Fantastic Fantasia Falls Flat: MSC Fantasia Cruise Review by Merry5221

MSC Fantasia 4
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Fantastic Fantasia Falls Flat

Sail Date: September 2009
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
Was totally impressed with check in process on this ship. This was my eighth cruise and I was pleasantly surprised to find no lines and was checked in and taken to my room by a white gloved bellgirl within 20 minutes. I realized later that this cruise line has passengers checking in and out at every port. It doesn't seem to disrupt any of the other passengers in any way. High marks for this, I have not seen it before.

Loved the fact that they stop every day in a different port, no sea days.

The other impressive feature was that they check everyones temperature, unbeknownst to them, for the reason of the recent H1N1 outbreaks. Evidently no one with a fever is allowed on the ship.

This ship is probably the most beautiful I have ever seen. Room was great and comfortable with a balcony.

My issue with this cruise was the fact I ever felt CROWDED in the public spaces. The breakfast and lunch buffets were ridiculously CROWDED, you could not More find a seat after you struggled to get your food. The food all over was mediocre at best, except the pasta which was great. I was disappointed in the dining room food but the staff were amazing. Another big issue for me is that you cannot get water with lunch or dinner without paying extra. If you do the lunch buffet the water is locked down you have to buy, only available at breakfast along with juice and then handled only by the few staff. This CROWD factor and the food, water and short staff issue would make me NOT select this line again, IT totally spoiled this lovely ship. They need more staff. I think they had 4000 passengers and only 1000 staff. We never even met our cabin steward nor did we get ice unless we made a call. Other passengers told us that room service was extra. We did not use it so you should check before ordering.

We took a "shopping" excursion thru the ship to the Medina. If you're not familiar with a medina my understanding was that it's origin is from the middle ages when a city's first defense was the wall around the town then the streets were purposely made into a maze, laden with secrets, narrow alleyways, small shops, huge mosques, and palaces to further confuse their enemies if they got thru the outside wall. Our guide told us not to leave on our own cause we would never find our way out and he was right.

We were never left to "shop" on our own. First we were taken to a rug shop, led up a small crooked and very old staircase and brought into a small room for the purpose of selling us a Tunisian rug. They served us all a hot tea (it was gross),then proceeded to pressure sell us on their rugs, camel hair to silk. (I never did find out if they had to kill the camel to get the hair, does anyone know). The silk rug were very beautiful but very expensive. The excursion list did not mention this rug sale.

Next we were whisked away to one shop that was just opened to us with many sales men trying to get you to buy something. They all expect you the haggle with them.

Next we went to another village painted all white with blue trim called Sidi Bou Said. We were oriented to the area and shopping. The men (I didn't see any women) really try hard to sell you something whether you want it or not. Well I guess it was a 'shopping' excursion. These areas are miles from the ship and other than pay a taxi, which I hear are very good, this would be difficult to do on your own. The area is very interesting and should not be missed. Less

Published 09/23/09

Cabin review: 10114

Our cabin, 10114, was lovely with a balcony. Beds were comfortable.

Port and Shore Excursions

We did another excursion with the ship to 'Portofino'. A must see village in Italy. The excursion was basically to get you there and the rest of the time was free. You can get there by yourself which I believe involves a train and a bus. However, the trip we took by bus and ferry had spectacular views and I thought was a good value without the hassles of train schedules.
Read 289 Genoa Reviews

The port seems quite large and difficult to navigate on your own so we decided to book an excursion. We wanted the 'Taste of Camargue', a drive through the french countryside and visit to a typical farm, but it was cancelled due to lack of participation. (go figure) We settled for 'Aix-en-provence', a four hour tour to the area with a guide. We were taken by bus and then a historical walking tour that was informative and enjoyable. We then had more than an hour of free time to visit the markets or whatever we wanted.

Naples is an easy port to go out on your own. The ferry to Capri or Sorrento is just off the pier to your left when you leave the ship. There are also plenty of cabs willing to take you anywhere. Just depends on what you want to do. I have been here before and there are tours for every taste and budget.

We decided to take the ferry to Sorrento. This village is on a cliff so we took the local bus up into the center of town, found the TI and got a map. Most sites are an easy walk. You can walk up to town if you'd like. There appeared to be some beaches by the hotels, I don't know if they are opened to the public but I sure wish that I had taken my swimming suit. We also took the little quirky train tour, it stopped for gas midway through out trip, really, and it has an audio guide in different languages. Make sure you check the ferry times back and be aw tare there is more than one pier. It was raining and we almost missed our ferry.

Read 1171 Naples Reviews

Palermo is easy access from the pier on foot. We decided to do the hop on hop off bus which was 20 euros and there was two lines, red and blue. Each line runs about 1 1/2 hours and had an audio guide included in the price for many languages. The blue line did start until 2pm. We bought the tickets at the pier desk thinking we could get right on when we got to the stop. It was morning and the rush was on. We had to get a number and wait for about an hour to get on the bus. Evidently many others had the same idea. The rest of the buses we used were no trouble. There are a lot of street vendors in the area and most things are not made in Sicily. The local markets are very interesting. Found some gelato by the cathedral that was delicious and cooled us off on this very warm day. If you are on a short time frame I would recommend taking an excursion or finding a cab driver you like and pay them to take you around. Wish I had done more homework here.
Read 217 Palermo Reviews

This beautiful city is not to be missed. You can walk as the town is at the pier if you just want to wander, the sites are spread out. A cab will do. Find one you click with and negotiate the price. They will take you to the same places the cruise excursion takes you. We found John, who had fairly good English as none of us spoke Spanish (wish I did), we had four people and he charged 25 euros each for about a 3 hour tour, the ship is four hours but they have a whole bus load of people to move around, and they charged 48 euros. We visited the bullring, Belver Castle and the pearl factory but just drove by the Gothic Cathedral. If you want to go in, I think there is a charge, negotiate that up front, might cost you more for cab to wait.

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