My husband and I selected this cruise because of the port and itinerary. We have sailed on other cruise lines but not MSC. The reviews here as you know are very mixed so we went into the trip with an open mind and not very high expectations other than to get away.
When we got to port there wasn't another car in sight. Later we found out the ship only had just shy of 600 passengers for this trip. Needless to say, embarkation and debarkation were a breeze lasting about 15 minutes each with no lines at all.
When you first get on the ship there are crew that try to sell you packages, but we were happy for this as we did want to upgrade our drinks pkg and get a dinner pkg. This may bother some folks but for those who want this it's great not to have to hunt down and stand in line to do each. The staff were incredibly helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. They brought us drinks while we waited and suggested the Galaxy dining during the lighthouse show as you got amazing views. They were right! Thank you to Nicole (Butcher's Cut), Frank (Divina Bar) and Mark (Casino Bar)! The whole trip I don't think we passed one crew member that didn't speak and smile to us! They are a wonderful group!
The cabin was super clean with plenty of room and storage for the two of us. The interior is the red not the yellow which was nice for us. Our balcony is very deep. We took a hammock but most days it was humid or warm so we didn't use it, but there were 2 chairs, an ottoman and one lounger. The shower has soap gel and shampoo with good hot water with nice pressure. They do provide a hair dryer and have 2 American outlets at the desk. The fridge was empty but did have a sheet if you wanted to request items to be stocked. The bed was firm but very comfy (we take mattress pads but didn't need to use them). The a/c worked fine. The bed is by the bathroom not the balcony. We always had fresh towels delivered. The safe gave us a bit of trouble and we felt the battery may be run down but it still worked. There was an issue with a piece of bent over-hang on the balcony door reported noticed by our cabin steward. They came and fixed right away - the maintenance and the steward manager that were there both were very very nice and apologetic about having to come in but they were quick with the work. The only down side here was that my husband was bothered by the extra noise by being in back when we docked in the mornings, though it didn't bother me. Note on the back also you will not get much of a breeze like you would at the side, but it was nice seeing both sides from back and the views as you sailed away! I would definitely choose this cabin again!
The port is really nice, clean, pretty and has a lot to offer right at port without going on an excursion. The down side is the very aggressive salesmen or store staff. It's difficult to walk along the walk way by the stores due to this.
Otherwise the area offers swimming pools, dolphin interactive swimming, entertainment, a bird sanctuary, tons of restaurants/bars/shops to enjoy.
We didn't do an excursion here but enjoyed walking around such a well-kept area with so much to see.
The port has many shops that you have to find a way to get through before getting outside. It was a bit confusing and lots of aggressive sales-folks. Once outside there are a few wanting to sell rentals or excursions but once you get a block or two away it's not like that.
It rained off and on while we were there but that kept it cool, very low humidity and comfortable for our visit. We stopped at Tikilas for tapas and drinks. It's a small but very clean local place for tapas and drinks with a nice view. The food was absolutely amazing! The salsa and guac were so fresh and the flavors really were unlike anything you can get where we live. There is a scuba place adjoined to it where they take beginners into the water and teach them how to scuba. It was fun to watch that while we enjoyed our visit.
This is a beautiful port. It's so clean and natural looking. It is a work in progress but it was wonderful getting to stay here for 2 days.
The walking paths are great for those not wanting to be bogged down in sand yet get around the island. They did have golf carts that would shuttle you or pick you up (a staff member will call them for you).
They do offer lockers with locks for your things in the bathrooms and showers on the outside wall of the bathrooms.
The buffet is offered near the lagoon at the far side of the island. The light house offers very comfy seating, great views, wonderful bar service. There are some bars there as well by the beaches and shops. The housing for staff is really well kept and beautiful also.
They do offer excursions though we didn't do one here. Many did seem to enjoy the jetskis!