The middle eastern ports of call appealed to us and the fact that the cruise went along the East coast of Africa. We have already done the voyage along the west coast of Africa. We also looked forward to going through the Suez Canal as that was a first time experience. WE were disappointed in the excursion to King Solomons mines as we were given the impression we would visit a kibbutz but instead were just driven around one. WE have been on several MSC cruises in the past and were disappointed in the quality of the food on this cruise. We used the main restaurants whenever possible, only using the buffet on the pool deck when returning from an excursion too late to use the formal diningrooms. Fresh fruit became less and less and near the end of the cruise we were told that the kitchen had run out of biscuits to have with the cheese. The meat from the carver was hacked rather than sliced. Service at open seating times was frustratingly slow and one was shunted from one member of staff to another, It was almost impossible to find someone to order something from the bar like a cappuccino at breakfast. The waiters at the evening meals were top class and did their best to accommodate our needs. The seating in the theatre is absolutely terrible now that there is the row of loose chairs in front of fixed bench seats. Embarkation was a nightmare and we were never told what caused the delay. Other than that the running of the ship was excellent. Pronunciaion of staff doing multi language quizzes was so bad that one didn't understand the questions. The bridge classes were great and the presenters very helpful. Documentaries were very interesting. we requested a small table at first sitting for dinner and it took 3 moves before we were finally allocated a nice table.
the room we were offered at the hotel in Venice was below par in the annex but the breakfast was good. we weren't offered to start the trip from Cape Town and had to find our one way to get to Johannesburg for the flight to Dubai. this obviously made the journey much longer and baggage could. not be booked straight through.
The cabin was a 4 bed with a double bed in the middle of the cabin which made it very cramped. We did ask if it could be swapped for a 2 bed but were told that was not possible. 2 single beds would have worked better.