If you want to have a quiet drink, enjoy the entertainment, relax by the pool or enjoy fine dining, this cruise is NOT for you.
We have been on many cruises and chose MSC because we incorrectly thought it was a level of luxury and service about the average - WRONG!!
This was the worst cruise we have ever been on, avoid this cruise ship.
NOISE: Our biggest issue was the extreme level of noise constantly in all areas of the ship. All announcements are made extremely loudly in about 6 languages, some are very lengthy, this drove us crazy. Some “important” announcements come directly into your cabin. The passengers were mainly Italian, French and Spanish. Having travelled in all three countries several times, we understand these nationalities are traditionally loud but the level of noise through the entire cruise was excessive and very unpleasant. Also most of these passengers were very rude, pushing and shoving with no consideration towards other passengers. Regularly when the elevators stopped and the doors commenced to open, someone inside would push the “close door” button preventing other passengers from entering the elevator. There were always very long waits for the elevators.
This ship has passengers disembarking and embarking at every port. This makes the boarding procedure efficient, we were pleasantly surprised our cabin was available around 1.00pm. The DOWN SIDE, there is a safety drill every afternoon for those who have embarked that day, the announcements for the safety drill come into the cabin and throughout the ship repeated 6 times or so in different languages, one hour before, 15 minutes before and 5 minutes before. More excessive noise!!
One afternoon these was a test of the “evacuate the ship” highest level alarm, with no notice to passengers, which also was broadcast into our cabin.
DINING: There are two huge dining rooms and both are VERY overcrowded, the tables are very close together, there is a limited number of small tables for 2 or 4 persons and these are mixed with the very large tables and the noise is unbearable.
We had fixed dining at the second sitting that commenced at 9.30pm, we did not sit at the same table twice.
On checking regarding our dining we were advised that we were at a table with 3 ladies, we requested to be moved as my husband did not wish to sit every night at a table of four ladies.
Night 1 – we were sat at a table for 8. There was 6 at the table that night.
Night 2 – we received a note in our cabin during the day that we had been allocated a table for 2. Hoping for a table in a quieter area of the restaurant and there were no large tables nearby, we headed off to dinner. Our table was sandwiched between 2 very large tables, one with around 12 to 14 young adults, at the other there was approx 15 very young children. We were horrified, the noise level was unbelievable, adults there to party, the unsupervised children going wild. We made comment to the waiter, his response “I have been putting up with this for days now”!!
Night 3 – was open restaurant night and you could go to either of the restaurants. We decided to try the other restaurant. We got a table for 2 near a busy workstation, waiters rushing close by us with trays of food and dirty dishes flying over our heads. The dinner capped off with the weekly marching, shouting, singing of the restaurant staff through the restaurant.
Night 4 – we returned to our table for 2 hoping the family groups had disembarked the ship. They were still there and we were not prepared to sit between them again. We went to our table for 6 from night one thinking we may be able to sit there. 6 people were sitting at this table, we attempted to squeeze onto the bench seat but could not fit. We politely excused ourselves and went to the restaurant front desk, to request a table and we were told to go to the end of the queue of about 30 people. Our response was “NO”. A head waiter came to my wife, hooked his arm through her arm and showed us to a table for 2. We sat down, and again we were next to a tables of 12 young children going absolutely crazy. One little one in a highchair, about 15cms from my chair, vigorously stirring a fork around in a long stemmed wine glass, another swinging 2 flashing baubles on a piece of string and others attempting to grab them off her, the behaviour was appalling, each time there was a meltdown two mothers came from their adjoining adult party table on the opposite side of the children to us, spoke with the little ones to no avail. There were 2 other tables nearby one of 5 and one of 8, both family groups with grown up children and they, like us, were also disgusted at the goings on.
Night 5 – we thought we would try the buffet, it was a little later and thought the crowd may have slowed down. We sat at a table at the extremity of the area still open. We had to get up and request the table be cleared and wiped, had to get up again to request a drinks menu, get up again to ask someone to take a drink order as all the buffet restaurant staff had disappeared. The drinks did not arrive until after we had finished eating, around 30 minutes after they were ordered.
Night 6 – we went to one of the pay restaurants “Butchers Cut”, when we made the booking we requested a quiet table. The restaurant is like a Concrete and Laminex café, no atmosphere, the lamb dish was nice, the steak ordered medium was raw and still mooing, we could have sent it back however by this time we had totally given up on the dining.
DINING ROOM FOOD. Disgusting, bordering on inedible. Tasteless, bland, overcooked mush. Very small serves and limited choices. These comments apply to all 3 courses. YUK.
BUFFET RESTAURANTS. Overall the food in the buffet was very good, fresh vegetables, salads and fruits, recognisable protein products not over battered or overcooked. Interesting deserts. The atmosphere is noisy, pushing and shoving resembling a feeding frenzy at the zoo.
RECEPTION – Always long waits at reception. The telephone from the cabin was not answered. It would ring, a message would advise how important you are, it would ring again and then cut out. Overall the reception staff did no more than they really had to.
On night 5, after our unpleasant meal in the buffet restaurant and wandering around trying to find a pleasant area to sit, where the music was not blaring out and the crowds going wild, we went to our room just before midnight. The cabin door would not open with our key card. We went to reception and waited in the queue, the somewhat rude girl told us we had “maxed out our credit card” we responded NO, she checked the computer system and advised “no we had not done that, we had put our cards next to our mobile phones and it had affected the magnetic strip” we advised we had not done that either. She produced new cards, we returned to our cabin and these did not work either. With repeated many times with great patience, we eventually opened the door. This process took over one hour. No apologies, no one cares.
STATEROOM. This was clean, well appointed except for the very small wardrobe space.
STATEROOM ATTENDANT. He was very disinterested, useless, never around, we continually had to request missing bath towels and on 2 occasions had to request toilet paper. Unreliable timing for servicing the cabin each day. MSC no longer provide tissues, “green policy”, but they don’t have any problem leaving 6 or so pieces of paper on the bed each night promoting the Spa, Shopping, Specialty dining, etc.
GRATUITIES/TIPPING – MSC has compulsory gratuities/tipping added to your onboard account. When any contact staff, Stateroom attendants, Bar staff, Restaurant staff, know they are going to be automatically rewarded there is no incentive for them to provide good service. The compulsory tipping amounts are very high therefore it is unlikely guests are going to pay further tips.
THEATRE SHOWS - These were excellent, the best we have ever seen on any of our cruises. Unfortunately, at the commencement of the show the theatre was around half full, by the end of the show it was full. Hundreds of people walked in late, tripping downstairs, standing throughout the theatre waving their arms, articles of clothing, to their family and friends to join them where they have decided to sit. Extremely inconsiderate to other passengers and more so to the performers.
SWIMMING POOLS.- We did not use these as they were overcrowded, extremely noisy and very unpleasant places to be.
SHORE EXCURSIONS – There are ridiculously expensive.
SHORE TRANSFERS – At some ports the ships docks a long way from the town. The ship has shuttle bus transfers and these are also ridiculously expensive, unfortunately MSC know the ship transfer is the only practical option so MSC charge outrageously.
Do NOT cruise with MSC, unless you are a large noisy European family/group with no consideration or thought for others.
Never again for us.