could be found. Eventually it was and we along with others were moved. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
MSC Fantasia 2 week cruise from Feb 27th embarking and disembarking at Bridgetown We count flights as part of the cruise package as they count for a significant portion of the total cost. With this in mind I was trying for months to ... Read More
MSC Fantasia 2 week cruise from Feb 27th embarking and disembarking at Bridgetown We count flights as part of the cruise package as they count for a significant portion of the total cost. With this in mind I was trying for months to get a flight booking ref / PNR out of MSC, without which you cannot make any seat requests or check in online. I was given several reasons why the ref could not be given, one of which was that with it I would be able to see the names of other passengers. Obviously this not true unless I had access to the Virgin Atlantic (VA) booking system! So two days before departure VA gave me a booking ref but it was only for the outbound leg! Why would MSC make two separate bookings? Crazy. To the cruise itself and I should stress that if MSC sorted the problems caused by multiple pick ups of shore based passengers at a bargain basement price then I would prob have given a very good rating without much hesitation. The crew worked really, really hard with 7 day a week shifts with no days off - at least not for the bar staff etc. The pick ups I referred to above were behind the bizarre reason why we went back to the same place twice on 3 occasions. Apparantely MSC were selling tickets for a 1 week cruise for $200 with children free. That accounted for the masses of extended families that boarded at Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica and who seemed to think that a lift was a TARDIS! Someone at our table summed the situation up very well with the words that those that paid the most are valued the least. And I did get permission to use them! The Dominican Republic is over 600 miles from the rest of the Islands that the MSC Fantasia visited and meant a day at Sea and only half a day at St Kitts & Nevis. If Dominica was dropped from the itinerary and the repeat visits to Martinique & Guadeloupe done away with, the Ship could have visited St Lucia, St Maarten & the British Virgin Islands that were on the original itinerary. The excuse that St Maarten was too badly damaged to dock is blown away by the fact that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship at least as big as ours visited St Maarten during our time in the Caribbean. Finally excursions - a very good selection at most destinations, however the people who sold the excursions seemed to have little or no knowledge of their details, apart from what was in the brochures that each cabin was given. One couple on our Dinner table had booked and paid for some excursions months in advance. However the night before they were told that the scenic train on St Kitts had a technical problem and was not running, as we were told when we tried to book. However it was running as we saw it from our open air coach that made an Island tour. Story was that Royal Caribbean had gazumped our passengers with a huge block booking. Having said all of the above it is still a cost effective way of visiting eight countries, in some style. Balcony cabin 12095 has a significantly larger balcony than the others and so I assume does the corresponding cabin on the starboard side. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
My wife, I & two friends recently returned from a cruise on the MSC Fantasia which sailed from Bridgetown, Barbados on the 27th February 2018 The Fantasia is a beautiful well kept ship but it is seriously lacking in certain areas, ... Read More
My wife, I & two friends recently returned from a cruise on the MSC Fantasia which sailed from Bridgetown, Barbados on the 27th February 2018 The Fantasia is a beautiful well kept ship but it is seriously lacking in certain areas, there was repeatedly no hand sanitizing gel in the machines when coming on board and when entering the restaurant. Despite mentioning this to numerous members of staff, nobody was interested and nothing was done to remedy the situation. I take it they are concerned about Nora Virus. They say a well run ship starts from the top and that is definitely were the problem seems to begin. There was not one announcement from the Captain on a 14 night cruise, he was only ever seen about the ship when he was at the cocktail party or socializing with his entourage, no time to talk to customers. This attitude seemed to carry down to all other departments with an extremely unhappy crew. On speaking to some crew members they all confirmed that if you were part of the Captains clan, some staff got to stand around while others had to run around and pick up the slack, making for very poor service especially in the restaurant. The service in the main restaurant was abysmal,not the fault of the waiters ,there just wasn't enough of them, we waited 35 minutes on one occasion from ordering to getting a starter and only then after complaining. Moving on to the food in the main restaurant, it is the worst food I have ever been served on over 30 cruises(six of them with MSC). The food was never hot, just luke warm,( the maitre d' hotel blamed the air conditioning ) and the meats were the poorest quality I have ever been served on a cruise ship,even veal that was impossible to cut. The food in the buffet was far superior, WHY? We took the all inclusive drinks package and found it very strange that one of the drinks you couldn't have was a $5 cider in this day and age yet you could have much more expensive drinks costing more than double the cost of a cider. All in all a very disappointing cruise and I have two more cruises booked with MSC this year. If MSC are trying to break into the British market they are going to have to up there game and start catering for the British tastes. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Seemed a good deal now I know why ,couldn't prebook flight seats,late arriving on board had to do safety drill the next day,food in the main dining room was terrible,on a good note crew were excellent ,cabin was always made up well ... Read More
Seemed a good deal now I know why ,couldn't prebook flight seats,late arriving on board had to do safety drill the next day,food in the main dining room was terrible,on a good note crew were excellent ,cabin was always made up well .The reason why we revisited some islands was for more passengers to board then to return them back the following week.To finish off my cruise of a life time I came down with a terrible cough 3 days before leaving the ship to return home 16 days later I'm still suffering not a good experience .The buffet was very good also good service from the crew all over the ship,I think passengers should not get a option in sanitising their hands it should be done every time when entering the restaurants.The shows in the evening were good but were repeated the second week so didn't attend the second week. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We were travelling with parents to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chosen for the location and itinerary which was excellent with a few new places to discover. The cruise price wasn't cheap but overall not stupid for a two ... Read More
We were travelling with parents to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chosen for the location and itinerary which was excellent with a few new places to discover. The cruise price wasn't cheap but overall not stupid for a two week cruise. We also had the advantage of being able to have balcony rooms next to each other. Embarkation was the best I have ever experienced. The main foyer was beautiful with crystal staircases and lots of marble. The special holiday was one big regret from our first meal. My parents are 80 years young and this could be their last special holiday. My heart sank at the overall disappointment. 1st meal was up in the buffet lounge of which afterwards we avoided at all costs having to suffer the appalling food twice more throughout our stay. They had a hotdog/burger bar which didn't look appealing. If you take children food could be an issue from poor choices. The food was really poor quality, the place scruffy looking not worth the trek up. We usually enjoy going to the buffet for breakfast and lunch or afternoon snack but not on the Fantasia. Dining room experience was average. not enough staff so lacked personality. The exception was Antonio from El Salvador. Great fun and good at his work. Sadly he went home after week 1. The food was good but not typically English for those wishing for a more bland palate. You did have to buy water which you could incorporate with the expensive wine package. No after dinner coffee. I have never been on a ship where you had to buy water at meal times we were pretty much annoyed by that. Not forgetting that 15% We requested a large table a booking and was told we were on a table of 8 before departure. It was just the 4 of us on a table for 4. We requested a change but it didn't occur. Bar experience was lacking. Took ages to get served by some waiter without personality. I don't think they were really trained properly as getting a smile out of some was awkward. We put the slow service down to people buying expensive drinks packages and MSC policy of slowing down the drinking but that is our theory. A shame really as the singers in the main atrium were really good and worth a listen to. It tended to be the same two singers every night which did become tedious. The downside of this ship really was the fact that several times a week people from all over the world were departing and arriving. I believe this had an affect on the atmosphere of the ship as you never got to know anyone unlike others I have been on. You were constantly moved from one area to another as barriers were in place to accommodate the changes and you did have to listen on those days to the loud speaker giving the new boarder drill in several languages. A bit annoying but didn't really ruin the day. 15% on everything did have an effect on our on board spends and on our tips. We always tip but did hardly any this time. Taking it out on the staff but you know. Most didn't work that hard. The only ship I will hopefully avoid in the future. Excursions not used We did use the doctor. He was excellent. No complaints in that department. pros - clean - great itinerary - good drinks once served - nice food in dining room - good breakfast in dining room - good singers in atrium - beautifully decorated - con - expensive packages - no personality - shortage of staff issues - lack of staff training - 15% on everything bought - no water at the dining table - lack of finishing touches in the cabin by cabin staff - lack of customer service overall. Terrible buffet lounge. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were ... Read More
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were impressive and kept immaculate with seemingly never ending use of vacuums! The smaller pool area at the back was popular but the pool itself never seemed to be particularly busy. There were plenty of sun loungers or tables and chairs everywhere. We favoured this smaller area to the large and noisy pool. This was also a good bar and meeting area in the evenings. Most of the staff were very nice and helpful - however the ship's officers seemed to think they were not allowed to look at passengers, let alone speak to them - perhaps they should be reminded no passengers, no jobs. This was a Christmas and New Year back to back cruise which meant at times, when the same islands were visited, passengers were continually changing. No problem there - however this did necessitate yet another fire drill mid-evening for the new passengers with announcements in about six different languages and the noise of suitcases being collected from cabin corridors in the early hours. We were with our son and daughter in law and had arranged to be on second sitting but this was at 9 pm and desserts were being served after 11 pm with no coffee or tea offered as this was available in the buffet. We changed to early sitting which suited us better but in fact we started using the buffet more, except for 'suggested' formal nights, as there was more choice although the standard was still average but it was much quicker than the restaurant. The restaurant left a lot to be desired. Choices were limited and portions were small although some people ordered more than one dish for each course. Certainly not the gourmet standard offered on other cruise lines and Christmas Day was the same as any other. Nothing special food wise and no crackers or poppers and the only hats were worn by some of the waiters who kept them on until the New Year! Formal nights were a joke. There were many people who wanted to participate with these but also many who were in the restaurants in casual clothes. Such a shame, but the people who did dress up showed up those who hadn't bothered! The four of us visited the T-Rex Steak Speciality restaurant twice. We all agreed the meals were great and couldn't be faulted although the service was slow, but the staff was very friendly - and busy. It was certainly worth the extra cost. The Atrium was about the only place for Christmas decorations and looked very pretty with garlands and a ginger bread house but that was it! One real negative was the hygiene, particularly in the buffet . There were very few hand sanitizer machines anywhere and one I did find was empty. There was certainly no one checking they were full or offering a hand held alternative as on other ships. This meant all the buffet serving utensils, drink dispensers for hot and cold water, ice, juices, coffee and milk touched by so many passengers were an obvious magnet for germs. Towards the end of the two week cruise, some people were complaining of chest infections and had harsh dry coughs, initially thought to be from the air conditioning which couldn't be altered or turned off in the cabin, except by leaving the balcony door open at night!. Although I had been extremely careful, I contracted this cough - luckily right at the end of the holiday - and spent three weeks in bed from my first day home with a virus and pneumonia. We were disappointed with the theatre,( which on other ships we go to most nights) as the entertainment seemed to be the same cast alternating shows. The standard was good and the costumes amazing but it would have been nice to see visiting entertainers. Singers and pianists dotted around the ship were very good and most enjoyable. Gratuities were automatically added to bills but a word with the 'front desk' had these removed, with us deciding who and what to pay. We had chosen the itinerary carefully and one place we had not visited before was the Dominican Republic. We took a taxi with other people to a recommended tourist spot but friends who liked to hike miles each day were escorted back to the ship by two police motor cyclists who happened to see them. This was for their safety and it would have been an idea for Fantasia to warn passengers about the area. However it was certainly worth visiting. We rarely book excursions so cannot comment, but there are always plenty of taxis and minibuses at the ports offering a wide range of varied tours. If carefully chosen, we have always found these to be excellent and good value - certainly compared to the ships' excursions - and usually take a minibus with other passengers. We had a great cruise and did enjoy it although any criticism above may make it sound otherwise, but a review needs to be fair and that is what I trust this has been. I suppose we got what we paid for, but in future it is going to have to be back to Princess, Celebrity, Oceania and so on! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
A very different experience to all other cruises I have ever been on... Positives? Fantastic cabin steward. Other staff generally very good. Very healthy food. Clean, spacious room. Free upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony. Staff ... Read More
A very different experience to all other cruises I have ever been on... Positives? Fantastic cabin steward. Other staff generally very good. Very healthy food. Clean, spacious room. Free upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony. Staff spoke multiple languages, often up to 6+ (wow!) - this does, however, also mean it takes 10 minutes to introduce evening shows etc, as everything is repeated in each language. There really should be only one language for the cruise. Impressive, if non-sensical evening productions - some members were lip syncing (disappointing), and yet when they actually sang, it was mind-blowing! Costumes were out of this world and certainly rivaled any seen on Broadway. Negatives? Very poor communication between MSC and our cruise agent, which meant we either received conflicting information about the cruise, or no information at all. Our dining reservations were not in the system upon embarkation, which meant we were refused from eating at the restaurant the first two nights. MSC also sent us to the wrong pier (Pointe Simon), and once we arrived and found we were at the wrong port, we had to trek all the way across town with our luggage to the correct terminal. Not impressed. Other issues included inflated excursion prices compared to those listed on-line - though we tried, we were unable to book excursions prior to boarding (MSC website glitch) and the cheaper on-line prices were not honored once we boarded. Difficult to track down staff at breakfast (eg. for help with dietary requirements). Food was the same every single day (very blah, though a lot of fresh fruit) and some items ran out and weren't replaced. We were told on three different days that our balcony would be washed, so we removed everything from the balcony in preparation - it wasn't washed until the third day, which was very frustrating having to bring everything inside each day. A special delivery of champagne and chocolates was ordered for our room and was to be there when we arrived - it wasn't, and we had to call reception three different times until it was finally delivered. Re the restaurant... in the end, I only ended up eating there once, as the experience was very poor. We had 7 people seated at our 6-person table -- we found out at the end of the meal that one of the couples should not have been there, though they had been eating at that time and at that table all week. Food was overcooked and salads were soggy. We arrived at 6.30pm - by the time all meals were served and we were finished, it was 8.15pm. Service not efficient. We were seated with people who did not speak the same language as us. I would recommend MSC try to seat people together who speak the same language, so conversation can flow - otherwise, very awkward. 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
MSC Fantasia Ratings
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Rates 3.0 3.5

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