MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by paj123
- Sail Date: February 2015
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
We found embarkation to be easy and well organised (and I love a French or Italian accent), and directions to our cabin were given by immaculately presented staff on board.
Our luggage took a little while to arrive, but we were somewhat paranoid due to a misunderstanding with where we should be and where our luggage should be when first arriving at Dubai Port. Non MSC staff onshore were not always that helpful.
First impression of the ship is really pleasing. It is spotlessly clean, beautifully decorated and furnished (subjective opinion I guess) and throughout the voyage this standard was maintained. Staff were constantly, unobtrusively, keeping all areas immaculately maintained.
Every washroom I used throughout the ship were the cleanest I have ever encountered. All the time, every time.
Our cabin (deck 8, on the rear), was spacious and clean. A few minor signs of wear that didn't affect our pleasure , say 95/100.
Some holiday basics that can make or break.
The bed(s),2 king singles pushed together, was very comfortable. A good nights sleep from day one.
The pillows, unusual to my taste, and mentioned by others, but didn't affect my sleeping.
More than enough drawer and hanging space.
Excellent water pressure in the shower, which was more roomy than my only other cruising experience.
Lots of hot water
Towels changed twice a day. Room made up twice a day.
The buffet offered a range of food that changed throughout the day. Some aspects of the menu varied day to day and others remained constant. The standard of the food available ranged from excellent to OK. Often it was not as hot as I would have liked, but this also varied from dish to dish and day to day.
We still often opted to eat there. Suggestion, if there at a busy time, find your table BEFORE you collect your food. Sounds like common sense to me.
The a la carte restaurant. Staff immaculately presented, permanently friendly and willing to do almost anything to make your life pleasant.
Most staff on the ship speak 4 or 5 languages and English is not necessarily going to be their best. Can be entertaining or annoying depending on your attitude and approach, but can always be sorted out. Often noticed the staff enjoying themselves and having a laugh which impressed me, because they work hard and long hours.
The food was always hotter here than in the buffet and, I believe tasted better. This could of course be the ambience etc. etc.
This is not to say it was better. Some meat dishes were disappointing (eg a "steak" turning out to be a thin slice of overcooked roast ), but other meals were excellent. In my opinion, all the entrees and desserts were most enjoyable.
The range available on each nights changing menu was varied enough to suit most tastes.
An issue I don't understand, that reared its head over and over again, was water with dinner. Water and ice (and tea and coffee) is available 24hrs in the buffet), BUT, and I knew this before embarking, water is not served with dinner unless you buy bottled water.
However, every drink package, in addition to whatever you have chosen, provides a supply of bottled water that was more than sufficient for our needs, that can be obtained at any bar or restaurant throughout the ship.
I heard people complaining even quite late in the voyage about this aspect but it seemed mostly along the lines of "this is what we do, and just because you are Italian you should not be different".
Entertainment in the theatre was outstanding in presentation and content and variety.
Wait staff were constantly attentive but achieved the perfect balance of not being intrusive.
On board activities were many and varied. The activities we participated in were entertaining and rewarding.
We never found disembarkation a problem although Brisbane was a bit disappointing.
After cruising, I find the concept of airports, airplanes, log haul flights and everything that goes with them quite unsettling.
But, as a converted cruiser, I've got to face it because I'm ready to MSC again.
In summary, not perfect, but I would give MSC 95/100 for value, cleanliness, general comfort, staff at all levels, entertainment and facilities but with some room for improvement in food.
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Excellent bathroom facilities.
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