Well where to start with this one ! I have been on a number of cruises and decided to include one on my recent visit to South Africa, bad choice as this cruise was easily the worst I have ever been on. Too much went wrong to detail everything but I'll have a go.
Embarkation at Cape Town was a nightmare. We had to wait 3.5 hrs to board. We had to q up in a deserted shell of a warehouse covered in birds dropping with no facilities, no water, no info from crew, a terrible start to any holiday.
Food was of a very low standard, both in the 24x7 cafeteria and the restaurant evening meals. Fine dining it was not, cold soup and badly presented, small food portions, a good way to lose weight !
The service throughout the ship was really poor. Crew did not seem to care and the ones that did were vastly overworked, IE large bar areas took about 20 mins to get a drink as only 1 bar person on duty. This was the norm, it looked as though there were not enough staff on the ship to cope with the crowds of people. The ship seemed rammed with people who mostly camped out in the 24 x 7 cafeteria eating all day. As a consequence it was a nightmare trying to get a a) food and b) a table to sit at during breakfast and lunch. The South Africans on board just camped out there for the day eating. The staff were not that helpful either when you asked them to help you get a table, total chaos !
Hand sanitisers at each restaurant door were either not working or empty. There was no effort made by the crew to make sure every person entering the eating areas sanitised their hands, its a wonder we didn't have a food poisoning outbreak on board.
I could go on and on but I am sure you get my drift as to the type of cruise this was. To me it was one small step up from a booze cruise. It was so bad that the Europeans on board demanded a meeting with the Senior staff. We had a meeting in one of the lounges with the Hotel Manager, Customer Relations manager, Second in command to the Captain and the Housekeeping Manager. There were about 200 to 300 hundred irate people complaining to them, BTW the Captain was a no show throughout the cruise not even a tannoy announcement from him. We complained about the service, meals, sanitisation and other items but I felt theses fell on deaf ears. One thing that was said was that the cruises are planned for the local market and they obviously felt the SA people on board were happy with what I would say was a 3 star Spanish hotel experience. They did say that for Europe they upgraded the experience and for North America upgraded even higher. This was a cruise that should have not been sold to Europeans as the standard was deliberately low to match the local market.
We asked for compensation but I'm not sure if anything will happen, just make sure if you ever cruise with MSC you dont do it tin South Africa , in fact choose another cruise company entirely.
Nice cabin, kept clean and tidy by steward, comfy bed. Balcony ok, all in all no problems with the accommodation