MSC - Maximum Service Charges: MSC Fantasia Cruise Review by ELAINEMAURICE

MSC Fantasia 3
Member Since 2009
16 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

MSC - Maximum Service Charges

Sail Date: December 2009
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Genoa
We were excited at our first opportunity to cruise the Mediterranean. The ship was beautiful and our stateroom was lovely and spacious. We were told that we may have to switch rooms (our cruise was booked at the last minute and for a great price)and although we didn't have to switch rooms, it became clear why they left that option open for themselves; they were taking on and letting go of passengers at every port we stopped at. Now that's very different from the U.S. Some of the other differences became apparent quickly. We went up to the gym to check it out and found out that we had to pay to use the sauna - like over $100 Euros (approximately $150). Then we found out that they don't serve any liquid refreshments with lunch and dinner with the intent of getting more Euros for bottled water. (at breakfast they do serve juice and coffee free of extra charges. Like U.S. cruises they did sell discount tickets for soda and water and beer. But no iced tea which is served on U.S. cruises. More

The other thing that bothered me is that they provided buses out of all the port areas - just barely out of the port area and charged 5 Euros for each person. It's like they wanted to make it nice BUT wanted to make a profit on every silly little thing they did. I don't like that. I start to feel like I'm being taken advantage of.

They charged a lot for internet use, but they must need a bigger satellite because you couldn't get through half the time. The internet connections were very slow when they were working.

The food was pretty good. They did have specialty restaurants (TexMex and French) for added fees, but they were virtually empty every night. They were too expensive and everything in them was al a carte. Their food each day at the ship's restaurants was okay - not sensational. The food at the buffet was good, except at breakfast, the bacon was practically raw and the sausage was also undercooked.

And then there was the lack of English speaking people on the cruise - not MSC's fault. That just started to bother us after a while. There were primarily Germans, Italians and French on the cruise. There were a few Americans, but only a handful. Because of this experience, I don't think we would go on a European based cruise again. After a while you just feel lonely for someone to speak to - lonely while you are surrounded by 2,000 people! We are very friendly, but it didn't help us and we just didn't like the fact that there were so few English speaking people on board.

All in all, it was great to get away. We loved Rome and had a great day in Barcelona visiting Parc Guell. The stops in the Canary Islands and Madiera were okay. I would do it differently next time. And I'm pretty convinced that cruising is not the best way to see Europe; goodness knows you need more than a day in Rome and Barcelona. It is a good way to get a taste of each city and then schedule to come back to the ones you love. Less

Published 01/07/10

Cabin review: 045051

Quiet location. Close to the elevators. Nice to be right down the hall from the main lobby and the internet.

Port and Shore Excursions

Our stop in Barcelona was for a full day. We had been to Barcelona before but we had not been to Gaudi's Parc Guell. It is a bit out of the way, north of the city, but definitely worth the short trip by taxi. Here is where Gaudi went whimsical with mosaics. It was lovely. You can see where he put thought into his work and did things like making the benches ergonomic, made a lovely area for a park (where there were lots of people, street vendors and street musicians). He made a nice area for a Farmer's Market. Anyway it was a great day. We did this tour on our own and did not pay the cruise line for their crowded and planned and expensive tours.

Read 1729 Barcelona Reviews

In their favor, the crew was very nice and friendly and relaxed. There were two stops on the itinerary that I question. The first stop was Gibraltar which is in Southern Spain, but is a U.K. territory. And the big question I have about that stop is that it never happened. I believe the ship may have stopped out in the ocean, but there were no tender boats, no port tours, NOTHING. I was disappointed about that because I was curious about Gibraltar and now I guess my curiosity will continue. What the heck?!?!? The next stop that I had some criticism of was Malaga; we were there for a morning and that was not enough time. I don't think these ships should bother with port stops if they can't make it for a full day stop. In this case, had we stayed in Malaga for longer, it would have cut into our already short stop of one day in Rome. So eliminate it, guys! And give us the extra time in Rome.

We took the local bus to the beach and had a nice time. The sand was brownish but fine. We found a beach that was calm enough to go swimming. Then went to lunch at a local cafe and that was it. A friend of ours went on one of the tours provided by the ship and it sounded like he had a better time than we did. They went to some caves where they saw blind crabs, etc. etc. Sounded like that was more fun, to be fair to the cruise-provided tours.

Again, we went on our own to the Botanical Gardens and there was also a bird sanctuary there. It was far enough away from the port and up the mountain far enough to get some beautiful panoramic views of the harbor and the gardens and the birds were quite interesting. A nice stop, but nothing too different.

The ship docked in Civitavechia, which I guess is the closest to Rome. We took the local train to Rome. It was quick, easy and people were helpful. We walked over to St. Peter's Basilica and spent the entire day at St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel. They were wonderful, fabulous, thrilling. We promised ourselves to come back to Rome and see everything that we didn't see. One day just isn't enough time. I don't know how the cruise-sponsored tours did, but there's just a lot to see and do in Rome. I would consider a tour bus next time, just to get an overview of the city.

Again we went off on our own. We found a taxi driver to take us to the Port/Shopping/Beach area. We had a nice lunch, did a little shopping and walking around. The beach was so rough, you really couldn't swim in the water without being thrown around a bit too much by the rough seas and there were lots of rock and pebbles to tear at your skin. Nice place and especially nice to get some warmth in the wintertime.

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Member Since 2009
16 Forum Posts
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