i. Eish! Not so Magnifica! On boarding, there is no orientation and you are left to figure out on your own where everything is located – all 14 decks worth!
ii. We had paid for the welcoming champagne and canapés on arrival in our cabin. Not there! We called and it was eventually delivered – the canapés were stale – and had clearly been prepared many hours previously.
iii. The cabin was quite lovely – suitcases fitted under the bad – the balcony with a table and 2 chairs really a plus! Bed was comfortable, and bathroom fine. Cabin was tidied and cleaned daily.
iv. With the welcoming champagne and canapés we were to receive a daily bowl of fruit. This consisted of an apple/pear, a kiwi fruit, a few grapes with seeds that were all but tasteless – and NO KNIFE with which to peel for example the kiwi fruit. We ate an occasional apple...NOT recommended!
v. The staff at the information desk were young and poorly trained and often could not answer simple questions and had to call a supervisor. They were also not very friendly. However, the staff in the restaurants were all very friendly and helpful.
vi. Trying to get one load of laundry done all but sent them into a tizzy – fill out this form, no, also that form – do this, no do that – have to call a supervisor, etc...but it eventually was done – took 2 days – at E50...
vii. The food overall was VERY mediocre – both in the restaurants and in the 24-hour buffet up on the 14th deck. The pasta was for the most part UNDER-cooked – for a primarily Italian boat and primarily Italian passengers...? The porridge (oatmeal and Tastee wheat) were watery and could be drunk with a straw. I tried to tell them it needs to be thicker – but to no avail...
viii. “Allegrissimo” was a good deal and we enjoyed plenty of cocktails, wine at dinner, etc. However, the really nice cocktails: sorry that isn’t covered, you have to pay extra! We had to order coffee at the various bars as the coffee served with meals was undrinkable.
ix. Wi-fi: we had to PURCHASE wi-fi! They had “special deal” – E8.50 for 1 hour (usually E16.50!). HOWEVER: they did not tell me that you have to STOP the time once you have done your Whatsapp, etc. – so the first time, the entire hour simply ran out! After this, I learnt to “start” the time and then immediately “stop” it once done. When we went on shore for example in Kataklon, a tiny little cafe there had FREE wi-fi – and this was the case everywhere else. MSC rip passengers off charging for wi-fi in the way they do – and it was often very problematic with poor reception – not their fault necessarily – but when one is PAYING for every second it does matter!
x. We discovered a ping-pong table but only after much asking around, found out you have to BOOK a game for 30 minute slots at the “Virtual Centre”. The bats were in bad shape – the rubber warped and coming off the bats – tacky!
xi. We also discovered a sign: “Tennis”. No information about this that it was available, etc. We booked a slot that could ONLY be done after 10h00 on the day you wanted to play – that of course made it impossible on the days we went on excursions because we left before 10h00 and they were totally inflexible about bookings. We get to the “court” to play after making our booking after 10h00 on the day we stayed on the boat in Istanbul...only to find there is no net! Back we pickle – she had requested a net and will re-request it – after about an hour no net showed up and we gave up! Tacky!
xii. The on-board “entertainment” was really a joke – some really silly “games” geared to the many kids on board and very little adult entertainment – some karaoke, and one or two quizzes...The theater productions were also really second-rate – sort of B-grade bad musicals with a little Cirque du Soleil (lite) thrown in for good measure.
xiii. We very much enjoyed a Bulgarian trio that provided piano and violin music in the evening – they were excellent and played really lovely music – while we sipped our cocktails!
xiv. As far as I could make out, we were ripped off a bit in terms of what we paid for the excursions. If purchased on board, they ranged from E45 – E62. This is more or less what we seemed to have paid – but with PRE-PURCHASING them. In Dubrovnik, we were unable to take the cable car because of the weather, and they immediately refunded about E20.
xv. The “Oriental Festival” was a set menu but very good and we felt, worth the money and very enjoyable. If you wanted anything other than the set menu – pay up!
xvi. Within a few hours of boarding my partner had misplaced his card – they were very good about re-issuing new cards. BUT: we noticed many passengers had a plastic holder around their neck on a ribbon. On inquiring: you need to PURCHASE that for E4. We refused on principle!
xvii. It was very clear that MOST passengers ended their trip in Venice. About 85% or more disembarked in Venice. It was clear the staff were now cleaning up, stacking the lounging chairs next at the pools, etc. They refused to reimburse us for the 1 day as we disembarked in Venice instead of returning to Brindisi. They made us sign a form on board that we were disembarking by choice. I think this is an incredible CHEEK! It would have been highly appropriate for our cruise to have been from Brindisi to Venice – and it was clear that Venice was where the cruise terminated for most – as it ought to be – who would want to return to Brindisi and then have to fly back to Venice, via Rome!
xviii. I made an appointment to have a haircut at the hair salon that is part of the Spa. I lodged a formal complaint with the Spa manager who was extremely gracious about the incident. The young guy at the hair salon was extremely rude and decided to devote his time to another crew member and assigned me to a woman who was totally inexperienced. At some point I stopped her and asked it she was actually a hairdresser – she could not manage the buzzer and could not cope with the scissors and comb! It was her first day apparently and according to the manager had an excellent CV. Eventually, an experienced Cuban hairdresser arrived and took over and rescued what was left of the hack job that the previously lady did! For this I was charged E28. The manager compensated by giving us each a full hour massage the next day instead of the ½ hour we had scheduled – that was fantastic!
xix. The Spa was wonderful and not frequented by too many people – there were two Jacuzzis, a steam room and a sauna. The view from there was fantastic as it was right on the top deck.
xx. Disembarkation went relatively smoothly though we had to ask several times for our labels – and eventually gave up and fetched them from information.
Adequate though very small. Having a balcony was definitely a plus.
Most enjoyable ins pite of the idiotic tour guide that had a real chip on his shoulder about the German tour guide!
Absolutely worth every cent - wonderful tour guide; great excusion. One MAJOR minus: we were taken to a leather factory and retailer - given a "fashion show" and then subjected to a hard sell - we wasted at least 90 minutes there, causing us to miss lunch. We were a captive audience and had no alternative but to stick it out. VERY poor show.
Quaint if you are religious which I am not...quite a long trip there - would have preferred a longer time at Ephesus.
OK - but very windy and rainy but the tour guide did her best under the circumstances!