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MSC Orchestra Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
381 Reviews

Nightmare experience, do not use MSC!

MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by JustsaynotoMSC

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2017
  • Destination: the Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom

We took this cruise as part of a family vacation. It ended up being a nightmare experience.

Less than 24 hours before we departed, MSC notified us that we would not be departing in Genoa, Italy. They gave us no additional information about when to show up or what their plan was to get us to Marseilles. We found out later that MSC knew that there was a problem with the engines 6 weeks before the cruise. They informed us of the plan only on the day of departure.

We received a call from our travel agent, who said she got an email in the middle of the night telling us to arrive no later than 10am at Genoa port of call. It was already 9am at this point in Italy.

We rushed to the departure point and it was chaos. No food, no water at check in. We were told that we would take a bus for 4 hours to Nice, France and then another 4 hour bus to Marseilles. In reality, these bus rides took closer to 7 hours for each leg, as the bus drivers took us on very long, not direct routes and picked up strangers not affiliated with the cruise along the way. The hotel that they put us in Nice was maybe a 2 star hotel, there was mold and stains all over the carpet. We arrived in Nice so late that nothing was open. They gave us less than $50USD to feed our family for the 2 days. During our bus trip, they would not stop to let us use the bathroom or provide food or water. 2017 was a year of terrorist attacks in almost every port of call on this ship, and they still picked up random non-cruise affiliated strangers, who sat in stairwells on packed buses. Everyone on the bus was terrified.

We eventually made it to Marseilles, and boarded the ship, only after experiencing a 4 hour long check in because all the buses showed up at the same time. Again, there was no food or water during this check in.

As a result, we missed 2 days on the cruise, it was too late to go to Marseilles since check in took a long time. We also missed the day in Genoa.

Since the cruise ship's engine wasn't working, we also missed 2 other ports of call in Greece, and we ended up going to unexpected ports, where MSC raised the prices of excursions so high that it was eye watering. The new ports of call were not interesting and if they were on the original itinerary, I would not have taken this cruise.

Food and beverage wise, we paid for the Aurea package, it was so limited on the booze selection that it would have been more affordable to just drink on shore. The selection was laughable. The wine was terrible, a feat in the Mediterranean. The food was lack luster, half the time it was stale or cold.

The accommodations are fine, but not extraordinary.The bathrooms in the rooms were a nice size.The cruise lounge areas are tacky and outdated. The service staff were either very nice or terribly rude, one never knew what we were getting into that day. The entertainment was unimpressive, short of this one couple who were quite good dancers.

The gym is so small. Everyone had to wait for the equipment.The hot tub was tiny and gross from lack of cleaning. The steamrooms were dated.

At the end, they agreed to reimburse my parents for the service tip, and then the day of, they told hundreds of people, including my parents, that they couldn't refund this money to them as they were departing. What a bait and switch! My parents were hoping to use this money to tip the nice servers more.

MSC also refused to reimburse us for our 2 missed ports of call on the ship. Our travel agent is now refusing to ever book anyone on an MSC cruise again. She's spent hours trying to get us reimbursed for the ports of call that were missed.

Please, don't take MSC. I'd hate to have someone else's once in a lifetime vacation get ruined! There are great cruiselines in the Med, this company is not one of them.

JustsaynotoMSC's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom

Very 1990's basic. Bathroom is larger than other cruises that we've been on

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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