FIRST TIME MSC CRUISE: MSC Magnifica Cruise Review by phil1295

MSC Magnifica 4
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating


Sail Date: November 2010
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
MSC Cruise Lines made a favorable first impression with the ease of embarkation. Overall, staff seemed to be very friendly, but don't necessarily initiate greetings, but will respond politely and with a smile in most cases. The cruise gets a very good rating from this seasoned cruiser, but I will try to stick with American cruise companies whenever possible. We chose MSC for the itinerary with the various/unique ports of call. We received adequate value for the cost of this cruise, but it is important to note that MSC uses an ala carte approach regarding charges for amenities. You are more than welcome to get water, soft drinks, juices, snacks, and etc. all at additional costs (includes meal time). You pay for water even with your meals.

Food quality was good, but variety never changed, especially at breakfast. Same stuff each day. To get pancakes it is necessary to go to the dining room and the same applies to various types of egg. The cleanliness of the ship is excellent More and the decor is exceptionally nice. Cabins are spacious and comfortable. Showers were available with hot water at all times of the day/night. The ship seemed to be smoke-filled in most areas, even "inside" public spaces adjacent to dining areas. MSC needs to enforce more No Smoking/No Fumar areas to protect the health of those who choose not to smoke.

The first port we visited was Bari, Italy where we arrived on a Sunday and everything is closed. This port call is used primarily to take on additional passengers and there isn't much to see or do at this stop. Save your money on excursions and stroll through the old section of Bari which is an easy walking distance from the port.

At each port of call, we never felt uneasy regarding safety. It is necessary to use good judgement when venturing out on your own, which is what our group did at each stop. Ship excursions are over priced and the wise cruiser can save a lot of money by going out on their own away from the buses and large crowds that fill up ship excursions. This is the first time we have stayed away from the prearranged excursions, but we felt it was necessary to do so because of MSC's high costs. Our own method of getting from point A to point B proved to be efficient and we were back to the ship ahead of the throngs returning from excursions which was nice, even if for a short period of time. We had this beautiful huge ship, all to ourselves to enjoy. Less

Published 11/19/10

Cabin review: 55028

Quiet cabin on Level 5. Adequate space and very clean. We normally get a balcony but for this cruise, the outside cabin was excellent. Weather was usually windy, cloudy, and cool. We never saw too many cruisers spending any time on their balconies, even when in port.

Port and Shore Excursions

Another "must see" on this cruise, Dubrovnik is a beautiful city. I recommend saving more money on excursions from the ship by hiring your own taxi to drop you off at Old Town, where you can spend the entire day shopping and taking time to enjoy a quaint restaurant stop, even if it is to just have a beverage. A trip to the top of the hill above Dubrovnik will afford an amazing view of the port, city and surrounding terrain.

This is one of the highlights for this cruise itinerary. Don't miss taking advantage of the sights in Istanbul. In another attempt to avoid expensive excursions from the ship, we opted to hire our own van to take us on a 5 hour sightseeing trip with stops at all of the main attractions. We paid 100 Euro for our group of 6, which was a bargain compared to excursion prices that would cover the same itinerary. From the ship it is possible to get a very good panoramic view of the city and it's multiple mosques with their minarets dotting the skyline. Make sure you allow ample time to walk through the Grand Bazaar with all of it's shops for your souvenier fix.

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

Izmir is best known for it's bazaar which is mostly outdoors. You will need to arrange for transportation from the port to get to the bazaar since it is about 5 KM in distance. We paid for a horse-drawn carriage to transport 6 people and paid 20 Euro one-way. A cab fare is only 10 Euro each way.

Read 184 Izmir Reviews

We opted for a taxi ride from the port to Olympia and paid a nominal fee to enter the site of ruins from the earliest Olympics, almost 2000 years ago. It is quite impressive, but it doesn't take too long to get your fill of "ruins". There is an added cost to enter a museum where many artifacts have been removed from the ruins, but can be viewed by the public. We opted to not go into the museum.

We experienced Venice both pre and post-cruise. The two days we spent in Venice for our pre-cruise enjoyment was exciting and a memory we will have for many years. Be prepared for expensive transportation costs. The various forms of public transportation are the least expensive, but the cost will add up quickly as you try to negotiate the various waterways, islands, and the effort it takes to get between the island of Venice and the airport. Regardless the high costs associated with Venice, it is a "must see".

Read 1149 Venice Reviews

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