Have you ever been to a buffet where the labels are in place, promising tasty treats and then you find that all the food is already gone? That is how this MSC cruise felt in most respects. There is definitely potential and in better hands this could be a great cruise, but MSC and its employees just turns this into a bad experience.
Embarkation in Venice was slow. There is a shuttle bus from port entrance to boat, but apparently the one bus they have suffered a breakdown so everybody was lugging luggage through 100 degree weather. Meanwhile an entire fleet of Royal Caribbean busses was standing by for their guests.
Disembarking was even worse - they have staggered departure times, but everybody has to leave their cabins at the same time, 8 am. So you have thousands of people descending on the breakfast buffet which can accommodate only a quarter of the guests at any given time, everybody fighting over table space. 40 minutes after the posted departure time we were able to leave for the transfer busses.
We did all our own excursions, except for Dubrovnik where we wanted to use MSC’s offering. It took the excursion desk a few attempts, but eventually we got the correct tickets. The excursion got cancelled the day before arrival because MSC did not have as many participants as they had hoped for.
I have had many jaw-dropping experiences during the cruise where the crew does the absolute minimum amount of work, but I am just going to leave you with the first such encounter: shortly after check-in I found that somebody else’s luggage had been delivered to our door instead of their cabin which was on a different floor. There was an MSC crew member with a radio posted on nearby stairs in anticipation of the safety drill later that day. I let him know that I found some suitcases that people are waiting for on a different floor. His reply: that is not my responsibility - please go down to the front desk and let them know.
The one great thing about this cruise was their main band which plays ballroom music. There were surprisingly few dancers on this ship, so they kept asking us for our song requests and made recommendations. Having a private band is awesome!
This is a family cabin in the rear of the ship. There are two great things about it: the panoramic view out the back which is completely unobstructed and the comparatively large amount of space. With 2 adults and 2 kids it was a little cramped but still not too bad.
The main reason why you should NOT pick this cabin: engine noise. During the day it is not too bad, but the first night I could hardly sleep at all with the bed bouncing around like a massage chair and the loud droning sound. The rest of our family had a room in the front of the ship and that one was completely quiet. I reported the vibration issue to the front desk where they feigned surprise, did an “investigation” and concluded that yes there is indeed noise and that is unfortunate. The cabin attendant on the other hand apologized mentioning that all the cabins in the rear suffer from this known problem.