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129 MSC Cruises Marseille Cruise Reviews

msc Fantasia is a beautiful ship ,very classy and modern, my cabin was an inside but well cleaned ,and the staff was vey kind we had a wonderful vacation I also did many excursions but very rushy I would like to have more times like 2 days ... Read More
msc Fantasia is a beautiful ship ,very classy and modern, my cabin was an inside but well cleaned ,and the staff was vey kind we had a wonderful vacation I also did many excursions but very rushy I would like to have more times like 2 days in at least one main port! The food was good I like the variety of food of the buffet and the tex mex is a good option for having an different dinner in a special place! The cruise I would like to choose a yacht club suite! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I am very impressed with this cruise company. MSC did very well to make our cruise a great and pleasurable experience. The good point: Excellent Food, Excellent Accommodation, Amazing service from all the crew staff. Very friendly and ... Read More
I am very impressed with this cruise company. MSC did very well to make our cruise a great and pleasurable experience. The good point: Excellent Food, Excellent Accommodation, Amazing service from all the crew staff. Very friendly and always making sure we got the best product and service. The punctuality of the actual ship, always sailed at the prescribed time, arriving on time. Allowed us to plan the balance of our trip very well. The excursions we bought were value for money. We saw just enough of each City we choose. I also enjoyed the fact that we were also free to do our own tour and go exploring on our own. The bad points: The reception staff could behave a lot better, they are the first people we meet and they treated us like customers who cant pay. It felt terrible, and this particular lady just started doing her own thing with my Credit Card. I was not impressed and I had to block my card for the balance of the trip. The photos are of good quality but excessively expensive. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
There has been so many negative reports on this cruise line and ship. From boarding to disembarkation all went smoothly and was well enjoyed. We did the Allegresimo Premium package, and wow it was was worth it. Totaling up the ... Read More
There has been so many negative reports on this cruise line and ship. From boarding to disembarkation all went smoothly and was well enjoyed. We did the Allegresimo Premium package, and wow it was was worth it. Totaling up the receipts at the end we had more than doubled what was paid. The food was a bit repetitive but enjoyable and the only problem was the mini bar as only one item of each ie Whiskey, Vodka etc was replaced. No good if both wanted the same. But that was got around with ordering room services which was free on this package, so more work for them. Overall the cabin was great. The house keeper was fantastic and all the staff except the Restaurant managers were all very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
There has been so many negative reports on this cruise line and ship. From boarding to disembarkation all went smoothly and was well enjoyed. We did the Allegresimo Premium package, and wow it was was worth it. Totaling up the ... Read More
There has been so many negative reports on this cruise line and ship. From boarding to disembarkation all went smoothly and was well enjoyed. We did the Allegresimo Premium package, and wow it was was worth it. Totaling up the receipts at the end we had more than doubled what was paid. The food was a bit repetitive but enjoyable and the only problem was the mini bar as only one item of each ie Whiskey, Vodka etc was replaced. No good if both wanted the same. But that was got around with ordering room services which was free on this package, so more work for them. Overall the cabin was great. The house keeper was fantastic and all the staff except the Restaurant managers were all very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was a fantastic cruise which I thoroughly enjoyed. Our cabin (balcony suite) was really good. Food was excellent. My biggest disappointment was with the staff. Except for Rafael at reception, all the other receptionists were poorly ... Read More
This was a fantastic cruise which I thoroughly enjoyed. Our cabin (balcony suite) was really good. Food was excellent. My biggest disappointment was with the staff. Except for Rafael at reception, all the other receptionists were poorly trained and could not assist us with most of our queries. Casino staff were rude. Our waitor for our evenings was a Honduran named Carlos who exceeded all our excpectations and provided excellent service in a highly professional manner, a real asset to MSC. On our last day we decided to do the Marseille excursion. At the excursion desk, we asked if it would be possible to do the excursion even though we were going to disembark. We were told that there would be a problem with our luggage as it could not stay on board. I told them we would take our luggage with us on the excursion which they said would be ok. The following morning, we asked for assistance to take our luggage (4 pieces) from our cabin to the bus. The manageress of the excursions started complaining that we would have to take the luggage to the bus. She eventually sent someone to collect our luggage but when we got to the bus, she passed a very nasty comment that it was our duty to take the luggage. I have only one thing to say about this: POOR SERVICE!!! Overall, I would do this cruise again, although I am not so sure that I will be using MSC again due to poor staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Is Yacht Club worth the extra money? I would have to say YES. It cost us about $1000 per person above the cost of a normal balcony suite. We arrived early for embarkation and were met by a butler who took us straight up to our room. It ... Read More
Is Yacht Club worth the extra money? I would have to say YES. It cost us about $1000 per person above the cost of a normal balcony suite. We arrived early for embarkation and were met by a butler who took us straight up to our room. It was a bit larger than a normal balcony suite with plenty or storage room. Very well appointed and the bathroom had a bath which was nice. We chose a cabin on the port side as we got better views when we were passing land from that side. Yacht Club entitled us to the free mini bar, room service, daily newspaper, priority embarkation at ports, use of the Top Sail bar, our own pool, bar and spa on the top deck and dining in the L'Olivio restaurant. The service in all of these was impeccable and the food in L'Olivio was outstanding. I saw some people paying for premium wines but there was nothing wrong with the free wines they served. Without exception all the Yacht Club staff were amazing, polite and went out of their way to help with any problem. I can't speak highly enough of them. I don't know what the service was like in the rest of the ship so can't comment on that. The ship is huge but didn't seem too crowded. It was spotless and there were always staff cleaning inside and outside every day. The passengers were mostly European so we didn't get chatting to many of them. Also with people embarking and disembarking at every port there were always new faces on board. It's not the type of cruise where you can get too friendly with people. Be prepared for no lift etiquette - they push onto every lift without allowing people to get out first. All the shows except one were fantastic (one was opera which wasn't our taste). We didn't really frequent the other bars on the ship as we would have had to pay for alcohol there, whereas in the Top Sail bar most of it was free. They had a pretty good selection of wines, cocktails, beers etc all free. The Top Sail bar has a great view as it is right at the top and front of the ship. The only downside was that it was the only bar where we could drink for free and you can't take your drinks out of there. There's also no entertainment to speak of. We did try to go to the gym a couple of times but all the walking machines and bikes were being used. It was disappointing they didn't have more of them. We did shore excursions in Naples (Pompeii which was great) and Tunisia (shopping tour which was okay). At the other ports we just shopped and did our own thing. The shore excursions aren't cheap (ranging from 40 to 80 Euro) and I'm sure if you researched you could organise them yourself and save some money. We just did the ship's tours as they were convenient. A small criticism was that there wasn't much information provided about the ports, and no port talks beforehand. In short, if you want a relatively quiet, peaceful time, aren't a party animal and are prepared to pay extra for luxury, good food and privileges then the Yacht Club is definitely worth it.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We live near the departure port of Marseille and booked this cruise as a last minute on a whim - we were actually planning on going for a weekend in Nice. As a result, we paid next to nothing for a balcony cabin and had probably the ... Read More
We live near the departure port of Marseille and booked this cruise as a last minute on a whim - we were actually planning on going for a weekend in Nice. As a result, we paid next to nothing for a balcony cabin and had probably the easiest transit to and from the ship off all passengers on board. We've previously cruised and visited most of the stops in the past; so we knew what to expect. Check-in was fast and efficient; the cabin very nice. It's the first time we had a balcony on the aft side of the ship, but I'll really consider getting one again in the future. It offered a great view, especially while sailing. It was also remarkably well noise-isolated. Once, my husband locked himself out of the cabin while I remained inside; even though I heard him knock, I couldn't actually hear him ask to be let back in. Even though we booked last minute, we could choose our own cabin and settled for a balcony on the aft side of the ship. It proved to be a great choice, the balcony was large enough, and the view just wonderful. Slight disadvantage was the increased movement at night - november can be rough on the Mediterranean - which is felt more on the front and end of the ship than in the middle.The curtain is in two parts, one that completely obscures light and a finer one, so it could fit all needs whether you prefer to sleep in a darkened room or be woken by the rising sun.The cabin itself was rather large, with a comfortable bed, the sitting area was larger than in other ships we cruised with. Downside was the blanket rather than fitted sheets on the bed. There's more than enough storage in the cupboards and space under the bed to get the empty luggage out of the way. Safe is easy to use and standard size.The bathroom was as it should be, and the shower perfect; the water was as hot as we wanted and didn't change in temperature wile showering. There was more than enough storage space. While the hair dryer wasn't as good as the one at home, it was certainly sufficient - so don't bother dragging your own across the planet. Also: it's stored in the living room, which makes getting ready for dinner so much more efficient. Our towels are changed twice a day. MSC apparently provides only one roll of toilet paper at a time; as a result, we ran out of it 3 times during our cruise. It wasn't too bad though, since there ware also the normal tissues to use in case of emergency, the cabin was cleaned/restocked twice a day and there was always someone of housekeeping around in the corridor to provide us with an extra roll if needed.The cabin was clean when we arrived and stayed that way during the cruise; house keeping did a fine job and were very friendly and polite - they also addressed us in our own language even though they were more comfortable using English. The shows were of much greater quality than we hoped for. Especially Antonio Versini and his living shadows. Staff was friendly and correct, without the 'pushiness' we experienced on more USA-oriented ships. The Mediterranean can be quite rough in November, so the ship moved a lot, especially during the day at sea. Because of our cabins location, this was worse at night. If you're sensitive to this, make sure you get some medication. Food Food was less in quality than on other cruise lines; but - especially considering what we paid - was satisfying. Note that of the 5 advertised restaurants, there are in reality only 2. The two main restaurants (Vida Verde and La Reggia) serve the same menu, whether you go to one or the other depends entirely on your cabin number). L'Olive, the upscale dining is only accessible for prime members (as is a swimming pool at the front of the ship). The Tex Mex restaurant is not included. Unless you really like this kind of food, go and get an authentic pizza in a cute restaurant in Rome - you'll spend as much and get a lot more authenticity for your money). The last restaurant is the buffet Pago Pago; which is open 20/24h. At times, it can get very busy, resulting in cold food by the time you find a place to sit, or eating in shifts if you leave one person behind to secure a table in advance. Protip: whenever possible; go to your main dining restaurant; they serve breakfast at the table, as well as a good lunch and dinner. The ports are nice and there's enough variation. Though if I had the choice, I'd rather board in Rome and add a few days in a hotel in that city, since 5 hours really isn't enough to visit the Eternal City. Overall, the cruise was a very pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We started our cruise in Marseille and stayed the first night at Mercure Marseille Centre-a very nice hotel. Embarcation was fast, as most people boarded in Genoa or Barcelona. Our cabin was nice-small, of course, but with the balcony ... Read More
We started our cruise in Marseille and stayed the first night at Mercure Marseille Centre-a very nice hotel. Embarcation was fast, as most people boarded in Genoa or Barcelona. Our cabin was nice-small, of course, but with the balcony and mirrors it seemed bigger. We chose this cruise because of the wonderful ports. We first arrived in Barcelona and only had 5 hours there, which was enough for us because we'd already spent several days there. It would be too short for someone who's never been there. Then we had a sea day getting to Casablanca. Since there are so many languages spoken on board, the number of activities is limited. We took a lot of dance lessons given in 4 or 5 different langauges. The shows were quite good, although by the end they repeated the same performers and some of the same acts. Our next port was an entire day in Casablanca. Because we didn't want to be on our own in Morocco, we took the full-day ship's tour to Casablanca and Rabat. We very much liked the Hussein II Mosque in Casablanca. We took a long time getting to Rabat and found it interesting, but maybe not worth the bus trip. Our next port was Cadiz. We took the Seville on your own tour, which was just a bus to Seville. We only had 3 hours in Seville and spent 2 at the Real Alcazar, which was stupendous. We didn't have time to see the cathedral. We talked to people who took the guided tour to Seville, and we actually saw more than they did becuase they took 45 min. to eat. We walked through the Jewish Quarter, and they didn't see it at all. Seville is gorgeous, and we really want to return.We were much too rushed. The bus got us back to Cadiz and hour before we needed to be on the ship, so we walked around the ramparts of the city. Our next port was Lisbon, where we took a 6 person tour with We Hate Tourism Tours. We had a rainy cold day, but we thouroughly enjoyed this tour of Sintra and Belen. At 60 Euros a person, it was cheaper and better than the ship's tour. They fed us pastries in the morning and afternoon, and we had a picnic out of the back of the van with wine and pastries with meat inside. It was raining, so we ate inside the van, but we didn't waste our valuable time on a long meal. I can highly recommend this tour, called Pirates of the Cruise Ships. Finally, we had 2 days at sea and were able to relax. We had one day of decent weather when we could enjoy our balcony. Our last port was Genoa, which we did on our own. We took the Hop On Hop Off bus to see the entire city. It leaves right from where the ship docks. Then we went to a couple of palaces on Via Garibaldi-lovely, and then the Royal Palace, which was very impressive and reminded us of Versailles. We disembarked in Marseille and took a taxi to our hotel, Escale Oceania, which is right on the Vieux Port. We were also very happy with this hotel. We stayed in Marseille for 3 days. The day we arrived we took a public bus to Casis, a lovely fishing village 25 minutes from Marseille. The next two days we took tours with Provence Connection. We ended up being the only ones on both tours. It was wonderful. On the first day we took their Tour 1 to Arles, Pont du Gard, Avignon, and Les Baux. That was out best tour of the entire cruise. The next day we took their Tour 4 to Le Louberon. We went to 5 little villages in the mountains. Our favorites were Rousillon and La Fountaine de Vaucluse. I can highly recommend Provence Connection. They picked us up at our hotel and went out of their way to personalize the tours to our interest. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I have always wanted to go cruising, and this was my first time. Overall, it was lovely experience. My only issue were the 15% service charge, and the 7 euros a day per person tip/gratuity. On our arrival on the ship (MSC Lirica) we ... Read More
I have always wanted to go cruising, and this was my first time. Overall, it was lovely experience. My only issue were the 15% service charge, and the 7 euros a day per person tip/gratuity. On our arrival on the ship (MSC Lirica) we headed straight for the Reception, as we were advised by our tour operator that we could query the the tip with the Guest Relation Manager (GRM). We had an appointment 2 days later to see her, and during this time we made a note of the things we were unhappy with. On one occassion, a waitress hadn't asked for our drinks voucher, and refused to void the transaction when we showed them to her, until we asked to see the manager. On the first day, our dinner was cold, and on another a waiter left 2 of our party waiting over 15 minutes to take a drinks order. Generally, we wouldn't have made an issue of this things, but as we had little option in paying the tip, we made sure we scrutinised every aspect of our trip. The GRM listened to our concerns, and in the end the tip charge was halved. I think it's worth buying the vouchers for drinks, as you do make a small saving having only to pay 15% on the whole vouchers, rather than 15% per drink. The food was lovely, nothing spectacular, but as I've put on over half-a-stone, it wasn't all bad! The majority of the staff were pleasant, especially the Housekeepers, who were always ready with a "Good Morning/evening, how was your day, and have a lovely evening" whenever we saw them in the corridors. Most of the staff were very pleasant, and were attentive in clearing tables, and general maintenance of the boat. The entertainment wasn't to my taste, and even though a lot of it was translated into 4 languages, I still wouldn't have enjoyed it, even it were totally in English!! The showers are TINY, and I spent most of my time fighting with the shower curtain! If you do nothing else, please get vouchers for the cocktails. It was nice to relax with a post-dinner cocktail. Please note that 1st sitting for dinner is at 7/7.30pm, and 2nd sitting is 9.30pm/9.45pm. We made the mistake of thinking that dinner sittings would be earlier, and having opted for 2nd sitting, we didn't finish eating until well after 10.30pm. Dinners are usually 5 courses, and we had 2 Gala nights where formal dress was suggested. I would also recommend taking the excursion to Rome offered by MSC. We did out own thing when ashore, but it was a rush getting around Rome in the 3 hours we had allocated, also be aware of the haggling taxi drivers in Tunis! All in all, I very much enjoyed my first ever cruise trip, and I would definitely do it again :-) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
MSC Fantasia Western Med. week cruise review. Relax and enjoy this wonderful cruise . After reading so many negatives we were a bit nervous about our choice of MSC since we are first time , American English speaking only, cruisers in our ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Western Med. week cruise review. Relax and enjoy this wonderful cruise . After reading so many negatives we were a bit nervous about our choice of MSC since we are first time , American English speaking only, cruisers in our mid sixties. We had a great time. The ship is lovely, the rooms are excellent, large, immaculate, as is the entire ship. The food was abundant, varied, and something for everyone. If you have a special request, such as blue cheese for your cheese platter , it is taken care of quickly and amiably. The crew the room stewards, the waiters, towel guys, deck hands, maitre d, reception , etc. were all very polite, well groomed, and eager to help. When language was a barrier , ( happened very seldom) they were most patient muddling through until we all were clear on the question and the answer. The nightly entertainment in the wonderful theater varied each evening and lasted about 45 minutes , we went to all but one. Go, do not expect Broadway Stars, but very talented , multi cultural , enthusiastic performers. Each presentation was a delight to the eye, extravagant costumes, brilliant lighting, and great musical numbers. All can be enjoyed by any language or age. We changed our dinner seating after two nights , we were assigned a table with French speaking only couples. They were very nice, but we felt sort of awkward doing charades etc. People change every evening for a variety of reasons, often as we did , they meet people they want to eat with . The procedure is easy, just go to the dining room you are assigned between four and six. Speak to the maitre d and they will switch you . We found, that a smile or a laugh , and common courtesy is the best way to get anything , just as anywhere else in the world. We did not encounter any rude Italians, French, stodgy, whiny British, that have been alluded to in other reviews . Everyone was friendly, and in a vacation mood. I wonder, after reading so many negatives reviews , if these people are unpleasant when seeking help etc. , then are met with the same attitude . Just a thought. Coming on board was easy in Marseille, a que of about twenty minutes , baggage checked , and off we went. Our luggage was at our door by the time we had walked around the public spaces . ( There is an orientation meeting held in your native language and you are met by a liaison who speaks your language , but we were not aware of that . It is listed in the daily paper that you will find in your room when you arrive. We just didn't read it right away. So check that as soon as you get to your room . Would have saved us some confusion . ) Disembarkation was easy, there is a meeting the night before ( also listed in your daily paper) and you also get papers on what to do with passports etc. It was fairly simple, only thing I would say is you do not need to be in the lounge at 8 am, but you do need to pick up you passport at reception AFTER 8 am. We didn't leave until around 9:45. We hurried to get there, didn't have time for breakfast , and sat until 9:45. A hint : The ship sells good walking tour maps of each town at Reception for .50. Well worth it so you can plan ahead. You can get free ones in town or of course use the internet. We basically did our own thing in each port except Naples and Barcelona. Naples we did the Pompeii tour, it was good, but would suggest you do the Museum in town instead since most of the artifacts from Pompeii are housed there. Barcelona: we caught a BLUE bus to town, meets at the terminal, 3 Euros round trip compared to the MSC shuttle at 6 euros. Then caught the Hop on and Off bus right at the drop off spot. There are people at the terminal with information and pamphlets, just ask. This was a more reasonably priced way to go than a tour. Some places we loved . Marseille: The Old Port. You need to take a taxi or walk out of the terminal ( about a mile and a half ) to the bus stop at the entrance the terminal or take a Hop on and Off bus which was there at the dock, too far from town to walk . ( We flew out of Marseille the taxi was about 18 Euros. ) Genoa: the port and the back streets. We just walked to town, you can walk to the Aquarium too. There are inexpensive harbor tours , like 10 euros. Palermo: we walked to town , head for the old town and the main shopping streets. We found an old market street that was absolutely glorious in colors and foods along with some old, incredibly beautiful 1600s churches tucked in among the food vendors. Tunis , get a cab right at the dock for about 40 euros for about three hours , the driver will wait for you when you want to get out and walk, shop or eat etc. and tell you about the area . Palma, again we walked to town. The harbor is vibrant, some fun seafood spots, the Cathedral is at the far end of the harbor, a couple of miles. Worth the leisurely walk .The grounds are interesting as are the back streets . Wonderful little shops tucked in the side streets with pastries, and other goodies. Barcelona: ( done on Hop on and Off ) the HUGE food market was immaculate in the old town area, a good place to have paella for lunch. The Olympic Games grounds offers a good view of the city. We were impressed at how clean the city is. We ran out of time, but the tram to the fort was hit with others in our dinner group. The itinerary of cities was excellent. A couple of suggestions. Take some wire hangars and a few clothes pins for use on the clothes line in the shower, ask for a room on the left side of the boat since that is the side that faces the coastline. We took two insulated/covered coffee mugs and instant ice tea and lemonade . Used the ship water and had ice delivered every day ( no charge). The ship's water is fine to drink. We chose the soft drink package for 29 euros. You need to buy the drink, ice cream packages at check in and they don't push it. If you don't you pay more later. Same with tours. If you want to go on an excursion you need to book them within the first day or so to save 5%. They do their darndest to book you on a tour in your language, but sometimes it may be two languages. Big Deal. You are in Europe where many languages are spoken. We thought it was fun hearing all the languages and trying to communicate. Meals: The waiters bend over backwards to make you happy. Get to know them. We had breakfast and lunch ( when on board) in the dining rooms. The Zanzabar Cafeteria on deck 14 is a bit of a mad house. But, the view is wonderful. There are hundreds of choices and a super place for kids with huge appetites. All you can eat.) The dining rooms have a more limited menu , but much quieter and civilized. Breakfast and lunch in there are casual attire, but no short shorts , swim wear etc. Some reviews complain about not having twenty four hour food etc. Well breakfast starts in the cafeteria at 6:30 am and is open until 10. The lunch opens at 12 and closes at 4. Tea is at 4 to 5 at the Zanzabar , first dinner starts at 6:45 , there is a midnight buffet . So there is ample time to eat. PLUS you can buy gelato, pastries, etc. through the day. No one starves. Actually some passengers seemed downright gluttonous.( A reason we chose to skip the cafeteria.) Dress: Again posted in the daily news letter what the dress of the evening is. Sadly, there were some who chose to ignore the dress code and came across as crass . Tuxedos are too formal , but a dark jacket, slacks, shirt and tie for the men works for Formal and Informal evenings. The Causal night is shirt with no tie and jacket. Ladies usually wore cocktail dresses, but basically a snazzy black, wrinkle free dress with a couple of dressy jackets or wraps and you are set. I took one dress and a pair of dressy pants and interchangeable tops. I did see a few people turned away from dinner because of their extremely casual attire. ( flip flops and bermuda shorts ). I felt people were allowed to flaunt the dress code because the crew were too polite to embarrass them. On Deck: We spent quite a bit of time on deck when it was hot. Upper deck in the BACK is the ZEN area , no children allowed. There are deck chairs all over the ship, no need to worry about getting one. The pools were a bit chilly for us, they are emptied each night and didn't seem to warm up much. On deck 15 and 16 there are areas with hot tubs, we were often the only ones there. The main pool areas were busy with families , games, dance classes, and a GIANT screen showing a variety of things going on . The exercise area is in the front of the ship , you have to go through the spa. A wonderful panoramic view, lots of exercise equipment . The Room:Shampoo and soap are included, some reviews have said they aren't. Plug ins are various types , I took a dual curling iron. Blow dryer is in the drawer. Towels are changed almost every time you step out of the room by the wonderful room elves. Pool towels are provided by the pools and hot tubs. Beds are turned down each night , and the steward ( Patricia) made us feel spoiled. We would recommend this line , the price was about $3500 less than friends who are going on a similar cruise on another line with a balcony room. That's another two trips! There were few children , but this time of year that was to be expected. We were in minority as Americans, but we weren't going on the trip to be with Americans. The service was excellent, we were comfortable, the ship is huge and lovely, and we didn't feel like we were being hustled at all. We spent a total of 129 Euros on board for a tour and pop. Plus our tipping fee at the end. So we felt we certainly got our money's worth and had no surprise charges. Bon Voyage ,,, Arrivederci... Ciao... Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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
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