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18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Initially we chose this cruise to fit in with holiday availability of family members - and certainly had some trepidation given some of the reviews. We need not have worried. Simply put this was a great cruise - if you are looking for a ... Read More
Initially we chose this cruise to fit in with holiday availability of family members - and certainly had some trepidation given some of the reviews. We need not have worried. Simply put this was a great cruise - if you are looking for a Mediterranean style cruise in the Med. If you are looking for a British cruise experience in the Med, then you will no doubt be critical, but this is not P&O nor Cunard....it is MSC, and it suited us perfectly. We wanted Mediterranean food on board - and that is what we got - pasta, risotto, pizza and plenty of other choice. We had a Suite Cabin, on Deck 15, top accommodation level, with Aurea experience, providing reserved sun deck area over two decks outside and above the cabin. The Aurea experience meant we ate in the Ibiscus restaurant on anytime dining, where the staff were excellent - Maria and Pante ensuring we were warmly welcomed and looked after. The evening meals might appear to some as being somewhat small in quantity, but it was good and tasty, though not always as hot as we might normally expect (but I always reflect that in Masterchef the food is always served and tasted cold:)) Breakfast was fun.... a bit of a bun fight in terms of finding somewhere to sit in the buffet, but the food was good, varied plentiful. The main sundeck was a family oriented affair, with plenty of loungers, small pools, and Jacuzzis, with entertainment almost non-stop - with music always on... very Mediterranean, it was bustling and noisy - may not be to everyone's taste - but we had the refuge of the Aurea reserved areas so did not avail ourselves of this, seemingly madhouse. Service was always attentive, and polite, more so than I perhaps expected. Good drinks, with our package giving us free non-premium drinks, which were quite plentiful, and varied. Prices for premium was ok. If you are expecting P&O style entertainment then you will be disappointed - but what we say was good - an abridged song & dance version based on Grease. Good fun. All announcements are made in a multitude of languages - and the obligatory safety drill was well done, as was the disembarkation briefing. There were no Captain's updates that we heard, but there were almost daily crew exercises that could be quite noisy in terms of tannoy volume. TV - didn't use it other than checking the bill - but understand it has limited choice if you are expecting British entertainment - but hey we were on holiday and not wanting to watch TV. Food was available in the buffet 20 hours a day - and good it was too - particularly a late night Pizza slice... great pizza with good choice. Evening meals don't start until 7pm in the formal restaurants - reflecting the Mediterranean style of not eating until later than we are used to in the UK. For cabin review see below. Itinerary was great - we board at Rome, and enjoyed all our ports of call - where we had plenty of time. Tender was done well at Cannes. We enjoyed a complimentary Balinese massage as part of the Aurea experience, which was fine, and we also enjoyed the Sauna/Steam Rooms - though the inside Jacuzzi was a bit cool for indoors.... 37C. Note that smoking is permitted in more places than you might normally expect on P&O cruise - part of the Casino, a Cigar Room, and also part of the sun deck - one half of one side. There were plenty of bars, some quite gaudy, which we enjoyed rather than dull greys. If anything I would say that the restaurant choice was somewhat limited compared to other cruise experiences, particularly given the number of passengers - there was one speciality Asian restaurant - which we did not try. Other than that you are in your main restaurant, and the buffet. Formal nights - there were two - were remarkably informal - I think I saw one dinner suit. Certainly most people dressed smarter, but not DJs and tuxes... that suited us.. (excuse the pun...) There was very little hard selling - sure they took your photo, but no hassle. Overall the ship was a very happy ship - with a much broader mix of people - plenty of childen, younger couples, and actually fewer older people than say compared to a P&O cruise. In summary - we would definitely cruise with MSC again - we saw their new ship Megaviglia moored next to us at Genoa - wow it looked fantastic. A happy cruise line, unpretentious, and easy to like, particularly if you are want to relax and not worry about formality. We would look to the Aurea experience as a minimum, just so we could have some quiet/privacy outside of the cabin on the sun decks. We were a family of four - including our two adult children who had an identical cabin three doors away. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this ship on recommendation of travel agent.It all kicked off at Barcelona Airport where the MSC rep could not be found. We looked everywhere and eventually spied him behind a pillar. The embarkation was a pain as there was only ... Read More
We chose this ship on recommendation of travel agent.It all kicked off at Barcelona Airport where the MSC rep could not be found. We looked everywhere and eventually spied him behind a pillar. The embarkation was a pain as there was only one scanner at security check in we were in the queue to board ship for ages. The cabin was very clean and of a good size. The TV had two English channels BBC World and CNN. The cabin was serviced twice daily no problems here. The food was plentiful in the buffet area but in keeping with dining throughout the ship the temperature was tepid to cold totally unacceptable. The fine dining was just that, the portions were very very small. I ordered a cheese platter and there would just about be enough to put on a mousetrap. The waiters and staff were excellent very friendly and obliging. My other gripe were the two Gala nights suggested dress code dress suits. It was totally ignored by many of the other passengers. They came in in leans tee shirts and other rags. They were admitted to the so called Gala night. This should be policed and if not cancel the Gala nights altogether. The entertainment in the lounges was very repetitive so much so you might hear the same songs twice or three times every night. It was all karaoke backing tracks even for the four piece bands. The theater productions were not too bad the worst performance was the opera night were the male singer was totally out of time with the backing tracks and his tuning was suspect as was the female singer. The security people need to smile a bit they were the most sullen I have come across. There is a ten euro service charge per passenger per day. I asked some of the staff if they received this and the response was no. So with a capacity of 3200 passengers MSC are pocketing a further €32000 per day this is €224000 per week and €11,648,000 per year from passengers . Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We are a couple on the 60´s, more than 10 cruises before. Nice looking ship. Very port intensive cruise. Price below competitors. Good bars and lounges. Service very attentive. The line attitude looks cheap, and ... Read More
We are a couple on the 60´s, more than 10 cruises before. Nice looking ship. Very port intensive cruise. Price below competitors. Good bars and lounges. Service very attentive. The line attitude looks cheap, and charge for everything. No toiletries even in a suite. If you buy a drinking package, the only beer available was Heinecken; wines spumante, red, rose and white, period; no choices. Good coffee and liquors in the package. Excellent bars and lounges with above average live music. The main restaurant is very nice, the service is good. We consider the service organization very professional. But, and is a very large but, the food was served in small portions, the ingredients were not first quality (i.e, sirloin steak was not in the menu) and in general the taste and whole experience was far from a satisfactory one, even the pasta and rissoto were not al dente, considering MSC is an italian line. The buffet lacked quality and space organization. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
we chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent, the embarkation process was very smooth & quick, most of the staff onboard were friendly, helpful, courteous, we chose suite, it was spacious, with panoramic view, & ... Read More
we chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent, the embarkation process was very smooth & quick, most of the staff onboard were friendly, helpful, courteous, we chose suite, it was spacious, with panoramic view, & small walk-in wardrobe, the disappointing thing was there were no amenities, except soap & shampoo from dispenser, we expected the suite to have more amenities, the buffet had an array of choices, we were spoilt for choices, & also the restaurant had different menu every day, so it was good as we could only go to one restaurant to eat, or buffet, good entertainment whole day through, & in the evenings too, didn't; take any shore excursions with them, as they all were starting quite early, & we wanted to take it easy, heading off at around 11, the bus service from port to city were too expensive, as it was drop & pick, they could have kept it more reasonable, check for other services, or public transport, much cheaper & equally good, disembarkation was not very good for us, as they did not give us tags for our luggage, & by the time we asked them, they said it was late to get luggage service, didm;t give us reason as to why the tags were not delivered in our room. so in the morning one kind cleaner helped us with our luggage to the exit point, so that ruined our overall experience. As it was their fault for not giving us tags, they should have assisted us with our luggage. But overall it was a good experience. Lots of activities to keep one occupied. Lots of quiet seating areas too to relax. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I was attracted to the low price but would travel again because of the great service and good food. There were lots of food choices, especially for vegetarians. I found the food in the buffet better than the dining room, but the dining ... Read More
I was attracted to the low price but would travel again because of the great service and good food. There were lots of food choices, especially for vegetarians. I found the food in the buffet better than the dining room, but the dining room was still good most nights. The ship was clean, modern and well laid out In the evenings they had a trio who played in the main central lounge, two violins and a piano playing classical music, or a fellow on piano singing opera which was fantastic. Evening entertainment was so so The staff were very friendly and helpful. From all over the world and all languages spoken. The guests were also from all over the world and many languages would be heard. Unlike other ships you could start and finish your cruise in different ports, we started and ended in Barcelona but you could also choose Genoa, Rome or Sicily. It rarely seemed crowded even though there were 4,000 people aboard. We had a balcony cabin on the 10th floor. It was spacious, lots of storage room and clean. There were a number of children but they never posed a problem for me. There appeared to be a daycare. There were also a couple of Italian high school groups, I heard they get good deals Again not an issue. We only did one ship shore excursion, Rome to the Vatican, and it was good value and we enjoyed it. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose MSC Magnifica as we had sailed with MSC twice before on the Fantasia and the Orchestra,and could not fault either ship, and the cost of an MSC cruise is very favourable So it is the Magnifica that has finally burst the MSC bubble ... Read More
We chose MSC Magnifica as we had sailed with MSC twice before on the Fantasia and the Orchestra,and could not fault either ship, and the cost of an MSC cruise is very favourable So it is the Magnifica that has finally burst the MSC bubble for us and we have to say overall out of 25 cruises we have done so far, with this and other cruise lines this has got to be our worst experience in a long long time. Lets get the good bit out of the way. The ship itself is beautiful very colourful glitzy and clean Our cabin ,was a balcony cabin number 9173 which was nearer to the rear of the ship than we had hoped but never the less it was extremely clean and comfortable,however the pillows were not as plumped up as we would have liked. Overall the ship itself we could not fault,and we would say the only real issue we had was when the weather turned a bit nasty and the sea became choppy,we felt every dip and roll,but we have put this down to the position of our cabin ( we generally prefer and ask for a midship cabin ). Now for the not so good bits and as with previous reviews there were many,and it began as soon as you stepped onboard, with the staff lined up trying to push a drinks package on you.Staff were not helpful in directing you to your cabin or anywhere else for that matter all they seemed to want is for you to sign up for a drinks package,and were really persistent. Suffice to say we did not sign up for any drink package. This theme of wanting your cash continued for the whole cruise with waiting staff continually pestering you to sign up for a drink package,the photographers were strategically placed around the ship were obviously they knew passengers would have to pass to get to the various bars etc and again they were pushy and persistent.We also had to endure staff coming round the bars asking if you would like to buy a lottery ticket or a scratch card and at times they shoved them under your nose. If you wanted to sit and listen to any of the singers/ musicians without wanting to purchase a drink then you had no chance as many waiting staff looked at you as if to say well you have got to buy a drink if you want to sit and listen to the music,( which wasnt that good anyway). Our gratuities were pre paid at 9€ per person per night,and really for the service we got we wish we hadnt signed up for them. However our cabin steward was very good and we would much rather the bulk of our tips go to him,because as for the rest well.....Food. Again as with previous reviews the food was often luke warm bland not very apetising and in the main restaurants the portions were a bloody disgrace,with child like portions etc,and the variety and choice was very limited to say the least. Our waiter, i wont name him but he was pleasant enough but had no idea and often made mistakes. Now for our BIGGEST BUGBARE, the entertainment,especially in the theatre. We had to endure three supposedly headliner shows of OPERA and all sung in Italian,yet our fellow passengers were multi national and English is widely understood and chosen. Bloody opera i ask you. We even had the two guest opera singers singing in the centrum you just couldnt get away from them,we know there are a lot of Italians fond of Opera but on a cruise ship taking up three nights in the theatre? As for the rest of the shows it was all run of the mill stuff with MSC singers and dancers doing the same dance routines each night but with different costumes. They also roped in the other so called entertainers which were a selection of jugglers acrobatics and body contortionists to make up the shows,which lasted barely 40 minutes,which on hindsight was just as well really. Very dissapointed in the cruise directors choice of entertainment around ship,although i do have to say the three classical musicians in the centrum were very good especially the violin player. Well that about sums our cruise on board the Magnifica . On a final note disembarkation was a farce( well what did you expect me to say ? We were supposed to be called to disembark at 9.30a.m At 10a.m we were still waiting for the nod to leave the ship.we were getting worried as we had arranged a private taxi transfer to the airport .In the end we just got up and left the ship without waiting for the colour code we were given for our luggage to be announced.Once off the ship it was some distance we had to walk to get to the area were all the luggage was waiting to be collected.Had it been raining we would all have been soaked. This should be much nearer to the ship. So a major dissapointment for us this cruise and one we were glad to be leaving.Would we go again with MSC,well we never say never because when all said and done the actual cost of an MSC cruise is still relatively cheaper than there counterparts,however the old addage still stands you get what you pay for or do you in the case of an MSC Magnifica cruise. We do believe this ship is sailing out of Southampton this summer 2017, and if thats the case they had better get their act together for their British guests and start listening and acting on all of the complaints highlighted by other passengers where the theme is pretty consistent. Come on MSC listen and make those changes then perhaps we may just choose another MSC cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I choose this cruise for the itinerary; however the experience was extremely disappointing in terms of entertainment; the only options were old fashion (and depressing) German songs that only German people knew; no dance music, no salsa, ... Read More
I choose this cruise for the itinerary; however the experience was extremely disappointing in terms of entertainment; the only options were old fashion (and depressing) German songs that only German people knew; no dance music, no salsa, only very old German waltzers. The only option to dance was waiting till 11 for the disco to open but it was always deserted because too late. My family got some present tickets in the room (because they did many cruise) however the present was something we already bought (the Spa Experience), when we explained that to the reception, they said that if we already have paid for the experience, then we won't get anything else. The evening show was very basic (always the same choreographies) and every night there was flamenco, very boring to watch flamenco every night. The animators were also very boring didn't seem to have fun; I will give 3 stars only because the cabin was always extremely clean and the restaurant staff very positive; Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We have just returned from a 22 night B2B cruise.Our first MSC cruise was last month and this was no better (actually it was worse). We were attracted by the Status Match scheme which catapulted us into their highest Black Card Status. ... Read More
We have just returned from a 22 night B2B cruise.Our first MSC cruise was last month and this was no better (actually it was worse). We were attracted by the Status Match scheme which catapulted us into their highest Black Card Status. We immediately hit a problem when we went to confirm our request for a table for 2 had been received (it wasn't, just like last month). Salvatore, the obnoxious assistant Maitre'D was adamant that they only had 5 tables for 2 on the ship and had a waiting list of 100 couples, so we couldnt be accommodated. We spent our first 3 nights eating in the buffet, whilst checking with Salvatore each afternoon. He claimed there was no record of our table request but we found the reply from MSC on our phone. He finally said he would speak with the Maitre'D (Alberto). We still heard nothing until we cancelled our gratuities - we would prefer to pay staff who served us and not the restaurant waiters who didn't. That did the trick and Alberto came to find us in the buffet to advise that they had managed to find us a table for 2 after all. That sort of action really does irritate me, but at least we got the table for 2. Our waiter (Ramil) was excellent together with his assistant (Cadek) and we gave them a nice tip over and above the automatic ones which had been re-instated. Sadly, the food in the restaurant was terrible; can't they find a chef who knows how to cook any type of meat? The pasta and other Italian staples were fine though. The lunchtime buffet was better but ALL food throughout the ship was once again only luke warm. Just like on Splendida last month, the entertainment was atrocious. The daytime activities were non-existent, the evening shows were dire and the music in the bars was repeated night after night (so much so that we knew the playlist in each venue). However, once again the staff were (mostly) excellent and the service they provided just about saved this cruise for us; though even they were not as friendly or happy as the staff on Splendida. We are due to give MSC one last try (as we had already booked and will lose the deposits). Hopefully, the Yacht Club experience in Jan 2018 will seem like another cruise line entirely - fingers and toes crossed. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Having just moved to Europe, our family was looking for a way to link the cities we wanted to see in the Eastern Mediterranean. MSC offered the perfect cruise itinerary at the most affordable price. Our schedule was fairly limited, so we ... Read More
Having just moved to Europe, our family was looking for a way to link the cities we wanted to see in the Eastern Mediterranean. MSC offered the perfect cruise itinerary at the most affordable price. Our schedule was fairly limited, so we were very excited to find something that fit our availability. We drove to Genoa and stayed 1 night before boarding on December 6, 2016 for an 11-night cruise. We didn't explore Genoa before embarking, but the whole embarking process was well-organized and fairly quick. We had priority boarding privileges with our Aurea Experience package, but we didn't really need it as the lines were not long at all. We had our 2 boys (ages 7 and 9) with us, and they loved everything about the trip. The ship was beautiful and very well maintained--if a little "glitzy" for our simple tastes. Our cabin had a very comfortable queen-sized bed, a single-sized pull-out sofa, and a single-sized fold-down bunk. Because our boys are small, our sleeping arrangements varied on the day, with them sleeping together in one single on some nights. We had only walking space available when the pull-out sofa was extended, but it was easy to fold away during the day when we didn't need it. We opted for a balcony and really feel like it made our cabin perfect. We sat outside almost every afternoon as the ship sailed out of port, and it was nice to take pictures from each morning as we arrived. The window was a lifesaver for my husband as it allowed him to regulate the room temperature a little better. The Magnifica has only the formal dining area, 1 specialty restaurant, and the buffet. We were assigned to the Quattro Venti dining area and were pleased with the choices (though they definitely catered to the Mediterranean in taste; very experimental for our American palates). Because we had the boys with us, we chose to skip the gala dinners and used those nights for swimming and grabbing pizza from the buffet. The buffet had lots of decent-quality food, but the choices were the same each breakfast and lunch. Our biggest problem with the buffet was that it was always busy for breakfast. We had a hard time finding seats, and the organization seemed inefficient. Toward the end of the trip, we began eating breakfast in the dining room bistro, which has more limited hours but a less-chaotic atmosphere. Our Aurea Experience included in-room breakfasts each morning, but the choices were all carbs (cereals, breads, toast, with some fruits and yogurts) and none of the American-favored eggs, meats, and cheese. We tried it only once. The service was amazing in all the dining options. As far as entertainment and activities go, our experience was tempered by the language barrier. Most shows were heavy on dance and various talents rather than singing and the spoken word. Activities were in at least 4 languages, so they could be confusing at times. We were blown away by the language skills of the crew. All spoke at least 2 languages, and most spoke 3 or more. Most of the nightly shows didn't appeal to our boys, but the kids' club and activities were well done--though, again, were in several languages or were mimed. MALTA: We were scheduled to stop at Malta, but the wind and swells made sailing into the port too dangerous. KATAKOLON (Olympia): We reserved an automatic-transmission rental car from AVIS a few weeks before and had no problem at all picking up the car and driving to Ancient Olympia. We used the self-guided tour in Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports to see the archeological site and the nearby museum. Our family was pleased with this stop. PIRAEUS (Athens): We booked a personal tour through Olympic Tours by Niki Vlachou. Our guide Nina and driver Kostos were wonderful, professional and understanding of our needs/wants for the tour. We had a delightful car tour of the city with stops at the Panathenaic stadium and the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Nina provided a great historical context during our walk up the Acropolis, and our time in the new Acropolis Museum was a highlight of our whole cruise because of her guidance. CYPRUS: My husband and I left the kids onboard at the kids' club and opted for an MSC-sponsored jeep safari of the island, including stops at Agros for tours of a sweet factory and a rosewater distillery, at the highest waterfall in Cyprus (not very impressive in comparison to other falls), and at Lania, a picturesque town with a 500-year-old church. Overall, we felt like the jeep safari was not worth the steep price tag. The stops were too short for such a long drive, and it was too cold to open the jeep's top, so we missed much of the scenery in its cramped backseat. RHODES: We walked into the walled city and explored on our own, using Rick Steves and DK as very basic guides. This was by far our favorite stop. We read a lot about the Knights of St. John before going and loved the history of the fortress. It was a beautiful day! Some of the shops and sites were closed due to the off-season, but we found plenty to enjoy despite that. CRETE: The wind and swells kept us out of Crete as well, but the captain arranged for an unscheduled stop at Messina for the following day. Our Malta day and Crete day were the only 2 of "bad" weather. The sun was out on both of those days, but the wind was strong. All the other days were calm and beautiful. MESSINA (Mount Etna): Because our stop in Sicily was unscheduled, we opted for another MSC excursion. Our bus tour through Messina and along the coastline of Sicily was very informative and enjoyable. We had about an hour to explore Etna, but the thick fog limited our views. Nevertheless, our boys loved looking for lava rocks to bring home as souvenirs and both ranked it as one of their favorite destinations. CIVITAVECCHIA (Rome): We chose to focus on the Vatican during our short stop in Rome. We booked an MSC excursion that gave us an overview of Rome from the bus, then a guided tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. The tour was very well-organized, and it provided a great introductory visit to The Eternal City. We felt rushed in the Vatican City, but we saw all the highlights, and my husband and I were both very pleased with the excursion. Read Less
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