We booked our cruise directly with MSC (UK). Our flights were from Manchester to CDG Paris and connecting from CDG Paris to Genoa where we would be met and transported by coach to Port. When our flight details arrived we saw that there was barely an hour between arriving and connecting flight to Genoa. We phoned MSC and said we were concerned as CDG is a large terminal and we didn`t think there was sufficient time to get to the departure gate. I was assured by the Customer Service officer that "No one has ever missed a flight before!". However, our misgivings were confirmed when we were on the plane to Paris the stewardess came to us and advised us that we were too late as our connecting flight was about to take off. I now know that this HAS HAPPENED numerous times before....although I was assured by MSC that there had never been any problems. The outcome was that we were stuck in Paris till late afternoon (we had left home at 2.30 a.m. with our two young children). When we arrived in Genoa we had to get a taxi, at our own expense to the Port and arrived just as the ship was about to depart. Fortunately we were let on and we went to Reception to get our cabin Key...we were asked to register our credit card which we did.
Our package holiday was for an "All Inclusive" cruise. At dinner that evening we had two glasses of wine and two soft drinks for the children. The waiter came and asked us to sign the bill...we explained that we were on an "All Inclusive" basis but he said that was not the case...rather than embarrass him we decided it was easier to sign and sort it out later. However, after visiting Reception a rather glum Receptionist said "NO you are not All Inclusive". We said there must be a mistake but she was not even interested and turned her back on us! We then went to our cabin to get our invoice and returned to the desk with the confirmation invoice. The same Receptionist shrugged her shoulders, heaved an exasperated sigh and spoke to us VERY SLOWLY and said "I have told you NO". At this point her colleague came along, took the invoice and tapped some information into the system..then she, by some mysterious means, managed to find our information. She said something to her colleague who "snatched" our cards from our hands and put stickers on them confirming we were indeed "All inclusive". As we were about to walk away she said something to her colleague and pulled a face in our direction...we felt dreadful. A Spanish couple standing next to us said they were disgusted at the way we had been treated.
We decided to forget all that and concentrate on having a good time, which we did...although the food was only passable...the service from the restaurant and bar staff was wonderful. The cabins were lovely and the ship was beautiful but too big and did not have a great atmosphere.
On the last morning we had received our invoice for our on-board spend, which included trips and films for the children etc. We had registered our credit card but on the last morning we still had plenty of cash left over from our spending money. I asked the English speaking Rep, Lee-Anne, if we would be able to pay our bill in cash rather than put it on our Credit Card. She said that was no problem and was at the Accounts Desk when we arrived where she was directing people into the various queues, one for cash payment and the other for Credit Card authorisation. When I presented the invoice I explained to the young man on the desk that I would be paying CASH and gave him 500 Euros...he counted it out and gave me the correct change. Then he asked me to sign the invoice...which I did. I did see my Credit Card number on it but as the balance at the bottom said NIL I was not unduly concerned.
We were taken by coach to Genoa Airport and had to wait till late afternoon for our flight to Paris CDG (Although there were numerous flights leaving early in the day..MSC had chosen to put us on a late flight...not good waiting around all day in a small airport with two children).
When our Credit Card statement arrived two weeks ago we were shocked and worried to find that we had been charged again on our credit card, although we paid CASH. Since then, despite numerous calls to MSC Customer Service Department, we have not been able to get this matter sorted. We have asked our Credit Card company to stop payment, which they have done. However, now MSC are saying we "have no proof" that we have paid. This is ridiculous, surely the amount we paid was entered into the computer at the time. there must also be CCTV cameras in the area, and the Rep, Lee-Anne witnessed our transaction. It is a nightmare!
So, my advice to any would-be customer of MSC is to BEWARE. They have been dishonest in their dealings with us. The Customer Service is appalling, the administration staff are useless and BEWARE if you are booking flights with them from a Regional airport as you could be left high and dry somewhere and they wouldn`t care.....Once they have your money they don`t care about you. ALTHOUGH THE SHIPS ARE BEAUTIFUL AND SOME OF THE STAFF ARE LOVELY...I WOULD NEVER EVER RECOMMEND THIS COMPANY...SO THOSE WHO ARE PLANNING A CRUISE TAKE A WORD OF WARNING...THEY ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED WITH YOUR MONEY!
Cabin was tastefully furnished and the balcony was a decent size.