We chose this cruise because it visited all but one places we had not been to. Having travelled on the MSC Opera we knew what to expect and then it was a good trip with the only short falls being the way it catered for mainly non-UK guests.
Embarkation went reasonably well, very very busy at Valencia, people jostling about and queue jumping, checking in cases then queueing again. Disembarkation very fast and the best we have had. All very efficient considering the 4000 plus passengers involved.
We had a deck 10 port side cabin with balcony and enjoyed nearly every port with a city view. The cabin was roomy with very plush fittings maybe due for an update in some areas but had everything you need except drinks hot making facilities, due to kettles being a fire hazard. Our cabin had very noisy neighbours, with children playing football and screeching, fortunately they left a th first port. Not too sure about the constant smoking on other balconies and in various areas including the casino not being a fire hazard. Very bad if you a non smoker. The smoke invades a huge portion of a few bars.
This is a beautifully appointed ship with elegance and flair in all areas. Plenty of places to relax.
The main dining rooms are cram packed and most have tables for 6 or 8. If you want to dine as a couple you need to either go to the very very busy Bora Bora deck 14 buffet, or pay extra at the other Tex Mex or upgrade to Aurea for my-time dining. Dining times were either 7pm of 9.45pm in either the Reggio or as we had the Villa Verde smaller restaurant.
Three course meals in the evening, small portions but a reasonable choice even for vegetarian diners.the gala dinners weren't any different. Forget it if you want pie and chips, this cruise line caters for Mediterranean tastes and has a huge range of food on offer in the Deck 14 buffets. Burgers, pizzas, hotdogs too but plenty of salads and some healthy food choices. The food whilst always plentiful was not the same quality we had a few years ago. I can understand the industry tightening their belts. The last river cruise food quality made this seem like a poor relation in the serviced restaurants.
One thing that shines here more than anything is the exceptional quality of service from an incredibly hard working mainly Indonesian staff. The Italian staffed higher ranking positions were occupied by a very hit and miss bunch. You could be lucky and then most times had very brusque service. This service on both levels were the same on both cruises.
There were an amazing amount of very young children on board, and the noise levels were exceptionally high if you are used to quiet dining and pub,if areas.
The entertainment in the theatre was varied, certainly not to my tastes and last 30 minutes. Not high quality west end stuff as on some other cruise lines. The bars and lounges had good singers and musicians playing middle of the road pleasant listening tunes.
Plenty of activities of varying levels
We had a drinks package that included non branded drinks in all restaurants and bars and at £20 per person per day prepaid seems expensive but when you add up a few colas and a few coffees and a couple of alcoholic tipples it's easily the cheapest option, we were hugely in profit at the end of our cruise. The policy is to bring no alcohol on board at any time and is heavily policed at each port. Plenty of people having it confiscated to be returned at disembarkation.
We had prebooked a couple of excursions mainly due to time. They are always an expensive option on most ships but a good way to get a taster if you can't be bothered. The shuttle buses are a good earner, some are worth saving you a very long walk...some not. You can't always tell where the ship will dock but due to the size of most it will be a good way away from the city, exception being the home port of MSC in Genoa.
Would I use MSC again? probably not. My idea of a cruise is of a more leisurely nature and a fine dining experience with excursions included and this was none of them. There are plenty of other cruise lines that for the same money give a far superior experience.
Spacious, well fitted
Short walk to the old town and a very interesting walk through. Close to the aquarium and port front.
Trip to the basilica with a 120 step climb which tested everyone including young and very fit. Interesting tour of the city.View All 74 Marseille Tour Reviews
A long hour plus journey took us to Porta Borghese, should have been Colloseum but due to a marathon it helped us to get closer.View All 171 Rome on Your Own Reviews
Lovely port and was our favourite place to stop