Embarkation at Fremantle was slower than any we have previously experienced with the last of the luggage being delivered around midnight. The first week at sea was very unpleasant for us and for many other passengers, standing around in queues listening to the multitude of complaints from angry people trying to sort out the multitude of problems with pre ordered merchandise issues. This was not the fault of MSC – the ship was being charted by Travel Superstore who proved to be most inefficient in many areas, leading to much confusion between the two parties.
My husband and I have done 23 cruises between us previously in all classes of ships and have a good idea what to expect for the money paid, $20,000 for an aft balcony cabin (not a suite). A similar time in a Queen Mary II balcony cabin costs around half that. Consequently we were entitled to 5 star accommodation and definitely 5 star service, particularly with Travel Superstore’s continuous pre-cruise advertising that this cruise would be the “Trip of a Lifetime!” However for our 6 star prices the eventual outcome was a 3 star ship with a 2 star experience.
General feeling of many of the passengers we spoke to during this cruise was that we Australians and New Zealanders were taken considerable advantage of by Travel Superstore, because of our Anzac sentiments on this 100th anniversary.
We were dismayed when we first saw our cabin. The room and ensuite were far smaller than any other we have experienced at close to a similar price. The quality of the soft furnishings was a disgraceful standard. For example our sheets were so thin they needed replacing twice because they tore, our threadbare blanket was unusable and was stored under the bed, pillows were appalling – lumpy, matted balls of synthetic substances, the plastic(!) curtains had holes in them, the lounge upholstery was torn and sagged right down in the middle caused by broken slats and should have been replaced long ago.
Day 3 in Albany saw us and many passengers purchasing their own pillows, and we even saw one person with a new duvet! We also had to resort to purchasing our own shampoo, conditioner and soap as that supplied was anything but quality.