We were looking forward to our first cruise but disappointed by our experience. When we embarked no one was interested in telling us the process. There appeared to a drive to sell the drinks package and when we said we didn't want one they were not interested in helping us. Customer service was inconsistent throughout. Some staff were very good but mostly staff presented as 'can't be bothered'. We paid gratuities upfront but were charged 15% on top of every purchase/service on top of that. When we brought it to the attention of admin they said it was a tax and not a service charge as it was described on their literature. The cabin itself was nice and bigger than we expected. Also very clean. There are plenty of bars with entertainment etc. However, the ship was very busy and over run by children and pushchairs and it wasn't possible to have a child free evening even in what appeared to be night club atmosphere. The only 'child free' area was a smoking zone but as we don't smoke this was not an option for us.
We have since been told that MSC offer free child places and that explains why there were so many. We have nothing against children and families but if we had known we would not have chosen this cruise. It was a bit of a bun fight trying to get food and secure a table in the informal dining. Even the formal dining was noisy and service was very slow. We took advantage of a cut price pedicure. Reduced to a bargain price of 45 euro (plus the 15%). To say it was average is an understatement . Throughout the cruise there was a 'hard sell' of excursions, drinks packages and services that was not pleasant. The pool areas were chaos and there were no quiet areas. A bit like Butlins at Sea! This cruise might be good for families . But if you want to have a quiet drink, enjoy the entertainment, relax by the pool or enjoy fine dining this cruise is not for you.