Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience.
On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance.
Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff.
The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use.
The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early).
The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest.
Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with.
The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also.
Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure.
Self toured prior and after cruise
Stayed on ship due to warnings of demonstrators in town on this day.
Self toured ——visit Pompeii local bus,, single train back to garibaldi,, tube to the port ,, small walk to boat ALL For about 20 euros each. Much cheaper than excursion price or taxi at port.......