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14 MSC Cruises South America Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its 23 night itinerary of very varied destinations, covering South America through to Europe, we had previously cruised with MSC on the Opera, based in Cuba, which we really enjoyed. Sadly this cruise turned our to be the worst possible nightmare! - We booked the Top Grade Aurea package as this includes "My Choice" dining, where you can dine anytime between 7.30 and 10.45pm, and at a table size of 'your choice' either on a large shared table or an individual table for 2, it's all based on "My Choice" - The Aurera Class also includes the 'Inclusive Drinks Package' and provides a priority boarding procedure. After a smooth embarkation, we found our cabin on deck 15, to be superb, after the usual Safety Drill, we went to a bar for a drink so that we could settle into our new home for the next three weeks... Little did we realise the horrors that were to follow! At the bar we were told, Sorry you cant have a drink on this Cruise Card Code, this is only valid for a drink whilst eating in the restaurant or buffet during meal times, we told him that we had paid for The Aurea Class etc, he merely told us to go to reception and see what they have to say about it... We went down to Reception only to find dozens of people all queuing up with various complaints, we waited very nearly an hour before we reach a receptionist, on explaining what had happened, we got the impression that he thought we were just trying to get something extra for nothing! eventually after making some phone calls he said that he would change the cruise card and code, this worked at the bar and we got our two drinks, and we then felt more relaxed about this unsettling incident! At around 8pm we went to the Aurea Restaurant and asked for a Table for Two, only to be told that they did not have enough Tables for Two, also they were full and had no further room until after 10pm, which would be on a large shared table, we declined this and left, we did not eat anything this first night, as there were no free seats in the buffet either... The next morning we telephoned the Restaurant to make a reservation for a Table for 2, at around 8pm, the Restaurant Supervisor told us that he could not promise to do this as there are not enough small tables, he suggested that we arrive at the restaurant at 7.30pm right at the opening time and he would 'try' to get us a 2, he then said that if he did manage to do this, we would have to agree to keep this particular table and time for the whole duration of the cruise, we agreed to this, and he did get us seated on a table for 4, but for our use only, on the strict understanding that we vacated the table by 9.45, so they could get it set up for the second sitting... We carried on like this for the remaining 22 nights, which is certainly not what MSC promote in their "My Choice" dining options, another annoying thing is that the ships photographers would come around the restaurant 'whilst you are eating' and virtually insist on taking your photograph sometimes even by sitting with you or cuddling you!!! We gave up even trying to get a lunch in the dining room, as they only have 3 Tables for 2, in the entire restaurant! - In most cases we tried to eat ashore as much as we could to relieve some of the stress of dining on-board... With the Aurea Inclusive Drinks Package, we were unable to choose a wine either in the bar or restaurant, we could only request a Red or White wine, we were not looking for the Premium Brands, just basic drinks, could not select type of wine, or get an Irish Coffee or even a Bloody Mary, you were may to feel that you were trying to cheat the system! In addition to the dining saga, we found the theatre shows to be rather poor and repetitious, the Cruise Director seemed to get most enjoyment from his pre-show introductions, which he delighted in giving out at high speed in several different languages, apparently for his own amusement. Relaxing in the various Bars was often spoilt by the fact that sales staff would set up tables along side the seating, to sell Watches and Perfumes etc, it was at times like sitting in a Market Place! We appreciated most of the shore excursions that we did, particularly as they got us off the ship! - We actually tried to fly home to the UK from Brazil after just four days on board, sadly this was the Easter Holiday weekend and most of the flights were either full or very expensive, we reluctantly decided to stick it out until the bitter end! As a result of this very distressing cruise we have now decided to cancel our 2020 cruise, as there is no way we could go through this dreadful experience again, which is a great shame as we have enjoyed many cruises in the past on various shipping lines, including MSC, but NEVER AGAIN with them! In all fairness, we must mention that we found the ship itself to be clean and smart and all the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
As a very experienced cruise, thought we would try MSC. Never again, worst cruise line ever, nothing good to say about it. Service not existant in all areas Food served warm, never hot Cabin staff very rude Staff just walk ... Read More
As a very experienced cruise, thought we would try MSC. Never again, worst cruise line ever, nothing good to say about it. Service not existant in all areas Food served warm, never hot Cabin staff very rude Staff just walk into your cabin without knocking No point in complaining as you just get fobbed off with false promises and actions Muster drills at nearly every port, where all bars are closed for over an hour They feel a woman singing Queen songs is entertaining. Bad enough it was a woman, but she could not even sing. Elvis impressionist walking around was a joke There is not one thing i enjoyed on this cruise. Complained again to MSC when home, but they just give excuses. Took my money, but delivered nothing! They should not be allowed to get away with it Steer well clear of MSC if you want an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Due to the fact that this ship is new and luxurious, we had high expectations for our vacation. But it ended up as the worst cruise service we ever experienced. Unprepared crew, no knowledge of what's happening at the ship, and ... Read More
Due to the fact that this ship is new and luxurious, we had high expectations for our vacation. But it ended up as the worst cruise service we ever experienced. Unprepared crew, no knowledge of what's happening at the ship, and always with a bad mood (with few exceptions). Attendants of the bar always busy, causing waits of up to 10 min for a simple beer (which was sometimes, warm). Food is the worst, breakfast has always the same options with low quality coffee. Lunch is basically hamburger, hotdog, fries and pizza (2 or 3 flavors). If you want some meat during lunch, there's only one location serving it, with at least 20 people on waiting line. Dinner is even worse, the options are always tasteless and repeated, ingredients are not as good as expected from a cruise service (if you order a steak, don't expect a juicy thick one, you'll receive a very thin tasteless overcooked). Elevators were pure pain, always slow with an automated system to distribute load that does not work. Cabin was good but the bathroom was a bit small. Entertainment shows were good, but the cruise didn't offer trivia/quiz/sports activities The ship has never landed on "Buzios", one of the main ports to be visited, always claiming bad weather (even though there were no clouds in the sky, and a quick google search indicated weather was perfect). TouchScreen totems and smartphone applications were really usefull for managing what to do and how much money you have spent. If it was possible, I would ask for a refund. After this cruise I'll stay away from MSC cruises and stick to Royal Caribbean (the best company so far). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My wife and I embarked on the MSC Fantasia on December 8, 2018, on a cruise that departed from Rio de Janeiro, heading for Buenos Aires, returning to Punta Del Este and Ilha Grande. The trip was my wife's birthday present, and what ... Read More
My wife and I embarked on the MSC Fantasia on December 8, 2018, on a cruise that departed from Rio de Janeiro, heading for Buenos Aires, returning to Punta Del Este and Ilha Grande. The trip was my wife's birthday present, and what should have been of the dreams turned out to be a big disappointment. But I prefer to start with the good points: the cabin cleaning service was excellent, the waiters and, in general, the employees who occupied the most humble functions, mostly of Asian or Brazilian origin were kind and helpful, Chinese cooks and cooks, rude and moody. As for food, raw fruits and vegetables were of good quality. In addition, the trip was limited to delays, exaggerated mercantilism, bad food, animation and mediocre shows. Starting the week before the departure of the cruise. Affordable drink packages, which went on sale on the internet that were no longer cheap, were taken from the site. These same packages, traditionally also sold at the time of shipment, this time were not offered, being offered only on the ship for abusive prices. On delays, these occurred in all shipments and landings, damaging the stays in the scheduled ports, which were no longer long. The departure, scheduled for 5:00 pm, only happened around 8:00 pm, after an 8-hour wait in an uncomfortable terminal with huge queues for baggage check-in, entrance to the terminal, passage through the police and access to the ship. On the way from Rio to Buenos Aires, there was an unforeseen event. One passenger who needed medical attention had to be removed by helicopter, which entailed an additional 2 hours delay. The arrival in Buenos Aires scheduled for 9:00 am on December 13, only happened at 5:00 p.m., and we were only able to leave the ship at 7:00 p.m. A stop originally scheduled for the entire day of arrival plus the night and the half of the following day was reduced to the night of arrival, plus half the next day, harming both passengers who purchased excursions and those who planned independent tours and purchases . In Punta Del Este it was worse, in the landing made by boats that should be ready to transport the passengers, since the small time of stay on land, made us wait more than 2 hours, using a minimum number of boats, shortening the duration of the excursions and making it impossible to land many passengers who had to stay on the ship. Finally, having already compensated for all delays, the commander informs the cancellation of the landing in Ilha Grande, alleging bad weather and anticipating the arrival in Rio scheduled for December 16 at 7am, to December 15 at 9pm, unilaterally crediting the cabin bill, ridiculous $ 100 ($ 50 per person) without a simple apology. At the landing, in another giant row, I, who turned 60 this year, was prevented from entering the preferential line, since, according to the MSC employee, the queue was reserved for people over 65, contrary to Brazilian law . In the luggage shed, we took out our suitcase, without anyone having checked our tag number. In addition, I can summarize: - Second-class meats, served at the buffet and restaurant, except on the last day they served a better menu. - "Grilled" dipped in oil and sausages of very low quality. - Service charge charged on drinks taken at the counter, although this is already included in the ticket price. - Net price of drink charged on the order above that set in the menu (in my case, wine glasses). - Repetitive theater shows, always with the same numbers of juggling and acrobatics, changing only the costumes and songs. To conclude, I decided to make this trip under the influence of my brother who lives in Europe and made several cruises there, including MSC and was surprised by what happened and commented that incidents such as these reported would never be accepted, but with a large financial compensation or with significant All this burden caused by delays, lack of planning and logistics incompatibility was passed on from the company to the customer. The conclusion that I have reached is that these companies organize their trips according to the classification of passengers, and unfortunately for them, we are considered second class citizens and we are also reserved 2nd treatment, either in food, in shows or in treatment dispensed, which causes me great indignation to consider that this treatment was given to us in our yard. I advise anyone who has never done a cruise to not buy routes in Brazil or South America, because it will buy remains from Europe where it is winter and these ships would be idle if they stayed there. They sell their trips for the same price charged there and offer a misleading and low quality product. If you want stewardship, go to an "all inclusive" resort, or travel through Brazil or abroad and truly short the cities and beaches without time limitation, choosing your tours, accommodations, food and with much less probability of unforeseen. But if you still insist on taking a cruise, avoid this company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My wife and I took a Cruise at MSC Musica. RIo-Buenos Aires-Rio. After purchasing the tickets, directly with MSC, we received, on the eve of the trip, an email confirming a cabin with a balcony. We were very happy because we bought the ... Read More
My wife and I took a Cruise at MSC Musica. RIo-Buenos Aires-Rio. After purchasing the tickets, directly with MSC, we received, on the eve of the trip, an email confirming a cabin with a balcony. We were very happy because we bought the Bingo rate and knew we could go to internal or external cabin with balcony. Confirmed that it was external, with balcony, we rejoice even more. On the day of the checkin, they confirmed our cabin and we dispatched the bag. Arriving in the cabin, our bag was already there and even the beverages tickets that had been bought, were on the bed, waiting for us. The chamberlain introduced himself, "ticked" our name on the passenger list under his responsibility and put himself at our disposal. The journey began in the best possible way. My wife loved the cabin, took pictures, sent them to friends, etc. After about an hour we were there, I decided to take a shower. When I went out of the shower, naked, the door of the cabin opens and another couple enters !! I pulled the towel over to cover myself, but it was extremely embarrassing. The couple, it was not their fault. MSC gave them another card with the same number of our cabin! Very embarrassed, I put my clothes on and went down to reception to try to solve the problem. The man at the front desk said that I would have to leave the cabin for this couple to use and they will send me to an internal cabin. I answered that no, I had received that cabin, the checkin had confirmed that cabin and that my things were waiting for me in that cabin (suitcase and beverage tickets) We even had already taken all the clothes and kept them in the closet. Also, I confirmed with this couple that their ticket was also promotional. So, why they would get us out of there ??? The receptionist said that he could not do anything and that I was supposed to go upstairs, pack my things and that someone would come there to help me with my bags and tell us where we were going. I went back, embarrassed, My wife was very upset and we started to pack things back. We waited for an hour in the cabin.Nothing. I went down again with the same gentleman and he asked me: Why do you not changed yet? I lost my temper: I said: you told me to wait. I do not know which cabin you will send me. even if I knew, would I open the door with my finger? Where's the card? He then took the card and gave it to me. Needless to say, we had to carry the bags ourselves. Arriving in the inner cabin, my wife almost cried. Suffocating. She went totake a shower. It only had cold water. Can you imagine the disappointment ??? We called the maintenance service. The guy went there after a while and said that he needed to change the register that opened the water, but that he did something that we would be able to use for a while, until he fix it later. In fact, the hot water worked. But it was closing after a few time and we had to constantly regulate. All of these situations have spoiled our whole experience on the ship. On the second day, at night, they left a champagne in our cabin, apologizing. Later, around midnight, we were informed that there was an external cabin availiable. I decided to move in the same night, because the internal cabin was very bad. We packaged everything and by one o'clock AM, we were in our new cabin. Tired, but at least we got a decent shower. I felt really embarrassedin froint a couple of strangers and MSC ignored our suffering. The ship's reception staff is insensitive and does not seem to care for the guests. Oh ... I forgot to mention one detail: On the first day, I called the MSC number where I had bought the ticket and they advised me to talk to someone from the guest relation in the ship. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to her. I was told that she was not available and that if I wanted to, I could schedule a meeting with her the other day, at 10 o'clock AM. But it would not help me, because she coulddo nothing. Even so, I scheduled the meeting. The other day at 10 AM, what happened? She was not there and could not receive me. I reiterate that in the purchase of the fare, I knew that the cabin would be allocated by lot. But after the confirmation by email, checkin, after we are using the cabin, to be surprised by other guests, in a delicate situation, It was terrible! We could not have been "ripped" out of our cabin like that. It was a monumental MSC mistake that, I repeat, embarrassed me and spoiled our experience on board. They tried to solve it later, but it was little, in comparisson to what we went through. I would not recommend this cruise because of the lack of organization, the insensitivity of the attendants on the ship and for the embarassement I was exposed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose the cruise because of the dates as there were seven of us. There was not a lot to commend! the cabins were decent and in general staff helpful but this ship fell apart on so many other things: Smoking allowed in the casino ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the dates as there were seven of us. There was not a lot to commend! the cabins were decent and in general staff helpful but this ship fell apart on so many other things: Smoking allowed in the casino (so last century), poor higher management who talk down at you if you arrive late to dinner (no English announcements), just to add no announcements in English if something changed, food quality and meals of a down market standard, they were poor, crowded outside public areas, dirty pools, dirty tenders, dirty pool due to the volume of people, poor bar areas and by the pool really slow service. Although check in is good, we found one of the cabins on arrival was occupied by somebody else, keys are left on the bed and they went into the wrong room, OK mistakes happen, but try rectifying somebody elses mistake!, it took at least 3 visit to customer services, what a waste of time! We enjoyed the itinerary and it was only the fact that there were 7 of us that ensured we enjoyed ourselves. MSC, NEVER AGAIN. I have been on other ships and difference was night and day. To finish on a positive disembarcation was fast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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
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
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
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
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
INTRODUCTION This is a review from my cruise aboard the MSC Armonia in January 2005. We sailed seven days from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador and back. The Armonia continues to ply these So American waters so for anyone thinking about ... Read More
INTRODUCTION This is a review from my cruise aboard the MSC Armonia in January 2005. We sailed seven days from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador and back. The Armonia continues to ply these So American waters so for anyone thinking about booking this line, my advice is to do some homework first. As detailed below, this was a horrible cruise, although in fairness to MSC I have heard that the Armonia experience outside of Brazil is not as bad. It could hardly be worse. I have been on over 50 cruises, on just about all cruise lines. Given this extensive experience I consider myself knowledgeable. I had no axe to grind with MSC. This was by far the worst cruise I have been on. Although time has passed since I sailed this review will still be relevant especially to those in the southern hemisphere as the ship continues this So American run. Since we sailed over the New Year, prices might have been somewhat higher than usual. An inside cabin cost about $300 per day per couple. I can usually get outside cabins on mass market lines like HAL, Carnival and RCCL for that or less. Per diem prices for cruises in Brazilian waters are uniformly higher than in most other areas of the world. EMBARKATION - BAD FIRST IMPRESSION Embarkation was special. Somehow we didn't make it on to the passenger list and were refused boarding. A person who I later learned was an MSC land agent tried to help us prove our entitlement to board. Things were frantic and when, out of curiosity (and concern for our bags which he had put aside out of our eyesight) I asked him who he was he told me to "f" myself. This was overheard by MSC staff at the boarding desk, but to my disbelief, no one seemed to care, much less apologize. Subsequently, I learned that it was the chief housekeeper, a senior officer, who had heard this exchange. He later bought me a bottle of wine for my troubles. At her request, I submitted a detailed memo of the outrageous incident to the Hotel Mgr demanding an apology from the MSC agent. When I wrote the home office for a status, it said my memo was lost and I was asked to resubmit it. I did and it went unanswered. DINING and SERVICE Without regard to price, the food was horrendous. The only free breakfast available from room service was a continental one of bread and coffee. Other room service breakfast items came with a charge. There was also a charge for all other room service snacks. The breakfast buffet consisted mainly of scrambled and hard boiled eggs only -- no omelet station, no waffles or pancakes -- sometimes accompanied by reheated hot dogs, greasy bacon or unappetizing cold cuts. The majority of the fruit offerings were canned. Can you imagine that in Brasil where there are fabulous exotic fruits so widely available that they served mostly canned fruit? Unbelievable. Breads were not much better. Only white toast was served -- forget English muffins or bagels. The juice was like Kool-aid. There was a fresh juice (and ice cream) bar, but it was closed because, I was told, it was not profitable. There was no variety from one day to the next. The lunch buffet was not much better. It seemed like the food was recycled. The desserts were bad. As Italians, they ought to be ashamed of what they tried to pass off as pizza. It was worse than any improperly cooked frozen pizza I ever tasted (and I was a bachelor for a long time). They served poor quality hot dogs and hamburgers at the poolside grill. There was no option for a cheeseburger or veggie-burger, nor was there any relish, pickles or a normal variety of condiments available. Food handlers often were not wearing gloves, so it didn't come as a total surprise when I got sick the last day of the cruise. Curiously, in the buffet lines and at the grill there are no food trays, one is required to carry a single large plate and put everything on it, including utensils and drinks. This was quite challenging for even the most dexterous of passengers. The situation was exacerbated by the absence of any servers to assist carrying items. Forget about service. The waiters were there to clear the tables, nothing else. Talk about laid back European service. My wife and I played cards for four hours one afternoon at a poolside table on deck, and no one ever came by to ask if we wanted a drink. Dinner in the main dining room was bad. Service vacillated between inept and surly. I attribute the poor service to dining room management. An incident that occurred right after embarkation provided a harbinger of things to come. Through no fault of our own, we were not provided with a dining room seating assignment. I called the Reception Desk to get one, but I was told (after some delay and a couple of follow-up calls) I would have to go to the dining room to get one. Consequently, I had to wait in line approximately one hour just to get a table assignment. Not to change one, but to get one. Though service was lackluster, it was nowhere near as bad as the food itself. In keeping with the ship's Italian origin pasta was served every day which is fine, but it was offered with only the same mundane tomato sauce each and every day. Bread sticks and rolls were ordinary - there was no bread tray. Soups all tasted the same no matter what they were called. The food was over-salted. On one occasion the meat was as tough as shoe leather. On another a fish offering came with some of the scales still clinging to the fish! Some dishes were downright inedible. My tablemates concurred. ENTERTAINMENT/PORTS The ship's cast of dancers (who doubled as the animation team) were OK as performers, but the production values of the shows were poor. The costumes, lighting, props and decor were all amateurish. Music in the lounges was very limited and ordinary at best. We like to dance and have a cocktail before dinner, and we couldn't find a decent spot to do so. There was no functioning library or card room. On the last day, the library was open one hour. It had only a small selection of English paperbacks, probably left behind by passengers, and one Spanish-language Scrabble set. The "animation" team had a field day because there were oodles of children on board. MSC must have been offering a special kids free type promotion. So the lounges were chock-a-block with kiddies screaming and running about. They and there parents may have enjoyed it, but there was little adult dancing, etc. We ventured into the disco a couple of nights and I was shocked to hear the gross rap music lyrics that came out over the loud speakers. It was in bad taste, but the deejay was oblivious. There were no port lectures or presentations of any kind in any language. We have grown accustomed to skipping almost all ship excursions as I find that they are overpriced and/or geared to a less active person. Those offered by the Armonia were no exception. Generally , one can arrange a better tour with a local cabbie at dockside. Which we did at Salvador, Ilheus and Buzios. We did not go shore in Santos ( Sao Paolo's port). ACCOMMODATIONS/PUBLIC AREAS The Armonia is a compact 58,000 gt, but accommodates about 2100 passengers owing to the tiny cabins, compact dining and public rooms, a small casino, no library/card room to speak of and bizarrely spaced shops. All cabins and public rooms and furnishings appeared clean and well maintained though a bit spartan. The pool area with buffet restaurant was typical except for a large eyesore of a rock climbing wall that was sealed off. The gymnasium was adequate. There was a charge to use the saunas - a first in my experience. The cabins were smallish at 144 sq. ft., but had adequate storage space, some of which would have been better devoted to making the uncomfortably tiny shower larger. There was a small refrigerator - good for keeping your own drinks cold, although the price of drinks aboard was reasonable. TV in the rooms advertised pay movies, but none ( pay or non-pay) were available at any time throughout the cruise. There was not much programming at any time, though we did get CNN for a while one day. The cabin attendant provided the best (in fact, the only) decent service. An oasis in a sea of incompetence. The shops were only open limited hours, but that was no problem since they didn't have much to offer. I thought the layout of the shops was disorganized. The underutilized casino had a couple of roulette and blackjack tables and a modest number of slot machines. I don't remember a craps table although there was ample space to install one. The pool was always crowded because on this South American run there were loads of kids...to whom I have no objection. It's just that it was noisy and crowded. CONCLUSION Unless this cruise was an aberration I advise against spending your money with MSC: Caveat emptor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
We have the following comments regarding the cruise, which, in all kindness, we feel should be passed on to the owner(s) of the cruise line: As you are may be aware, some of the comments posted on-line from fellow passengers on our ... Read More
We have the following comments regarding the cruise, which, in all kindness, we feel should be passed on to the owner(s) of the cruise line: As you are may be aware, some of the comments posted on-line from fellow passengers on our cruise and comments posted by passengers on the previous cruise (which unfortunately were not available prior to our departure), identify the MSC Lirica as the "Cruise Ship from Hell," among other labels. Here are some of the deficiencies specifically identified: 1. Our trip started off by having our photos taken as we entered the gangway. Our request to have the picture of the four of us taken was denied as being "not possible." In trying to find our pictures in the photo gallery, we became aware of the fact that there were pictures of three, four and even five people in one shot. Are there different rules for different photographers? As it is, this issue became irrelevant since the ship lost our pictures along with about 25 other guests' pictures. 2. The cabin was acceptable and quite spacious. However, the refrigerator stopped operating the second day and someone came to look at it approximately 5 days later. By that time it was working marginally and we were advised it was "just defrosting." At the time of the inspection of the refrigerator, the maintenance personnel also checked out the very pronounced indentation in the floor in front of the sliding glass doors. We thought for sure we would end up on the deck below before too long. The electrical outlets for the American products were exposed because some of the covers were missing; there were no outlets in the bathrooms and the doors to the wardrobe did not latch properly and thus the light inside was on most of the time. 3. The robes provided by the ship in our cabin were a nice touch. It would have been really nice to have had the use of them when it really mattered - the evening/morning before debarkation. Since everything was packed except what we were wearing the next day, it would have been nice to put on a robe when we put our luggage out instead of trying to wrap a towel around us. 4. The service at our dinner the first night on board was intolerable and rude. We were served in an abrupt manner and only very grudgingly received water upon request, forget about a soft drink or ice tea. Also, coffee was not offered at any time. We had a recommendation to request Ciccio as our waiter and our request was accommodated, but also very grudgingly. The service we received from Ciccio was superb, proficient and professional. Unfortunately, even very fine service could do nothing to improve the quality or presentation of the food in the dining room. 5. The food at the buffet and grill was marginal, to say the least. The first few days were almost unbearable in that we were served rather large rolls with one thin slice of meat in the middle, very dried out white bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off, marginal salads and very, very dry cakes and desserts. As shown on tours through the galley on other cruise lines, pastries, rolls, breads, etc. are freshly baked. Not on the MSC Lirica - and we can see why there were no tours of the galley given 6. Further to the issue of food and service, we have never been on a cruise where one could not get some kind of snack at any time of day or night. On this cruise, not only were the meal times rather limited, but the buffet, especially, would close 15-20 minutes early. On several occasions, but most pronounced and noticeable to all of us at the outing at the Gatun Yacht Club, was the fact that no food was served on the excursions, and no food was available upon return to the ship. To be fair, there was plenty of fresh fruit and ice cream, and, wonders never cease, free water, soft drinks and beer. Fortunately, none of our party were medically required to have some kind of "real food" between departure at approximately 9:00 a.m. and return approximately 3:00 p.m., so we waited until we could be elbowed by the tremendous rush of bodies to the mid-afternoon buffet when it finally opened at 3:45 p.m. 7. Most mornings we requested breakfast service in our room. Even though we noted that there were 2 people in the cabin, we received our requested order, BUT with one plate and one knife. We do not mind sharing in the least, but can they spare a plate and knife for each of us? We had to note 2 plates, 2 knives on our order, along with 2 people in the cabin and continuously received just one if not otherwise requested. 8. As far as the formal dinners were concerned, unfortunately we could not enjoy them as we had intended since the Ship took it upon themselves to reject - not once, but twice - the delivery of Joe's tuxedo to our cabin. We have never experienced a ship refusing delivery of any kind, since it is quite popular to send and receive "bon voyage" flowers, candies, champagne, etc. Without the proper attire, the experience of the formal dress nights were totally ruined and almost inappropriate - with Angela wearing quite formal attire and Joe in the suit he fortunately brought. The dinner at the formal nights did not differ from any other night, so the atmosphere was only enhanced by the clothes worn, but again diminished by the fact that most of the Europeans must not have been informed of the "formal attire nights" and were notably inappropriately dressed for these occasions. 9. The tours: Fortunately, we did not book any tours, with the exception of the Cartagena City Tour - since we were advised not to venture out on our own into this country, and the Panama/Gatun Yacht Club - since we would not be able to leave the ship otherwise. We also question the appropriateness of having to pay to "get off the ship." 10. Since the ship was usually either late arriving at a given port, or did not dock and tendered the passengers, the time allotted in these ports and our opportunity to experience the various countries and activities offered was diminished and spoiled. 11. Activities on Board: I would highly recommend that someone purchases the "Cruise Video" to get the full effect of the activities offered. We decided not to waste $29.95 on this experience, since we could not justify putting our friends and relatives through the antics of "Mr. Cortez," dressed up in various women's and otherwise unrecognizable attire, hosting contests where, at various times, two guests put their faces into bowls filled with some kind of "goo," a few of the men passengers perform a half striptease and three male passengers have wine or some other liquid squirted into their mouths to win an MSC Lirica t-shirt. Other activities included water balloon tossing around the pool, aerobics (or some form thereof) by the pool (which was the only time there was music by the pool), napkin folding demonstration some place, unhosted chess and bridge club meetings and Italian lessons. Judging by the winner, the Ms. Lirica contest most definitely must have been fixed. 12. The evening entertainment was, if possible, even worse. We looked in and walked out. Our friends looked in, nodded off, and walked out. Definitely not a fun experience. 13. As far as the decor of the ship is concerned, since it is still pretty new, the decor was sparse, but still within acceptable limits. The decorations, such as they were, left a lot to be desired. Not a fresh flower in sight, and even the very, very cheap fake flowers looked wilted. This experience definitely does not fall into the "want to recommend to anyone" category. We understand that some guests may have "jumped ship" at the first port - we certainly thought about that and more often than not wished we had, and we were told by one woman that her husband was marking off each day of the voyage left with felt-tip marker on their cabin wall. We didn't think it worth the effort. Joe and Angela Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
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