I say surprise surprise for two reasons, this was our first cruise with MSC and my husband had been very reluctant to sail with this Italian company but we were very surprised at the high standard of hygiene, food, waiters etc. We don't usually bother with the shows but thoroughly enjoyed the classical evenings on board the Musica and applauded loudly to Strauss marches and Puccini arias.
The second surprise is because of such poor reviews, I feel like I was on a different ship. Our first cruise was with Airtours about 15 years ago and this gave us the cruise bug. We have since sailed with Celebrity(still our favourite) Princess and Royal Caribbean and a few other smaller cruise lines.
We met lots of lovely people including a big group of Cubans from Miami, a lovely couple from London and two very lively female paramedics from Ireland all of whom we are still in touch with.