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61 MSC Cruises South America Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise mainly the length and the itinerary. Whilst we booked Aurea class our cabin 12071 was just below the pool area and the noise at times was intolerable especially at night when they were cleaning the deck. I was woken up ... Read More
We chose the cruise mainly the length and the itinerary. Whilst we booked Aurea class our cabin 12071 was just below the pool area and the noise at times was intolerable especially at night when they were cleaning the deck. I was woken up several times and phoned guest services to complain, they promised to send someone to sort it out, straight away, however it was more like half an hour. Nevertheless we did not expect that we would be the on two English passengers on board with 99% being Spanish speaking and as a result all of the entertainment was in Spanish including the TV. Had I known this in advance I would not have booked and would advise anybody booking a similar cruise to ask the question. The food on board reminded me of school dinners, poor quality and unimaginative, basically on the cheap. Guest relations was poor and they just smiled a lot without addressing the problems, the other staff were however friendly an efficient. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I feel like MSC improved recently, but I didn't enjoy this cruise on 2016, even though it was on a Yacht Club cabin. Pros: - Yacht club area was very nice: amazing pool and hot baths! - Nice excursions, specially the one to ... Read More
I feel like MSC improved recently, but I didn't enjoy this cruise on 2016, even though it was on a Yacht Club cabin. Pros: - Yacht club area was very nice: amazing pool and hot baths! - Nice excursions, specially the one to Ilhabela! - Decent saunas, and an exclusive elevator from the YC area to the aurea SPA! - Butler service, organizing your room and bringing breakfast to bed with domed plates! Cons: - Mediocre dinners. No lobster. Worst Hollandaise sauce I've ever had in my life. - Although the cocktails were tasty, the quality of wines was terrible. Prosecco was often still, and we had a minuscule selection of drinks, even on YC areas. There was no craft beer, no Aperol Spritz, etc. - We couldn't get free drinks on other areas of the ship with the YC pass. MSC fixed this issue recently, to be fair. - No app Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and ... Read More
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and tables at shadow while they didnt use it, and while old people had nowhere to seat but "deck sun chairs" under full sun. - Lack in response of stealed stuff while they have cammeras everywhere. - Hyper lack on organizing boat tickets to go to the beaches (four or five bridges long lines of people at 7 am), while they sell you prior expensive bad packages to go offboard on first turn. - Too cold conditioned air inside, at any public space. You could difference such as 20ºC form outside and inside. A lot of people got colds or got sick including me. - Food was good at buffet but mostly fat like: cream, butter, and too much oil and flour. Healty food i found was rare withuout mentioning vegies, fruit and cereal... want low cream milk? then you'll have to pay extra for it. Bufet juices are all artificial. - Ship and boats spread black and brown stains at sea, without mentioning whole black smoke by engines. - Crew... always smiling... but if you stared a little just... watching them, you would see they are all the same doing different things at anytime. Several times i asked some of them, do you ever sleep?! Not all of them anwered, but i know some did just for a couple of hours. - Yes, it is slave work but i have nothing better in my country, if you dont like it they fire you. "Ship rules under who knows what wokr and human rights." - Last night i saw the captain eating a piece of pizza at the bufett... Think if i had known all the things i readed after arriving (didnt have internet because it was a joke the price) mabye i wouldnt be here. - Arriving, all things they said they will do to take care of our lougage like data and unique numbers id and coulours for organize and find your stuff, never happened. Lucky you if you could find your stuff in a mess... and I could have taken anyones stuff without any control. Going off the ship and off the port was all a mess too, no matter if you where a baby, and old woman with walking stick or a guy with wheel chair. Sorry my english. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The ship is very big, so be ready to walk, however, it's incredible, with delicious foods for all tastes, comfortable cabins, an excellent service, with some entertainment (but not always), activities such as videogames, F1 simulator, ... Read More
The ship is very big, so be ready to walk, however, it's incredible, with delicious foods for all tastes, comfortable cabins, an excellent service, with some entertainment (but not always), activities such as videogames, F1 simulator, football ("soccer", for some), baskteball fields etc. The ports in Brazil are very direct to your ship, but I can't give a review on shore excursions by MSC because we visited the cities on our own. By the way, if you're a fan of disco, there's something for you there, but I wouldn't say it's really that great if you're a hard partying person. We embarked in Santos, and the trip followed as we visited Búzios, Salvador, Ilhéus and Ilha Grande, until we return to Santos. MSC Splendida has great plays and music for all, but I'd like to assure that this ship is actually perfect for who wants to rest, feel happy again, forget about your daily problems and remember what "relax", "rest" and "smoothness" mean again, having moments where you do can have fun too. The trip was so incredible that I feel like I just disembarked to date. I absolutely recommend it! PS: As for the children, I didn't go with "my" children, they were in my group, and that's my review for children: not very recommend, the ship is more adequate for what I mentioned above, but yeah, definitely, they loved the trip for its other facilities! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
It took 8 hours for my luggage to arrive at our room. embarkation was slow and disorganised. The disembarkation was dis-organized embarkation with people hanging around lost and confused. There was no information in place at ... Read More
It took 8 hours for my luggage to arrive at our room. embarkation was slow and disorganised. The disembarkation was dis-organized embarkation with people hanging around lost and confused. There was no information in place at embarkation. My husband who is disabled had to walk a very long way in the heat to the taxi, as the roads were closed for redesigning and 2 MSC ships were disembarking at once, it was chaotic and dangerous with one single pavement and porters who were squeezing through the throng with huge trolleys! The most outstanding issue, I think, was the lack of hygiene aboard this ship. It was terrible; almost non-existent. Dozens of people were sick with colds, coughing, sneezing, around the food. When entering the buffet or dining room, no staff member was present to oversee that people used the hand sanitizer, so most did not. Other cruise lines enforce this. Babies in nappies were sat on the tables in the buffet.  When I asked the staff for a decaf coffee sachet they looked at me as if I had asked them to stick pins in their eyes, the staff were rude, arrogant, argumentative, and appeared to think that “the customer is always wrong”.  service wasn't good (room attendant being the exception).  I would NOT recommend this cruise line to anyone. Both of us came back home with an illness, from colds to sore throats, and I believe the lack of cleanliness on this ship played a big part in that. I feel we should get a refund for this awful experience. Definitely NOT a luxury cruise The buffet was very crowded and chaotic, it was hard to find a free table, and I was shocked to be using plastic cups and plates ! The drink packages were expensive, it was low quality food. Poor service and attitude. Hard to relax in this environment! Half the buffet was closed and the other half was over crowded. They served the same food the whole cruise recycling everything. The food was plentiful but the quality was very poor, everyone was saying that it was very poor quality. The coffee was really undrinkable they must be using the cheapest kind of coffee beans.  The theatre was stunning but wasted as the entertainment on board was terrible we are used to west end style shows like the ones P and O put on.  Frequently there was no internet and I got shouted at in reception for trying to get it 3 days in a row. In The Gym - there are 10 running machines with people queuing to use them - 8 are taken up with people taking a slow walk ! The 25 minute rule on the running machines in the gym doesn't work as young men just come off of one machine and go onto another machine.  There was a passenger strutting around with a speaker blasting music out and sticking his finger up at anyone who asked him to go away. The staff didn't bother to say anything to him. There were stalls set up everywhere to try to get passengers to spend more, selling everything from handbags to not pads, it looked like a jumble sale. We will never go on a MSC Cruise again, it was so disappointing after going on a P&O Cruise. The ship was beautiful and kept very clean. The places we visited were lovely, although some areas were clearly very dangerous, no warnings or advise was given to us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have just read reviews of Splendida in November 2015 - very similar reviews. I do agree, however, that the embarkation in Barcelona left a lot to be desired. It was not organised at all and, unfortunately, no one person appeared to ... Read More
I have just read reviews of Splendida in November 2015 - very similar reviews. I do agree, however, that the embarkation in Barcelona left a lot to be desired. It was not organised at all and, unfortunately, no one person appeared to be in control and knew what was happening. I understand there was a problem with check-in computers and shortage of staff - no excuse MSC MUST get this sorted out. However, our embark time was stated as 3 pm and we were in our cabin at 2.30 pm and the luggage arrived at approx 4pm. Re disembarkation in Rio - everyone was off the ship according to their allotted time - if not before. It is not MSC's fault that Rio are holding the Games this year and have decided to build a railway where the dual-carriageway was once sited. It was hot (Rio does tend to be hot in December!) there were more than enough Porters to assist with baggage handling and the baggage-hall was well organised. Unfortunately, it was chaotic with 2 ships but this is the Port Authorities responsibility and not MSC's fault. We were at our hotel on Copacabana beach at 10.20 am which I think was pretty good! Lack of hygiene - what! The ship was spotless everywhere! Colds - you cannot blame MSC! Babies in nappies - I only saw about 5 children (2 babies) out of 3,500 passengers and I certainly did not see any sitting on tables in 'diapers' in the self service restaurant. Staff rude and arrogant, argumentative - we found them all to be extremely helpful, pleasant, courteous, efficient - as good as any other 4* cruise line. Service - our cabin steward and waiters in the MDR were excellent - nothing was too much trouble - they even arranged a curry meal for us! Bar staff were, again, excellent, efficient, friendly with, perhaps, one exception! Buffet (Bora Bora) did get busy, particularly when we had picked up an additional 600 pax in Salvador. However, we NEVER had a problem finding a table at breakfast or lunch (we headed for the aft and it was never 'crowded or chaotic') and the bar service was not a problem - ever! 1 o'clock for lunch could be busy, however, and occasionally there was a wait of, oh, at least 2/3 minutes when trays of food were replenished. Hot piazza's were flowing all the time however. They certainly did not run out of food! The one side of the buffet did close about 2.45 pm to get ready for tea but certainly not before. Plastic cups and plates - have you been on P&O or Cunard lately? Aggressimo drinks package expensive - GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY! I don't know where you normally drink and what price you pay at home but you cannot say this is expensive. Perhaps you only have 1 or 2 drinks a day in which case don't buy the drinks package. I'm afraid MSC didn't make a profit out of us! Entertainment team worked tirelessly and very hard - not always to everyone's taste but if you don't like, don't go to that event. The entertainment in the bars was excellent, particularly, the 2 Brazilian female singers in the Atrium - brilliant! Did get a bit loud around the pool, but this is typical Italian entertainment - so move to the other quiet pool or another deck. King Neptune's party was brilliant - think that might have put a bit of smile on your face maybe? Theatre shows were not 'London shows' but were still varied and suited most tastes. The dancers were excellent - the one male singer not so good! Flamengo, Paris, Tribute, Italian Shows and the Opera singers were all very enjoyable as was the White Deck Party. By the way, you weren't dragged to the Aft Lounge or Disco if you didn't want to go! Shop stalls - yes outside the shopping arcade - again if you don't want to shop don't go there. As for the dangerous ports - you are visiting Brazil this is a 3rd World country which has many well publicised problems - murders, drugs cartels, theft, muggings - have you read about the Favelas in Brazil - did you do any research before you booked? I don't think so. Have you read about the problems in Europe lately - Paris, Athens, Barcelona, London and anywhere else for that matter. We had a fantastic cruise and this is our third from Europe to South America with MSC and would certainly go again. If you are going on a Mediterranean cruise line you are, strangely enough, going to get 'foreign' food, different culture and sense of humour and entertainment and they are going to talk in a funny language. However, all the crew speak English as their second (if not first language) and English is second on all announcements. The Theatre (or emergencies) are the only occasions when 5 languages are used for announcements. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The cruise itself was very nice. Cabin was clean, the menu and service were very good. The entertainment was varied including jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers and an attempt at stage production. The staff was polite and attentive. ... Read More
The cruise itself was very nice. Cabin was clean, the menu and service were very good. The entertainment was varied including jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers and an attempt at stage production. The staff was polite and attentive. The public areas were very clean The truly disappointing aspects of the cruise came at the beginning and end; the exact times you would think MSC would like to make a good first impression and lasting final impression. The embarkation at Santos port was disorganized and confusing with poor signage and little cruise ship guidance. It was like being at a busy bus/metro station during rush hour on a Friday evening while carrying a weeks worth of luggage. The luggage drop off was extremely disorganized with multiple lines converging on unclearly marked drop areas. Amazingly the luggage did make it aboard the ship. With many passengers being in the 60 to 80 year range, the scene was very stressful.There was very little guidance provided by terminal staff or MSC staff in the staging of embarkation. The cruise was 2 hours late in departure from Santos. The 'Loading of Passengers' was not well staged and lines of several hundred metres were common. The disembarkation at the termination of the cruise in Santos was a disaster. It was not safe and took over 2 hours to conduct. The ship arrived 4 hours late; yet passengers were called to sit in a crowded lounge (Zebra Lounge) staging area to await instructions regarding disembarkation. This waiting lasted 2 hours in a lounge designed to seat a fraction of the passengers in the area. Elderly passengers sat on the floor or on the stairs awaiting information without water or comfort. When a manager was called for assistance, the response was that all staff were busy at reception and that all passengers were to remain in the lounge area. It must be noted that staff in the staging area was accommodating and helpful to the elderly. What was obvious was a management absence in the area. There was no one to give direction to staff. Management was not available. Clearly the management responsible for the organization of disembarkation had no contingency plan for a 'ship running behind schedule' or for addressing the related complications of passenger crowding in the disembarkation staging areas. For the comfort and more importantly safety of passengers MSC management must review these polices, procedures and practices. The disembarkation procedure was unsafe for all and a health hazard for the elderly.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Absolutely the worst cruise ever. We got off this ship two days ago and I felt like I had gotten out of a dirty prison and was released back to society and civilization. In my opinion and based on my experience, here are the reasons why ... Read More
Absolutely the worst cruise ever. We got off this ship two days ago and I felt like I had gotten out of a dirty prison and was released back to society and civilization. In my opinion and based on my experience, here are the reasons why and I hope this information assists others considering their cruise options. MSC LIRICA 1. Service. Dispassionate and lack lustre. The service was the least energetic of any cruise we have taken and we have been on many. Staff standing around talking and ignore you when you need something, forget it. 10 minutes to get syrup for waffles (yep, they were cold by then). Coffee refills.......I got up and got it myself after asking twice. Orders confused. Of course there were a few exceptions, but for the rank and file, team building is needed. For some, friendliness wanes by the day, as if they are tired of serving this cruise and will coast this one, until the next one. One waiter did tell us, that the Caribbean cruises were far better for good tippers. (hmmm, we pay a service fee every day on our bill). 2. Announcements. Little to no regard for English speaking guests. Over 95 percent of the announcements were in Portugese or Spanish with no English translations daily (only when it was time to get off the ship did English come). MSC....shame on you for not ensuring all guests feel welcome and have access to information. We paid good money to take this cruise the same as anyone else. We did get the daily ship overview in English on request. 4. Excursions. We enjoyed Buenos Aires and Punta del Este but there were some significant issues with the planning and execution of safe excursions. Islabella should be called islaHELLla ! The schooner to the beach excursion was a total of 2 boring hours on the boat looking at trees and rocks along the shoreline. We were to spend two more boring hours on an insect infested tiny beach in the pouring rain. We were covered in insect repellent as advised, yet they still swarmed and bit us voraciously. Several large dogs milled about off leash, smelly and they kept scratching and sat with us under the tent in the rain. There was no food or beverage service on the beach...obviously they knew it was raining and stayed home. I never did see a washroom…so people were wading in the ocean. We ended up staying on the beach 1 1/2 hours when misery finally bumped common sense into action. There was no common sense, however, in being out on the water in a lightning and thunder storm for the 1 hour rain soaked journey to the tender dock. Isn't it well known that the worst place to be unsafe is on the water. Aren’t there nautical weather predictions to guide the senior ship staff as to when and where to let excursions go in inclement weather?. Upon getting back to the tender dock in Islabella in the rain, thunder and lightning, there was a huge line of passengers waiting for tender. We were told to cut in front of them, since we came off a boat right there. I am sure those who were left stuck in the rain for a longer time were not impressed. After this most uncomfortable tour, I informed the excursion staff about all of the problems and asked for a credit but guess what? No credit. (the tour description informs there are bugs and that it goes even if raining so that warning trumped the lack of beach amenities and the dangerous weather conditions). 5. Tendering. The return lines were long as noted above...in Punta del Este we were dropped off at the correct time to take the last tender back as we were on a planned excursion. Then we were faced with an over one hour wait in a huge line in the scorching sun. Then a ride in high seas with waves over top the bow with passengers bounced around in the cabin, screaming. It was frightening for so many. They were told not to panic when many were trying to rush off the tender onto the ship and one person fell to the floor. The tender captain made a remark in Portugese about our ship captain, pointed up and shook his head. I don’t think it was complimentary. Then we learned of a medical emergency....rumours of the death of a passenger having a heart attack on the tender....the crew would only say it was a medical emergency. We left port 2 hours late that day escorted by a military vessel instead of a pilot boat. Something was up. Passengers were quiet and sedate in the early evening … like a mood had come over the ship. 6. Casino staff. If you gamble at tables here, you better pay very close attention to your money. These casino with dealers make MANY mistakes. One tried to short me $100.00 on a chip change up for $700.00. I noticed the pit boss turns a blind eye to mistakes in favour of the casino and when called on it, the response was ... “we are only human”. One pit boss said, this is not a casino; it’s just for fun. (well, at least he bought us a drink after our addressing several mistakes in a row). But really, how can a dealer not recognize a straight, or a straight flush???Really? Those chips were coming off the table…….the dealer thinking she had the nut flush….. and seriously, the winner was a straight flush !!! This could have cost the player over $800.00 as he had bet well. I was the one who said…Hey! That is a straight flush. The dealer looked at the pit boss and put his chips back and then paid him out. The electronic poker table rakes are set very high…..after an hour of two of poker play, the players stacks were disappearing. But then any good poker player knows to observe the rakes so that is their choice. 7. Food. Horrible is the best I can say. Three slices of pork fat and I am NOT exaggerating, was my first dinner and I sat there not able to catch the eye of staff (one waiter serving about 30 people at once), not asked how my meal was…..and it was inedible. Finally, I asked for a manager, and the matre’d came over and took the food to the kitchen. Acknowledging the poor quality, he sent chocolate dipped strawberries to our room later that evening. The cuts of meat are at the low end of the quality scale. Cheap cuts of meat every meal. Pork leg, pork chop. Chicken legs, or chicken pounded so thin you could use it to write on. Beef rump. Thin hamburgers. Cut pieces of unrecognizable meats in sauces. On gala nights I was hoping for better. No luck. Three small shrimp was the seafood highlight (appetizer). One entre offering was Filet...I thought "at last, I can have a nice steak". But it was 3 slices of beef, which were over cooked (I asked for medium rare) and they were covered in gravy; and tasted like roast beef. Again, the staff too busy to ask how things are. You can find lots of rice. Lots of beans. Thank God for pasta. Boring and overall tasteless buffets. Not even an omelette station like other ships. Portions……obviously in the buffet you can decide, but if you order the cheese plate in the dining room, it is laughable. The breakfast coldcut plate ever moreso (e.g. the ham is about 1/3 of a slice of ham for size). The chef roamed around a few times waving as if he were a movie star with fans. I wish he had come to our table, but then he didn't speak English either. 8. Internet...yes I know it is slow but at 50cents a minute, it took 20 minutes to read 2emails and send one. When I discussed the problem, I was told they had a new antenna and that the IT person would look into it, but I still got charged. However, on a positive note, given a complimentary phone call because I needed to know how my elderly mother was after learning that she was deteriorating. I appreciated this, but the steward sat there and listened to my call with no offer of privacy. 9. Cleanliness. We got to the room and went to have a shower and there was a wad of long black hair in the drain. Disgusting. The next day the shower would not drain and flooded over. The steward came and opened the drain and pulled out a pile of hair and the drain worked. He left the room telling us it was fixed. I went to the toilet, and there was this huge wad of hair floating in the toilet he never bothered to flush. Ugh! Then on the pool deck, I was in the washroom. A cocktail server came out of the stall and left the washroom to return to work. SHE DID NOT WASH HER HANDS ! !! and we all know what can happen on cruise ships with E Coli and worse! And the busy pool areas, night club parties, and disembarkation lounge washrooms……so many times, NO toilet paper. You would think someone would be assigned to be in those areas cleaning and refilling when the volumes are high. Over the days on board, I progressively developed a severe and painful allergic response …red, watering, painful eyes. My eyes started to settle within hours of getting off the ship. I looked up what could possibly be a cause of this from ships and learned it could be mold or dust mites. 9. Entertainment: On this point, I have compliments where due. In fact, this group of people work so hard and are very congenial. Thank you to Anna and Vittorio for being two of the few on this ship who took time to try to make us feel welcome in English. 10. Beverage packages. On this point, the prices of the beverage packages are good. We had some nice wines and some good discussions of wine with Antonio which we appreciated. The afternoon featured “wine tasting” was unusual. Cruisers who like this activity are used to having a small organized event with wine and taste pairing for the cost; with some discussion and education on the wine offered by the sommelier. On Lirica, you are given a wine menu, and simply pick 3 wines to drink from about 10-12 choices (but no descriptions). A plate of salami, cheese, and some prochuitto wrapped bread sticks is the snack…….? Call that a food pairing? lol. Thank you to those who take the time to read this. It is my first review but obviously one that needs to be shared. If more people took the time to do this, perhaps important changes can be made so that everyone who spends thousands of dollars of their hard earned money to get to and experience a cruise vacation can get what they pay for……a clean, pleasant, enjoyable and safe vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We were a family of 4, a couple with 2 teenagers, a girl (16) and a boy (14). We have booked for our first cruise on Preziosa one of the most expensive cabins in the Yacht Club class, the Executive Family suite. The first disappointment on ... Read More
We were a family of 4, a couple with 2 teenagers, a girl (16) and a boy (14). We have booked for our first cruise on Preziosa one of the most expensive cabins in the Yacht Club class, the Executive Family suite. The first disappointment on arrival was that although we were in the front of the ship and had a balcony we could not access it as the windows were sealed and could not open. A shame, for a cabin of that size and position. Second disappointment on arrival was that even though it was for a family of 4 the sofa bed was a small sofa bed and my teenagers would have to share it, what didn't seat very well with a girl of 16 and a boy of 14. In the end this was sorted and the staff brought in a mattress and placed on the living room floor and we had to live with it for the whole of the trip. This was a bit annoying as we were told at the time of booking that there were 2 sofa beds. The Yacht Club class is very nice, but there was only 1 restaurant and a buffet area near the bar in the pool that we were allowed to use and by the middle of the trip it starts to get a bit boring with the same thing every day. For the price charged on this class we should be allowed to chose any restaurant on the ship to dine in. Drinks were only included in the Yacht Club area as well, so if we went to another part of the ship we had to pay extra for drinks. Even though it's nice to be in an exclusive part of the ship, you will not be only in that area for 7 days in a ship, so not very good value for money if you have to pay for anything outside the area. This Yacht Club arrangement needs to be reviewed in my view. On the other hand I don't recommend any other class as by wondering around I could see how crowded the other classes were. Another point to mention was the fact that the Executive suites can only be booked on the Yacht Club class, but they are located on the front of the ship while the Yacht Club class reception, bar, restaurant, pool and all other cabins from the class are on the other end of the ship, so we had to walk the whole length of the ship to access the areas every time we went there. Not very well designed and if you are planning to book these suites be aware of this detail specially if you have problems of mobility. Prepare to walk a lot from one side to the other all the time. Another negative was the lack of sun shades in the pool area. If you don't arrive early in the morning to get a table with a shade you will not get one later. There are plenty of tables and sun loungers, but not enough sun shades. On the positive side the ship is stunning, the gym and the SPA have wonderful views and excellent service. The food was good and the entertainment also good, but not exceptional. Would I book this cruise again? My answer is no. No, because of all the above reasons and I would try another cruise company such as Celebrity Cruises or Royal Caribbean instead of going back to Preziosa. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was ... Read More
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was to have time to relax and enjoy the trip. To make short a long history, we waited for approximately 5 hours to get on board in a very crowd area (even considering that was Christmas time, the waiting time was not reasonable). By the time we finally entered the ship, we had only a few minutes to get to our cabin, pick up the life jackets and proceed to the meeting point. It is not necessary to say that after the emergency exercise all passengers went to the restaurant at the same time to grab some food (considering that the majority of the passengers do not live in the departing city and spent several hours to arrive there before the check-in). Again another patience exercise because the restaurants had no space to everyone and it was a very bad "welcome aboard" message. After this first "lost" day, the trip was reasonable until the stop in Punta del Este, where we noted several (dozens of) mosquitos in our balcony and in the surrounding areas (we had a cabin on the back of the ship, near the external stair). We asked for plague control and a very polite man came to our cabin with an electronic raquet used to kill mosquitos and killed the insects inside our cabin and also the ones located in the balcony - but not the ones in the other balconies near or the mosquitos hidden in the stairs area, even after we alerted him about it. The result was that we were not able to use the balcony after this point of the trip. To conclude our "not so happy trip" the arrival in Santos, Brazil had the same situation we faced during the check-in... You were requested to leave the cabin at 8 AM because they need to clean the cabins to the next group of guests (perfect!) but we stayed inside the ship until 2 PM without access to food or drinks, except if you want to open a new account and proceed to a new check-out before leaving the ship. This is not reasonable and MSC must think a way to allow the passengers to pay the last drinks/ice creams, etc in cash or to sell special vouchers for use during this period. I know the company will say the year end time is complicated and the delay was related to the immigration offices but I would say it does not sound reasonable, because in a previous trip using another ship of MSC in the same itinerary we did not face the same situation... Additionaly, another ship that was doing exactly the same route apparently had no problems with delays... Our group were the last one to leave the terminal. I would suggest MSC to check the procedures again and try to improve the boarding and departing in this port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
A trip on the MSC PREZIOSA is a great example of this basic capitalist tenant. Me and my family took a 7 day trip on this ship along the Brazilian coast on New Years 2015. There were so many things wrong with it that I don’t even know ... Read More
A trip on the MSC PREZIOSA is a great example of this basic capitalist tenant. Me and my family took a 7 day trip on this ship along the Brazilian coast on New Years 2015. There were so many things wrong with it that I don’t even know where to start. Most of the crew were rude and not at all helpful, with very few exceptions. The majority seemed not to speak English or the local language, or at least pretended not to. My impression is that there were so few of them and so much work to do that everyone ended up miserable and the job was poorly done. Cleanliness of cabins was a major issue. One the most revolting things I have ever experienced dried up faeces and gave out the most foul smell ever. After a lot of complaining, they sent someone to clean it. Not exchange it and throw it away at a nuclear disposal site, mind you. They cleaned something like that, which still remained brown, as you can imagine. That´s not all. The linen was never changed in all seven days and it smelled like cigarettes. Furthermore, one of my family members found a package of condoms under their couch. The food was also terrible. The lunch buffet served pretty much the same pizzas and hot dogs everyday, with some daily specials that changed. But the worst were the dinners. Both the Golden Lobster and the Arabesque restaurants served some of the worst food I have ever tasted. Chewey pasta, bad meat, old salad and so on and so on. So in order to have a proper meal you have to go to either Italia or Eataly restaurants, which are not included. So you add up some US$ 50 to 80 per meal per person to your bill and the reason why the main dining restaurants are so awful starts to become clear. Also, they put on a lot more guests then they should. Pool areas are extremely crowded, there aren´t nearly enough seats, chairs or pools for everyone, so you either get there early or spend your day spending more money in the smoke-filled casino. Still, the ship was full, so MSC seems to have struck gold: bad service for high prices.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We took this wonderful cruise, after the last game of the world cup. Been a avid cruiser, I saw the cruise line had a nice route and decided to book it. I book a yact club family suite after reading good reviews about it. I strongly ... Read More
We took this wonderful cruise, after the last game of the world cup. Been a avid cruiser, I saw the cruise line had a nice route and decided to book it. I book a yact club family suite after reading good reviews about it. I strongly recommend the Yact club!!!. From the moment we arrived on board, it was wonderful. We were received by a Butler that took us directly to our beautiful suite. From the pillow menu, to the nice stocked mini bar, to all the personal attention we recieved at all times; I must say that by far, that is been the best cruise we ever taken. we were spolied from day one. Our first contact at the consierge, Tomas, and Guiseppe the Le muse maitre D, from there on it was amazing!!!!. I had read mixed reviews from past Divina cruisers and was careful before booking the cruise. I guess must of the negative complains are due to the fact that people are just to cruising with non European companies. Europeans are more open to change as others. We have no complains whatsoever and we are already looking forward to book our next summer holidays with MSC. Keep up your excellent work, and thanks for a memorable cruise!!! Nieves Family Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I took a nineteen-day repositioning cruise from Miami to Brazil on the Divina. We had mixed views about the cruise. Overall, though, we thought MSC was not up to the standards of the other mainstream cruise lines, and we will ... Read More
My wife and I took a nineteen-day repositioning cruise from Miami to Brazil on the Divina. We had mixed views about the cruise. Overall, though, we thought MSC was not up to the standards of the other mainstream cruise lines, and we will not cruise with MSC again. Warning: This is a long, detailed review. If you make it to the end, you deserve an award! But before I discuss the ship and the actual cruise, full disclosure requires that I mention four things that, from the very beginning, really colored our overall view of this MSC cruise. First, MSC unilaterally changed the dates of our trip well after we booked it. This was crazy, of course. Everyone who had pre-booked like us had to change our travel plans on both ends. On top of that, MSC did not inform passengers with existing bookings right away -- instead, we found out about the change in dates through chatter on the web and a visit to the MSC website. Then, when I called MSC, it took a long time to get through to an actual person. So, basically, their precruise actions and communication were terrible. Second, the MSC website was very poor. It was difficult, if not impossible, to book such things as excursions and drink packages through the site. And when we tried to book a post-cruise transfer to the airport, we found we couldn’t do that through the website but had to go through a travel agent. And it was difficult to understand the deckplans and cabin arrangements on the website, leading to . . . . Third, we booked a suite, and we thought, of course, that it included a balcony. Our boarding ticket even said “Aurea suite with balcony.” Well, the cabin (9008) had a space outside that could have served as a balcony, but you could not access it from the room! Instead, we had a large, sealed window. In addition, the room, although comfortable, was not as large as you might think a suite ought to be. Not counting the short entryway (or the bathroom or the small walk-in closet off the entryway), the room was only 168 square feet (yes, I measured it!). In essence, then, our “suite” room was not much more than a good-sized ocean-view room. And, again, the info about the actual smallish size of the “suite” and the lack of a balcony was not something you could readily tell from the MSC website. Finally, because of our destination most of the passengers on our ship were Brazilians, and I think the vast majority of them spoke little or no English. Because of that, some of the things (e.g., entertainment and food) might have been different from what was presented on a typical Divina Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise. OK, now on with the review of the actual cruise! Embarkation wasn’t too bad. We had to stand in line for clearing security for about 30 minutes for no apparent reason, but after that things moved along smartly. We did get a special check-in line for the “Aurea Ocean View room,” uh, I mean the “Aurea Suite.” The ship itself is quite beautiful, as it should be at only two years old. It is also huge, the largest cruise ship we have been on. Interestingly, and despite the size of the ship, there are no large public spaces (other than the theatre), although there are lots of smaller, intimate spaces. Unfortunately, the ship also has no real promenade. There is some narrow outside deck space on the seventh floor on each side of the ship, but that space does not connect around the bow or the stern and so you could not walk all the way around the ship (which we like to do). There are also no chairs out on that deck space, which means that you cannot sit outside and watch the sea go past close-by, something my wife and I also like to do on sea days. Our cabin steward was great. They always are, aren’t they?? Did a great job keeping things clean and tidied up. No towel animals though (not that I care about that). And he never introduced himself to us, which was also a cruising first. Entertainment The shows consisted in large part of operatic music and singing. When there was a bit of variation, we attended. First show we attended was called “Wonderland.” It was a sort of Cirque De Soliel acrobatic show with an Alice in Wonderland theme. It was quite good, once it actually started. But for the first 20 minutes they introduced the officers, in different languages. And then then Captain gave an introductory speech, in 8 different languages! He even mocked himself, and the whole process, by adding a ninth language (Turkish). A few in the audience thought that was funny and entertaining, but we did not. The second show we attended was a mime called Yarek. Appropriate, I guess, for such a polyglot customer base. Parts of it were good but, frankly, I had no idea what he was doing on other parts. The third and fourth shows were production shows, one with a Pirate theme and another with a Michael Jackson theme. Both were very well done, some of the best entertainment we have ever seen on a cruise (again, once you get past the long, multilingual intro . . . . ). Finally, we saw a variety show featuring a pianist/vocalist named Mike Pidone. Again, too much talking (introductions, etc.) in multiple languages. Boring! It would almost be better if they didn’t talk at all, and just launched into their programs . . . . There was very little in the way of daylight entertainment on the ship, which bothered some of the other Americans aboard the ship. Just some bingo, a late afternoon trivia contest, and some dance classes. This did not bother us much since we were visiting and playing cards with our traveling friends. Our meal service experience was quite mixed. Breakfast buffet. A lot of items, but . . . I like an egg station, with made to order eggs and omelets. Sorry, not on the Divina. Well, how about some bagels? Again, not on the Divina. Maybe some cottage cheese to go with your fruit? Nope. I did manage to find some oatmeal, though. Lunch time had some nice choices. They had thin crust pizza, various types each day. Well done. Various pastas were also well done (special kudos to the pasta with clams and also the paella). Not so good, however, was the Indian curry. Hamburgers were precooked and wrapped in tin foil. The dinner food was OK, but nothing that really stood out. The dinner meal service, however, was strange and, frankly, poor. It began with the attempted upselling of our friends, who had bought a drinks package (which entitled them to glasses of wine), and who thus did not want bottles of wine. But the waiter was pushing bottled wine on them. The waiter also announced that “we won’t serve you coffee after dinner, its not as good as the specialty coffees.” Well, we like coffee at the end of dinner, so we put an end to that (dinner coffee, by the way, was OK). The waiter also asked to take our dessert orders at the beginning of the meal, instead of waiting to the end. We also put an end to that, and said we would order dessert after dinner. During the dinner service, the waiters were constantly reaching across my wife to serve me, and vice versa. We never experienced that on other cruise ships. Then they were occasionally delivering the next dish before you had finished the current one. And when we ordered a bottle of wine, they were never there to refill our glasses, we had to do that ourselves. OK, I know some of you are thinking, these are pretty ticky-tack meal service issues. And you are right! But the competitors of MSC don’t have these issues. So why would we go with MSC in the future if their competitors do it better?? And there were other service issues. One night our traveling companion (and table mate) ordered a glass of wine for himself and his wife and never got it. What ensued was hilarious. The next night, the waiter delivered two glasses of wine when only one was requested. Then the next night an unsolicited cup of fish soup. And the next night an unsolicited extra leg of lamb (already an enormous portion). It became a sort of an ongoing joke, what will the waiter bring tonight that some other table did not want? In contrast to the meal service, the bar service was generally good. This is true despite MSC’s apparent policy of requiring all tips, including the automatic 15% added to each bar charge, to be shared across the crew. We frequently gave the bar staff an additional tip in cash. Also, we found that the Allegrissimo Classic all-inclusive drinks package, at $44 a day for US cruisers, was too pricey for what we drank. In contrast, the Allegrissimo Escape a la carte package (15 drink coupons for $82, including the auto tip) worked well for us. A couple of miscellaneous notes to close. The internet service went down for several sea days after we left the Caribbean headed south to Brazil. Then, when the internet service finally came back up, we had a lot of trouble getting to our email (probably because many people on the ship were trying to get on at the same time). Of course, this was annoying, and made more so because we had bought an internet package so we could stay in contact with friends and relatives and we were trying to ration our minutes across all the sea days. Then when the internet service finally came back, we burned almost all our minutes on an extremely s l o w . . . . c o n n e c t I o n…… Probably because everybody on the ship was trying to catch up on their email! Boo! Mostly we did private tours in the various ports, always the way to go if you can arrange it. We did one ships tour, the Castaway Girl in St. Thomas, and that wasn’t too bad. One nice thing about MSC was getting off the ship in port . . . we never had to wait in line on the ship for that. In sum, all cruises are enjoyable, and we generally enjoyed our MSC cruise. However, we thought that MSC does not provide a cruising experience up to the standards of the other mainstream cruise lines. So we won’t use MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Firstly the good points - ship décor still on good condition; clean cabins; restaurant staff excellent; dealt with lactose-intolerant problem extremely well.Now for the problems- 1. Buffet food is always cold and repetitive and no-one ... Read More
Firstly the good points - ship décor still on good condition; clean cabins; restaurant staff excellent; dealt with lactose-intolerant problem extremely well.Now for the problems- 1. Buffet food is always cold and repetitive and no-one including the Maître d'hôtel interested. 2. Even the main restaurant has a tendency to serve cold food unless you complain. 3. At the commencement of the cruise, the lunch time restaurant was quite quiet. However as a result of the poor food in the buffet, then the restaurant soon became very busy, and lunch became an almost 2 hour marathon as the staff and kitchen were overrun by the demand. 4. Embarkation was a total and utter disaster. A numbered sequence used, but called too many numbers at once resulting in passengers having to queue for well over 1 hour to reach the embarkation desk. 5. UK booking process totally lacking and a total shambles with e-mails continually ignored. 6. Organisation of disembarkation at ports of call virtually non-existent. 7. Entertainment quite basic, but energetic performances by the dancers. 8. Mainly Brazilian & Italian passengers who tend to be very noisy and regularly queue jump.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just returning from a 7-night cruise aboard the MSC Preziosa . Travelled with my husband , my parents , in-laws and 3 nephews . Among nine people , only the children were fully satisfied with the ship . This was my fourth cruise, the first ... Read More
Just returning from a 7-night cruise aboard the MSC Preziosa . Travelled with my husband , my parents , in-laws and 3 nephews . Among nine people , only the children were fully satisfied with the ship . This was my fourth cruise, the first by MSCs . We chose Preziosa because it was the newest ship traveling along the Brazilian coast , and really , its decor is beautiful , extremely tasteful . There are many options of entertainment for children and adults . The team of Brazilian animation was pretty fun , but the qualities end there. The feeling is that there is a lot more people on board the vessel support . The public areas were always overcrowded . There was no place in the pools during the day, or in the lounges in the evening for a drink . But worst of all was definitely the buffet Maya & Inca . Disorganization is the word that best describes the place , with a terrible arrangement of food, spread over 100 meters restaurant. When you get a place to sit , the marathon begins to find food. When you return to the table , the food is already cold . The disembarkation by tender was so tumultuous and disorganized that we gave up going down on Ilha Grande - very frustrating . Another downside was the poor service . With few exceptions , grumpy and unwilling crew. Cleaning was also lacking , especially in the cabins and corridors . The carpet was always dirty and sometimes there was food dishes alongside some doors (which were also not collected within the rooms) . Now the food ... Little variety in the buffet , and repetitive menu . At dinner restaurant, excellent service by the waiter Soni and his assistant Alexander. Tasty but unsophisticated food. Very different from the other ships that I traveled before . Finally , the price of food and drinks paid separately . Too expensive ! Draft beer Itaipava 400ml U.S. $ 4.80 , can beer $ 3.00 , longneck $ 3.60 to $ 3.80, soda can $ 2.60 , $ 3.00 bottled water , and most cocktails $ 8.00 . Everything plus another 15 % service charge . No wonder there was always huge queues to get water at the buffet ... When we got on the ship we were offered drinks package "all inclusive" . Is nothing more than a booklet with 14 sheets that gives the right to any soft drink and ice cream for U.S. $ 31.00 plus 15% or 18 sheets for liquor at most $ 8.00 for U.S. $ 61.00 plus 15% . That is $ 2.55 for sodas and juices and $ 3.90 for alcoholic beverages . And don't even think about eating outside the buffet , if you are not willing to pay for it . Only one restaurant serves breakfast and lunch a la carte included in the package . We felt exploited ! Normally I try to make positive reviews of hotels and places I know , but this time I felt compelled to share my negative experience . If I recommend a MSC cruise ? Definitely not ! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We were extremely disappointed with the experience on this voyage. While our expectations were not high, based on others' reviews, we still hoped that would be somewhat enjoyable. It turned out to be a great disappointment with a few ... Read More
We were extremely disappointed with the experience on this voyage. While our expectations were not high, based on others' reviews, we still hoped that would be somewhat enjoyable. It turned out to be a great disappointment with a few notable exceptions. Since the exceptions were few, I decided to give credit first. The ship entertainment throughout was of very high value, with nightly shows being of high quality, especially acrobatic and dancing members. The singers at the show were average but still all went well except for the MC who never spoke a word of English, only speaking Portuguese or Spanish to a primarily Brazilian clientele, though knowing very well that others were on board. Not a word in English the entire 8 days. Same can be said of ship announcements. Not a single announcement in English entire 8 days. Food was terrible except for the Asia restaurant where it was OK., but great by comparison to the rest of the meals on board. Health club equipment was in working order but set to another language so had to make due by guessing the meanings. Port and tender disembarkation was well organized except that we had to stay by the reception to find out when our number would be called. The ship is clean and is worked on continuously, but they don't put warning signs or block sections while cleaning so you can get your hands on clothes dirty with paint or chemicals if not careful. Notably terrible was the dining service. It was so bad it became a running joke. Complaining to the floor managers did nothing. We were being ignored. No was always the answer, hardly any friendly faces and it was as if we had done something to make them mad, which was odd since we tried to tip everyone the first chance we had. It did absolutely no good. While the Stewart for our cabin did make up the room consistently well, he never tried to bring us a clean blanket that we asked for nor had the light bulbs fixed in the bathroom leaving a windowless bathroom with a single light. BTW, there are no Hair Conditioners provided on the ship so we had to buy a bottle on the ship for $80 (least expensive one available). Of notably bad items some stand way out, like the chaotic 3 hour initial embarkation in Rio that was just awful and completely disorganized. Quality of Food was just awful in all locations of the ship. Small, overcrowded pools on a single deck were of no use. Whirlpools were always jam-packed with with overweight Brazilians who seemed to treat them as their permanent place on ship. Both dinner restaurants resembled cheap cafeterias rather than fine dining facilities. This ship provides you with almost nothing for free so you get nickel and dimed the entire time. Despite that very few waiters were actually visible on the ship working the minimum amount of space just make it look like they are busy. Go up one deck from the pool and you may not see a waiter for days. Sun beds were ok that there wasn't a single side table on entire ship. Towels were given one per individual who brought their card to the towel desk. We traveled during "Summer" break for Brazil thus lots of people were traveling with small kids who were completely unsupervised and seed to do anything they wanted without as much as a peep from their parents or personnel. Even at 1am you could see a bunch of small kids running wild in the adult areas. If you are hoping to catch up on news forget it. The daily handouts contain nothing outside of the ship. there are no English speaking channels on TV. Entrance to the SPA is not Free, so you do not get to use a steam room or indoor whirlpool unless you pay or scheduled a massage. Overall, I would stay away from this cruise line and avoid south america cruises where the crowd is mostly Brazilian. You will regret it from first day on. The only people I feel for are the entertainers on the ship as they are stuck with this bunch for 4 months of the year. so many of them mentioned how they can not wait to get back to Europe, it was stunning. Special thank you to the Piano Man Melo for giving us something to look forward to nightly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We started this adventure in the port of Santos, Brazil. Embarking was swifter than I expected considering so many people. The first impression of the ship is great, I particularly liked the entry setup with the little tent and flowers and ... Read More
We started this adventure in the port of Santos, Brazil. Embarking was swifter than I expected considering so many people. The first impression of the ship is great, I particularly liked the entry setup with the little tent and flowers and flag. The magnetic card check-in at the ship's entrance is also swift and cool; it makes you feel safe that the person checks the picture to be certain it is you who is entering. At first glance the ship looks so fancy, but I think the entrance space could be a bit larger since the line gets slow because everyone is admiring the lobby so it gets crowded pretty soon. Getting to the cabin the first time is a bit difficult (getting acquainted with the ships map), and throughout the trip we encountered too many people lost, specially elders, we traveled in a 7 people group with my parents, who had trouble most times getting around, I really do not understand the lack of signage marking elevators and stairs, and more didactic signage for getting around. After we settled in, everything was bliss, the ship is so tidy, it smells great everywhere. The main deck (14) restaurant area is fantastic, the food is abundant and so good, there is great quality of ingredients and preparation, although one has to schedule the visits to the buffet to avoid crowds and enjoy a better experience without long lines for serving. The pool areas are very nice but the negative side is that after so much attention to detail, it doesn’t seem that someone thought about the music volume, it is extremely too loud in all pool areas, so after a few minutes it becomes really annoying, on the one hand because music playing too loud does not allow for conversations comfortably and second because the quality of the music itself gets distorted after so many decibels. So if you can tolerate extremely loud music, continue. The pools are a bit small for the amount of people on board, when no one disembarks there was simply no room in the pools it was a bit of an adventure getting in to refresh from so much heat, the water is salty (I don’t know why) but very refreshing on the days with less people on board. We had the arabesque restaurant assigned for the evening, the menu promises a lot but the served dishes are far from that promise, the buffet if far better quality, it is hard to understand why they can’t match that quality considering it is supposed to be fancier. Get the beverage packages as soon as you get in, the service charge savings are very convenient. The entertainment was just awesome, well performed and themed, really great artists. All ports and disembarkation procedures top notch, Buzios my favorite, great picturesque little town, great shopping, beautiful beaches. Do your best to avoid visiting the medic, my wife suffered an ankle sprain on the last day, and the doctor was just awful, the low point of the MSC Company. I highly recommend this cruise, the preziosa through the Brazilian coast simply unforgettably beautiful. I shall post further as I recall more details.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I confess. I disliked immensely my previous cruise aboard an MSC ship. In the hopes of discovering that MSC in So Am has improved, I hopped aboard the Poesia since I was already in the departure port (Buenos Aires) and it was only a 3 ... Read More
I confess. I disliked immensely my previous cruise aboard an MSC ship. In the hopes of discovering that MSC in So Am has improved, I hopped aboard the Poesia since I was already in the departure port (Buenos Aires) and it was only a 3 night cruise with a single port layover in Punta del Este. Besides, I needed to go to Uruguay anyway so I booked the cruise at the last minute through the US office of MSC. I paid $756 for a balcony guarantee for solo occupancy. Embarkation would have been quicker if the cruise terminal didn't lose electrical power during the process. That might not be MSC's fault, nor could MSC be blamed for a separate line for AR Immigrations after checking in with MSC. On none of my approx. 65 previous cruise check-ins do I recall having to form a separate Immigrations line apart from the cruise line check in line where the required docs were submitted and processed. However, after waiting in the passenger terminal for my number to be called so that I could get to an MSC check-in desk, then waiting in line at the check-in desk, then waiting in line at the Immigrations desk, I was not in the mood to be told by the ship's photographer that I had to wait in another line to be photographed. To his surprise and apparent dismay, I ignored him and proceeded to walk past the others waiting to be photographed. I boarded the bus taking passengers to the ship. On the short ride to the gangway, I noticed that, despite my request when I booked for a large table at second seating dining, my cruise card did not indicate a dinner table seating assignment. Upon boarding the ship I found myself near the reception desk. When I asked about a dining room assignment I was told, albeit it apologetically, I had to go to the meeting room on deck 6 to get one. Despite it being no fault of my own (after unpacking) I was required to wait in another line for about 20 minutes to get a dinner table assignment. I figured nothing with MSC had changed. That turned out to be only partially true. I made my way to my cabin. No one assisted me. My cabin was standard although smallish for a balcony (I would guess about 160 sq ft). The flat screen TV was small (about a 16 inch screen), too small for decent viewing from the bed. The pillows were horribly lumpy. I ran into my cabin attendant and asked if down pillows were available. I also asked for my ice bucket to be filled. After a quick unpacking and waiting to get my MDR seating assignment, I set off to explore the ship. It is handsomely decorated. There are quite a few large lounges (5?), but only one specialty restaurant - a Japanese one with an ala carte menu that did not look worth trying. I didn't spend a lot of time in the lounges and I never saw them fully occupied. This was due in part to the fact that I retired relatively early and also because of the large contingent of kids aboard the ship (the kids sail free promo works well in So Am). From the little I got to observe of the lounge acts and theater stage shows, the entertainment provided was quite good. I caught part of 2 shows in the theater and the singing and dancing especially of the ship's company was fine. Good costumes and production values for the shows. The animation team were most visible at the pool organizing games and dance lessons. The small library was open only a couple of hours each day. There were no English language, non-fiction books. Most all books in all languages were paperbacks that appeared to be left by former passengers. The dance company captain that manned the library when I was there confirmed as much. The tiny card room on this 3200 pax ship contained 6 tables. Apparently bridge games, if they did exist, were conducted somewhere else. TV programming was okay. They actually contained the So Am Fox or ESPN channel that broadcasts Monday night football. The welcome aboard buffet lunch was poor. This was a harbinger of things to come. The food in the buffet and dining room was simply bad. If I had received this level of food in any Buenos Aires hole in the wall at any price, I would never revisit the place. An indication of the type of "cuisine" that was served was that at the first night's dinner, the sauce for the risotto was identical to the sauce served on the few slices of flank steak. The exact same sauce for both dishes. And both were bad. The food was unacceptably poor in all venues at all times. That was the salient feature of my cruise experience. I am not exaggerating. My Argentine table mates concurred. This is especially unacceptable for a line that touts dining as the premier event aboard an MSC cruise (as MSC does). I attempted breakfast at the buffet on the first morning. I arrived as soon as it opened. The fried eggs were already cold. The bacon was fatty. The sausages of poor quality. The melon and papaya were very good, but there were no berries. The fruit juice was artificial and tasted worse than koolaid. I headed to the MDR. At least the smoked salmon was good. That and the cured ham that I had at a subsequent meal were really the only dishes that tasted good on the entire cruise. At another breakfast in the MDR, my eggs Benedict came hard boiled. At one dinner "roast piglet" (cochinillo asado per the menu) turned out to be the very same baked pork carved at the lunch buffet earlier that afternoon. When I pointed this out to the maître 'd he conceded that "asado" was a misdescription, but attempted to correct me by noting that the buffet carving was lamb. As I departed a head waiter ran after me to further explain that, in fact, the buffet carving was roast beef. Whatever it was, it was identical to the non-asado served at dinner (pork). As bad as the food was, the service by our dining room waiters was worse. It got to the point where I had to excuse myself from the table and seek out the maître d. He apologized and explained that our waiter had just boarded after a long flight from Indonesia although I fail to see how that would excuse his obvious lack of experience. He spoke practically no English or Spanish. Most orders were taken by pointing to the menu. He didn't appear to be observant when one of his patrons sought his attention. When asked to recommend a sweet wine, he suggested a heavy cabernet sauvignon. Orders were taken in haphazard order and the courses likewise served haphazardly so that some patrons had finished dessert before others had received a first course! I had never experienced this kind of MDR dining. In part this circus was due to the failure of the dining room mgmt to enforce the rules about arrival to the room on time. Inasmuch as this was So Am and dinner is served late, the first seating began at 8:15 (10:45 for the second seating) and the dining room doors were supposed to close at 8:30. Patrons at my table arrived as late as 9 and were seated. This detracted from a polite, shared dining experience. Combined with the bad food, it made dining totally unsatisfactory. My cabin attendant was able to obtain one new pillow that, while not down or feathers, was a little better than that which was initially furnished. He neglected to refill my ice bucket the 2nd day of the cruise. When I attempted to speak with him about the location of a lounge, he was unable to properly engage, looking away as if not paying attention to me. I turned and walked away and didn't see him for the remainder of the cruise. Disembarkation was swift as I was self assisted and first off. Buses brought us from the gangway back to the terminal. There was no custom process to speak off. We simply were directed to a line for passing street taxis which were hailed by a couple of locals who helped load the bags. This was an improvement over what my previous taxi mafia experience had been. The cabs operated on the meter, although my driver told me this was the procedure just for locals coming off a 3 day cruise. The cruise ships with longer itineraries and international passengers had a different lineup to get cabs, entrance to which was still controlled by the mob. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I have travelled extensively,incl. 35 cruise,and on Oriana' ship around the World in 2001/2.So, I think I have a full picture of cruising. small ship Aegian Odyssea' to huge ship 'Independence of the seas' The Msc ... Read More
I have travelled extensively,incl. 35 cruise,and on Oriana' ship around the World in 2001/2.So, I think I have a full picture of cruising. small ship Aegian Odyssea' to huge ship 'Independence of the seas' The Msc Magnifica, the worst experience ever.In fact I have sent an 8 page letter with attachments to the new Man Director of MSC. an ex Cunard man.. Cunard are up market so he should make changes. This was a cruise to Brazil.a lot of passengers were like animals. Everything that could go wrong went wrong.flights/transfers/embarkation,diembarkation, poor main meals,no veg served, few deserts. Sent 3 meals back.How can you get beef strogannof/chicken kiev/ lamb chops wrong???? waited upto 40 mins for starters. The waiters were running ragged. We gave up on meals in the Sahara buffet. the passengers.Brazilian/Italian .were like locusts.Dont queue,push in, grab loads of food,noisy and monopolised most of the main seating.The main restaurants were more civilised,and you are served,but not the visual choice. The Purser/reception were sullen not helpful,promised action,wrote cabin numbers on scraps of paper,which duly were forgotten.Charged 15e for tatty paperbacks in the library,having given 4 new books we brought on board. Then had serious issues trying to get refunds on this and Service charges of 6euro per day.VERY BAD!! THis is a lovely ship ,run badly for passengers.I would not even go on a free cruise with MSC.In fact I took my brother on this trip.again a World traveller. His first cruise. He was going to get off in Madeira,after 4 days. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I read many reviews before boarding the MSC Orchestra for an 18 day Transatlantic cruise, many comments were negative but I boarded the ship with an open mind. My First impression on boarding the ship she was beautiful and clean, however ... Read More
I read many reviews before boarding the MSC Orchestra for an 18 day Transatlantic cruise, many comments were negative but I boarded the ship with an open mind. My First impression on boarding the ship she was beautiful and clean, however I felt the reception and shop area's very claustrophobic, The ship left from Santos but our group boarded in Rio,the cocktail of the day was a Mohito...by 6pm the ship had run out of MINT, this was not replenished for the rest of the cruise so no Mohito's, I have cruised many times and never have I experienced a ship running out of supplies, not only mint but Tonic water (so no Gin and tonics),milk (went to the powdered stuff), red wine (Chianti for heavens sake, on an Italian ship) nearer the end of the cruise. I felt sorry for the bar and wait staff as they had to field the angst of passengers. Breakfasts were always the same no variety, The dinners always cold except for the soup at the buffet. The buffet area was always crowded and people pushed and shoved to get to the food,I had a pair of tongs litterally snatched from my hand as I reached for the bread rolls. The ship was excessively crowded and you could not get near the pool or find a table on the pool deck as the Brazilian and Italians had scooped up everything by 7am. This line is not geared to English speaking passengers and frankly I feel they don't want us. As for double dipping on the gratuities well it has all been said before.On the positive side the cabin and bar staff were fantastic and very friendly, I enjoyed the ports of call and the shore excursions. I have done many cruises before and this was by far my least enjoyable. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We decided on this cruise because we have never been to South America. Rio and Buenos Aries were exotic cities that we were interested in seeing. They are both wonderful cities with much to explore. The difficulties started ... Read More
We decided on this cruise because we have never been to South America. Rio and Buenos Aries were exotic cities that we were interested in seeing. They are both wonderful cities with much to explore. The difficulties started when we arrived at the embarkation port at 1/pm the published time. On most other lines boarding starts perhaps two hours earlier and the flow of passengers is smooth. Apparently boarding actually started at 1/pm and there were thousands of passengers sweating in the reception area which appeared to have air conditioning ducts, but there was none. We boarded at about 4/pm after enduring barely distinguishable announcements announcing the code that was placed on our E-Mailed boarding documents at the entrance to the waiting area. The announcements were in Spanish or Portuguese. Our cabin was smaller than most any ship we have been on in the same class. No wash cloths, no sofa, Shower with a sheet rather than a plastic enclosure found on most if not all new generation ships. Arriving for dinner's early seating which began a 7:45 we found that water is not free, coffee is not free and the meal choices are skimpy. On their Formal Nights, called Gala, there was never steak or lobster. They did once have an ugly looking large Prawn that we believe caused diarrhea. Breakfast never had smoked salmon or other expensive seafood. Portions were generally small with limited choices. Fortunately we sat with the only other US citizens on board. They had the same complaints we did,and, additionally suffered from some form of infestation in their bedding. The Brazilians on board were the most pushy group of people we have ever encountered. The females were the most offensive. The ship returned to Rio at 8:00AM but our flight didn't leave until 10:30PM. They offered no tour that would pick us up at the ship and drop us off at the airport. No suggestions were even attempted by their tour desk. We rented a hotel room at the airport. The Shows were the only positive. They had a large cast and provided quality entertainment. The MC only spoke one word of English "Showtime". Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
My wife wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro for our anniversary. I always wanted to go to Buenos Aires. Only one cruiseline gave us both with significant time in Rio on the dates near our anniversary plus a stop at Punta del Este, Uruguay - ... Read More
My wife wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro for our anniversary. I always wanted to go to Buenos Aires. Only one cruiseline gave us both with significant time in Rio on the dates near our anniversary plus a stop at Punta del Este, Uruguay - MSC. So, I researched MSC very thoroughly both on this board and elsewhere. Thanks to everyone who provided information like boardmember woodofpine (see his helpful review here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=24572068&highlight=#post24572068) and many others. This is my full review of THIS cruise. I say this one specifically because I don't know if this experience is completely reflective of MSC in all other cruises, but I'd suspect so from the many comments I have read. Here is a quick summary, using the A - F grading system, of how we viewed the cruise: Itinerary: A+ Food: D Cleanliness and Condition of Room: A Condition & Layout of Ship: A Customer Service from Crew: C Pricing of Cruise and Drinks Onboard: A Embarkation/Disembarkation Process: F Now, from the grading you can see we didn't hate our time on the cruise, but there were several very low marks and we probably will not cruise MSC again. First, about the issue of MSC not providing complimentary water and coffee, to me it was a non-issue at the buffet because coffee is provided at breakfast and water is provided at all times. Plus, you can buy a water package (21 bottles of 16 oz. of mineral water) for about $31 USD which we did. It was a little annoying when in the main dining room not being brought water automatically, but we have experienced that in Europe before and we knew about it heading into the cruise. What was much more disconcerting is the service levels of most of the employees we encountered at the bars and restaurants. On more than one occasion, we waited in the buffet for over 10 minutes before any employee came towards our table for beverage service. Also on more than one occasion, when an employee did approach us they said they weren't the waiter and our waiter would be by shortly only to wait even longer. Never have I been in a restaurant, resort or cruise ship where an employee in that situation neither a) called my waiter over or b) just took the order her/himself. I also remember asking for additional ice for Cokes we ordered and the waiter said "the ice machine is over there"; I wouldn't have minded this at all except for the ice machine to which the public had access was on the fritz for almost the entire cruise. I have traveled to many places in Europe and in Latin America and this is not the standard sort of service I've come to expect; this isn't a "European problem" or "American problem", it's a service problem. Speaking of the restaurants, we had a couple of dishes that were "ok", but I was never wowed or even satisfied with any total meal. The traditional Brazilian feijoada was good, but not great. The desserts were bad except at the Gala Buffet. The meals in the main dining room included some very overcooked beef tenderloin (think a dry washcloth), very underseasoned fish, fatty beef stew and spoiled prawns delivered to my wife and the second to last night. On the spoiled prawns, I literally didn't believe her and I tasted it myself and promptly spat it out. I guess I figured no matter how bad the food was, serving spoiled crustacean was impossible for a competent kitchen staff. We also thought the embarkation and disembarkation was a nightmarish process. We arrived to our last cruise with NCL after 2:30pm in Barcelona. We had a balcony and were shown to a shorter line because we paid more and got onboard by 3:30pm (maybe earlier). We arrived to the port in Rio at 12:30pm. We got onboard the ship at 4:20pm. Why? Not only were balcony and suite passengers not given preferential boarding, everyone got what seemed to be a number based on their deck level regardless of when they arrived at the port. That number determined when you boarded the ship. Boarding didn't seem to start until after 1:30pm when the first number was called. We had a similarly hellish experience leaving the ship. We didn't pick up passports on the night before; instead we picked them up the morning of disembarkation but weren't told where. So I hobbled about the ship (with a bad foot... that's another story ) and got ours from reception just as a madhouse began by lots of angry and pushy passengers fighting for their passports. There were definitely some great things we experienced. Irene, our cabin steward, was fantastic. She gave us a few special favors we needed. She helped me out when I was put down by the forementioned foot problem. She was flat out the best service person on the ship. Our main waiter at the dinner restaurant, Gregorio, was great as well. He learned our preferences and had bottled water and ice waiting for us at our dinner time. We also had some pretty good bar staff. As for the ship, it's beautiful with good shops and has reasonable prices for things. Overall I'd say we had a good experience being together and seeing great cities, but MSC isn't really for us I would say. Not because it isn't "American" enough, but because they still have significant operational and service "kinks" that we can avoid by using other lines like NCL. My advice is make your own determination through thorough research if you are considering MSC, but unless they have a "once in a lifetime" itinerary, I'd counsel you to choose another line. As for the destinations, they are excellent. Rio de Janeiro is a city I fell in love with years ago and it's even better now. We got into town a day before the cruise and stayed one night at the Acapulco Copacabana hotel which is 2 blocks from the beach and only 2 blocks from nightlife. The hotel is a boutique property that had a large room and kingsize bed in its superior room for $169 per night in high season. The service was good and the staff were very nice. In Rio, we used private guide, Martha Vasconcellos for a small group tour of the Rocinha favela and a private tour of Corcovado (Christ statue). She was fabulous and I would wholeheartedly recommend her. Buenos Aires was great as well. Pedro Werberg provided private guide services for us there. We did a full city tour viewing some of the old mansions, the Pink Palace for the lowering of the flag ceremony, the Recoleta cemetery, a coffee shop and a great steakhouse (El Establo). I also would highly recommend Pedro. Also, if you love hot beaches and can stand cold water, Punta del Este's beaches were some of the best I have been to and because of the currents it had some of the coldest water I've experienced. Let's hope some other lines pick up this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Venice to Rio Start: Booked hotel with MSC in Venice for the night before the cruse. Great hotel only it was a £40.00 return trip into Venice by taxi and we did not see much of the city as it was night time by the time the ... Read More
Venice to Rio Start: Booked hotel with MSC in Venice for the night before the cruse. Great hotel only it was a £40.00 return trip into Venice by taxi and we did not see much of the city as it was night time by the time the reception checked us in. Oh so slow... Would suggest you book your own flight and hotel to Venice as we paid £300 for this privilege and could have got closer and better standard of hotel and service. Boarding: This took hours, a mass of people trying to get on it was a mess! Cabin: Great clean and tidy no problems with it. Ship: Great could not say anything bad about it. All you could want. Food: Hit and miss. Breakfast in the cafeteria was a nightmare. Staff patrol the tea and coffee machines and are very rude, you can tell they hate the job and they have no idea what customer service is! But you could get room service at no extra price and this was great. So we did that every morning. Lunch better if you wait till the 12 o'clock rush is over. Dinner: Unless you want to pay for your food in other restaurants you have to dine in the main restaurant and this was ok. Themed night menu and also a plain menu should you not like what is on offer. You have to pay for water 1.80euro. No coffee on offer. Over all it was ok. Service charge is 6 Euro per person per night. And every drink you buy has a 15% service charge. We asked to have the 6 euros each taken off our account as this would have been over £200.00 for the whole trip and to be honest the service was rubbish. You would not get away with the kind of treatment and service in the UK. I know.......I said the same when I read the reviews before I went but it was BAD...So bad it became a laugh. The accounts desk and the guys working there treat you like S..T and reception staff are ok but no one understands English fully. Biggest thing was the fact they wanted everyone of the ship early on day of departure and this would have mean us being at the airport at 10am for a flight at 11.30pm so being in Rio and not seeing it. Nothing was provided and we had to gang together and arrange our own tour which cost us 100 Euro each. Would I go again..? Yes if they went to somewhere I wanted to go to. It was a good price holiday and great destinations. What would I do different? Book my own extra days in Venice and Rio as there is only small service charge to change you flights. I would take my own kettle for tea and coffee. De-program myself of everything I have every learned from my parents or experiences at school or work on how to be polite. As this trip was full of Italians, French, German and Brazilians who are rude and have never grasped the concept of please and thank you. God I am glad to be home. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was by far the worst cruise I ever took. I have been cruising for more than twenty years with Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival and unfortunately now with Mediterranean Shipping Crooks (MSC). These guys are ... Read More
This was by far the worst cruise I ever took. I have been cruising for more than twenty years with Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival and unfortunately now with Mediterranean Shipping Crooks (MSC). These guys are pirates. Let's start with the good side. The Opera ship is nice. That is it, nothing else to say. Pricing: all the promotions they advertised on the newspapers were a lie. I paid my cruise six months in advance with a "30% discount" but other people paid less than me, a week before sailing and got a better room. This is not something common in Argentina. The service was simply horrendous. They treated us as if we were in a prison. One day I returned from an excursion and they did not let me go to the restaurant. In a very bad manner they obliged me to go to the buffet that was packed. I could not eat. It was the first time that I was hungry in a cruise. The last day I went to pay my bill and I waited in a long line. Other people stood in the wrong place but the officer in charge gave them priority. When I complained I was told to shut up and that he decided who could pay first. Emanuelle Aiello was the name of the bastard. Food: between 3pm and 8pm there was no food available, not even paying. Waiters did not have a clue how each dish was prepared. The size of the dishes was miserable; they cut the chicken and the meat as thin as ham. Entertainment: it was a joke. My cruise was 13 days long and the shows were repeated thrice. Moreover this cruise was extremely expensive. I paid twice the cost of a 14 days Caribbean cruise with Princess and got nothing in return. I do not want to bore you with all the bad things of this cruise. I just want to warn you not to spend your money with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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