Had a great first day here aboard the Grandiosa, leaving Marseille. The food, service, and all other accommodations are not the best I’ve had on a cruise, but they perform very well at the price point. But the wheels came off of this cruise fast this morning in Genoa, when I attempted to walk 25 minutes to the aquarium with my family, and was told that passengers are only allowed to leave the ship via an MSC-purchased excursion. This came at a complete shock to me and several others, as the cruise line offered no clear indication that passengers were not allowed to independently explore the ports of call.
I went to the reception to find where this guidance was offered, and they replied “it’s on the website under general terms and conditions”. I insisted that they show me where so I know where to look for future reference, and they took about 25 minutes to find nebulous guidance buried in 25 pages of legal jargon that in fact says no such thing. Then it dawned on me… we are now prisoners aboard the MSC Grandiosa! There is no leaving unless you pay the cruise line double to triple the costs to “safely” roam free at all ports of call.
Worst of all, many like me who prefer to not be herded like cattle in large groups already independently booked tickets and tours for things like the Genoa Aquarium and the Colosseum, which of course now are not refundable this late in the game. I made sure that the cruise line was aware of this fact, and their only response is “you should have read the general terms and conditions”.