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562 MSC Cruises Genoa Cruise Reviews

MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other ... Read More
MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other guests and the different languages - well in all the 25 cruises I have been on (11 of which on MSC) I have always found the MSC food to be good and varied, the staff to be among the best, and enjoyed the company of different nationalities. Furthermore, MSC ships offer the best nightlife and great casinos run by excellent friendly staff! So, we chose this cruise on the Meraviglia because of past experience and it was a new ship which looked awesome in the pictures! Well on that note the ship certainly did deliver. It is indeed a magnificent vessel - it looks awesome and beautiful from land, and on board everything is sparkling, new and spacious. Embarkation was a breeze, and first impressions were good - the ship is without doubt stunning. The main swimming pool (actually 2 connected) looks beautiful - very well designed with fountains and poolside beds. All the public areas seemed spacious, and décor was glitzy but tasteful. We got into our cabin and again all very smart with plenty of space - although storage space for clothes was tight for a 1 week cruise, I would imagine difficult for a 2 week one! The cabin attendant was friendly and kept our room clean and tidy at all times. All good so far! Food in the buffet was plentiful and a there was an adequate choice - the new plates better than we've had on other MSC ships. Found a table without any problem - the ship was full and we never had a problem finding a table - pressed the call button and within minutes waiter was there to take our drinks order. The MSC drinks package is the best value package at sea and includes most cocktails, wine, beer, speciality coffees and still or sparkling water. For the whole trip service was excellent and the servers were all friendly. Breakfasts were great - we especially enjoyed the bacon and the "egg man" always cooked me two perfect over-medium fried eggs! Hand wash basins are present as you go into the buffet, but it seemed we were the only ones using them! MSC need to enforce their use more as it seems most passengers are oblivious to the risks of norovirus and similar bugs on cruise ships! We also enjoyed our experiences in the evening in the Panorama restaurant, one of the main dining rooms. Our waiter, Gede Sujina, was brilliant - a credit to MSC! Food was generally very good. We tried the Butcher's Cut one night and the steak there was excellent! We were realistic about the weather - March in the Mediterranean is often little better than it is in the UK. However we had sunshine in Civitavecchia (apparently it poured with rain in Rome), Malta and Barcelona. We stayed on the ship those days because we wanted to use the pools and benefit from a quiet ship. We enjoyed the sunshine even though it was only 11 -15c and the water temperature was perfect - between 23 and 28c! The casino was awesome - our favourite bar on the ship! Spacious imposing entrance, large circular bar with slots one side and mainly tables the other. Well designed and not smoky! All the staff at the bar and at the tables were brilliant - engaging, friendly yet professional and hard working at all times. We really enjoyed our time at the casino. We were disappointed however with the nightlife - high on our list when cruising and one of the reasons we love MSC so much. The attic disco is way too small for a ship of this size, and is split in 2 with 2 tiny dance areas and lacks any atmosphere! The Carousel lounge would make a fantastic nightclub, but the Cirque du Soleil shows take place there and although they had a few parties there after the shows were finished, the parties were largely the entertainment team dancing whilst facing the passengers and the passengers facing them with a kind of formation / line dance routine. Great to get people moving but not so good for atmosphere or interaction! As I have already mentioned, our favourite bar was the casino bar. I guess I don't enjoy shopping and the central area of the ship resembles a mall (other ships have done this and I just don't get this street / mall concept). Everyone seems to be just milling around, none of the bars had any ambience - other MSC ships have much better bars, lounge areas and nightclubs / discos! The sky lounge was an impressive area with great views but it didn't work for us - again little atmosphere or ambience. I guess though people who just want to enjoy a quiet drink together would love it. We also enjoy eating outside and the Meraviglia only offers an area at the back of the buffet under a rather oppressive canopy. Bye breakfasts and lunches in the sunshine! The gym was excellent and I enjoyed my times in there - good equipment! However in common with a lot of the newer ships in many cruise lines there are no changing or shower facilities so when finished you have to walk through a beautiful ship dripping in sweat! Even the spa is on a different level. First impressions of the spa were good, however we went on a sea day and it is far too small for a ship of this size. There were used towels hanging everywhere and the experience was far from relaxing! When finished, I couldn't even get to my locker because too many people trying to change, and had to wait for a shower cubicle because there were only 2 in the changing room! Poor design. So overall I have rated my cruise experience as very good (4 stars). There is no question that this is a beautiful ship but for me the layout doesn't work. Were it not for the staff, who were amazing and a real credit to MSC, and the casino, I would have only rated it average (3 star). I can understand why some people would love the Meraviglia, however the ship just didn't work for me. MSC is still one of my favourite cruise lines and I look forward to booking more trips with them, just not on the Meraviglia. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are ... Read More
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are going to sail with a Eupoean ship, keep an open mind...be willing to experience other types of cruises. The ship was clean and the staff was wonderful. We booked the angled balcony suite with the external jacuzzi. This cabin included the Aurea experience which allowed us to do priority boarding, free choice of dining time, unlimited drinks and two massages (one per two adults). There was so much to do on the ship, so even if you with to skip a port of call, you will not regret it. We really could not understand how some passengers had negative experiences. My suggestion to anyone that chooses to read this review is to understand that everyone is different and therefore expectations are also different. For us, we chose to create our own wonderful memories upon this beautiful vessel! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our ... Read More
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our wedding was March 3) we thought a cruise would be a great option. We were not able to relax during our honeymoon because of serval inaccuracies between the American booking site and the Italian services offered on board. We spent a week arguing with your staff about packages and experiences we had prepaid! Upon talking with other couples from the US and Europe we found they all had similar issues. Drink Package Upon arriving at dining we were told that we could choose from house wines only. The American site clearly listed several wines to pick from (I believe they are the ones listed "by the glass" on the dining room menu) including sweet wines. We were not in the mood to argue with our waiter so went to guest services after dinner. We were told the American site is wrong, that they could not give us a refund and they offered us a draft beer package. Why weren't they able to at least give us an onboard credit? We made due with these tickets, but on top of the 24 other drink tickets we had with our cruise package we were not able to use all of them. Every time we tried to use the water bottle coupons from the beer package the waiters questioned us, told us the coupons were old and asked if we got them from another ship. It is a horrible feeling to be accused of stealing for a $2.75 bottle of water! Our last issue came the last night of the cruise. We used several drink tickets at the bar on the 6th floor. The bar charged us for 2 bottles of wine (we ordered wine by the glass) and several other drinks, instead of applying our drink tickets. This caused us to have to go to guest services once again and wait in the never ending line. Cirque show We prepaid for both shows, one for dinner and one for drinks. It is truly ridiculous that you can not pick your show day and time online when you prepay for this experience. We went to the lounge to book and were helped by an employee. We were told to come back the next day at 5 pm to pick up the tickets. When we arrived the next day, our reservation had not been made and we did not have seats for the show that night. After a stern conversation, the manager was able to rearrange and get us in to that showing. An experience we were most looking forward to, overshadowed by the lack of attention to detail and customer service. Excursions One of the main reasons we choose the cruise as our honeymoon was because of the excursions offered. The following pre-booked excursions were canceled during our trip: Cycling in Palermo and Surrounds Flavors of Barcelona Marseille e-bike discovery tour We did not enjoy our replacement excursions in Palermo and Marseille. Upon speaking with the excursion manager, we learned that the bike rides in Palermo and Marseille aren't offered on the ship because the ship does not have bikes to loan out. Why then, was I able to book and prepay for these excursions? We also learned, several of the tours never happen, for example the jogging tour. One of the other issues we experienced was the excursions sale staff. We were told a minimum number of people were required for a tour to take place, but the sales staff was not allowing people to sign up for them. How can you ever meet your minimum capacity if your staff is steering people in the opposite direction? After talking to the manager for several minutes we asked for confirmation that the Barcelona e-bike tour could depart the next day (this tour was not listed online but was in the printed excursion information). She made it work, and it was our favorite day on the cruise. Departure off ship/ tour groups Our final frustration happened when we were trying to get off the boat one final time. The disembarking was 2.5 hours behind, and the first time they made an announcement about the delay was at the 2 hour mark. All the people who were following instructions about their colors were on deck 5,6,7 with no where to move. The large tour groups were huddled together taking up so much space. At one point we asked employees to help control the crowd because the tour groups were blocking the front desk as we were standing in line to get the alcohol charges removed. Tour groups really should have a private meeting space and be escorted by cruise staff when there are hundreds of them gathering at once. On a positive note, the Meraviglia was a beautiful ship our room was spacious for an inside cabin. Our room steward took excellent care of us while we were onboard. We also had a wonderful last night onboard at the hibachi restaurant. This however, does not make up for all the problems we experienced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This is a longish review as I had read some very negative MSC reviews prior to leaving Australia for this cruise on MSC Orchestra. However, we still went with open minds and open hearts. Travelling is also an often emotive topic- as ... Read More
This is a longish review as I had read some very negative MSC reviews prior to leaving Australia for this cruise on MSC Orchestra. However, we still went with open minds and open hearts. Travelling is also an often emotive topic- as people may not have much precious vacation time, may have had better experiences on other holidays and so it becomes quite comparative at times. We have cruised from Australia previously - so this was our first European Cruise. We had been to Europe previously but always driven cars and caught planes. We chose this cruise because it represented great value for money. The opportunity to visit France, Spain, Malta and Italy from the cruise ship, seemed too good to be true and our Cabin 8199 cost us just $2800 AUD. Our cabin was right at the end of the ship, with a balcony. We also pre purchased 2 x 2 Excursions, in Florence and Rome. So with the excursions, the service charges and drinks that we paid for (as we went) and some MSC organised buses into towns on top we added around an extra $800 AUD, giving us an all up a spend of $3,600 AUD for us both! The very best part of cabin 8199 was being on the balcony - the view leaving ports like Genoa, Valletta where the views where just stunning, the balcony was also very spacious and quite wide. We did have a little bit of muffled doof, doof but not too bad and not too late, as we were over one of the discos, but nothing that kept us awake. Actually, the cabin itself was absolutely wonderful, with plenty of space, lots of hanging in wardrobes, drawers, safe and coat hangers etc. The bathroom was quite large and even though we did have a couple of issues with the toilet flush mechanism - they were responded too and fixed very, very quickly. The cleaning of the cabin we only wanted 2nd daily and we where happy with that. The meals in the Restaurant were mostly very good, we had a few outstanding meals and a couple of not so good, but overall similar to a wedding reception menu/style. We quite enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and sometimes dinner, as the choices were greater, you could go when you were ready, go back for seconds if you found something you really enjoyed, plus there was cold water, tea and coffee and always nice pastries to enjoy. People formed queues and we didn't see any pushing or shoving, as others have suggested. The embarkation procedure was great, we also had no issues for any excursion times and each time left port without any delays. The entertainment - which we went to 3 nights, was good to excellent! the young performers were energetic and the shows were fun. A couple of opera singers in one of the lounges were fabulous. We are not big drinkers so didn't stay out late, plus we were so tired from the early starts and all the walking in the cities. The Itinerary was excellent, the 3 stops in Spain were outstanding and Valletta was just amazing. We also loved Genoa as well. The amount of time to get into Rome and Florence via the buses, means that the actual time spent in those cities very rushed. The beds are just blissful, OMGoodness did we sleep well, such excellent beds!! We wish we could have brought them home with us. A majority of the people on the cruise were from Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain. English speaking people are a minority, but we loved trying to guess who was from what country! Despite my planning to use some learnt Italiano most staff and people took one look at me and just said English? haha and most guessed we where from England, I was even asked was I Danish? So, the language issue wasn't problematic. Many couples with limited English made attempts to be friendly over meals. The passengers like us, were mostly older, with a third of the boat probably under 50. Families with little ones as well. My only improvements which I have also suggested in feedback to MSC 1. was it would be nice to have an English speaking TV show or two on, as we didn't have anything in English apart from CNN NEWS channel. 2. we hadn't realised that we would be charged 16Euro each for the buses into quite a few cities, not a big issue, but good to know, budget wise 3. the amount of times you are asked if you want a photo, became quite annoying 4. people on our dining table went on different excursions and we were puzzled as to why they paid a considerable cost to not even have the option to go into main attractions, such as the Cathedral in Mallorca. The excursions were only 4 hours long, giving them another 4 hours on the boat. Sure this is good for some very old people, but not giving folks the option seems a little underwhelming. Overall, we loved the cruise the boat was quiet, smooth and we would certainly go again with MSC. As a Footnote - Since arriving back home, I had an email regarding a Viking Cruise, Barcelona to Copenhagen - it sounds amazing! No children under 18 (but we like kids), no charges for internet, drinks, one excursion in every port etc etc............. BUT the price for this 15 days cruise is just on $7,000AUD per person. It is true you get what you pay for and many people will think that to be easily affordable, but to us it is not. Our 21 day holiday (we stayed in Italy and went to Venice and Lake Como - Varenna was the best for 5 days to unwind) all up costs - so including, air fares, trains, food, etc - was just on $11,000AUD, so we would recommend MSC highly, to people who want to make their options, money and the amount of times they travel stretch!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
39 years of cruising, 30th cruise just completed. This is the 1st time I have ever uttered the words "I can't wait to get off this ship!" Website: Pros: There aren't any. Cons: Buyer Beware. See for ... Read More
39 years of cruising, 30th cruise just completed. This is the 1st time I have ever uttered the words "I can't wait to get off this ship!" Website: Pros: There aren't any. Cons: Buyer Beware. See for yourself, the website is just shades of things to come. Try to navigate the counter-intuitive pages. Good luck getting assistance when you call due to the frustrating website. And once you're locked into the cruise (less than 3 months before sail date), you can't get anything resolved. Pay attention to your invoice, our invoice had to be corrected twice, the price kept increasing. Wanted to bail out at this point, but it was too late. Ship: Pros: Beautiful, brand new ship. Cons: Absolutely no sound-proofing, anywhere. From hearing the shows/disco from 2 floors beneath us, pounding music so loud that you have to leave the cabin, till 23:30-1:30 each and every night .. to hearing the next door cabin's conversations. Many complaints of noise from guests at different parts of the ship. Reception: Pros: We had to go up the chain of command to get any type of empathy or possible solution. Not really a "pro" but at least we got an appointment "4 days later" to discuss problems. Cons: Staff clearly don't understand the words "Reception" or "Guest Services". Not a smile amongst the entire group. We had to spend time in the ever-long line of Reception every single day. Anything that had to do with Reception had to be done twice, no follow-through, and don't expect any apologies from anyone. To quote the Reception Manager, "We have a lot of problems with this ship." Housekeeping: Pros: Well done, exceptionally clean cabins and ship. Cons: None Dining: Pros: Staff Cons: Food is borderline airplane food; served cold, or at best lukewarm. Very limited menu. Waiters are forced to "sell" at your table for better food and wine. Buffet: Pros: Available 20 hours a day. Cons: Everything is cold. Staff unable to replenish choices in a timely manner. Entertainment: Pros: The "only" entertainment that "might be" free on this ship, are some of the shows. Cons: High school talent show at best. Disappointing. Every single entertainment option available on this ship comes at a cost. And since there's nothing free to do, EVERYONE is stuck in the narrow promenade just to "do" something. MSC obviously wants you spending money, not relaxing and enjoying your time on-board. Spa: Pros: You can get a massage. Cons: It's sandwiched in the middle of the ship, not a window in sight. Cramped little areas. Didn't get much use of it since it was so small and always full of guests. Nothing beautiful or relaxing about this spa. Excursions: Pros: The best thing because you can get off this ship. Cons: None. Staff: Pros: There are a few smiling faces. Cons: You get the feeling they're not happy and it filters through to the guests. It seems they are more interested in what's easiest for them .. not you, their guests. Overall: 3 months of "conversations" prior to cruise, correcting errors, struggling with website. 7 nights without sleep once on-board. 7 days of constant aggravation from the staff forced to "sell" you more. At least in Jamaica you can walk away. It seems that MSC has forgotten how to treat their guests. It also seems that they are simply trying to recoup the price of their new ship. It's an experience we will never forget and will never recommend MSC on their new greed driven venture. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We wanted a cruising experience - unlike the Sydney based ones where you have a few days at sea before you see anything - and the Orchestra itinerary was the perfect solution. We embarked in Civitavecchia in a very well run and ... Read More
We wanted a cruising experience - unlike the Sydney based ones where you have a few days at sea before you see anything - and the Orchestra itinerary was the perfect solution. We embarked in Civitavecchia in a very well run and professional process to gather the herd of new passengers. We were very impressed with our cabins for their layout, the space and state of cleanliness. Our first night aboard included the mandatory evacuation procedure, a great dinner in our fine dining restaurant with terrific staff and then a brilliant show to enjoy before retiring early as the following morning we were in Genoa. This routine of port hopping continued around the Mediterranean with wonderful destinations and terrific sailing between them enjoying all the features and comforts of the MSC Orchestra. This included terrific food and service enjoyed at every on-board outlet from fine dining to buffets, bars both topside and internally, a cigar lounge, two heated outdoor pools, 4 hot tubs, a tennis court, mini put-put greens and quoits. All capped off with sensational nightly shows and of course the casino and disco to keep going all night. The staff seemed to be mainly Indonesian (from Bali) and from the Philippines so service was generally impeccable under the guidance and leadership of the Italian crew. Our only complaint being our fellow passengers and the way they treated each other, the staff and the wonderful facilities provided... They had a level of rudeness and no-care that was very disappointing. (smoking within the ship in designated no smoking areas, leaving tons of uneaten food because in a buffet environment they load up without consideration of fellow passengers of staff that have to clean up after them, and general rudeness to everyone around them! Despite this, overall we enjoyed a sensational holiday aboard a marvelous ship with a great crew, a really wonderful itinerary and a truly magnificent experience enjoyed in order to discover the magic of the Mediterranean - thanks MSC Orchestra Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I signed up before I had read the reviews. If you want a great itinerary on for a cheap price MSC Meraviglia is a good deal. However, expect to get nickel and dimed to death. They even make you pay for water in the dining room. In your ... Read More
I signed up before I had read the reviews. If you want a great itinerary on for a cheap price MSC Meraviglia is a good deal. However, expect to get nickel and dimed to death. They even make you pay for water in the dining room. In your room the only TV channels are news or ship information and sales. Movies on the TV cost 8 euros. There is nothing to do on the ship that doesn't cost. But when you figure the same cruise on Royal Caribbean is $1000 more I suppose it all evens out. The staff was great, the food was okay and the ship was nice. The itinerary was great but don't buy excursions from the ship, at every port we found great vans (there were eight of us) that would take us for a lot less than the crowded ship busses. The entertainment was okay but it would be difficult to do better when you have so many languages you are trying to speak to.(English was a minority) They do have the Cirque Solie thing and we went to both shows it was much better than the regular show but not worth 15 euro. The cabins were Okay but the storage was small. I have been on Royal Caribbean, Disney, NCL, Princess and Holland this ship was a step below all of them in the food and entertainment but about the same in service. If you have never cruised before you will love it. If you have cruised before you will be disappointed, but remember the price, even after you pay for all of the other stuff you still come out ahead. The best part was they take you to some wonderful places. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise for a family Christmas holiday and prior to leaving I became very anxious after reading all the negative reviews. We had an amazing week on board a beautiful ship and not one of our group of seven had any ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a family Christmas holiday and prior to leaving I became very anxious after reading all the negative reviews. We had an amazing week on board a beautiful ship and not one of our group of seven had any complaints. Embarkation was the quickest and most efficient I have experienced. It was as quick as boarding as a Yacht Club passenger which we have done in the past. Disembarkation was as good and undoubtedly the best I have had in my over 10 cruises. Personnel were amazingly friendly and good at their tasks, from waiters to cabin staff. Even those working the administration side were helpful. We only had reason to use them twice and never waited more than 7 minutes each time. Considering there are so many passengers I find this exceptional. Food was good and varied and came to the table quickly and hot. We had breakfast in both the restaurant and the buffet. Divine eggs Benedictine. I found the portions sufficient but if you have a healthy appetite there is absolutely no problem on taking everything on the menu. It is served with a smile. I highly recommend the drinks package. We also ate at Eataly and the Teppinyaki. Both were excellent. The shows we saw were enjoyable. Cirque de Soleil was cancelled the night we had reserved for but this was due to bad weather. Understandable considering the nature of the show We were fully reimbursed. The balcony cabins we occupied were comfortable with excellent beds and the storage space is sufficient for a week. The bathroom with shower was perfect for a cruise ship. All was spotless and remained that way for the duration. The attention given to kiddies is amazing. Our 6 year grandson did not want the cruise to end. The staff are to be highly commended. We never used any of the tours offered so I am not in a position to comment. The gym has modern equipment and the spa is fabulous. So, for all those people out there who have done nothing but complain, perhaps they should start questioning themselves. Are they generally complainers and always dissatisfied? Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Chose this ship because my husband and I liked the ports-which were fine. There were many issues but the top one for my husband is the cheapness of the ship. You have to buy the water you drink in the restaurant. We bought tickets for ... Read More
Chose this ship because my husband and I liked the ports-which were fine. There were many issues but the top one for my husband is the cheapness of the ship. You have to buy the water you drink in the restaurant. We bought tickets for water and soda, but were sold a book of alcohol even though I told staff we don't drink. He told us you can use it for soda and tea, but didn't understand we were paying for alcohol every night. When I discovered the mistake they wouldn't let me exchange the alcohol for tea tickets. I tried talking to a manager and it verified what I noticed again and again with the staff. The manager kept a phone in his face while I spoke and put his finger up when I talked. He was there to talk to me but kept the phone up-I said I'll wait until he's finished with his call, but he continued to wave his finger at me and walked away. The men treat women like second class customers. I felt it when I would stand at the bar to get a Pepsi. Men would come to bar after me and get served. Again and again I noticed this This may come as a surprise to MSC, but women often are the breadwinners and are paying their salaries. That a manager, someone in charge, is able to put his finger in a customer's face up and walk away says a lot about their promotion policy. And for the record, I am not a screamer or can't afford the difference in tea and wine. I was talking calmly-the staff member who was helping and called the manager for me apologized again and again for the manager. I doubt MSC cares whether we use them again, but it's hard not to see they need to do some training in sensitivity towards women. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were on the 12 day MSC Orchestra over Christmas. MSC is now marketing itself as a family-friendly line, however, they do not have the ship or the experience to do this well yet. All of the kid venues seemed literally smushed into the ... Read More
We were on the 12 day MSC Orchestra over Christmas. MSC is now marketing itself as a family-friendly line, however, they do not have the ship or the experience to do this well yet. All of the kid venues seemed literally smushed into the boat in odd places (during the last referbishment), and overall the boat felt very cramped and crowded, despite not being booked to capacity. Perhaps the newer class ships are better for this. The kids club is offered almost all day long, though there is a lot of TV watching (the MSC tv show) and other screen activities as they do not have a lot of kids, so they often combine all ages together and I suppose that's an easy way to entertain them? This was disappointing for us, as my daughter loves the organized, structured activities on other lines. So she opted to go for only an hour a day, and many days, she opted to not go at all. The food is really good, although it is European in both style and portion size. Be sure to order multiple dishes. We enjoyed the MDR, though the seating is odd and staff is friendly, but not personable. I loved the food, though it is a bit rich. I did miss the variety of eateries that are offered on other ships. Also, the buffet is really packed during peak times, and during non-peak times, there is limited food available. There is no free ice cream on the ship. The entertainment offered in the daily program is for adults only. My 11 year old was not allowed to particpate with me in the Christmas Crafts activities- even if she used my supplies and sat on my lap! The worker in charge was incredibly rude about it, and it was quite a turn off. Most of the entertainment offered are dance classes. While fun, doing more than 1-2 a day is just overkill. I missed the typical cruise programing on other lines. The evening shows were okay, we went to several, though they were all basically the same thing set to different music (singing, dancing, acrobatics). There is nothing "fresh" about the entertainment. Embarkation and disembarkation is simple, though there is very little information given for each. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to get on and off the ship. They add a "unicef" charge per day- you can get this taken off the night before you disembark. The ports are the best thing MSC offers- they are port intensive and have a wide range, which was ultimately why we booked them. That being said, it basically felt like we were on a floating hotel and not a cruise. This was our 5th cruise, our first with MSC. Both my daughter and I prefer the other lines and will stick to them. We will not book MSC again. There was nothing "horrible" about the cruise, just nothing "special" about it either. Everything was average or just below average. However, given the huge number of horrible reviews, we were happy as it wasn't as bad as we were expecting. Unfortunately, MSC did not win us over as customers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Found cabin not very clean.Meals very bland and staff not well trained Disembarkation was chaos.Day trips were also poorly organised for disembarkation.Entertainment on board appeared to be more for the Gala evenings etc and day ... Read More
Found cabin not very clean.Meals very bland and staff not well trained Disembarkation was chaos.Day trips were also poorly organised for disembarkation.Entertainment on board appeared to be more for the Gala evenings etc and day activities were not adequate.This was our first time cruising and would never take another.We have travelled to Italy about 4 times over the past 17years to family and thought a cruise for Christmas 2017 would be wonderful but we wish we had chosen another land tour through Europe.We spent 3 days in Genoa before the cruise as it was a city in Italy we had not yet explored.We would never take another MSC cruise and would certainly not recommend to family and friends.The buffet was poorly organised and we could not believe the bad manners and pushing and shoving of the majority of the passengers at this service.Should we return to visit family in Italy again we will travel independently by land which is more enjoyable and is value for money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I have sailed with this company on three previous occasions and have enjoyed them all. We booked accommodation in Genoa for three nights before cruise and although the weather was cold and showery we had a great time walking all over the ... Read More
I have sailed with this company on three previous occasions and have enjoyed them all. We booked accommodation in Genoa for three nights before cruise and although the weather was cold and showery we had a great time walking all over the city. We arrived at the cruise terminal early but everything went smoothly and after waiting on a seat for 30 minutes we were able to board. Our cabin was ready but not our cruise card, but staff at boarding told us to give our cabin number to dining room staff and we would be able too add our drinks to our package. We then went to the buffet four lunch it was very busy bit this was not a problem as there were staff at the buffet entrance who took you to a seat. Also there was a button on the table to summon a beverage waiter and they were very efficient. The food was hot and there was a good selection. During the whole cruise this was the only dining room we used it was a loot quieter than other ships I had been on also no Queues for food, this was all down to good layout. Also I was please to see when the place was busy it was not below the restaurant managers to help clear tables. The entertainment was OK Some of the stage shows were good Somme not, bands in the bars were varied. I have written this review because of so many negative reviews. I do not want to dress four dinner and be told what to wear, if we were going to the bars etc we changed out of shorts and into casual wear. If you want to dress up youy can but lots of people don't it is all up to you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Embarkation was very smooth. We did have the Aurea Package which meant we basically just walked right on. We waited till noon to get to the port and we were on the ship within 30 mins of being dropped off by the taxi. Our cabin was ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth. We did have the Aurea Package which meant we basically just walked right on. We waited till noon to get to the port and we were on the ship within 30 mins of being dropped off by the taxi. Our cabin was amazing we had the duxplex suite. The layout was great. We were upstairs so my husband and I had privacy but we were never more than an earshot from our young children. Two bathrooms was wonderful and we all enjoyed the hot tub :) Again I am not sure why there are so many complaints about the dinning. We had no issues. Each night we would find something to eat in the MDR that was really good. We also ate at Butcher's Cut, Kaito Teppanyaki and Eataly-Food Market. All were excellent. A must try is Butcher's Cut it was AMAZING!! We did go to most of the shows and enjoyed some of them. This would be the only area that could be improved on but I think this is due to the amounts of different languages spoken onboard. While we did go see both Cirque shows they were good but in our opinion they were not "must sees". We found the service to be very good to excellent in most cases.....but it was European service. Which for us is not a problem since we live in europe :) and are use to the not "in your face service". Service is very different in Europe than in American and since this ship is European it was what to be expected. We had one issue with a Bartender that was immediately taken care of. The Ports were good. We loved Malta the most...what an amazing place!! We did have to skip Rome due to bad weather. We did not use any MSC excursions. All the ports on our route are very doable by yourself. The kids had a great time! They enjoyed the kids clubs but there was a little bit of a language barrier. We would suggest MSC to others with the understanding that you get what you pay for (book a higher package if you want more perks) and that it is a European ship. For the money it was an amazing vacation and we are headed back to sea this May on the MSC Divina (We booked onboard and got an amazing deal for the Yacht Club :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
the date and itinary we wanted to spend christmas in dubai,you could not fault a single thing the ship is magnificent and the staff wre wonderful, hubert and jean the pool attendants smiling and only to willing to help at 6.30 in the ... Read More
the date and itinary we wanted to spend christmas in dubai,you could not fault a single thing the ship is magnificent and the staff wre wonderful, hubert and jean the pool attendants smiling and only to willing to help at 6.30 in the morning, manuela from rumania in the early breakfast at 6 and surbessa from cape town and all of them on early brekfast smiling happy could not do enough for you,all of reception alice juliio andrea lilly to many to mention osama grm,could not fault givanni the maitre di, we did eat in the main restaurant a few times but 9.pm. is a bit late for us and 6 is to early so ate in the buffet which was incredible, and ate in the butchers cut superb, the animation team were incredible and the dace teachers wonderful dancers i know what i am talking about i was a dancer, there was something for everybody the only drawback ignorant greedy rude passengers of every single nationality, what the crew have to put up with with some of these passengers is disgusting i felt sorry for the crew most people need a lesson in manners will definately cruise with msc again and hope to cross paths with every single member of the crewxx Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our first and last cruise with MSC! I was travelling with my husband, daughter and her husband. We booked two cabins, both on deck 12. Luckily, we all flew in a day before the cruise was to begin to have time to visit sites in ... Read More
This was our first and last cruise with MSC! I was travelling with my husband, daughter and her husband. We booked two cabins, both on deck 12. Luckily, we all flew in a day before the cruise was to begin to have time to visit sites in Genoa. However things went from bad to worse. Below is a list of my grievances with MSC: -The cruise was supposed to depart from Genoa (Genova), Italy. However we got a message from our travel agent that our ship would now not be docking in Genoa, but that MSC Orchestra would be picking us up in Marseille, France. (First MSC informed us that we would be picked up by a ferry (where cabins and meals would be provided). However the next morning at 8am MSC issued a notification that we due to report (check-in) between 9-10am we had to hurry and be at the port to catch this ferry. We arrived at the port at 8:50 cancelling all our plans to view Genoa. We were told to wait in a cold room with no food or drink provided (except what was in a vending machine, however 2 of our family have severe medical dietary restrictions. And yes, MSC was made aware of these restrictions well in advance of the cruise.) Then we informed that there would not be a ferry provided, but we were now going to Marseille by bus. However the bus would not leave until all 99 passengers arrived at the port. This took hours! We boarded the bus at 12:15pm. We were then told that they would not be taking us to Marseille, but to Nice to stay in a hotel (no meals or beverages provided except for breakfast in the morning. The only break we had was at a gas station on the side of the hwy. Bus drive took 4 hours mostly because the driver drove slowly and took several suspicious detours. We could see his GPS which he ignored and other passengers had their own GPS monitoring. We had to press the issue with the MSC representative aboard as well as the driver. Still the drive took way too long. By the time we checked into the hotel most businesses were closed and we had to wait until 7pm to eat dinner, UNACCEPTABLE!) Also no time to see Nice. Boarded the bus to Marseille the next morning (different driver same treatment-no food, circulus route with many turnarounds and yes he had a fully functioning GPS!). Still no food, no beverages, no bathroom breaks. Arrived at the MSC port in Marseille at 11:30 am to a cold terminal, no food or beverages provided. Mad rush for the restroom, however there was only 1 stall for women and 1 stall for men. Shameful! Then took up over an hour to board us all. So no time to see Marseille. MSC said they would only give us a one day credit, but we actually lost full use of 2 days of sightseeing and dining. In closing this long review, I should say that I have been on several cruise with 3 different cruise lines, so I know what to expect. That being said, you should never sail with MSC! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This is not going to be long winded but I feel the need to voice my opinion which is absolutely POSITIVE...not always shared by MSC cruisers on CC. How you rate your cruise often depends on expectations and attitude to dealing with any ... Read More
This is not going to be long winded but I feel the need to voice my opinion which is absolutely POSITIVE...not always shared by MSC cruisers on CC. How you rate your cruise often depends on expectations and attitude to dealing with any shortfall. You choose your cruise, you pay for it, you pack, you go. Remember though to have a good time and this is impossible if you are going to grumble because " on ...... you didn't have to pay for water at dinner " or " on ..... coffee was served after the meal ". Every cruise line does things differently, if you have a 'must have' list check it out with your cruise consultant/cruise line before booking...most questions are answered somewhere online and once onboard focus on the positives as usually there is no turning back once you've sailed! MSC is very affordable as cruises go, the ships are attractive, stylish ( Italian!), cabins are comfortable and the space well organised. On our transatlantic voyage service was very good all over the ship, crew were most pleasant and ready to interact with guests, food was abundant, varied and palatable. The whole ship was spotlessly clean. Although coffee wasn't served in the main dining room after dinner ( we knew beforehand} an excellent Italian coffee can be found in most of the bars. Evening entertainment was also varied and enjoyable and during the sea days we were never bored: stretching, aerobics, tai chi, handicraft classes, dancing classes, quizes, lectures, tennis, squash, cards, library, board games, pools, jacuzzis, table tennis, table football.... There was a dedicated guests relations consultant for English speaking passengers who could be contacted either in person or by phone for any queries ( rather than using the reception desk ). The Master Stefano Aiello would make daily announcements regarding our navigation across the Atlantic and was often to be seen walking through the ship greeting passengers and having a chat. We had a thoroughly good time, feel we got excellent value for money and will definitely be cruising MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
On arrival onboard there is a huge hard sell line of touts that surround you as you walk through calling out to you to buy all their extra packages and shoving their ads in your hands. Very difficult to ignore or say no which is what they ... Read More
On arrival onboard there is a huge hard sell line of touts that surround you as you walk through calling out to you to buy all their extra packages and shoving their ads in your hands. Very difficult to ignore or say no which is what they want. Market place buffet restaurant is massively overcrowded, noisy, uncivilised and impersonal. Have to push and grab for everything. Should be split into different rooms. No free fruit juice except at breakfast time and extremely sugary! Coffee is terrible. Hard sellers going from table to table touting for their businesses in your face whilst eating your meals. Pushing you to buy extras such as freshly squeezed orange juice which should be free anyway, soft drinks and payable restaurants, etc, etc. They are rude and interrupt you constantly. The alternative free upmarket restaurant also charge you for water plus commission on top! They refuse to offer tap water. Food there is tiny. 3 raviolis for a main meal or a teaspoon size mashed potato as the only veg with a thin piece of meat. Soup size is about 4 tablespoons. No films, documentaries, dramas, tv programmes for English viewers in the cabins. Only payable ones. They only had news channels and CBeebies in English. Cinema is chargeable. Bowling is chargeable. Free show every evening but Cirque du Soleil in another theatre is payable. Buying a wifi package doesn’t even give you access to your emails. You have to upgrade even more to get that. Excursions are much more expensive with MSC. Much much cheaper if you get a taxi or Hop On Hop Off buses. There is always a Tourist Information desk right next to the ship at every port giving you a free map and directions and ways to get about much cheaper than the ship’s. The ship always gives you the impression that their methods are the only ones, such as their own ‘payable’ shuttle bus to city centre a mile away – not true. Money is taken from your account towards UNICEF without your consent during the cruise. Was told this is apparently “in the small print”. The brainteaser quiz session had 90% of questions regarding MSC i.e. “What benefits are there if you book your next cruise now with us”. I think the word ‘benefits’ should be swapped with ‘hidden charges’. And the words of their show one evening was “We work with Love” - or rather “we work with del boys”. Felt like being hauled through a washing machine with the huge push to make you unwittingly spend more and I will never go with MSC again. Sadly, this mindset of hidden charges/hard sell/fees/commission is rife with all cruise companies and is getting worse. Stay away! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I wanted to try MSC but had not read many reviews. This was a new ship (sailed Nov 2017), and the itenirary was right. We booked a balcony aurea. Room was tipical of cruise ships, shower was better due to glass door. Closet space was ... Read More
I wanted to try MSC but had not read many reviews. This was a new ship (sailed Nov 2017), and the itenirary was right. We booked a balcony aurea. Room was tipical of cruise ships, shower was better due to glass door. Closet space was the smallest we have encountered. We dont stay in cabin to much so it was OK. Food was ok but not excellent, except sweets which we thought were the best part of the cruise. Breakfast was ok but the herds of italian families was a minus. I do not think they believe in orderly waiting for service, pushing and shoving was the norm at the buffet. The kids were out of control and not once did I see a parent admonish a kid (I actually think they encouraged the kids to cut in line and push their way to the front. The main promenade was awesome and we did enjoy the LED display. Having the aurea experience, we enjoyed our included massage and access to the thermal area. The thermal area was great but lacked a thalasso pool. Enbarkation and disembarkation in Marseilles was eficient. In Naples, however, returning to the ship was the stupidest experience you can imagine. Two screening gates for 3000 cruisers-if you thought the buffet was a circus, this was Ringling Bros. It took more than 2 hours to get us in because of the rudeness and animalistic behaviour of the cruisers(mainly). But if the crowd can not be controlled by a particular terminal, shouldn't MSC be concerned with the safety of their costumers? I did not come in thinking anything bad of italians, and I still do not think, or hope anyway, that this was the tipical behaviour of the whole country, BUT, It was abismal. One last point, I do not think we arrived nor departed on time more than once or twice during the week. I told myself we would not use MSC again. Unfortunately, we planned a may cruise from Miami in May with extended family with only the week of May 26th available to them, plus a tight budget...Booked Seaside. 2 days after the final payment our relative had a change of plans and cancel, SO we are stuck with the cruise or loose 500$. Some of the waiters in our cruise told us the experience was better in the caribbean, I hope they are right. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We did a review of our September cruise on MSC Preziosa where we concluded that the cruise and the on board experience was much better than we feared… that cruise was a planned dry run for Meraviglia which had been booked for a year and ... Read More
We did a review of our September cruise on MSC Preziosa where we concluded that the cruise and the on board experience was much better than we feared… that cruise was a planned dry run for Meraviglia which had been booked for a year and was to include 2 mid 70 year olds with us… We diligently followed all the reviews of Meraviglia since her launch and frankly we were pretty concerned (understatement) by the reviews we read. We were within inches of cancelling before the final balance was due because all aspects seemed to be so truly awful… thanks goodness we didn’t as it would have been a horrible mistake. Our biggest reflections before some of the specific details would be: 1. What one cruiser may intensely dislike may not feel as bad, or even might be good for another - everyone’s experiences and preferences are different and it’s important to remember and respect that. Generalising is difficult and maybe misleading – comments like ‘everyone I spoke to…’ can be misleading as there are 5,000 cruisers on board so it’s likely a tiny sample and behaviourally human beings rarely openly disagree with those they are chatting with.. particularly brits tend to avoid the conflict of open disagreement with those who have strong opinions… its easier to agree whether true or not…. 2. You have to respect in an open minded manner that reviews when published are well considered, balanced and well thought through and not overly influenced by specific personal ‘one-off’ experiences. There is a real responsibility on reviewers to be authentic in their views but objective and factual rather than scare mongering and advising others not to cruise with MSC because it is so bad is probably not helpful. 3. Things change with ships, particularly new launch ones, and the experiences in the first few months may not be the same as those once the ship and crew bed into their roles, surroundings and on board processes. So our overall experience – we had a great time…. Superb value and we would do the same ship again without hesitation…….. Not ‘perfect’, but then we always manage to find something ‘not perfect’ with just about all of the 30 cruises we’ve done on RCL, Celebrity and Azamara!!!! And we found a lot more wrong with our experience of P&O (which again is quite different to many others and we respect that). Dealing with some specifics which we noted and were concerned about when we read reviews (am sure I’ve not got them all, so please treat this as just some we could quickly remember without doing tons of research!). Also please treat my observations as our reflections of OUR experience – am sure there were some of the same cruise who had very different views (indeed we could hear some on the coach to the airport…) and their views are clearly as valid as ours. They just experienced something different and saw the world differently. General Admin Check-in at airport – brilliant at Gatwick with BA – we were able to get checked in the night before so just went straight to security and breakfast! We had some frustration in the run up to the cruise as MSC will not allow anyone to access their flight booking as they treat their guests as a group booking as a result we couldn’t buy extra legroom seats or do any form of online check-in in advance. That said being able to check in the night before at the airport was great. Flight/ seating – the flight was very full and is frankly a bit of a flying bus service, but it was fine. Transfer at airport – we were met straight away once we were through immigration and customs with a bit of a wait until all passengers from other flights were through and ticked off. The representative lady did a nice thing for everyone as it was pouring with rain and she asked the driver to bring the bus to the front of the terminal so we could load up under cover… I understand that normally you have to walk to the bus (true or not I don’t know but if it is she was kind to us all!). Check in at port – at the port bags were transported for us directly off the coach to the ship without us seeing them and the check in process was very quick and clean (again whilst Genoa is one of the bigger embarkation/ disembarkation days for the cruise, for us, it was better that there wasn’t a full 5,000 person turnaround day and its phased over the course of the 7 days). We like this aspect and don’t see it as a negative at all. Disembarking – jumping to the end of the cruise! Disembarking, getting cases and boarding the bus to the airport was excellent. We’ve never experienced it being so easy to get off and get to the airport on any previous cruise! General On Board Experience/ Admin Ship – the ship is beautiful, spotlessly clean and very modern. It reminded us a lot of Anthem of the Seas. We liked how open plan it was with plenty of walking space so rarely did it feel very crowded except when there was maybe a sale on with the fragrance or watches or a specific event over-spilling out of a bar. We found the layout easy to navigate and never had a problem re waiting for lifts etc. All in all it was very much in line with the ‘big ships’ lines we’d sailed on before. Language – it felt like English was the primary language and whilst it did take a while to get through the announcements given the number of languages to be covered it didn’t inconvenience. Technology/ booking – we’d read a lot about things not working and maybe things have now been upgraded as everything worked well for us. The ‘MSC for Me’ app worked with the free on board wifi really well and the touch screens were great for menus or booking shows initially. We were able to link on board accounts for 2 rooms to one room, sort credit cards out easily. It was good for us but we saw lots of people having difficulties although most seemed to be more a case of needing help to do basic and simple things rather than actual problems. (Some people from certain countries just couldn’t be bothered to read or do anything for themselves so went to guest services to be spoon fed some of the most basic aspects). Guest Services – they have had some real hammer in reviews but I have to say we visited them 3 times during the cruise for little bits of things and we had a good experience. We never had to wait more than 20 mins and in each case the person helping us really wanted to just do their best and solve the issue. There was no ignorance, no bad behaviour, no nasty edge – we felt they were pretty good. I’m sure they get frustrated with some of the queries and some guests wanting to ask them everything under the sun as the queues get bigger and bigger but they try hard not to show it! Charges – there is a daily ‘service charge’ of 10 euros a day per person which gets added to the cabin account each evening. These are not gratuities in the old manner they are charges for services and facilities (as the name suggests) similar to many hotels do now. If you experience poor service, don’t agree with the auto approach to service charges and want to hand over cash to those who provide you great service, or are too tight to pay them(!) they can be removed via going to guest services we understand. Midway through the cruise there is a 1 euro per person donation to UNICEF also added to the account. We had no issues at all with any random charges coming onto our bills from other cabins, or unexpected charges as it was all clear upfront re what would be auto charged to our rooms. We saw a lot of people at guest services querying accounts/ charges but overhearing most seemed to be surprise at the daily service charges or the UNICEF one – maybe they didn’t know about them or read the docs? Drinks package – As per our review of Preziosa we cannot recommend this more highly. Having the ability to order pretty much anything you want and for the bill once processed to be zero to the on board account is excellent value for money. We checked with a very helpful guy as soon as we got on the ship whether all 4 of us had the right all-inclusive code and he checked his iPad and confirmed that to be the case – all good and away we went to the bar! If in doubt re any drink that might/ might not be included just ask a waiter/ bar tender they will happily tell you if it is or not (it does clearly say on each drinks menu that if there is an asterisk next to a particular drink its not included though). But the ‘Bar and Restaurant all inclusive’ package covers pretty much everything you need (including waters, teas, coffees, juices, soft drinks etc.) . The deluxe package, for us, was unnecessary to be an upgrade. With the on board account we never had a charge made to us for any drinks we ordered or wanted to order. Included versus extra charge aspects – we’d read some pretty scary stuff that what you received included in the cruise price was very little and everything was an upsell. That was not our experience – yes we paid for the all-inclusive drinks package but we’d have had to pay that spend multiple times over if we had bought drinks at the bar by the drink… food and entertainment is included, except for cirque de soleil as a premium show and the speciality restaurants (just as all other cruise lines). It’s a choice to spend more to experience more and the basic cost plus drinks package worked really well for all of us. Photo before boarding – the only naughty bit I’d warn future guests on is the ‘compulsory’ photo taken by the ships on-board photography team ‘for security reasons’ of all members of each cabin just after you’ve checked in and received your sea pass card (before you get to the boarding area). This is NOT the sea pass security photo that identifies each guest when disembarking or returning to the ship… guests will have either already uploaded this or have it taken by the ships security people as they physically board the ship… it is a con replacing (on other cruise lines) the entirely voluntary photo that can be taken for a souvenir of boarding day (typically with the ship as the canvas backdrop). They insisted on taking the photo despite our strong protests - we refused twice and they wouldn’t give us our sea passes back until we were prepared to stand there and have a photo taken! The reason for this is that the photo will be printed and delivered to your cabin on about day 3 or so and if you do not want (to buy) it you must return it to the photography booth or they will auto charge you for keeping it – it’s not a complimentary freebie… Shows – we quite enjoyed the included shows. There was no ‘laughing at the performance’ and very few people leaving shows even though we always went to the 10.30pm performances. They tended to last about 40-45 mins which is about right for that time of night and generally its clear they do put a lot of effort into them. That said, a bit like our Preziosa experience, it seems like MSC are trying to put almost too much into the shows, the cast is much bigger than other cruise dance/ singing casts we’ve seen, with too much content and sometimes this slightly detracts from focusing in on what’s going on. The quality isn’t anywhere near Norwegian’s Burn the floor or RCLs broadway shows but they are not likely to be so. Overall it was what it was – decent included entertainment that you can go to or not… your choice. Music – on board the ship there was quite a lot of music or various styles – not all of it suited us but it was ok. Staff motivation – we’d read a lot how downhearted and unfriendly the crew and staff were in people’s view and this had worried us too. Just to say whilst we encountered the odd individual who was not friendly and who looked like being on board was the worst life choice they had ever made (as we have on every cruise) generally the service, friendliness and effort to try to provide a service was really good. We experienced nothing more negative compared to other cruises we’ve done. Cabins Stateroom – we went for 2 ‘bella’ balcony staterooms which is the lowest of the ‘experience’ levels and contrary to some reviews we found the rooms really nice. The space in the room overall is pretty good, with the sofa being the biggest we’ve seen on ‘normal’ balcony cabins. Storage is small with only 8 hangers (so we took 8 of our own too) but there is also a second pull down rail underneath the main rail in the cupboard which is a clever addition. We never struggled for storage space overall and certainly didn’t need to live out of the suitcases (which immediately went under the bed and were not seen again until the last night!) A big tip for people considering Meraviglia – we had cabin 8127… it has the biggest balcony we have ever seen outside the most expensive suites. It was permanently in shade as the superstructure overhung it but you could have fitted 9-10 people laid down on the balcony and held a party for 15-20 on it. It really was huge. TV was great – not many English channels but still at least 4 in English (remember they are catering for at least 5-6 languages on board). Attendant – he was great. We are ‘low maintenance’ guests but he was always available and provided ice and glasses when needed for us to have a celebratory glass of champagne on our (enormous) balcony with the older folks. Everything kept really clean and tidy. No complaints at all re the stateroom. Bars Bars on decks 5 and 6 – these are very open plan and so feel almost more like coffee bars than cocktail bars and this does impact both on the ‘atmosphere’ of the bar and the degree of noise as people are constantly walking past you. The service was pretty good and generally a nice place for an afternoon beer or coffee, but not really night time bars. English pub – this was a nice place to sit for a short time but seemed for reasons we couldn’t explain always to be slightly chaotic. The guys behind the bar didn’t seem to be in control of what they were doing and the range of beers, what was ‘on’ or ‘off’ at any point was inconsistent. It needs something to ‘get it going’ in our view as something was missing. Sky lounge – this was our favourite bar by far. We went there every night after dinner and spent most of the evening and night in there. Great place, very club like atmosphere, drinks were good. It was adults only and was used in the day for private events but never in the evening. The jazz trio were tedious… but just about tolerable! Pool deck bars – these were all good albeit the bar tenders seemed a bit surly at times in the afternoons (maybe they were cold having been outside all day!) Dining Food – is a critical element of our cruise. We were so concerned at this aspect going with our older folks that as mentioned earlier we nearly cancelled. However, we were very pleasantly surprised – we did not experience ANY of the horrible negatives people have written about – the food was not tasteless, when freshly delivered food was not luke warm, there was choice and we were really relieved and pleased. Maybe we were just very lucky or more tolerant I don’t know – but the fish and pasta were always very nice. Breakfast MDR – we ate at the Deck 5 Waves restaurant for breakfast on most occasions and the menu stays the same (not surprisingly) each day for breakfast. Service was pretty good if not a bit chaotic, you cannot click your fingers for waiters to come to you, they will bring juice, breads, pastries trays on a circulating round the tables basis and tea and coffee pots to fill glasses – it means you can wait a while for a fresh cup. The hot food is cooked to order and was lovely (omelettes were very nice). Breakfast buffet – we did the buffet a few times for breakfast – it was a bit chaotic and the behaviour of some of the Italian and Spanish guests was generally poor but nothing too negative re the food itself. In our experience pretty much all cruise buffets at breakfast resemble a rugby scrum! Lunch MDR – we ate at Waves only a couple of times for lunch and it was nice. It was fairly quiet, good service and the food was good with portion sizes that were enough but not huge. Lunch buffet – we tended to do this most often as we were off the ship a lot and only got back on towards the end of service. Food was good, hot and we didn’t experience the complaint that the choice didn’t change at all. Yes the breads, pastries, fruit, salad, pizza etc were the same but other items (particularly the ‘ethnic’ choices) changed each day. Dinner MDR – we were allocated the Olivio D’oro restaurant on deck 6 for first sitting 7pm table for 4. We had asked for second sitting, but we decided to stick with 7pm as it actually suited our older guests a bit more than waiting till late to eat. Our experience of dinner was a positive one – the food was good, no-one complained re their choices, nothing was cold and we had no-one struggling to find a choice that they would like. We didn’t experience the issues reported re waiters not filling water or refilling wine glasses… it is true that there are less waiters handling each section than RCL and so the main waiter for your table does have to work harder and therefore maybe we were lucky. But the service was very good. The portion sizes are not huge (just as on Preziosa) but neither are they small – they were perfectly adequate. Also we never had any problem or funny look from our excellent waiter Imam when we ordered 2 starters (seafood or salad, plus a soup) and a main as a third course. He seemed to see it as perfectly normal and fine – again maybe we were just lucky. Dinner buffet – we only did this once and found no issues with it. The chaos was less (whilst still poor behaviour from our Italian and Spanish cousins was still a feature…) and so it was more of a relaxed atmosphere than at lunch or breakfast. Food was good and hot. Grab and go – we only used this once when we were back on the ship very late from a full and busy day of touring around Barcelona. The pizza and hot dog was good. Butchers cut – we ate there on one occasion and we found the steaks to be very good. The filet mignon in particular is lovely, albeit with the dining experience we only were allowed one side dish each which seemed a bit tight as they weren’t big enough for table sharing. Overall for Euros 39 it wasn’t cheap but was very nice. Ports/ excursions – this cruise was very port intensive (only one sea day) and we found that we really enjoyed this. We didn’t do any planned MSC excursions as they looked pretty pricey for the time/ activities involved and generally the ships docked close enough to the cities to be able to largely do your own thing. Naples – we wanted to go to Capri (we’ve been before and wanted to take the old folks) but we felt on balance we didn’t have enough time so we got the hop on hop off bus which was a bit expensive at around 25 euros and not really great value. We don’t really like Naples very much and it did show some nicer parts but it still didn’t really ‘do it’ for us. Messina – we had never been to Messina before and we found it really nice. Initially we got off the ship and just had a walk around the streets and then boarded the hop on hop off and did both lines for the rest of the day. As one guy rightly said on the bus, it was the best 15 euros he’d spent in a long time. One line was in town, one along the coast. Only downside was the commentary was via microphone and all nationalities showed their worst behaviours – Italians talked loudly during every language (including their own!), Spanish largely the same, germans all ex their own, French the same… you get the picture… no-one heard much as a result! Also a tip – don’t ever get a car hire in Messina and be careful crossing the road… we had never seen so many cars with scrapes, dents, banged up bumpers – I’m not exaggerating to say it was virtually every car….double parking everywhere… one business not to be in is car insurance in Messina! Valletta – wow what a bonus. We had never been to Malta and the capital was lovely with fantastic weather even in mid-November. You dock within 20 mins walk of the town (quite uphill to get there, but all downhill back!). We got off and walked around the town, very clean, very nicely presented, nice bars and restaurants. We watched the mid-day cannon firing. It was very easy, lovely views from the cliff top. It was a real highlight and I’m surprised more ships don’t dock there. There is a real attempt to invest in the city. It was a real highlight. Barcelona – we’ve been to Barcelona a number of times and sailed out of there a lot but the city never fails to impress. It’s such a well laid out, classy city with so much going on. We chose to walk off the ship and over the bridge to the WTC to pick up the hop on hop off bus rather than take the MSC shuttle which would have been 10 euros each to go to the same place. It’s about a mile and half but up and downhill to get there. We did both bus lines during the day (swapping over at the Plaza de Cataluna – brilliant place for food/ drink) for 28 euros each (25 for pensioners). Super tour and brilliant but a long day. We walked back to the ship which felt hard going on the way back! Marseille – we’ve been a few times and so decided to stay on the ship. Easy day, a lie in, a few beers, quiet lunch….. some cocktails, then packing in the afternoon! Overall, it was a super holiday. The ship is up there with RCL, the service seems to have improved and the food we found to be pretty good. For the price paid it was super value (much cheaper than RCL or NCL). My wife’s father summarised it best when we shared that we thought we ought to cancel way back in July – he said ‘look people see things differently, whatever it turns out to be like, we’ll make the best of it..’ – he was totally right. Fortunately we didn’t have to make the best of it because it was genuinely good. Next up is my favourite ship in the world in December …….. the absolutely glorious and truly awesome Oasis of the Seas – it will be interesting to compare that to our last 2 cruises on MSC…….!!!! I hope this has been at least slightly helpful to people. All the best. BIG ROGER. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Just got back form a 6 night med cruise on this ship, Embarkation and disembarkation went as well as expected. In the main the ship was nice, the public areas are good and clean. Cabins (we were in 11210) was very nice. ... Read More
Just got back form a 6 night med cruise on this ship, Embarkation and disembarkation went as well as expected. In the main the ship was nice, the public areas are good and clean. Cabins (we were in 11210) was very nice. Dinning:- The buffet. This was probably the best food you will find on the ship and the best for selection. If you like your coffee I'd would recommend the coffee package (about £25 for about 20 coffees) as the coffee in the machines is a little cheap, drinkable but not that nice. As someone else has mentioned on the forum you don't get spoons just wooden sticks. Allocated Dinning:- The menu was not that good. Food was never that warm. One example of the main meal. I ordered a lasagna but when it came you go what you ordered lasagna no garnish, nothing just a lump of lasagne in the middle of an empty plate not very imaginative. The service and the staff:- I personally found them very nice, my philosophy is if your pleasant to them your pleasant to you. The cabin stewards was always a pleasure to talk to and he did a great job. Out on board:- all good there clean tidy, one of the main gripes is that you couldn't walk round the whole of the outside (walking deck) of the ship as you can on other cruise liners. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our 38th cruise, but first on MSC. It offered tremendous value for money, a good itinerary and an escape from the cold British weather. We sailed from Genoa, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, spending 2 days in Genoa at the outset ... Read More
This was our 38th cruise, but first on MSC. It offered tremendous value for money, a good itinerary and an escape from the cold British weather. We sailed from Genoa, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, spending 2 days in Genoa at the outset and four days in Rio before flying home. We visited Portofino under our own steam together with a trip on a narrow gauge railway prior to sailing and did everything Rio had to offer before returning home. We applied for Status Match with MSC which was a real boon, half an hour from hotel to stateroom on board! Disembarkation was equally effective. The ship was big, extremely clean, our inside cabin was spacious and well looked after by our steward. Food was excellent in both MDR and Buffet. Previous reviews of Preziosa have criticised cold food, poor service and lack of seats. In my experience none of those factors remotely applied. Remember, this is an Italian ship, not US or British so expect differences!! Entertainment in the Theatre was generally good. 11 out of 14 shows were reasonable, 3 not so. Languages were 6 in variety for introductions but English was always first and all the crew spoke English. Service and Excursions were good, Activities variable. I would definitely use MSC again, in fact we are going from Italy to S Africa next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We were talked into going on this cruise by my sister in law as it seemed to be excellent value and a good way to see some great european sights. we are first time cruisers and were a little apprehensive especially after reading some of ... Read More
We were talked into going on this cruise by my sister in law as it seemed to be excellent value and a good way to see some great european sights. we are first time cruisers and were a little apprehensive especially after reading some of the reviews.however after a very smooth and easy embarkation we went to our balcony cabin on deck 11 Meraviglia well appointed and clean. We dined in the Red Velvet restaurant most nights where our table server Kowmang from Bali kept us amused and looked after us very well indeed. As some reviews have said portions are not huge but after 3 courses you are full and can always make a trip to the Zanzibar buffet for a pizza and beer supper. As regards the drink packages we just paid as we went and found it reasonable value for money. The entertainment was fun especially the wonderland and queen tribute shows {Freddie Mercury sounded great with an Italian accent} Service overall was good and the shore excursions well organized, the few complaints were mainly passengers who didn't listen to the guides and ran late!! We are beyond the child raising years but from what we saw the kids had a great time especially for halloween. Disembarkation was again slick and easy, If you want to go on a very european cruise I reccomend MSC. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We've just returned from the Meraviglia, taking our children and grandchildren. Over the last few weeks I have been reading these reviews and getting more and more anxious, to the pointing of considering cancelling and losing a lot ... Read More
We've just returned from the Meraviglia, taking our children and grandchildren. Over the last few weeks I have been reading these reviews and getting more and more anxious, to the pointing of considering cancelling and losing a lot of money. But we decided to go for it .. and I am so pleased that we did, as many of the reviews I read do not equate with what we experienced. I found the majority of staff to be very friendly and service was efficient. They always made a special fuss of the children. I had imagined living on pasta and pizza for a week, but there was a huge choice of food at the various cooking stations in the buffet .... it did get crazy busy sometimes but we always got our food reasonably quickly and found an empty table to sit at. Main restaurant was good in the evening and so were the waiters. We also paid extra for the Cirque du Soleil dinner show which I thought was excellent and well worth it. The only other restaurant that we tried was the Teppanyaki which we paid for too .... and it was a great evening with really good food. The other facilities were good too and I never noticed it that crowded by any of the pools even on the sea day ..... What I didn't like was that there were people boarding and disembarking at every stop, which gave it the feel of a glorified ferry, with suitcases in the corridors every day, and safety briefings ..... rather than just one day for everyone checking in together. The ship docks about 25 minutes drive to Marseille in the middle of nowhere, so you have no choice but to pay around 17 euros for their return shuttle into town or take an excursion. I think charging for the shuttle to take you where you should be anyway is just greedy and it should be a free service. It also felt quite rocky at certain times - I'm normally a good sailor but had to take sea sickness tablets one night. Finally, watch out for the photo shop con ! They put photos in your cabin during the cruise, which you think are a gift .... but when you check your bill at the end, they have charged 30 Euros for them ..... you need to take them back !! But on the whole the cruise was very good and I liked the mix of nationalities. It's very lively but I didn't see any rowdy behavior .... lots of children on board but there is a quiet adult only bar too, and I would recommend cruising in Aurea Class, which gives you a massive private deck to have use of, plus a number of other extras including a complimentary massage and drink package.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Intriqued by the Mediterranean itinerary, the Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship, the bargain pricing AND the program that matched our Princess loyalty status, we couldn't be happier with our experiment. We have already booked the new MSC ... Read More
Intriqued by the Mediterranean itinerary, the Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship, the bargain pricing AND the program that matched our Princess loyalty status, we couldn't be happier with our experiment. We have already booked the new MSC Bellissima for the same itinerary in 2019. Highlights? *absolutely gorgeous and easy to navigate ship that is downright lively with great shops, parties and activities *a BUTLER in Yacht Club that met and anticipated every need. Service exemplary throughout the ship. *all but highest end alcohol is included in Yacht Club. I kept track We had 74 drinks and two bottles of free Prosecco. *top-notch food in YC Dining Room AND specialty restaurants, eg Anchor Pub and Butcher,s Cut. Excellent Chef’s Table in EATALY, GREAT PIZZA. *TWO Cirque Shows, production shows fun as well EXCEPT see below *terrific itinerary that included Messina, Naples (we visited Sorrento),Marseille, Malta and Barcelona (don’t miss the Maritime Museum). Lowlights? *Wish they had told us about the planned transportation strike in Genoa when we disembarked. Cost us over $200 to get to Milan. *godawful on-board computer and television system—their website is poor as well. No reason it should be so poorly designed. *Poor meal at Cirque Show dinner—not up to high standards in YC. Mushy fish, overcooked vegetables at a meal we paid extra for. Would opt for cocktail show in future) seats are better at cocktail show as well. *hands down MAGIC FRIENDS is the lamest magic show in the history of the universe. *very limited storage in interior cabin, tiny closet *small casino with impossibly slow bar service Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose MSC and this particular cruise because the itinerary Ports of call, suited the half term break for the UK Schools, we booked an Air Cruise, so MSC booked our flights on British Airways, the downside of this, is our flights were ... Read More
We chose MSC and this particular cruise because the itinerary Ports of call, suited the half term break for the UK Schools, we booked an Air Cruise, so MSC booked our flights on British Airways, the downside of this, is our flights were booked on a group ticket, therefore, you cannot check in independently on BA website, on day of departure, early morning flight from LHR, we got shunted around Terminal 5, looking for customer advisors to book us in, the matter got sorted out eventually, but we were disappointed and considered it a bad start. On arrival in Milan, we were transferred ok by coach to Genoa to embark the Armonia, we were bemused by the Italian officials who kept pushing bits of paper around, and bemused at the fact you do not get your cruise card issued at check in, you are pushed on to the ship, only to have to go to your cabin and pick up your cruise cards, then have them activated at electronic data points around the ship, and attach a credit card authorisation up to £250.00 with further authorisations as necessary. So far so good, then on 1st day the life boat and muster drill went ahead, but no one told us we had to scan our cards with the lifeboat attendants, subsequently, we were reprimanded by letter for not attending when we had attended, again another trip below decks to deck 5 to tell reception we had attended, which they promptly promised to rectify, on day 3 we were asked to do the same again. The Ship carries about 2500 passengers and about 700 crew, the majority of the crew are Indonesian, Bars, Buffet, cabin attendants, The ships facilities, and we understand this ship has been refitted it has to be said is exceptionally clean, below decks, the public areas are nice and the Cafe San Marco, the Bar Duomo, etc, and other bars are fairly nice, but this ship is not the RCI Harmony of Seas, or similar, its a much smaller vessel, and the entertainment caters for mainly the Italian Cruise crowd, overtime an announcement is made its in 4 languages, which does kind of give you a headache, secondly, the entertainment on board is limited to the Teatro Le Fenice, with mainly Gymnastic style shows, hand standing, and rather bizarre cabaret acts, we did not use the fine dining areas as the buffet seemed quicker and more accessible, however at peak times, seating is an issue, although there is more seating outside in the Pizzeria, and the Burger and Fries areas, plus you have Italian Gelateria, and Juice bar outside, thats a plus, the Burger and Fries area is open all the time for snacks, as is the pizzeria, although I have to say don't expect Dominos or Pizza Express quality pizzas, they are in the main Margherita's with a bit of this and that on top. The MSC Drinks package policy is rather difficult to get your head around at first glance, since if there are 2 of you sharing a cabin which is the most likely scenario, you must purchase 2 sets of unlimited beverage packages which can be a waste if one of you does not drink, secondly, its pricey, as much as 50 Euro a day per person, or 26 Euro Per day per person if its just unlimited drinks at meals. You can purchase a coffee package for 14 coffees or water package, or soda package, again this to me is bizarre because you are given a book of tickets, which for me is back to school...anyone remember it, every occasion you order a coffee or soda, or ask for water, you have to find the relative book of tickets, to which you must carry them around, and then prefer your cruise card, and sign for the receipt on delivery, again, time consuming, when Norwegian just scan your card and thats the end of it. We used the Thermal Spa area, which for E120.00 plus 15% tax, seemed attractive until you find that there are no Jacuzzi's only, a Sauna, a Laconic room, and some Thermal beds, however having said that at some times we were the only people in, and on a basis that it costs E39.00 per day per couple it works out fairly good value if you use it 4 times in the week. Also unlike other cruise lines, there was only cold tea, and not juice and water as we had experienced elsewhere. The Buffet was our main point of dining, after 2 days my wife started to predict the menu, its mainly caters for Italian customers, lots of Salads, Pasta, some meat, but the menu did not have theme nights as seen on RCI or Norwegian or similar, we were getting fed up with the food after day 3, and started to cut down on what we had, and to be truthful we were disappointed with the food, after having a Scandinavia and Russia cruise with RCI in May, where we experienced the food choices there, this was at best underwhelming. Service on board was fairly good, there did seem to be a lack of drinks waiters during peak meal times, but on deck in the smoking area, we were well looked after with plenty of staff to take our order for drinks, the Cabin attendant was attentive and the rooms made up well every day, and beds put down at night, also one thing I liked was that we had fresh towels every day, the only negative about our ocean view room is that the shower is far too small for most people over a certain body size, the shower has a curtain which sticks to you, every time you go in, which is irritating, I ended up on 2 days going to the Thermal spa area to have a proper shower, however this maybe due to the cabin size, there is sufficient room under your bed for 2 suit cases, but their seemed to be a lack of hangers in the wardrobe, whereas on other cruise lines there has always seemed to be an abundance. Embarking from the ship at the close of the cruise seemed to work ok, our bags were taken on the green tag, and we left the ship within 25 minutes of sitting in the theatre, we were directed outside to our transfer coach, and that seemed to work very well, the only problem again with doing flights through the cruise line is that they drop you off at the airport straight away, which means you have not got time to do anything, and we sat all afternoon in Milan Airport in a private lounge waiting to check in, we understood other passengers from other ships on the same Cruise Line, had been there since 9am for a 17.45pm flight. The itinerary was good, which was Genoa-Marseille, Marseille-Port Mahon Balearic Islands, Port Mahon-Cagliari Sardinia - Cagliari - Malta - Malta - Messina - Messina Naples, Naples - Genoa, we initially booked an excursion to Arles in France, but found out after we had booked the tickets, that they cancelled it, because lack of interest, we were offered an alternative, but asked them to cancel, as we were not interested in any other excursions, In the end we took the transfer at 15 Euros per head to Marseille as the ship docks about 25 minutes away, Port Mahon doesn't require any transfer, the port is just in front of the ship, it can all be done by walking, and Cagliari is walkable as well, we took an excursion for Taormina and Messina, and finally on the last day, Naples to Pompeii, this is an excellent excursion although rushed !!! and lots of hanging around waiting for the tour guides to count up the passengers on the tour at every twist and turn, plus lots of walking, around cobbled streets, however, the opportunity to see Pompeii under Vesuvius is not to be missed. All in All, I think MSC has not caught up with other Cruise operators, in terms of choice, and needs to improve its offerings, it caters mainly to Italians, and the excursions for english speakers is mixed in with German speakers, which means all your tour guide announcements are made in English, then you have to sit and listen on a headset to the same in German, if you speak German and English great, you get to hear it twice, if you only speak German or English, its going to give you a headache, Would I go again with MSC, sadly, whilst some aspects of the cruise were great, i.e. the Ports itinerary, No I would not, and that isn't because I think MSC is that bad, I just think its not as good as what you can buy elsewhere, for a little more money, so for me its a value for money issue, and other cruise operators just do it so much better and have more choices, with better facilities, to me MSC is a no frills cruise, with limited offerings both in Dining and Entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
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