To start I need to tell you that the ship was at best at half occupancy. I am sure this had a huge impact on wait times, table availabity in the buffet area and deck chair availablity. The occupancy was heavily affected by the coronavirus.
Embarkation went quickly and easily. We arrived around11:30 am and were on board by about 12:15. There were no lines to check in. We had to wait until noon to start boarding. we were in group 14 and were on board by 12:15. Every few, less than 200 people, waiting to board at this time. Rooms were ready right at 2:00 pm. My luggage arrived just before the safety drill and my daughter's just after the safety drill.
The ship is beautiful and well maintained. I had only one issue. the windows in most of the public rooms were very dirty. This made viewing out of them unpleasant. The layout of the ship was awkward in places. A few times we found ourselves in a "you can't get there from here" situation. We would have to go up or down a deck to get through to another area of the ship to return to the deck we had been on. We use the stairs most of the times, but on the occasions we took the elevator, the wait time was minimal and the elevators were rarely full.
The food was a hit or miss situation. All three times I at at the buffet, most of the hot food was barely warm to cold. Most appeared to have been out too long and the warmers did not keep the food warm. The meals we had in the MDR were good but nothing to write home about. Our waiter was efficent and made sure our meals were delivered hot. Drinks in the MDR were never correct. I tried to buy a drink from the bar (I only purchased the non-alcholic package) but was told my package did not cover it and could not have it. They could not even get my daughter's soda correct. One person at our table ordered wine each night and only on the first night was it the correct wine. The other nights she recieved the same wine she ordered on the first night despite having ordered a different type of wine. Another person at our table ordered iced tea. She recieved a glass of the ice tea concentrate. Very disappointing.
Drinks package was a problem throughout the cruise. I purchased the non-alcoholic package as I will ususally only have one or two drinks a day. Each time I went to the bar to purchase an alcoholic drink, at first I was told no because I did not have the premium drink package. I told time I wanted to buy a drink. It always took two or three attempts before they would fill my drink order. Any drink not on the menu was usually wrong, even something as simple as a whiskey sour. I did like being able to get fruit juice and bottled water on the package I did purchase as I do not like soda.
We had a Fantastica level balcony. The room was tight had enough storage. The luggage fit under the bed easily. We had asked for twin beds, but the bed was a queen when we arrived. We asked that it be made into twins and it was done before bedtime the first night. Our room steward was nice and helpful. Only issue was he forgot our beach towels on morning. He brought us the towels as soon as we asked. So no real problems.
We did not enjoy the one show we went to. It was difficult to follow, no real continuity between acts. The dancing was more prancing and posing thand dancing. The acrobats were good, did not really seem to belong in the show. Decided not to go to any others.
Ocean Cay was beautiful. But the lines for lunch were long. With only one main buffet on the island, I wonder how much worse it would have been if the ship had been at full occupancy. Again, all the food was cold and most was flavorless on the island. The bar staff once agian was difficult. The only drinks that were correct were sodas and bottled water. Not even a simple juice order was correct.
The snorkling excursion was fun and well run. Plenty of safety people in the water and a great guide explaining different types of fish. The excursion to swim with the stindrays was cancelled. The explaination was that the ship was not at the island long enough. If that was the case, why was it offered at all. The departure time was known by the cruise line. We tried to book the scuba excursion instead, but was told they were offering those yet. Why were they being offered on the website prior to the cruise if they were not really available.
Disembarking and embarking at the ports of call were easy with no long lines. Our temperature was checked each time we re-entered the ship.
Final disembarkation went very smoothly. We did express embarkation and took our own suitcases with us. Again there were no lines so we were off the ship in less than 20 minutes. Everyone in our group did make sure to settle our accounts the previous evening. We had a balance due as as we had pre-paid the service fee and excursions. With the one excursion being cancelled we were due a refund. Instead of applying the amount back to my credit card, we had to recieve the amount in cash from the guest services desk. I found this awkward. I am glad I did this the night before disembarkation. This was the only time I had to wait in a long line on the ship.
I was very dissappointed in trying to work with MSC prior to my cruise. I was the only one in our group who was able to pre-pay our service fee. The other two pairs in our group tried but was told they could not do it. Trying to get basic question answered always required a long time on hold. The shortest time on hold with MSC was 42 minutes. I was very discouraged by the lack of excursion in Nassau to discover there were a number being offed on the ship. As well as a number being offered online for Ocean Cay were in fact not available because the island is not finished. I also tried to purchase airport transfers and was told they were not available, only to discover onboard they were available. The lack of accurate information before and during the cruise made things difficult.
I have cruised a number of other cruise lines. I doubt I will be cruising with MSC again.
The cabin was small with very little space to walk. I felt as if I as always stumbling over the ends of the bed to get to the balcony. The cabin was very clean. It had enough storage. I enjoyed sitting on a balcony.
The island is beautiful. It will only improve as the trees mature. The only place to eat is not large enough to hand the number of passengers on the ship. Excursions that were offered online prior to the cruise were cancelled once we were on board. The reason given for the cancellation was that the cruise was leaving the island too early. But the departure time was known before the excursions were offered. The ship did not leave until 8 pm, just after sunset. Plus I do not understand how the departure time could affect a daytime swimming or scuba excursion. The fact is that the planned scuba center is not even started yet.