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As this was a charter cruise we paid above market price for this cruise and knew it. But even so we were expecting a 5 star ship and cruise because of the way MSC Orchestra had been sold to us. Also because of Orchestras own advertising - the ship looks much prettier in photos, boasts wonderful food and friendly staff. First - the ship itself was immaculate, it was so clean at times it actually inconvenienced passengers. There were days we couldn't use our balconies when they were being cleaned. This is this first ship we have been on that has no chairs on the promenade deck which was really odd and they were constantly washing it!! This was were the smokers also could linger, not a bad thing as they couldn't congregate, no chairs. Inside was as clean, but most ships are now maintained at this level. First time we were made to feel like we as passengers interfered with the schedules though. Embarkation - was quite fast and fairly smooth considering the fact that MSC had never docked at Fremantle before. It took some time to get our luggage to our rooms but I think most passengers had theirs before midnight. Service - well .... made the mistake (we think) of buying the Alegrissmo package. Service is slow to non existent. This wasn't helped by the fact that the ship was full of Aussies who insisted on fronting up to the bars themselves and insisted on face to face service from the bar staff. Then they remained at the bars!! This ship went through a lot of firsts I think, we drank them out of quite a few beers, wines, spirits etc. But aside from the bad behaviour of some of the passengers ( in the opinions of the staff ) service was the worst we have experienced!! If you got one coffee you were lucky, don't expect two! Though we had the package that included unlimited, silly us!! The staff were there they just ambled around, looked busy, served one of two, disappeared???? Dining - food was adequate. Again had been led to expect 5 star, it was just 3 star. Though there seemed to be plenty, there was no flavour in the meals, desserts were very ordinary, the breads were quite good. Our staff in the main dining room were excellent however as were our dining companions, every evening was a joy. Made the cruise!! The buffet served up a very ordinary, sufficient fare but nothing exciting or over the top. Entertainment - we actually provided a lot of our own Aussie entertainers on this cruise, who were great, but the MSC entertainers also had a night here and there. So, a couple of lovely female singers, a particularly strange Italian male singer who started off the cruise trying to sing like Frank Sinatra - downhill for him from there! They had some great acrobatic performers and dancers, though I found the dancing couple who do the daytime classes rather over rated! No band was also a bit disappointing. Activities - they ran a sort of bingo, but honestly the American cruise lines are so much better at this! I'm sure there were lots of other activities but again because it was a charter cruise, there were so many things that were done by our organisers and some by MSC it is a little hard to comment here. Disembarkation - was very fast and efficient in Rome. They have done this many times. Summary: At Istanbul we noticed a change in staff from predominately Asian to a lot more European. I would say Italian as this was an Italian line but not sure, they were rude, surly, not at all friendly or ready to smile and communicate like the previous staff members had been. Perhaps they didn't like Australians; but how would they know, I didn't see any new staff members in the bars, buffet or around the ship trying? Do I say something about everyone getting sick? This was not MSC's fault, this will happen in any environment were people group together for extended periods of time. We were our own worst enemies when it came to the floating flu!! So, this ship looks like a beautiful ship, acts like a beautiful ship but inside behaves and is a 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ship.

Charter Cruise; Fremantle to Rome for Gallipoli Centenary

MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by Porky55

Trip Details
As this was a charter cruise we paid above market price for this cruise and knew it. But even so we were expecting a 5 star ship and cruise because of the way MSC Orchestra had been sold to us. Also because of Orchestras own advertising - the ship looks much prettier in photos, boasts wonderful food and friendly staff.

First - the ship itself was immaculate, it was so clean at times it actually inconvenienced passengers. There were days we couldn't use our balconies when they were being cleaned. This is this first ship we have been on that has no chairs on the promenade deck which was really odd and they were constantly washing it!! This was were the smokers also could linger, not a bad thing as they couldn't congregate, no chairs.

Inside was as clean, but most ships are now maintained at this level. First time we were made to feel like we as passengers interfered with the schedules though.

Embarkation - was quite fast and fairly smooth considering the fact that MSC had never docked at Fremantle before. It took some time to get our luggage to our rooms but I think most passengers had theirs before midnight.

Service - well .... made the mistake (we think) of buying the Alegrissmo package. Service is slow to non existent. This wasn't helped by the fact that the ship was full of Aussies who insisted on fronting up to the bars themselves and insisted on face to face service from the bar staff. Then they remained at the bars!! This ship went through a lot of firsts I think, we drank them out of quite a few beers, wines, spirits etc. But aside from the bad behaviour of some of the passengers ( in the opinions of the staff ) service was the worst we have experienced!! If you got one coffee you were lucky, don't expect two! Though we had the package that included unlimited, silly us!! The staff were there they just ambled around, looked busy, served one of two, disappeared????

Dining - food was adequate. Again had been led to expect 5 star, it was just 3 star. Though there seemed to be plenty, there was no flavour in the meals, desserts were very ordinary, the breads were quite good. Our staff in the main dining room were excellent however as were our dining companions, every evening was a joy. Made the cruise!! The buffet served up a very ordinary, sufficient fare but nothing exciting or over the top.

Entertainment - we actually provided a lot of our own Aussie entertainers on this cruise, who were great, but the MSC entertainers also had a night here and there. So, a couple of lovely female singers, a particularly strange Italian male singer who started off the cruise trying to sing like Frank Sinatra - downhill for him from there! They had some great acrobatic performers and dancers, though I found the dancing couple who do the daytime classes rather over rated! No band was also a bit disappointing.

Activities - they ran a sort of bingo, but honestly the American cruise lines are so much better at this! I'm sure there were lots of other activities but again because it was a charter cruise, there were so many things that were done by our organisers and some by MSC it is a little hard to comment here.

Disembarkation - was very fast and efficient in Rome. They have done this many times.

Summary:

At Istanbul we noticed a change in staff from predominately Asian to a lot more European. I would say Italian as this was an Italian line but not sure, they were rude, surly, not at all friendly or ready to smile and communicate like the previous staff members had been. Perhaps they didn't like Australians; but how would they know, I didn't see any new staff members in the bars, buffet or around the ship trying? Do I say something about everyone getting sick? This was not MSC's fault, this will happen in any environment were people group together for extended periods of time. We were our own worst enemies when it came to the floating flu!!

So, this ship looks like a beautiful ship, acts like a beautiful ship but inside behaves and is a 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ship.
Porky55’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9128
Our cabin was adequate, a balcony on the deck 9. This ship has just been away for a refurbishment so I had expected a bit more. Though very clean and beautifully maintained by a wonderful cabin attendant, the bedcover was very old and had tears in it, the curtains had holes and tears in them and the carpet had seen better days. Looking through open doors most cabins looked in a similar condition. The mattress on the bed reminded us of a caravan bed - that 12" foam that has nearly no give, so not the most comfortable and then the pillows! One of the easiest items a Company could buy or replace and MSC supplies the thinnest, lumpiest most uncomfortable pillows in the cruise business!!! Seriously, these pillows could send this cruise line to the wall - they are that bad!!! When our ship docked at Albany our passengers bought out the local K Mart and other stores of pillows. Can you believe commencing a cruise and having to buy your own pillows? Shame MSC shame!!!!
  MSC Orchestra Deck Plans

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