Told 4 crew about the ordeal including reception who told us "Management has been informed". But nobody ever came to see us or even check if we were ok. Sent an email to customer service department highlighting that this was totally appalling, but they didn't see it that way - "I’m sorry to hear that you felt a lack of support from staff on board. Unfortunately, after the local police have been informed of an incident there is not much that can be done from the ship’s side, as the issue is with the local policing authorities."
Wow! Not much that can be done? Not sure if that lives up to any basic duty of care standards. Needless to say we have now cancelled our cruise we had booked on the Meraviglia which was to be our honeymoon, having now had some insight into how little MSC actually care about their passengers.
Putting that major concern aside - observations below. previous cruises include NCL, Cunard, P&O and MSC Seaside.
Cruise was Genoa, Italy to Santos, Brasil - 19 days.
Ship itself is nice as we expected having done a 7 night Caribbean on the Seaside previous which we had loved.
Ship developed an operational problem early on which meant it would run slower - as a result Malaga was cancelled. 100 Euro ship credit per cabin was offered. This had knock on effects for us however as the port times were also changed for the remaining European stops. We had to cancel most of our excursions (we had organised independently) because of this.
Embarkation was extremely smooth (multiple options for joining ports for the cruise helped), but there were a number of times on the trip with big delays getting off at port stops after docking (up to 3 hours). Unsure the background why.
Dining was a major letdown compared to previous cruises (even MSC Seaside). Although I actually think the buffet is excellent, and the additional buffet on Deck 16 has themed dinners for a bit of variety. Noticed a huge difference in table accessibility in the buffet though early on in the cruise with less favourable European weather compared to the South America leg. These ships are really designed for good weather and the usable space decreases dramatically if everyone is forced inside. A few times we gave up and just took our plates back to the room.
But the biggest food disappointment was the main dining room. Actually stopped eating here half way through the cruise. Just terrible. Twice I had to send my tomato basil penne back (btw not a single hint of basil anywhere?) as it was still crunchy. Likewise even simple things like steamed fish were often under-cooked.
Did do the Roy Yamaguchi experience package (prebooked before we sailed) which gave you 3 different nights, Sushi, Teppanyaki and Fusion. Sushi and Fusion were great, Teppanyaki absolutely everything was covered in butter which tasted almost tainted and it went right through the food. Note that even if you have a drinks package (we did) it does not cover any orders in the specialty restaurants - so you will be paying for water and anything else you order.
Talking with the wait staff it seems none of the specialty restaurants were getting many bookings, so half their job involved wandering around the ship selling packages (usually when people were trying to eat their food in the buffets etc). Wore a bit thin getting bothered 50 times a day after 2+ weeks of cruising!
Prebooked a spa package that included a couple of massages and a day pass to the Thermal Suite area. Massages were fine, awkward after each though with the (almost begging) hard sell to book again on the spot.
Thermal suite we really enjoyed. Snow room, a couple of wooden sauna rooms, scented steam rooms with funky lighting, a relax on lounger salt room, a big spa pool, and stone heated loungers (but only 2 of these so you have to be lucky). Also scented showers - the cool temp one particularly refreshing. There was one other room that you were supposed to walk around while jets of water come up from the ground but it was a waste of space.
Another bonus is there is an outside deck are you can only access through the thermal suite, with deck loungers and a spa pool looking straight out to sea.
Entertainment was a mixed bag. Generally the guest acts were average, and the actual MSC Seaview singer/dancer/acrobat crew were excellent. Only exception to this was a rather lackluster show staged as a Tina Turner tribute. Shows are scheduled 3 times a night and you have to book for the one you want through the app or touch screens around the ship. Pays to check when they open up (sometimes the day before, sometimes 2 days) as slots often booked out. They scan your card when you enter the theatre to make sure you have booked. You can try your luck without a booking however - as they let people in 5-10 mins before the show starts if there are spare seats.
Haven lounge (which was our favourite on Seaside) was hurt by having rotating sets of Duos, who while all talented in their own right, were very much similar so became quite boring after the first week. Still we spent a fair amount of time there after establishing that's where the best barista did most of his shifts. Coincidentally the best coffee on the Seaside also was from the same lounge. Another note on the drinks package - you can no longer use it in the Venchi cafe for coffees or hot chocolates (we could on the earlier Seaside cruise).
Service itself was patchy. Room steward was quite shy but lovely, the haven lounge staff fantastic and they got to know us. Elsewhere it would depend on the day as to whether you had to go searching for drinks and whether you'd get a smile or a scowl.
Port stops we mostly ended up just looking around adhoc due to the schedule changes.
Used to onboard credit for the basic shuttle a few times - they were typically 15-19 euros.
Tenerife went to La Laguna which was quite good (although devastated we had to cancel our rental car, chairlift and hiking permit for Mt Teide). Note it is very easy to get to La Laguna on public transport taking a tram or bud to the main depot (or 15 mins walk) and then a direct express bus there (40 mins). It cost use less than 5 Euro each vs the ship shuttle at 52 Euro.
Ilheus is a nothing stop, Rio had been before and Salvador is where we had the incident so no fond memories there.
In short it is sad it worked out like it did. There are a lot of mixed reviews for MSC out there but we did have a good time ourselves on the Seaside and had high hopes we had found a good match in cruise line, liking the design innovation and generally upbeat vibe.
It took me a while to write to MSC as it kind of involved reliving some unpleasantness, but then I was as amazed by the response maybe as much as the lack of concern on the ship at the time.
They make a big effort positioning themselves in their advertising as the "biggest privately owned" cruise line in the world. I can see now that is just meaningless drivel, because if it is implying that means they somehow care more about their passengers.... they don't.
Inside vs last cruise on Seaside where we took had OV. Definitely a lot smaller but quite well laid out still and workable bathroom. There is a single chair for sitting on in the cabin as well as a stool under the desk (which is not very usable). TV comes out from wall on bracket so can be pointed anywhere including the bed. Only English TV channels were CNN and BBC news. The direct USB chargers in room didn't work with our devices. In hindsight much prefer the extra space and layout of the OV which includes a small 2 seater sofa.