For some background, my dad took me (19 years old) and my brother (27 years old) on our first cruise. Since this was my brother and I’s first cruise our expectations were not high. We saw a lot of bad reviews before coming but we decided to give the cruise line a shot. All of the ports on this cruise were gorgeous and we had a good time other than the ship being delayed causing us to get off early to make our flight back to Toronto. This is a long review but I hope it helps.
Pros / SERVICE: Sheldon Dsouza the bartender and his girlfriend Maria are great! They were the best thing about the cruise! Sheldon is usually in the blue velvet lounge at night. They were also the best service we got on the ship. The ports were also beautiful.
Time of ship / Communication of workers: I have heard cruises are usually on time but this one would arrive and leave late from the ports. Two days before the cruise ended, they notified us we would get into our last port late causing us to miss our flight. There was not much help from reception at all to help us figure something out and what we should do. We ended up getting off a day early, in Croatia. We dropped about $1400 on plane tickets to Venice so we could catch our flight from Venice to Toronto. Reception told us all we had to do was go to deck 4 and ask where immigration was. But nobody knew and was just sending us to different people.
We were supposed to get off in Venice at 9 am, so the travel person with Expedia that we were organizing the trip with told us just not to book our flight before 12. We booked it for 12:30 and she said we would be fine. Now that we were getting in 2 hours late, we would miss our flight. (Note: Our friends we met told us they did not get to the airport till 1pm. Lesson learned to book a late flight or book one for the next day!)
Boarding/First day: The day the cruise started, everyone seemed to get boarding passes/luggage tags in the mail but we got nothing. Disembarking at the ports were not organized at all unless you had an excursion it was pretty organized. Boarding in Brindisi took a long time to board, I guess since everyone got back at like the same time on the shuttles. For the restaurant seating arrangements; we did not have any arrangements till the day of. Unlike others had it done before they got there. Apparently, they have difficulties with the Canadian website so that may have been the problem.
Kids/Activities: there were a lot of kids on the cruise and all were around the pool area so could not really “relax”. There was an adult’s only area on the top deck for an extra fee but it is not worth it. It is just a bar and some chairs. I also found there were not a lot of activities during the day which was fine since we would just spend the day at the port.
Money: We choose MSC due to the fact it was cheaper. But a lot of added stuff just boosted up the price, like the fact water or soft drinks were not included so you had to buy the drink package. Free water in the caf, but buying water bottles at dinner was 2.90 euros for the big one. Not a big deal but even though we said no they added a unisef donation (1 euro/ person).
Security: there was a lot of security to get off / on the boat. Which I think caused most of the delay to get onto to the boat. We had to keep retaking our picture since they did not like it and thought it was too blurry.
Theme nights: the cruise line did not let us know the theme nights beforehand (formal, white, causal). So, we packed nice clothes for dinner of course, but my brother and my dad did not pack white. There was then a white party at night so they did not want to go and be the only ones not wearing white. So, would have been nice to know beforehand.
Entertainment: Did not go to any during the day since we were enjoying ourselves at the ports. At night, we went to the shows. They were good. Some nights they had a party after but we did not attend any. We would just go hang out in the blue velvet lounge with our favourite bartender (Sheldon). I did not go to the disco but I heard from someone else they did dance lessons in there one night lol.
Wi-fi: wi-fi sucked and gets used up very quickly. You can track the usage online though and see which person uses the most Wi-Fi. You can all use it at the same time but it does make it run a little slower.
Food: food at dinner was very good. Breakfast and lunch were not as good. During breakfast once, there is a sit down one and there was a hair in my pineapple. They asked if I wanted anything but all I wanted was a fruit tray..without hair lol. They got my room number so we thought maybe they would do something but they did not, which is fine. It is also a mess trying to get around the buffet area since it is so busy. There was a snack bar open at night but it was very upsetting since there was barely any food (if you want pizza after 10:30 you have to pay for room service).
Cabins: We had an oceanview balcony. It was small for three people but the balcony helped with getting air into the room. Our fridge did not work though; we let them know and they came two days later. We just wanted the fridge to keep our own water cooler but keeping it out in the room kept it colder than the fridge.
Fitness & Rec: Gym was small. They also said there was a ‘golf practice’ on the ship but there was none. When I asked where it was they pointed me to the mini-golf even though on the signs on the ship it showed golf practice on deck 13 and mini gold on deck 15. Also said there was a ‘power walking track’ but there was no track either.
Excursions: The most organized thing about the cruise. We did a “bus transfer to Olympia” in Katakolon and just bought our tickets to inside there. We saved about half the price without doing the tour and we loved it. They had signs explaining what everything was, so if you can read. I suggest doing this instead of the tour. In Athens, we did “Athens and the Acropolis”. Very busy but the tour guide was good. There was not much free time in Athens to eat so make sure you eat before or bring food. Then in Dubrovnik, we did the Kayak tour and it was beautiful. It is a lot of work but loads of fun. Lunch is included in the tour which is nice.
Would I take this cruise line again or recommend it? Nope. WE ALL LOVED THE PORTS THOUGH!
We had an oceanview balcony. It was small for three people but the balcony helped with getting air into the room. Our fridge did not work though; we let them know and they came two days later. We just wanted the fridge to keep our own water cooler but keeping it out in the room kept it colder than the fridge.
Did a gondola (not with the cruise line) but we loved it. Beautiful city.
Cute little city.
Half the price. There are signs around the ruins explaining what everything was
Hot day, no food included but beautiful city.