Hi there, Just back from our best cruise ever on MSC ORCHESTRA! Let me explain something first. This was our 13th cruise and we did Celebrity first on century and while that was good(and nothing better than our RCI cruises) MSC blew us away. Yes there were 1300 people from the super bowl cruise group who complained over every little thing. I would comment at first and then I just would not even discuss it with them. They were looking for CCL with drinking all over the ship and free ice cream all the time. It was not their fault but their agent who booked this cruise. I did my research. I wanted something different, and boy was it ever. REFINED, ELEGANT, GORGEOUS, WONDERFUL....are adjectives that come to mind. From the moment we got on the ship( and fast it was, within 15 minutes and we got there at 12)we were greeted with italian hello and a smile every step we took. The ship is beyond beautiful with marble and granite and statues all over. The people were friendly and gracious, but what we witnessed from the American group was beyond embarrassing to be an American. We were not part of the group and I must tell you that some were very nice and loved the ship too, but for the most part they were loud and drunk all the time. They had some issues with tendering at Cayo Levantado and there was a man from the group cursing like he was in a bar to the guest services people. They do not understand English well, but they understood hostility and anger. They would just shrug at his level of screaming. This was such a refined group of staff members, with their European ways. Every issue that they could resolve they tried, no matter the language barrier, they made it an effort to understand us when we spoke calmly. They were happy and gracious to help. No one is there to be yelled at. I can cite instances where this group trashed this ship. It was shameful to say the least. On superbowl sunday they were given the theater to watch the game and allowed to eat and drink in there. THERE IS NO DRINKING SERVED OR ALLOWED IN to the theater during any other time. The show for that night was postponed until 30 min after the game ended. We got in after midnight to see the show and the cruise director was on the stage with tears in his eyes. I went over and said to him that the place is a disaster and how sad, and he said to me"look what they did to my theater". It was a mess. Pigs would be cleaner. They also overran the pool areas with the amount of beer bottles and cans left all over. They never put it on the tables but all over the pool area. And then one day they took over the entire pool with jumping in with bottles of beer in a pool. Then the men would grab the women in the group and jump in with them too. They were doing swan dives, belly flops, cannon balls and never realizing they were interrupting other people from enjoying that pool. They were so drunk at all times one woman asked me where the elevator was when we were standing within 2 feet of it. They would go into the bathroom and sing and be drinking beer and spilling it all over the floors. They complained about the lack of bar service: IT IS EUROPEAN style. There was a cocktail waitress always walking around but not in your face like all the other lines. This is a reason why I booked this ship. They said the casino was not big enough....it was gorgeous and looked big enough to me, but they also did not do the research. Europeans do not spend all day in a casino, hence the need not to make it bigger. This group on the whole complained about everything. Like no free ice cream. No one I guess ever went on a RCI voyager class or Freedom class within that group since they charge 4.95 and up for Ben and Jerrys ice cream. On this ship they had free ice cream during lunch and dinner and gelato for 1.50 in a cup or 2 in a freshly made waffle cone. And the portions were generous. They complained about this too. They complained that the food was not good...they only went to the buffet which to us was fine. It was not a feeding frenzy like on american ships. There was salad, pasta and other things too. Each dinner consisted of a 7 course meal: Appetizer, soup, salad( different each night...and hadchunks of avocado one night), pasta dish, entree, dessert and cheeses. Plenty of fresh fruit. OH my, the fresh fruit in the dining room included FRESH PAPAYA ....never before have I had such a fruit on a cruise. And the melons and pineapple were the freshest. They served simple looking stuff but boy was it ever mouth watering good. For example, one day they had chicken wings. I tried it and boy was i ever glad I did. Went back for more. The sauce used on it was the best I ever had on a ship. The food was fine to me. I went to the dining room most days and the food for lunch was fantastic. Their chilled soups put RCI and X to shame. The lunch menu was a mini dinner and the lamb skewers that they had was the best I ever ate. The eggplant was great, as were the crepes. The vegetables all week were great, and the pasta dishes were great.If you wanted more vegetables they brought out a full plate of it. At 11:30 in all the lounges they served something different to snack on( delightful : crepe night was freshly made there and then grand marnier and other liquors poured on it and flamebe'd, and topped with gelato. A delight to say the least.
The shows were FINE ART not the junk we all see all the time. The dancers were gorgeous and fit. The costumes were ever changing and a feast for the eyes. The music and every show was breathtaking. They got better and better. People left crying from the emotion of the performances of the opera night. The ship had lounges with top notch singers in places. The entertainment staff intermingled with guests and the men danced with older women and the women entertainment people danced with the men. This was a joy to see how the worked at giving everyone a wonderful time. ( But where were the complainers? Not here, they were at the bars). I can go on and on about everything they had to offer. Drink prices were the lowest ever. $5.50 including tax and tip. And the drinks were huge. Beer packages were great. Mixed drink packages were great. Wine prices were very low that next time we will do a wine package. During the day this entertainment group did games and dance lessons around the pool area. At night they did shows and games after the performance shows were over. WE had entertainment every moment of the day on this ship, like never before. The crew did not stop until 2 am each night. They were fantastic. I loved this cruise so much we are booking POESIA in Nov of 2009, for the wonderful 10 nite cruise. If you go with an open mind and embrace the differences then you will have a great time. If you want them to comply to CCL or RCI or Princess then you will not have a good time. Why would they want to change...they are fantastic with a wonderful product...all that we wanted when we booked something out of the Americanized cruise ship choices. I learned to be gracious and you get more back. I learned a smile gives you back more than I gave, I learned that it is not the american way or no way. I embraced the differences and loved it. The crew , the fine art shows(every night!!) and the waiter and assistant waiter, and cabin steward, and dining captains were fantastic to us. A wonderful week that I wished would continue. The ship itself is a beauty to behold. Never have I seen such beauty, with wood, marble, mirrors and decor. The staff would meet us at dinner and kiss my hand. I left with a smile and a kiss on each cheek.... I was welcomed each night by smiles and warmth. The ship is very easy to navigate. SO many people never found the spa area too. A breathtaking joy of the senses. First, you get a locker and then a balinese woman leads you to the hot tubs. Are are three of them in a gorgeous room with live plants and lounge chairs. The view is spectacular from those hot tubs. The window there allows you to see outside and the views of the ocean while being in the hot tub are wonderful. Then there are coed steam rooms which are just beautiful with the tile and mosaic patterns. Each has a a different aromatherapy scent. There are also 2 saunas which were delightful to use. The staff in the spa was helpful and very sweet. They have a great vitamin energy drink package that can be found in the bar in the spa. Lovely drinks with protein and healthy choices. I can go on and on, and talking about this cruise just brings smiles to my face. If you want more info on this cruise or any info on Poesia that I got, pls feel free to email me at: Picard2117@cox.net
Small inside cabin, but plenty of space to store everything so it was fine. Comfortable bed, lots of storage. Easy walk to the front stairs for a fast walk up to the pool deck.