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13 MSC Cruises MSC Bellissima Romantic Cruise Reviews

We are highly disappointed and feel cheated out of our money. I feel like MSC should’ve canceled the cruise due to coronavirus outbreak as we didn’t visit any ports outside of UAE. I refuse to believe that MSC did not know this ahead ... Read More
We are highly disappointed and feel cheated out of our money. I feel like MSC should’ve canceled the cruise due to coronavirus outbreak as we didn’t visit any ports outside of UAE. I refuse to believe that MSC did not know this ahead of time. We stayed at sea most of time and basically cruised from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. We disembarked early in Dubai as we simply could not take being on the ship anymore due to poor service, horrible food, nickel and diming for everything, nd lack of activities. We truly feel we should receive a discount/partial refund due to not being able to visit any of the ports. We’ve traveled on several of the main stream cruise lines internationally and this is by far the worst experience ever that makes me say I may not ever cruise again. The staff on board was rude, told lies, and not empowered to make any concessions on the ship to help guests. When we asked what was required to disembark early, they tried to have us sign a full release and we refused. Then tried to bully us into signing or that we couldn’t get off the ship. The staff was very arrogant and ignorant and I basically told them that they aren’t legal experts to interpret a document for me when I am versed and deal with legal contracts all the time. Excursions are overpriced on the ship. You can get them cheaper elsewhere. MSC will cancel on you for any reason but if you want to cancel the staff will say they cancelled it but did not then when you check back in, they lie and say you didn’t cancel and now you are within the 48 hour window and cannot cancel. This after we said we would disembark early and we were told all of our activities have been cancelled since we will depart the ship. The only accolades I can give is for the condition of the cruise ship, the gym, the Butcher’s Cut steakhouse, and a few key staff like Rupawantara - waiter, Kumar – waiter, John – Karoke and entertainment, Alexander Lobo – host, who helped make things ok wh Drink package – if You don’t buy some package you don’ have any beverage that is free except in the buffet require purchase. We bought a drink package but still was limited. It is limited to 10 Euro. The package can’t be used at many of the stores/cafes on the ship – ex chocolate store/ café, champagne bar doesn’t have anything under 18 a glass. They charged our friends for tap water which is free on other ships. The drink card can’t be used in the Cirque du Soleil theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. Speciality drinks are also not covered even if below 10 euro a drink. The drink card can’t be used in the theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. Drinks are watered down so we ordered straight liquor to get our money’s worth. Dining – The buffet/marketplace is absolutely horrible. Food is not available all day. The food was very bland and not at all international standards. Even the pizza, hamburgers were sub-par. Fries were the best thing on the ship if not inside the specialty restaurants. The main dining each night was hit or miss. The surroundings were elegant and nice and the menus change every day, but the food was often less than delightful as well. We often had to try more than one dish and then just give up and go get fries from the buffet. We were literally hungry the entire cruise and everyone we met made a similar comment. Service on the ship is bad. You get a different explanation or different information from each person. I even asked to speak with a manager several Times. One time I got a lady named Ana S. She totally lied to me and said we did not have a conversation. The crew will cut in front of the passengers as if we aren’t there. Customer service was non existent. On other cruises, on exiting for an excursion, someone would be on the jetty providing directions to where you needed to go, offering you water or just being available in case you needed to ask a question. None of that existed for MSC. Entertainment: The entertainment was a joke. There was one good band with a female lead other than that nothing that catered to different tastes and interests. In one bar singers had to read from sheets on music stands. The band in the karoke bar missed more notes than children. The theatre shows were hit or miss. Cirque was really good but the dinner and drinks that went with it were laughable and misleading and again not part of the beverage package. If you got the show and drinks only, it was some pre made watered down beverages. So I pay for drinks and can’t even select the drink I want? Everything on board costs extra money. There’s nothing all inclusive about this ship. The ship is new and stunning, but the service and food are absolutely horrible. This is the first time we took a cruise and got off (disembarked) early. I wish I had known the problems with MSC and the food and service. We are truly due some level of pro-rated refund or something. Also there was no facial tissue in the cabins and hardly enough toilet tissue. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
To anyone thinking of taking a cruise on the MSC Bellissima - Think very carefully if you value your life at sea We experienced the worst safety demonstration ever noone was taking control of the situation we were in the theatre and it was ... Read More
To anyone thinking of taking a cruise on the MSC Bellissima - Think very carefully if you value your life at sea We experienced the worst safety demonstration ever noone was taking control of the situation we were in the theatre and it was jsut a shambles no officers were taking control of the demo very poor total lack of interest. The second item of safety we saw was one of the crew cleaning the indoor pool roof without a safety lanyard he had the harness but no lanyard to conect to the latchway system just a piece of rope if the company allows this type of behaviour of its crew then god help the passengers a total lack of health and safety. The rooms are clean but very small zoe is utterly usless The food in the buffet is of poor choice fine if you like Hot dogs and burgers every lunchtime The entertainment is very poor on the decks and the theatre Overcrowding 5500 passengers on a ship built for 3500 they have squeezed the cabins together to pack everyone in the deck space gets very congested and to be honest it becomes a bun fight for everything Food,drink loungers very little staff to take drinks orders The ship is newish but badly designed not much room to relax and get peace and quite every thing is extra too the Bowling the simulators and the cirque du solie alll extra even the in room entertainment you want to watch a film it will cost you 7 euro total rip off will never go with them again never ------ buyer beware Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
3-day cruise from Barcelona to Marseille and Genoa and back again. We choose this short cruise so we could relax and really enjoyed the ship as we have already visited these ports. Way more of a party vibe on the ship than Divina with ... Read More
3-day cruise from Barcelona to Marseille and Genoa and back again. We choose this short cruise so we could relax and really enjoyed the ship as we have already visited these ports. Way more of a party vibe on the ship than Divina with the long mall I liked this a lot but I also loved how the bars intertwined into one on the Divina. I felt the casino in Divina was a bit more classy? Staff on Divina slightly more friendlier but everybody we encountered on Bellissima was lovely. Great food second portions in the MDR no problem at all. Good cocktails and cabin was really comfortable. Chocolate cafe had the most divine chocolates ever. Anyone know where you can buy a 5 litre of the msc soap addicted to the smell of it!!! F1 simulators were such good fun shame they were only open in the evening time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
MSC BELLISSIMIA it’s been amazing . I posted three days into cruise so just to add, and maybe to put some minds at rest Cabin :13205-Stewart-Francisco , the cabin was beautiful with plenty of space and a balcony .Room was made up ... Read More
MSC BELLISSIMIA it’s been amazing . I posted three days into cruise so just to add, and maybe to put some minds at rest Cabin :13205-Stewart-Francisco , the cabin was beautiful with plenty of space and a balcony .Room was made up three times a day towels refreshed as required .we got breakfast to room most mornings (€4.00) delivery charge ....well worth it Shower was powerful and never a problem with hot water Main dinning room- OMG how people say the food is bad is beyond my comprehension , there is something for every taste . We stayed away from the typical English /Irish type of food and had everything else .... loved the wellness station and the ethnic station was to die for, the standard if the food was amazing ...the staff kept everywhere so clean and the food was refreshed continuously The pizzas ....seriously you need to eat them ...only gorgeous The buzzer for drinks was great never had to wait for a drink ... Allocated dinning Le Creisier- deck 6-table 813 I said it already in a previous post ...It was delicious and our waiters Ray and William were just amazing ... Deck 15 -Out door pool and entertainment Guys to many to mention . They were brilliant ....it is loud but so much fun totally entertained all day long Deck 18 - Horizon Bar My favourite place . This area was quieter lovely pool and lots of sun beds The staff up here are also brilliant nothing was a problem and they really interacted with the guests Casino -Deck 7 Great crack on the slots People have said on some posts that sea day can be maniac . Our last day was a sea day and it was the most chilled of the whole week , got up about 11 strolled down to deck 18 got two sun beds no struggle at all ...cocktails were the tipple of the day for me ...pure bliss Bit of a panick around d 14:00 when the news of the disturbances in Barcelona hit the ship ...most of us with pre booked transfers recieved messages to say they were cancelled but MSC got it sorted ...they put on a fleet of busses to collect us at port and transfer us to the airport ...€19 each very good price (in airport now speaking to a man who for some unknown reason to me decided that he wasn’t giving MSC another penny ...he got a taxi €87..)MSC are not a ripoff They did everything they could to help us all today The shows in the London Theatre put on by entertainment staff are as good as any you would see on stage in Ireland ...Sorry but people who have dissed these shows are not fair ...The team put their heart and soul Into each performance .... Cirque De Soleil -Amazing (Maybe give the cocktail a miss though Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The Ship: A brand new, gleaming white ship. I was in awe of the size as I walked towards the harbour at how high she sits above the water. The embarkation in Genoa as absolutely seamless. Basically no queues and excellent service. From ... Read More
The Ship: A brand new, gleaming white ship. I was in awe of the size as I walked towards the harbour at how high she sits above the water. The embarkation in Genoa as absolutely seamless. Basically no queues and excellent service. From arrival to boarding it took about 15 minutes. There were plenty of check in staff, so i have no idea why there have been so many people complaining on the forum about embarkation being stressful. Issued with room card and wrist band which we could use to open doors and pay for goods, an excellent idea. Once onboard security was quick and easy to get through. Initially we were asked if we wanted to avail of package upgrades, but because we already had premium plus drinks package all we did was politely decline. I can see why some people think there is a "hard sell", but we didn't experience that. You can choose to just walk on, stop stressing out! In photos and videos I got the impression that the ship looked a bit tacky in places, but I couldn't have been more wrong. It really is very tastefully done and looks beautiful in all areas. The layout of the ship is excellent, easy to navigate and has interactive screen throughout to help you find where you are going, make bookings and see what is happening each night. Plenty of lifts and never waiting more than a minute or two for one to arrive. Deck areas are nicely laid of and plenty of places to lounge in. I tended to find the aft (Horizon Pool area) of the ship a bit quieter and more chilled, especially on a day at the dock. We had access to the aurea package members only 'Top 19 Solarium Deck' which was nice. Its a little quieter and has plenty of loungers if you want to chill out. The only thing I would say is the MSC could make it feel a bit more special. Some plants and greenery wouldn't go astray to give it a more exclusive feel and the service here wasn't always very good to be honest. There is no bar, you have to order from the attendant or go to the "pantry" which looks like a little kitchen and i found this a bit odd. Dining: Ok people, the food on board is incredible. Let's start with the Marketplace Buffet. I really do not understand all the moaning about "lack of choice" and so on. Seriously I never found myself wanting, which begs the question, what do some people want!!?? I found all the found tasty, fresh and plentiful. They put a lot of pride into onboard cooking and food presentation. From the mozzarella factory to the breads, cakes, pizza and beautiful pastries etc. If anything it appears that a lot of people are just downtright greedy and wasteful gluttons. Try a little of everything, but waste less people! Yes, the Marketplace can be busy at peak times, but a top tip is move to the rear of the ship and you'll find lots of space, emptier buffet points and a more calm atmosphere. We ate 50/50 between the assigned restaurant and speciality restaurants. Both were fantastic. The lighthouse restaurant had great set menus and plenty of selection. Service was top notch, we never had to ask for service, they always anticipated our needs. Top tip is to go slightly earlier, about 1900 and you'll find it less busy and bag a seat by the amazing aft full height windows. We tried The Butchers Cut and teppenayki restaurants, both had fantastic service and it was well worth the extra supplement - you're on holidays, spoil yourself! **DRINKS PACKAGE** we took the premium plus package and I have to say it was well worth the money! We had whatever we wanted, when we wanted it. Everything is included on it. Everything. Even if you're not a big drinker I think it's worth it. We had champagne/cocktails in the champagne bar before and after dinner every night. We got to know the champagne bar staff well and they were absolutely incredibly good to us. We tried every cocktail on the menu, Moet and Chandon, Veuve Cliquot etc, I really can't think why you wouldn't get the drinks package!? Entertainment and activities: There is so much to see and do on board, particularly at night that you really do need to be well prepared. I suggest planning your evening carefully around theatre shows, dinner, galleria light shows and Cirque du Solei. The evening along the Galleria were my favourite. It's a real riot of colour and fun. Lots of music and dancing made it a sociable and interactive experience. The entertainment staff were excellent. For those moaning about this being a "party ship", well you need to wise up. If you don't like the music and dancing there are plenty of places for you to go, like the jazz bar (Sky Lounge) or the British Pub. You're on holidays, enjoy yourself and embrace there relaxed European vibes.... or alternatively go on a Cunard cruise if you're worried you might have fun, good forbid! Cirque at sea was a great experience. The purpose built theatre was wonderful and the shows incredible. One of the evenings it was used for the MSC Got Talent show where crew members from around the world sang and danced - Don't miss this!! Honestly it was one of the most fun and enjoyable parts of the cruise, especially the Haka Dancing ships firemen from Maori. The whole crowd was wild for it. The theme nights were fun - White night, 70s night, space night and pool party - the staff put a lot of effort into making sure people have a lot of fun and you can see it when you look around and see guests dancing and smiling. Service: Again I cannot find any reason to complain here as so many feel the need to! Never once did I find myself wanting for anything. All needs anticipated and catered to. Once some of the staff got to know my name they greeted us personally. Plenty of people on deck taking orders for drinks and atttending to all needs. On a side note it's not all about who you see, it's what you see. The ship is spotlessly clean, shining and well maintained. I never once saw a grubby surface or dirty public area. Well done to all behind the scenes staff. Recommendations: book the aurea package if you want access to the spa, it's well worth it! Great facilities and really relaxing. Because I had this package I rarely got off the ship and spent most port days here chilling out. One of the nicest spa areas i have ever used. Ignore the hard sells in the spa and you'll be good. The Sky Lounge seems to be very under used which is a shame. Head there for unique cocktails and great service with special treats! We didn't travel with children, but I think my nieces and nephews would have really enjoyed this ship and I'd love to take them some time. Great places for kids to be entertained all day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, some good quality service, friendly staff, great entertainment and decent value for money, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. The entertainment is a bunch of people singing, changing outfits and dancing, ... Read More
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, some good quality service, friendly staff, great entertainment and decent value for money, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. The entertainment is a bunch of people singing, changing outfits and dancing, EVERY NIGHT. The Market Place cafe is chaos 20 hours per day. Absolute mayhem. The staff and cruisers have very little to non existent manors. Pushing, ignorance, shouting and being generally rude is commonplace. MSC over charge on everything. 8euros for a beer.... PLUS 15% service charge on top. Buses at ports are all 4x the price they are when you actually leave the ship. One thing we didn’t think of was the fact people leave and start their holidays at almost every port. Imagine all of those safety drills, suitcases and so on all over the place, every day! If you’re in you’re room you have a ten minute lecture in every language about the safety procedure, almost every day. The food.... is ok. That’s it. Lack of imagination and small portion sizes but in the lighthouse during the evening it’s pretty good. They will try and get you to pay for speciality restaurants and drinks packages at every opportunity. The room we had, 12261 with a balcony was great however. Very large and much better than other ships we had been on. Our cabin steward was nice. Room always tidy. The boat is pretty nice. The layout isn’t great though and means you’re up and down stairs a lot, the lifts are always full. It’s designed and fit out a bit cheesy rather than luxury but I guess people like that. The best area of the ship by far is the Masters of The Sea. The staff are funny, friendly and personal. They remember your name, your drink and are super efficient. The live music is good and the pub has the best vibe of anywhere on the ship. One thing we should say is we are British. We’ve sailed from Southampton a number of times with different companies but this cruise fell far short and we certainly wouldn’t be booking with MSC again. Today is the last day of our cruise, looking forward to getting home. MSC if you’re reading | Areas to improve Adult only areas - quiet areas (no party music blasting) Some manors. Some organisation to the Marketplace. Restocking of minibar as standard. Entertainment - A new manager. The entertainment is simply awful. The same thing every night and every day. Very poor and a very basic standard. Try a different cruise liner and see what they do. Food leftovers left down the hallways on the floor. Pretty disgusting and often left for hours. The safety procedure. He has been talking for ten minutes In every language whilst we are trying to relax in our room. We’ve heard it 5 times. Make him stop, please. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Pros ... lovely modern cabin lots of space nice size and balcony , Lovely ship and nice staff,Cons .. way too crowded marketplace buffet is hell on Earth it’s like a stampede no spare tables and people pushing into you and elbowing you , ... Read More
Pros ... lovely modern cabin lots of space nice size and balcony , Lovely ship and nice staff,Cons .. way too crowded marketplace buffet is hell on Earth it’s like a stampede no spare tables and people pushing into you and elbowing you , hard to get a drink , food not nice at all not enough choice..all in all an awful experience , food poor in restaurants also, we were glad to get off the ship to have a nice meal that we actually enjoyed , anything that’s any good you have to pay for cirque do soleil 15 euro each and you get an awful drink that’s supposed to be a cocktail, although the show is good, speciality restaurants very expensive but nice food the standard the food on the rest of the ship should be , bowling arcades and cinema not free total rip off 50 euros to use all 3, theatre shows average at best , drinks package needed to be upgraded as soon as we boarded as it soon became clear we could only drink Heineken and 1 wine and spirit , pools far too crowded and people reserving their beds with towels and not turning up for hours this should not be allowed , the ship is lovely but the crowdedness and standard of food really let our overall experience down, msc trips not worth the money a nice relaxing boat trip to Portofino was 500 people being crammed onto a dingy ferry and loudspeaker blasting out about 7 different languages all the way there’s and back really not a nice experience at all , if you are have kids and are a willing to spend a lot of money for extras and eat pizza and burgers for a week then this is the ship for you ! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you ... Read More
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you don’t stop there quite often. 4) Crowd of all ages, very sophisticated people to be around and make acquittances. 5) Easy registration at Marseille terminal. 6) Cirque du Soleil with the dinner, excellent! Magnifique! CONS: 1) Food very average, think Carnival. 2) Not very personalized approach, never heard the captain, never saw him, no chocolate on your pillow, even your excursion tickets weren’t delivered to the room. 3) Very crowded, and full of kids, a lot more than anticipated. No reserved adult pool, or reserved exterior smoking area. Very crowded buffet. 4) Cabin Stewart, very nice, but working alone. No ice in ice bucket, mini bar not automatically refilled, unless you requested it. No bathrobe. 5) NOISY, Many kids, many door slamming, no butlers around, no discipline. 6) Overall expansive. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Just back from a week on the Bellissima. It was amazing! 9 previous cruises with RC, first time with MSC and think we're converted. Positives: We were mainly converted thanks to the food, RC is very American, and as MSC is ... Read More
Just back from a week on the Bellissima. It was amazing! 9 previous cruises with RC, first time with MSC and think we're converted. Positives: We were mainly converted thanks to the food, RC is very American, and as MSC is Italian it's obvious via the food which was just amazing! Even the buffet was 10/10. The homemade piazzas 24hrs a day are AMAZING, compared to Sorrentos in RC. Yes the portions are smaller than RC in the main dining room but I like that, your're not too full and also means you can try more than one main if you want and not be too full. The entertainment was amazing, no comedians or magician due to so many languages, all musical but they're very good! There are entertainment staff that hang around with the passengers which are brilliant at getting people up dancing and enjoying themselves. We're a young couple and always disappointed in RC that the bars and nightclub don't really stay open past 1am, this cruise the music was going until 4am and always full of people dancing. The ports of call were all amazing, except Marseilles we weren't too impressed with. (Naples, Sicily, Malta, Genoa, Barcelona, Marseilles, day at sea, Naples, not in the correct order). Disembarking was so much better than RC, we didn't get off the ship until 2pm after lunch. Embarking was also so much faster and easier, as unlike RC where everyone gets on and off the same day, there are different people every day so its much faster. Negatives: Too crowded everywhere esp the pools and Jacuzzi, you need to queue for the Jacuzzi. The worst thing was the cirque du soleil (shows were amazing) but that you have to pay. I have never experienced on a cruise where you have to pay for a show, I though this was bad. Options are "Dinner & Show €35" or "Cocktail & Show €15". I said "neither please as I have the drinks package, so just the show please", replied "no problem you're booked in" Then to my surprise we paid for the show unknowingly. I think I should have been told ok well it's still going to be €15 just so you know. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Where do i start lovely shiny new ship comfy cabins and thats where the compliments stop staff no idea what they doing the ship is full of rude passengers who shove and push you in any queue i had one grab the tings for food out my hand ! ... Read More
Where do i start lovely shiny new ship comfy cabins and thats where the compliments stop staff no idea what they doing the ship is full of rude passengers who shove and push you in any queue i had one grab the tings for food out my hand ! These were not British people but other nationals one guy took the whole row of sun-beds with the cushions to reserve them this is at 7am arguing with the pool staff who removed them all inclusive drinks are like acetone and if you upgrade to premium package the run out after 3 drinks of your brand ! the buffet well if u like pizza burgers and hotdogs all day and all night this is the ship for you food repetitive and the deserts tiny and limited total chaos on board then theirs the excursions well they cancelled one of my trips booked by accident i went right down within minutes of booking and when i tried to cancel / transfer to another trip on tuesday for Thursday they told me i had to give 48 hours notice ! Well thats 48 hrs and i had booked it seconds ago but no they wanted 50 percent cancellation charge ! So we went on the trip the entertainment is awful for a new boat compared to other new boats who were out standing always some thing to do the boat rocks from side to side all the time even in calm Waters last night the coat hangers battering in the wardrobe drove us insane we had to take them all out so if you get sea sick take some pills With you the casino tiny compared to others i wont cruise msc again was first and the last ncl and royal Caribbean so much better Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, ... Read More
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian. Prior MSC Experience: We did an 11 night on Divina in late 2015 and loved it. I then booked a 4 night out of Barcelona, but MSC changed it to a 20 day out of Brazil. No phone call from MSC, no e-mail, no letter, no notification in any way. They even changed the date of the sailing. Then, they took away my Voyagers Club points because I hadn’t sailed in 3 years, after promising they wouldn’t and even though the reason for this was their fault. I’ve written a post detailing some of my frustrations that can be found by Googling MSC Comedy of Errors. There are things to like a lot about MSC, but some service-related problems that should be improved upon. Pre-Cruise: We embarked out of Barcelona. We booked a lovely and centrally located apartment near Passeig de Gracia which worked out perfectly. Barcelona is a great city, so don’t miss out on spending some time there. It’s now the 3rd most visited city in Europe, after Paris and Rome. We were surprised that MSC did not offer tours in Barcelona, so we booked 2 privately. I think they may have missed some opportunity there. Savvy Tip: If you stay in Barcelona, use taxis rather than the Metro (subway) to get around. We had dinner with a group of 11 and 2 of them were pickpocketed on the Metro. Cabs are cheap, usually quick, and less confusing. Embarkation: In Rome, our prior Embarkation on Divina was so fast and smooth. So we wondered if the experience would be the same on Bellissima out of Barcelona. And it was extremely fast and well-organized. This is an area where MSC seems to excel. The Ship: Beautiful! Obviously, it’s almost new, but there is lot of thought and technology put into this ship. The ultra-high definition screen over the promenade is stunning and MSC integrates it well into their entertainment. We did much prefer the Grand Atrium layout of Divina, however. Divina’s atrium features soaring elevators that gracefully glide up and down and a much more open and dramatic feel to that area. Bellissima has mirrored ceilings to create the illusion of height, but is not as dramatic or engaging. I’d recommend that MSC go back to more of a soaring, dramatic atrium, like Divina. But otherwise, certainly it was nice. Tip: There is a somewhat hidden glass elevator which some might not be aware of. You can access it from the port (left) side of customer service. It rides on the outside of the ship and features nice views during the day. Our Room: We stayed in balcony cabin 13021, which is technically Aurea class. But we didn’t get the extras since we only purchased the Fantastica experience. The room was an upgrade due to a technical problem on their website, which was nice. The room was on the small side, but was always very clean. The bedding, a partnership between MSC and Dorelan, was super comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was extremely friendly, introduced himself and called my girlfriend and me by name during the cruise. He commented that we were always smiling and friendly and never complained when others were grouchy and did little but complain. Well, he didn’t hear me gripe pre-cruise to MSC Customer Service, but it is a good reminder that a smile and a kind word can go a long ways. These folks work hard for little money by our standards. Always do your best to treat them with kindness and respect. We did experience a partial electrical failure that took out our TV, Zoe, some lighting, and the electrical outlets. Maintenance could not repair the issue that day, but they did fix it the following day while we were off the ship. Another Tip: If you press the Do Not Disturb button, the cabin steward’s key will be inactive. So if you forget to turn it off, he/she won’t be able to make up your room. Zoe: Unfortunately, Zoe was nearly useless. I did a YouTube video on this, but I’d say she didn’t understand the request 75%-80% of the time. Nice concept, but needs a lot of work. Food: Generally average to very good. Never great or bad. The food in the buffet during breakfast/lunch/dinner was better than expected, especially after reading some really bad reviews. Everything was very fresh, so our experience was certainly different than others. In the main dining room, meals were acceptable to very good. The best food was on the 2 Gala Nights. One Gala Night was on the last night before disembarkation, which I thought was odd, as most were packing up their clothing. Yes, I know not everyone embarks or disembarks at the same ports, but most seemed to get on and off at Barcelona. Drink Package: We purchased the now discontinued "431" drink package, which covers “house wine” (2 reds, 2 whites, a blush, prosecco dry and prosecco sweet), as well as most “non-premium” specialty drinks. The house wines were mediocre except for the proseccos, which were both pretty good. Their bartenders are uniformly lousy and don’t know how to make a drink. The quality and even character and taste of drinks would vary wildly from one bartender to another. One time, a drink would be terribly sweet, the next time not, but taste like something totally different. They really need to train their bartenders better. We left a number of drinks on the table almost untouched because they were so bad. Entertainment/Animation Crew: Fantastic! Some have complained about the entertainment, but we both thought it was the best we’ve seen on any ship. The entertainers were really good and the crew really got the audience engaged. These folks worked really hard, and it paid off. The lighting and sound system on Bellissima is excellent with one exception. For some reason, the sound system in the Bellissima Bar and Lounge sounded muted and flat. Cirque at Sea: Enjoyable and generally worth the price. However, there was a bit of false advertising involved. The show included a cocktail and the description read, “Choose from our selection of creative cocktails made with or without alcohol to your liking and enjoy it’s surprising freshness…”. However, they had only pre-made and presumably watered down (from melting ice) Gimlets. I told them that I was a type 2 diabetic and that drinking such a sugary drink was not the best option for me. I asked if they could make me something else and was told “no”. The only other option was fruit juice, which is also too sugary for me. Cirque Tip: Reserve the shows online before you board. They were all sold out and if you wait, you might not get to see a Cirque at Sea show. I do feel that they were worthwhile, although not thrilled about the aforementioned drink issue. Tours: We booked 3 MSC tours. We loved the Amfali Coast tour out of Naples and felt it was a good value. It seemed to sell out and disappeared from the onboard list of offerings, so probably a good idea to book online in advance like we did. We also enjoyed the Aix en Provence and Marseille 2 Cities tour. Well worth the money. The Portofino tour was really disappointing. It’s not that Portofino isn’t pretty, quaint and worth visiting. It’s just that you’re only there for roughly 1 hour. And the tour could easily stay there another 2 hours, so I have no idea why they rush you out so quickly. And further, you have to get on the boat to leave Portofino at noon, for no obvious reason. Guess when most restaurants and business in Portofino open? Yes, at noon. It was perplexing and this needs to be improved upon. Give the guests 3 hours in Portofino instead of 1 hour. They’ll easily make it back to the ship well before it departs. The Crew: Room for improvement, but mostly pretty good. Not as friendly as on some cruise lines, but not as grouchy as the funky Eastern European crew that we had on Divina who seemed to hate their jobs and the passengers. Most were very helpful. Not everyone spoke great English, but usually communication was not a major issue. Let me single out one man who had an attitude that I did not enjoy, and that is the restaurant manager. In short, I had booked the later dinner, but our booking got fouled up in several ways. They never did correct my prior efforts to fix my late seating request, so I figured I’d straighten it out onboard. They sent me to the restaurant manager, who looked very, very irritated. And in an irritated voice, he said, “Do you have any idea how many passengers I have to accommodate? 5,600! And you want your seating changed, right?”. I thought he was pretty uncool and unfriendly, but I just bit my tongue and thanked him for his efforts. Shops: Not bad, but can use improvement. Divina had a more interesting and eclectic selection of items that I was actually interested in. The Passengers: Mostly European. Maybe 10% American like me. Nice people. Not as fat as most Americans. Sorry if that’s crass, but it’s true. They seem to stay out late and be kind of fun, party people most of the time. I did not witness any bad behavior during our cruise. Smoking was not an issue either, which was a good thing. Medical Emergency: On the final full day, we had a medical emergency, which required that the Italian Military airlift by helicopter a 55-year old American woman. The airlift was carried out swiftly and with precision. The captain explained very clearly what was occurring and told us that there would be no delay due to this onboard emergency. It was well-executed and communications about the incident was very good. Disembarkation: NO LINE WHATSOEVER! Can you imagine? Not a whiff of a line getting off the ship. I had an early flight and customer service was very accommodating and changed my time to an earlier departure. Again, this seems to be a strong area for MSC. Final Thoughts: While things are never perfect, I think MSC gets a bad rap, often unfairly. They do need to improve their customer service, but I believe that some issues are overblown and overstated. Their new ships are beautiful and can represent a very good value. MSC just needs some tweaks to really step up their game. We have enjoyed our cruises on MSC and we have 2 more booked. If you are patient and focus on the positives and not every little nitpicking thing, I believe you will enjoy cruising on MSC in general and the beautiful new Bellissima in particular. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have always said, if you don’t enjoy a cruise it’s because you are a miserable person. My husband and I love cruising. We have sailed on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. In April, we sailed on the MSC ... Read More
I have always said, if you don’t enjoy a cruise it’s because you are a miserable person. My husband and I love cruising. We have sailed on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. In April, we sailed on the MSC Bellissima for the first time, and they turned us into those miserable people who hate cruises! We boarded the MSC Bellissima in Barcelona Spain on Friday, 26 April for a seven-night cruise throughout the Mediterranean. The problem started as we boarded. Drink package: We were approached by a crew member (doing her job) to purchase a beverage package. We informed her (first time ever) that we wouldn’t need one. This cruise had five stops to incredible ports in France, Italy and Malta. There was only one day at sea and our package included twelve free drinks each per person. Neither I nor my husband drink much so we thought if we drink more than 24 drinks, we will just pay for them. We were politely informed that our package did not indicate any free beverages at all, and she suggested it might be in our best interest to purchase one. ALL beverages, except for “fountain juice” at breakfast in the buffet area and self poured tea and coffee, required purchase. So, we purchased a “premium” package, next best thing to all inclusive. Thinking we can’t go wrong there. It cost $946 Canadian. We soon found out the following: • We went to the chocolate store/ café and asked for a coffee with Baily’s. We were informed our package didn’t cover that. I could go to the bar next door and get it there. • We went to the champagne bar and I asked, “What is a nice champagne?” The bartender suggested a brand. So, I gave him my drink card, he looked at it and passed it back said “Your package only covers drinks up to $10. This champagne is $18 a glass.” So, I said, “Suggest one my package covers.” The bartender gave me the “What the hell do I look like, a servant, look?” That was followed by an eye roll......kid you not. • We dined in the main dining room each night. The water for the table and coffee during meal was charged to our cards. It’s not free as it is on other ships. Imagine, being charged for water! • The drink card can’t be used in the Cirque du Soleil theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. • After supper the waiter came around with shots of Limoncello for $7 each. I gave him my drink card and was told, “It doesn’t cover speciality drinks.” Even though my card covered up to $10 a drink. • The drinks were low on alcohol and high on syrup. Every drink was sugary and thick. Some were undrinkable. • The drink card can’t be used in the theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. Dining: The MSC Bellissima has a choice of 12 dining venues and 20 bars that promise something special for every taste. But only the main dining room and buffet are covered by your fare. We paid $3,691.04 not counting gratuities, drink package and internet charges. We had asked for and received on our booking (confirmed) late dining at a table of six or eight with other couples. We do this as we enjoy meeting others and the late dining gives us more time to enjoy daytime activities/excursions without a rush and no hurry to finish dining as no one coming behind you. The dining was a disaster. • Although we booked for the eight pm setting, we were given the seven pm setting. This wasn’t a problem and we adjusted our day. • We were sat at a table for two. We told the maître d’ that we asked to be seated with other guests. We were instructed to ask people at the next table if they wanted to pull the tables together. While all around us were larger tables with only one or two couple at them. The next evening, we were informed they moved us, without asking. Not expected, but Excellent!! Must be a table with others. No, it was another table for two behind a huge pillar. We told the maître d’ that this was unacceptable, and we were leaving the restaurant. Finally, he put us with a table of three other couples, who turned out to be fabulous people. • This is the first cruise ship where the waiter comes around with a basket of various types of breads. Normally this is laid on the table in fine dining restaurants and cruises. We were told we could pick from the basket and if we wanted more, we had to ask. • Once again, simple things like water and coffee in the dining rooms, are charged to your account. This is normally free on ships. • The menu was unbelievably bad. It looked great on the menu, but the food was substandard. On their web site, they say, “MSC Bellissima's main restaurants serve first-class Mediterranean and international specialities in elegant surroundings. Menus change every day, and exquisite dishes have been created for the Elegant dinners by awarded-winning Spanish Master Chef Ramón Freixa and the Internationally acclaimed German Master Chef Harald Wohlfahrt.” It is the first time I’ve seen a full table send back their food. And we were not the only ones. The food was disgusting. (See the picture of the chicken breast supper). The portions were smaller than a Weight Watchers frozen dinner. Both in the main restaurant and the buffet. The chicken breast was a slice of chicken served with a handful of fries with no vegetables. The beef was served the same way. I would be horrified to serve either to a guest at my house. In each port of call, the restaurants close to the ship’s terminal were full of passengers all with the same complaint of being hungry. I also had two bouts of food poisoning on board. • In the evening we would go to the buffet to see if the food was any better. The buffet closed between 10-midnight. So, we had to wait until midnight for food. The only things served were pizza, fries, fruit (most of it was rotten – see picture) and tiny sandwiches. They had salsa but no chips. • There was no surf and turf night, which is a standard on cruise ships. • The main complaint from everyone we spoke to on the ship was the food and how hungry people were. • It was quite common to find rotten fruit in the buffet. (See picture.) Service: Besides the awful food, the service was just as bad. • On our first excursion day, we had to be at the meeting point by 8 am. We ordered room service. The earliest they will deliver is 7:30 am. I take medication that requires I eat after taking it. The food never turned up. No one called to apologize. It just didn’t happen. When we notified the cabin steward he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” • I told the staff that I needed water in my room to take medication. I was charged for the water. (As a point of interest, I made the same request in Las Vegas and they delivered a bar fridge to our room stocked with water free of charge.) • On the first day we boarded we had to go to the buffet until our room was ready. While picking up food two people cut in front of me and pushed me to the side. When I looked, the two were crew members wearing officer’s uniforms. I chalked it up to they were in a rush to get the ship going. But this became the norm. During the ship’s big jewellery sale, I was looking at a watch. Once again, I was pushed to the side by two crew members who were buying up the watches. I have never seen the crew do something like that on any other ship. • The crew are also hard to find and difficult to deal with. If you want one, you’ll find them sitting around the buffet tables talking or on the smoking deck. I have never seen a crew member on another ship smoking with the passengers. • I went to the excursion desk to ask about the excursion we did that day. It was advertised as including lunch and several stops. But that’s not what we got. This was ten pm. The man at the desk said, “We closed five minutes ago, and I can’t deal with you right now. Come back tomorrow.” Then he walked away. There was no more to it than that. Usually on a cruise ship staff will bend over backwards to help you. • In Malta, my back gave out. I have two titanium rods and six screws in my back. After four days of walking I had to return to the ship early to lay down. We approached the first door on the ship and was told by a crew member that that entrance was for ‘elite cruisers’ only. I explained that I was in pain and couldn’t walk. He told me, “Your entrance is down there.” He pointed to the end of the ship. I explained again, thinking maybe he didn’t understand, and explained my medical situation to him. He pulled the rope across the entrance and said, “I told you your entrance is down there.” My husband had to help me walk the length of the ship to get on. • Having said that, not all crew were bad. We had one waiter and one bartender who actually tried their best and did give us good service. • Customer service was non existent. On other cruises, on exiting for an excursion, someone would be on the jetty providing directions to where you needed to go, offering you water or just being available in case you needed to ask a question. None of that existed for MSC. Entertainment: The entertainment was a joke. • There was a piano player and a violinist in the main lobby playing classical music – all week! There was no band to dance to. • The main bar did have a band who were quite good. But they had two singers who had to read the words from sheets on a music stand. They sang the same songs every night but still didn’t know the words. They also couldn’t sing. It became a joke at the bar to see who could identify the song. • Children were also allowed to be in the bars. Which meant half the seating was taken up by bored teenagers and the dance floor had toddlers and young children jumping up and down in between adults who wanted to dance. • The only adults only bar is a jazz piano bar on the top deck (If jazz is your thing). There’s no dance floor. Each night it was full of adults saying, “I’m so bored.” • During one evening the crew were dressed up in these cheap, cheesy costumes like cupid, Popeye the Sailor Man and Jessica Rabbit. I walked by one male crew member who was dressed in a red heart costume with white tights. I honestly though it was a bachelor party and he had lost a bet. It was actually creepy. • The evening shows were excellent and the talent in those shows were amazing, but the shows were only a half hour long. On other ships, the evening show is an hour or more. It’s like you just sit down and you have to get up. And, there is no bar service available at the “normal” shows. Bar service was available at the Cirque shows, but was extra, not covered by a beverage package!! They nickel and dime customers: One of the drawing points for us was the Cirque due Soleil shows. They advertised that twice every night, six nights a week, guests on MSC Bellissima have the unique opportunity to see two original shows by Cirque du Soleil, the world leader in live artistic entertainment, and savour a superb culinary experience in the same glamorous venue. What they don’t tell you is, you have to pay extra for this. • The Cirque shows cost 17.25 euros to see 37.25 if you want dinner with it. You can’t use your drink card in the Cirque theatre. • I believe the food is bad to force you to go to the specialty restaurants on board and spend more money. • They advertise bowling but don’t tell you it costs about 10 euros to play it for 30 minutes. • Everything on board costs extra money. There’s nothing all inclusive about this ship. I estimate it will cost 100 euros a day just to keep your kids entertained. Overall, the ship is absolutely stunning. But the service and food are just not up to par. This is the first time we took a cruise and couldn’t wait to get off. We considered staying at our last port of call and trying to fly back from there. Two other couples warned us about MSC the problems with the food and service. We thought they were just being difficult. Well I can tell you I will never cruise MSC again. We went on this cruise with the intention of booking their Rome to Miami 20 day transatlantic in November. Now I wouldn’t take the cruise for free. I believe you get what you pay for, but we paid more for this cruise than any other cruise we have ever been on. It’s the first time that I felt so hungry on a ship that I was frustrated. It was also quite common to find there is no toilet paper in the public washrooms. The ports of call were fantastic, and we are already planning to go back to explore more of Spain, Italy, France and Portugal, but I will be sticking to Royal Caribbean this time. Out of ten, I give this cruise a three. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
MSC Bellissima Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 3.7
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.5 3.5
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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