I decided to try MSC after I completed a status match (which MSC offers all the time on their site). I was matched to their top tier (diamond) from my Top tier status with Princess. I went in with an open mind and low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised in some ways and utterly disappointed in other ways. This is my mixed bag review.
On the positive side:
The ship is beautiful, elegant, well designed and well kept. There are several pools, chairs, and hot tubs. The theatre was large and attractive. The dining staff was professional. not overly attentive, but consistent.
The specialty dining was outstanding as was the service in the specialty restaurant (Butchers cut).
Disembarkation was fast and efficient. We walked off in 15 minutes and were in the car in 30 minutes from start5 to finish.
Bars provided reasonably fast service at standard cruise prices. The lounges were elegant, clean and abundant.
Their private out island is magnificent, although not quite finished. It is larger than other out-islands. There are several beaches to choose from. There is a Childs lagoon beach which is shallow. Unfortunately the captain ordered all aboard after only 2 hours on the cay(we were scheduled for 10 hours on the cay) based on predicted weather coming in, as a result we did not get to experience as much of the private out island as we would have liked to. The weather did not get bad for the next several hours, but I can't fault the captain for erroring on the side of safety.
On the down side:
The guest services desk provided anything but guest services. There were almost always 20 guests waiting in the guest services line and usually only one staff helping them. When there was more than one staff, one of the staff generally looked at their computer, ignoring the line and guests. There was no attempt to even put on a façade that customer service was going to take place. I waited in the guest services line 3 times for a total of 2 hours. I was trying to get the amenities promised via the status match. The first person I spoke with In guest service after waiting 30 minutes (on day 1) said that the welcome letter and amenities will be delivered on day 2 because it is an American based cruise, not international. On day 2 when nothing arrived, I tried guest services again and was informed that the package will be delivered later in the day. On the evening of day 2 I was informed by guest services, after waiting in line again, that I will receive no amenities for being diamond status on this cruise because I did not pay for suite status (I booked an aft view balcony which is my cabin of choice). I later went to the future cruise area where you can book your next cruise and expressed my displeasure with guest services. I was told most of the amenities are available including the specialty dining and the thermal spa, just make a reservation and present your ship card. This worked, I don't understand why guest services did not know this. Some of the amenities were never delivered including Spumante, robes, slippers, and welcome aboard gift as outlined in diamond status benefits.
Ship announcements due to multi language announcements took several minutes.
There was no comedy show, musicals every night in the theatre, even the acrobatic show was a musical. They were Ok.
The casino is small (especially for a 4500 passenger ship).
In the middle:
Dining was plentiful, but lackluster. There were no dishes in the main dining room that I would say were very good. The Chicken ptarmigan was decent, the lasagna was decent. The new York Strip (offered every day) was almost average. Not a lot of choices, the deserts were not exciting.
The cabin staff was adequate.
The cabin was attractive, small but efficient. The Aft balcony was the highlight and why this cabin was chosen. It was clean and organized. The curved glass shower door added a touch of class.