We have been loyal to Royal for years but this cruise was such good value we gave it a go, and we had a great time. We went with an open mind recognising that each cruise line will have its own characteristics and MSC would not be exactly the same as RCL.
Firstly the ship, as many have said, is stunning, we found it clean throughout and lots of choice in the venues. The cabin, we were inside bella on deck 10, was spacious but had no furniture, I missed the small sofa. It did have the largest shower we have had at sea. Both the bathroom and bedroom would benefit from more storage. our steward Gusti was very attentive.
Food - we ate every evening but one in the main dining room, Panorama. After the first night we asked to be moved to a round table as that suited our family better and from that point Gerlin and Anil looked after us very well indeed. We engaged with them and they with us and it made for a great dining experience, head waiter Jeannot was also very attentive and kept a close eye on everything. we all enjoyed the food.
Butchers Cut - we ate dinner here for a family celebration and it exceeded all expectations - wonderful food.
Entertainment - the team work extremely hard and the activities throughout the day and night suited us perfectly, quizes and dancing. Parties on the Promenade were a great success and we surprised ourselves by partying well past our usual bedtime. There is a variety of musical artists in the venues around the ship, hopefully a style for everyone or karaoke for your own style. I thought there were more drinks servers on MSC in the bar/lounge venues than on RCL and we had great service all round. Again we took the time to talk to staff they were very friendly and spoke with us anytime we met up during the cruise. We saw a couple of shows in the theatre, and even the ventriloquist was funny although so many languages was a challenge to listen through and still get the comedy. We saw Cirque show Sonor, and while appreciating the skills involved I think for us we chose the wrong show. it was very futuristic and the more traditional Viaggio may have suited us better. The cocktails offered are a bit strange.
We had status matched our Crown and Anchor to Voyagers club black prior to going but did not receive all the benefits during the cruise, we are still not sure how that is intended to operate. We got a voucher for thermal area and meal in restaurant, vouchers arrived on different days at beginning of cruise, we kept waiting for the rest of the listed benefits but they didn't come, we asked for the chocolate ship on our last night and they seemed surprised we had not received, so we may have just been unlucky.
Our itinerary was disrupted due to weather which was unfortunate - both in terms of not seeing the ports we wanted and in terms of the bad weather itself. Embarkation and disembarkation for us in Barcelona went smoothly.
Our overall verdict - pleasantly surprised having read other reviews. We really enjoyed the whole experience and will not hesitate cruising with MSC again if the itinerary and price are right for us.
spacious but could do with more drawers or cupboards including the bathroom. shower was great