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MSC Orchestra Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
381 Reviews

Nicked and Dimed for 8 days. Poor Service and food

MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by midlifetravel

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2014
  • Destination: South America

We were extremely disappointed with the experience on this voyage. While our expectations were not high, based on others' reviews, we still hoped that would be somewhat enjoyable. It turned out to be a great disappointment with a few notable exceptions. Since the exceptions were few, I decided to give credit first.

The ship entertainment throughout was of very high value, with nightly shows being of high quality, especially acrobatic and dancing members. The singers at the show were average but still all went well except for the MC who never spoke a word of English, only speaking Portuguese or Spanish to a primarily Brazilian clientele, though knowing very well that others were on board. Not a word in English the entire 8 days. Same can be said of ship announcements. Not a single announcement in English entire 8 days.

Food was terrible except for the Asia restaurant where it was OK., but great by comparison to the rest of the meals on board.

Health club equipment was in working order but set to another language so had to make due by guessing the meanings. Port and tender disembarkation was well organized except that we had to stay by the reception to find out when our number would be called. The ship is clean and is worked on continuously, but they don't put warning signs or block sections while cleaning so you can get your hands on clothes dirty with paint or chemicals if not careful.

Notably terrible was the dining service. It was so bad it became a running joke. Complaining to the floor managers did nothing. We were being ignored. No was always the answer, hardly any friendly faces and it was as if we had done something to make them mad, which was odd since we tried to tip everyone the first chance we had. It did absolutely no good.

While the Stewart for our cabin did make up the room consistently well, he never tried to bring us a clean blanket that we asked for nor had the light bulbs fixed in the bathroom leaving a windowless bathroom with a single light. BTW, there are no Hair Conditioners provided on the ship so we had to buy a bottle on the ship for $80 (least expensive one available).

Of notably bad items some stand way out, like the chaotic 3 hour initial embarkation in Rio that was just awful and completely disorganized. Quality of Food was just awful in all locations of the ship. Small, overcrowded pools on a single deck were of no use. Whirlpools were always jam-packed with with overweight Brazilians who seemed to treat them as their permanent place on ship.

Both dinner restaurants resembled cheap cafeterias rather than fine dining facilities.

This ship provides you with almost nothing for free so you get nickel and dimed the entire time. Despite that very few waiters were actually visible on the ship working the minimum amount of space just make it look like they are busy. Go up one deck from the pool and you may not see a waiter for days.

Sun beds were ok that there wasn't a single side table on entire ship. Towels were given one per individual who brought their card to the towel desk.

We traveled during "Summer" break for Brazil thus lots of people were traveling with small kids who were completely unsupervised and seed to do anything they wanted without as much as a peep from their parents or personnel. Even at 1am you could see a bunch of small kids running wild in the adult areas.

If you are hoping to catch up on news forget it. The daily handouts contain nothing outside of the ship. there are no English speaking channels on TV. Entrance to the SPA is not Free, so you do not get to use a steam room or indoor whirlpool unless you pay or scheduled a massage.

Overall, I would stay away from this cruise line and avoid south america cruises where the crowd is mostly Brazilian. You will regret it from first day on. The only people I feel for are the entertainers on the ship as they are stuck with this bunch for 4 months of the year. so many of them mentioned how they can not wait to get back to Europe, it was stunning.

Special thank you to the Piano Man Melo for giving us something to look forward to nightly.

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Cabin Review

Like all similar cabins, this one has just enough room to put double bed in with a couple of nightstands and a small table. The bathroom with attacking shower curtain was very small. Non-working light in the bathroom made it worse but was never fixed despite several requests. Asked for a warm clean blancket after seeing the one that was given to us. Never responded. Bed cover was dirty. Floor carpet was never vaccuumed,Balcony was small with a couple of upright chairs and small table. We did not end up using it much.

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