Where can I begin? I agree with RobM--if you're italian, then by all means, book away!
First, the positives: the ship itself is absolutely gorgeous! Very nicely furnished, with all the elegance you'd expect from a European line. Our stateroom had a balcony, and it was immaculate! Probably the best room we've had so far.
The ports we visited were AMAZING! Southern Italy, Greece, Croatia, Istanbul--all fabulous! We booked our own outings with a private guide (as we were a rather large group)via the internet before boarding, otherwise, to buy them through the ship was outrageous.
Also, the gelato bar on the Lido deck had really good gelato!
Now the NEGATIVES: The staff was terrible!!! They kept leaving the daily bullentins in Spanish, when we repeatedly requested them in English. In all fairness, other members of our party spoke Spanish, but we didn't.
At dinner on the first night was a disaster! We asked for ice, only to be ignored. When we asked again, we were laughed at. Finally, my father-in-law had to get ugly with the wait staff and demanded ice--they brought it to us in cereal bowls! Remember, we Americans are used to ice with our water--the Europeans ARE NOT! Not to mention our waiter didn't speak a lick of English. So finally, members of our party went back and forth with their Spanish and the waiters' Italian and we finally got what we wanted. Hmm...the food! I'll give them the benefit of the doubt--I remember one particular salad being good--an octopus salad. But I have to say that the rest of the food tasted like something you would be served in a nursing home. It was terrible! And you had to pay for water with your meal!!! We had wine tickets, which were supposed to be paired with each nights entree theme, but our waiter kept screwing it up and we kept drinking the wrong wines with the wrong meals.
Again at breakfast, we asked for ice water for everyone, and only the person asking got a small, juice-sized glass of water with 2 ice cubes. Is ice that expensive??? Finally, we asked for the entire water pitcher.
The buffet was disgusting! The hot food was cold and the cold food was hot, and again, never a place to sit. The dishes seemed like they were "creations" thrown together at the last minute. Actually,...one afternoon, there was a cookout on the lido deck with hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.; the next day, at the buffett, there was a cold salad made with the cut-up, leftover hot dogs!!!! I'm not kidding! How's that for Euroopean elegance???
Now for the entertainment. We had the last seating of the evening, so by the time we finished our meal, there were no seats available in the theater venues. So, we never watched any shows. Also, there were never any lounge chairs or seats available poolside, so we didn't get to do much swimming or sunbathing, either. Forget about the outdoor jacuzzi! It was always stuffed full of people, like little sausages in a can.
Now, on the night of the captain's reception, it was a real first-class affair!!! Everyone was dressed in their best, and my husband and I were at the bar having a drink, and another, and another, because the festivities that were taking place were in other languages, so we weren't paying attention. Suddenly, we saw and heard a commotion--NOW THIS IS CLASSY--two Italian females were into a brawl over a guy!! I'm not kidding! Two bimbos got into a fight during the captain's reception over some idiot guy! They were broken up and escorted out, as we all laughed!
There was a nightclub, all the way aft, and my husband and I decided to check it out. We are both early thirties and still enjoy a good time every now and then! Wrong choice! Everyone in there were teenagers, I mean YOUNG teenagers, like 13, 14, 15--all drinking and partying on the dance floor!
The fellow cruisers, mostly Italian, were the rudest, most un-classy group of people I have ever been around. As we were in line for the elevator, it was nothing for them to cut in front of us, and dash ahead of us into the elevator. If they accidently ran into us, forget about pleasantries, as "Excuse me," or whatever the Italian equivalent is. Also, if you like seeing all the men (regardless of age) wearing banana-hammocks (YUCK!--i.e., speedos) at the pool, and all the women wearing bikinis (regardless of age)then this is the cruise for you.
MSC waaaay overbooked this cruise, and it was full to the max! I hated being shoulder-to-shoulder with people everywhere! It reminded me of the cartoons where all the people rush into a popular place at once, and when that was over, they all rushed to another happening spot, again, all at once.
At the first Turkish port,Izmir, we had to wait an hour an a half, in the hot sun, before the officials would let us continue on to our excursions.
All in all, we were expecting European elegance, after all, it's an Italian line. All we got was a taste of the rude Italian middle class. Never again. Not worth the money. I can eat hot dogs at home.
Excellent! Wonderful balcony views!