First of all, my expectations were somewhat lower than for other cruises on Princess & NCL. I had read numerous reviews about MSC's notoriously bad service and was prepared to experience what these other passengers went through. Fortunately for us, we never experienced even the hint of a bad attitude by any employee while on the ship.
The only minor incident requiring improvement was at check-in, where it seemed to take forever to check-in. The problem was that MSC had only 2 agents to process what seemed like hundreds of people waiting for their numbers to be called. After getting tired of sitting, I took my camera and when over near the end of the counter to take pictures of the very long line of people against the contrast of 2 working agents. An MSC agent asked what I was doing, and I told him that I was recording the fact that they only had 2 agents to process the very long line of people. I added that I am a Senior Contributor for TripAdvisor and was recording the situation for a future lengthy review of our cruise.
Within minutes, they added at least 4 other agents to help process the long lines, and as a result we were able to board the ship much quicker.
Other than that, the rest of our cruise went pretty smoothly, the balcony cabin was clean and roomy, the cabin attendant was exceedingly pleasant and was very service oriented. Our cabin attendant was from Indonesia, as were many other service staff that we saw throughout the ship. Many of our other cruises were similarly staffed by Southeast Asians, who are friendly, good natured and accustomed to providing excellent service.
As to the ship, it is absolutely gorgeous, one of MSC's largest class of modern ships. I could not find anything to criticize during our 7 day cruise.
As to the dining arrangements, we were assigned to La Reggia dining room. Our table seemed no larger than a card table, for seating of 4 guests. However, it was against a divider wall, so a good portion of the table was unusable and we were cramed a bit too close together. We were also disappointed to learn that no coffee is served with dessert or dnner. The waiter explaining that it tends to prolong the time that guests linger at their table after dinner, causing a timing issue for the next seating of guests. Somehow, both NCL and Princess manage to serve coffee with dessert and still manage to get their 2nd seating guests served on time.
Needless to say, we only dined at that table for one night. We found that the same food and desserts were being served in the Bora Bora & Pago Pago buffet restaurants. We dined buffet style for the rest of the cruise, and we had coffee with our dessert!
One of the other differences we noticed from NCL & Princess cruises is that the hand sanitizers were available; but, were placed in the entrances areas where they were not monitored by MSC staff. As a result, most people just walked past them without stopping to apply hand sanitizer. It seemed like the excercize to sanitize your hands was optional. On NCL & Princess, the hand santizer stations are placed just before entering the food areas and they provided staff to assure that they were strictly used. Not on MSC.
Overall, based on the price we paid, the condition of the ship, the nice cabin and cabin attendant that served us well, our cruise was very good. We would definitely cruise with MSC again, except that we would opt-out of the dining room experience.