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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to ... Read More
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. THE SHIP The ship is absolutely immaculate. It is easy to navigate, super clean, and glamorous. There are TVs all over that have an interactive map, allow you to book shows, and show you daily activities. There are tons of lounge areas and bars, a little something for everyone. We never felt the boat rocking (our room was on the 14th floor). There are several pools. We actually had the best luck at the jungle pool. We also enjoyed the adults-only South Beach pool. The Miami Beach pool is packed most of the time. My husband and I both with there were more hot tubs, ESPECIALLY in the adults-only pool section. Hot tubs are typically overrun by kids. I also wish they stayed open past 9! FANTASTICA EXPERIENCE AND ROOM (14th FLOOR INTERIOR) With the loss of the 12 drink vouchers, Fantastica basically gives you the option of “better” rooms and dining time choice. However, our room location wasn’t anything special and we requested early dining and were assigned a 9:30pm dinner time. Yes, we could have changed that, but who wants to wait 45 minutes in the dining room to change their dinner time when you just arrived? Not us. Unless you REALLY care about your room location. Speaking of room, we were in interior room 14044. I thought our room was great. It was cleaned twice a day. We utilized some storage hacks (like the over the door hanger and pop-up laundry hanger) and I suggest doing the same. Water pressure was amazing. Splurge for a balcony if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t. Having an interior room makes you get out and explore the ship. FOOD As is pretty typical of cruises, the food was good, not great. I know a lot of people complain about the buffet options, but honestly there are TONS of options, they just don’t change very often. The pizza is AMAZING. I also loved the cinnamon rolls at breakfast. The Marketplace buffet (deck 8) is way bigger than Biscayne Bay (deck 16). Plenty of places to sit; we liked to sit outside and enjoy the view. I wish drink classes were bigger; the cups for water were practically shot glasses haha. I would suggest bringing your own bigger cup. We only ate in the MDR once. We dressed “smart,” but there was literally a guy in a tank top and hat…so clearly not strict on dress code. The food, again, was good, not great. The couple sat along with us at our table said they also had the fantastica package and requested the early dining time and were also assigned the latest time. DRINKS ON US We received this package as part of an Expedia promotion. Be aware: despite what you may have read in this group, this is NOT the “old version of the easy package.” It includes different things. The good part is it includes a wide range of beers (which Easy doesn’t.) My husband was happy about this. But it only includes basic mixed drinks made with well alcohol (vodka soda, rum and coke, etc.) and absolutely nothing blended. If you want blended drinks, you pay full price. You will pay a 15% tax on all drinks (even ones “included” on DOU.) MSC would be smart to just change over everyone’s DOU package to easy to avoid this continuous confusion. SERVICE We were blown away by the MSC staff. There are over 2000 staff on board and they all work VERY hard literally all the time. There is never an idle worker. There is a reason the ship is so immaculate. They will go out of their way to help you. One thing that bothered me is that on several occasions I saw the crew members dressed in the white official looking outfits (I have no idea what their title is) harshly reprimanding staff members for minuscule things. I saw one of them yelling at the poor kid who makes pizzas for 29384 hours a day because he had the tongs in the wrong spot and then at this super adorable, fun kitchen worker who was laughing (along with us) at the birds coming on the boat and trying to take the food. I understand that they are trying to make sure the boat is pristine, but I also don’t support that type of management of people who work incredibly hard, especially in front of guests. I will say that bar service is very slow. However, this is NOT because the servers/bartenders themselves are slow. They work their butts off! They just need WAY more people working behind the bar. Often times during prime pool hours there were only 1-2 bartenders responsible for all at-bar orders AND orders placed by bar maids. MSC needs to put more bartenders behind the bar. Good news is that their pours were VERY heavy  THERMAL AREA/SPA We booked the experience that included two 30-min massages and week-long passes to the Thermal Area. The massages were nice (my husband had never had one and was VERY skeptical, but he said he would do it again) but not the best I’ve ever had. We visited the Thermal Area 3 times. It was nice, but honestly I probably would have been fine with one day. It was nice to get away from crowds and relax. I loved the steam room with the cold showers. It felt SO refreshing, as did the showers with the “rain storm,” “cold mist,” etc. The snow room was unbearable to me, but neat. The Jacuzzi honestly wasn’t worth it because it was more warm than the hot Jacuzzi experience I was looking for. There is a private deck area with a small hot tub and some sun chairs that only Thermal Area-goers can use, which was really nice. We were always the only ones out there. However, again, for some reason the hot tub out there was also just slightly warm. ENTERTAINMENT I thought, overall, the entertainment was great. There were a couple bands and some solo singers that all sounded great. The only thing I’ll say is that it got kind of repetitive by the end. The entertainment staff who put on the parties and lead the dance classes were AWESOME. You MUST go to the White Party dance party at Miami Beach Pool. They put a cover on the pool and have an awesome party until 1am, and TONS of people go. This was the only theme we dressed up for, and trust me…you want to bring your white outfit! Everyone dressed up. As far as shows, we went to the R-Rated Beerprov show and Starwalker. We were DYING laughing at Beerprov. We wanted to go to the other shows they put on but it just didn’t work with our schedule. Starwalker was very good as well. I feel very conflicted because, well, I’m not about to be cheering for Michael Jackson after all that has come out, but I just decided to appreciate the music and dancing, which was awesome. The entertainment staff CLEARLY love their jobs and make sure everyone has a great time. PORTS OF CALL Puerto Rico – This is kind of an odd day because it is a basically a sea day combined with a port day. We got in at 5:00 and walked up to a nearby fort. However, all of the forts closed at 6:00, so if you want to see them you better hurry! We walked to dinner and had a pina colada (they were invented in PR, you have to have one!) and then strolled around. Although charming, this was probably our most boring stop. St. Thomas – We did the Sail and Snokel experience on Castaway Girl 3. We had a great time! We didn’t see many fish and not other aquatic life, but it was fun nonetheless. On the way back you are given rum punch and we leisurely return to the port, just enjoying the ride. After that we went to the Fat Turtle by the port and drank beers and chatted with locals. If you want a beach you will need to take a taxi. Sint Maarten – Ugh, such a gorgeous port. Leave the shopping area, take a left and keep walking until you reach the sign for the beach. About a 10-15 min walk. Beautiful beach, lots of shops and bars/restaurants. Find a deal for lawn chairs/umbrella. Most about $20 for 2 beach chairs, umbrella, 5 beers OR 2 frozen drinks, and wif. We got that deal sans the alcohol for $10 a ways down the beach. Do be prepared for lots of locals trying to sell hair braiding, massages, bags, etc. Just say no thank you and they will move on. This is a short port day (7am – 1:30pm) so I suggest just making it a beach day. Nassau – If you want to pick a day to spend on the boat while in port, this is that day. If not, I suggest finding an excursion or riding to another beach. We went to Junkanoo Beach, and….well, it has Junk in the name for a reason. It’s a very rocky beach with lots of glass, at the top of the beach there is lots of trash, and the drinks and food are crazy expensive. We stayed for a short while and just took a dip and then walked to the Twisted Lime for some delicious cold drinks and then went back to the boat and enjoyed some breathing room while others were in port. INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE As many have mentioned, this is a very diverse boat. Having lived abroad, I loved being immersed among all of the different language and cultures. The ONLY drawback is that many things we consider polite or appropriate behavior is not the case in other countries. Lots of cutting in line, lots of talking/talk-yelling in public areas, and just what seemed to be a general unawareness of anyone besides themselves. This, of course, is not the fault of MSC, but is just a reality to be aware of. BILLING I highly suggest hooking up a CREDIT card to your account. You can easily do this on a kiosk the first or second day there. If you use a credit card, you don’t have to settle your bill at guest services. I can’t even imagine waiting in that line to settle my bill! I know some people have had charges on their account that were wrong. We didn’t have that happen, BUT we did have on two occasions the bartender pass us their little machine to sign only to see that they were charging us for four drinks instead of two (remember, we had the DOU package so each drink had about a ~90cent service charge added.) When we refused to sign they took it off, but it was still sketchy. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. The ship is a fancy barge where you pay extra for anything you may need. We were expected to pay for a glass of tap water in the formal restaurant. They do not provided any facial tissues in the balcony stateroom. They allow open smoking in several areas inside the ship which permeayes the showroom and other bars! There are over 21 points for improvement with this cruise company. The entertainment us cheap, appears unrehearsed and karaoke like most nights. Embarkmemt required showing proof you were a real person I've 3 times and queuING each time. If you are a first timer cruiser this cruise may be good for you as you would not know how low a standard MSC is. Of course you may like to pay to have open dining but other crise companies have all the above plus more included in their offer Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and easiest embarkation we've experienced. Our assigned check-in time was 2:30, but since we had to be out of our hotel room at 11:00, we arrived at 11:30. We dropped off our luggage, parked the car, and walked across the street to terminal F. We had priority embarkation with our Aurea experience, but it wasn't necessary. Before noon, we were on the ship sipping a drink. we sat at the forward pool bar with the best bartender at sea, Ryan Felix! Disembarkation was just as smooth as embarkation.We were in the first group called because we chose the Aurea experience. We walked off the ship, picked up our luggage and headed to our car. We had to meet with customs the morning of Key West, so there was no customs stop in Miami. Drink Package: We had the Premium Plus package which is the most inclusive package. While we may not have drank our money's worth, and I didn't bother to do the math, it was so nice to get water, specialty coffees, smoothies, specialty bottled juices, mini bar items, and any alcoholic beverage with no worry about paying a bill. I will definitely do this again. You also save the service charge when you purchase the package prior to embarkation. An extra 15% really adds up. We gave an additional cash tip to our regular bartenders at the end of the week. Spa: After our drink, we headed to the spa to book our appointments. We each had a massage included as part of the Aurea experience and I had pre-booked the Golden Jasmine package. I definitely recommending booking spa services in advance. Even with some specials thrown in during the week, the advanced purchase prices were significantly lower. We had massages or other treatments by 4 different spa staff, and each one was excellent! The only negative I have concerning the spa is the thermal area. There is not much there and it is quite small compared to other ships. One steam room was functioning correctly along with 4 heated loungers. We usually visit this area everyday when we cruise. We only visited once on this trip. When we told staff in the spa that several features were not working they pretty much said. "Oh, well. We get it fixed and it works for little bit and then breaks down again." At least they're honest? This and the Top 13 Private Solarium are the only areas where MSC really needs to upgrade and the only real disappointment on the Armonia. My husband used the gym daily and said that it was adequate. Cabin: At 2:00 an announcement was made that we could enter our staterooms. We headed to 1225, Aurea Suite. The cabin was spacious and comfortable with a tremendous amount of storage space. We loved the walk in closet and additional cabinets. There was plenty of room to store our belongings out of sight. I still would call this a deluxe balcony, not a suite. Our stateroom attendant, Emmanuel, was excellent! He kept the ice bucket and mini bar full and our stateroom immaculate. The bed and furnishings were in good shape and very comfy. The bathroom was average, but did have a bathtub. The balcony felt slightly larger than the norm, but we wished for more comfortable chairs. The dividers rattled at night and we remedied that with a little duct tape! It is an older ship and these little things give that away. There were very loud noises from the solarium above at night that interfered with sleep. On the last day I asked one of the solarium attendants, Sean, about it and he told me that they move all of the chairs at night and clean. He seemed very concerned and said that they are to move the furniture very quietly. That night, I didn't hear a sound. I only wish that I had said something after our first night! Anytime we mentioned a concern the staff was eager and efficient in trying to resolve it. I would choose this stateroom again. I gave it a 4 rather than 5 rating because of the balcony noise and chairs and the fact that it was not a true suite. Emergency Drill: This was fairly quick and easy. We needed to carry our vests from our cabin but were not required to wear them. Guests who did not attend were required to complete it the following morning. Dining: We ate in La Pergola restaurant for dinner every night. This is the anytime dining venue for Fantastica and Aurea guests. The hostess, Brenda, was wonderful. The first evening we had dinner at 8:00. It was very busy and the tables for 2 are nearly touching. My husband has poor hearing and we could not have a conversation. I spoke with Brenda on the way out and she promised a quiet, more intimate table if we could arrive at 6:00 each night. We did and it was perfect! If you like a quiet dinner, 6:00 is a great time to eat. Our waiter was Anil. He was very attentive and efficient. He always knew to bring our bottled water and favorite wine as soon as we entered the room. He made wonderful suggestions and made sure that we were happy with everything we ordered. You are always free to order more or to change your selection if you do not enjoy your selection. The servings are smaller than on most ships serving the Caribbean, but every meal was more than I could eat! I have read complaints about both the quality and quantity of food on this ship, but we did not find that to be the case. Each meal was delicious, from start to finish. If the portions are not adequate for you, you can simply order more food. We also want to mention the restaurant manager, Gochell. Hopefully I spelled that correctly! He stopped by the table each evening to see if there was anything we needed and to ensure that we were happy with our meals and service. He was very personable and had an excellent rapport with his staff. We discovered that he will be on the Meraviglia with us in November and can't wait to see him again! Most of our meals were eaten in La Pergola. Breakfast and lunch were very good. If it was closed we ate at the buffet or had pizza. The buffet had great salad, fruit, smoked salmon sandwiches, and wraps for lunch. We didn't really eat much there. It always seemed so busy and guests served themselves. I loved the way HAL served guests at the buffet. One of the few things that can ruin a vacation is getting sick. The fewer people touching the food and utensils the better! We enjoyed the pizza, but tried the burger and fries one day and didn't care for them. The gelato was good and a nice touch on a hot afternoon! We gave dining a 4 rating rather than 5 because of the up-charge on the menu for steak and lobster as well as other items that used to be included. The regular dining room menus should be all inclusive. We also took into consideration the buffet service. Bars: The forward pool bar and staff were awesome! Be sure to ask Ryan for the world's best Bloody Mary! It really was the best one we've had! The staff will concoct just about anything you can imagine. Just ask! Some of the same crew worked at the Rum Bar in the evenings. The Rum Bar had wonderful drinks, service, and entertainment. We are early birds and light drinkers, so we didn't venture out too much at night. The San Marco Coffee Bar was also excellent. We had coffee here every morning before breakfast. They also have wonderful chocolate croissants! There is also a smoothie and juice bar located just outside the spa on the pool deck. This was often breakfast or a snack. We loved being able to grab something healthy after all of the overindulging we did! Entertainment: We almost skipped out on the shows because we had read some really harsh reviews. Don't listen to reviews!! I know that sounds funny coming from someone who is writing a review! The nightly shows in the theater were absolutely fantastic! The singers brought tears to our eyes and the acrobats were incredible. They were so good that we went twice one evening! I wouldn't miss it. It can get crowded, so get there a few minutes early. They were not taking reservations as we had read prior to our cruise. We had use of the Top 13 private solarium which came with the Aurea Experience. You can also purchase daily or weekly passes. It was OK. We love quiet and hate fighting for pool chairs, so we did appreciate knowing that we could always find a lounge chair. There was usually staff there who would get you towels or bar service. Sean was one of the attendants and was wonderful! He was eager to assist and he was such an interesting guy! There were only about 6-8 chairs in the shade at any time during the day, so it was hot! You had to arrive early to grab a spot in the shade. They need to put up some type of cover. There were only showers to cool off and handheld spritzers. Another odd thing was that we could smell sewage at times. It depended on the wind. On our last cruise with HAL, we rented private cabanas at the top of the ship. These were covered and offered 2 loungers, a table and 2 chairs with views of the water. We had an attendant and additional chairs on the sundeck for sunning. The butlers brought you beverages, food, and cold towels. They really spoiled us! We really missed this space on Armonia. As far as activities, we missed the art auctions and wine, etc. tastings that we usually enjoy on a cruise. Ports: We took this cruise to go to Cuba. We booked a private tour guide and driver for Saturday and a food tour for Sunday through Strawberry Tours . Two days into our trip, it was announced that US citizens were no longer permitted to travel to Cuba. It was very sad. I cried for 5 minutes and then decided to continue enjoying our wonderful vacation. We were shocked by the behavior of some of our fellow passengers following this announcement. They were yelling and threatening the crew. The cruise director, Miguel was physically attacked. His attacker was arrested when we arrived in port. Some passengers started a petition and lawsuit against the cruise line. We were stunned. On any cruise we know that the itinerary can be changed for any reason. It certainly was not the fault of the crew! It's just part of the deal. Cuba was a bucket list item for us and we were very disappointed, but we were on a lovely ship, eating great food, and enjoying amazing service. MSC gave each passenger a $400.00 OBC, extended our stay in Cozumel, and added Key West. That was generous and it was done quickly. I was so impressed by how well the staff conducted themselves. You could see the stress in the customer service desk staff and the shore excursion staff. They were really being abused by some guests. We only got off the ship in Cozumel. We took a cab, did a tequila tasting, and visited a few beaches. There was so much seaweed that we didn't go in the water. We like our beaches in Florida much better! We did some shopping at the port and headed back on board. We love staying on the ship in port. It's so nice and quiet! No lines for anything! Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle/ Welcome Back Party: This was the best Meet and Mingle! Miguel, the cruise director, and Carlos, the activities director, hosted. There was such a nice selection of finger foods and drinks, as well as a beautiful cake. It was nice to meet some of the staff and the new cruise critic friends we talked with online. We were glad to bump into familiar faces during our vacation. I definitely recommend that you take part if there is a Meet and Mingle on your cruise! Miguel and Carlos had a group picture taken and gave each of us a copy as a gift. The welcome back party was also very nice. There was plenty of champagne, photos with the captain, and wonderful live jazz music. The saxophone player was so talented! I'm sure that was just too much information, but I tried to answer the questions that I had before our cruise. We really enjoyed both of our MSC cruises and are looking forward to sailing on the MSC Meraviglia in November. It will be our first Yacht Club experience and we are really looking forward to it! I wouldn't hesitate to sail on this ship again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We were a family of four traveling for our first Mediterranean cruise with two teenagers. We have taken multiple cruises before on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival, so we thought we would give the relatively new MSC ... Read More
We were a family of four traveling for our first Mediterranean cruise with two teenagers. We have taken multiple cruises before on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival, so we thought we would give the relatively new MSC Seaview a try. The price for our family was certainly enticing. In short, here is how we would grade our experience: Price: A Room size and cleanliness: A Food quality: D Entertainment quality: C Itinerary and Time at each port: B If you are looking for a cruise vacation, this is probably not it. If you are looking for a comfortable hotel room and transportation from point A to point B, this cruise would serve you fine. Let be begin with the good. We had a balcony cabin on the 10th floor of the port side. The balcony was great given the weather. We enjoyed sitting on it and watching the sights in and out of the ports. It also gave us extra room which was out of the way while others in our family were getting dressed. The cabin had a queen size bed and a sofa that converted into bunk beds rather than a pull out bed. The bunk beds were a lifesaver with two teenagers and avoided many arguments and complaints. The room was spacious for a cruise ship as was the bathroom and shower. The bathroom had fantastic water pressure which was a great surprise. Our room steward did a great job keeping us supplied with fresh towels and working around our time in the room. The room TV had plenty of stations with maybe 6-7 in each language. However, even the American programming in other languages did not have subtitle capabilities which would have been nice. The English language selections were all 24 hour news stations which included CNN, CNBC and 3-4 European news stations. It is hard to relax and unwind to that before bed. The common area was a bit plain but nice. The elevators utilized a system that directed you to a specific elevator based upon destination. It is meant to speed things up but always resulted in long waits at the elevators. So we ended up going up and down countless flights of stairs each day. The cruise was truly international with what seemed to be a passenger population made up of those speaking Italian, French, Russian, various Asian languages, English, German and Spanish. The staff did a great job being multi lingual, making announcements and communicating fluently in each of those languages. That was impressive. The entertainment encompassed all of those languages which was great. But the shows etc. on board could best be described as “low energy.” If you are doing a Tina Turner tribute show, having dancers and singers dragging through the show with a slow tempo and little smiling just seemed like they were going through the paces. Definitely not Tina Turner like. The other periodic entertainment was excessively campy and seemed like a continual loop of the Gong Show or Sabado Gigante. On our last night, we found a duo playing piano and drums singing in a lounge, and they alternated performance sets with a solo guitarist/vocalist. Both were really good and better than the more featured acts on the ship. I wish we had discovered them earlier... We also walked through a very small casino that was on board. It seemed very sparse and small. It did not have any craps tables which was a first for me in a casino. The cruise itinerary was good and generally allowed sufficient time in each port. There were no dedicated days at sea on this itinerary for which we were grateful. However, at Palma, Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain, the cruise ports were outside of the city so you were forced to take a taxi or a ship provided shuttle at an extra cost to go into the city. If the cruise line chooses to utilize these ports outside of the destination city, then they should provide transportation into the port city without nickel and diming their passengers for the costs of transportation on the cruise line’s shuttles into the city. My biggest concern about this cruise was the food quality. It was terrible. I tried to be very open minded given the multinational nature of the cruise but nothing I had of any cuisine was good. All of the food was edible but not good. The food was often cold and bland. We tried both the sit down dining option and the marketplace buffet. Those were the only options at night unless you paid for the three premium restaurant options which we did not. The same food, the same quality and the same temperature seemed to be served at both venues. The only difference is that the sit down dining had more limited options, and we had slow service with a lot of waiting with a waiter who did not even seem to understand her own menu. For those of you that love Pepsi, you are in luck as all of the soft drinks on board are Pepsi products. For those of us that don’t, there was always beer. In the dining room we were charged for still water. In the marketplace buffet, we were not charged for still water but they only had 1 working water dispenser for all of the passengers. The plastic cups for your water were limited to 6 ounce cups. It is hard to stay hydrated at that rate. The coffee on the cruise was generally above average. Most of the time we paid for premium coffee at the bars which was worth it to us coffee drinkers. The best we found was that made by “Don” at the Venchi Chocolate and Coffee Bar. It was great and worth the extra charge. Finally, the dining themes were ridiculous. Each night was a different theme in name only. The actual theme seemed to be “Sunday night clean out the household refrigerator”. The dishes were a hodge-podge of whatever seemed to be laying around. For example, the Bavarian theme night was the everyday items plus the addition of a roast pork loin and a cold potato salad. That made it Bavarian night. Nothing else Bavarian was served. On Mexican night, the usual items were supplemented by some puréed avocado and some very julienned pieces of beef mixed with julienned strips of peppers. They called that beef fajitas. That was the sum total of what made it Mexican night. I will give the ship credit that their breads and croissants were made well and tasty. But unfortunately my scale is going to reflect that I lived on mostly bread and coffee while onboard. The part that I find most interesting is that for an Italian cruise line, based in the Mediterranean with multinational passengers, the Italian dishes were the worst offerings. The pizza was bland, soggy and doughy; the pasta was over cooked and soaked in bland tomato or a watery white sauce; and the deserts were basic, unimaginative and tasteless. We could not wait to get off the ship each day to eat at a street vendor, market or restaurant. We were never disappointed with any of the food we found on land. In summary, if you are looking for a comfortable place to sleep and transportation from point A to point B, this cruise will serve you well. If you are looking for the whole cruise experience to include great food and entertainment, look elsewhere. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I am writing this review although our cruise did not go as planned. It has been widely reported in the papers about the MSC Opera accident in Venice. An extremely unfortunate event due to a mechanical failure. That being said, I would like ... Read More
I am writing this review although our cruise did not go as planned. It has been widely reported in the papers about the MSC Opera accident in Venice. An extremely unfortunate event due to a mechanical failure. That being said, I would like to commend MSC and it’s Opera staff for working so hard to assist the passengers and create a positive atmosphere. Laura at reception was instrumental in getting us tickets home with a lovely demeanor despite the vitriol of countless cruisers. The housekeeper, Jane, for 10141 was friendly, helpful and went out of her way to make things pleasant. All the staff extended themselves to make everything as comfortable as possible. Kudos to MSc for covering an cost of and making arrangements if one wished to leave early, as well as reimbursing full cost of cruise for all passengers whether they decided to stay on board or not. Also, free Wi-Fi, drinks,, transport to Venice San Marco throughout the day and night. This shows that it knows how to respond d with excellent customer service. The ship, while older, is immaculate and well run. I will cruise with MSC again, despite the accident. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have ... Read More
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have collectively informed my opinion of our MSC experience. MSC is NOT for the American market share rather, this European line is clearly after the sustainability of the European market share. American products by and large, do not charge a consistently high price for the cruise and then, charge clients for water while on board. Yes... MSC does this. Not even Costa does this. We paid over 3k for our cruise (similar and consistent to what we have paid for with other products like RCCL, Costa, Princess etc.) but while on board the MSC product we were charged for water.... we were amazed, perplexed and terribly disappointed. Its also important to note -what MSC USA sold us was not what we experienced onboard. When we pointed out the discrepancies on board we were told to take it up with MSC USA when we got home. We did, they did nothing to satisfy or settle our issue. We purchased the Fantastica experience, were told drink packages were included - then they somehow were not included. When we argued they were - we were told we had to buy a drink package which we did for our two children (non alcoholic package) and 1 adult alcoholic package. Only to get on board and be told we shouldn't have done that in fact it was included in our package and when we asked to have the initial prepaid packages we purchased refunded they said - sorry it wasn't included... The only thing which we felt was consistent was the inconsistency between what was sold and what we expected to what we actually experienced onboard. Other things we felt were important to note. The excursions - expensive but of little to no substance; again, representing to us an imbalance between what we paid for and what we actually experienced. We purchased several excursions through MSC - and quickly spent MORE TIME transiting to the excursions than we actually did enjoying the place we were visiting. This happend to us in both Arles France and Portofino. In Arles, we spent 3 hours on a bus to experience the town for only an hour. While in Portofino, same things - we paid a fortune to go to Portofino and spent three hours transiting there only to spend an hour IN Portofino... Very little value for money. Similarly, MSC twice docked at a port which they charged a fee to go from the Port facility to the town.... We were left shaking our heads and again, having the experience of other lines, this was an anomaly we felt was important to note for others who are considering this line. The ship itself was clean, comparatively clean to other lines and with cabins which were much larger than the typical stateroom found on other lines. That was about the only two bonuses on this line. Our experience of the ship was in one word -- exhausting. Terribly overcrowded and with clearly overwhelmed staff who continually treated us with discourtesy and disregard. The staff appeared as exhausted of the overcrowded conditions as we were. This was consistent from the bar staff to the dinning staff -- totally overwhelmed and continually discourteous and seemed exhausted..... The common centers on the ship were jammed daily elbow to elbow with people and loud music - wasn't a quiet spot on the ship to be found... ever. The smoking is an experience not commonly found with American products, on European lines - smoking is everywhere and something we found terribly intrusive and distasteful. Imagine placing the ONLY soft serve ice cream station for kids on the ship in the smoking section of the ship... kids actually have to endure cigarette smoke while waiting for their ice cream (which was eventually closed down due to being broken). This careless disregard for children - alone, made us not want to return to this product... ever. We have sailed many ships (19 cruises to date) and several of those other European products. First time we were ever on a ship and product we couldn't wait to leave... first time. The cost of this product comparatively is similar to other lines - RCCL, Princess Holland America - but what you get for your money is wholly inconsistent and as a result, we could not in good conscience recommend this product, especially for families. While MSC is trying desperately to break into the American marketshare, we believe this is going to be extremely difficult as people with experiences such as ours, share our impressions with others. This was an honest and unbiased account of our experience. We hope it is taken seriously so the product may be improved for others going forward. For us, we will not use or recommend this product in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
From the beginning things were terrible. Our cruise cards were not correct. We had the drink package and they put it on the card wrong. So we had to go the guest services to correct all three cabins cards. Then you have to wait in line to ... Read More
From the beginning things were terrible. Our cruise cards were not correct. We had the drink package and they put it on the card wrong. So we had to go the guest services to correct all three cabins cards. Then you have to wait in line to activate your card with a credit card. Why not do this at embarkation like other cruise lines. Cabin bed was not put together like on reservation. Another needed correction. No Kleenex in rooms under suites. They said no Kleenex on board but met a couple staying in a suite and they said suites got Kleenex. We had no wash clothes. Had to ask for them. Not that towel animals are needed. But they are cute and all other cruises we have been on we had them. Not MSC. Why not?Staff move in slow motion. Bar staff don’t even know what drinks they have. Food was average at best. Not what we are accustomed to on cruises. Very basic and not a good choice or selection for most meals. Our waiter was great. But he did not have a lot to work with. During dinner the staff are constantly walking around with fliers trying to get you to buy a 20 euro steak or lobster. Other cruise lines have lobster night and steak. Buffet was worse than cafeteria food. The staff up there don’t bus the tables quickly. Most days guests needed to bus their own tables. Excursions were so on organized. Getting off the ship was lines of people. Making you late starting your excursions. 2 excursions we returned later than we were supposed to. Luckily we booked with MSC so the ship was still there. The description of excursions is deceiving. We went on one to see the riviera waterfalls and shopping. We took an hour bus ride and saw a waterfall behind a restaurant and then another ride to a town that all the shops were closed for siesta while we were there to shop. Why did we go there? Room was not cleaned like we are used to on cruises. There was dirt on the floor for two days. Someone left a coffee cup by the elevator and it was there for 4 days. In the buffet a person dropped a piece of pizza and I counted 8 staff who either stepped on it or walked over it until someone finally picked it up. There are no little snack shops or restaurants to grab a quick snack during the day. The ports we stopped at were beautiful. But the ship staff and some excursions were sooo disappointing. Entertainment was not up to cruise standards. Every night was basically the same with a different theme. Singers were good. Dancers poor. They used the same set every night. Not broadway caliber. Get good entertainment. Anytime you have an issue they say it is a third party issue and they will email and get back to you. Never MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I am rating this cruise Excellent, basically due to the Itinerary. You are in Venice, Split, Santorini, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Ancona, and back to Venice. Here are the pluses of the cruise ship. It's a smaller cruise ship compared to the ... Read More
I am rating this cruise Excellent, basically due to the Itinerary. You are in Venice, Split, Santorini, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Ancona, and back to Venice. Here are the pluses of the cruise ship. It's a smaller cruise ship compared to the "mega ships" out there today, and that's the type of ship I personally like. I do not care for the super large ships. It reminded me of old world cruising. The ship is not new, but it was very clean and well maintained for the most part. The international flavor/mix of the guests on board, we particularly enjoyed. Although language could be an issue at times, but we did find some english speaking folks on board from the UK, Ireland, Australia, etc. Quite nice. At first, once I studied the ports of call, I was concerned there was not enough time in each of them (after all, we always want "more") but to be honest, it all worked out quite fine. Even with the shorter time in Mykonos. The times we had to tender and or dock, were well organized and were very seamless. Embarkation was a little clustered, we got there shortly after 12noon, and apparently so did everyone else :) After about 30 minutes, the lines moved and it was much more organized. We were onboard about 1pm give or take. Our Cabin was just about ready at that time, and we met our Cabin Attendant...he told us to come back in about a 1/2 hour and he'd have our cruise cards for us. Sure enough he did. In the meantime, they had a buffet open up on Deck 11, so we went up there, grabbed a bite and went to the Capri Bar (which turned out to be our favorite bar on the ship). We got to know the Bartenders and Servers right away, and they became best buddies before you knew it. They would see us coming and no matter how busy they were, they would always sneak us our drinks before others.(We did tip them from time to time but we were also very nice to them. As you can imagine, not all guests are pleasant. Anyway, after we got out cruise cards, we went down to the Reception desk and activated our cards with a credit card for any "extras". We did by the Drink Package (we got the middle package, for we didn't need the top shelf) and it turned out to be a wise choice. I strongly suggest if you enjoy your adult beverages. The prices (for those who do not want to buy a package, were averaging 6.50 Euros per drink. With the drink package, all beverages were comped, ie: bottled waters, soft drinks, cappuccinos/espressos, etc. Cabin- We were on Deck 10, cabin 1096, balcony. I strongly suggest Balcony cabins if you can afford them. It adds to the space of your cabin and with such beautiful scenery to take advantage of, we utilized the balcony a lot. The bathroom was a standard cruise ship bathroom. The shower was a little challenging for a 6'2 guy, but I managed. There's plenty of storage space for luggage, drawers, nightstands, etc. The cabin has both 110 volt and 220 volt electric current. The bathrooms have a built in hair dryer. There was a TV in the room, fairly good choice of programs if you wanted to chill in the cabin. Overall, not a bad sized cabin. I would of liked to upgrade to a suite so we could have a sitting area, however, we survived. Dining-Now, we had chosen the "your choice" dining for the dining rooms. We only ended up using it for one night, on "Gala Night". We were using the Buffet up on Deck 11 95% of the time. We went for the Gala night, the dining room was quite nice and that old world style, but the meal was a bit lack-luster. The portions were quite small and the dessert, for a gala dinner lacked imagination. So, after dinner, we went back up to the Buffet! We found that the Buffet had pretty much everything you could want. Somethings better than others, but over all, compared to other cruise lines I have been on, we really liked it. They also have a cafeteria style "Pizza station" and a Hamburger/Hotdog" station. They were quite popular and they worked out great if you wanted a quick snack (god forbid the buffet should be closed, haha). The only days the buffet was really crowded were the 2 At Sea days. Get there when it opens. They also had freshly tossed/prepared pasta stations available for lunch those 2 days at the Capri Bar. They were great! Entertainment- We didn't partake in any of the entertainment ie: theater stuff. We did enjoy the bands that played on deck though. Service- WE were nice to them and they were MORE than nice to us. We did witness some really rude behavior by people to some of the wait staff, just because that's how people are, and we felt bad. Think that's why we were extra nice. Proved to work out in our favor. We ordered room service for coffee/croissants each morning and they were always punctual if not a little early. Loved it. Ports- Shore Excursions. We are very seasoned travelers and like to just do things by ourselves, but the one excursion I wish we DID take advantage of was the tour of the Caves in Ancona. It looked really cool. Ancona (your last port) is a sleeply old shipping port, so there was not much to see in the town, although we found a nice place to enjoy some wine and tapas. In Split, we took advantage of a taxi offering a city tour for 30 euros, and it was all of an hour, we liked that. The other ports, we just walked around and entertained ourselves. Now, one thing I will tell you. The early arrival in Santorini, is a GOOD THING. Reason being, you have to wait in line for the Tram to the top. We were like the first tender off the ship, and we zipped right up to the top (it's 6 Euros) and had a nice late breakfast and had a amazing view overlooking the harbor and the sites of Santorini. There's a myriad of places. Anyway, reason being early was best, all of a sudden, you saw all these cruise ships coming. By the time we came back down from the tram ( we decided to go down around 1230pmish) and the line was insane to get UP the tram. MSC also had a nice touch at the boarding spot for the tender. They offered nice cold towels/waters/juices, while you waited. Lovely. The other ships i didn't see that. Mykonos! Although we arrived at around 7pmish, it was still light out. Plenty of time to walk around, enjoy the little village. We had a bite to eat, a a drink, then found a nightclub and a couple bars on the water front by where we came in. Jackie'O's was our favorite. We say outside and watch the people. It's a gay bar by the way and we are a gay couple...but it's a lovely place and the staff was super nice. We ended up hanging there until about midnight, then tendered back in. Would of been nice to be there a little earlier, but we loved it. Ancona--- Small seaport...not much to do, we noticed folks stayed on board, or did the excursions. It's a quick walk in to the center of town. It was nice. Disembarkation was very well organized. We docked in Venice around 7am. Our cabin group was to meet up in the Sinfonia Lounge and we left around 9:10am, and in to the departure hall to collect our bags. Pretty simple. About the ship- The ship is very clean, and again, reminded me of an old world cruising style. (I sailed on the ORIGINAL LOVE BOAT, The Pacific Princess, so I have been around while:). I would say that the Sinfonia Lounge and the Manhattan Bar on Decks 5 and 6, seemed a little dated. Since the weather was so great, we loved being out at the Capri Bar on Deck 11 the best. We didn't care for the "Irish Pub" so much, but if you are a beer lover, they have a ton of different beers. Shopping- The shops had a lot to offer, but it was in a bit of a funky area. Think they are trying to offer more specialty shops with the limited space. However, we were not there to shop...we wanted the ports. They did have some duty free sales, but again, we were not in the market for anything. There were more Children than I thought there would be, but the Europeans tend to travel with the families. The pool area is QUITE nice and has a water park for kids. We didn't hang out at the pool, but we did up on deck 12 if and when we wanted. We didn't want to be around the little darlings. To sum it up, we really enjoyed it. I ignored the reviews and decided to just see what it's all about, and my partner and I had a fantastic trip. It is what you make of it. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat! Enjoy!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Here is some info about me: I'm 48. Live in USA. have cruised 51 days with Carnival, 14 days with princes, and now 7 with MSC. Have cruised a lot of Caribbean, one Norway, one Alaska, and now one Mediterranean. We started and ... Read More
Here is some info about me: I'm 48. Live in USA. have cruised 51 days with Carnival, 14 days with princes, and now 7 with MSC. Have cruised a lot of Caribbean, one Norway, one Alaska, and now one Mediterranean. We started and ended our cruise in Genoa. Before the cruise, I registered myself and my husband for the status match program. NOT user friendly, i must say. Make sure your photo that you upload with your other cruise-line info is a small data file. It took me several tries, but i finally got it done. we got silver level by providing our carnival info. Other than a bowl with 4 pieces of fruit in our cabin, not sure we noticed much difference. I was the one in our group of 16 friends/family that did the research and planned most of our trip. i went into the cruise having read MANY reviews. Having read the reviews, i would say that i agree with many of them. 1. very nice ship. clean inside. nicely decorated. clean. 2. entertainment above average. they had 3 lead singers who sang to a prerecorded soundtrack. they sang well. the dancers danced well. there were a couple of songs that they had one of the dancers (very obviously) lip-sync. I would have preferred that they did not do that. they were far better at dancing than lip-syncing. Just let the dancers dance!! 3. food....... a. dining room. Although our wait staff was very friendly, i did not feel the same level of personal involvement or level of attentiveness with them as i have felt with previous cruises. They just didn't seem to "have it all pulled together". some in our 2 tables of 8 did not get things that they ordered and it did seem to take a long time for one of our tables, who had a different waiter. as far as the food goes, well...... as many other reviewers have said, the selection is lacking compared to other cruise lines. maybe 5 options for starters (soups, salad, etc). another 5 for main dishes. then maybe 4 or 5 desert choices. they did have something like 3 items that are on the menu every night, but i can't say that i looked at them more than once. they did not seem very interesting. the food was NOT awful as some in my group claimed and some reviewers have claimed. Yes, i have had better. I think if they had more selection, the complainers in my group might have been happier. Maybe if the food had been catered to Americans, maybe they would have been happier.....i just don't know. Maybe i just had low expectations because of the reviews i read before the cruise, but MAYBE I had more realistic expectations since I have been to Europe many times and know to expect things to be a little different than in a cruise that caters to Americans. The fact is that on this cruise you can expect to be surrounded by lots of french, german, spanish, and italians. English speakers were by far in the minority. Not a problem, but something to be aware of. Of note, we went to the dining room the first 3 nights, then never went back. we found that the food on deck 14 was just as good and a lot quicker. we had 7pm dining. if we ate in the dining room, we had to go to the 945 show. a little late for me. b. informal dining......breakfast and lunch were perfectly adequate. lots to choose from. they did a good job trying to have selections that cater to different cultures. they had the bacon (actual bacon, not British bacon that is actually ham), but the link sausages were more British than American. lots of pastries, different types of eggs (scrambled, etc), pan cakes, etc. I very much enjoy experiencing what other cultures eat. some in my group are not what i would call cultured. they just thought some of the items were bad....in reality, the food items were that way, not because they were bad, but because that's the way other cultures eat them. Of note, as other reviewers have said, the pizza was very much above average for cruise pizza. it was nice to not have to wait in a long line for mediocre pizza like you do on carnival. Of note, I expected the dinner in the casual dining to be at least a small step up from what you get in there for lunch, but i did not find that to be the case. 4. Drink packages...... most in our group chose to purchase drink packages. my husband got the $10 per drink max package for $39 per day. I got the $19 non alcoholic package, and my son got the $14 per day non alcoholic kids drink package. Of note, i only got mine because i had to have a package for my son and husband to have one. I think they might have gotten their money's worth, but i'm not sure that i did. I don't like to drink a lof of sugary drinks or ones with artificial sweeteners. Large bottles of mineral water were like 2.50, so not crazy bad without the package. It was nice that I was able to go to the bar and order 2 cappuccinos and a mineral water at the same time and not have to wait or come back for the others. I think you have to wait 15 min between the alcoholic drinks. You could also get soft serve ice cream with the non alcoholic packages, but not with the alcoholic packages. Had i not gotten a package, the free drink selections would have been fine with me. Of note, no decaf coffee that i could see for free.....i found that strange. lots of different flavors of tea bags to choose from. 5. staff members.....including the dining room staff, i found the staff to be very friendly. they were very good about making eye contact and greeting you. most of them that I encountered, spoke a good amount of english. I was pleasantly surprised by that. 6. excursions...... we did not choose to book any excursions through the cruiseline, although a couple in our group did. My mom was pleased with the cave trip and another tour she and her friend took. What we did pay for was 3 transfers! No tendering with free shuttle for this cruise line. we paid $12.99 per person for 2 of them and like $16 for Marseille. I did read about the other options (hop on hop off close to port, free shuttles, and city buses), but we decided that our time and lower amounts of frustration from having to find where to go made it worth it for us to just fork out the dough. We just weren't up for the adventure of all of that. 16 people is a lot to have to wrangle up. 7. transfers. we used a company called www.airportstaxitransfers.com to get us from the genoa airport to the hotel in genoa, hotel to ship, ship to milan, then hotel in milan to airport in milan. highly recommend them. extremely punctual, we had not hitches with any of the four segments. with our number of travelers it was very cost effective. something like 50 euros total each for all 4 segments. door to door service. Of note, we spoke to an Australian couple who were on the last of 3 consecutive msc cruises. they nearly missed the ship because the transfer that was arranged through the ship didnt work out. they had been told a later time for it and so they missed it. it cost them 1000 euros to take a cab from venice and made it there with 1 hour to spare. the cruise line was going to reimburse them for the 1000 euros and the ship's employees were very apologetic to them and seemed to be very interested in making it right for them. I would have written that bad experience off as a 1-off, but we got word that the cruiseline had also messed up their transfer at the end of our cruise. they had them going to germany, instead of to the airport. Not sure how that all came out, but im sure it was frustrating for them, considering the other snafu...... Not saying dont use the cruiseline for transfers, but just make sure that you check all of the details very carefully. 8. nickel and diming..... Yes, it did seem that they charged extra for A LOT of things. We heard one passenger wondering if they were going to be charged extra for toilet paper! What I would say about that, though, is that you get what you pay for. This was, by far one of the least expensive 7 day Mediterranean cruises that i could find. If we had booked with one of the others, maybe some of those things would have been included....maybe not... Maybe the food would have been better, probably so. But if you are doing well to just get yourself in the door of this ship (financially speaking) and you need the lower price, then you may have to just understand that some things won't be included in the base price. At least they give you the option of having a less expensive trip if you are willing to not use the things that cost extra. 9. I do want to tell you about an excursion that we booked on our own in Cagliari. we booked it through www.sardiniadreamtours.com before the cruise. you can find them on youtube and instagram. highly recommend this company. This tour was the highlight of our cruise. we got in 4x4 landrovers and went off-roading to some awesome lookout points in the mountains, then spent time at two beaches (chia was one of them). it cost us about 60 euros each and it lasted the whole time we were in port. they even took us on a quick trip through the historic area just before returning us to the ship. Francesco was awesome! They all went above and beyond. 10. The fact that each of the stops can be your start/end of your cruise. .....as i mentioned, we started and ended in Genoa. we were told that about 900 passengers boarded and disembarked with us. we found it to be pretty stress free, having done the same with 3000 passengers on other cruises where you feel like cattle. we carried our luggage on and off, and it was pretty easy. prior to cruising, i wondered if it would be a pain in the butt having them do a safety drill every day. i have to say that i hardly noticed it, other than the announcement and a few people around the ship with live preservers in their hands. Of note, once you board on your embarkation day, you cannot leave the ship until the next day. If you want to spend more time in that city, do it before you get on. we chose to spend that day in Genoa and board at around 3:30 instead of earlier in the day since we wanted to have a little more time in genoa. we breezed right through the boarding process, since most everyone had already boarded for the day. Our room was ready, we walked right in. Also of note, they put your key in the room and the door will be open when you get there. *****Be sure to go register your form of payment of on-board purchases. they have kiosks by the reception desk that make it pretty easy. you do not have to wait in line at the reception desk to get that done (lines ALWAYS long at the reception desk) 10. would I do it again if I had the choice? I would say yes. some in my group might say no. again with the unrealistic expectations...... I would just tell the nay Sayers to just fork out the big bucks for the other cruise lines next time if you want better food, etc. If they can't afford more, then maybe consider a land vacation or a Caribbean cruise. Just my 2 cents worth..... Hope that this helps you in some way, Cathy Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went with family/friends. The ship is beautiful but is run very poorly. My room was dirty and I always bring Lysol wipes with me so I cleaned it myself. We saw the guy maybe 4 times and he was nice but not very thorough when ... Read More
We went with family/friends. The ship is beautiful but is run very poorly. My room was dirty and I always bring Lysol wipes with me so I cleaned it myself. We saw the guy maybe 4 times and he was nice but not very thorough when cleaning. (He left a plate with food on it for two days on the dresser). We were told out room was to have a see through balcony with glass and it had metal on the bottom so we couldn't see out unless we stood up. Very few people to help you navigate the ship and the signage is almost non existent. The maîtred in the ship restaruant was very good as was the mgr of the ship's buffet. The food was just okay; sometimes good and sometimes not so good. The ship has many drink packages and they screwed up most of them. The people on the ship including the employees complained where ever we went. More complaints than compliments. No need to get a drink package unless you plan to spend more than what you pay in drinks. Both with and without alcohol. The non alcohol package came with soft ice cream which they gave to anyone and it was rarely available but when the machines where working, it was very good. This package was supposed to come with flavored water etc... and they had no idea what this is. In other words we got screwed royally. The entertainment was good but very repetitive; acts were repeated each night to a different stage ie... lights, costumes etc... Some of them were very good and some seemed to need more practice as they were out of sync a lot when dancing. The stingray excursion in the Cayman's was excellent and I highly recommend it but it is less expensive going on your own than booking through the ship. The last day in the Bahamas was terrible as the ship failed to tell us that it was their labor day and most everything was closed so after walking around in the heat we went back to the ship's swimming pool. The pools are not big enough to accommodate the amount of people on the ship and not enough pool seating. The casino was just okay and I never saw all the games up and running at one time. Few personnel to take drink orders and fix machines when necessary. Not enough slot machines overall compared to other cruise lines. The bars were so understaffed that you had to wait and wait to just get a bottle of water. The people working there tried their best but they are so understaffed I can't express this enough. You wait forever to get someone to answer the phone when calling down to the desk. This ship is not ready for the American market. They cater to the European market. Americans expect to see people smiling and being nice, cleaning all the time and making sure you keep the germs to a minimum. This is not expected the European market I was told. I spoke with many people on this ship and only one person had all nice things to say. I am being very sincere and not exaggerating. I love to cruise but this is my first and last cruise on this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
-It felt like the experience was cheapened by all the employees trying to get you to buy stuff even as you are just trying to board. It’s bad enough to be constantly accosted by hawkers as you get off the ship at different ports but we ... Read More
-It felt like the experience was cheapened by all the employees trying to get you to buy stuff even as you are just trying to board. It’s bad enough to be constantly accosted by hawkers as you get off the ship at different ports but we don’t need that on the ship. The captains excuse that it was being done because the website and app keep malfunctioning doesn’t cut it. Fix the problems with those instead of making all the workers run around trying to sell stuff. -The restaurant and room attendants were wonderful and worked super hard. -The food was ok (not great, but not horrible). The buffet on the 16th floor should stay open later than 3:30 and is the only one with soft serve ice cream at no extra charge. -having only 3 employees to actually sell pictures on the last night was just ridiculous. There were many more employees but only 3 dealing with orders so the line was over an hour long. -Every show DOESN’T need to be a (cirque de soléis) type show. A couple of the shows would have been much better without the contortionists and gymnasts, it felt like they had to earn the paycheck by forcing a performance where it didn’t make sense. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Specialty dining was excellent. The buffet was very good. The dining room was marginal at best. Interior Fantastica room was great. It was awesome to go into the casino and ALL table games were non-smoking. Even in the smoking half ... Read More
Specialty dining was excellent. The buffet was very good. The dining room was marginal at best. Interior Fantastica room was great. It was awesome to go into the casino and ALL table games were non-smoking. Even in the smoking half of the casino, you really couldn’t tell it. The ventilation was awesome. Make sure to see Deon the waiter, in the casino, and he will take care of you! Never got to zip line because it would never stay open long enough. Constantly had issues. MAKE SURE TO BOOK YOUR BOWLING WITHIN THE FIRST 48 HOURS OR YOU WILL NOT GET A BOWLING TIME! We didn’t! Spend the money on getting the spa! It is awesome! I went into the salt room twice and it was so relaxing, that I fell asleep both times. You can book your shows as soon as you get on the ship. I suggest you book the Michael Jackson show ASAP. It’s the best show I have ever seen. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We loved the msc seaside! We had a fantastica balcony and enjoyed the size and location of it. The food was good and we never went hungry. Trivia was lots of fun. We don’t drink and didn’t have a drink package. It was exactly the kind ... Read More
We loved the msc seaside! We had a fantastica balcony and enjoyed the size and location of it. The food was good and we never went hungry. Trivia was lots of fun. We don’t drink and didn’t have a drink package. It was exactly the kind of vacation we planned on having. Embarkation was legit the best we’ve ever had. We thought our Disney cruise was decent for embarkation, but now compared to msc Disney needs to step it up. The entertainment was good. We loved most of the shows. We weren’t huge into the musicals but the acrobatics was jaw dropping amazing. We would easily go back on the seaside again. The ship was gorgeous and never once felt crowded. Even the port we had to tender in it wasn’t crowded. Our kids loved the kids clubs and miss them so much. Wish we woulda booked a 14 day cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Booked a weeks cruise on the MSC Seaview June 1st -8th around the Mediterranean. We had travelled on MSC as a family of two adults and two children (10, 7) ten years ago and adored it. This time, it was myself and my now 20 year old ... Read More
Booked a weeks cruise on the MSC Seaview June 1st -8th around the Mediterranean. We had travelled on MSC as a family of two adults and two children (10, 7) ten years ago and adored it. This time, it was myself and my now 20 year old daughter as a girls treat. Embarkation - Arrived at the Barcelona cruise terminal late morning, embarkation was extremely quick, efficient and we were on board within around twenty minutes of arrival. We had to run the gauntlet of staff trying hard to sell speciality dining and drinks packages on the way in, did not like this, but not sure if this is the same on every cruise. Cabins were not available until 2:30, but a (very) welcome buffet was ready at 12 noon. We did have an all inclusive drinks package, and made use of this while waiting for the cabin, and also spent some time exploring the ship. Ship- Whatever critics may say about MSC, they all agree that the ships are stunning, and the Seaview is no exception. The crystal staircases are a constant photo opportunity, the huge atrium with multiple stages, the light, seating areas, cafes, pools it is all designed beautifully. Not once did we fail to find a seat where we wanted, even beside the pools. Other than a few very rare occasions, we would never have known just how many thousands of people were on the ship because it rarely felt crowded. Cabin - 13126 mid ship balcony cabin on Ionian Sea deck. My daughter is a bit superstitious but 13 is not considered unlucky in Italy, it is the number 17, so there is no deck 17. The cabin was lovely. Lots of storage, great lighting, USB sockets, and a proper shower cubicle. It felt very spacious for two of us, and had a massive sofa. Dining - This is the only issue we had, and unfortunately it is a big deal. As we often holiday in Italy and love the time spent enjoying lovely food, it was a major disappointment to be rushed through dinner in around 90 minutes as there are now 3 settings as opposed to the previous 2. Its a 2 hour window but by the time you are seated and served then they start clearing up for the next sitting, that cuts back the two hours considerably. Dinner also used to be Italian style with lots of smaller courses, this is now 3 courses of very mediocre food. I never have dessert as am always full by then, but in the MDR I was having pudding and then heading up to the midnight buffet as was always hungry after dinner. We spent some nights at the buffet restaurants which were good, but not brilliant and very repetitive, but at least we never left hungry and could take as long as we liked. Breakfast was excellent however, with a wide choice of food and the coffee was really good. We used one of the speciality restaurants midweek, the Teppanyaki, and it was outstanding, though at a cost of 70 euros extra. Our MDR table companions used the Butchers Cut steakhouse, and also said it was fabulous if expensive. Entertainment - lots of live music in bars, all really good, There were a number of party nights (including a White Party) in the atrium which were great fun, with all ages up dancing til the small hours .The entertainment crew were fantastic, encouraging a great atmosphere whatever they were doing. We attended two of the shows and were absolutely blown away. Both nights the audience were on their feet in appreciation. Spa - I bought a Thermal Area spa pass before cruising, which was £82 as opposed to £140 if I bought in on board. This gave me access to the spa area for the duration of the cruise and I loved it. The spa had various saunas, steam baths, special showers and other facilities, including two hot tubs out on the deck for sole use of spa guests. As we didnt go off the boat every day I was often in when it was really quiet and always had the hot tub to myself! I also booked two massages as another treat which were amazing, though admittedly really expensive, although I had a substantial discount on the second. Service - outstanding. All the staff we came across were very pleasant and helpful, with some going above and beyond to make it a great experience. One bar waitress never smiled, clearly loathed cruise customers, so we made it our mission to get a laugh out of her by the end of the week, and my daughter managed it our last night. There is currently some debate about MSC and service charges. I was told it was mandatory by the TA and this is also on the MSC website. I paid ours on board at the cost of 140 euros for both of us. Others were saying it is not mandatory and I should ask for it back and just tip whoever I wanted. I left it on this occasion as I wasn't sure but will need to investigate further. Ports - really good, straightforward and popular. Liked being in port every day as don't like 'at sea' days. Excursions - I can't really comment as I we didn't take any, other than a shuttle transfer into Palma. This was really well organised and cost 25 euros for both. I hadn't done my research on Palma and we found out later that a taxi would have been 10 euros each way, and the local bus stops right at the port and goes into the town at a cost of 1'50 euros! So as with many excursions it was way overpriced. If you want to play it very safe then maybe the extra cost is worth it. We did our own thing on the other days ashore for a fraction of the MSC price. Bars - we had an all inclusive drinks package and I kept a running total of what we were using to work out if it would be worth it next time. It worked out as good value as we had a lot of cocktails, but that was 3/4 a day plus water, soft drinks and coffee. Any less and it would not have been worthwhile. By all accounts everyone I spoke to thought the drinks package compared really favourably with other cruise lines. Other factors - didn't have small children but they looked really well catered for, including the children's splash pool and adventure course. Internet access was ridiculously expensive (£70 weekly for 2.5 MB), my daughter bought this as clearly a 20 year old would wither and die without access to social media 24 hours a day. As data roaming in Europe is included with most phone agreements and there was no issue connecting anywhere we were moored, I thought this would be enough. Apparently not! Brits were very much a small minority on board, which was not an issue for us, but some of our fellow Brit passengers didn't like this. More than one commented on the number of 'foreigners' on board, which we found bemusing as this was an Italian cruise line with the main embarkation in Barcelona! MSC cruises are not designed for British customers. People don't queue, they come in the lift when you are trying to get out, many of the staff speak a few different languages but have limited English. and the main chatter is Italian and Spanish. Overall, an amazing experience let down by poor dining. Not sure if I would book again unless the dining experience changes because to me that was a deal breaker. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We sailed on the Seaview out of Barcelona on 1 June 2019 for 7 nights. We were a party of 3 - Me, my wife (both 36) and our 4 year old daughter. My wife and I had cruised before (one Princess to Caribbean and one Celebrity to Central ... Read More
We sailed on the Seaview out of Barcelona on 1 June 2019 for 7 nights. We were a party of 3 - Me, my wife (both 36) and our 4 year old daughter. My wife and I had cruised before (one Princess to Caribbean and one Celebrity to Central America) but both were pre-child. Prior to the cruise I read the mixed reviews and was a little apprehensive, but thankfully had a very enjoyable cruise. Embarkation was very smooth. We boarded in Barcelona. Our ticket had an embarkation time if 2.30pm, but we turned up at about 11.30am and it was no bother. We stayed in a Fantastica balcony cabin which had a Queen size bed, and the sofa had been converted into a single bed. I ended up in the single bed due to 4 year old 'sleeping issues' but it was actually very comfortable, as was the Queen sized bed according to my wife! The cabin was well laid out, and still had that 'shiny and new' feel to it. The wardrobe space was a bit limited but we got by. My review is limited to the extent that we were in bed most nights by 10pm due to the little one being an early riser, so I am not able to comment on the 'parties' (flower party, white party, space party etc) as these started at 11.30pm. This is in keeping with being a European cruiseline; most things are done later in the evening. In the evenings, we at in the MDR 4 nights, the Pan Asian specialty dining on 1 night, and the buffet on 2 nights (just due to activities earlier in the day). I found the food on the while to be good. The buffet was varied and plentiful. It was only very busy in Rome at breakfast time, when lots of people were leaving the ship early for an excursion or to disembark. The MDR was better than buffet, and I had no complaints at all. Our waiter Suryer was very friendly, and the area supervisor Alex introduced himself to us, and was happy to discuss any issues we had. The quality of the food was not as good as Celebrity, but we were in Aqua class so no wonder to be honest. In my view, the dining experience in the MDR was perfectly acceptable and we looked forward to heading there each evening. Anytime Dining does exist, but only for Aurea and above grades of experience. If you don't have anytime dining, then the dining times are 6pm, 8pm, or 10pm. I did not experience any surly or rude staff that seems to be a repeating theme on some of the negative reviews. In fact, quite the opposite. Many staff made a fuss of my daughter which was very nice. We did not have a drinks package, and just ordered the drinks we wanted to have here and there. Each day, there was a hour of 2 for 1 cocktails in the Wine and Cocktail lounge (normally 5.30pm to 6.30pm), which was great because our dining time was 6pm. The Pan Asian specialty restaurant was delicious. We had a 'dinner and bubbles' package which included 3 courses for 2 adults, and a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Reserve champagne for €115. It was a little overpriced on reflection, and I probably would not do it again (the food alone was €39 a person ordering from a set menu). As for entertainment, the evening shows were amazing! We went to 6 of the shows. It's fair to say that the shows each followed a similar theme of singing, dancing, and circus type acts, but they were all very entertaining and had a large production value. The singers were seriously good too. We only went to one of the kids club acts, which was junior MasterChef. The kids club area was large but we were off the ship every day so didn't use it a great deal. In addition, there was a limited proportion of English speaking children on the cruise, and the staff have to communicate in 5 languages which can be difficult for a 4 year old to follow. This is no criticism, it's just something that has to be done on a European cruise. You get used to all public announcements being made 4/5 times (Italian, English, Spanish, German, Portuguese). I would say that English first-language guests account for about 10% of passengers. Fine for me, but if you are a cruiser that likes to strike up conversation with new people then opportunities will be few and far between (unless you can speak other languages of course). As with anything, there are some things that MSC could/should try and do better. The kids splash park is great fun, but there is nowhere around that pool for adults to sit to observe their children. This means children are either unaccompanied, or the adults have to go in too. This could be better designed. Also, the other pools are all 6 feet deep so children cannot use them unless they have floating aids. For a 'family focussed' cruiseline it is not well designed. There does seem to be a real push for upselling on the cruise, and this can grate at times. There are frequently staff seeking to sell specialty dining, lots of photos (although we still bought 10!) Even a one litre plastic bottle of water in the MDR is €3, which is a con. Drinks are overpriced too. These are relatively minor criticisms but could be addressed by MSC for a better cruise experience. Would I cruise with MSC again? Yes, but I would not sail with my child until they are about 10/11, and can appreciate different languages and follow staff going in and out of English. Without child, I would certainly cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Best prices ever, food was on point ,the neatness of the cabins,dining setup was classy, Oooh the excursions were great. I really, really enjoyed this cruise I will never forget the extra service from the medical staff to the security ... Read More
Best prices ever, food was on point ,the neatness of the cabins,dining setup was classy, Oooh the excursions were great. I really, really enjoyed this cruise I will never forget the extra service from the medical staff to the security .The staff was amazing always go an extra mile. Was happy to see South Africans working on board.. meeting new friends . Will do this again with my crew this year December. MSC keep it up... yhoo I was so scared because of previous reviews people saying bad things about MSC, I almost cancelled the trip yerrr...what I've learn is that you will never satisfy everybody just stick to your thing and do what you you know is best. This was my first time cruising trip. Now looking forward cruising from Rome and Naples as well as the Amalfi coast around December . Safety was the priority with MSC. Well done Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having read the reviews for this ship we were worried, a lot of negativity, fortunately most of the critics tended to focus on things that went wrong for them and generalised, some of the criticisms we found very harsh. The food was ... Read More
Having read the reviews for this ship we were worried, a lot of negativity, fortunately most of the critics tended to focus on things that went wrong for them and generalised, some of the criticisms we found very harsh. The food was excellent, the performers at times better than you will see at any west end production, the staff always pleasant and willing to help, they all understood English. Fortunately we had purchased the drinks package last year so we were fortunate to have most drinks included,plus ice cream, water, tea and coffee, if you don't have this package then yes the new ones are expensive. The ship is ultra modern, very big so has lots of people on it, so it can get crowded and noisy, so if you don't like that sort of thing this ship is not for you. I would probably call it a party ship. We have been on the Fantasia before and it was better suited to us with more quiet places to retire too if things got a bit hectic. Ports of call: Marseille: We took the ship shuttle, the walk to the free one was a bit long especially in the heat, this shuttle is not too regular so some people ended up getting a taxi back to ship. Geneo: Nice city within walking distance from the ship. Naples: A big city were the traffic was horrendous , take a trip to Pompeii or sorrento and avoid the city Messina: A disappointment , except for main square nothing much else to see, probably would have been better taking a tour to Etna Valletta: A wonderful city and the highlight of the cruise, easy walk from port then lift up to centre, we took the little train tour from front of cathedral. Friends we met took the island tour which misses Valletta and they were disappointed Barcelona : we were supposed to spend the day here before our flight home, but unfortunately our flight was changed and we missed out, but having been ther before,Minos what a beautiful city it is. The day at sea was a waste for us and the next time we cruise we will make sure it has no days at sea. In summary, there is nothing wrong with this ship or MSC, it up to the individual what they want from a cruise, if crowds, noise and partying are not your thing this probably wouldn't be for you. Would I cruise on it again, no I would go for a smaller ship and a better itinerary , with no days at sea. A final point, the excursions are too expensive, there are many companies which will sort these out for you at a more reasonable cost. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise and we weren't sure if it was going to be something that would suit our family. We also worried a little about some of the negative reviews on this site. The outcome was that we loved the experience and will ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we weren't sure if it was going to be something that would suit our family. We also worried a little about some of the negative reviews on this site. The outcome was that we loved the experience and will certainly cruise again, probably with MSC. We have two girls aged 8 and 10 and they really had a ball. The "kids cruise for free" policy of MSC is the reason that we could afford the cruise in the first place. Yes, four in a cabin can be a crowd at times, but when you consider that the girls' cruise cost us only $59 each in government taxes it is a minor factor. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick and straightforward. The food in the buffet was plentiful and excellent quality. We used the lighthouse restaurant every evening and it was from very good to excellent. Our waiter was charming and very nice to our girls. The bed in our cabin was super comfortable and the couch had been converted into two generous sized bunk beds. Zoe is useless but the on-board app is really impressive. The kids club took great care of the girls and we purchased two tracker bracelets for €15 each which allowed us to see where they were on the ship at all times. This was very accurate and gave us the confidence to allow them a lot more independence that we would have been comfortable with otherwise. Our favourite bar was the Sky lounge which is adults only. The ambiance was very nice and they serve gorgeous free snacks with your drinks. Tip : The snacks are displayed in a fridge which is built into the bar counter. You just go up and point out what you want. The ship is beautiful and the crew are friendly and polite. We took one excursion to Pompeii with MSC and it was fine. We did a private street food tour in Genoa which was excellent. We used the free shuttle bus into Marseille which you find by following the green line on the pavement from the cruise terminal for about 800m. This walk will save you the price of the MSC transfer into town. We walked around Messina which has surprisingly good shopping if you walk all the way in to the commercial streets. We visited friends in the Three Cities in Malta after walking around Valletta for a while first. Malta was definitely the highlight of the cruise and we intend to return for a longer visit. We really enjoyed relaxing by the pool on the sea day as it had been quite hectic up to that point. The weather was perfect although breezy but we had a nice sheltered spot. Our oldest girl loved the water slides. I liked the casino and found the croupiers very friendly and helpful. I left some money behind me but that's how it goes. My wife, who had never played table games before, showed me how it was done by managing to win a little playing roulette. The cirque show was excellent but the Rock and Roll show was every bit as good. Really excellent performance when you consider there is no charge. Overall a wonderful family holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Our experience aboard MSC Seaview was generally very positive and we have excellent memories. However, there were some things we felt fell short. I’ll give you the good and the disappointing bit keep in mind we had a wonderful time. ... Read More
Our experience aboard MSC Seaview was generally very positive and we have excellent memories. However, there were some things we felt fell short. I’ll give you the good and the disappointing bit keep in mind we had a wonderful time. We are experienced American cruisers ha omg been on about 15 Caribbean cruises. We have been to Europe a few times but this was our first cruise. We also brought our 18 year old son and his best friend. We chose the Seaview because it was new, looked interesting and a very good value. Reading reviews here we lowered expectations a little and prepared for some issues. General experience: The ship is gorgeous all around. The vibe is energetic and a bit of a party ship. Maybe it’s the nature of Europeans but it is a late night ship. People are out and about until very late, which we like. Eating late, dancing, packing the 10:30 show...it’s a fun place to be. Service and interactions with staff were friendly and efficient. Typical of any cruise line. Americans must be aware that this is not an American cruise. Because we are not as familiar with MSC you don’t find many fellow Americans. While English is spoken by all of the staff there are heavy accents and it’s not the only language of the ship. We expected this and had no issue with it. Communicating is easy on and off the ship. Itinerary: Extraordinary. Cannes. Such charming street cafes and shops. Walk along the endless 100’-200’ yachts and be amazed. Palma de Mallorca. Toured the former palace of the King of Spain and liked that as well as the enormous adjacent basilica. So many beautiful buildings, such character. Cabin: We had a typical balcony stateroom for us and an inside cabin for the boys. Room was neat and comfortable. However we found the storage lacking. Virtually no shelves and few drawers. Not a big deal. Barcelona. We bikes here and it is a very very busy city. Lots of traffic and pedestrians. It’s a clean city with much to see Loved it. Ajaccio. Liked this stop even though it was quiet as it was a Sunday. Most of the businesses were closed. But we had a nice lunch and walked the city and enjoyed it. Genoa. Heard this wasn’t much to see. How very very wrong. Some of our most memorable moments were waking this gem of a city. We walked a long long way that day but found so many fun places to see, climb and photograph. The character of the buildings was extraordinary. Had a wonderful lunch at a street cafe. La Spezia. Took the boat cruise to 3 adjacent tiny towns built along the mountain side shores. OMG were these extraordinary stops! We just stood there and marveled. Do this one. Dining: As many reviewers have stated the main dining experience is not on the level of other lines. Temperatures were inconsistent, food was of average quality at best and despite their best efforts we were constantly trading plates across the table after being served the wrong plates. We just laughed at that. Our servers were nice and everything was just fine, but don’t expect much here. We found the buffet fine for breakfast. Good eggs, lots of breads and fruits. Plenty of seating. Breakfast is hard to mess up. We don’t go to the buffet beyond that typically. We did purchase the 3 meal special restaurant package for the four of us. We did so because reviews indicated that the dining room was inconsistent. We were glad we did this. It’s a little expensive but the service and food is much better here. Two disappointments however. The package limits you to a certain section of the menu. If you want anything else you have to pay more. We had paid enough. But what we did have was good quality. Maybe not great, but good. The other downer was that there were very few other diners and it made for a quiet ambience. Would we do this again? Yes. Embarkation and debarkation were simple and quick. This trip was different in that fellow cruisers could begin and end their trip anywhere along the cruise so there were not massive crowds at one location. Entertainment. Go to the theater shows. Do it. These were definitely the best shows we have ever scene aboard ship and it’s not close. The talent was strong and deep. The signers were excellent and the dancers and acrobats were marvelous. The crowd was clapping and stamping and one show we gave a standing O. 10 of 10 here. Drink package. Hmmm. A little frustrating. We paid for a package last summer but by the time we boarded things and changed and what we ended up with was pretty low end. The cheapest wine and just Heineken for beer which I don’t like. However...one must make friends. We made a good friend in one of the bartenders and by the second night we were getting better wines, call brands and beers of choice with a wink and a nod. This man was tipped handsomely. But away from that bar we had to feel like cheapskates getting the low end stuff or had to pay for better. Coffee. This gets its own section because it was a frustration. It was there at breakfast but otherwise a little hard to find. Late afternoon they would sometimes be out. And if you wanted coffee with desert, well, they looked at you like you had 2 heads. And late night pizza and coffee? Well you get the pizza. Excursions. We did 2. We did a bike tour in Barcelona with the wonderful Maria and a 3 stop boat tour of Cinca Terre in Le Spezia. Both were winners, I’d suggest both. Both had challenges. If you get seasick you may want to be prepared for Cinca Terre. And the bike tour had my wife a bit nervous as you are in a lot of auto and walking traffic. But the sites were terrific. Worst experience of the cruise. WiFi packages. This is a straight up, out in the open rip off. I had a 500mb plan which should be plenty. The fact is if I used it as I do at home I’d burn that up in 2 days or less aboard ship the way MSC runs things. And when you are done you have to manually turn it off or it still runs even if you have shut the web down. I burned up 2200mb overnight when I didn’t turn it off and no sites were running and had auto updates turned off. I burn no AT&T data overnight at home, what’s burning while I sleep on the ship? I asked for relief and got 500mb. Screw job. My wife had the unlimited for 139.00 and it worked well but that’s a helluva a lot of money. Guest Services. Even in the case of the WiFi complaint the staff there was great. They were well staffed and well trained. I had 3 occasions I had to interact with them and all were handled efficiently. Fellow reviewers. I think people are a bit harsh on these pages. We had a helluva time. If you expect a ship trying to handle 5000 guests to be a 5 Star dining experience then you will be disappointed. We had some things we kindve laughed about, like coffee being like warm or the meat over cooked but we did not experience rage. We are on a Med cruise! Life is good. We would sail Seaview again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Firs the positive, the embarkation was smooth. But the company lacks in communications with the guests. It has no processes to keep the guests engaged after they book the cruise. They live in an old world where communications with your ... Read More
Firs the positive, the embarkation was smooth. But the company lacks in communications with the guests. It has no processes to keep the guests engaged after they book the cruise. They live in an old world where communications with your customers was nil. But the most important point is they bring in your luggage in batches. So you will get some pieces first and for the rest you will have to wait till the ship sets sailing. My bag which contained toiletries and shoes etc did not arrive even after we checked in at 12.30 am, the earliest time one could check in. I complained, but the cruise officials were not helpful. They said it would take time and they cant help. Second, if you have purchased internet, good luck to you. The speed sucks. They cant do anything about the speed. Third, there is iron for basic pressing in the room. If your clothes have wrinkles, there is nothing you can do but give them to the laundry for ironing. It will cost your a princely 4.90 euros for a dress. Overall, not so good experience on day one. I will do a full review after the cruise. This is just the initial impressions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our daughter sailed for free). Overall Review: Our cruise on MSC Fantasia was a great vacation but mainly due to the itinerary. The ship is fine, seemingly heavy on bars and lounges with (as expected) a heavily-European crowd, mainly French and Italian with some from the UK and a limited few from the US. The cabin was in great condition and looked identical to those we've had on Celebrity and other lines (minus the TV which as other reviewers have noted was comically small but we only turned it on once). Should be noted that Fantasia is due to have a refit sometime in 2019-20. The crew as good overall... top-tier managers and supervisors really get customer service and there are some at the rank-and-file level that do as well but generally service is average at best and can have issues. Our dining room service experience, though, was exceptional and one of the absolute best we've had on any line in a main dining room. Food, as noted in other reviews, was average at best and could be below average in areas. Pastas and pizzas were good as expected but cost-control methods elsewhere take their toll on the overall quality. The upside was really the itinerary which was amazing but the downside was the constant feeling of being upsold, even more so than on other lines. From the drink package being pushed at the beginning to the specialty dining to - and this was a surprise to me - a €24 upgrade to add a lobster tail to your entree on Gala Night. The increases, in my mind, were extreme on some notes (such as the lobster or a €68 per person Chef's-Table tasting menu in the specialty) but some things were surprisingly low. While a can of soda (Pepsi by the way) was €3.50, a glass of wine was only €5 and bottles of wine were from €25 to €50 with a strong list of decent Italian wines. In short it was a great value and itinerary. We would consider sailing MSC again on an itinerary that gave us in-port dining options but would avoid the line for itineraries like the Caribbean where in-port dining is more difficult and/or expensive. Dining: Putting this first because, frankly, this is the one with the most ups and downs and as a self-confessed "foodie" it's an important part of my vacation experience. Food in the dining room for dinner was good to very good - the pastas were the natural highlight for an italian cruise line. Cooked to perfection with delicious sauces... if you see a pasta dish you might like, order. Portions could be small (one dish had three medium-sized ravioli) but waiters understand and are ready with backups. Meat dishes are hit-and-miss... all are sliced, mostly very thinly, with good to very good sauces. Give up the concept of ordering your steak to temp (unless you opt for the €24 T-bone upsell) - you're getting a slice. If you skip the sauce be prepared for dry meat... not the best. Seafood is good but they're obviously cost-conscious with their portion sizes - a seafood risotto featured one langostine, two shrimp and about 5 small bay scallops. Desserts were OK - but there are always free pastries next to the gelato bar (delicious and priced the same you'll see in port). In an odd twist though – there was a stunning lack of chicken dishes on any menu. Not a downside, just an interesting note. Now... beyond the dining room.... essentially, you're going to have the buffet. This is an insane zoo of a place with a feel that’s straight out of Lord of the Flies. The crowds are everywhere even at non-peak times and the flow is poorly laid out. Essentially there are 6-7 areas (pizza, hot items, bakery, salad, desserts, vegetarian/healthy) that are repeated throughout the expanse of the space. The food there is average to below-average with the exception of the pizza which is quite good (skip the charcoal though - bad attempt IMO). Breakfast is repeated daily so if you don't like it on day one you're gonna be in for a long week. Juice is offered at breakfast… should be “juice” as the orange juice tasted suspiciously like Tang. But the big fun was to happen on the at-sea day – which was chaos from about 7am until 3pm. The food was average as noted but what was insane was the pushing, shoving, shouting and lack of order of the other guests. All three of us – including my daughter – were shoved or pushed or had people cut in front of us in buffet lines as we waited patiently for our turn in a station. There was neither a right-to-left nor a left-to-right flow of the pax in each section but rather an olly-olly-oxenfree cacophonous scrum. Beverages at lunch were limited to water or the bar – unless there was some leftover “juice” from breakfast. However, service in the buffet though is good - lots of waiters around ready to take your money for a beverage. We attempted lunch in the dining room on the at-sea day (our 2nd day) but based on the choices and quality we opted to eat in port on the rest of the days and that - not shockingly - turned out to be the absolute highlight of the food on our trip. We did not attempt dinner in the buffet but a walk thru there showed some of the entrees in the dining room available with some other regular choices - and the aforementioned pizza available from 11am until Midnight so if you're in a pinch grab a slice. Lastly, one of our group needs a gluten-free diet. We had selected MSC in part knowing that they dedicated themselves to a quality GF diet and options. While generally true in the dining room there were elements that were phoned in… for example the same exact “dessert of the day” was served three days in a row. It was a simple sponge cake with chocolate cream (days 2-4 after the first day being the same cake with a strawberry cream) which was fine but by the third day it was redundant. It wouldn’t have been hard for the staff to swap chocolate for other flavors daily at a minimum. GF options were present but limited in the buffet and we didn’t note any GF pizza options. GF bread was always available in the dining room and some wasn’t bad. Cabin: Shortest section... it's a fine cabin. We had a balcony on deck 11 and found it to be just like any other standard balcony. No complaints on the cabin. However, our service in the cabin was a low point. Staff on the cruise, much like many of the guests, rotate on and off at each port meaning sometimes your waiter or room steward will leave mid-cruise which happened to us. Our attendant got off mid-cruise and was replaced with someone who actually smiled and was accessible. However before that we had a request for an extra blanket for the pull-out bed my daughter was in... which took four calls and over an hour to happen when we were initially promised 15 minutes. In typical fashion on the 4th call we were told a supervisor was notified and we had the blanket within 2 minutes (see below). Embarkation/Disembarkation: Really one of the hidden highlights of the cruise. Since the ship has a rolling embarkation/disembarkation as it sails there wasn’t a huge crush. We arrived in the terminal in Mallorca about 11:30am and were on the ship by about 12:30pm. One nice touch – you just turn in your paperwork and have your ID checked and then walk on the ship. Keys are waiting in your room and you simply visit a self-service kiosk to activate payment on your cruise card. Very efficient. One note – when you get to the terminal make SURE to get a check-in number. Find an MSC rep and get one – some people snuck past only to get to the embarkation area and find themselves without a number and pushed to the back of the queue. Disembarkation was by deck and was equally fast…. At least we think it was. We had an issue with formal photos not being ready (see below) that held us up. But we walked off the ship, found our luggage in the terminal and went on our way in about 5 mins from the time the photos were sorted. Ports/Itinerary: This is why we loved the cruise. The itinerary was amazing. We left from Mallorca then to Ibiza, at sea, Naples, Livorno, Genoa and finally to Marseille. We flew into Mallorca the night before and overnighted there before checking into the ship on Monday. After Embarkation we decided to go into town. In a silly move we opted for the MSC shuttle to the town – WOW, what a ripoff. We paid nearly €50 for the three of us to ride in and out – that’s more than a round-trip to the AIRPORT would have been in a taxi. Lesson learned. Palma was amazing, great to walk thru the city and shops and stopped at a little café for some great tapas. The next day was Ibiza… we planned on doing very little and decided to go into town. This time we skipped the shuttle and instead of spending €48 for the three of us we spent €12 on a local bus that was a 2-minute walk past the MSC shuttle. This was a pattern we saw in every port – a VERY expensive MSC option that should be avoided at all cost. We expected very little and had a great visit to the cathedral/fort on the top of the hill and lunched at a café in the old section of town. If you have kids there’s a nice little playground right along the main street by the bus drop off – great to let them burn off some energy! Then we had our at-sea day. This is where the other passengers really “shined.” The day started in the gym which opens at 6am. There’s a limited number of cardio (6 treadmills, 4 bikes, 2 elliptical and 2 arm bikes) and a decent set of weight machines and dumbbells. I never saw a wait for devices but each has a computer-enforced 20 minute time limit. Once that was over at 6:45 the crew was setting out chairs for the day and just about as fast as they were being sat down people were reserving with towels. We were ready for this but it was a near feeding frenzy. It should note that the starboard side of the pool deck is smoker-friendly so if you’re bothered by smoke it can be troublesome. The bigger problem on the deck was the music. Starting about 7:30 with “stretching” and then going well into the morning the crew was BLASTING music at concert-level volumes. If you’re looking for a quiet day poolside look elsewhere. We actually moved from the outdoor pool to the quieter indoor pool to avoid the deafening roar. Formal night was this night and there was a wide variety of attire. A few men were in black tie and some women were in gowns but they were the exception. I wore a black suit and tie, my wife was in a lovely dress and our daughter had a very cute semi-formal gown and we were at- or slightly over-dressed. Despite the “no shorts” rule in the dining room we even saw people in shorts in the dining room on formal night. Most guests were wearing jackets or dresses but there outliers on all ends of the spectrum. Photographers were set up around the ship and were very available. The photos they took were good to very good and prices were reasonable for cruise photos – they have a €30 option to add on to any package that gives you digital copies of any photos you buy which is a nice option. In Naples we had opted for a Family tour of Pompeii. When we got back from the pool on the at-sea day a note in our room informed us that our tour had been cancelled. A visit to the shore excursion desk later it was determined that there weren’t enough people who were interested in that tour so it was cancelled. We were “offered” to join the more expensive standard Pompeii tour without any discount or apology. So we took the larger tour. Note on tours on MSC – they are LARGE. Typically 45-60 people per group with a single leader. Guests are given headsets so they can hear the guides (par for the course really) and the guides are informative. However. We quickly learned the difference in the “regular” and “family” tour when 1/3 of the 2 hour tour in Pompeii focused on the brothels and prostitution in the city. Fun explaining that one to a 9-year-old. More on that later. After the Pompeii visit we had time to wander into Naples and visit the oldest pizza restaurant – dating back to 1738 – for a delicious lunch, opting to skip past the more tourist-oriented places in the city square. We did wander past the beautiful castle in the city center through the square for an amazing Italian coffee and gelato before returning to the ship. Next was Livorno and we had opted for a Florence & Pisa combination tour. Again, 50 of us were loaded on a coach and herded into Florence. Given that both the tower and the museums in Florence have timed tickets and the tour couldn’t tell us if we were going to Pisa and then Florence or the reverse we were unable to visit the museums or walk up in the tower on this tour. Not the end of the world but if I had known that right in the cruise terminal there were several car rental companies I would have rented a car and done a self-tour. The tour was informative but S L O W. Once we did get to Florence it took 5 minutes to get the group to cross the street given the number of people, their lack of speed and the shortness of traffic lights. Sensing this we left the group opting to meet back at the meeting spot later in the day… which was a wonderful choice. Our daughter wanted to see some specific sites (she’s a science fan so seeing Galileo’s grave and other sites were a must) including the Duomo exterior and the copy of David in the city square. After Florence it was back into the bus for the ride to Pisa – after we lost 30 mins waiting on several couples to get to the bus. Our guide simply extended the overall time of the tour which gave us more time in Pisa but necessitated us going from the bus directly to dinner. After Livorno it was on to Genoa. We opted to take the train to Portofino on our own which was wonderful. A quick walk to the train station about 5 mins from the ship and we hopped a train to Santa Margharita where you take a bus to Portofino. The train was about €12 per person round trip and the bus was another €4 per person each way. Portofino was insanely crowded and expensive but having checked that off our bucket list we came back to Santa Margharita and had a fantastic seaside lunch before taking the train back. One note – if you do take the train you MUST validate your ticket on wall-mounted time punch machines BEFORE boarding the train. They are not well marked and you need to seek them out or face a €50 per ticket fine on board. The last stop was Marseilles. Another booked tour, another cancelled tour, this time the Avignon/Aix-en-Provence duo tour. This was cancelled for a lack of English-language participation. So, again, we went on our own to Avignon which was WELL worth the visit. The tour at the Palais du Papes was the best self-guided tour we’ve ever done anywhere with an amazing virtual-reality-type tablet experience that gave the history and perspective of the amazing palace. The second formal night was on the Marseille night – slightly inconvenient as we were disembarking in Mallorca the next morning but still nice. Service: As noted we had an issue with the shore excursions with two cancelled and the non-family tour of Pompeii not preparing us nor noting the content. I discussed this with the Shore Excursions staff and was initially told that nothing could be done. When I escalated this to a manager my issue was quickly and efficiently handled and a reasonable credit was posted to our account. This was a trend we saw throughout the ship. One night at dinner we were approached by a photographer who instructed us to cluster for a photo – which we politely declined saying “No thank you” to which he audibly scoffed and uttered a curse word under his breath as he turned and left. When I raised this to the photo manager as a point of information he was appalled and pledged to make sure the employee was instructed differently. Lastly, we had photos made on the 2nd formal night and ended up picking a package of photos from both nights. Since we were early seating they had proofs done by 10pm and promised to have final prints ready in the morning at reception. In the morning we found that one of the three pictures we needed to get was of us but the other two most clearly were not of our family. When I raised this with the agent at the reception desk it was met with a “I’m sorry” and nothing much else. However, when I raised this to a manager she worked diligently to find someone from the photo team to finally answer the phone (took 30 minutes just to find someone with the keys) who then re-printed the photos including a couple of “extras” slipped in for goodwill. It seems clear that MSC is working hard to establish a culture of service at the top levels and has trained senior staff to embody this culture. However, it’s not made it all the way down to the full crew. Some are amazing (like our dining room staff) while others are uncaring. As a passenger know that when you escalate politely and professionally things will be handled quickly and effectively. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We had an amazing cruise. I give a 5 star for everything. If I had listened to some of the reviews, I would have missed out on this amazing experience. We were the last cruise that was able to go to Cuba and I can express how fortunate we ... Read More
We had an amazing cruise. I give a 5 star for everything. If I had listened to some of the reviews, I would have missed out on this amazing experience. We were the last cruise that was able to go to Cuba and I can express how fortunate we were. We were given a really great room that had a window at the front, and a window at the side. There was a king and a pull down bed in the front room and a sofa bed in the other. The entertainment was top notch. Our teenagers insisted that we go to the shows each night (we didn't miss one). There were all good but our favorite was the Adam's family show. The food was amazing. Seriously, I think the pizza was the best I ever had. The gelato was amazing. We ate in the Marco polo dining room every night and the dining staff took great care of us. Our housekeeper kept our room spotless. If someone has a complaint about this ship, the food, the entertainment, the staff, or anything else, they really don't deserve to go on a cruise. What I liked most was that this was full of people from all over the world-who all went to see Cuba. Arriving in Havana was one of the most exciting experiences of my life (and I travel a lot) They had to translate into 5 different languages, and I like that. We made new friends from Australia and the Philippines. We enjoyed the pub quiz. Karaoke was fun too- the multi talented staff speak so many languages! I wish i had done the dance lessons that the entertainment staff hosted. We missed not having comedy, but you can't make it funny if you have to translate it so I didn't mind that there was no comedy. We did the Hemingway Tour in Havana, and it was so interesting. Our guide was terrific. We got to see outside of Havana, Hemingway's house, and the village where he fished and you do start to understand how poor the people are in Cuba so I am sad that cruises from the USA won't be going there any more. (if you ever get to go- bring money to be generous with! The average Cuban lives on $20 a month! And bring cat food for the street cats you will see, toiletries because people need it, toys for the kids, crayons, whatever- the people appreciate it!. We gave a young man a soccer ball that we brought with us. He was so happy to get one!). The ship may be a bit older but it is fine. I went on Norwegian epic on spring break and did not enjoy it any more than I enjoyed this cruise. It was different but also amazing (I have cruised on Carnival Paradise, Carnival out of Jacksonville, Norwegian Epic and Bahamas celebration, and I loved every cruise I have been on, but this was a particularly special experience. If you are spoiled and a difficult person, don't go on this cruise. The staff are too nice and you don't deserve it. But if you are an adventurous person who likes to meet people from different cultures, and you are a nice and easy going personality, then go! I nearly cancelled our trip because of some of the reviews, and I would have been so sorry if I had. One of our top 10 trips ever! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I continue to read negative reviews of this cruise and I’m left scratching my head. I guess each trip is what you make of it but MY experience on Armonia was excellent. The ship was spotless, classy, and not a spot of rust to be seen. ... Read More
I continue to read negative reviews of this cruise and I’m left scratching my head. I guess each trip is what you make of it but MY experience on Armonia was excellent. The ship was spotless, classy, and not a spot of rust to be seen. The crew was attentive and courteous and our cabin stewardess constantly kept the cabin clean. The food was the best that I have ever had on a cruise and the drinks (I had the Easy package which included drinks up to $6) were excellent. The itinerary was fantastic since it included two days in Havana. Cuba is a magical place with friendly people, old American cars, and beautiful Spanish architecture. I believe that MSC has made a customer for life. I would not hesitate to book this same cruise again or any other MSC ship. Don’t believe the negative reviews and experience it for yourself! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, so I'd say we have a broad range of cruising experience. We chose this cheap and cheerful cruise for our annual family holiday because, well, it was cheap. We travelled by train from London and sailed from Marseille, via Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Naples, Livorno and Genoa. We were concerned, to say the least, after reading so many poor reviews but overall, the experience was acceptable. Embarkation was surprisingly all right. I think it is because for this particular cruise, people are boarding and leaving from every port so you don't experience the usual huge lines and long waits for your baggage. A couple of things to note, however, is that firstly you need to validate your cruise card and link it with your credit card *on the ship* rather than at embarkation, and at checkout you need to physically go to reception to receive any refund due on your credit card. This isn't something we knew about before boarding and not something that was made clear to us on board. In fact a lot of the things we knew about the ship were down to reading Cruise Critic boards, and because a few of us had sailed with MSC before. Generally, information is not particularly forthcoming. You are either expected to know, or find out for yourself. In addition, the answers you get from the crew depend entirely on who you ask. At times it felt like a crew training cruise, when just about every query was received with puzzlement and a long discussion with someone else. A major point which I think others have also made is regarding smoking. If you cannot tolerate smoking, do not cruise with MSC. Smoking is officially banned on balconies and only permitted outdoors on Deck 7, one side of the pool deck and in the cigar bar and casino. However, despite numerous complaints, nothing was done to stop our cabin neighbours puffing away on their balcony, constantly, and indeed taunting us about it. There are plenty of hidden corners where people can and do smoke, and little is done too prevent it. Tacitly, it seems that this is a smokers' cruise line in spite of the obvious fire risk this poses. The Atlantico bar is directly above the casino and connected with a grand staircase, so that too is quite a smoky area. Another point of concern was the random way in which rules were applied. I left the ship every day with my daughter and niece (who was travelling with her parents) – some of us went for a run, and we walked to meet up with them in each port - with no problems except on the last day when I was informed that I could not take her off the ship as we had different cabin numbers. This sort of thing should not come as a surprise! We had no idea this was a rule of the ship and it was embarrassing, to say the least. Ship environment and layout Perhaps uniquely among ships I've travelled in, the Fantasia has almost no internal clues as to where you happen to be. For example, on NCL, the design of the carpets and art in the stairwells indicates whether you're fore, aft or midships, and little fish point to the front of the ship. There are no such design elements on Fantasia – there are few maps on the wall and paper maps of the ship are only available at reception. This led to a great deal of getting lost. This is a ship of dead ends and going round in circles. I would advise anyone travelling to get a deck plan in advance and study it carefully. This is an older ship and there were stained carpets and leaky air conditioning, flickering lights and broken toilets. Most of the water park was closed for refurbishment. Overall it was clean but it has seen better days. The room stewards were highly overworked – they never get a period of time when there are no passengers on board on a schedule like this one and the ship is permanently full. Our cabin was cleaned daily but sometimes it wasn't turned down until quite late in the evening. Facilities/entertainment We used the Kids' Club – this was fine but if there aren't many kids there, the staff put on a movie and this may be in a different language to the one your kids happen to speak. This may not bother your kids – it didn't bother mine, but it bothered her cousin. Registration, drop off and collection all happen in the same queue, rather than having registration take place at a set time every day. This led to very long lines at busy times. Children get either a red or green wristband. Red means they are not allowed to roam the ship alone, green means they can check themselves out of the kids' club whenever they like. If your child is sensible and can navigate the highly confusing ship, that is.. The pools are fine – they do the job! There is a large indoor pool, an outdoor pool complex, a water slide (with random opening hours), a pool and hot tubs at the back, and a water park which was under refurbishment and therefore closed. The theatre shows were pretty good, if at times incomprehensible. At the poolside, there are often dance classes and other fun activities. There's a tiny library and cyber café, hidden by the reception area. The bars are OK, with little to distinguish one from another. There's a constant pressure to buy drinks packages but these can only be applied to everyone in the cabin – there's no way that between the three of us we could get through €90 worth of drinks a day for the most basic package. Our travel agent negotiated a deal where we could have sparkling water at the buffet or dining room, which was all we really wanted anyway. The photo gallery was incredibly crowded and finding your photos was haphazard – people seemed to be moving photos around. However, the photographers were really good and we actually bought quite a few, which we don't usually. We had a small balcony cabin which was fine, it had enough room for us and our stuff. It got quite noisy at night with stuff going on in the corridors and neighbouring cabins but nothing too bad (apart from a big fight next door one night for which we had to call security…). Staff The staff are nice, they all speak basic English and do their jobs well, but I refer to my earlier remark about how it seemed that this was a training cruise. Food We ate in the dining room and the buffet. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants so I can't say anything about those. The food was a bit hit and miss – nothing horrible, but few things were amazing. The prime rib was great. I really missed the sort of hot puddings you get on NCL or Princess. The dessert section of the buffet was mostly little cakes and jellies, but there was plenty of fruit available. The buffet had a good selection most of the time, the pizzas were excellent. There's little enforcement of the hand gel and often the dispensers were broken, which probably explains why most of us now have colds. In the dining room the portions were very small – my nine year old had room for two main courses from the adult menu one night. Ports of call We did like all the ports we visited. Most of the time we walked off the ship and did not use the shuttle buses. It's worth noting that in Livorno, there is a €5 bus that takes you to the centre of town, or a slightly secret free bus that gets you to the entrance to the port, and then it's a 10 minute walk to the town centre. If you're able to walk for 20 minutes, you don't really need the shuttle buses, but they are heavily promoted. Additionally in Livorno, the town centre itself is OK but a bit boring – however the area around the aquarium (worth visiting, much cheaper than the large one in Genoa) is a newish development with some interesting shops and cafes, a lovely park, lido and playgrounds. It's only a 15 minute walk from the port to here and it's where we wish we'd spent most of the day. We didn't book any excursions. What we tended to do was find a central point of interest and wander towards it – this paid off well in these dense, rambling towns. We hired bikes in Palma de Mallorca (but note that the cycle lane along the seafront can get busy and isn't great for novice riders). The beaches at Palma and Ibiza were really nice, clean and with decent facilities. In summary If you're looking for cheap and cheerful, you don't mind smoking and you're OK with haphazard customer service, then MSC is fine. However, if you have high expectations then you're going to be disappointed. Do your research first and go in with your eyes open. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband I were on MSC Preziosa for the 11-night Northern Europe cruise (May 26 - June 6). We picked this cruise because of the itinerary which included Hamburg, cities in Scotland and Iceland. The ship interior was beautiful and the ... Read More
My husband I were on MSC Preziosa for the 11-night Northern Europe cruise (May 26 - June 6). We picked this cruise because of the itinerary which included Hamburg, cities in Scotland and Iceland. The ship interior was beautiful and the public area was clean. This was our first cruise with MSC. We have cruised over 10 times with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian. We were disappointed by MSC food quality and overall service. It is unlikely I will book another MSC cruise again. FOOD Breakfast -- The breakfast selection was pretty much the same everyday. Coffee is too weak everyday. Pastry quality and selection were good. Plenty of fruit Dinner -- We picked the 1st seating option in the dining room. I would rate the entree quality from poor to just OK. The food presented often did not match the descriptions on the menu. Occasionally, there would be a good entree and/or desserts. I was most surprised by the poor pasta entrees since MSC is an Italian cruise line! SERVICE The ship appeared to have the most confusing beverage policy. For example, we had the non-alcoholic beverage package. We could get free bottled water in dinning rooms but not at the buffet or different bars. I could get a free cup of tea but not coffee after dinner. We were charged Euro 3 to 5 each time. Different staff members had different explanations. Many passengers were confused and argued with servers about this. Our cabin service was below par. It took several days to get face cloths and a missing mug. The room to room phone message system does not work. We were traveling with another couple and there was no way to leave them a phone message. We called the guest service and was told that the message system on the phone does not work. ENTERTAINMENT The in-house group of singers and dancers was quite good. However, it could get repetitive night after night. On the last full day of cruise, it had a piano concerto performance by Maestro Mauro Bertolino in the afternoon. It was great!!!! TV and COMMUNICATION The in-house TV offered little useful information except I could review my room charges online. It does not even show the temperature of the port of call. There was only one English speaking station (BBC). I bought the standard Internet package. It was working fine until the last week. EXCURSIONS We booked our own private tours. The ships offered many excursion options but appeared to be overpriced Read Less
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