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219 MSC Cruises Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

I went on this cruise with my daughter and her two little boys, aged 4 and 6. We chose it because it matched the boy’s half term dates. The ship looked enormous, I really doubted it would be ‘for me’. With the corona virus our ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my daughter and her two little boys, aged 4 and 6. We chose it because it matched the boy’s half term dates. The ship looked enormous, I really doubted it would be ‘for me’. With the corona virus our passports were examined, page by page, to ensure we hadn’t visited a China or Asia and our temperatures taken. We also had to answer health questions. The boarding process went smoothly and we boarded. Wow. The Atrium and Promenade, with its double stories and LED ceiling was spectacular. Constantly changing, like the roof of the Sistine Chapel one moment, a rainforest the next. Very Italian, sparkly and over the top! It is a 21st Century destination in itself. To call one of the vast amount of lifts you tell it which floor you need, it tells you the correct lift, which arrives quickly. The pools are fantastic, the children’s facilities are brilliant. The children’s water park, the massive water slides, also great for adults, and the Himalayan Mountain Track are spectacularly good. The staff running the kids clubs are ideal and seem to work 24 hours a day! I have in the past found MSC food underwhelming, however this was the best I have ever had on a cruise. Truly world cuisine, vegan and vegetarian cruisers are very well catered for, it is not as heavily beef based as US or UK cruise lines, but all the more interesting and healthy for that. Loved the call bell in the Market Garden Cafe for waiter service which was on each table. Very fast and efficient. Show are singing/dancing/acrobatics and we loved them; the sets, lighting, costumes etc are amazing. It really suited the very many nationalities on board, plus it’s is repeated three times nightly and you can book seats at any one of the very many contact points round the ship and in your cabin, rather like using an iPad. The same for booking other specialist shows, the 4G cinema or speciality dining. We had a balcony cabin and it was well equipped with huge mirrors and plentiful USB points, where you need them, like under the bed side lights. The hairdryer was also good for a change. The balcony was rather narrow, but this seems to be the case on many new ships. The chairs on it do not recline, a rare minus. The toiletries provided were lovely, but take note ladies, no conditioner or body lotion. We had an all inclusive drinks package and made good use of it for speciality coffee, ice cream and bottled juices and water as well as Prosecco and frozen cocktails, the Children’s Pina Colada was especially delicious! The Italians know how to enjoy themselves. The Grandiosa Lounge, off the Promenade, had ball room dancing and the kids disco nightly. The Promenade had specialist shows on the LED ceiling nightly, with music. Dragons, fairies, goblins, outer space, unicorns .... amazing. The singers and bands in various lounges were all good. We ended our nights in the Bistro, uncrowded, soft sofas, subdued music and hot chocolate/coffee or a last drink from lovely staff. Disembarkation was smooth. As we had a later flight from Genoa we didn’t leave the ship until gone one in the afternoon! Our cases were in the terminal and it’s a ten minute ride to the airport by taxi, which I highly recommend. The driver will tell you the fare, much less than MSC transfer, before you get in. Incidentally, in Genoa Airport there is an MSC Lounge where you can leave luggage or just chill out waiting for your flight. There are no refreshments in the Lounge, but comfortable sofas, chairs and magazines. We had made sure we had some soft drinks, juices, water and snacks from the boat which made for a comfortable few hours. I am English, in my 60’s, and have had over 20 cruises with P&O, Royal Caribbean, Cunard and Celebrity. Grandiosa is a different experience, more multicultural, louder, livelier, excitable, fun. All the staff were lovely, guest services helpful, waiters friendly and efficient. The ship is immaculate, no doubt as the Corona Virus emergency was just starting to spread in Italy. I thought my grandchildren would love it, but to my amazement so did I! Go with an open mind, it’s different from US/UK lines, but isn’t that what travelling is supposed to be all about? Try it. Like me, you may just love it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
It had a very good itinerary of destinations, at the right time for our plans. The destinations were great. The ship was very clean and comfortable. The food was awful. Very little selection, very slow service, very bland tasting, ... Read More
It had a very good itinerary of destinations, at the right time for our plans. The destinations were great. The ship was very clean and comfortable. The food was awful. Very little selection, very slow service, very bland tasting, very little portions, very plain food. The pizza and baked fish were good. Everything was for sale - that normally comes standard with most quality cruises. They did not even have iced tea, lemon aide, juice or punch at lunch or dinner. The entertainment was rarely offered and not very elaborate. A few excellent performers for the entire cruise. The lighting technician in the theater was probably the most talented. There were no bands. Only a few soloists playing with sync tracks. Very few elevators and not enough room for everyone in the buffet. There were plenty of deck lounge chairs. The crew seemed dis interested except the restaurant wait staff - but very slow. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I would avoid this commercial cruise altogether. Cons: - Over populated ship (over 6000+ people) - Rude front desk & excursion staff that have poor customer service - Overpriced and disappointing excursions you could do ... Read More
I would avoid this commercial cruise altogether. Cons: - Over populated ship (over 6000+ people) - Rude front desk & excursion staff that have poor customer service - Overpriced and disappointing excursions you could do on your own - Docks far, mostly have to shuttle to city centers -They make many charges and mistakes on your bill - Shower water breaks out your skin Pros: -The cabin attendants and cleaning staff are the nicest -The dancers at the shows are very skilled and under appropriated Providing quality customer service, having professional international employees, and creating an option for customers to cancel reservations via. television or smart screens would have been simple solutions that could have prevented an incident we encountered. Customers should not be responsible for looking for assistance from employees during their working hours. We also didn't receive excursion tickets in a respectable amount of time and the excursion staff were all rude. Every single one of them. We are considering filing a lawsuit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We sailed with MSC once previously which was a really dreadful experience, so much so, we were given a 25% discount on any future cruise. We decided to use the voucher, although not without much resistance from MSC's sales ... Read More
We sailed with MSC once previously which was a really dreadful experience, so much so, we were given a 25% discount on any future cruise. We decided to use the voucher, although not without much resistance from MSC's sales section. The ship we chose Aurea class on the new Grandiosa, it included a drinks package and all gratuities, so seemed a good deal. We found the drinks package was very basic, on the lower grade cabins there they were including the premium package as a promotion, eventually we opted to upgrade the premium plus. We also purchased their top Speciality Dining package, called the Dining Experience, all set we thought. On embarkation, we, along with everyone else, were confronted by a wall of staff trying to sell all the different packages. We had to explain we had them all, one of the staff then informed us, that's a pity as they were cheaper if purchased then, the total opposite of the information MSC put out when booking the cruise. The Grandiosa is without doubt, impressive, a vast floating hotel with something for everyone. Our cabin was very nice and with reasonable balcony, there is a new system, along the lines of Alexis, it is supposed to give you all the information you could ever need whenever you asked, it didn't, it was only any use as a wi-fi speaker. On our first visit to our Speciality restaurant the French, the menu was presented and our waiter then explained, you can only order from the third part of the menu as part of Dining Experience, should we wish to order from the restaurant a 50% charge would be levied, remember you are already paying extra top of your standard dining room entitlement for the Dining Experience package, then you are being asked for extra again should you wish anything off the majority of the menu. This was the case in all four of restaurants, even when in the much over rated Tapas, where one of the few offered wasn't available, we would still have to pay the extra if wishing to substitute from the rest of the menu, this left us totally underwhelmed. MSC really should be more honest and transparent in their sales end not cloaked in such an underhand pitch. Staffing in the restaurants was inadequate, some of the staff were poorly trained and under tremendous pressure. MSC does offer a cheaper option for cruising, my gripe is the dishonest sales methods in use. We weren't fans before this cruise, however it did still surprise us to see how much worse the practises they use had got. The are, without doubt, the Ryan Air of cruising, always looking to squeeze their guests wherever possible. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The ship is very unorganized. The food was the same every day. Front desk clerk named Barbara Uchiyama was always scowling and treating guests without the least education and attention. The tours were disorganized. The ... Read More
The ship is very unorganized. The food was the same every day. Front desk clerk named Barbara Uchiyama was always scowling and treating guests without the least education and attention. The tours were disorganized. The guides hired by MSC knew almost nothing about the tours, reaching the height of not wanting to take us to the Mount of Olives in Israel because he preferred to take it to a store that certainly earns commission. The drinks level was 0.50 cents more to force you to pay for a higher plan. Suite members, who have a golden package, have no privileges on board or on board as mentioned at the time of purchase. The only space reserved for member Aurea spent half of the trip closed for maintenance. The cleanliness of the ship's toilets was deplorable Excursion outings were tumultuous and always with guides who did not speak the languages ​​sold Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first time with MSC. Previously we have cruised with Norwegian and Princess. Also our first European cruise. I was traveling with my wife and two kids (daughter 14 and son 11). Scheduled itinerary was Rome-Sea ... Read More
This was our first time with MSC. Previously we have cruised with Norwegian and Princess. Also our first European cruise. I was traveling with my wife and two kids (daughter 14 and son 11). Scheduled itinerary was Rome-Sea Day-Sicily-Malta-Barcelona-Marseilles-Genoa-Rome. Itinerary changed, actual itinerary was Rome-Rome-Corsica-Majorca-Barcelona-Marseilles-Genoa-Rome. Embarkation: We arrived to embark at the recommended time, and it was chaos. The ship was berthed on the "old" side of the port, access was through an ancient quonset-hut style building. There was virtually no signage, we found our way by following crowds. First building was to check in luggage, no orderly queues, everyone trying to get to one little table to check in luggage. Once we fought through that, we went to a second building next door to actually check in. This was far more orderly and went smoothly. Once past the luggage check in, all went smoothly. Itinerary Change: We got on board, found our room, and set out to see the ship. During our walk around the ship we saw on the many large screens around the public areas that the itinerary had changed. I waited in a line at the concierge desk for about 30 minutes to learn that I should have received notice of the change at embarkation and via a letter in my room (neither happened). This was annoying on several levels. First, we needed to change excursions (we had booked outside of MSC). Secondly, had I been informed about the change prior to embarking, I would have delayed embarkation for a day and spent the extra day in Rome and not on the ship. MSC knew about the change and could have notified me prior to embarkation, and chose not too. This made me unhappy. Wasn't going to ruin our trip though! The Cabin: We had a balcony Fantastica room. It was set up with a queen and bunk beds. The cabin was clean and organized. It was crowded with 4 people, and there was not sufficient room for all of the luggage under the bed, so 1 of the 4 suitcases had to live "in the open." All 4 of us were comfortable for the entire journey, although there wasn't much space to spare! The room was set up with 2 pool towels, and our steward was able to correct that right away. They also notified us one day that our balcony would be cleaned so we needed to ensure our door was closed and locked. The cleaning never took place though. The Ship: Brand new and fancy! The main gallery was pretty cool, with the overhead screens. Getting around was easy, lots of signage. elevators are SLOW. you will wait a long time during busy times, but stairs are plentiful and easily navigated. Shopping was typical of cruises or Duty Free in airports. Lots of bar space. Crew was very attentive. The pools appeared nice, not really pool weather. The inside pool was crowded. There are several "hot" tubs. They were NOT hot. The fitness center was way too small. Over 6,000 guests, and there are about 10 treadmills and 6 bikes. Ridiculous. We were on board for Christmas, and the ship was very nicely decorated for the holiday. Entertainment: The nightly shows were fine. The kids loved them, wife and I thought they were OK. Cirque show was good if a bit short. Lots of bands/singers throughout the ship. Casino was good, lots of slots and a fair amount of table games. Not crowded but not empty, dealers were engaging and made it fun. Dining: We had the early seating (5:30) at the La Loggia restaurant. The service was outstanding, the menu was varied, and the food was good. The Market Place Buffet was not a great experience. The food was bland and uninspired. There was variety, but the crowds were out of control. The beverage service was slow, drinks ordered at the very beginning of the meal arrived after most of the meal was completed. The experience was the same for breakfast, lunch or dinner (we tried the Market Place for one evening meal). We discovered on the third day that the Purple Crab dining room (deck 5) was open for seated/plated breakfast. Learning this improved our journey considerably, because we could avoid the Market Place buffet. The Purple Crab for breakfast was quite nice. WE did not take advantage of the specialty restaurants. Quick note on "formal" nights: They are not formal. We were dressed per the guidelines and felt fine. We saw a few people in tuxedos, but not many. We also saw several people dressed down, some even in t-shirts. I was a bit dissapointed that casual dress was allowed. Also, the early seating might have impacted this, as later seatings might have been more formal. Excursions: We got off of the ship every day. The first day (was supposed to be Sicily but got changed to Rome/Civitivecchia) we booked a last minute excursion through MSC. it was a bus tour to Tuscania and Tarquinia. For a short notice excursion (MSC had a day or two to put it together) it was good. The buses were on time and comfortable and the guides were knowledgeable. The towns themselves were charming, I am glad we visited. We didn't do any other excursions through MSC. In Marseilles we took an e-bike tour to the Parc National des Calanques that was outstanding (booked through Get Your Guide), and in Genoa we booked a walking food tour (also through Get Your Guide) that was really exceptional. In Corsica, Majorca, and Barcelona we did not use an excursion. All cities were easily reachable by walking and/or cab, and are great to explore on your own. MSC did offer bus service into town centers in Majorca, Barcelona and Marseilles, but it was extremely expensive and I would not recommend if you are able to walk. Getting off of the ship was a bit chaotic in some ports, but not a big problem. Getting back on the ship was just fine in every port other than Corsica. in Corsica, I got the impression that the port was not used to a ship of this size on Xmas eve, and wasn't staffed for it. Also, because of the itinerary change they might not have had sufficient time to prepare. One minor complaint: crew had to embark through the same doors that passengers use. The crew was not shy about skipping the queue and voicing complaints about their jobs. Kids: We traveled with a 14 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. They did not participate in the kids club or teenage area. The kids loved the ship, and had a great time. My son did use the ropes course, and it was fun. Overall: Overall, the cruise was good. Very international passenger group. Crew was good. Ship was clean and very nice (also brand new, so expected). Even though the itinerary change was disappointing (as we wanted to go to Malta), net of everything it worked out as we didn't have a Sea Day. We feel we would have been bored if we had a full day on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our 11th MSC cruise, our 10th in Yacht Club, our first time on Grandiosa. Our flight was delayed due to wind at Rome Airport. On arrival we were greeted by MSC for our transfer. We waited a while for additional passengers and ... Read More
This was our 11th MSC cruise, our 10th in Yacht Club, our first time on Grandiosa. Our flight was delayed due to wind at Rome Airport. On arrival we were greeted by MSC for our transfer. We waited a while for additional passengers and we eventually left with two others. The driver was safe and drove well. We were late boarding, however, due to bad weather the ship was staying in Rome due to the bad weather, I was particularly pleased about this as they were not taking any chances with the weather and I believe it was the right decision. We went straight through check in and straight to our room. It was a beautiful room, lovely comfortable bed and great bathroom. Our itinerary was changed due to bad weather, but we sailed into sunshine all week. The staff were fabulous and couldn’t have been friendlier. We ate at the Yacht Club restaurant, twice at the Butchers Cut, and twice at the pub. The pub is great for a drink and snack, a good alternative if you don’t fancy a meal. The ship is immaculate and the service was excellent. So good, we are going again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chose this cruise as it was a bargain. 2 x nights in Venice, 5 x day med cruise, 1 x night in Genoa. We had obstructed outside cabin. Opera is a very clean and tidy ship with an excellent crew. We purchased a drink package that was 29 ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was a bargain. 2 x nights in Venice, 5 x day med cruise, 1 x night in Genoa. We had obstructed outside cabin. Opera is a very clean and tidy ship with an excellent crew. We purchased a drink package that was 29 euros plus service charge per night. I think we broke even and possibly drunk more than we would have done if we had just paid for drinks as we went. The entertainment on the boat was not the best but nether the less acceptable. The ship was full mainly of Italians and Germans us brits were in the minority. We ate in the main dining room for every meal and thought that the food was good but not gourmet. This was our first MSC Cruise and overall thought that it was value for money but not up to P & O standard and worth doing again. We were supposed to stop at Kotor but due to bad weather did not visit. Thanks to the captain and staff we made an unscheduled visit to Messina and did an organised trip up Etna. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
A Review of the Brand New MSC Grandiosa, November 24, 2019 We are experienced cruisers who love Europe and had a wonderful cruise on the MSC Divina in February 2019 in the Caribbean. We assumed things wouldn’t be too much different in ... Read More
A Review of the Brand New MSC Grandiosa, November 24, 2019 We are experienced cruisers who love Europe and had a wonderful cruise on the MSC Divina in February 2019 in the Caribbean. We assumed things wouldn’t be too much different in Europe, so we booked a seven-day Western Mediterranean cruise on the new MSC Grandiosa. This would be its first time on the Grandiosa’s regular sailing stopping in Civitavecchia, Sicily, Malta, Barcelona, Marseilles, and Genoa. Also, it was an add-on to our main cruise to the Holy Land: Greece, Israel, Italy, and Turkey on the NCL Spirit. The Grandiosa’s maiden voyage had problems because of very stormy weather, and many passengers had to cancel so the beginning of our sailing didn’t have a full sailing. More and more passengers filled up the ship as the week progressed. Overall, the ship is quite spectacular, and the crew was wonderful. The Grandiosa shines and sparkles throughout and is very well appointed. The cabin hallways are a real treat as they feature a famous artist’s work on each floor, but every painting has an MSC ship embedded in it. What a hoot to see Raphael’s work with a cruise ship behind Jesus and his apostles on the eighth deck. Embarkation: We stayed at the Hotel Mozart in Rome for three days prior to our cruise and booked a shared Habicab shuttle to the port. Habicab worked very well for our other two times, but this one took almost three hours to get to port as we were the first pickup and had to wait for passengers, get gas, and waited and then transferred to another van at port. Sigh. The embarkation was a breeze because the port area was covered, which was important because of steady rain. We sailed through the embarkation and were quickly on the ship at 12:30. We later discovered we were given the wrong cards as our Black/Diamond status was not reflected on our original cards. We had lunch at the buffet, which was a tad disappointing. There wasn’t a lot of variety and the cuisine tended to cater to the over 2,000 Asian passengers. The buffet was very crowded, despite it being an adventure port for those passengers who came on in the days before us. In case you are unaware, MSC ships are often similar to ferries as they pick up new passengers at almost every port. Our room was available to us right after lunch. The required muster drill was in the Carousel Lounge, and it started twenty minutes after the assigned time. The announcements for each muster drill are given in five to seven languages and can be heard in the cabins and all over the ship. Despite these announcements, often given SEVERAL times in the various languages, some folks ignored them. The drills themselves are given in five languages. Don’t try to nap at 4-4:30 or so on port days as the messages are heard in the cabins. Passengers need to register their credit cards at a kiosk rather than at registration. Dining Passengers are assigned dining based on the requested time and “experience” purchased. We requested and were given early dining, and I went down at about 2:00 to see where our table was. The waiter on duty showed me my table of six at a window. Nice. However, when we arrived for dinner, our table placement had been changed to a table of two right next to the noisy kitchen doors. We then noticed that the entire room was filled with Asian passengers, and they were in their own groups. We wanted to sit with someone who spoke English and only upon our insistence did the staff accommodate this. The maître-de mentioned that the Asians had requested early dining and were given preference. He moved us to a slightly later dining time in a different restaurant which worked out great. Two other couples from Australia were our tablemates, and they were wonderful, as was our waiter. Americans receive “free” still or sparkling water and coffee as an accommodation. The menu in the MDR was fine but did not present a lot of variety. I soon learned a salad meant lettuce and two half slices of a cherry tomato and not much else. The meats were usually tender, but often rather bland. I was surprised there was not better spicing and flavor. Lasagna was just okay, the salmon was dry, and the apple strudel crust soggy. The chefs need some work. Breakfast in the Purple Crab was always quite good. We sat with a couple from Scotland who hated the way they prepared French toast (with a crunchy crust.) I ordered it the next day and love it, so that shows how differently people view dining experiences. We dined at the Butcher’s Cut, and everything was superb. Mozarella is fresh and made onboard. When making reservations, go see the person who is in charge of specialty dining to make your reservation if you didn’t do so previously. We didn’t eat at the other specialty restaurants but observed they had very few customers. It was especially noticeable at the French restaurant where a trio played to no or only one table of customers each night. It was rather sad to walk by on the lovely promenade to observe this. The Marketplace Buffet (our favorite time in the buffet) is just fine and to be commended for offering fresh scrambled eggs at breakfast rather than the type many other cruise lines offer. Don’t expect bagels, English muffins, or American style bacon. Most passengers love their pizza, which is available throughout the day. Obtaining milk was difficult as MSC didn’t offer it in cartons but in large containers. I had no idea if it was skim, 1 or 2%, or whole milk. There are no machines for iced tea or lemonade. The assigned MDRs and the buffet are the only complementary venues for food. Most ships have a café or even a 24-hour restaurant as an alternative, so this aspect had a downside. The buffet also ran out of some items such as herbal and green teas after a few days because of passenger hoarding. Fellow Passengers As I mentioned, we enjoy travel to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and so are used to people from different countries. The passengers on this sailing were quite unfriendly. We felt as if we were invisible people in Bizzaro World. Most people just walked around and didn’t socialize in any manner. No greetings on elevators or in the hallways, etc. Some nationalities sit in areas only for the handicapped with an attitude that the clearly visible signs were only a suggestion. This situation with fellow passengers may just have been relevant only on this sailing, but was a significant, negative feature of the cruise. We tried to strike up a conversation anytime we heard someone speak English, and they happily reciprocated. One thing that really surprised us was the large number of children of all ages who were aboard. Most were well behaved, but there were toddlers lying on the hallway floors totally ignored by their parents. I never saw so many large strollers and prams in one place- maybe a hundred by the end of the cruise as the number of young families grew. These made it difficult to maneuver through the public areas. MSC allows children to sail for free with their parents. I imagine those family groups had a splendid time as the Grandiosa provided excellent activities and features for children. They have an active children’s program, inside and outside sports activities, lovely pools, and a ropes course. The weather on this November sailing didn’t provide much opportunity for passengers to use the lovely pool areas. The covered pool was minimally used even though it seemed to be warm enough in that room. The hot tubs were enjoyed (read: monopolized) by groups of children who used it as a swimming pool. I can’t say that I blame them as there were not many alternatives. Entertainment Let me start out with the extremely positive. The performances in the main theatre are spectacular. The singers and dancers were top-notch, and the costumes and sets were beyond belief. Well done! We enjoyed every show. The most memorable was a scene from “Dream” featuring dancers transformed into sea creatures: fish, octopus, sharks, jellyfish, etc. Other aerial and gymnastics type of performers that defied definition were featured within some shows. They performed a few amazing acts, such as one who was the master controller of the other three who were able to move and contort their bodies in astonishing ways. One performance was a shadow artists’ act that was original and very well done. It sounds strange, but I believe the audience appreciated the originality and skill. The main theatre shows (usually three each evening) should be reserved ahead of time, but those without reservations can often find seating five minutes before the show. The lounges are another issue that MSC will have to address. The only lounge that was used well was the Grandiosa Lounge on the promenade. The performers were very good, and we enjoyed dancing there. The other lounges were rather empty and sometimes there were no performers there even though they were on the schedule. The English pub, L’Artlier Bistrot (French restaurant), and TV studio tended to be vastly underused and quite a waste of space. The lovely Sky Lounge featured a pianist and sometimes a soloist who provided what I describe as “atmosphere music” even though there is a lovely dance floor. The lounge entertainment needs to be addressed by MSC as they are losing a lot of money and forcing 6,200 people into just one or two entertainment areas in the evening. MSC invested quite a bit of money for the Cirque de Sol theatre. Some people might like that type of show, but I thought the performance was sort of weird and creepy and didn’t display much originality or talent. The aerialists on many other ships are just as good, and the two shows onboard had a cover charge. You could purchase tickets for a show and cocktail or a show and dinner. The main promenade with shops, cafes, and restaurants is charming but, of course, heavily used and crowded, especially at night when the wonderful ceiling displays are illuminated. These are unique and not to be missed. The cruise director’s staff needs more training or perhaps some replacements. I have to agree with another poster that a few are bored and boring and rather immature. They are a weak link. There are not many activities onboard, probably due to the many languages spoken. Cabin We had an inside cabin, and the bed and pillows were very comfortable. As others have noted, the cabins don’t have as much storage as other comparable ships. The cabin was quiet and well-positioned, but a few basics were missing although they were provided when mentioned. We were very pleased with our cabin. Recreation Because of the many languages spoken on the ship, MSC tends to not emphasize many games such as trivia and bingo, nor do they offer lectures. The ship does not have a library or game rooms but there are ample places to sit for reading and board and dice games. We always bring small games such as Farkle, Quiddler, and Wizard with a small, portable dice-rolling board. We took our free bottle of sparkling wine to enjoy while we played and sat in the Sky Lounge on the sea day. Crew The crew was very good, especially the customer service! MSC must hire very pleasant sorts because they always treated us kindly and professionally. Not the stereotypically crabby types sometimes reported by others. The crew was reasonably well trained with just a few glitches that can easily be overlooked since they need time to work out the minor details. I was impressed that they could perform so well with being on the ship for only a few weeks. The crew who interacts with the passengers all speak English with varying degrees of fluency, but we encountered no communication problems. They are instructed to greet ALL passengers in English (I saw that on a sign coming from the crew-only area.) Black or Diamond Status We were very fortunate to make it just under the wire in October 2018 with being granted Black Card Status based on our NCL Platinum Status. That good fortune doesn’t happen anymore except for the highest rankings, and MSC does not offer a table to explain their policy. You just apply using your “best” status from another cruise line. You must cruise every three years to maintain your assigned status. MSC recently changed Black Status to Diamond Status. The main perks are discounted cruises, robes and slippers, a free meal at a specialty restaurant, a bottle of sparkling water, fresh fruit (changed twice in seven days), and chocolate-covered strawberries. You also qualify for a free Italian Cream cake if sailing on your birthday. We were also invited to special Captain’s welcome and cocktail parties, which were very nice. The officers tended not to socialize with the passengers. The captain also had a pre-brunch for the status passengers before he took questions at the Officer’s Question and Answer session. Dress Code (Really?) I encouraged my husband to bring a white shirt and tie and was concerned we would be not meeting the posted dress code for formal nights. Was I wrong! Less than half the men wore a suit while others wore t-shirts, shorts, and even a Harley Davidson t-shirt on formal night. I saw only one tuxedo. So, if men want to wear a golf shirt or something similar, they will fit right in. To be honest, I felt that the dress code throughout the week was about the most “relaxed” I have ever seen on any cruise ship. Dancing While not great dancers, we still enjoy simple ballroom dancing. The only place for this was the Grandiosa Lounge, which was very crowded. The dance instructions by one team tended to be pretty good but with some other times, it was like the cruise director’s staff made up moves or had just learned the basics from a youtube.com video. We learned a few new things, though from the better team! Shore Excursions I will write a fuller review under port reviews, but here is a summary: We embarked in Rome after three days of sightseeing. Palermo, Sicily: this was our only rainy day, and it didn’t help that Palermo is rather “gritty.” We attempted to find our way down the streets of tall, unimpressive buildings as we dodged human or dog waste on the sidewalks. After about thirty minutes, we decided that Palermo wasn’t enjoyable for us, so we went back to the ship attempting to jump back when fast-moving cars and trucks threatened to splash the pools of rainwater on us. Valetta, Malta: What a lovely city! The cathedral and Palace of the Grand Master were splendid as was the atmosphere in town, but this only showed how clueless we were to the “political volcano” that was emerging all around. It was only when we returned to the ship at dinner that we learned why our cell phone service wasn’t working. The government turned off all service to prevent its citizens from rioting! Another clue was the lack of city lighting as we sailed away- the government shut that down too! It appears that the populace was more than furious with its top leaders who had some part in the assassination of a prominent journalist who had been looking into government corruption. Check out the past news about this, but we learned that the president had recently resigned. BTW- our friends who were on a HOHO bus had a problem- the bus wasn’t showing up, and they couldn’t get a call through to the company. They were forced to take a taxi to the port. Barcelona, Spain: We had been to Barcelona in the past so thought a HOHO bus experience would be good to see the features we had missed. The number one thing to experience is the La Sagrada de Familia, the basilica Gaudi designed. Barcelona is wonderful! Marseilles, France: We were originally going to take the train to Aix-en- Provence, but decided to take a DIY ship excursion instead. Passengers going to Marseilles had to purchase a ship shuttle if they were not on a ship excursion, so this ended up working just fine! This town is easy to walk and had a Christmas Market going on. It was quiet and just lovely. There was one disturbing incident onboard this ship excursion bus: a toddler who SCREAMED almost the entire time was obviously sick, but momma just peddled her off on the poor grandma. As we walked around town, we would occasionally hear the baby approaching from a distance. Genoa, Italy: At first, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy Genoa, but it ended up having many lovely churches, museums, and shops as we walked around town. Piazzas, churches, and the Royal Palace were all well worth the easy walk. Disembarkation: The process was very easy! We had booked a Habicab that arrived on time, but we came out too early as we misjudged the timing. It probably took ten minutes with no need to be processed by any governmental agency. The MSC used the Leonardo Terminal, which is very nice. Conclusion The Grandiosa is a spectacular ship that needs some fine tuning on how to best use the lounges and other under-used facilities. The Swarovski staircases are stunning. Americans who aren’t used to European travel or cruising may need to adjust their expectations but will still have a lovely time. I certainly would book another cruise on the Grandiosa but with a different itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our second experience of MSC following a short cruise only a few days earlier on the Presiosa. Upon embarkation we were assaulted by 'in your face' crew members on a mission to sell you 'things', sadly an ... Read More
This was our second experience of MSC following a short cruise only a few days earlier on the Presiosa. Upon embarkation we were assaulted by 'in your face' crew members on a mission to sell you 'things', sadly an introduction to the ship I wasn't expecting and certainly didn't want. Putting that aside, you can't fail to be impressed by the scale of the ship's vast interior featuring all the trimmings of this new era of super cruisers. Like everyone else on the cruise we adopted dining as a hobby but restricted ourselves to the buffet restaurants so I am unable to offer a view on the main dining rooms. The buffet areas however, were large, well-seated and spread over a large area, but on many occasions we found that finding a table was very difficult and the servery was regularly overcrowded. The food was OK but nothing special, perhaps a little too much 'junk' food for my liking. If you are a fan of casual dress then this ship will suit you, very casual indeed. If you are the beneficiary of an inclusive drinks package, then good luck and take advantage of it, we were not and took advantage of the happy hour deals offered by a few bars in the early evening. But even if you are T-total you can only indulge your desire for a free juice drink at breakfast....what!!!..and no tea making in your cabin either !!! My god, I wouldn't like to be stuck on this ship in the unlikely event of being quarantined. However, if you are rich enough drinks packages are offered but would probably only appeal to a serious alcoholic. Verdict: Would I cruise with MSC again...NO, would my wife...maybe !... would my son...never. But thousands would, and will, and LOVE it....just not my cup of tea. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This ship seemed to have a primarily European clientele. However, being American was not a detriment. Every staff person that we approached for whatever reason, spoke English. All messages were announced in English (as well as many other ... Read More
This ship seemed to have a primarily European clientele. However, being American was not a detriment. Every staff person that we approached for whatever reason, spoke English. All messages were announced in English (as well as many other languages). The staff on board were exceptionally courteous. The ship was impeccably clean and any minor issues that we needed assistance with were handled instantly. The food was great for the most part. Breakfast eggs were a bit bland and some people complained about the lack of deep fried foods offered, but overall, the food was of great quality and good variety. Only one specialty restaurant which was primarily sushi. The shows at night were amateurish for the most part with a few good points. Not much in the way of on board activities. November was chilly so not much deck time. Excursions were well organized, but not available to book on the smart tv. You needed to book before sailing or wait on the excursion desk line. Ports were great. Genoa a bit boring. People embarking at different ports so not everyone gets on all at once, which was nice. Tenerife and Funchal were my favorites. Long wavy ride from Malaga back to Rome. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We sailed on this ship on 3 previous occasions and loved it. We liked the itinerary and price. Unfortunately, things have changed and the crew is incompetent. They kept our American passport when we got on. Made it difficult to get it ... Read More
We sailed on this ship on 3 previous occasions and loved it. We liked the itinerary and price. Unfortunately, things have changed and the crew is incompetent. They kept our American passport when we got on. Made it difficult to get it back. Food is now terrible. Little info about ports. Entertainment is repetitive. No television service other than free movies of their choice. Very poor Wifi and no communication with cell phones on the divina. Our last port, San Juan Puerto Rico, they tell us that everyone must get off the ship for the immigration procedure and you cannot get back on until 4:00 pm. We are supposed to get off ship at 10 am but still not off at 12 noon. During this process, they are having a crew drill and making announcements constantly. Also, we asked for a box of tissues and were told that we don’t get them in the Fantasia experience and they just changed that policy during this cruise!!!!!Terrible procedure. Also, minimal concern for hand washing.After this trip, we will not be back on the Divina and most likely will not choose MSC! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have been cruising with MSC for the last 3 years. This was the 11th cruise with MSC and the 7th on the Divina.This review compares the Transatlantic cruise from the Divina during November 2019 against the previous cruises we did with ... Read More
We have been cruising with MSC for the last 3 years. This was the 11th cruise with MSC and the 7th on the Divina.This review compares the Transatlantic cruise from the Divina during November 2019 against the previous cruises we did with MSC out of Miami on the Divina, Seaside and Armonia.Comments are the differences between this cruise and all other MSC cruises we took. We didn't compare MSC with other cruise lines we have been on 20+ cruises on three other cruise lines). We flew into Rome and took the transfer from the Airport to the cruise port. Finding a meeting point at the airport was problematic. Other cruise lines picked up passenger at baggage claim. After some asking around we found a MSC sign and were hooked up with the driver and the transfer van. Arrived at the port around 9.30 and had to wait until 11.00 Am before embarkation. No computers were available (broke down.....) so only the embarkation ticket and passport let us on the ship. The cruise card was in the cabin. Since our passports we not scanned in, MSC kept our passports. We demanded and got them back the following day. This was not done in other ports as we found out later. The cabin was roomy and clean as was the ship. Had some broken lights replaced in the cabin at our request. Since we are Diamond members (MSC just changed the name from Black Members to Diamond Voyager Members) all the goodies coming with that level were present. Since we where in an Aurea level cabin we had tissues in our bathroom. Fantastica and Bella had no tissues. No tissues were on sale in the shops either. Cost cutting in the cruise industry continues! Ship and cabin throughout the cruise were kept clean to the standards we are use to from MSC. The dining menu has not changed in 3 years. Since this was a crossing some local cuisine was added (Spanish, Portuguese and Caribbean). One problem though, the food was always cold dining room or buffet was no different. Only a few time I had some hot French Fries because I was watching them refilling the bin.This was not a unique experience. Our fellow passengers experienced the same cold food. The steakhouse was a bit better and had good food. The entertainment on the ship was the same as it has been the last three years supplemented with some opera and a few one man shows which were hard to watch since everything was translated in 6 different languages. The stage has not changed since the ship was built and is not current anymore. The 25 year old MSC Armonia is more modern in that regard than the Divina. This ship right now is set up for one time cruisers! May one timers said this will be the first and last MSC cruise. MSC has not figured out what the American market wants. Hope they figure out fast before their large investments into the cruise fleet will not generate any income! Than the activities: There at least 3 dance classes a day, throughout the whole 20 day cruise. The craft projects were the level of kindergarten. Also Calligraphy was taught everyday. What was missing of the activities list was the three times a day Trivia and other activities we have gotten use to on the Divina. The majority of the daily agenda was dance classes and sales in the shops! When Trivia was held a large group participated . The cruise staff was friendly when approached but behaved anemic in presentations and involvement. Only the Dance instructors were busy. This made the cruise very boring (if you are not into Dance and listening to the same three musicians in the bars!). Since we are frequent MSC cruisers we are use to the multiple languages. However the announcements were very long and in all different languages , which made it very annoying. Also very lengthy sales announcement were done in at least 6 languages! The excursions sponsored by MSC were OK. Also here, the multiple languages made it more difficult to follow the tour guide. On previous MSC cruises, leaving out of Miami, only English was the language use. At this time of the year there are very few kids on board and they didn't cause any issues. Since no children in our party so can't judge the children's program but it appeared to have the same problem (didn't see any children groups with MSC staff as on other MSC cruises): lack of activities.. The cherry on the ice cream came in Porto Rico. Since the cruise had a large amount of none Americans the process of going through customs took over 10 hours. MSC had notified us in advantage of the slow process.We had to wait more than an hour in the staircase after we were told to leave the theater. For many elderly and handicapped certainly a problem. We were not able to get back on board until 6 PM. (the night before it was stated that by 4 PM people could go back onto the ship). During this waiting time in the hall no information was provided by MSC concerning the status of the debarkation. Guests were still leaving the ship to go through customs as late as 5.30 PM. In the mean time the crowd got to be very unruly and a mob scene developed. And when finally embarkation started there was a rush onto the entrance (as per good European tradition) with no control of the crowd!. MSC expected the issues and didn't plan for the comfort and safety of the passengers which were waiting to get on board. A few days before the cruise I received an email from Cruise Critic stating a mix and mingle party will be organized on the cruise. Two days before the end I checked with the service desk which had no answer and promised to get back to me. Surprise, surprise, never heard from them and no Cruise Critic party was held.My experience with MSC has mainly been positive (except when unannounced a group of 2500 Vegan passengers took over ship making others second class citizens. MSC has compensated us for the inconvenience of that cruise). This was the first time I took an MSC cruise based out of Europe. Never again. Hopefully they adapted there cruise staff and programs since the Divina now leave from Miami for the next 5 month. Although cruising with MSC is good value for your money, maybe not this time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was a 20 night cruise Genoa/Miami commencing Nov 5., Cruising background. Celebrity x 6, HAL x 4, RCI x 3, Princess x 1, Carnival x 1. Countries cruised, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Indonesia, USA, Canada, Caribbean, River ... Read More
This was a 20 night cruise Genoa/Miami commencing Nov 5., Cruising background. Celebrity x 6, HAL x 4, RCI x 3, Princess x 1, Carnival x 1. Countries cruised, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Indonesia, USA, Canada, Caribbean, River cruises; Europe, USA, China, Australia. This was my first cruise as a solo cruiser due to being widowed in 2018 so it was a new experience for me. This cruise was chosen due to its itinerary and reasonable cost, including single supplement. This was a fly/cruise package from Australia which included 2 nights pre cruise in Milan and 2 nights post cruise South Beach Miami. We (me and my fellow Aussies) arrived Genoa mid afternoon after travelling by bus from Milan. Check went reasonably well even with a little confusion over where our passports were passed around but it got sorted soon enough. Immediately on entering Divina I was accosted (politely) by the usual up sellers. My package included the basic drink package and the sales person explained to me why I should upgrade. The basic drink package covered drinks (including, soda, water and coffee) to the value of 6 Euro. On looking at the drinks list there was very limited selection under that amount so I went for a 10 Euro/day upgrade. I'm not a big drinker but I do like a bit more variety 2 reds and 2 whites and 2 beers. The upgrade covered a large wine selection, quite a variety of beers and cocktails etc up to 10 Euros. Initial impressions of Divina were very good, lots of bling but too many mirrors which confused many. Swarovski(?) staicases, A bit OTT..Due to Divina's size it took me a little while to get orientated. First big disappointment was my cabin, more on that below. Next huge disappointment was the Main Dining Room experience. My group had early sitting at a table for 6 with 7 chairs. Our table was squeezed into an alcove in one corner of the dining room. In fact, all table in the dining room seemed to have been squeezed in. There was very little room for waiters to move around when serving or pouring drinks which made their job harder than it needed to be. The room ventilation (it was hard to tell if the aircon was on) was poor and it was very stuffy in our little alcove. A couple dining with us managed to score a move to another not so hot spot. The remainder, myself and two other Aussie blokes, could not get a move. The menu selections looked good on paper but what appeared in front of us was very mediocre. The chefs (?) must be on a tight budget as ingredients were minimal and not of great quality and never served hot. I'm guessing courses were plated well in advance of serving. On one occasion my appetiser of crumbed squid rings, served on a paper napkin on a plate, arrived cold. The cooking oil had been absorbed by the napkin and looked disgusting. I called the head waiter and showed him. He took it away and a few minutes later returned with a serving that was nice and hot, straight from the fryer. This was the only time I got a dish that was hot. Vegetables, was usually boiled to death broccoli or very sorry looking asparagus. Occasionally there some (few) green beans or peas. A few times I ordered some Italian dishes but these were just as disappointing as the rest mostly lacking in any intensity of flavour. If it wasn't for the good company of my dining mates, (one of whom was a retired chef and he was scathing of the food dished up) I would have dined in the buffet. The wait staff were stretched, there weren't enough of them for the number of diners. Serving times, from ordering to serving, were erratic but usually overlong and orders were mixed up. Poor Sweetie, that was our waitress's name. She was a sweetie but under too much pressure - she did her best. One sore point is water. Unless you have a drink package, expect to pay for water when dining. How cheap is MSC? Lunches and breakfast I usually alternated between the MDR and buffet. The MDR because I could sit and chat with other cruisers, and the buffet for its reasonable variety. Never had any problems finding somewhere to sit. There are many bars spread about the ship and the ones I tried had good service, and compared to most other cruises I've been on, reasonable coffee. Entertainment was so-so. No shows as such, more like small concerts usually of a classical nature, violinist, pianist, soprano and tenor. Some dancing. It appears this is the European style of entertainment. Towards the end of the cruise there was great excitement about a Queen tribute. Along with many others, we three made the effort to get a to the theatre on time to ensure we got a good seat, we did.It turned out to be the worst tribute show I have ever experienced. It was excruciating to watch. Canned music for a start (there is no ship band or orchestra). A lead singer who was not a patch on Freddie Mercury. It was hard to recognise some of the Queen hits as they were sung in an "operatic" style which did not work at all. Another song was accompanied by acrobats on ribbons from the ceiling. I don't get that at all. I eventually walked out in disgust. My two mates stayed till the end but said it didn't get any better. Evening entertainment usually lasted about 30 minutes including the six language intro by the cruise director. "That's all folks". Time for a rant. There is smoking in the casino at all times. Not only that, there was an atrium above the casino and smoke wafted up to a bar on the next deck which had a very good guitar playing and singing couple. It was a very popular bar and I would have liked to have spent time there but the smoke was too much for me. There was not much activity during sea days for me. There junior school level craft classes. There was trivia but not as regular as I would like and every question was asked in six languages. I read a few books from the very small library on the 6 sea days across the Atlantic.Dancing classes were popular. I could go on but I've said enough. I wont be cruising MSC again any time soon. Having said that, they do offer affordable cruising but you only get what you pay for, as the saying goes. As for immigration entering US at Puerto Rico, you can read about that in other reviews. It was a shambles. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. We began in Genoa. Cruise was western Mediterranean. My first cruise ever. Super clean ship, nice staff. Food was never hot, and as a buffet goes had the buffet fixings. Nothing dazzling ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. We began in Genoa. Cruise was western Mediterranean. My first cruise ever. Super clean ship, nice staff. Food was never hot, and as a buffet goes had the buffet fixings. Nothing dazzling about the food. All tasted good, but was average. Ran out of English breakfast tea 3 days before cruise ended. That surprised me, as I really only drink tea in the morning and after dinner. Tons of pressure to purchase drink package, we did not purchase but paid as we went, and did not spend nearly what the package would have cost. Room was large ( we had 3 people), and clean. Shower flooded the bathroom and part of the cabin. Fans put in the room to dry it up. Also received prosecco and caviar for the inconvenience. We did tours on our own. Used MSC for the Rome on your own tour...worked out fine but know it is 2 hours to Rome from the port. I would definately choose MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Bit of background. Used to cruise quite a bit pre-kids but this is our 1st in 10 years and our first taking the children. The cruise was very well priced considering it was the half term holidays in the UK. Hesitant after reading the ... Read More
Bit of background. Used to cruise quite a bit pre-kids but this is our 1st in 10 years and our first taking the children. The cruise was very well priced considering it was the half term holidays in the UK. Hesitant after reading the reviews of the ship so maybe that lessened my expectations but everything was very good. Embarkation - Bit confusing. On previous cruises, we got our cruise cards when we checked in. Here, we got told they are left in the cabin though our cabin was locked so had to go down to Reception and wait in the long queue before getting new cards. Yes - there was a bit of a scrum at breakfast time but always managed to find a seat or table. Food was always being constantly being checked and stocked up. This is despite people packing their plates as high as they could and filling tupperware with items for their lunch. How much food waste there is I don't want to know! I don't know why people can't put on their plate want they can eat and then go back for more if they still need more to eat? We ate in the Black Crab restaurant where our waiter Gerardo was helpful and good with the kids. Food was of good quality, not a great quantity on the plates but enough. Good selection of wines available. Theatre - As people have said, it's singing, singing, singing but when you have the quality of the singers they have then why not. Very entertaining and enjoyed each night. Ship was clean. Bar service was slow at times - you could be sitting down for 20 minutes before anybody came and asked if you wanted a drink. Bar service was non-existent on the pool decks. You have to go to the bar yourself. Ports: Palermo - Didn't spend any time in Palermo really. Got a bus to Mondello Beach and spent the day there. Cagliari - Nice place. Short walk to the centre so walked around. Palma De Mallorca - Good shops. Very clean. Again, we just walked around. Valencia - I thought Valencia was a really nice city considering it's one of the biggest in Spain. Plenty of parks. Good central market selling lots of local food. Marseille - Went on Le Petit Train which took us on a trip of the city. Disembarkation - Got no instructions left in the cabin so again had to go to Reception and wait in the long queue to find out what we had to do. All in all - would we cruise again? with Kids? Yes - they absolutely loved it with MSC? Yes - not a premium line so wouldn't pay premium prices but it caters for the mass market and does very well at that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We cruised with MSC for the first time but we are experienced cruisers (have more than 35 cruises with diffirent companies such as Princess, Oceania, Holland America, Celebrity, Costa, Viking, Amawaterways, Uniworld....).....The ... Read More
We cruised with MSC for the first time but we are experienced cruisers (have more than 35 cruises with diffirent companies such as Princess, Oceania, Holland America, Celebrity, Costa, Viking, Amawaterways, Uniworld....).....The embarkation and disembarkation processes were very efficient and easy.... we were in in 15 minutes and out in 5 minutes.... The ship is very beautiful..the space in the cabin is great (we had a balcony for that time but usually we reserve inside cabin) the cabin was kept very clean, it was very quiet (we were near the middle of the ship near an elevator or steps)....We mostly walked around the town in every ports. some ports were easy to go from the ship to town (Palermo, Cagliari, Genoa) but the others we had to use a shuttle (Marseilles, Palma de Mallorca) or a tour (city tour for Valencia with time to walk in the old city and the new part (Opera, Aquarium, etc....) with that tour we had time to do both parts of the city in the same day....The shows at night were very excellent (every night we had a show with dancers, singers and some with acrobatic people) and the theatre was full every night...my only complaint was that a lot of peoples came late for the show and disturb every one listening to the shows...those people don't have any respect for the others..... The FOOD: my complaint about that aspect of the cruise is: if you want to eat early (around 18h30) and go to the early show (at 20h00)...you have to eat at the buffet.... otherwise if you go to the show at 20h00 you have to eat in the main dining rooms at 21h30 or eat at the dining rooms at 19h30 and go to the show at 21h45.....for us it was a problem for us because we go to sleep around 22h00 so we had to eat at the buffet every night and the food is not so great there....usually we like very much the service of the dining rooms and for that cruise it was impossible for us to go in the main dining rooms..... Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we wanted a European experience on our ship. We flew into Paris and spent 4 nights there, then flew to Rome and took the train to Civitavecchia where we spent the night before the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we wanted a European experience on our ship. We flew into Paris and spent 4 nights there, then flew to Rome and took the train to Civitavecchia where we spent the night before the cruise. I definitely was a bit nervous of choosing MSC because some of the reviews are well ... less than glowing. I don't know what those folks experienced or expected because we had fantastic service and an absolutely wonderful time. I have only cruised with Royal Caribbean before and MSC was every bit as enjoyable in my book. We had a balcony stateroom and our steward was wonderful and responsive to our every need and desire. It was clean and bright and we love the balcony. Personally, we enjoyed the dining very much particularly in the main restaurant. Our waiter and his assistant were fantastic and eager to please. If something was not to my taste, they quickly brought me something else. I am sure that part of the enjoyment was our dinner companions who were personable and interesting conversationalists. We had the second seating and I loved the relaxed pace of the meal each night. The manager checked with us regularly to make sure we were enjoying our meal and emphasized that anything could be cooked differently or changed out if we were not completely satisfied. I was less than thrilled with the cafeteria/buffet but that was more due to the noise and hectic environment than to the food. I tried the burger one day and it was disappointing but, then again, I didn't go to Europe to eat burgers so I simply got something else. I preferred lunch in the main dining room with the option to choose from the buffet or to order from the menu and have table service. The service in all the bars was excellent and the staff was friendly. We preferred the Rendez-Vous because our waiter, Momin, was absolutely outstanding and made a real effort to know names and remember preferences. It became our before dinner meeting spot. The entertainment was also outstanding though I admit that I almost gave up on it after the first show - A Space Odyssey - which was mostly disappointing. I am a retired theater teacher so I admit to being somewhat picky when it comes to theatrical presentations. The costumes for all the shows were absolutely stunning and the rest of the performances were outstanding. I particularly enjoyed the Flamenco show and the mini Opera. We did not really plan on any excursions as we were pretty much intending to make our own way. We ended up purchasing one in Malta which was very disappointing. I had chosen it because I specifically wanted to visit the handicraft Village of Ta Qali and our guide didn't even know what it was. The description had specifically state that was included. In fairness though, our dinner companions went on multiple excursions and really enjoyed all of them. I will definitely sail with MSC again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this cruse very last minute, and snapped up a reasonable deal on a YC1 cabin in the famous MSC Yacht Club, first things first, the Yacht Club is a wonderful experience and really does set a bar for service, unfortunately there ... Read More
We booked this cruse very last minute, and snapped up a reasonable deal on a YC1 cabin in the famous MSC Yacht Club, first things first, the Yacht Club is a wonderful experience and really does set a bar for service, unfortunately there are still so many small niggles that stop it being the luxury experience they sell. The constant sell sell sell from all staff, photos, speciality dining, spa etc it’s just constant and really grates after a while. Embarkation: we boarded in Rome, luggage was taken immediately on our arrival and we was led into the waiting room in Rome, as we arrived at 1.30 we was sat down while the butler checked us in, within 10 mins he was walking us into Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge, this is a very relaxed lounge for YC guests. Cabin: we had a YC1 which is for all intense purposes a Mini Suite cabin with a bathtub, the room was a nice size for two people and serviced daily by the cabin attendant. Lots and lots of storage. Dining and Lounge: the Top Sail Lounge was a quiet and comfortable area you can visit anytime of the day, we ate breakfast there everyday and it was more than enough, pastries and fruit etc, you are sat for dining in Le Muse, this was where it all went wrong, a basic requirement should be to dine when you want, we was told on the first day between 7.30-8.30pm the restaurant was very busy, we tried to come earlier or later to fit this but felt very out of the experience we expected from YC. Entertainment: you don’t come on a MSC cruise for entertainment , bad Tina Turner act, terrible acrobatics show and awful witches show, NCL or Princess excel here and MSC struggle with the language issues. Disembarkation: have never felt so unwanted on a ship on the final day, we was asked three times what time was was getting off, in the end we just left ourselves, a really sour end to a average to good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After reading some of the reviews, we were so pleasantly surprised to find all the staff were really very good! If you take the time to exchange pleasantries, they certainly remember you and are happy to engage with you. We were amazed ... Read More
After reading some of the reviews, we were so pleasantly surprised to find all the staff were really very good! If you take the time to exchange pleasantries, they certainly remember you and are happy to engage with you. We were amazed at the different nationalities of all the staff and the fact they could easily interact with guests in several languages! Impressive, compared to our uni-lingual English capability!!! We endeavored to learn how to say 'thank you' in their native tongue, out of respect and a chance to get to know the staff better. It was very rewarding! Anwar was particularly helpful organizing many things for us and any time he saw us on the ship (which was quite often), he would always ask how things were going and if he could help with anything. That's pretty amazing! Excursions were very good, especially the bike tours - see Maria! The prices are cheaper on the ship than I could find looking separately but they sell out fast. Even if they are sold out before you board, you can still see if there is room. We were lucky enough to be able to book the Cinque Terre tour for a very reasonable price. We didn't really eat in the buffets, the Golden Sands provided very good breakfasts and really decent meals that were varied. We mostly ate in the specialty restaurants where the food was very good. We highly recommend the Steak House - hopefully you will have Roman and Tapewa (sp?) as your wait staff, they are fantastic. The Asian was very good as well! We upgraded our current (Aurea) drinks package to the Premium one for $9EU/day - well worth it as you could have all the cappuccinos you wanted, as well as fresh juices, upgraded wine and drinks selection. The bartenders all remembered us, if not exactly what we drank, as we often tried new drinks. I can't remember all of their names but they were almost all great! We didn't make it to the shows at night. It is a big ship, there is no two ways about it, and it is quite modern in styling, however, we didn't find the line ups to go ashore or for excursions were onerous. Some were to be expected. The ship didn't seem crowded, there was always room at the bars and restaurants (make reservations at the specialty restaurants). We had a balcony cabin and really enjoyed being on the balcony when entering and leaving ports. It was much warmer than we were expecting and the pools were definitely in use and a bit crowded. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We choose this cruise as we live in Rome and leaving from Civitaveccia is easy. Smooth embarking and cabin ready at 12.30. Aurea Suite which was with good space and nice view. I liked the beds and pillows. I did not like the linnen as it ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we live in Rome and leaving from Civitaveccia is easy. Smooth embarking and cabin ready at 12.30. Aurea Suite which was with good space and nice view. I liked the beds and pillows. I did not like the linnen as it was not a pure cotton. They do not win the first price for cleaning. Many finger marks on doors and walls. On the first day I had to ask for the bathrobes, slippers and diffuser which come with the Aurea Suite package. Cabin steward very kind. Food is like in any 3 star resort. In other words below standard. Self service restaurant is terrible, service in bars is slow and not always friendly. In general staff is not interested. A simple question is too much. Not efficient at all. Staff not well trained to serve huge numbers of people. 7 days and 6 ports. Disembarking and embarking guests in all 6 ports. Confusion, luggage, safety drills and certain areas blocked every day. Day 6 "man over board" at 6 am. Alarm in all cabins, confusion and hundreds of people with life vests moving around the ship. Confusion because at the safety drill they only explain the genetal alert which is different from "man over board" alert. Information only given after 30 minutes. Fortunate they saved the "jumper". I guess this would also have been the case if they would not have woken up 3500 people. All in one, a huge factory! Not hell but far from heaven. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise as we saw a documentary on MSC. It is a great new ship with great rooms and great staff. There are no sea days so there is never really any overcrowded areas. We booked the Aurea Experience and upgraded to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we saw a documentary on MSC. It is a great new ship with great rooms and great staff. There are no sea days so there is never really any overcrowded areas. We booked the Aurea Experience and upgraded to the Premium Plus drinks package, (Well worth it). We suffered a bit of jet lag so didn't get the full benefit of the upgrade but still went pretty close. With Aurea you get a free massage which is good but beware this is purely a sales tactic to up sell product and more services, the masseuse literally stopped 3/4 of the way through a massage to try and sell me a $50.00 tub of sea salt and oil...... Uumm were in the Med, don't need to buy salt, I'll just go to the beach when in port. The restaurants, buffets and bars are all fantastic with huge selections that change daily. In the buffet they have a buzzer on the tables for drink service which is fantastic. Please bare in mind that these cruises are different to all of the others, the guests that grace these boats are mostly from Europe and Russia and therefore DO NOT Queue or wait for anything and think it is their god given right to push and shove their way through any situation (Especially when disembarking and not waiting for people to exit lifts). You just get used to it, we didn't let it bother us as we were friendly to the staff we got preferential treatment all of the time, a great benefit of not being rude...... Our Balcony Cabin 15035 was in a perfect spot on the ship for us and we loved being on the balcony for entering and leaving port and when there was a storm. The beds are super comfy as well. All in all if you are thinking of booking one of these DO IT they are well worth it. Just don't expect the staff to grovel and fall all over you like they do on American cruise lines, its a different culture and if you want something you need to ask for it (Politely of course). Sugar gets you a long way on this ship. There are a lot of hot tubs on the ship too so you don't have to worry about them being full of kids all of the time and warm urine tubs... they seem to keep them really clean. Just beware in the pool areas that there is literally no body shame and you will see the biggest of bodies in the smallest of swimwear outfits (Again mainly the Russians). AS all cruise lines, their transfers and excursions are grossly over priced so do some pre cruise research and you'll be right. Barcelona - Just Walk Cannes - the 12 Euro Mini Train Genoa - Sightseeing bus and walk _ Best PORT of all of them. La Spezia - Train to Pisa Ajaccio (Corsica) Walk - BORING town. Palm De Mallorca - Just cab it into town and walk around. Cabs arounds afternoon peak hour are hard to get though. Rome - Civitvecchia - we boarded there so its just over an hour on the train into ROme - go First class for 15 euro well worth it ..... Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Timing and port selection of cities which we had not visited,Last minute booking to fit a time slot which opened up.The food was not up to previous standards and the one hour time slot did not allow time for coffee. Thje buffet food was ... Read More
Timing and port selection of cities which we had not visited,Last minute booking to fit a time slot which opened up.The food was not up to previous standards and the one hour time slot did not allow time for coffee. Thje buffet food was same quality as dining room. Unlike previous cruises there was constant nickle and dining going on. The drink packages and internet charges were high .Expect an additional 150 for a week of internet. A spin class which was included on a previous cruise was an extra.There was tacky sales going on constantly for handbags and watches going on constantly. To my taste the ship was too large with line up to get shuttles back from ports.The library was a tiny room with perhaps 20 books not as advertised. The staff was very pleasant except for an arrogant cruise services representative. I picked the ports not the cruise line , next time the latter will be considered as well Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
First off, when we arrived I checked the sheets/bed as I always do and found tons of hair in the sheets. The bed was made so I’m confused as to how there was hair in the sheets? Did they remake the bed but not change the sheets?? I ... Read More
First off, when we arrived I checked the sheets/bed as I always do and found tons of hair in the sheets. The bed was made so I’m confused as to how there was hair in the sheets? Did they remake the bed but not change the sheets?? I called guest services to have the sheets changed. Room was not very clean. I dropped my chapstick on the floor on the side of the bed and when I picked it up, I also picked up hairs and other debris along with my chapstick. You could tell they don’t move things around then they clean and only clean the visible areas. Customer service was terrible. On the first day, our waiter didn’t even tell us his name or do the usual introduction. We didn’t encounter any friendly workers on this cruise. In our past experiences, the workers have been very friendly and outgoing and always willing to talk. At the very least, I expected them to be friendly. They say they accommodate for gluten free. I filled out the paperwork over a month before & even called them to confirm this. When I arrive they tell me that the buffet isn’t safe and I should only eat on the MDR. This being a European cruise with a daily stop, we had an excursion every day so when we came back, the dining room was closed for lunch. This left me with only the buffet which I was told wasn’t safe for me to eat. I had to starve until dinner time because of the high risk of cross contamination. I attempted to eat at the omelette station for breakfast one day before a tour and got terribly sick. The breakfast times didn’t always work out with tours either. On our LAST day I was told that there were gluten free lunchboxes that I could request to take on excisions. Why wasn’t I told about this on the first day!? All I was told repeatedly sad that the buffet wasn’t safe and to eat in the MDR, even though I repeatedly told them that I had tours and came back after the MDR was closed. They didn’t make an effort to make special meals for me or try to accommodate for me when I would come back from a long tour which was during a heat wave mind you, so I was starving! I purposely chose MSC because I read all about their gf options. I feel completely blindsided and lied to. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you cannot eat safely on a vacation! Furthermore, the excursions are not organized at all, you would think that they would be considering they do the same thing every week. None of them left on time and we had transportation issues with two of our buses. The ac broke down on two buses, both in 95 heat!! And I felt so terrible after the second time because we were driving and then waiting in the hot bus for I don’t even know how long. I was sick the entire night and then had to go to the emergency room in Rome the next day because I had severe heat exhaustion and required an IV and antibiotics for my high fever and heart rate. It’s clear that there isn’t required maintenance on these vehicles which is very unsafe, especially during the current heat wave in Europe! The tour guide was exceptionally rude and told us to shut our mouths and wait for another bus. Multiple people felt very sick and I’m sure I am not the only one who got severe heat exhaustion. Overall, it was a terrible experience. I deeply regret choosing MSC and would never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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