INTRO: First of all I would like to explain that this is only one passenger's opinion, I travelled solo, but it is a very honest one. I chose these cruises because I live close to the port and they had a very good deal on a back-to-back, 7 and 5 days. Having never been on MSC before, but having cruised over 80 times in my 70 years, I thought I had seen the worst cruising had to offer on the NCL Norway. I was wrong. Although there were some high points, they were mostly because of COVID. For example, on the Back-2-Back sailings I did, the DAVINA was only filled to about 25% capacity. Getting on board was very quick, and no one paid any attention to what time they were expected to sign in and things moved very smoothly. One weird thing was that I saw the SECURITY people confiscate two little bottled waters from passengers, yet another woman carried a whole case on board and wasn't even reprimanded.
By the way, I'm fully vaccinated and am in 100% agreement with anything the cruise lines can do to keep those affected or who didn't meet the testing requirements off the ship. I understand about the children. It's for my safety and I appreciate everything they do to keep those petty few off the ship. Because I did a B2B sailing, I will combine the information because it was the same on both cruises except the ports and I will break those down if space allows. MSC takes your temperature when you board and checks your vaccination info, but that's it other than in the morning before you get breakfast and again in the evening but that was it. Certain activities were rated for vaccinated and unvaccinated, although there was absolutely no way to tell who was who. They give you all this jive talk about separation, but it's all just talk. Once you're on, you're on. They never mark your room card or put any type of ID anywhere to let people know if you are or aren't vaccinated. So what's the point? To MSC it's just words, and once you're on, you're on. One thing that I also appreciated was that the people doing Back-to-Back cruises were told to report to a comfy room between cruises and were tested at MSC's expense. No worries!
NAVIGATING THE SHIP: TWO WORDS: NO MAPS. Getting around the ship was pure hell. MSC has decided that it's OUR responsibility to learn the way around the DAVINA without the aid of a map. No maps for anyone, anywhere. It would have been easy to navigate had MSC not decided to close off 2 or 3 decks BECAUSE OF COVID. Not one crew member could explain why they kept them closed during both of the cruises I took when supposedly no one came down with COVID. You can't even use the map provided on their website because the writing is so small. Combine the lack of maps with an untested, untrained, unfamiliar crew, and it's a recipe for disaster and lost tempers.
I had a balcony on the 10th floor in the very back. The view was beautiful and days and nights were peaceful and quiet. If I could look past the dinky TV, the leftover, stale cigarette SMOKE that made my clothes and luggage stink, and the maze to get there it would have been fine. BUT...when I got in bed that first night, I felt a bunch of lumps underneath me. I pulled back the bottom sheet and found that the mattress cover was so dirty it was brown and covered with huge lint balls. Whoever made the bed and changed the sheets had to be well aware of the filth that people were sleeping on every night. I swear you couldn't sell something this gross at a garage sale. The next morning I called the front desk and begged for someone other than a room steward come to my room to see what I was living with. A few minutes a room steward showed up. (?) I sent him on his was and called a 2nd time demanding a supervisor. She showed up and even though I was told by the front desk (as always) that no other cabin like mine was available, she magically created a room in the back of the 12th deck that was fine. The carpet was still filthy, but there were fewer lumps on the mattress cover and easier to get to.