Where to start? Our MSC booking included flights from Cyprus to Italy with Aegean Air and we could not fault the flights. However, that is the most positive part of the trip. The transfer by coach from Milan to Genoa was OK except for an extremely miserable and stroppy coach driver!
The embarkation process was reasonable and the first impression of the ship was good. Our cabin was fine and very comfortable, and the housekeeping side of things was also good. After that it went downhill. The first shock was the drinks prices, much more expensive than any other cruise we have taken before. On top of the extortionate prices came a compulsory 15% service charge. The cheapest bottle of wine was 18 euros plus 15% which took it to approximately 21 euros - and this was the basic house wine. House wine is usually fine, but it does need to be served at the correct temperature and not be 'off'! By the glass, 150ml, it was 5 euros plus 15%. Whilst there was water and ice in the self service restaurant, other than that water was charged at 2.50 euros for a litre bottle. No free water was available in any of the bars or the a la carte restaurant. We had considered purchasing a drinks package a couple of days before the cruise (the first actual information or confirmation we received from MSC was 4 days before we sailed!!)but we could not find a price without going all the way through the purchase process so we did not do it. We did however purchase a drinks package when on board because we realised it was the only way we could actually afford to have a reasonable holiday. This came at a cost of 267 euros for 5 days for 2 people!! Thank goodness we did do that.
The next shock was that on top of the 15% service charge for drinks there was a compulsory 7 euro per day per person charge for 'hotel' services. We and a few other people refused to pay this, as had we known all this before booking we would not have gone ahead. We did not find this information in any of the paperwork we received, nor did we sign to agree to such a condition.