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We chose this cruise based strictly on itinerary and price. It was our first (and last) cruise with MSC. With many cruises under our belts, this was one of the worst, ranking it slightly below NCL. A few positives: This is a very port intensive cruise, with only 1 sea day and 8 ports (2 days in St. Petersburg) on an 11 day itinerary. Best ports were St. Petersburg, Tallin, and Stockholm, in our opinion, so we were not disappointed with the itinerary. The other thing you could view as positive is that there was horrible noise in the walls from the a/c system that occurred every 60-90 seconds that made it difficult to sleep in the inside cabin we booked (#9088) and when we brought it to the attention of reception, they did relocate us to a balcony cabin. Passengers from North America accustomed to U.S. cruise lines may find the overall experience is much different on MSC, as most of the passengers are European (70% on our cruise were German) so don't expect announcements or lectures in English. Lots of smokers on board, one side of pool deck dedicated to smoking area. People were smoking in their cabins, although this is forbidden. It may have been worth it to them to pay the 70 euro cleaning fee. Most passengers were retirees, typical of European cruises. The negatives: Food: Buffet food - same breakfast every day, very limited desserts offered at lunch and dinner, poor quality meat (stews had meat with bones). The layout of the buffet is inefficient, with narrow spaces and large, useless columns to navigate around. Extra charge for fresh orange juice. Only drinks offered free were water, coffee and tea. At Breakfast, there was juice from the drink machine. The buffet area seemed to be kept pretty clean. Dining Room: Service extremely slow, food mediocre, noisiest dining room on a ship we ever experienced, so much so that it was difficult to carry on a conversation with your table mates. Servers were constantly dropping silverware, and sometimes plates. We went to the dining room once for breakfast, and sat there 10 minutes before we had to go find a waiter to take our order. Port docking: though we have seen it occasionally before, at EVER PORT we went to, you had to pay MSC for a shuttle bus into town at a cost of 9-15 euros pp. We saw other ships in port that had much better docking locations, so perhaps MSC doesn't want to pay for a closer dock and make money on shuttles. The buses provided had no a/c (it was unseasonably warm the entire trip) with temps inside reaching 90 degrees. Guess MSC didn't want to pay for a nicer bus with a/c. Entertainment: Typical production shows at night. Nothing to do during the day onboard except dance lessons. With only 1 sea day, this wasn't much of an issue. Tiny TV's in cabins with no in room movies, which most US cruise lines offer. Embarkation: We got on and off in Warnemunde, pretty painless procedure, however there were long lines getting back on the ship at each port, many times they only had 1 gangway. When we first embarked the ship, our cabin steward was nowhere to be found (usually they are around to great you when you get on) and didn't show up until around 8pm. Reception desk did not answer the phone for the most part. Excursions: we did not book any excursions through MSC, people we spoke to that did had mixed reviews. The glass around the pool deck was FILTHY and not cleaned the entire time. Tiny elevators compared to other ships.

Below Average Ship All Around

MSC Orchestra Cruise Review by desertbunny

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom – Bella
We chose this cruise based strictly on itinerary and price. It was our first (and last) cruise with MSC. With many cruises under our belts, this was one of the worst, ranking it slightly below NCL.

A few positives: This is a very port intensive cruise, with only 1 sea day and 8 ports (2 days in St. Petersburg) on an 11 day itinerary. Best ports were St. Petersburg, Tallin, and Stockholm, in our opinion, so we were not disappointed with the itinerary. The other thing you could view as positive is that there was horrible noise in the walls from the a/c system that occurred every 60-90 seconds that made it difficult to sleep in the inside cabin we booked (#9088) and when we brought it to the attention of reception, they did relocate us to a balcony cabin.

Passengers from North America accustomed to U.S. cruise lines may find the overall experience is much different on MSC, as most of the passengers are European (70% on our cruise were German) so don't expect announcements or lectures in English. Lots of smokers on board, one side of pool deck dedicated to smoking area. People were smoking in their cabins, although this is forbidden. It may have been worth it to them to pay the 70 euro cleaning fee. Most passengers were retirees, typical of European cruises.

The negatives:

Food: Buffet food - same breakfast every day, very limited desserts offered at lunch and dinner, poor quality meat (stews had meat with bones). The layout of the buffet is inefficient, with narrow spaces and large, useless columns to navigate around. Extra charge for fresh orange juice. Only drinks offered free were water, coffee and tea. At Breakfast, there was juice from the drink machine. The buffet area seemed to be kept pretty clean.

Dining Room: Service extremely slow, food mediocre, noisiest dining room on a ship we ever experienced, so much so that it was difficult to carry on a conversation with your table mates. Servers were constantly dropping silverware, and sometimes plates. We went to the dining room once for breakfast, and sat there 10 minutes before we had to go find a waiter to take our order.

Port docking: though we have seen it occasionally before, at EVER PORT we went to, you had to pay MSC for a shuttle bus into town at a cost of 9-15 euros pp. We saw other ships in port that had much better docking locations, so perhaps MSC doesn't want to pay for a closer dock and make money on shuttles. The buses provided had no a/c (it was unseasonably warm the entire trip) with temps inside reaching 90 degrees. Guess MSC didn't want to pay for a nicer bus with a/c.

Entertainment: Typical production shows at night. Nothing to do during the day onboard except dance lessons. With only 1 sea day, this wasn't much of an issue. Tiny TV's in cabins with no in room movies, which most US cruise lines offer.

Embarkation: We got on and off in Warnemunde, pretty painless procedure, however there were long lines getting back on the ship at each port, many times they only had 1 gangway.

When we first embarked the ship, our cabin steward was nowhere to be found (usually they are around to great you when you get on) and didn't show up until around 8pm. Reception desk did not answer the phone for the most part.

Excursions: we did not book any excursions through MSC, people we spoke to that did had mixed reviews.

The glass around the pool deck was FILTHY and not cleaned the entire time.

Tiny elevators compared to other ships.
desertbunny’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom – Bella
Cabin I1 9088
Typical inside cabin, not very spacious. Ship is 12 years old, so furniture a bit dated. Tiny TV size of computer screen. Bathroom (shower had disgusting shower curtain that stuck to you while in the shower, bath gel and shampoo in wall dispensers) we brought our our bar soap and shampoo bottles anticipating this. Bath sink soap dispenser didn't work and was not repaired throughout the cruise, just removed. Stewards were vacuuming hallways after 10pm.
Lira Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews