Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and easiest embarkation we've experienced. Our assigned check-in time was 2:30, but since we had to be out of our hotel room at 11:00, we arrived at 11:30. We dropped off our luggage, parked the car, and walked across the street to terminal F. We had priority embarkation with our Aurea experience, but it wasn't necessary. Before noon, we were on the ship sipping a drink. we sat at the forward pool bar with the best bartender at sea, Ryan Felix!
Disembarkation was just as smooth as embarkation.We were in the first group called because we chose the Aurea experience. We walked off the ship, picked up our luggage and headed to our car. We had to meet with customs the morning of Key West, so there was no customs stop in Miami.
Drink Package: We had the Premium Plus package which is the most inclusive package. While we may not have drank our money's worth, and I didn't bother to do the math, it was so nice to get water, specialty coffees, smoothies, specialty bottled juices, mini bar items, and any alcoholic beverage with no worry about paying a bill. I will definitely do this again. You also save the service charge when you purchase the package prior to embarkation. An extra 15% really adds up. We gave an additional cash tip to our regular bartenders at the end of the week.
The cabin was spacious and comfortable with a tremendous amount of storage space. We loved the walk in closet and additional cabinets. There was plenty of room to store our belongings out of sight. I still would call this a deluxe balcony, not a suite. Our stateroom attendant, Emmanuel, was excellent! He kept the ice bucket and mini bar full and our stateroom immaculate. The bed and furnishings were in good shape and very comfy. The bathroom was average, but did have a bathtub. The balcony felt slightly larger than the norm, but we wished for more comfortable chairs. The dividers rattled at night and we remedied that with a little duct tape! It is an older ship and these little things give that away. There were very loud noises from the solarium above at night that interfered with sleep. On the last day I asked one of the solarium attendants, Sean, about it and he told me that they move all of the chairs at night and clean. He seemed very concerned and said that they are to move the furniture very quietly. That night, I didn't hear a sound. I only wish that I had said something after our first night! Anytime we mentioned a concern the staff was eager and efficient in trying to resolve it. I would choose this stateroom again.