Our fifth cruise but our first with MSC and certainly our last. I booked purely on the good reputation that MSC has, big mistake.
No one informed us that the starting port for our 15 day cruise on MSC Preziosa from Southampton had in fact been Hamburg and that every port we called at people would disembark and others would embark amongst the passengers getting off for the day, which felt like we were on a ferry and not a relaxing cruise. All it caused was endless queues and disruptions both on and off the ship.
The ship itself is stunning and very clean with staff always cleaning wherever we chose to be. Our balcony cabin on the tenth deck was superb.
However, where to start. I had prerequested a table for two in the restaurant and was told to confirm once on board which I tried to do, only to be told everyone in the long queue had requested the same and we would be on a waiting list, never to be contacted again. Now the lack of information about the starting point became clear, all the two seater tables had long since been allocated. Our cruise cards did not include our drinks package, so off to stand in another long queue at reception to get that rectified. Sat on a six seater table in the restaurant on the night with people we had never met and it took just short of two hours to serve us three courses of very small portions with very little choice. It was the last time we frequented the restaurant but listening to other couples later in the cruise they were ordering multiple portions with one couple even ordering a main for a starter and two mains for a main an not because they were greedy, I kid you not.
We ate the remainder of our meals in the Inca self service where the food always looked desirable and well cooked with plenty of choice but alas none of it was ever hot. Full English warm, curries warm, carvery warm, the heated counters were never turned on, the later you arrived the colder it all got. Only hot food were pizzas late at night. Oh how I wished I had read previous reviews
First port of call was Guernsey one and a half hours waiting and queuing to get off and one hour queuing to get back on.
Can't believe someone got paid to design the sports bar, four bays with three not so big televisions in each all situated behind the heads of the people sitting in the fixed seats in front of them, please just raise the televisions by a metre.
My wife and myself are in our sixties but the idea of having flamingo dance lessons in the disco at 11.30 pm came as quite a surprise, the following night was Irish dance lessons at the same time
Shuttle bus charges at the ports were extortionate with no mention that some times there are free port buses and sometimes it is just a stroll into the city centre (Rotterdam springs to mind)
We were disturbed to witness a lifeguard assisting a parent physically lifting his large teenage son out of a wheelchair and into a jacuzzi all on a wet floor in the bathing area ( a health and safety nightmare). A fitted hoist would be a good addition for such circumstances.
Overnight stay in Rotterdam was a farce, arrived early afternoon and set sail early next morning, so not the long "explore the sights" stop that the itinerary impression gave.
Four days before the end of our cruise we had a leaflet informing us that no duty free could be bought after Hamburg "the start port" for what reason we are still baffled.
Once we left Hamburg "the start port" to continue our cruise we found we were now on a mini cruise with new people that had embarked there, calling in at Le Harve, Southampton (our finish), Zeebrugge, Rotterdam and back to Hamburg. Strangely the standard of entertainment and quality of food suddenly improved, I can only assume this was to encourage mini cruisers to book longer cruises after this taster.
In my opinion the many negative reviews for this ship do not lie, we shall not make this mistake again
Good cabin kept clean by great attendant, balcony with plenty of space
Nice quaint place,
Lovely place with authentic streets, well worth the walk
Really enjoyed it here
Lovely people with a great city centre, walk across the bridge beautiful