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MSC Orchestra Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
381 Reviews

MSC; avoid at all cost.

MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by mire2tap

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2015
  • Destination: the British Isles & Western Europe
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom

It was the worst cruise I’ve ever joined and will never ever set foot on MSC again….a total write-off. It was a disappointment, an awful experience and an embarrassment for me because I got a friend and family to come along for what is supposed to be a relaxing/enjoyable holiday. They were just as disappointed and agree to never again get on board an MSC cruise. The itinerary/port of calls (western Europe) were good and the primary reason for going on the cruise.

- Shore excursions catered mainly for non-English speaking passengers. On-shore tours with English-speaking guides are non-existent or very limited. Most of the time it’s cancelled to accommodate an overflow of non-English speaking passengers wanting to join a specific tour. Coordination and organisation of tours are disorganised. Ship disembarkation directions for tours is incorrect or confusing. Staffers were stressful and unhelpful.

- Food variety was almost non-existent in Deck13 buffet La Piezetta. Breakfast menu is the same day in and day out; hardly any good serving of . The fruit juice dispenser is only available at breakfast. For lunch, menu is the same with an addition of at least 4 different hot variety the quality of which is unpalatable. The vegies are overcooked and mushy. They’re always running out of tables for diners and use the disco for overflows during lunch hours. This Deck13 café is too small to accommodate the passengers during peak dining hours such as breakfast or lunch.

- Menu in the main dining restaurant is a little improvement but still leaves a lot to be desired for what is supposed to be fine dining. Bread is cold. I had to ask for a serving of warm bread rolls which took awhile for them to serve. And the clincher…the waiting staff had no idea what soy sauce is when we asked for it because the noodle they served was tasteless, too bland. Someone (waiting staff team lead) had to go to one of their restaurants on another deck, got the bottle of soy sauce, plonked it on our table and walked off in a huff.

- The theatre shows were pathetic with same entertainers doing all the shows and packaged differently . Their shows are nowhere near the shows I’ve seen in other cruises I’ve travelled on.

- Basically everything had to be paid for , such as soft drinks, games. There was a constant offer of drinks package which was rather annoying on Deck13.

- Port arrivals and disembarkation could be as late as 10-12N with departure times between 5-7pm. This was not enough time for any on-shore walkabout on your own and allowing for timely re-embarkation. Shuttle bus fares from ship to city centre was highway robbery. Cab was cheaper. Re-boarding the ship again was uncoordinated. Ground staff do not make an effort to direct passengers to entry points where there was more than one available, therefore, a long queue develops and frustrated everyone. Most of the time there was only 1 scanner and nobody attempted to be of assistance to passengers. It is beyond me how these staffers were trained for their duties.

- The main dining restaurant staff are pleasant, always smiling but rather slow with the service

- The Deck13 waiters can be indifferent and unhelpful or not focussed on what they’re doing but overall, generally ok.

- Staff at reception or the shore excursion desk were unhelpful and can be rude. They do not make any effort to provide a solution to any issue raised. One has to raise your voice to get any attention and assistance. How pathetic can that be.

This cruise company has a total disregard for good customer service. The front line staff are poorly trained and lacks the right attitude in discharging their duties and responsibilities. The lack of procedural arrangement overall only indicates total disregard for customer care and bad management, which is unthinkable in all the other cruises I’ve been on with family and friends.

mire2tap's Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom

On the plus side, the cabin is always clean and towels replaced. The cabin ladies are always courteous and responsive.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Not good value for money. Cursorily passed by some of the sights. Could hardly understand tour guide.


Tour guide provided a lot of historical info. Only enough time to go around for photo ops and grab a bite to eat. Long queue for the black Madonna. A good tour to take.

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