Imagine nights on board with demolition drilling, metal hammers on metal surfaces, metal pipe cutting and jagged grinding sounds from various heavy duty demolition and construction tools from the decks below sea. Being metal a liner like Fantasia transmits noise very well, especially after dark. I am not exaggerating when I say that the first three nights of our cruise were sleepless nights. MSC's cool, un-smiling reception P.R. suits told us emergency works were needed and nothing could be done except to offer us a bottle of Prosecco (€5). We did not drink it. The emergency was obviously only a nightly emergency as the sleep-loss noise stopped at dawn and resumed after dusk. A one-stripe steward at reception (our third visit there, after many phone calls) told us the work could not be done in port, nor in the daytime. We still cannot understand this. More usefully an exasperated member of staff, herself a steward on board, but not on the reception leash, confided in us and in our neighbours (from cabins, starboard midships, between 11158 and 11198) that she herself had not slept well on-board for some time due to these nightly cacophonies. She told us the same happened weekly. What on earth are they doing then, working all night, out of port, for such time? Are they re-fitting an entire deck? Having much building renovation experience (over 10 houses re-fitted) I would say they are re-fitting an entire section of pipework but no one would confirm what the work was, so we must guess. The result was that after 3 nights we had to threaten legal action and my partner had to give the staff a clue to who she was - a tax auditor for firms including ... [best not say here] Wow, that worked well. It's useful to be with someone like that when the need arises. You should have seen the faces at reception when she mentioned it. The other poor souls who had been complaining since the week before were also thankful to us for somehow getting the noises stopped and thus, from Thursday 2nd June 2016 we were able to sleep - the work commenced during the day and finished at the end of the day, or early in the night when we went to bed, courtesy of a nightly phone call from my auditor, tax-chief partner. So, why could the work not have been done during the day before we had to threaten legal action and other pressures? It went well during the days thereafter. Normally daytime hammering and metal-cutting works on board would be annoying but after 3 sleepless nights it was a pleasure to listen from the sunny balcony, knowing the noise would stop at night.
We missed out on breakfasts - we'd ordered and paid for the deluxe in cabin - due to being sleepless and having to stay in bed in the mornings to catch-up with rest but apart from that we survived this cruise from hell. The best things about the cruise were the Eastern staff, who always smiled (unlike their western counterparts), the pianists and chanteuse in the reception bar, and some of the excursions like the amazing electric trikes tour of Palma (a must do!) and the electric bicycle tour of Barcelona (fantastic!) which we loved. Having not slept it was good the bikes and trikes were electric! No pedal power needed.
Better food this time too - MSC Lirica 4 years ago was awful for dining, so this time, in Red velvet, we were well looked after. I wanted to give 1 star due to the hell of the first three days, and the insult of being offered a bottle of prosecco for 3 sleepless nights but I want to try to be fair, there were some good memories too and we will be taking further steps to get recompense so all should be well in the end, much though we paid for it in stress and lack of sleep, and anxiety - not what you expect on a thousands of Pounds cruise hol.