I tend to write long reviews, so here it goes! My husband and I cruised on MSC on a 12 day itinerary RT Venice and the Mediterranean. We are seasoned cruisers, having cruised on Holland America, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess, but we had not cruised with MSC before. We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary which included an overnight in Haifa, Israel and departure from Venice. We flew into Venice early to spend a few days before the cruise.
Embarkation -- We took the vaparetto (water bus) in Venice to Piazza Roma and then took the "people mover" to the Venice Port. It was a LONG walk to the farthest pier where the Lirica was docked. If I did it again, I think I would take a taxi from Piazza Roma or take a vaparetto to a stop nearer the cruise dock. We noticed people still leaving the ship when we arrived around 12:30 pm. Turns out the ship had gotten into Venice late, so boarding was delayed.
I must say that I had never seen such a chaotic boarding process. Signage was minimal, There were two security checks as well as the actual check-in with the ship personnel and then another long line once on the ship to turn in passports. (We later found out this was because of the stop in Israel, but there was no explanation at the time). There was minimal seating in the terminal and the entrance to the line to get onboard was in the midst of the seats, so you had to maneuver between people to get into the queue. There were announcements, but they were impossible to hear (and, of course, in several languages). Some simple TV monitors with instructions in several languages would have improved matters tremendously.
Very easy city to walk around on your own -- lots to see.
We took the cruise ship's shuttle boat to Mykonos harbor which was good since the city buses didn't seem to be running as the summer season was over. About half or more of the shops were closed for the season. Fun town to walk around and there is a beach within walking distance on the other side of the famous windmills. Pretty town with lots of cats!
We only had half a day in Dubrovnik, which was unfortunate. And it was POURING down rain when we arrived. We braved it anyway and took the city bus to the Pile Gate of the old city of Dubrovnik. Very easy to get Dubrovnik kuna (currency) at the ATM at the port and bought bus tickets at the magazine stand right by the port entrance. Much cheaper than the cruise ship shuttle bus (16 euros, if I remember correctly). It was pretty wet, but we walked around the old town until the city wall walk opened at 9 am. Price was pretty steep, I thought, to access the walk around the city on the top of the walls. It was 200 kuna (about $30) each! Still, the rain had stopped and we really wanted to see it and we are glad we did. Amazing views and a fun experience. We'd like to spend more time in Dubrovnik.