We chose this cruise because as a retired couple it seemed like a new adventure to get back to the US. Embarcation took 1 hour and 10 minutes. The ship is a cross between Las Vegas and Star Trek. Lots of mirrors, glass and flash. The buffet food (we only went there 5 times) was very good and well-presented. The main dining rooms were elegant and service was great most of the time. MSC constantly picks up new people and drops others off so you meet new people often. They had a huge staff change in Portugal before crossing. I think they were getting more English-speaking staff for the US cruise season. They were constantly training and you could see some service hiccups on occasion but it did not bother us. When we made the crossing only 1500 passengers were on board. At 57 we were on the younger side of the list. Only saw 4-5 families at this time. I saw some of the older passengers be really demanding and rude to staff but I guess that happens. The entertainment was just OK. The Edge and Sky bar were our main hangouts at night. The back pool was our daytime favorite. We started with dinner at the Panorama Dining room which was our favorite but we were eating at 9 pm so we asked for an earlier time and moved to the Wave Dining room at 6:30. Some nights the menu did not have anything that really caught our eye and other times it was fantastic. I am a short rib and prime rib kinda guy and both were fantastic as were all the braised dishes. I got the cheapest internet option and it was fine for what we wanted to do. It did drop on occasion but not a big deal to us. We opted for the Thermal Package before boarding and I think that was well worth it. We used it often and I showered daily there as it allowed both of us to get ready for dinner at the same time. The was was super nice and clean. 23 days to get home on a ship beats 12 hours inside airplanes and airports any day. We have already booked our cruise for next year back as it was a bit cheaper when booked on the ship. The MSC Island was ok and relaxing. Get your umbrellas early.
We had an 8th-floor unobstructed view balcony. We were on the odd-numbered side of the ship. Those on the even-numbered side had their view obstructed by lifeboats where we looked across the top. Our balcony was larger than the higher floors.
Not much shade and almost no fish to see. Relaxing and the food was as expected.
What a great place. Lots to see and do. Look up things to do and places to eat before you land
This was a great port for us. Lots to see in walking distance from port