FIRST CRUISE EVER: MSC Magnifica Cruise Review by carole tyrrell

MSC Magnifica 4
carole tyrrell

Overall Member Rating


Sail Date: August 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
Having read bad reviews about the food on the internet after I had already booked up, I was not surprised that they were absolutely true. The food was bland and cold. And if you liked salad and fresh fruit you were fine. The cake was sometimes nice but often too sweet. If you were lucky and caught the chips when they were first put out they were nice but otherwise cold.

However, on the gala nights I recall the food was very good. For instance I liked smoked salmon starter, gorgonsola appetiser, salmon in mash, baked alaska and the lemon sorbet was nice. Also I loved the morning blackcurrants, red currants, blackberries on top of waffles and cream. Another favourite of mine was taking a little of the italian dishes. Still a bit bland but not quite as much as others.

The worst thing was the blue plastic children's cups we had to drink tea from or coffee out of instead of proper cups which you could only get by buying them.

Another bad thing was that you could More only get water at meal times in the buffet having to buy it at other times. Disgusting considering what you had paid and what is on offer on other cruises. Everyone was complaining to each other. And when the temp is in the 90s it is not good.

Everyone complained to each other about the hidden costs like having to pay 7 euros each per day tips. This was just taken off your bill. This is not right.

Tips should not be compulsory.

Also the cost of drinks was more expensive than we would expect to pay. I just went without. I dont need it. However, you could still sit everywhere and refuse them like lots of people did. I did not feel at all embarrassed.

However, there was free cocktails on the first gala night which was very good.

That is if you got there early enough.

Well that is the bad part. The good part was the cabin was great with a balcony to sit out on with two chairs and a table and the cabin itself was nice and bed comfortable.

I thought the theatre was good and the shows but it was the same most nights with a variation. The trouble was this bloke at the start sent you to sleep having to listen to this boring preamble you didnt want to hear even when your turn came to have the English bit after all the foreign stuff. So I was asleep. Why we had to have that I do not know. Spoilt it. Been better to just come in late but risk no seat.

The entertainment was good outside of the theatre. The hosts were fun. I enjoyed being asked to dance as my husband would not. It was good because a lot of it was following the person in the front.

I liked the fun on the pool deck. Like quiz, throwing folks in pool, silly games and all that. There was plenty of sun beds for everyone and free towels.

I really enjoyed the whole cruise even though the food was not good as I did not put on any weight at all where as people say you should put on half a stone. Tells you something about the food doesn't it? I loved looking at the islands we sailed by and waking up to a different place each day. I liked dressing up. The ship was lovely, clean luxurious.

We thought that the embarkation experience was awful. There was pushing by people and we had to wait to get through and allowing people through before us who had not waited at all. It was stressful.

We found all the staff very good indeed Less

Published 09/11/11

Cabin review: 61058

I liked the cabin particularly because it was opposite the lift. It was quiet. I had a great view of the whole cruise. It was quiet in the cabin and I could not hear any noise at all from other people.

Port and Shore Excursions

We went on the excursion because we did not feel confident enough to do otherwise being first time on a cruise. However, we learnt that our friends had just gone to Bari and went round shops. Well we would not have liked that. So we enjoyed the trip looking out of the window at the countryside on the heel of Italy. Seeing olive groves and little house with conical roofs.

We had to walk to the old town and should have taken the taxi offered for l euro as there wasnt enough time to have a much wanted cup coffee. Following the guide up the hill was unnecessary with hindsight. We would have been better just walking up ourselves.

However, the white washed tuli houses in the old town (a world heritage site) was very interesting and nothing like it elsewhere. But not enough time to take pics and explore before having to trek back to the bus. It was very hot and would have been better for the bus to drop us off right where we needed to be.

But it was well worth it but too short.

Read 142 Bari Reviews

We walked off the ship at Dubrovnik and walked to the old town by just turning right and up the hill. It took us l hour to walk. We met others doing the same and paired up with a friend to share a taxi back for just 10 euros so 5 each couple. We saved a lot of money by not going on the excursion as we saw the people from the excursions wandering around like sheep whereas we were free to go where we wanted within the old city. We climbed the steps and wandered around the narrow streets, went in two churches and sat by the tiny harbour on the wall in the sun. We arrived back one and a half hours before the ship sailed so could have walked round the ramparts as well had we known but did not want to leave it too late as the ship could sail off without us. I was happy with this so that I could paint from the ship the wonderful view of the port.

We walked off the ship at Istanbul straight on to a double decker tourist red bus waiting outside which only cost 20 euros for a round trip of the city stopping off at various points where you could rejoin. This was after having to fight off the taxi drivers trying to get us to go with them. We were determined not to do so. After all we discovered it was possible just to walk to the palace by turning right. We walked back from the palace and where the boats go from by getting off the tourist bus there.

So we saved a massive amount by not going on the excursion organised by the cruise company which was a massive price and not at all what we wanted. We saw the blue mosque, fish market, all other parts of the city anyway on this bus. We went to a palace ourselves and saw the changing of the guards, and sat in a cafe over looking the Golden Horn where east meets west. We enjoyed walking back to the ship along this stretch which only took half an hour. It was very interesting seeing Turkish people in the park sitting there, seeing cats, kittens, all the bustle. We could use euros and got change in lire which I spent on a cheap cappacinno on the way back and an ice cream.

I had time to paint the wonderful view of the domes and palaces from the crows nest of the ship by getting back early. My husband did not want to go to a spice market nor did I want to go inside a mosque having done so before.

We were happy just to look at the city. We had an English running commentary by ear phones which could decide to use or otherwise.

Someone else told us they went on the cruise excursion and hated it as they were forced to watch a carpet making demo. We would have hated that. So glad we saved all the money to spend on going away for the weekend back home.

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

We went on the excursion to Mary's house and Ephesus at the last minute. Our friends did not go on this excursion and walked into Izmir and caught a speed boat. It was possible to walk from the ship into Izmir turn left and visit the coast and also the walled old city with interesting streets and ramparts. We noticed this from the coach window on the way.

So next time would not do the excursion. The journey to Mary's house up a mountain had exquisite scenery and we found that better than Mary's house. The crowds there made it impossible to see properly and it was like a pilgrimage. You have to decide if you really belief that Mary, the mother of Christ, did live there at the end of her life. I did not. How could she have travelled all that way from Israel? In those days? An older woman? I dont think so.

However, it helps the Turks make money. There was a tap coming out of the wall with spring water which was ice cold and free so we could fill up our water bottles in the 90 degree heat for free. Free - amazing!

Then we could see the wall with the folded bits of tissue stuck to it people put messages.

Ephesus was a huge archilogical site and hard in the strong heat. Fascninating and the guide was good.But the crowds meant you could not appreciate it as well as you could. It was very hard not to trip and slippery under foot. But you could well imagine how it would have been in those days.

There was a roman re enactment going on there but the crowds meant you could only see them going up the hill.

But it was worth it. Also the journey was interesting through the countryside the the olive groves.

Read 184 Izmir Reviews

We did not want to go to Olympia as I was not interested in seeing another such ancient site as would rather enjoy the pretty coastal village in Greece when I saw how beautiful it was from the ship as it came into dock right on the quayside.

So we walked from the ship. I painted a picture as it was idyllic. We walked along the coast which reminded me of Rhodes island with houses on the beach. I paddled in the warm sea until I came to a place where the locals were swimming and just went in the sea which was amazing. Clear, calm with sand like velvet under foot.

We noticed there was a little train that would have taken us to a beach for a few euros for two hours but we were happy where we were. Why waste time doing that when we did not want to sit on a beach after all just walk. We noticed that other people had a ride on a cart drawn by a horse but we preferred walking. We also sat and had a coffee under cover by serenaded by a man with a mandolin.

So we were so glad we did this on our own. It is much better to explore and not have to be part of a herd of cattle on these excursions all the time.

We went on an excursion to venice on the final day 3rd September because we wanted to have a gondola ride. This included a water taxi ride to Venice followed by a walking tour around the back streets of Venice.

The weather was 95 degrees and too hot for comfort. The guide had to cope with ~Spanish and English speaking persons. Therefore as an English speaking person it was mostly boring having to stand around in a boring place while she went on too long about history stuff in a foreign language with us just wasting timewith nothing to look at there. As we were only there 4 hours it was a waste of valuable time for us and highly frustrating.

We only really wanted the gondola ride after all and not any information at all. Would prefer just to be given brief descriptions not a whole lot of stuff that I could read in a book. It was interesting while we were walking around and the gondola ride was magical for me. I loved the experience.

We then had some time at the end to ourselves but as we needed to rest the only place I could find to sit without paying was on the steps on St. Mark's Square. I ate my fruit and biscuits there. There was no time left to do my painting I wanted nor have a cup of coffee in the front before we got on the taxi back.

We had to walk back over the four bridges. The directions given were good. The ride in the taxi back was enjoyable because I had a seat in the front of the boat where it was breezy.

There was a terrible experience at the end of the taxi ride being trapped for too long in this shaded walkway ready for the bus to take us back to the terminal to get our luggage. In 95 degrees heat who needs to stand there getting frustrated and concerned like a load of sheep ready for the slaughter?

That spoilt the day. Then we had to collect luggage from the holding place and wait for ages before the transport took us to the airport. This was okay.

The trip was far too expensive with hindsight. We could have taken the little train bus outside the port ourselves and easily got to find a gondola ride by a tourist map. Then as this was only half an hour had longer to paint, find just what we wanted. Having spent a week in Venice 5 years ago we did not need to do it again in the heat. Just the ride.

Read 1149 Venice Reviews

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carole tyrrell
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