Booked in August 2008 after seeing the MSC Orchestra Transatlantic/Repositioning Balcony Cruise advertised in Saturdays' Daily Mail. Their advertisement stated that a transatlantic flight and one night's accommodation in Miami/Fort Lauderdale was included. The latter turned out to be misleading and we paid over £80.00 extra for "3 star accommodation", which turned out to be the awful River Park Hotel & Suites in Miami, although well located for the free transit system and Bayside etc. However, as a result we did upgrade us from deck 8 to deck 12 (the highest for standard balcony accommodation) as compensation, when I complained about their misleading advertisement.
Remembering that we had booked this cruise 9 months before travelling and with just 2 weeks to go there was no sign of our tickets so I called, who after putting me on hold for about 5 minutes stated that they were calling for our tickets from MSC's head office in Italy that day, which should take a couple of days to reach them, and they would then be sent out to us first class post. We were still without tickets 1 week from departure, so I rang again, and also rang the MSC Club member's hotline number, as we were already members, having travelled with them twice before on the "Opera". The outcome was we travelled with e-mailed/inkjet printed documents, which caused some issues with the transfer coach operators in the US, and we never received the "before you cruise" booklet we were supposed to have. All in all this was very stressful, and subsequently I have written to express my dissatisfaction, particularly when we saw what the official MSC travel pack should have looked like, which all other UK passengers had received.
I have say that after this disappointing start the MSC Orchestra and the transatlantic cruise visiting New York (2 days/overnight), The Azores, Portugal, Spain and finally back to Dover was absolutely superb. The Orchestra is a beautiful ship and as reported is kept spotless, at all times. I don't understand some of the earlier critisms, as we found hot (tea, coffee, decaff and infusions) and cold drinks (iced water & fruit juices) available free of charge for most of the day and even at the midnight buffet. Yes, the bottled water in the cabin is expensive at $4.50 per bottle, and compared to "our local" back home, so were the alcoholic drinks/cocktails, but given the presentation of them and the fact that in the La Cantinella wine bar you always received a plate of "Palma Ham" and cheese and elsewhere generous dishes of both crisps and Japanese rice crackers in beautiful surroundings and served by immaculately dressed & extremely courteous bar staff. It truly is a 5 star ship and in our case represented very good value for money.