MSC Fantasia Cruise Review by JohnM44
- Sail Date: October 2017
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom – Fantastica
We planned a two day hotel stay beforehand in Barcelona (this turned out to be one day due to flight cancellation). That being said we found a little gem of a hotel (Wilson's boutique hotel). The hotel was great, shaped like the Flatiron building in NYC. We had a family room at the tip of the building and it was really excellent and very comfortable.
I have read reviews about embarkation being like cattle at the sales ring, but we kept to our allotted check in time and everything was perfect.
We had the Aurea package booked so we had priority boarding and luggage was priority as well. Even though we had this it didn't really matter as there was so few people around when we arrived, the staff gave us super attention. I'd say from the taxi to the cabin took twenty minutes. That's impressive no matter what you a trying to achieve as a company.
The ship came into service in 2008 and I've read reviews about the ship being tired looking and so on. I'm biased as this was our first time but we found the ship to be excellent. The ship was being painted when we boarded and on the inside there were people replacing carpets and soft furnishings, so maybe it is a little tired around the edges but that doesn't stop the ship presenting itself to an impeccable standard.
The ship is SPOTLESS from the public areas, cabins, food areas, shops, bars, outside decks, spa, everywhere is spotless and I've had this confirmed by my wife who is a fully certified clean freak.
The ship is very well laid out and has the right mixture of old and new charms to cater for all tastes and styles of all the different cultures that were onboard.
Our cabin was excellent and more spacious that we would have thought before hand. The cabin attendant serviced the room twice a day and if we needed extra towels etc. there was no problems with anything we needed. Our cabin was slightly bigger than most of the balcony cabins onboard this was due to the Aurea package that I mentioned earlier. The cabin was on deck 12 an toward the bow of the ship. We had excellent views from our balcony and the balcony was washed down at least twice during the cruise. There was more than enough wardrobe space and the bathroom was very good, clean and spacious.
Dining overall was very good. We spent most of our dining time in the buffet. The variety there better suited our tastes. We did however get all dressed up one evening and went to the main restaurant. The food was very good but there was not a lot of it which isn't a bad thing in our book. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed and we enjoyed the experience.
Like I said the buffet more that met our requirements. A golf buddy of mine had been on an MSC cruise a couple of months before us and commented that he didn't enjoy the cruise because the food was always the same. I found this to be both true and a little misleading. To be fair how many way can you present potatoes differently. Four to five different ways I would have said. Our cruise lasted 13 days so yes you would see the same items coming up with a couple of days of a gap before their reappearance. The funny thing about that was that when this stuff came up again it seemed to be the most popular items that day. Is it the same yes is it the same every day, certinaly not and like I said when it reappears it's popular.
Again spotless is an understatement for the buffet area, and the consistent cleaning was unbelievable by the staff.
The entertainment was very good. A good variety of bars both inside and outside. The shows in the theatre were good but not great. That's probably a bit biased as we don't really go for shows of that kind but the couple we did see were quite good. The main bar areas all had singers, djs, pianist, harp and so on. There was no shortage of entertainers all over the ship.
We would like to mention the Aurea Spa as we spent some time in there. The place again is spotless. The staff are excellent and the variety of what available is out of this world. The thermal area had 3 different saunas with different aromas as did the 3 Turkish baths. The relaxation area has floor to ceiling widows out to sea and is an amazing place to chill out. We had a couples massage and jacuzzi which again was in a dedicated room with sea views through the floor to ceiling windows. The spa as a whole is a really nice place to be but the one caviate is the prices are well up there on the expenses that are not included in the cruise fare.
The service on board was brilliant, we couldn't fault the staff at all. Again I read before we cruised that some staff were abrupt and rude etc. We did see staff being treated poorly by guests so who knows maybe that is why some of the staff get abrupt or rude. There was absolutely nothing that I can remember that would make us think anything other than how good the staff were.
The ports and shore excursions for us were very good. Barcelona, day at sea, Casablanca, day at sea, Tenerife, Madeira, day at sea, Rome, Genoa, Marseille and back to Barcelona. The excursions are expensive but you get what you pay for. The guides spoke clear English and were detailed in the guidance. I'm not sure how going it alone would be any better from an expierence point of view but it would probably be cheaper. That being said if you go it alone how many sites would you get to see and how would you deal with the "interpretive" aspect of going it alone. I spoke to some people who booked their own guided tours, but by my reckoning this didn't end up any cheaper.
Overall this was an excellent holiday. We intend on cruising again in 2020. It was a great experience for us including my seven year old daughter.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
CasablancaI found the overall experience brilliant but my wife and daughter struggled to enjoy this trip. The early part was in the more run down sections of the city and can be a bit of a culture shock. The trip moved on to the Hassen 2 mosque. This was absolutely amazing to see and we had fast track entry so it made life much easier. We moved onto the beach are with the compulsory toilet stop at the restaurant owned by our guides brother. The beach area was nice, more like a low key resort in Spain. Then we moved to the kings palace area of the city. This was a lovely area, much cleaner and quieter area of the city.View All 75 Casablanca Cruise Port Reviews
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MalagaBooked the shuttle bus with the cruise line but we have been to malaga plenty of times in the past so we were confident of our abilities to go it alone. Visit the cathedral it's amazing and for six euro a head is a steal.View All 13,774 Malaga Cruise Port Reviews
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Sistine ChapelWe saw all the major sights from the bus. The circus maximums was very impressive once you used your imagination. Of course the Vatican was the main focus for this trip. We had the guide all day through out the Vatican and the Sistine chapel. Everything was so impressive and on a grand scale. We loved this trip as well.View All 114 Sistine Chapel Reviews
Loro ParkReally enjoyed the few hours with my daughter(mum stayed in the spa this day). The park is well maintained and compact enough to navigate in a short space of time. Seal, dolphin and orca shows helped coordinate the day. The trip to and from the park gave impressive views of mount Teide.View All 14 Loro Park Reviews