This was our 4th cruise with MSC and again I checked reviews to see about our ship and what people had to say. We were on the sister ship last year in Europe and it was excellent. My only complaint about this ship is that it is so similar to the Seaview it was almost like being on the same ship twice. Which just took away from the initial exploring but since we were with our daughter (21) and her friend it was like a new experience. The reviews for this ship were similar to other times I've checked,not stellar but that only bothers me because so many people are missing out on a GREAT experience.
Let me start by saying that your experience on the ship may differ depending on what level experience you purchase. For the last 2 cruises we have been Aurea level. the level just below the yacht club. So with it comes some perks, the first is your own line during embarkation, it took us longer to walk through the terminal than it did to get checked in. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. We grabbed a drink, dropped our travel bags did a quick change and met our daughter and her friend to grab a bite to eat and explore. Timing is everything on a cruise and I can see where some people may have issues. We got on the ship at 2 and had plenty of time before muster, there were several groups that were not so pleased about the fact that they were turned away from the buffet and/or bar, but the ship has rules they must follow and it is not the staffs fault. i saw one man get so angry but the staff was just doing their jobs. The ship is absolutely beautiful and the staff was great too. I think the difference is that not everyone was sooo friendly, but I find that at restaurants or bars at home as well. We found the bartenders that were. Shout out to Isaiah and Jahil in the lobby bar. We were met with a smile and a drink several times a day from them. ( Aurea level also comes with an all inclusive drink package for drinks up to $6. which included what we drink vodka & soda, whiskey & coke, wine and beer. ) If you want great cappucinos and bloody mary's then visit Joey and Mary in the Seaview lounge.
The weather on our cruise was NOT the best, and that limited being out by the pool for the first few days. Lots of wind, rain and rocking.
We had a beautiful balcony that we couldn't really use until day 3. Our bed was comfortable and the room was always kept clean. I did have to ask for kleenex and wash clothes but Marianne our steward was happy to oblige. We did not have the same contact with her as we did on past cruises but she was very efficient.
Here's my take on the food. Aurea level gets to eat whenever we feel like it, which works for us. We met some people we played cards with and they had to eat at 530. That would not work for us so again happy to be Aurea level. We ate in the main dining room several of the nights. Is the food to die for no, are there somethings that are really good, YES YES YES, were there are few things that I didn't love yes, but Nico and Alan in the Seashore dining room were very happy to accomodate us and bring another choice. The buffet for breakfast and lunch are great. Remember this is an Italian cruise line, there are many european choices for breakfast and lunch that you might never have seen before but there are so many choices you have to be able to find something. Some mornings we had made you omelets other days something light before heading off the ship. The pizza is amazing and lots of good cheeses. I was sad that on this cruise there were not capers or hearts of palm like on European cruise. (I got spoiled there).
With the Aurea level you also get a massage and free use of the thermal spa as often as you like. We did make our appointments on the first day so that we were able to get the day and time we were looking for. We used the spa several days even if it was just for a half hour.
MSC and me app. We downloaded this before we got on the ship and my husband had us signed up for all sorts of activities ( we didn't do most of them) within the first 2 hours.
The activities and entertainment staff are amazing. They really get the party going. The white party was so much fun! The 2 bar areas in the back of the ship were very fun at night as well. The shows in the evening were good entertainment. Yes a bit repetitive but still impressive. The Michael Jackson show is not to be missed and we went to the improv show 2 nights in a row because it was so funny. i didn't even know we liked improv. We bought WIFI was it great no, but it was fine. I needed help with it once and I had to wait about 15 minutes for help I didn't think that was bad.
We used the casino a bunch and although I wasn't a big winner I thought their slots were great. It is a bit smoky but nothing too bad.
We did not use their excursions, but we had a great time in each of the ports. Obviously docking at 5pm does not give you tons of time in Puerto Rico but we walked around and found a great restaurant and had some mojitos. We purchased the specialty dining and I would say that was the only downfall of the cruise. Our drinks were not able to be used there.(in europe they were) and the staff in both were not my favorite. I will not purchase this on our next cruise. If we want to go we will just do it a la carte next time.
Now here comes the sad part of the review. We were on the last cruise before all sailings were halted due to Coronavirus. The staff found out at about 3pm on our last day that they would not have jobs after our cruise, needless to say things really changed on the last night. The bars were getting shut down, no entertainment staff no DJ in the back bar. We felt so bad for them, but at the same time we were also stripped of a last great night. We did follow up with Isaiah and he and Jahil are safe back in St. Lucia.
We love MSC, is there room for improvement absolutely, is it a mix of a lot of different people (Europeans are different than Americans , I love that about this cruise line) We talked to all sorts of people and people watched all sorts of people, I sat down and played dominos with 3 guys from Dallas (I'm an Eagles fan) We played cards with people from Chile. That is what MSC is about. Have an open mind and enjoy this beautiful ship. Especially after being quarantined!!
We travelled with our daughter (21) and her friend. They had an inside Aurea level room that was very spacious. We will definitely be cruising with MSC again in the near future.
Our cabin was spacious enough for 2, we don't spend tons of time in our room but it was very nice and not cramped. The balcony is small and if you want a view of Ocean Cay I would stay on the even side of the ship.
We took a taxi to the ferry to Water Island and spent the day there!! So relaxing, The hot sauce is really hot and the drinks are really cold
We did not get a chance to eat because the restaurants close early and it really isn't posted anywhere . the bathrooms are quite a walk the light show at the lighthouse was great, like I said staff was not as enthusiastic due to ending of cruise