This was our 2nd MSC cruise. We were on Seaside in November 2019 in the Yacht Club and received future cruise credit when MSC canceled 2 ports without telling anyone prior to embarkation. The FCC and a great sale (Balcony for the price of an Inside) along with a great itinerary made this cruise attractive. A couple of months before sailing I was checking if excursions were up (they didn't get posted until a month before sail date) when I noticed that my cabin had changed. We were originally in an Aurea suite but the Balcony sale saved us nearly $3k when we changed to connecting Balconies. My husband injured his foot shortly afterward which required him to wear a special boot which hindered his mobility. So he got a scooter and we changed to side-by-side accessible cabins. (I have a bad knee and thought I might also get a scooter.) My new cabin was a deck up from where I was. We had read reviews of people being moved off of deck 9 because they were making room for possible covid patients. But they didn't move my husband. Nor would they move me back. I received no notification nor an explanation when I called to ask about it. Out travel agent got involved. They ended up putting us in connecting cabins 3 decks up that weren't accessible. After several calls and the help of the AARP Travel resolution department we were able to move my husband back to where he was. I stayed on deck 12 while he was on 9. After we boarded we learned that MSC had sold my cabin after moving me out. The customer service manager on board helped by moving us to next door cabins on 9, one of which was accessible. My cabin was smaller with no sofa and a bathtub that was dangerously narrow for my old wobbly legs. But we now could fit a scooter into my husband's cabin. The customer service manager attempted to find out from the land-side people why we were moved. They would not say but implied they had made every change we requested. Which we (and the manager) knew was untrue. I have every email of cabin changes and there is not one from MSC announcing or explaining why I was moved.
We discovered our Jamaican port was changed AFTER we boarded. Again, no explanation. We were offered a substitute excursion to Montego Bay (our original port) but it was not accessible nor was it for vaccinated people only. We took the refund and stayed in the port area of Falmouth which was nice but we weren't seeing the country.
Our next excursion was in Cartagena (we were close enough to downtown Oranjestad to walk to shopping). This was going to be in the Old City. We were going to be taken for a coffee tasting then have time for shopping. We did not expect to have to walk several blocks to the coffee shop. My husband could not take his scooter and was barely able to make it from the bus to the shop. (We get that the bus was too big for the streets in the old city but we should have been told there would be a long walk.) The tour leader arranged for a van to come and take us and another couple back to the bus. Then the bus would take us to an area where we could do some shopping. We got to the bus and sat for over an hour. The driver didn't speak English. We didn't speak Spanish. Turned out we were where the tour group would walk to from the coffee shop. They shopped along the way. The tour leader tried to tell us that we knew what was going to happen but when the other couple also spoke up he relented and apologized. So we paid for an excursion that ended up being mostly a waste of time.
Smaller than the one I paid for. Had a tub instead of a just a shower, which I would have prefered. Tubs are narrow on ships and if you're tall it can be hard to maintain balance when the ship is rocking. No sofa, only what looked liked a section of sofa without arms. Very hard.
Very nice port area with lots of shops. Some were closed because of covid. Didn't leave the port area because MSC changed port with no notice and no time to research alternative excursions. They canceled our original Montego Bay accessible and vaccinated only excursion and offered a non-accessible, non-vaccinated replacement. We declined.
Still has a long way to go before it looks more than a cleaned up sand pit. Large areas are still unfinished but the beach nearest the ship was popular. Bring money if you plan on shopping. Staff on the island could be friendlier. Or just friendly. I get it's boring when the ship isn't full but at least greet your customers.
No excursion. Walked off the ship and into town. Very pretty. Friendly people. Drivers very polite - will stop to let you cross the street.
Be mindful that the old city will require walking since tour buses are restricted to the fringes. Vendors will hound you almost anywhere a tourist can go. Even before we got off the bus they were crowded around the door. Someone actually wanted me to pay to take a picture of his dressed up donkey, Maria. Just keep saying no if you're not interested.
Our excursion was canceled for lack of participants (they needed 150 for the train to the Pacific). Alternative was not accessible nor covid-safe. We docked at the old pier where there's a relatively new store still building inventory. The exit from the terminal was into a construction area with some shady characters so we just went back on board the ship.
Missed my excursion because of an asthma attack but after the rain stopped I walked to the "terminal" where there were many local vendors selling stuff actually made in Costa Rica. Good prices, too. Vendors were friendly and not pushy. Walked out to the park across the street because I'd heard there were sloths there. Didn't see any but I was told there was a mother in one tree and her baby in another. Expected to be hustled like that from reading other reviews. I took a couple pictures anyway and gave each guy a dollar. Back on the ship I examined the pics and can imagine there's a sloth-shaped figure in one of them. Felt safe even though there were cops on the corner and fairly tight security in and out of the port area.