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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I had the opportunity to sail on the Seaside on her crossing over, and by and large I was quite impressed. The balcony staterooms felt roomy, although storage was a bit of an issue. The shows on board were very good, and I really enjoyed ... Read More
I had the opportunity to sail on the Seaside on her crossing over, and by and large I was quite impressed. The balcony staterooms felt roomy, although storage was a bit of an issue. The shows on board were very good, and I really enjoyed the specialty dining on board. Loved that most of the restaurants were in one area of the ship with a shared bar, it felt very deluxe - although the bar service there needed some work. Service was very good in Butcher's Cut, and really enjoyed the Sushi menu in the Asian Market Kitchen. Loved the French bistro in the atrium as well. The cheese board was awesome, and served from the tray tableside which was a nice plus. Buffets and dining room were average, but passable for me. Downsides for me included the fact that there seemed to be a lot more extras this time around. The bar in the bistro didn't offer any drinks that matched with my beverage package, even though the prices did. Although I managed to take a tour of the spa, I thought dayspa pricing was a little high at $60 per person. I enjoyed the gym, and took the yoga class which was good - although I would have preferred a more traditional yoga class. I've sailed the Divina before and this is a big leap forward, and I would definitely sail again, especially once the ship has had more runs in the caribbean and the crew gets its sea legs. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
A brand new MSC ship straight out of Monfalcone shipyard - the same shipyard that buiilds Carnival and most other modern cruise line ships. Finally a cruise ship with an truly innovative design. The external areas are amazing, there's ... Read More
A brand new MSC ship straight out of Monfalcone shipyard - the same shipyard that buiilds Carnival and most other modern cruise line ships. Finally a cruise ship with an truly innovative design. The external areas are amazing, there's nothing like that on any other ship, period. Huge sundecks, much wider than usual, an amazing acquapark, longest ever zipline at sea, and my very favorite spot on this ship - an aft lower deck pool with 2 shaded areas and 2 bars. I relaxed there for most of the time and did some office email when I absolutely had to - working there looking at the ocean felt *slighlty* better than in my office :-). Not to mention the buffet restaurant, where else on a modern cruise ship you can have lunch outside on deck 8, some 50 feet from the sea ? My cabin was also good, obviously with all modern gadgetry like UBS ports etc and slightly larger than similarly priced cabins on otehr ships. The staff was experienced and friendly but they had to learn about working on the ship so occasionally service was slower than what I had wished - but they did improve visibly during my time on the ship. Looking forward to cruise ahain on her ! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Our cruise was a 12 night round trip from Barcelona. Stops were Funchal, Malaga, Tenerife, Casablanca, Rome, Genoa, Marsielle. We travelled from November 27th - December 9th. As an avid cruiser I have been on many lines including ... Read More
Our cruise was a 12 night round trip from Barcelona. Stops were Funchal, Malaga, Tenerife, Casablanca, Rome, Genoa, Marsielle. We travelled from November 27th - December 9th. As an avid cruiser I have been on many lines including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America etc. I was very much looking forward to our MSC Orchestra cruise as the itinerary was very good and much better than other lines. Unfortunately, MSC did not live up to our expectations at all. Below are a few reasons why I would not recommend cruising with MSC, especially if you have experience cruising with other lines. Please note that I am an American cruiser and thus have certain expectations with regard to customer service and overall professionalism of staff. Below may not be important for other travelers (many of our European counterparts did not seem to be frustrated by this cruise experience), but for myself and many American and Canadian passengers I met on board my cruise these were problematic areas. So important to note that there may be some cultural differences and expectations that are important to consider. Embarkation in Barcelona: We were told that we would boarding the ship at 3:00. The ship was late to port and we did not board until around 4:30/5:00. The staff were very disorganized at check in. Most other cruises that I have been on check in provides you with your cabin keys and provides you with an overview of what to expect when checking in, not MSC. We "checked in" with the front desk people at the port and then walked to the ship. Upon entering the ship from the gangway our pictures were taken (which is standard) for disembarkation and embarkation at ports. We then walked through designated areas in the ship and were bombarded by staff trying to sell us alcohol packages, drink packages, shore excursions. Please keep in mind that we have not even seen our room yet or even had a chance to wine down. Really unprofessional and tacky to put guests through this within the first 2 minutes of coming on board. We then finally were out of that zoo and realized we did not have our room keys. We were not told at check in where to get the room keys so we assumed the keys would be at the concierge on floor 5. We go to floor 5 and wait in line just to be told that the keys are in the rooms and the rooms are unlocked. A bit ridiculous to not tell guests at check in before entering the ship that the keys are located in the rooms. We finally get to our rooms and were happy with our cabins. We were located on the 12th floor with balcony rooms. The rooms were well appointed and clean and were as spacious as a cruise ship room could be. Cabin Overview: As mentioned above, the cabins we had were good and we were happy with them. I think MSC did a good job with the layout given that the rooms are only about 180 square feet. The mirrors in front of the bed really help to make the room feel more spacious. Basic amenities, nothing to write home about, but were fine. Good hair dryer, much better than Norwegians. Formal Dining: Perhaps the most disappointing part of the cruise was the formal dining. The formal dining food was truly awful. We were assigned to L Hibiscus and I have no idea how the chef is still employed. Service was great and staff were attentive, but the quality of the food was very poor. Portions were incredibly small and should not be labelled as entrees and are appetizer sized. Please note that I am a petite 5'2 105 pound female and found that the portions were tiny. I also am in now way a monstrous eater. I felt that the portions were too small for an average person. The food was also just bland and had no creativity. I have cruised with Norwegian Spirit and their food was absolutely incredible. I still think about a rack of lamb that I had in that cruise and how wonderful it was. I also generally prefer to do sit down dining in cruises. On MSC Orchestra I did not look forward to the formal dining at all and at times opted for the buffet instead (will speak about buffet in moment). Perhaps the only exception were the desserts. I enjoyed 90% of the desserts that I tried in the formal dining restaurant. Again nothing special, but perhaps because the food was so bad it made the desserts seem great...who knows. Another thing that was incredibly tacky and again perhaps this is cultural was that we had to PAY for our bottled water at the formal dining table. Absolutely ridiculous by American standards, especially since tap water was free in the buffet. I did not understand why they could not just serve tap water in a pitcher in the formal dining (this is what Norwegian does). Finally, another disappointing thing was that in the formal dining, tea and coffee were not served with dessert. This is usually standard on any cruise I have been on. Again you have to PAY for coffee and tea at the formal dining even though it is free in the buffet....again its just an inconsistency that speaks volumes about their priorities and management. I usually take pictures of all of my formal dining meals on cruises. Was so unimpressed that I didn't even bother taking one. Buffet Dining: Saving grace for the dining was the buffet. I was surprised that their lunch buffet was actually quite good, much better than their dinner buffet. Their salad bar was excellent. There were many kinds of lettuce to choose from and toppings. Please note that if you do not eat pork there are not non-pork meat options as salad toppings. Since MSC is Italian owned this is not at all surprising, but that I would include in this review in case some are wondering. Generally, if you are a vegetarian or a vegan it would be difficult to find good items to eat on this ship. They also had a decent fruit station, not much variety usually cantelope, apples, and grapes. Sometimes they had kiwis and other tropical fruit. They also always had whole fruit like apples, kiwis, tangerines (sometimes) which was nice if you wanted to take ashore as a snack. Would have been nice if they had some bananas or berries, but seeing that we were there in the winter these may have been out of season in Europe. Overall, the buffet had a pretty good range of food. Lots of hot dishes (fish, meatballs, chicken, etc). They always usually had burgers, hot dogs, and french fries for the unadventurous types. What was also pretty awesome is they also always had a cheese and cured meat station so you could make your own charcuterie board if you wanted to. The desserts were also generally pretty good, they were my favorite part of the dining experience in general. They are a bit redundant in that they basically do the same kind of dessert over and over again (usually a sponge cake with some kind of filling) but still good. They did have great panna cotta and also had a wonderful coconut dessert when I was on board. Entertainment and Activities: To be honest I usually do not partake on cruise ship activities so I cannot speak to the quality of those or the shows. My mother, however, did attend most of the shows and she said most were excellent. I spent most of my time in the gym and the spa. Gym: Very very small for a ship this size with close to 3,000 passengers. Our cruise was not even at capacity and for those wanting to use machines it was pretty difficult to snag a spot. Not a problem for me as I generally use the aerobics floor and do not utilize machines but if you are hoping to work out everyday at 4:00 be warned that you will need to wait some time for a treadmill. If i recall there were maybe 8 treadmills, 3 elliptical machines, and 2 stationary bikes. They also had some weight machines and free weights (for american travelers please remember they are in Kilos!). The staff the the gym were friendly and I enjoyed seeing them everyday. Best times to work out will either be very early morning or later at night (when dinner and shows are going on). On Orchestra the gym was open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Also no water cooler in gym....kind of ridiculous. You needed to go to the buffet up one floor and across the ship...not customer friendly (and frankly a bit unsafe). Spa: Please note that in order to utilize the sauna and steam room on this ship you must have purchased the Aurea Spa Pass. it is about $70 for a two week cruise. The spa was OK, again amenities were nothing to rave about, but if you were to come at off times (which I usually did) you could basically have the place to yourself. There are three whirlpools, 2 saunas, and 2 steam rooms. One of the steam rooms was bigger than the other. The saunas were the same, only difference was one was usually much warmer than the other. Please note that it is all Coed. We were told that it was separated by gender, but the travel agent was incorrect about this. Not a very big deal to me, but may be important for others. In the area where the whirlpools are there was a very small sitting area with maybe 4 or 5 chairs where you could lie down and see the ocean. Not very pleasant when it is busy as it was very loud and not relaxing. However, again if you were to come at an off time you could basically have it to yourself. The spa is technically open from 9:00 - 9:00 PM, however, you could come in between 7:00 - 9:00 and use the sauna and steam room so long as you were not wearing a bathing suite (towels only or as they put it highly recommended). Basically you could not utilize the 3 whirlpools from 7:00 - 9:00. Overall the spa was also very very small for the volume of passengers. The women's "locker room" had only one bathroom and two sinks. As a comparison when I cruised with Norwegian they had an entire area dedicated to showers and hairdryers etc. No hairdryers etc. on this MSC ship in the spa. Spas are generally my favorite part of a vacation so I was a bit disappointed that the spa was not a bit more robust, but I did the best with what I could and chose hours where it was not packed. Service: Truly was a mixed bag. There were some staff who were very attentive and very customer service oriented and others who were not. A note to fellow American passengers customer service will not be on par with what you expect and experience in the states or on american operated cruise lines. I am very well traveled and Europe in general is not known for its excellence customer service. For example, my brother had gone to the bar to ask for some water and ice (pretty standard in american bars and actually I think required by law that they serve you water if you ask - I actually thought this was standard in other places too). The bartender put ice and water in the glass and then said to him "oh actually you need to go and get water from the buffet" she then proceed to dump out the ice and water that was already in the glass....she had already done 99% of the work, all that was left was to hand my brother the glass. Things like this would happen often. It is just not something that we are accustomed to. The staff generally don't really go above and beyond (unlike Norwegian) and they basically just do what they need to do. Also the levels of professionalism really varied among the staff, something that I did not experience at all on Norwegian. The staff were also disorganized. For example Day 1 dinner we asked three people what time our second seating for dinner was and we got three different answers....this should not be happening. It became clear that they do not spend a good amount of time on training their staff. Also generally, on Norwegian most of the staff seemed very happy while on MSC the staff were not very engaged. I am not sure if perhaps the pay and benefits are better on Norwegian, but it was a noticeable difference. Some of this may also be due to language barriers. There are many languages spoken on the ship so understandably it may be hard for staff to keep up with all the languages. The primary languages spoken are Italian and Spanish - as an fyi. Very few English speakers on board. If you are looking to travel with fellow English speaking travelers do not cruise with MSC as you will be disappointed. This was not an issue for me, but may be an issue for others. An additional side note - for those with nut allergies/special needs when it comes to food. When I cruised with Norwegian I was incredibly impressed by their dining team. Every night before dinner, my waiter would come to my table and would walk through each menu item with me to ensure that I was not allergic to any items. On MSC, the level of service is absolutely not the same. I was never confident in their ability to keep me from having an allergic reaction. There were 2 or 3 times that I had to send food back because there were nuts in it even through the waiter/ maître d specifically told me that there were not nuts on the menu that day. Again, I do not necessarily think this is the fault of the staff, but rather poor training on the part of upper management. Ports of Call and Excursions: We picked this cruise because of the ports of call and thought that MSC had the best variety as compared to other lines. Malaga was beautiful as was Funchal. We did one shore excursion through MSC in Morocco and were very happy with it. We thought that overall they did a good job of showing us the sights in the limited time that we had. We also had a wonderful lunch at Hotel Farah in Casablanca that was included in the excursion cost. In all honesty, the food we had at Hotel Farah was better than any food that was served on the ship. The guide was very friendly and made us feel welcomed. One major problem however was that again MSC was not good at being organized for disembarkation. Specifically at Malaga they were already late by 1 hour getting to the port and we only had a 6 hour stop. So now it was cut down to 5 hours. On top of that it took them over an hour to disembark us...so now we only had 4 hours. Malaga was very rushed and this made the experience unfortunate. Overall: Overall my biggest issue with MSC was that they are not customer oriented. It is obvious that they are just in it to make money from passengers. This was evident in embarkation where we were being sold packages and even at formal breakfast and dinners the staff would walk around trying to sell you hand squeezed orange juice or shots. just really tacky and unprofessional. These types of behaviors cheapen the experience for passengers and MSC should really discontinue this practice. They are also very disorganized. One prominent example of this was disembarkation and embarkation. which I discussed in detail above. Another example was trying to get coffee or tea in the buffet. It was absolutely ridiculous. The hot water would always be empty, there were never enough mugs, sometimes there was no milk. In short, it was always a crapshoot. As my brother comically put it, everything with MSC is like a scavenger hunt. I once spent 25 minutes just trying to find the hot water, tea, and milk for a glass of tea. These are obvious upper management problems that need to be addressed and they effect the overall operation of the ship. Again, the customer service was mixed, however, one thing that I am glad they did not mess up was that I ordered a cake for my mother's birthday for our last dinner. They did deliver that as promised and it made the trip extra special for her which was nice. While I really wanted to love my experience with MSC, because they do have a wide range of itineraries, unfortunately the general consensus of our 6 person family was that we would not cruise with MSC again. We would opt to cruise again with Norwegian (and wish we did this time) or with a more expensive line (Celebrity, Holland America, Viking). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
MSC Orchestra November 27 to December 9 2017, Mediterranean Cruise Included Morocco and Funchal Stateroom 12102 Aurea Balcony This was our first cruise with MSC Cruise Lines, we have previously sailed with Holland America ... Read More
MSC Orchestra November 27 to December 9 2017, Mediterranean Cruise Included Morocco and Funchal Stateroom 12102 Aurea Balcony This was our first cruise with MSC Cruise Lines, we have previously sailed with Holland America Line seven times. We didn’t have a good last cruise with HAL so decided to take a break from cruising until we saw this deal from MSC. Firstly they offered a loyalty points matching program so we were able to have our HAL three star mariner level gives us Gold level on MSC, so we are comparing our HAL experience with MSC. We took the Aurea level of cruise experience in a balcony stateroom, mainly because it included a drinks package and some massage treatments all for substantially less than Holland America. Bottom line if you don’t want to read a long review we really enjoyed this cruise, the ports of call were great and we didn’t feel that we were on an inferior ship. The value we received was far beyond our HAL experience. We boarded in Barcelona and the ship was late, we arrived at the cruise terminal in time for an early boarding but there was no sign of the Orchestra. There were no MSC staff to tell us what was happening and no emails from MSC. The ship did arrive and we did get priority boarding because of the Aurea level of tickets we bought. Boarding was quicker and easier than HAL way more casual and enjoyable. Our gold room key cards were on our bed in the stateroom which was unlocked the door on the latch. Everything was laid out on the bed all information we needed. The room decor is modern and stylish better than what we were used to, our bathroom was shower only no tub. The balcony was cleaner and freshly painted, no visible rust, handrails were clean, something HAL is not always doing. Our first visit to the buffet was good and what we expected, nice to flash your key card for free drinks. The buffet food for lunch is good but for dinner is terrible in fact nothing like HAL, you could not have a pleasurable dinner by using the dinner buffet all through your cruise. Lunchtime was good and had ethnic choices as well as everything else you would expect. North Americans get free bottled water at lunch and dinner even without a drinks package. Aurea package also includes My Style Dining, this gives a reserved area in the main dining room just for Aurea passengers. This means you can show up at anytime during dinner service. Our experience was that the person assigning tables for Aurea turned our My Style into assigned seating, which after a few nights led to us being rushed out of the restaurant because another couple wanted our table. They brought our first and main course together, dining on a cruise ship in the evening is our entertainment and the restaurant manager ruined this for us. Instead of telling the other couple that My Style is a different concept he caved to their pressure and we suffered because of that. I will admit to having a meltdown and getting angry and making my point. This did sour our main dining room experience. Food choices are not as good as HAL, the main dining room sells the lobsters or T-Bone steaks for 22 euros each, gala nights do not get surf and turf. The food choices they do have is good cooked well and enjoyable. We are vegetarians and MSC went out of their way to please us and cook items that were not on the menu. This was far better than HAL who did not seem to have the special cooks who were skillful and able to cook the vegetarian menu, this led us to stop sailing with HAL. The MSC Orchestra has only one speciality restaurant an Asian restaurant, offering sushi and some Thai options. If you buy a dining package before boarding you get a discount and are tied to a set menu. They did make all our options vegetarian instead of chicken and fish. The Pad Thai is not Pad Thai, they do what Holland America does use vermicelli noodles and no peanut sauce. Do yourself a favour and save your money by not using this restaurant. Our fellow passengers were Italians, Spanish, French and Germans. The Italian neighbours to our balcony were smokers and ignored the do not smoke on balconies signs. We did complain as the cigarette smoke was overwhelming, the first complaint I believe MSC did nothing because of customer relations, so I complained a second time which was three days into our cruise and this time it worked, having said that there were balcony smokers in three or four other cabins around us that didn’t impact us as much. Rules didn’t seem respected as on HAL. For the money we paid and the services we received MSC delivered well beyond what we were used to from Holland America and I could see us sailing with MSC more in the future. If you are a native English speaker you will be in the minority on MSC European cruises, if you can cope with this then we would recommend MSC as an option to consider, especially if you have loyalty points from another cruise line. Stateroom 12102 is under the outdoor bar in the mid ships area, it’s balcony and a very spacious room having an inter connecting door we worried about noise from the adjoining cabin but heard nothing, the room is very quite apart from 3.00 to 3.30 am the staff line up the table and chairs dragging them on the deck which is very noisy, but there must be a different shift at 6.00 am as they start rearranging the furniture again. Seems a shame they do this as these are premium cabins. We didn’t get our spa in room scented diffuser as they were out of them, these are part of the Aurea experience, after asking where it was we were given an MSC branded backpack and two insulated coffee travel mugs. We had the choice of two rooms as we booked late, both were mid ships ours had the adjoining door but the other had a drop down extra bed mounted above the sofa and the while being a head bashing hazard when getting up from sitting on the sofa, it also makes the room seem smaller. On this itinerary leaving Barcelona and doing a circuit of the Mediterranean this 12102 on the right hand side of the ship was great as you get the sunrise and sun most of the day which makes the room warmer and brighter. Most ports we entered we had great views, so recommend this side of the ship. We read negative reviews of this ship and cruise line and to be honest they are not warranted, yes the difference between nationalities and culture can seem unfriendly but why do you travel abroad if not to encounter different peoples. Lastly buying the Aurea package gives you the standard drinks package but because you bought it before boarding as part of your ticket there are no service fees added to you bar bills, so you save 15% service fee on every order. I would do another MSC cruise I think they are giving greater value for your dollar than Holland America Line and seem keen to serve North American passengers. Four out of five stars from us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise, despite all the bad reviews, because the price and the itinerary were good. We figured "how bad can it be". Well the reviews were right. The ship is beautiful. Everything else was not. I don't even know ... Read More
We chose this cruise, despite all the bad reviews, because the price and the itinerary were good. We figured "how bad can it be". Well the reviews were right. The ship is beautiful. Everything else was not. I don't even know where to start. From the minute we set foot on the ship everything was about up selling you. Even at dinner in the main dining room the waiters were trying to sell you dining packages to the paid restaurants. In the dining rooms the food was barely edible, almost laughable, and forget about a glass of water or a cup of coffee with your meal. All extra! That's right. if you wanted a glass of water you had to buy a bottle. If you wanted coffee or tea you had to pay for it. Wine and soda I understand but water? a cup of coffee?. So the alternative to dining is to pay extra to go to one of the restaurants or go to the buffet. Let me tell you; the buffet was even worse. 6,000 people fighting for access to the most poorly laid out buffet I've ever seen. We tried it once for breakfast and once more for lunch. The food was no better. After that We would not set foot near the buffet except in the evening when I needed a cup of hot water to mix some Theraflu for a head cold before bed. Even that was an excruciating experience. Most times there was no hot water available or the urn was empty. There was no flow control at all in the buffet so it was chaos at all times and the staff did nothing to ease the situation. We saw our room steward on the first day..that was it. when you bought anything you signed an electronic pad and never got a physical receipt. forget about trying to reconcile your bill at the end of the cruise. The ship was always noisy. There was not a quiet place anywhere on the ship that you could go to relax or read except the sky lounge up top, but every time we tried to get up there for some quiet conversation or relaxation it was "closed for private event". I could go on and on but there is just too much to say; such as if you wanted to go to a show in the theater you had to make a reservation ahead of time. What ever happened to " I think I'll go and see what the show is after dinner". At the end of the cruise our group of 12 friends could not wait to get off that ship. Up until now our worst cruise experience had been on Carnival. Not anymore! MSC is now #1 for NEVER AGAIN! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I was concerned about the reviews about this cruise before departure. But the cruise was fine. There are niggles - the food isn't as good as we've had on other cruises, less choice, I think poorer quality. One of the worst things was ... Read More
I was concerned about the reviews about this cruise before departure. But the cruise was fine. There are niggles - the food isn't as good as we've had on other cruises, less choice, I think poorer quality. One of the worst things was the lack of hand gel dispensers in the buffet. There were sinks, but no-one used them! We took the all inclusive package, booked before departure which was worth while. Drinks are expensive, and you even need to buy water with dinner. Its a beautiful ship. Huge, but nice. Its quite noisy with all the nationalities, but you can always find a space. The theatre was a bug-bear, with people coming and going right through the performances. Very annoying. There was a lovely indoor pool with warm water! There was some great entertainment. We never got to see Cirque du Soleil as one of the performers was injured. I was disappointed by this. In the ports, it was expensive to get into Marseille - I think around 17 euros each, as it was a long way from the dock. They also charged around 8 euros to get to Barcelona - whereas there was a port shuttle for 4 euros return. The staff were great, especially in the bars. We worked our way through the cocktail list! The cabin was lovely and the cabin steward excellent - although there's not much drawer space and the wardrobe could be bigger with more hangers. Toiletries are basic, shower gel and shampoo only - no conditioner, or body lotion. We were disappointed to find that the nicest bar - which was child free was never open, even though you could sit in the lounge. On our cruise there seemed to be huge groups of travel agents being shown around which was disruptive. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Embarkation was terrible - we waited for the passengers to go ashore before staff arrived and opened the desks - 1 yacht club, 2 Priority Boarding and 2 desks for the remainder (majority) of passengers. No announcements. People began to ... Read More
Embarkation was terrible - we waited for the passengers to go ashore before staff arrived and opened the desks - 1 yacht club, 2 Priority Boarding and 2 desks for the remainder (majority) of passengers. No announcements. People began to queue, the queues were long and people began to get irate, shoving to the front of the queue. MSC need to organise this better and have more staff on hand. Once on ship quickly directed to our room, luggage had arrived and cards were on the bed, the card was not showing our all inclusive package, so down to reception and into another long queue. The card was quickly changed, why MSC are so bad on admin. I don't know. No time no for anything to eat or drink as the announcement goes out for safety drill. After the first day we had a fantastic cruise. Ship is very classy and roomy and kept immaculately clean. There are plenty of bars each with it's own character. There are 3 pools and 8 hot tubs. There was always plenty of sunbeds if you moved away from the main pool areas. Cabin - our inside cabin was very spacious with a comfortable large double bed, chair and coffee table, dressing table with large mirror above it, 2 electric sockets, hairdryer in drawer, large double wardrobe, one side hanging space the other half shelves and half small drawers, 2 drawers in the dressing table and 2 drawers in each bedside cabinet (take extra hangers for long cruises). The bathroom was a good size with shower with glass doors, shower gel and shampoo provided. Food and drink - Breakfast could be taken in Buffet or MDR. MDR also had a buffet section. Breakfast selection was excellent. We could always find a seat quickly in the buffet. Only tried MDR once for breakfast but didn't like waiting for the service when there is so much to do in the day. Lunch in the Buffet was equally good selection wise and seating, we generally only ate salads and sometimes the fresh roasts so can't say what the remainder of the meals were like. I especially like the system in buffet for drinks, there is a call button on each table which links to wristbands worn by drink servers, so no trying to catch someones attention. Lunch in MDR was a mix of buffet or menu service by waiter. Dinner - on our cruise was still the 7 courses. Appetizer, Salad, Pasta or Risotto (terrible risotto - like rice pudding), Main 3 choices, dessert, cheeseboard. You could mix and match this as you liked - sometimes I had the appetiser the fish from the main and then a meat main. Steamed vegetables and chips were always an option as was an "always available" selection of dishes. Overall the quality and variety of the food was very good, sometimes excellent and sometimes not so good - but you could always send back and change with no problem. Getting drinks in the dining room was never a problem, my husband always had beer and the waiter was more than happy to keep him supplied as his glass emptied. Theatre seating is excellent but the shows are a bit repetative, same people in different costumes. They only last 30 mins. We were selective and didn't go to everything on offer. Plenty of activities during the day if you like that sort of thing. Staff Service - We received excellent service throughout our cruise. All crew members we passed or came into contact with were friendly and chatty, bar staff quickly became familiar with your drinks. Disembarkation was very well organised and we were quickly onshore locating our luggage. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise with MSC again Arrived at Ports either on time or early but due to bad weather could not stop at Buzios (tender port). Only used one excursion (Rio) which turned out to be good value for money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first MSC Cruise, booked over a year ago as MSC advertisement said it had the latest technology in wrist bands, circus du solei, mirror that allows one to see without putting the clothes on, ten pin bowling, good food ... Read More
This was our first MSC Cruise, booked over a year ago as MSC advertisement said it had the latest technology in wrist bands, circus du solei, mirror that allows one to see without putting the clothes on, ten pin bowling, good food restaurants.... So after boarding we found out there were no wrist bands, there were no circus shows (technical issues with both and the show was an extra fee which weren't advertised), bowling was just a 2 lane for a short time/high fee. All 3 meals were jam packed into the buffet restaurant as there were no other places to eat unless one pays - for dinner the fixed dining venues offered small serving, basic food and we met people who didn't like the food or had to fill up in the buffet afterwards. The fixed dining wait staff worked like robots, no personal service really until we tipped them - a test we did on the 4th night (seriously why would someone tip for disinterested service!). Other company cruise ships SMALLER than this ship's size have more inclusive dining venues! On this ship they used the space to sell chocolates etc. We called this the money hungry, dieters' cruise ship. In a snap shot food options and quality are the poorest in comparison to RCI, Princess, Celebrity etc.. Oh almost forgot to add dinner buffet only starts at 7pm (counters are all empty before 7pm). They also closed the doors at 6:00pm at the level 5 restaurant and won't let diners with a 5:30pm seating in. Do not book the cruise terminal to airport transfer with MSC, it was badly organised. There were no directions and when we finally found the lady holding a folder deemed 'transfer crew' the 4 of us were separated and squeezed into small taxis and so were our luggage! We asked and they said it was a bus transfer when we booked. Gym equipment was just basic to say the least for a large, new ship (advertised to be a high tech ship). Movies on demand on the tv ALL require a fee (unlike other cruise companies). So it was just repetitive news on the whole cruise. Port daily reading material had no maps or any useful info for self navigation - again this cruise company wants all to pay and use their shore excursions. A nice ship, being new. That said we would choose to cruise with others before MSC for the reasons above. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship is enormous and so noisy the public areas are like being at a football match The design on the restaurants is so poor you could scream and still not hear yourself The is not enough room for all guests in the bar areas, but ... Read More
The ship is enormous and so noisy the public areas are like being at a football match The design on the restaurants is so poor you could scream and still not hear yourself The is not enough room for all guests in the bar areas, but they have managed to make a chocolate shop on the main floor that is huge and expensive and empty I suppose it looks good in their promotional videos The food is very very poor quality and quantity, everyone we spoke to complained I have had better school diners and the potions were tiny, most men on board must have been hungry after diner. Our waiter bought round the bread basket three times every night and put extra potions in the middle of the table for people to help themselves. There were eight people on our table. Breakfast was very low quality and lunch was so poor we eat out when on dry land Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I read all the reviews prior to taking this cruise. I am sorry to say most were right on target. The ship is beautiful. We were on the Aurea deck along with our son and daughter in law/ Cabins 14081 and 14083. We had a tub in our ... Read More
I read all the reviews prior to taking this cruise. I am sorry to say most were right on target. The ship is beautiful. We were on the Aurea deck along with our son and daughter in law/ Cabins 14081 and 14083. We had a tub in our cabin which was very dangerous. Very narrow and is rounded on the sides. There was absolutely no closet space in either cabins and only 2 small drawers. We both had a small balcony which was fine. We had the 3 restaurant dining package and the two shows of Cirque de Soleil. The only decent restaurant is Butchers Cut. We had a very nice meal there and we found out that they serve brunch there on certain days and we paid to eat brunch which was very nice. The ship has to many people and they just cannot accommodate everyone. There were long lines wherever we went. If we had a question we would be in line about an hour before we reached the counter. The food is horrible. The buffet is a nightmare, too many people, pushing and grabbing food. The food was uninteresting and just no taste. We did the buffet for a couple of lunches and two breakfasts. The waves restaurant was not any better, rude staff and food with no taste. We did go to Panorama Restaurant for dinner and it was just ok, staff very nice. The elegant night offered Filet of Beef, which we thought was Filet, ended up being Roast Beef. We had tickets to see both Cirque shows and they were cancelled due to "technical difficulties". You could not get a seat in the bar lounges due to people playing cards and not ordering cocktails. There just were no seats to accommodate all the people on board. My son had to tip the bartenders because if not you would stand there for about 15 minutes and no one would take your order. Once he tipped, we had no problem. I would never cruise this line again. Read Less
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