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102 MSC Cruises Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it was advertised as a great cruise. The ship was marvellous. The food was only just acceptable. Tea and coffee in the buffet was always cold. The attitude towards you was more like cargo than passengers. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as a great cruise. The ship was marvellous. The food was only just acceptable. Tea and coffee in the buffet was always cold. The attitude towards you was more like cargo than passengers. Complained to manager but it fell on deaf ears. Getting off the ship at each port costs €18.99 each and you have to pay it no matter what. This is for the compulsory shuttle bus. The 4D cinema and F1 racing car you have to pay for. The sauna you have to pay for. There is a big outdoor cinema screen that don't show any films only advertising to buy their packages. Most bars on board throughout the day are closed. The only bars I see open were in the casino and by the shopping area. The bars come alive about 7pm. Bored all day. I have cruised with P&O and they were brilliant. MSC does not seem interested in your cruise experience. Many passengers said they have been put off cruising forever. I did excursion to Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Paris which were good excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We took a 3 night mini cruise which sailed from Hamburg, stooping in Le Havre, France and ending in Southampton. I have cruised with MSC previously so pretty much knew what to expect, whilst I would sail with MSC again, the things I ... Read More
We took a 3 night mini cruise which sailed from Hamburg, stooping in Le Havre, France and ending in Southampton. I have cruised with MSC previously so pretty much knew what to expect, whilst I would sail with MSC again, the things I don’t like about MSC were far more apparent this time. Embarkation with pretty easy, they have changed the process slightly; in the main terminal building they know just issue your cruise card and programmes, once you board they now use a hand held device to scan your cruise card and take your photograph. Passports are also checked on the way onto the ship. Dining I’m not a fan of the traditional cruise dining experience i.e. shared tables and two set dining times hence why I prefer other cruise lines such as Norwegian so you can turn up when you want although MSC do match the demographics up pretty well. What was most notable was the appalling dining service and quality of the food. The waiting staff were very busy, probably because everyone hits the dining room at the same time. The timing of service and food was very random with some courses taking what seemed forever and on other occasions they were rushing to take your order. Drinks took forever and they didn’t offer any more drinks or top up the glasses so we ended up helping ourselves to the bottle to pour the drinks. The food proportions were small, and the main meals came without vegetables, the couple we shared the table with ordered vegetables separately on the second night but were provided with a plate full of roast potatoes. If you asked for anything different such as a different salad dressing the waiter often made an excuse that there would be a longer waiting time because they had to go to another deck to get it. It felt like they were trying to say it’s too much trouble and will take ages. On the second night the waiter serving the bread came round and offered bread just before the desert was served. One evening we ate in the speciality sushi restaurant and again, the service took a very long time and the quality wasn’t great. The buffet was probably the best thing about the cruise, the pizza is amazing and its there only area you can get a coffee or drink quite quickly. There was always a good selection of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bar Service If you were a drinker then I think you would struggle to get drunk on this cruise. In the Galaxy night club the bar wasn’t overly busy and there were 4 or 5 staff on but it too almost 30 minutes to get a drink. In the casino despite the staff calling for drinks service at the roulette table, nobody came so we left the table to go and get a drink and the bar staff were really slow. One evening I decided to grab a drink from the bar whilst we were getting ready and the barman was stood chatting to a colleagues with the bottle in his hand for 10 minutes, in the end another member of staff grabbed the bottle off him to pour our drinks. Disembarkation This was easy, the paperwork stated that disembarkation would start at 9.15am, however we left the ship at 8am, there was no rush to leave the ship and there was nothing stating you had to leave the cabin early which would be good if you had a later flight or didn’t need to leave early. Overall I would do another short cruise with MSC if the price was right and there wasn’t another cruise line offering the same cruise for a similar price. For a longer cruise break or if your looking for something with more tentative service I would probably choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
To start at the beginning embarkation took over 3 hours, 2 sat in the waiting area and an over an hour queuing, the luggage got to the room before us! Muster drill was chaotic, people stood chatting and not everybody attended so it had ... Read More
To start at the beginning embarkation took over 3 hours, 2 sat in the waiting area and an over an hour queuing, the luggage got to the room before us! Muster drill was chaotic, people stood chatting and not everybody attended so it had to be repeated for them. Main dining room menus were very mixed and not appetising, presentation was very lacking (fruit platter was 4 chunks of fruit with no slicing or arrangement) and the food was at best okay and some foods unpleasant. Staff were distant and didn’t interact with you. There wasn’t any tea or coffee after dinner but strangely you were given bottled water for free. Lack of vegetables and oddly - Italian dishes. Inca / Maya buffet - Pizza was very good as were the breads and pasta and generally the small dessert dishes. Yorkshire tea available too. However the food was at best luke warm, the salads were limited and overall there were few choices so that you ended up thinking what shall I eat rather than what shall I not eat as I can’t eat it all. The staff were slow to clear away and most were not very friendly or interested in you. There were not enough serving implements so there was cross contamination between foods. With regard to sanitisation this seems to be low key, no encouragement to disinfect hands near eating areas and rarely noticed public areas being checked. Entertainment team worked hard and interacted well with guests. But there was a lack of organised activities and on the sea day unless you wanted to go to a dance lesson there wasn’t much going on. voyager club offered very little as it was only a three night cruise. The pool areas were nice and plenty of loungers. Not many sports facilities. Lots of extra charges for things such as TV films, using sauna, bowling alley. Overall the ship lacks atmosphere, the hotel staff are generally not friendly and many don’t even acknowledge you. The continual embarkation and disembarkation process leaves it lacking a community feel. The food is a huge disappointment especially when Italy has such a wonderful range of cuisines. I don’t know whether this is indicative of all MSC voyages or whether we were unlucky. But it felt more like a budget cruise than a luxury one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are relatively new to cruises. Our first one was to Norwegian Fjords last year on NCL in the summer and the weather was more miss than hit so wanted to go somewhere hotter this time around. We found this cruise in the summer and ... Read More
We are relatively new to cruises. Our first one was to Norwegian Fjords last year on NCL in the summer and the weather was more miss than hit so wanted to go somewhere hotter this time around. We found this cruise in the summer and something to look forward to as autumn closed in and was in the half term holidays. The price was also a factor, and we had a balcony, on a Fantastica package at the back of the ship on floor 9. Before departing I read some of the reviews on here and whilst it may make people a little apprehensive, I’m a person that likes to go with the flow, very laid back and experience things myself before making my mind up. We had purchased the all inclusive and tried to find out the drinks on offer as part of the all inclusive. I saw the marketing messages about trying to cater more for British guests and there were mentions of strongbow, John Smiths and Guinness on tap but couldn’t confirm if they were part of the package. I can confirm they are!!! They only serve them in the Tiger Bar and the Sports Bar. The tiger bar had issues pouring the Guinness and ended up using cans :-( the sports bar however poured a superb pint! Mario, Elvis and the team were superb and provided amazing service with a smile!!! I made many, many, many visits to the sports bar!!!! We ate breakfasts and lunches mainly in the buffet when not onshore. The food was very good, plenty of it. For breakfast they put on full English fry ups, herrings, pastries, breads, American pancakes, 5 different eggs & an omelette station, continental style breakfasts with salamis, hams and cheeses as well as cereals, fruit, yoghurt and porridge. For lunch, they always had one roast meat, burgers, hot dogs, pasta, pizza, cold platters as well as other dishes such as curry, cottage pie, chicken wing etc. I’m quite adventurous and not picky and was able to find something to eat that was enjoyable. For dinner we were seated in the Quattro Venti restaurant on deck 6. We were in the 6pm sitting, and whilst the time was of our choosing, it did feel a little rushed, especially if we had been onshore. We had Kadek and Hamim as our waiters for the duration of the cruise. They were great to chat to, have a really personal service. They kept my two kids entertained with their napkin folding, kept my wife and I topped up with wine! The food was of an excellent standard, well seasoned and meats were tender. The portions are not massive but kadek and I came to an understanding that i’d Always have a double portion of main. I must have eaten a whole cow and her offspring the amount of red meat I had consumed during the whole cruise :-) I think MSC miss a trick with the lack of other restaurant choices. They only have an oriental restaurant, but we didn’t try this as being of Chinese origin we cook it better at home. The room was ample sized for 4 of us. The roll out bed was very tatty and foam protruding out of it, but when the cabin steward put the bedding on it was sleepable. The balcony was great addition. Gave us the ability to get fresh air into the room and nice to sit out and have a cup of coffee or Guinness watching the waves at sea and seeing the city landscapes in port. As the room was at the back of the ship we did find that you feel the boat move a bit more. On our first morning into Le Havre when the ship was docking at 5am it felt like a full on earthquake as the propellers got us into place. Woke with a start thinking “what the hell is this”. Something dislodged in the bathroom due to the vibrations but was fixed by maintenance the next day. There were tea making facilities in the room and Yorkshire tea bags, which was the tea of choice across the ship. The shows were not the greatest, the guys worked hard but sometimes it wasn’t the most engaging. Lots of dancing some singing. The main variety shows were good but other shows.... meh!!! The entertainment team were good. Always making fun of themselves and others. There wasn’t much to do for the kids other than kids club, which they didn’t want to attend. We did the arts and crafts but this was for really the adults only. Embarkation was very easy. Whilst the ship didn’t leave Southampton until 8pm, we were able to go on ship at 12.30, have some food in the buffet before our room was available. Disembarkation was a little chaotic but not too bad. In summary I was very pleased with the food, drink, facilities. The things brought in to appeal to the British market were very good. The staff were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This cruise was the worst of all our cruises ever. The staff was unfriendly and treated us as if we were a great inconvienence. When we embarked the ship we were not welcomed aboard and I was integrated about my boarding pass as to why I ... Read More
This cruise was the worst of all our cruises ever. The staff was unfriendly and treated us as if we were a great inconvienence. When we embarked the ship we were not welcomed aboard and I was integrated about my boarding pass as to why I didn't have a stamp by French Police on it. Which I later found out I didn't need that and police don't give stamps... they simply then took my photo and told me my room number and that was my welcome aboard. The shows were what you would expect from a high school play with the exception of the acrobats and stunts. The food was plain and the same thing day after day slightly changed. Not many activities on board and when there's is they start late or had some sort of complication. For example we met for Karaoke at the Disco at 1030 and it was announced at 1053 that it was cancelled due to technical problems. There were manny manny other things but would take for ever to write. Hope this helps someone not make the same mistake if you you want quality use Norwegian, Royal or even Carnival over MCS Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our families 8th cruise and I don't typically leave reviews but I had seen such poor reviews for this particular ship I felt that I should leave my feedback. We chose the Magnifica mostly because of the itinerary (embark ... Read More
This was our families 8th cruise and I don't typically leave reviews but I had seen such poor reviews for this particular ship I felt that I should leave my feedback. We chose the Magnifica mostly because of the itinerary (embark Southampton, Le Havre, Brugges, Amsterdam, Hamburg) and the long amount of time it stays in port. We are Americans so we flew from NY into London a few days early so we could do all of the typical touristy things before our cruise. On cruise day we had booked in advance a national express bus ride (much cheaper than the train) and arrived at the cruise terminal around 4:00. Embarkation was the smoothest I had ever encountered, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. Everything moved very smoothly. Once on board our cabin was ready (hooray!) and our bags were delivered rather quickly after that. We decided to hit the buffet for dinner that evening and was very pleasantly surprised with all of the selection. Was is crowded and somewhat chaotic? Yes, but I've never been to a cruise ship buffet that wasn't. I felt that food was replenished quickly and the dining room staff even helped us to find a table. The remainder of the evenings on board we ate dinner in the more formal dining room. I felt that our server was a little frosty at first but by the end of the trip he really grew on us and he even began to smile and kid around a bit. I did feel that some of the bartenders and other wait staff were a little bit less than enthusiastic about doing their jobs but the majority were very pleasant. Im certainly not going to let a few bad apples ruin my vacation. My ten year old son really enjoyed the kids club, the ladies there did a great job of engaging him and made it fun for the kids. Our stateroom was a nice nice and the pull out couch was very comfortable for our son. The room steward did a good job of keeping up with the room and the balcony. Overall for the money and really good cruise. We didn't see many of the shows but we did enjoy the pools, hot tubs and game room. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We've been on a couple NCL cruises before, but were looking at a certain itinerary (Northern Europe) and decided to give MSC a try. We were not disappointed. We stayed in London for a few nights before our cruise. We took the train ... Read More
We've been on a couple NCL cruises before, but were looking at a certain itinerary (Northern Europe) and decided to give MSC a try. We were not disappointed. We stayed in London for a few nights before our cruise. We took the train from Waterloo station to Southampton, a very enjoyable train ride, then a quick cab to the port. We arrived around 11:30 am and only had to wait 20 minutes or so before the let us start boarding. Embarkment was the smoothest we've ever experience, we were literally from the waiting area to onboard the ship in 10 minutes. Very smooth. Our room wasn't ready of course but we found a spot to sit on the deck and were quickly served beverages! We had a couple "we're here!" drinks and then headed to the buffet for a bit of lunch. We were worried a bit about the food, after reading negative reviews, but quite frankly I am not sure what those people were expecting. The buffet offered a huge variety, some items, i agree, weren't as hot as you might hope, but keep in mind they are feeding thousands of people and they did a good job. After lunch our room was ready and again, we were impressed. We stayed on level 14 in a balcony cabin. Standard size room and nice little balcony. The weather wasn't always the warmest so we didn't use our balcony as much, but it was still very pleasant to look out. For the rest of the cruise we had dinner in the main dining room. We had my choice dining which meant we could go at whatever time suited us. We usually went around the same time anyway, they sat us at a nice table for two, which we had for the whole cruise. For the most part the food was very good in the MDR, a couple items weren't what we expected (cuttlefish was rubbery), but other seafood was delicious as well as they always have chicken breast if there isn't something on the menu that appeals to you. The menu changed every night of our cruise. The ports. 1) At LeHavre we shared a taxi with a lovely Irish couple we met through the cruise critic roll call, to Honfleur. It was better value than the ships bus, and so much more convenient. We walked off the ship found the taxi and 20 minutes later we were in beautiful Honfleur. The taxi came back after three hours and picked us up. 2) For Brugge, we hopped on the tram to Blackenberge, then took a train to Brugge. There i met a cousin of mine i hadn't seen for 40 years and they took us around. Another lovely day. 3) Amsterdam is an easy port, we just walked off and walked around. We came back to the ship for lunch and spent a quite afternoon on deck 16 in the hot tubs and loungers. After dinner we headed back out to see Amsterdam at night. 4) Hamburg, although we were planning on doing this city on our own as well, we didn't have maps and didn't know the bus system so we took the ship's shuttle to the town centre. I can't comment on the evening entertainment as we didn't go to any shows, not our thing. We did enjoy the tiger bar with the music and entertainment there. Also the last night of the cruise i won $400 Euro at the casino. A great way to end the trip. We did use the spa once for a Bali Massage. It was heaven. Another thing that impressed me about the ship was the cleanliness. They were always cleaning, right from early morning people were out sterilizing the banisters and washing the deck etc. The staff was pleasant as well. We really appreciated a server names Anastasia, that always asked if we wanted something, never walking by without a hello . Right from the start she made sure we were never thirsty! One more thing, we got the drink package, which is extremely good value, even if you don't drink alcohol ( ahem, although we did try several different cocktails). Our server in the MDR was Tolentino. Another fantastic person, always smiling, and really fast service. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend MSC, as long as you are an easy going traveller. There's going to be a couple little things that might not be perfect, but it's not a premium price, yet it was an excellent experience! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The common themes across many MSC reviews couldn't be more accurate. We sailed the Magnifica in September 2018 on the North Sea visiting England, Scotland, Germany, France and Amsterdam. The common themes that are absolutely true ... Read More
The common themes across many MSC reviews couldn't be more accurate. We sailed the Magnifica in September 2018 on the North Sea visiting England, Scotland, Germany, France and Amsterdam. The common themes that are absolutely true - the European crowd (vast majority of passengers) is generally rude, loud and obnoxious. The food, especially on the buffet, varies between bland and tasteless and atrocious - plus, it never changes. It's generally the same food every day. There are times during the day when the only food available is Pizza and it's average at best. There is NOTHING other then coffee and drinks available for purchase at the bars located throughout the ship - no pastries or snacks - nothing. We've sailed NCL,Royal and Carnival and there are ALWAYS premium snacks available for purchase.Options at the main restaurants were extremely limited, and the food was "cruise ship average" at BEST. The nightly "entertainment" was horrific, and put on by a talent-less group of performers. We walked out on multiple shows, as it was hard to watch. The cabin and cabin service were fine - no issues there. We read the bad reviews and decided to book the cruise anyway because we were focused on the itinerary, not the ship. Glad we did because the itinerary made it worth it for us. As far as the ship itself and MSC - stay away unless, like us, you're focused on the itinerary and destinations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Thank you to previous review writers of this cruise ship. Our expectations were fairly low with all the negative reviews, but we still booked because we liked the ports . Surprise, we loved the ship. I should point out I’ve also ... Read More
Thank you to previous review writers of this cruise ship. Our expectations were fairly low with all the negative reviews, but we still booked because we liked the ports . Surprise, we loved the ship. I should point out I’ve also travelled on bigger ships with the Celebrity and Norwegian lines. Many complained about the meals. We found them delicious ( except for one night) Some complained about the portions being too small. This was great for me I have a tendency to eat everything on my plate and get overfull. What people might not know is you could order two or three main courses. Don’t like the one you ordered, the waiter got another. Want a second helping, no problem. The menus were varied. My only complaint was you had to pay for a lobster tail meal for 22 euro. The menu said lobster tails ( plural) in 5 languages ( plural ) but you only get one ... however it was delicious . I never found any of the people on board pushy ( some reviews complained about pushy Italians)and the staff were mostly friendly and courteous... a few female waiters could smile a bit more. The ship was nicely decorated and very clean. The theatre had a very glitzy Art Deco style. It took a few days to realize there was this nice dining area at the back buffet on deck 13. Also it leads to an quiet upper seating area on deck 14. Our balcony cabin was quite roomy and I had way more storage than on Celebrity or Norwegian. There was also this huge mirror across from the bed that made it seem larger. Ship improvements-There is always room for improvements and I wish there was some trash cans around the boat, when we had small trash to throw out. Also there are no clocks on board so I had to carry around my iPhone for the correct time. Embarking and Disembarking was amazingly fast. I think this is because people get on and off at different ports, so there is less congestion. The ports were the reason we took the cruise and we were not disappointed. Suprisingly one of our favourite ports was La Coruna a very picturesque town that we enjoyed strolling and taking photos. We only booked two excursions which were disappointing. At Verdon, we booked the wine excursion to the Medoc wine area. We chose this over the Bordeau because we did not want to be on a bus for a long tim. But we ended up being mostly on the bus for the entire 4 hours, except for 10 minutes outside the gates of one chateau and less than an hour at another chateau. It was suppose to be a French chateau but it’s now owned by the Chinese and the wine was not to my liking. Also the tour guide was silent for the majority of the tour... horrible. In Southampton we did London on your own excursion . Our bus had no AC and the windows could not be opened . Just two vents in the roof that one woman kept closing, not caring the people in the second half of the bus were left in sweltering heat . I should have investigated the hop on hop off better. Don’t buy it on the cruise. Cheaper lines sell the passes all over London . We don’t have time for this expensive option which included a boat ride and extended routes. We paid way too much. I wish we had just one hour more in the Southampton port so London was not so rushed. But we did enjoy our time there . Ports... La Coruna..as mentioned we loved it. We’re photographers and the old town wasn’t crowded in the early morning and very picturesque . Bilbao-took the shuttle. Visited The Guggenheim and the old town. We lucked into to two great exhibits at the Guggenheim . Excellent port Verona - see note above Amsterdam- great port, very crowded, we visited the Rijksmuseum ( booked on our own before the cruise )and booked our own nighttime canal wine and cheese cruise. Hamburg- not my favourite port Southampton -see London comments above. Ship entertainment -we liked the shows. I understand the limitations of having multilingual passengers. The shows on Norwegian were better but a pain to line up for tickets and limited seating. This was more relaxed and I loved the West Side Story show. Dining- we had a late seating with two other couples and had a great time with them. Luckily we all spoke English. On a few occasions non English passengers were seated with us. I think they may have had free seating. They seemed uncomfortable and isolated . More time should be taken matching up table partners based on a common language. As mentioned we enjoyed our food in the dining room and the buffet. I miss the watermelon Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
First time with MSC; chose cruise because of the itinerary - Le Havre, La Coruna, Bilbao, Le Verdon sur Mer, Amsterdam and Hamburg. Also the price seemed quite reasonable. We breezed through check-in at Southampton in a couple of ... Read More
First time with MSC; chose cruise because of the itinerary - Le Havre, La Coruna, Bilbao, Le Verdon sur Mer, Amsterdam and Hamburg. Also the price seemed quite reasonable. We breezed through check-in at Southampton in a couple of minutes - having previously checked-in online and uploaded our photos - although our bags took a couple of hours to arrive at the cabin. Everywhere on the ship is immaculate and cleaned incessantly. Cabin also spotless and adequate size, but the addition of tea & coffee making facilities takes up 60% of the tiny dressing table! Also (P&O Azura and Ventura please note!!!) the balcony railing glass and balcony patio doors were actually cleaned during one port call! Dining had, allegedly, been adapted to British tastes, but apart from occasional fish & chips, British bacon, British sausages, and a few tough and gristly beef dishes, despite a British Head Chef, the food, in both the Quattro Venti Dining Room and Sahara Self Service buffet, was very International, and (very unusually on a cruise) faddy old me often struggled to find something to my liking. Service in the Quattro Venti was adequate, though not exceptional, but the tables in the Sahara Self Service were cleared and wiped down very promptly - particularly important as the vast majority of tables there were circular and for 6 or 8 people, and as most don't like sharing, it was often very difficult to find an unoccupied table. Would be far better with square tables for 2 or 4. Much confusion in the Dining Room at Dinner, as although all 8 of us on the table were on the "Fantastica" package, all four couples had different entitlements!!! We could have anything on the Wine/Drinks list, by the glass, that didn't have an asterisk against it, but another couple was only entitled to water at Dinner, another couple had to buy vouchers for seven bottles of wine and seven bottles of water, and the fourth couple had to buy wine by the bottle as and when desired!!!! Coffee at Dinner was even crazier! We could have any normal coffee, like cappuchino; another couple could only have filter coffee; a third couple could only have instant coffee, and the fourth couple weren't entitled to coffee at all! Apparently a little code number on your Cruise Card tells the waiter what you can have. Drinks generally; our package included draught beer, non-premium spirits, wine-by-the-glass, mineral water, and coffee anywhere on the ship, so we ended up with a nice "zero" for our bar bill at the end of the cruise, but drinks service everywhere on the ship was so incredibly slow that there was probably little chance of anyone being able to get drunk. Also, the drinks prices shown on the on-board price lists were extremely high - something like Central London pub prices - possibly to make us think that we were getting a bargain by going all-inclusive! There were at least English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese speaking passengers on board, so what did they do for entertainment? Well - music, music,music, music, oh, and a bit of flamenco! There were only two late shows in the Theatre - flamenco and an Adele tribute; other than that, 2nd sitting diners were expected to go to a 7:15 performance then in to dinner! Sea days daytime entertainment had such excitement as morning and afternoon origami, towel folding, vegetable carving, bingo, and nautical knitting! Difficult to restrain one's eagerness to participate! Disembarkation and return embarkation at ports was a queueless breeze - one lane for new embarkers and one for shore visit returners. Apart from La Coruna and Amsterdam, which were walkable, all other ports involved either an expensive-for-what-it-was chargeable shuttle, or the usual horrendously expensive Shore Excursions. One particular pleasant surprise was at Le Verdon sur Mer which, from consulting Google Maps, I was aware that there was little there for tourists and really too far to walk to from the ship for most people, but a shuttle was laid on to Soulac sur Mer for a fairly reasonable 7.60 euros. On a very hot and sunny day it was a delightful little seaside town, with plenty of shops and cafes to explore, a long paved promenade, plus a spectacular clean wide sandy beach. The ports made this cruise for us, but we were disappointed by the entertainment; the food was ok, but much of it not to our liking, and the extremely slow bar service was an irritation. We were also annoyed by the lack of information about dress code. Our travel agent was useless in this respect, so we emailed MSC UK directly, to be told that there would be two Formal nights, and others which we would be told about on board in the daily program. So what to pack? I took dinner suit, formal shirts and bow tie, plus a couple of flowery casual shirts, and bought a white outfit specially for the White Night. As it turns out MSC's equivalent of a Formal night is an "Elegant" night, which our table, and several others, intepreted as dinner suits and bow ties, with the ladies in posh frocks. But other passengers interpreted this as shorts & tee-shirts, and no one was turned away as being inappropriately dressed. As it turned out, there were THREE "Elegant" nights, including our very last night on board, for which I, and many of the newly joined passengers from Hamburg, turned up in dinner suit and bow tie, whilst our table companions and most other diners had dressed down for the evening. Plus they sprung a previously unadvertised "Mediterranean Evening" in us! Would we travel with MSC again? Probably not. They don't seem to know which market they are aiming at. We were told, by our travel agent, to expect British style food, British style entertainment, including British comedians, and we were told that the ship was based in Southampton for the summer and would have virtually all English-speaking passengers. That was, now obviously, a load of balderdash, as the ship picks up in at least Le Havre, Amsterdam, and Hamburg. I speak French, German, and Spanish, so the opportunity to practice those languages on board was a plus, but I would guess that no nationality on board would be happy with the food and entertainment. Also, is it casual dress on board - in which case no need to take a suit - or is it posh attire some nights, in which case why not insist on it, like P & O and Cunard for example? It's not very nice to take the trouble to dress at one's best for the "Elegant" night to find the next table look like they have just walked in from around the pool! Overall we did enjoy the trip - due, in no small part, to our delightful table companions - but the weather was very hot and sunny throughout, so this middle-of-the-road review might have changed for the worse if we had been plagued with wet and windy weather. Would we recommend MSC to our friends? Based on this trip, I'm afraid it would have to be no! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise as it sailed from Southampton. The only good thing was ship was clean and nicely decorated. We went to resturant first evening my husband order sirloin steak which was like shoe leather! I had chicken breast which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it sailed from Southampton. The only good thing was ship was clean and nicely decorated. We went to resturant first evening my husband order sirloin steak which was like shoe leather! I had chicken breast which was ploncked on chips no sides! So wr then ate in buffet for rest of cruise food was dreadful the only good thing was pizza. Our cabin on deck 10 wasn't the one we booked. It was at front 10001. Terrible movement and wind howling through patio doors! We would never sail with this company again. All they seemed to bother about was catering for Germans. We thought cruise left from southampton first but gound ou it left from Hamburg first. The entertainment was very poor. Took a long time to be served in all the bars. Not enough staff . The ones that were in attendance were friendly not their fault Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Myself, DW, and sisters in law decided to visit Europe. While in Europe I decided to take advantage of the MSC cruise out of Southampton. Arrival was smooth. Once my driver figured out where to drop us we were quickly processed and ... Read More
Myself, DW, and sisters in law decided to visit Europe. While in Europe I decided to take advantage of the MSC cruise out of Southampton. Arrival was smooth. Once my driver figured out where to drop us we were quickly processed and boarded the ship. We found the ship design and layout pretty much like all others of similar size. The ship was well maintained and the crew for the most part pleasant. I did find that the ship catered to the German clientele and language was an issue with some of the crew. Dining was not anything to write home about. I write this understanding that they must satisfy a wide range of palates. I found that there was a definite lack of comfort foods on the ship. In the dining room we left twice because there was nothing on the menu that my DW or I liked or felt like eating. On other lines there is always a back-up menu if this happens. We did not take advantage of the specialty restaurants. The atmosphere on the ship was very subdued and did not have many activities to take advantage of on sea days. Nightly entertainment I thought was below cruise ship standards. The best entertainment I thought was in the rear of the ship in the purple bar. We slept in a inside cabin for the first time and found that we slept very well. The size was comparable to other rooms and the layout well done. We did excursions at most stops except Newcastle. Procedures were well organized. My only complaint is that we did not get much time in Amsterdam. I will mention only one excursion that I was very dis-satisfied. It was in Edinburgh Scotland. The guide would say something in German and not translate for the English speaking members of the bus of which we were the majority. As far as going again I would probably use a different carrier. Not because of the cruise line but because the differences were glaring compared to the other 4 lines I have sailed on. As they say in England it was not my cup of tea. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Last year I had a cruise on MSC Prezosia along with all my brothers and wives. 8 of us in total, so did not have much interaction with other cruisers. Before that, I was a loyal princess and P&O cruiser. This time I and my wife ... Read More
Last year I had a cruise on MSC Prezosia along with all my brothers and wives. 8 of us in total, so did not have much interaction with other cruisers. Before that, I was a loyal princess and P&O cruiser. This time I and my wife wanted to try MSC again. I had read that there have been many changes for the UK cruisers. The embarkation was very smooth. As the ship was in port till 9 PM there was no rush, In fact, that was the case in all the posts where the passengers disembarked or embarked, The tea making facility was appreciated. The multi-language announcements can still be annoying and as people get on and off, the safety drill is repeated often. The theatre shows were also good with some theme to them not jus acrobatics etc. like west side story Carmen opera etc. I had always selected any time dining before but this time we had fixed dining second sitting. I was not sure but the table companions were great and we were always last to leave the restaurant and continue with coffee and drinks in the bar till late. All in all, had a lovely cruise and will consider a further cruise on MSC because they have great itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports of Le Havre, Invergordon, South Queensferry, and Amsterdam. We took private tours to see the royal St. Andrews golf experience from south queensferry and also the d-day beaches from Le ... Read More
This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports of Le Havre, Invergordon, South Queensferry, and Amsterdam. We took private tours to see the royal St. Andrews golf experience from south queensferry and also the d-day beaches from Le Havre. Our balcony room was nice and our cabin steward was always very friendly. The only negatives I would say were th dining room staff, which I believe were short handed and had trouble getting waited on, and the food there was adequate. Because our excursions running later, we decided to skip the dining room all together and use the buffet room. The buffet was fine, the salad and fruit bars were great and we hit the pizza pretty often. This is only our second cruise so we don’t have much to compare it to, but we wouldn’t tell people not to use MSC, we would just like to see them improve their dining service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the date and the fact we had a balcony cabin at a reasonable price . Embarkation , despite arriving much earlier than we should have , was quick and our luggage was already in our cabin .. We found the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the date and the fact we had a balcony cabin at a reasonable price . Embarkation , despite arriving much earlier than we should have , was quick and our luggage was already in our cabin .. We found the ship had good decor and was very clean with friendly staff , although they were overstretched , especially in the bars . The entertainment in the theatre was excellent and , despite reviews to the contrary, the food was good . There were a few bugbears , mainly that not all the bars were open in the daytime or were short staffed . As the ship has boarding passengers at every port this entailed lots of musters and some were at peculiar times , like just before dinner . But the main problem was communication and the biggest complaint was what happened in Amsterdam . We were supposed to dock there overnight and lots of people had booked activities and meals in advance because of this . But the ship didn’t dock where it was supposed to but many miles away and most people didn’t have a clue about this until the evening before when an information sheet was left in their cabins offering timed transport coaches at a cost which were limited . This led to lots of irate passengers descending on the reception area demanding to know why it had been changed . Some were told it was because an WW2 unexplored bomb had been found in port . It wasn’t until the next morning that free shuttles were offered to the nearest train station but people were told the train wasn’t going into central Amsterdam . The next morning we arrived at the meeting point for our 10-30 slot , along with other passengers but didn’t actually board the coach until gone 11.30. The reason was varied , first we were told it was because some passengers hadn’t arrived , then that they were awaiting port authority , then that the coaches were all stuck in traffic . We all came to the conclusion that only enough coaches had been booked for all three time slots ( 9am , 10.30, and 12 ) as the estimated journey time was three quarters of an hour each way . The next surprise was the fact that our destination in Amsterdam was the port ....the one with the unexploded bomb ....with other ships docked there ! Also those that took the offer of a free shuttle/ train journey went straight to central Amsterdam . I’m afraid these issues , if what other passengers said is true may have lost MSC future cruisers , which is a shame , as otherwise it would have been a lovely cruise . Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have cruised about a dozen times before, mainly in the Mediterranean, but also the Baltic, Norway, Caribbean and Alaska. We prefer joining the ship at Southampton. This gets away from all the problems with weight etc. when flying. ... Read More
We have cruised about a dozen times before, mainly in the Mediterranean, but also the Baltic, Norway, Caribbean and Alaska. We prefer joining the ship at Southampton. This gets away from all the problems with weight etc. when flying. This was a 7 night taster cruise with MSC going to Zebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Le Harve. We were looking forward to trying out the MSC cruises as they looked great value and do some lovely cruises around the Med. We arrived at the cruise terminal a little early (about 1130) and the boarding started at about 1300. Boarding was quite easy and we were told the cabins would be ready at 1400. We had some lunch and went to the cabin. All our luggage was waiting outside the cabin. What a great start to the cruise. The ship was the Preziosa, which is only 4 years old and looked very good. The décor throughout is a bit flashy with mirrors everywhere and even has a Swarovski crystal staircase in the atrium. Our balcony cabin was a reasonable size and the bathroom had a shower with pivoting doors which was very clever. Much better than the shower curtains you often get. The problems started on the first morning. I am an early riser and was in the buffet for breakfast shortly after opening. The cooked items were already lukewarm and in the case of the scrambled eggs were cold. The coffee, which was in an urn was also lukewarm, and when adding cold milk was then cold. I complained to the manager that I thought it was the worst food I have ever had on a cruise. He sent 2 of his staff running round to sort it but it was the same every morning. Sometimes the food in the main restaurant was also not up to standard and was only warm. The first stop was Zebrugge. We were going to go on a local shuttle to Brugges which is only 20 euros return compared to the ships 55 euros. Instead of arriving at 0900 we docked at 1200 and it took us 2 hours to get off the ship. The shuttles stop running at midday so we got back on the ship. The next stop was Amsterdam where we were due to stop overnight. Due to dock at 0900 we were still out of sight of land. There was a tannoy in the corridor and I opened the cabin door straight away and there was an announcement in about 4 languages but not in English. I went to the guest relations to find out what was happening and was told that due to the weather Amsterdam was closed and we were diverting to Rotterdam. When I said the announcement was not in English, the office said it was and am I calling him a liar??? We wanted to go to Amsterdam and they said that they were trying to lay on coaches. We booked a coach and the ship docked at 1500. The coach did not leave until 1700 and we caught all the rush hour traffic. The trip to Amsterdam took 2 hours to get there. We were then dropped off about 15 minutes short of the cruise terminal where we should have been dropped and started to walk in. It started to rain heavily and all we did was have a meal. We had to be back on the coach at 2115. On the way back to the coach my wife had her handbag stolen by a youth on a motorcycle on the pavement who ripped it out of her hand. Although she had the bag straps round her hand it didn’t stop him. We got the coach back to the ship thinking this must have happened before and that guest relations would know what to do. They were useless!!! They just gave us the addresses of 3 police stations in Rotterdam and said we should get a cab and report it. They were no help at all. We went to see the police in the cruise terminal and 2 of them took us to the police station and did the crime report. They were very good. They also said that this is happening more now but we were not told this on the ship. We got back to the ship at 0130. The following day we were at sea and then on day 5 we docked at Hamburg. The ship laid on shuttles to take us into the town centre for 17 euros. When we arrived everything was shut as it was a Sunday. What a waste of time. The only good thing about Hamburg was that we were taken to the immigration in the cruise centre and they issued us with temporary passports to allow us to get off the ship. A great result, thank you. After another sea day we were going to Le Havre. We were told the French dockworkers were on strike so we couldn’t dock. We went back to Zeebrugge and finally got to Brugges. Hurrah. This cruise was unusual in that at every port they were people embarking and disembarking. It was like a ferry. Then there were loads of announcements about safety drills that seem to go on forever. At one point we had the whole of the safety announcement broadcast loudly in our cabin which went on for about 15 minutes. It was chaotic. Also at every port you were required to show your passports to the customs even if you were staying on the ship. The problem with Amsterdam was that it was closed due to bad weather. This had happened 3 weeks in a row we were told by a steward. There does seem to be a bad lack of organisation. Apart from the guest relations we found the staff very good. Talking to other English people on board they were all in agreement that they would never cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We cruised from Southampton to Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre and back to Southampton in September 2017. First problem.... 1 hour 45 minutes to check in... ridiculous ! Once on the ship we were deliberately steered into what I ... Read More
We cruised from Southampton to Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre and back to Southampton in September 2017. First problem.... 1 hour 45 minutes to check in... ridiculous ! Once on the ship we were deliberately steered into what I can only describe as a high pressure sales team trying to sell you a drinks package. When I said we hardly drank she looked at me as if I was lying to her, in the end I just walked away, we were hassled all night to buy the package, my Wife just wanted to get off the ship by this point !! Great start... The ship itself is beautiful with the largest inside cabin and shower we have ever had on a cruise. But the whole experience is bought down by ( not all ) but the bulk of the crew who in our opinion need training in the art of actually caring and speaking to people ! Leaving and boarding the ship you were lucky to get grunted at let alone a smiling welcoming face !n fact one female crew member dropped my Wife's boarding card , then stood and watched as my Wife struggled to pick it up even though she has a disability !! The food wasn't always to our taste, but you accept that with so many nationalities on board, but the 20hr a day buffet after around 9-10pm is a joke unless you like pizza ...But the one thing that really surprised us was the lack of hand washing in the ship. This is a recipe for disaster. Lot's of cruises have had problems with infections on board, spreading throughout the ship. Even when the handwashing machines were working, there was little or no enforcement from any crew members. Unbelievable !! The theatre is wonderful, beautiful in fact, but we thought the productions that we saw could have been better, done mainly by the on board dancers ,singers, acrobats and jugglers. We spent most evenings in the Safari bar as we liked the group in there. It wasn't just us complaining, in fact I have never in all the years we have been cruising heard so many people disgruntled,mainly with the attitude of certain crew members. To top it off, they were offering a free cruise to people who filled in their review form.. We didn't fill it in for obvious reasons.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My wife and I booked the Preziosa because it was good value for money, even though we had to fly to Southampton at extra cost. We arrived on the 20th September. Embarkation was fairly average at around 2 hours. Our room on the 12th ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Preziosa because it was good value for money, even though we had to fly to Southampton at extra cost. We arrived on the 20th September. Embarkation was fairly average at around 2 hours. Our room on the 12th floor was ideal. It was very well looked after by the cabin staff. Well done guys. It had a nice spacious bathroom and super comfortable bed. The balcony was nice and roomy too. Air conditioning was spot on at all temperatures. If you are on an all inclusive basis, the mini bar is still extra. We were told differently by a member of staff so our €43 bill was somewhat of a surprise. You will be charged for any item taken from the fridge. Check your daily chart for the mini fridge carefully. We got charged the second and third day for one item that was actually not in the fridge when we arrived. Get your bottled water via the bars. Room service was spot on. We enjoyed a few continental breakfasts in our room. Our experience of the three standard restaurants was great visually but poor based on the quality and portion sizes, especially the Golden Lobster. The soup was lovely and the desert likewise, but one slice of beef (which was like chewing on leather) and three, 3cm potato's and a small bit of veg did not go down well with my wife and I. It is simply not good enough. All buffets are in the Aura. The morning buffet was excellent. The afternoon buffet was also excellent and very substantial and it took up the entire buffet restaurant. It had a great choice but we ate there only a few times as it was too much for us after breakfast. The evening buffet was simply not good enough nor big enough. Be warned. Also, you will be sick of pizza or repetitive deserts by the third or fourth day. The Aura buffet is a very busy places and you may struggle to get a decent seat at times. You will experience the blatant queue skipping fairly regularly. Honestly, some people just have no manners. Our experience with customer service was awful. We complained about the mini bar and what we were told by a staff member (that the bar was included with all inclusive). The staff member that confirmed to us about the mini bar was at a specific bar at a specific time and day. With customer service, it went in one ear and out the other. Three people skipped the long queue and nothing was said. One woman skipped the queue and approached the customer service desk where I was being served. The queue skipper was ranting at the customer service advisor. All the advisor did was to put her head down and ignore her. The queue skipping got a somewhat different response from me and I'm sure there were a few colourful metaphors used too. The theatre is fantastic big room but the majority of the theatre shows were rather average. We did enjoy a couple of shows during the week. The bars and bar staff are on the whole just great. Yes, you will get one or two staff that look like they are waiting for their own funeral, but most were a pleasure to deal with. They were more than helpful and they work really hard. All the bars on the entire ship are well staffed and a great place to chill out. The preparation of drinks by bar staff was very professional. The waitresses were fantastic. The pool areas are all great. The tours are initiated by MSC but are all operated via third party tour operators. We only did one trip. The trip to Hamburg. It was a farce at €79 each. Yes the bus was comfortable and everyone on the bus spoke English, so we had a tour guide who obviously spoke English. She was German but spoke very broken English, so she stuttered and stammered throughout the entire four hour tour. This mixed with the boring information she was giving us meant that we all got bored fairly quickly. This was the consensus of everyone sitting around us in the bus. It was diabolical. We made a complaint to customer service as did a few others. "She is German and English is not her first language" was the response. Yes, just perfect for an English speaking party! So, you think that everyone boards the Preziosa when it leaves Southampton and on it's was to Zebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre and then back to Southampton? Nope. People embark and disembark at every singe port, which does not sound that important, but it is. For example, getting on and off the ship becomes a bit of a pain. There are constant safety drills for all new customers. It is also time consuming processing every one and just makes the ship far to busy most of the time. The public areas get really busy, especially on the two days at sea. Having new customers at every port makes the customer area for booking tours always busy. There are simply not enough standard restaurants to cope with everyone when at sea. Also, based on past experience, the lack of good quality entertainment is fairly obvious. Come on MSC, give customers some decent entertainment and more than three standard restaurants for 4000 plus guests, especially when at sea for 24 hours. Our main gripe was a total lack of information (once again based on past experience). For example, you pay for a trip and get your tickets. There is a date on the ticket but no time or meeting place stated. The envelope states that the information will be placed in your room before the tour date. Wrong. So, you are now stressed out not knowing what time the tour starts or where the meeting place is on the ship. You don't want to miss the bus so you then go to the tour customer service area and are patronised because the information is on a board behind you. Being a mind reader is not one of my forte's sadly. Will we cruise with MSC again? Sadly, that is a big no but we still had fun the majority of the time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Review of MSC Preziosa 21 Sept 2017 Northern Europe Southampton, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre, Southampton We boarded in Southampton and, after queuing at Security, went straight to the check in desk then onboard. Our ... Read More
Review of MSC Preziosa 21 Sept 2017 Northern Europe Southampton, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre, Southampton We boarded in Southampton and, after queuing at Security, went straight to the check in desk then onboard. Our cards were in our cabin and, on checking our dining, found we were allocated 2nd seating – this despite www.cruise.co.uk checking and double checking we were on 1st sitting. That was a bit annoying considering we booked the cruise over a year ago and were on the Fantastica class but hey ho. We went to the restaurant to see the Maitre’d who said “no problem” and changed it to 1st sitting. We then had lunch in the restaurant. For dinner we were on a table for 4 instead of a large table as requested and it was beside the waiters’ serving station so was a bit noisy. Our balcony cabin was much bigger than expected with a 3-seater sofa which was obviously a pull-out bed. We received a few Black card perks, fruit bowl (which disappeared after 2 days without any of the fruit being ripe enough to eat), prosecco and chocolate dipped strawberries, two MSC drawstring bags, 2 chocolate ships, a meal at one of the speciality restaurants (we chose Galaxy which was okay but was a set 5 course meal with 3 of the dishes containing cheese so that was a disappointment). The other speciality restaurant, Eataly, didn’t have any atmosphere and felt & looked clinical. We went to the Black card welcome back party but the captain wasn’t in attendance only the hotel staff. Never saw a glimpse of him the whole cruise. We had a photo taken and found out later that that was your free photo. We thought we could get any photo with our Black card perk but it has to be the one that was taken at the Black card event. We had a free dance lesson invitation but no sign of the free thermal pass nor the milestone reward. We did get the bathrobes & slippers and late cabin checkout though. Our cabin was at the rear of the ship but must have been above the engine/thrusters because each time we arrived at port the vibrations woke you up and seemed to go on forever. This might be a problem on a longer cruise but we were only on for a week. This was Fantastica class though so next time we’d probably just choose Bella. Lunch & dinner was 3 courses (cut down from last year’s 7 courses) but my husband (who doesn’t eat cheese, tomato, pasta & pizza) always found something to enjoy and the temperature of the food was also fine. The portion sizes were adequate and the service quick and cheerful with re-filling of glasses without prompting. We couldn’t fault the staff. Most folks had the drinks package which resulted in the bar staff being run off their feet but again, always polite & helpful. The first call was Amsterdam and an announcement was made saying we were awaiting clearance. Then we never heard any more. We thought we must have missed the “all clear to go ashore” so made our way to the gangway. The queue was huge. A Disney queue, as it wrapped around seemingly never ending. There was only one gangway open for over 3,000 passengers. It was chaos. One couple we were chatting to in the queue said they had only come on the cruise at short notice as Jetline Cruises had contacted them with an offer of a week’s cruise for £299. No wonder they snapped it up. They had pre-booked a tour independently and thought they wouldn’t make the time slot because of the hold-up but said “Well, if we can’t do it today, we’ll do it tomorrow”. I looked at my husband and he said, “But we leave at 9am”. They thought we left at 9pm because the programme states “2 days in Amsterdam” when in actual fact it is only one day and one night. Just shows you how easy it is to make a simple mistake. When we did get off we went across the road to the tram stop. We boarded the tram and bought the all-day travel ticket from the conductor who sits in a little booth at the back of the tram which was about 7.5 Euros. This was cheaper than 2.9 Euros each journey. This worked well for us as we went to the Albert Cuyp market, the flower market and also used the tube to get back to the centre. We’d been to Zeebrugge before and Hamburg also so gave them a miss (at Hamburg the ship is quite a way from the city centre, approx. 9 miles – it was also a Sunday so nothing much would be open). We caught the 4 Euro bus organised by the port into Le Havre and had a wander round the gardens and fountains. We found the Coty shopping centre then went to Les Halles indoor market. At every port there are passengers disembarking and embarking with Hamburg being classed as the start of the cruise. There was a mix of nationalities onboard which was interesting. Everybody seemed to be out to have a good time. The bars were busy and the karaoke well attended. The shows were the usual mix of singing and visual acts. They only lasted about half an hour but even then some people couldn’t wait till the end to walk out. Especially during the Frank Sinatra tribute. Mind you, it was pretty dire. The last morning was the first time I’d made breakfast in the dining room (I like a lie in) and had the MSC Express breakfast which was excellent. Disembarkation was a breeze and we were on the road by 8.45am. We enjoyed the cruise and can’t wait for our next 2 MSC cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Thought it best to start with a bit of background. I have previously cruised with P&O, Royal Caribbean, Thomson and NCL. I saw this cruise with MSC come up and for the price of a balcony I couldn't resist trying out MSC. I did ... Read More
Thought it best to start with a bit of background. I have previously cruised with P&O, Royal Caribbean, Thomson and NCL. I saw this cruise with MSC come up and for the price of a balcony I couldn't resist trying out MSC. I did quite a bit of research so was prepared for the mix of europeans on board which was not a problem for us at all. Myself and my husband did a week around Northern Europe on the 20th September. I was a bit worried by some of the bad reviews and I know the same cruise which was two weeks previous to ours had a nightmare with stopping at ports of call, arriving back late to Southampton etc so I was preparing myself for the chaos.... which fortunately we did not encounter too much of! Embarkation We were given an embarkation time of 1pm. We got to the port at Southampton, straight through security and then we were given a number and had to wait to be called. It didn't take too long however when our number was called and we went through the next bit of check in there was quite a queue and wait to get on the ship. We went straight to our room and the cruise cards were there waiting for us - you go to the machine in reception to pair your card with a debit/credit card and it is really easy to do. Cabin We had a balcony cabin on deck 12. It was fantastic. Plenty of room for everything and tea and coffee making facilities which was a bit bonus and they replenished the biscuits everyday - result. There is a fridge with mini-bar and water but you have to pay for this if you are on the AI drinks package but you can get it in a bar for free and take it back to the room. There are no chocolates on pillows at night but that's not a deal breaker. We had one towel animal which I was delighted to come back to find. The cabin steward knocked on the first day and introduced himself but we didn't really see him after that however he kept the room amazingly clean and couldn't fault the service here. The bed was turned down every night and the Daily Planner left out so we knew what was happening the next day. Drink We went for the AI drinks package, we are big drinkers - whether its alcoholic or non-alcoholic we like a drink. The drinks package (not the premium but the algressimo) was so worth it. So much is included, there is a great range of cocktails, milkshakes, coffees, soft drinks etc and you get gelato included as well which is soooo good! Food Buffet - This was the only thing that really let the ship down for me. The food was awesome, great selection. I do not understand how people say they couldnt find something to eat. I am an extremely fussy vegetarian and I always found plenty to keep me full. However, we went for lunch first day.... walked round the buffet area twice.... no where to sit. Went for lunch next day.... same problem. This really wound me up and I found it extremley stressful - we ended up doing circles of the buffet and working our food off before we had eaten it. The problem seemed to be that a lot of people ate and then sat there for half an hour or more after they had eaten. There are plenty of areas round the ship to go and sit and have a chat etc it would have been nice if people could have moved on to make room for people wanting to eat. It really is something that needs sorting out. We had breakfast delivered to the cabin after that as it was free and really nice and chilled. You can have breakkie in the main dining room but that is only available until 9am and we seemed to rise late in the mornings. Also drinks in the buffet were a nightmare to get service for. There were people walking round trying to sell drinks packages however they were not serving drinks, we had to go up to the bar and get a drink every time we wanted one which we have not had to do on other cruise lines. We had the same problem in some of the bars, the service is slow, in other bars this was not a problem, it seemed on occasions they were short staffed for serving drinks. Main dining room - I emailed MSC prior to the cruise and asked if it was possible to get a table for two (I have nothing wrong with other people but we just really wanted some nice romantic meals) MSC said they could not guarantee this but they would note my request. I was so happy when we arrived to dinner and got a table for two. Thank you MSC for taking our request on board. Our waiter was Afandy from Indonesia and Luis was our wine waiter. They were fantastic. The food was great - we had no complaints. I had read previously that the portion sizes were small so we were prepared for this however, the portion sizes were perfect for us and they would always give you more if you wanted more - nothing was too much trouble. My husband often had starter and two mains instead of a pudding. One day he ordered a fish dish but didnt like it and they were straight away asking if he would like anything else etc could not do enough for us. There are two sittings in the main dining room 6pm and 8.30pm - we went for the second sitting as it suited us and was nice because most of the entertainment etc starts later on the ship. The attire in the main dining room was quite casual, there was a mix from people very dressed up to people in trakkie bottoms. We dressed how we usually would for a meal out at home (apart from on gala night) and we were comfortable. The ship First impressions of the ship were fab - its very glamorous and spotlessly clean. There are a mix of nationalities on board and yes the announcements are made in several languages but this never bothered us. We found everyone be pleasant and it was nice speaking to people from other countries. MSC is different with people embarking and disembarking at each port - we have never experienced this before. However, this did not affect us in any way. You may see the odd safety drill taking place and people walking around the ship with their life jackets on because they have just boarded that day but it never interfered with anything we were up to. There are plenty of areas on the ship to relax and enjoy and the layout is great so you don't get lost all the time. We spent most of our time in the sports bar, safari lounge, la laconda, green sax and the casino. There was always plenty going on in the evenings with music etc. We only went to the one show at the theater which was Wonderland - definitely worth a watch. The shows are quite short which we liked. There was not so much entertainment going on in the day time but this didnt really bother us. We had two sea days and these were spent sunbathing in the pool, chilling out etc we found plenty for us to do. We did go to the Brain Buster quiz one day - only to discover our knowledge was shocking but we had fun! The indoor pool is lovely if its cold outside and the hot tubs are great. We used the thermal area in the spa for a day and this has plenty of saunas, steam room and relax room with heated beds, we found it worth the money. I looked at the massages but found them quite pricey - as with most cruise lines really. Ports and excursions Zebrugge - MSC offer a day trip to Bruges but we just got off and had a wonder around Zebrugge, there is not too much there. If you want to go in to Bruges there is also a coach which takes you when you get off outside the port for 20 euros each which I believe is cheaper than the MSC price. Amsterdam - We docked about a 10 minute walk in to the city center - absolutely loved Amsterdam there was lots to see and do. Hamburg - we got a taxi in to the city centre however as it was a Sunday most things were closed and there was not too much going on. Taxi cost was about 25 euros each way. I have heard that the Miniture Wunderland is well worth a visit and I wish we had done this instead. Le Harve - The port run a shuttle bus in to Le Harve and back for 4 euros. However, we booked a trip to Honfleur through MSC. This is such a lovely little place and well worth a visit. Unfortunately we only got a couple of hours there and the trip cost 55 euros each - we thought this was terrible value for money, especially as the coach left later than it should so we didnt get as much time as we should have done. Overall the excursions seemed pricey but we prefer to do our own thing mostly anyway. To summarise - if you are taking a trip with MSC on Preziosa for the first time, go with an open mind. Yes it is a different way of cruising but different isn't necessarily bad. We heard a few people on board moaning about the food etc, however we personally had no problems with this and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise! Would definately be happy to cruise with MSC again!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I have been on numerous other cruises but the MSC Preziosa was the worst ever. Even though it was supposed to be a new ship, the décor was out-of-date, dark, and tacky looking. The cabin was dirty and there was some trash under the bed ... Read More
I have been on numerous other cruises but the MSC Preziosa was the worst ever. Even though it was supposed to be a new ship, the décor was out-of-date, dark, and tacky looking. The cabin was dirty and there was some trash under the bed from previous guests. We had to request the cabin be properly cleaned. The ship seemed overcrowded. There was no where you could go without having to weave through a crowd of people. You always had to wait for a seat or a place at the bar or a chance to play a slot machine. The hot tub was always at capacity, you couldn't get to use any of the machines in their small gym, the bowling alley was broken, and the pools were always closed due to the weather. The only time you could get some peace and quiet was in your cabin. The food was terrible. We were given fish that was cold and raw inside. The pork was rancid and the vegetables were always overcooked and so salty that you could not eat them. I was given silverware nicely wrapped in a napkin and when I unfolded it, the silverware had not been washed. It had chunks of food dried all over it. The "fine dining" that you paid extra for was a joke. It was located right next to an arcade so you had the noise of the games and unruly kids running in and out of the dining room. The food during the specialty meal was a set menu that you could not change, even though a few of our group had dietary restrictions. The chef refused to make any adjustments so they basically had bread and some cheese for dinner. The buffet was even worse. There were not enough seats and we had to eat two meals standing up. They only opened a few food stations, not all of them, so the area around the buffet was crowded and food kept running out. The ship kept changing our itinerary. We were supposed to go to France but they cancelled that completely. They also cancelled Belgium but went back to it two days later. We were constantly late getting into ports and the process for disembarking was horrendous. The first day they only had one person checking each person off the ship. It created long lines of very angry people that were pushing and shoving. Some tried to cut in line and that almost ended up with violence breaking out. There were no staff members in attendance to deal with the problems or let us know why we were lined up in hot crowded hallways for over an hour trying to get off the ship. Some of the days they allowed people to disembark from two areas but it was still chaos. Because the ship was always late into port, and some of the ports didn't expect us due to the change of itinerary, the transportation was always messed up and the excursions were always delayed. One of the excursions was a two hour bus ride and was supposed to give us five hours in town, then a two hour drive back. Because they were so disorganized we only got two hours in town. Definitely not worth it. Another time people got off the ship but had to wait for a shuttle to take them off the port property. There were not enough busses so it was a two hour wait outside in cold rain with no shelter. Most people gave up because they were chilled and soaked to the bone. They had to return to the ship. We were supposed to get two days in Amsterdam but instead, we got in at 10am and the ship was now leaving early, the following morning at 9am. We were so sick of the crowded, dirty ship with bad food and no time in ports that we jumped ship. As soon as we got into Amsterdam we left the cruise. We stayed in a hotel and enjoyed two full days of touring the city. We then returned to Hamburg by train. It was much faster and nicer than traveling on the ship. I will never take a cruise on an MSC ship again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I have taken my time over posting this review as I thought time and distance might make me feel more charitable but I still feel people should be forewarned. This is the first cruise we have ever taken and we didn't know what to ... Read More
I have taken my time over posting this review as I thought time and distance might make me feel more charitable but I still feel people should be forewarned. This is the first cruise we have ever taken and we didn't know what to expect. We were profoundly disappointed. A fellow guest said we shouldn't let it put us off cruising as we had started with the worst and the only way was up! Our itinerary was supposed to be Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Le Havre. We ended up visiting Zeebrugge, Hamburg and Rotterdam. Excursions were cut short or cancelled completely and not once did the ship arrive or depart in time from anywhere. This could have been less frustrating if we were actually kept in the picture. Instead it was last minute announcements or none at all. A lot of people have complained about the food but we didn't find it too bad. In the restaurant the portions were small but very nice and the buffet varied depending on the time of day. Lunch and breakfast were fine but dinner was a bit hit and miss. Our cabin was very nice and our steward was lovely. The waiting and bar staff were polite and pleasant as well. My husband and son were looking forward to trying out the F1 simulator but, despite several visits, they didn't find it working once. Disembarkation was a complete joke. We were supposed to get off at 10.00 and finally were allowed off at 12.20. Everything that went wrong was always "beyond their control" and this got a bit wearing after a while. Customer service staff were disinterested and sometimes bordered on plain rude. In short the management could learn from their waiters, bar staff and stewards who offered far more professionalism and competence than those above them. Someone needs to take a long hard look at the organisation and customer service offered on The Preziosa as it is sadly lacking. We are cruising again next year but not with MSC Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I’m publishing this review four months after it ended, because of lack of time to write it. Still I think I have relevant experiences that could be useful for future cruisers. I boarded this ship in mid August in Hamburg, with my ... Read More
I’m publishing this review four months after it ended, because of lack of time to write it. Still I think I have relevant experiences that could be useful for future cruisers. I boarded this ship in mid August in Hamburg, with my girlfriend and our 8 years old daughter. It took us to Iceland and Scotland. Embarkation/Disembarkation I cannot really say much about embarkation. Before the cruise when I received my tickets through mail message, my personal embarkation time was clearly stated. It was set at 16:15 and the ship was due to sail at 19:00. Upon arrival to the cruise terminal they got our tagged suitcases and gave us a number that would be called by the check-in desks. Because there were so few passengers at the cruise terminal at that time, we proceeded immediately to the check-in. At this moment they do not ask for a credit card to assign to the shipboard account. You have to do it on board yourself. The procedure is easy but I had to queue for a while, something I would rather not do on a vacation. Disembarkation is well organized, as in every other cruise company I know. You are given colored tags to put on your luggage and are disembarked according to the time assigned to that color. There is also the possibility of getting off the ship as soon as clearance is given by port authorities. It is called the Self Assist program that you have to sign up for a few days before the cruise ends. With this program you have to carry your luggage with you. Tip: I was mistaken about Hamburg, thinking it was a port city without much to see. It is in fact very interesting to visit. Consider a stay before or after the cruise. Cabin We were on cabin 9097 and it was well situated since the elevators were quite near. It was a standard size balcony stateroom but ok for the three of us. Plenty of space under the beds to put our empty suitcases, drawer space was adequate and there were enough hangers inside the wardrobe. There were several glass shelves on the stateroom and bathroom that I am sure had not been dust cleaned when we arrived. We had to do it ourselves with a paper tissue. I always look under the beds before stowing the suitcases and, as in other staterooms of other cruise ships that I have been to, the carpet on that precise spot had not been vacuum cleaned for a very long time. The sliding glass windows that lead to the balcony were full of salt. So was the railing of the balcony. They only cleaned them a few days later, doing the same to all the other balconies of the ship, taking advantage of the day that we were anchored off Isafjordur in Iceland. This is not the kind of cruise where one should expect to find funny folded towels on the bed. Tipping directly the staff is discouraged by MSC since they already charge 10 euro per day per guest for this purpose, but I saw a neighbor tipping our steward two or three days into the cruise. Tip: On cruises to high latitudes such as this one and I assume Norway or Alaska, you will not be able to sit on the balcony due to the cold air temperature. Consider saving some money and take a sea view stateroom with no balcony. Restaurants/Bars We were assigned to L’Arabesque restaurant for dinner. There are two sittings, the first is at 17:45 and the second at 20:30. Upon making my reservation I asked for second sitting and they respected my request. It seems they try to put people around the tables according to the languages people speak. This could have been bad for me, since when I’m travelling I prefer to speak with different people from other countries than mine, have different conversation topics from those I have at home and practice any other foreign language I speak. Mingling with different people is interesting and is part of the fun of travelling. However we were assigned to a small table just for the three of us. Our waiter, Oka from Indonesia, was urbane and efficient. The timing between one course and the other was never long. The menu consists of an entrée, main course and dessert, each of them with several options. Sometimes we were lucky with our selections and other times not so lucky. Presentation is good and the size of portions is… adequate. Remember that you are on vacation, consequently there is not much physical or mental fatigue and therefore you should adapt the intake of food. Big portions are unhealthy and unnecessary. However it is possible to order more than one selection of each course, something I only did once for two desserts I was keen to try. I got somewhat embarrassed while doing it but our waiter Oka did not even blink an eye, so I assumed this is common procedure. The wine menu is conspicuous but expensive. Leftover wine was saved for a later meal but it is also possible to order just a glass of wine. There are five specialty restaurants on board. We tried three of them. It is necessary to make reservations in advance at reception on deck 5. The Galaxy restaurant is located on deck 16 and it has nice views. The meal consists of what they call an “experience”. In other words, several courses are served and all of them are small portions for you to taste. Service is attentive. It is just a pity that the entrance to the games arcade is very close to the restaurant entrance, so during our meal we had to endure loud talking from youth standing nearby. We had a bad experience at the restaurant Eataly. We waited at the door to be seated, but no one came to greet us for more than a minute so we decided to choose a table on our own. The room was almost empty with just other three tables occupied. The waiter that came a few minutes later to give us the menus seemed a little puzzled to find us there and asked if we had a reservation that obviously we had. We waited for more twenty minutes before someone decided to come and take our orders. During the waiting time we noticed that the only server at the restaurant was constantly running back and forth inside the room although it was almost empty. Running is the evidence of poor management inside a restaurant. There was also a maitre d’, in suit and tie walking around the room and speaking to the cooker and the server but paying no attention to the clients. It is customary in countries around the Mediterranean, to put a saucer with olive oil on the table, for people to wet their bread and taste the oil. We had the saucers but olive oil was missing, so I called the maitre d’ when he was passing by and pretended that we did not know what the saucers on the table were for. He promptly informed us what was the use of them and run to grab a bottle of fine olive oil to serve us. He quickly realized that we had been ignored. In the meantime I complained because of the long wait just to be served and the continuous running in an almost empty room. He was extremely apologetic and said they were having some issues with the management of the room without going into details. My girlfriend and our daughter had pasta and I choose tenderloin. Surprisingly the food was very good. All in all, staff was more evasive than helpful, décor of the room is mundane. The Ristorante Italia is close to Eataly restaurant and I think they share the same kitchen. Like on the Galaxi restaurant we had an “experience” again. Food was very good, service was better than on Eataly but the restaurant is nothing to rave about. Finally there are the Inca and Maya buffets on deck 14 and it is difficult to perceive where one ends and the other begins. This area is too big to be easily manageable. During breakfast there are crowds of passengers with trays in hands bumping into each other while trying to find an empty place to sit. At peak times there no free tables or they have not yet been cleared of trays with remains from previous passengers. In my opinion there are enough servers to clear the tables but they need better guidance and there is no one to do it. I have been in big restaurants in some resorts where there is a supervisor that collaborates with the servers while giving instructions. Around this restaurants I only saw two maitre d’, or whatever their name is, but they just walk around the place in their suits and ties, pretending to be attentive to details but longing for their shift to end. This kind of people are already too old to long for a promotion, so they are just there waiting for their retirement to happen. MSC should be more attentive to staff in such demanding venues of the ship. Again at peak times I noticed tables were not cleared at all for over 20 minutes. When this happens, passengers have no other option than to clear the tables themselves by putting trays full of leftovers on a close by table that is unoccupied and already full of dirty trays. Around this restaurant, be prepared to help the servers if you want an empty table. In what concerns food, I had no problem finding whatever suits my palate for breakfast, but if you came for lunch, expect a wide assortment of unmemorable food. Pasta around this buffet is not worth trying. What a shame in such a cruise company. However I could find soup, and unpeeled fruit which is something both me and my family consider essential on our daily diet. Few people know that fruits lose all their nutrients minutes after being peeled or pressed and very often people find themselves eating or drinking nothing more than flavored fiber or water. Just by looking at other passengers sitting in front of their trays, I found myself mesmerized by the huge and injudicious assortment of items they manage to consume. One ends up with the feeling that half of humanity dies of diseases caused by overeating while the other half dies with severe deficiencies due to lack of food. So goes the world. There are lots of bars around this ship but after dinner I never managed to find a place to sit. I assumed lots of passengers bought drinking packages and lingered around bars. Therefore I cannot rate these venues but there are plenty to choose from and they are pleasantly decorated. My favorites were those around the reception area where very often at night was a talented lady playing piano, sometimes accompanied by two singers with harmonious voices. Tip: Avoid peak times at breakfast or lunch on the Maya/Inca buffet on the first day after embarkation. It is a mad house with crowds still not knowing where things are exactly located, bumping with another crowd already with their trays in hands and trying to find a place to sit while the staff pushes carts full of dirty trays with leftovers. On days at sea you should also avoid this buffet for lunch, again because of the above mentioned problems. Go to the Golden Lobster restaurant where you can have lunch à la carte or choose from a smaller buffet they set on the room. Shore excursions As in every cruise, they are way too expensive considering what you get and this is something every seasoned cruiser knows. Depending on the guide escorting the cruise it can be pleasant or not, but this is a question of luck. My advice would be to do your homework and prepare yourself prior to the cruise selecting what you want to see and reserve your excursions independently. I admit I did not do so because of lack of time. However when one receives the travelling documents by email, there is also a password to access MSC webpage where you can reserve the excursions. This is very convenient if you want to avoid the crowds on the shore excursions office once on board (another mad house during the first days into the cruise). However the webpage in my country had a bug. While selecting the excursions one has also to choose the language for that excursion, since the same excursion has different guides and departing times according to the language. At that point, the dropdown menu in the website did not show the languages and therefore I could not proceed with the reservation. I had to call my travel agent by phone and tell them which excursions I wanted. They managed to reserve everything I had selected, but I had to pay full immediately and before leaving home. After embarkation when we arrived to our cabin for the first time, the tickets for the excursions were already there. However, I noticed that they had reserved all the excursions in Spanish, a language that we do not speak and have some difficulty understanding should guides speak quickly. The consequence was that the next day I had to stay in line in front of the shore excursions office to have them changed to English. They informed me that all passengers from Portugal, which is my country of residence, receive their excursions in Spanish and this is standard procedure with MSC Cruises. I should add that this is a ridiculous procedure since the first foreign language one is obliged to learn in Portugal is English and not Spanish. I can well understand there are no excursions in Portuguese since we are so few, but assuming that we all understand Spanish is utter nonsense. It is as if a passenger from Poland would always receive his excursion in German language for the sole reason this is the closest neighboring country with much more passengers. Changing all the excursions was not easy. I waited in line for 20 minutes before arriving in front of one desk and after presenting this issue, they took all the tickets and asked me to wait a moment on a side sitting area in the shore excursion office, since they had to see if there were still vacancies in the English spoken excursions we had selected. The moment I was asked to wait turned out to be another 60 minute wait. I was so furious that after that time I got up and went to speak directly to the member of the staff, cutting through the line of people and told him this wait was totally unacceptable. He realized he had forgotten all about my issue and went inside the office and after another ten minute wait came back finally with the excursion tickets in English. Tip: If you still want to take the excursions proposed by the cruise line, do it at home through their website and mind the language you want while choosing them. Once on board be aware that the same shore excursion has different departure times according to the language. I was mislead since I received in my cabin the daily program in Portuguese where the departure times of excursions were for those in Spanish, not in English. Always confirm the correct departure time of your tour posted on the shore excursion office and not on the daily program you receive in your cabin. Miscellaneous All the other relevant aspects have been addresses by other reviews and I will only mention a few more: - All the announcements and entertainment are conducted simultaneously in several languages. First they speak in English then German, then French, then Italian and then Spanish. This becomes ridiculous specially for the entertainer who has to pronounce phrase after phrase in the above mentioned sequence of languages. It is also very disturbing for the passengers attending them. - There are lots of shops around decks 6 and 7, but after dinner the shopkeepers set a market around the social areas of the ship thus decreasing their ampleness, slowing down the traffic of people and transforming the pleasantly decorated venues into an Arabian bazaar. Why don’t they stay inside their shops? Shops are expensive and the photo shop is a complete rip-off. - There are lots of pre-paid packages for drinks, internet connectivity, laundry, entertainment games and so on. I took the water package which was worthwhile without being a huge saving. Fortunately I did not take the drinking package since it would have been difficult to find unoccupied couches/chairs/sitting areas around the many bars before or after dinner time. Already on board I took the entertainment package for € 80,00 which allowed me and my family to see the 4D movies as many times as we wanted, to try the F1 race car simulator, also as many times as we wanted both located on deck 16 and to play bowling on deck 7. It turned out to be profitable for us. By the way I did not know that on F1 cars you have to brake with left foot since the steering shaft is placed right between the accelerator pedal and braking pedal. Unlike me and while driving, my girlfriend managed to stay inside the racing track, since as a teenager she drove go-karts and said she is still used to braking with the left foot. - Internet Connectivity is expensive and slow. There were three packages and the most affordable one only allowed access to the facebook and twiter. My advice for all those willing to enjoy their vacation in a more engaging way would be to forget about the internet, emails and mobile phones. If you need absolutely to see your email account, go to the cyber café on deck 5 and pay only for the time you are connected. - Probably it is not so important for other cruisers but I enjoy very much reading, something I do not always have the time to do while at home. Since we had 4 full days at sea I hoped that the library or the outside areas of the ship would be a perfect spot to do it. In fact, it was impossible to hang around the open areas of the ship because of the cold air temperature and wind. The library on board is called “Diamond Bar & Library” that is to say it is noisy, difficult to find a place to sit and when you do find, there is always a someone asking if you want anything to drink. Fortunately I had brought my reading from home. They had books in different shelves sorted by language. A few in English, German, French, Italian and… a huge amount of books in Portuguese. Now, go and find out why, since people speaking this language do not make the bulk of passengers. Tip: If you want peace and quiet to read, go to the cyber café, taking into account the excessive price of internet connectivity, no one hangs out there for long. - If you are not travelling on a tight budget, you can book the cruise on this ship as an MSC Yacht Club passenger, which entitles you to various benefits such as a butler service (utterly ridiculous, as we are well into the 21st century and we are not royals), private restaurant and bar, better cabins in terms of décor and location and priority boarding at all ports of call. By the way boarding this huge ship when several excursions end at the same time is not easy. Long queues were formed on the pear to access the ship because of airport-like security procedures. Passengers and their belongings have to be scanned at the entrance every time they go out, fortunately we had no rainy days through-out the cruise. However, passengers bearing their Yacht Club card were entitled to cut lines just at the beginning of the gangways and in front of hundreds other passengers enduring cold and windy weather. This situation reminded me of the social structure of European middle ages. We, peasants, had to wait sometimes more than twenty minutes while the nobles would embark without having to endure such discomforts. Should my budget allow the Yacht Club membership I would have never booked a cruise on MSC. Due to my humble demeanor I would fill uncomfortable cutting lines in front of less fortunate passengers. There are specialized cruise lines on this market niche such as Radisson, Silverseas or Seaborn where every passenger pays a lot but there is no queuing nor passenger discrimination. - The gym, on deck 14, is a nice place to exercise your muscles. It is very well equipped and has great views to the sea for all those using stationary bikes or treadmills. While at home, my routine includes the gym three times a week, since workout is considered a health enhancer. As a consequence and while on board I decided to change my routines and tried to read more on those long days at sea. - MSC cruises does have some sort of partnership with UNICEF. They invoice one euro per passenger to be handed over to this organization. Obviously you can revoke this charge. I only realized they had charged us on the last day of the cruise while checking my shipboard account. Since at that time the reception staff was overwhelmed with work, I did not have the opportunity to ask them to increase our donation. It is for a good cause therefore it does not hurt giving more. At the end of any stay there is always a question that is paramount: Should I go on a MSC cruise again? The answer is not easy. I choose a cruise based on three criteria, which are in descending order of importance the itinerary, the date of sailing and the price. Our cruise took us to Iceland and Scotland and there are not many cruise lines doing this very interesting route. So, we had no other option than taking this particular ship and company. However if I was to choose a more popular route like a Mediterranean or a Caribbean sail, where there is a wider choice of cruise lines operating, I would not go back on an MSC ship. There are other options, probably somewhat more expensive but with much better organization. They have however some enticing conditions. Most of the sails have special fares for children travelling with two paying adults. My daughter was only charged port charges. The consequences of this policy are huge savings for parents and sometimes the discomfort for the remaining passengers to put up with inappropriate behavior of groups of children wondering around the ship without due parental supervision. Besides that, If your mother tongue is English or if you are fluent in English you do not need to choose MSC. The fact that all announcements, excursions, speeches, daily programs are made in several languages, implies lots of challenges that management does not always overcome. I ended up with the feeling that this is a cruise line geared for people who refuse to learn or speak any foreign language, or the internationally accepted foreign language which is English. Apart from the staff, I rarely heard any passenger speaking English. Most of the passengers spoke German, Italian and French. There were also others whose language I could not distinguish. I heard saying that there were several dozens of different nationalities of passengers on that particular cruise. In my opinion what this ship needs is better organization and more active supervision. Always choose a smaller ships if like me you do not like queing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We normally prefer Celebrity and Oceania, MSC was an attempt - in summary: Quite ok. -- We live in Hamburg, where the ship starts, so no exploration of the city. Starting in Hamburg was one of the reasons why we choose MSC, the other was ... Read More
We normally prefer Celebrity and Oceania, MSC was an attempt - in summary: Quite ok. -- We live in Hamburg, where the ship starts, so no exploration of the city. Starting in Hamburg was one of the reasons why we choose MSC, the other was the tour to Iceland. --- We booked an "Aurea-Suite" and as a "Black Member" there is no embarkation/disembrkation Problem (Priority). Otherwize you have to wait (You get a number when you arrive). We recommand to come late, because everybody wants to be the first onboard. Disembarkation seems to work better for all (you get a time). -- Although it is quite a big ship with about 4000 passengers, there are many public places to sit, drink and talk. Very clean. -- Cabin big enough and quite comfortable, we missed bodylotion. Open dining only for guests of the "aurea-sites", the same menu for all; very small portions (order two main courses if you are hungry). We recommand a visit in the Galaxy-Restaurant and Italy (this one for very hungry people), but: extra pay. Normal wine by the glass is really good.-- We are not interested in activities, the shows are quite good in general.-- Service in the restaurant was very good (depends on the waiter), in the buffet some are not interested but some are motivated. -- We booked tours on our own. -- We think to go again with MSC, it is not so expensive, good value. Prices on board are cheap if you don´t have a package. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The staff was great, they were nice and welcoming. I felt like they talked to me not only, cause it was their job, but because they wanted to. And it was all from the entertainment crew to cleaning and waiters. The food in the buffet ... Read More
The staff was great, they were nice and welcoming. I felt like they talked to me not only, cause it was their job, but because they wanted to. And it was all from the entertainment crew to cleaning and waiters. The food in the buffet was not warm, so go to the restaurant for warm food. The drinks were really good, but way ekspensive. The music was really good. There was something for everybody. One thing I did not like was, they way that mostly everybody both staff and guests spoke german to me, without thinking, that maybe the cuise was not all german people. I went on one excursion, and it was a scottish guide, it was a bit tough to understand him, cause of his accent, but he was really nice and knew a lot. I would love to go on a cruise again and also with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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