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MSC Virtuosa Review

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
54 reviews

Cruising in the age of COVID - Think TWICE

Review for MSC Virtuosa to the Baltic Sea
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FrequentWorldCruiser
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

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Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2021
Cabin:

We are frequent cruisers (with several different lines), but this was our first cruise with MSC. We were excited because this cruise was supposed to go to Casablanca. In fact we chose this cruise specifically because of this destination. It was only when we printed off our cruise documents four days prior to leaving for Barcelona (non-refundable RT airfare from Miami, non-refundable prepaid hotel) that we noticed that Casablanca had been removed form the itinerary and replaced with Cadiz. No notice. No explanation. But we decided to go anyway.

Each day for two weeks, we received emails from MSC "reminding" us that we had to have a COVID test at our own expense (they stressed that point) no more than 48 hours prior to boarding the ship or we would be denied passage. Being non-Europeans, we had to book a private test (at a cost of 130 euro each). We happily did this, understanding the need for precaution. (we are also fully vaccinated). When we arrived at the terminal we presented our COVID vaccination cards, which they recorded (more on that later) and attempted to present our negative COVID tests. We were told "oh, you don't need that, we're going to do it here". Again, no explanation. Only, "Captain's orders". We were irked, but decided to let it go.

Also, a week prior to the cruise, we were informed that in order to leave the ship at each port, we would need to book an excursion, specifically offered by MSC (specifically, we could NOT leave the ship on our own; we could NOT book with an outside vendor like Viator). Again, although we had not been notified of this policy beforehand, we sucked it up as residue from the whole COVID fiasco. We tried to book our excursions online, but were not allowed to. We had to book the excursions on the ship. Once on the ship, we tried to book our excursions, but were told that we were not guaranteed space on any of the excursions in the future, as they had to leave space for people who would be booking online for future embarkation ports (every port is an embark/disembark port). When we expressed that we had tried to book online, but were not allowed to we were met with a shrug of the shoulders and a tepid "sorry".

Cabin Review

Suite was big enough and well enough appointed. Bathroom is TINY!! Barely room for one person, let alone two. Bathtub/shower only had a half wall to prevent splashing (inadequate, as we always ended up with a wet floor after shower). Tub is tall, and grab bar is on the other side, so dangerous for anyone who might be less than stead on their feet. No grab bar on the entry side other than the moving glass half-wall. Balcony was very wide (double normal width, but not at all deep.

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