This is my first experience with MSC. Previously I have sailed on Princess and one cruise on Cunard and this is obviously different then MSC. Will try not to compare these with this one. but that is very hard not to say, “They did this ... Read More
This is my first experience with MSC. Previously I have sailed on Princess and one cruise on Cunard and this is obviously different then MSC. Will try not to compare these with this one. but that is very hard not to say, “They did this on…”
We chose this cruise be cause the itinerary and the time frame, being on board Christmas and New Years. But the time was a big problem because it was filled kids. That is not the issue,, their parents were the worse. The rudeness, the running around of the kids, in front of waiters, or other passengers, and the parents' saying "They are just kids," Seriously?
After reading all the stories of the New MSC Terminal in Miami, we were excited that we would be using the newer building, assuming we would be next to the Seaside. Our boarding passes listed that we would be boarding in either “F” or “G”. Found out by an Facebook MSC community member that we were in Terminal “B”, Seaside in “F”, but no other notice where we would be in. Communication was a problem with MSC from the beginning, more about that later. Now for the good and bad experience. Out of the cab, the porters took our bags and more interested then hinting about tips then putting the bags on a cart. All the bags sat on the curbside and it seemed a while before they moved carts in to move them to the ship. Noticed that because we sat in the sun for more then an hour watching them not moving. MSC did a very poor job of planning this part of the process, no signage appeared and very few crew members and staff were available to direct us or answer any questions. We saw one small sign that stated our boarding was a tad delayed by delays of disembarkation earlier. There were a couple of crew members offering small cups of water or juice, the large trash cans of overflowing and no one from the cruise ship or the cruise port came to dispose of the trash. All very bad signs when we arrived to board the ship. Once we got inside the air-conditioned building the process went faster and the staff people were greeting us with smiles and with good attitudes. They gave us our cabin cards, information how to activate our onboard payment methods, a weird way to do that bt that worked out fine, info about purchasing the internet but no map of the ship, or directions and options for lunch. We were told our cabin would not be ready for a while, but did not tell us when they would be available but that was not an issue.
Surprised and very disappointed. We were in the second sitting, upstairs at the Black Crab. I guess you like to use the “MDR” slang. Our servers Alex and Livan (I think) were great. We had a table of six, two other couples perfect so it was not to large to have a nice conversation. We have in the past chosen Anytime Dining, just in case… We started off bumpy with our servers when we all asked for ice and they looked at us like we were nuts. The same response when we asked for cocktail sauce for shrimp. The ice was resolved, after three nights, when bucket of ice. That made us all happy. As for the Cocktail Sauce for the shrimp, they brought ketchup and put something in it to perk it up, not sure what t was but it did not hurt us. The first impression of dining is the preparation, the presentation, how served and of course the taste. Many of the menus, especially for breakfast and lunch, were torn, sometimes stained, and not very attractive. The breakfast menu with the morning specials, were the same just about every day, nothing there special. The table cloths looked worn, threads on the bottoms and a few had existing stains. This was embarrassing. As for the presentation, serving and taste, this was the most surprising and disappointing aspects of our dining experience. 60% of the food was served just barely warm. At breakfast, the toast, English muffins etc. were all cold, not even warm. The omelet was the best thing for breakfast and was a little hotter than the rest of offerings. The choices of toast were white or brown, not very exciting or appetizing. with those choices. The presentation at meals was astonishing, at the breakfast the serving of the jelly and ja were the small packets seen in diners and again not very attractive. (Photo attached as well as a photo of the saddest thing ever served on a cruise ship) ...
The Buffet. Usually not our favorite place, unless we a have an early excursion or returned after lunch. It was clean, the servers were very nice, and worked incredibly hard. Not our favorite place because the masses are nuts, the people are rude, just wandering around, moving in and out of lines, eating as they get their food and moving to their tables. The presentation looked like a buffet, that is not bad, moving lots of food in and out and keeping it hot is quite the task. The salad bar was always clean and constantly refreshed. The best part in this buffet was the pizza, usually four different pies to choose from. Hygiene at the buffet is the most troubling aspect. Just about everyone does not use the sanitizer, or Purell when they enter the buffet and the other restaurants. They should have the dispensers on both sides of the doors even having a staff member and better signs encouraging people to use these. Many in the buffet will refill their coffee mugs and glasses then getting a new glass.
I did not notice any of these activities, I could have missed this especially if it was placed in the “Program”. Unless they consider Bingo, Trivia, Quest, Scavenger Hunts and Karaoke enrichment activities.
Entertainment tastes are very subjective, so my comments are my personal observation, although I did have many people saying the same thing.
I had heard before that MSC entertainment was of the best on the cruises, so my disappointment was also very surprising, they advertise there is a different show each night, and the first night was great, but the rest of the shows looked the same, predictable. The “cast” of the show, included three vocalists, two sounded more like tenors then singers, but they were all great, a Soprano and Opera Tenor, she not so great, two Russian Acrobats, a group of three guys also doing some acrobatics stuff, a ballroom dancer couple, a Russian woman doing more acrobatic stuff on a chain curtain ring, and an amazing Salsa couple who were fantastic. And the Divina Dancers. The singers were great and do the actual singing, they do not use a live band, not real music on stage, they use prerecorded tracks with much performed lip synced. The cast walks on and off stage like walking with Pop and Circumstances, very unnatural. The variety acts all were great and very talented, but they looked the same on every show they appeared, although the Salas couple was amazing on the two or three shows they appeared.
The stage and lighting are very boring. The stage has four sets of stair cases they move around, and put some props around them, and yes boring. Found out later our ship tour, that the revolving stage was broken and have not been used for a while. The dancers were great, but most of the time in darkness, td by the stage manager that they were too be in the background and not featured although you can light them a little more exciting. And note to the production company and directors, let the dancers sing. They only sang in one piece at the end of the show, they are very talented, not just dancers.
Fitness & Recreation
We did use the fitness center and the Aurea spa. The fitness center was great, the equipment was new each with access to satellite tv, and the spa treatments gave us access to the Thermal are, they could have some more lounger chairs, and the locker rooms could be refreshed more often, towels, mopped floor etc. But that was a great experience. Spa pet peeve on all the ships, the hard sell of the products. I know they are instructed with the hard sell, but not interested in $197.00 of face cream. They never take no.
The ship is beautiful but some weird design and some space limitations. The photographer people are set up in the middle of high traffic areas, and not situated in places that makes passengers move around. they use ordinary backgrounds on these photos and their display of photos are stuffed into bins and very hard to find. They miss a big opportunity for sales by not taking photos when we get off the ship at the excursions ports. I like getting a set of photos from all the ports. Photo of the ship, the date and port and photo very saleable. If they did this that was not obvious. They have these entertainment crew acting silly, but could be in photos with this or costumes maybe.
The excursions we picked were great. Some confusion and inorganization did happen in Ocho Rios, took us more than 90 minutes to get off the ship, sit in the sun and get on to the bus which was a 3-minute drive. The port there was too small and not very attractive.
Service on board was very inconsistent. Our steward and dinner servers were great. We did have a few servers for breakfast and lunch were not very pleasant. Made them feel like they were doing us a favor. Of course, serving barely warm food may add to their attitudes. While many of the people at the front desk are very personable and carry with smiles they are not trained to answer the easiest questions. Having to ask others for responses and getting different answers very frustrating. They do have great patience working with different languages and cultures. Maybe a quide book at each service station that they could refer too under the counter? Maybe copies of the “Program” at the desk would help? No one should have to go get this from the different desk only to find out the three people at this desk have three different answers. As for the “Program”, again another hard to do, with different languages, I give them lots of credit for that, but the fonts are hard to read, and seems to change. Information on page three is different than page five, there are lots of spelling mistakes. Again, the first impressions, we have become nick naming this as the “MSC Misinformation” or “MSC Misprint”. Again, the first impression on the ground before we even got on board was very negative. Customer service was inconsistent and mostly badly trained and had some sounded like they were just there and not providing customer service. As for the website, that was an embarrassment. I will not go into the problems, and hassles I had to get information or confirmations. The one person at the website support phone call was the only honest person when she said, “Our website is not very good”. Read Less