This was our first cruise on MSC. My wife and I are both retired and experienced cruisers (32 and counting), mostly with NCL and Celebrity, also Holland America years ago. I will try to be brief, but could write pages on this Cruise from Hell. One passenger I met had three legal pages, single spaced, with complaints.
Check in was a nightmare. We paid for priority boarding, but the lady just let everyone Q. Most cruise lines give you cabin key cards, take photos, check passports all at the first point of contact. Not MSC, first they check your passport, no scanner, by hand took at least five minutes for both of us. Then as we board, they take our picture. We are told it will be about two hours before our cabin is ready and our key card will be on the bed in our cabin. We go to the bar for a drink, but we have no key card, therefore it's a hassle to get a drink. When we go to our cabin, the door is OPEN and the cards are on the bed. Anyone could have come in and taken our cards. Oh, and the cabin number was printed on the card, not the last two or three numbers like on NCL and Celebrity, so if lost, someone could go to the cabin and steal whatever they find. I did mention this to an officer and they thought it would be a good idea to not print the full cabin number, you think?
The food was constantly cold in the dining area. I will say our servers were great and tried their best to get us hot food, but they should not have had to go to extrodinary lengths to do so. Regarding the food, it was typical cruise food. Our chef was from India, so one would think it would have some taste. I have really low expectations about dining room and buffet food on ships today, it's my opinion that the bean counters are in charge of the menu, and of course they want passengers to dine in specialty restaurants.
The crew were rude and surly for the most part. There were constant long lines at the "service desk" with complaints. I found it was better to go in the middle of the night when there were no lines. I did get to know the guy on the night shift, lol.
We were told that MSC has great plans to build new and bigger cruise ships. My advice to them is to stick to cargo, and sell your passenger business, since they obviously treat people like cargo.
The ship is very beautiful, obviously much money was spent on its design. There are too many trip hazards for those of us getting older. There are too many steps where they are not really necessary. There were also designs in the floor that were not flush with the floor and one could easily trip on them. The grand stairs look beautiful, very sparkly, but if you look down at them it's easy to become disoriented.
We were on a repositioning transatlantic cruise, and about two days out, we no longer had satellite TV. When I called the desk they said, "we are in the middle of the Atlantic, and have no satellite". I mentioned that my guess was that they did not purchase the service, and later found out this was correct.
In Bermuda we saw a lot of liquor being off loaded. We found out that when we were docked in New York, only wine and beer would be available. Apparently they had to pay tax on any liquor in stock, therefore, they just didn't have any. Bean counters at it again...
I didn't mean to be this verbose, but I could go on and on with the reasons not to use this cruise line.
If you're already booked, I hope your experience is better, but for us, we will NEVER set foot aboard another MSC cruise.
The cabin was fine, nothing to write home about, but comfortable.