This was a 7 night cruise and our 8th (7th with MSC, 1 with RCI). We traveled with our cousin and his wife. My husband and I stayed over in Milan the night before boarding - it's a 90 min train trip to Genoa and a 10 min walk to the harbor where we dropped off our suitcases downstairs (everything was clearly marked and staff on hand to help with directions) and boarded quickly and effortlessly.
The ship is beautiful and in quiet areas we could still smell the new carpets. We had a balcony cabin (9246), and the bathroom (and especially the shower) is nicer than before - no more shower curtain but a curved door. The hair dryer was fine. I took 2 plastic clothes hangers with for wet clothes to dry with fewer wrinkles.
I loved the MSC for Me app - no wifi required, you can check all activities and mark the ones you would like to attend, get reminded about the show, send messages to your friends, it worked great.
Table 232 during the early seating (7.30 pm) in the formal dining room was assigned to the 4 of us, and it was perfect - a square table in the back corner with the most amazing waiter - Dede. The service was great, the view perfect, the food was amazing - could not fault anything. The variety was good and portions bigger than before. Every night's menu had healthy options available, but also at least 3 deserts! I took a black cat suit, 1 pair of dressy heels and different jewelry, which was good for 3 dinners, and a LBD for the other 3 and 1 missed dinner when we came back too late in from Barcelona. My husband took a dark suit with white shirt for the 2 formal nights, and dark blue pants with button shirts for the other nights.
The pool area was spacious and we received good service from the bars and waiters. We got the drinks package that we could order basically anything up to 10 euros, which was perfect for us. There was a good variety of cocktails, wines, sparkling wines etc. The music at the pools was too loud for my taste, but that's just me. There was also the odd deckchair hog, but most people just took off the stuff and shrugged when confronted when the culprits came back a few hours later. We can learn from the Europeans!
The nightly free shows in the theater was very full and quite good. The Cirque du Soleil shows (we saw both!) were amazing! We went for the option of show and cocktail - 15 euro pp and so worth it.
Naples - easy walk to the old town with lots of little shops. We took a ferry to Sorrento, walked around (tough walk for good views) and loved it - especially the handmade shoes.
Messina, Sicily - we walked to the train station and took a 1 hour train ride to Taormina - spectacular little hilltop town with great views and pretty alleyways.
Valletta, Malta - far but easy walk to the old town, which we loved. We got a map that offered 2 walking routes with good descriptions. Felt a little like Dubrovnik. The modern part of town was also beautiful with tree lined streets, clean, with nice green spaces.
Barcelona, Spain - got the public bus to La Rambla, walked up to the metro, went to La Sagrada le Familia - we booked tickets in May for 10 am entry. It was amazing. We took the elevator up the one tower and walked down. Stunning. Met up with another cousin and chatted and had tapas and beer until we had to go back to the ship. Amazing day.
Marseille, France - The yellow jackets were planning a protest from 2 pm, which we were warned of by a notice placed in our cabins the night before. So we just walked to the old town and took Le Petite Train to the cathedral, which was stunning. It was informative and fun. Back through the old town and back on the ship before anything happened.
We received our (correct) bill in our cabin the night before disembarking. As per other reviews, we received an envelope with pictures in our cabin a few days before, which we just returned to our cabin steward, who was amazing, by the way.
Back in Genoa, we disembarked with our suitcases at 8.30 am after a breakfast in the fdr and walked 5 mins to the bus station to go to Milan to get a train to Venice.
We loved everyday and can absolutely recommend it. The worst of the experience was getting information from the MSC South African staff, which was very frustrating. But the ship and international staff was incredible and restored out faith.
Loved the layout with the bed closer to the window. Good hairdryer. Better cupboard layout with pull out drawers. Comfortable bed, good pillows. Good lighting - loved the reading lights! Our cabin steward was amazing.
Very easy to get to the ship from the train station (about a 10 min walk) or the bus/Flixbus station (less than 5 mins).
Slight uphill walk into old town - very pretty with lots of character. Easy to take ferry to Sorrento.
Very easy walk to station to take a 1 hour train to Taormina and then a bus to the mountain top town of Taormina. It looks like you would want a old beautiful Italian town to look - it's gorgeous. Beautiful architecture, pretty shops, great views, lots of little restaurants and great ice cream.
Rather long walk to the old town but beautiful city. Beautiful views over the harbour. Quaint shops, beautiful buildings, lots of history. I really enjoyed it and would love to spend more time on the island one day.