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4 MSC Cruises Lisbon Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was quick and smooth. The Preziosa is a beautifull ship with a good layout. We were cruising in an Aurea suite which includes the ‘Easy’ drinking package, massage and spa access. Overall food quality is below average, in ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and smooth. The Preziosa is a beautifull ship with a good layout. We were cruising in an Aurea suite which includes the ‘Easy’ drinking package, massage and spa access. Overall food quality is below average, in the buffet hot food is just warm. If you’re looking for Nutella or something alike they refer to the shop where you can buy(!) it. Never heard that one before. At some point in the cruise they ran out of chocolate croissants and danish. ‘Sorry, out of stock’. How can you run out of chocolate croissants when you have an own bakery on board? Even if you want to order a small bottle of water, ‘Sorry, all finished’. If this was my cruiseline, I’d sack the F&B manager. The system where you press a button for bar service doesn’t work. Once they have the money in the till of your drinking package you’re on your own. It is quite hard to get a drink in the bars and impossible to get a drink in the buffet. Nobody encourages people to disinfect or wash hands. I’m surprised there wasn’t a breakout of norovirus or flu. Overall the public areas are clean, alas, our cabin was not. Thick layers of dust in cabinets and drawers and long women’s hair in the bathtub. The top-tier privileges of their loyalty program are ridiculous, didn’t receive the gift or the chocolate due to ‘problems with distribution’. Don’t promise things if you can’t realise them. Our pre-booked excursion was cancelled because of ‘lack of participants’, I’ve been on excursions with other cruiselines where there were 6 participants in the coach. So again, profits before guest service. I’ve seen MSC slipping down from a near 5* company to some kind of holiday park on the water. Ok, the prices are very affordable but what you pay is what you get... Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Me and my boyfriend (30 and 37-both Greeks) decided to sail for the second time with MSC Preziosa because the first cruise was just fantastic and we loved the vibes of beeing in such an amzing ship! We sailed at October 2018 for a 9 ... Read More
Me and my boyfriend (30 and 37-both Greeks) decided to sail for the second time with MSC Preziosa because the first cruise was just fantastic and we loved the vibes of beeing in such an amzing ship! We sailed at October 2018 for a 9 nights cruise to Genoa, Malaga, Casablanca, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles. We had a great experience overall. THE SHIP. The ship is absolutely amazing. Big, beautiful, extra clean. The bar and lounges and public spaces were awesome. You could find a calm place to read your book (which I did most of the times) or taje a coctail and chill near the pool. The weather was great at October 17th so we had a lot of the time on board spend there! OUR CABIN. Again, they upgraded us to a balcony cabin cause some of them were free. The cabin is great, I reccomend if you can spend the money to get a balcony cabin, it has a lot of space and the feeling that you get waking in the middle of the night and seeing the ocean right there is unbeatable! ENTERTAINMENT. The entertainment was good for the most part. I loved the talent night where members of the ship were trying their talents! There were some really talented people among them! SERVICE AND STAFF. The service and the staff were AMAZING. Really kind and welcome, not one of them beeing rude (I dont know where people writing that find the rude staff). Always wanted to help, with a smile on their faces all the time. DINING. The dining for me is great. First of all I really love the buffet. It has everything that you want and even things that you didnt know you wanted! I appreciate the fact that you can have a great breakfast/lunch even if you are is a special diet-I saw a lot of vegetarian-vegan choices, gluten free, healthy products without extra fat and deserts with low sugar. Every night we were having dinner in the dining area cause we are these kind of people that love to dress up (we dont do that very often!) and have a nice meal! The food was always very good exept the duck but I guess I dont like the duck in general? So dont mark my words! We were not very excited about the shore excursions. MALAGA. We had an absolutely terrible excursion in Malaga with a guy that I can only remember him telling us that Spain has the greatest olive oil in the world. Because we are greeks, he tried to ''pick us'' by asking us about one thousant times ''isnt this true? your olive oil is not that great, ha??'' I was like....COME ON!! I dont care who has the greatest olive oil I am here for vacations and you are RUDE. Yes he was rude, unpleasant and the excursion that he lead was a joke. We should have complained in the office cause noone needs to pay 66e per person for that. CASALBANCA. Not the greatest excursion possible, but I appreciated the fact that I saw two towns (Azemour, Al Jadida) that I could see by myself in any case. I took some really nice photos from people living in extreme poverty but still smile every day. MARSEILLES. We took the Ex-Provence on our own tour and I loved it. It was not really an excursion, they just left you for 4 hours to Ex and you did your own thing. It s a lovely place, we had a really good time spending time in the local markets and wondering around the town, BARCELONA. It is very easy to do your own thing in Barcelona. You just get out of the ship and take a mini bus (not the MSC bus, that is expensive) that cost something like 2-3e and go to the centre. After that we went to see Sagrada Familia (you have to book tickets in advance!) and wonder around in the gothic area. LISON. Again, no need to take an excursion. We just walked from the ship to the town, we went to the castle and then just walking in the alleys. We tasted some traditional deserts and listen to fados! ON BOARD. I actually love on board days. I have a very busy schedule back home so I really need to chill between the days on different places. One of the reasons that we chose this cruise is that it had 3 days on board which for us was great! We went to the pool, had some coctails there, then we went to the water slides for about 2 hours! It was us and children only but we didnt care cause it was SO much fun! Then we could chill reading our book (there is also a library there-ofcourse not book in greek but I manage to find the last one in english and it was actually a great book!) eat in the buffet, have a beer in the deck. It was very relaxing. Overall it is a great exerience for us! Right now we have already booked our next cruise that leaves in a month with the brand new MSC Grandiosa! We are looking forward!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We joined friends on our first cruise experience. We didn't know what to expect but were given the 'heads-up' by our friends on what other cruise lines offer and how they operate. MSC disappointed in the customer service ... Read More
We joined friends on our first cruise experience. We didn't know what to expect but were given the 'heads-up' by our friends on what other cruise lines offer and how they operate. MSC disappointed in the customer service department on this cruise. There seemed to be a lack of employee training as we encountered conflicting answers to our questions. We did not receive our drink vouchers for our Fantastica Experience until we persistently tried to get someone to deal with the issue. The drink vouchers were not given to us until the third day of our voyage! What seemed to be a simple oversight became a huge problem that the onboard staff was unable to solve. The general feeling of fellow passengers was of confusion and frustration. The ship itself is beautiful and our cabin was extremely comfortable and accommodating. The quality of food improved with time, though the buffet got a bit chaotic at times and we felt rushed in our First Seating timeslot in the dining room. Our waiter, while personable, seemed to be flustered quite often. His assistant was efficient and professional. Small portions discouraged food waste and it was easy to order extra portions. Onboard entertainment was OK, but was not a highlight. Entertainers who were not part of the troupe of regulars were excellent. We avoided the crush of passengers getting off the ship at ports-of-call by leaving later and doing self-guided tours. Disembarkation in Genoa ran smoothly (behind schedule though) but was preceded by poor communication and confusion about procedures the night before. It was extremely difficult to get through to Customer Service with so many people having the same concerns as us. The Genoa port terminal was a challenge for passengers with small children or mobility issues. We experienced line-ups and a 'mob scene' at the taxi stand. Fortunately, the train station was a short walk away. I would hesitate to try another MSC cruise, even with their very competitive pricing, until organizational improvements are evident. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
After 3 memorable experiences on MSC’s ships was not at all a surprise that I decided to comeback. This time I was cheating on my first MSC love “Preziosa” and choose, for a 9 day trip, her sister ship “Splendida” Since the ... Read More
After 3 memorable experiences on MSC’s ships was not at all a surprise that I decided to comeback. This time I was cheating on my first MSC love “Preziosa” and choose, for a 9 day trip, her sister ship “Splendida” Since the very first moment on board MSC Splendida I had the “back home” feeling; the ship has the exact layout of the Preziosa with some theme-lines changed slightly, just perfect to give me the comfortable balance between NEW and FAMILIAR. Splendida is big on bling, with an eye-popping golden Swarovski-crystal-inlaid staircase in the Yacht Club’s double-height foyer which pales into insignificance when compared with its larger sister in the main atrium. We start our voyage in Lisbon, an ideal embarkation port if you don’t like big airports and long taxi rides to the port. In the Portuguese capital is pointless to book a transfer when the taxi is always waiting for customer and a trip to the port will cost no more than 35 Euros. Even if was stated on our travel documents that the embarkation will start at 1.00PM, due to our early flight we arrived in port around 10.30AM. We decided to leave the luggage in the terminal and run for a coffee waiting for embarkation procedures to start. The staff in the terminal informed us that they will call the ship to let them know that we arrived already but, to be honest we didn’t expect to board the ship earlier than the official boarding time. Wrong assumption and great proof that MSC Yacht Club service is most of the time above any expectations: in less than 10 minutes the Assistant Head Butler Dani find us in the terminal and in less than another 10 minutes we were in our stateroom – 15016 which was …. READY! I checked my watch and it was 11.15AM…that’s a big WOW!!! Our cabin, 15016, was a YC1 grade, which doesn’t compete with similar cabins on other cruise liners; is not very generous from the space available point of view. A living area gives the cabin the “luxury air”, the walk-in closet – quite small if you care about your appearance on board – is a big plus taking in the account the limited storage space in the room and the balcony is the size of a normal balcony cabin. Maybe the only feature which doesn’t match the “exclusive” marketed image of the Yacht Club is the bathroom: a very small space trying to accommodate a normal size bathtub. A big plus for the deco and colour scheme of the room which creates an elegant, home like feeling. With no doubts the biggest asset of our journey in Splendida’s Yacht Club was our butler Edwin. This was the third time when we had the privilege to have him on board and I was more than happy and please to see that his standards hadn’t change at all. Originally from Honduras, Edwin has the perfect personality and knowledge for his position, recording with maximum care the likes and dislikes of guests and always add a sort of special touch for any requests that he received. Having Edwin for 9 days created a sense of calm. He quietly and discreetly thought ahead and ensured that every detail that makes the day go smoothly happened with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss. With his assistant butler Oleana, a charming girl from Ukraine, the kept our room in a perfect state, with everything being in the same place, the right one, all the time. Is interesting how during the entire voyage we didn’t need to ask for anything, and both Edwin and Oleana, were one step ahead us anticipating any type of requests, bringing a sense of security in our experience in an unnoticeable way. The Yacht Club offers to the guests the “Top Sail Lounge” a perfect multifunctional laid space for any moments of the day: an attentive Continental breakfast service in the morning, a high tea in the afternoon, a pre-dinner drink ambiance in the evening and even a late snack for those looking for a quiet night-cup. A small army of butlers and assistant butlers were always around ready not only to take orders but to suggest our next delicious choice. Anna, a lovely Ukrainian young lady, was an elegant and charming presence in the Top Sail lounge, always ready not only to serve but to have a smooth pleasant conversation with all the guests. The atmosphere was complimented with live music sometimes in the afternoon and evening. I must say that my previous suggestion regarding the diversity of musical acts was implemented and three different musical styles were rotated in the lounge during our cruise. Maybe something more lively will be a good idea, especially in the evenings when the audience was up for some fun. The perks for Yacht Club’s guests don’t end with a nice room and personalised service; even during the day when we were part of different shore excursion, the YC status gave us the chance to avoid long lines and wasting time in different areas waiting for the excursion to starts, like on Norwegian Cruise Line or Cunard. With our tickets, we received the time when we will meet our host in the lounge, relaxing with a cup of coffee, before the excursion starts. The host will escort you directly to the point where the guide will start the tour: no lines and waiting for the elevator, access to gangway or security checks. Smooth and very pleasurable! Another big asset for the MSC Splendida’s team was the Assistant Head Butler – Dani. More than once I was sure that he must have some clones in his cabin because he was always anytime everywhere if you will need any assistance. I mentioned our early embarkation in Lisbon, but Dani surpassed himself in Malaga when he appeared from … nowhere and escorted us straight to the shuttle bus avoiding the long and unnecessary queue. More than that his way to anticipate needs and wishes was more than a skill, it was a talent! One day, before a long tour he overhead myself talking about having a typical Italian pizza room delivery later that day. And what a surprise, at my return in the cabin, a lovely MSC Splendida Special fresh made pizza was waiting with all the toppings that you can dream about. What an amazing little special touch! And the pizza was delicious too! I do hope that, on my next MSC cruise, I will have the privilege to have Dani as a Head Butler, he deserves it 150%. This unashamedly elitist experience vanished when I left the YC and I was wondering the rest of Splendida trying to enhance my experience on-board. No difference with the other cruise ship: a feeling of mass produced cruise, with “must have fun” dictated by a, maybe too energetic, animation team and a service which seems to be rushed and tributary to a general routine and “whatever” attitude. Maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but the difference between YC experience and the rest of the ship is more than obvious. I discover a single “breath of fresh air” in the entire ship outside Yacht Club: Alex a bartender in the Aft Lounge. Originally from Romania, Alex didn’t stop to amaze us not only with his bartender and mixology knowledge but with his positive attitude, his high standard manners, his sense of humour and conversational abilities. Actually he was the only reason for which we were spending couple of hours every evening in quite a noisy and busy lounge filled up with low key entertainment. I was wondering couple of time why Alex was not a presence in the Yacht Club where his skills and talents will be well used and appreciated? What I do like about Splendida lay-out is that the designer manages to create a lot of different spaces with different personalities, able to attract different sub-populations of guests: a cosy piano-bar, a quite trendy disco-club, a bright light “piazzeta” style area, an elegant wine bar or the large glitzy atrium. No matter how fussy you are for sure you will find on-board your favourite spot. And nothing is too big or too much. An intrigue choice is the speciality restaurant; on Preziosa you can choose between an Italian and a trendy up-market Fusion restaurants, but here, on Splendida the only choice was a Tex-Mex! I was a little bit reluctant initially, but, after the first dinner there, the efficient service, delicious food and reasonable price made me to return before the end of the voyage. Moving to things that need to be change if MSC wants to be a strong competitor on the very busy cruise market I think the biggest disappointment is from far the on-board entertainment. On one hand, some acts are on expected cruise ship standards: the duos in the Purple Jazz Bar, Irina - the pianist in the Top Sail Lounge or the excellent Swarovski trio are filling the space and time with decent performances. On the other hand, what I don’t understand is the “talent competition” level of the big theatre shows! On a ship under a flag bearing a history of fantastic Italian entertainment (San Remo, Rai Uno or Canal 5) the dancers and especially the singers made any attempts to watch the shows painful. The lack of interest or personality of the Cruise Director Franco was maybe the reason for the performance of noisy and amateurish animation team, in line more with a cheap holiday all-inclusive resort than a famous cruise line. All the team parties were full of screaming and jumping with the same line dance routine no matter the music! Fortunately, the cocktails in the Aft Lounge manage to ease the pain created by a very annoying animation team. Who told them that good entertainment means screaming in a microphone and rolling on the dance floor? Don’t be surprised that I didn’t mention anything yet about the dining experience on board MSC Splendida. That was, I think, the only downside of our trip. L’Olivo, located at the back of the ship, is the restaurant dedicated to Yacht Club guests and is an elegant Mediterranean ambiance. Unfortunately, our experience on Preziosa was repeated this time on Splendida too: the quality of the dishes and variety of the menus seem to be results of a dramatic budget cuts. Nothing that will remind you of the fresh and simple Italian traditional cuisine. But as I eat to live and vice versa the over-processed and not at all inspired meal choices didn’t bother me at all. Most upsetting was the level of service. A Maitre D’ arrogant and with no manners, a complete absence of standards and consistency in service and a rush and “whatever” service style made me to avoid as much as possible (only 3 nights of 9 dining in the restaurant) the place. If MSC wants to impose the Yacht Club product on the luxury cruise market a lot of work must be done in the restaurant department, where the lack of efficient and professional middle management ruin the culinary experience on board placing the standards of the Yacht Club restaurant on the same level with P&O or Costa main dining room. And that’s not a compliment! What I would like MSC to change? Couple of small but important things: - A restaurant menu and service which match the level of service in the Yacht Club and expectations from an exclusive product - A Concierge Service more focused in finding solutions than using NO as a general answer - A real package to differentiate the different loyalty level of guests to the same standards as other cruise liners. - An entertainment more modern and flexible without the air of a cheap holiday resort. - The extension of the perks associated with the Yacht Club on the entire ship (beverage service for example) I know that nobody is perfect but being a great believer in MSC quality and future, I am sure that the company will start moving in the right direction in the Restaurant and Concierge/Front Desk department to support the amazing efforts and results of the rest of Yacht Club team. For me, MSC Yacht Club is for sure one of the choices when is time to book a new cruise. Is close to what exclusivity and luxury means when I am thinking about cruising. The almost perfect product, the amazing crew and the feeling that pampering is a lifestyle on board MSC ships make me hope that the company is on the right path. That’s way I can’t wait for our next MSC Yacht Club experience: a week on Fantasia in December and a return on Splendida in January. Thank you very much MSC Splendida, thank you amazing crew of Yacht Club team! See you soon! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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