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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite ... Read More
After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite on MSC - the space was really important as we were travelling with our 16 year old daughter). We flew to Majorca with Ryanair getting into Palma for lunch on the ship by 1.30pm. Embarkation was easy and even though we were supposed to have priority this didn’t appear to be available - although there was only two families in front of us so it wasn’t a big issue. This is where the loss of the star lies too, passing on information is not a priority of MSC, we only knew that our cruise cards would be in our rooms as we overheard somebody else’s conversation with a member of staff, we weren’t told that we had to authorise our card (however I had found this out before hand after researching on here), we had AnyTime dinning but this really isn’t anytime you still need to decide wether you will use the early or later time slot - it’s anytime within your chosen time slot, not anytime the restaurant is open. There was also a lack of information about the spa and the included massage. It would also have been nice to have a map of the ship in the room. I honestly think a welcome pack is in order - it wouldn’t take much. Our room was just about ready when we got onboard - our room attendant was just finishing it off so we had a walk round and found a quiet little area at the back of the ship that became our go to place for port photos. Once in the room it was clear that it was immaculate, with a lot of storage space (including a hidden cupboard behind the mirror on the dressing table), the room had everything we needed including a walk-in wardrobe, hairdryer, robes and slippers. The bed was enormous and the sofa bed was very comfortable. The only complaint about the room and it will be the same for all the rooms in the vicinity is that it is very noisy when docking - sometimes this is as early as 6am so these no need for an early alarm! The food served onboard is lovely both in the Red Velvet restaurant and the buffet, the latter can get really busy but it is always possible to find a table if you do a bit of looking. There is a good variety of food in the buffet. Service in the Red Velvet was lovely just about right not over the top but attentive enough to notice if you didn’t like something they would offer alternatives. There were a lot of activities onboard but we are much more of a keeping ourselves to ourselves type of family and having access to Top 18 was great. We always found a sunbed and the waiter running the bar was lovely remembering our room number and the drinks we enjoyed. We did three MSC excursions, two were really great value the other not so much (aquarium visit with ferry transfer in Genoa). NAPLES: we did a walking tour of vasuvios organised by MSC. The guide was very good and kept a good pace with information in three languages. In the description it did say that it was a moderately hard excursion but I would say anybody with walking difficulties wouldn’t manage it the path is quite steep and even though we were before 9am it was still very warm. The views from the top were amazing and worth the walk. MARSEILLE: another MSC tour with was really well organised and interesting, the guide again did the whole thing in three languages. Following the tour we were able to make use of any of the shuttles returning to the ship. This made it really great value as the shuttle on its own was around €15 each. GENOA: we bought, on board, the excursion to the aquarium on a ferry. In my opinion it really wasn’t worth the price paid. The aquarium is lovely and worth visiting but the tickets for the aquarium can be purchased for €18 and MSC charged around €40 each for the use of the ferry. This literally takes five minuets and is packed full, there were two MSC ships docked and the ferry had a mixture of passengers off both ships. We actually walked back to the ship it was that close. Overall the cruise was lovely but had a very European feel, English speakers are defiantly in the minority but we never felt left out. The staff are great and the ship is beautiful. Having the Premium drinks package meant we could virtually drink what we liked, it was very good value. We would sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon ... Read More
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon afterwards. Took ages to find cabin though. Unpacked, spent the afternoon exploring and missed dinner so we ate in the buffet. It was OK, heaving, and found a nice chicken curry. Went there for breakfast every day but wouldn't eat main meals there. We were booked into the C.D'Oro, and shared with 2 very nice couples, one couple were Gold card members. The other couple had only cruised once before, so nice not to have to talk about cruising all the time. The food was superb, and all cooked to perfection, and our drinks package included a nice bottle (not glass!!) of wine every night, and water. Pool a bit small and because of the time we travelled, full of children but heyho. We always got a sunbed, lazed about, enjoyed the ship, and took no excursions at all. It was too hot to trawl around dusty cities plus we had visited some on previous land-holidays. The full day at sea was manic and the pool entertainment really juvenile - but at least the shops were open. They are not allowed to open in ports. However, said shops were very disappointing. Mainly over-priced but out of date designer gear. Nowhere to buy say, a tube of toothpaste if you forgot to pack it!! so much for shops where you could get all your holiday essentials. also the shops at sea when open had constant sales, outside, on tables, making everything very cheap and nasty. If you smoke and run out of fags, you can only buy them, one pack per card, behind a bar and ONLY when at sea. The spa, well, my fault. I booked a Bali massage, it was an offer haha, same offered every day, but was lied to as the very miserable chap said the offer was just for the day I'd booked it. Anyway, it was nice, so agreed to pay another 15€ for a facial. Then I was "sold" a jar of face cream (sucker me). 90€ and back in the cabin I opened the 6 inch square box to find a 3 inch square jar of cream, inside which was a hole for about 2 teaspoons!! My fault....haven't used it yet, probably come out in a rash!! The 2 men at the spa reception were without doubt, the most miserable condescending people I have ever encountered. Need sacking. We didn't bother going to a show, went to the Casino one night for fun, but got into a nice routine of pre and after dinner drinks in the Cigar Lounge (as we smoke)...then up to the buffett to fill up the flask I had taken, with boiling hot water. This stayed hot enough to make a cuppa every morning. I also managed to get a half litre of milk on board bought in Palma...and, my travel hairdryer. Huge relief!! We normally like a good quality hotel, with pool maybe beach, as our idea is to relax on holiday, and do cities as short breaks. Well we did manage to do that every day mostly, and loved sitting on our balcony while we were at sea. The boat was SO smooth, and always on-time. I would have liked to get off at Marseilles but that was the hottest day, so glad we didn't. The Gold card members had done every excursion, but always on their own, which they recommended rather than pay the high prices and be herded around like cattle. Or miss the boat as someone did in Livorno!! Since we booked the trip, which was a long time ago, we did read a lot of reviews. Every one to their own but some are quite misleading, and some quite wrong! Think it's best next time we do a cruise, not to read anything, and just make the most of it. We wouldn't do it again in the high season though. We knew there would be a lot of children, but there were also a lot of groups of student ages teenagers, mostly Italians. We did like that though....not too many Brits....made it all a bit more continental. All in all, a very enjoyable holiday, as I said we will cruise again, liked MSC, thought the organisation was great considering we booked independently and through the Spanish site. Oh....one thing, had several photos taken but could only find one taken on the Gala night whilst in the photo shop. Talk about photo-shopped, cost 40€ for one large and one small copy! Wifi worked not too bad on laptop but the smartphone wasn't brilliant considering we paid for the wifi package. Apart from that and the drinks package (well worth it) we also paid up front for service, so no need to tip anyone. Customer service desk always busy bout plenty of staff, we used to get our account updated and everything was always correct. We also found that the whole ship had more than enough staff, always helpful, except those 2 in the Aurora spa!! On our first night we had to go to the theatre for the drill with our lifejackets. Took about half an hour, glad we didn't need them as I couldn't get mine on! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That ... Read More
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That is also why there is a constant line at customer service. The first night there was a huge toilet problem for about 40% of the ship. From 23.00 to 07.00 all toilets at the back of the ship (cabins, staff and public) did not flush! That night we also had a bumpy sea, so you can imagine the poor cleaning party that morning..... This flushing problem was never completely gone, but it lasted never over an hour.... The new drink packages were just okay. Luckily we still had some drink coupons from previous cruises, and the bar staff did not know what to do about it...so we could drink almost anything with the combination of the Easy package and the drink coupons. Although they are fased out, on this ship they had still value. The ports were all so so...but that was because of the weather. Normally in this period of the year (April/May) the weather is much better (Where is Global Warming when you need it?) but that did not spoil our cruise. This Spring the whole of Europe has a very bad climate...so it is better to stay at a cruiseship (with a covered pool) than in a hotel..... We had a great cruise fare. We never payed less for a cruise than this one, and for this price I am not going to get very critical...you just have to be happy with what you get...and we were.... It was not our best cruise, but we still loved it...in comparison with the camping in Tuscany the week after the cruise, it was heaven! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
MSC Yacht Club - Fantasia This review is for YACHT CLUB on the FANTASIA. Different ships and a different “experience” (that is how MSC refers to their different levels of service) may be quite different. Keep in mind our only ... Read More
MSC Yacht Club - Fantasia This review is for YACHT CLUB on the FANTASIA. Different ships and a different “experience” (that is how MSC refers to their different levels of service) may be quite different. Keep in mind our only previous cruising experience has been Concierge Class on the Celebrity Silhouette. Overall: MSC touts Yacht Club as a ship within a ship, and it certainly is that. From the moment we arrived at port to the moment we disembarked we were looked after by our personal butler. We never stood in a line or searched for a lounge chair or a place to sit. Embarkation: Upon arrival at the port we were immediately whisked to a private waiting area where we were offered sparkling wine, and chocolate dipped strawberries. We did not have much time there as within minutes we were escorted past lines of people to have our picture taken for our cruise card. We were then escorted to the YC concierge lounge where we waited for perhaps ten minutes. We were then escorted to our room where our YC cards were ready and laid out on the bed. Waiting for us in our room was a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, a bowl of fresh fruit and a generous plate of chocolate dipped strawberries. Our room: I believe we booked a standard YC suite. It was larger and nicer than our Concierge Celebrity room, with a walk in closet and built in drawers. We had bathrobes and slippers. The large bathroom had a full bath. The mini bar was fully stocked – no additional charge. I think the balcony was a tad bit smaller than Celebrity. Service: Our butler Nures was amazing. You must insert your card in the card slot when you enter the room so the butler always knows when you are there. I swear they cleaned up the room every time we left. Our mini bar was always restocked; our ice bucket was always full and our towels always fresh. Food: In YC you can eat anywhere you wish but we did not care to. There was always food at our private pool area and also in the Top Sail lounge – also private. The food choice in these two areas is limited but adequate. The designated YC fine dining restaurant, L’Toile on the other side of the ship is a la carte and serves three meals a day. The menu has different choices every day, including lobster one day. We were told you could have whatever you wanted if you gave them notice. The service was excellent and the wine very good. We enjoyed the food. On the first night we were escorted to the dining room by our butler, which I thought was a thoughtful gesture. Pool area: Nice, small, great service. No competition for lounges- two hot tubs. No public washrooms! You had to return to your room if needed. Luckily our room was very close so we didn’t mind. Entertainment: We only attended one night, the first night, and we were not impressed to say the least. I had higher expectations after Celebrity’s entertainment. We heard from others that there was better entertainment on subsequent nights, but the entertainment on other MSC ships is better. Gym and spa area: I’m embarrassed to say we did not take advantage of this. The spa area is complementary for YC. The gym was large and well equipped. Disembarkation: As with other cruises you must have your bags ready and waiting the night before however once you have left your room you are free to stay in the YC areas and eat and drink as long as you like. When you are ready to leave your butler will escort you off the ship. Our butler escorted us right to our bags which had been removed from the carousel and were waiting for us. My husband asked Nures how he knew where our bags would be and he replied that he had gone down earlier that morning to collect them! Fellow passengers: YC is small and people embark and disembark at different ports, which surprised me, so YC guests could change every day. Our fellow passengers were from all over; USA, Canada, and Europe. We are social and outgoing so we managed to find a group to visit with. This could be a problem for some. Worth noting that it could be entirely possible to end up on a cruise where no one speaks your language, or cares to. Dislikes: We enjoyed all aspects of YC and it met or exceeded our expectations. However, the rest of the ship was a different story. The Fantasia is a beautiful and elegant ship, but it is HUGE; and there are so many children! We later found out that children are free and MSC can be quite cheap so there were lots of families. Our impression of the rest of the ship was chaotic, noisy crowds of people competing for food and space. We braved one of the other bars one night and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. We noticed MSC staff mingling and dancing with guests and keeping things entertaining. Would we go with MSC again? Maybe. We really didn’t care for the size of the ship or the crowds and outside of YC, yet we found YC a bit too quiet. Perhaps we would consider a different ship with a different itinerary that is not so kid-friendly. For the time being, Celebrity has not lost our loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. ... Read More
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. The first was a Mediterranean cruise on MSC Fantasia, from Genoa, on 16 September. I did not pay the cheapest but was glad to find a Yacht Club cabin at a good last-minute bargain price. MSC’s Yacht Club, on which I made quite a few trips, is one of my favourites, as it offers first class service at a reasonable price. This cruise does not disappoint. From check-in in Genoa to disembarking with my good butler taking me to a taxi, and impeccable service all the time during sailing days, I was all VIP (that I am actually not, I am afraid). Have done various MSC ship many times (Gold member). Membership does not give more useful benefits such as free internet on Cunard and Princess at similar level, but ticket price is discounted as well as some onboard service. The food is good at the special YC restaurant, and service is first class like on luxury ships. Yacht Club cabins are not much larger, but it is the food and other services, such as special YC deck area on ship and lounge, inclusive wine, and most important the good butler service, that count to make YC an even better valued proposal than an ordinary cabin for me. The itinerary is well-travelled, only one port, Ajaccio, was my first call. Genoa is an excellent starting port, easy embarkation, and much to see, so I had a pre-cruise stay of 3 nights before sailing. Cannes was next and we had a long whole day to explore the city. Palma de Mallorca came next, then Barcelona, both I had too many visits and so it was relaxing for me. The ship is my destination, that’s why I booked Yacht Club. Often a little stroll on familiar streets, then home for a fine dinner. MSC offers good entertainment with production-type shows every night. Then Ajaccio, my first visit although I have called on Bonafacio and Calvi on previous cruises. It was still too much sun and too hot on Sept 20 to have an otherwise most pleasant stroll of this town. For me ports like this of compact size are most desirable for cruise ships. Then Civitavecchia, and I didn’t bother to add one more of many revisits to Rome. Civitavecchia has become a permanent bore to frequent cruisers like me who do not bother to take 3 hours in train travel to Rome. Last call was La Spezia. An excursion port to see Firenze, Pisa, or Cinque Terre. It was bad that as I landed late I miss the few transportation to the latter, which I have visited of course but want to see again one of the most picturesque places of the world. It was an all-port day busy itinerary, great for first time cruisers of the Med. MSC has many ships doing similar itinerary. The spectacular new vessel Seaview was next to us in Genoa for departure same time but I have chosen Fantasia for Ajaccio to have at least one port of touristic interest to me. Paying a good last minute fare for Yacht Club, it was always a good idea if you have time to spare And alas, I still had time, so I embarked Costa Fascinosa the day I disembarked.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We are a married couple from Chicago who traveled with two single friends and we had adjoining cabins. We chose the Yacht Club package due to the all-inclusive feel, the price and the itinerary. This was a port-intensive trip with just two mornings at sea. One thing new to us was the idea of people embarking and disembarking at different ports throughout the cruise: on almost every cruise I can think we’ve been, we’ve had a complete passenger turnover on Day 1 of the cruise: not on MSC. Embarkation/ Boarding: Very smooth operation. Yacht Club personnel came to meet us (they must have seen the luggage tags) We were offered canapes and beverages while waiting for check-in. We were escorted in on the same line as everyone else, bypassing them as the butler led us on. No later than 20 minutes after boarding, we had our key cards and were given a tour of the Yacht Club enclave by our butler Germain who also thoroughly explained the workings of items in the cabin. The safety drill was an entire joke; no one was paying attention, least of all the Italians on board. The Cabin: 15001 is a large square room with an oversize balcony. The cabin was always perfectly maintained for the duration of the cruise, The TV screen was way too small for a cabin this size and was so far away from the bed that you could hardly enjoy anything on screen. We first always had to call for ice but after three evenings they got it and the ice bucket was always full when we got back. Europeans don’t use ice nearly as much as Americans; even our drinks had just a couple cubes compared to at home. Our friends next door had a regular size cabin; 15001 is really a nice cabin with extra space if that’s important to you. We had a large walk-in closet which had a lighting system operated by foot movement, so if you were in there not moving around you’d be left in the dark until you moved again! A bit disconcerting I suppose! We found it funny…. The bedding and bed linens/pillows were all amazingly comfortable and of a very high quality. A wide selection of toiletries was provided in the bathroom which had a bathtub/shower combination The Dining: Meals at L’Etoile were good but not stand-out exceptional. We had dinner there every evening, a few lunches, and just one breakfast which was slow but good. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We appreciated having this option as the regular ship buffet was always crowded and loud with people not keeping in lines. We ate there just once to try the pizza which was excellent. As a Yacht Club member you get to enjoy complimentary gelato throughout the ship, health bar shakes at tbe spa and chocolate cocktails at the Venchi bar on 6. On “Elegant” night (MSC doesn’t have “Formal”), we saw only two tuxedoes in Yacht Club, and most people dressed in smart “business casual” attire. Many men wore blazers and khakis, few even wore ties. I have no experience of what it was like in the main dining room but no one seemed to bother much about keeping to any kind of dress code. One nice thing about the Yacht Club was the personalized attention we received at all times on The One Pool deck and at the Top Sail Lounge, including Afternoon Tea service. The Entertainment: the Italian Operatic evening was enjoyable as was the French evening, but the others were just bad-mix combos of ballroom dancing, skipping-rope and street-dancing routines and I have seen better High School productions in theater. Elsewhere on the ship we had a pianist every evening at the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge., and there were various bands and musical entertainments elsewhere that we heard about but didn’t experience. One thing I noticed on MSC is that there are many more smoking sections in some of their indoor spaces than seem to be the case of the American cruises we’ve been on. The casino, the indoor lounges all allowed smoking (sections of the lounges were non-smoking but the smell of Febreze next morning—it is used liberally to get rid of cigarette smoke stink--was quite nauseating). Personally, I would prefer a non-smoking cruise option and will look for that on our next cruise vacation. The Spa: Yacht Club guests have access to the sauna and steam room areas at all times; there is a special elevator that takes Yacht Club guests directly into the area. Otherwise you have to enter the spa through the main doors on floor 14 which is like being attacked by mosquitoes, so aggressive are the spa staff at selling options and offers. A word to the wise: I tipped my service provider at the spa generously but realized after seeing my receipt that a 20% service charge is automatically added, so you do not need to tip unless you think your therapist deserves more than that. My therapist was exceptionally good at her job, professional and obviously well-trained. The ship in general: Very clean and well appointed. Shore excursions: Poor offerings from MSC so we did our own thing. Ajaccio: we walked off the ship and explored this French town on our own. Visited Napoleon’s birthplace and an art gallery and artisanal craft store. Typical French south-coast town. Nothing much to note except the main street closest to the harbor is exceptionally touristy and you have to go up the hill to the next level or two to get the real French town feeling. Rome: picked up a rental car in port of Civitavecchia (near train station: took shuttle from ship to port entrance and port entrance to station about 4 Euro round trip) and drove to Odaleschi Castle on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Lovely day, The castle is home to an Italian Princess Orsini, and is famous for its celebrity weddings, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I can see why… views are stunning. On the drive back we stopped at an Etruscan Necropolis and overall had a great day and were back on ship in time for a very late lunch at L’Etoile. La Spezia: took the public ferry from the port to Monterosso. We’ve been to the Cinque Terre before, and have actually hiked the trail, from Vernazza to Manarola but this time around were happy to see it from the water and to see Monterosso which is a lovely village. Took the train back and walked to the ship. We stopped at the hotel we had stayed at two years’ ago and the receptionist recognized us! It was amazing! Another exceptional and memorable day. So enjoyable! Geooa: took a walking tour of the old town with a local guide organized on get your guide dot com. This was a great tour and included entrance to the Palazzo Rosso which is memorable for its rooftop views in addition to its art collection. Also we were back on the ship in time for lunch and then had the afternoon which some of us explored on our own and others used the ship as a vacation destination! Cannes. Tendered here. Took a tour to Monaco and Eze with Viator dot com. Also highly recommend this company. Bring your passport: you can get a free souvenir passport stamp in the Monaco Tourist Office in Monte Carlo (opposite the Casino but uphill at other end of the garden). It’s a nice and colorful souvenir. Unlike most things in Monaco, it’s free. Saw the Changing of the Guard at the Grimaldi Palace, visited the small nearby Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and visited their crypt. Vita Brevis. Enjoyed delicious ice-cream. The views of Antibes and Cap Ferrat from Eze are truly memorable. Eze is a lovely hillside village and is home to both the Fragonard perfumery and the Chevre D’Or. Walt Disney once visited here and it is obvious it inspired some of his work. We were lucky to get there early before the hordes of tour busses, and climbed to the sculpture garden at the summit for some of the best photos of our trip. Palma de Mallorca: MSC charging 14 Euro for a round trip bus transfer for what I consider a nice walk. Save money if the weather is not too hot and do it yourself. It’s less than a mile each way. We ended up taking the bus due to a travel companion’s foot problem and explored the Cathedral and Old Palma downtown. The ship was late in port this evening but we were back in time for dinner and wanted to enjoy our final evening on board. Excursions: we really saved a lot by going independently and lots of these ports are worth exploration; we had heard poor reports about value of ship excursions but no complaints at all about get your guide dot com or viator dot com, botb of which offered exceptional value and well-organized tours. MSC overall: Yes we really enjoyed this cruise but if we were not in Yacht Club we felt the ship had a crowded feel and a loud ambience. Once we entered the Yacht Club enclave everything became very quiet and peaceful and we loved spending time either on our balcony, in the Top Sail Lounge, or on the One Pool Deck. Nice touches included live piano music every evening, the free mini-bar in the suite and the daily newspaper that arrived with the morning coffee. I would choose MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. The wait staff and bartenders remembered our drinks, the concierge was exceptionally helpful and we were well looked-after. Packages: I pre-paid and saved 40% on the basic or standard internet package which lasted for the duration of the cruise. I also pre-paid for one of two massages that I had. We did not bother with photograph packages as we take enough on our phones! Our travel agent provided us a $250 shipboard credit per cabin which we applied towards things like laundry and spa services. Overall this was an excellent vacation and very relaxing. Disembark: we were first off the ship and our luggage was waiting, as was our driver; we had arranged a private full day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat and our luggage was stored securely on vehicle while we did this tour. It was an excellent introduction to our next four days in Barcelona before returning home. Photos: where to begin; they are all on my Google drive and it will take all winter to go through them! otherwise I'd upload a few here but cannot seem to be able to link to Google photos? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The reason we chose this cruise was the fact that the company we booked through offered a stay and cruise deal for Rome and a 7 day Med cruise to destination sthat were all new to us. It was also very well priced. We hadn't cruised ... Read More
The reason we chose this cruise was the fact that the company we booked through offered a stay and cruise deal for Rome and a 7 day Med cruise to destination sthat were all new to us. It was also very well priced. We hadn't cruised before so did lots of research into costs etc to ensure that we didn't get any nasty shocks. On which point - we would reccommend that you buy a drink deal in advance, to simplify things. It worked well for us - we don't drink much alcohol but did drink a lot of soft drinks and water. Purchasing water in the morning or the night before for the day out, saved us the trouble and money whilst out and about. There was also plenty of choice of drinks on the all inclusive drinks deal - unless you want posh cocktails or expensive wine - which we don't. The ship itself was even nicer than we had anticipated, and was very well fitted out and kept lovely and clean. Loved the statues and sculpture dotted about. It is cleverly separated into separate areas. each had its own unique feel but all felt luxurious in its own way. From the Mediterranean warmth of Contina Costana to the brightness of the Manhattan Bar and the soft suede seats in the coffee bar. There is a bar / restaurant to suit most tastes and plenty to do if you choose to stay on board. We didn't sample much of what was on offer apart from the general entertainment in the bars which was generally of a very high standard. Yes it is getting a little tired in places, but this isn't obvious and in no way detracted from the experience and the ship is due a refit for next year anyway. We didn't particularly like the buffet restaurant - too busy, have to search for seating and too many noisy people and children - though there was nothing wrong with the food. THere was actually a very good choice of foods with specials and the daily dose of pizza and burgers. But were very impressed with our designated restaurant, Red Velvet. I supose our biggest disappointment with the dining was that the dress code was optional. Seeing people in shorts and t-shirts in a nice restaurant just seems wrong. We really felt the dress code should be enforced, with the exception of the buffet restaurant. We only booked two excursions. The first was billed as Monte Carlo and Monaco via Nice. The drive took longer than expected due to heavy rain and a thunder storm., and we literally went via Nice. No stopping. We got a short stop in Monte Carlo and Monaco - time on our own was limited as the guide had to repeat everything in two languages. It was a shame we didn't have more time at each destination but sometimes things just work that way. The second excursion planned for our last day was cancelled. However, we did get plenty of advance notice so were able to make alternative arrangements. Excursions would be better if only one language had to be catered for, but with such an international group of passengers that is easier said than done. In fact the truly diverse group of staff and guests was a big part of what we liked about this trip. We travel to meet new people, experience new place and different cultures. The staff we encountered were all friendly and polite and many were excellent. We would especially like to thank Lizbeth in Contina Costana who was eternally friendly, polite and happy. Entertainment wise everyone was good but (Casey?) the lady in the duo in the Mixology Bar and the Italian chap in Costina Costane get a big thumbs up for their friendliness and passion. She has a great voice and he is so passionate and a fantastic musician. We were fortunate to here them perform ad hoc together. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We are a married couple from Chicago who traveled with two single friends and we had adjoining cabins. We chose the Yacht Club package due to the all-inclusive feel, the price and the itinerary. This was a port-intensive trip with just two mornings at sea. One thing new to us was the idea of people embarking and disembarking at different ports throughout the cruise: on almost every cruise I can think we’ve been, we’ve had a complete passenger turnover on Day 1 of the cruise: not on MSC. Embarkation/ Boarding: Very smooth operation. Yacht Club personnel came to meet us (they must have seen the luggage tags) We were offered canapes and beverages while waiting for check-in. We were escorted in on the same line as everyone else, bypassing them as the butler led us on. No later than 20 minutes after boarding, we had our key cards and were given a tour of the Yacht Club enclave by our butler Germain who also thoroughly explained the workings of items in the cabin. The safety drill was an entire joke; no one was paying attention? The Cabin: 15001 is a large square room with an oversize balcony. The cabin was always perfectly maintained for the duration of the cruise, but the TV screen was way too small for a cabin this size and was so far away from the bed that you could hardly enjoy anything on screen. We first always had to call for ice but after three evenings they got it and the ice bucket was always full when we got back. Europeans don’t use ice nearly as much as Americans; even our drinks had just a couple cubes compared to at home. Our friends next door had a regular size cabin; 15001 is really a nice cabin with extra space if that’s important to you. We had a large walk-in closet which had a lighting system operated by foot movement, so if you were in there not moving around you’d be left in the dark until you moved again! A bit disconcerting I suppose! We found it funny…. The bedding and bed linens/pillows were all amazingly comfortable and of a very high quality. A wide selection of toiletries was provided in the bathroom which had a bathtub/shower combination. We also had a larger balcony than our fiends next door, that curved a bit towards the front of the ship. The Dining: Meals at L’Etoile were good but not stand-out exceptional. We had dinner there every evening, a few lunches, and just one breakfast which was slow but good. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We appreciated having this option as the regular ship buffet was always crowded and loud with people not keeping in lines. We ate there just once to try the pizza which was excellent. As a Yacht Club member you get to enjoy complimentary gelato throughout the ship, health bar shakes at tbe spa and chocolate cocktails at the Venchi bar on 6. On “Elegant” night (MSC doesn’t have “Formal”), we saw only two tuxedoes in Yacht Club, and most people dressed in smart “business casual” attire. Many men wore blazers and khakis, few even wore ties. I have no experience of what it was like in the main dining room but no one seemed to bother much about keeping to any kind of dress code. One nice thing about the Yacht Club was the personalized attention we received at all times on The One Pool deck and at the Top Sail Lounge, including Afternoon Tea service. There was always a constant stream of snack food available throughout the day and evening. The Entertainment: the Italian Operatic evening was enjoyable as was the French evening, but the others were just bad-mix combos of ballroom dancing, skipping-rope and street-dancing routines and I have seen better High School productions in theater. Elsewhere on the ship we had a pianist every evening at the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge., and there were various bands and musical entertainments elsewhere that we heard about but didn’t experience. One thing I noticed on MSC is that there are many more smoking sections in some of their indoor spaces than seem to be the case of the American cruises we’ve been on. The casino, the indoor lounges all allowed smoking (sections of the lounges were non-smoking but the smell of Febreze next morning—it is used liberally to get rid of cigarette smoke stink--was quite nauseating). Personally, I would prefer a non-smoking cruise option and will look for that on our next cruise vacation. The Spa: Yacht Club guests have access to the sauna and steam room areas at all times; there is a special elevator that takes Yacht Club guests directly into that part of the spa. Otherwise you have to enter the spa through the main doors on floor 14 which is like being attacked by mosquitoes, so aggressive are the spa staff at selling options and offers. A word to the wise: I tipped my service provider at the spa generously but realized after seeing my receipt that a 20% service charge is automatically added, so you do not need to tip unless you think your therapist deserves more than that. My therapist was exceptionally good at her job, professional and obviously well-trained. The ship in general: Shore excursions: Poor offerings from MSC so we did our own thing. Ajaccio: we walked off the ship and explored this French town on our own. Visited Napoleon’s birthplace and an art gallery and artisanal craft store. Typical French south-coast town. Nothing much to note except the main street closest to the harbor is exceptionally touristy and you have to go up the hill to the next level or two to get the real French town feeling. Rome: picked up a rental car in port of Civitavecchia (near train station: took shuttle from ship to port entrance and port entrance to station about 4 Euro round trip) and drove to Odaleschi Castle on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Lovely day, The castle is home to an Italian Princess Orsini, and is famous for its celebrity weddings, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I can see why… views are stunning. On the drive back we stopped at an Etruscan Necropolis and overall had a great day and were back on ship in time for a very late lunch at L’Etoile. La Spezia: took the public ferry from the port to Monterosso. We’ve been to the Cinque Terre before, and have actually hiked the trail, from Vernazza to Manarola, but this time around were happy to see it from the water and to see Monterosso which is a lovely village. Took the train back and walked to the ship. We stopped at the hotel we had stayed at two years’ ago and the receptionist recognized us! It was amazing! Another exceptional and memorable day. So enjoyable! Geooa: took a walking tour of the old town with a local guide organized on get your guide dot com. This was a great tour and included entrance to the Palazzo Rosso which is memorable for its rooftop views in addition to its art collection. Also we were back on the ship in time for lunch and then had the afternoon free, which some of us explored on our own and others used the ship as a vacation destination! Cannes. Tendered here. Took a tour to Monaco and Eze with Viator dot com. Also highly recommend this company. Bring your passport: you can get a free souvenir passport stamp in the Monaco Tourist Office in Monte Carlo (opposite the Casino but uphill at other end of the garden). It’s a nice and colorful souvenir. Unlike most things in Monaco, it’s free. Saw the Changing of the Guard at the Grimaldi Palace, visited the small nearby Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and visited their crypt behind the high altar. Vita Brevis and all that. Enjoyed delicious ice-cream. The views of Antibes and Cap Ferrat from Eze are truly memorable. Eze is a lovely hillside village and is home to both the Fragonard perfumery and the Chevre D’Or Hotel/Restaurant. Walt Disney once visited here and it is obvious it inspired some of his work. We were lucky to get there early before the hordes of tour busses, and climbed to the sculpture garden at the summit for some of the best photos of our trip. Palma de Mallorca: MSC charging 14 Euro for a round trip bus transfer for what I consider a nice walk. Save money if the weather is not too hot and do it yourself. It’s less than ½ mile each way. We ended up taking the bus due to a travel companion’s foot problem and explored the Cathedral and Old Palma downtown. The ship was late in port this evening but we were back in time for dinner and wanted to enjoy our final evening on board. Excursions: we really saved a lot by going independently and lots of these ports are worth exploration; we had heard poor reports about value of ship excursions but no complaints at all about get your guide dot com or viator dot com, botb of which offered exceptional value and well-organized tours MSC overall: Yes we really enjoyed this cruise but if we were not in Yacht Club we felt the ship had a crowded feel and a loud ambience. Once we entered the Yacht Club enclave everything became very quiet and peaceful and we loved spending time either on our balcony, in the Top Sail Lounge, or on the One Pool Deck. Nice touches included live piano music every evening, the free mini-bar in the suite and the daily newspaper that arrived with the morning coffee. I would choose MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. The wait staff and bartenders remembered our drinks, the concierge was exceptionally helpful and we were well looked-after. Packages: I pre-paid and saved 40% on the basic or standard internet package which lasted for the duration of the cruise. I also pre-paid for one of two massages that I had. We did not bother with photograph packages as we take enough on our phones! Our travel agent provided us a $250 shipboard credit per cabin which we applied towards things like laundry and spa services. Overall this was an excellent vacation and very relaxing. Disembark: we were first off the ship and our luggage was waiting, as was our driver; we had arranged a private full day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat and our luggage was stored securely on vehicle while we did this tour. It was an excellent introduction to our next four days in Barcelona before returning home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We have just completed a 7 day west Mediterranean cruise [August 2018] on board the MSC Fantasia departing from Barcelona. Our party of six passengers included four adults and two kids aged 4 and 11. We had two three birth aft cabins. ... Read More
We have just completed a 7 day west Mediterranean cruise [August 2018] on board the MSC Fantasia departing from Barcelona. Our party of six passengers included four adults and two kids aged 4 and 11. We had two three birth aft cabins. We booked the AUREA experience and had two deck 12 aft S3 category suites. The cruise itinerary included stops at Ajaccio, France; Civitavecchia, Italy; La Spezia, Italy; Genoa, Italy; Cannes, France and Palma de Mallorca, Spain before returning to Barcelona Spain. MSC does offer a cruise of similar duration on the MSC Seaview but the itinerary is not nearly as attractive in my opinion. I summarize the highlights and lowlights of the cruise below. Negatives While the embarkation process in Barcelona was seamless despite the roughly 1000 passengers that embarked at this port once onboard instructions were not as vivid as I’d like. We were first time cruisers so the separate registration for children (safety bracelets, kids clubs registration etc.) was all new to us, ditto confirming meal times, linking credit card to MSC ship card, enabling Wi-Fi, early booking of spa treatments and locating our cabin. Once on-board it took me two hours to sort all this including two trips to customer services were long queues existed with passengers essentially seeking help with the same questions. It is important if you are a new cruiser to have your cruise card checked. All six of our MSC cruise cards had the wrong beverage code. The code printed was 601 and so customer services had to print six new cards with codes 431 and 432 (Adults/Children). Had this not been spotted we would have been charged for all our beverages despite booking the all-inclusive unlimited drinks package. We booked an MSC excursion at each of the port we stopped but were disappointed to be notified on the evening before one excursion (CIV22 – Tuscania & Tarquinia) that is was not available due to insufficient interest. As the alternatives were all visits to Rome which we’d visited on previous travels we requested and promptly received a refund and elected to spend the time on foot experiencing Civitavecchia ourselves. We found all the other excursions most satisfactory apart from AJA08 – Discover the Calanques in Corsica. On this tour a particularly officious tour leader – a rather rotund German woman decided to change the tour from a pleasant planned walk in the Corsican hills to a five hour sightseeing bus ride which bored our kids to death and had all passengers sweating as the buses air conditioning could not keep pace with the 35 degree heat. Upon returning to the bus at one stop the German tour leader told us off for attempting to bring ice cream on the bus and for being 5 minutes late. While it was true we were 5 minutes late back to the bus her officious tone did not go down well. At the later stop the same tour leader left two passengers behind and only after receiving a phone call from the aggrieved passengers turned the bus around to collect them. Note to readers – if booking an MSC excursion make sure you have the ships phone number with you at all times. Other negatives were pretty minor. The main buffet restaurants on level 14 (Zanzibar and L’Africana) were packed at peak hours and most notably breakfast time on the Cannes to Palma De Mallorca sector where all passengers were on board because the 14:00 arrival to port. Further, queues at the Photoshop were consistently heavy. The cruise line should invest in more modern computers so the staff can quickly search and find photos. The current computers have not been changed since the maiden voyage! Finally being novices we were not aware of the additional service charges which are added to the account each day. For the above stated cruise this amounted to 10 euro per adult per cabin per day and 5 euro per child per cabin per day. Over a 7 day cruise for our group of six, these charges add up. Moreover, MSC also auto deducted a donation per passenger toward UNICEF. I don’t recall being asked for permission to deduct service charges or donations. Being labelled a service charge rather than a gratuity I’m not sure that cabin crew are beneficiaries. In any case we directly paid gratuity to our cabin steward who we felt really deserved it. Positives There was much to enjoy about this cruise, starting with our cabin which was suburb. The category S3 cabin offered 27sqM (approx.290 sq. ft., yes, I actually measured it) of interior space which was about 40% more than a standard balcony cabin and about the same size as the much more expensive Yacht Club Deluxe suite – which is not really a suite at all. We (especially the kids) appreciated the full size bath and the walk in wardrobe which provided ample space to store all our bags and belongings and not clutter the cabin. The cabin was kept spotlessly clean by our wonderful Indonesian cabin attendant. Having two cabins 12204 and 12206 side by side meant we enjoyed 9 meters of outside deck length because the divider between the two cabins could be opened up. The cabin came with the Aurea experience which included free unlimited drinks including specialty coffee, wine, beer, cocktails, soft drinks and ice cream around the clock. During the course of the 7 day cruise we consumed 400 Euro of drinks which we didn’t need to pay additional for. Summer in the Mediterranean you will drink a bit and its simply wonderful not having to worry about the bar bill. The Aurea experience also offered my choice dining with a dedicated restaurant and no set time to dine and two free Spa service 60 minute massages per cabin – all of which was great and well worth the small premium over a standard balcony cabin. Further the aft cabin was perfectly located for us – being quiet (far removed from the midship bustle of activities) yet only two floors below the main buffet restaurants which were extremely convenient. Engines were not really audible except when aft thrusters were engaged for docking and motion sickness nonexistent in the smooth waters of the Mediterranean. We understand many cruise lines categorize aft balcony cabins as higher end, thus with higher pricing and we can now understand why. Embarkation and disembarkation where well managed at all ports including Cannes where there is no dock and tenders are required to take you ashore. Our favorite excursion was GOA01T/GOA10T to Portofino. This consisted of a 1hour small boat ride from Genoa to the small village of Portofino which with its colorful idyllic seaside architecture was precisely what we’d came to the Mediterranean to see. Food on broad was better than expected. I’d read all the negative reviews about cold tasteless food being served at the buffet but that wasn’t our experience. Coming from Australasia we enjoyed the European food which was never cold unless it was supposed to be. Food was better at the Red Velvet restaurant than the Zanzibar and L’Africana restaurant’s being tastier and professionally served. Even the cheapest of the sparkling wines – a sweet Cuvee Doice “Borgo Molino” at 5 euro per glass was refreshing and highly palatable. Coffee at the IL Cappuccino coffee bar (Level 7) was just amazing. Italian latte’s and cappuccinos were highly addictive and there was no better way to start a morning. We did not get to see many of the on board evening shows but the Queen tribute entitled “The Show Must Go On” was worthy of a mention. No it was not slick Broadway production with stage props limited to just three staircases but what’s not to like about Queen’s music even if the show was merely 45 minutes long? On balance we were very pleased with the cruise and would not hesitate to sail on Fantasia or with MSC again. Excursions AJA08 – Ajaccio, Discover the Calanques. SPE05 – Visit the leaning tower of Pisa GOA01T / GOA10T – Discover the idyllic village of Portofino CEQ02 – City tour of Cannes and Saint Raphael PMI01 – City tour of Palma De Mallorca. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have just returned from Med Cruise on MSC FANTASIA First time cruisers lol We have arrived to Rome Fiumicino Airport around 11 30 a.m , wasn't impressed at all with the service as we were waiting for our luggage over an ... Read More
We have just returned from Med Cruise on MSC FANTASIA First time cruisers lol We have arrived to Rome Fiumicino Airport around 11 30 a.m , wasn't impressed at all with the service as we were waiting for our luggage over an hour at n 8 carousel but eventually my husband and some more passengers found their luggage on number 11 , it was a bit of a mess. MSc representative wasnt easy to found either , i couldn't find her at the meeting point, but my husband is a smoker so went outside to smoke and notice a lady smoking and holding MSC paper, appeared to be our agent. We had to wait for another hour and a half just standing in the corner , while she was gathering and finding all the passengers cruising with msc fantasia, couldn't send us to our transfer bus, so we could sit there with an air con and wait for the others , didnt give proper explanation why. Finally we got to the cruise , we were only ones at the check in as it was around 4 p.m so this part went smoothly . The only thing , we were promised our luggage would be outside of our cabin in an hour , to our surprise our bags were not there in 3 hours when ship sailed off , so we had to contact reception , they found it and send it to our cabin after all , but we had to go to dinner with our all day clothes on .(( Cabin was nice and clean (they clean it twice a day) our room attendant was Johan , real gentlemen and a nice person (we tipped him at the end) as we were very pleased with his help and service. Excursions on the ship are very expensive for a family (ok for 1 or 2 ppl may be) , so we did our own things : Genoa Aquarium was chipper to just walk 10 min and buy tickets at the entrance (so we did it) Palma De Mallorca: we took a taxi (which is just outside of the port , well organised, you just wait in the ques very fast one too ) to PALMA NOVA BEACH , approx 10 min and cost us 18 euro. (they charged us 3 euro to get to taxi and added another 3 at the end of journey , which was strange but we didnt argue lol) sunbed was 4.50 and umbrella was also 4.50 euro Cannes was our best destination , Amazing French Rivierra ! (tender boats , no need for a tickets just went on the deck 4 and took a boat ) Walked on the right to see Festival des Cannes , took a picture on the red carpet lol, checked palm prints of Angelina Jolie, Stalonne etc lol We took Le Pettit Train to see Cannes, totally worth it !! 10 euro per adult, 5 euro per child! There are private hotel beaches opposite , umbrella and sunbed are 55 euro !!!!!! So look for a public beach further on 12 euro per person . also seen ppl using their towels too. Barcelona:Attendant left some transfer tickets organised by msc from the ship to World trade centre. IGNORED IT!! as it was expensive I went off the ship and on my left found Public bus called Port bus (blue one) 3 euro to Columbus Monument or 4 euro both ways , which i took , 5 min i was at the Columbus Monument which is at the very bottom of LA RAMBLA street , i explored , shopping and Nice Old market is a must!!! Also if you have more time you can take HOP ON HOP OFF bus at the plazza Catalunia (top of la rambla street) 30 euro valid for the whole day. however its a bit of a queue but take you to Sagrada De Famillia too. Corsica Ajjacio! Beautiful island . We walked off the ship and i used my google map to take us to St. Francois beach, 10 min walk, which was very narrow but water was very clean, after we took le pettite train again (7 euro per person) to see ajjacio,Napoleon Bonapart was born there, so went to see his Grotto. Our ship also had mini club and Junior Club where you could leave your child , different activities every day, they even take them to eat (if parents are still off the ship etc ) We had all inclusive drink package , which is ok , WATER wasn't a problem at all. We would take mineral water from any bars and stored in our mini bar and would take with us next day out! miniral water 1l - 2.90 euro miniral water 50cl - 1.70 euro plus 15% service charge (if you dont have all inclusive package) Food in the main restaurant was 3 course menu! Always minim 5 main dishes to choose from and 5 deserts You can order it as many times as you want Kids menu is also provided Lots of see food , meat etc Dress code; we receive daily activity news paper every day . at the bottom left Suggestion dress code for every evening! Elegant (Cannes , Ajjacio stops), casual, informal, themed , but to be honest i saw ppl dressed as they wish! Nobody ever told them anything, even on elegant nights, and one night was a White night , so dont forget your white clothes )) Breakfast and lunches i did at the buffet , which is open all day till late. Pool area is crowded , so when we went to breakfast i would bring my towels and put them on the sun beds, they do not remove them till the end approx 7 p.m Entertainment was great , every day different and at the pool area, reception area, theatre, bars , lounges , couldn't do it all )))) Photo shop : got one picture , paid 19.99 euro! They are everywhere asking you to take picture , even at the dinner time, was a bit annoyed, as i was eating, the girl approached and put camera right into my face , oh well ((( I got some screen shots of bar menu , mini bar price , laundry package etc not sure if i can attach here Pls ask me anything, i will try to help you with!! All in all my impression was good !! Yes i would take msc cruise again! More France shore, thats for sure )))) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had been on an MSC cruise previously, and wanted to try the Yacht Club category. This is really worth the extra cost, as we are an older couple, and do not enjoy all the noise associated with the mainstream cruises. The only ... Read More
We had been on an MSC cruise previously, and wanted to try the Yacht Club category. This is really worth the extra cost, as we are an older couple, and do not enjoy all the noise associated with the mainstream cruises. The only critique for us was the food, which was just "OK". However the serving staff were great in the Yacht Club restaurant, which made up for the food! All drinks including wine and spirits were also included in the price. We like the low key selling from the shops on board, rather than the U.S. lines that promoted the selling to an intense level. The cabin category provided a butler, who really looked after us well, as the cabin was cleaned throughout the day, with fresh towels, bottled water etc. The only staff that were not good at their job was one of the concierge staff, who seemed to be frustrated whenever a question was asked. Overall, we really enjoyed our week on the ship, and will return. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We started our cruise in Barselona. Embarkation was fast and comfortable. In fact, embarkations and disemarkations in all ports had been arranged perfect or near to perfect. Our cabin Balcony Fantastica was really fantastic. The cabin ... Read More
We started our cruise in Barselona. Embarkation was fast and comfortable. In fact, embarkations and disemarkations in all ports had been arranged perfect or near to perfect. Our cabin Balcony Fantastica was really fantastic. The cabin had been cleaned 2 times a day, but in a little bit specific way. If we remained some belongings on the bed, after cleaning we found them being scattered even on the floor... My regards to our cabin stewart Sabrina... We always had breakfasts at Red Velvet and dinners at Il Cerchio D’Oro . The breakfasts looked fairly typical for 3 star hotel level, other words, the choice and quality were acceptable for 1 week stay. There was a possibility to order from menu to diversify a choice, but at the first morning our waiter explicitly refused to serve us. This guy was just lazy. Nevertheles, the next mornings we managed to order everything we liked. There was also a problem for tea-lovers to find a hot water at the restaraunt. All waiters after our request to bring some hot water had dissapeared somewhere without any explanations. Meal at Il Cerchio D’Oro was absolutely OK. The portion were small, but one could order 5-6 different dishes, no problem. Service at Cerchio D’Oro was also very good. Again there was only one strange thing about restaraunt service: the waiters never emptied guests' bottles. Something around 100 mg always remained in all bottles and waiters brought them back to the kitchen. I saw the guy bringing 5-7 bottles. Bonus for the staff? Some of the waiters and barmen looked entirely exsausted. Some of them told us that they finished their woking day at 5 a.m. and at 8 a.m. they had to be at working place again. The buffet was really usually crowded, but it was an adequate place for those who needed to bite something being very hungry. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
This cruise itinerary covered an island a day. The twin hurricanes of 2017 put paid to that sadly and meant more duplication of visits. Still one island is much like another. You go for the sun. For me inclusion of Guadalupe and At Lucia ... Read More
This cruise itinerary covered an island a day. The twin hurricanes of 2017 put paid to that sadly and meant more duplication of visits. Still one island is much like another. You go for the sun. For me inclusion of Guadalupe and At Lucia were the highlights, the best by far and we've seen many. The ship is a beauty. Glitz galore. Great staff and good if not great food. Many other lines go for presentation and other MSC ships - Armonia for instance - do. Fantasia is good food presented more as you would at home. Both main restaurants are very good. Unfortunately the TexMex is uninspiring. Bars offer a good range of decor and entertainment. Drinks package is great value even for the normal drinker! But it needs more outside and preferably non smoking seated bar area Shows were good especially the Queen tribute. Cabin good standard sufficient hanging space etc. Transfers efficient and we'll managed. So overall a good cruise and good value. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I went with MSC cruises on a recommendation. It was our first cruise and we were very excited. We started our cruise in Barcelona where the process of embarkation is very slow. Once we got onboard the ship I felt nobody met us to advise ... Read More
I went with MSC cruises on a recommendation. It was our first cruise and we were very excited. We started our cruise in Barcelona where the process of embarkation is very slow. Once we got onboard the ship I felt nobody met us to advise what the next step was. We wondered around like lost sheep until eventually we found out where our cabin was. There was no welcome meeting but only staff trying to sell you drinks packages. The food onboard was very good although portion size very small in the restaurants. On the day we were leaving the process of disembarking was very confusing, and stafff at the cruise terminal very rude. Also everything you buy on the ship has a €10. charge added to it which we didn’t know about. Also the excursions were very expensive and the guides not alwaysgreat. I will cruise again but will be wiser the next time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Myself my husband and my seven year old daughter, recently just got back from a fantastic Caribbean cruise on msc Fantasia!, we have previously cruised on , rc , celebrity, p and o , carnival, princess( so was dubious to try msc ! But was ... Read More
Myself my husband and my seven year old daughter, recently just got back from a fantastic Caribbean cruise on msc Fantasia!, we have previously cruised on , rc , celebrity, p and o , carnival, princess( so was dubious to try msc ! But was plesently surprised . My husband and I are 40 -50 , we found the food great in breakfast and lunch in self service fab, staff couldn’t be more helpful !, love the laid back approach, as the ship is more Italian influence( met lots of different nationality’s which we like , pools elegant , one of the most elegant shops! If you don’t mind a lively ship!, great for kids as kids clubs one of the best this is the ship for you!! Evening restaurant good not quite as good as other company ( but we had no complaints ( msc great price, great for family’s , entertainment ( geared for all different nationalities we liked, but again if your looking for British not for you, for us plenty of choice Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our second cruise they were both with MSC This was a special holiday as we were going to be celebrating our Golden wedding anniversary, but things were made very frustrating from the beginning because even though I booked 8 ... Read More
This was our second cruise they were both with MSC This was a special holiday as we were going to be celebrating our Golden wedding anniversary, but things were made very frustrating from the beginning because even though I booked 8 months ahead I was told I couldn't book our seats on the flight Apparently they block book their clients on the aircraft but only release the names a few days prior to the holiday I did have a specific reason which was my husband is coelic and needs a gluten free meal this needs to be requested a least 48hrs prior to the flight , MSC told me I had to wait until the flight day to book my seat I even wrote to the CEO with no joy. I rung virgin daily prior to our departure and 5 days before we flew I managed to book our seats but only for the outward journey We were quite lucky on the outward journey so many couples and families were separated a great way to start a holiday and most had done exactly what I had done by calling MSC only be told the same thing If you choose one of their cruises BOOK YOUR OWN FLIGHT unless you are not bothered were you sit. Our greeting at Barbados airport could have been better but we were one of the last as our suitcases took ages to come through The service in the Yacht club was really 5 star but on the occasions we went on other decks it was so crowded, personally I could not have spent two weeks there. We also had a huge problem which strangely was connected to my husband being coelic He was not allowed to eat anywhere but our designated restaurant which would have been fine if we had wanted to go there 3 plus times a day but we didn't How fantastic would it have been to sit in a restaurant mostly on our own during the day? My husband couldn't eat any snacks no room service which we had paid for in our package, I can understand they didn't want us to sue them if my husband ate something that he was allergic to ,but we have eaten all around the world and there never has been a designated kitchen (he does not have that at home) At breakfast and lunch he had cold meat and cheese which was ok but not what we were expecting, MSC had been informed about his condition 8 months ago but didn't inform me there would be a problem, I have written twice to them since we returned but they have ignored my emails. Apart from the food everything else was great and I would highly recommend yacht club Deck 18 was were we had a pool and their were loads of loungers, service there was second to none, you certainly do get what you pay for, it would have been nice to have more sun shade on the top deck and the beds would have been better with mattresses but apart from that it was lovely as were the staff Our designated restaurant was fantastic as was the staff but for three days they had no gluten free bread The cruise itself was lovely our cabin was great and the service of our butler couldn't have been better. Tips we paid the daily rate to MSC but it appeared that lots of people we met didn't they just tipped the staff that served them and I have to say I wished I had also Because at the end of the cruise I also tipped our butler the girl that did our room and some waiters but obviously not as much as some because they hadn't paid into the MSC daily rate and I really felt bad I spoke to the concierge quite a few times about our return journey and about my husbands meal, she told me that it had all been arranged and I wan't to worry but unfortunately a last disappointment no meal at all Thanks MSC Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the ... Read More
This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the MSC Fantasia, from March 18, 2018 to April 1, 2018, roundtrip from Guadeloupe to Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada, with multiple stops in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis.  We had two Fantastica balcony staterooms on Deck 10, right next to each other: 10208 and 10210.  We loved our clean and spacious staterooms!  We booked this cruise for the amazing itinerary!  I was a bit disappointed when a portion of the itinerary changed – the initial itinerary included Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Dominica; and St. Maarten/St. Martin.  After the damage caused by the 2017 hurricane season, those three ports were removed from the itinerary, and, instead, an extra stop in St. Kitts was added, as well as a stop in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  We made the best of it!  Truly, the itinerary was still FABULOUS!  We had a wonderful time!  The crew and staff that we dealt with the most, which were our room steward, wait staff and other dining room staff, and the photo team were consistently pleasant and really made this voyage GREAT!  Our stateroom steward, Augustin, was excellent in keeping our rooms clean and in order, and promptly replaced used beach towels with new ones, which was a big deal for us because we made many trips to the beach during this vacation.  Being our second MSC cruise, but my seventh overall cruise, I can honestly say that we looked forward to the spacious, well-kept rooms, and we were not disappointed.  I honestly think that MSC has the best standard rooms in the industry.  I have yet to stay in a suite on any cruise ship, but for the standard rooms that guests can book, MSC’s are top of the line.  The top of the line staterooms are no surprise when you look at the entire ship, which is exquisite!  As with MSC Divina, the MSC Fantasia has lots of glass and sparkle!  My favorite part of both ships are the magnificent Swarovski Crystal staircases!  While the décor on MSC Divina had lots of silver, the MSC Fantasia has more golds and reds.  The crew does an excellent job keeping the ship clean.  The MSC Fantasia is STUNNING!  Astawa and Michael were more than just our waiters at Il Cerchio D’Oro.  Astawa and Michael were warm, kind, attentive, pleasant, efficient, and fun whether we saw them at Il Cerchio D’Oro at night or at the Zanzibar buffet!  They’re wonderful, and we miss them!  Astawa and Michael got to know our children’s favorite menu items really quickly, and although our sons can be difficult to please when it comes to food, they liked the food on the MSC Fantasia.  My mom, my husband, and I also enjoyed our dining experiences on this cruise.  We especially enjoyed the lobster and sparkling wine meal that we ordered for my husband’s birthday which we celebrated onboard!  Thanks to the dining room staff for the “Happy Birthday” serenade, birthday cake delivery, and the fresh fruit platters for us to enjoy!  Also consistently warm and friendly are the dining crew members Mateen and Amira who we saw at various locations throughout our cruise.  We usually saw Mateen in the mornings at the Zanzibar buffet, as he would walk around with the cart with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  His friendly conversation helped to form a quick friendship with our two sons!  About half-way through our cruise, Amira started to spark conversation with our 3-year-old, and he would smile each time he’d see her… it was really cute!  My 7-year-old son attended the children’s club during the only sea day of the cruise, and he said he enjoyed it.  However, while the staff and crew can communicate clearly in English, he could not understand and communicate clearly with many of the children there because the overwhelming majority of the children onboard spoke French, which is reflective of the majority of the guests onboard this particular itinerary, and is to be expected given that the ports of embarkation are Guadeloupe and Martinique.  The children's club had a performance in the theater onboard, so of course, we went to see the performance.  We enjoyed a fun show, performed by the MSC Entertainment Team, and then, the children's club performed as well. The performance included a children's club talent show!  My 7-year-old’s favorite parts of the ship are the waterslide, the arcades, and the 4D theatre – we bought the family pass for $60 and went multiple times thereafter to watch the 4D movie clips, which he enjoyed.  That family pass allows guests in the same stateroom to see the movie clips as many times as they would like, and also, to “drive” the F1 Simulator.  One difference to note here between the MSC Divina and the MSC Fantasia is that there is no miniature bowling alley on the Fantasia, while there is one on the Divina.  We would have loved to have the bowling alley onboard Fantasia, as we enjoyed a couple trips to the Sports Bar during our cruise, and we think that the bowling alley would have been a nice addition.  The Sports Bar is located on Deck 7, and is nice to dine in a few times, especially if you want to have lunch somewhere that’s not as busy as the Zanzibar buffet on Deck 14.  The food and drinks at the Sports Bar are pretty good!  Also located on Deck 7 is the MSC Photo Gallery, which was one area that we frequently visited during our cruise.  Yes, we take many photographs on our own cameras, but we are fans of professional cruise photos, particularly those taken by the MSC Photo Teams.  After having experienced the MSC Divina and Fantasia, I can say that I think MSC’s photographers take the best photographs at sea!  I don’t know what’s better: (1) The spectacular quality of our MSC Fantasia photographs, or (2) The MSC Fantasia Photo Team’s consistent, warm, friendly, and professional service with a smile!  We are especially thankful for the staff mentioned here, and for all the wonderful crew and staff members of the MSC Fantasia!  The only recurring complaint we had was that there were quite a few guests onboard who seemed rude, as they seemed to have no regard for personal space and thought nothing of cutting ahead of others in line. However, that's a reflection on those people, not on MSC. Embarkation in Guadeloupe went smoothly, as we dropped our bags at the designated location with the designated staff members, and we proceeded to check-in and board the MSC Fantasia.  One thing that could have been improved on embarkation day was the sign-up for the children’s club at embarkation.  There was a crowd in the atrium area where the children’s club sign-up was taking place, and it was very difficult to navigate through there.  Disembarkation in the ports-of-call and at the end of the cruise were excellent.  Our disembarkation from MSC Fantasia was the BEST cruise disembarkation experience we have had thus far.  On disembarkation day, we had to be out of our staterooms before 9 AM, and after having breakfast, we disembarked a bit after 10 AM, and we easily found our bags in the terminal.  Our MSC Fantasia cruise was a great experience!  Being from the Caribbean myself, residing in New York City, and having received my undergraduate degree in International Studies, I consider myself very much aware of diverse cultures throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the world.  That being said, I was in awe of the amazing mix of people onboard the MSC Fantasia.  In all honesty, I think I saw more people of color onboard this ship than any ship that I have sailed on from the United States, yet most of the people of color onboard this cruise primarily spoke French.  Given that MSC is an Italian cruise company and the clientele on this particular itinerary were primarily French, I certainly feel as though I need to brush up on the two languages that I studied years ago: French and Italian.  When stepping on and off the elevators or otherwise encountering other guests, I found myself saying “Hello” and “Bonjour,” or “Good Evening” and “Bonsoir.”  I just love it!  I also love that my children can experience more than just waterslides and food on our cruises, but can and do experience different cultures.  So what did we do in each port?  Antigua & Barbuda: We had visited Antigua in 2016, so we had planned an excursion to Montserrat this time, but that didn’t work out due to a misunderstanding and timing.  At that point, we decided to stroll in the port area, and then we went back onto the ship to explore the ship.  St. Vincent & the Grenadines: We booked the Bequia By Sailing Catamaran excursion through MSC, and it was great!  The catamaran ride to Bequia was tranquil and so was the beach.  We appreciated the stop in town to shop a bit.  Lunch on the catamaran ride back to mainland St. Vincent was delicious.  The afternoon catamaran ride was bumpier than in the morning, but thank God, we were kept safe and sound.  Overall, this was a really relaxing excursion.  The Dominican Republic: We booked the Relax on Bayahibe Beach excursion through MSC, and had a great time at Be Live Canoa Resort in Bayahibe!  We lounged on the beach, played in the ocean, danced, and played games led by the resort’s entertainment team.  This was a fun beach day! St. Kitts & Nevis: We booked the Discover Nevis & Beach excursion through MSC, and it was informative and fun!  This was our second visit to St. Kitts, as the 5 of us had visited in 2016, but this March 2018 cruise was our first visit to the actual island of Nevis, which was great!  In Nevis, we visited the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, a lookout area that had stunning views of the country and the ocean, a shopping village, and the beach.  Martinique:  We booked the Authentic Tour of Southern Martinique, through Viator, and the tour was conducted by Beyond the Beach.  This tour was excellent: We explored Southern Martinique, visiting a shopping village, a beach, Le Diamant, a famous slave memorial, a playground, and the Trois Rivieres rum distillery, with lots of beautiful scenery along the way, including driving through the town in which Empress Josephine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, was born.  Yes, all that within a day, and we got back to the ship well before it would set sail.  St. Lucia:  We had visited St. Lucia in 2016, and had experienced an excellent island tour with Serenity Vacations and Tours, so this time, we decided on a laid back day onboard the ship, and strolling in the port area.  Barbados: My husband’s homeland!  Here, we took the Harrison’s Cave Tram Tour, which we booked through Viator, and the tour company was Glory Tours.  The Glory Tours driver and guide throughout the drive in Barbados was very friendly and professional.  Harrison’s Cave is spectacular!  We also met up with my sister-in-law who lives in Barbados, and we all had lunch at Chefette, then took a taxi back to the cruise port.  Trinidad & Tobago: We booked the Maracas Beach Trip through MSC, and I think that Maracas Beach may be my favorite beach of this trip.  I’m not 100% sure because that’s a difficult decision to make, as we visited a number of amazing beaches throughout this cruise, but Maracas Beach is, at least, one of our favorites! Grenada:  We booked the Creole Bus Sensation through MSC, and this tour was really informative and gave us a nice feel for Grenada.  We visited two forts and the beach, all via a Creole Bus.  Grenada is hot hot hot, so the breeze that freely flowed through the Creole Bus was glorious!  We had a great time!  Guadeloupe: Guadeloupe Explor provided our airport-hotel-cruise transfers while in Guadeloupe, and also provided our day tour when the ship had returned to Guadeloupe in the middle of our 14-day Caribbean cruise.  For the day tour, we enjoyed visits to Crayfish Waterfalls, Guadeloupe Zoo, and a beautiful, tranquil beach.  Our tour guide and driver, Tommy, was very attentive, as he provided refreshments which were well received during our tour of the Guadeloupe Zoo and our time at the beach, provided a beach tent for our children, is an all-around efficient driver, and provided interesting details about Guadeloupe as we toured.  We highly recommend Guadeloupe Explor for getting around Guadeloupe.  Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I have just read a review of someone's cruise on the Fantasia and I think that they may have been on a different cruise so felt that I needed to put the record straight. The flight out with Virgin Atlantic was delayed because the ... Read More
I have just read a review of someone's cruise on the Fantasia and I think that they may have been on a different cruise so felt that I needed to put the record straight. The flight out with Virgin Atlantic was delayed because the aircraft neeeded de-icing, however we still arrived only about 40 minutes late but were met at the airport by the MSC rep and were pointed to the bus to take us to the ship. Our hold luggage was taken from us and we were quickly boarded onto the typical 40 seat Barbados minibus for the 40 minute transfer to the ship. Once there we were embarked within 10 minutes, probably the quickest that we have experienced, and were in our cabin a few minutes later. It was a Fantastical balcony, spotless and well appointed and our steward, Iwan, made himself known and provided extra hangers, etc. Our luggage was delivered within two hours of us boarding. The lifeboat drill is lengthy because of the different nationalities on board and is repeated, of necessity, each time a new group embark so you have at least two a week, but a few minutes out of a 14 day cruise is not the end of the world! We were on early seating for dining but found it a little early so changed to late seating after a week and this suited us better. The service was excellent and the choices were good and varied. Beef, veal, steak, chicken, lamb, turkey and numerous different fish were all available during the two weeks and there were also Caribbean dishes available every day and there was no restriction on the number of courses you chose. There were several bars on board, each with different music each evening and, contrary to what I have just read, most music, as ever, was popular English songs! The theatre catered for all of the nationalities on board and was very visual, with singing and dancing. The best shows were a Queen tribute but there were French, International and a great operatic show with the usual popular songs. We never had a problem getting service in the bars, restaurant or buffet, and the staff were great and the usual mix of nationalities but all spoke English and were keen to please and provided a great service. The drinks package is one of the best at sea, but I am not a fan of the wines in the package. We have been on 30+ cruises and always do our research so we know how big the ship is and what to expect in terms of the passengers and service and we're amazed to hear a minority of Brits being surprised and disappointed that the ship was big, there was pasta available with all meals and lots of foreigners on board! However, we are pleased to have booked another cruise with MSC, our fifth, and look forward to it. The flight home, with Virgin again, was poorly serviced and they ran out of food choices and wine, but that was not the fault of MSC, but at least we landed early at Gatwick. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Just returned from a 14 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the lovely MSC Fantasia. Firstly the ship far exceeded our expectations regarding the décor and beauty of it, crystal stair cases and glass lifts in the atrium, plush lounges of ... Read More
Just returned from a 14 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the lovely MSC Fantasia. Firstly the ship far exceeded our expectations regarding the décor and beauty of it, crystal stair cases and glass lifts in the atrium, plush lounges of which there were plenty added opulence. Beautifully maintained and very very clean...everywhere.. Our balcony cabin was good, although we had one with an adjoining door and that did mean we could hear noise. We were on deck 9 and near to the lifts so pleased overall. Excellent cabin service from our lovely cleaner.. The pool decks were fabulous and because this cruise only meant 1 day at sea, there were always plenty of sunbeds and attention from the waiters. It was nice to enjoy the deck when the majority left for the day. Dining was the only thing that let it down for us. Breakfast in the Red Velvet restaurant was simply a farce, too busy and long, long waits with more waiters trying to sell you freshly squeezed orange juice & offering pastries than were waiting the tables. They offer table service and buffet and they should reconsider just table service and leave the buffet to Zanzibar restaurant. We had our breakfast here after the 1st 2 days, just popped in late morning for a sausage sandwich and took it out to eat. There was always a very good selection of everything for everyone, it is just the whole buffet experience that is not for us...i.e the spoon chase and sugar hunt! The evening meal was not much better, we had a table for 6 with 2 other couples for the 1st dining at 6.30pm seating, and although our food was ordered at the same time it came out in dribs and drabs and dragged on for 2 hours! The 2nd sitting was at 9pm! Food was fine but not that exciting... The Plaza St Georgia was superb, on deck 5 complimentary pastries & sandwiches served with proper pots of tea, never busy and in our opinion Fantasia's best kept secret, also served gelato here all other drinks here too. The shows were excellent but of the same type, singing and dancing with jugglers and acrobats, but the same every evening with a slightly different theme, it would have been good to have had a few variations, ie a comedian or tribute act. The theatre was very big & spacious and well air conditioned. This not a dressy ship, there were only 2 Gala nights, and it was entirely your decision as to wether you dressed for it or not, some were in full ball gowns & dinner jackets and others were in day time shorts and flip flops! We chose to dress up, but I wouldn't advise buying posh frocks especially, a pretty short number would do the job perfectly well... All the bars were excellent with mainly very good service, singers and musicians in all, and of a very good standard. Drinks were all good brands and included in the drinks package. The gelato was simply fabulous, and we visited everyday to sample the varied flavours. Our itinerary had changed owing to the hurricanes on a couple of Islands last year, so we had 3 new islands that we visited twice. We sorted our own tours and found these to be great fun and far cheaper than through the ship. Reception was very efficient. As on many cruises, the safety procedures are mandatory, and whilst we totally appreciate this, because everyday we had new travellers embarking, this had to be done daily, and so the tannoy was very loud, especially after 9pm as it had to be done in 4 languages each time and after completion! The disembarkation was quite simply the best organised we have ever had with a cruise company. Easy smooth transaction. All in all a pleasant holiday, and would go with MSC again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I have traveled extensively around the world and spent almost 2 years in Europe in the past. Having always cruised on American ships (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival), this was definitely different, ... Read More
I have traveled extensively around the world and spent almost 2 years in Europe in the past. Having always cruised on American ships (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival), this was definitely different, definitely European. Amazingly, I met only one other family who were Americans-everyone else was from Europe or elsewhere, even though we were in the Caribbean! The ship was decorated luxuriously and the design, materials, wall/floor coverings, and furniture were definitely Italian design and a step above other ships that I have sailed on. The size of the cabin was average and any extra storage space was lacking. Of note is that the 13th floor cabins were the same size as the 10th floor cabins. However, the televisions were shockingly small at 18" and you needed binoculars from the bed to read any of the captions. They also lacked free English speaking movies which are standard on other cruise lines and had only 3 English-speaking channels including ESPN. The website to book the cruise was woefully lacking user friendly links and was confusing and ambiguous-this unfortunately put a strain on the toll-free MSC agency, who were quite helpful. They need to revamp their website up to American standards. The food was definitely European. The pasta and bread was excellent. The portions on the menu were small and the meat in the entrees ranged from "ok" to just plain bad. Ordering steak/sirloin resulted in about 3 to 4 ounces of tough meat. In general, the selection of menu entrees was extremely limited. TIP: order 2, or even a sampling of 3 of the main entrees on the menu with your partner if you are not sure about them. Other's reviews that you have read are spot-on: they do not serve plain water in the dining room and you are obligated to order bottled water. MSC has received so much flak for this, it is unbelievable that they would downgrade their reputation based on the few euros they make on this one item! On the other hand, the desserts are generally excellent. Or, forget about the dining room experience altogether and hit the Lido deck for the buffet where the choices are wider and at least as good as the dining room, and there is free tap water. Criticism about receiving misinformation from the staff is understandable-in general, in the US there is much more accountability for giving out wrong information (you will get fired) which is not as prevalent in Europe where people tend to, in there zeal to be helpful or knowledgeable, often answer you with "guesses" which are clearly wrong. Often, you will be receiving different answers to the same question. Strong suggestion: if you need a correct answer to a critical question, ask another employee or two, or ask their boss. But verify, verify, and verify. The excursions were surprisingly organized. We exited the ship quickly, much quicker than on other ships. They were inexpensive and good. However, be prepared and alert for unannounced schedule changes in just about anything-entertainment, port arrivals, open/closing hours of food venues which occur with surprising regularity. The entertainment was on par with other cruises we have been on. We found that almost every staff member at the information desk spoke English acceptably well. The conclusion: If you understand the cultural differences, prepare for the food, and are alert to unannounced/inadequately communicated changes in schedules, you will enjoy this beautifully designed ship and friendly staff. Also understand that MSC is still on the learning curve to be up with the "big boys" but can be a less expensive and attractive alternative to other cruise lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
On arrival in Barbados we were rushed to the ship for embarkation no pictures etc as no sooner onboard we sailed. I has preordered 2 Bon voyage packages as we were travelling with another family member for a memorable birthday this went in ... Read More
On arrival in Barbados we were rushed to the ship for embarkation no pictures etc as no sooner onboard we sailed. I has preordered 2 Bon voyage packages as we were travelling with another family member for a memorable birthday this went in the caving on arrival. Requested said packages and we both should have had fresh fruit everyday we didn't get any until I complained then we both received the previous 5 days at once that we missed and I couldn't make anybody understand what was required. Sometimes the restaurant service could be very slow but I think this may have been due to understaffing as pour waiter was very good and always tried his best. The food was lovely and I found if you wanted ends you only had to ask. We had booked numerous excursion online at home before we left as this was the cheaper way of doing it but there always seemed to be a problem and both sets of families spent quite a lot of man hours trying to do it and when we finally had managed one trip on xmas day was sold out leaving us with nowhere to go on xmas day with a 12 year old! The night before we again tried to book our excursion and were told there had been a cancellation and we could go (but as we couldn't book at home we had to pay and extra 15%). On arrival home I complain to MSC about the above points and they were very apologetic and gave me a 10% discount voucher for a future cruise within 15 months! Great you might think but to cruise to the caribbean for 3 is quite expensive and was at xmas so we wouldn't have been able to afford another cruise within this time, nor were we able to take this cruise in peak periods (we only ever cruise in peak periods as we have a child in school!!!) this they can check as we have cruised with MSC before and was also peak. As for the Bon voyage package they apologised and said steps would be taken to rectify this in future (what good is that to me I ask)? I replied to MSC with my feelings on their apology and discount and was told it was all they could do so basically I could like or lump! Well I don't really like so as I have cruised before and will do in the future I will think very carefully about booking with MSC solely for their attitude about my complaints I was never even offered half the money back for 1 package! The actual cruise with the staff as usual couldn't have been better apart form the shows which I have found to be pretty rubbish (I have to put this down to European expectations not being as high as my own). Overall it was a fantastic cruise and we had a great xmas and new year onboard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted a Christmas/New Year break. I saw this cruise on promotion in a newspapers ad. So we booked. t was some good and some not so good. 1. Flights. Flights were with Virgin. We had a lot of problems trying to get an upgrade to ... Read More
We wanted a Christmas/New Year break. I saw this cruise on promotion in a newspapers ad. So we booked. t was some good and some not so good. 1. Flights. Flights were with Virgin. We had a lot of problems trying to get an upgrade to Premium Economy, but we finally did it. We tried to check in online 24 hours before departure. Not possible. All seat were booked by the company managing the cruise, not our tour operator. We were allocated seats on check in at Gatwick. I was next to the toilet. Very noisy with passenger from economy coming up throughout the flights to use the toilets! Crew unable to do anything. 2. Transfer and embarkation in Barbados. Very good transfer from airport to ship and excellent embarkation. We were Yacht Club(worth every penny of the extra) passengers and were greeted at the ship by a Butler who took us to our designated reception area and then to our suite. 3. Suite & Balcony. Suite well furnished but smaller than expected, with a very small balcony. It just about took 2 chairs and a table, no sun lounger! It appeared all balconies were the same size for all balcony cabins. The suite & whole ship was beautifully clean, I could not fault cleanliness. 4. Food. Yacht Club have their own dining room, Etoile. Its at the other end of the ship, but that was quite good as it gave us exercise to work up an appetite. Food choices OK, small portions, but you could always ask for more. No roast turkey dinner at any time over Christmas! Excellent staff, especially Christina who could not do enough to help.I had a flu bug for several days and stayed in our cabin Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christina sent my choice of menu, full bottle of wine etc with the cabin steward. Our Butler also was very caring and provided hot lemon with honey and ginger. Sadly no kettle etc in sight, (for safety reasons, they said!) so we always had to call and order, which could take 20 minutes. But it always arrived with a smile!! We had our own Yacht Club deck. Plenty of loungers and never crowded. We took breakfast here. Limited choice and the same every day. Sausage, crispy streaky bacon and egg as you wished. Fresh fruits & yoghurts. Smoothies, tea and delicious fresh coffee! A light luncheon was also served here but very limited. We could all go into the main dining rooms if we wished, but a better choice in the Yacht Club would have been appreciated. We also had our own for YC guest forward facing lounge where snacks were available all day. There was no shortage of food, but I would have like a better choice. 5. Entertainment. Very poor. The lovely theatre was hardly ever full. The second weeks' shows were a repeat of the first weeks'. Being an Italian ship, most shows were opera based and limited variety. We only went 3 times! On previous ships we have sailed there has always been interesting guest speakers, talks on the next port of call, etc. This was limited to a talk each week soon after embarkation about 'How to get the best out of the cruise',but this was limited. Little happened during the day time except for Bingo. 6. Spa. Excellent spa with 2 hammers, sauna, gym, pools etc etc. Treatments/massage were expensive compared to what we pay at home. We swan early am as other wise loads of children in pools. 7. Fellow Passengers. We met some lovely people, mostly 50+. There were only 3/4 children in Yacht Club and were very well behaved. But around the ship they were not so and I could not see parents supervising them. They dropped litter around the ship, drinks bottles, sweet papers etc, they were obviously not used to cruising on a nice ship. One BIG problem. At every port we seemed to take on passengers and drop off passengers, bit like a ferry ship. We were told that they all got very good last minute rates! As low as 50$ per night some boasted. I can see MSC's point of view but we and many others had paid good money, it did not seem right and this would deter me from sailing MSC again. 8. Dress code. It did not really exist. There was a suggestion of dress each day in the daily information sheet, but no one really paid much attention. Even on jacket and tie nights/glam. nights in Etoile, men still appeared in jeans. One gentleman wore the same red jeans every night! they probably walked home!! 9. The Yacht Club Experience. I would strongly recommend this. It included all drinks, premium brand and local in all bars on the ship. Our mini bar was stocked up daily. Danny was chief Butler and was in overall charge of all dining and general management. He was superb. When we did have an issue, he quickly sorted it. Would I travel MSC again? Only if Yacht Club and the largest cabin we could get. Ours 16025 was not large for a suite. Also a cruise with fewer stops so that it was not like a ferry ship. The answer is maybe, but we have other cruises booked for this year to compare with. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
I have sailed with this company on three previous occasions and have enjoyed them all. We booked accommodation in Genoa for three nights before cruise and although the weather was cold and showery we had a great time walking all over the ... Read More
I have sailed with this company on three previous occasions and have enjoyed them all. We booked accommodation in Genoa for three nights before cruise and although the weather was cold and showery we had a great time walking all over the city. We arrived at the cruise terminal early but everything went smoothly and after waiting on a seat for 30 minutes we were able to board. Our cabin was ready but not our cruise card, but staff at boarding told us to give our cabin number to dining room staff and we would be able too add our drinks to our package. We then went to the buffet four lunch it was very busy bit this was not a problem as there were staff at the buffet entrance who took you to a seat. Also there was a button on the table to summon a beverage waiter and they were very efficient. The food was hot and there was a good selection. During the whole cruise this was the only dining room we used it was a loot quieter than other ships I had been on also no Queues for food, this was all down to good layout. Also I was please to see when the place was busy it was not below the restaurant managers to help clear tables. The entertainment was OK Some of the stage shows were good Somme not, bands in the bars were varied. I have written this review because of so many negative reviews. I do not want to dress four dinner and be told what to wear, if we were going to the bars etc we changed out of shorts and into casual wear. If you want to dress up youy can but lots of people don't it is all up to you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were talked into going on this cruise by my sister in law as it seemed to be excellent value and a good way to see some great european sights. we are first time cruisers and were a little apprehensive especially after reading some of ... Read More
We were talked into going on this cruise by my sister in law as it seemed to be excellent value and a good way to see some great european sights. we are first time cruisers and were a little apprehensive especially after reading some of the reviews.however after a very smooth and easy embarkation we went to our balcony cabin on deck 11 Meraviglia well appointed and clean. We dined in the Red Velvet restaurant most nights where our table server Kowmang from Bali kept us amused and looked after us very well indeed. As some reviews have said portions are not huge but after 3 courses you are full and can always make a trip to the Zanzibar buffet for a pizza and beer supper. As regards the drink packages we just paid as we went and found it reasonable value for money. The entertainment was fun especially the wonderland and queen tribute shows {Freddie Mercury sounded great with an Italian accent} Service overall was good and the shore excursions well organized, the few complaints were mainly passengers who didn't listen to the guides and ran late!! We are beyond the child raising years but from what we saw the kids had a great time especially for halloween. Disembarkation was again slick and easy, If you want to go on a very european cruise I reccomend MSC. 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
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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