We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon afterwards. Took ages to find cabin though. Unpacked, spent the afternoon exploring and missed dinner so we ate in the buffet. It was OK, heaving, and found a nice chicken curry. Went there for breakfast every day but wouldn't eat main meals there. We were booked into the C.D'Oro, and shared with 2 very nice couples, one couple were Gold card members. The other couple had only cruised once before, so nice not to have to talk about cruising all the time. The food was superb, and all cooked to perfection, and our drinks package included a nice bottle (not glass!!) of wine every night, and water. Pool a bit small and because of the time we travelled, full of children but heyho. We always got a sunbed, lazed about, enjoyed the ship, and took no excursions at all. It was too hot to trawl around dusty cities plus we had visited some on previous land-holidays. The full day at sea was manic and the pool entertainment really juvenile - but at least the shops were open. They are not allowed to open in ports. However, said shops were very disappointing. Mainly over-priced but out of date designer gear. Nowhere to buy say, a tube of toothpaste if you forgot to pack it!! so much for shops where you could get all your holiday essentials. also the shops at sea when open had constant sales, outside, on tables, making everything very cheap and nasty.
If you smoke and run out of fags, you can only buy them, one pack per card, behind a bar and ONLY when at sea. The spa, well, my fault. I booked a Bali massage, it was an offer haha, same offered every day, but was lied to as the very miserable chap said the offer was just for the day I'd booked it. Anyway, it was nice, so agreed to pay another 15€ for a facial. Then I was "sold" a jar of face cream (sucker me). 90€ and back in the cabin I opened the 6 inch square box to find a 3 inch square jar of cream, inside which was a hole for about 2 teaspoons!! My fault....haven't used it yet, probably come out in a rash!! The 2 men at the spa reception were without doubt, the most miserable condescending people I have ever encountered. Need sacking. We didn't bother going to a show, went to the Casino one night for fun, but got into a nice routine of pre and after dinner drinks in the Cigar Lounge (as we smoke)...then up to the buffett to fill up the flask I had taken, with boiling hot water. This stayed hot enough to make a cuppa every morning. I also managed to get a half litre of milk on board bought in Palma...and, my travel hairdryer. Huge relief!! We normally like a good quality hotel, with pool maybe beach, as our idea is to relax on holiday, and do cities as short breaks. Well we did manage to do that every day mostly, and loved sitting on our balcony while we were at sea. The boat was SO smooth, and always on-time. I would have liked to get off at Marseilles but that was the hottest day, so glad we didn't. The Gold card members had done every excursion, but always on their own, which they recommended rather than pay the high prices and be herded around like cattle. Or miss the boat as someone did in Livorno!!
Since we booked the trip, which was a long time ago, we did read a lot of reviews. Every one to their own but some are quite misleading, and some quite wrong! Think it's best next time we do a cruise, not to read anything, and just make the most of it. We wouldn't do it again in the high season though. We knew there would be a lot of children, but there were also a lot of groups of student ages teenagers, mostly Italians. We did like that though....not too many Brits....made it all a bit more continental. All in all, a very enjoyable holiday, as I said we will cruise again, liked MSC, thought the organisation was great considering we booked independently and through the Spanish site. Oh....one thing, had several photos taken but could only find one taken on the Gala night whilst in the photo shop. Talk about photo-shopped, cost 40€ for one large and one small copy! Wifi worked not too bad on laptop but the smartphone wasn't brilliant considering we paid for the wifi package. Apart from that and the drinks package (well worth it) we also paid up front for service, so no need to tip anyone. Customer service desk always busy bout plenty of staff, we used to get our account updated and everything was always correct. We also found that the whole ship had more than enough staff, always helpful, except those 2 in the Aurora spa!! On our first night we had to go to the theatre for the drill with our lifejackets. Took about half an hour, glad we didn't need them as I couldn't get mine on!
Was a bit smaller than anticipated but the balcony was longer than some of the others as we were an "end" cabin and our door wasn't along a long corridor. Bed a bit hard but very comfy bedding, and cool. The bathroom was fine, once the loo wouldn't flush but that didn't last long, and one evening the water was cold. Nice walk-in shower which we requested, but the "toiletries" were grim, although saved on plastic wastage. Dispensers for shampoo and body wash, soap dispenser in hand basin, 2 shower caps and a sewing kit! The body wash smelled awful, and stale, glad we had our own. We hardly saw our steward, poor man was quite elderly, maybe from far East. He cleaned our room twice a day, and changed our shower towels twice a day, and pool towels every night. One day our balcony was washed. Lovely position of our cabin, near some lifts, and overlooked the 5th floor entertainment area below and the glittery staircases. Very expensive drinks in the mini bar not included in package. Didn't watch TV.