After deciding that we would cruise this year for our summer holiday it became apparent that there were only two options and we went for MSC Fantasia based on the itinerary, dates and price (for the price of a balcony on NCL we got a suite on MSC - the space was really important as we were travelling with our 16 year old daughter).
We flew to Majorca with Ryanair getting into Palma for lunch on the ship by 1.30pm. Embarkation was easy and even though we were supposed to have priority this didn’t appear to be available - although there was only two families in front of us so it wasn’t a big issue. This is where the loss of the star lies too, passing on information is not a priority of MSC, we only knew that our cruise cards would be in our rooms as we overheard somebody else’s conversation with a member of staff, we weren’t told that we had to authorise our card (however I had found this out before hand after researching on here), we had AnyTime dinning but this really isn’t anytime you still need to decide wether you will use the early or later time slot - it’s anytime within your chosen time slot, not anytime the restaurant is open. There was also a lack of information about the spa and the included massage. It would also have been nice to have a map of the ship in the room. I honestly think a welcome pack is in order - it wouldn’t take much.
Our room was just about ready when we got onboard - our room attendant was just finishing it off so we had a walk round and found a quiet little area at the back of the ship that became our go to place for port photos. Once in the room it was clear that it was immaculate, with a lot of storage space (including a hidden cupboard behind the mirror on the dressing table), the room had everything we needed including a walk-in wardrobe, hairdryer, robes and slippers. The bed was enormous and the sofa bed was very comfortable. The only complaint about the room and it will be the same for all the rooms in the vicinity is that it is very noisy when docking - sometimes this is as early as 6am so these no need for an early alarm!
The food served onboard is lovely both in the Red Velvet restaurant and the buffet, the latter can get really busy but it is always possible to find a table if you do a bit of looking. There is a good variety of food in the buffet. Service in the Red Velvet was lovely just about right not over the top but attentive enough to notice if you didn’t like something they would offer alternatives.
There were a lot of activities onboard but we are much more of a keeping ourselves to ourselves type of family and having access to Top 18 was great. We always found a sunbed and the waiter running the bar was lovely remembering our room number and the drinks we enjoyed.
We did three MSC excursions, two were really great value the other not so much (aquarium visit with ferry transfer in Genoa).
NAPLES: we did a walking tour of vasuvios organised by MSC. The guide was very good and kept a good pace with information in three languages. In the description it did say that it was a moderately hard excursion but I would say anybody with walking difficulties wouldn’t manage it the path is quite steep and even though we were before 9am it was still very warm. The views from the top were amazing and worth the walk.
MARSEILLE: another MSC tour with was really well organised and interesting, the guide again did the whole thing in three languages. Following the tour we were able to make use of any of the shuttles returning to the ship. This made it really great value as the shuttle on its own was around €15 each.
GENOA: we bought, on board, the excursion to the aquarium on a ferry. In my opinion it really wasn’t worth the price paid. The aquarium is lovely and worth visiting but the tickets for the aquarium can be purchased for €18 and MSC charged around €40 each for the use of the ferry. This literally takes five minuets and is packed full, there were two MSC ships docked and the ferry had a mixture of passengers off both ships. We actually walked back to the ship it was that close.
Overall the cruise was lovely but had a very European feel, English speakers are defiantly in the minority but we never felt left out. The staff are great and the ship is beautiful. Having the Premium drinks package meant we could virtually drink what we liked, it was very good value. We would sail with them again.
Lovely large cabin in really great condition. Walk-in wardrobe, full bathroom and loads of storage space. The only issue is that as it is at the back of the ship it is noisy in the morning when docking, no need for alarm calls!
We has a really great guide. It was an early set off from the ship (7.30am) but it became apparent that this was a really good thing. The footpath is steep and you need good footwear - not flip flops or sandals which we did see on some people! The views from the top were stunning and well worth the walk.View All 60 Mt. Vesuvius Reviews
We had a tour of Livorno booked through MSC as we’ve done Pisa and didn’t really want to go to Florence. However it was cancelled due to there not being enough English speakers booked on at the last minute. So this turned out to be a bit of a bust for us - wondered round the city but It’s nothing to write hem about, we were handed info about a HOHO bus but the person who handed it out disappeared so quickly we weren’t really sure about the details.
The aquarium was lovely and well worth visiting the rating is for the cost of the ferry trip organised by MSC - really not worth it. It's a very easy and pleasant walk to the marina area just book the tickets independently and have a walk. It's very easy to find.View All 10 Aquarium Reviews
Another great guide that kept the tour entertaining even though she was presenting in multiple languages. At the end of the tour we were able to catch any ship shuttle back to the ship. We ended up spending all day in Marseille even though the tour was only two hours.View All 74 Marseille Tour Reviews