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My wife booked MSC in the blink way before the sail date, no research, the price was great and all the ports seemed good. As we get close the sail date, we started to read reviews, a lot of bad reviews, about food, restaurants, service, rude fellow passengers, extra charges. We did not pay much, might just well do a diet cruise. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to port by train than bus before 3pm after a morning in Rome. There were only a few people on the bus, and we got on in no time, spending less than 30 second at each staff station, the moment we were done the next staff were smiling and waving at us. The moment we got the ship, a sales girl approached us and explained coffee package, beer package, and other packages. We took her advice only took coffee and beer since my wife can't drink much. Both was reasonably priced, came as ticket book, order one use one fare enough. During the cruise, we ordered wine and Scotch by the glass when we felt like it, not much extra. The girl by the door also advise us to go to the buffet and grab some food since we were on late dinner seating. We went to get some fruit and the buffet looked really good, not as the review said. We had pastry on the train and not hungry at all. The cabin was amazingly big and comfortable, bigger than our hotel room in Rome. Detail see cabin review. The ship was very smooth and stable, our cabin was mid-front, did not feel much rocking. One night we went out on our balcony, the wave were rough and water broke up by the bow of ship got to our face on deck 11, but inside the cabin it felt like smooth water sailing. We thought we might lose some weight after reading all the reviews about the the dining experience. The dinning was fine, it was very good for a cruise ship. Maybe we read all the foodie reviewers. To be reasonable, if you are a foodie, why you choose to board a 3000 guest ship in the first place.The dining room portion was not small, my wife could not finish. Every time I helped her, I was over stuffed. The first night we sat with another American couple from St. Louis that just came off another cruise and doing 2 cruises back to back. They read the same reviews we did, and were planning to lose some weight from their previous cruise. After our meal, the husband said he's a big eater and he was fine, the rest of us couldn't finish even it tasted really good. Our package all include bottled water at dinner room, maybe an American thing. All four of us wanted to swap to early sitting since we all used to eat early and sleep early. We switched to early on the 3rd night, the St. Louis couple met some other people and decided to stay with 2nd seating. My wife ate a bit too much pineapple and all kind of prosciutto at the buffet after got back from shore trip and getting an upset stomach and decided to skip dinner. I went to our first night at the early seating alone, and met a nice and quiet American couple and 2 cheerful ladies from Washington and Oregon. The nice and quiet couple caught a cold next day and still came down to tell us that they would not be eating with us since the husband could calm his cough, what a gentlemen. We sat with the 2 cheerful ladies for the remaining trip, they were a lot of fun. They even gave me advice to get some papaya for my wife to cure her stomach problem, it worked like magic. And our waiter was great and fun, and I liked his recommendations for dinner and dessert choices. We only went saw one show at the theater, it was great. The rest of nights we went to different bars for live music and watch guests dancing with the music, there were some great amazing dancers. We did not experience problem with service, did not need to go to reception. The ports and excursions were great, we choose guided trips if port time is relatively short, otherwise we used Uber/Taxi/cruise transportation, then touring around on our own. Our friend gave us an Europe tour book sometimes ago, it really helped. We were able plan the night before and hit site/museum/landmark from the book, it especially helped in the museums since it listed which room which famous piece was in, so we were able to get to them with limited time. Some pieces did move, but museum staffs were very helpful. Lesson learned, call Uber once outside port gate, since some port won't let them in. Guided tours were fun too, all the local guides we experience were very fun. We choose mostly touring on our own since we were not disciplined, wife would browse Sunday market, eat wherever we felt pleasing, But we did do our homework the night before and planned out must-sees. Honestly everything was pretty good comparing all the cruises we took. Good thing we did buy the alcohol package since it required both of us. I don't like cocktails and wife can't drink much. No IPA on board, but there were a few beer ok to drink and can't complain for the price of the beer tickets. Coffee is good, we used the coffee tickets for cappuccino and double cappuccino, 1 ticket double or regular. Don't wasted on Americano, the buffett free coffee is better. I tried Turkish coffee, not good from the coffee bar. I think it is very reasonable, you buy whatever package you need, pay for Scotch alike whenever you feel like.

Way better than expected

MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by Donger228

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom – Bella
My wife booked MSC in the blink way before the sail date, no research, the price was great and all the ports seemed good.

As we get close the sail date, we started to read reviews, a lot of bad reviews, about food, restaurants, service, rude fellow passengers, extra charges. We did not pay much, might just well do a diet cruise.

Embarkation was a breeze, we got to port by train than bus before 3pm after a morning in Rome. There were only a few people on the bus, and we got on in no time, spending less than 30 second at each staff station, the moment we were done the next staff were smiling and waving at us.

The moment we got the ship, a sales girl approached us and explained coffee package, beer package, and other packages. We took her advice only took coffee and beer since my wife can't drink much. Both was reasonably priced, came as ticket book, order one use one fare enough. During the cruise, we ordered wine and Scotch by the glass when we felt like it, not much extra. The girl by the door also advise us to go to the buffet and grab some food since we were on late dinner seating. We went to get some fruit and the buffet looked really good, not as the review said. We had pastry on the train and not hungry at all.

The cabin was amazingly big and comfortable, bigger than our hotel room in Rome. Detail see cabin review. The ship was very smooth and stable, our cabin was mid-front, did not feel much rocking. One night we went out on our balcony, the wave were rough and water broke up by the bow of ship got to our face on deck 11, but inside the cabin it felt like smooth water sailing.

We thought we might lose some weight after reading all the reviews about the the dining experience. The dinning was fine, it was very good for a cruise ship. Maybe we read all the foodie reviewers. To be reasonable, if you are a foodie, why you choose to board a 3000 guest ship in the first place.The dining room portion was not small, my wife could not finish. Every time I helped her, I was over stuffed. The first night we sat with another American couple from St. Louis that just came off another cruise and doing 2 cruises back to back. They read the same reviews we did, and were planning to lose some weight from their previous cruise. After our meal, the husband said he's a big eater and he was fine, the rest of us couldn't finish even it tasted really good. Our package all include bottled water at dinner room, maybe an American thing. All four of us wanted to swap to early sitting since we all used to eat early and sleep early. We switched to early on the 3rd night, the St. Louis couple met some other people and decided to stay with 2nd seating.

My wife ate a bit too much pineapple and all kind of prosciutto at the buffet after got back from shore trip and getting an upset stomach and decided to skip dinner. I went to our first night at the early seating alone, and met a nice and quiet American couple and 2 cheerful ladies from Washington and Oregon. The nice and quiet couple caught a cold next day and still came down to tell us that they would not be eating with us since the husband could calm his cough, what a gentlemen. We sat with the 2 cheerful ladies for the remaining trip, they were a lot of fun. They even gave me advice to get some papaya for my wife to cure her stomach problem, it worked like magic. And our waiter was great and fun, and I liked his recommendations for dinner and dessert choices.

We only went saw one show at the theater, it was great. The rest of nights we went to different bars for live music and watch guests dancing with the music, there were some great amazing dancers.

We did not experience problem with service, did not need to go to reception.

The ports and excursions were great, we choose guided trips if port time is relatively short, otherwise we used Uber/Taxi/cruise transportation, then touring around on our own. Our friend gave us an Europe tour book sometimes ago, it really helped. We were able plan the night before and hit site/museum/landmark from the book, it especially helped in the museums since it listed which room which famous piece was in, so we were able to get to them with limited time. Some pieces did move, but museum staffs were very helpful. Lesson learned, call Uber once outside port gate, since some port won't let them in. Guided tours were fun too, all the local guides we experience were very fun. We choose mostly touring on our own since we were not disciplined, wife would browse Sunday market, eat wherever we felt pleasing, But we did do our homework the night before and planned out must-sees.

Honestly everything was pretty good comparing all the cruises we took. Good thing we did buy the alcohol package since it required both of us. I don't like cocktails and wife can't drink much. No IPA on board, but there were a few beer ok to drink and can't complain for the price of the beer tickets. Coffee is good, we used the coffee tickets for cappuccino and double cappuccino, 1 ticket double or regular. Don't wasted on Americano, the buffett free coffee is better. I tried Turkish coffee, not good from the coffee bar. I think it is very reasonable, you buy whatever package you need, pay for Scotch alike whenever you feel like.
Donger228’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom – Bella
Cabin B1 11133
We spent quite some time in the cabin when ship was at sea or after shore trip. It's bigger than most of the hotel room in Rome. Very comfortable queen size bed, a desk, and a twin size sofa bed. Did not watch TV, no need. More than enough drawers for my wife's stuff. I choose to grab from my suitcase daily without fully open it instead of unpack everything. There was enough hangers and would not mind a couple more. And there were a couple of chairs and a short stool on the balcony. Shower was well pressurized, shower area was bit tight, fine for us, but might not for bigger people. Only one time our vacuum toilet flush and the neighboring cabin were down for about an hour, fixed pretty quickly. Neither of us read the disembarkation instruction fully, end up taking time in the cabin since it's so comfy, nearly missing our time to go to the staging area and delaying our cabin maid preparing for the upcoming guests.
Viola Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews