Chose this cruise because the ship was new, despite the negative reviews. We suffered none of the problems reported by the others
1. Check in was super quick, was done in about 10 minutes with zero length queues. You leave your bags at the port, and they show up outside your room in a couple of hours. Check in started at 1PM and the rooms were ready by about 2PM. There is a line for the info to activate your card using cash, however if you choose to do it by credit card there are machines to do so.
2. The cabin is well designed. The toilet is large and comfortable. We had 2 little children, so the sofa became a double bunk bed. There is a lot of space below the bed for the suitcases (we had 4!) and ample space in the cupboard. There are USB ports to charge the phones and large writing table for things and power sockets. The room is very well sound proofed, and the curtains can make the room completely dark. We took the large balcony, which had 2 chairs and a table
3. The Ship is spanking new and very stable. You can barely feel it move except for one day when they had to shut the pools due to the swaying.
4. The Dining was very good most days. For dinner and most lunches you can choose between the buffet and the restaurants that serve the same food. You are allocated a place for dinner and a head waiter, but you could also go to other restaurants. There is a on board mozzarella factory near the buffet.
5. There are 4 paid-for restaurants too. We never used them, but they seem value for money. The tepanyaki started at just Eur29 for instance.
6. The entertainment facilities for children were excellent. The staff are lively and much adored by our kids. We had a tough time getting our kids to return from the kids area on most days. You check them in and specify who could check them out. They have lego, art, craft, gaming, face painting, parades etc. They also take them to the kids area of the buffet for dinner. You can leave your kids there till 11PM.
7. There is an arcade with simulators etc, that is good for one or 2 visits
8. There are 17 bars spread over the ship, almost all of them full in the evenings.
9. The cirque-du-soliel was good, but not as good as the stuff you get at Vegas. We preferred the "Sonora" sound act over the Visual act.
10. The shows at the Broadway theatre were fabulous! We watched nearly each one and loved almost all. The cast is very versatile and pulls off many forms of singing and dancing with practiced ease. Near the theatre the bars have many evening entertainment programs that seem like fun and are staffed by very lively people.
11. The Service was good and the crew by and large friendly . There were a few instances of the opposite, but then other crew members made up for them. E.g. when I went in search for a banana at the buffet for my sick child, one member claimed if I couldnt see it, there probably wasnt a banana available. However member Ravi Bhosale over heard this, and got hold of one from the kitchens. Many thanks.
12. The excursions were horribly over priced. We took just one of them at the north cape and busted our budget. The problem with such a large ship visiting a small town is that the cab and transport facilities are sometimes overwhelmed. Arrange your own in advance if possible.
13. Embarking and disembarking at various ports was easy, except at one port where we had to tender, i.e. use the life boats to go the port. There systems broke down and tempers frayed. There were delays of upto 1.5 hours.
14. We took the fantastica package that had 12 drinks vouchers per head. Wifey obliged by not drinking much of her share, leaving me well hydrated throughout the trip. Some of the drinks are not available against these vouchers.
15. My kids would like you to know that there is no chocolate fountain on the ship, despite the official videos depicting one. They condemn this act of over selling.
16. There are many pools of which just one is heated. They use salt water. There is an unheated section with water slides that we used despite the freezing cold
Overall it was great and the kids are already clamoring for another MSC cruise!
The cabin is well designed. The toilet is large and comfortable. We had 2 little children, so the sofa became a double bunk bed. There is a lot of space below the bed for the suitcases (we had 4!) and ample space in the cupboard. There are USB ports to charge the phones and large writing table for things and power sockets. The room is very well sound proofed, and the curtains can make the room completely dark. We took the large balcony, which had 2 chairs and a table