I booked this cruise to be part of the Weight Watcher (WW) Mediterranean Cruise in July. My friend had never been to Europe so we thought this would be a great experience to see several different ports in Spain, France, and Italy and get to meet WW members from around the world. I have been on several different cruise lines over the past 6 years including: Norwegian, Holland America, and Oceania and the MSC cruise was a huge step down in the areas of Dining and Service.
The ship is brand new, launched in 2018, and it's beautiful. It has 20 decks and holds up to 5,200 passengers. It's a floating apartment building, complete with their own app that was used to book theater showings, maps of the different decks, and a daily schedule for events. There were abundant activities for families like 3 pools, a water park, and even a zip line on top. There are several restaurants and a buffet. The theater holds almost a thousand guests per performance and there are three 30-35 minute performances each night.
The dining experience was our greatest disappointment. The food that WW had specially prepared for us, was bland and boring. We decided to eat at the ship buffet and it was basic cafeteria food, with a heavy emphasis on pork and fish. The food was fresh, but not exciting at all. I was amazed at how many little extras were not included: such as ice cream and iced tea.
The shows were the best part of the cruise and we went to every one of them. Nice scenery, interesting themes, colorful costumes, great singers and acrobatic acts. No stand up comedy, thank goodness. Entertainment in the lounges was fine too.
Service was poor. On-boarding was confused at best. We were in a special group and they didn't really seem to know about it when we arrived. We got through the process and our luggage was delivered in a timely fashion. We NEVER met our steward. We never received ice, although we had an ice bucket, and the turn down-service didn't include the little chocolates and fun towel animals found on every other cruise line. Information desk staff were rather curt with people and seemed stressed most of the time. Long lines were found at the different service areas, such as Excursions and Front Desk Assistance. You were pretty much on your own to figure things out on the ship. If you asked a question, you were often referred to their app. Disembarkation was a terrible mess, the ship was late docking and everyone was asked to leave their rooms anyway and we were kept in lounges waiting to leave for almost two hours. We stood in line for almost an hour after we docked before we could leave the ship. By that time people were upset and getting impatient with very little staff helping to ease the situation.
We booked tours for almost all of them through the ship. One of our tours was cancelled and no one let us know until the evening before. I happened to see were weren't booked on their app and went to inquire about it. I was told there wasn't enough interest so it was cancelled and thankfully found a different tour that still had space. Ports were as expected. They were ok to good. The half day tours were hurried with no time for shopping or really getting off the bus, except to take a few hasty photos. The day excursions to Florence and Rome were better. We had knowledgeable tour guides and were able to see as much as possible given the time constraints. The prices were average compared to other ships. I usually book my own excursions through Viator and you get more value for your money.
I love to cruise, but I would not book with MSC again. They have a lovely ship, but the Service was not good and the Dining experience was just average.
The ship is new, I mean really new. It was launched in 2018, so the cabin was very nice and typical of an inside room. It had connections for devices built in so no need to have extra converters for phones and tablets. The bedding and towels were very basic, white and not very plush compared to other cruises. We never met our steward. We would leave the cabin and it was tidied up several times a day, but no interaction with staff at all. Adequate, but reminded me of staying at the Days Inn.
We had a half-day tour of the coastline and mountain area outside of the port city that included a stop for a glass of wine on the way back.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We took a bus to Florence and had a walking tour around the many beautiful buildings and statues. We had a break for lunch and did some shopping before returning to the ship.
Most of the tour was spent on the bus, but the guide was good and we did get a nice overview of the city.View All 36 City Tour Reviews
Our hotel recommended Tablao Cordobes for a nice buffet dinner and show. It is located on the Ramblas and was easy walking from the hotel. The food was delicious, service was excellent, and the show was terrific. Wine for dinner, and champagne during the show as included. Very authentic and I highly recommend.View All 36 Flamenco Show Reviews
Booked a city tour with Explore Catalunya and had a tour of the city by bus, then a stop at La Sagrada Familia for a skip-the-line inside tour. We also went the top of the city to Guell Park and then finished the day with a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter and a tour of one of Gaudi's houses. Our guide was very knowledgeable and kind to all of the people on the tour.View All 124 La Sagrada Familia Reviews
We took a bus to Rome. Our full-day tour included the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and St. Peter's Square. It was very crowded on a hot July day, but we managed to get all our stops in and then have a lunch break before taking a quick tour of some city sites and then returning to the ship.View All 122 Sistine Chapel Reviews
We opted to stay on the ship after two full days of sightseeing in Florence and Rome.
I think that I enjoyed the Palma city tour more than all the others. It's a small area and most of it can be covered with a walking tour. We visited a pearl factory, saw the bullring, and had an inside tour of the Cathedral.View All 77 City Tour Reviews