We got the Fantastica experience that included 12 drinks per passenger. Even though it was in MSC's computer system, we did not get the drink vouchers as we embarked. For one reason or another the reception staff couldn't take care of the issue right away and we had to make 3 trips to the reception desk. However, that was the only issue we had.
It was immaculate. Very beautiful. We liked sitting at the lobby as it was the most stunning place. Our cabin was the same as we had in other cruises. Our stewardess was always friendly and asking if we needed anything. There are no urinals in the men's bathrooms. The elevators were also packed in the evenings. We had to take the stairs most of the time, but we welcomed the exercise.
We were assigned to La Reggia. We had Alejandro as a waiter, from Honduras, and he was as good as it gets. The ceviche appetizer was great as well as most meals. Only a couple of times we found some fish dishes not that great. The portions were small, but you can always order more food. We, instead, would go for a nice fresh slice of pizza at the buffet, when necessary. We also used the buffet for breakfast and I found a couple of things that I really liked. The ship was at full capacity, but we always found an empty table.
There were 3 or 4 after dinner shows we enjoyed, such as space Odyssey. The shows were 30 minutes long. Most nights, at 11:45PM the entertainment team had funny activities at the Aft lounge. The lounge was always packed for these activities, and hard to see anything if you get there late.
We usually found ourselves having coffee or drinks at La Piazzetta. We also liked the Purple Jazz bar and the sports bar. On the other hand, La Prua piano bar was uncomfortable with all the cigarette smoke coming up from the casino. I found the drink prices standard as most places. Entertainers sang/played mostly popular English songs.
My children, 10 and 11, found the kids activities in their group geared toward the younger ones. So they would spend most of the time with us or at the pools. As a parent, I found the kids club staff very nice and accommodating. My kids looked forward to the sail away and foam parties at the water park, animated by the entertainment team.
Buy the $100 package before you sail. They do not have it available during the cruise. We made the mistake of not buying it before hand. Once in the ship, you have to negotiate. I liked how Royal Caribbean had photographers as you exit the ship at each port. MSC did not have them.
My wife got her hair done and a massage. She was very satisfied and they had decent prices.
We loved all the ports. We were among the first to come out to the port and the last to come back in. In Valencia and Marseille, it was cheaper and more convenient for the 4 of us to take a taxi than to buy the MSC downtown shuttle. We paid 15€ for a taxi each way for 4, instead of 46€ (2 adults and 2 kids) round trip with MSC, and we could get the taxi to go back anywhere, instead of walking back to the rendezvous place. We always went on our own and did not buy any excursions through MSC as we found them expensive. Overall, we had an amazing time. We experienced excellent service all around the ship. We don't speak Italian, but made several Italian friends. Compared to Royal Caribbean, we found some things better at MSC and some better at RC, but that was fine with us. We accepted the differences and got our money's worth. I will sail with MSC again.
Excellent stewardess. Efficient and very friendly. The cabin was comfortable and spacious.
Genoa was our embarkation port. The walk from Piazza Principe termini to the cruise port is only 10 minutes. However, there are some stairs and crossing a busy street. After disembarkation we stored our luggage at the train station. We took a train to Santa Margharita Ligure, about 1 hr from Genoa. Then a bus to Portofino which took 30 mins. Portofino was pretty and we had lunch there, but small. Next time we will stay in Santa Margharita Ligure. We didn't actually see much of Genoa.
Roma is a difficult port. First, you take a shuttle, provided by MSC, from the ship to the port entrance. Then from the port to the Civitavecchia terminal you take another bus, it costs 2€ and takes about 10 minutes. The trains to Roma pass about every 30 minutes and it takes 1 hr to get to Roma. We took the 8:42 AM and got off at Ostiense train station. That was great advice from another reviewer. From Ostiense we took the Metro to the Colosseo. When you come out of the Metro, the Colosseo is almost on your nose. We spent all day there and then walked to Piazza Venetia. Had lunch and walked to Roma Termini. We will be back to Roma but for more days, not on a cruise ship stop. Don't let the street vendors rip you off with the Colosseo entrance. It should be only 12€.
We didn't know what to expect from Palermo. As we walked out, the locals were very aggressive trying to sell tours, reminded me of some Caribbean ports. We walked past all of them trying to get the bus to Mondello beach. At some point, one of them convinced us and we agreed to a 90 min tour in a motorcycle style car, ending in Mondello beach for 70€. The tour was nice and it saved us a lot of walking, but after we started, the driver kept renegotiating the rate. As far as Mondello beach, we were glad we went there. We stayed at the free part of the beach. There were restaurants to have a drink right at the beach. We also had lunch at da Calogero. The food, wine and service was great. If you like the beach, don't miss Mondello.
We took the combination tour right outside the port gates. The cost was 15€ for the city tour and then transfer to Poetto Beach. The tour was ok, for about 1 hr, but it was quick and we couldn't get of the bus to take pictures or walk around. Poetto beach was wonderful. We got a table at La Sella DelDiavolo restaurant. There were many places to hang out at the city and I would go back to the castle area. We will come back to this city.
This was the best port. It is very modern and clean. We went to La Romana beach, not to Magalu, where all cruise tourists were going. Then we went to Valdemossa. We walked around Palma and had dinner close to the port. I also helped that we met friends who live in the city and they were our guides. We will be back to Palma.
Another great port. Not enough time to do everything. We skipped the Arts and Science Museums and went to the city. The Merkat Central was amazing. We also got word from a local where to eat the best paella and Agua de Valencia: Masia Del Vino. For 4 people, the taxi is cheaper and more convenient than the MSC shuttle.
We took a taxi from the ship to the Petit Port. Then we took Le Petit Train route 1 to Notre Dame de la Garde. Most restaurants were closed for lunch and couldn't get the ones suggested by tripadvisor. We liked Le Petit Train so much, we took the second route and saw the old Marseille.