I read the many critical reviews but booked 3 consecutive cruises totaling 23 nights for a relatively low price anyway. I am writing my first cruise review after taking 10 cruises because my great experience and belief that some of the criticisms are dated. MSC must have worked on some of the points people criticized it on based on my experience.
My embarkation was on 10/22 in NYC. The ports visited were Halifax & St John in Canada, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, NYC, Ft Lauderdale, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ft Lauderdale again, Key West, Bahamas with disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale. The first 19 days were booked as one cruise but it was divided into a 7 day Fall foliage Canada/New England cruise and a 12 night re positioning that included the Western Caribbean ports. The final 4 nights were booked as a separate cruise and stopped in Key West and Bahamas. There were many wonderful sea days.
I did notice a few differences from the other (American style) cruise lines I've been on. First, the passengers on the first 19 days of my cruise were overwhelmingly European. In addition, they were Europeans who eiter didn't or wouldn't speak much English. They spoke mostly only German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, French etc. This is very different than my other cruises where all of the Europeans I met were fluent in English. The Dutch travelers on the cruise were the exception. This was a plus for me most of the time and a little irritating other times. The ships officers, managers, and ship excursion leaders were just a little laid-back for my taste but always spoke English, paid attention and resolved any issues I had.
Typical inside cabin with everything you need. Great if you are like me and use the cabin to sleep, get cleaned up, change clothes, and keep everything safe.
This review is for Halifax and St John in New Brunswick. I am glad I went but once and maybe again after many years is enough. Both are beautiful, clean small cities with an abundance of natural beauty, history and friendly people but the sights are limited.
Acadia national park with it's Cadillac mountain, lakes, and trails is stunning. I definitely want to get back and explore more. The city of Bar Harbor is very picturesque and fun for shopping, eating and walking around.
Boston with Lexington and Concord should be a pilgrimage stop for all Americans. It overflows with events from early American history and was home to some of the most important American thinkers. Walking, shopping and eating in the historical area was lots of fun.
The mansions of Newport and their history blew me away. I loved visiting the palaces in Europe and now see we had them here.
Cartagena was beautiful, historical, and modern. Its historical portion which is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site was surprisingly similar to an old European city.
The cross country train ride that paralleled the canal was one of the best excursions I've taken.
Sloth sanctuary was fantastic and included a boat ride and guided walk in the rain forest.