1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Cruises Cruise Reviews

24 MSC Cruises Marseille Cruise Reviews

the destination in combination with the price. Our travel agent organised connecting flightswith KLM so everything looks good. The ship is very nice, the crew friendly and the food is good The main problem is: TOO MANY PEOPLE it cost ... Read More
the destination in combination with the price. Our travel agent organised connecting flightswith KLM so everything looks good. The ship is very nice, the crew friendly and the food is good The main problem is: TOO MANY PEOPLE it cost appr. 3 hours for embarkation waiting and stand in a line. Waiting and stand in a line for almost everything as: breakfast, shore excursionslunch in the cafetaria, collecting passports. No berths available on deck etc. etc. Entertainment, except some athletic artists who gives good shows, was the entertainment very poor, 2 singers and a lady singer 1 night a performance, next night same with different costumes 3 night same and more nights the same. Do we plan a next cruise with MSC Fantasia or her sister ships: NO if a next cruise ? yes with a smaller ship Appr. 4000 people on board is to many, we had a cabin with a balcony and that was a mustto have some moments of rest Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose the Divina because it fit our schedule, and also because of the price. We did have some concerns about our first MSC cruise, and were advised by our travel agent to “keep an open mind” – something that we soon came to ... Read More
We chose the Divina because it fit our schedule, and also because of the price. We did have some concerns about our first MSC cruise, and were advised by our travel agent to “keep an open mind” – something that we soon came to understand. But despite some minor irritants, the overall cruise experience was nevertheless enjoyable. Embarkation in Marseilles: We chose to take the city bus to the port gate, and then rolled our suitcases to the dock. Although the route is straightforward, it might not be the best choice for the mobility-challenged, as it is a bit of a hike. Because MSC allows passengers to begin their cruise at a number of different Mediterranean ports, there are fewer people to process at each stop. The two-step check-in was painless – we were able to hand over our bags directly to be loaded onto a conveyor belt, then sat in the waiting area for a brief time before our number was called. Once we boarded, though, we had to run a gauntlet of staff members eager to “up sell” passengers with the usual drink, restaurant and spa offers – a practice that continued for the first few days of the cruise. Meals: I realize that food is subjective, and having taken almost a dozen cruises so far, we are usually quite satisfied with the on-board offerings. In terms of variety, quality, and presentation, we felt that the Divina fell short of expectations – although the meals in the main dining room did improve as the week progressed. For example, where other cruise lines offer “made-to-order” egg stations at breakfast, the choice on MSC seems to be from a tray of cooked eggs that looked less than appealing. And after witnessing the chaos in the buffet, we retreated to the Black Crab dining room where both buffet and à la carte breakfast is available during limited hours. We discovered – too late for us, alas – that hamburgers and similar fare are available in the sports bar at lunch. Stateroom: Our 11th deck stateroom (11084) was the highlight of the cruise, mainly because of the deep balcony complete with a lounger. The storage is adequate and the bed is comfortable; about the only quibble would be the small TV; however, we were delighted to discover that CNN was one of the available channels. Service: This is another area where MSC does not seem quite up to par. We did not meet our cabin attendant until the one and only time, half-way through the cruise, when he came to turn down the bed. There was no means to contact him with specific requests. When our toilet tissue supply ran dangerously low and our repeated calls to room service were met with a busy signal, we finally had to take matters into our own hands and proceed to raid a service cart near the other end of the hallway! I am not faulting the housekeeping staff as it appears to be a management issue. And as one other reviewer has mentioned, MSC seems to have done away with facial tissues in the bathroom – not a biggie, but an indication of either cost-cutting or lack of attention to detail. Front desk: I won’t go into detail here, other than to say that the folks at the front desk resolved to our satisfaction an issue relating to a group of young passengers who were the subject of a number of complaints. Itinerary: This cruise was port-intensive, with no sea days, which was just as well considering the number of passengers and their often loutish behavior. The ship was forced to skip Valencia because of an impending storm; when the captain announced - at dinner time – that the closing of the port meant a detour to Barcelona, a loud cheer resounded through the dining room (at least among the English speaking passengers – leaving others with puzzled looks until the announcement was read in one of the three or four remaining languages). Debarkation: This is an area where MSC really shines and a first for us. Passengers were provided with a briefing on the entire process, including how to fill out and attach luggage tags. Upon arrival at the port of Marseilles, passengers were divided into groups according to colors that corresponded to the luggage tags, then escorted to the exit by a crew member at the appropriate time. All things being equal, the cruise was a success. Would we sail MSC again? It will depend on a number of factors, but I think we might consider a different ship and itinerary, as the cruise line does provide good value – as long as one keeps an “open Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date July 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
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
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
Sail Date May 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
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
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
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date March 2019
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
Sail Date October 2018
This was my first MSC cruise - I just got off the Preziosa this morning. Here are a few thoughts about the experience, coming from an a American 20-something year-old who has been on other cruises. First, know that there is a smoking ... Read More
This was my first MSC cruise - I just got off the Preziosa this morning. Here are a few thoughts about the experience, coming from an a American 20-something year-old who has been on other cruises. First, know that there is a smoking area down by the middle pool - you’ll sometimes walk through a cloud of smoke often on your way to the buffets. The food was a 2.5/5 ... honestly, the dinners weren’t that great and the buffets were...ok? Our food for dinner was sometimes cold or undercooked. Having an assigned dinner time worked ok ... but I prefer the flexible dining options on Norwegian. The hot tubs? We wouldn’t call them “hot” - warm, would suffice. And they often had so many people in them... The announcements are made in multiple languages at times, which can be obnoxious. The WiFi is iffy - not always dependable. The staff members were generally friendly - didn’t encounter too many problems there. The cruise passengers are mostly Europeans. So, hearing English spoken among fellow passengers is a rarity. This ship serves Pepsi products on its European voyages - not Coca Cola. Beware of that if you’re looking for a Coke. If you’re an American or Canadian, you’ll receive a free, large bottle of water at dinner - but you’ll have to show your cruise card and sign a receipt each time you receive it. We didn’t encounter many problems at our port stops or disembarking ... the weather in late October / November was often chilly and rainy - so, don’t expect to work on your tan while onboard. We went to two shows - the first one was fine, but the second one was in Italian - so we walked out. Would I sail with MSC again? Maybe. But I’ll definitely look elsewhere first. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It would help if food had s “v” label as very difficult to figure out what was veggie. Very Limited choice. Room service offered garden salad or fruit salad. Veggie main course at dinner was humous and pitta. Really Need to ... Read More
It would help if food had s “v” label as very difficult to figure out what was veggie. Very Limited choice. Room service offered garden salad or fruit salad. Veggie main course at dinner was humous and pitta. Really Need to update menus..., this is the 21st century! Staff who dealt with excursions were very rude, serious lack of customer service. Ship generally looked good. But less deck space compared to other ships. Cabin was a good size and comfortable and entertainment in the theatre was very good too. For such a large ship the general entertainment outside the theatre was very limited. Seemed to be significantly less staff to guest ratio compared to other cruise lines and so less attention to detail e.g. no waiters, and things running out at the buffet and not replenished. Staff seemed disgruntled and unhappy. Not experienced that before on a ctuise ship (usually staff are very professional and do not share any problems with customers). Based on this experience I would not book MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our first time on MSC but we've been on multiple cruises with other cruise companies. We chose this ship and itinerary because there was a really good sale on their website. Booking was a little complicated because we were a ... Read More
This was our first time on MSC but we've been on multiple cruises with other cruise companies. We chose this ship and itinerary because there was a really good sale on their website. Booking was a little complicated because we were a large party so we had to email back and forth with the booking agent. We were a party of 9 adults and we booked 5 rooms, all inside cabins. We had read other reviews stating that the food was catered more towards a European crowd and that there wasn't a lot of variety. We are Canadian and we went in knowing that the food might not be like the other cruise ships. Compared to RC, Norwegian, Celebrity and Carnival, there is indeed less variety but we aren't picky so it didn't really bother us. I was satisfied with the food on this cruise. I didn't like that we were restricted to certain times for dining and they literally close the doors after a certain time. We were scheduled to eat at 7:15 and they close the doors at 7:35. If you're not there, then you can't eat in the restaurant. I prefer freestyle dining. Our cabins were clean and tidy. The cabin stewards did not do any towel folding during our stay like the other cruise companies. There is only shampoo and body wash in the shower. The shower is also tiny, but this to be expected for inside cabins. The beds are comfortable and I had a good sleep throughout the cruise. The entertainment was fine and MSC is probably the only company that has opera at sea. They did a condensed version on Madama Butterfly during one of the days at sea. There were three shows most nights and you have to book them through the MSC app (more on that later). The entertainers were talented and it was interesting the first few nights but the shows got very repetitive and by the end of the week, you're thinking "I saw this last night" because they use the same performers but put them in different costumes. Compared to the other cruise lines, I felt the hospitality on the MSC Seaside was terrible. More than once, we were dumbfounded by the responses from the crew. We had someone in our party who just had leg surgery and was not very mobile. We asked for a wheelchair while in Nassau because it was a long walk out of the pier. The crew member told us she could not go get the wheelchair for us even though it was right up the ramp near the exit. Another time, we didn't know where to go and we actually got reprimanded by one of the crew members for not being able to locate the correct line. She was quite rude. Unlike the other cruise lines, none of the crew greeted us when they saw us and in general they did not seem to be happy working there. Sometimes they would simply tell us "no" when we were asking for something instead of offering an alternative solution to the problem. There is an app that you can download to use while onboard. It has the menus for the restaurants, the list of shows in the evening and the schedule of activities for the day. You can use it to add activities to your day. It wasn't exactly user-friendly but it was handy to have the information with us instead of having to refer to the paper schedule. It was lacking a chat feature on the app and it would be nice if it had that. I didn't book any of the excursions through the cruise line. The prices were on par with all the other cruise lines, which is to say: overpriced so I usually book excursions on my own. I found there was enough variety if you were to book with the cruise so if you didn't want to do any planning, you'd find a nice selection offered by MSC. If you are a diver, note that there were no scuba diving excursions offered by MSC. You have to book outside of the cruise line. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and very easy. It was the fastest I've ever embarked or disembarked a vessel and I give MSC kudos for that. Overall, we got a really good price for the cruise so we weren't expecting something amazing. You get what you pay for, after all. What I was disappointed with was the lack of hospitality and warmth from the crew. I would only book with MSC again if the price was right. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The number of passengers are far too numerous for the cruise. Had to fight over poolside loungers, food and tables from the buffet, and even standing space at some bars. Whatever you wanted you had to pay extra for. Cabin and cabin service ... Read More
The number of passengers are far too numerous for the cruise. Had to fight over poolside loungers, food and tables from the buffet, and even standing space at some bars. Whatever you wanted you had to pay extra for. Cabin and cabin service was excellent. Very little entertainment in the bars and due to the number of passengers battled to get bar waiter service. Also had to wait for hours to get an elevator to different floors. I have travelled on other cruises and got the impression that once MSC had you on board all they would then try and do is fleece you for your money!!! The food in the Silver Dolphin Restaurant was average, some dishes being wonderful and others awful. The excursions were way overpriced and we did our own thing at a fraction of there price. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly without any hassles. Would think twice before going again with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
A group of us, friends, for the past several years enjoyed cruising as a fun alternative to all-inclusive vacations at beach resorts. Our prior experience on another MSC ship, Poesia, a few years ago was very good, and the lingering ... Read More
A group of us, friends, for the past several years enjoyed cruising as a fun alternative to all-inclusive vacations at beach resorts. Our prior experience on another MSC ship, Poesia, a few years ago was very good, and the lingering memories lead us to take a cruise on MSC Meraviglia this year. Besides the behemoth form factor, fancy displays, technological innovations, gleaming stainless steel, and shimmering Swarovski crystal embedded staircases, a cavernous promenade with a long LED roof, with many shops, and restaurants, a water park with water slides and a Himalayan rope course: the ship is attractive in many ways. The top two decks are stacked with play, games, and spa areas. Buffet is nothing spectacular either, just run-of-mill, the usual fare. Buffet restaurants are crowded always due to the volume of passengers. There wasn’t adequate staff in the buffet restaurants to keep the busy place ‘ship-shaped’. Dishes were not picked up properly or the tables were cleaned promptly. Too many people, too less staff especially in buffet restaurants was very noticeable. No water or juice were served at the table, everything was self-serviced. The dinners at the free restaurants were so-so as well, nothing particular about the menu to speak about. No water served at the dinner table in the restaurants, if you want water pay, and buy! It was to a point annoying to see them trying to upsell something or other, from liquor, dinner at upscale restaurants to spa packages always. Talked to many crew members during the cruise and realized that they were all over worked for the same money they got from a smaller ship. Now we know that the first impression may not be the lasting impression. The big, bold, spanking-glittering look impressed us first, but it was different when came to creature comforts, service aspects, food and value for the money. They were sub-par in nature to our expectations.Customer service was extremely poor. No response to enquiries started even months before the actual cruise dates. Few emails to them to rectify certain mistakes/omissions were met with total silence. We asked for certain cabins on specific decks, and the agent agreed during the booking time. However, what we received were different, and tried to correct the error via emails was futile. Dinner seating time was another issue: what was originally asked for and assigned was arbitrarily changed and couldn’t get it changed. Some positives were the crew: they were courteous, and friendly. The restaurant, buffet, and dinner staff went out of their way to serve us. Kudos to all them! Perhaps, next time we may be better off on a small or medium size ship. Overall rating: average, nothing spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because it visited all but one places we had not been to. Having travelled on the MSC Opera we knew what to expect and then it was a good trip with the only short falls being the way it catered for mainly non-UK ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it visited all but one places we had not been to. Having travelled on the MSC Opera we knew what to expect and then it was a good trip with the only short falls being the way it catered for mainly non-UK guests. Embarkation went reasonably well, very very busy at Valencia, people jostling about and queue jumping, checking in cases then queueing again. Disembarkation very fast and the best we have had. All very efficient considering the 4000 plus passengers involved. We had a deck 10 port side cabin with balcony and enjoyed nearly every port with a city view. The cabin was roomy with very plush fittings maybe due for an update in some areas but had everything you need except drinks hot making facilities, due to kettles being a fire hazard. Our cabin had very noisy neighbours, with children playing football and screeching, fortunately they left a th first port. Not too sure about the constant smoking on other balconies and in various areas including the casino not being a fire hazard. Very bad if you a non smoker. The smoke invades a huge portion of a few bars. This is a beautifully appointed ship with elegance and flair in all areas. Plenty of places to relax. The main dining rooms are cram packed and most have tables for 6 or 8. If you want to dine as a couple you need to either go to the very very busy Bora Bora deck 14 buffet, or pay extra at the other Tex Mex or upgrade to Aurea for my-time dining. Dining times were either 7pm of 9.45pm in either the Reggio or as we had the Villa Verde smaller restaurant. Three course meals in the evening, small portions but a reasonable choice even for vegetarian diners.the gala dinners weren't any different. Forget it if you want pie and chips, this cruise line caters for Mediterranean tastes and has a huge range of food on offer in the Deck 14 buffets. Burgers, pizzas, hotdogs too but plenty of salads and some healthy food choices. The food whilst always plentiful was not the same quality we had a few years ago. I can understand the industry tightening their belts. The last river cruise food quality made this seem like a poor relation in the serviced restaurants. One thing that shines here more than anything is the exceptional quality of service from an incredibly hard working mainly Indonesian staff. The Italian staffed higher ranking positions were occupied by a very hit and miss bunch. You could be lucky and then most times had very brusque service. This service on both levels were the same on both cruises. There were an amazing amount of very young children on board, and the noise levels were exceptionally high if you are used to quiet dining and pub,if areas. The entertainment in the theatre was varied, certainly not to my tastes and last 30 minutes. Not high quality west end stuff as on some other cruise lines. The bars and lounges had good singers and musicians playing middle of the road pleasant listening tunes. Plenty of activities of varying levels We had a drinks package that included non branded drinks in all restaurants and bars and at £20 per person per day prepaid seems expensive but when you add up a few colas and a few coffees and a couple of alcoholic tipples it's easily the cheapest option, we were hugely in profit at the end of our cruise. The policy is to bring no alcohol on board at any time and is heavily policed at each port. Plenty of people having it confiscated to be returned at disembarkation. We had prebooked a couple of excursions mainly due to time. They are always an expensive option on most ships but a good way to get a taster if you can't be bothered. The shuttle buses are a good earner, some are worth saving you a very long walk...some not. You can't always tell where the ship will dock but due to the size of most it will be a good way away from the city, exception being the home port of MSC in Genoa. Would I use MSC again? probably not. My idea of a cruise is of a more leisurely nature and a fine dining experience with excursions included and this was none of them. There are plenty of other cruise lines that for the same money give a far superior experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Recently returned from a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Armonia. We chose the cruise for the different ports of call and were pleased with all the destinations.Our one excursion to Pompeii was very good. The food on board at the Le ... Read More
Recently returned from a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Armonia. We chose the cruise for the different ports of call and were pleased with all the destinations.Our one excursion to Pompeii was very good. The food on board at the Le Pergola restaurant on the ship was good and the waiters that looked after us were excellent. Our cabin was lovely and clean and well looked after. However, the buffet breakfast in the restaurant was a free for all, lots of waiters but no service to speak of! Self service was the order of the day and also at lunch time. There was no organisation and a poor choice - the same every day. The staff in the Marco Polo and throughout the ship were sullen and unhelpful, we had to go find a waiter to get a drink and they didn't feel it necessary to smile at all. The buffet/restaurant staff were the same and not at all what we are used to. Our airport transfers were inconvenient, expensive and not tailored to us as guests at all, I would not used them again. This was our sixth cruise and the biggest let down. The ship is nice enough but the activities were very limited and the productions in the theatre were dire. We enjoyed our cruise despite the inefficiency and lack of service not because of it!!! The guests were definitely not put first. I will not be MSC cruising in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
While holiday int in Europe for our 30th wedding anniversary, we chose a shorter cruise to gauge how we feel about cruising in general, this being our first one. We also wanted to pack in as many ports as possible and we only spent one ... Read More
While holiday int in Europe for our 30th wedding anniversary, we chose a shorter cruise to gauge how we feel about cruising in general, this being our first one. We also wanted to pack in as many ports as possible and we only spent one full day at sea which bored us. The food, service and cleanliness of the ship was great. We felt cheated being sold a beverage package for only meal times which meant if we wanted to drink at other times, we had to pay. We were sold this at the port before embarking on the ship and later found out that we could have bought separate water, coffee, alcohol or soft drink packages which would have cost us one third of what we paid. Also as I am not a drinker, I had to buy the same package as my husband just to get water and soft drinks! (Obviously they think I would have drunk my husband's alcohol as it was unlimited during meal times) The other major gripe was all the packs of children roaming and running around the ship without parental supervision. These children were allowed into the bars at night and took over all the seating and dance floor so we missed out on dancing as well. Parents were even taking babies around in prams in the bar/lounge areas. It really needed to have some dedicated adult only areas. We both have a European background and are euro citizens as well.. We understand the European attitude to full inclusion of families but this was ridiculous. There was no where to get away from them and I was told by a very smart alec 8 year old that we had taken his and his friends seats while they were dancing! MSC needs to make sure parents monitor and take responsibility for their children and provide adult only relief to its other passengers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our 30th cruise and 3rd on MSC. We like MSC, but it is definitely a little behind some of its competition. You really need to know what you are getting into the ships are not like travelling on American, British or Scandinavian ... Read More
This was our 30th cruise and 3rd on MSC. We like MSC, but it is definitely a little behind some of its competition. You really need to know what you are getting into the ships are not like travelling on American, British or Scandinavian Lines. But MSC van be a lot of fun due to the chance to meet a lot of non-North Americans, with great itineraries at very reasonable prices, especially if you have kids under 12. We chose this trip because it was a good deal (about $450 for a 6 day cruise inside cabin, about $100/day for a balcony) with an amazing itinerary that included a new interesting (and sometimes unusual) port every day, including Marseille, Genoa, Corsica. Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. I would say the ships passengers were 40% Italian, 35% French, 15% Spanish, 5% British, 4% other and less than 1% American. This has been pretty much the mix on all the Mediterranean MSC cruises we have been on. The itinerary is unusual in that passengers can embark this 6 day cruise at any of the 5 ports, as long as they stay the whole 5 days. This gives this cruising group more the feel of fairy travelers than co-travelling companions, since people come and go every day. Like all European ships, the crowd is younger (average age 40, though there all ages from 1 to 100 are well represented), so it definitely doesn't feel like a nursing home. We embarked in Marseille and were annoyed to find that, after a grueling 24 -hour flight the boarding would only be after 3 pm. Many ships say this but usually let you board at 11. On MSC, no matter what time you arrive they don't take your luggage till 1pm, then you sit in a big ugly uncomfortable room waiting for several hours to board. This ship is quite plain compared to ships you are used to from Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Princess. The walls are all plain and there are no fancy chandeliers and no art. Some might call it understated elegance, but that would probably be a stretch. Speaking of stretch, the ship was lengthened at its last refurbishment and we were in one of the nice new cabins in the middle section. The cabin was spotlessly clean and cozy, but at 110 square feet, was the smallest cruise ship cabin we have ever been in. The bathroom had the usual tiny shower but with excellent water pressure and very good appliances. No outlet was available in the bathroom. The toilet was quieter than on most ships. The cabin staff often forgot to refill the soap and Kleenex dispensers and the products were of just ok quality. No robes were offered. Although we had a minibar, we were never given a key. An ice bucket was in the room, but no one (including the cabin staff) seemed to know where to get ice. It was nice that they upgraded us for free from an inside to an obstructed view outside cabin but the view (unlike on Princess or HAL ObsView cabins) was 99% lifeboat. Somewhat annoying that the entire middle of the 7th floor is closed off and accessible only to crew due to the Medical Center strangely being place there. Lots of kids present, even though it was not spring break in any of the countries the passengers came from, as MSC offers free fair for kids travelling with parents. When we finally boarded at 4 pm, the only food option available was hamburgers or pizza and we were starving from waiting to board all day. Dozens of "supervisors" stand around while one lone guy tries to make and serve 30 pizzas per hour in the pizza restaurant. Why can't some of the folks standing around be cross-trained to help him out so we don't have to wait 40 minutes for a pizza at 4pm when everything else is closed? We also were told we needed to vacate our room by 7am on disembarkation day, when we were not even allowed to leave the ship until 10:30 pm. Fortunately, since we only had hand luggage, we were able to sneak out. Unlike other Americans, however, we found many of the staff charming, and the entertainment (especially the high quality shows), top notch. They are a cross between Cirque De Soleil and Broadway, and if you like those venues, you will probably love the MSC shows. Nice that the actors come out in costume to mingle with the audience after the show. Since the ship is so multi-lingual, there are almost no adult activities, but it was nice not to be relentlessly hounded to play bingo, etc. The internet was above average and reasonably priced. The Israeli security staff was great. The itinerary was great and we loved being in a new, relatively less-frequented port of call each day. The pier is Marseille is very fair from town and is the only so, so dreary port on this otherwise excellent cruise. Palma, Genoa, Corsica and Barcelona are all wonderful day ports and most had fantastic free walking tours available (not from the Cruise Ship). Skip the cruise ships overpriced shuttle service in each port and take a taxi or the public bus. Read Cruise critic for fun things to do without overpaying for mediocre ship shore excursions, though MSC's trip to the Drach Caves in Palma is highly rated and is hard to do on your own. I will go again with MSC, but it has to be a great itinerary and less than $75 a day, which can be hard to do with other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my 7th cruise and my husband and I knew what we were getting into prior to traveling. We only selected this ship because A) price and B) it was the most convenient way to see the places we wanted to see in Europe without changing ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise and my husband and I knew what we were getting into prior to traveling. We only selected this ship because A) price and B) it was the most convenient way to see the places we wanted to see in Europe without changing hotels every day. From the beginning they try to push the drink package on you. We did not do it because we knew as Americans we would get free bottled water with dinner and chose to drink when we wanted and where we wanted to, and not feel as if we needed to drink the entire time. Rooms are small, is to be expected. I got in a fight with the shower curtain on a daily basis. The food is alright, dinner takes over two hours and most nights we weren't done until 11:30 (23:30) which is WAY too late in my book to finish dinner. Things I cannot look past: - Shore excursion cancellation. 3/4 of our cruise-booked excursions were cancelled. Are you serious? Just no excuse. What do you do if you don't have a back up plan? We are paying a fortune for these excursions and they just get cancelled? Luckily, we printed out maps and other things to do in the area and were able to visit Cinque Terre, Valletta and Taormina on our own. It was probably for the best since we ended up paying 75% less for this than the cruise price. There was a particular woman at the shore excursion desk that added much unnecessary grief to this already bad experience. We knew what we were getting in to being one of the few Americans on this cruise. I just could not believe how many people would cut in front of us and the workers did not think anything of it. By the 7th day I was ready to lose my mind. English was a problem on the ship, and I speak Spanish fluently and know enough Italian and French to get myself in trouble but no one seemed very interested in trying to understand us if it was not French. Overall I can't say I would cruise with MSC again. Everything was just sub-par. They do offer the best ports in the Mediterranean in my opinion though. **TIP: There is a British pub in the back of the ship that has B1G1 drinks. 6 Euro for two grey goose drinks is unbelievable! Drink prices overall on the ship are much more affordable than Caribbean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
It was not our first Cruise, but our first one with the children. However I was expecting more... The Buffet restaurant was nothing special, actually I found it poor. Same items almost every day. The MArco Polo Restaurant was good ... Read More
It was not our first Cruise, but our first one with the children. However I was expecting more... The Buffet restaurant was nothing special, actually I found it poor. Same items almost every day. The MArco Polo Restaurant was good (thank God). I have to say that we had the better employee of the restaurant the brazilian Luana. She was very helpfull and also very friendly with everyone. My children wanted to take her home with us. We had no time to see her on the last day and they were very upset and kept saying that they wanted Luana... The public areas were a bit old. Public WC had some broke things as taps etc. The pool area has very slippery deck. I saw some people slip and fall. Very dangerous. the deck chairs were reserved very early though nobody occupied them for hours. The crew should have that in mind. Some people went on excursions but reserved deck chairs! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The ship itself was nice the evening entertainment was excellent. Cabin was a little small but fine - had fridge wardrobe space adequate shower was small compared to other cruise lines. Lighting was dim and found it difficult to read ... Read More
The ship itself was nice the evening entertainment was excellent. Cabin was a little small but fine - had fridge wardrobe space adequate shower was small compared to other cruise lines. Lighting was dim and found it difficult to read even with all the lights turned on because of where they were placed. Main restaurants were on decks five and six but the tables were too close together making access for serving difficult for the waiters. The Irish bar and the casino were both smoking areas although there was a small section by the bar that was non smoking but you could smell the smoke. The theater was a good size but you had to be there early in order to get a seat. Seating was tiered with 2 rows of seats to each tier the front row of the tier had excellent views but the back row of each tier you were obstructed by the people sitting in front. Our complaints:- If you wanted water with your dinner of an evening or lunch during the day in the restaurant you had to purchase the water by the bottle €2.6 plus a service charge of 15%. The buffet if you choose to eat there of an evening closed at 8.45 pm so after then you could only get tea coffee or water from the machines. We found that there was no English tea of an evening only Calamine and Earl Grey (need to pocket some during the day if you like a cup of tea late at night):-) The food was Italian style lots of small dishes but we did not enjoy the cuisine we found it bland and the meat usually tough. This is our own personal opinion. We have cruised with other companies and would not cruise with these again by choice. This ship is mainly for Italians French and Spanish so there was a language problem when trying to communicate with other passengers. The staff all spoke English. Passengers were taken on at each port except for Tunis which meant the lifeboat drill was repeated each day (you only have to do it once on the port you embarked). The announcements in different languages became tiresome and sometimes they forgot to announce them in English. In the theater all the shows were in English which was to our advantage. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Have just returned from an amazing three week holiday in Europe, which ended with a seven night Med Cruise. My husband and I and our four children departed from South Africa on 27 June on KLM Airways. the flight went smoothly and we ... Read More
Have just returned from an amazing three week holiday in Europe, which ended with a seven night Med Cruise. My husband and I and our four children departed from South Africa on 27 June on KLM Airways. the flight went smoothly and we landed in Amsterdam the following morning, on time. Everything went smoothly, until in came to collecting our luggage and we discovered that my younged son's bag had not arrived with us. This obviously involved going to make a report and give details so that we could be contacted when it was located. Once this was done we walked out into the pickup area to try and find our prebooked and prepaid mini bus pickup. This involved a bit of wandering around, but he could not be found. Eventually I stopped to ask another taxi driver if I was perhaps in the wrong area. He asked our surname and after repeating it a couple of times, he managed to pronounce it correctly and low and behold the gentleman standing next to him leans over and tells us that he had come to collect us, but as we took too long to come out, he was now waiting for someone else. He turned his nameboard around and there, sure as nuts, was our surname. My idea of arranging a pickup from the airport obviously wasn't a very good one, as we had now wasted 80 euros. What a great start! We set off to find another mini bus and this turned out to be very simple indeed and cost us 60 euros, so I certainly wouldn't bother with prebooking transport again, as one never knows what sort of delays they may encounter. The taxi took us to our accomodation, which was an self catering apartment above the Bulldog Coffee Shop in Leidsesquare. I was delighted that we were above a Coffee Shop, as I thought it would be perfect for popping downstairs for breakfasts in the morning. I googled the Coffee Shop from home before we left home, to see what sort of meals they served and much to my dismay it was a very different Coffee Shop to the one's I am accustomed to at home. I was a bit concerned about the location of our accomodation, but it turned out to be absolutely fine with the entrance being a separate door on the rights hand side of the coffee shop. The apartment was great, apart from the fact that we had to drag our luggage up two flights of stairs before reaching the lift. This resulted in the pull along handle on my other son's suitcase, being ripped right out. Great! The apartment consisted of 2 bedrooms, bathroom, separate toilet, a tiny loft room that didn't really have any furniture it in, but the kids managed to turn in into their computer room. There was also a lovely fitted kitchen, dining are and of course the lounge which housed the sleeper couch. The lounge and dining area had lovely big windows which opened up onto the square, which was great and very entertaining. The one thing the apartemnt lacked, was an airconditioner, which would have gone down really well. All four of our children landed up sleeping in the lounge as there was a celing fan and of course the large window that could be left open. There were loads of restaurants off the square and a Burger King about 30 steps away from the door of the apartment. We spent a fabulous 3 nights in Amsterdam, did the Hop on Hop off Bus tours, visited Ann Frank's Apartment, went on an evening canal cruise and also managed to visit the Ice Bar. We hadn't really planned on doing this, as we had read such bad reviews but we were in the area, so decided to just pop in. What fun! We bought ourselves some lovely Heineken polar hats were given great big polar coats to wear and off we went for our Polar Experience. We so enjoyed it and the kids had a ball too. Am so pleased that we went in! On our forth morning, we were collected on time, by the same taxi that had brought us from the airport. We were taken back to Schipol Aiport, where took our flight on Air France, to Paris. Whilst at the airport, we checked on my son's bag, but it had still not arrived. We landed at CDG in Paris and collected by Prestige Pickups. I had pre arranged this, but advance payment was not requested. We were transported to Eurodisney, where we were to spend the next 3 nights at the Hotel Cheyenne. My initial impression of the hotel when we walked into reception area was CHAOTIC, with kids screaming and running around. The Western themed accomodation is very spaced out and you don't really encounter any other guests until you get to breakfast in the morning and all hell breaks loose. More kids sreaming and running around and their parents shoving past you with plates piled high with croissants, ham and cheese all ready to go and prepare the snacks for the day. There is a sign in the dining room telling people not take food from the diningroom, but this made no difference at all and people were openly filling carry bags with rolls, croissants and even filling empty bottles with juice for the day. After 3 hectic days in Eurodisney we were collected on time by Prestige again and taken into Paris we we were booked into the Londres et New York Hotel. We were greeted by a lovely friendly receptionist and were given the keys for our two rooms. There was a lift was a relief. Our rooms were lovely, beautifully decorated, really nice bathrooms and windows which looked out onto the street below. We had a tiny balcony which we were able to squeeze onto, which was rather nice. We were joined the following morning by my mother and my husbands parents, as they were to spend the balance of the trip with us. We were also joined by my son's suitcase, which had arrived in Amsterdam, as we left and had had to wait for the next flight to Paris! Another two nights were spent in Paris, doing the Hop on Bus tours, dinner in Eiffel Tower, visiting the Louvre, dinner cruise on the River Seinne(Awesome) and loads of walking. We were collected by Prestige once again and were taken to the train station where we were to catch the TGV to Marseille. The station was chaotic and after much asking around we found out where we sere supposed to be. There we waited, until the gates were opened and then, the stampede. People were shoving and pushing and ramming trolleys of luggage into our ankles. Getting to our carriage was a bit hair raising, in fact I don't even know how we managed to find it. We had hardly got on and managed to cram our load of luggage into the small luggage areas, and suddenly we were whizzing off. It was such a relief to be safely in our seats after all that tearing along the platforms, trying to keep our party of nine all together. After setting off, we throughly enjoyed our train ride and the lovely scenery that flew past the windows. We were able to buy lunch on the train, which I wouldn't recommend, as we had to go upstairs and walk through a couple of coaches before we found the queue waitng to be served. There was only one lady behind the counter and she was making taking orders, heating up food, making coffees and ringing everything up as well. The menu is only in French, so we didn't really know what we were ordering. We resorted to pointing at pictures and using sign language. the food was expensive and wasn't great. We had a coulpe of dried out sandwiches, wraps etc. I should've arranged some food to take on with us. The tain journey took three and a half hours, but it seemed to go so quickly and it really was rather nice to sit still for a while after our 10 days of rushing about. Whilst on our way, we called our hotel to ask them to arrange a taxi pickup from the station in Marseille. We arrived safely in Marseille and after lugging our suitcases off the train and through the station, we managed to find our taxis, who had just arrived. we were split up into three different cars and were whisked away. We all seemed to go in different dirrections and after tearing down side roads and much ranting and raving and waving his arms around, our taxi driver delivered my mother, older son and me to our hotel, a good eight minutes after the rest of the party had arrived. My husband handed me 26 euros, as this what his taxi driver had charged, but my driver wouldn't take it from me and said he wanted 30 euros instead, as he had an brought an extra bag in his car. We were booked into the Radisson Blu Hotel and this turned out to be a great choice. The staff were all friendly, helpful and imformative. We had booked three quad rooms. The extra bed in each room, was a fold up bed and our two older boys decided to drag the matress from the other room, so that they could both be with my husband and me. We very very squashed up, but it was fine. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a problem with the airconditioner, so the room was rather stuffy. The hotel has a small swimming pool on the third floor, so we decided to take the kids for a swim. Diving or jumping into the pool was not allowed, so we were a little tense. My ten year old son climbed out of the pool and picked up a freshly rolled up towel, which he thought I had put there for him. What a commotion..the towel belonged to a elderley man who was wallowing around in the pool. He went beserk, yelling and screaming and waving his fists around. He was yelling so much, I couldn't make out what language he was speaking in. We all apologised repeatedly, but we had obviously spoilt his afternoon and he had certainly spoilt mine. I decided to return to our room to calm down. The rooms have a mini bar, where I found a nice cold bottle of water. Whilst drinking it, I paged through the hotel imformation folder, where I found the price list for the mini bar. Here I discovered that my small bottle of water cost 6 euros. With that, I decided to go and find a shop. I found a little shop around the corner, where a sixpack of small waters were 3.50 euro. What a bargain! We enjoyed two nights in Marseille, did a hop on hop off bus tour where we visited the cathedral. We tried a couple of little restaurants, but didn't find anything worth commenting on. The breakfast which was included in Raddison Blu hotel rate was really good with a huge assortment of yoghurts, fruit , cereals, nuts, dried fruit, cold meats, smoked salmon, cheeses, breads, croissants, waffles, pancakes, fried egg/omlettes/scrambled/poached, bacon, mushroom, tomatoes etc. After two nights in Marseille, we were anxious to get to our Cruise ship, the MSC Splendida. We had been on two MSC Cruises before, but both off South Africa. We managed to pack all our dirty clothing, and other bits and pieces that weren't needed on the cruise, into separate suitcases and the staff at the Radsson blu agreed to store these for us, until our return seven days later. What a lifesaver ! We managed to leave two big bags and three cabin bags behind. Our minibus taxi came to collect us at one o clock and off we went. It took about 20 minutes to get the Port and there we got our first sighting of our ship. Wow, the Splendida certainly looked Splendid. We went into the Embarking area where we went to the desk to get our Embarking Coupons. Theses could not be found, but our names were on the Guest List. After a short while, they managed to sort this out and we received our coupons. We then had wait a short while before to the Embarking Counters, to get our luggage tagged, give in our passports etc. Here we discovered, that one of our three cabins that we had booked and paid for in December, suddenly wasn't available. Even though the correct cabins numbers were displayed on our Embarking Vouchers, it simply wasn't available. We had especially requested three cabins close together, as my mother was sharing a cabin with my younger son and daughter and I could not have them running around searching for us. My inlaws had never been on ship before and they obviously didn't want to waste time getting lost and trying to track the rest of us down. Unfortunately, their cabin was the one that was not available, but they were cheered up a little, when they were told they were to be upgraded. We were then able to Embark and were guided to our cabins by cabins by a very sweet Indonesian lady. My inlaws were led off a different direction to their upgraded cabin on the 12th floor, number 12098. We were on the 11th floor at the back of the ship Cabins 11212 and 11216, dirrectly opposite the lifts which was rather handy. We had been given a map of the ship, so decided to go find my inlaws in their apgraded cabin. Their cabin was probably halfway through the ship, quite a walk. We couldn't wait to see their cabin, but low and behold it was the splitting image of ours. Upgrade? The cabins were very nice though and we were very happy with our balcony which we made sure we sat on each evening. The cabins were kept spotlessly clean and we never had to ask for anything. The cleaning staff in general seemed very efficient and every you walk on the ship, something is busy being vacumned, mopped or polished. We had been allocated Villa Verde restaurant for our Dinners and for breakfast if we chose to. Villa Verde was very easy to reach from our cabin, just a walk out the door, into the lifts and down to deck 6.As we climbed out the lift, we were right at Villa Verde. My poor inlaws had to catch a lift to the seventh floor, walk to the aft of the ship and then catch another lift down to the sixth floor. Villa Verde was lovely, the food was fantastic and the waiters were excellent. Our two waiters were Indonesian and they really were so nice and went out of their way for us at every meal. The one waiter Jorge entertained us at each meal with all sorts of creatures he created from Napkins and pieces of paper. We would arrive at a meal and my 6 year old daughter would find little paper birds waiting for her on her placemat. I had read bad reviews about the food on the ship, but was so impressed with it. The meals at Villa Verde were honestly delicious. We had lunches at the Bora Bora Cafetaria and then discovered that we could've been eating lunch at our lovely Villa Verde Restaurant. It only opened for lunch between 2 and 4pm, so of course this wasn't always possible if you had gone off on a tour. Lunches in Bora Bora Cafetaria were chaotic, with people pushing and shoving and grabbing tables. There was always long queues at the pasta stations and the fastfood (burger & hotdogs), but the other stations were not too bad. It shocked me to see how people were loading their plates with food, that no normal person could possibly consume and then you would see the poor waiters clearing these plates away with the food barely touched. What an awful waste! We booked our tours as we got onto the ship and the tickets were to be sent to our cabin. These only arrived whilst we were at dinner, so by the time we discovered them, it was already late and only when you receive your ticket, do you see your departure time and your meeting point which was normally half an hour to 45 minutes before departure. We suddenly had a problem, as we needed to arrange for our 6 year old and 10 year to join the kiddies club, as they were not coming with us on the tour. We went to try and find out about the kiddies club and the young gentleman in Reception tried his best to help us. We were told that kiddies club only starts at 9 o clock, which didn't really make sense to me, as the meeting time for the following morning's tours, was at 8.15am. I thought the purpose of the kiddies club, was for the smaller children to be kept happy and occupied, whilst their parents went off on a tour that would bore them to tears. The chap in Reception made a few calls and then told us that someone would be waiting up the kiddies club at 8am the following morning. That was a relief. In the morning we rushed to breakfast early, so that the little one's would be fed and ready to go and search for the kiddies club before 8 o clock. We did have a battle trying top find it and were really panicking as we were running out of time. No one really seemed to understand us when we were asking directions, but we eventually managed to find the room that we were meant to be in. There we met up with a pleasant Italian speaking young man. He managed a little English, enough to advise us that there was NO kiddies club that morning, because they were going on a tour!! I never quite understood whether all the other kiddies were going on tour or whether they weren't having kiddies club because of the tour...It made no sense to me at all. He went on say that he would entertain them and they could watch TV and draw...for 5 hours. By now I felt sick, we were now running late for our meeting point for the tour, our parents were waiting there for us. We didn't know if it would be possible to get our little ones on the tour with us and they hadn't wanted to go on the tour anyway. We had already paid 55 euro each for ourselves and our parents to go on the tour and at this stage didn't know if we were going to miss it completely. So, we had to leave our poor little souls with this childminder and dash off. I was so upset! Why were we not informed when making enquiries about the club, that there was not going to be any kiddies club!! We managed to get to our tour, but got straight onto the phone to my oldest son, who was still in bed, sleeping in. I asked him to get to the kiddies area to check the younger two. We got a call back from him a while later to say he hadn't been able to find them at the kiddies club. Great! How does one enjoy the tour, when they are now flapping about their children. Told the older son to go off searching again and this attempt was successful and he found them back in the kiddies room. He did phone to tell us this and to let us know that were very unhappy and were wanting him to rescue them! Obviously we had to get them out of there, so sent him back to try and get them released. This of course was a problem, because the childminder didn't want to release them to my older son. More phonecalls and my husband eventually managed to get the childminder to understand that their brother was there to collect the children and was able to look after them. Very stressful!! On our return we received the whole report on how scarey it had been at the "club" "the man couldn't really understand" them, so of course didn't really speak to them. He put the TV or a DVD for them, but of course it was in Italian. Needless to say, the 10 year old son never wanted to return to the "Club" and the 6 year old daughter said she would like to try again, but only if there were other children. She did try on another ocassion and spent the morning playing with 2 little girls, but she wasn't sure what language they spoke. on the third try, we were told the children were going to be taught a dance and they would be doing a show up on the pool deck a little later that evening. My daughter was so excited, as she loves dancing. We made sure we sat right up front so that she could see we were there to watch her. When the children arrived, I could see straight away that she was upset. The little group started with their dance, but of course the instructor was only giving instructions in Italian and all she could do was try her best to keep up. Once it was over she beckoned to us and begged us to "please come and fetch" her. When we collected her, she burst into tears and said she didn't know why the other children wanted to leave her out. They would not platy with her and when the group played "Pass the Parcel", they refused to pass to her and passed the parcel to the child next to her. She asked us to please never take her there again. Great! A bit difficult when you have booked and paid for Tours that are not suitable for small children. This really was the only issue we had with the Splendida. We had expected to encounter bad mannered Italians and we got them, but I really thought on a Family friendly ship, more effort would be made to entertain the children and to help gather children together of the same language. There had to be other english speaking children on the ship, but amongst 4000 guests, how would you ever meet up with them? Nothing is organised for teenagers either, although a Teen Club is listed on the daily brochure that is pushed under your door each evening. It is shown as been in the Graffiti Disco at 11.30pm. Our two teenage boys attempted this on their first night, but again nothing happening. On our second evening, we bumped into the Cruise Director "Enzo" after the evening show and we mentioned that our teenage boys were desperate to find some other english speaking teens. He asked how many nights we had left of our cruise and when we said 5, he said "Ooh, we'll have to do something about that". That is as far as it got, because nothing was ever done about it. I would expect them to gather the teens together during the day maybe, have different competitions at the pools and to try a identify if there were any English Speaking...put them in team, German speaking..put them in a team etc. Even it only 3 or 4 teens together, at least it is some sort of company for them. My older boys were fortunate to meet a young Swiss Girl and her younger brother on their third night when we dragged them up to the main disco on the 16th deck. My son had sat next to her and plucked up the courage to ask he if she spoke English and yipee, she did. The four of them met up regularly after that and stayed out at the disco until 4 in the morning thereafter. The tours we booked on the ship were average. Our first stop was Genoa and we booked the PORTOFINO Tour. This cost 55 Euro for adults and 39 Euro for cildren.It involved a 45 minute coach ride to Santa Margherita Ligure, where we a few minutes before climbing onto a boat which took us on a 10 minute ride to Portofino, where we spent about an hour and 20 minutes. We were able to wander around the lovely little town or stop and have coffee etc. Our tour guide said we had to have the best Italian Ice cream ever and pointed out were to get it. We thought we'd go and get one before getting back on the boat, so set off to the other side of the little port to get our ice cream. These ranged from 8 Euro for 1 scoop to 18 Euro for 3 scoops. Suddenly didn't really need that ice cream. Our second stop was Naples, where we had prearranged a driver to pick us up and drive us along the Amalfi coast to Sorrento and then onto Positano, where he took us to a lovely little restaurant which overlooked the the town, We had a neverending lunch, where the courses just kept on arriving at our table. Our driver then took us back along the coast a nd took us to Pompeii, where we managed to spend an hour before returning to the ship. The driver was very jovial and had the Italian Music going to get us into the mood! he made regular photo stops and was more than happy to take the photographs that we needed. His fee was 420 euro for the nine of us in an airconditioned mini bus. I thought it was one of our best days! Our third stop was Palermo, where we decided to pass on the tours and thought we go on a little walk ourselves. We had hardly left the ship, before we pounced on by a young lady trying to get us to take a horse and cart ride. She said we'd be shown the different sights and they'd stop and let us go to the market if we would like. This was going to cost 20 euros each, so my husband decided we should go. We climbed into our little carriages and killed ourselves laughing as we looked at each other trotting along. Everynow and then the driver mumble that we had passed a statue or a cathedral, no stopping even for a photo. Suddenly after approximately half an hour, the driver stopped and announced that we could go back to the ship or get out and explore. it was all rather sudden and we had no idea where we were, but out we got and my huband, my mother and my father in law decided to go back to the ship. off they went, leaving my mother in law, our three boys and me staning in the street wandering which way to turn. We eventually asked our way around by pointing at pictures of markets. After 40 minutes of wandering around, we foundthe market, which was a very long alley of all the usual bits and pieces that you find in markets. Didn't find anything interesting and eventually decided we were never going to get to the market, so turned around and went back. We then managed to find someone who could direct us back to the ship. The following day, we stopped in Tunisia, which we hadn't expected to do, as we had been advised earlier in the year that no ships were stopping in Tunis, because of all the unrest and violence. We were to have a day at sea, which I was quite excited about, as it was half way through the cruise and would provide a good opportunity to relax. However when first embarking the Splendida, we were told that the Tunis stop had been resumed and the ship had stopped there two weeks prior to us and there had been no problems. We decided to do a tour and booked the EXPLORING THE COLOURFUL SOUKS OF TUNIS. This cost 48 euros per adult and children were free. As you leave the ship you aproached by men bearing some sort of flower, which they force upon you and if they manage to get it into your hand or hat or pocket, start demanding 5 euro. Needless to say, they had all their flowers handed bank to them. Our guide led us to our coach, where we were with other english speaking passengers, some germans, and I think some French. We drove through Tunis' modern district and were then dropped off at the Medina(market), which seemed to be a maze of alley ways and passages and delapidated buildings. We were led up and down these alley ways, up stairs, down stairs ans eventually stopped at a carpet shop, where we told briefly what went into the making of the carpets. We were then led up some more stairs, where we had sit and watch as a mountain of rugs and carpets were brought out, each unrolled in front of us and we were given a price for each one. No one was buying the rugs and in fact the only one that was sold, was bought by my inlaws. The price started at 440 euros and my husband to get them all the way to 150 euro. We had to sit while the rest of the rugs were brought out and didplayed and then all rolled back up again. Then we could leave. Down more alleys and then into a perfume shop, where we got to smell various fragrances and people were able to buy if they wanted. Next was a shop that sold various wares and our little party were led into a separate room, because we were the only ones that had bought from the carpet shop so our guide obviously thought he could encourage us buy some handmade jewels which were in this little room. I don't think anyone in the tour group bought anything from this shop. More alleys and eventually the guide said we could have some free time. We stopped at some stairs and he said we were to meet back there in twenty minutes and then he asked us what the time was. He didn't even have a watch! Various people called out the time and everyone seemed to be a couple of minutes less or more timewise. We decided we were to hot and tired to walk anywhere and quite frankly didn't know how far we could get in 20 minutes. We found a spot to sit on the stairs and most of the tour group seemed to do the same, or they hovered around in the area. After a while, our guide returned and suddenly announced it was time to go. According to our watch, we had not been there for twenty minutes, but no one complained and off we went. I was so excited, as I thought we were heading back to the bus. I was directly behind the guide and noticed him stopping to ask directions frequently. He didn't seem too sure of where he was going. We climbed steep alleys, down little passages again, more stairs and in the blazing heat. I could not wait to see the bus. We had the younger kids with us, so they of course were complaining and of course the parents were battling with all the climbing. Suddenly we reached a door and in went the guide and we were led in up more stairs and into a stuffy room which had tables and chairs were set up. What a relief to sit. I then rembered the tour had mentioned a stop at a cafe for coffee and pastries. No coffee arrived but a plate of date pastries arrived at our table and we were able to buy a cold drink or beer. No glasses though. When then got to watch a traditional Tunisian dance. Suddenly our guide announced that four of our tour group had been left behind at our previous spot, as they had not returned to the meeting spot in time. He did not have a watch, so he certainly didn't have any idea of the accurate time. At no time did he do a head count, which I think was quite shocking. Fortunately the missing group, had run into another MSC group of a different language and their tour guide contacted our guide on his cell phone. The other guide then led them to the cafe. Our guide then told us that the lost foursome would travel back to the ship with the other tour group, as it would be "unprofessional" of him to wait for them ! I thought it pretty unprofessional of him to have lost them, but he was determined to put the blame on them and once back on the bus made sure he came to every family to ask us if we were going to tell MSC what a good guide he'd been!!! I think we were all very relieved to see our ship. We couldn't board the ship again without letting our little ones have a camel ride, while we took photos. This cost 5 euros for both of them and seemed worthwhile, as it was the same price as the flower they'd tried to force upon us. There were a couple of guys with birds on chains which they had flying around and landing on people's arms. One landed on my daughters arm and the chap who owned it tried to charge me 5 euros. I walked away from him and ranting and raving behind me. Our fifth stop was Palma de Mallorca. We took the ships shuttle into town for 8 euros per person. We could use the bus coupon to travel to and from town as often as we wished. We went into town and wandered around town and bought quite a few curios from some lovely little shops. We sat at a little cafe in the main street and my husband ordered beer for him, coke for the kids, sangria for his mom and me. Along come enormous mugs which looked like 2 litres to me. The mugs were loaded with dozens of brightly coloured straws and we just had to tuck in. Nothing came in small quantities. We all had a good laugh. Last stop was Barcelona, where we had booked the PANORAMIC TOUR AND SHOPPING for the ladies and girls and the BARCELONA PANORAMIC & NOU CAMP STADIUM for the men and boys. The shopping tour cost 45 euro for adults and 32 for children. The Stadium tour cost 48 euro for adults and 34 for children. We enjoyed the Panoramic part of the tour but the shopping part of it was a bit of a waste, as we were dropped at a bus stop and were told we had approximately an hour and twenty minutes and then needed to meet back at the bus stop. I had hoped to shop at some markets and buy some gifts for back home, but the area we were dropped in was boutiques, office blocks, banks etc. We did not want to venture too far in case we could not find our way back to the bus stop. The guys all thoroughly enjoyed their tour and it was a dream come true for my younger son to visit the stadium and he came back armed with a new Soccerball and some new soccer boots, which he locked in the safe when back on the ship. We were very sad that this was our last day on the ship, but it was time to start packing up as our suitcases had to be outside the cabin door by 3am. We enjoyed our last dinner on the ship, with the waiters come through the restarant with blazing Baked Alaskas. Lovely! We went and enjoyed our last show. We had enjoyed all the shows, but especially our first three nights when we'd had a variety show the first night, Willer Nicolodi the one man show the second night and the third night was also a variety show. Thereafter, the shows were mainly dancing, which really didn't appeal to the children, especially the boys. The standard of the dancing was very good though. On our last morning, we had to be up early, as we needed to be out of our cabins by 7 am. We had our last lovely breakfast and then received such warm farewells from our waiters. Our daughters got big hugs from them both, which made her so happy. They had been her only friends on the ship, so she was very sad to say goodbye to them. All in all, we had a great cruise on the Splendida, but would definately not recommend it to families with young non Italian speaking children and teenagers, unless you travel with friends. it can be a very boring time for children, if they have no one to play with and if they have to be dragged along on long boring tours. We ended our trip back at the Radisson Blu for one more night, before heading back home. We were able to repack bags and sort our selves out, do last minute shopping. We had a lovely dinner at the hotel that night and wished we had tried it before, as the meal was really delicious. Had lunch the next day just along the main street at Papa Pizzeria, which was very good and got a great Bambino deal for 6euro. This iclude a Pizza or a couple of other choices of meal; a juice which turned out to be a huge cocktail looking juice which they were thrilled with. They then got a generous portion of ice cream and wafer and then a little gift box with a toy inside. Definately worthwhile! Then it was time for home!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click