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MSC Magnifica 8th October 2024  Very quick check-in, on board and in cabin by 12.45. S3 family cabin - sitting area next to full length balcony windows, separated from dressing area and bedroom by curtains. King size bed, comfortable, lumpy pillows, nice bedding - not duvet but sheet, blanket and cover. Bedside tables each with three drawers. Bedside light and access to main lights. Divider cupboard between bed and dressing tables, three large cupboards, one of which contained the fridge. TV, quite small, on this divider. Interactive menu on the TV, including access to shipboard account and info. At least the account t info was available during the first few days, but it disappeared later in the week and the reception staff said that it was only visible on the last day ?? 4-seated settee, small oval coffee table and small armchair without arms. Bathroom fairly compact. Shower with curtain, which did not attack during a shower. Good pressure and soap and shampoo available in dispensers attached to the shower wall. Early sitting for dinner - 6.00 pm - which I find too early. However late sitting at 8.30 is too late for me as well - need to consider freedom dining in future. Meals at dinner consisted of Appetisers, salads, soups, pasta dish, main meal and sweet. We usually selected 3/4 courses maximum. Alternatives to menu offered daily eg salmon, chicken. There was also one vegetarian main as well. Buffet for lunch, always available are burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pasta, chips and salad. Always adequate, sometimes really good. Special recommendation here for the freshly-made pizzas - usually about 4 different flavours - each one we tried was delicious. Used for lunch time each day. Breakfast we opted for in-cabin, to avoid the inevitable crush and push when so many cultures are on board. This trip included Russians, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Japanese, Chinese and possibly Portuguese. Most annoying - lifeboat drill after pickup in Hamburg, which included those passengers who had joined in Amsterdam the day before. Every instruction was repeated throughout all the cabins in six languages. This happened just after I awoke from an afternoon sleep, so at least it didn't wake me up. We believe this was a mistake because the following drill was not transmitted into the cabin, only the initial call for those passengers affected. Evening entertainment - we spent each evening in the Tiger Bar which is not as garish as it appears in the pictures with all the tigerskin carpets and seats. The musicians in here were very good but the Animation team were restricted in their games by the various nationalities attending. It usually consisted of audience guessing names of films or tunes or artists and running to a chair on stage, where the correct answer was rewarded with an MSC bag, or t-shirt etc. The theatre shows were all well attended every evening, because there was the locust swarm of passengers traversing the Tiger Bar on their way to and from wherever. We never did find out where everyone disappeared to, but there were plenty of alternative bars or lounges. We found the daytime in the Tiger Bar was dominated during the sea day by the Entertainment Team creating games and shouting loudly and often for applause, applause - more than a little trying, especially if we were writing or reading (or trying to). We moved into a different bar, but it was still close enough to hear the call for applause. The ship is immaculately clean and like a micro community. The service was either fantastic or very poor, with disaffected staff showing either disinterest or disdain at times. However, we on,y encountered a couple of members of staff who were miserable and the rest were delightful. In fact, our waiter at dinner and a number of bar staff were very pleasant and happy, which is what we expect at all times from customer-facing staff. Our ports of call were Zeebrugge for Brugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Le Havre. When we docked at Zeebrugge, due to some pervious research, we were aware that there was a free port shuttle, but this fact was never made known on board. Instead the ship shuttle at €14 was suggested. As I was unwell at the beginning of the trip, we decided to go on the ship shuttle, which took us close to Blankenburg rail station where we boarded the first train for Bruges, at a cost of €12, which is €3 each person, each way. These run from Blankenburg at ten minutes after the hour, each hour and the return from Bruges is at 36 minutes after the hour, and they ran on the dot while we were there. The trains are clean, comfortable and fast, a great way to travel. While in Bruge we had coffee, caught up with mails, FB etc. In Amsterdam we walked along the harbour, passing the river boats along the way, to the Grand Central Station. At this point the HOHO buses can be found, although we didn't use these this time as it was quite recently that we had done both canal and coach trips. We walked through the city, checked out the Sex Museum which ad been recommended to us. Although this may sound seedy, the Museum is very interesting and good value for money at €4 each. We then had our coffee at one of the Hotel coffee shops, where we were disappointed that their WiFi was not working. As we left the coffee shop there was an almighty crash as a motor cyclist was hit by a tram and everything around seemed to just stop. The ambulance was at the scene very quickly and the cyclist was quickly whisked away, hopefully not too badly hurt as he was at was on his feet just after the accident. We then continued our wanderings and were soon in the red light district, where some of the girls were showing their attributes. My Hubby commented that window shopping could sometimes be appealing - this from the man who HATES shopping with a passion back home. By this time we were both tired so we caught the No. 26 tram back to the ship - at a cost of €1.30 each. Although the ship was docked here overnight, we decided to spend the evening on board and enjoyed an excellent meal in the main restaurant. Our third stop was in Hamburg and again we paid the ship's shuttle cost of €13.90 each as we had not been into Hamburg previously. I had researched the alternatives and found that there are water buses available, and there were also plenty of taxis available. I did overhear that these were charging €20 each way, but I can't verify this. We were dropped off at the square where the Town Hall was, a most magnificent building it has to be said. After a quick coffee in Starbucks and a quick email catchup, we decided to get the HOHO tour. I was a little nervous about this because I had read that these HOHOs were more geared to the Europe languages, with English not very much in evidence, but we went on two of these buses and in each case English was available as well as Dutch and German. This was in fact one of the best value HOHOs we have been on and the whole tour lasted just over 2 hours. We both really enjoyed the sights we saw and the information that was also given. Our last call was Le Havre and we were booked on a ship's excursion to Breuille Castle Calvados distillery, with a stop at Breuille en Ange. The guide at the Castle was excellent and able to converse fluently in English and French. The Ship's guide also provided commentary in Italian for a small contingency of our group. Very interesting, very welcoming visit. The trip to the village was super, so reflecting what we expected of a typical French village in the countryside. We treated ourselves to some traditional patisseries and had a good trip back, taking in Honfleur while still in the coach, showing the contrasts of a busy port and the idyllic countryside. A good excursion, although it was certainly a little overpriced. An ambience change certainly appeared to happen for me over the last couple of days on the cruise, following the picking up of large number of Russian passengers and their children. This may just reflect the cultural differences, but the staff around and about certainly seemed to be intimated by the attitude of these passengers and I felt quite upset at times when I observed how the staff were treated as servants, rather than as the hard-working, pleasant individuals that we had encountered. It appears that the Russian culture is just louder and more aggressive than we usually encounter on multi-cultural ships or resorts, so perhaps it is a case of being more tolerant (or avoiding cruises where passengers are picked up like ferry passengers, at each port of call throughout the cruise.) Overall this was a great cruise, we enjoyed the food, the service, the upgrade of cabin, the company we kept and being in a beautiful and immaculate ship, almost all of which was attributable to MSC - the bonus was really good weather in all the ports we visited - and the excellent value for money.  

MSC Magnifica - magnificent value!

MSC Magnifica Cruise Review by dun123das

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
MSC Magnifica 8th October 2024  Very quick check-in, on board and in cabin by 12.45.
S3 family cabin - sitting area next to full length balcony windows, separated from dressing area and bedroom by curtains.
King size bed, comfortable, lumpy pillows, nice bedding - not duvet but sheet, blanket and cover.
Bedside tables each with three drawers. Bedside light and access to main lights.
Divider cupboard between bed and dressing tables, three large cupboards, one of which contained the fridge. TV, quite small, on this divider. Interactive menu on the TV, including access to shipboard account and info. At least the account t info was available during the first few days, but it disappeared later in the week and the reception staff said that it was only visible on the last day ??
4-seated settee, small oval coffee table and small armchair without arms.
Bathroom fairly compact. Shower with curtain, which did not attack during a shower. Good pressure and soap and shampoo available in dispensers attached to the shower wall.
Early sitting for dinner - 6.00 pm - which I find too early. However late sitting at 8.30 is too late for me as well - need to consider freedom dining in future. Meals at dinner consisted of Appetisers, salads, soups, pasta dish, main meal and sweet. We usually selected 3/4 courses maximum. Alternatives to menu offered daily eg salmon, chicken. There was also one vegetarian main as well.
Buffet for lunch, always available are burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pasta, chips and salad. Always adequate, sometimes really good. Special recommendation here for the freshly-made pizzas - usually about 4 different flavours - each one we tried was delicious. Used for lunch time each day. Breakfast we opted for in-cabin, to avoid the inevitable crush and push when so many cultures are on board. This trip included Russians, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Japanese, Chinese and possibly Portuguese.
Most annoying - lifeboat drill after pickup in Hamburg, which included those passengers who had joined in Amsterdam the day before. Every instruction was repeated throughout all the cabins in six languages. This happened just after I awoke from an afternoon sleep, so at least it didn't wake me up. We believe this was a mistake because the following drill was not transmitted into the cabin, only the initial call for those passengers affected.
Evening entertainment - we spent each evening in the Tiger Bar which is not as garish as it appears in the pictures with all the tigerskin carpets and seats. The musicians in here were very good but the Animation team were restricted in their games by the various nationalities attending. It usually consisted of audience guessing names of films or tunes or artists and running to a chair on stage, where the correct answer was rewarded with an MSC bag, or t-shirt etc. The theatre shows were all well attended every evening, because there was the locust swarm of passengers traversing the Tiger Bar on their way to and from wherever. We never did find out where everyone disappeared to, but there were plenty of alternative bars or lounges.
We found the daytime in the Tiger Bar was dominated during the sea day by the Entertainment Team creating games and shouting loudly and often for applause, applause - more than a little trying, especially if we were writing or reading (or trying to). We moved into a different bar, but it was still close enough to hear the call for applause.
The ship is immaculately clean and like a micro community. The service was either fantastic or very poor, with disaffected staff showing either disinterest or disdain at times. However, we on,y encountered a couple of members of staff who were miserable and the rest were delightful. In fact, our waiter at dinner and a number of bar staff were very pleasant and happy, which is what we expect at all times from customer-facing staff.
Our ports of call were Zeebrugge for Brugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Le Havre.
When we docked at Zeebrugge, due to some pervious research, we were aware that there was a free port shuttle, but this fact was never made known on board. Instead the ship shuttle at €14 was suggested. As I was unwell at the beginning of the trip, we decided to go on the ship shuttle, which took us close to Blankenburg rail station where we boarded the first train for Bruges, at a cost of €12, which is €3 each person, each way. These run from Blankenburg at ten minutes after the hour, each hour and the return from Bruges is at 36 minutes after the hour, and they ran on the dot while we were there. The trains are clean, comfortable and fast, a great way to travel. While in Bruge we had coffee, caught up with mails, FB etc.
In Amsterdam we walked along the harbour, passing the river boats along the way, to the Grand Central Station. At this point the HOHO buses can be found, although we didn't use these this time as it was quite recently that we had done both canal and coach trips. We walked through the city, checked out the Sex Museum which ad been recommended to us. Although this may sound seedy, the Museum is very interesting and good value for money at €4 each. We then had our coffee at one of the Hotel coffee shops, where we were disappointed that their WiFi was not working. As we left the coffee shop there was an almighty crash as a motor cyclist was hit by a tram and everything around seemed to just stop. The ambulance was at the scene very quickly and the cyclist was quickly whisked away, hopefully not too badly hurt as he was at was on his feet just after the accident. We then continued our wanderings and were soon in the red light district, where some of the girls were showing their attributes. My Hubby commented that window shopping could sometimes be appealing - this from the man who HATES shopping with a passion back home. By this time we were both tired so we caught the No. 26 tram back to the ship - at a cost of €1.30 each. Although the ship was docked here overnight, we decided to spend the evening on board and enjoyed an excellent meal in the main restaurant.
Our third stop was in Hamburg and again we paid the ship's shuttle cost of €13.90 each as we had not been into Hamburg previously. I had researched the alternatives and found that there are water buses available, and there were also plenty of taxis available. I did overhear that these were charging €20 each way, but I can't verify this. We were dropped off at the square where the Town Hall was, a most magnificent building it has to be said. After a quick coffee in Starbucks and a quick email catchup, we decided to get the HOHO tour. I was a little nervous about this because I had read that these HOHOs were more geared to the Europe languages, with English not very much in evidence, but we went on two of these buses and in each case English was available as well as Dutch and German. This was in fact one of the best value HOHOs we have been on and the whole tour lasted just over 2 hours. We both really enjoyed the sights we saw and the information that was also given.
Our last call was Le Havre and we were booked on a ship's excursion to Breuille Castle Calvados distillery, with a stop at Breuille en Ange. The guide at the Castle was excellent and able to converse fluently in English and French. The Ship's guide also provided commentary in Italian for a small contingency of our group. Very interesting, very welcoming visit. The trip to the village was super, so reflecting what we expected of a typical French village in the countryside. We treated ourselves to some traditional patisseries and had a good trip back, taking in Honfleur while still in the coach, showing the contrasts of a busy port and the idyllic countryside. A good excursion, although it was certainly a little overpriced.
An ambience change certainly appeared to happen for me over the last couple of days on the cruise, following the picking up of large number of Russian passengers and their children. This may just reflect the cultural differences, but the staff around and about certainly seemed to be intimated by the attitude of these passengers and I felt quite upset at times when I observed how the staff were treated as servants, rather than as the hard-working, pleasant individuals that we had encountered. It appears that the Russian culture is just louder and more aggressive than we usually encounter on multi-cultural ships or resorts, so perhaps it is a case of being more tolerant (or avoiding cruises where passengers are picked up like ferry passengers, at each port of call throughout the cruise.)
Overall this was a great cruise, we enjoyed the food, the service, the upgrade of cabin, the company we kept and being in a beautiful and immaculate ship, almost all of which was attributable to MSC - the bonus was really good weather in all the ports we visited - and the excellent value for money.
 
dun123das’s Full Rating Summary
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Embarkation
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Cabin Review

Cabin 12050
An unexpected upgrade - S3 family cabin - sitting area next to full length balcony windows, separated from dressing area and bedroom by curtains. King size bed, comfortable, lumpy pillows, nice bedding - not duvet but sheet, blanket and cover.Bedside tables each with three drawers. Bedside light and access to main lights.Divider cupboard between bed and dressing tables, three large cupboards, one of which contained the fridge. TV, quite small, on this divider. Interactive menu on the TV, including access to shipboard account and info. At least the account t info was available during the first few days, but it disappeared later in the week and the reception staff said that it was only visible on the last day ??4-seated settee, small oval coffee table and small armchair without arms.Bathroom fairly compact. Shower with curtain, which did not attack during a shower. Good pressure and soap and shampoo available in dispensers attached to the shower wall.
  MSC Magnifica Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Amsterdam
    In Amsterdam we walked along the harbour, passing the river boats along the way, to the Grand Central Station. At this point the HOHO buses can be found, although we didn't use these this time as it was quite recently that we had done both canal and coach trips. We walked through the city, checked out the Sex Museum which ad been recommended to us. Although this may sound seedy, the Museum is very interesting and good value for money at €4 each. We then had our coffee at one of the Hotel coffee shops, where we were disappointed that their WiFi was not working. As we left the coffee shop there was an almighty crash as a motor cyclist was hit by a tram and everything around seemed to just stop. The ambulance was at the scene very quickly and the cyclist was quickly whisked away, hopefully not too badly hurt as he was at was on his feet just after the accident. We then continued our wanderings and were soon in the red light district, where some of the girls were showing their attributes. My Hubby commented that window shopping could sometimes be appealing - this from the man who HATES shopping with a passion back home. By this time we were both tired so we caught the No. 26 tram back to the ship - at a cost of €1.30 each.
    View All 793 Amsterdam Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Amsterdam Cruise Port Review
  • Brugge (Bruges)
    When we docked at Zeebrugge, due to some pervious research, we were aware that there was a free port shuttle, but this fact was never made known on board. Instead the ship shuttle at €14 was suggested. As I was unwell at the beginning of the trip, we decided to go on the ship shuttle, which took us close to Blankenburg rail station where we boarded the first train for Bruges, at a cost of €12, which is €3 each person, each way. These run from Blankenburg at ten minutes after the hour, each hour and the return from Bruges is at 36 minutes after the hour, and they ran on the dot while we were there. The trains are clean, comfortable and fast, a great way to travel.
    View All 376 Brugge (Bruges) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Brugge (Bruges) Cruise Port Review
  • Hamburg
    Our third stop was in Hamburg and again we paid the ship's shuttle cost of €13.90 each as we had not been into Hamburg previously. I had researched the alternatives and found that there are water buses available, and there were also plenty of taxis available. I did overhear that these were charging €20 each way, but I can't verify this. We were dropped off at the square where the Town Hall was, a most magnificent building it has to be said. After a quick coffee in Starbucks and a quick email catchup, we decided to get the HOHO tour. I was a little nervous about this because I had read that these HOHOs were more geared to the Europe languages, with English not very much in evidence, but we went on two of these buses and in each case English was available as well as Dutch and German. This was in fact one of the best value HOHOs we have been on and the whole tour lasted just over 2 hours. We both really enjoyed the sights we saw and the information that was also given.
    View All 132 Hamburg Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Hamburg Cruise Port Review
  • Le Havre
    Our last call was Le Havre and we were booked on a ship's excursion to Breuille Castle Calvados distillery, with a stop at Breuille en Ange. The guide at the Castle was excellent and able to converse fluently in English and French. The Ship's guide also provided commentary in Italian for a small contingency of our group. Very interesting, very welcoming visit. The trip to the village was super, so reflecting what we expected of a typical French village in the countryside. We treated ourselves to some traditional patisseries and had a good trip back, taking in Honfleur while still in the coach, showing the contrasts of a busy port and the idyllic countryside. A good excursion, although it was certainly a little overpriced.
    View All 332 Le Havre Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Le Havre Cruise Port Review