We took a 3 night mini cruise which sailed from Hamburg, stooping in Le Havre, France and ending in Southampton.
I have cruised with MSC previously so pretty much knew what to expect, whilst I would sail with MSC again, the things I don’t like about MSC were far more apparent this time.
Embarkation with pretty easy, they have changed the process slightly; in the main terminal building they know just issue your cruise card and programmes, once you board they now use a hand held device to scan your cruise card and take your photograph. Passports are also checked on the way onto the ship.
I’m not a fan of the traditional cruise dining experience i.e. shared tables and two set dining times hence why I prefer other cruise lines such as Norwegian so you can turn up when you want although MSC do match the demographics up pretty well.
What was most notable was the appalling dining service and quality of the food. The waiting staff were very busy, probably because everyone hits the dining room at the same time.
The timing of service and food was very random with some courses taking what seemed forever and on other occasions they were rushing to take your order. Drinks took forever and they didn’t offer any more drinks or top up the glasses so we ended up helping ourselves to the bottle to pour the drinks.
The food proportions were small, and the main meals came without vegetables, the couple we shared the table with ordered vegetables separately on the second night but were provided with a plate full of roast potatoes. If you asked for anything different such as a different salad dressing the waiter often made an excuse that there would be a longer waiting time because they had to go to another deck to get it. It felt like they were trying to say it’s too much trouble and will take ages.
On the second night the waiter serving the bread came round and offered bread just before the desert was served.
One evening we ate in the speciality sushi restaurant and again, the service took a very long time and the quality wasn’t great.
The buffet was probably the best thing about the cruise, the pizza is amazing and its there only area you can get a coffee or drink quite quickly. There was always a good selection of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you were a drinker then I think you would struggle to get drunk on this cruise. In the Galaxy night club the bar wasn’t overly busy and there were 4 or 5 staff on but it too almost 30 minutes to get a drink. In the casino despite the staff calling for drinks service at the roulette table, nobody came so we left the table to go and get a drink and the bar staff were really slow. One evening I decided to grab a drink from the bar whilst we were getting ready and the barman was stood chatting to a colleagues with the bottle in his hand for 10 minutes, in the end another member of staff grabbed the bottle off him to pour our drinks.
This was easy, the paperwork stated that disembarkation would start at 9.15am, however we left the ship at 8am, there was no rush to leave the ship and there was nothing stating you had to leave the cabin early which would be good if you had a later flight or didn’t need to leave early.
Overall I would do another short cruise with MSC if the price was right and there wasn’t another cruise line offering the same cruise for a similar price. For a longer cruise break or if your looking for something with more tentative service I would probably choose a different cruise line.
We had an ocean view this time, the cabin was clean and still seemed very modern and in a good state of repair for a slightly older ship. We didn’t really get to meet our room steward but we had no complaints with the room.
The embrkation process was pretty slick and didnt taketoo much time.
Not much to do in Le Havre so would suggest taking an excersion to Paris if you havent been previously.
We disembarked here and this was pretty easy and we were able to take an Uber to the car rental venue direct from the port.