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Sail Date: August 2019
We picked this cruise because the price is reasonable/cheaper than Carnival. 1. The embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly. 2. Ship is new and clean 3. Cabin is small just like any cruise ship cabin. The shower area seems ... Read More
We picked this cruise because the price is reasonable/cheaper than Carnival. 1. The embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly. 2. Ship is new and clean 3. Cabin is small just like any cruise ship cabin. The shower area seems small. 4. Breakfast/ lunch is good. Formal dining at night is good (way better than Chili’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s . Comparable to Red Lobster but fewer selection. 5. Entertainment is great. Quality of shows is excellent. 5 stars to Steve Young (director of entertainment). All of the family shows are great, Peter Punk, Butterfly, Michael Jackson. But all adults shows perform by a group of 4 person is just ok. Would like to have few standup comedians shows. 6. Service is good. 7. Port and shore excursions have good timing. Except Saint Martin 7am to 2pm. We would like to go again. MSC going to have new ships in 2022, definitely looking forward to this one Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon ... Read More
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon afterwards. Took ages to find cabin though. Unpacked, spent the afternoon exploring and missed dinner so we ate in the buffet. It was OK, heaving, and found a nice chicken curry. Went there for breakfast every day but wouldn't eat main meals there. We were booked into the C.D'Oro, and shared with 2 very nice couples, one couple were Gold card members. The other couple had only cruised once before, so nice not to have to talk about cruising all the time. The food was superb, and all cooked to perfection, and our drinks package included a nice bottle (not glass!!) of wine every night, and water. Pool a bit small and because of the time we travelled, full of children but heyho. We always got a sunbed, lazed about, enjoyed the ship, and took no excursions at all. It was too hot to trawl around dusty cities plus we had visited some on previous land-holidays. The full day at sea was manic and the pool entertainment really juvenile - but at least the shops were open. They are not allowed to open in ports. However, said shops were very disappointing. Mainly over-priced but out of date designer gear. Nowhere to buy say, a tube of toothpaste if you forgot to pack it!! so much for shops where you could get all your holiday essentials. also the shops at sea when open had constant sales, outside, on tables, making everything very cheap and nasty. If you smoke and run out of fags, you can only buy them, one pack per card, behind a bar and ONLY when at sea. The spa, well, my fault. I booked a Bali massage, it was an offer haha, same offered every day, but was lied to as the very miserable chap said the offer was just for the day I'd booked it. Anyway, it was nice, so agreed to pay another 15€ for a facial. Then I was "sold" a jar of face cream (sucker me). 90€ and back in the cabin I opened the 6 inch square box to find a 3 inch square jar of cream, inside which was a hole for about 2 teaspoons!! My fault....haven't used it yet, probably come out in a rash!! The 2 men at the spa reception were without doubt, the most miserable condescending people I have ever encountered. Need sacking. We didn't bother going to a show, went to the Casino one night for fun, but got into a nice routine of pre and after dinner drinks in the Cigar Lounge (as we smoke)...then up to the buffett to fill up the flask I had taken, with boiling hot water. This stayed hot enough to make a cuppa every morning. I also managed to get a half litre of milk on board bought in Palma...and, my travel hairdryer. Huge relief!! We normally like a good quality hotel, with pool maybe beach, as our idea is to relax on holiday, and do cities as short breaks. Well we did manage to do that every day mostly, and loved sitting on our balcony while we were at sea. The boat was SO smooth, and always on-time. I would have liked to get off at Marseilles but that was the hottest day, so glad we didn't. The Gold card members had done every excursion, but always on their own, which they recommended rather than pay the high prices and be herded around like cattle. Or miss the boat as someone did in Livorno!! Since we booked the trip, which was a long time ago, we did read a lot of reviews. Every one to their own but some are quite misleading, and some quite wrong! Think it's best next time we do a cruise, not to read anything, and just make the most of it. We wouldn't do it again in the high season though. We knew there would be a lot of children, but there were also a lot of groups of student ages teenagers, mostly Italians. We did like that though....not too many Brits....made it all a bit more continental. All in all, a very enjoyable holiday, as I said we will cruise again, liked MSC, thought the organisation was great considering we booked independently and through the Spanish site. Oh....one thing, had several photos taken but could only find one taken on the Gala night whilst in the photo shop. Talk about photo-shopped, cost 40€ for one large and one small copy! Wifi worked not too bad on laptop but the smartphone wasn't brilliant considering we paid for the wifi package. Apart from that and the drinks package (well worth it) we also paid up front for service, so no need to tip anyone. Customer service desk always busy bout plenty of staff, we used to get our account updated and everything was always correct. We also found that the whole ship had more than enough staff, always helpful, except those 2 in the Aurora spa!! On our first night we had to go to the theatre for the drill with our lifejackets. Took about half an hour, glad we didn't need them as I couldn't get mine on! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you ... Read More
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you don’t stop there quite often. 4) Crowd of all ages, very sophisticated people to be around and make acquittances. 5) Easy registration at Marseille terminal. 6) Cirque du Soleil with the dinner, excellent! Magnifique! CONS: 1) Food very average, think Carnival. 2) Not very personalized approach, never heard the captain, never saw him, no chocolate on your pillow, even your excursion tickets weren’t delivered to the room. 3) Very crowded, and full of kids, a lot more than anticipated. No reserved adult pool, or reserved exterior smoking area. Very crowded buffet. 4) Cabin Stewart, very nice, but working alone. No ice in ice bucket, mini bar not automatically refilled, unless you requested it. No bathrobe. 5) NOISY, Many kids, many door slamming, no butlers around, no discipline. 6) Overall expansive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
My husband and I decided to book a very spontaneous trip on MSC Magnifica four days before the ship was to set sail through Expedia. We were coming from Boston, USA and took a non-stop flight to Rome, then a smaller flight to Bari, Italy ... Read More
My husband and I decided to book a very spontaneous trip on MSC Magnifica four days before the ship was to set sail through Expedia. We were coming from Boston, USA and took a non-stop flight to Rome, then a smaller flight to Bari, Italy where we embarked. We read some of the negative reviews (mostly about smoking on the ship and staff being rude) but decided to risk the trip anyway. We are so happy we did!! We found most of the criticisms of MSC and the crew to be completely inaccurate. From the moment we boarded, the staff, crew and bartenders were fantastic and very responsive to any of our needs. We did not have to wait very long for drinks, everyone was friendly to us and the ship was gorgeous. The cabin was ready when we arrived with our bags already in the room. The cabin was nicely furnished, very clean, comfortable bed and a beautiful room with a balcony. The dining in the main dining room at night wasn't my favorite. The food was good but nothing blew me away with flavor. If you are what we call in the states "a foodie", this is probably not the cruise for you. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good, however. Very nice salad bar, hamburgers, french fries, pasta, homemade pizzas, rice, Thai dishes and lots of other choices. We went on the cruise for the Ports of calls and a spontaneous adventure. The dining portion and food were a low priority for us. The Activities on the crew were fun, we danced, had drinks at the cool bars, sat in the sun, and attended many of the Broadway-style shows. They were cute shows with skilled dancers and singers and a nice way to end the night. The thing we loved the most was the amazing ports of call. Every Greek island and/or city (Venice, Montenegro, Bari) was outstanding. Too much to write but a trip of a lifetime. Everything and more that we had hoped for. I highly recommend this cruise. The only small difficulties were lots of Europeans do smoke, but only outside. Not many people spoke English so we were a little isolated (but my husband found that to be a positive lol), the initial Embarkment was a 2.5 hour wait to get on board, and lines were a bit confusing in the buffet area for breakfast and lunch. I recommend going to the buffet right when it opens to avoid the frenzy. The only people I found to complain were the Americans who didn't have a lot of travel experience. Their expectations were too high for some of the places they visited off the ship. We understood that traveling to these ancient cities there would be lines and confusion since they are not equipped for the influx of thousands of tourists descending on their infrastructure at one time. Some of the ports of calls would have 5 cruise ships show up at one time letting 4,000 people off per ship. One last thing, I do believe you need to be average to good shape to walk around these ports of call. I am in good shape (45 year old female) and found it to be moderate to above moderate exercise to get around with lots of cobblestone walkways and uneven terrain. I was grateful my 80 year old parents decided not to attend the cruise with us as I don't think they would have had the energy to walk around. Overall I would rate this an excellent trip and would do it again with my family in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Just back from a week on the Bellissima. It was amazing! 9 previous cruises with RC, first time with MSC and think we're converted. Positives: We were mainly converted thanks to the food, RC is very American, and as MSC is ... Read More
Just back from a week on the Bellissima. It was amazing! 9 previous cruises with RC, first time with MSC and think we're converted. Positives: We were mainly converted thanks to the food, RC is very American, and as MSC is Italian it's obvious via the food which was just amazing! Even the buffet was 10/10. The homemade piazzas 24hrs a day are AMAZING, compared to Sorrentos in RC. Yes the portions are smaller than RC in the main dining room but I like that, your're not too full and also means you can try more than one main if you want and not be too full. The entertainment was amazing, no comedians or magician due to so many languages, all musical but they're very good! There are entertainment staff that hang around with the passengers which are brilliant at getting people up dancing and enjoying themselves. We're a young couple and always disappointed in RC that the bars and nightclub don't really stay open past 1am, this cruise the music was going until 4am and always full of people dancing. The ports of call were all amazing, except Marseilles we weren't too impressed with. (Naples, Sicily, Malta, Genoa, Barcelona, Marseilles, day at sea, Naples, not in the correct order). Disembarking was so much better than RC, we didn't get off the ship until 2pm after lunch. Embarking was also so much faster and easier, as unlike RC where everyone gets on and off the same day, there are different people every day so its much faster. Negatives: Too crowded everywhere esp the pools and Jacuzzi, you need to queue for the Jacuzzi. The worst thing was the cirque du soleil (shows were amazing) but that you have to pay. I have never experienced on a cruise where you have to pay for a show, I though this was bad. Options are "Dinner & Show €35" or "Cocktail & Show €15". I said "neither please as I have the drinks package, so just the show please", replied "no problem you're booked in" Then to my surprise we paid for the show unknowingly. I think I should have been told ok well it's still going to be €15 just so you know. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I always wanted to visit Norway and the fjords as I am intrigued by the history of Vikings and of the scenery. This was our first cruise , it was our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband 's 50th birthday .There were a couple of ... Read More
I always wanted to visit Norway and the fjords as I am intrigued by the history of Vikings and of the scenery. This was our first cruise , it was our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband 's 50th birthday .There were a couple of things that bothered us like the wait to get on board the ship on the departure date we got there at 13.00 PM and had to wait 3 hours in the queue , we were tired and hungry and thirsty and that was not the greatest way to start our holiday. Secondly a fault that we found on the ship the only one I would say is that there is no, do it yourself laundrett , a must on a ship that carries 4500 passengers and 1200 crew members.On a 11 day cruise one needs to wash his clothes, I did manually but the rules on the boat say that no clothes are allowed to be hanged in the balcony, so that was a problem and last but not least as we are still suffering from a severe backache, the mattress in our room was very uncomfortable it needs changing, I should have mentioned this to my room attended, but never got round to it. As for the rest everything was great from the food to the service and the crew were excellent starting from our room attendant John Lerry Cuyos, who cleaned and took so good care of us always making sure we had clean towels and sheets and making up our bed even twice a day , so friendly and kind he always started my day with a smile bless him, and than our two favorite waitress Elena Gonzalez Gonzalez and Italjani, and last but not least our personal waiter Maskurin from Indonesia, they were all even others exceptionally kind, good at their job and friendly, I recommend this Holiday and MSC Preziosa but please anyone of the administration that reads this please take note of my request, as I am sure that in future alot of people will comment on this. Thanks again for our fantastic holiday, Anthony and Fiona Borg. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was the worse cruise I have ever been on. The food was horrible. The service is horrible. The housekeeping was mediocre. The only good part was the kids club. My son was treated well and he met so many other children from different ... Read More
This was the worse cruise I have ever been on. The food was horrible. The service is horrible. The housekeeping was mediocre. The only good part was the kids club. My son was treated well and he met so many other children from different countries. The cruise was just like it was not organized. Several people had things stolen out of their luggage and no one was responsible. Customer service was really nasty and demeaning. one couple paid for an excursion and they are not from the US. The customer service told them that they did not pay for it. After a few days after we left that island they found out that they did pay for it and they were not accommodating. They wanted to pay the couple in US dollars and they were from Britain.It was just ridiculous The ship shook like the engine was going out. I could feel the vibration of the engine. It sounded like the carburetor was going out. I will never ever use this cruise line and I am going to tell everyone else not to use it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I recently completed our cruise aboard the MSC Seaside in the Yacht Club Royal Suite. This was not our first cruise with MSC, and we had no reservations about the number of initial complaints that Seaside received on her ... Read More
My wife and I recently completed our cruise aboard the MSC Seaside in the Yacht Club Royal Suite. This was not our first cruise with MSC, and we had no reservations about the number of initial complaints that Seaside received on her first year at sea based on our past experience with MSC Cruises. Overall, this cruise surpassed our previous Divina cruises, and all other Disney Concierge cruises we have taken to date. The YC staff aboard Seaside really out performed all others in this category from the moment we arrived in the Yacht Club embarkation lounge, all the way until our butler personally escorted us off the ship down to customs a week later. YACHT CLUB ENTRY & SECURITY The Yacht Club Welcome / Entry at Terminal F consists of 3 white pop-up tents and a couple of folding tables. Our transport arrived to pick us up at our hotel (DoubleTree Biscayne Bay) at 10:45 a.m, and we arrived at Port Miami, Terminal F about 15 mins later. Three staff members were waiting at the White YC tents outside the terminal where they checked us in, tagged and took our luggage, then escorted us through security and into the YC embarkation lounge. YACHT CLUB RECEPTION Getting through security was easier than your typical trip through airport security – no need to remove our shoes or electronics from our carry-on bags. Our Yacht Club guide waited for us to get through the metal detectors and took us through the main waiting area and directly into the Yacht Club embarkation lounge. We quickly met with a representative who took our boarding tickets and passports, and directed us towards the bar where we collected a welcome drink and some light snacks. About 5 mins later, she called us up to the check-in desk took our photos, and provided us with our cruise cards and wristbands. We sat back down for about 5 more mins to enjoy a variety of pastries, donuts, chocolates, fruit, orange juice and champagne… as much as we wanted. It wasn’t long after that before a shoreside butler came and got us along with three other families for an escort up to the Top Sail Lounge aboard the ship. BOARDING SEASIDE We were guided by a butler on to the ship and to the Yacht Club priority elevator in the forward bank on deck 6 which took us straight to deck 16. Exiting the elevator, we were welcomed through the Yacht Club doors where I got to use my wristband for the first time, and then guided to the Top Sail lounge down an absolutely magical corridor – well it seemed magical on the first day. MSC Cruises really has the embarkation process down to a science. We were on the ship in less than an hour from the time we stepped out of our transport to the terminal. Inside the Top Sail lounge, we were greeted by a waiter who asked us what time we'd like to eat dinner, and if we would be celebrating any special birthdays, etc. We sat down on the comfortable velvet couches and were offered our choice of beverages. I ordered a Sam Adams Boston Lager and a double shot of bourbon. There was also a small “buffet” of fancy snacks, sandwiches, and mini pastries. All for the taking - the vacation had truly begun at that point. About 30 mins later (12:30-ish) our butler escorted us to our Royal Suite for the week and gave us a quick tour of the suite and all the services available to us. He later came back and got us to show us our pool-side cabana reserved for passengers staying in the Royal Suite. That was an amenity that I was aware of, but didn't think I would use very much because I do like to socialize with my fellow passengers during our family cruises, but it was a welcome treat that we enjoyed all week. Back to the suite - it was magnificent with plenty of room for the two of us to spread out, unpack, store the luggage out of sight and truly enjoy the week that was to come. Our three daughters joined us on this cruise, but they were staying in the Yacht Club Deluxe suite next door (suite 16029). The suite included a large deck with a 6-person dining table where we enjoyed breakfast two mornings, and diner one evening. Other than that, it was a nice place to gather with the kids on those mornings as we pulled into ports and enjoy the scenery together. The deck also included a jetted hot-tub, two loungers, and two chairs. Our butler opened the partition between the decks so that our daughters could enjoy the space without having to knock on our door all week. The Top Sail Lounge, as with other MSC ships with Yacht Club enclaves was one of my favorite places on the ship. And even with the tremendous amount of space we enjoyed in our suite, my wife and I still spent a good amount of time in there enjoying drinks, conversation, and the company of our fellow yacht club passengers. The yacht club pool deck was great, and featured a cooktop grill, buffet, and fully stocked bar. It was well used on our cruise by everyone cruising that week. Overall the ship and crew were fantastic and we truly had another great time aboard the MSC Seaside. It has us eagerly anticipating our next MSC cruise aboard the Meraviglia departing on March 15, 2020. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
First time cruise for us. Options were everywhere - but we settled on the MSC Armonia, for..... CUBA!!!!! and well overall cost. Opting for an Oceanview room, and Fantastica level. First off.... One huge turn off for us - MSC TAKE ... Read More
First time cruise for us. Options were everywhere - but we settled on the MSC Armonia, for..... CUBA!!!!! and well overall cost. Opting for an Oceanview room, and Fantastica level. First off.... One huge turn off for us - MSC TAKE NOTE: You don't need to harass your paying customers to purchase the more expensive drink packages ($189 per person to upgrade from Easy Drink - to Premium) Neither myself nor my wife, drink enough to justify the extra expense. Yet every single time I ordered a drink that was off the "Easy" menu, I was hounded by staff to upgrade. BIG Turn-off. Ok other than that one issue, the rest of the cruise was good, there were a few notable "maintenance" items - public restrooms that were out of order, wall panels behind toilets that appeared to have been ripped out of the wall. Oceanview Fantastica - Now we were warned that the overall rooms were smaller than a regular hotel. Understatement - One queen sized bed, had just enough room to squeeze around both sides, and the foot of the bed. I think the term my wife used was "Cozy" but it was comfortable for 2 people. The bathroom, now I read ahead of time that the shower was tiny. Well that is very true - if you turn around inside you will hit the curtain which will stick to you, and of course end up soaking the floor outside the shower area. The toilet was different than we have experience before; when you flush you need to close the lid, and it sounds like a jet engine going off, on occasion, you would have to wait a couple min before it would actually flush. Storage space, we were able to completely unpack 4 large suitcases, and 2 smaller carry-on bags and still had room to spare. NOTE: if you need to charge anything - there are only 2 plugs in the room, both located on the desk, beneath the mirror. The safe, and additional storage is located behind the mirror. Housekeeping staff - These guy's were phenomenal!!!! If I had to guess - they would check on your room at least 4 times a day. Once mid morning - to make your bed, and change out towels. Once mid day to tidy up - Once early evening to drop off the Daily Planner for the next port - Once mid evening to turn down your blankets, and change out any towels. Room Service - Now here is one area that was confusing - We had been told prior to the cruise that "Fantastica" level did not pay the "$8.95" for room service delivery. HOWEVER - aside from the basic continental breakfast - we were charged for the "Delivery" charge, plus gratuities. Now the Continental breakfast was good, fill out the card, and hang it on the door before 2am, and they will deliver to you at the time slot you requested. Mind you - pay attention to the time you request vs time of arriving in port. The "Hot Breakfast" morning - was ok, nothing to write home about..... Waffle, egg's, omelet, bacon, sausage, fruit plate, with coffee, and juice. Certainly more food than we expected, but was still basic. La Pergola - The more elegant of the dining rooms - we did not have the pleasure of eating here. But was informed that it was the same fare as found in Marco Polo. Surf-n-Turf - the newest addition to the ship. $35 per person for dinner. Menu was basically just as it sounds - Steak and seafood options. Once again - we did not have the pleasure of eating here. La Brasserie - Buffet - was acceptable - a typical buffet with less than flavorful food selection - and well generally people were more rude in the buffet than anywhere else on the ship. Staff were doing the best they could muster. Marco Polo - portions were well lacking - food for the most part was quite good - but seriously 2 ravioli's served on a rather large bowl? Staff here were quite good, they were friendly, and remembered everyone's names, and generally what each of us drank regularly from the first night. Pizza / Pasta Bar - Pizza, what can I say, typical Italian fair - probably one of the best meals found on the ship. However in 7 days, I honestly cannot recall ever seeing Pasta offered. Grill - Burger / Hot Dog Bar - As one of the cruise members stated - "We are Italian, we do great Pizza, but not the best Hamburgers" I shall leave it at that. Bar Del Duomo - the center for most of the interior late night entertainment. Arrive early, else there will be no seating for you. Staff were exceptional the Entertainment Cast were good, the live band was acceptable - the singer was worth the listen, even when she was singing in other languages. Rum Bar - Serving, well mostly Rum options - but also everything else, the music was a heavy Latin flair, good for dancing, and even just enjoying a Cuba-libre - or Mai-Tai. White Lion Pub - A replica of an English pub, with a concentration on higher end drinks - think Gin and on Tap beer's (best selection on the ship) only draw back - It is adjacent to the Cigar Room. If you have any allergies to smoke, not the best place to congregate. Il Lido Bar - Pool bar - more often than not this place was busy, and the general customer was rude, and discourteous to everyone else. The staff were once again - doing the best they could to keep everyone happy, while attempting to go above and beyond. Library - A good semi-quiet place to relax during most hours of the day and night Palm Beach Casino - Small maybe 100 video machines - with approximately 5 table games (1 Roulette, 1 Blackjack, 2 others (three card poker I believe)) The only place on board that Cash was gladly accepted. MSC Business Center - AKA the movie theater. Seats about 150 people and offered movies throughout the cruise. Granted they were not first run movies, but a season or two back. Teatro La Fenice - The meeting place for almost all Excursion's, as well as the live entertainment theater for nightly shows. During our cruise, 6 nights of song and dance, 1 night a Beatles tribute band. Show's were good, not exceptional - ONE note here something we noticed, as well as several other guests noticed. Most of the singing (if not all) was lip synced. Hardly noticeable, until you do, then hard not to see it happening. Overall the work, costumes, and general planning that went into each show was worth it. Quite entertaining. Shopping - Each day there were tables setup with sales on everything from souvenirs, perfume, watches, clothing to electronics. Some sales were WOW 75% off Invicta Watches..... and loads of inexpensive jewelry for your wife, mother, daughter, or significant other. In addition - there were specialized shops, a Clothes store, Pharmacy/Perfumeria, Swarovski, Effy, a Watch/sunglasses/ electronic's shop, and of course a Duty Free shop (yes alcohol can be purchased by the gallon bottle, but you will not receive it until the last night of the cruise.) Pool / Hot tub area - ok we made the mistake of crossing through here one time. Way overcrowded when at sea. The pool and hot tub area was full of kids, as was the Doremi water park area. Mind you for the most part - the kids appeared unsupervised and were left to run rampant. Aurea Spa / Beauty Parlor - Ladies, if you want to partake in any of the optional (Cost involved) treatments - Make your appointment early on in your cruise. This place books up fast. Overall cost - comparable to any land based spa / beauty parlor.... Tip - buy products from the beauty parlor to get exceptional discounts on treatments..... ($70 hair treatment was free, after an $80 purchase of specialized shampoo/conditioner/style cream) Ocho Rio's Jamaica - We opted for a "Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae" an hour of a slow river relaxing ride. Couple of things to note - this is probably one of the farthest commutes offered (1.5 hrs each way) so - do not expect to get any time at the port to shop. Also the planning was lacking - once the rafting experience was over, we were shuttled to a church that was locked up tight. Then one stop "Bathroom" break at a small souvenir shop, arriving back at the port with just enough time to board before departure. Grand Caymen - Stingray City - Approximately 3hr's total - 15 min bus, 30 min boat, and about an 1.5 hrs in the water. Cayman Express crew were great, informative, and helpful, drinks were available for purchase on the boat trip, As was a single changing room/bathroom. Bring your waterproof camera, a towel, and a change of clothes - oh and plenty of sunscreen. Cozumel - We opted to self tour the island - Ernesto's Rentals - $60 a day for a jeep wrangler - one word of caution - these are well used, and abused vehicles, and not up to "American Rental Company" standards. But we were able get around the island without any problems with the vehicle. Opted for a stop at El Cedral, Playa Plancar, San Gervasio, and a Tequilaria. Eastern beaches were inundated with the Sargassum seaweed, the beaches and water were turned a dark reddish brown color, and in many places smelled of rotten egg's..... Costa Maya - Once again - we opted for self tour, specifically looking for the "Maya Healing Ritual" think of it as a themed day spa. $89 per person for approximately 1.5 hrs of uber relaxing time. First a soak in a deep heated herbal bath, with a head, neck and shoulder massage. Then to the "Mayan Sweat Lodge" for a traditional Mayan song, and some history of the practice while you relax in the "sauna" type room. Then face painting time, well ok not really, but you do a white clay mask, while relaxing and another song by the local "shaman" Then off to a cold shower, and into another deep soak in coconut milk bath (ok so it is not 100% coconut milk - it does have a coconut scent, but it is mostly just hot water bath, along with some more head, neck and shoulder rubs. Lastly, the "Hammock Massage" you will be wrapped in towels, then cocooned within the hammock. where you will get an coconut oil rubdown on your arms, and leg's, then a full back of body work over by the masseuse that is laying beneath you, using their legs and feet. OMFG it was certainly an experience.... Granted it is not completely authentic, but it is still a relaxing time that you can decompress and forget the rest of the world. Afterwards, a quick drink in the complimentary lounge chairs at the white sand beach (part of the "Healing Ritual Package" chairs were free, drinks were not) Then on to the Aviary "Aviarius" - Not the greatest for to cost, but you are right in the middle of many birds, while perched atop tower's connected by swinging bridges that zigzag over the port. The birds will come sit on your hand, shoulders, arms, head.... while you offer up some feed that is given to you when you enter their world. While you traverse the Aviary, you get a chance to look down upon the Dolphin experience. Now let me tell you this - the water that the people were waiting to swim in looked absolutely filthy, the green algae was floating everywhere. (see pic's attached) Now one warning about Costa Maya - IF you opt to stay in the port, the vendor's are super aggressive. Every single shop had someone trying to drag you inside to peruse their wares. All in all - The cruise was enjoyable, relaxing, and just what we both needed, would we opt for the cruise again, yes - but we would do many things differently.... Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where do i start lovely shiny new ship comfy cabins and thats where the compliments stop staff no idea what they doing the ship is full of rude passengers who shove and push you in any queue i had one grab the tings for food out my hand ! ... Read More
Where do i start lovely shiny new ship comfy cabins and thats where the compliments stop staff no idea what they doing the ship is full of rude passengers who shove and push you in any queue i had one grab the tings for food out my hand ! These were not British people but other nationals one guy took the whole row of sun-beds with the cushions to reserve them this is at 7am arguing with the pool staff who removed them all inclusive drinks are like acetone and if you upgrade to premium package the run out after 3 drinks of your brand ! the buffet well if u like pizza burgers and hotdogs all day and all night this is the ship for you food repetitive and the deserts tiny and limited total chaos on board then theirs the excursions well they cancelled one of my trips booked by accident i went right down within minutes of booking and when i tried to cancel / transfer to another trip on tuesday for Thursday they told me i had to give 48 hours notice ! Well thats 48 hrs and i had booked it seconds ago but no they wanted 50 percent cancellation charge ! So we went on the trip the entertainment is awful for a new boat compared to other new boats who were out standing always some thing to do the boat rocks from side to side all the time even in calm Waters last night the coat hangers battering in the wardrobe drove us insane we had to take them all out so if you get sea sick take some pills With you the casino tiny compared to others i wont cruise msc again was first and the last ncl and royal Caribbean so much better Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Cabin was very nice, adequate cabinet and cupboard space. Mattress was very hard with 2 different thicknesses. We didn’t have an issue with the room or the room steward. My appointment was with the organization of details. We ... Read More
Cabin was very nice, adequate cabinet and cupboard space. Mattress was very hard with 2 different thicknesses. We didn’t have an issue with the room or the room steward. My appointment was with the organization of details. We boarded an headed directly to the buffet as we had been traveling for the past 24 hrs and were very hungry and thirsty.. Our cruise cards were incorrectly coded as we had paid for the ‘easy drink’ package well in advance.. We were served with beverage charges as our drinks were being served. We were advised by the beverage manager we would have to go to customer service and have our cards properly coded.. The lineup took approximately 30 minutes to have this issue corrected.. Next issue, we go to enter our cabin.. cruise cards would not open our room, back to customer service and another 20 min wait.. All fixed again.. We wanted to disembark for a few hours In Civitavecchia.. to our disbelief, we were denied.. Card was still improperly coded, and for the third time back to customer service. This all happened within the first 2 hours of boarding.. Not a good start.. That evening our dinner seating was 7 pm.. we arrived slightly after 7 to once again have an issue with the maitre d, he was very rude and abrupt saying we would have to come back for the 9:45 seating.. My wife is very persistent and eventually we were seated.. We were not happy with the customer service and it would be very difficult for us to recommend MSC to anyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
CONS -Embarkation - we were waiting for two hours in the port. The port guy was constantly shouting at you and people waiting. People in the queue were very poorly mannered, kicking, pushing you and trying to skip the long queues ... Read More
CONS -Embarkation - we were waiting for two hours in the port. The port guy was constantly shouting at you and people waiting. People in the queue were very poorly mannered, kicking, pushing you and trying to skip the long queues -MSC gave us incorrect drinks package and then blamed our travel agent saying travel agent provided incorrect info ( not true) -MSC allocated our preferred restaurant incorrectly and blamed our travel agent asking for that specific restaurant as per our request (not true) -Dirty bedlinen in the cabin ( stains) -Dirty bathroom ( dirty door, mirror, rust and dirt in the shower) -The balcony cabin is old and carpet/ furniture needs to be replaced very badly - The balcony is dirty and rusty - Customer service is non existent -at the very best they will ignore your complaints, otherwise they will shout at you , they could not care less about your comfort or satisfaction -Cold water at all tea stations- impossible to make a cup of tea -The pool was impossible to get into- too many poorly mannered people pushing you out of the way and kicking you ( we have got a balcony cabin Fantastica experience, which was supposed to be a luxury experience- what a joke!) -The Italian staff were very rude , inpatient, poorly mannered. They were constantly raising their voice and shouting at you. Anything we were asking for was too much of a trouble for them - Our waiter at dinner was really good but service in the restaurant during lunchtime was awful - the waiting staff was ignoring you, you could sit there for 30 min waiting to get a menu, the waiter at the door shouted at you when asked to take order ( shouting that he is not taking orders as he is a door waiter) -They will charge you for water in the cabin even when water is included with your package - They will add Unicef charge to your bill without asking you - I have got a severe allergic reaction within 10 minutes of drinking their cheap pina colada at the pool -They will mix french and english speaking groups together on excursions to earn more money, pure greed ( and will still charge you 90 euro per person). -Disembarking was terrible, staff were treating you like a cattle, long queues again for 3 hours, staff shouting at you, people kicking and pushing you, arrival was also late -Buffet was a mess, people running around, pushing you out of the way and trying to skip long queues - The wines included in the 30 euro per day package were very cheap and of a very bad quality , MSC cocktails gave me a severe allergic reaction PROS -The food was very tasty -Ports / towns where we stopped were very nice - especially Dubrovnik , Venice, Lecce, Mykonos, Olympia -Some Asian staff were very good, polite and friendly -Excursions were interesting and well organised ( except for the guide called Eva in Athens - Acropolis, Plaka and Museum tour- my advice would be to avoid this one) -Entertainment was really good Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
With 4 cruises behind us and having visited many countries we decided we would like to visit Northern Europe. MSC was the cheapest option as Royal Caribbean and Norweigan were a lot more expensive so we decided to try this option, we ... Read More
With 4 cruises behind us and having visited many countries we decided we would like to visit Northern Europe. MSC was the cheapest option as Royal Caribbean and Norweigan were a lot more expensive so we decided to try this option, we were not very pleased with a few things, the ship is very new so this itself was fabulous however as the saying goes "you get what you pay for".. We spoke with many others on board from various parts of the world and we all felt that once on board the ship it seemed to be like "we have your money so entertain yourself".. from past experience on RCC and Thompson (TUI) ships there was always music or entertainment by the poolside and especially on the days at sea, on this very large ship there was no music to be heard and no cruise director to be found to participate in games etc. the only time we saw this lady was at the beginning and end of each show in the evening times. The marketplace in particular is a dangerous zone and needs a "huge restructure" as there is no queueing system in place and easily knocked off your feet in a heartbeat. some nationalities in particular have no manners in this area or at the lifts around this area and we saw elderly people almost run-down.... :-( this includes some workers in the marketplace as well as customers. we spoke with some waiters in the Panorama dining area and they agreed about the Buffet area and said that many people had mentioned it but nothing was done.. very sad to see this ongoing problem is not being rectified considering this is an expensive holiday for each family and MSC don't seem to be happy to take on board people's comments. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to ... Read More
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. THE SHIP The ship is absolutely immaculate. It is easy to navigate, super clean, and glamorous. There are TVs all over that have an interactive map, allow you to book shows, and show you daily activities. There are tons of lounge areas and bars, a little something for everyone. We never felt the boat rocking (our room was on the 14th floor). There are several pools. We actually had the best luck at the jungle pool. We also enjoyed the adults-only South Beach pool. The Miami Beach pool is packed most of the time. My husband and I both with there were more hot tubs, ESPECIALLY in the adults-only pool section. Hot tubs are typically overrun by kids. I also wish they stayed open past 9! FANTASTICA EXPERIENCE AND ROOM (14th FLOOR INTERIOR) With the loss of the 12 drink vouchers, Fantastica basically gives you the option of “better” rooms and dining time choice. However, our room location wasn’t anything special and we requested early dining and were assigned a 9:30pm dinner time. Yes, we could have changed that, but who wants to wait 45 minutes in the dining room to change their dinner time when you just arrived? Not us. Unless you REALLY care about your room location. Speaking of room, we were in interior room 14044. I thought our room was great. It was cleaned twice a day. We utilized some storage hacks (like the over the door hanger and pop-up laundry hanger) and I suggest doing the same. Water pressure was amazing. Splurge for a balcony if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t. Having an interior room makes you get out and explore the ship. FOOD As is pretty typical of cruises, the food was good, not great. I know a lot of people complain about the buffet options, but honestly there are TONS of options, they just don’t change very often. The pizza is AMAZING. I also loved the cinnamon rolls at breakfast. The Marketplace buffet (deck 8) is way bigger than Biscayne Bay (deck 16). Plenty of places to sit; we liked to sit outside and enjoy the view. I wish drink classes were bigger; the cups for water were practically shot glasses haha. I would suggest bringing your own bigger cup. We only ate in the MDR once. We dressed “smart,” but there was literally a guy in a tank top and hat…so clearly not strict on dress code. The food, again, was good, not great. The couple sat along with us at our table said they also had the fantastica package and requested the early dining time and were also assigned the latest time. DRINKS ON US We received this package as part of an Expedia promotion. Be aware: despite what you may have read in this group, this is NOT the “old version of the easy package.” It includes different things. The good part is it includes a wide range of beers (which Easy doesn’t.) My husband was happy about this. But it only includes basic mixed drinks made with well alcohol (vodka soda, rum and coke, etc.) and absolutely nothing blended. If you want blended drinks, you pay full price. You will pay a 15% tax on all drinks (even ones “included” on DOU.) MSC would be smart to just change over everyone’s DOU package to easy to avoid this continuous confusion. SERVICE We were blown away by the MSC staff. There are over 2000 staff on board and they all work VERY hard literally all the time. There is never an idle worker. There is a reason the ship is so immaculate. They will go out of their way to help you. One thing that bothered me is that on several occasions I saw the crew members dressed in the white official looking outfits (I have no idea what their title is) harshly reprimanding staff members for minuscule things. I saw one of them yelling at the poor kid who makes pizzas for 29384 hours a day because he had the tongs in the wrong spot and then at this super adorable, fun kitchen worker who was laughing (along with us) at the birds coming on the boat and trying to take the food. I understand that they are trying to make sure the boat is pristine, but I also don’t support that type of management of people who work incredibly hard, especially in front of guests. I will say that bar service is very slow. However, this is NOT because the servers/bartenders themselves are slow. They work their butts off! They just need WAY more people working behind the bar. Often times during prime pool hours there were only 1-2 bartenders responsible for all at-bar orders AND orders placed by bar maids. MSC needs to put more bartenders behind the bar. Good news is that their pours were VERY heavy  THERMAL AREA/SPA We booked the experience that included two 30-min massages and week-long passes to the Thermal Area. The massages were nice (my husband had never had one and was VERY skeptical, but he said he would do it again) but not the best I’ve ever had. We visited the Thermal Area 3 times. It was nice, but honestly I probably would have been fine with one day. It was nice to get away from crowds and relax. I loved the steam room with the cold showers. It felt SO refreshing, as did the showers with the “rain storm,” “cold mist,” etc. The snow room was unbearable to me, but neat. The Jacuzzi honestly wasn’t worth it because it was more warm than the hot Jacuzzi experience I was looking for. There is a private deck area with a small hot tub and some sun chairs that only Thermal Area-goers can use, which was really nice. We were always the only ones out there. However, again, for some reason the hot tub out there was also just slightly warm. ENTERTAINMENT I thought, overall, the entertainment was great. There were a couple bands and some solo singers that all sounded great. The only thing I’ll say is that it got kind of repetitive by the end. The entertainment staff who put on the parties and lead the dance classes were AWESOME. You MUST go to the White Party dance party at Miami Beach Pool. They put a cover on the pool and have an awesome party until 1am, and TONS of people go. This was the only theme we dressed up for, and trust me…you want to bring your white outfit! Everyone dressed up. As far as shows, we went to the R-Rated Beerprov show and Starwalker. We were DYING laughing at Beerprov. We wanted to go to the other shows they put on but it just didn’t work with our schedule. Starwalker was very good as well. I feel very conflicted because, well, I’m not about to be cheering for Michael Jackson after all that has come out, but I just decided to appreciate the music and dancing, which was awesome. The entertainment staff CLEARLY love their jobs and make sure everyone has a great time. PORTS OF CALL Puerto Rico – This is kind of an odd day because it is a basically a sea day combined with a port day. We got in at 5:00 and walked up to a nearby fort. However, all of the forts closed at 6:00, so if you want to see them you better hurry! We walked to dinner and had a pina colada (they were invented in PR, you have to have one!) and then strolled around. Although charming, this was probably our most boring stop. St. Thomas – We did the Sail and Snokel experience on Castaway Girl 3. We had a great time! We didn’t see many fish and not other aquatic life, but it was fun nonetheless. On the way back you are given rum punch and we leisurely return to the port, just enjoying the ride. After that we went to the Fat Turtle by the port and drank beers and chatted with locals. If you want a beach you will need to take a taxi. Sint Maarten – Ugh, such a gorgeous port. Leave the shopping area, take a left and keep walking until you reach the sign for the beach. About a 10-15 min walk. Beautiful beach, lots of shops and bars/restaurants. Find a deal for lawn chairs/umbrella. Most about $20 for 2 beach chairs, umbrella, 5 beers OR 2 frozen drinks, and wif. We got that deal sans the alcohol for $10 a ways down the beach. Do be prepared for lots of locals trying to sell hair braiding, massages, bags, etc. Just say no thank you and they will move on. This is a short port day (7am – 1:30pm) so I suggest just making it a beach day. Nassau – If you want to pick a day to spend on the boat while in port, this is that day. If not, I suggest finding an excursion or riding to another beach. We went to Junkanoo Beach, and….well, it has Junk in the name for a reason. It’s a very rocky beach with lots of glass, at the top of the beach there is lots of trash, and the drinks and food are crazy expensive. We stayed for a short while and just took a dip and then walked to the Twisted Lime for some delicious cold drinks and then went back to the boat and enjoyed some breathing room while others were in port. INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE As many have mentioned, this is a very diverse boat. Having lived abroad, I loved being immersed among all of the different language and cultures. The ONLY drawback is that many things we consider polite or appropriate behavior is not the case in other countries. Lots of cutting in line, lots of talking/talk-yelling in public areas, and just what seemed to be a general unawareness of anyone besides themselves. This, of course, is not the fault of MSC, but is just a reality to be aware of. BILLING I highly suggest hooking up a CREDIT card to your account. You can easily do this on a kiosk the first or second day there. If you use a credit card, you don’t have to settle your bill at guest services. I can’t even imagine waiting in that line to settle my bill! I know some people have had charges on their account that were wrong. We didn’t have that happen, BUT we did have on two occasions the bartender pass us their little machine to sign only to see that they were charging us for four drinks instead of two (remember, we had the DOU package so each drink had about a ~90cent service charge added.) When we refused to sign they took it off, but it was still sketchy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We choose this cruise because we were looking for a cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We got a great price on a Fantansica experience balcony deck 12. With the easy drink package. We stayed overnight in Miami at the Hampton ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we were looking for a cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We got a great price on a Fantansica experience balcony deck 12. With the easy drink package. We stayed overnight in Miami at the Hampton inn Blue Lagoon. Very nice and convenient hotel. We parked our car at an offsite parking lot called safe cruise Miami. Great price to park, dropped off and picked up quickly. Their shuttle is free so i can't complain about the ride. If you want to experience Miami I would stay at a downtown hotel or Port of Miami hotel it will cost more for that. Embarkation was amazing!! Fastest I've ever got on a ship. Disembarkation the same! Maybe because they have the face scanners I D going through customs! The seaside is a beautiful ship! our cabin was very nice. A little more storage space and a little bigger shower would have been perfect. The balcony was very large, so that made up for the smaller shower! Our room steward was amazing, Roxanne. She greeted us and asked us our names! Always made it a point to greet us using our names everyday. I found it interesting the room stewards were woman, I have never had a women room steward before. The dining room was ok. We have become use to anytime dining,so the first night everyone waiting for the dining room to open created a big line,and people going up and cutting in front of you. After the first night, we just arrived 10 minutes late and avoided the mad rush to your tables. Unfortunately we encountered a lot more people that would not be considerate of others. Alot of passengers from other countries is all we could figure. The food in the main dining room did not leave a lasting impression on any of us. We did enjoy the buffet. Again the food was more Mediterranean then American. The pizza was very good and the burgers were the best I had on a cruise. i ordered a pizza from room service one day, for a charge, it was well worth the price to have a fresh pizza, delicious! We were never hungry. We never had a problem finding a place to sit outside. Only by the main pool if you wanted to see an activity. We didn't find much to do for us in the daytime on a sea day. A lot of shopping events not enough entertainment events on the sea day afternoon. So I enjoyed relaxing outside with a coco loco with rum on the side. They really need to change up the drinks available, it was easier for the bartender to make a frozen drink with the alcohol then give a shot of alcohol on the side. The service on the ship was very good We didn't do any excursion with MSC we just explored on our own. The port times were not enough at some of the stops and too much time at other ports. The cruise critic meet & greet was very nice that MSC put together for the group. The captain expressed wanting to hear the American feedback since they are moving into the United States with more ships. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have ... Read More
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have collectively informed my opinion of our MSC experience. MSC is NOT for the American market share rather, this European line is clearly after the sustainability of the European market share. American products by and large, do not charge a consistently high price for the cruise and then, charge clients for water while on board. Yes... MSC does this. Not even Costa does this. We paid over 3k for our cruise (similar and consistent to what we have paid for with other products like RCCL, Costa, Princess etc.) but while on board the MSC product we were charged for water.... we were amazed, perplexed and terribly disappointed. Its also important to note -what MSC USA sold us was not what we experienced onboard. When we pointed out the discrepancies on board we were told to take it up with MSC USA when we got home. We did, they did nothing to satisfy or settle our issue. We purchased the Fantastica experience, were told drink packages were included - then they somehow were not included. When we argued they were - we were told we had to buy a drink package which we did for our two children (non alcoholic package) and 1 adult alcoholic package. Only to get on board and be told we shouldn't have done that in fact it was included in our package and when we asked to have the initial prepaid packages we purchased refunded they said - sorry it wasn't included... The only thing which we felt was consistent was the inconsistency between what was sold and what we expected to what we actually experienced onboard. Other things we felt were important to note. The excursions - expensive but of little to no substance; again, representing to us an imbalance between what we paid for and what we actually experienced. We purchased several excursions through MSC - and quickly spent MORE TIME transiting to the excursions than we actually did enjoying the place we were visiting. This happend to us in both Arles France and Portofino. In Arles, we spent 3 hours on a bus to experience the town for only an hour. While in Portofino, same things - we paid a fortune to go to Portofino and spent three hours transiting there only to spend an hour IN Portofino... Very little value for money. Similarly, MSC twice docked at a port which they charged a fee to go from the Port facility to the town.... We were left shaking our heads and again, having the experience of other lines, this was an anomaly we felt was important to note for others who are considering this line. The ship itself was clean, comparatively clean to other lines and with cabins which were much larger than the typical stateroom found on other lines. That was about the only two bonuses on this line. Our experience of the ship was in one word -- exhausting. Terribly overcrowded and with clearly overwhelmed staff who continually treated us with discourtesy and disregard. The staff appeared as exhausted of the overcrowded conditions as we were. This was consistent from the bar staff to the dinning staff -- totally overwhelmed and continually discourteous and seemed exhausted..... The common centers on the ship were jammed daily elbow to elbow with people and loud music - wasn't a quiet spot on the ship to be found... ever. The smoking is an experience not commonly found with American products, on European lines - smoking is everywhere and something we found terribly intrusive and distasteful. Imagine placing the ONLY soft serve ice cream station for kids on the ship in the smoking section of the ship... kids actually have to endure cigarette smoke while waiting for their ice cream (which was eventually closed down due to being broken). This careless disregard for children - alone, made us not want to return to this product... ever. We have sailed many ships (19 cruises to date) and several of those other European products. First time we were ever on a ship and product we couldn't wait to leave... first time. The cost of this product comparatively is similar to other lines - RCCL, Princess Holland America - but what you get for your money is wholly inconsistent and as a result, we could not in good conscience recommend this product, especially for families. While MSC is trying desperately to break into the American marketshare, we believe this is going to be extremely difficult as people with experiences such as ours, share our impressions with others. This was an honest and unbiased account of our experience. We hope it is taken seriously so the product may be improved for others going forward. For us, we will not use or recommend this product in the future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
It took us 2 days to reach Miami as we were coming from Cape Town, South Africa, and it was well worth the trip. I slept 1 night in Miami before the cruise, and did the Topless Bus Tour around Miami Beach. We then boarded the MSC ... Read More
It took us 2 days to reach Miami as we were coming from Cape Town, South Africa, and it was well worth the trip. I slept 1 night in Miami before the cruise, and did the Topless Bus Tour around Miami Beach. We then boarded the MSC Seaside. We boarded around 14:30 and what a pleasure. We could get straight onto the ship. Our entire experience on this cruise was amazing, we loved it so much. Our balcony room was spacious, and Andrii our room steward was very friendly and always did a wonderful job in our room. I've read many posts about how boring the food is. And I must say, we loved the food. Yes the food isn't for everyones tastes, and they try to accommodate everyone, but for us it was great. You don't have to eat the exact same food all the time, mix it up. I didn't eat the same thing every day. The shows were brilliant in the Theater. However, I didn't enjoy the Silent Disco. Being non-smokers this Silent Disco was held in the pool smoking area, and the people were so spread out around the pool it felt like we were dancing by ourselves. In fact, we couldn't use that pool area at all in the day due to the smokers. The bars were always busy, but no real long queues to complain about. The one pool deck had a very long queue for the bar the one time, so we went to another bar. The Easy Drinks package was not worth our while. The cocktail portion of the menu isn't really cocktails, more Bourbon and Coke, or Vodka and juice. You could have a mocktail and add a tot of vodka, but what a mission everytime. It would have been nicer to have a couple proper cocktails on that menu aswell. We absolutely loved the Dance Classes at 9pm in the lounge. We had so much fun learning the new dances, and the main dance teacher, dont know what his name is, he was brilliant, and so interactive with the guests. He gave us such a workout each night, even our stomach muscles from laughing. We did 3 excursions which we bought through MSC, and that was amazing. We don't have to worry about finding taxis, or organising anything. All we had to do was pitch up at our spot at the time allocated. It was amazing. We would definitely recommend doing this. Our only downside on the Dolphin Swim excursion was the cost of the photos at the end. $120 for our 2 people photos is extremely expensive, since we have to multiply that price by 15 to get it into our local currency. We landed up just getting my dolphin photos for $70 and still almost cried at the price. The excursion itself was already expensive. This put such a huge cloud over the rest of that day for us. I experience terrible motion sickness, yet I did not feel a thing on this ship. I never once had to think of taking a tablet, or even just feel the ship move. I was so impressed with that. Overall, we absolutely loved this holiday. We traveled long and far for it, and a week later still recovering from Jetlag, but was so worth it. We are booked for MSC Orchestra in 8 months, it's a lot smaller and the one we can use that is local for us this next season, but am so looking forward to doing it with all my family. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Best prices ever, food was on point ,the neatness of the cabins,dining setup was classy, Oooh the excursions were great. I really, really enjoyed this cruise I will never forget the extra service from the medical staff to the security ... Read More
Best prices ever, food was on point ,the neatness of the cabins,dining setup was classy, Oooh the excursions were great. I really, really enjoyed this cruise I will never forget the extra service from the medical staff to the security .The staff was amazing always go an extra mile. Was happy to see South Africans working on board.. meeting new friends . Will do this again with my crew this year December. MSC keep it up... yhoo I was so scared because of previous reviews people saying bad things about MSC, I almost cancelled the trip yerrr...what I've learn is that you will never satisfy everybody just stick to your thing and do what you you know is best. This was my first time cruising trip. Now looking forward cruising from Rome and Naples as well as the Amalfi coast around December . Safety was the priority with MSC. Well done Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Friends had went on this cruise a year ago. We needed a vacation and thought let's give it a try! First time cruisers, so we have nothing to compare it to. Beautiful ship, and scenery. Clean also. Unfortunately a lot of rude ... Read More
Friends had went on this cruise a year ago. We needed a vacation and thought let's give it a try! First time cruisers, so we have nothing to compare it to. Beautiful ship, and scenery. Clean also. Unfortunately a lot of rude guests. People can really be inconsiderate aholes. The staff we encountered, were all pretty friendly and helpful. Food was good but not fantastic. A lot repeated dishes. Expensive up charges for specialty restaurants. We had a drink package that didn't include much, so basically worthless and to upgrade was astronomical. Elevators, they should have built more into the ship. You would wait forever at peak times and even slow times. Excursions were fun. Unfortunately MSC found a way to screw the guest and make some money on our SXM atv tour. We booked single riders and when our tickets came in, they marked everyone as double riders. So the poor atv tour owner got an earfull but it wasn't his fault, it was MSC BEING GREEDY. The tour was so fun and awesome but was somewhat ruined by that situation. We are doing a beach day today in Nassau, hopefully they can't screw that up. Spa package was nice. Massages were amazing. Thermal area was busy and hard to enjoy, especially with the inconsiderate guests. Cabins were clean and kept clean daily. Bed was horribly firm and uncomfortable. We woke up everyday sore. I truly hope the yacht club people didn't have those beds. Over $4,000 a person with that bed, oh hell no! All in all, an ok experience for us. Not sure if we will do again. Pretty sure not on MSC. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Newer Ship caught my eye as well as price and itinerary. The bathroom is quite small and you can not sit on the toilet without your knee hitting the sink. The shower stall is hard to stand in if you're a little large. My GF baggage ... Read More
Newer Ship caught my eye as well as price and itinerary. The bathroom is quite small and you can not sit on the toilet without your knee hitting the sink. The shower stall is hard to stand in if you're a little large. My GF baggage was a little delayed eventhough we put our items together on the check in area. The dining room food was average at best and we ate most of our meals in the fee paying restaurants. I recommend the Surf and Turf roll in the asian market...delish. The on board shows were very nice and there were plenty of seating in the theatre. The ports were very nice but I do not recommend the Quad tour in St Martin unless you request a single rider vehicle. We books on the MSC website and it specifically says single rider and we were forced to take a double. Of course the business said blame MSC and MSC says blame the business. The Casino is below par...NO CRAP TABLES OR CASH POKER (only Beat the dealer poker) I would go on the ship again but at a better and lower price. 3 stars at best Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We choose MSC for the price and the perks they were offering. We booked through vacations to go, it helped that our agent knew the ship and he was able to set us up for exactly what we were looking for. We selected the fastantica package ... Read More
We choose MSC for the price and the perks they were offering. We booked through vacations to go, it helped that our agent knew the ship and he was able to set us up for exactly what we were looking for. We selected the fastantica package which gave us all drinks up to $6.00 This worked well for us as the selection of drinks had what we normally drink plus a couple more we tried. I would also like to note, I am in the customer service industry, I get rated also, I have had 5 stars, and I have had 1 star. I read a ton of reviews right here on cruise critic, as you can see they are all over the place. The Ship. The Seaside is both stunning inside and out. You really don’t see how big it is until the first port at the dock. It seems like the terminal at Miami hides it a little. The inside is a bit overwhelming at first, but once you explore a little you see it’s true beauty and everything she has to offer. There are mirrors, chrome, glass, and marble everywhere. We arrived at the terminal at noon. I found the outside to be very busy, remember there are at least 5 other ships there at the same time. Once exiting the Uber in front of terminal F, people were there to take our luggage. We entered the terminal, went through security, and proceeded upstairs to check in. Check in was a breeze, there were at least 80 to 100 people behind the counter checking people in. From there we went up to a waiting area with a number. They were calling numbers every few minutes and taking a group onto the ship. We did not wait long at all. From arrival to our first steps onto the ship was exactly a half hour. That was impressive considering the cruise was sold out. Upon entering on floor number 6 there were people everywhere, it felt like everyone took 6 steps onboard and just stopped. We pressed through and went to find a kiosk to register the credit card. There was a long line at customer service, but there was staff working their way through the line to see if they could help faster, and this was the case for us, she came up to us, we asked where the kiosks were and she took us right to one. From there we went up to deck 18 to get away from the crowd. It looked like most people went right to the buffet on deck 8. We ate before we got on so we were able to explore. Don’t plan on getting on an elevator quickly on the first few hours, but we found elevators towards the front ( right off the casino) that were not too busy. State rooms are not ready until 2pm, so find a place to hang out and relax or explore during that time, I would avoid the atrium during that time. Once rooms are announced as ready it tends to calm down and doesn’t feel like there is 5000 other people around. The Staterooms We had an interior state room on deck 14. Again, ive read reviews where people complained that the state rooms were too small. Well they aren’t large but they are fine for the purpose. Your in your state room to sleep, shower or get dressed. They are the same on all cruise lines. Your not on a ship or on vacation to sit in your room all day. We met our room attendant Colette the next morning. She always smiled and greeted us anytime we saw her. Rooms were cleaned every morning, and our bed was turned down every night. She replaced our towels every time also. All in all no complaints whatsoever on the room. Our dining time was wrong on the first night, we had requested 7:30, but they had us at 5:30. No big deal, we ate at 5:30 and saw the maitre’d on the way out. The next day we had a letter on our door and he was able to accommodate us and got us the 7:30 dining time. We were put at a table with 3 other couples, not a big deal and actually I was very glad to meet all of them. The Food The food was not bad at all on both the Dining room. They allow you to order whatever you want and any amount on the menu. There is a different theme every night. Other reviews complained the portions were too small, they aren’t huge but there was an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. I was always full after leaving the dining room. The buffets were great, a lot of selection. Other reviews complained the selection was the same every day. To a point that is true, the staple foods were the same. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salad, French fries, etc. Everything else changed up daily. There is also a meat carving station towards the back of the buffet, there were different carvings daily. We went every morning to the buffet on deck 8 for breakfast and ate outside on the deck. Hint, the pizza on deck 8 was thin crust, but the pizza on deck 18 was thick crust. The Pools. Miami Beach pool was where we were the whole time. Yes people reserved chairs early, however there were enough of them and there was never any issues up there. South beach pool was the adult only pool and we did hear of some issues with chairs down there. We would eat breakfast no later than 8am and then go up to Miami Beach and there was always chairs. After lunch chairs would clear out, and more would be available. The entertainment staff kept it alive with activities every day, especially on sea day. I don’t care how old you are, hit the water slides at least once. Hint, if your racing someone, the slide on the right is faster when your facing them. We are 42 and 43 and it got quite competitive. The Bars Yes bars can get busy, I never found them understaffed at all, did it take a few minutes? Yes, sometimes. There are also plenty of waiters and waitresses around the pool deck on sea days. Flag one of them down and they will check in on you all day. Our favorite was Miramar bar on deck 19. We went there every night, there are comfortable chairs and always a nice breeze, never crowded either. Be sure to go there and meet Sergio the bartender, he keeps it fun and has an array of his own concoctions he makes. The Crew and Staff Everyone was always kind, gave you a smile and greeted you depending on the time of day. We went to the cruise critic meet and mingle. Captain DiPalma asked for reviews both good and where they can improve. He personally made his way around to greet everyone, and claimed he baked the cake. Every staff member was helpful, some made recommendations, especially at the chocolate bar. My Summary For having 5000 people on a ship it hardly ever felt like it. There is so much outdoor deck space or somewhere else to go relax. Our toilet did break one afternoon, it was fixed within 2 hours. The shows were of perfect length (40 minutes) they have some excellent talent in that group. We went every night except on Thursday. Two small issues I noticed. The restrooms are hard to find, they are there tucked away, but the signage could be a bit better. There are also aren’t a lot of waste cans, there’s a few recycle cans, but given I don’t leave my bottles and stuff lay around, I found this to be difficult. There are guests from all over the world on this cruise, remember it is very popular in Europe, in fact I think this particular cruise was about 40% American. Very diverse, many were fun and great to talk to, some were kind of pushy, not rude, but they would get in front of you to get what they wanted first. Kids had their own areas and activities. Many people dressed up for formal nights. The photographers on board are top notch, we purchased a package to bring home and the prices really weren’t bad at all. Our friends and family were waiting on our opinion and experience. I can tell you this; we have found our cruise line! We booked our next cruise on board on Wednesday night.As of right now we reserved 3 rooms for next June. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary, but had never heard of MSC prior to this trip. Not knowing the line made us nervous, however we did plenty of research and reading of reviews prior to sailing so we had no surprises. ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary, but had never heard of MSC prior to this trip. Not knowing the line made us nervous, however we did plenty of research and reading of reviews prior to sailing so we had no surprises. Embarkation was a breeze and were on the ship less than 30 min from stepping out of our Uber. We knew to register our credit card, which we didn’t see right away but a crew member saw we were lost so walked us to the right location to get that completed. We were then free to grab a drink and explore the ship until our room was ready before 2pm. Our luggage was delivered to our room by about 4. There was a mistake in our dining selection time, as we requested late dining but was assigned a 5:30 time. We were told it would not be a problem and to request a time change with the maitre’d, which we did, but learned the wait list was over 100 people deep. Although frustrated we just decided it would not ruin our trip. Much to our pleasure, we received notification the next day our change was compete with our desired time. The food in the main dining room was very good. Dishes were small, but you could order additional if desired and they were very accommodating if it was something you didn’t like. I used this as a way to try something I would not order at home. On theme nights they had a short song/dance which we enjoyed. The food in the buffet was also very good, although it can get crowded with pushy people who push in front (but you get that anywhere). They did have pizza (get the white pizza at least once) burgers/hot dogs all the time but the other options changed. I saw many reviews with complaints that selections were the same every day, but I did not notice that although I always eat the same thing for breakfast every day regardless. We only did the buffet for breakfast/ lunch and rarely eat in between meals so we had plenty of choices for something different every day. When we did want a snack we loved the selection of meat/cheese available. Our room attendant, Colette, was very sweet. They have lights above the door so she knew when we were in room or not which we appreciated. (They do have a do not disturb button to select as well). We had one day where the toilet would not flush so we let her know. She called the plumber and it was fixed by the next time we were back in the room. The shows were very good, but had repetitive acts. The talent reminds you very much of a Cirque De Soleil show. I did enjoy them all, and none were over 40 minutes so it was a nice way to relax after dinner. The ship does get more formal after 6pm, which we enjoyed. We did hear from others who didn’t care to dress up (which was totally fine as well) but most stuck to the “theme” within reason. After dinner/show we ended up at the Miramar bar on the 19th deck every night. We loved that it was a quiet place with outdoor sofas and the best bartender, Sergio, on the ship. All the bar staff up there were great, non intrusive if you wanted a quiet evening, or kept the conversations going between guests at the bar. I am pretty confident this was one of our favorite places on the ship and we looked forward to it every night. During the day we enjoyed the 16th deck pool. There was a good mix of entertainment and time with just music. Being American we, especially, enjoyed the mix of different countries music. The entertainment staff spoke many languages and included everyone. We absolutely loved the fact that so many different cultures were enjoying the same thing together. We also enjoyed that the crew was very good about keeping children with parents, so they did not invade others space. It seemed that the kids kept mostly to the Jungle Pool and the kids area, although there were families on deck 16 as well. We noticed many times if a child was running around unattended the staff would escort them back to their parents or made them point them out so they knew they were not alone. Bar service at the pool could get busy, but it was easy to track someone down from your chair who would bring you something. The port of call times were unusual, but we did get into port early every time. This was our first Caribbean cruise together so we opted to explore on our own vs booking excursions. We noticed that St Thomas and St Marteen still have not recovered fully from the hurricane so we stuck to the shops and Maho Beach in St Marteen. Puerto Rico was a pleasant surprise as we were apprehensive of being there only at night, but never felt unsafe and loved the culture. Bahamas was beautiful and we enjoyed the public beach by Atlantis. (Pebble beach I believe). A taxi was only $4 per person each way, and we were able to get a taxi within the gate of port so it was very safe. I would highly recommend getting a drink package as bottled water/soda/juice and cappuccino is not included. We knew this and had the Easy Package purchased ahead of time. One thing to note is that the Easy Package includes select alcohol, drinks and coffee/tea to $6. A frozen alcohol drink, poolside is $11 so not part of the easy package. With that said, you can order two drinks per person (in cabin) at a time. The bartenders will help you get what you want. We ordered many “Virgin strawberry daiquiri’s with vodka” :) After a few days the staff learns your preferences and makes what you want. (Within reason of course). Overall we enjoyed our trip very much and already booked for next year. If you enjoy meeting people from all over the world you will love MSC. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ... Read More
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ship is clean and beautiful. There are many nice pools and hot tubs, so they were not crowded (yet they close them all down early which is irritating). The bed was comfortable and the room quiet. The food in the buffet was just okay (deserts were good), better than Carnival, but the food in the dining room was much worse than carnival. And now I move on to the bad things... Eating in the dining room on Carnival was a great experience we looked forward to every night, but on MSC it felt like a punishment. Usually the food was not good and the waiters also made us feel uncomfortable and unwanted. They do not have "anytime dining" like other ships, you have to pick 6 PM, 8 PM or 10 PM. They kick you out after an hour or so to get ready for the next crowd. They are always rushing around in a hurry yet take forever to bring the food. We waited an hour for our first course one time, then had 15 minutes to eat the rest and get out. It is loud and there is constant banging from the dumbwaiter bringing down food. We asked to be switched to a different time and got a better waiter and location after the switch. I cannot believe they charge you for water in the dining room! Water was free on Carnival. Which is my next complaint, they are constantly after more money. They pester you all the time to buy the drink and food packages. The drink package would have cost $700 for the two of us ($40 a day). If you're drinking $700 in alcohol in one week you have a problem. We spent $80 on drinks, that's it. The food package would have cost around $260 for 3 meals for the two of us. That's seems high for mediocre food. The worst experience by far were the excursions! DO NOT book a tour. Have them bus you and walk around on your own. The tour company they use in Italy is a nightmare! We were not given all the things promised in Pisa and Rome. In Rome they lost an elderly man and left him there. Don't know if he ever made it back to the ship. I did not listen to the tour guides speak, they are hard to understand. Our English speaking guide hardly said anything anyway. The guides have deals with shops to take you there so you will buy things, like the "Pearl Factory" they said we needed a ticket to get into. It was a jewelry store! Nothing more, and it is free to go in. They wasted my time with this stuff. I felt very ripped off over the excursions. The internet was poor, and we had a router right outside our room. The zip-line cost $12 a person and is boring. It should be free! The constant up-selling is just a nightmare. We have decided not to go on MSC again because of these issues. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, ... Read More
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian. Prior MSC Experience: We did an 11 night on Divina in late 2015 and loved it. I then booked a 4 night out of Barcelona, but MSC changed it to a 20 day out of Brazil. No phone call from MSC, no e-mail, no letter, no notification in any way. They even changed the date of the sailing. Then, they took away my Voyagers Club points because I hadn’t sailed in 3 years, after promising they wouldn’t and even though the reason for this was their fault. I’ve written a post detailing some of my frustrations that can be found by Googling MSC Comedy of Errors. There are things to like a lot about MSC, but some service-related problems that should be improved upon. Pre-Cruise: We embarked out of Barcelona. We booked a lovely and centrally located apartment near Passeig de Gracia which worked out perfectly. Barcelona is a great city, so don’t miss out on spending some time there. It’s now the 3rd most visited city in Europe, after Paris and Rome. We were surprised that MSC did not offer tours in Barcelona, so we booked 2 privately. I think they may have missed some opportunity there. Savvy Tip: If you stay in Barcelona, use taxis rather than the Metro (subway) to get around. We had dinner with a group of 11 and 2 of them were pickpocketed on the Metro. Cabs are cheap, usually quick, and less confusing. Embarkation: In Rome, our prior Embarkation on Divina was so fast and smooth. So we wondered if the experience would be the same on Bellissima out of Barcelona. And it was extremely fast and well-organized. This is an area where MSC seems to excel. The Ship: Beautiful! Obviously, it’s almost new, but there is lot of thought and technology put into this ship. The ultra-high definition screen over the promenade is stunning and MSC integrates it well into their entertainment. We did much prefer the Grand Atrium layout of Divina, however. Divina’s atrium features soaring elevators that gracefully glide up and down and a much more open and dramatic feel to that area. Bellissima has mirrored ceilings to create the illusion of height, but is not as dramatic or engaging. I’d recommend that MSC go back to more of a soaring, dramatic atrium, like Divina. But otherwise, certainly it was nice. Tip: There is a somewhat hidden glass elevator which some might not be aware of. You can access it from the port (left) side of customer service. It rides on the outside of the ship and features nice views during the day. Our Room: We stayed in balcony cabin 13021, which is technically Aurea class. But we didn’t get the extras since we only purchased the Fantastica experience. The room was an upgrade due to a technical problem on their website, which was nice. The room was on the small side, but was always very clean. The bedding, a partnership between MSC and Dorelan, was super comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was extremely friendly, introduced himself and called my girlfriend and me by name during the cruise. He commented that we were always smiling and friendly and never complained when others were grouchy and did little but complain. Well, he didn’t hear me gripe pre-cruise to MSC Customer Service, but it is a good reminder that a smile and a kind word can go a long ways. These folks work hard for little money by our standards. Always do your best to treat them with kindness and respect. We did experience a partial electrical failure that took out our TV, Zoe, some lighting, and the electrical outlets. Maintenance could not repair the issue that day, but they did fix it the following day while we were off the ship. Another Tip: If you press the Do Not Disturb button, the cabin steward’s key will be inactive. So if you forget to turn it off, he/she won’t be able to make up your room. Zoe: Unfortunately, Zoe was nearly useless. I did a YouTube video on this, but I’d say she didn’t understand the request 75%-80% of the time. Nice concept, but needs a lot of work. Food: Generally average to very good. Never great or bad. The food in the buffet during breakfast/lunch/dinner was better than expected, especially after reading some really bad reviews. Everything was very fresh, so our experience was certainly different than others. In the main dining room, meals were acceptable to very good. The best food was on the 2 Gala Nights. One Gala Night was on the last night before disembarkation, which I thought was odd, as most were packing up their clothing. Yes, I know not everyone embarks or disembarks at the same ports, but most seemed to get on and off at Barcelona. Drink Package: We purchased the now discontinued "431" drink package, which covers “house wine” (2 reds, 2 whites, a blush, prosecco dry and prosecco sweet), as well as most “non-premium” specialty drinks. The house wines were mediocre except for the proseccos, which were both pretty good. Their bartenders are uniformly lousy and don’t know how to make a drink. The quality and even character and taste of drinks would vary wildly from one bartender to another. One time, a drink would be terribly sweet, the next time not, but taste like something totally different. They really need to train their bartenders better. We left a number of drinks on the table almost untouched because they were so bad. Entertainment/Animation Crew: Fantastic! Some have complained about the entertainment, but we both thought it was the best we’ve seen on any ship. The entertainers were really good and the crew really got the audience engaged. These folks worked really hard, and it paid off. The lighting and sound system on Bellissima is excellent with one exception. For some reason, the sound system in the Bellissima Bar and Lounge sounded muted and flat. Cirque at Sea: Enjoyable and generally worth the price. However, there was a bit of false advertising involved. The show included a cocktail and the description read, “Choose from our selection of creative cocktails made with or without alcohol to your liking and enjoy it’s surprising freshness…”. However, they had only pre-made and presumably watered down (from melting ice) Gimlets. I told them that I was a type 2 diabetic and that drinking such a sugary drink was not the best option for me. I asked if they could make me something else and was told “no”. The only other option was fruit juice, which is also too sugary for me. Cirque Tip: Reserve the shows online before you board. They were all sold out and if you wait, you might not get to see a Cirque at Sea show. I do feel that they were worthwhile, although not thrilled about the aforementioned drink issue. Tours: We booked 3 MSC tours. We loved the Amfali Coast tour out of Naples and felt it was a good value. It seemed to sell out and disappeared from the onboard list of offerings, so probably a good idea to book online in advance like we did. We also enjoyed the Aix en Provence and Marseille 2 Cities tour. Well worth the money. The Portofino tour was really disappointing. It’s not that Portofino isn’t pretty, quaint and worth visiting. It’s just that you’re only there for roughly 1 hour. And the tour could easily stay there another 2 hours, so I have no idea why they rush you out so quickly. And further, you have to get on the boat to leave Portofino at noon, for no obvious reason. Guess when most restaurants and business in Portofino open? Yes, at noon. It was perplexing and this needs to be improved upon. Give the guests 3 hours in Portofino instead of 1 hour. They’ll easily make it back to the ship well before it departs. The Crew: Room for improvement, but mostly pretty good. Not as friendly as on some cruise lines, but not as grouchy as the funky Eastern European crew that we had on Divina who seemed to hate their jobs and the passengers. Most were very helpful. Not everyone spoke great English, but usually communication was not a major issue. Let me single out one man who had an attitude that I did not enjoy, and that is the restaurant manager. In short, I had booked the later dinner, but our booking got fouled up in several ways. They never did correct my prior efforts to fix my late seating request, so I figured I’d straighten it out onboard. They sent me to the restaurant manager, who looked very, very irritated. And in an irritated voice, he said, “Do you have any idea how many passengers I have to accommodate? 5,600! And you want your seating changed, right?”. I thought he was pretty uncool and unfriendly, but I just bit my tongue and thanked him for his efforts. Shops: Not bad, but can use improvement. Divina had a more interesting and eclectic selection of items that I was actually interested in. The Passengers: Mostly European. Maybe 10% American like me. Nice people. Not as fat as most Americans. Sorry if that’s crass, but it’s true. They seem to stay out late and be kind of fun, party people most of the time. I did not witness any bad behavior during our cruise. Smoking was not an issue either, which was a good thing. Medical Emergency: On the final full day, we had a medical emergency, which required that the Italian Military airlift by helicopter a 55-year old American woman. The airlift was carried out swiftly and with precision. The captain explained very clearly what was occurring and told us that there would be no delay due to this onboard emergency. It was well-executed and communications about the incident was very good. Disembarkation: NO LINE WHATSOEVER! Can you imagine? Not a whiff of a line getting off the ship. I had an early flight and customer service was very accommodating and changed my time to an earlier departure. Again, this seems to be a strong area for MSC. Final Thoughts: While things are never perfect, I think MSC gets a bad rap, often unfairly. They do need to improve their customer service, but I believe that some issues are overblown and overstated. Their new ships are beautiful and can represent a very good value. MSC just needs some tweaks to really step up their game. We have enjoyed our cruises on MSC and we have 2 more booked. If you are patient and focus on the positives and not every little nitpicking thing, I believe you will enjoy cruising on MSC in general and the beautiful new Bellissima in particular. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The destinations in the cruise were great, beautiful towns all. The staff very friendly. Overall experience mediocre food not great,MSC nickels and dimes their customers . No one seems to be in charge and know one ever knows what’s ... Read More
The destinations in the cruise were great, beautiful towns all. The staff very friendly. Overall experience mediocre food not great,MSC nickels and dimes their customers . No one seems to be in charge and know one ever knows what’s going on. They do not enforce non smoking in cabins and balconies, I was inhaling second hand smoke entire trip, I ended up getting sick from smoke inhalation. I reported twice . It took 4 hours to board ship completely disorganized At our stop in Zadar, they did not have enough transportation coaches to take guests into town we spent 1/3 of our time in port waiting for transportation. I will never cruise MSC again Also took our passports for stamping in Venice, and they were very disorganized in retiring to guests, extremely stressful! The buffet was Mediocre Other cruises I have gone on really went out of their way to wow guests with food presentation , not the case on this cruise. The buffets were like cafeteria type food Read Less
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