This was our first cruise on MSC and it will be quite a long time before I consider another one. The Orchestra faced several challenges on the Transatlantic Crossing and has quite a few improvements to make if it is to find a place with the North American Cruise Market. I hope that Ex Celebrity Veteran the new President of MSC Cruises USA will work hard to bring MSC up to the standards that all cruise consumers expect. I will review this cruise in an objective and fair manner.
The ship normally docks at a different terminal building in Genoa but was told at the last minute it was being switched so they had to scramble to move staff and machinery to their new location. The Pre-Check in process was useless as it was not used in Genoa. When you entered the Boarding Area a number was given to you that you attached to your cruise documents and you proceeded to show your Passports, photographed, and gave your credit card for onboard expenses this went relatively fast. Then you went to a waiting room and waited until the number was called that was on your boarding documents. MSC had one staff member checking the numbers on the documents at the end of the line to board the ship; however several people whose numbers had not been called then got into the line once it progressed beyond the one MSC Staff member who was checking documents. Then at 12:30 Italian Customs decided to take their one hour lunch break so the boarding totally stopped for one hour. It took us almost 2 hours to board the ship. MSC did provide beverages to make us more comfortable and had shore excursion information for us to read about while we waited. Upon boarding the actual ship we had surrender our passports because one of the countries we were visiting was requesting that all Passports be available for inspection. I asked when we would get them back and was totally ignored by the staff members who were taking them so I gave up my Passport it was returned two days later in my Cabin. Cabins We had a Balcony Cabin and the Balcony was a pleasant surprise as it was larger than most of the ones I have seen I used it quite a bit during the cruise. Our Cabin Steward was simply fantastic and promptly replied to anything I asked him to do. We used the laundry quite a bit on the cruise as I pack light and found the service to be very good a pair of socks were not spotted but other than that no problems. Several passengers reported there were problems with the safes in their cabins I had no problems other than one time I was entering the wrong PIN number but somebody was sent promptly that had a master code to open it. Room Service was good in the fact that whatever you ordered was brought within a reasonable amount of time. The quality of offerings in Room Service was pathetic. We did not order Continental Breakfast in the Cabin. Shore Excursions We did not take any MSC Tours as I normally use Private Cars for my tours.