MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by Ioannis Greece
- Sail Date: August 2015
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom – Fantastica
Arriving in Kiel main train station and already informed (not personally) that the embarkation port had changed to Osturfehafen, we used a public bus to go to the dock. The bus took us a 15 minutes walk with luggage away from the pier. However, arriving in Kiel next week we found out that there was a free shuttle bus from the pier to the train station and back for which nobody had informed us. An informative e mail from the company would have been very useful and respectful for customers !
Embarkation was easy because we arrived early and after avoiding all these people who tried to sell us free drink packages (costing 26 euros per day????) and the photographers standing in our way like Tunisian bazaar carpet sellers, we went to our cabins, which were basically nice.
Msc Orchestra is big ship with very few outside public places though. Aft deck at the back of La Piazetta Cafeteria (deck 13) is very small with only a few tables. Most of deck 13 is occupied with the open air pools which by the way are unsuitable for northern climate cruises like ours because of the cold and rainy weather. The two pools were never cleaned and the Jacuzzis' water was yellowish. In the front section is an open air deck but it is reserved only for the spa customers. Alternatively, one can spend his time in the lower decks' lounges and bars. The glass panels around the pools in deck 13, were we spent most of our time on board. were stained inside and outside by salt droplets and they were never cleaned during the 14 night cruise, ruining the view.
Speaking about deck 13, it's the most proffered place for breakfast and lunch, not capable however of accommodating 3000+ passengers. Everyone grabbed a dish with some food and ran around from side to side, in and out the La Piazetta trying to sit somewhere. The inside of the "cafeteria" is very narrow and everyone was frustrated and stressed. Signs like "There is available sitting places in the Disco on deck 14" were common. The food was the worst we have ever eaten. As a former flight attendant, I have spent half my life in hotels around the world. Nothing compared to that! Buffet was pasta with vegetables and cheese baked in the oven and such inspirational recipes of the ship's "cook" together with eggplants and beans everyday-even in breakfast. Meat dishes were completely uneatable! Dining in the main ding restaurants was no different. Same dishes as buffet served by waiters.
There was a half hour theater show every night featuring the same actors in different costumes. In the second week of our cruise the theater program was exactly the same as the first.
Table games, ping pong, basket ball, golf etc. were not free. We paid 15 euros (because we didn't know about it) for an one time game of UNO. Shame!!!
Disembarkation day was a nightmare! Everyone had to leave their cabin by 07:30 in the morning. Deck 13 was in a state of war. All 3000+ people were there struggling for a seat to have breakfast. Many sat on the sunbeds and others ate on the handrails.
The ports of call were ok but 12:00 to 17:00 is not enough time to see many things on your own. You had to take the ship's excursions which were expensive. Also in a port where disembarkation was with tenders boats, this tender boat service was referred to as "complimentary"- well thank you very much MSC for letting us get out of the ship for free.
Returning to the ship was also frustrating. Only two entry points, often with one luggage scanner each and with security staff barely moving their hands, looking at you with contempt because you had them standing there all this time waiting for you. Long lines were forming and the people waited for long under the sun.
The rest of the staff were indifferent and not welcoming but in general ok.
Overall, we found this cruise very stressful and nor relaxing and we are very disappointed because we had planned and booked it one year ago. We wouldn't travel with MSC again even for free!!! Anyone who has cruised on a Holland America ship before should never set foot on MSC.
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BergenA free shuttle service to the town center and a walking tour around BergenView All 666 Bergen Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Bergen Cruise Port Review
FlamArriving at 12:00 noon the local tourist office told us that every activity was already sold out and after a short walk around this tourist trap we returned and enjoyed the empty ship!View All 230 Flam Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Flam Cruise Port Review
GeirangerTourist trap!!!View All 146 Geiranger Cruise Port Reviews
You must spend a lot of money just to get somewhere out of this hole to see mountains ice caps and waterfalls which by you can see for free all the way the ship's route in the fjords.
View Cruise Critic's Geiranger Cruise Port Review
HelsinkiOn foot and public transportation, barely enough time for a short walk in the town centerView All 861 Helsinki Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Helsinki Cruise Port Review
St. PetersburgWe had booked a private tour to Hermitage, river cruise tour and bus city tour which proved to be excellent and very worthy for the money. The operator was "VisitRussia" and we paid 450 euros for 6 persons for a private van with driver and English speaking guide. They took us from outside customs area in the pier and returned us after 8 hours. The experience was excellent. Also it was visa free.View All 628 St. Petersburg Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's St. Petersburg Cruise Port Review
StavangerOn foot around the (very expensive) city, nothing special, a sardine canning museum and return to the shipView All 285 Stavanger Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Stavanger Cruise Port Review
StockholmGot around in public bus. Managed to see Vasa Museum, Skansen and a little walk in the old city center.View All 839 Stockholm Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Stockholm Cruise Port Review
TallinnMostly on foot and taxi, we went to Seaplane Hangar Museum and for a little walk in the city center.View All 1,031 Tallinn Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Tallinn Cruise Port Review