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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as the ship was new and looked beautiful...and MSC is one of a few cruise lines we haven't experienced. The ship was beautiful, especially the galleria area, but: - the beauty of the ship could have been ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the ship was new and looked beautiful...and MSC is one of a few cruise lines we haven't experienced. The ship was beautiful, especially the galleria area, but: - the beauty of the ship could have been enhanced with art work - the cruise experience could have been enhanced with more activities on offer - the library was a couple of shelves with a hand full of books - the food in the buffet was boring after a few days and (surprising given the ship's Italian pedigree) not of a good quality - it felt like it was all about selling and getting more money from the cruise passengers - the promo video gives the impression of a sophisticated cruise experience .....the reality was most of the time it felt like hell on earth...noisy rude passengers All in all one of the worst cruises we have been on! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you ... Read More
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you don’t stop there quite often. 4) Crowd of all ages, very sophisticated people to be around and make acquittances. 5) Easy registration at Marseille terminal. 6) Cirque du Soleil with the dinner, excellent! Magnifique! CONS: 1) Food very average, think Carnival. 2) Not very personalized approach, never heard the captain, never saw him, no chocolate on your pillow, even your excursion tickets weren’t delivered to the room. 3) Very crowded, and full of kids, a lot more than anticipated. No reserved adult pool, or reserved exterior smoking area. Very crowded buffet. 4) Cabin Stewart, very nice, but working alone. No ice in ice bucket, mini bar not automatically refilled, unless you requested it. No bathrobe. 5) NOISY, Many kids, many door slamming, no butlers around, no discipline. 6) Overall expansive. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The service on board is ok as long as you are not requesting anything. If you are not in the yatch club or apeeding a lot of $$$$ on extra you will not recieve anything. Here are some example: - my daughter found a metal tack in ... Read More
The service on board is ok as long as you are not requesting anything. If you are not in the yatch club or apeeding a lot of $$$$ on extra you will not recieve anything. Here are some example: - my daughter found a metal tack in her chicken, their only reaction was to replace the chicken lno other excuse, letter of excuse - the bar by the pool is often out of cold draft beer, if you want a beer you need to buy bottle more expensive - the buffer is only offering water and coffee, juice is only available during the breakfast - restaurant and bar often out of sodas - have to wait to get out of the ship (docked) because only one exit is open or because the decide to put everyone on hold the exist excursion using the same exit at the same time This cruise was my u in e yeard and 3 rd with msc.... MSC never again Karl Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and ... Read More
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and as they have no set start port for the Cruise there are people embarking at every port of the Cruise meaning there is far fewer at each port in the queue. Crew/Staff- were top notch, despite the fact that there were very few English speaking passengers on board we never met a crew member that could not speak English, they were super helpful and always courteous. Facilities- there were so many things to do onboard for both adults and kids that there was never a danger of boredom, everything from multiple pools and jacuzzis to a State of the Art gym, video games, football pitch, table tennis, and a squash court. There is also a Hair salon, Spa and other pampering available at an extra cost. There is a Casino, a Sports Bar along with plenty of Cafes, Bars, Restaurants and Ice Cream Counters. Excursions- are available at an extra cost, these can be quite expensive especially if you are booking for four but having done both official and self-organised excursions there is not a huge cost saving in the difference but the self-organised tours allows for flexibility such as choosing the time slot for climbing the Tower of Pisa. NB* please note that tickets to go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa are NOT included in that tour and you NEED to book in advance to ensure you get to go up as it is super busy and limited in numbers allowed. Dining- This was one worry we had but we could not have been more impressed, there was a different and varied dinner menu each night in the Red Velvet Restaurant, you could also go there for breakfast and lunch or you could go to the Zanzibar Buffet on deck 14 which opened 18-20 hours per day. The buffet however didn't have food between 17.00 & 18.30 due to the crew partaking in the daily Emergency Evacuation Exercise for new passengers which we found was a strange time to close the food part? The food was always top quality in the A La Carte Red Velvet and while there was a huge choice in the Zanzibar some of the food was tepid if it had been out for more than a couple of minutes. Passengers- Mainly Italian, French, Spanish & German but with a good sprinkling of other nationalities. One drawback that I must mention as it can colour the judgement / enjoyment of some people is that we found that passengers of certain nationalities appear incredibly rude in terms of an inability to queue in an orderly fashion, an unwillingness to give way while passing in tight spaces and even common courtesy of thanking you for holding a door open for them. I had to ask passengers at one of the shows to be quiet as they insisted on talking their way through the show so loudly that everyone within 30m could hear their conversation and none of the show. The ship despite being 11 years old was in great condition and huge efforts were made to keep it looking well so overall we could not fault MSC in any way, indeed we were so impressed we have booked with MSC on their new ship the MSC Grandiosa for next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, so I'd say we have a broad range of cruising experience. We chose this cheap and cheerful cruise for our annual family holiday because, well, it was cheap. We travelled by train from London and sailed from Marseille, via Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Naples, Livorno and Genoa. We were concerned, to say the least, after reading so many poor reviews but overall, the experience was acceptable. Embarkation was surprisingly all right. I think it is because for this particular cruise, people are boarding and leaving from every port so you don't experience the usual huge lines and long waits for your baggage. A couple of things to note, however, is that firstly you need to validate your cruise card and link it with your credit card *on the ship* rather than at embarkation, and at checkout you need to physically go to reception to receive any refund due on your credit card. This isn't something we knew about before boarding and not something that was made clear to us on board. In fact a lot of the things we knew about the ship were down to reading Cruise Critic boards, and because a few of us had sailed with MSC before. Generally, information is not particularly forthcoming. You are either expected to know, or find out for yourself. In addition, the answers you get from the crew depend entirely on who you ask. At times it felt like a crew training cruise, when just about every query was received with puzzlement and a long discussion with someone else. A major point which I think others have also made is regarding smoking. If you cannot tolerate smoking, do not cruise with MSC. Smoking is officially banned on balconies and only permitted outdoors on Deck 7, one side of the pool deck and in the cigar bar and casino. However, despite numerous complaints, nothing was done to stop our cabin neighbours puffing away on their balcony, constantly, and indeed taunting us about it. There are plenty of hidden corners where people can and do smoke, and little is done too prevent it. Tacitly, it seems that this is a smokers' cruise line in spite of the obvious fire risk this poses. The Atlantico bar is directly above the casino and connected with a grand staircase, so that too is quite a smoky area. Another point of concern was the random way in which rules were applied. I left the ship every day with my daughter and niece (who was travelling with her parents) – some of us went for a run, and we walked to meet up with them in each port - with no problems except on the last day when I was informed that I could not take her off the ship as we had different cabin numbers. This sort of thing should not come as a surprise! We had no idea this was a rule of the ship and it was embarrassing, to say the least. Ship environment and layout Perhaps uniquely among ships I've travelled in, the Fantasia has almost no internal clues as to where you happen to be. For example, on NCL, the design of the carpets and art in the stairwells indicates whether you're fore, aft or midships, and little fish point to the front of the ship. There are no such design elements on Fantasia – there are few maps on the wall and paper maps of the ship are only available at reception. This led to a great deal of getting lost. This is a ship of dead ends and going round in circles. I would advise anyone travelling to get a deck plan in advance and study it carefully. This is an older ship and there were stained carpets and leaky air conditioning, flickering lights and broken toilets. Most of the water park was closed for refurbishment. Overall it was clean but it has seen better days. The room stewards were highly overworked – they never get a period of time when there are no passengers on board on a schedule like this one and the ship is permanently full. Our cabin was cleaned daily but sometimes it wasn't turned down until quite late in the evening. Facilities/entertainment We used the Kids' Club – this was fine but if there aren't many kids there, the staff put on a movie and this may be in a different language to the one your kids happen to speak. This may not bother your kids – it didn't bother mine, but it bothered her cousin. Registration, drop off and collection all happen in the same queue, rather than having registration take place at a set time every day. This led to very long lines at busy times. Children get either a red or green wristband. Red means they are not allowed to roam the ship alone, green means they can check themselves out of the kids' club whenever they like. If your child is sensible and can navigate the highly confusing ship, that is.. The pools are fine – they do the job! There is a large indoor pool, an outdoor pool complex, a water slide (with random opening hours), a pool and hot tubs at the back, and a water park which was under refurbishment and therefore closed. The theatre shows were pretty good, if at times incomprehensible. At the poolside, there are often dance classes and other fun activities. There's a tiny library and cyber café, hidden by the reception area. The bars are OK, with little to distinguish one from another. There's a constant pressure to buy drinks packages but these can only be applied to everyone in the cabin – there's no way that between the three of us we could get through €90 worth of drinks a day for the most basic package. Our travel agent negotiated a deal where we could have sparkling water at the buffet or dining room, which was all we really wanted anyway. The photo gallery was incredibly crowded and finding your photos was haphazard – people seemed to be moving photos around. However, the photographers were really good and we actually bought quite a few, which we don't usually. We had a small balcony cabin which was fine, it had enough room for us and our stuff. It got quite noisy at night with stuff going on in the corridors and neighbouring cabins but nothing too bad (apart from a big fight next door one night for which we had to call security…). Staff The staff are nice, they all speak basic English and do their jobs well, but I refer to my earlier remark about how it seemed that this was a training cruise. Food We ate in the dining room and the buffet. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants so I can't say anything about those. The food was a bit hit and miss – nothing horrible, but few things were amazing. The prime rib was great. I really missed the sort of hot puddings you get on NCL or Princess. The dessert section of the buffet was mostly little cakes and jellies, but there was plenty of fruit available. The buffet had a good selection most of the time, the pizzas were excellent. There's little enforcement of the hand gel and often the dispensers were broken, which probably explains why most of us now have colds. In the dining room the portions were very small – my nine year old had room for two main courses from the adult menu one night. Ports of call We did like all the ports we visited. Most of the time we walked off the ship and did not use the shuttle buses. It's worth noting that in Livorno, there is a €5 bus that takes you to the centre of town, or a slightly secret free bus that gets you to the entrance to the port, and then it's a 10 minute walk to the town centre. If you're able to walk for 20 minutes, you don't really need the shuttle buses, but they are heavily promoted. Additionally in Livorno, the town centre itself is OK but a bit boring – however the area around the aquarium (worth visiting, much cheaper than the large one in Genoa) is a newish development with some interesting shops and cafes, a lovely park, lido and playgrounds. It's only a 15 minute walk from the port to here and it's where we wish we'd spent most of the day. We didn't book any excursions. What we tended to do was find a central point of interest and wander towards it – this paid off well in these dense, rambling towns. We hired bikes in Palma de Mallorca (but note that the cycle lane along the seafront can get busy and isn't great for novice riders). The beaches at Palma and Ibiza were really nice, clean and with decent facilities. In summary If you're looking for cheap and cheerful, you don't mind smoking and you're OK with haphazard customer service, then MSC is fine. However, if you have high expectations then you're going to be disappointed. Do your research first and go in with your eyes open. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
MSC is not a customer centric company and this is evident already from the stage of reservation when a complaint that we filled was never addressed and it relates to one of their customer service employees having hang up on our call ... Read More
MSC is not a customer centric company and this is evident already from the stage of reservation when a complaint that we filled was never addressed and it relates to one of their customer service employees having hang up on our call impolitely with the excuse that our french accent was not good and he could not understand us but at the same time he did not speak English to serve us. On board such lack on customer satisfaction continued and we had the feeling that we were constantly being ripped off even for basic stuff, like having tissues in the cabine. What was very annoying during the whole cruise was that we were not valued as a customer and what was offered on the price you paid is just the minimum (like your right to be on the boat) and then you need to top it up significantly to get what you normally get with the cruise fare in other cruise companies. A testament to what we have experienced is the fact that we were not provided with a customer satisfaction survey during the cruise or even at the end. Service quality is not measured hence it is very low compared to other cruise companies where the client is at the center of their service. The embarkation and disembarkation was smooth for us but in every port there people getting on and off the cruise which gave the impression of a hop on hop off type of cruise than anything else, as a result there was no real chance to get any bonding with your fellow travelers or even with staff as they treated you as walk in passager rather than a passenger that will spend a week on board. At the embarkation we were not taken to our cabine and not even shown wheyre the lifts were located to go to our cabine (a ship of 20 floors with 5500 passenger can be a little intimidating when you first set foot on so a little guidance would be much appreciated). Entertainment (shows) in the night was average but the timing was not well planned as the different time shows were conflicting with dinner options and we needed to rush to be on time and get a place. There was no library to get a newspaper or a book. Excursions were expensive for what they offered and on the first day we were 10min in advance to our meeting time, checked in for the excursion and informed the guide that we are passing to the toilet. Surprisingly the guide left us all alone at the meeting point on board because his procedure said that he had to go and he did not wait for us (it was still 5min before the meeting time, they were people who missed the excursion!). His behavior and attitude was unacceptable and rude to some extent but remember as above nobody is measured for their behavior and service. Last but not least we had to ask for everything as information provided was not sufficient and that was exhausting. Activities on board were limited and only around shopping and photos, which all resulted in passengers spending more money. Please note that free water was only available through water fountains (bottle water cost 3.5 euros 500ml) and free juice only available during breakfast. Unlimited pizza and pasta and fruits almost 24/24. Drinks packages were extra and cost from 20euros per person per day (for non alcoholic, eg water, juice, coffee) and from 30euros per day per person for beers and wine. That was the definition of rip off. Kids were happy as they spent most of their day at the kids club but excursions on shore were not adapted to kids. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise ... Read More
We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise line's offerings and paid it off. Also, since we were flying from Los Angeles to Europe, we wanted to see as much as we could each day, so no days at sea was exactly what I was looking for. We chose to board in Marseille since my husband wanted to spend a couple days in Paris prior to the cruise. As for the cabin, we paid for an inside guarantee with the "Fantastica" experience and were very surprised to be upgraded to a mid-ship balcony. Although the ship is a bit dated, it was very clean, the service was excellent across the board and the balcony cabin was very roomy. Our cabin attendant - I Putu Kertajaya, was excellent, and honored our requests. The itinerary included Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, and Valencia. We were fortunate weather-wise with only two days of rain and good weather for the rest of the ports at the end of May, and to have calm seas. Previously having sailed many times with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney, and Carnival, I was curious about what differences would exist with MSC, so I read many Cruise Critic reviews. I learned that there would be differences from the above mentioned cruise-lines in the food and entertainment offerings so I was not surprised to find this to be the case. Both the buffet and the dining room menus have less entree options. Also, our "Fantastica" level of service included water bottles at meals in the dining room, (we found out late into the cruise) all who had not paid for this had to purchase water at lunch and dinner in the dining room just to get a glass of water with the meal. We were accustomed to being served free water at lunch and dinner in the dining rooms prior to this experience, so this was an unusual difference for us. Also, the entertainment in the theatre was not innovative or inspired and had the nightly repetition of the same talent, unlike others we have sailed with, but I was aware this would be the case from the reviews I had read. A variety of styles of music and dancing could be found in the lounges for those who enjoy that. The ports were all very pleasing and we explored most of them on our own taking trains and buses with the exception of two ship's excursions. Since people were embarking and debarking each day on this itinerary, it was hard to get a Cruise Critic meeting or Meet & Mingle party together. Also, with no days at sea, time was limited. We received a note in our cabin that the meeting date was cancelled, but then rescheduled for dinner in the Asian Fusion (new) Galaxy lounge/restaurant. This was a delightful sushi dinner with two ship's officers and just four of us Cruise Critic members. It was a very special evening for us on the ship and the two officers were extremely friendly and personable. This was one of the highlights. We had a really good week with the knowledge that this experience would be different in terms of food and entertainment. If you are accustomed to the cruise-lines mentioned above or the luxury lines, you will have a good time IF you are aware of differences and change your expectations...it's all in the expectations and this was a great daily itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and because we wanted to try a European line after having cruised over 25 times on the mainstream American lines. Here goes: First: this itinerary allows passengers to start and end the cruise in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and because we wanted to try a European line after having cruised over 25 times on the mainstream American lines. Here goes: First: this itinerary allows passengers to start and end the cruise in any of the 7 ports. So the embarkation process was quick since we didn't have to deal with all 4200 people getting on at the same time. Second: the ship is absolutely gorgeous! Real marble, beautiful lighting, every nook and cranny was more attractive than the next! Stateroom: we had a rear-facing balcony . The room had so much storage space and was very well appointed. But, no robes unless you asked for it and, they wanted to charge us for them. As for the balcony, it was huge and contained both chairs and lounges. Problem was, we hardly sat outside because the fellow passengers were smoking on their balconies and the smoke wafted into ours. That was horrible . We made several calls to the concierge but they were evidently powerless to do anything. Food: very good in the main dining room. Beautifully prepared and very tasty. The portions were small which was fine with us, and you could always ask for more. By the way, they do not have iced tea so we resorted to ordering a bucket of ice and hot tea and made our own. Entertainment: the production shows were the best we have ever seen on any cruise line. The performers were unbelievably talented . The choreography, lighting and costumes were better than first rate. The orchestra was also fabulous! There was always music in the public areas and lounges so anywhere you went, you were entertained. Staff: everyone we encountered was well-trained, accommodating and eager to help. We are not demanding passengers but we witnessed several rude, demanding passengers who were handled with patience and finesse by the staff. Now, for the bad: this cruise line allows children to travel free. We have nothing against children. But, the parents left the children unattended to run around, pushed them in strollers into passengers who were trying to walk in public areas, and it was absolute chaos to get from one place to the next. There was an absolute disregard for fellow passengers. I even witnessed a baby crawling on the floor in the buffet, who was about to be trampled by people with full plates of food. I swooped him up and handed him to his mother to avert what could have been a tragedy. . . The mother didn't seem to care! Yes, not MSC's fault but, if the "children travel free" policy remains, we will never travel with MSC again. In addition, they definitely need to make sure that passengers don't smoke on the balconies. At least, put up " no smoking signs" ON each balcony .. and then enforce it. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then ... Read More
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then involved a lot of emails, form-filling and calls to the Consulate in Malta. It was finally resolved by leaving the ship at Malta, a night at a hotel there, a visit to the consulate, a flight to Barcelona, a night in a hotel in Barcelona and rejoining the ship there. Although the loss of the passport was due to the chaotic security system at Marseille, MSC did not seem to make any efforts to locate the passport. Lesson 1 - Don't let anything out of your sight at the security/x-ray area. Coming aboard was fine, the cabin suited the two of us and having a balcony was great. In the cabin there is the MSC version of Alexa/Google/Siri/etc called Zoe. We found it to be useful in telling us the weather, but nothing else. It was laughably bad, just responding with 'ask a member of crew' to the most obvious of questions. Surprisingly, for a ship just a few weeks old, the pillows smelt a bit of smoke at the beginning of the week. Not enough to make you discard them, but definitely noticeable. On the penultimate night we found that the air-conditioning was blowing smokey air into the cabin. Not nice at all. I told reception the following day but was instructed to report it when it happened. When you are half asleep in bed you don't want to be ringing reception to report issues. Lesson 2 - report issues immediately if you can. In advance of the cruise MSC try very hard to get you to spend money on one of their drinks packages. So much so that they do not show the price of drinks on their website. Any search on the website like 'what is the price of a drink?', or 'what are the bar prices?' return you to the drinks packages page. So if you want to compare having a drinks package with buying individual drinks, you can't do it. I contacted MSC to ask the price of drinks and they refused to let me have any information for quite a while with excuses like, 'Because our stocks are subject to availability, prices might change', and 'We don't have a bar list, so I can't give you the prices'. It is a shame that they were dishonest here because the real reason for not telling me was that MSC wants everyone to buy their drinks package (they make more money out of you that way). After quite a few emails dancing around the question MSC were able to tell me the 'approximate' price of some drinks, which enabled me to see that a drinks package was not good value for us. The basic package does not cover a gin & tonic, or most of the cocktails, so if you want anything like that you need to be buying the higher priced packages. We spent a lot of money on drinks, but it was still cheaper than the drinks package. Bear in mind that most days we were ashore so not buying day-time drinks from the ship. To help out others in this respect I have taken photos of the bar prices and will attach them below. Remember they add 15% to these prices to cover the cost of putting the drink into a glass (!). Lesson 3 - MSC want you to buy their drinks packages because it makes them more money Having spoken to various people before setting off I was expecting something a bit classier than what we encountered. The ship itself is very new & shiny, but we found that lots of people are happy to wander around in wet swimming trunks carrying plates of pizza from the buffet. Often we shared a lift with people wearing pyjamas taking a plateful of sausages or similar to their room. The gala night was a lot more formal and many people dressed up for that, which made it much more special, but on the whole I was surprised at the casualness of it all. There was a 'white night' where we were encouraged to wear all-white, but perhaps 10% of passengers bought into this. Given the amount of clothes space available in the suitcase and cabin; I guess a one-off white outfit was not going to be a priority. Lesson 4 - This is more of a party ship than a classy cruise, pack accordingly. I was also expecting there to be informative/educational presentations (I guess I had heard this from people who had been on other cruises). There were none on this cruise. In the evening there were basic dance classes which were good fun and the crew did a great job of encouraging and helping people along. Aside from that it's Karaoke or a band or a 35 minute theatre show. The cirque-de-soliel show was excellent and worth the price. The other (free of charge) shows were also good and worth booking in to. You can book into these things on the interactive screens around the ship or you can use the Msc-4-Me App on your phone. Both systems worked well for us. Lesson 5 - It's all showbiz, nothing cerebral. But do go to the shows. We didn't use the MSC shore excursions at all - they seemed to be crazily expensive and we are not afraid of negotiating for a taxi. For example: before arriving at Barcelona you find a shuttle-bus ticket in your cabin for 9.99 Euros. This is for the bus that saves you a 40 minute walk into the city. As soon as you get off the ship you can see the shuttle buses lined up with the 4 Euro fare shown on the front. A few prices we found: Naples to Pompeii return taxi 17 Euros per person Messina to Taorina return taxi 15 Euros per person Marseille to Airport taxi 10 Euros per person Lesson 6 - Don't use the MSC excursions unless you really can't be bothered to do anything by yourself. Food on the ship was good. Our children enjoyed the all-day availability of the buffet and the range of options there was very broad. Our evening meal was in the standard deck 6 restaurant and the food was varied, plentiful and well presented buy the attentive staff. Really enjoyed having the same servers each evening and they very quickly got to know us and our drinks choices - excellent. They were happy to hold half-used bottles of wine over from day to day. Lesson 7 - Food is plentiful and good quality Finally, just before you join the ship they get you to stand in front of a picture of the ship and hold a pretend wooden ships wheel. Part way through the cruise an envelope containing 6 of these comical pictures arrived in our cabin. The idea is that you tick a box and leave the photos for your cleaner to take away. All of our party returned the photos in this way, but nevertheless 3 of the 5 cabins had 35 Euros added to the bill for the pictures. That seems to be more than just a coincidence to me! Just 10% of people overlooking this on their bill brings nearly 16,000 Euros a week to MSC. Lesson 8 - Watch out for the hidden costs Would I go on this cruise again? No Would I go on another cruise? Possibly, if there were more grown-up activities going on. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these ... Read More
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these VENUES serve exactly the same food, but just that the name of the restaurants are different. Some are even right next to each other, but use different names. Now we know why they use the word VENUE, clever! Specialty restaurants: As soon as we boarded we bought a package to dine in 4 different specialty restaurants, it was 115 Euros total. We soon found out that the package means eating the set menus at each restaurants and that we could just walk into any specialty restaurant without a package and pay the price of set menu. A set menu usually means 3 course with very limited options to choose from. At the end of the four days we were very disappointed to find out that the values of all four set menu added together was only about 7 euros more than 115 euros that we had purchased our package for. Specialty restaurant 1 (Bistrot): The waiter obviously had no training as he spilled wine everywhere on the table while pouring. Every single glass he poured he spilled. The decor looked cheap. Set menu options very limited as compared to a la carte. Specialty restaurant 2 (Butcher's Cut): Everything was great. Specialty restaurant 3 (Japanese): The set menu comprised of around 9 items. First came the miso soup and the appetizer. Then the food stopped, and we had to wait 40 minutes for the next dish. Items 2~8 came together in one platter. We almost missed our Cirque du Soleil show. The food was mediocre, it was just a western version of Japanese food using disposable chopsticks. The waiter asked for our room numbers and he entered it into the machine, but it didn't work so he asked again our numbers. This process repeated 3 times. Had he asked one more time I should've probably write it big and clear on my forehead. Specialty restaurant 4 (Tapas): We were given an a la carte menu as usual, but this time it got 10 times more complicated for ordering a set menu. There were around 30 items total on the menu, but only around half can be ordered if you are on the set menu. The tricky part was that the menu didn't indicate which ones can be ordered and which ones not. So the waiter had to point them out again and again. On Board activities Perhaps it was our own lack of experience, but after seeing the promotional video on Belissima with the water slides, bowlings, F1 sitimulators, and all the cool activities, we somehow thought that all these were supposed to be free. - The jacuzzis were always packed, even on a non-sea day. - The gyms had no yoga classes that we wanted to go. Service & Staff Waiters are generally not friendly. Room stewards are much more friendly. Ship design and cleaniness It is a very nice new ship and well designed with high techs. Would have been 5 stars but on the main public deck (Promenade deck), the walkaway is quite narrow for a ship with 4000 passengers. On top of that they place photo shoot stands, tables selling perfumes, etc. to block the way and make the main walkaway even narrower. This especially affected the speed people disperse after a show finish. I guess making money out of photo shoot and perfume is much more important to MSC. Cabin Our cabin was right under the buffet area and the sound of people moving chairs was very very loud. The sound could have been much reduced had they put softer rubber paddings on all chairs. At night when the buffet chairs were silent, things were even worse... The cabin had this constant high pitch plastic or wood crackling sound everywhere. It was even worse in our relative's room. Review summary We were excited and overjoyed the moment we got on this stunning new ship as we saw the glamorous high tech interior. This was our second time cruising, with the first being in Alaska with HAL line 'Noordam', but the ship was very old and even had CRT TV in each cabin. However, we had a very enjoyable time on it and so we decided to cruise again, this time choosing a newer ship the MSC Bellissima, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, over the course of 7 days on the Bellissima we felt that MSC puts a higher priority on making more money out of guests in every way rather than making guests happy so they would come back again. For example: - Staffs would hard sell packages, souvenirs, lemon cello, photo shoots, etc. every chance they see you. - Basically apart from buffet, main dining rooms, shows, otherwise nothing is free. Even water is 3 euros/liter and guests are technically not allowed to take water with our own bottles in the water dispensers in the buffet area. - It is written by MSC that tipping to individual staffs is 'discouraged', and that tips are encouraged to be tipped to the company as a whole. After getting to know MSC's mentality we suspect that this was so that they could keep those tips and never pay it down to the staffs. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting ... Read More
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting in Arrivals for us and we shared a mini bus with another family on our flight, so we were on our way straightaway.  The port was only 20 minutes away.  On arrival at the cruise terminal our cases were tagged and taken from us and we went through to the check in area.  We still had an hour and a half until check in opened, but there were plenty of seats and a café if you wanted to buy a snack or drink.  An announcement was made when check in opened, Aurea experience guests were asked to come up first, but nearly the whole waiting area of people stood up.  We made our way through the crowd of people and soon got checked in and were given our cruise cards and wrist bands.  There was a table with fruit juice and then you had to stand for a family photo.  After the photo, you went through security screening and then on the ship you presented your cruise card and had your photo taken for ID purposes.  There were a lot of staff standing around with posters advertising the drinks packages, but we tried to avoid these, as we already had the premium package which was offered as a promotion when booking our holiday.  We made our way to our cabin (12005) a duplex suite at the front of the ship. The cabin was great; upstairs there was a double bed which we had asked to be twin beds, but Mellissa our friendly cabin steward came to introduce herself straightaway and told me that she would change the bed arrangement while we were at dinner.  The bathroom upstairs was bigger than I thought with a full-size bath with shower over, also upstairs was a TV, a small safe and a large walk in wardrobe with vanity unit and hairdryer.  Downstairs there was a shower room, a walk-in wardrobe, dining area, large TV and a sofa bed which quickly turned into a very comfy double bed.  There was also a vanity unit with hairdryer, coffee table, mini bar and more storage.  There is room for cases under the beds upstairs or under the staircase.  The cabin also came with two Zoes, like Amazon’s Alexa, but we only used them as a Bluetooth speakers, as we couldn’t get them to work when asking questions.  The TV’s in the cabin show your account details and give information on what is happening on board plus you get a paper daily planner every night to look through.  You can also download the MSC for Me app to use on your mobile, you don’t need the internet package for this to work on-board.  There are also screens around the ship if you want to book shows, etc.  The balcony was a good size with two sun beds, two chairs and a foot rest.  The hot tub was always warm enough to relax in and had a hot/cold tap to fill it up.  Two bathrobes and slippers were provided and 4 pool towels. We also got a free diffuser to take home. The buffet area was busy, but at all the times we visited we always found a table and there was a good selection of food which we found was good quality.  You could press a button at your table and request drinks from the bar which was a great idea.  The other areas of the ship never seemed over busy, you could usually find a table to sit at.  We also had access to the Top 19 Solarium which was reserved for Aurea and Yacht Club guests.  There were towels there to use and comfy sunbeds with thickly padded cushions and a large hot tub.  There wasn’t a bar at Top 19, but someone did come around serving drinks, although he was on his own, so it sometimes took a while to get a drink. He also came around with fruit skewers which was a nice touch.  The outdoor pool was heated so could be used even if it wasn’t a very warm day and there were plenty of beds and a snack bar, drinks bar and ice cream bar.  There was a huge screen above the outdoor pool, but as the temperature at night was very cool no films were shown on this during our cruise.  We had My Choice Dining in the Lighthouse restaurant so we could turn up and get a table straightaway.  Our waiter, Julio, was very friendly and soon got to know the drinks we liked and was very efficient, we were never kept waiting too long for our food, the menu had a good choice and it was different every night of our 7-night cruise.  The food was not al a carte but was a good standard, we enjoyed all our meals.  One night my husband got a steak that was very fatty, but Julio noticed this and brought him another one.  We had to ask for butter a on a couple of occasions, but this was soon brought. On our first night at the restaurant we were told that we were on the Easy drinks package although we knew we had the Premium, so we were told to go to Guest Services after our meal to check.  We soon got it rectified and were assured we hadn’t been charged for anything.  The dome in the Galleria was very impressive and showed a different show on it every night of our 7-night cruise, it was on three times during the evening.  We had purchased the Fun Pass at £90 beforehand which meant that we could spend 180 euros on bowling, (30 euros for 30 minutes), F1 simulator (10 euros each), VR Maze (15 euros each), Interactive Cinema (10 euros each) and games in the arcade were between 1.50 euros and 3.50 euros. We soon got through our Fun Pass, I thought the bowling and F1 simulator and arcade games were priced OK, but the Maze and Cinema seemed a bit pricey for the amount of time you spent in them.  I would recommend getting a Fun Pass before you travel to save money. During our bowling session people kept coming onto our lane to have a nosy which we thought was very dangerous when we’re throwing a heavy bowling ball.  They had a blue strip of material at the bottom of the stair up to the bowling lane, but people just moved around it and small children went underneath it.  We had to ask people to move on a couple of occasions, I think a proper screen is needed to prevent this happening before there is an accident. We didn’t bother with an Internet package as we were hugging the coastline most of the time, so had a phone signal, it was only the at sea day that we struggled. We didn’t bother with the speciality restaurants, the sushi, teppanyaki and Butchers Cut seemed popular, but the French bistro and Spanish tapas bar were empty whenever we passed.  We were happy with the quality of the restaurant and buffet food so didn’t want to spend 120+ euros for a meal for four.   We did get charged 34.99 euros for photos that we hadn’t ordered. Some photos were left in our cabin which were taken when we embarked, you had a form to complete saying whether you wanted them or not.  I signed to say that I didn’t want them and the cabin steward removed them from our room.  This may have been a genuine mistake, but keep an eye on your bill while on board.  We had a free photo with the Aurea package, but when we went to the Photo shop we were told it had to be the photo taken in the restaurant on our first night and not the one from the gala night, so we ended up spending 39.99 euros for 3 photos from the gala night.  You do get pestered quite a bit by all the photographers to have photos, but we just said no thanks and carried on walking. Our drinks package was good, we got a good selection of wines, including sparkling, bottled beers, and cocktails and other spirits up to 10 euros.  We could also have water and tea/coffee in the restaurants.  The kids could get soft drinks, water and smoothies.  Just be careful because we got charged 6.33 euros for a child’s milkshake from the bar next to the waterpark, my daughter also got a shake from the indoor pool bar and it was included in our package, so beware.  Also, you get charged for using the minibar, which seemed nonsense because everything in it we could get from the bars and it was included in our package, so we never used the mini bar. We only went to one of the free shows in the London Theatre which was a Rock show.  It was 35 minutes long which was perfect for my husband who doesn’t do shows, but he enjoyed it.  It flowed well and the costumes were great.  My daughter and I went to the Syma, Cirque du Soleil show which was 14 euros each, it was a very good show and you got one cocktail at the start.  The seats were very comfy and swivelled and you had a small table in-between. It was quite an intimate theatre, which was nice, we were on the third row, but could see perfectly and were only a couple of metres from the round stage.  My children didn’t use the clubs, there was a young club for 12-14 years and a teen club for 15-17 years. A lot of the children in their age group were Spanish/French/Italian so they stayed with us and would occasionally have a wander to the buffet on their own or wander around the shops.  We only did one excursion to Pompeii which was £209 for the four of us.  It was a 4-hour excursion, but we were disappointed that we didn’t get more time at Pompeii.  It was about 50 minutes on the coach to Pompeii and then we stood around for the first 15 minutes waiting for the guide to purchase tickets and count us all in. Pompeii was very crowded and we were soon heading for the exit.  My son wanted to see the visitors centre, but we bypassed this and headed for the exit.  On exiting we were told we had 20 minutes to get a drink or visit a Lemoncello factory near the entrance with the guide.  I would rather have spent the time at the visitor’s centre or exploring more of Pompeii.  We then headed back to the bus that wasn’t there so we stood in the car park for at least 5 minutes or maybe longer and then on the way back to the ship we stopped off at a coral factory for 10 minutes.  The majority of people stayed on the bus.  It just seemed as if we had spent £209 to stand around and be sold Lemoncello and coral gifts.  We spent less than an hour and a half inside Pompeii. When we docked in Genoa, Messina and Valetta it was an easy walk to the centre, but for Barcelona it was a 2km walk, so we hopped on the shuttle bus it was 8.99 euros each for adults return and 5.99 euros for 13 years and younger.  We got charged 8.99 euros for our 13-year-old but we didn’t bother going to Guest Services over 3 euros.  All the staff we encountered were good, we just had one member of staff who was rude, she was in the Masters of the Sea pub, which we used every night, but she was only in there on one of the nights, so maybe she had been put there and wasn’t happy about it, although that is no excuse.   We had a phone call at 1am on one of the nights to say could we turn our balcony light off as it was effecting navigation.  Our cabin was located directly under the bridge. We found this funny that a balcony light was effecting the ships navigation.  We turned it off straightaway and had a chuckle about it. You use the hot tub at your own risk, my daughter sustained a very large bruise and a cut at the top of her thigh.  She was sat sideways on the ledge to gain access to the hot tub and was just about to get out of it when the filter kicked in, which is located at the entry/exit point, and it sucked her skin into the square cut out and she panicked.  I manged to prize her away and couldn’t believe what it had done to her thigh.  We have a hot tub at home but the filter is nowhere near the entry/exit point. My daughter enjoyed the waterpark and Himalayan bridge, she used them on our last evening while docked in Barcelona and there wasn’t much of a queue.  I needed to sign a waiver for her and she was issued with a wrist band otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to use the equipment. On the package we were on you could get a free breakfast in your cabin so we tried this one morning.  The order form for breakfast wasn’t in the cabin so I had to request this from Mellissa.  We filled out our order and left it on the door handle the night before.  It arrived on time, but we had ordered 3 bowls of cereal and only had enough milk for one bowl, so ended up going to the buffet anyway. I did use the spa to go for my free massage, it also said I would get a welcome cocktail and consultation, but this was never mentioned.  It was my first massage so they recommended the 50 minute Bali Massage.  I asked for the day at sea but they said they were busy that day so I went for 6pm on the Wednesday.  I enjoyed the massage but afterwards she recommended the hot stone massage and wanted to book me in the next day which was the sea day at 130 euros minus a 20% discount.  I had been told they were busy that day so I think they must get told not to offer free massages on the sea days.  I declined the second massage as I didn’t want another one the next day after just having one, it just felt a bit hard sell.  I did have a look around the rest of the spa which looked nice with lots of different areas. We did have a bit of rough weather one night and we did find it hard to sleep, not due to the rocking, but the creaking of the cabin.  I know this is probably normal for all cruise ships but thought I would mention it.  The sofa bed in our suite was very comfortable, it was big enough for my husband and myself, although my husband’s feet did hang over the end a bit, it was a firm mattress which we like. There were no announcements from the captain or anyone else about sea conditions during the 7 days.  I know they must relay in multiple languages but it would have been nice to know.  The only time you saw the captain was on the gala night when he made two appearances to stand for photos.   We didn’t bother to queue to see him though. The cruise had a very relaxed vibe, they had a couple of formal evenings and a lot of people had made an effort but there were others who were very casual.  I don’t mind it being more relaxed but it would have been nice if people had made more of an effort. It made the cruise feel more like a ferry trip. On our last night, we received our disembarkation details, we had to disembark the ship at 9.40am even though our flight was not until 4.55pm.  I was expecting to at least have the chance to stay on the ship until lunchtime.  My husband went to guest services to see if we could stay on the ship longer and book our own taxi back to the airport, even though we had paid for a transfer when booking the holiday.  We were told that we would still have to disembark the ship at 9.40am and we would have to take it up with MSC cruises when we got home.  We had to leave our cases outside the cabin before 1am and then we got to stay in the cabin until 8.30am.  I do understand that they need you out of the cabin early but didn’t see the issue with staying on the ship for the full morning. When we got back after dinner on our last night the hot tub had already been drained although they didn’t tell us that, so if you want to use the hot tub on your last day make sure you do it before going for dinner.  At 8.30am we went for breakfast at the buffet and by the time we had finished it was time to go down to disembark.  The airport is not far from the port in Marseille so we ended up spending 6.5 hours at Marseille airport.  The family who we had shared a minibus with on arrival were not happy about spending 6.5 hours at the airport either.  Considering Marseille is a large city the airport is very minimalist and there were no shops to even look around.  The seating was hard plastic and not very comfortable, my husband ended up laying on the marble floor.  We have done package holidays before and have never been dumped at the airport like this, it ruined the end of a good holiday.  We were talking about booking another MSC cruise on our last day of the holiday but on receiving the disembarkation details and feeling as if they couldn’t wait to get rid of us off the ship it has put us off booking with them again.     Why couldn’t they let us stay on the ship until lunchtime even after we had offered to pay for a taxi ourselves? Or they could have offered to hold onto our luggage while we paid for the shuttle bus into Marseille for a few hours? After complaining to MSC about disembarkation it seems as if this is normal practise. They told me that my travel agent would of told me this, but I can assure you that this was not the case. This is something I will also bring up with my travel agent. If we had of known the procedure before the last night of our holiday we could have made better arrangements. There were customers staying on the ship until after lunch who had evening flights, we could see this from the disembarkation details they gave us. We felt as though they wanted to dump everyone at the airport as soon as possible and not have to pay for another bus/taxi. Overall we enjoyed our cruise, but it did feel a bit hard sell at times. We would like to cruise the Caribbean or Asia next and will maybe look at Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises to get a comparison. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
A Med cruise seemed attractive, as seemed the price. The experience was of living in a big city. Very slow embarkation, a process repeated at every port, i.e. every day with airport-style security on leaving and returning. Despite the ... Read More
A Med cruise seemed attractive, as seemed the price. The experience was of living in a big city. Very slow embarkation, a process repeated at every port, i.e. every day with airport-style security on leaving and returning. Despite the excellent staff, mealtimes were often a stressful time. We could never be certain that a table would be available in the only restaurant open to us but we knew for a fact that the self-service buffet would be crowded, no seats, no tables, sometimes not much choice. There was always a feeling of imminent chaos as the restaurants were not able to plan for numbers ashore, new passengers and those remaining on board. Restaurant table meals were beautifully presented and served in pleasant surroundings. The menus looked exciting but the meals turned out rather bland. Our drinks package was adequate but disappointing. Our deal gave us up to 6 Euros for drinks but anything slightly more interesting was at least 6.50, so the package was largely worthless. The Californian Cab-Sauv red was actually pretty good, however, and there was a range of budget cocktails but anything other than lager was off package. Entertainment was done by accomplished artistes but each show looked & sounded a bit like the previous one. The cabin was fine, the housekeeper was discreet and skilful, nice linen and towels, fairly quiet. A balcony is only any good if you are in the sun, which was not often, we found, but that's the itinerary, not the ship's fault. Our main gripe was the dishonest way MSC presented shore visits. They promoted their own excursions but by omission, misdirection and wilful deception managed to keep the free transfers and shuttles a well-guarded secret at each port. In Palermo we followed a line under large sign for "SHUTTLE BUS", only to find after 30 mins it was an 18 euro tour, not the free shuttle which was hidden behind a building beyond it. The same stunt was pulled in Valencia, where the free city bus took you to the bus-stop for the 1 euro 50 trip to the city, but only if you avoided the MSC staff attempting to lure passengers on to another 12 euro trip to town. 12 euros isn't a lot , but if you are a family of 4...? Overall the big downer was the vast population of passengers tied to timetables for visits, shows, eating and drinking, getting on and off, all happening at the same time for everybody. This will be our last cruise on a big ship. The central activities were over-eating and over-boozing, but that's not really what I had in mind when I booked. Gala nights were spotty as most passengers preferred to stay casual, almost as if they were on holiday..! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC ... Read More
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC MERIVIGLIA, my partner who is a first time cruiser was taken back by the size of the ship, as she puts it “wow” and indeed, the ship is massive, and magnificent, and that’s where the thumbs up stop. Embarkation was actually smooth and quick, so once all paperwork was done, we entered the ship, no welcome aboard, no warm greetings, just on and that was it. The first appearance of the ships interior is quite good, and the arched LED roof in the main deck area is also impressive, but that soon fades. The cabin, clean, standard, I could bang on and on about everything, so here is a pros and cons list Pros Great itinerary - some beautiful cities. Embarkation quite quick. The food and service in the Main dining hall is great. Beds are comfy. Cons Only three swimming pools - all sea water. (Very salty) All deck chairs cleared away after about 19:00 making the decks empty. Large TV over main pool - never used for movies. No smoking rules very lax, some even smoked in the hot tubs. Lack of things to do of an evening, unless you like music, eating, and Italian humour. Large gangs of moody and loud teens roaming boat being bored. Lack of lifts for size of ship The artwork, and colours used are bland. Super cons The main buffet hall (the market place) Luke warm food, bland and the same food EVERY DAY. Main buffet hall over crowded, which didn’t help with people using tables to play board games due to being bored. Lack of drinks choice in main buffet hall, Morning you get juices, and water and coffee and tea, but after about 11:00am all you will get is water and coffee and tea, (unless you pay) Drinks are expensive (most cruises are) At around 21:00, the kids club decides to march the kids through the main promenade to kids music loudly. The cabin to balcony doors slam loudly by inconsiderate neighbours. No night lights in or around the toilet, so sometimes you have to put the lights on to see where your going. The showers are ok, but could be more powerful. We found out they only change the bedding once in 7 days. Lost use of balcony twice due to “maintainace” Serious lack of things to do of an evening. All shows were based on music. Mainly Italian or Spanish The magic show and hand silhouette show was very 1980’s and most humour Italian orintated Everything costs, even certain shows that are based on the boat. The layout of the foods in the market place buffet is a mess, so by the time you finally sit down your food is pretty cold. The staff in the market place will only attend your table if you are buying a drink. Staff will tend to either walk straight at you, or refuse to move if you need to get past. If you have special dietary needs, good luck, mum was celiac, The tv in the cabin had only two English speaking channels BBC news and National geographic. The layout of such a large ship was a mess. The entertainment area will bankrupt you, for example 30 mins bowling €30.00 €55.00 for an hour. 4D cinema adults €10.00 or €8.00 for kids So to sum up, what you thought was a good priced cruise will actually cost you more than with other cruise lines, Would I recommend or travel with MSC again, NO. even my partner who had never Sailed before claimed that she found the evenings boring and would not sail with MSC again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
At embarkation the ship looked really impressive but as soon as we got on board & before we had a minute to take in the spectacle we are descended upon and literally grabbed by over eager sales persons berating us for our stupidity for ... Read More
At embarkation the ship looked really impressive but as soon as we got on board & before we had a minute to take in the spectacle we are descended upon and literally grabbed by over eager sales persons berating us for our stupidity for not having purchased a drinks package. Having eventually managed to extricate ourselves from this unpleasant situation we headed for our cabin and were more than a little put of by the strong smell of sewage in the corridor. That smell dissipated after a the first day. The cabin was a pleasant size pretty well equipped, the balcony was a reasonable size. The thing about this ship is it's size and that really is not a good thing because there are far too many people on board for it to be able to cope. Expect to spend a significant portion of your cruise waiting for one of the too few lifts. The worst part of the cruise was the buffet, a truly awful, dreadful experience. There are just far too many people so its difficult to find a space to eat, the noise is over-powering and when you finally fight through the crowds and buffet foot is appalling, really, really bad. More about he drinks package, eventually we gave in and bough a drinks package only to find that it is a real con, the only beer included was a really nasty version of Heineken, only a couple of spirits and the cheapest of the wines. It doesn't take long after arrival on this magnificent piece of engineering until you realise that it exists solely to cram as many human beings as possible on board and then find as many ways as possible to separate them from their cash. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Was the largest cruise boat we have booked on, but nevertheless ran like clockwork with few long waits compared to Princess when it comes to getting on and off. Purchased cruises were excellent and as advertised. MSC for Me, the app ... Read More
Was the largest cruise boat we have booked on, but nevertheless ran like clockwork with few long waits compared to Princess when it comes to getting on and off. Purchased cruises were excellent and as advertised. MSC for Me, the app wasn’t much good, as you cannot message your fellow traveller, many things priced as extra such as F1 and flight simulator, teppanakki restaurant difficult?impossible to get the price, several days when the daily activity list and menus was zero/blank; paper based backup worked though. Bookings system worked though. Cirque at Sea was good, especially the food but our seating (dinner) was terrible and room very hot. For approx 1/3 of the audience the view is from side or behind some of the explanatory visual. We attended opera, dance and rock presentations. The rock was not well received , sung and phrased by non English speakers. We should have thought it through. Some very talented singers too!! The opera and flamenco dance was fabulous. Dining in Panorama and Waves didn’t give us a view, but the view from the Market Buffet and Sky Bar is terrific. In March we were lucky and had no rain, but you need to have several layers when you go ashore as there is plenty of shade even if forecast is 16-18. Take note: Feb/Mar usually wet. Hand hygiene is not overly policed onboard, most of us caught varying degrees of ‘colds’. There are plenty of hand sanitizers and hand wash stations - please use them. Overall, food quality is patchy. Breads and pastries excellent, salads and ‘healthy options’ quite good, cold meat and cheese great, hot offerings and deserts OK to good. The more special it is supposed to be the more disappointing it can be. This is in the general and buffet dining rooms, not necessarily the specialty restaurants. Other than Cirque, we went to the Sushi - food fabulous, but staff not knowledgeable, just salesmen. We knew what we wanted and they weren’t pleased. The lonely little expert guy (chef) in the corner doesn’t get a look in. Don’t ask for sake ‘warm’ - it causes a frenzy and I received a thimble of molten microwaved sake!! You might leave hungry from this restaurant as they never leave you alone for even 5 minutes. Drinks available in different areas varies in range. For instance I could only order Chardonnay (there are lots of beer and beer related options) at the British Pub. Package drinks purchase not economical if you will be ashore most of the days-see exclusions and fine print. Service is 50-50. Waiters tended to be a tad difficult, room and customer service terrific. Some waiters were fine but.. not all. Problem being the service daily charge added automat to your bill ( you can have it removed) doesn’t give some of them any incentive. I emphasise there were some terrific waiters!!! Room was very comfortable (balcony) and with Fantastico package we were able to order early morning cuppa from room service. Room had small fridge, small wardrobe, no robes, great big bed, 2-3 seater couch, lovely big shower/loo. You can request no mini-bar otherwise it is stocked. 1lt water €2.90. So many new people leave and board every day!! With about 4000+ passengers most of the time there are patches of noisy or rude people. Lift and queue etiquette very interesting. Kids are well catered for onboard and attend shows and dinner at all hours. During our week they were no problem! Noisy teens another matter Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Just returned from 10 nights on the MSC Sinfonia. I've been reading reviews for the last several months and had been very concerned for our sailing. Well I can honestly say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had traveled in the ... Read More
Just returned from 10 nights on the MSC Sinfonia. I've been reading reviews for the last several months and had been very concerned for our sailing. Well I can honestly say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had traveled in the past on RCL, NOR., CELEBRITY, HA ,CARNIVAL so this is not our first rodeo. We spent 6 nights prior to the cruise in Marseille and stayed at the AC Marriott. Lovely hotel with good service and friendly efficient employees Loved La Panier, Chateau D If, and of course the port. Boarded around 2pm with no problems whatsoever. Our cabin was ready, luggage arrived, and Marco our cabin steward was fabulous--always there to help. Probably our only real peeve is the cabin. We were on the 9th deck balcony. SMALL! No sofa to sit on (bed only and a makeup stool) but we got used to it. The bed and pillows were great. You really don't need a balcony this time of year as it is really too cold to sit there. Save your money and get a oceanview. Now for the bathroom--so tiny, probably the smallest we have ever had. The shower is impossible--we are tall but not fat--even to turn around is almost impossible--forget washing your feet and shaving your legs is not even an option Food--we ate in the Covi and enjoyed the food. A decent variety offered every night and proportions were good. We learned to eat all our breakfasts in the main dininng room-. Easy to get a seat, a menu if you want to order off of and even a buffet you could select. A special shout out to Alberto, Waylands, and Keo and Alchilles. No lunches as we were on land every day. Entertainment: We loved the entertainment and thought it was well done, and quite a variety. Good singers and dancers. Most of the shows you need to reserve in advance (the night before) and it's really no big deal to do. We loved the Manhatten Bar, great servers and good pourers. Hors de ourves were served every night with our pre dinner drinks. We had transfers from MSC for 3 cities and had no problems whatsoever. So as you can tell, we enjoyed our cruise and was sorry to see it end. If I can help or answer any questions, let me know. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise and we had no idea what to expect or what kinds of things were abnormal or normal for a cruise. Our travel agent, a good friend of mine, had never booked through MSC and could only give us expectations based on ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had no idea what to expect or what kinds of things were abnormal or normal for a cruise. Our travel agent, a good friend of mine, had never booked through MSC and could only give us expectations based on other cruises he had been on. He left me with the assurance that we would be well taken care of and guided through the whole process so we could relax and not stress for 10 days. This did not prove to be true. Embarkation was a nightmare. We flew from Chicago to London, then from London to Marseille on the day of the cruise arriving at around 10, with boarding presumably going from 1400 to 1800. We called an Uber from the airport to take us to the port, thinking we would hang out there for a few hours until boarding started. When we arrived there were no ships in port and our Uber driver, who only spoke French, looked over the paperwork to make sure we had the right date and location. God bless that driver who went and talked to the French security for us and nailed down the details, then translated for us with his google translate app because nobody there, not the MSC staff or security or even any other passengers, spoke English. Turns out our ship was in Nice, 200km(120mi) away. It was too windy in Marseille for them to dock there. They put us on a bus to Nice for two hours to get to the ship. It would have been nice to get some kind of heads up that this was the case. They must have known even a few hours or a day ahead of time that they wouldn’t be docking in Marseille. We are thankful we decided to show up early because otherwise we wouldn’t have made it. Once we got to Nice, there were a bunch of cruises there with different luggage vans and security spots to get through. All of the MSC staff we could find were smoking or on their phones not paying attention or giving good direction so even if we did understand French who knows if we would have been less confused. We prayed we put our luggage in the right spot because none of the vans were marked with our boat name. We followed some people we thought looked familiar from our bus to check in. Nobody at MSC spoke English, so, again, we stayed confused. We followed the line to a small boat which took us to our cruise boat which was sitting in the middle of the ocean. Once we got through yet another security line, we had no idea where to go. Where was our room? Was there another security point? There is some kind of cruise card we need, right? How do we get food, we’re starving and jet lagged! For some reason they took all of our paperwork at check in so we had nothing to reference anymore. We were immediately bombarded with people trying to sell us things...in French. Scrambling, we again couldn’t find a single person who spoke English or Spanish(which we also speak fluently). After kind of wandering for a few minutes, we found someone who would help us at the guest services area. They asked for our room number which we had no idea because they took everything we had printed. With a sour face, the woman gave us the number but could not answer our questions further. We found our room with some semi-helpful documents on the bed and no luggage. We had a carry-on with us with extra underwear so luckily we were able to shower then locate our restaurant. On our way to dinner, we found my luggage chilling on a totally different floor in the walkway which was a huge relief because at least we knew it got on the right van. It wasn’t until after dinner that we went exploring other cabins and found my husband’s luggage also chilling in the middle of nowhere. At dinner, we found that our waiter did not speak English. We communicated by pointing to what we wanted on the menu and he wrote it down. The wait times for food were terrible, we waited at least 30-40 minutes every night for our first course. The portion sizes were very small. Theoretically we could have ordered more, however we were so tired of waiting for our first helping of food that we just left hungry most nights. The first night we arrived to water in our glasses and a 4 Euro charge we had to sign for at the end of the night. It sounds small, but after the long day we had, I just broke down that I couldn’t go without a charge for my dehydration. We planned to go through the cruise without any charges. We did end of resolving our water charges a full week later when we finally received our drink vouchers included in our booking. We took the number of vouchers needed to the restaurant to refund our money, which we found out they did not do at the end of our cruise right before we were about to disembark. They fought us for a few days saying we did not have drink vouchers and had to contact the American booking representative on land who took a while to respond. It didn’t get much better after the first night. We booked 5 excursions which were all cancelled. We rebooked different ones in their place which weren’t as good and were disappointing. The staff at the excursions desk were not helpful and again, didn’t speak English well at all. For one excursion, she booked the wrong one for us which we only found out when we showed up for the excursion. We ended up just rolling with it because they were similar. We were booked for another excursion that didn’t even exist. The girl put an excursion number in our tickets that was only offered on another cruise line so when we showed up the morning for our excursion we weren’t able to go. We tried to turn in the tickets for these excursions as soon as we could, which was around 4 or 5 most days because that is when the desk opened. By that time, it was hard to convince them to give us a refund because the excursion was over and somehow they thought we had gone on the excursion with invalid tickets. Speaking of operating times, almost everything opened after 5, sometimes not even until later. Almost all of the bars and the gelato and vitamin bar areas were never open at all. We weren’t able to get good food when we wanted because the main buffet always seemed to be closed and our seating time for dinner was at 9pm which is honestly when we usually go to bed. The pizza area was open longer, but they only served two kinds of bread with sauce and maybe cheese and usually there was a long kind of people waiting for more because what they took out of the oven was grabbed really quickly. In general, the food was below average. There wasn’t much variety in the buffets and the main buffet food was never fresh. The restaurant food was better, but the portions were too small and the food was tasteless. I personally have an allergy to cheese and almost every dish had cheese in it. I asked if it could be removed from any of the dishes and was told no. I’m not talking about from lasagna or something that was probably cut from a large dish in the back. I’m talking meals where cheese was obviously sprinkled on the top or included individually on the plate. That was too much to ask for someone to deviate a little from their preparation of the plate. This left for little choice for me. There were a few times that we ordered room service which took forever. They always quoted us twenty minutes, but it took over an hour every time. Twice they got the order wrong. I ordered a soup (#1 on the menu) at around 4pm when other food places were closed, and I got a veggie wrap instead(#12 on the menu.) I went down to guest services to get a refund(room service is not free which is ok, but in the American booking site it says it is so whatever) and was told they don’t start serving soup until 6:30pm. The second time they got it wrong, I ordered a BBQ chicken wrap which I had ordered before that didn’t have BBQ chicken. When I went down, they told me it was actually correct because they said their recipe changes every day. Finally, there wasn’t much to do outside of the shows in the evening. After talking to others, it has been confirmed that this is unusual. On days when we returned early from an excursion or on sea days, all we were left to do was sit in our room (which was a wonderful, clean safe haven!) and watch the same three movies that cycled through. We were stuck with more free time than we had hoped between our cancelled and ever changing excursions and the extra time given by the ever changing itinerary. We spent most days sitting on our bed bored. We purchased a day of WiFi to combat boredom which was not worth it because it wouldn’t go on any of the American websites that I wanted to visit like my work intranet or the county library to check out more ebooks to read. It was slow on the few that we could connect to. I’m sitting in a hotel in France writing this and their WiFi connects fine to the US websites so I know it isn’t a Europe IP address thing or something. We were supposed to dock in Barcelona first, but there was a storm which pushed our arrival into Barcelona a day late. They canceled our trip into Valencia, then rerouted at that last second so we did arrive in Valencia, then shortened our day in Palma, then cancelled our day in Malta which we were really looking forward to. Our arrivals into Italy went as planned. We looked forward to the shows as they were the only entertainment on board. It was hit or miss. The opera shows and the Flamenco dancer show were great, but the shows or bits of shows revolving around other singers or the MSC Sinfonia dancers were terrible. These were supposed to be family shows and the costumes on these girls showed almost everything. Maybe it is a European thing, I don’t know. The stereotype is that Europeans are big on nudity. There were a lot of tacky strip teases. The singers mostly sang in English and it was terrible. They should have sang in their native tongues. They did a few shows trying to showcase British and American culture that were cringey and almost disrespectful. The only good thing I have to say is that our room was wonderful, the view was amazing and the guy that cleaned our room was very kind and attentive. The excursions and places we visited we also great. We were disappointed that all that was offered were city tours and all of the fun activities(the ones we booked before) involving biking, swimming with dolphins, trying food, visiting caves and a volcano were cancelled. However, our tour guides we very well versed in the places we visited and made the tours come to life. It was worth the crappy onboard experience to see these wonderful places. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Quick background - we are a couple who have cruised 6 times over the last 2 years. Not the most seasoned cruisers but have some experience of cruising with different lines. We decided to take the leap from mid sized ships to bigger ones ... Read More
Quick background - we are a couple who have cruised 6 times over the last 2 years. Not the most seasoned cruisers but have some experience of cruising with different lines. We decided to take the leap from mid sized ships to bigger ones with MSC as they offer yacht club, which we felt would be a good way to combine a big ship with some familiarities of a smaller vessel, as well as indulging in the luxury service YC offers. Embarkation was great. We were taken personally by a butler to the YC check in area and given Prosecco to drink. We were then escorted straight to our cabin (YC suite) by a butler who also introduced us to the staff on the concierge desk. The cabin was lovey. More a junior suite than a suite of rooms as we’ve had on other lines, but very well furnished. The only snags would be the wardrobe being quite small for two people and the balcony being quite small also. However this did not distract from how nice the room and shower room were. We also had a complimentary mini bar and a bottle of procecco on arrival in the room. This has to be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. The ship it’s self is a sight to behold. Absolutely amazing. Think Swarovski Crystal stairs and LED ceilings that show different images during the day. The YC private sun deck was very nice as was the private lounge bar for YC guests. The physical product that MSC offer was brilliant. However the service provided by the majority of staff was a massive problem. We had chosen to book several meals and drinks packages before travel. This allowed us to get the dates that we wanted in advance (NYE being one of them) for specialty meals. One of those we booked was the Cirque du Soleil meal and show. When we arrived we had a note in our cabin asking us to visit guest services to confirm our reservation for this meal. As we were in the YC we were able to go to our concierge desk rather than wait as guest services (the queue at guest services was at times 1hour long!). The concierge explained that anything in terms of meals booked on the website never transfers to their system and that’s why we had to see them. She emailed the cirque to confirm our choice of date. We decided to check that our other reservations were in place. She said no and that for those we would need to go over to Eataly and speak to the manager who would confirm them all in one place. We went to Deck 6 where Eataly was and tried to get the attention of the manager who was chatting with some Italian guests. He proceeded to ignore us for several minutes before we decided to interrupt his conversation. We explained the situation and he didn’t reply but waved another memeber of staff over who couldn’t even speak English. He didn’t have a clue what we wanted to after 10 minutes of trying to explain using hand gestures we gave up and went back to the concierge. The concierge said the reason for not being able to get it sorted was we ‘had gone to the wrong Eataly’ and it was our own fault. She said we needed to go and find the other Eataly and they would sort it. At this point we asked if she could sort it for us. She agreed, although did not seem happy about it and said she would email the bookings to us. She also explained that our booking for the chefs table wouldn’t be available for NYE as we had booked for. She also spotted our premium drinks package and said ‘I don’t know why you bought that as you’re YC and get it anyway’ . No offer of a refund. It was at this point we realised that the bottle of champagne and souvenir flutes we had booked for sail away had not been delivered. She again told us that this is because their system has never worked but she could sent it over for another day. This set the tone for the rest of the service recieved. •in the YC bar we were often ignored and found it easier to just go to the bar our selves rather than wait for a waiter. One who did come came back to us 4 times to confirm our drinks order of ‘Diet Pepsi and a white wine’. The same waiter slammed our drinks down and began shouting at another member of staff •when coming back on board from one of the ports the staff ignored us and we calling each other profanities very loudly •walking through deck 6 was an obstacle course of people selling you meals and drinks packages •we asked our concierge to change one of our meal bookings over one night as we’d had a long day and fancied something quieter than the cirque show we’d booked. He shouted at us over the phone saying that he couldn’t do that as it was ‘too complicated’. When pressured by us to sort it he said he would but in future could we ‘not change our minds as it’s awakward’ for him and that he’d struggled to get us a table in the other resturant (which ironically was very quiet anyway!) Food. •Generally the food was poor quality. The food served in the YC resturant was the same at lunchtime as in the buffet (not the gourmet experience the website promised). •The steak in the butchers cut was very good, but at a premium. •The buffet was a feeding frenzy with people grabbing food and pushing and shoving. There was inadequate seating available for the volume of guests. It was very very very loud in here, we didn’t go back after the first time! •When booking we were advised that we could dine anytime at any of the included resturants across the ship. However this was no longer the case and we could only dine in YC, premium resturants or the buffet. Other guests who were not YC were subjected to strict dining times in a set resturant - if they were 15 minutes late for their time they would not be allowed in. •unlike other lines you will not see officers around the ship and the manangement team do not interact with guests, passing you to a more junior memeber of staff Around the ship •Astheically the ship is lovely. However the public areas do not seem to cope very well with the volume of passengers during the winter season. Everywhere is loud. There was a DJ playing above the shopping arcade at the same time as a Zumba class happening at the bar a few meters away. •the Swarovski stairs are amazing, however you probably won’t be able to use them as the ships photographers use them for private photo shoots with people lying down on them posing •on day one I thought there was a queue to meet and greet the captain. It was very long. It was actually the queue for guest services for people complaining •staffing ratios do not seem very high. At the amusement arcade there was one person running the sports court, bowling alley, f1 simulators and the flight simulator. We had a go on the flight sim and had to wait ten minutes when it finished for the memeber of staff to let us out. We had to wait in a pitch back sealed pod! We even pressed the emergency button as we’d waited so long!!! •the safety drill was the most unusual experience ever. We were all asked to meet in the theatre. Given an demonstration in 5 languages as to how to put the life vest on and then group by group taken to different muster stations across the ship. We were group A so after everyone had left we were told in 5 languages that the theatre was our muster station and we could go. Surely they could have told us this at the start and saved us a 45 minute wait?? Bottom line This ship was on the whole not for us. It is loud and difficult to relax in. You could be sat eating a meal at the butchers cut to be interrupted for 10 minutes by animated dinsours fighting and roaring on the LED screen for a ‘show’. However we do appreciate that some people enjoy that kind of holiday. However, had the service and food been better we would have made the best. Instead we were treated like an inconvenience and told off by so called ‘concierges’ and ‘butlers’. We told the YC director that we were planning to leave the next day and he apologiesed but didn’t offer to rectify any of the issues we had raised. The next day he was genuinely surprised that we had booked flights home and said he thought we would have reconsidered - why? Nothing had been changed. All the bookings we had made online were still messed up. The food was still rubbish and staff still rude. And even our newspaper delivered on the last day was wrong. We decided our time was more valuable that the money we had already spent and we would have a happier new year at home where at least we don’t get told off and can relax. This ship is due to move over to serve the American market this year. I cannot see Americans who are used to and expect a high level of service tolerating what MSC offer on this ship. We have been offered no compensation or reimbursement for the services we paid for in advance that we did not revcieve. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked this cruise as a short break over Christmas mainly as it was a 5 nighter out of Marseille that suited our dates. Having travelled mostly with celebrity, Rci and princess we were not sure what to expect WE WERE VERY ... Read More
We booked this cruise as a short break over Christmas mainly as it was a 5 nighter out of Marseille that suited our dates. Having travelled mostly with celebrity, Rci and princess we were not sure what to expect WE WERE VERY IMPRESSED Embarkation in Marseilles v swift Luggage arrived quickly. Cabins (Bella class balcony) beautifully decorated- nice balcony with wicker effect furniture. Good air con that didn’t dry your throat out.(no tea coffee but chargeable mini bar) hairdryer good, free safe deposit box in room In shower shampoo and body was dispenser. Very clean and good size bathroom Ship was beautifully decorated all over for Christmas. Even a gingerbread house the size of a garden she’d made of real gingerbread in the atrium- the smell was beautiful. Constant live music in atrium - loads of space to sit.many large lounges- the amethyst lounge was beautiful purple and silver. Theatre was beautiful with some excellent shows. Christmas Eve had a special kids afternoon show with Santa giving out presents. There was lots of atmosphere all over the ship-carol singing with the passengers, crew choir, waiters doing dancing at end of the meal. I had soft drinks package which includes non alcoholic cocktails as well as hot chocolate- lovely to be served English breakfast tea in pot in the atrium listening to opera Christmas Eve there was a surprise midnight buffet- It was incredible the work that had gone into the artistic creations- - th esugar work, ice sculpture, chocolate work , bread in shape of Christmas characters, most appetising plattters of smoked salmon, mousses, cheeses, desserts, Christmas themed cakes, fruit cultures, - massive congratulations to all the chefs . Staff helpful and friendly Smooth disembarkation Trhorougly recommend this ship Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The ... Read More
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The Meraviglia is huge, well planned out and therefore should provide any passenger with a pleasant experience, over the duration of the holiday not once did I see an unclean part of the ship nor did I have reason to complain about the facilities. Travelling with my wife it is fair to say that we know what we want from a holiday and can easily compare the Meraviglia to past MSC holidays! DO NOT DO THIS ! this is where we learned very quickly that this trip is going to be different in many ways. If you are willing to sail away and embrace the new you will have an excellent time..... If you natter on to your newly found friends at dinner about your last cruise and think that that the waiters will have time for you then you will probably have a terrible time... > forget that honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean or that time that you took the kids away on a cruise where you found all the fun to be had at sea! It is very hard to repeat the same experiences, my thoughts below are reasons why I state this....... 1. Technology, your granny will hate it but get used to it as the MSC is top class with scrolling information boards at every lift point (much like scrolling on a mobile phone), scan your card or wristband at the terminal to get a map, book dinner of to simply check on tonight's shows. In room TV info is just amazing with on demand movies, news, safety info and future cruising info 2. Cleanliness - Its clean and tidy, almost OCD level so don't mess up the ship or your room for that matter as your cabin man/woman will notice. 3. Entertainment - Excellent but you'll need deep wallets to get rid of the kids for an hr, 100 euros will get a arcade pass to the flight simulator and F1 car simulator and similar, the water park and high ropes are FREE though so just make sure you use this facility. 4. Adult entertainment - Cirque du soleil, I didn't know what this was at the time but just book and see the show before you board to avoid disappointment, most easily the best show that you will witness on water. SONAR was so so cool. 5. Dining, Expect busy waiters and long wait times at the bar the STAFF versus PASSENGERS ration is miss managed, the only way to have a nice little chat to staff would be the Anchor pub, and that'll be because they know that mainly English passengers go there. Strongbow will be part of your drinks package if you have it. 6. Meeting friends - Not likely, If you are really lucky to keep in touch with your allocated dinner guests and make a point of meeting up or suggesting paring up on land to do some shore excursions then maybe you will> my experiences when even trying to strike up a conversation with others are that the ship is so so big why bother as I wont see you again for the rest of the cruise, even at the voyagers exclusive party and meet the captain it was like being in the middle of a busy shopping mall surrounded by (yes like minded) strangers. Summary - I had an excellent time with my wife and can say that the ship itself is amazing and takes all week to discover each and every facility, MSC have some nice touches, ill try not to spoil all of the quirky tricks that make you feel good about being on holiday but here are two (x2) must have experiences.... A. Get up before six (6am) and walk under the dome (dome show) to see the sky and hear the morning birdsong. B. Be up on deck (poolside) when sailing away from ports to experience Andrea Bocelli's TIME TO SAY GOODBYE song (the younger cruisers will be more familiar with the film step brothers - either way its a nice touch) .......If this is your first cruise I would consider starting with other smaller ships within MSC's fleet before you go big time. Whatever you decide or if you have already booked you will have a nice trip so make the most of it and put in a little effort with others- you'll be grateful when staff remember you for the right reasons and not just because you were complaining at reception- have fun guys. Mr Lee Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This brand new ship from MSC certainly has the WOW factor, the decor is stunning and the internal spaces are stylish and well thought out. Embarkation from Barcelona was a breeze, and the welcome on board was warm. We absolutely loved this ... Read More
This brand new ship from MSC certainly has the WOW factor, the decor is stunning and the internal spaces are stylish and well thought out. Embarkation from Barcelona was a breeze, and the welcome on board was warm. We absolutely loved this ship, the cabin was spacious and clean with a lovely decor. Our cabin steward was efficient and friendly again brilliant service. The dining room was just great and the food was fabulous. Cannot fault the waiting staff in the dining rooms. Lovely bars to choose from and the drinks package was reasonable and great value compared with RCCL. We used the gym facilities which were clean and the staff very helpful. The buffet dining was also very good, the late night options were good too. Fresh pizza make throughout the day/night as well as many more fresh food options. We loved the destination on this western Med itinerary, our first time with MSC and our expectations were exceeded. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
UK Booking Office, Website and Tech Support should all be closed - the "service" provided and poor systems just aren't good enough. As MSC is starting to focus on the American market, just move it all there so we can deal ... Read More
UK Booking Office, Website and Tech Support should all be closed - the "service" provided and poor systems just aren't good enough. As MSC is starting to focus on the American market, just move it all there so we can deal with people accustomed to customer service. We booked Yacht Club - the prices are getting too steep for us now, so we had an inside cabin (14005). This is by far the worst cabin we have had in 40 cruises. I will review that separately. Boarding the ship is usually an enjoyable experience for those in Yacht Club. Luggage taken at the roadside and within your cabin in under 30 minutes. A separate check-in area, complete with drinks and snacks and a private butler-led escort to the YC area. Well, the butler obviously had a day off because the pleasant young lad given the job of escorting us to YC was clueless. He couldnt use his YC card to summon the express lifts because he didnt have one. The lifts were extremely crowded so we were led from one side of the deck to the other and back again in search of a lift. When we did get one, he took us to the wrong floor, led us out and had to quickly usher us back in before the lift went - he did that twice. He remained cheery even if the rest of us were a tad fed-up. Everything (well nearly everything) about YC was perfect. Dinner was excellent every night, the private top deck was great and the small food area was great to escape the chaos in the main buffet. Service within the YC lounge was sporadic and not a patch on our previous YC cruise aboard Splendida. The ship itself, once you figured it out, was great. The Italians were Italian, doing Italian things - sometimes annoying but they are Italian after all lol The shows were actually really good - now they have the gimmicky cirque de soleil (extra charge) they have moved the "bendy wendy girls" and other circus style acts into there - leaving the theatre to present theatre style musical shows. OK they may still be short at 45 minutes but they are worth seeing (3 shows a night and need to book as soon as you get aboard). Sadly, the main buffet was a complete shambles. Splendida had an amazing salad bar area; on here it is terrible. Food kept running out, was spread weirdly around the buffet area and never seemed to change from one day to the next. Even the famous Italian pizza was poor. Trying to get a drink in the buffet (using the excellent "bar call" button system) took forever or just didnt happen. Im sure the system is fine but Im not sure any staff actually bother to look at it. Now, Ive read several reviews regarding poor staff service levels and attitude. IF you go looking for those staff, Im sure you will find them. We never did because we greeted every single one of them with a cheery hello, please and thank you and they were just brilliant. It always amazes me how they recognise you from one cruise to the next, often a year apart - give them 20 seconds and most will even remember your name. They are all stars. We are looking forward to our next MSC cruise on Seaside and then the inaugural sailing of Bellissima next March - BUT we are keeping our fingers crossed on the cabin Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as ... Read More
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as the now defunct Transocean Tours' MS Marco Polo and Voyages of Discovery's much missed MV Discovery. I have sailed multiple times in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, South America, Asia, Alaska, Norway and the Baltics. Whenever I do a review, I review the ship against what it A) is pertaining to be, and B) value versus the price paid. In this sense, a Crystal cruise may not receive five stars if the voyage did not meet my high expectations, whilst a 3 night Norwegian Cruise Line voyage may rate higher if my substantially lower expectations were exceeded. In my opinion, the MSC Yacht Club product is the best value in luxury cruising. My wife and I are in our mid 20s, and we appreciated the fact that we had our own enclave aboard, where the crew quickly learnt our names and favourite drinks, but could at will descend into the melee of a mega-ship filled with energy, music, song and dance. The Yacht Club was in essence a haven (pun unintended), a quite, relaxing area, approximately the size of one the older Seabourn triplets, where it was easy to meet passengers and make friends, in a fashion that is usually impossible aboard a ship carrying several thousand passengers. One could then go and enjoy the entertainment and options available on the ship with said friends. The entertainment was of high quality, especially the Cirque de Soleil show. Every night a production show was presented, of which one can get tired of quite quickly, but they were of similar quality to shows I have seen on other mass-market lines. The overall ambiance of the vessel was international, which is something we really enjoyed about MSC, and the Meravilliga's interiors where nothing short of stunning. We did not try any eateries besides the Yacht Club restaurant and the buffet, so cannot comment on the quality of food in the rest of the ship. In the Yacht Club, the pantry always had food available, the drinks where of reasonable quality and weather permitting there was a barbecue or buffet available on the open private decks. The MSC Yacht Club restaurant offered food of a reasonable to high quality, with service that was great if not perfect, missing the finesse of service found on dedicated luxury lines. The butler aboard the Yacht Club was more of a room attendant, although you could always count on the ones serving in the Yacht Club lounge, for all intents a private observation lounge at the forward-most point of the vessel's superstructure. Lines where never a problem as we had dedicated lifts which we could override to give Yacht Club passengers express service, and the butlers where always at hand to walk you out or back on to the ship, skipping the sometimes substantial ques. In a similar fashion, after a very hectic day trying to get to the ship (trains on strike, taking a bus, taxis on strike, having to take several busses, etc.) the glasses of sparkling wine and welcome of the YC crew made our embarkation perfect. I can happily recommend the Meraviglia if you are a guest seeking a large cruise-ship experience in an international environment, with a value-driven luxury product, and for this value are willing to give up the extra refinements and finesse found on 'true' luxury lines. I am sure we will be sailing aboard an MSC vessel in the Yacht Club in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our third and most likely last cruise on MSC. We have always booked a Yacht Club cabin for the better service, better dining and the exclusieve and tranquil pool area. Food We did enjoy the room service for breakfast, wich ... Read More
This was our third and most likely last cruise on MSC. We have always booked a Yacht Club cabin for the better service, better dining and the exclusieve and tranquil pool area. Food We did enjoy the room service for breakfast, wich was always delivered on time and with everything we ordered. Coffee and hot chocolate was just ok. We always ordered freshly squeezed orange juice and we always got it. There are not egg dishes mentioned on the breakfast order card, but if you write what you want on the card, it will be delivered. We got fried eggs, scrambled eggs and even eggs benedict. For lunch we choose the grill on deck 19 if the weather was good. Not so good unfortunately. Meat or fish were grilled to ordered but always lacked taste. On rainy days we went to the small buffet restaurant on deck 16. The atmosphere is warm and almost cosy, but it is usualy loud and crowded. The food is rather good actualy. On one occasion we ordered pizza from room service. Pizza’s are delivered in a Classic pizza box, wich we found amazing. They tasted ok, but the iItalian restaurant in our small home town has way much better pizza’s. Dining was exclusivly in the Yacht Club restaurant. Here, the food is very good, tasty and well prepared, but the portions are small. Bars The Yacht Club has one bar or lounge with live music. The service here is swift and excellent. The service in the other bars is good but slow. It can take more than 20 minutes before you have your drink. Entertainment Short shows (35 minutes) in a nice theater with a sometimes strange mixture of singing, dancing and acrobatics. The singers were good, but the sound system is awfull. We saw most shows. Wellness A good choice of sauna’s, thalasso pool, steam rooms and a snow room. However it is too small for the +5000 guests on board. We never saw a free place in one of the relaxation rooms. The thalasso was also always crowded. Cabin Our Yacht Club deluxe suite was spacious, with a good bed, large television, and a sitting area with just enough space to eat breakfast in the morning or watch television at night. Mini bar with water, beer, soft drinks, alcohol and snacks, was refilled twice daily. The bathroom had an ok size with a large shower with glass door. Excursions Three of our four pre-booked excursions were cancelled. Two because of bad weather and one because the minimum number of participants was not reached. We were only told once that the excursion was cancelled. The other two times we asked the night before when we would receive our vouchers and were only than told that the excursions was cancelled. Poot communication and customer service! Why this is our last MSC cruise? Although our experience in the Yacht Club is mostly positive, we will not sail with MSC again. These are the main reasons: - the ships are too large, hence too crowded, too loud and too many queues. - there is advertisement everywhere: on large banners in the atrium, the pool areas, the restaurants and the bars, on the large lcd screens every few meters, on the small screens in the elevators, on papers delivered in your cabin, etc... - staff are walking around asking you if you are interested in a speciality restaurant, a drink package - photographers are everywhere on the ship asking you if you want your picture taken All this gave us the impression that we were sailing on a floating busy market or food hall instead of on a relaxing luxury cruise ship. Our next booked cruise vacations are on smaller ships from Viking Ocean. They are more expensive, but everything is included: drinks, gratuities and even (basic) excursions. We will hopefully love to be on a smaller and quieter ship again like we did in the past (Oceania and Ponant). Read Less
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