Our previous 2 cruises, with Cunard and Princess were a dream so with destination the most important for our choice we booked though an agent and eventually made it on board a MSC ship.
Eventually I might add is because our private transfer wasn't at Havana airport to pick us up, but with an MSC representative collecting a bus load, I thought they might help. But we weren't on his list so he directed us to an office outside the terminal. After 20 minutes and 6 people later they had no idea what to do, I I went back inside the terminal to talk the the MSC man again. I asked him if he could contact the ship and try and help us get to the port. Again "no" was the answer, "speak to someone in red".
After arriving in Havana at approximately 21.15 and the time now being 11.30 we found another person in red who said that another couple had been in the airport and they had booked a taxi for themselves it would cost 30 Pesos. We went to the exchange only to have the shutters pulled down in front of us. We went back outside the terminal and used another exchange.
So in a new continent we found ourselves in a cab hoping that we would get to the port.
Arriving at the ship, we were given a card and told that our cabin was on 9. No welcome, no hello, no anything.
From here the experience got worse. On day 5, I wrote a letter that was 5 pages long on the problems and issues experience so far on the cruise. I wrote the letter on day 5 as this was the day that we booked a hiking adventure and they took us to the beach, I ended up speaking to 6 different people that day who all told me not to worry as I wouldn't charged any extra for the excursion. On day 12 we received our refund for the Hiking trip, we asked for the refund for 5 days before the General manager eventually stepped in.
The other poor and terrible experiences are too numerous to add so I'll be brief.
6 of the excursions were Not value for money, we went on 8. The restaurant food service was poor, the food in some cases was inedible. We made up a game called, How many of the courses would be edible. one night scored 0/3, one night scored 3/3. Some of the entertainment was chargeable, the rest was very basic, seen it all before type of thing.
The crew ate in the buffet dining rooms with the passenger, pretty much all the time. The on board reception staff were rude and repeated statements to questions, when you asked a further question they repeated the first again.
Every person we spoke to on and off the ship wherever we were had a complaint.
A first cruise couple said it had put them off ever going on a cruise again.
Another couple said that they had were on their 4th MSC trip and this was appalling, we leave them trying to get their money back on 2 x face cream at €450 EACH.
On day 8 we received our welcome on board pack, with a schedule for the next 14 days.
We would cruise again for a long while and certainly never with MSC. We can laugh about turning up to the beach in our hiking shoes, but MSC gave us that number, and put us on that bus. There was no number check, excursion check, names taken and when we asked to be taken back to the ship we were told no we would have to stay. The worry was that for a whole day MSC didn't have any idea where we were, they knew we weren't on board and that we weren't on the right excursion but they didn't know where we were.
Clean and small, like most cruise cabins. We did run of of things in the bathroom but they were replenished same day. The dreadful dispensers for shampoo and body wash were always sticking and the smell from the contents was over powering, not ideal for an asthmatic and allergy sufferer.