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100 MSC Cruises Genoa Cruise Reviews

We board on the brand new MSC Grandiosa on November the 23th. We've been on two more cruises with MSC, both on MSC Preziosa and we loved the experience. I've never thought I'll give a 4star review on a cruise, but there are ... Read More
We board on the brand new MSC Grandiosa on November the 23th. We've been on two more cruises with MSC, both on MSC Preziosa and we loved the experience. I've never thought I'll give a 4star review on a cruise, but there are some things that MSC needs to know, and I hope very much that they read those reviews. First of all, the embarkation and disembarkation was perfect as always, very fast and easy, It took us 20' tops to get in the ship. The cabin (deck 9, fantastica balcony cabin) is great smaller than MSC Preziosa. I guess they got the cabins smaller so they can have more of them. That does not mean that the cabin was not comfortable, but it lacked a bigger closet. Zoe is not working most of the times, it's a pitty to have it there, just remove it and save us from the trouble to speaking in something that always reply ''please can you repeat your question''. The staff is great and always have been. Especially the waitors and the people cleaning our rooms are always smilling and they are so polite that it kills me to see people behaving badly to them. I believe that the company should also protect the ladies workers from creepy old men that trying to make a move. Our waitor, Jean from Madagascar was an excellent example of what a great waitor is: polite, smilling, always remembering what we have ordered. We loved him and we thank him for making this experience great for us. The food is great. It is better that MSC Preziosa. I loved everything in the Purple Crab restaurant and also in the buffet. People saying that the food is no good...I dont know where you got that, but there is something for every taste. Pizza, pasta, burgers, hot dogs, thai food, indian food, chesses and hams, salads, breads, healthy options, options for vegetarian, everything was there! The new system with the elevators turned out to be amazing. We never had to wait for one. We got one shore excursion in Italy and we thought it was great. The leading lady really did her job absolutely amazing. We were in a group of Italian and English speaking. There was a group of French people too, and they keeped pressuring her to speak to them in french. Although she tried to explain a lot of times, they still insisted. She did not gave in, she still answered a few qyestions in french, but not speaking to them and explaining (she knew very well french). This is what a professional looks like. Last year, to a terrible excursion in Malaga, we also picked a German English group and our tour guy decided it was a great idea to speak in German, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese! He totally ruined our excursions. The design of the ship... Well I know that MSC is very proud of it, and it is a great ship but my dislikes and one of the reasons that I am putting a 4star review were: 1. The buffet. I hated the colors that they picked for the buffet. The buffet seemed very clistophobic and dark. The Aztec in MSC Preziosa is very bright and sunny and we were dissapointed. Especially the part in the back side of the ship is awful, you think you are eating in a factory. 2. What is going all with all the shops?? I know MSC is winning money but really, we dont need 1000 boutiques. You should have more public spaces as bars and lounges. 3. The ''main'' bar. Oh Safari Lounge, how I have missed you.... You can not have a bar named main bar when there are sheats for 50 people there. Cut 2 boutiques and make your main lounge bigger so people can enjoy the entairtaining at the (for which you need a reservation) night. The entertainment. Where do I start...? First of all, the theatre shows . WHO is designing these shows?? Cause they were are medium to horrible. The dancers and singers are absolutely great, the shows themselves were not. Even the italian night....in an italian ship...no! Not good. The entertainers in the rest of the ship...also not great. Most of the times they were talking to themselves and dancing with one another. I dont want them to pressure me, but there were people that wanted to dance and they didnt seem to care. The parties though, were great! Great job, the 80s party was amazing, the entertainers did a great job there, you absolutely killed it MSC. One of the best parties I have ever been. But the biggest problem of all, mine and lots of the other passengers that I ve talked with, were the screaming children and babies everywhere. I get that you dont want to parent in your vacations. So, either leave your kid home, other hire a nanny to take care of it. But when I am trying to eat in the fancy restaurant, and a 3 year old next to me is watching Pepa the Pig, and everybody listens to this songs, I am sorry I have a big problem. In the theaters, babies and small children should not be allowed. It is not a place for a baby! They get bored, they scream and they are ruining everybodys show. Also, in the bars. I cannot tell you how many times I couldnt find a seat because the couches had sleeping babies on them. MSC, you cannot fix the parenting out there, and frankly this is not your job. But put restrictions to where, and what times, babies and kids are allowed. Not in the theatre (from an age down) not in the bars after midnight. You have no idea how many people were having a problem with that, even people with their kids (who they were actually taking care of). Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We flew to Genoa from Miami, spent the night at the Holiday Inn and taxied to the port in the morning. Embarkation was a breeze. We sailed the Divina 6 times before so we Knew what to expect. Different Captain and different Hotel Director ... Read More
We flew to Genoa from Miami, spent the night at the Holiday Inn and taxied to the port in the morning. Embarkation was a breeze. We sailed the Divina 6 times before so we Knew what to expect. Different Captain and different Hotel Director this time. She is a beautiful Italian design ship. Love the crystal staircase. We had a balcony starboard forward cabin and a great steward (Alphonso). The cabin was adequate. We had first seating table for two and had a fantastic head waiter Silviu who took great care of us. We did buy our own pepper grinder in the Azores and salt grinder in Martinique. Got tired of fighting the shakers. Meals were adequate and the best eggs with bright orange yolks at breakfast. We did go to Butcher's Cut and had a fantastic meal there. So glad they got rid of the plastic chairs in Eataly. We went to few of the shows as we have seen many of them before but the cultural show in the Azores was very nice as was the can can show. There were some great music ensembles on the ship. We did no ship excursions but did do a hop on-hop off bus in LIsbon and went to the Cathedral in Valencia. The disaster was San Juan customs. There were only 8 stations open for over 4000 guests, the power went down for a while , and the ship was not finally cleared until 5:45pm to reboard. This was a Customs and Border Patrol issue not an MSC issue. And, we still had to do customs in Miami. I love the Cafe Italia coffee shop and the Easy drink package was wonderful for a 20 night cruise. We did this back to back with an 11 night cruise and got to be the first ship into Ocean Caye Marine Reserve. Beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Good Itinerary. Unfortunately, as usual, many whinging & moaning passengers on this good value for money cruise. Our only complaints were related to the slow embarkation in Genoa and lack of satellite TV reception while cruising ... Read More
Good Itinerary. Unfortunately, as usual, many whinging & moaning passengers on this good value for money cruise. Our only complaints were related to the slow embarkation in Genoa and lack of satellite TV reception while cruising the Indian Ocean. The ships passengers were multi-national with Australians, British, Germans, Swiss, Italians, French, South Africans etc etc. Public announcements and entertainment, were therefore conducted in several languages. The food was acceptable, and we were on the early restaurant sitting in the Borghese Restaurant. We sat on a table for eight, which slowed down our meal times. The entertainment was average but there was a generally a good variety. The crew & service was generally very good. This was our first cruise with MSC and we boarded with an open mind. This cruise was very reasonably priced and we thoroughly enjoyed all our ports of call. The itinerary and price was the main reason for choosing this cruise which lived up to our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Embarkation was an experience departing from Cannes, nearest airport Nice cost 60e taxi to get to the port. Then you are put through security checks lots of times off the ship, no seating (I am registered disabled), no shelter from the ... Read More
Embarkation was an experience departing from Cannes, nearest airport Nice cost 60e taxi to get to the port. Then you are put through security checks lots of times off the ship, no seating (I am registered disabled), no shelter from the sun, the temp was 33c the day we travelled. Then unceremoniously put onto a tender to embark. The ship looked really great. We have sailed with MSC 7 times before and have never been disappointed Yes I have sailed before: RCI, Cunard, NCL etc...So I can say that I am more excited by the design and styling of the MSC fleet. Than any other cruise line we have sailed. Every direction you look, you will see vibrant colour and sweeping curves with very intelligently use of coloured lighting to enhance your visual pleasures. The staircases are bejewelled with glass crystals to all the treads. The design of the performance stages in the concierge areas, are servicing the evening with live soothing music from a pianist or a full band. We arrived in our room (invalid) and as expected it was sumptuous, I was well pleased. It had a well fitted bathroom to service my needs. The food as always is superb with loads of variety of all different cultures. I did not use any speciality restaurants, but we did frequent the main dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we did do 'tiffin' in mid afternoon for coffee and cake in the buffet! We were never disappointed by the super service we received, we had coffee delivered every morning to the room 0715hrs, they also gave us a warm croissant with it. We never go on the excursions as we have to travel differently so we generally go independently. All the ports in the med are super to visit, there is always something for everyone! Barcelona, Rome, Genoa Cannes....does it come any better? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
OK, The ship, absolutely beautiful and huge!!! We have cruised twice before with royal Caribbean and Carnival but this ship leaves the rest in its wake. The cabins were great, I travelled with my husband and my 6 foot teenage son and we ... Read More
OK, The ship, absolutely beautiful and huge!!! We have cruised twice before with royal Caribbean and Carnival but this ship leaves the rest in its wake. The cabins were great, I travelled with my husband and my 6 foot teenage son and we had enough room although we did have a balcony. The beds were so comfy I dreaded leaving it behind. Also the shower room was bigger than any we have had before. Now dining, anyone that says there was not enough to eat must have been on a different ship than we were! The market place was open all of the time serving salads, chips, burgers, pasta, pizza etc etc, I just don't understand the complaints about the food. We ate in the restaurants at breakfast and for our evening meals. No the portions in the restaurants were not American size portions, its an Italian ship so Mediterranean food and portions. In saying that the food in the restaurants was beautiful and changed every evening. We had the Aurea experience and if possible I would go Aurea or Yacht Club. No queuing for embarkation or restaurants as you get anytime dining. Cirq de Soleil meal and show were definitely worth the money although once we went to the normal nightly entertainment I couldn't get my husband and son to go to another one!! Service was fantastic, I read somewhere on here that you don't have to pay the tips at the end, no you can have them removed but why? The staff were happy, attentive, helpful! Why wouldn't you tip? For the 3 of us the tips added were approx £200, I can remember exactly but no way would I have cancelled them, so just DON'T!!! Get off in Marseilles, it was our favourite. Approx £10 each for a transfer into the town, coffee shops, little side streets with wall out, really enjoyed it. Pompeii was worth the money although take plenty of water, 40 degrees when we were there, really interesting. Went to the beach when in Valetta, 19Euros each for the bus. Could have stayed a little longer, you get around 3 hours on the beach after travel. All in all we had a blast, it's what you make of it. I was really apprehensive before w went because of the reviews but I shouldn't have been worried. One thing, the market place is a bit of a cattle market and as one other person mentioned on here, watch out for the rude French. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Positive: Everything was perfect. Embarking and disembarking was very smooth. I was expecting crowded places especially in restaurants where you can't find table. But nothing happened, there are always free tables. They always ... Read More
Positive: Everything was perfect. Embarking and disembarking was very smooth. I was expecting crowded places especially in restaurants where you can't find table. But nothing happened, there are always free tables. They always refill the food before finish. You can take the food with you in your cabin.free Drinking water all the time is available. Remember free fruit juices are only available in breakfast . The show in theatre is amazing. You won't miss any show. You will see all people excited with show and no one leaves before the end. The decoration is amazing and modern. The shopping in the ship are not too much expensive. sometimes they make big sales. They clean the cabin twice a day. Nigative: The worst thing in the ship you don't like it is elevators. You will wait longtime. I suggest to use stairs for those they don't have kids. The elevators in the ship have different system. You have to choose which floor you want to go befor coming. It will shows in the screen which elevator you have to take otherwise you don't find any press inside the elevators. Services charge will add during your stay. Sometimes they add something more like photos gallery although you don't ask for it. One thing personally happened to me. I am telling that to warn others Tow sunglasses was disappeared In my cabin. One for me and the other for my wife. I am sure we don't loose them somewhere else. And small amount of local money that I don't put it in safety box. I discovered about my money when I arrived home. I don't expect anyone interested of local money. So be careful with your stuff. I am very sad about my sunglasses. Both of them was a new. One of them worth 400$ (tiffany & co). One of them disappeared the second day of my stay. The other maybe fifth or sixth. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Stunning ship. A few minor teething issues but all round excellent. Sky bar was our favourite with stunning views. Card de soleil. Two options .. a meal or cocktail. We took the latter and went to both shows. This is a must do so book ... Read More
Stunning ship. A few minor teething issues but all round excellent. Sky bar was our favourite with stunning views. Card de soleil. Two options .. a meal or cocktail. We took the latter and went to both shows. This is a must do so book as soon as you’re on board. Food really nice although buffet can be busy go to the rear and much calmer. Drinks package. You will get asked multiple times. Basic package covers a few wines , Gordon’s gin and tonic, Heineken or Amstel beer . All coffees and water .so good value. Cabin ,,, balcony on 8 floor. Large balcony so very happy .. only issue with noise coming from party night in floor below. Staff excellent .. friendly and efficient Shore excursions far too expensive. Do it yourself.we boarded I. Barcelona which is a fantastic city. During the cruise we visited Marseiile ... take free shuttle that drops of at dock entrance and walk 20 minutes to old port. From there we took le petit train (8 euro) to Norte dame for fantastic views over city. About 30 minutes to top and 10 minutes Dow. Compulsory to get off train .... about 15 mins in queue. Genoa.... walk out of terminal and pick up map for free from tourism booth. Shows a few nice walks going initially through market then heads into old town. Walk takes a casual two hours taking in all the old buildings and squares of note. Real authentic feel to the town. Naples.. ship right into town where you can get ferry to sorrento, capri etc. We have been here before so took hop on hop of bus tour. 2 routes , B route round coast far nicer and no car congestion. Approx 23 euro. Messina. Not a lot to do in the port but walk round old town. Valletta.. lift from cruise port to town cost one euro. Lovely town to walk around and sip an aperol spritzer. Walked to ferry point for sliema ... approx 3 euro return. Nice shops and a mall if interested. Lastly, In room smart assistant Zoe good for Bluetooth speaker not much more. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That ... Read More
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That is also why there is a constant line at customer service. The first night there was a huge toilet problem for about 40% of the ship. From 23.00 to 07.00 all toilets at the back of the ship (cabins, staff and public) did not flush! That night we also had a bumpy sea, so you can imagine the poor cleaning party that morning..... This flushing problem was never completely gone, but it lasted never over an hour.... The new drink packages were just okay. Luckily we still had some drink coupons from previous cruises, and the bar staff did not know what to do about it...so we could drink almost anything with the combination of the Easy package and the drink coupons. Although they are fased out, on this ship they had still value. The ports were all so so...but that was because of the weather. Normally in this period of the year (April/May) the weather is much better (Where is Global Warming when you need it?) but that did not spoil our cruise. This Spring the whole of Europe has a very bad climate...so it is better to stay at a cruiseship (with a covered pool) than in a hotel..... We had a great cruise fare. We never payed less for a cruise than this one, and for this price I am not going to get very critical...you just have to be happy with what you get...and we were.... It was not our best cruise, but we still loved it...in comparison with the camping in Tuscany the week after the cruise, it was heaven! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports and to try a new line. MSC has the status match program which also helped. This cruise was from Genoa, Italy to Kiel, Germany with stops at Marseille, Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Vigo, and Southampton. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and to try a new line. MSC has the status match program which also helped. This cruise was from Genoa, Italy to Kiel, Germany with stops at Marseille, Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Vigo, and Southampton. Embarkation: This was a disaster. I am not sure if Genoa was not equipped to handle this many passengers, or if they were just not prepared to turn over the whole ship as MSC frequently interports in Europe. Whatever the reason, we arrived at the port at noon and eventually made it onboard around 4pm. Ship: The Meraviglia is a beautiful ship. Every area has something unique and stylish about it. That being said, many areas seemed choppy and without a good flow to them which created bottlenecks at certain areas. Cabin: We had a Fantastica Ocean View (O2) and while the cabin was spacious enough and well appointed, the storage space was nearly non-existent. Especially for a twelve day cruise. We were on Deck 5, just down from guest services and the Atrium bar and I thought the location was good. easy to get everywhere. Dining: This started out poorly, but eventually ended up fine. We had no dining time assigned, we just kept being told that we would get our time once on board...that never really worked out, mainly because we boarded so late, the dining table had closed. Finally we were assigned a table/time and that is where we sat the rest of the cruise. Food in the MDR was fair to good; In the buffet was mostly fair with some good, and at our one specialty dining experience, The Chef's Table, was spectacular. Entertainment: MSC really shines in this area. Shows were good to great and Cirque at Sea was amazing. Service: Across the board service was friendly and professional. Never had an issue there. Ports & Shore Excursions: All were booked through MSC and all were either good or great. Arles and Vigo were the standouts. We did not do an excursion in Barcelona. Disembarkation: Another disaster. I had priority debarkation and while I was off the ship in a reasonable amount of time, I then stood around for over an hour waiting for my luggage to make it off. Overall, the ship was beautiful, but I don't think I would use MSC in Europe again. I haven't written them off completely so I may sail them again in the US, but I will choose other lines when sailing in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise as it was stopping at ports we wanted to visit on dates when we wished to be away. The Bellissima is a stunning looking ship and has something for everyone. Our cabin was on deck 10 midship and was lovely with a ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was stopping at ports we wanted to visit on dates when we wished to be away. The Bellissima is a stunning looking ship and has something for everyone. Our cabin was on deck 10 midship and was lovely with a balcony, reasonable space and being a new ship did not show any signs of wear and tear. Our cabin steward Genesis was attentive, friendly and always happy to see us. He maintained our cabin beautifully and recognised a particularly special date that we celebrated whilst on board ship. At this location on the ship it was difficult to know whether the ship was moving it was so quiet with no noise from adjoining cabins or fromthe engines. Our allocated restaurant was The Lighthouse on deck 6 excellent choice for us as we had a table for 2. The menu was varied and offered something different every day to suit most requirements. Meals were well presented and of good quality. Service was excellent and the staff who served us each day at table 479 were Carissa and Abdul and are worth a special mention for their professionalism and attention nothing was too much trouble and again went out of their way to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Breakfast and lunch served in the Marketplace was a challenge. There was plenty of choice and something for everyone but the shear numbers of diners at any one time made the experience quite stressful. The staff were as efficient and patient as they could be given the logistics of numbers and seats available at any one time. There were good shows on board and plenty of entertainment for all ages. The musicians who played in all of the areas were first class with music choices to suit all tastes we particularly liked the Jazz trio who played each evening on Deck 16. We purchased the Cirque Soleil show and dinner at 40 euros each which was very good value for money . The show was excellent, food very good and Alwyn and his team served everything beautifully so that dinner was served before the show commenced. We have scored food at 3 because of the breakfast and lunch experience. Weather whilst on board ship was not particularly good so consequently much of the outdoors facilities were not in use. They were however very clean and well presented with water facilities to suit all tastes the water park on deck 18 would be great fun for families. We enjoyed our holiday we would cruise again but not for cruising sake but to see particular places that are included in the itinerary. We did not book MSC excursions but instead booked with local providers in Naples we did a tour if Naples and went to Pompei in a small group of 6 with a very knowledgeable guide. In Messina we did the same and rode the cable car to the top of Etna and visited Tourmina. Again an excellent excursion with small numbers and a local guide. Every other port we did our own thing and really enjoyed. This cruise met our expectations and we would consider MSC in the future provided the itinerary met our requirements. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
wanted to try the yacht club experience and do not regret! The only thing we missed was an indoor pool or indoor Jacuzzi for the Yachtclub. We also found the yachtclub restaurant way to far from the yachtclub cabins.You have to walk all ... Read More
wanted to try the yacht club experience and do not regret! The only thing we missed was an indoor pool or indoor Jacuzzi for the Yachtclub. We also found the yachtclub restaurant way to far from the yachtclub cabins.You have to walk all the way to the other side of the ship. Food was very fine, but not realy special. The gala night had a very simple menu. The waiters are very friendly in the Muze! The ship is beautiful, The staff very friendly. The shows are good but just not that good as the MSC seaside. The decoration of the shows is quiet simple. The Casino is great. Very little smell from the smoking area. We didn't do any organised excursions. In Palermo. The hop on Hop of that was great to see the city. In Cagliari we just took the bus up the hill to Porcel to visit the beautiful kathedral and walked all the way down. We have already been to Rome. A good alternative for Civitavecchia is taking a taxi to the Tenuta dell'Argento restaurant at 10 minutes drive from the city. It is a farm in the countryside we you have the best fresh meat restaurant. If I would go again on a cruise with Msc, but always in Yachtclub. All the rest is to crowded. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was ... Read More
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was our first time on MSC. EMBARKATION: We spent a week traveling around Italy prior to making our way to Genoa, where we embarked. We found the locals in Genoa to be the least friendly (and some even hostile) to tourists, compared to the rest of Italy. We were glad we were only spending one night there. The port itself was quite confusing. We took the metro to the stop close to the port. Once we arrived, there were very few signs. We followed what signs there were, which sent us upstairs, only to have to go back downstairs to drop our luggage off. Luggage drop off was not labeled. We ended up at a tent that looked like the right place, only to be told (after waiting a few minutes) that we were in the Yacht Club drop off. Steerage passengers needed to just leave their luggage in the road. It was a little odd. But we eventually got it to the right place and got ourselves on the ship. Our luggage arrived without issue, despite our misgivings. Once embarked, there was definitely a push for up-selling drinks and dining packages, but the staff members left us alone when we declined. We were able to immediately drop off our hand luggage in our rooms and head up to the buffet for lunch. All in all, it took us about an hour to get from the port entrance to lunch at the buffet. So despite the lack of signage and the confusion about luggage drop-off, it was a relatively quick and easy process. SHIP: The ship was stunning and always clean. There are multiple dome shows daily and it's worth catching at least one. The area that felt the most crowded was the Bamboo Pool area and the buffet (partially because they would block off parts of the buffet seating at various times). DINING: BUFFET: There was always seating at the very back of the buffet--even during peak times. The lines there seemed to be the shortest, as well. The stations repeat themselves a handful of times throughout the buffet, so there's no need to stand in a long line at the beginning of the buffet. Staff members from the pay-for-restaurants would walk around asking if we wanted to make reservations for dinner that night. Again, they left us alone when we declined. We found breakfast at the buffet to be one of the best meals of the day. There was a good variety of food, although it did not vary from day to day. There was an omelette station, a ham carving station, eggs, bacon/sausage, yogurt, fruit, cereals, muesli, Asian rice and noodles or dumplings, pancakes, waffles, sticky buns, etc. Lunch at the buffet was also pretty good. The pizza, pasta, and fresh mozzarella were always delicious. A few members of our group had pizza that had been sitting out for awhile and it wasn't as good as the fresh slices. There was also a salad station, bread, carving station, and a variety of dishes of the day, some of which were good, some not. The mass-produced desserts were similar to other cruise lines--usually not delicious, but ok. There were a few that were really enjoyable. MDR: We ate dinner in the MDR each night. Our waiters were very friendly, but hadn't been trained as well as on other cruise lines. They weren't trained to pay attention to details or anticipate needs. Some nights there would be butter for the bread, but no butter knife. Other nights there were small dishes for olive oil and vinegar, but no olive oil and vinegar. Some nights there would be a place setting for the baby, other nights there wasn't (there was always a high chair). The staff were always responsive when asked to do something, but failed to anticipate needs. Not a deal breaker, but something the training could improve upon. The food quality was inconsistent. Some nights the food was really good (ie the mushroom risotto), others it was quite bland or even not good (ie the prawns). CABIN: We had an inside cabin that was relatively spacious. Obviously smaller than ocean view or balcony rooms, but larger than the one other inside cabin we've had on another cruise line. The bathroom was small, but well designed. Our cabin steward was very attentive and always called our baby by her name when he saw her. THEATER SHOWS: There was a really great variety of shows ranging from rock to opera to flamenco. The dancers and singers were more talented than I've seen on other cruise lines. The singers did sing in English with an accent, but overall put on excellent performances. The one miss was when they had the opera tenor sing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" during a tribute show. Opera just isn't the right style for Sinatra. On the sea day, there was an opera, which was really well done in less than an hour. They had some subtitles, but they were intermittent. Unclear why they didn't provide full subtitles, which would have made it even better. GYM: The gym was small and crowded no matter when we went (early morning, mid-day, or evening). There's a waiver that has to be signed to use the gym, but they didn't ask us to sign it until our last day. ROPES COURSE/WATER SLIDES: There's also a waiver that has to be signed to participate in the ropes course and water slides. There are no signs to advertise this, so you could end up waiting in line for some time, only to find out that you had to go two decks down (to the Sportsplex) to sign the waiver and get your wristband before being allowed to participate. Once the wristband was obtained, both the ropes course and water slides were fun. The waits were never very long. POOLS: The outdoor pool didn't get much use given highs in the mid 50s to low 60s for most of the cruise. The indoor Bamboo Pool was almost always packed when we saw it. At one point on the sea day, there was a 15 person line for one of the hot tubs in the Bamboo room. This is likely less of an issue in the summer/warmer climate as passengers are more willing to use both the indoor and outdoor pools. GUEST SERVICES: I'd read several very negative reviews about Guest Services, but had no issues with their services. I went to Guest Services twice. Once was to have the UNICEF donation removed. The line was short and they were quick to comply. The second time was the last night of the cruise at 22:00. We found the embarkation pictures in our room, but left them there based on what other reviewers have said. The last night, we read the fine print that we were to return them to our cabin steward 48 hrs before the end of the cruise or we'd be charged. As we were packing up the last night, we saw this and I thought we'd have to eat the $E30 since we hadn't returned them, but thought I'd give Guest Services a try. I got in a line of about 10 people, but there was a guest services team member going through the line asking people what their issues where. He redirected me to the Photo Shop. I figured I was really out of luck at that point given the late hour, but they were still open and quick to take back my photos and refund the money. PORTS: As others have said, the published port hours are different than what actually happens--by up to an hour on both sides. For example, we were to arrive in Barcelona at 7:00 a.m. and leave at 6:00 p.m., but we arrived at 8:00 a.m. and left at 5:30 p.m. This is important to keep in mind if buying timed tickets for something in port. Civitavecchia: There's a free port shuttle from the port to the city. There are many taxistas waiting where the shuttle drops passengers off ready to take passengers to Rome and show them the sites. They were quite persistent despite declining their offers, then offended when they finally realized we weren't interested. We walked the mile or so to the train station and took the train into Rome for the day. Round trip it was Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Having had a big problem on the previous MSC cruise, we were not sure what to expect but went with an open mind. The ship is not as flashy as some of the newer ships, but makes up for it with a yacht type feel. There are fewer passengers ... Read More
Having had a big problem on the previous MSC cruise, we were not sure what to expect but went with an open mind. The ship is not as flashy as some of the newer ships, but makes up for it with a yacht type feel. There are fewer passengers than the larger ships, so no real problems with long lines. Every member of staff we met were fantastic and worked hard, I can't understand some of the reviews regarding staff; if you interact with them they will interact with you. We never had to wait longer that 2 minutes to get a drink, when you are pleasant with the waiters they can't wait to come and serve you and chat to you. The only rude people we met were fellow passengers, can you imagine the smiling service they got when they clapped there hands and demanded "COFFEE". The balcony cbin was a bit smaller than we have had on other MSC ships, with only a corner dressing table and a box stool. It took us some time to find the safe that was located behind the mirror on the dressing table; this could be improved with a notice on the mirror. The only minus points that have resulted in 4 and not 5 stars are, the Buffet; it is fer too small for the number of people. We only tried it once and had all our meals in the restaurant, this was a very good place to eat. you can have breakfast and lunch either off the menu or the self service buffet or both if you are hungry. The other issue was the seating in the theatre, though the shows were some of the best we have seen on MSC. There are couch type seats in tiers but there are tub chairs in front of them and the tub chairs are higher than the couches. This means there is a rush to get the tub chairs otherwise you will be trying to see between the people in front of you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Having sailed with Princess, Celebrity and P and O, i am aware of how different cruise lines approach excursions and port transfers for wheelchair users. MSC rank in that respect amongst the worst. It is so disappointing as so far only P ... Read More
Having sailed with Princess, Celebrity and P and O, i am aware of how different cruise lines approach excursions and port transfers for wheelchair users. MSC rank in that respect amongst the worst. It is so disappointing as so far only P and O have taken this seriously. I knew that none of the excursions were wheelchair accessible before we went, but was very annoyed to find that none of the port transfers had accessible vehicles. I was able to find local transport that was accessible and fortunately with a powered chair I was able to get to bus stops a distance away. Some of the much vaunted activities such as the zip line and waterslides were also up steps and therefore not possible, i had so been looking forward to them. I did use the F1 simulator which was great fun although difficult to get in and out. The bowling lanes were not accessible either when they could so easily have been. One pool was very well done with ramps and hoist and the pool staff were brilliant, no tiresone booking or paperwork as some other cruise lines. I did not try the theatre as you had to book and i never know if i will be ok. I also could not access enough information about the acts to decide if i could cope with noise and lights. All activities were fitness or dance based therefore not suitable. Bands and singers were indifferent or poor. I found the lighting and glitzy surfaces difficult to cope with, and often entertainment in the public areas just too loud. Some plus points The accessible cabin was large as was the very easy to access balcony. The bathroom was a wheel in shower room with drop down seat. The wardrobes had rails that lowered. However there was very limited drawer and wardrobe space. The bed was hard which may suit those with bad backs but for many like me just cause pain. However our delightful cabin steward got me several more duvets and we made a mattress topper for me. The table assigned in the dining room was great and whenever I used a different one staff always without fail offered me a suitable table. I tried using the buffet restaurants but these were a nightmare. Other passengers were dreadful, many even climbing over me to get to food. Other lines had much better systems of assistance and access. From my chair i could not see what the food was. We stuck to our assigned restaurant. Our staff were fabulous, i cannot rate Kevin and his team too highly. They wre brilliant. And another team manager quickly grasped my need for soft food and every morning at breakfast had specific items ready. Over all we really liked the relaxed atmosphere, the food and the very good staff. This coupled with the good cost neans we have booked to go with MSC again. We will however arrange our own excursions. I just wish the cruise lines would do it for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. ... Read More
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. The first was a Mediterranean cruise on MSC Fantasia, from Genoa, on 16 September. I did not pay the cheapest but was glad to find a Yacht Club cabin at a good last-minute bargain price. MSC’s Yacht Club, on which I made quite a few trips, is one of my favourites, as it offers first class service at a reasonable price. This cruise does not disappoint. From check-in in Genoa to disembarking with my good butler taking me to a taxi, and impeccable service all the time during sailing days, I was all VIP (that I am actually not, I am afraid). Have done various MSC ship many times (Gold member). Membership does not give more useful benefits such as free internet on Cunard and Princess at similar level, but ticket price is discounted as well as some onboard service. The food is good at the special YC restaurant, and service is first class like on luxury ships. Yacht Club cabins are not much larger, but it is the food and other services, such as special YC deck area on ship and lounge, inclusive wine, and most important the good butler service, that count to make YC an even better valued proposal than an ordinary cabin for me. The itinerary is well-travelled, only one port, Ajaccio, was my first call. Genoa is an excellent starting port, easy embarkation, and much to see, so I had a pre-cruise stay of 3 nights before sailing. Cannes was next and we had a long whole day to explore the city. Palma de Mallorca came next, then Barcelona, both I had too many visits and so it was relaxing for me. The ship is my destination, that’s why I booked Yacht Club. Often a little stroll on familiar streets, then home for a fine dinner. MSC offers good entertainment with production-type shows every night. Then Ajaccio, my first visit although I have called on Bonafacio and Calvi on previous cruises. It was still too much sun and too hot on Sept 20 to have an otherwise most pleasant stroll of this town. For me ports like this of compact size are most desirable for cruise ships. Then Civitavecchia, and I didn’t bother to add one more of many revisits to Rome. Civitavecchia has become a permanent bore to frequent cruisers like me who do not bother to take 3 hours in train travel to Rome. Last call was La Spezia. An excursion port to see Firenze, Pisa, or Cinque Terre. It was bad that as I landed late I miss the few transportation to the latter, which I have visited of course but want to see again one of the most picturesque places of the world. It was an all-port day busy itinerary, great for first time cruisers of the Med. MSC has many ships doing similar itinerary. The spectacular new vessel Seaview was next to us in Genoa for departure same time but I have chosen Fantasia for Ajaccio to have at least one port of touristic interest to me. Paying a good last minute fare for Yacht Club, it was always a good idea if you have time to spare And alas, I still had time, so I embarked Costa Fascinosa the day I disembarked.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
For personal reasons we were forced to travel during the main holiday season this time. This resulted in some negative experiences, as the ship was fully booked as well as full with many families and children. Unfortunately today's ... Read More
For personal reasons we were forced to travel during the main holiday season this time. This resulted in some negative experiences, as the ship was fully booked as well as full with many families and children. Unfortunately today's parents seem to neglect the education and good behaviour very much. But to the journey. We chose this route because we did not know of any other port except Genoa. Ship: We already knew in advance that the MSC Opera is an older ship in the fleet and was extended in 2015. Unfortunately, the public areas seem to have been disregarded during the extension. After several voyages on other MSC ships we were disappointed by the public areas. Cabin: The cabin was MSC standard and thus perfectly in order. Criticism points were however the connecting door, which did not dampen the noise of the neighbouring cabin enough, and the built-in furniture. The hinges of the cabinets were protruding or torn out. Dinner in the restaurant: our expectations were fulfilled. The choices were known from other travels and even as a non-fish-eater one has more than sufficient possibilities. The staff was very busy, although the language skills could always be improved. Food and meals in the self-service restaurant: the self-service restaurant was very small compared to other MSC ships and definitely undersized due to the number of passengers. The possibility of evading into the covered outdoor area is certainly unique and makes sense in warm outside temperatures. Service on board: we always had the impression that the staff had either been on board for too long (i.e. towards the end of the current contract) or were only on the first route. In any case, the waiting times were unusually long and in many areas there was no service at all. That was unfortunately very disappointing. Staff on board: even if personnel costs are saved everywhere (in all economic sectors), the friendliness and the service philosophy should always be emphasized. Our impression has been confirmed that the quality of the staff deteriorates from year to year. Itinerary: This time Genoa was only the start and end port. In Marseille, one should definitely book the offered shuttle, as here one saves a lot of walking and time. The old harbour with the exhibition buildings as well as the church Notre Dame de la Garde are absolutely recommendable. On Mallorca, one can do without the shuttle, as directly from the harbour building, a public bus drives away (on arrival as an express line) and stops in the middle of the city. Small tip: book the visit of the terraces of the cathedral in advance (an insider tip at the moment, but definitely very worthwhile). Ibiza: Party highlight of the whole route - individually spend the whole day with a rented scooter or car (choose car rental with office at the Estacion Maritima!) and in the evening to the old town of the island capital Eivissa. Olbia - Panoramatour with Costa Smerald - Porto Cervo - San Pantaleo ... who has luck to have a bus with only one language, can enjoy the journey surely still better Livorno - Cinque Terre by bus, boat and train... dreamlike... recommendable in Monterosso: the self-righteous cakes in the Pasticceria Laura... Shows in the theatre: dreamlike illusions and great shows... so far also the best cruise director... the singers have great voices, but could add a little more emotion to the songs; acrobats: the power and air acrobats are excellent, the snakewomen unfortunately only show standard and you could certainly leave them out. Bands / singers in the bars: oh dear, what can you say about that without having to reach into the bottom drawer? Unfortunately even the most famous songs, which everyone in the audience can sing along to, are performed as if by laymen at a karaoke show. In addition the volume was very high, so that one had to evade very far for conversations. To sum it up, we can recommend a trip with MSC at any time, but you should be aware of what you expect and take a close look at the plans of the ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We are a married couple from Chicago who traveled with two single friends and we had adjoining cabins. We chose the Yacht Club package due to the all-inclusive feel, the price and the itinerary. This was a port-intensive trip with just two mornings at sea. One thing new to us was the idea of people embarking and disembarking at different ports throughout the cruise: on almost every cruise I can think we’ve been, we’ve had a complete passenger turnover on Day 1 of the cruise: not on MSC. Embarkation/ Boarding: Very smooth operation. Yacht Club personnel came to meet us (they must have seen the luggage tags) We were offered canapes and beverages while waiting for check-in. We were escorted in on the same line as everyone else, bypassing them as the butler led us on. No later than 20 minutes after boarding, we had our key cards and were given a tour of the Yacht Club enclave by our butler Germain who also thoroughly explained the workings of items in the cabin. The safety drill was an entire joke; no one was paying attention? The Cabin: 15001 is a large square room with an oversize balcony. The cabin was always perfectly maintained for the duration of the cruise, but the TV screen was way too small for a cabin this size and was so far away from the bed that you could hardly enjoy anything on screen. We first always had to call for ice but after three evenings they got it and the ice bucket was always full when we got back. Europeans don’t use ice nearly as much as Americans; even our drinks had just a couple cubes compared to at home. Our friends next door had a regular size cabin; 15001 is really a nice cabin with extra space if that’s important to you. We had a large walk-in closet which had a lighting system operated by foot movement, so if you were in there not moving around you’d be left in the dark until you moved again! A bit disconcerting I suppose! We found it funny…. The bedding and bed linens/pillows were all amazingly comfortable and of a very high quality. A wide selection of toiletries was provided in the bathroom which had a bathtub/shower combination. We also had a larger balcony than our fiends next door, that curved a bit towards the front of the ship. The Dining: Meals at L’Etoile were good but not stand-out exceptional. We had dinner there every evening, a few lunches, and just one breakfast which was slow but good. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We appreciated having this option as the regular ship buffet was always crowded and loud with people not keeping in lines. We ate there just once to try the pizza which was excellent. As a Yacht Club member you get to enjoy complimentary gelato throughout the ship, health bar shakes at tbe spa and chocolate cocktails at the Venchi bar on 6. On “Elegant” night (MSC doesn’t have “Formal”), we saw only two tuxedoes in Yacht Club, and most people dressed in smart “business casual” attire. Many men wore blazers and khakis, few even wore ties. I have no experience of what it was like in the main dining room but no one seemed to bother much about keeping to any kind of dress code. One nice thing about the Yacht Club was the personalized attention we received at all times on The One Pool deck and at the Top Sail Lounge, including Afternoon Tea service. There was always a constant stream of snack food available throughout the day and evening. The Entertainment: the Italian Operatic evening was enjoyable as was the French evening, but the others were just bad-mix combos of ballroom dancing, skipping-rope and street-dancing routines and I have seen better High School productions in theater. Elsewhere on the ship we had a pianist every evening at the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge., and there were various bands and musical entertainments elsewhere that we heard about but didn’t experience. One thing I noticed on MSC is that there are many more smoking sections in some of their indoor spaces than seem to be the case of the American cruises we’ve been on. The casino, the indoor lounges all allowed smoking (sections of the lounges were non-smoking but the smell of Febreze next morning—it is used liberally to get rid of cigarette smoke stink--was quite nauseating). Personally, I would prefer a non-smoking cruise option and will look for that on our next cruise vacation. The Spa: Yacht Club guests have access to the sauna and steam room areas at all times; there is a special elevator that takes Yacht Club guests directly into that part of the spa. Otherwise you have to enter the spa through the main doors on floor 14 which is like being attacked by mosquitoes, so aggressive are the spa staff at selling options and offers. A word to the wise: I tipped my service provider at the spa generously but realized after seeing my receipt that a 20% service charge is automatically added, so you do not need to tip unless you think your therapist deserves more than that. My therapist was exceptionally good at her job, professional and obviously well-trained. The ship in general: Shore excursions: Poor offerings from MSC so we did our own thing. Ajaccio: we walked off the ship and explored this French town on our own. Visited Napoleon’s birthplace and an art gallery and artisanal craft store. Typical French south-coast town. Nothing much to note except the main street closest to the harbor is exceptionally touristy and you have to go up the hill to the next level or two to get the real French town feeling. Rome: picked up a rental car in port of Civitavecchia (near train station: took shuttle from ship to port entrance and port entrance to station about 4 Euro round trip) and drove to Odaleschi Castle on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Lovely day, The castle is home to an Italian Princess Orsini, and is famous for its celebrity weddings, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I can see why… views are stunning. On the drive back we stopped at an Etruscan Necropolis and overall had a great day and were back on ship in time for a very late lunch at L’Etoile. La Spezia: took the public ferry from the port to Monterosso. We’ve been to the Cinque Terre before, and have actually hiked the trail, from Vernazza to Manarola, but this time around were happy to see it from the water and to see Monterosso which is a lovely village. Took the train back and walked to the ship. We stopped at the hotel we had stayed at two years’ ago and the receptionist recognized us! It was amazing! Another exceptional and memorable day. So enjoyable! Geooa: took a walking tour of the old town with a local guide organized on get your guide dot com. This was a great tour and included entrance to the Palazzo Rosso which is memorable for its rooftop views in addition to its art collection. Also we were back on the ship in time for lunch and then had the afternoon free, which some of us explored on our own and others used the ship as a vacation destination! Cannes. Tendered here. Took a tour to Monaco and Eze with Viator dot com. Also highly recommend this company. Bring your passport: you can get a free souvenir passport stamp in the Monaco Tourist Office in Monte Carlo (opposite the Casino but uphill at other end of the garden). It’s a nice and colorful souvenir. Unlike most things in Monaco, it’s free. Saw the Changing of the Guard at the Grimaldi Palace, visited the small nearby Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and visited their crypt behind the high altar. Vita Brevis and all that. Enjoyed delicious ice-cream. The views of Antibes and Cap Ferrat from Eze are truly memorable. Eze is a lovely hillside village and is home to both the Fragonard perfumery and the Chevre D’Or Hotel/Restaurant. Walt Disney once visited here and it is obvious it inspired some of his work. We were lucky to get there early before the hordes of tour busses, and climbed to the sculpture garden at the summit for some of the best photos of our trip. Palma de Mallorca: MSC charging 14 Euro for a round trip bus transfer for what I consider a nice walk. Save money if the weather is not too hot and do it yourself. It’s less than ½ mile each way. We ended up taking the bus due to a travel companion’s foot problem and explored the Cathedral and Old Palma downtown. The ship was late in port this evening but we were back in time for dinner and wanted to enjoy our final evening on board. Excursions: we really saved a lot by going independently and lots of these ports are worth exploration; we had heard poor reports about value of ship excursions but no complaints at all about get your guide dot com or viator dot com, botb of which offered exceptional value and well-organized tours MSC overall: Yes we really enjoyed this cruise but if we were not in Yacht Club we felt the ship had a crowded feel and a loud ambience. Once we entered the Yacht Club enclave everything became very quiet and peaceful and we loved spending time either on our balcony, in the Top Sail Lounge, or on the One Pool Deck. Nice touches included live piano music every evening, the free mini-bar in the suite and the daily newspaper that arrived with the morning coffee. I would choose MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. The wait staff and bartenders remembered our drinks, the concierge was exceptionally helpful and we were well looked-after. Packages: I pre-paid and saved 40% on the basic or standard internet package which lasted for the duration of the cruise. I also pre-paid for one of two massages that I had. We did not bother with photograph packages as we take enough on our phones! Our travel agent provided us a $250 shipboard credit per cabin which we applied towards things like laundry and spa services. Overall this was an excellent vacation and very relaxing. Disembark: we were first off the ship and our luggage was waiting, as was our driver; we had arranged a private full day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat and our luggage was stored securely on vehicle while we did this tour. It was an excellent introduction to our next four days in Barcelona before returning home. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
In mid July we made a Western Med cruise on the Seaview. The ship looked beautiful and was brand new. We had a balcony cabin above the smokers deck (deck 8). If you want a non smoking experience you have to avoid the balconies on deck 9! ... Read More
In mid July we made a Western Med cruise on the Seaview. The ship looked beautiful and was brand new. We had a balcony cabin above the smokers deck (deck 8). If you want a non smoking experience you have to avoid the balconies on deck 9! The pools are great, and waterslides were amazing! Our 6 year old daughter was given a wristband wich allowed her to go on all the waterslides! The kidspool is great although there is no sitting space for adults...which is a fault... The restaurants were great. The staff is great! The cabin was well taken care of. We loved the jungle pool. It was the best place were there was a little shade. You need the shade during summer. The ports were all good, although we did not like there were extra costs for getting in to town. A free shuttle should be normal...but...that is what you get for the low pricing! All the food was good, but only the pizzas were great! One thing that annoyed me is that the Yacht club is getting more and more space on the ship....which means normal passengers can not have a complete experience of the ship...the top floors/decks were not allowed to normal passengers....this is getting worse on every new ship... The entertainment was great! We have been on Celebrity, HAL and MSC. Though the first two are better, MSC gives true value for money. They speak a lot of languages but no Dutch at the kids club, which is sad, because there were lots of Dutch children onboard.... Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This is a beautiful brand new ship, with absolutely loads of outdoor space and a fabulous 'boardwalk' outdoor eating area which wraps around the deck 8. Even though the ship was full, we can honestly say we never felt crowded. ... Read More
This is a beautiful brand new ship, with absolutely loads of outdoor space and a fabulous 'boardwalk' outdoor eating area which wraps around the deck 8. Even though the ship was full, we can honestly say we never felt crowded. There were lots of children activities with the slides and bowling alleys and zippiness etc, but quite expensive... you could buy a package but bowling in particular we thought very expensive. The 3d simulator ride was great. They had one art auction in the week which was fun, but I think will be looking to increase those. The shows were of a very high standard, but all a little 'samey' in my opinion with the dance and singing cast doing every night, so there were no surprises. We were extremely disappointed to learn that (despite having clarified this in advance as it was our reason for choosing this ship over another) there is no comedy club / or any type of comedy, an no outdoor movies. There is a big screen but it was used for images only. So I did feel that the entertainment in the evening was somewhat limited to the usual duos etc in the bars if you didn't feel like the shows or casino. The food in the main restaurants was average, but the buffet was way above average and excellent food. Also, all of the specialty restaurants were excellent, and the Tappenyaki one was worth it just for the show! The only downside was with the Atelier Bistro - whilst although the food was lovely, the ambience was hindered by it being next to the atrium and the band / kids disco etc that was playing whilst we were trying to eat... even the staff were complaining about this. Service was on the whole good. I found that alot of the staff spoke very limited english so found it hard to make myself understood sometimes, but generally the staff were pleasant and helpful. The MSC app was an excellent addition.. Overall a lovely cruise on an incredibly beautiful ship, just a few minor issues that need sorting out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise again ,first went to try out and found everything so good booked another few weeks later,now going again on the 18th may ,the staff are so friendly and helpful everything was spotlessly clean,food was good catering ... Read More
We chose this cruise again ,first went to try out and found everything so good booked another few weeks later,now going again on the 18th may ,the staff are so friendly and helpful everything was spotlessly clean,food was good catering staff very helpful,all the staff could not do enough to p!ease,the cleaning of our cabin was excellent every day,entertainment was good and varied the entertainment team were excellent trying to make sure everyone had a good time and got involved,pool and hot tubs were glorious .excursions are bit expensive but you can go on your own,embarking and disembarking explained well,good safety procedures,the people pushing you to have your photo done are a bit annoying and expensive but we still got one just as a memory but the photos are excellent,,get a drinks package that way you can experiment with the cocktails,bar staff and waiters waitresses are lovely and very helpful, Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
There were 8 of us going on the Mediterranean cruise, so we were looking for something that was more budget friendly and we chose MSC as it was slightly cheaper than the other cruise lines we have taken in the past. This was our first ... Read More
There were 8 of us going on the Mediterranean cruise, so we were looking for something that was more budget friendly and we chose MSC as it was slightly cheaper than the other cruise lines we have taken in the past. This was our first time going with MSC and I was a bit apprehensive after reading some of the reviews given here on how MSC sucked and how it was the worst cruise they've taken - and I thought perhaps we should've taken Princess or Norwegian or Holland America instead. However, besides a couple of issues I had, we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't bad as others have described. Perhaps we were just lucky and that we had very low expectations going in, but MSC are better at some things and not as good as other cruise lines, which is probably true with all cruise lines anyway. First of all, most of the critique about MSC Orchestra is about the food. Someone said they were not picky eaters and would eat just about anything and yet still found the food terrible. Well, whoever said the food was terrible in MSC Orchestra are actually picky eaters, or just not into a variety of cuisine. Perhaps they just ate the pasta and the pizza all the time and found them terrible - which I do agree, to my surprise, is really not MSC's best offering especially for an Italian ship. The pizza were average, even pizza I've had from the USA are better, which is probably blasphemous for me to say. But it's the same 3 types of pizza every single day so it got boring. The pastas were also okay, they offer a variety with different sauces but again, it's always the same ones every time. They also had a grill section which offered hamburgers, hotdogs and french fries but the real issue with their buffet is that they have the same food every day - EXCEPT for the Daily Specials and Ethnic Cuisine which is located at the back section of the buffet dining room - which many people miss or by the time they get there, their plates are already full of pizza and pastas. The daily specials/ethnic cuisine section offered dishes from Asia or Eastern Europe or South American and it's different each day. My only comment is that they should hire a real Asian chef if they want to serve Asian dishes - they're not bad, but you can tell the difference if an Asian dish was prepared by a Westerner. What I don't like in their buffet dining is that they don't offer lemonade or ice tea for lunch or dinner, unlike other cruise lines, you have a choice of drink besides water. You have to pay for other beverage which isn't right. The one difference in Main Dining with MSC from other cruise ships I've been on is that you get a table reserved for you and your party for the entire duration of the cruise. Which is great because you can just go directly to the same table every night without waiting for the maître d' to seat you and you don't have to wait for the rest of your group to get started. We got a nice 8-seat table next to a port hole so it was a nice location but I can imagine if you got a bad table next to the galley or something, however you can request to be moved if possible. Again, what surprised me with their main dining is that you have to pay for the water. I suppose being an American, I'm not used to this. In the USA, water is free and expected to be served at any restaurant. At €2.75 per liter, we consumed 5 or more bottles each time and it would have gotten quite expensive if we didn't have the complimentary mineral water package that came with our reservation, so while we didn't pay a single cent for our water, I would've been quite pissed off if I had to shell out an extra €100+ just for water in the dining room. That said, the variety of dishes offered was better than average and as I've said, they should hire an Asian chef if they want to serve oriental fare, and also should stay away from pork dishes, every time they serve pork - it was overcooked and bland, but other than that, I enjoyed majority of the dishes I had. They could also offer a lot more choices for dessert but it's not that big of a deal having only 3-4 choices every night, at least it's different. I was a bit disappointed they only had either vanilla or cookies & cream gelato, I had hoped to have a different flavor of gelato every night. The biggest thing we enjoyed in our cruise was their Entertainment live shows each night. The performers were phenomenal and the variety of shows they put out was awesome - they had jugglers, acrobats, aerial silk artists, opera singers, flamenco and salsa dancers in addition to the usual singers and house dancers every cruise line have, and they include almost everyone on each show so it never got boring. In other cruises we had in the past, they would have something like a 70's disco show and it's a whole hour of singing and dancing 70s disco songs which got boring halfway through the show. Not on this cruise, even if they had the Tribute to 80s Musicals night, they still have performances from the non-singing/dancing artists which made the show more exciting and entertaining. As for the Ports and shore excursions - we had a great time in all of them. They were on time and organized with the separate meeting places and the tour stickers - unlike other cruises where everyone gets off the ship and it's chaos at the port looking for your tour guide. However, I have one huge issue with them - our Marseille excursion in France was cancelled due to a strike. So I had to rebook another excursion and go somewhere else. What annoyed me greatly is that I pre-paid for all our excursions and go the 20% discount, and I thought re-booking another excursion, which is not my fault, we would simply get a replacement. But no... what happened was they refunded my excursion at €44pp and I had to pay full price of €55pp for the replacement tour, and the excursions office would not honor the 20% discount I had in my previous tour. Also, some tour buses are multi-lingual and while I can understand why they had to do that, it did make the tours much longer (and a bit boring) because the tour guides had to say everything twice in different languages. The cabins were ok, it's not the best since it's an old ship, but they were clean. The bathroom was slightly larger than those we've had at Princess and Royal Caribbean but smaller than Norwegian, at least my knees weren't bumping the sink when I sat down. The service was good, especially those from Asia which were always polite and smiling and couple of times they gave us free drinks which was very much appreciated. As mentioned earlier, MSC Orchestra is one of the older ships in the fleet so obviously they' don't have the modern amenities as the newer ones. I did get 4 cruise passes to their Thermal Area which was a couple of steam rooms, a couple of sauna rooms, 3 whirlpool baths but only 6 lounge chairs, which wasn't enough on a busy day, but at least it got us away from the crowds at the pool in Deck 13, and at certain times of the day, we were the only ones there. The gym was also average but it didn't bother us that much because there was only one of us who went there lol. Anyway, for those who read some of the negative reviews about MSC Orchestra, I can only say maybe they did have a terrible time cruising with MSC, and although we've had our issues with some of the way MSC handled things, I would still say we had a fun and memorable experience cruising the Mediterranean with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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
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
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
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